Top Ten Tuesday: Hidden Gems


Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly bookish meme hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. This week’s topic is Top Ten Books That You Rarely Hear About.

The Gargoyle by Andrew Davidson


Once upon a time, I didn’t use Goodreads, or Youtube or blogs to find books to read. I browsed tables for featured books in stores and got emails from Barnes and Noble about up and coming releases. One such e-mail featured this book, and I was quite interested in it. Then nearly forgot about it. Such is life. Maybe a year later, a co-worker recommended this book to me and I remembered how amazing it sounded. I found it in the bargain section of Barnes and Noble and was both happy that it was a $6 hardcover, and sad that it apparently didn’t do so well to land itself there so soon (imagine my heartache years later, after falling in love with this book, to see it in the Dollar Tree).

I got it picked as the read for the book club I was in at the time and dove in.

The story starts with a man who has been in a terrible car accident. He was driving drunk and had spilled alcohol on the crotch of his pants, which accelerated the fire from the accident and focused it on this area of his anatomy. I’m pretty sure he is a porn star, and actually loses his money maker…. he is severely burned all over his entire body, but this is the injury that really stands out and shatters his sense of self.

A woman visits him in the hospital and ends up bringing him home to help him recover. As she ministers to him, she tells him all about their intense and tragic love from another lifetime. The book goes back and forth from their past life together to the present- he can’t help but think she is crazy, but is drawn to her none the less.

I LOVED THIS BOOK! My book club…. hated it.

“That would make her hundreds of years old…. it doesn’t make sense….”


I’ve actually only read this the one time, but whenever I look at it I have a swelling of emotion and fall back in love. I’m planning to re-read it this October, specifically the week of Halloween, as my wedding anniversary is 10/31, and this is one of the most intense love stories I’ve come across… even if it is incredibly dark and tragic. I always go into re-reads nervous…. what if I don’t love it anymore?

I’m reading Goodreads reviews now… apparently this was a very hyped debut release and didn’t live up to it… well I loved it, so *shrugs*

My Name is Memory by Ann Brashares


Similarly, this book also deals with a tragic love story, and the reunion of the lovers lifetimes later.

From Goodreads:

Daniel has spent centuries falling in love with the same girl. Life after life, crossing continents and dynasties, he and Sophia (despite her changing name and form) have been drawn together-and he remembers it all. Daniel has “the memory”, the ability to recall past lives and recognize souls of those he’s previously known. It is a gift and a curse. For all the times that he and Sophia have been drawn together throughout history, they have also been torn painfully, fatally, apart. A love always too short.

I gave this 4 stars, its Goodreads average is 3.7, so I’m not too far off. I was easily able to fall into the story and become invested in the characters. I’m a sap, what can I say? A tragic love story is my kryptonite. At the same time…. I was able to put the book down for days at a time, so, take that as you will.

The ending though…. It really sets you up for the story to go on, and then it leaves you hanging. From what I understand this was intended as a trilogy but didn’t do as well as publishers wanted it to.

The Kulipari Series by Trevor Pryce


As my kids and I watched this Netflix original series, I thought to myself: “I would read the shit out of this!” Imagine my joy when I actually paid attention to the opening credits and saw that it WAS based on a book series. We hit up the library so fast! The books, in order, are: An Army of Frogs, The Rainbow Serpent, and Amphibians’ End.

It was such a great read aloud for us. And so timely- it made current events accessible to my kids. The series focuses on the importance of access to water (Standing Rock pipeline), and touches on the treatment of refugees (45’s Muslim ban) forced from their homelands.

The illustrations are beautiful, and there are a lot of references to aboriginal mythology. I am looking forward to reading more in this world. There is a fourth book due to be released, as well as some comics we have to check out.

The Book of Speculation by Erika Swyler


From Goodreads:

Simon Watson, a young librarian, lives alone on the Long Island Sound in his family home, a house perched on the edge of a cliff that is slowly crumbling into the sea. His parents are long dead, his mother having drowned in the water his house overlooks.

One day, Simon receives a mysterious book from an antiquarian bookseller; it has been sent to him because it is inscribed with the name Verona Bonn, Simon’s grandmother. Simon must unlock the mysteries of the book, and decode his family history, before fate deals its next deadly hand.

The Book of Speculation is Erika Swyler’s gorgeous and moving debut, a wondrous novel about the power of books, family, and magic.

This is a dual timeline story, following the character in the present as well as his grandparents (great grandparents? I don’t remember). I really enjoyed the old traveling circus element of this book, and the mystical symbolism (horseshoe crabs, man. Who knew?)

The Prince of Fenway Park by Julianna Baggott


I saw this in the juv-fic section of the library and picked it up to read to my Red Sox obsessed kiddo. I didn’t realize how much of a fantasy book this would be. We loved it. There was a lot of Irish folklore mixed in with baseball history, and the book also dove into racism and identity. It was a really unexpected gem. The story centers around the 2004 World Series, when the Red Sox broke their 86 years long curse of the Bambino. But were the Sox actually the ones to break it? Or was it Oscar, the mixed race orphan who gets caught up in a hidden world of real curses and creatures?

Into the Beautiful North by Luis Alberto Urrea

I will always associate this book with the pain of a severely sprained ankle. But personal memories aside… this book was really well written and thought provoking.


Nineteen-year-old Nayeli works at a taco shop in her Mexican village and dreams about her father, who journeyed to the United States to find work. Recently, it has dawned on her that he isn’t the only man who has left town. In fact, there are almost no men in the village–they’ve all gone north. While watching The Magnificent Seven, Nayeli decides to go north herself and recruit seven men–her own “Siete Magníficos”–to repopulate her hometown and protect it from the bandidos who plan on taking it over.

The Book of Lost Things by John Connolly


I love this dark book so much. Maybe it’s not a hidden gem, I don’t actually know. But I never hear anyone talk about it. This is another one that pre-dates my Goodreads, Booktube, and blogger days.

The writing is beautiful and haunting. It is a dark, fantasy, coming of age story embellished with grim fairy tale elements.

I also loved The Gates, by the same author, which I never hear anyone mention either.

The Atomic Weight of Love by Elizabeth J Church


This book kept me up reading all night. I was so swept up in the realness of it. Heartwarming love story? Happy ending? No, and no.

It is the story of a highly intelligent woman (in the 60s I think) who marries an older academic and makes sacrifices for the sake of his career; constantly reevaluating what she wants and what it’s worth. There is romance and loss and betrayal and science all written together beautifully.

Maybe it was the lack of sleep, but this left me emotionally exhausted…in the best way.

A Working Theory of Love by Scott Hutchins


Remind me of this book whenever I mention unhauling books from my shelves. I thought I would be okay letting this one go. I read it, I liked it, I needed the shelf space. But I’ve thought about it several times since saying goodbye and I wish I still had it around.

This story follows a man who is transcribing his father’s journals to be used in creating an artificial intelligence program. It’s not scifi-y or anything, but I learned a lot about the standards for evaluating AI (basically, the computer has to consider itself a real person).

I found it fascinating that by giving the computer his father’s language and some logic programming (now I’m just pulling comp sci terms out of my ass… I don’t know) he was able to relate to and connect with his father posthumously, in a better way than he ever had when his father was alive.

The Inexplicable Logic of My Life by Benjamin Alire Sáenz


This book doesn’t get as much love as its predecessor, Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe. And while I do agree that Ari and Dante is the better book… this one is just as beautifully and emotionally written. This is another one that kept me up way too late. I had to wipe my tears at 1 am and force myself to put it down.

I just love the way Sáenz creates these characters that I want to wrap up in a hug and comfort. I connect with their emotions so deeply- the way they feel lost and confused and angry and sad, without necessarily knowing why. I really feel like this is YA written for adults. I can read his books from a (slightly) more stable emotional state and think… YES! I felt that. Beautiful.

Some other mentions:

  • The Museum of Extraordinary Things by Alice Hoffman
  • I Am the Messenger by Marcus Zusak
  • Memoirs of an Imaginary Friend by Matthew Dicks
  • The Paper Magician (series) by Charlie N. Holmberg

Have you read any of these? What made your list this week?

Fall Reading Plans

I have so many books that I’ve been putting aside to read close to Halloween that I have to make September through November my spooky reading time frame. October alone just would not cut it.

As I was considering my TBR shelves and which reads I would prioritize for this reading period, I realized that I could easily pair up books that had similar sounding premises, or that gave me a similar feeling from what I think they are about.

So, my plan is to pick books off of my shelf in pairs and do a versus style reading and reaction post. The pair will (for the most part) be a newer, more recently released book and an older classic/modern classic/well known book.

Here’s a rough idea of the match ups I’m planning and why I think they will go together:

The Wicked Deep vs Practical Magic


  • When I first heard of the Wicked Deep it was compared to Hocus Pocus and Practical Magic
  • Both books (I think) have the theme of centuries old curses, specifically targeting male love interests.
  • Witchy, coastal, small town atmosphere

The Wicker King vs The Bell Jar

  • From what I understand, both books follow the character’s decent into mental illness.

See What I Have Done vs We Have Always Lived in the Castle

  • I have read We Have Always Lived in the Castle before. It’s been three years, and I would love to re-read it and look out for clues.
  • I think See What I Have Done (a fictional account of the Lizzie Borden case) will have a similar patricidal tone.

The Island of Dr. Moreau vs ???

  • Dr. Moreau would be a reread for me, but I was definitely way too young when I read it the first time.
  • My choices to pair up with it are:
    • Jurassic Park– similar theme of scientists breaking the laws of nature and it biting them in the ass (literally). I’ve been wanting to read this for so long, and I remember the movie scaring the crap out of me when it came out a million years ago.
    • The Madman’s Daughter– This is an imagining of what Dr. Moreau’s daughter would face in the wake of her father’s experiments. This is actually the first in a series. I don’t expect this to be an amazing book, but I can’t help but be intrigued by it.

My Plain Jane vs ???

  • Ideally I would pair this new release with a re-read Jane Eyre, but that book is quite the chunker. I won’t totally dismiss the idea, but not sure how realistic this would be.
  • Jane Steele– another reimagining of the same source material
  • I would also consider reading The Madman’s Daughter against this book, because the are both YA twists on classic books.

The Hazel Wood vs The Book of Lost Things

  • Both books feature dark fairy tale elements and (I think) kidnapped family members.
  • I LOVE The Book of Lost Things so freaking much! This would be a third reading if I get to it.

Undead Girl Gang vs Frankenstein

  • I’m not actually thinking these are aligned at all, but…
  • Necromancy.

Will I get to all of these? Doubt it. I would be so surprised if I did. But I had fun thinking up these pairs to keep me motivated in my reading. There are some books I want to get to that don’t really fit in with this versus style either, so I guess we will just see what sort of reading mood I end up in.

Friday 56: ‘The Wicked Deep’

Friday 56 is a linkup hosted by Freda’s Voice


*Grab a book, any book.

*Turn to Page 56 or 56% on your e-reader.
If you have to improvise, that is okay.

*Find a snippet, short and sweet.

*Post it, and add the url to your post in the Linky below.

Also join in the fun on Instagram using the hashtags #Instagram56 #Friday56


I just finished reading The Wicked Deep by Shea Ernshaw.  I loved it.

Page 56 happens to blank, so this excerpt is from page 57:

“From the black waters of the harbor, their song sinks into dreams, permeates the brittle grass that grows along steep cliffs and rotting homes.  It settles into the stones that hold up the lighthouse; it floats and swirls in the air until it’s all you can taste and breathe.

“This is how they do it– how the sisters are freed from their brackish grave.  They steal three bodies and make them their own.  And this season, they do it swiftly.”


This book was well written without being to flowery.  It was dark and macabre without being scary or morbid.  It left me with a lot to think about in terms of love, loss and identity.

Let me know if you participate in The Friday 56.

Hope you have a great weekend ahead of you!

T5W: Favorite Friend Groups

Top 5 Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Sam from Thoughts on Tomes. Visit the Goodreads group for the topic schedule and to share your link.


I love this weeks topic of favorite friend groups. While I don’t always love multiple 1st person POVs, I do love ensemble casts with amazing chemistry.

Here are my favorites books with some kick-ass awesome crews: (featuring fanart I found on Pinterest/Google)

Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo


Pretty sure this is on every T5W this week. There’s a reason- these characters are so well written and their chemistry is perfection. Every character has their own motivation in working toward a common goal, and they all have vices/issues to work through making them so real and dynamic.

Crooked Kingdom, though. Have I mentioned before what that book did to me? I think I may have brought it up once or twice.

***breaks down sobbing***

The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer


This series is amazing…. I will accept no other opinions. I love it puts totally unique twists on fairy tale characters. I love all the ships. I love all the interactions. I love that their story continues in graphic novel format, and you get to see how close they all remain after all the crap they went through. Thorne and Cinder’s closeness is my absolute favorite. I also like the scenes with little Cress and Wolf interacting one on one. And Jacin is hilarious in the way that he doesn’t really fit into their group dynamic, but he is one of them anyway.

The Heroes of Olympus Series by Rick Riordan


These kids are just too cute. I love the age that they are in this follow up series to Percy Jackson and the Olympians; it makes their relationships among the group that much more meaningful. They are at that point in life where they are figuring out where they want to end up (if they survive long enough that is), and they are still young enough not to take things too seriously. Percy and Leo are so good at breaking tension and lightening the mood.

Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli


I really loved the crew from this book. Leah on the Offbeat destroyed them, in my opinion. And I was so looking forward to more adorableness.

Mistborn Trilogy by Brandon Sanderson


Maybe it’s just because it’s my most recent read… but I think these guys were great. If you can still find something to laugh about when planning on overthrowing an evil lord and are sure you won’t actually survive… then yeah, you have some good friends by your side.

Who are some of your favorite friend groups?

Let me know.

Top Ten Tuesday- Binge Worthy TV Shows


Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl.

This week’s topic is Top Ten Binge Worthy TV Shows.

This is pretty much the only way my husband and I watch TV.  We don’t have cable, and while I have a couple of shows I watch week to week on Hulu, we love having a series available on Netflix to veg out with once we finally get those tiny pirate monsters kids of ours to bed.

1. Marvel’s   (literally any one of the many shows)    

We are currently binging all the Marvel shows.  We got through all 5 seasons of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. on Netflix (we followed this timeline for how to watch the seasons of this show along with the Marvel movies).  Then we went over to Hulu to watch Agent Carter.  Loved it.  And now we are back on Netflix for Daredevil.  Holy cow.  We actually tuck the kids in and tell them we are going to start our show…”DO NOT COME IN THE LIVING ROOM if you need to get out of bed for anything”.  Wow is it gory.  I’ve had to cover my eyes and the sounds are enough to gross me out.

2. How I Met Your Mother

We watched this entire show all at once on Netflix.  If we were to watch it over we would skip the last season.  The show’s ending actually made us so angry that we are hesitant to watch even the earlier seasons again because now we know where they are going.  But until that point…it was so funny and I loved all the running jokes.  When I think of how many years they kept a joke going (for those who weren’t binging the show), it’s really impressive that they were able to keep track of everything for so long.

3. Cheers

We are way too young to have watched Cheers back in its day… but I had seen enough of the show in syndication growing up to say ‘hey let’s put this one on’ when we saw it on Netflix.  I’m so glad we did.  It was great.  I was actually more familiar with Frasier and knew it was a spin off, but when we finished Cheers I found I couldn’t stand Frasier… he is not the same person he was in the original show.  And what a shock to go from watching young Ted Danson every night… and then to see a commercial for The Good Place.  I mean I know aging happens, obviously.  But when we are connecting to the character that is around our age for 11 seasons, and then to see him in the present…. it was kind of jarring.

4. Friends


5. Everybody Loves Raymond

I love this show so much.  And I got a kick out of Patricia Heaton’s character Deborah, and how different she is from Frankie Heck (her character in The Middle, which we mostly kept up with thanks to Hulu).

6. Impractical Jokers

On a Netflix lull, we turned to watching all the episodes of this stupid show.  It was a great show to watch when we didn’t have the energy to invest in a story line.  It is four guys from Long Island who come up with hilarious scenarios and try to out-embarass each other.  That’s it.  It’s hilarious.  Until you realize that you’ve just watched like 7 years worth of this show and these guys still have this juvenile sense of humor… it’s kind of sad.  But still so funny, who am I kidding?

7. The Goldbergs

Holy f*** is this show hilarious!  I love the crazy family dynamic and how the mom is so obsessed with her kids and always getting bleeped because she drops f bombs like it’s her job (what? that’s not me! oh wait…)

We had seen an episode here and there, because ABC is the one channel our rabbit ear antenna picked up and it came on after The Middle.  But then we put it on Hulu one day and very quickly watched 4 seasons worth.

The rest of my list is some Sci Fi/ Fantasy that I watched alone because they are soooooo not my husband’s cup of tea.

8. The Magicians

I binged the first season two seasons, and I think I’m going to rewatch them before I binge the third season.  I want to read the books but have hear they are meh.  I’ll probably love them.  The show gives me very adult Harry Potter/Narnia vibes that I am ALL ABOUT!

9. Being Human (BBC Version)

Oh man, I binged this so hard a few years ago. Never watched the US version though.  Is this still even on Netflix? probably not.  I kind of want to watch this over again.  Vampire, Werewolf, and Ghost BFFS?  YES!  The last season gave me anxiety though, because it dealt with the devil and I’m Hispanic and was raised Catholic…. so, even though I don’t vibe with Catholicism, I still have some hang ups when it comes to demons and spirits.

10. Merlin

Oh this show.  It took me a few episodes to be on board with Merlin and Arthur being the same age.  I guess I was hung up on the traditional image of Merlin being old and mentoring Arthur.  But yeah I got over that real quick!  MERTHUR is the best the ship that never happened.  I love this show so much.  Yeah some episodes are cheesy, but the show is still AMAZING! My one hang up with the show…  The chick who plays Morgana is the literal worst actress EVER. Oh and also, the last episode is too intense to watch ever again.  I skipped it the last time I watched the series through and went back to episode 1 instead.

Oh boy it’s so hard to stop here with only ten.  But I will….because otherwise I’ll go on forever.

What shows have you binged?

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? vol. 2

Oh hi! I forgot today was Monday.  I’m so thrown off by my husband being home… yay three day weekends!!!


It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? is a place to meet up and share what you have been, are and about to be reading over the week. It’s a great post to organise yourself. It’s an opportunity to visit and comment, and er… add to that ever growing TBR pile!

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? is hosted by The Book Date.

Last week I was able to meet my goal of finishing The Final Empire.  To get the second half of the book finished I ended up switching back and forth through e-book and graphic audio, and it made for a really immersive reading experience.  Once I started listening to it I was able to connect with the characters a little better- I heard the actors’ voices as I read on my own, and I picked up more on the humor and character interactions from listening to parts of it.

mistborn-trilogy-cover1.jpg   cubs-in-toyland.jpg

I didn’t listen to or read anything else until I finished The Final Empire, but once I had that done I moved onto Fables vol. 18: Cubs in Toyland.  I really enjoyed reading this volume.  It did a better job at sticking to one story line than the previous volume did.  This was a very emotional and eerie installment.   I can’t recommend this graphic novel series highly enough. It got little ‘meh’ for a few volumes, but I really love the series overall.


This morning I started The Wicked Deep by Shea Ernshaw.  I have very high expectations for it as the kickoff of my fall/dark/witchy/spooky/Halloweeny TBR.  Afterwards, I plan on reading Practical Magic by Alice Hoffman.

  35297394  practical-magic.jpg

I also decided that I should go ahead and start the next Mistborn book, The Well of Ascension, and just take my time with it while reading some other things.  I know if I put it aside completely I am likely not to come back to it.

I also picked up Infidelity, a Memoir by Ann Pearlman from the library.  This sounded interesting, but I have a feeling it will be something I thumb through, not read cover to cover.  We’ll see what happens.


What have you been reading?  What will you be reading?

Make sure to visit the host page to check out more IMWAYR posts and to link up yours.

Have a great week!

The Relationshipper Book Tag

I was so excited to see that I was tagged to do this by the ladies at Fiction No Chaser.  I had every intention of getting this posted sooner….but….kids.  I haven’t gotten a chance to sit here and compose coherent thoughts until now.

This post is all about the ships.


The Rules:

  1. Answer the eleven questions provided by the blogger who tagged you
  2. Come up with eleven new questions of your own!
  3. Tag 5 new bloggers!
  4. Mention the blogger who tagged you and have fun!!


This was harder than I thought it would be….


What fictional character from a book would you date and why?

All of them.  For the sake of this tag I will pick Marko, from the Saga graphic novel series by Brian K Vaughn.  Because DAYUMMMMM can Fiona Staples draw one heck of a man! Yes I know he is a fictional character, but he is so hot! And sweet.  He loves so deeply and he’s a great dad, too….  Swoon…

What would your first date with this character look like? What would you do?

Bookshop and cuddle.  I’m also down for Netflix and chill.  Introvert dating.

What fictional characters would form your book significant other harem?

I want my harem to mesh well and have amazing chemistry, so I’m gonna make this easy on myself and say: you know The Lunar Chronicles? yeah…. that’s my harem now.

What’s your least favorite trope when it comes to book relationships?

Is miscommunication a trope?  Because I hate when that happens.  I hate when the characters are heart broken, fighting, or avoiding each other for no reason.  COME ONE GUYS!  Talk it out!   Stop jumping to conclusions!  You what they say: ‘when you assume….’

What’s your favorite ship?

How do I answer this?!  I feel like the ship in The Kiss Quotient is great.  It fell into that miscommunication trope I that I hate, but I feel like the respect and comfort that the relationship was built on was just…ugh… perrrrfect!  I will take Michael Phan over Christian Grey a hundred times over.

Also, Zuzana and Mik’s adorable relationship kind of steals the show in the Daughter of Smoke and Bone trilogy.  I haven’t read their novella, Night of Cake and Puppets, yet, but I expect great things and swoony feels.

What’s a ship you *hate*?

Let’s go with Ana and Christian in the 50 Shades books.  I loved these WHILE I was reading them, but as soon as I finished the series (which I binged while high on pregnancy hormones) and started discussing it, I quickly realized how many problems I had.  These two characters used sex as a weapon.

Also- Just like Jess and Teagan… I HAAAAATE Cal and Mare!

What’s a ship you’d like to third wheel with and why?

Simon and Bram (Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli)- because they are so freaking adorable! I feel like I would get a giddy contact high off of their cuteness.  If I had to third wheel (cue prom weekend memories) it would totally be fun hanging out with these two love birds, I think.

If you could delete one ship from a book, who would it be and why?

That would be from my current read, The Final Empire by Brandon Sanderson.  Vin and Elend do not need to be a thing.  I am always all for the romance in just about any story; and I am all for insta-love.  But no thanks.  Not this time.  My gosh the romance adds nothing to the story and it makes the character Vin ANNOYING!!!!

What two characters from different fandoms would you like to see together?

I don’t know, I’ve never really considered this…. hmmmm…..

Alucard Emery (Shades of Magic trilogy) and Jesper Fahey (Six of Crows duology).  Not only would this be a GORGEOUS couple.  Their playful personalities and hardcore flirtation would be electric!

What ship that ended are you still mourning?

I might break down and sob just thinking about this…. Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo DESTROYED me.  I’ll leave it at that.

 Jacob or Edward?

Ok so… I was Team Edward…. BUT Team Taylor when it came to the actors.  If I read the books over now (I won’t) I have a feeling that I might just switch teams.


Screen Shot 2018-08-31 at 10.30.02 PM.png

My Questions:

  1. Who was your first book crush?
  2. Who was your most recent book crush?
  3. What popular ship do you sink?
  4. Which unpopular ship do you actually love?
  5. Do you have a favorite friends to lovers ship?
  6. What ship reminds you of your relationship? or the relationship you would like to have?
  7. What ship was just unnecessary?
  8. Imagine your favorite ship 10 years in the future (from when their book ends)… where are they now?
  9. Which book do you want to see adapted to tv/movie? Who would you cast to bring your ship to life?
  10. What is a relationship that you wish happened?
  11. What character(s) have broken your heart?


I tag:

Sara @ The Bibliophagist

Vikki @ My Mundane Life

Megan @ The Cozied Reader

And any one else who would like to play along.