Month: February 2019

Top Ten Books I LOVED with Fewer than 2,000 Ratings on Goodreads

Posted February 18, 2019 by Jana in Top Ten Tuesday / 24 Comments

This week’s topic shows some love to the books that aren’t getting much. What books have you read and loved, but there’s not many ratings or reviews on Goodreads (or any other book pushing/retailer sites)? I’m hoping we all find some great hidden gems for our own TBRs this week!

Love, Lucy by April Lindner (1,678 ratings)
This book is AMAZING, you guys! It takes place in Florence, Italy and is the sweetest romance and coming of age story. It’s also a retelling of A Room With a View, which is very cool.

Just Like the Movies by Kelly Fiore Stultz (1,232 ratings)
A very sweet romance with tons of references to well-loved romantic movies, a beautiful friendship, swoony boys, girl power, and an important message to readers young and old.

Wish You Were Italian by Kristin Rae (1,791 ratings)
OH MY GOODNESS. When I discovered that this book had so few ratings my jaw dropped. It’s a wonderful book. Seriously, this book will fly you to Italy and deposit you right into the middle of the best parts of it. My very favorite part was Italy, but the romance and the gelato and the wonderfulness of growing up and discovering your independence and your identity solidified my love.

Captivate by Vanessa Garden (1,432 ratings)
The world in this one is gorgeous and colorful and sparkling and so unique! Humans live on the ocean floor in a huge city that has rivers and gondolas and a modern colosseum where people go to watch criminals get thrown to the sharks in a big aquarium-like tank. The ocean is their sky. Their world is lit and warmed by light crystals that sparkle, and oxygen is brought down to them through air shafts. There’s a garden and a park with real grass. I could go on and on. I’m in love with this place, and the writing is beautiful.

Starry Nights by Daisy Whitney (717 ratings)
The premise of Starry Nights is SO unique. I’ve always wanted to read a book with such a huge emphasis on art history. The fact that it’s about a boy who falls in love with a girl in a Renoir painting, and dances and eats dessert with her on the museum floor each night made me love it so much. And there are some twists which make it pretty exciting. Who is she? Why does she come to life at night? Why is Julien the only one who can see her? Yeah, these questions are answered in a blend of excitement, suspense, and the love of art.

Touching the Surface by Kimberly Sabatini (1,405 ratings)
This book will think about your own life, and you will most likely end up making some goals for yourself as you move forward. I was touched by so many of the passages, and related to the emotions that were discussed.

Pizza, Love, and Other Stuff That Made Me Famous by Kathryn Williams (1,245 ratings)
An amazing cast of characters and a unique story that takes place during a reality TV cooking show for teens. It’s like reading an episode of Iron Chef, and made me SO HUNGRY.

Snowed Over by Angie Stanton (1,298 ratings)
A fun NA Christmas novella about two people carpooling home for Christmas and getting stranded in a blizzard. SOOO SWOONY.

Degrees of Wrong by Anna Scarlett (432 ratings)
Anna Scarlett is Anna Banks’s pen name! You know Anna. She wrote Of Poseidon, Nemesis, Joyride, etc. This is her adult sci-fi and it’s AMAZING. A doctor on a mission to find the cure for a deadly virus… and terrorists hoping to kill her before she gets the chance? YES. High-tech equipment, underwater battleships, transport pods, giant squids… YES. The heroine and I would be BFFs until I tried to steal her man. Nicoli is this strong military-type with a hardened exterior and a mushy center reserved for those he cares about.

By Love or By Sea by Rachel Rager/Harlin (137 ratings)
I have only three things to say. 1. The writing was beautifully done. 2. I want a Caleb Newman of my very own. 3. This was seriously one of the most adorable, clean romances I’ve ever read! And look at that cover.

What books do you love that deserve more attention?
Will you be adding any of my picks to your TBR?


Ten of My Very Favorite Couples In Books

Posted February 11, 2019 by Jana in Top Ten Tuesday / 29 Comments

In honor of Valentine’s Day in a few days, I thought this would be a fun topic to write up this week! In order for me to enjoy a book there has to be at least a LITTLE romance in the story. This is by no means my actual top ten list of favorite couples because writing one of those would be impossible. I’ve randomly chosen from my very very favorites. Life totally got away from me, so I’m just listing them and not really going into much detail as to why I love them. I think that’s best anyway!

1. Zorie and Lennon from Starry Eyes by Jenn Bennett (enemies to lovers)
2. Emmy and Beckett from I Temporarily Do by Ellie Cahill (fauxmance to romance)
3. Hazel and Josh from Josh & Hazel’s Guide to Not Dating by Christina Lauren (college acquaintances to lovers)
4. Millie and Reid from My Favorite Half-Night Stand by Christina Lauren (best friends to lovers)
5. Bella and Edward from Twilight by Stephenie Meyer (serial killer and food to lovers)
6. Audrey Rose Wadsworth and Thomas Cresswell from Hunting Prince Dracula by Kerri Maniscalco (colleagues to lovers)
7. Lucy Hutton and Joshua Templeman from The Hating Game by Sally Thorne (enemies to lovers)
8. Anna and Étienne from Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins (classmates to lovers)
9. Feyre and Rhysand from A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas (enemies to lovers)
10. Cress and Captain Thorne from Cress by Marissa Meyer (Cress’s star-crossed crush turned lovers)

Which bookish couples are your favorites?

 


Five Upcoming Books I Need Help Deciding On

Posted February 4, 2019 by Jana in Top Ten Tuesday / 23 Comments

So… sometimes I come up with topics and then realize they’re hard. lol. That happened this week, hence the 5 picks instead of my usual 10! This week’s topic is about the upcoming releases that I’m not sure if I actually want to read or not. I’ve received them for review and I’m just not sure if they’re my kind of book or not. Am I wrong? Do they sound good? Have you heard good things about them? Has anyone read an early copy and can tell me if they’re good? I need help deciding on them!

The Bride Test by Helen HoangI did not like The Kiss Quotient. Like, not at all. This one sounds like it could be good, but I worry that I’m going to feel like I did with Hoang’s other book.

Fix Her Up by Tessa Bailey – From what I can tell, this author writes mostly erotica (which I don’t read). Have a been fooled by the cutesey cover? It sounds like so much fun, but erotica is not my thing at all.

One Summer In Paris by Sarah Morgan – I love Sarah Morgan, but really do not like women’s fiction at ALL. I need my romance and my swoons. I don’t enjoy family/personal drama with no romance. This one’s hard.

The Lost History of Dreams by Kris Waldherr – I love Gothic fiction, and this one sounds amazing. I’m worried, though, that it’ll be too creepy for me! There’s a fine line between eerie and so-scary-I-might-die for me.

Woman 99 by Greer Macallister – I’m starting to really enjoy historical mysteries, and this one sounds interesting. Asylum type books tend to upset me, though, so I don’t know…

What books are on your radar, but you’re just not sure you’re interested in them yet?
What books are getting a lot of pre-pub hype, but you’re still iffy about?
Can you help me make a decision on any of my picks?

 


Interview with Maureen Doyle McQuerry | Between Before & After Tour (+ Giveaway)

Posted February 4, 2019 by Jana in Author Interview, Blog Tour, Giveaway / 2 Comments

Interview with Maureen Doyle McQuerry | Between Before & After Tour (+ Giveaway)

Welcome to The FFBC’s blog tour of Maureen Doyle McQuerry’s Between Before & After! As one of the co-owners of The Fantastic Flying Book Club, I had the privilege of organizing this blog tour and interviewing Maureen!


Interview with Maureen Doyle McQuerry

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

1. Your website says, “Writers are like crows. They collect shiny objects that capture their attention and hide them away.” What little treasures have you found to add to your collection over the years?
I keep an idea folder on my computer and a notebook in my pocket. Some of the shiny things that end up there are what I call scraps: scraps of conversations, a line that pops into my head, a cool setting or idea. For example, I read about the real Mr. Walker’s library before I wrote The Peculiars. It was so amazing I cut out pictures of it and tucked them away. It became the seed for Mr.Beasely’s library.

2. What’s been the most thought-provoking question you’d been asked as a presenter at a writer’s conference?
How you know what your characters want.

3. Which books or authors do you look to for inspiration?
Here’s a very random list: Joan Didion, Neil Gaiman, Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, Mary Oliver, T.S.Elliot, James Agee, Emily St John Mandell’s Station Eleven, Pete Hamill, Denise Levertov, Kate DiCamillo, Madeline L’Engle

4. What are you reading right now?
Transcription by Kate Atkinson, just finished The Changling and will soon start The Gilded Wolves.

5. What are you up to when you’re not writing?
Visiting with friends, hiking, traveling, playing with my grandson, visiting with students and talking about writing and life.

ABOUT THE BOOK

1. You’ve said that there’s a library in every one of your books. Is there one in this book? Tell us about it!
Yes! The 1955 San Jose public library is where Molly and her friend, Ari, go to research old New York. Molly’s looking for information about Woodward School and discovers it was a home for delinquent girls. In 1955, the San Jose library was housed in the old Post Office building that was built in 1892. It’s built from sandstone blocks and with its round turret and clock tower, it looks like a fancy sandcastle. The building is now the San Jose Museum of Art.

There was another library in a deleted scene. The Santa Clara Valley bookmobile! When I was little a pink bookmobile came to our neighborhood twice a month. I had a scene where Molly and brother visit their neighborhood bookmobile, but it slowed down the story and I cut the scene, even though I hated to lose the bookmobile!

2. What’s your favorite quote from the book?
I had to pick two:
“Every story should leave a little room for miracles.”
“The words came out small and feeble, a new born revelation finding its legs.”

3. It is mentioned that a retelling of Hansel and Gretel can be found in this book. What inspired you to retell this story?
The Hansel and Gretel fairy tale is the archetypal story of abandoned children who against all odds survive the darkest forest and eventually find home. It’s a story of resiliency and redemption.

4. If you wrote yourself into this book, what kind of character would you be?
I’d like to be a friend for Elaine when she had none. Someone she could talk to and laugh with because for many years her life had very little joy.

5. What message do you hope readers take away from this book?
That wonder is possible. That you can’t know the ending of the story just because you know the beginning, and that you can’t know how people will change either. I want readers to know that they can survive the darkest part of the woods and still find home.


Between Before & After by Maureen Doyle McQuerry
Published by BLINK on February 5, 2019
Genres: Young Adult — Historical, Mystery
Add to Goodreads • Amazon • B&N • Book Depository

“The carnage began with the roses. She hacked at their ruffled blooms until they dropped into monstrous drifts of red on the parched yellow lawn … Only two things kept my mother grounded to us: my uncle Stephen and stories.”

Fourteen-year-old Molly worries about school, friends, and her parents’ failed marriage, but mostly about her mother’s growing depression. Molly knows her mother is nursing a carefully-kept secret. A writer with an obsession for other people’s life stories, Elaine Donnelly is the poster child of repressed emotions.

Molly spends her California summer alternately watching out for her little brother Angus and tip-toeing around her mother’s raw feelings. Molly needs her mother more than ever, but Elaine shuts herself off from real human connections and buries herself in the lives and deaths of the strangers she writes about. When Uncle Stephen is pressed into the limelight because of his miracle cure of a young man, Elaine can no longer hide behind other people’s stories. And as Molly digs into her mother’s past, she finds a secret hidden in her mother’s dresser that may be the key to unlocking a family mystery dating to 1918 New York—a secret that could destroy or save their future.


About Maureen Dole McQuerry

All of my books have an element of mystery and magic, even the realistic stories. And as a friend pointed out, there is a library in every one of them. It must be because libraries have always been magical places for me.

Maureen McQuerry is an award winning poet, novelist and teacher. Her YA novel, The Peculiars (Abrams/Amulet 2012) is an ALA Best Book for Young Adult Readers 2013, Bank Street and Horne Book recommended book, and a winner of the Westchester Award. Her most recent book is Beyond the Door (Abrams/Amulet), a Booklist top Ten Fantasy/SciFi for Youth. It is the first in a MG duo that combines, Celtic myth, shapeshifters and a secret code in a coming of age story. The adventure continues in The Telling Stone. Beyond the Door is a current finalist for the WA State Book awards.

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