Top Ten Tuesday | Top Ten Classic Fantasies I Want to Read in 2016

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Classic Fantasies I Want to Read in 2016

When I thought of this topic I got really excited. I LOVE reading classic fantasies and have a bunch that I’m really excited to read. Then, as I was putting together this list, I realized that some of these books aren’t as old as I thought they were. But! My list, my rules, right? So I figure that any book that was published more than 10 years ago is old enough. There is one that skates right under this rule, but just barely! Also, for the purposes of this list, 10 is actually 11.
classic fantasy I picked up a copy of THE BLACK SWAN when I was in Illinois with Alyssa visiting Brittany, and I’m really excited to read it. It’s the second book in a series, but I don’t think I need to read the first one to understand the second. Also, Swan Lake retelling. Ish. BRANG IT. classic fantasy I have never read anything by Guy Gavriel Kay and I feel that, as a fantasy fan, this is a big gap in my reading. He’s written so many well-liked books! Just reading the synopses of his books gets me excited, and THE SUMMER TREE, where a group of college friends get thrown into a fantasy realm, is no exception.classic fantasy Another author that I’ve never read, alas. I’m very much looking forward to reading BITTER GREENS, but I’ve also grabbed a few copies of Kate Forsyth’s older fantasy series on my used book store runs, and THE WITCHES OF EILEANAN sounds right up my alley: witches, prohibited magic, evil queens, dragons. classic fantasy The first book of Sharon Shinn’s that I heard about was ARCHANGEL, and I own it, but I’m also drawn to her more hard-core fantasies. I was lucky enough to have a Secret Santa this year who LOVES Sharon Shinn and gifted me SUMMERS AT AUBURN CASTLE! Actually, my secret sister from last round (hayy Lauren!) also gifted me Sharon Shinn fantasies. So I have a nice little pile to choose from! classic fantasy Ooooh, forgotten BEASTS you say? Fantastical beasts? YASSSS. This is the oldest book on my list and I’m stoked. Never read anything by Patricia A. McKillip either. classic fantasy I read UPROOTED this year with my girls, but I’d heard of Naomi Novik’s fantastical historical fiction about the Napoleonic Wars being fought with dragons long before. It’s so intriguing! Also, it combines two of my favorite things: fantasy and historical fiction. classic fantasy There are SO MANY books to choose from when you’re looking at Robin Hobb’s catalog. I have a few on my TBR, but this one sounds amazing. Mostly because the title–ASSASSIN’S APPRENTICE–hints at, well, assassins. I also love the way the synopsis describes the way nobility are named in this world: by their virtues. HOW AWESOME DOES THAT SOUND. classic fantasy I believe I actually have the first two books in this series on my Kindle (pretty sure Alyssa either gave or recommended them to me). CROWN DUEL just sounds like a great YA fantasy. I’m down. classic fantasyKUSHIEL’S DART is one of those series that seems to have a really vocal, devoted fandom. That alone tells me that, at the very least, reading this book will give me lots to ponder and talk about. I’ve heard great things about this whole series, so I can’t wait to dive in.
classic fantasy YAY TAMORA! I have a mission to read all of her books. Maybe not this year, but I want to do it. I picked up WILD MAGIC at The Book Barn and felt that anticipation! Her books are always a good time. classic fantasy Not gonna lie, I’ve had to restrain myself from buying HEART’S BLOOD a few times because I’m trying not to buy all the books on my secret sister wishlist. But man, I want it BAD. Juliet Marillier retells Beauty and the Beast?! SHUT YOUR MOUTH. classic fantasyWaaay back when our bff status was a lil’ baby, Alyssa gave me the entire boxed set of the Enchanted Forest Chronicles because when we she was wee, she loved them and they impacted her FO LYFE. I’m going to read at least DEALING WITH DRAGONS this year, but probably all of them because let’s be honest: They’re super short.


Top Ten Tuesday | Top Ten Reads of 2015

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Reads of 2015

There are a handful of Top Ten Tuesdays that I look forward to every year, and this is one of them. As I read during the year, I mentally catalog which books might wind up on this list. Usually, I have a harder time narrowing things down, but this year’s Top Ten Reads of 2015 was a pretty easy list to compile. I’m not sure if that means I read fewer good books or a greater quantity of really amazing books than I usually do, but these ten books were LEGIT. Some of them I’ve already reread. 2015 was a good year for favorites, friends.

Top Ten Tuesday

When I first ZOOMED through THE WRATH AND THE DAWN with my girls, we all basically died from love. Shazi and Khalid…my brain sometimes can’t process how much I loved reading their story and experiencing their world.

TTT_2015 9 I have to admit: the dragon in UPROOTED wasn’t what I thought it would be. But thankfully, it was BETTER. This was such an engrossing tale, and it’s one of those worlds that I just want to experience the full width and breadth of. TTT_2015 8 Maybe a little bit of a cheat with this one because EVERY MOVE isn’t out in the US yet. I loved the first two books in this amazing series so much that I ordered them all from the Australian publisher so that I could read them. This is an excellent conclusion to legitimately my favorite Sherlock retelling. TTT_2015 7A COURT OF THORNS AND ROSES is the first of two Sarah J. Maas books on this list–talk about someone having an epic year, guys! Her books and her writing just always ensnare me in the best possible way. Her characters are passionate and tough and the drama is always intense. Can’t wait for more about Feyre and Tamlin. TTT_2015 6 For me, every Sarah Dessen book I read is better than the last. SAINT ANYTHING was really enjoyable to me because the characters are so endearing and complex. I particularly loved the relationship between Sydney and Mac. It’s so sweet and supportive.TTT_2015 4 I COULD NOT PUT ILLUMINAE DOWN WHICH WAS HELL ON MY WRISTS BUT I DON’T EVEN CARE. I’m not usually down with science fiction. It sometimes feels too much like…well, science. But the intense drama and action in this book was perfection. PERFECTION. Adored it. You’ll find out why when I review it (hopefully SO SOON; I’ve been such a review slacker lately.)TTT_2015 3 I’m going to be straight with you guys: I liked SIX OF CROWS a little better than the Grisha trilogy, I think. Actually I’m pretty sure. There’s just something about Kaz and Inej and all of the characters that make up this gang! I could read about them forever. Also, I’m a huge sucker for heists, and this is a great one. I’m also so horrifically behind on my reviews that I haven’t reviewed this one yet. Bad blogger award goes to me. TTT_2015 2 God, isn’t Willowdean just THE BEST?! I adored DUMPLIN’, another casualty of my Bad Blogger Award. (I’m getting to them, I swear.) The sass and the heart…it’s just what basically everyone needs always. TTT_2015 1 THIS BOOK. There is no order to this list, but if I had to pick my absolute, for real favorites of 2015, QUEEN OF SHADOWS would be one. I am 100% in it to win it with this series. The more I can read about Aelin, the better off I’ll be. Ditto for Rowan. Ditto for this world. Ditto for Manon and Abraxos and everything. TTT_2015

I’LL MEET YOU THERE is the only book on this list that I’ve read twice. Because I am always a little weaker in the knees for stories about veterans. Because Josh and Sky are one of my all-time OTPs. Because I legit pretend they are real because I love them so much. Because of THAT LETTER. So many feels. Like actual, physical feels while I was reading. So much love.

Top Ten Tuesday | Top Ten 2016 Debuts I’m Looking Forward To

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten 2016 Debuts I’m Looking Forward To

YAY, DEBUTS! I’m always excited to discover new authors, and these ten books have been on my radar for a while now. I have good feelings about 2016, friends. These books all look fantastic.

2016 debuts

THE LOVE THAT SPLIT THE WORLD • Emily Henry | January 26, 2016, Razorbill. I’m BEYOND excited for this book. It has so many things that appeal to me: comparisons to Friday Night Lights, one of my favorite TV shows of all time; time travel; romance. I NEED IT.

THE MAY QUEEN MURDERS • Sarah Jude | May 3, 2016, HMH Books for Young Readers. This book sounds so wonderfully creepy, with the woods and the superstitious townsfolk and THAT COVER.

STONE FIELD • Christy Lenzi | March 29, 2016, Roaring Brook Press. This is a WUTHERING HEIGHTS retelling, and even though I’ve never read that book (eeep!), I’m still completely enamored with the sound of this one. Historical fiction,

LOVE, LIES & SPIES • Cindy Antsey | April 19, 2016, Swoon Reads. Guys, there are few things I enjoy more than historical romances. They’re just so damn fun! This book also reminds me a lot of one of my favorite series, Lauren Willig’s Pink Carnation. I’m ready for this.

A STUDY IN CHARLOTTE (A Study in Charlotte #1) • Brittany Cavallaro | March 1, 2016, Katherine Tegen Books. I’m sorry, did someone say Sherlock? I’m in. Already preordered this one.

BLACKHEARTS • Nicole Castroman | February 9, 2016, Simon Pulse. I’m very much on the bandwagon for this origin story for Captain Hook. VERY MUCH.

INTO THE DIM • Janet B. Taylor | March 1, 2016, HMH Books for Young Readers. OMG the number of things about this book that I’m excited for is very high. Scotland, time travel, Eleanor of Aquitaine (!), and a blurb by DIANA GABALDON (!!). Preordered.


REVENGE AND THE WILD • Michelle Modesto | February 2, 2016, Balzer + Bray. WHOA, Wild West things with magic. Very, very exciting!

DAUGHTERS OF RUIN • K.D. Castner | April 5, 2016, Margaret K. McElderry Books. There are lots of wicked sounding fantasy debuts coming out next year (I’m just realizing also that this list is heavy on the first half of the year; sorry about that!), and this one is definitely on the list. The synopsis name-drops Game of Thrones and Graceling. Can’t beat that for me.

What debuts did I miss? I’m so excited for new books!

Top Ten Tuesday | Top Ten Debut Authors Who Have Me Looking Forward To Their Sophomore Novel

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Debut Authors Who Have Me Looking Forward To Their Sophomore Novel

Whew! What a mouthful! It’s been a while since I last dove into Top Ten Tuesday, but I’m glad to be doing this topic! Isn’t it just the best when you discover a wonderful new author whose book just grabs you and speaks to you and makes you CRAZY with wanting more? I do. These 10 authors wrote some of my favorite recent debuts and I’m incredibly excited to get their next books!


debut author

I really enjoyed the mix of paranormal and historical fiction in Virginia Boecker’s debut, THE WITCH HUNTER. I need to do a reread before book 2 comes out, but I loved the way the magic and the history and the characters all pulled this story together. debut author

DUH I LOVED THE WRATH AND THE DAWN. I loved it so much, guys. The world-building, the atmosphere, the AMAZING Shazi and Khalid–it all blew me away. I’m a little anxious because there seems to be a lot of things hanging around that need to be resolved in book 2, but mostly I’m salivating for it. debut author

I’m so behind on some of my reviews, which is quite honestly the standard around here. THE STORYSPINNER is one of those books, alas. For the record, me not getting around to reviewing is strictly lack of time. I really liked this book and am super excited for book 2. There are lots of debuts here with magic in them, but all of the systems are different, and I love that. I’m also really enjoying the gypsy angle here. Big fan. debut author GUYSSSS, FIRST & THEN was so cute! I’m going to be reviewing it soon. It’s such a heartwarming romance between really great characters, Devon and Ezra. AWWW I want to reread it now. debut author I really thought that I was kind of over vampires. I’ve said this before. And then I read VELVET by Temple West…and I really enjoyed myself. It didn’t feel old hat or anything. It was just fun. I’m definitely looking forward to more. debut author I actually just finished reading Jennifer’s debut SANCTUARY, and it was aces when it came to atmosphere. Not scary, but still unsettling. A great psychological thriller/ghost story. debut author Another cute contemp! I’ve been reading a few different books that take place in Washington, D.C., lately and I’ve enjoyed them all. THE WRONG SIDE OF RIGHT is about the politics of campaigning, but it’s mostly about family. Also the romance is cute. A very enjoyable debut. debut author THE WATERWORKSS FROM ALL THE BRIGHT PLACES! Guys, seriously though. I cried my EYES OUT when I read this. It was disgusting, but also beautiful. Devastating but also life-affirming. Not bad for a YA debut. I’ll take some more, please.debut author LOVE LETTERS TO THE DEAD really touched me. It was also one of the more differently structured books I’ve read, and I have to give props to Ava Dellaira for pulling off an epistolary novel on her first go. It was emotional and insightful. I’m super bummed that I have to wait until 2018 for her next book!

debut authorThe cover for book 2 in Elizabeth May’s Falconer series was just released and I DIED. Because THE FALCONER was pretty legit, and another great book that combines fantasy and historical fiction, this time with Scotland (YAY) and faeries. I’m VERY excited for more Aileana!

Top Ten Tuesday | Top Ten Books on My Fall TBR

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Books on my Fall TBR

Ahh, fall. The time of cool air, pumpkin spice lattes, Halloween, and awesome new books. As with every season, I’m looking forward to more than 10 books, but these are the 10 I’m most DYING to read. They all sound amazing.

1 I am a VERY BIG fan of Rae Carson’s The Girl of Fire and Thorns series, so to say I’m also stoked about her newest–a fantasy wild west mash-up–is an understatement. CANNOT WAIT for this one, and thankfully, I don’t really have it! It comes out today. fall TBR I’m diving into this one soon, guys (like, this week), and I’m just so excited to be back in this world again with new people. Leigh Bardugo does fantasy soooo well, and the world of the Grisha is one of the best around. Plus, THIEVES. GIMME IT. fall TBRParis is one of my FAVORITE cities on the planet. It’s so…magical. I can’t describe it, but I always gravitate towards books set there, and this one by Ann Jacobus really sounds dark and lovely, and is one of the only contemps on this list. In fact, it’s the ONLY straight contemp. Whoops.
fall TBR DUH I NEED THIS SO BADLY EVEN THOUGH IT’S OVER 800 PAGES LONG. fall TBR I’ve only read one book by Jennifer Donnelly, but it was a good one (REVOLUTION). This historical paranormal sounds amazing, what with the mysterious murder and whole morgue angle. fall TBR I’ve yet to read the prequels to A Song of Ice and Fire by GRRM. Mostly because until this October, they’ve only been published in separate edited volumes of short stories, and I just didn’t want to buy those big books for essentially just one story. BUT. Now the first three prequel novellas are being published in one volume. I’ve had it preordered for over a year. SOON. fall TBR I enjoyed THE YOUNG ELITES, mostly because it set up the rest of this series to be pretty excellent. Not that the first book wasn’t good–it had SO MUCH going on, and so many feels. I’m even more excited to see where it all leads. fall TBR Rick Riordan is doing Norse mythology now? I DIE. I just cannot even. Percy Jackson is everything, so I’m confident that Magnus Chase will take up his mantle well. fall TBR I have not heard a single bad thing about ILLUMINAE. Not anything. I don’t normally gravitate towards hard-core sci-fi, but this one sounds so twisty and different and I can’t wait to get to it. fall TBR

What’s that? Romeo & Juliet meets Children of the Corn? WUUUT! Another book that comes out today that I’m excited for. It sounds perfect for the fall: creepy and intense.

Top Ten Tuesday | Top Ten Audiobooks

Top Ten TuesdayTop Ten Audiobooks

I’m so excited for this week’s freebie Top Ten Tuesday, guys. I LOVE listening to audiobooks, mostly because it means that I can read while I drive to and from work so it’s BONUS READING TIME. I’ve been listening to audiobooks now for a few years, but I was hesitant at first to start listening to them because I had some meh experiences with full cast audiobooks. Once I discovered single-narrator audiobooks, however, I was ALL OVER IT and have had the good fortune of experiencing some of my favorite books by listening to them. These are ten of my favorites–not just because I love the books themselves, but because the narrators are top-notch.

TTT_notw audiobookThe Kingkiller Chronicle series | Narrated by: Nick Podehl

Guys. Nick Podehl is an AMAZING audiobook narrator. His voice is his like honeyed smoke; it has a great timbre. I could listen to him narrate almost anything. (I say “almost” because I did listen to one book he narrated, but it was boring. Not his fault.) I’ve never actually read Patrick Rothfuss’ Kingkiller Chronicle in print, and that’s thanks to the stellar narration of Nick Podehl. He’s been the only voice of Kvothe that I’ve ever known, and I hope you all know how much I heart Kvothe.

TTT_night circus audioTHE NIGHT CIRCUS | Narrated by: Jim Dale

Sooo…Jim Dale is probably best known for narrating the Harry Potter audiobooks. Which I have never listened to. I know, I know. It’s a THING that I really want to do soon. But I ESPECIALLY want to do it now because of the magical, mysterious vibe he brought the the audiobook of THE NIGHT CIRCUS. He made the Cirque du Reves real to me, and made it sound like a fairy tale.

audiobookTHE SCORPIO RACES | Narrated by: Steve West and Fiona Hardingham

I’m not sure if people know this, but THE SCORPIO RACES is probably one of my favorite books. I don’t really talk about it. *sarcasm* I’d already read this book a few times in print before some friends told me that the audiobook was FANTASTIC and so I checked it out. They were soooo right. Steve West has maybe the best voice I’ve ever heard, and Fiona Hardingham is a great Puck. They make this amazing book even better, which is hard to do as far as I’m concerned.


The Raven Cycle series | Narrated by: Will Patton

Maggie Stiefvater gets the good narrators, guys! I know that not everyone likes Will Patton’s narration of this series, but I dig it. Henrietta is such an atmospheric place, and the creepy country vibe goes perfectly with Will Patton’s rough drawl. I’m a big fan.


Mistborn series | Narrated by: Michael Kramer

I’ve got one book left in this original trilogy, but I’m not slacking because of any fault in the audiobook. I’m surprised at how many books on this list are books that I’ve never read in print because I always had this impression that the bulk of my audiobooking was for rereads, but this series is yet another that I’ve only ever listened to. Michael Kramer has this really deep, powerful voice. It’s really perfect in tone for this series. Strong, clipped, epic.

audiobookLeviathan series | Narrated by: Alan Cumming

OMG Alan Cumming is one of my favorite narrators. FAVORITE. His narration of this series is AMAZING. The voices he does are wonderful, his inflections are wonderful, EVERYTHING IS WONDERFUL. I was hesitant to dive into this series because sometimes me + steampunk does not equal love. But Alan Cumming hooked me in from the very beginning, and now this series is one of my favorites. Can’t recommend this one enough.


HEIR OF FIRE | Narrated by: Elizabeth Evans

I’m listening to this right now, and the only reason that I don’t have the whole series listed here is because I’m listening out of order and haven’t heard books 1 and 2 yet. But they’re all narrated by Elizabeth Evans, who’s got a great, clear voice. Her accents are sometimes a joke, but she’s eminently listenable. I’m going to enjoy listening to the other books in this series.

audiobookELEANOR & PARK | Narrated by: Rebecca Lowman and Sunil Malhotra

SIGH. These two do such an outstanding job narrating the voices of Eleanor and Park. They’re completely captivating and intense. This story is so, so special and so starkly lovely, and Rebecca Lowman and Sunil Malhotra bring all of that to their narration. It’s excellent.

audiobookDaughter of Smoke and Bone series | Narrated by: Khristine Hvam

This is one of my favorite series, and an example of my reread via audio trend. Khristine Hvam has a clear voice that isn’t too–excuse, because this is going to sound SO GROSS–wet (VOM), which is really important to me. Because, like I said, IT’S GROSS. I’ll take Karou and Akiva in any format I can get them, and the audiobook is fantastic. I especially love her Zuzanna. GREAT accent.

audiobookThe Bone Season series | Narrated by: Alana Kerr

This series was a little daunting to me, so I held off on reading it for a while, but I’m glad that I went with the audiobook. I really like Alana Kerr. I like her accent; it’s Irish, just like Paige Mahoney’s would be. She just has a really captivating voice.

audiobookGentlemen Bastards series | Narrated by: Michael Page

I LOVE Michael Page’s narration of this series. The humor in these books is one of my favorite things, and whenever Locke and Jean swear vibrantly at one another, Michael Page really conveys the joy these characters find in being vulgar. I just really love the way he narrates the dialogue and brings Locke and Jean in particular to life.

What are your favorite audiobooks? Who are your favorite narrators? SHARE!!

Top Ten Tuesday | Completed Series I Still Need to Finish

Top Ten TuesdayGuys, I have an issue with series books, I think. I LOVE them and don’t turn away from a book because it’s in a series, but I also sometimes get caught up in reading them ALL that I forget to finish the ones I already started. Whoops. I know I’ve talked about series I want to start and maybe series that I’m behind on (if not, this list can also serve that purpose), but today we’re just talking about the series that are already completed. Well, the AUTHOR has finished writing them. I, however, have not finished reading them. Whoops. (Again.)seriesI LOVED the first book in The Monstrumologist series, friends, and I own all of the books, so basically I have no excuse for not reading them. They’re creepy and intriguing and I love the relationships. SOON. series This one is 100% pure denial. I don’t want to be done with Percy and Annabeth and Camp Half-Blood, so I’ve been putting off reading THE BLOOD OF OLYMPUS because I’m like a mom who doesn’t want her kids to start kindergarten so she pretends that they’re not actually five. series I am actually almost done with the Gallagher Girls series, but I read the first five books a few years ago and just never got to the last one. It should be quick enough, but now my chances of remembering all the things are, frankly, very small. series I enjoyed the first book in this series A LOT, but haven’t gotten around to reading the next two just yet. It satisfies so many things for me: historical fiction, mystery, Venice, romance. Not sure what’s keeping me from continuing on, to be honest. seriesYou’ll begin to see a pattern now and throughout most of the rest of this list: trilogies of which I have read only the first book. I had SUCH a blast reading the first book in The Lynburn Legacy series: the ghosts and the FEELS and the mystery. I definitely need to get back into this series.
series I know that a lot of people DIE for the Scarlet series, and I certainly enjoyed the first book. I mean, HELLO, Robin Hood. But I don’t think I LOVED it the way others did, so I’ve been dragging my feet on catching up. series I’m officially stating that duologies count as series, and therefore I am one book behind on this one. I just reread SERAPHINA earlier this year in anticipation of reading SHADOW SCALE, but I haven’t read it yet. I think Brittany, Alyssa, and I are going to read it together; we just have to get it on the schedule. series Another series that tons of people loved. I loved it too. Well, I loved book 1. I own book 2 but at this point, I need a reread probably. Dystopian is not my go-to genre, but Aria and Perry’s world is really interesting to me. And also, the romance is top-notch. series I’m slowly making my way through this AMAZING series with my girl Alyssa, who’s read the first three books more than once. We’re getting read to read HEIR TO SEVENWATERS, which is book 4, and I’m excited!seriesWhen I read the first book in this series, I was like *hearts for eyes*. I bought the next two. Then…nothing. Haven’t read them. Still own them. Still want to read them.

Top Ten Tuesday | Top Ten Books in World-Building 101

Top Ten TuesdayTop Ten Books in World-Building 101

Guys. GUYS. World-building is SO KEY. Books have been ruined because of crappy world-building, but they’ve also been MADE because of world-building that sweeps me up and transports me utterly to a new place. When I saw that world-building was one of the suggested topic ideas for this Top Ten Tuesday, I had to jump on it. I usually try not to steal those because I like stretching my mind a little bit, but if I had to teach a course in world-building, these are 10 of the books I’d mention. I LOVE THEM ALL.

WorldbuildingOne of the BEST examples of world-building that I’ve ever read is Patrick Rothfuss’ Kingkiller Chronicle. The story of Kvothe and his youthful adventures across Temerant, a world made up of different, vibrant cultures and touched by old magic. Kvothe is one of the greatest characters that I’ve ever read. I adore him. He’s clever, enormously intelligent, confident, and tenacious. But he’s not the only thing that makes these books. Patrick Rothfuss has created a complete world that centers around the University where Kvothe studies. Reading these books is immersive, and I find that, for me, those kinds of places exist because of the attention to detail. Tell me about languages and currencies and the different styles of clothes. Patrick Rothfuss does all that, and he does it really well.

WorldbuildingIt’s so hard to classify this series. It’s paranormal, it’s contemporary, it’s fantasy, it’s magic, it’s mystery, it’s…The Raven Boys. Henrietta, Virginia, is alive in these books. Cabeswater is mysterious and magical, Monmouth Manufacturing is real; I can picture these places so clearly because Maggie Stiefvater makes it seem like they could be in my town. Like the weirdness and the magic is in my backyard. But what I love the most about this series is the way the language creates this atmosphere of misty, mystical, confusing, old things. It’s on every page, and it’s odd and beautiful.
WorldbuildingOne of the key aspects of world-building for me is dialogue. If the characters speaking don’t engage me, then I don’t really care about what they’re doing or where they live or what they’re fighting. No such concerns about that in Scott Lynch’s series because this dialogue is KILLER. It’s hilarious and bawdy and memorable. It is the foundation of the ultimate bromance between Locke Lamora and Jean Tannen. Not to mention that this is another epically plotted and constructed world, with dangerous politics and seedy people and awesome details like made-up card games and measures of time, not to mention detailed city planning and the old mystery of the Eldren hiding around in random places. 

Worldbuilding Eretz, the fantastic world of the angels and the chimera, is burned on my brain. The descriptions of it that Laini Taylor gave in this amazing series are beautiful and larger-than-life. When I envision the angel capital of Astrae, my mind is full of light, but also aware of the rottenness at its core. The Chimera city of Loramendi is dark but vibrant. The descriptions of the different chimera and their classes is fascinating to me. What makes this series really go, though, is the romance between Karou and Akiva. Their palpable attraction and hate-liking infuses this whole story with real emotional heft, and I think that sometimes when I think of world-building, I neglect the PEOPLE and think about maps and places and made-up stuff. But all of those things don’t really matter if you don’t care about the characters, so they’re important too. Karou and Akiva are two of my favorites.

Worldbuilding One of my FAVORITE things to read about are alternate histories. They really appeal to both the history nerd in me and the fantasy lover. I’m rereading via audio the last book in this series right now, and it’s striking me anew how awesome Robin LaFevers is. The struggle between Brittany and France was a real thing. The Duchess was a real person. But Mortain? The Handmaidens of Death? Fabricated, and WONDERFUL. They add such a great twist to the world, with the conflict between the old gods and the new.

Worldbuilding I’m a new convert to Juliet Marillier’s Celtic historical fantasy, but reading about the Sevenwaters clan through the generations is a very special experience. This is another example of a historical place and time being imbued with magical, fantastical elements that make the landscape darker and more dangerous. Medieval Ireland is maybe not a place I’d want to live, but Juliet Marillier makes me second-guess myself because she’s so adept at bringing together the ancient Celtic mythologies and the complex family dynamics.

WorldbuildingGUYS, I love retellings. What I don’t usually love is science fiction. But combining the two? Apparently I LOVE IT. Because Marissa Meyer’s series is stellar (oooh outer space pun!). It’s so imaginative and original, even though it takes its foundations from well-known fairy tales. The world in this series is completely new, and is one of my favorite–and, personally, one of the best–retellings out there. The Earthen Kingdom, Luna, cyborgs, the way the world has changed and the universe expanded…it’s all so clever and absorbing. Some of the best world-building around. 

WorldbuildingSo. You may or may not know that I’m a big ASOIAF-er. I’ve read all the books, I read the forums, I watch the show, I theorize and nerd out with my friends. When I first read this series (well, the only time I’ve read this series), I literally didn’t read anything else for several months. Only the first four books, in succession, no other bookish distractions. I was IN IT like Joey in the map in London. This world is SO HUGE and SO DEVELOPED. It has a history that goes back thousands of years, religions, cultures so far off that they are unknown, languages, whole races of people who have lived and died. And also, lots of maps. This is how you do it, guys. For me, anyway. Give me appendices or give me death.

WorldbuildingThe only time I read this book, I listened to the audio. It was completely mesmerizing. All of the other books on this list are series, but THE NIGHT CIRCUS is so lush and dark and captivating that it totally deserves a spot on my world-building list, simply on the grounds of the Cirque du Reves alone. I want the circus to be real so that I can go. I want to visit it and see its weird wonders and visit all of its tents. I think it really takes something, and someone, special to be able to create such an amazing world in just one book, but Erin Morgenstern did it really well. 

WorldbuildingI have to tell you guys, I was a teensy bit apprehensive when I first went into THE BONE SEASON. Couldn’t tell you why. But I’m glad that I got over it. Samantha Shannon has created this completely new future world that’s…well, I’m not sure what it is. It bears hallmarks of so many genres: paranormal, fantasy, dystopian. If we’re talking about world-building though (and we are), I really have to shout this one out. Because it’s a MASSIVE book in that regard. What we know of present-day London is utterly transformed, and the plot is intricate. It’s really impressive.

Top Ten Tuesday | Top Ten Auto-Buy Authors

Top Ten TuesdayTop Ten Auto-Buy Authors

I buy a lot of books for myself, friends. It’s a problem and a delight. A lot of the time, I’m taking a flyer on new-to-me authors, but I’m just as often looking out for books by these ten authors. (And maybe a few others, but shhhh.) I didn’t have a chance to write up anything about these authors, which I hate doing, but I wanted to share my fangirliness over these authors with you guys! Because I do love them all something fierce.

auto-buy authors

Top Ten Tuesday | Most Read Authors

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Most Read Authors

So I’m going to admit right off the bat that I cherry-picked this list a bit. Because I thought of some of these on my own but had to check Goodreads for the others and I had LOTS of authors with the same number of books read. WHOOPS but also MY LIST, DON’T CARE. Some of these actually surprised me as well; turns out I’ve read more books by some of them than I realized, so that’s awesome! Another thing that happened? I got super happy looking at this list, because these authors have all given me so many hours of excellent reading.

Most read authorsHard to beat Janet, guys, simply because she’s written a TON of books. She’s number one on my most-read list with 14 and I’m BEHIND on her Stephanie Plum series. By, like, six books. To be honest with you, the formula is getting very old so I have a harder time wanting to pick up her books. Someone just let me know when Stephanie and Joe get together, mmkay?Most read authorsRick was one of the authors that surprised me, although he shouldn’t have because I’ve read all of the Percy Jackson books (five), two of the Kane Chronicles books, and four of the Heroes of Olympus books (been in denial that this series is over so I haven’t read the last one yet). I LOVE RICK RIORDAN. His books are fun, humorous, action-packed, and they pique my curiosity about mythology. I can’t wait for Magnus! GIMME THE VIKINGS!Most read authors I remembered all about Maggie on my own. The only books of hers I haven’t read are her anthologies with the Merry Sisters of Fate, so she clocks in with 10 books read. She’s one of my Number One’s. I really don’t care what she writes, I’ll read it. Even if it’s zombies. (Although UGH that would also kind of not be awesome.)Most read authorsIf you enjoy historical romance and haven’t read Lauren’s Pink Carnation series, find your way to it ASAP. It’s incredibly fun. Also, if you are a reader who prefers to wait for a series to be over before starting, you’re in luck! (But you’ll soon be sad.) The last book in this series just came out. I’ve read nine books by Lauren so far, and have plans to binge some more. Most read authorsJay Crownover is one of my go-to authors for grown-up romances with emotions and complications. Her Marked Men series is one of my FAVORITES, and her Welcome to the Point series is not shabby at all either. I’ve read eight books of hers, a ninth is on its way to me RIGHT NOW, and she’s got a new series set in the same world as Marked Men starting next year. GIMME THEM ALLLLL. Most read authorsDUH BC HARRY POTTER. I do have a few of the supplemental books–like BEEDLE THE BARD, etc.–but haven’t read them yet. I also haven’t read any of her newer adult books (I probably won’t). She’s basically only Harry Potter to me. Most read authorsI’ve read seven books by Diana Gabaldon, and that’s only because I haven’t cracked open WRITTEN IN MY OWN HEART’S BLOOD, book 8 in the Outlander series, yet. Don’t worry, though. I will. It’s one of my favorite series. Most read authorsGayle, Gayle, Gayle. Obviously I love her books. Not obviously (to me, anyway), I’ve read six of her books. Had no idea. There were a bunch of authors on my list with six books read, but I wanted to highlight Gayle because, one, she’s fantastic; and, two, because I didn’t even realize I owned six of her books. But I do, so YAY!Most read authorsGEORGEEEEEE, GIMME MORE BOOKS TO READ!! He’s another six-booker on my list, and that’s only because I’ve read THE ICE DRAGON. Like other fans of A Song of Ice and Fire, I am waiting impatiently for this tally to increase by one. Most read authorsAnother surprise! I feel like I talk a lot about not having read a lot of Sarah Dessen’s books, and in the grand scheme of things, I haven’t really. According to Goodreads, she’s written 26 books, so that leaves me with 20 more to go. Honestly, realizing that I’ve made a bigger dent in her catalog is pretty exciting because there’s so many more books of hers that I’m looking forward to.