Category: Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Books that Take me Somewhere

Posted January 24, 2012 by Jana in Top Ten Tuesday / 15 Comments

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Hey guys! I love traveling. LOVE it. And it’s during months like these that I get the travel bug. January is tough. It’s cold, we’ve got holiday hangovers, and the days are short and dark. It makes me want to go somewhere fun! So for this week’s freebie TTT, I’ve chosen to tell you about my favorite books set in places I’d love to escape to right now (or books with travelers I envy).

By Love or By Sea by Rachel Rager
This book takes place in a quaint little seaside town. It’s a very sweet, clean romance that I just loved. I want to visit this place.

Kiss and Tell by Suzanne Brockman
Here, we get to visit this adorable town in Florida called Sunrise Key. Picture flower boxes, white and blue-striped awnings, and picket fences. Everyone knows everyone. I want to find a bed and breakfast and live there for a little while!

Royal Target by Traci Hunter Ambramson
The heroine is a CIA agent, who goes to Venezuela on assignment and meets Prince Garrett. They hit it off, and her mission is terminated as she receives new orders to go to Meridia (a city on the coast of Italy) to pretend to be his fiancee as part of their security plan. Meridia sounds amazing, and Venezuela would be a wonderful place to visit as well!

My Heart Stood Still by Lynn Kurland 
Here, we get to go to an old castle in on the English moors. An American man falls in love with a Scottish woman from the past. It’s a gorgeous story, and the scenery sounds amazing.

From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E.L. Konigsburg
The bulk of this takes place in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. PLEASE let me go! I love the Met, and I could definitely use a trip there right now.

Me and Mr. Darcy by Alexandra Potter
The characters in this story go on the Jane Austen tour of England! I’d love to go on that trip.

The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown
A “race through the cathedrals and castles of Europe”. I’ll take it!

Carrie Goes off the Map by Phillippa Ashley
The heroine goes on a road trip through the English countryside with a really sexy guy… I want to do that!

Caribbean Cruising by Rachel Hawthorne
Now, I didn’t like this book very much, but it takes place on cruise ships and there’s nothing I love more than reading on the sun-drenched deck of a ship floating around the Caribbean!

Sailing to Capri by Elizabeth Adler
This takes place on a yacht set for Capri, Italy! Can you tell I love water and Europe?

So! Which books have you read that involve traveling, or just awesome places? And be sure to link me to your Top Ten Tuesday posts! I want to see what you came up with. :) Thanks for stopping by!


Top 10 Books I’d Recommend to if You Don’t Like Contemporary

Posted January 17, 2012 by Jana in Top Ten Tuesday / 14 Comments

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So, I love this week’s theme over at the Broke and the Bookish, because we were instructed to recommend books to someone who does not read _________. Meaning, all the lists this week are going to be different and will cater to many different kinds of readers. It’s so exciting, and I know I will love hopping around to everyone’s blogs!

I used to be one of those people who did not like contemporary novels. I always figured that if I treated reading as an escape, why should I read books that keep me right in the here and now? I should read to travel to a different time, not to hang out here in the world I’m trying to get away from! I’ve change my mind, though, and now I love them! So, it’s kind of like I’m recommending books to my past self. If I’m leaving anything out, let me know! I’m still a new lover of contemporary, so I don’t know all the good stuff yet!

Adult Contemporary Fiction:

Austenland by Shannon Hale
This was the first book I ever read that was completely contemporary. There’s a little romance, and the characters hearken back to regency times… but the whole thing takes place right now. It was a good way to slowly ease into contemporary, because it combined inklings of a genre I’ve always loved: historical fiction/romance.
(Read my review of Austenland.)

Carrie Goes Off The Map by Phillipa Ashley
I LOVED this book. The heroine is strong and independent. She’s been hurt by her now ex-fiance, and wants an escape from her normal life. So she grabs a friend-of-a-friend that she barely knows, and they go on a road trip around England, exploring the scenery, meeting new people, and getting to know each other. It’s a contemporary romance that allowed me the escape I always crave in a book.
(Read my review of Carrie.)

The Guardian by Nicholas Sparks
Nicholas knows how to create such strong, beautiful romances that you forget you’re reading about people just like you. Romances that strong have GOT to be otherworldly, but this book takes place right here, right now. It’s also probably the only book by him that won’t have you crying a TON. I cried a little during this one, but not much. It’s also got some suspense thrown in, which is fabulous.

Nocturne by Syrie James
This book has a vampire element to it, but the rest of the story is so realistic and so “right now” that you’re convinced vampires exist! The scenery is awesome. I love tying a bit of paranormal stuff!
(Enter my giveaway of this book right here!)

Pretty much anything by Mary Higgins Clark
Mary Higgins Clark writes the best, most exciting mysteries ever. They are amazing! She’s an auto-buy for me. I don’t even have to read the summary. I think all of them are contemporary, and I love, love, love the ride she takes her readers on.

Young Adult Contemporary Fiction:

Let It Snow by John Green, Maureen Johnson, and Lauren Myracle
This book is totally Christmasy, but you can read it anytime during the year. It’s composed of three short stories that are all connected. It’s full of blizzards and romance, and it’s one of my favorites!
(Read my review of Let it Snow.)

Anna and the French Kiss and Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins
Anna was my first YA contemporary, and I have been sold ever since. This is definitely the best book to start with if you’re interested in YA contemporary. I’ve been ripping bookstores apart ever since, hoping to find another novel like this one.

Dash & Lily’s Book of Dares by David Levithan and Rachel Cohn
This book is very light and fun, with a unique storyline. It’s magical, which had me completely sold. Plus, it takes place in NYC, which is definitely the best place in the USA, in my opinion.
(Read my review of Dash and Lily.)

The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith
I’m cheating here because I haven’t read this yet (but I have been anticipating this for months)! All my friends love it, though, so I know I will. And seriously, who wouldn’t want to fall in love in an airport??

My Ridiculous, Romantic Obsessions by Becca Wilhite
This book is adorable, and all about this college freshman who is a romance novel junkie, and compares her own life to a novel. But then, when love comes her way she flips out and has no idea how to be anything less than awkward. I died of laughter so many times.


Top Ten Authors I Wish Would Write Another Book

Posted January 10, 2012 by Jana in Top Ten Tuesday / 16 Comments

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This is a tricky one, because so many authors I love have their next book in the works already! I had to work really hard to think of authors and their upcoming books. If any of you know something I don’t about my following 10 picks, let me know so I can be excited!! I love hearing good bookish news!

Stephenie Meyer
know… I know… but seriously! She said she wanted to turn The Host into a trilogy (even gave us the next two titles), but we’ve heard nothing of any plans in years! Just because she’s been moved to the big screen, it doesn’t give her a license to not finish the story!

Lisa Mangum
She wrote a trilogy called The Hourglass Door that I loved more than the Twilight Saga. I LOVED IT. Her writing is amazing, and her characters are so strong. I wish she’d start something else.

Syrie James
I have so many wishes when it comes to Syrie’s books! I loved Nocturne. I want a sequel. And I loved Dracula My Love… I want more diaries/memoirs from people! Like Christine from Phantom of the Opera… I think a memoir/diary from her would be amazing! And I loved Forbidden, but a follow-up/sequel has not been announced. I need more stories!

Sara J. Henry
I loved Learning to Swim! This book is amazing, and a sequel could totally happen. Or just a new storyline completely. Great author, lesser known.

Lee Carroll
This is a husband/wife (Carol Goodman) team, and they wrote Black Swan Rising and The Watchtower. AMAZING. Their combination of his poetry and her mystery-writing skills. Oh man.

Stephanie Perkins
Yes, Isla is coming. I know! But we don’t know what’s happening after that! Stephanie Perkins must write more! She’s not allowed to stop until one of us dies.

Maggie Stiefvater
So… her stand-alone The Scorpio Races is out. What next?? I need more of her writing. It’s lovely, and boy can she tell a story! I don’t care what she does, but it has to be something.

Suzanne Collins
Ok, please just do something! You can’t quit with The Hunger Games! Suzanne introduced me to dystopia, and I will always love hers the best.

Becca Wilhite
Her ability to make me laugh in My Ridiculous, Romantic Obsessions was so refreshing. That book is definitely one of my favorites. It’s such a cute YA contemporary, and I want another just like it.

Alex Flinn
It’s been a while, and I haven’t heard of any new novels! I love her fairytale retellings.


Top Ten Favorite Books I Read in 2011

Posted December 27, 2011 by Jana in Top Ten Tuesday / 5 Comments

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This was a majorly amazing year of reading for me! My goal may seem small to many of you, but I read more books this year than I have in years past (if you don’t count textbooks!). I read a lot of really great books this year, and picking 10 might be tricky for me! These are actually listed in the order I read them this year.

Nocturne, by Syrie James
LOVED this book. It’s all about a man and a woman who find themselves trapped in his remote home during a majorly huge snowstorm. He’s a vampire, and she’s freaking out. And then… the romance happens. Loved it, and Syrie’s writing is gorgeous.
Read my review and author interview here. (Over at The Broke and the Bookish)

Firelight, by Sophie Jordan
I really liked the new paranormal subject matter of this book: Dragons. A dragon falls in love with a dragon slayer, and all hell breaks loose. Now that Vanish, book #2, is out you don’t even have to fret about the cliffhanger at the end!
Read my review here. (Over at The Broke and the Bookish)

Delirium, by Lauren Oliver
Do I even need to explain myself here? Love is marked as a deadly disease, but who on Earth can avoid falling in love? Especially if you’re told not to… Pandemonium can’t come soon enough!

Illusions, by Aprilynne Pike
Oh, I do love fairies… This is book 3 of the 4-part series, but I actually loved it the most (so far)! It was magical, romantic, adventurous, and I got through it in 24 hours!That’s a sign of a good book for me. I never have enough time to read that much!
Read my review here. (Over at The Broke and the Bookish)

(Wow… I just realized I love books with one word in the title…)

The Forgotten Locket, by Lisa Mangum
This was the end of a trilogy that I pretty much love. It’s not very well known in the blogosphere, but I adore it. Basically, the Hourglass Door is a door that Da Vinci designed to travel through time. It can also take you to “the river” which is where you can actually see time and change it. Dante, the main guy… was Da Vinci’s apprentice, and came through the door 500 years later in the present day (as punishment for being framed as a traitor to his country, Italy) and falls in love. But the wrong people get a hold of this door, and come forward to cause major problems that Dante and his love interest, Abby, need to fix. All three books talk about this door, and their quest to save time before the world is destroyed. It’s very exciting. Lisa Mangum’s writing style is beautiful. I found myself re-reading passages because they were incredibly captivating. She described everything in such intricate detail and left me feeling like I was actually there.

Anna and the French Kiss, by Stephanie Perkins
Definitely my favorite read of the year, and one of my favorite books ever. This book got me hooked on contemporary romance, and now I just can’t get enough of it! Stephanie Perkins is my hero.

Learning to Swim, by Sara J. Henry
This book totally surprised me. I ended up really loving it. It was suspenseful, mysterious, exciting, and heartwarming. This woman is on a ferry headed home, when she sees a bundle thrown off the back of a passing ferry. For some reason, she is convinced the bundle is a child, and dives into the freezing water to save him. He’s only 6 years old, and he only speaks French. The story follows this woman as she takes the boy in, tries to find out who he is, grows really attached to him, and has some run-ins with the scary peeps who tried to kill him. It’s very exciting, and I could not put it down.
Read my review here. (At The Broke and the Bookish)

Lola and the Boy Next Door, by Stephanie Perkins
Again, Stephanie is my hero. Loved this book so much for the same reasons I loved Anna.

Carrie Goes Off The Map, by Philippa Ashley
This book was lovely for several uncommon reasons: 1. The characters are my age! I’m so used to reading about tweens, teenagers, and middle-aged adults. I rarely read about characters who are mid-to-late twenties. It was refreshing. 2. This is an amazing book to help you feel better after a nasty break-up. I wish I’d had this book a few years ago when I went through one of those. 3. Traveling!!!!! I love books where people travel, and what’s better than driving through England in a camper van named Dolly? Carrie’s road trip happens as a result of needing time to get over her cheating fiance. She brings along a guy she barely knows, but who also needs some time away. I’m sure you guessed that sparks fly!
Read my review here.

Let It Snow: Three Holiday Romances, by John Green, Maureen Johnson, and Lauren Myracle
I love the three intertwined Christmas romances in this book. Maureen and John write amazingly perfect and hysterical stories. Lauren’s disappointed me, but not enough to make me love this book any less. It’s pure magic.
Read my review here.


Top Ten Childhood Faves

Posted December 6, 2011 by Jana in Top Ten Tuesday / 11 Comments

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This topic is a little tricky for me! When I was a younger, I pretty much hated reading. I went to a school that made reading really, really suck. They’d give us a reading schedule and packets and packets of in-depth questions to answer as we went. And then they tested us, and made us write essays. I could not just read for enjoyment. I had to memorize the questions and then look for the answers as I read. It was awful. I loved reading as a very young girl, but once I got into grades 4-6ish, I quit unless I was required to read for a grade. It was not until my early college years that I re-discovered my love of reading. And you’re going to laugh when you find out how! I was in a color theory class, and we were assigned to bring in products that utilized color, making them more appealing to the average passerby. A guy brought in Twilight, by Stephenie Meyer. He said his wife was obsessed with this new book series about vampires. Then he went on to talk about how the cover is a very effective use of color and symbolism. When I ran across that cover again, I decided to try it. A new reader was born!

Anyway, a lot of my childhood faves are picture books, mixed in with a few middle-grade/young adult that I either enjoyed in school, or stumbled across in my school’s library while looking for books to do reports on or to supplement research papers. It’s kind of funny that I ended up as a book reviewer, because now I essentially read and analyze books… and write an “essay” on it. It’s my choice, though, so I guess that makes it ok! So, here we go!

Henry the Duck series, by Robert Quackenbush
This series features 4-6 books about a duck named Henry who is always getting himself into trouble. He floods his house, or takes on too many babysitting jobs. It’s pretty hilarious, and the pictures are adorable. I recently bought used copies of all of them so I would have my own set when I have children of my own. My mom would kill me if I took the copies I read. She’s saving them for her grandkids!

Sherlock Chick series, by Robert Quackenbush
This series was written by the same guy as Henry the Duck. These books are all about a little chick who dresses like Sherlock Holmes and solves random mysteries, like what’s making the sound in the barn… or where the gargantuan Easter egg went. Again, very cute. I bought these as well.

The Borrowers, by Mary Norton
I read this in school, and really enjoyed reading about a small family that lives in a really big home, all the while hiding from the owners and stealing their food and odds and ends around the house. I always envisioned having my own tiny family living in my house. I looked for them often, and I’m pretty sure I found evidence that the were there!

From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, by E.L. Konigsburg
Any book that allows children to live in the Metropolitan Museum of Art is my kind of book. I love that museum, and can totally see why it would be a fun place to live.

Hatchet, by Gary Paulsen
I saw this book as being so incredibly adventurous. I’d never heard of a plane crash survivor living on his own on a deserted island before, and thought it was so cool! The idea is no longer groundbreaking, as plenty other novelists and tv show/movie producers have worn it out. I loved reading about the adventures, and how this boy was able to survive for so long.

Full House Stephanie series and Full House Michelle series by a whole bunch of different people
I loved Full House as a child, so when my mom gave me some of these books in desperate hope to re-kindle my love of reading, I obliged. I rembeber feeling so accomplished after finishing one of them! Haha.

The Hound of the Baskervilles, by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
This book scared the crap out of me, and I found it really hard to understand. However, the mystery and creepiness of the story really drew me in. This is the book that made me decide I love mysteries.

Nancy Drew series, by Carolyn Keene
After discovering I loved mysteries, Nancy Drew was the next logical step. I loved this series.

Catherine and the Pirate, by Karen Hawkins (And all of the other books in this series.)
I loved this book so much! I found it in my school’s library (yes, my school library had romance novels!?!?!). It’s a very tame middle-grade romance on the high seas. It was the very first pirate romance I ever read, and I’ve been addicted ever since. This book is one of an entire line of young adult romance, and all of them are now out of print. Luckily I bought all of them before they were discontinued!

I think I’m going to have to stop with 9! I’m so sad that I missed out on so many years of reading as a child, but I got to read a lot of fun middle-grade books with some of my reading students. It all evens out in the end, and it’s never too late to catch up! :) What were some of your childhood favorites? What did I miss?


Top Ten Books On My TBR List For Winter

Posted November 29, 2011 by Jana in Top Ten Tuesday / 26 Comments

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Dash & Lily’s Book of Dares, by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan
I love Christmas and NYC, so this is definitely a must-read for the holidays!

The Twelve Days of Christmas, by Trisha Ashley
This is a cute-sounding Christmas romance that takes place in a remote town on the Lancashire moors in England. The heroine does not like Christmas much, and jumps on house sitting to get away. While she’s there, the town gets snowed in and she meets a guy (obviously!). I bet love is involved. I love Christmas books!

Fairytale of New York, by Miranda Dickinson
This is part of my fall/winter reading challenge with the Goodreads college students group. The cover is snowy and cute, and I can only assume the story will be the same! And I seriously love NYC (had I mentioned that before?) :P

Let It Snow: Three Holiday Romances, by John Green, Maureen Johnson, & Lauren Myracle
Do I need to explain this? Three stories written by three great YA authors? I’m so there. I tried to read this last Christmas, and got really busy… and then Christmas was over, and I refuse to read Christmas books after December 25th.

The Snow Bride, by Debbie Macomber
During the holidays, I need some corny in my life (name the movie that inspired this quote!), and Debbie Macomber always delivers some of that. :) This one sounds pretty good, though! Internet dating… an Alaskan Christmas to go randomly marry him… BUT on the flight over, she meets another guy who does not approve of her insane idea to marry this guy. So… he changes her plans for her and takes her to his own cabin. And again, a blizzard happens. And again, love probably does too. Haha. What is it with blizzards and love stories? Maybe I need to find some hunky man in a Colorado ski lodge and pray for a lot of snow.

The Unlikely Romance of Kate Bjorkman, by Louise Plummer
A reader from another blog I write for, The Broke and the Bookish, recommended this book to me. I read the description on the back cover, and ordered it. It sounds funny, cute, and like a great pick-me-up for a cold, wintry day!

Crossed (Matched #2), by Ally Condie
I’ve asked for this for Christmas, and it has been so hard waiting so long to find out what happens next (after Matched).

Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austen
This is also part of my Goodreads winter challenge, and I am completely determined. I love P&P fan fiction, but have not read P&P! I know I will appreciate all of it more once I read this. Plus, I have the sexy Barnes and Noble leather bound classic. It’s so pretty!

Pure, by Julianna Baggott
I got an ARC for this from netgalley, and am pretty excited about it. It’s a dystopia that sounds pretty good! Look out for my review here sometime in January!

Cinder, by Marissa Meyer
I also got this from netgalley. A cyborg Cinderella? It’s a brave storyline, and I’m hoping I’ll enjoy it! It comes out on January 3rd, so my review will be posted here around that time.

And of course… Pandemonium, by Lauren Oliver and Fever, by Lauren DeStefano. SO excited for both of those!

So, what are you must-reads for the winter season? I’m always on the lookout for cozy reads. This is seriously the best time of year to always be found with your nose in a book. :)


Top Ten Unread Books on My Bookshelf

Posted November 15, 2011 by Jana in Top Ten Tuesday / 14 Comments

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This week was actually my week to post at The Broke and The Bookish, but I wanted to post here too! I can’t miss my very first Tuesday as a solo blog owner, now can I?

If only I had more hours in the day. If only I had more money in my bank account. If only my only responsibility was to read books. Those three little things would make my to-read list much less ominous and overwhelming. Do you ever sit in front of your collection of books and want to read so many of them all at once that you just give up and do something else? I do. Or… I’ll look at all my books and decide I’m not feeling any of them, and hop on Amazon to buy something new! The following is a list of books I’ve been wanting to read for so long, but other books (or life) has continually gotten in the way.

Juliet: A Novel by Anne Fortier
A great friend of mine on Goodreads posted her love of this book over a year ago. I’d had my eye on it for a while, but it was really expensive so I decided to wait for a few months until I found it cheaper. She loved it so much that she sent it to me! I was ecstatic! Why have I not read it yet? This is the story of modern-day ancestors of Romeo and Juliet, who believe they are victims of a curse that has plagued the families for 600 years, ever since Romeo and Juliet were not allowed to be together. Conspiracy… romance… Romeo and Juliet. I should have read this forever ago.

North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell
Two words. Richard Armitage. I’ve been wanting to read this ever since I saw BBC’s mini-series. I’ve heard the book is just as amazing as the show. I wonder if Elizabeth’s Thornton will live up to sexy Richard.

Heat Wave (Nikki Heat #1) by Richard Castle
I absolutely LOVE the TV show Castle. It’s one of my favorites, and I own all of the seasons so far. The main guy in the show, Richard Castle, is a writer who assists the NYPD with their cases so he can gather information for his latest crime fighter book series. This book was written by someone the studio hired to write under the pen name of Richard Castle. Every season, a new book is released. I love that the books he spends the different seasons writing can be purchased! It makes the show seem more real to me. I can only assume this is as wonderful as the show, and book 3 was just released! I have to get moving on this!

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
Ok, shoot me. I know, I know. I claim that Austenland is one of my favorite books, yet I have never read the INSPIRATION for it. I even bought the sexy Barnes and Noble leatherbound classic! I feel like I have sinned for not reading this yet.

Beauty: A Retelling of the Story of Beauty and the Beast by Robin McKinley
Magical. I love Beauty and the Beast retellings, and I feel bad that I read Alex Flinn’s (Beastly) first. This has been collecting dust on my shelf for years, and I don’t know why.

Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier
Gah. Not only does this book sound amazing, and have a reputation of being pure awesomeness, but it’s a historical romance/mystery! MY FAVORITE.

Magic Study by Maria V. Snyder
Ok, I read Poison Study forever ago and I swear I have forgotten the entire thing. I don’t even know the main girl’s name now. I should have read this sooner, because now I’m going to be really confused. This might never get read.

The Secret History of the Pink Carnation by Lauren Willig
I’ve been hearing great things about this series for years now. Again, historical romance/mystery. MY FAVORITE!

Dash & Lily’s Book of Dares by David Levithan
Christmas and New York are my two favorite things. If you put them together, I’m basking in celestial glory. Why have I NOT read this romance that takes place in NYC at Christmastime? Ugh!

The Phantom of the Opera by Gaston Leroux
Other than the Beach Boys, this story provided some of the most beloved music of my childhood. I remember dancing to this in my living room as a wee thing. Why have I not read the book that inspired Andrew Lloyd Webber to be a genius and create one of the best soundtracks I’ve ever tuned my ears to? I love this show!

So, what books are really desirable to you, yet you haven’t picked them up yet? Do they intimidate you? Do you have too many other book-reading commitments that you have no time to read what you really, really want to read? Are they out of print, so you’re attempting to find a used copy in some second-hand store? Let me know what your choices would be! I love reading other peoples’ lists. It’s so much fun to discover new books to read!

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