Top Ten Tuesday: 2017 favorites

Happy Top Ten Tuesday!  Today’s theme is top ten favorite books of 2017 and honestly, I’m not sure how I feel about this theme!  There are still almost three weeks of the year left!  But still, I’ll call it my top ten favorite books so far in 2017.  There.  That sounds better.

These are in no particular order, by the way.

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💕 The Rules of Magic by Alice Hoffman
💕 Roomies by Christina Lauren
💕 Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon

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💕 Infini by Krista & Becca Ritchie
💕 Damaged Like Us by Krista & Becca Ritchie

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💕 Turtles All the Way Down by John Green
💕 My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi Meadows
💕 The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

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💕 Anything You Can Do by R.S. Grey
💕 The Allure of Julian Lefray by R.S. Grey

What are the best books that you read in 2017?

Top Ten Tuesday: Ten books I’m thankful for

Happy Top Ten Tuesday!  Here in the US, we’re getting ready celebrate Thanksgiving, so today’s theme is ten books I’m thankful for.  There are a lot of books overall that I’m thankful for, but I decided to go with ten recent books instead of going back to the beginning of time!

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💎 If I Was Your Girl by Meredith Russo
💎 My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi Meadows
💎 The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

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💎 Infini by Krista & Becca Ritchie
💎 Catch & Release by Laura Drewry

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💎 The Rules of Magic by Alice Hoffman
💎 Operation Prom Date by Cindi Madsen
💎 Anything You Can Do by R.S. Grey

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💎 Damaged Like Us by Krista & Becca Ritchie
💎 The Foxe & the Hound by R.S. Grey

Which recent reads are you thankful for?

Top Ten Tuesday: Characters who would make great leaders

Happy Top Ten Tuesday!  Today’s theme is ten characters who would make great leaders, which is super fitting for election day.

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First up we have Darrow from Pierce Brown’s Red Rising saga.  Do I remember a lot about Red Rising?  No, not really, which is one of the reasons that I still haven’t picked up Morning Star.  But do I remember that Darrow was awesome?  Yes, absolutely.

Next up is Starr from Angie Thomas’ bestselling debut, The Hate U Give.  Starr is put in an almost impossible position as the sole witness to her childhood friend’s tragic death.  Stuck between the expectations of her fancy prep school friends and the real-life implications of the shooting in her neighborhood, Starr has to figure out how to do the right thing without letting anybody down or creating any additional problems.

Then there’s Victor from V.E. Schwab’s Vicious, probably the most controversial pick on my list.  It’s true.  Victor’s a villain.  But this guy has serious leadership potential!  And, in his own way, he is the leader of his group of misfits.  (Side note: I cannot wait for the next installment in this series.)

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It’s been a long, long time since I read Peter F. Hamilton’s Void series and I honestly remember very little of it, but I do remember Edeard being a great leader.

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Both Rose Calloway and Connor Cobalt from Krista & Becca Ritchie’s massive Addicted/Calloway Sisters series easily make the list of great leaders. While Connor is logical, refined, and cunning, Rose is a perfectionist who wouldn’t hesitate to tear out the heart of her enemies (and look great while doing it).

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I’m maybe cheating with these last four picks since they actually are official leaders in their books, but next up is Prince Kai from Marissa Meyer’s Lunar Chronicles series.  It’s true that Kai starts out the series primarily as a love interest for Cinder, but as he grows up, he becomes a strong, morally sound leader who isn’t afraid to stand up for his people.

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I’m definitely cheating with Lady Jane Grey, who ruled England for nine days back in the 1500s.  I’m not sure if the real-life Jane Grey was quite as awesome as this fictionalized version, but the Jane from this book made an awesome leader.

And what about Alexander Hamilton?  The amount of attention this guy is getting now is insane.  There are so many books (above: Alex & Eliza by Melissa de la Cruz) written about him, a musical so popular that people wait months for tickets, and suddenly everybody is interested in his life. Why was he never president?

Finally, I’m going with Prince Rhy Maresh from V.E. Schwab’s Shades of Magic series.  While Rhy comes across as a flirty playboy as the series begins, he grows as a person and a leader as the series comes to its conclusion.

Who are your favorite fictional leaders?

Top Ten Tuesday: Recommendations for people who want to get into YA

Happy Top Ten Tuesday!  The topics are officially back, and this week is all about book recommendations.  The actual theme is ten book recommendations for _____, and I decided to go with ten book recommendations for people who want to get into YA.

Sometimes it’s hard to understand why adults read YA.  For me, it’s an escape from the everyday realities of my adult life – work, bills, conflict – but the genre has also evolved from when I was within the target demographic.  For the most part, the genre has grown out of its former boy drama stereotype and branched out into much more varied stories.

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If you follow YA at all, you’ve probably seen a lot of hype surrounding Benjamin Alire Saenz’s Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe.  It’s a poetically written, character-driven story about two polar opposites who become friends and grow into better people.

Similarly, Morgan Matson’s books always get a fair bit of hype, and with good reason.  She crafts realistic characters who face real-world problems in an age-appropriate way – something that used to be almost unheard of in YA.  In Since You’ve Been Gone, Emily’s best friend has disappeared without a trace, leaving her only a list of thirteen tasks to complete before summer ends.

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An author that (almost) always does the genre justice is Libba Bray.  I’ve been a huge fan of hers for over a decade now, and I continue to read everything that she publishes.

In Beauty Queens, Bray delivers a story focused on a group of teenage beauty pageant contestants that have been stranded on a deserted island after a plane crash.  The diverse cast uses their combined talents to survive while simultaneously dismantling the patriarchy.

Changing styles completely, Bray’s Lair of Dreams follows a psychic flapper and her oddball group of friends through 1920′s New York City as they solve mysteries and fight stereotypes.  This spooky series is ongoing, with the third book publishing later this year.

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The Hate U Give tells the story of Starr, a young girl who witnesses police shooting (and killing) her unarmed friend, and the fallout from friends, family, and the media.  In addition to police brutality, it discusses the demonization of victims and the realities of being a young POC in the United States.  Somehow, Thomas does this without ever once sounding preachy.

By now, Red Rising is a few years old, and you’ve probably either read it or decided that you’re over the hype.  On the off chance that you haven’t, let me tell you about this wonderful story.  This intricately built world features a number of castes and a protagonist who attempts to dismantle the system from within. It’s rare for dystopian YA to feel new, but Pierce Brown has created an incredible world.

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David Levithan is a pretty ubiquitous YA author, and his books rarely disappoint.  The best in recent memory is his collaboration with Nina LaCour, You Know Me Well. Stepping aside from the typical romance plot, Levithan and LaCour build a beautiful friendship between two strangers struggling with their own problems.

With a host of taboo topics, The Death of Bees easily steps away from what you might expect from YA.  This is a dark, twisted, creepy story about the powerful relationship between two sisters, and everything that the older sister would do to keep the younger one safe.  Tackling topics such as drug abuse, dead parents, and prostitution, it’s not for the squeamish, but it’s so worth it if you’re willing to take a chance.

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Rainbow Rowell’s Carry On is unlike anything I’ve ever read.  It’s based on the world of Simon Snow, a Harry Potter-esque character from Rowell’s Fangirl, and Simon’s rival-slash-love interest, Baz.  Simon and Baz put their differences aside to fight some evil monsters, and somehow, at the same time, fall in love.

My Lady Jane is based on the true story of Lady Jane Grey.  The authors take a lot of creative liberties with Jane’s life, involving shapeshifters and a bunch of Monty Python-style references, to create a hilarious retelling of the events that led to England’s Nine Day Queen.

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten of 2017 (So Far)

I haven’t done a Top Ten Tuesday in forever, and today’s Monday, but I have something special lined up for tomorrow and I loved this week’s theme! So here we have it: my top ten books of 2017 (this far).  2017 has been a great year as far as books go.  I gave nine of these five stars and one was a high four. Read on for my top picks for the first half of 2017.

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Infini // Operation Prom Date

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Anything You Can Do // Arm Candy // My Lady Jane

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Madly // Catch and Release

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The Hate U Give // If I Was Your Girl // We Should All Be Feminists

So far, what are your standout books of 2017?