Top Ten Tuesday: Opening lines

Happy Top Ten Tuesday! This week’s theme is opening lines, and I decided to go with opening lines of ten of my favorite books!

Spontaneity is overrated.

Starry Eyes by Jenn Bennett

“I know you hate surprises, Stella. In the interests of communicating our expectations and providing you a reasonable timeline, you should know we’re ready for grandchildren.”

The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang

If you drew a straight line from my apartment in San Francisco to Berkeley, it would only be ten and a half miles, but even in the best commuting window it takes more than an hour without a car.

Love and Other Words by Christina Lauren

“Tell me something, Penny . . .”

Penny knew that whatever Madison Chandler was going to say, she wasn’t going to enjoy it.

Emergency Contact by Mary H.K. Choi

Welcome to Cold Creek, Colorado. Population: eight hundred.

Sadie by Courtney Summers

Daisy Jones was born in 1951 and grew up in the Hollywood Hills of Los Angeles, California.

Daisy Jones & the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid

It was night again.

The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss

I have a theory. Hating someone feels disturbingly similar to being in love with them.

The Hating Game by Sally Thorne

“Are you all right?”

The voice was tinny in Adina’s ears. Her head ached, and she was wet. She remembered the plane pitching and falling, the smoke and screams, the panic, and then nothing.

Beauty Queens by Libba Bray

abberant, adj.

“I don’t normally do this kind of thing,” you said.
“Neither do I,” I assured you.

The Lover’s Dictionary by David Levithan

Did you do your own Top Ten Tuesday post today? Feel free to leave your link in the comments and I’ll check it out! Have you read any of these books? What are some of your favorite opening lines? Let’s talk in the comments!

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Mini-Reviews: Soulless, Once and for All, & A Princess in Theory

Soulless by Gail Carriger
Rating: ★★★☆☆
Links: Amazon • TBD • Goodreads
Publication Date: October 1, 2009
Source: Borrowed

Alexia Tarabotti is laboring under a great many social tribulations.

First, she has no soul. Second, she’s a spinster whose father is both Italian and dead. Third, she was rudely attacked by a vampire, breaking all standards of social etiquette.

Where to go from there? From bad to worse apparently, for Alexia accidentally kills the vampire–and then the appalling Lord Maccon (loud, messy, gorgeous, and werewolf) is sent by Queen Victoria to investigate.

With unexpected vampires appearing and expected vampires disappearing, everyone seems to believe Alexia responsible. Can she figure out what is actually happening to London’s high society? Will her soulless ability to negate supernatural powers prove useful or just plain embarrassing? Finally, who is the real enemy, and do they have treacle tart?

I’d been meaning to read one of Gail Carriger’s books for years, and a prompt about a steampunk romance was the perfect excuse. It was fine. I was under the mistaken impression that this was YA (I think I had it confused with a different Carriger series) and it very much was not. It’s not like I wouldn’t have read it if I’d known it contained detailed sexy scenes, but I probably wouldn’t have listened to it at work in front of all my coworkers. But anyway.

The book is fun. Alexia is a great character, and though I didn’t have any strong feelings for any of the other characters, there was nobody that I full-on hated. The plot is absolutely ridiculous, but in a good way. Kind of like a Victorian Buffy.

I don’t think I’ll be continuing on with this series, but I’m still looking forward to someday reading Etiquette & Espionage.

#romanceopoly: london street

Once and for All by Sarah Dessen
Rating: ★★★☆☆
Links: Amazon • TBD • Goodreads
Publication Date: June 6, 2017
Source: Borrowed

As bubbly as champagne and delectable as wedding cake, Once and for All, Sarah Dessen’s thirteenth novel, is set in the world of wedding planning, where crises are routine.

Louna, daughter of famed wedding planner Natalie Barrett, has seen every sort of wedding: on the beach, at historic mansions, in fancy hotels and clubs. Perhaps that’s why she’s cynical about happily-ever-after endings, especially since her own first love ended tragically. When Louna meets charming, happy-go-lucky serial dater Ambrose, she holds him at arm’s length. But Ambrose isn’t about to be discouraged, now that he’s met the one girl he really wants.

Sarah Dessen’s many, many fans will adore her latest, a richly satisfying, enormously entertaining story that has everything—humor, romance, and an ending both happy and imperfect, just like life itself. 

It really pains me to have moderately enjoyed, but not loved, a book by Sarah Dessen. I’ve been reading her books for almost twenty years now and I think this is the first time this has happened. The biggest reason that I didn’t enjoy this book as much as I would’ve hoped is the subject matter. Apparently this is a spoiler, so I’ve hidden it below my review, but I would highly suggest reading the content warning (and my feelings on it) if you’re unsure if you want to pick this up.

I think this was the least connected I’ve ever felt to a Sarah Dessen book, and it made me very sad. It’s not a terrible book by any means — I still think it deserves three stars — but there seemed to be a lot of drama for no real reason, and there was a ton of instalove.

Content warnings for:A SCHOOL SHOOTING. This book is about a school shooting and NOWHERE does it say this. I don’t generally pick up books about school shootings and I wish I would have known this going in so that I could have avoided it. I also felt like it was thrown in kind of haphazardly since Louna says that she’s sad, but she never really acts as though she’s anything but jaded about love. With the way she acts, anything could have happened. It would have been nice to see her do something about her grief (therapy, talking to literally anyone, doing literally anything) and not just saying she was sad.

A Princess in Theory by Alyssa Cole
Rating: ★★★☆☆
Links: Amazon • TBD • Goodreads
Publication Date: February 27, 2018
Source: Borrowed

From acclaimed author Alyssa Cole comes the tale of a city Cinderella and her Prince Charming in disguise . . .

Between grad school and multiple jobs, Naledi Smith doesn’t have time for fairy tales…or patience for the constant e-mails claiming she’s betrothed to an African prince. Sure. Right. Delete! As a former foster kid, she’s learned that the only things she can depend on are herself and the scientific method, and a silly e-mail won’t convince her otherwise.

Prince Thabiso is the sole heir to the throne of Thesolo, shouldering the hopes of his parents and his people. At the top of their list? His marriage. Ever dutiful, he tracks down his missing betrothed. When Naledi mistakes the prince for a pauper, Thabiso can’t resist the chance to experience life—and love—without the burden of his crown.

The chemistry between them is instant and irresistible, and flirty friendship quickly evolves into passionate nights. But when the truth is revealed, can a princess in theory become a princess ever after?

Selected as one of the New York Times 100 Notable Books of 2018! 

A Princess in Theory is one of those books that’s been on my TBR for a long time. I picked it up because it was a bonus borrow on Hoopla, and while I did like it overall, it was not what I expected. While it was well-written, there were a few things that just didn’t work for me.

  • First, I think the pacing was off, or maybe the instalove was just too strong for me. Naledi and Thabiso don’t know each other, he starts showing up everywhere, she’s super skeptical of him… and then they’re making out and hooking up. What?
  • Second, anatomically correct descriptions during sex scenes always pull me out of the book, so when Thabiso rubbed against Naledi’s areola, I was out.
  • And third, while I loved that Naledi was studying epidemiology, I didn’t really think any of it was realistic. Why would an epidemiology student be assessing patients? She’s not a physician, she studies the spread of disease.

But overall, this was a cute story. Just maybe not the story for me.

Have you read any of these books? Are any of them on your TBR?
Let’s talk in the comments!

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Mini-Reviews: The Lost Sisters, Archenemies, & Every Heart a Doorway

The Lost Sisters by Holly Black
Rating: ★★★☆☆
Links: Amazon • TBD • Goodreads
Publication Date: October 2, 2018
Source: Borrowed

Sometimes the difference between a love story and a horror story is where the ending comes . . .

While Jude fought for power in the Court of Elfhame against the cruel Prince Cardan, her sister Taryn began to fall in love with the trickster, Locke.

Half-apology and half-explanation, it turns out that Taryn has some secrets of her own to reveal.

The Lost Sisters is a companion e-novella to the New York Times bestselling novel The Cruel Prince by master writer Holly Black.

The Lost Sisters is a 50-page novella, so this will be a very mini mini-review. This novella is set between The Cruel Prince and The Wicked King and tells us what happened from Taryn’s perspective. I was a little apprehensive about that, because I didn’t think that anything could make me like or sympathize with her… and I was right.

While well-written, this novella did nothing for my dislike of Taryn. I’m also not sure that it was entirely necessary since it didn’t add much to the story. Don’t get me wrong though, I’m still most likely going to be reading Cardan’s novella when it comes out.

Archenemies by Marissa Meyer
Rating: ★★★★☆
Links: Amazon • TBD • Goodreads
Publication Date: November 6, 2018
Source: Borrowed

Time is running out.
Together, they can save the world.
But are they each other’s worst nightmare?

In Renegades, Nova and Adrian (aka Insomnia and Sketch) fought the battle of their lives against the Anarchist known as the Detonator. It was a short-lived victory.

The Anarchists still have a secret weapon, one that Nova believes will protect her. The Renegades also have a strategy for overpowering the Anarchists, but both Nova and Adrian understand that it could mean the end of Gatlon City – and the world – as they know it.

While I really enjoyed Renegades, I never felt too much of a burning desire to read the rest of the books in the series. Then, as I started to think that maybe I finally wanted to read it, I was worried that it had been too long and I wouldn’t remember all the characters and their aliases and their allegiances. But then I jumped in anyway, because why not, and it all turned out okay.

I’m not sure what’s a spoiler and what isn’t right now, so I’m going to be pretty brief in what I liked and disliked. I liked the relationship between Nova and Adrian and I liked the tension between good and evil and the morally grey quality that a lot of the characters have. I did think the book had a bit of a slow start, and I’m not sure that the amount of action we got warranted 560 pages, but overall, this was really good.

Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire
Rating: ★★★★☆
Links: Amazon • TBD • Goodreads
Publication Date: April 5, 2016
Source: Borrowed

Eleanor West’s Home for Wayward Children
No Solicitations
No Visitors
No Quests

Children have always disappeared under the right conditions; slipping through the shadows under a bed or at the back of a wardrobe, tumbling down rabbit holes and into old wells, and emerging somewhere… else.

But magical lands have little need for used-up miracle children.

Nancy tumbled once, but now she’s back. The things she’s experienced… they change a person. The children under Miss West’s care understand all too well. And each of them is seeking a way back to their own fantasy world.

But Nancy’s arrival marks a change at the Home. There’s a darkness just around each corner, and when tragedy strikes, it’s up to Nancy and her new-found schoolmates to get to the heart of the matter.

No matter the cost.

I have seen Seanan McGuire’s Wayward Children series seemingly everywhere over the last few years, and I finally decided it was time to pick it up. In case you, like me, weren’t really sure what this series is all about, it’s set at a boarding school for children who’ve visited other worlds and have returned to parents who aren’t quite sure what to do with them. Their parents don’t support them, they think they’re crazy, or they’re just fed up. Whatever the reason, all the characters have ended up in this school where they’re finally accepted for who they are.

I enjoyed this little novella a lot, but I wish that it was longer. McGuire introduces us to a bunch of characters, all very intriguing, all very different, a couple things happen plot-wise, and then it’s over. This is a series of many novellas about the different characters and the different fantastical worlds they’ve visited, and I can only hope that by the time it’s done, I’ll feel like I’ve been told a complete, cohesive story.

Have you read any of these books? Have you read any good YA fantasy books recently?
Let’s talk in the comments!

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Weekly Update

In case you missed it, here are this week’s blog posts:

I’ve been reading:

Recently acquired:

1 thing this week:

  • I turn 30 tomorrow and I’m not even sure how that’s happening because I swear I just turned 18 like two years ago.

Song of the week:

How was your week? What’s the best thing you read or listened to? Anything interesting happening in your life? Let’s talk in the comments!

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Tag: The Liebster Award (Take 8)

I was recently nominated for the Liebster Award by Anna! Thank you!

If you want to see the previous versions of this award, you can click here: 1 • 2 • 3 • 4 • 567

The Liebster Award Rules

  1. Acknowledge the blog that gave it to you and display the award
  2. Answer 11 questions that the blogger gives you
  3. Give 11 random facts about yourself
  4. Nominate 11 blogs and notify them of their nomination
  5. Give these blogs 11 questions to answer

11 random facts about me:

  1. It’s May and I’m wearing Santa pajamas.
  2. I turn 30 this weekend!
  3. I recently got a hamster and his name is Bread.
  4. I’m growing chives on my balcony!
  5. I’m a huge planner (see my post on planning) and it is absolutely killing me to not be able to plan my wedding right now because everything is closed! (I mean… I get why, but still.)
  6. My cat is screaming at the door because she wants to go outside (it’s raining and late as I type this) and it sounds like she’s saying “hello.”
  7. I will be working from home for at least another month, but probably longer, and I’m not really sure now how I feel about going back to the office.
  8. Last time I did this tag, there were 75 books that I owned but hadn’t read within my line of sight. I have now expanded to two bookcases just in this room and I don’t even want to know how many I’m up to.
  9. I’m not actively cross-stitching anything right now, but I recently bought two patterns on Etsy: Ghus from Saga and Tina from Bob’s Burgers.
  10. I’ve been listening to a lot of Taylor Swift while I drive lately. This week it’s been 1989 and Reputation.
  11. My best friend has a very unusual name and I found an Etsy store that makes custom name keychains, so I’ll finally be giving her something with her name on it for her birthday in a couple weeks.

11 questions from Anna:

What is your favorite series?

I don’t generally read a lot of series, but I’ve been really into Seanan McGuire’s Wayward Children series recently!

Do you have a favorite magic system? If so, what is it?

I always thought the magic in V.E. Schwab’s Shades of Magic series was pretty cool.

Would you rather only read physical books, ebooks, or audiobooks for the rest of your life?
I mean… physical, I guess? Otherwise I spent a lot of money to make my guest room look pretty.

Is there a movie that you like better than the book? What is it?
Not that I can think of, but I don’t watch a lot of movies.

What are you currently reading?
Well, I just finished Once and for All by Sarah Dessen this afternoon, and I’m still slogging through my ARC of The Last Hope by Krista & Becca Ritchie.

Where is your dream house located?
On the beach in Costa Rica!

Would you rather have a gourmet chef make all your food or have a fully stocked fridge that you get to cook with?
It would be nice to have the extra time, but honestly, I think I’d get sick of having someone cook for me all the time. I’d much rather cook for myself.

What is your favorite or funniest bookmark to use?
I usually just use whatever’s on my nightstand! It could be an actual bookmark or a piece of paper or really just about anything. My favorite used to be a wooden bookmark that I got in an Uppercase box, but I’m not sure what happened to it.

Are you more of an early bird or a night owl?
I’m just tired.

Have you ever stayed up all night reading?
I have stayed up very, very late reading, but I’ve never not gone to bed after.

What is your favorite hobby? (Besides reading if that is typically your favorite 😉)
Probably cross-stitching!

I’m not tagging anyone specifically, but feel free to answer these questions if you’d like! Are you an early bird or a night owl? What’s your favorite series? Let’s talk in the comments!

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