[TBR List] Eight Unique Reads For Spring

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by Broke and the Bookish, is a celebration of unique and creative talents, authors who’ve risen against the tides to bring us something totally fresh. While I’ve read my fair share of unique and interesting story lines, I thought it’d be more fun to share the ones I’m most excited to read this spring!

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The Night Ocean by Paul La Farge: Marlina has a little problem: her husband Charlie is obsessed with H.P. Lovecraft, but he’s particularly incessant over the summer of 1934 when Lovecraft lived with a gay teenage fan named Robert Barlow at the teen’s family home in central Florida. Why him? What were they doing that summer? Why did it end? And then, just when Charlie’s solved the puzzle, he disappears… Intertwining a thrilling new tale with the influential life of one of the greatest American horror writers, The Night Ocean is sure to be a unique story with a deceitful twist.

Mr. Rochester by Sarah Shoemaker: Queue the masses! We finally have a Jane Eyre retelling from the viewpoint of Mr. Rochester! In Shoemaker’s novel debut, she explores the hidden past of the man behind the woman, from a tropical betrayal to his first impressions of Miss Eyre – can life get any better?

The Keeper of Lost Things by Ruth Hogan: Forty years ago, Anthony Peardew lost a precious keepsake from his fiancée, but after her unexpected death the same day, he’s become the unofficial keeper of lost things… until he bequeaths the collection to his unsuspecting assistant Laura, making the, very small, request that she unite the misplaced items with their owners. A tale grounded by fate, but founded in love, The Keeper of Lost Things is sure to enchant.

Close Enough to Touch by Colleen Oakley: Spring is here, and love is in the air, making Oakley’s latest novel a perfect addition to your spring reading list. Jubilee Jenkins has lived as a recluse for the past nine years, but since her mother’s death and her subsequent need for cash, she’s forced to re-enter the world. There’s only one problem: she’s allergic to other humans. Meanwhile, a new neighbor sparks her interest, making for a poignant and heartwarming tale on the power of love.

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Borne by Jeff VanderMeer: Set in the future, after the polluted world has given way to new, mysterious creatures, Rachel survives as a scavenger, which is exactly how she first found Borne. Nothing more than a green lump, Borne sparks an unbreakable bond with her, inciting raw emotions she’s long held dormant. Now, in a world of secrets, Rachel is desperate for the truth, but as the Company’s dealings are finally revealed, will it be a world she can escape? As always, VanderMeer’s plots are impossible to summarize (especially before reading the book), but based on my love for Area X, it should be just as great!

Nemesis by Brendan Reichs: A brand new YA sci-fi novel cited as a cross between Orphan Black and Lord of the Flies. Every two years, on her birthday no less, Min is hunted by a stranger in black, and every two years, he kills her. But, magically, she wakes unharmed in a clearing outside of town, usually with a headache and an alibi to foster. Meanwhile, Noah is plagued by nightmares, sending him into a downward spiral, but with an asteroid plummeting toward Earth, there’s little time left to worry over two troubled teens… until they uncover a top-secret mission involving them both.

American War by Omar El Akkad: Set at the start of the Second American Civil War in 2074, oil has been outlawed, Louisiana is half underwater, and drones pepper the landscape. Only six years old, and forced to enter Camp Patience after her father’s death, Sarat Chestnut understands the difficulties that lie ahead, the hard choices that must be made, as she trains for battle. If that doesn’t give you goose bumps, I don’t know what will!

Be My Wolff by Emma Richler: Zachariah and Rachel are star-crossed lovers. Rachel the cherished daughter of a Russian family living in London, and he their adopted son. But once the lines are crossed, from siblings to lovers, their father’s rebuttal throws Rachel into a frenzy, whisking her away to the tides of her imagination and cartwheeling through history as she rewrites Zach’s family history.

What unique reads are on your list?



[Short Reviews] March Reads

I was on a good roll, but it was only a matter of time until life got in the way of my reading (and blogging). Work has been busier than usual this month, but I’ve also gone to three author events and started a new work-out routine – and to cap off the month, we got a new fur baby! It’s definitely been a month to remember!

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Friends, I’d like to introduce Oliver, our three-year old Shih Tzu rescue. Ollie here is quite the charmer, and already making fast friends with our cat Andy – we are so lucky to have him! Even with everything going on, I still found a little time to read, and hopefully I’ll be able to add a bit more blogging into the mix again soon!

March Favorites:

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Anna and the Swallow Man by Gavriel Savit: A beautifully written novel set during World War II, Anna and the Swallowman follows seven-year-old Anna after her father, a linguistics professor, disappears during a German raid in Krakow. After spending days alone on the street with nowhere to go, she meets the mysterious “Swallow Man” who she wants very much to call Solomon, but as he later teaches her, names aren’t safe, especially when following the “rules of the road”. With a creative use of word play and symbolism, Sevit paints a haunting picture of their journey, all the while mixing Polish folklore and a touch of magical realism to create an unforgettable tale of friendship and circumstance. (4 Stars)

Carry This Book by Abbi Jacobson: Written by Abbi Jacobson, best known from Broad City, Carry This Book is the perfect choice for us snoops as she brings to life the imagined items found in the pockets and purses of celebrities. From Trump’s endless bottles of spray tan to Oprah’s spare gifts to leave under unsuspecting chairs – if you need a laugh, you should Carry This Book!  (4 Stars)

Universal Harvester by John Darnielle: Summarized under the horror genre, I was expecting a very different story than the one I read, but nonetheless, I loved every bit of it! Eerie from the start, the tone of Universal Harvester is beyond creepy as countless rentals are returned to a video store with cut-in scenes of the bizarre.  While searching for the perplexing source of the added footage, Jeremy, who works at the store, instead finds a way to reconcile the loss of his late mother. An emotional journey full of suspense and quiet, unsatisfying questions, Darnielle explores the complex relationship between mother and child. (4 Stars)

The Unbanking of America by Lisa Servon: Before I read The Unbanking of America, I found it almost impossible for someone to go without a bank account. I’ve always had one, even since I was a kid – doesn’t everyone? But, as Lisa Servon shows, there are a multitude of reasons why someone would used alternate methods such as a check cashier. While banks are a pillar of our community, they’re not designed to serve us accountably anymore, often causing more harm than good. (4 Stars)

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The Vegetarian by Han Kang: I read The Vegetarian during a single lunch break – it was that gripping! I seriously could not put it down. Following a woman who suffers from mental illness, her sudden change to vegetarianism takes her family by storm, inciting several hospital stays and an emotional all-out war between husband and wife. Shifting perspectives every few chapters, each character was more despicable than the last, but even so, I couldn’t stop reading! (4 Stars)

Southern Reach Trilogy by Jeff VanderMeer: An all-consuming series riddled by fear of the unknown and a hunger to learn more, each book of The Southern Reach Trilogy was more un-put-downable than the last! Set in the future, a mysterious woods has overtaken much of the American west, an area aptly named Area X – but what is it? And what caused it to grow? And what creatures live there? Trust me, you’ll want to read at least the first book, Annihilation, before it hits the big screen this fall, starring Natalie Portman!! (5 Stars)

Buffering by Hannah Hart: Hannah Hart, better known for her YouTube series My Drunk Kitchen, is a true inspiration. After growing up poor with a parent who suffers from mental illness, Hannah’s suffered her share of hardships, but she’s never let it hold her back. Full of positivity and a can-do attitude, her story will make you laugh-cry over and over again. Bonus, she narrates the audiobook herself! (5 Stars)


Shrill: Notes from a Loud Woman by Lindy West: I was honored this month to meet the amazing, and incredibly funny, Lindy West! Dealing with the challenges of being overweight in a thin-minded society, her story is entirely too relatable. From having Miss Piggy as a the only role model, to a disastrously public pizza mishap, hers is a tale of inspiration for any woman trying to make a name for herself in a world of blindingly harsh expectations. I can’t wait to see Shrill on the big screen! (4 Stars)

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Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Paige: Caught by a tornado, Amy Gumm is whisked away from her trailer park life in Flat Hill, Kansas to the dusty outskirts of Oz, where the Hollywood glitz and glamour has long faded. Turns out Dorothy’s not so innocent, having returned to Oz, she’s drained the land of its magic for her own selfish desires. Joining rank with a group of powerful witches, Amy works to destroy Dorothy and return Oz to all its Technicolor splendor. I devoured this four-book series in a week, but luckily, there’s an entire prequel series too! I even found a pre-signed copy of the fourth book at Half Priced! Needless to say, I have another author to add to my list. (5 Stars)

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The Wanderers by Meg Howrey: Following a group of astronauts hand-picked for a trip to Mars, they must prove their commitment by spending seventeen months in a grueling, over-the-top simulation. A well written character study, much of the novel focuses on the interpersonal relationships between the group of astronauts as well as their families. It was a slow-build, but well worth the effort – it was especially interesting to see the characters shift from their working personas to a more emotional version of themselves when pressured by the simulation. I’m still not sure if my interpretation is correct, but perhaps that’s the point.  (3 Stars)

All Grown Up by Jami Attenberg: Who is Andrea Bern? There’s really no better introduction to All Grown Up than asking that very question as the novel hop, skips, and jumps around various moments from her life, all leading up to her final answer, the moment she finally accepts the drawbacks to adulthood and takes life into her own hands. While Andrea was a hard character to relate to, her experiences were all too familiar. From job hunting, to her first apartment, to navigating family expectations, much of her journey struck a chord, ultimately relating the importance of family and the choices we make, no matter how small they may seem. (3 Stars)

Hello, Universe by Erin Entrada Kelly: No month is complete without at least one Middle Grade novel. Virgil is a quiet kid, a little shy and a little too preoccupied with his guinea pig. Valencia might be deaf, but she never lets it hold her back. Kaori is a self proclaimed psychic, out on a mission to crack the code behind Virgil’s secret crush. And then there’s Chet, the notorious school bully. They aren’t friends, but after Chet pulls a seemingly innocent prank, Virgil gets trapped at the bottom of the well, leading the others on a quest to find him. An adorable story on the importance of friendship as each of the characters gains their own sense self. (4 Stars)

Dead Letters by Caite Dolan-Leach:  Having escaped her family to live in the “City of Light”, Ava finally comes home after hearing the devastating news that her twin sister, Zelda, has died in a fire… until a string of messages lead her to believe otherwise. Is Zelda really gone? What is she hiding from? With every clue came new questions just begging to be answered as more of her erratic family secrets are revealed. I just couldn’t put this one down until I had my answer, and neither will you! (4 Stars)

What were your March favorites?



[Favorites] Author’s I’d LOVE To Meet!

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by Broke and the Bookish, is a celebration of our favorite authors. There’s certainly a growing list of authors I’d like to meet, but today I’m sharing my most favorite authors, some who I’ve followed for years and some who are still semi new-to-me – either way, I’d be the luckiest girl in the world if I get to meet just ONE of them!

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Neil Gaiman: A creative genius – I would do almost anything to meet him! He’ll be in Houston this summer, but would you believe it, I’ll be out of state during his visit. 😦

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Ali Shaw: A new favorite, I fell deep for The Trees last year. His characters are so engaging and the atmosphere so intriguing – I would love to ask him my questions!

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Tom Robbins: An old favorite from my college days, he’s been on my list for a while now.


Lemony Snicket: I might have missed out on A Series of Unfortunate Events as a kid, but that doesn’t change my feelings on Lemony Snicket i.e. Daniel Handler. His writing can make me smile even on the worst day.

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Marissa Meyer: From The Lunar Chronicles to her latest retelling, Heartless, Marissa Meyer is one of my new favorite authors. A mix of fairy tales and modern sci-fi, how could she not!?

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Jeff VanderMeer, Blake Crouch, and Drew Magary: Masters of the craft, sci-fi wizards… they can tell a story unlike any authors I’ve read. Full of emotion and high-stakes action, their books are among my all-time favorites!

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Victoria Laurie: I’ve followed her work since high school, and I’d love to thank her for the years of happiness she’s brought to my life. Her humor might be a bit cheesy at times, but what can I say, it’s my kind of cheesy rom-com.


Cheryl Strayed: I’ll be honest, I’ve not finished reading Wild, but I absolutely adore listening to Dear Sugar Radio. Her strength and passion is overwhelmingly affective, and incredibly inspirational – I’d love to meet her!

Who would you like to meet?


[TBR Check-In] What Are You Reading?

Happy Monday, friends!

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My reading slump is finally over! Thanks in large part to Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Paige – would you believe I gobbled the ENTIRE thing in one week? It was that good! A continuation of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum, Dorothy Must Die follows Amy Gumm from living a teenager’s worst nightmare in Flat Hill, Kansas to her discovery of Oz. In this alternate version, Dorothy is not only a real person, but reigns as evil witch supreme, draining all of Oz’s magic and Technicolor splendor with it. Right away, Amy joins The Revolutionary Order of the Wicked, with only one goal in mind: to kill Dorothy and return Oz to its former glory.


I also finished reading The Wanderers by Meg Howrey, in which a group of hand-selected astronauts must prove their worthiness for a trip to Mars by spending seventeen months in a grueling, over-the-top, simulation. Compared to two of my favorite novels, The Martian and Station Eleven, I think it’s safe to say this one was built for disappointment. While much of The Martian is based on 1) here’s the problem and 2) here’s how he slays it, Howrey focuses on mental stresses and their effect on the astronauts’ interpersonal communications with each other as well as their families. A well written character study, The Wanderers is more than a race to space, it’s an introspective look at who we want to be and the people that get us there.

Earlier this month, I fell head over heals for Magonia by Maria Dahvana Headley, and this week I’m super excited to have the second book, Aerie, on audio! Truly one of the most unique series I’ve read, I can’t wait to read more! But, while my reading life is taking off, work is still getting the best of me. This month has been extremely busy an overwhelming with a never-ending theme of work, work, work, eat, read, CRASH! I’m hoping to carve out more time for myself, and for the blog as best I can, but there’s only so many hours in the day. Thanks to everyone who visits – I promise I’ll get to your comments soon!

What are you reading?

It’s Monday, What Are You Reading? Is hosted by Kathryn at The Book Date, a great place to meet up and share your reading plans for the week. I love finding new blogs and new books – so a link-up that helps me do both? Sign me up!


[Page-Turners] Ten Books I Read In One Day

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by Broke and the Bookish, is all about the un-put-downable. From page-turner mysteries to emotional character dramas, they all capture our attention in different ways, but one thing is always clear – there will be NO REST until that book is finished! I’ve already posted my short reads TBR, a list of novellas you’ll WANT to read in one day, but here are my most memorable page-turners of recent. Is it any surprise they’re among my all-time favorite reads?

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Annihilation by Jeff VanderMeer: An all-consuming tale riddled by fear and obsession. The only bad thing about Annihilation, is once you start, you won’t stop until you’ve read the entire Southern Reach Trilogy!

The Vegetarian by Han King: I never knew what all the fuss was about… until I actually sat down to read it… and finished it during a single lunch break.

Fever Dream by Samanta Schweblin: I had to read this one twice. My first reading was a non-stop emotional roller coaster, and my second was an OMG how did I miss that, and watch out! marathon.

Super Extra Grande by Yoss: Yes, it’s a bit raunchy, but following an intergalactic veterinarian who specializes in treating enormous animals (who sometimes encapsulate an ENTIRE planet), this one wins for most imaginative – no question.

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Running by Cara Hoffman: Following a group of teens who live in the slums of Athens, Greece and unexpectedly tangle themselves in an act of terrorism. Haunting and deeply sad, Running is best kept for a rainy Sunday.

Under Rose Tainted Skies by Louise Gornall: The novel opens with the main character, who’s an agoraphobic, caught “fishing” for her groceries, followed by an adorably sweet romance. Yes, she falls in love, but don’t expect it to be the magical cure for her illness.

Behind Her Eyes by Sarah Pinborough: I still can’t believe that ending! I’d picked up on a few clues throughout the novel, but I never imagined it would turn to that!

Universal Harvester by John Darnielle: To say Universal Harvester is unsettling is an understatement. After several movie rentals are returned for a disturbing series of cut-ins, including blindfolds and night-time escapes, Jeremy decides to investigate, finding an unexpected path to reconciliation over the loss of his late mother. The ending is less than satisfying, but the emotional journey is well worth the read.

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Harmless Like You by Rowan Hisayo Buchanan: Yuki is a downright train-wreck, but I couldn’t stop reading, waiting to see what misstep she’d make next!

Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Paige: My current obsession. How did it take me so long to find this!?

What books did you read in one day?



[TBR Check-In] What Are You Reading?

Happy first day of spring!!

Lately, I’ve been in a bit of a reading rut – my workdays have been busier than usual, and the weather’s been so nice, I just haven’t felt like reading. Instead, I’ve been watching the Food Channel and planting flowers! It finally feels like spring!

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Thanks to Houston’s own independent bookstore, Brazo’s Bookstore, I got to meet Lindy West last week! As funny as her writing is, she’s even more hilarious in person. Her reading quickly turned into a poll as to whether pineapple is an acceptable pizza topping, which of course, led to hearty debate. If you’ve already read her book Shrill, I highly recommend checking out the newly released paperback version to read her new intro!

This week I’ll (hopefully) be reading The Wanderers by Meg Howrey in which four astronauts must prove their worthiness for a trip to Mars by spending seventeen months in a grueling simulation. The writing style is short and to the point, a complete opposite from my usual reads, but after being compared to two of my favorite novels, The Martian AND Station Eleven, I’m giving it a try.

What are you reading?

It’s Monday, What Are You Reading? Is hosted by Kathryn at The Book Date, a great place to meet up and share your reading plans for the week. I love finding new blogs and new books – so a link-up that helps me do both? Sign me up!


[TBR List] 10 Books to Read This Spring

This week on Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by Broke and the Bookish, it’s all about Spring. We might be experiencing a last-minute cool down this week, but believe it or not, this coming Monday is the first official day of spring! Besides the lovely weather and gorgeous blooms, this spring promises one of my best TBR line-ups! It’s been a while since I’ve shared up-coming releases, so without further ado, here are the books I’m most excited to read this spring:

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4321 by Paul Auster: A verbose choice for spring at 800 pages, 4321 is an innovative work full of promise and prose. Archibald Isaac Ferguson is born nearly two weeks early on March 3, 1947 in Newark, New Jersey, but from a simple beginning comes a story of four “simultaneous and independent” Fergusons as four copies of the young boy lead very different lives after leaving the hospital.

We Were the Lucky Ones by Georgia Hunter: My TBR just isn’t complete unless there’s at least one World War II novel. Following a family of Polish Jews separated during the war, the novel shares their struggle to survive, driven by hope and sheer tenacity to persevere against all odds.

Dead Letters by Caite Dolan-Leach: A gripping tale told first-hand by the fiery Ava Antipova as she uncovers the clues left behind by her deceased twin sister Zelda. Was the fire really an accident? Or was it something more sinister… a punishment? A game? Zelda never forgave Ava for running away to Europe, leaving her to deal with their drunken mother, alone, but at what lengths would she go to bring her back?

Exit West by Mohsin Hamid: Set in an unknown country on the brink of civil war, Nadia and Saeed embark on an unlikely love affair countered only by the city’s unrest. Soon, the city morphs to an unfamiliar playing ground of check-points and bombs, but when rumors of a magical doorway spread, the pair must make the ultimate sacrifice to save themselves, risking it all for a new life at an unknown destination.

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All Grown Up by Jami Attenberg: Everyone seems to be reading this one! Unmarried, but successful, Andrea Bern struggles to make life work. Despite having a fulfilling career, she drinks a little too much and regrets a lot more, watching everyone but her live their ideal life. What do they know that she doesn’t? But when her niece is born with a heartbreaking ailment, she’s forced to reconcile her dreams with reality, hopefully in exchange for a life lived on her own terms and without judgement.

Nemesis by Brendan Reichs: A new YA science fiction series cited as a cross between Orphan Black and Lord of the Flies. Every two years, on her birthday no less, Min is hunted by a mysterious stranger and murdered, only to wake, unhurt, in a clearing outside of town. Meanwhile, Noah is plagued by nightmares of death and destruction, sending him into a downward spiral, but as an asteroid plummets toward Earth, there’s little time left to worry over two troubled teens until they take matters into their own hands. (Published March 21st)

The Twelve Lives of Samuel Hawley by Hannah Tinti: After spending years on the run, Samuel Hawley moves back to his late wife’s hometown with his teenage daughter, but after rumors of her mysterious death resurface, Samuel is haunted by the past. A thrilling father-daughter epic, spanning across America, The Twelve Lives of Samuel Hawley studies the choices we make and the cost we pay to protect our family. (Published March 28th)

Marlena by Julie Buntin: After moving to a new town in rural Michigan, innocent and unsuspecting Cat is instantly drawn to her next-door neighbor Marlena. Beautiful and unruly, she’s a force to be reckoned with, turning Cat toward a life of teenage mayhem. But now, decades later, Marlena is found dead, drowned in six inches of icy water, leaving Cat haunted by the memory of the girl she once knew. (Published April 4th)

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Borne by Jeff VanderMeer: After flying through The Southern Reach Trilogy, I’m psyched to re-enter the wild imaginations of Jeff VanderMeer. Set in the future, after the polluted world has given way to mysterious creatures, Rachel survives as a scavenger, which is how she first discovers Borne. Nothing more than a green lump, Borne reminds Rachel of the island nation of her birth, the first spark of an unbreakable bond between the two. In a world of secrets, Rachel is overcome by emotion, the need to focus, the need for answers, but as the Company’s dealings are revealed, will it be a world she can escape? (Published May 2nd)

Salt Houses by Hala Alyan: On the eve of her wedding, Alia’s future is threatened by the Six-Day War of 1967, but the new couple soon finds peace in Kuwait and start a family. That is until the city is invaded by Saddam Hussein in 1990, and the family scatters to safety. From Beirut to Paris to Boston, Alia’s children build a new future for themselves as they struggle to assimilate to new cultures, giving a heartbreaking answer to the age-old question: Can you ever go home? (Published May 2nd)

What are you reading this spring?