I should have made this a Top Ten Tuesday on ten reasons why I haven’t been able to write much (or read much) this month. Work and life are leaving me both physically and emotionally exhausted, and I have had barely any time to read – let alone write about reading. But I miss it – I miss the creative outlet and the stress relief. So I managed to put something together for this week’s TTT.
This week’s Top Ten Tuesday is a freebie, and I’m choosing to do top ten books I’ve recently added to my TBR. This was actually the topic last week, but I completed missed it in a haze of work deadlines and travel. But better late than never!
Juniors by Kaui Hart Hemmings
Lea Lane has lived in between all her life.
Part Hawaiian, part Mainlander. Perpetual new girl at school. Hanging in the shadow of her actress mother’s spotlight. And now: new resident of the prominent West family’s guest cottage.
Bracing herself for the embarrassment of being her classmates’ latest charity case, Lea is surprised when she starts becoming friends with Will and Whitney West instead—or in the case of gorgeous, unattainable Will, possibly even more than friends. And despite their differences, Whitney and Lea have a lot in common: both are navigating a tangled web of relationships, past disappointments and future hopes. As things heat up with Will, and her friendship with Whitney deepens, Lea has to decide how much she’s willing to change in order to fit into their world.
This was a staff recommendation at the bookstore I work at part-time at. I don’t know how I missed it! I loved The Descendants and I’ve wanted to read more books set in Hawaii. Can’t wait to check it out!
The Pope’s Daughter by Dario Fo
Lucrezia Borgia is one of the most vilified figures in modern history. The daughter of a notorious pope, she was twice betrothed before the age of eleven and thrice married—one husband was forced to declare himself impotent and thereby unfit and another was murdered by Lucrezia’s own brother, Cesar Borgia. She is cast in the role of murderess, temptress, incestuous lover, loose woman, femme fatale par excellence.
But there is always more than one version of a story.
Dario Fo, Nobel laureate and one of Italy’s most beloved writers, reveals Lucrezia’s humanity, her passion for life, her compassion for others, and her skill at navigating around her family’s evildoings. The Borgias are unrivalled for the range and magnitude of their political machinations and opportunism. Fo’s brilliance rests in his rendering their story as a shocking mirror image of the uses and abuses of power in our own time. Lucrezia herself becomes a model for how to survive and rise above those abuses.
I was first introduced to Lucrezia Borgia in Jennifer Wright’s It Ended Badly: Thirteen of the Worst Breakups in History, where, as you can probably guess, she didn’t come off super well. But she does seem like a fascinating historical figure. Dario Fo won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1997.
My Life on the Road by Gloria Steinem
Gloria Steinem—writer, activist, organizer, and one of the most inspiring leaders in the world—now tells a story she has never told before, a candid account of how her early years led her to live an on-the-road kind of life, traveling, listening to people, learning, and creating change. She reveals the story of her own growth in tandem with the growth of an ongoing movement for equality. This is the story at the heart of My Life on the Road.
Like many people, I didn’t really give this book any thought until I heard about Emma Watson’s book club. But it sounds like a fascinating book about a woman I know very little about.
Mosquitoland by David Arnold
After the sudden collapse of her family, Mim Malone is dragged from her home in northern Ohio to the “wastelands” of Mississippi, where she lives in a medicated milieu with her dad and new stepmom. Before the dust has a chance to settle, she learns her mother is sick back in Cleveland.
So she ditches her new life and hops aboard a northbound Greyhound bus to her real home and her real mother, meeting a quirky cast of fellow travelers along the way. But when her thousand-mile journey takes a few turns she could never see coming, Mim must confront her own demons, redefining her notions of love, loyalty, and what it means to be sane.
This is another one of those how-did-I-miss-this books. It sounds like a fun road trip book that would make a great summer read. It’s gotten a look of positive reviews from bloggers and readers with good taste, and I’m excited to check it out!
Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo
Surrounded by enemies, the once-great nation of Ravka has been torn in two by the Shadow Fold, a swath of near impenetrable darkness crawling with monsters who feast on human flesh. Now its fate may rest on the shoulders of one lonely refugee.
Alina Starkov has never been good at anything. But when her regiment is attacked on the Fold and her best friend is brutally injured, Alina reveals a dormant power that saves his life—a power that could be the key to setting her war-ravaged country free. Wrenched from everything she knows, Alina is whisked away to the royal court to be trained as a member of the Grisha, the magical elite led by the mysterious Darkling.
Yet nothing in this lavish world is what it seems. With darkness looming and an entire kingdom depending on her untamed power, Alina will have to confront the secrets of the Grisha . . . and the secrets of her heart.
I originally wanted to read Six of Crows, but I heard that it makes more sense to read the Grisha trilogy first. Plus those are out yet, and I generally like to binge my series anyways. I don’t actually know anything about the plot of these books, and I’m kind of excited to go into it blind!
Wolf By Wolf by Ryan Graudin
The year is 1956, and the Axis powers of the Third Reich and Imperial Japan rule the world. To commemorate their Great Victory over Britain and Russia, Hitler and Emperor Hirohito host the Axis Tour: an annual motorcycle race across their conjoined continents. The victor is awarded an audience with the highly reclusive Adolf Hitler at the Victor’s ball.
Yael, who escaped from a death camp, has one goal: Win the race and kill Hitler. A survivor of painful human experimentation, Yael has the power to skinshift and must complete her mission by impersonating last year’s only female victor, Adele Wolfe. This deception becomes more difficult when Felix, Adele twin’s brother, and Luka, her former love interest, enter the race and watch Yael’s every move. But as Yael begins to get closer to the other competitors, can she bring herself to be as ruthless as she needs to be to avoid discovery and complete her mission?
I think this is going to be either really good or really terrible. The concept of a dystopian future in which Hitler won the war is weird enough – but to add a shape-shifter to the mix seems like either a brilliant move or way too much.
Stars Above by Marissa Meyer
The enchantment continues….
The universe of the Lunar Chronicles holds stories—and secrets—that are wondrous, vicious, and romantic. How did Cinder first arrive in New Beijing? How did the brooding soldier Wolf transform from young man to killer? When did Princess Winter and the palace guard Jacin realize their destinies?
With nine stories—five of which have never before been published—and an exclusive never-before-seen excerpt from Marissa Meyer’s upcoming novel, Heartless, about the Queen of Hearts from Alice in Wonderland, Stars Above is essential for fans of the bestselling and beloved Lunar Chronicles.
This comes out next Tuesday! I was a little peeved, to be honest, that there wasn’t an epilogue included with Winter, but there’s one included in this collection, along with eight other stories (five unreleased ones). I think this will provide some closure for The Lunar Chronicles, now that IM SO SAD I finished it!
The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi
Cursed with a horoscope that promises a marriage of Death and Destruction, sixteen-year-old Maya has only earned the scorn and fear of her father’s kingdom. Content to follow more scholarly pursuits, her world is upheaved when her father, the Raja, arranges a wedding of political convenience to quell outside rebellions. But when her wedding takes a fatal turn, Maya becomes the queen of Akaran and wife of Amar. Yet neither roles are what she expected. As Akaran’s queen, she finds her voice and power. As Amar’s wife, she finds friendship and warmth.
But Akaran has its own secrets – thousands of locked doors, gardens of glass, and a tree that bears memories instead of fruit. Beneath Akaran’s magic, Maya begins to suspect her life is in danger. When she ignores Amar’s plea for patience, her discoveries put more than new love at risk – it threatens the balance of all realms, human and Otherworldly.
Now, Maya must confront a secret that spans reincarnated lives and fight her way through the dangerous underbelly of the Otherworld if she wants to protect the people she loves.
I originally though this was part of the Queen of the Tearling series – same font and border doodles! But it is not. It sounds similar to The Wrath & The Dawn in setting and theme, which is also on my TBR. It’s also a standalone – fantasy standalones are hard to come by in YA!
The Spectacular Now by Tim Tharp
SUTTER KEELY. HE’S the guy you want at your party. He’ll get everyone dancing. He’ ll get everyone in your parents’ pool. Okay, so he’s not exactly a shining academic star. He has no plans for college and will probably end up folding men’s shirts for a living. But there are plenty of ladies in town, and with the help of Dean Martin and Seagram’s V.O., life’s pretty fabuloso, actually.
Until the morning he wakes up on a random front lawn, and he meets Aimee. Aimee’s clueless. Aimee is a social disaster. Aimee needs help, and it’s up to the Sutterman to show Aimee a splendiferous time and then let her go forth and prosper. But Aimee’s not like other girls, and before long he’s in way over his head. For the first time in his life, he has the power to make a difference in someone else’s life—or ruin it forever.
I didn’t know this was a book when I first saw the trailer for the movie! The movie looks really honest and genuine, but, of course, now I have to read the book before I see the movie. I also really love this movie tie-in cover, which is probably the only time I will ever utter those words.
Passenger by Alexandra Bracken
In one devastating night, violin prodigy Etta Spencer loses everything she knows and loves. Thrust into an unfamiliar world by a stranger with a dangerous agenda, Etta is certain of only one thing: she has traveled not just miles but years from home. And she’s inherited a legacy she knows nothing about from a family whose existence she’s never heard of. Until now.
Nicholas Carter is content with his life at sea, free from the Ironwoods—a powerful family in the colonies—and the servitude he’s known at their hands. But with the arrival of an unusual passenger on his ship comes the insistent pull of the past that he can’t escape and the family that won’t let him go so easily. Now the Ironwoods are searching for a stolen object of untold value, one they believe only Etta, Nicholas’ passenger, can find. In order to protect her, he must ensure she brings it back to them— whether she wants to or not.
Together, Etta and Nicholas embark on a perilous journey across centuries and continents, piecing together clues left behind by the traveler who will do anything to keep the object out of the Ironwoods’ grasp. But as they get closer to the truth of their search, and the deadly game the Ironwoods are playing, treacherous forces threaten to separate Etta not only from Nicholas but from her path home . . . forever.
I’m kind of on the fence about this one — I’ve heard it’s very long-winded and dense (the summary seems to be an indication of that, doesn’t it?). I’m also kind of on the fence with time travel novels, but this has been so highly recommend by book bloggers and tubers that it seems worth a try. I have a copy of it on Net Galley, so I might as well!
Why is it so much easier to find books I want to read then to find the time to read them? It’s a constant struggle, isn’t it? Which books on my list should I immediately prioritize and what’s worth skipping over? Let me know!