Friday Favorites: Classic Books

Oh hello, Friday! Where did you come from? I’ve had a short work week, so my days are all thrown off. Today feels like my Wednesday, but also, holy heck am I glad it’s Friday because it has been a Week ™. But I am here today to talk to you about my favorite classic books. Well, my FAVORITE classic book. Singular. Because I’m about to hit you with a hugely underrated classic book and it’s not one written by an Austen or Brontë.

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Friday Favorites: Books that were recommended to you

Last week we talked about favorite books to recommend to people but this weeks its all about the books that were recommended to you that became favorites. Reading books that were recommended to you can always be a hit or miss thing. I’m a Hufflepuff, so it physically hurts me when I end up not liking a recommend book that a friend has loved. I’ve been really lucky with liking most of the books that friends have recommended and here are a few of the hardcore favorites that I’ve had of the last few years.

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Friday Favorites: Books to Recommend

Oh heck, it is Friday! This day totally snuck up on me. I’ve been hosting this Friday Favorites thing since the beginning of the year, so you’d think I’d be prepared every Friday. *narrator voice* But she never was.

But enough about my status as a hot mess book blogger, let’s talk about this week’s FF topic: books to recommend. Recommending books is always SO HARD for me. Books I love are a part of my soul and recommending a book is giving a piece of that soul over to someone for their judgement. I very vividly remember loaning a copy of A Darker Shade of Magic by VE Schwab to a friend, and as they walked away I turned to my other friend and said “OMG, he isn’t gonna like the book and I’m gonna cry.” But really, that’s how I feel every time I recommend a book. I am very protective of my favorite books.

Since recommendations are pretty specific to the genre or style the person is looking for, I’ve broken the recs down in that style.

Classic Novel: North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell – Look, I love me some Jane Austen, but North and South has my heart. And part of that may be because I watched the BBC Miniseries before I read it and was therefore blessed with Richard Armitage as Mr. Thornton. I always get bored while reading classic novels and N&S never got boring for me.

Violent, but really damn good science fiction: tie between Red Rising by Pierce Brown and Old Man’s War by John Scalzi – These books are both so brutal, but so very damn good. Old Man’s War explores some really interesting issues while having some of the most spectacularly violent deaths. Red Rising is just a freaking masterpiece of world building and brutal plot twists, set against a revolutionary landscape.

YA Fantasy that isn’t really YA because it gets smutty, y’all: Throne of Glass and A Court of Thorns and Roses series by Sarah J Maas – I’m gonna start this by saying ToG is always my first rec over ACOTAR, which I’ve fallen out of love with. But that aside, these series are crazy addictive. You know they aren’t great, but you JUST CAN’T STOP. As I read them I saw all the cracks in the writing style and plotting, but I didn’t care. I was too wrapped up in the characters and story and sometimes that’s just what we need from a book.

Epic world building, the likes of which have never been seen before: Any book by Brandon Sanderson – That man can build a damn world. The Way of Kings (book 1 of the Stormlight Archive) was the first epic high fantasy book I can remember reading and enjoying! Sanderson somehow made a 1000+ page book seem like a smooth, easy read. Don’t even get me started on his Mistborn series. Seriously, don’t I’ll talk about my deep love for those books for days. *whispers* go read Mistborn!

Cheesy, old school YA paranormal: All the books by L.J. Smith – Y’all, L.J. Smith is my JAM! I read these books as an actual teen at least 10+ times each. I just couldn’t stop myself. I wanted to keep revisiting these stories over and over. I’ve gone back and read them as an adult and they mostly stand up, though the style of YA was very different back in the 90s. I think in autumn of this year I’m going to do a massive reread because they are very autumn-ish books to me.

Audiobook: The Illuminae Files by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff, narrated by a full cast – One day I’ll finally get my full list of all the voice actors for this series and write a proper review for these audiobooks because they deserve all the recognition in the world. I’ve been a huge audiobook listener for the last 5+ years and a fan of Illuminae for the last year or so. You put those two together, and holy heck my mind was blown. I cannot begin to describe how amazing these audiobooks are. They add a whole extra layer of depth to this already unique book series. My plan is to listen to the audio and read the physical book at the same time for my next reread. Honestly, even though I just finished a reread a few month ago, I’m already wanting to jump back into the books.

What are some of your favorite books to recommend?

Friday Favorites posts from around the bookish community:

April Book Haul

Yes, hi, how is it the end of April already? As much as I am flabbergasted at the general velocity of time (not sure if that makes sense but I’m running with it), I am very excited about the last day of April because I got a promotion at work and tomorrow is the first paycheck with the new promotion pay! THINK OF ALL THE BOOKS I’LL BE ABLE TO BUY!

Wait, no! Don’t think of all the books. Because as we are about to find out…I acquired far too many books this month.

The Graphic Novels

So, I’m not much of a graphic novel reader. I think the last one I read was the Firefly graphic novel about Shepard Book’s past (SO GOOD to finally get that knowledge) and that was yearssssss ago. But this month I watched The Umbrella Academy on Netflix and I just had to get my hands on the source material. I also grabbed the Steel Prince bind up from VE Schwab because apparently, I cannot stop giving that author my money.

The ARCs
  • DEV1AT3 by Jay Kristoff – I’ve already read this eARC and hot damn I loved it! I’ll have a full review up one month before publication, but if you want to read a fast, little ramble-y review (no spoilers!) check out my Instagram feed.
  • Soul of the Sword by Julie Kagawa – I may have audibly gasped when I got the approval for this eARC. It will be one of the first books I read in May because I NEED TO KNOW WHAT HAPPENS!
  • The Bone Houses by Emily Lloyd-Jones – I actually just got the approval for this eARC this morning and I am DYING to read it! They invoked the name of Buffy in the synopsis, so I was sold on this one. I’m hoping to squeeze it into May somehow.
  • Beyond the Black Door by A. M. Strickland – This one I got a physical ARC of which makes me happy because it is so damn pretty I want to take pictures from like 99 different angles. Strickland co-wrote on of my favorite underrated sci fi novels, so I am very excited to jump into this one.
The purchases that prove I have no self-control…
  • A Question of Holmes by Brittany Cavallaro
  • A Gathering of Shadows Collector’s Edition by VE Schwab (see earlier comment about Schwab and my money)
  • An Ocean of Minutes by Thea Lim
  • Four Dead Queens by Astrid Scholte
  • The Pioneer by Bridget Tyler
  • The Psychology of Time Travel by Kate Mascarenhas
  • Here and Now and Then by Mike Chen
  • The Red Scrolls of Magic by Cassandra Clare
  • Wicked Saints by Emily Duncan
  • The Devouring Gray by Christine Lynn Herman
  • Jade City by Fonda Lee
  • Seven Blades in Black by Sam Sykes

I was also lucky enough to get some book through Storygram Tours:

  • The Tiger at Midnight by Swati Teerdhala
  • The Rule of Many by Ashley and Leslie Saunders
  • Venators: Magic Unleashed and Venators: Promises Forged by Devri Walls

And here is the big confession:

I re-bought the entire Twilight Series.

Some of my #bookstagram friends are doing a reread of the series and I just couldn’t say no. I sold my copies ages ago (*shakes fist at past Kibby*) so I had to grab some cheap copies through Thrift Books. Not gonna lie, I am excited to revisit these books! There will always be a soft spot in my heart for cheesy high school vampire romance stories.

So…twenty-six books. Yikes! That makes my ratio for the month 9 read books to 26 acquired books. These are NOT the numbers I was hoping for. I’m going to try and make a big push for reading in May, so maybe I’ll final have a month where I read more than I acquire. Hopefully.

How was your month on the book buying front?

Friday Favorites: TV/Movie Adaptations

Happy Friday, my dear bookish people! Today we celebrate the often maligned TV/Movie adaptations of books. Look, I get it, the book is USUALLY better than the movie/TV show (*cough*except Princess Bride*cough*). But that doesn’t mean that we can thoroughly love and enjoy the adaptations! Heck, sometimes adaptations are the only way we get closure on a story…which leads me to the first on the list…

A Song of Fire and Ice/Game of Thrones by George RR Martin – Ah, the adaptation that brings together coworkers, strangers on the street, readers, non-readers, and pretty much anyone who likes to watch TV shows were your favorites are always about to die. Somehow, a high fantasy book series became a widely accepted and beloved TV series that has basically taken over the world. I think my favorite thing about the show, besides all the pretty people, is how it gave me and my non-reader coworkers something to enjoy together. Knowing about the Red Wedding before all my non-reader coworkers was probably the best feeling in the world. Because I’m a terrible person.

The Martian by Andy Weir – This is one where I saw the movie first and then read the book. I LOVE the movie. Matt Damon is so damn good as the sarcastic Mark Watney. I’m definitely happy that I watched the movie first because the book does tend to get pretty deep into the science, which is rough for a non science-y person like me. Having all the stunning visuals from the movie helped get me through parts of the book that might have been boring to me without having seen the movie first. Side note: I 100% recommend the audiobook. The narrator is gold!

Lord of the Rings by JRR Tolkien – Look, I get it…the movies take a lot of liberties with the source material. But…I never would have read these books without the movies. I’m sorry, but it’s true. I didn’t have the idyllic childhood relationship with these books like some people did and even after the movies it still took until my mid-twenties until I could finish the books. But once I finally made it through them, I was in love. At the end of the day, the movies gave me one of my all time favorite lines because it speaks to me on a deep, personal level: What about second breakfast?

Emma by Jane Austen – I am not even going to lie here, my love of the movie and BBC miniseries adaptations of Emma comes straight down to Mr. Knightley. In my youth, I had such a teen girl crush on Jeremy Northam as Knightley. As much as I loathed Gwyneth Paltrow, I could not stop watching that movie. And then the BBC had to go and do their adaptation and cast Jonny Lee Miller as Knightley and I basically died of joy. Two other fantastic adaptations of classic books are the BBC miniseries of North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell (Hello Richard Armitage!) and 2005 Pride and Prejudice movie (Hello Kiera Knightley!).

The Princess Bride – Okay, I’m gonna say it: THE MOVIE WAS BETTER THAN THE BOOK! Sorry, but I loathe the book so deeply, that it makes me angry to look upon it. Now, this deep hatred may come from the fact that I am such an intense fan of the movie that nothing, not even the original source material, could live up to my ridiculous expectations. I’ll never know. What I do know, is I will never be able to fully subscribe to the idea that a book is always better then the movie/TV show.

What adaptations do you love?

Friday Favorites: Fictional Worlds

Happy Friday, my dear bookish people! We are here today to talk about our favorite fictional worlds. These can be worlds you’d drop everything to go live in because they are just *that wonderful* or worlds that straight up terrify you, but are still highly intriguing and well built. Or it can just be a world that is filled with smokin’ hot Fae, because sometimes that’s just what you need. So let’s go world hopping!

If you’ve done your own Friday Favorites post, be sure to drop the link in the comments so I can make a post link list!

The Shire (The Hobbit/Lord of the Rings) – This will ALWAYS be my first answer when someone asks about favorite fictional worlds. ALWAYS. I’m sure there are many nice places in Middle Earth, but The Shire will always have my heart. Though, I’ve recently read Fellowship of the Ring again, and Hobbits can be jerks a little bit. Those darn Sackville-Bagginses! But as long as I have the Green Dragon and a perfectly cozy hobbit hole to cook up my second breakfast in, I’ll be content.

Yousay (LIFEL1K3) – And here is an example of a world that I would definitely NOT survive, but damn is it interesting as heck. Jay Kristoff is becoming one of my favorite world builders. He somehow manages to create rich new worlds without bashing you over the head in the process of building it. Yousay is the USA after some shit went down. It seems very hot, very chaotic, and very interesting. There are half robot dogs FFS! I want a half robot corgi gosh darn it!!

Erilea (Throne of Glass) – I can’t help but love the world from Throne of Glass. It might not be as well built as others, but there is something magical about it that my mind constantly wanders back to.

The World of Scythe – Yes, hi, I need to live forever so I can read ALL THE BOOKS! In Scythe, our world has been stripped of mortality and damn is it interesting to see how Schusterman imagines what we’d be like. It is a little frightening. But I feel like it would be immensely fun to live hundreds of years. Think of all the exploring you could do, not just of the world, but of who you are as a person and what you enjoy doing.

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – You didn’t think I’d have a Favorite Fictional Worlds list without this did you?? The wizarding world sounds like an absolute blast, assuming you don’t run afoul of any of the murderous dark wizards. There is such awe and endless possibility in the wizarding world. Though, I could use with some less post book world building…

Cosmere (Mistborn/Stormlight Archives/others) – Brandon Sanderson can build one heck of a world. I can’t say I’d want to visit the world in Mistborn until the Era 2 book, but Roshar in Stormlight Archives has some really interesting sounding places. Putting aside the livability factor of Sanderson’s worlds, I really have to doff my hat to the man, because never in my life have I experienced world building as good as his. It seems so effortless, yet I can imagine there is quite a bit of work behind it all. And the way all the differently worlds tie in via the Cosmere kinda blows my mind. Literally, it blows right past my mind sometimes, but in a good way.

Friday Favorites Posts from the Bookish Community:

Aurora Rising: ARC Review

This ARC was provided to me by the publisher at my request. The following review reflects my unbiased opinion of the story and is no way influenced. Thank you to the publisher, Knopf Books for Young Readers.

FYI: This review is spoiler free.

Aurora Rising
Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
Release Date: May 7, 2019
Synopsis: The year is 2380, and the graduating cadets of Aurora Academy are being assigned their first missions. Star pupil Tyler Jones is ready to recruit the squad of his dreams, but his own boneheaded heroism sees him stuck with the dregs nobody else in the Academy would touch…

A cocky diplomat with a black belt in sarcasm
A sociopath scientist with a fondness for shooting her bunk mates
A smart-ass techwiz with the galaxy’s biggest chip on his shoulder
An alien warrior with anger management issues
A tomboy pilot who’s totally not into him, in case you were wondering

And Ty’s squad isn’t even his biggest problem—that’d be Aurora Jie-Lin O’Malley, the girl he’s just rescued from inter-dimensional space. Trapped in cryo-sleep for two centuries, Auri is a girl out of time and out of her depth. But she could be the catalyst that starts a war millions of years in the making, and Tyler’s squad of losers, discipline-cases and misfits might just be the last hope for the entire galaxy.

They’re not the heroes we deserve. They’re just the ones we could find. Nobody panic.

Rating: Kaufman and Kristoff have once again struck me deep in my Sci-Fi loving soul with their new high stakes space adventure featuring found families and healthy doses of snark.
Stars: 4.5

Aurora Rising is the newest YA Sci-Fi offering from my favorite killers of feelings, Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff. They have once again created an in depth SF world, given us a group of misfits to love, and then put them through many ghastly situations. It’s the kinda of emotional trauma we’ve come to know and love from these two.

While each character is unique, all were well fleshed out with the exception of Zila, which is a damn crime. The few, very brief POV chapters she had were perfection, but I wanted more of her straight-forward observations of the wild situations Squad 312 found themselves in. I almost feel like the authors didn’t know how to flesh her out and just left her characterization to be built through the other character’s POVs. I am certainly hoping for more Zila in the next book. That being said, all the other characters had their own voices and each were extremely lovable in their own right. Squad 312 will easily shoot their way into your heart.

The plot was well paced, and the slower bits were filled with intriguing back story or world building, so they never felt boring. I got some Firefly vibes, which I loved, but this story is entirely it’s own. If Kaufman and Kristoff know one thing, it’s how to write a gripping, hilarious, mysterious, and emotional space adventure.

Did I mention it has super hot space elves?

If you haven’t pre-ordered this book already, I highly urge you to do so. Don’t let your squad down. Pre-order links can be found at the publisher’s website.

Want Now Wednesday: Beyond the Black Door

I don’t even know what to put in this preamble. I just want this book so darn bad.

Beyond the Black Door
A. M. Strickland
Publisher: Imprint
Release Date: October 29, 2019
Synopsis: Everyone has a soul. Some are beautiful gardens, others are frightening dungeons. Soulwalkers―like Kamai and her mother―can journey into other people’s souls while they sleep.

But no matter where Kamai visits, she sees the black door. It follows her into every soul, and her mother has told her to never, ever open it.

When Kamai touches the door, it is warm and beating, like it has a pulse. When she puts her ear to it, she hears her own name whispered from the other side. And when tragedy strikes, Kamai does the unthinkable: she opens the door.

A.M. Strickland’s imaginative dark fantasy features court intrigue and romance, a main character coming to terms with her asexuality, and twists and turns as a seductive mystery unfolds that endangers not just Kamai’s own soul, but the entire kingdom …

Me, reading the synopsis.

This is one of those times when I am thankful for twitter because I stumbled upon this book randomly in my feed. And I damn near lost my mind. I loved Strickland’s book Shadow Call (which she wrote with Michael Miller. GO READ IT! It is criminally underrated!) and I was beyond stoked to see that she had a new book coming out.

The whole concept of this book sounds so intriguing. Soulwalkers, ominous black doors, COURT INTRIGUE, and a seductive mystery? All under the banner of dark fantasy? SIGN ME THE HECK UP!

October 29th can’t get here soon enough! Pre-order links can be found at the publisher’s website.

Top Ten Tuesday: Rainy Day Reads

Happy Tuesday, my dear bookish people! The topic of this week’s Top Ten Tuesday (hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl) is Rain Day Reads, which is perfect because as I write this we are having what is likely the last rainy evening of the season. Really, to me any book is a rainy day read, because there is nothing better than reading as the rain falls, but I’m gonna list books I can picture myself reading as a storm rages outside my window.

  • Dark Visions trilogy by LJ Smith
  • Mistborn Era Two books by Brandon Sanderson
  • North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell
  • City of Ghosts by Victoria Schwab
  • Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff
  • Outlander by Diana Gabaldon
  • The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
  • Storm Front by Jim Butcher
  • Shadow of the Fox by Julie Kagawa
  • Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco

I am so sad the rainy season is coming to an end.

Want Now Wednesday: Darkness on the Edge of Town

If I had to choose one thing I love about Stranger Things, besides the bitchin’ soundtrack, it’d be Chief Hopper. Nothing can shake my love of that character, so you can only imagine how much I want to have the following book in my eager little hands.

Darkness on the Edge of Town
Adam Christopher
Publisher: Del Rey
Release Date: May 28, 2019
Synopsis: Chief Jim Hopper reveals long-awaited secrets to Eleven about his old life as a police detective in New York City, confronting his past before the events of the hit show Stranger Things.

Christmas, Hawkins, 1984. All Chief Jim Hopper wants is to enjoy a quiet first Christmas with Eleven, but his adopted daughter has other plans. Over Hopper’s protests, she pulls a cardboard box marked “New York” out of the basement—and the tough questions begin. Why did Hopper leave Hawkins all those years ago? What does “Vietnam” mean? And why has he never talked about New York?

Although he’d rather face a horde of demogorgons than talk about his own past, Hopper knows that he can’t deny the truth any longer. And so begins the story of the incident in New York—the last big case before everything changed. . . .

Summer, New York City, 1977. Hopper is starting over after returning home from Vietnam. A young daughter, a caring wife, and a new beat as an NYPD detective make it easy to slip back into life as a civilian. But after shadowy federal agents suddenly show up and seize the files about a series of brutal, unsolved murders, Hopper takes matters into his own hands, risking everything to discover the truth.

Soon Hopper is undercover among New York’s notorious street gangs. But just as he’s about to crack the case, a blackout rolls across the boroughs, plunging Hopper into a darkness deeper than any he’s faced before.

Accurate reenactment of me finding out there was going to be a Hopper-centric book.

I’m not sure I can properly express my excitement over this book. Not only is the story about Hopper, it’s about the MYSTERIES OF HOPPER’S PAST! I love character mysteries but I’m also impatient about finding answers and I NEED THIS BOOK!

From the moment I first watched Season 1 of Stranger Things back in December of 2016, I have been obsessed. I love damn near everything about the show (*side eyes Nancy*) and when I found out there would be books expanding on the world I was ecstatic. I cannot wait to dive into this book in May!

Pre-order links can be found at the publisher’s website.