Welcome To My TBR, New Authors!

I love this week’s Top Ten Tuesday topic, you guys! I came across a lot of fantastic new-to-me authors this year, most of which have back lists I can now devour. In fact – almost every single author on this list has at least one title I can look forward to getting my hands on. Be sure and let me know if you have an opinion on what I should pick up next from any of these guys!


1.Sarah Vowell. She has published numerous non-fiction books filled with essays based on her travels and experiences dealing with politics and history. Sound boring? I can promise you she is anything but! So far, I’ve only read The Partly Cloudy Patriot, but I seriously can’t wait to pick up more. I love her sense of humor – and her willingness to state her opinion. If you’re a non-fiction fan, she is a definite must read!

2. Daniel Woodrell. I read his 2013 release, The Maid’s Version, and fell in love with his writing style in just a few pages. His depiction of life in Missouri, both in the present and in the past, was full of honesty and color – and written so wonderfully. Sigh, I swoon. I have already been buying up his previous books like an obsessed lunatic – plus, Jennifer Lawrence starred in a movie based on one of them! I foresee a long, happy future with the writings of this man.

3. Rainbow Rowell. Me, you and everyone else on the planet can probably agree on this one, right? I actually didn’t love Eleanor & Park, but my deep and abiding devotion for Fangirl more than makes up for that. Everything about that book is utter perfection, and I could gush about it for hours! Expect it near the top of my best of 2013 list, y’all.


4. Anna Lee Huber. I love historical mystery series a lot, you guys. Especially if they have romantic subplots. The Lady Darby books are just such a series! It’s still pretty new – just two books so far, but I promise that when you pick up The Anatomist’s Wife, it won’t take you long to be nearly as devoted as I am – especially if you’re already a fan of Deanna Raybourn and/or Tasha Alexander.

5. Jo Baker. To put it simply, Longbourn blew me away. I appreciated every inch of the story – from the characters to the plot to the brutal and honest depiction of the servants’ lives. If you think you know the Bennet family? Just wait until you see them from the POV of the people paid to clean their chamber pots.

6. Benjamin Alire Sáenz. I’m keeping this one short and sweet. Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe is easily one of the best books I have ever read,  and I can’t imagine how anyone could disagree.


7. Kasie West. Pivot Point was a wonderful surprise, and one of my favorite YA books of the year. I can’t wait to continue that series and see what else she has in store!

8. Austin Kleon. His non-fiction talks a lot about creativity and how to share and brainstorm ideas – he also writes really awesome newspaper blackout poetry. Steal Like An Artist would make an excellent gift, especially for recent grads!

9. Daniel O’Malley. The Rook was one of the most inventive, complex and interesting books I picked up this year.  I need more from that world ASAP! If you like fantasy or paranormals with excellent worldbuilding, this is an author for you.

10. George Orwell. A little late to the party, aren’t I? I read and loved Animal Farm this year, and now I have a couple books of his essays I can’t wait to dive into!



The Books I’m Gifting in 2013

christmas books

So, I love books and I love my family. Therefore, I love giving books to my family for Christmas! Unfortunately, only a couple of them actually appreciate them, so I am trying to tone it down a bit this year…

Still, I thought it would be fun to show you some of the titles I’ve picked out!

(It’s purely coincidence that these are all titles I’m interested in reading as well. I swear.)

If you are looking for a more comprehensive gift recommendation list, I did a shopping guide last year you should check out as well.

for my dad…

Harry Truman's Excellent Adventure

Harry Truman’s Excellent Adventure by Matthew Algeo Goodreads / Amazon

My dad definitely isn’t much of a reader, and when he does read it is usually non-fiction. So, I figured this would be a fun choice! He was super young when Truman was president, but I still think the book sounds like a great way to experience the 1950s.


for my mom…

Sparrowhawk Series

The Sparrowhawk Series by Edward Cline Goodreads / Amazon

The past few years, I’ve taken advantage of my mom’s love for the Downton Abbey TV show and gotten her books relating to that time period. But when I was growing up, we were both pretty obsessed with the Colonial period so I decided to take her back there this year! This six book series sounds really interesting and incredibly well researched, so I’m hoping it’ll suck her back to the 18th century.

for my mom and dad…

Heads in Beds

Heads in Beds by Jacob Tomsky Goodreads / Amazon

My parents hardly ever watch the same TV shows, but they’ve both recently become addicted to The Travel Channel’s Hotel Impossible. Since they both seem so interested in getting an inside look behind the scenes of life at hotels, I thought it would be really awesome to get them a book they could possibly read together as well!

for my grandma…

Jubilee Trail

Jubilee Trail by Gwen Bristow Goodreads / Amazon

Gwen Bristow has special meaning for both my mom and I because her late best friend is who got us hooked on her in the first place, so we’re both excited to give this book to my grandma this year because it’ll mean a lot to her as well. It is an awesome look at 19th century life in California, which is one of my all time favorite settings, so I recommend this one all the time!

for a guy’s secret santa pick…

Paddle Your Own Canoe

Paddle Your Own Canoe by Nick Offerman Goodreads / Amazon

My extended family is trying out secret santa this year, so my dad has to contribute a “man gift.” I convinced my mom this book should be a part of it! I 100% plan to read it before it gets wrapped. I am not ashamed.



So – now it’s your turn! What books are you giving to your family and friends this year?


In Which I Readathon…


Books Read:

  • The Great Gilly Hopkins by Katherine Paterson (148 pages)
  • Newspaper Blackout by Austin Kleon (173 pages)
  • Pink Books & A Machete by Mireya Mayor (304 pages)
  • Terrain by Genevieve Valentine (32 pages)
  • Tom Ass by Ann Lawrence (141 pages)
  • Galatea by Madeline Miller (37 pages)
  • The Little Broomstick by Mary Stewart (127 pages)
  • The Uncommon Reader by Alan Bennett (120 pages)
  • At Large and At Small by Anne Fadiman (240 pages)
  • The Time Machine by H.G. Wells (112 pages)
  • Joyland by Stephen King (283 pages)
  • Bride to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson (163 pages)


You Guys…It’s October 2013 Readathon Time!

If you know me, you know I absolutely love the biannual 24 hour readathon. It is the one blogging tradition I’ve consistently adhered to since starting my blog in 2010. I have a pretty big stack of books picked out, and I’m pretty excited to get through some of these options!

As always, my goal will be to get through 10 books. (Which sounds impressive, but really isn’t since most of my picks are either juvenile or novellas!)

The physical stack:

october 2013 readathon

  • Tom Ass by Ann Lawrence
  • The Little Broomstick by Mary Stewart
  • Caddie Woodlawn by Carol Ryrie Brink
  • Mara, Daughter of the Nile by Eloise Jarvis McGraw
  • Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson
  • At Large and At Small by Anne Fadiman
  • Joyland by Stephen King
  • The Farthest Away Mountain by Lynn Reid Banks
  • Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
  • Newspaper Blackout by Austin Kleon

Kindle options:

  • Pink Boots & A Machete by Mireya Mayor
  • Dandelion Wine by Ray Bradbury
  • Three Schemes and a Scandal by Maya Rodale
  • Terrain by Genevieve Valentine
  • Meridian Six by Jaye Wells
  • The Great Gilly Hopkins by Katherine Paterson


1) What fine part of the world are you reading from today?

My lovely apartment in Norman, Oklahoma.

2) Which book in your stack are you most looking forward to?

Possibly The Farthest Away Mountain by Lynne Reid Banks. I’ve had it for awhile, but I’ve been saving it for the readathon!

3) Which snack are you most looking forward to?

I actually didn’t buy anything especially for this weekend, but I do have a new coffee blend to try out.

4) Tell us a little something about yourself!

I have a serious RAGE problem when it comes to being interrupted while I’m reading. I also have loud neighbors – so I hope they survive the day!

5) If you participated in the last read-a-thon, what’s one thing you’ll do different today? If this is your first read-a-thon, what are you most looking forward to?

I’ve been doing this for awhile, so I have a system that works for me. I absolutely love being able to update my Goodreads Challenge totals at the end of the day! It’s the small things in life, y’all.


Vicious by Victoria Schwab

I have been eagerly anticipating Vicious by Victoria Schwab since the first announcement of the book deal. When I get into a discussion of authors with the best writing style, she is one of the first people I always mention. So, a book about superheroes written by a master of her craft? Oh, I knew it would be magic.

Vicious Victoria Schwab

The story surrounds Victor and Eli. They attended university together and got tangled up in a project studying EOs (Extra Ordinaries). Are they real? Where do their supposed abilities come from? Delving into the science behind those questions leads our boys down a dark road neither of them is ever able to come back from. They go from a strange friend/frenemy(ish) relationship to a pretty ugly one of outright adversaries.

The moments that define our lives aren’t always obvious. They don’t always scream LEDGE, and nine times out of ten there’s no rope to duck under, no line to cross, no blood pact, no official letter on fancy paper. They aren’t always protracted, heavy with meaning. Between one sip and the next, Victor made the biggest mistake of his life, and it was made of nothing more than one line. Three small words.

“I’ll go first.”

The story alternates between the distant past, the not-so-distant past and the present. From Eli and Victor’s school days to the days and weeks leading up to their final showdown, to the big day itself. If that sounds like the recipe to a hot mess to you? Stop worrying. I told you, when you’re with Victoria Schwab, you will learn to expect nothing less than brilliance. (Have I mentioned how much I love her writing? Because I really love her writing.)

I absolutely love the characterization throughout Vicious. Good luck deciding who is bad, good, mostly good, partly bad…who knows what to think about any of them, really. They’re quite the motley crew (keep in mind that most of them have extraordinary abilities). Victor is on a mission of revenge – ten years after Eli puts him in prison, he is ready to take back his own. He picks up a couple of sidekicks along the way…Mitch and Sydney (the only two characters you’ll wholeheartedly root for). Victor is a pretty complicated guy, but you kinda can’t help but like him. Probably because you would have to be a sociopath to side with Eli over him. Same goes for Eli’s TERRIBLE cohort, Serena, who freaked me the eff out.

Eli is a zealot with a hero complex. He thinks he is on some righteous mission (and I think he has a few screws loose). I know he is supposed to be the main “bad guy,” but you guys – I hated Serena a lot more. Eli’s evil is narrow and focused, and about as blunt as a club over the head. Serena’s powers are slithering and all-encompassing. I found her extremely immature and mercurial, which are not good things to be when you have the power to manipulate the crap out of everything. When she and Eli were together, you better believe I was waving a “TEAM ELI” flag high and proud.

Anyway, when it comes down to it? You should scurry right over to the bookstore and pick up a copy of Vicious. Heck, pick up three. Do your part to make sure the publisher is interested in a sequel! Once you finish reading, you’ll definitely be jonesing for more.

Check out Vicious by Victoria Schwab on Goodreads / Amazon

Other Reviews:
Expresso Reads
The Housework Can Wait


Animal Farm by George Orwell

I always try to read at least one or two banned books every year during Banned Books Week, and this time around I chose Animal Farm by George Orwell. Y’all, I REALLY enjoyed this book. I am actually bummed that I never got the chance to study it in high school. Lots of entertainment, lots of food for thought – I definitely recommend this one if, like me, you went to a school where reading was optional.

Animal Farm George Orwell

I don’t have a lot to say about this one, because if you ARE like me and haven’t read it before, I don’t want to be the one that ruins it for you. For such a short book, it sure packs a punch.

The gradual progression of events in Animal Farm impressed me a lot. From the animals realizing they might have the power to do something about their enslavement to humans, to the way they rebel, to the events that follow…I enjoyed this book a lot, have I mentioned that? It is a little scary, a little ironic and a little too familiar (also a little funny in a disturbed way). From the empowerment to the greed and brainwashing that followed, there was this dark humor to the tone of the narration that gave me the serious creeps (in a good way).

Also, can we take a moment of silence to appreciate that massively amazing/brilliant/I bow-down-to-you-George-Orwell ending? Seriously. I read the last chapter twice.

Those pigs, man. I bet anybody that reads this enjoys their bacon just a little bit more afterwards. (Is that wrong?)

I think the next time I read Animal Farm – oh yes, you can bet on there being a next time – I’ll audio it. What better way to make the scary Napoleon even scarier or the gradual brainwashing even more sinister?

Pick this one up, you guys. And if you have already read it, read it again! Worth it.

Check out Animal Farm by George Orwell on Goodreads / Amazon

Other Reviews:
The Broke & the Bookish
Sarah Reads Too Much
A Literary Odyssey
(I’ll be happy to add your review, just give me the link!)