Tag Archives: Book Recs

Series Spotlight | The Alex Verus series by Benedict Jacka

I listen to a lot (A LOT) of audiobooks while I’m working on candles during the day and sometimes I just need some easy, quick reads when I’m not in the headspace to listen to heavy fantasy or intense sci-fi. The Alex Verus series kind of hit that spot for me — meaningful while still maintaining a lightness that’s easy enough for me to follow!

I originally picked up the series ermmm… two weeks ago (it felt like a lot longer!) after I saw on Facebook that my old next door neighbor had been reading them and enjoying them. He and I usually have similar tastes in fantasy and after reading the synopsis for the first book, I knew I wanted to read the series!

  

The series kicks off with FATED, introducing Alex Verus, a 20-30 something mage who lives in London and owns a magic shop. He maintains an “independent” status after being an apprentice for a dark mage and never quite falling into the strict politics of the light mages. Hijinks ensue and throughout the series, hijinks turn to serious situations with perilous consequences.

Even though FATED starts off a little light and easy, I love how much the series progresses! The characters really grow, different friendships are highlighted, and the plot really keeps coming full circle back to Alex’s past and how it ends up affecting him long after he’s put his dark days behind him. The books really grow and I feel like each one really got better and better!

I also love how the series feels unique and yet it reminds me of other fantasy concepts featured in books like Harry Potter and The Magicians. It definitely its own feel and its own series but I kind of loved that pop that reminded me of another beloved fantasy book!

I binge read the first eight books of the series in less than two weeks (I would literally listen to a whole book in a single day while I was working. I just really enjoyed these books so much and the only bad thing about a series binge is that now I actually have to WAIT for the rest of the books to come out!! MARKED is book nine in the series and it’s slated to come out this summer so that will be something I’m looking forward to!

FIND THE ALEX VERUS SERIES ON GOODREADS | FATED | BENEDICT JACKA


What’s a series that you’ve recently binged or fell in love with? Tell me the best binge-worthy series!!

Fast Five Friday | Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff

fast five friday

I love blogging and writing and recommending books… but I know that I tend to get a little long-winded in my blog posts! FAST FIVE FRIDAY is a means for me to recognize some favorite books and round them up for recommendations without talking your ear off.

FAST FIVE FRIDAY | AMIE KAUFMAN & JAY KRISTOFF

Tonight I’m going to see Amie & Jay at Anderson’s Bookshop and since they’ve written some incredible books together, individually, and as a part of other teams, I wanted to share some of my excited feelings on their works! In full disclosure, I haven’t read everything so some are recommendations based on all of the good things I’ve heard!

What: Illuminae
Who: Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff
Why: Obviously the reason we’re here is this series! It’s so visually grabbing and the story itself is astounding as well. I’m quite hooked on all levels!
Where: Goodreads | Review

What: Unearthed
Who: Amie Kaufman & Meagan Spooner
Why: This book was so much fun and the ending just left me hanging!! I really enjoyed it from start to finish and it has a great sci-fi Indiana Jones type feel! It was my first Amie/Meagan read and I LOVED it!
Where: Goodreads| Review

What: Nevernight
Who: Jay Kristoff
Why: Okay, so I’m basically 25 pages in but it’s already so interesting. It has a Locke Lamora feel but a little darker and bloodier and I can’t wait to see where this goes!
Where: Goodreads | Review

What: These Broken Stars
Who: Amie Kaufman & Meagan Spooner
Why: I didn’t love this as much as I thought but it definitely had the same vibes as UNEARTHED (well, technically it’s the other way around but I read UNEARTHED first) and I’m super curious to see where the rest of the series goes! I love that it’s also set up like ILLUMINAE (or vice versa) with the companion concept.
Where: Goodreads

What: Lifel1k3
Who:  Jay Kristoff
Why: I haven’t read this book yet (and oy, it’s going to be a pain to type haha) but I’m super excited to read it! It doesn’t come out until May but I’m definitely looking for a way to get my hands on it!
Where: Goodreads


That’s my fast five for today! I’ve heard of SO many people going to this event tonight so I’m sure I’ll have a lot of people to say hello to!!

Fast Five Friday | Sci-Fi Spectacular

fast five friday

I love blogging and writing and recommending books… but I know that I tend to get a little long-winded in my blog posts! FAST FIVE FRIDAY is a means for me to recognize some favorite books and round them up for recommendations without talking your ear off.

FAST FIVE FRIDAY | SCI-FI SPECTACULAR

I’ve been reading a LOT of sci-fi books lately and I wanted to share some of my recent favorites with you! If you haven’t read any of these, I highly recommend them! Apparently 2018 is a big sci-fi year and I’m so excited for so many unique and captivating titles!

What: Red Rising
Who: Pierce Brown
Why: I basically became obsessed with this series and binge-read all of the currently published books from December to January/February! It’s an insane and exciting experience, full of surprises and twists!
Where: Goodreads | Review

What: Unearthed
Who: Amie Kaufman & Meagan Spooner
Why: This book was so much fun and the ending just left me hanging!! I really enjoyed it from start to finish and it has a great sci-fi Indiana Jones type feel!
Where: Goodreads| Review

What: Gemina
Who: Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff
Why: ILLUMINAE is the first book in this series but I’m totally digging GEMINA right now! I’m re-reading these books on audio before OBSIDIO comes out and I’m loving the plot of GEMINA even more than the first time around!
Where: Goodreads | Review

What: Renegades
Who: Marissa Meyer
Why: I never know where to place superhero books but I always feel like it’s a bit sci-fi! It doesn’t quite feel like fantasy and I like fitting into a nerdy, sci-fi spot. RENEGADES is Marissa Meyer’s latest and it was such a great take on the superhero/supervillain story!
Where: Goodreads | Review

What: Warcross
Who:  Marie Lu
Why: This was one of my favorite books of 2017 and I really, really loved the virtual reality aspect of the book! The characters were also just so great with exciting plot, and even some twists!
Where: Goodreads | Review


That’s my fast five for today! Have you read any great sci-fi books lately? Let me know your recommendations! I’m in a sci-fi mood and I can’t wait to read more!

Fast Five Friday | Christmas Vibes

fast five friday

I love blogging and writing and recommending books… but I know that I tend to get a little long-winded in my blog posts! FAST FIVE FRIDAY is a means for me to recognize some favorite books and round them up for recommendations without talking your ear off.

FAST FIVE FRIDAY | CHRISTMAS VIBES

I don’t do a lot of seasonal reading for winter or Christmas and going through my list on Goodreads, I’ve read surprisingly few books that involve the Christmas season or holiday! I did find a good few to compile into a Fast Five Friday list to quickly share some books with Christmas vibes!

Top Ten Clues You're Clueless Liz Czukasmy true love gave to me book coverLandline - Rainbow Rowell

What: Top Ten Clues You’re Clueless
Who: Liz Czukas
Why: A very cute romance that takes place in a grocery store on Christmas Eve!
Where: Goodreads | Review

What: My True Love Gave To Me
Who: Stephanie Perkins (editor) and various authors
Why: An anthology of Christmas/holiday-themed stories, varying from contemporary to magical realism to fantasy!
Where: Goodreads| Review

What: Landline
Who: Rainbow Rowell
Why: A fun and yet serious adult novel about a woman who is seeing a different side of her marriage that takes place around Christmas.
Where: Goodreads | Review

What: Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
Who: J.K. Rowling
Why: I think every Harry Potter book has a Christmas scene but I love this one for the inclusion of The Yule Ball and a whole Christmas party!
Where: Goodreads | Review

What: A Minor Raven Boys Holiday Drabble
Who:  Maggie Stiefvater
Why: This is a little extra that Maggie Stiefvater wrote and I LOVE seeing the holidays at Monmouth! Totally worth the quick read for the Raven Boys holiday feel. There’s also a 300 Fox Way piece!
Where: Goodreads | Review


That’s my fast five for today! Do you do any seasonal or holiday reading during the winter/Christmas season? Happy holidays, everyone!!

Fast Five Friday | Not-Too-Scary Horror

fast five friday

I love blogging and writing and recommending books… but I know that I tend to get a little long-winded in my blog posts! FAST FIVE FRIDAY is a means for me to recognize some favorite books and round them up for recommendations without talking your ear off.

FAST FIVE FRIDAY | NOT-TOO-SCARY HORROR

I am not a horror person, but I picked up THERE’S SOMEONE INSIDE YOUR HOUSE because of course, it’s written by Stephanie Perkins and I just adore her! I don’t tend to read SCARY books, but I do enjoy some 90s slasher film-type reads, which fits perfectly along side TSIYH! So those are the books I’m sharing today!

What: Sweet
Who: Emmy Laybourne
Why: Think cult classic zombie movie and you’ve got SWEET! It’s funny, campy, and totally gory but it was such a fun read!  
Where: Goodreads | Review

What: The Fall
Who: Bethany Griffin
Why: A retelling of the classic Poe tale, this was such a creepy, atmospheric read. It gave me the shivers but it wasn’t too horrifying for a chicken like me!
Where: Goodreads| Review

What: This Dark Endeavor
Who: Kenneth Oppel
Why: A Frankenstein retelling! Sort of an origin story and very interesting. It definitely falls under the horror category but isn’t TOO horrifying.
Where: Goodreads | Review

What: Stalking Jack the Ripper
Who: Kerri Maniscalco
Why: Can I recommend this series enough? Probably not. How much more horrific can you get than Jack the Ripper?
Where: Goodreads | Review

What: The Cavendish Home for Boys and Girls
Who:  Claire LeGrand
Why: Middle grade books can still possibly scare the pants off of you, but this creepy read was so much fun! I don’t read a lot of middle grade but when I do, it’s always fantasy or some sort of paranormal/horror. Lots of fun!
Where: Goodreads | Review


That’s my fast five for today! Have you read any of these mildly horrific books? What are some of your favorite chilling reads for horror-chickens?

Fast Five Friday | Mythology

fast five friday

I love blogging and writing and recommending books… but I know that I tend to get a little long-winded in my blog posts! FAST FIVE FRIDAY is a means for me to recognize some favorite books and round them up for recommendations without talking your ear off.

FAST FIVE FRIDAY | MYTHOLOGY

I am currently reading WONDER WOMAN: WARBRINGER on audio and there’s so much mythology throughout this book that affects the whole plot! It made me think back on some other mythology adaptations/retellings and that was a fun inspiration for today’s Fast Five Friday!

American Gods road trip

What: American Gods
Who: Neil Gaiman
Why: You want mythology? You’ve got it ALL in AMERICAN GODS! Mythology and gods from all over the world make up this complex and interesting novel. Plus the TV show is awesome too. 
Where: Goodreads | Review

What: Gameboard of the Gods
Who: Richelle Mead
Why: I wasn’t quite sure where this would fall-genre wise when I picked it up — dystopian? Sci-fi? Fantasy? Well, it’s a little bit of everything but surprisingly, mythology seems to be its driving force!
Where: Goodreads| Review

What: Antigoddess
Who: Kendare Blake
Why: Modern-day adaptation of mythology meets great sass in ANTIGODDESS. I actually really enjoyed this book but haven’t finished the series yet. I need to do that…
Where: Goodreads | Review

What: The Red Pyramid
Who: Rick Riordan
Why: Rich Riordan may be the king of mythology adaptations and this is the first and only book I’ve read of his so far! I picked it up for the Egyptian mythology angle and it was really enjoyable! I still have the second book waiting for me on audio.
Where: Goodreads | Review

What: The Thief
Who:  Megan Whelan Turner
Why: This was another book where I didn’t realize how much mythology would play a part but I loved the unique mythology of this world and how the reader got story-time throughout to catch up on the history and legends!
Where: Goodreads | Review


That’s my fast five for today! Have you read any of these mythology adaptations? What’s your favorite retelling of myths and legends??

Fast Five Friday | Summer Romances

fast five friday

I love blogging and writing and recommending books… but I know that I tend to get a little long-winded in my blog posts! FAST FIVE FRIDAY is a means for me to recognize some favorite books and round them up for recommendations without talking your ear off.

FAST FIVE FRIDAY | SUMMER ROMANCES

It’s summer and it’s almost August! Summer is one of my favorite times to read contemporary romances, especially the light and cute ones! I thought I’d share some of my favorite summertime romances today on Fast Five Friday for some book highlights and quick recs!

Open Road SummerThe Book of Broken Hearts - Sarah Ockler26 kisses anna michels

What: Nantucket Blue
Who: Leila Howland
Why: I identified with Cricket so much! This book has a very cute and real summer romance along with friendships, responsibility, first love, and more.
Where: Goodreads | Review

What: Open Road Summer
Who: Emery Lord
Why: Love love loved this book! I loved the music aspect and it was so great to see a real and supportive friendship. Great summer romance about finding yourself, being there for your friends, and falling in love unexpectedly.
Where: Goodreads| Review

What: Past Perfect
Who: Leila Sales
Why: Who else has a book that takes place at a historical reenactment village? This book reminded me of family vacations and had such a fun dynamic!
Where: Goodreads | Review

What: The Book of Broken Hearts
Who: Sarah Ockler
Why: This was my first Sarah Ockler book and I looooved it. It’s a bit more serious so not as “cute” summer romance but so swoony, amazing family, and loved the slight bad boy.
Where: Goodreads | Review

What: 26 Kisses
Who:  Anna Michels
Why: This book was so adorable and I loved how Veda set out to have the summer of finding herself, having a good time, and forgetting about her stupid ex. Treat yourself, girl!
Where: Goodreads | Review


That’s my fast five for today! Have you read any of these cute summer romances? What are your go-to books for summer? Any more you’d recommend?

Fast Five Friday | Geek Chic

fast five friday

I love blogging and writing and recommending books… but I know that I tend to get a little long-winded in my blog posts! FAST FIVE FRIDAY is a means for me to recognize some favorite books and round them up for recommendations without talking your ear off.

FAST FIVE FRIDAY | GEEK CHIC

Geek is in, my friends, and I love reading fantastically nerdy books. I even made a shelf on Goodreads for geeky reads (I may be a tad obsessed with creating shelves) and since I’m in the middle of QUEENS OF GEEK right now, it seemed like the perfect time to share some quick recs! (See my shelf for the rest!)

What: The Summer I Became a Nerd
Who: Leah Rae Miller
Why: From cheerleader to LARPer in one book, this adorable read is about being true to yourself and allowing your inner-nerd to shine!
Where: Goodreads | Review

What: Ready Player One
Who: Ernest Cline
Why: Virtual Reality, video games, 80s references… this book has it all. Plus, you can get even geekier by listening to the audio, narrated by the awesomely well-spoken Wil Wheaton. His narration brings this book to life!
Where: Goodreads| Review

What: Illuminae
Who: Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff
Why: Teens in space! Space battles, rocket ships, intergalactic politics… all documented in the form of emails, instant messages, and records. Oh yeah, and an evil computer robot.
Where: Goodreads | Review

What: The Geek’s Guide to Unrequited Love
Who: Sarvenaz Tash
Why: It takes place at Comicon!! Do you get much better than that? The two main characters are huge fans and write a comic together as well. It’s geeky perfection.
Where: Goodreads | Review

What: Geekerella
Who:  Ashley Poston
Why: Another book at a con! The main character’s father started a con based on a favorite space TV show and a Cinderella adaptation to boot. Just adorable. Texts are prominent in this romance.
Where: Goodreads | Review


That’s my fast five for today! Have you read any of these gloriously geeky books? Do you have any more recommendations? There are a few coming out in 2017 and 2018 I can’t wait for as well!

Fast Five Friday | Authors I Wish I Was Hanging Out With at #BEA17

fast five friday

I love blogging and writing and recommending books… but I know that I tend to get a little long-winded in my blog posts! FAST FIVE FRIDAY is a means for me to recognize some favorite books and round them up for recommendations without talking your ear off.

FAST FIVE FRIDAY | AUTHORS I WISH I WAS HANGING OUT WITH AT #BEA17

I had website issues for the past couple days and totally forgot about a post for the rest of this week! Fast Five Friday seemed like the perfect option.

For the first time in five years, I’m not attending BEA — wahhh! With taking off two months while my husband was in the hospital, I don’t have any vacation time left to take off the week that you really need to go to BEA so alas, not this year for me. I’m missing my bookish friends fiercely and bummed I won’t get to see some of my favorite authors again so here are my top five authors that are at #BEA17 that I wish I had been able to see this year!

Who: Kerri Maniscalco
What: Stalking Jack the Ripper, Hunting Prince Dracula
Why: Kerri is SO AMAZINGLY NICE and I’ve absolutely loved working with her bookish candles! I actually met her super duper briefly at BEA last year but was too much of a chicken to strike up a full conversation. I… accidentally stole an ARC of STALKING JACK THE RIPPER because they were on the floor before her signing and we didn’t know she was signing, so not only did I miss the autographing and miss talking to Kerri, I’m also a thief. I REALLY wanted to be able to say hi in person this year (especially now that we “know” each other) but alas. Maybe a book event in Chicago or another conference! 

Who: Marissa Meyer
What: The Lunar Chronicles, Heartless, Renegades
Why: I’ve been a Marissa Meyer fangirl since The Lunar Chronicles and she hadn’t come to Illinois for a very long time! I finally got to meet Marissa back in 2014 and then a few other times at book conferences. I’m sad to miss her this year at BEA because it’s always a delight and I’d love to know more about RENEGADES too! 

Who: Leigh Bardugo
What: Shadow and Bone trilogy (new series name!), The Dregs, Wonder Woman, Language of Thorns
Why: Leigh Bardugo is a queen. I adore her books, she’s a wonderful human, so kind, and always so much fun to meet/hang out with! (Not like we’ve “hung out” but you know… saw each other at events and the pub parties at BEA…) I’m always sad to miss her events because every one of her books is amazing and she’s one of my favorite authors to see in person! 

Who: Maggie Stiefvater
What: The Shiver series, The Raven Cycle, The Scorpio Races, All the Crooked Saints
Why: Magie Stiefvater is also one of my favorite authors to meet and see in person. She has such personality and she’s so much fun! I love seeing authors who are truly themselves and she’s not afraid to shy away from anything that makes her her. Super bummed I’m missing ALL THE CROOKED SAINTS but I know I’ll get to read it eventually and Megan is bringing her a Blue & Her Boys candle for me so I’ll be there in spirit!! 

Who:  Laini Taylor
What: Daughter of Smoke and Bone trilogy, Strange the Dreamer
Why: I am actually being greedy because I JUST saw Laini Taylor in April but it was the first time I ever got to meet her! I briefly got to say hi at BEA last year and get a STRANGE THE DREAMER sampler signed but that was it and I finally got to see her at an event a couple months ago. She as SO nice and gracious and just a joy to listen to. I would love to see her again!


Put me in a room with all of these authors and I would be one happy reader! I think they probably would/do get along super well too, don’t you think!?

Fast Five Friday | Historical Fiction With a Twist

fast five friday

I love blogging and writing and recommending books… but I know that I tend to get a little long-winded in my blog posts! FAST FIVE FRIDAY is a means for me to recognize some favorite books and round them up for recommendations without talking your ear off.

FAST FIVE FRIDAY | HISTORICAL FICTION WITH A TWIST

I’m currently reading HUNTING PRINCE DRACULA, the sequel to STALKING JACK THE RIPPER by Kerri Maniscalco and loving it! I’m not really a big historical fiction person but I have found that I’ve been loving historical fiction with a twist of its own. Whether it’s the addition of magic, a brand-new mystery, or an alternate timeline, historical fiction with a twist has really been grabbing me lately and I’m loving the intrigue of true life meets fiction!

kerri maniscalcoGrave Mercy

What: Stalking Jack the Ripper
Who: Kerri Maniscalco
Why: Audrey Rose is all thorns and roses, feminine and yet tough, and she starts on the Jack the Ripper murders while apprenticing for her uncle as a forensics student.
Where: Goodreads | Review

What: The Crown’s Game
Who: Evelyn Skye
Why: Imperial Russia takes a twist with the introduction of a history of magic. A battle to the death arises as two enchanters fight to become the right-hand magician of the Tsar of Russia.
Where: Goodreads| Review

What: Born Wicked
Who: Jessica Spotswood
Why: Historical fiction meets magic again, this time with more witchy involvement in our past. An alt-history take on the Salem Witch Trials. Are these books good on audio? I desperately need to finish this series!
Where: Goodreads | Review

What: Grave Mercy
Who: Robin LaFevers
Why: Grave Mercy is some serious historical fiction complete with wars, tactics, and actual historical figures. There’s a lot of history in these books but I didn’t feel bogged down with facts and data. The story was fantastic, plus, assassin nuns. Nice mythology twist to bring a dark and mystical side.
Where: Goodreads | Review

What: Walk on Earth a Stranger
Who:  Rae Carson
Why: I actually wasn’t the biggest fan of this book because for as much as it was advertised as historical fantasy, there wasn’t a whole lot of magic in this first book, BUT I did love that it focused on a time/place that isn’t often covered — the Gold Rush.
Where: Goodreads | Review


That’s my fast five for today! Do you have any other favorite historical fiction novels with a good twist to them? I’m totally in the mood for these right now and always up for more!