Top Ten Tuesday: Books Set In a Place I’d Love to Visit (real places or fictional)

Hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl

Since traveling isn’t possible for me at the moment (kids, pets, COVID, the usual), I’ll stick to traveling via the books I’m reading.

Places I’d like to visit that I discovered in books:

The Continent from Andrezej Sapkowski’s The Witcher series.  I’d love to meet elves, dwarves, and of course, Jaskier!

Icewind Dale, home to Drizzt Do’Urden, Bruenor Battlehammer, and more interesting characters.

Romania.  This has been featured in many books, but Mark Edwards’ Follow You Home really reawakened the urge to visit.  Just as long as nothing insane happens to me, thanks.

This is a two-fer: Charlotte, North Carolina and Montréal, Quebec, Canada. Kathy Reich’s Temperance Brennan series has really made me want to explore both cities.

The futuristic version of the US and Canada as depicted in Sean Grigsby’s Smoke Eaters.  I mean, dragons exist in that world!

Not exactly a place, but I’d love to take a trip on The Heart of Gold – the ship from The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams.  I want to know what it’s like to experience the improbability drive for myself.

Dublin, Ireland.  Although, in Catherine Ryan Howard’s book 56 Days, the country is in COVID lockdown, it’s still high on my list of places to visit someday.

Burning Lake, NY, a small, but exciting little town featured in the Natalie Lockhart novels by Alice Blanchard.

North Devon as it appears in Ann Cleeves’ Two Rivers series.  Although, I’m not sure I’d survive the cold!

Bellamy Bay, the bustling little coastal town in Esme Addison’s Enchanted Bay series.  A town where mermaid magic is alive and thriving?  Count me in.

What are some places you’d like to visit, either in real life or through the pages of a good book?

Top Ten Tuesday: Book Quote Freebie

Hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl

This week’s topic is a book quote freebie.  Which is perfect since I seem to collect book quotes.  I have no real theme for today other than these quotes either made me laugh, cry, or think about something differently.

  1. Men don’t have to pay attention the way we do. Men die because they make mistakes. Women? We die because we’re female.

This is from The Final Girl Support Group by Grady Hendrix.  It struck me for two reasons.  A) because it’s true and B) because a man put that thought onto paper.  Granted, the narrator is female, but still.

  1. Guncle Rule number eight: Live your life to the fullest every single day, because every day is a gift. That’s why people die. To teach us the importance of living.

There are so many quotes that I wanted to include from The Guncle by Steven Rowley, but most of what I saved were a bit um… inappropriate (albeit hilarious) … for this post.  This one got me though.

  1. When it comes to lying, there’s a golden rule: tell as much truth as you can. The truth is, after all, the easiest to remember. It’s the most consistent with inarguable fact.

From Bath Haus by P. J. Vernon.  This book was nuts, okay?  But that quote?  Right on the money.

  1. This is the terrible thing about a tragedy. It isn’t with you every minute. You forget it, and then you remember it again. And you see it with a stark quality: This is what is required of you now, just to get along.

From The Last Thing He Told Me by Lauren Dave.

  1. “There’s nothing wrong with being a mapmaker.” … “Of course not. And there’s nothing wrong with being a lizard either. Unless you were born to be a hawk.”

This is both inspirational and amusing at the same time.  From Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo.

  1. Dress shoes but no socks? Is that a thing now? Jesus, seriously? I think that might be the fourth sign of the apocalypse.

From The Red Book by James Patterson and David Ellis.  This made me think of my daughter and how she’d react to such a sight.

  1. “Lemonade.” Oblivious to the danger, Daniel went behind the bar to find the pitcher and refill her glass. Shaking his head, he began to laugh weakly. “I am standing in a vampire’s lair, and he serves me lemonade.”

From The Turn by Kim Harrison.  I love it when a character recognizes the ridiculousness of a situation.

  1. Geralt knew that bonnet and that feather, which were famed from the Buina to the Yaruga, known in manor houses, fortresses, inns, taverns and whorehouses. Particularly whorehouses.

From Sword of Destiny by Andrzej Sapkowski.  I love this because what a way to introduce a character, right?  Geralt knows it’s Dandelion (Jaskier) by the feather alone.

  1. But I was wrong—I don’t need a man to look past my size. I need someone who’ll see me and love me exactly as I am. For all its flaws, this show made me believe that that’s possible.

From One to Watch by Kate Stayman-London.

  1. He smiled. If it was not for the fact that she knew he was a vicious murderer, the expression would have been pleasant. Eric Spears was a handsome man. A charming man. A brilliant one. A cunning and deadly animal.

I’m including this because I very rarely get consumed by the bad guy.  However, from the very first book in Debra Webb’s Faces of Evil series, I was half in love with the psycho Eric Spears.  This quote comes from the short story “My Evil Valentine” that was a prequel to the series.

Bonus quote: “Castellan,” said Geralt, “why act in haste? After all, I really could have an accident at work, irrespective of my intentions. Just in case, the wise men should be thinking about how to save me from the king’s anger and get those fifteen hundred orens, of which rumor speaks, ready.”

This is from The Last Wish by Andrzej Sapkowski.  I laughed so dang hard when I read this.  Why?  Because Geralt is equating getting killed by a striga with a worker’s compensation claim.

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I Was SO EXCITED to Get, but Still Haven’t Read

Hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl

I’m a big-time mood reader so, often, when I finally get a book that I’ve been waiting ages for, it doesn’t get read immediately.  More often than not, it gets forgotten completely until I see a bazillion people posting about it and I think, “Hmm, I should get that – wait, I HAVE IT.”

Yeah, it’s a problem.

So, here are ten books I was thrilled to finally have and… haven’t managed to read yet.  Oops.

The Witcher series by Andrzej Sapkowski.  I bought the entire set in July 2019.  I wanted to read at least the first before the Netflix series started and gifted them to myself for my birthday.  To date, I’ve read two out of the eight books.

The Golden Couple by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen.  I love these two authors and devour every book of theirs I get.  And yet, I haven’t cracked this one open yet.  BOTM selection for February 2022.

The Love Hypothesis by Ali Hazelwood.  Another BOTM selection (as most of these are!) from October 2021.

A Flicker in the Dark by Stacy Willingham.  This book drew me to it like a moth to a flame.  And now it’s residing on my nightstand, waiting.  BOTM selection for February 2022.  I really need to start resisting those dang add ons!

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell.  I bought this book back in um… June 2014 in preparation for a trip to Huntington Beach, CA.  I was eager to read it, but I thought my daughters would enjoy it as well.  They did – one read it on the trip down, one on the way back.  Me?  Not yet.

Not a Happy Family by Shari Lapena.  I got excited when I saw this was one of the BOTM selections in August 2021.  I’d read her book, The Couple Next Door, and was so eager to read this new one.  Hah.

Razorblade Tears by S. A. Cosby.  This at least wasn’t an ignored Book of the Month choice.  I grabbed it quickly when the ebook was on sale.  Cheap… in July 2021.

Malibu Rising by Taylor Jenkins Reid.  This was my first BOTM choice because of all the hype I’d seen in regards to both the book and the author.  I’d had good intentions with this, but the minute I took it out of the box, my kid grabbed it and said, “Oooh, I’ve been hearing about this book.  Thanks.”  By the time she’d finished it, I was eyeball deep in something else.  BOTM for June 2021.

Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia.  Another ebook deal that I couldn’t pass up but couldn’t be bothered to read either.  June 2021.

Imaginary Friends by Stephen Chbosky.  Yet another ebook deal that suckered me in and then was soon forgotten.  February 2021.  What I really need help with is my addiction to one-click buying!

Top Ten Tuesday: Books with Adjectives in the Title

Hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl

This week’s topic is a fun one – Books with an Adjective in the Title!

Amazingly enough, these are all books I’ve read.

  1. Such a Pretty Smile by Kristi DeMeester
  2. The Concrete Blonde by Michael Connelly
  3. Blue Flag by Kaito
  4. Such a Quiet Place by Megan Miranda
  5. The Happy Sandwich by Jason Goldstein. Yes, this is a cookbook, but you have to love that title.
  6. Arrogant Officer: Falling for an Aries by Lauren Runow and Jennine Colette
  7. Local Woman Missing by Mary Kubica
  8. The Lost Apothecary by Sarah Penner
  9. A Curious Incident by Vicki Delany
  10. Silver in the Wood by Emily Tesh

What’s on your list this week?

TV Movie Review: A Silent Voice (Koe no Katachi)

imageA review of the movie “A Silent Voice (Koe no Katachi)”.

A young man is ostracized by his classmates after he bullies a deaf girl to the point where she moves away. Years later, he sets off on a path for redemption.

I’ve been a fan of animation all my life.  It was only natural to move from after school cartoons to more sophisticated anime as I got older.  Although, to be honest, not all anime is sophisticated.  A lot of it – and a lot of the stuff I choose to watch – is flat out silly.  This, however, is not the case for A Silent Voice. 

To the contrary, A Silent Voice is a much different, more serious sort of anime.  Which brings me to some content warning: this movie deals with bullying as well as suicidal ideation.   Although it is handled well, it can still be upsetting at times.

Shoko Nishimiya is the new girl in school and while she looks as normal as everyone else, she has one major difference – she’s deaf.  Unfortunately, this sets her up for bullying by her classmates, leaving her feeling ostracized and alone.  Despite this, Shoko never stops trying to make friends and to be a part of the group.  Things escalate and Shoko is eventually transferred to another school in hopes of giving her a better experience.  Sadly, this is all too common in our schools these days.  Kids can be the cruelest of people at times.  Brutal honesty at its harshest.
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tumblr_adc5b77edfeece1f62f24f54eae05045_ef4852d1_400Fast forward to high school.  Shoya Ishida, formerly one of Shoko’s biggest tormentors, finds himself on the other side of the fence.  After helping another loner being harassed by a bully, Shoya decides to search out Shoko in an attempt to redeem his past self.

He has a long road ahead of him because he was quite awful to Shoko in elementary school.  However, years of being a social outcast have changed him.  Shoya’s no longer able to look others in the eye and has no one he can call a friend.  Reuniting with Shoko changes everything for both himself and for Shoko and her family.  Slowly, they begin to build a lasting friendship that they never had the chance to start in elementary school.

ASF_01Beautifully animated, A Silent Voice is mesmerizing both visually and emotionally.  I often found myself laughing one moment at one of Tomohiro Nagatsuka’s antics and sobbing the next.  Every time a red x fell from someone’s face, I felt my heart skip with joy for Shoya.  Dark, and yet full of hope, this is a movie for families to watch together, or for friends to share with one another.  It’s all too true to reality which only makes it more of a must-see movie.  I saw so much of my own high school days in these characters, making me connect even more to them all in one way or another.  Parent or not, teen or not, I think most of us will be able to relate to the story of A Silent Voice.

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I Refuse to Let Anyone Touch

Hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl

This week’s topic is books I refuse to let anyone touch.  This was a tough one for me because, as a rule, I don’t hold onto books.  I like to read them and then pass them along so others can enjoy them.  However, I was able to come up with a few that you would have to fight me to borrow.

The collection of Little House on the Prairie books my mom gave me when I was in the fifth grade.  They’d long been my favorite so that Christmas, my mom gifted me with a box set of all the books.  I still have them along with the original box.  It’s one of the few things I have that my mom has given me and therefore they’re very precious.

The Accidental Werewolf by Dakota Cassidy.  I stumbled onto a Yahoo group around 2005 or so that was an author group for several authors, one of which was Dakota Cassidy.  When her book The Accidental Werewolf was released and she decided to do a book signing, I flew from my home on the West Coast to Houston, TX.  From there, a friend and I drove to Plano, TX – complete with wolf tails – for the book signing.  It was my first autographed book and although I’ve gotten several signed by her since, it’s still my most treasured.

Don’t Talk Back to Your Vampire by Michele Bardsley.  This ties in with the book above because she and Dakota Cassidy are pals.  In talking with Ms. Bardsley, I mentioned something about having one of her books in the car.  She looks at my friend and me and says, “If you go get it, I’ll sign it!”  Needless to say, we bolted back to the car.

X-Rated Bloodsuckers by Mario Acevedo.  I discovered his Felix Gomez books by accident. Meaning, my husband went to the bookstore for something else and stumbled across a book called the Nymphos of Rocky Flatts and decided he had to have it.  Guys, right?  So, when he came to town with Mark Henry, Cherie Priest, and Caitlin Kittridge on the Paranormal Bender Tour, I was all in.  He–and everyone, including local host Vicki Petterson–were amazing and it was a fun night that I won’t forget.  I left with five autographed books that night.
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Harm None by M. R. Sellars.  I can’t even remember where this signed book came from, but it’s one of my favorites.  I’d never read a series of books where the investigator was a pagan but I immediately fell in love with this series.  He’s a pretty funny guy, too.

My hardcover collection of R. A. Salvatore books.  Mostly the Drizzt novels because of the incredible artwork by Todd Lockwood.  These aren’t signed (please sir, come this way some day…), but the dust jackets are gorgeous and there’s no way I’m letting anyone take one out of the house and chance ripping them.

Lastly is my hardcover copy of The Complete Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams.  I was wandering through a bookstore in Phoenix not long after I graduated high school and stumbled across this huge book in the bargain bin.  I picked it up, read the blurb, and decided I had to have it.  I’d never heard of Arthur Dent or Douglas Adams at the time, but that book single-handedly changed my life.  The Hitchhiker’s Guide quickly became my very favorite book and, although I’ve had that book since the early 90’s, it still sits proudly on my bookshelf.  Now, I probably should upgrade to a newer version, one that contains And Another Thing that was written after Douglas Adams passed away but, there’s something significant about this book that makes me very resistant to ever let it go.

Now, that’s not quite ten–it’s seven, I do believe–but like I said before, I don’t hold onto very many books.  Those that I do  keep, aren’t always very special, but may be part of a collection or have some other reason for being kept.  However, these few rare items are my favorites and therefore shall not leave my home.  So don’t ask.

What books won’t you let out of your sight?

Top Ten Tuesday: Longest Books I’ve Ever Read

Hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl

 

It’s that time again – time for another Top Ten Tuesday!  This week’s theme is Longest Books I’ve Ever Read.  Being a fan of epic fantasy, I figured I’d have plenty to choose from.

1. Tad Williams’ Memory, Sorrow and Thorn trilogy totaling 2,363 pages.

Book #1 The Dragonbone Chair weighs in at 672 pages, book #2 Stone of Farewell at 608 pages, and the last, To Green Angel Tower with 1083 pages.  The last was so large that, when released in paperback, they had to issue it in two volumes.

2. Jacqueline Carey’s Phedre’s Trilogy totaling 2,395 pages.

3. Marion Zimmer Bradley’s The Mists of Avalon.  884 pages.  I can only count the first in this series since I haven’t read any of the others.

A Game of Thrones  by George R. R. Martin.  819 pages. I haven’t managed to make it any farther into this series so far, but eventually I will finish it.

4. Tad Williams’ Shadowmarch series totaling 2,890 pages.

Book #1 Shadowmarch has 796 pages, book #2 Shadowplay has 656, book #3 Shadowrise has 672, and book #4 Shadowheart concludes with 766.  Still one of my favorite fantasy series.  Briony was my hero.

5. Angels and Demons by Dan Brown with a respectable 736 pages.  Also, the best of the series, hands down.  DaVinci Code who?
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6. Dreamcatcher by Stephen King.  688 very odd pages in this one.  Love Stephen King but this book was just out there, even for him.

7. Belinda by Anne Rampling.  640 pages.  Almost ashamed to even mention I read this.  Thankfully I read it as a late teen.  Had I read this as an adult I’d have had even more serious issues.

8. Lady of the Forest by Jennifer Roberson, 608 pages.  One of the best Maid Marian-focused novels I’ve ever read.  Worth every single page.

9. Book #1 Kushiel’s Dart with 1,015 pages, book #2 Kushiel’s Chosen with 678 pages, and book #3 Kushiel’s Avatar with 702 pages.

I’m going to wrap this list up with one of the most creative, engaging, and LONG series I’ve ever read.  I still have every hardback copy in my bedroom at home.

10. Tad Williams’ Otherland series.  2,892 pages.

Book #1 City of Golden Shadow with 780 pages, book #2 River of Blue Fire with 675 pages, book #3 Mountain of Black Glass with 749 pages, and book #4 Sea of Silver Light wrapping it all up with 688 pages.  If you like virtual reality-themed novels, this is definitely the series for you.  Let me tell you, reading this in 1996 when it was originally published was wild.  It’s probably pretty tame by today’s standards of technology.

Books and series like the above make me grateful for e-books.  I never delved into Jacqueline Carey’s Imriel’s Trilogy, simply because my hands could not handle another series of books that large.  Maybe I need to look into them now?

What are the largest books you’ve ever read?  I recently picked up Helter Skelter on sale at Amazon, dreading starting that one already!