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text 2015-04-28 21:00
Top Ten Tuesdays: Something About Characters

Top Ten Tuesdays is an original and weekly feature hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.



Top Ten Books Which Feature Characters Who ________



Another "choose your own topic" Top Ten list.  I spent a whole month and then some really contemplating this one and came up with another lame little easy topic to use:


Top Ten Books Which Feature Characters Who Investigate... Stuff... Mainly Mysteries of Some Form... in Both Criminal and Non-Criminal Capacities




I had a list of ten different topics I could have used for this week's Top Ten Tuesdays, but in the end, I randomly glanced at my list and just said, "Yeah, let's do this one."  This is not to say I didn't put any effort into writing my list and it's not that I don't like this topic either--after all, it was one of many I'd written down as a possibility.


In this instance, I like a good mystery and I like following a good investigation, whether criminal or not, so I have a ton of books to choose from for characters who simply investigate stuff.


And I can categorize them too, if need be... but I won't.  At least not in a way that makes sense to anyone other than myself.



The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith

Special Mention: The Cuckoo's Calling


Investigators:  Cormoran Strike and Robin Ellacot -- Private Investigators (PI)

Cormoran, a war veteran, runs his own private investigating firm, but also has a great head for criminal investigations.  His receptionist slash assistant Robin is making her way up to becoming his investigating partner as she hones her natural skills in this particular field.


Robert Galbraith, a.k.a. J.K. Rowling, is an excellent author and The Silkworm is a genius book that not only presents a mystery, but also some inspiring human drama and thought-provoking ideals.



Out of the Shadows by Kay Hooper


Investigators:  Noah Bishop, Miranda Knight, et al -- Law Enforcement

Noah Bishop is an FBI agent who heads the Special Crimes Unit, a team of agents who specialize in "less orthodox methods of criminal investigating"--which is basically the publicly acceptable term for psychic investigators.


This is Book 3 in a long running series that is at Book #15 now, each book focusing on another set of psychic investigators with a handful of law enforcement who don't have psychic abilities as well.  But since Out of the Shadows is the strongest of the books I have read (so far) in this series, I figured it could represent all of them--it also helps that this is Noah Bishop's specific book and he's the head of the Special Crimes Unit.


The books are enjoyable and well-written, sometimes with left-field conclusions, but great build up and a good balance of mystery and romance.  And there are a lovely group of likable characters both part of the SCU or just local law enforcement, or not even law enforcement at all who all investigate the cases in their own ways.



To the Limit

Over the Line

by Cindy Gerard


Investigators:  Eve Garrett and Tyler "Mac" MacClain in To the Limit; Dallas, Noah, and Ethan Garrett in Over the Line.  While these are technically bodyguard-themed books, they both have a sense of criminal mystery as the background (which is why they're my favorite of the six Bodyguard books).  Mac is technically the only traditional investigative profession presented as a private investigator and ex-police detective.  The Garrett siblings do investigative work based on their current client necessities as well as based on personal interest.


Eve Garrett used to be Secret Services which makes her a tough cookie, and whether teamed up with Mac or by herself, she shows great potential for investigative work as she tries to hunt down the truth about what happened to her dear friend, a young girl she used to be security detail for before she got kicked out of Secret Services because some rich guy believed she'd screwed up when she still did her job properly.  In Over the Line the Garrett brothers team up to investigate the unfolding mysteries which had started off as protection detail of a rock star, that slowly became a murder mystery.



Deadly Dreams by Kylie Brant


Investigators:  Marisa Chandler and Nate McGuire -- Mindhunter criminologist and Law enforcement.  Marisa, or Risa for short, used to be a police detective with the Philadelphia PD until the former FBI agent, Adam Raiker recruited her as an expert criminologist.  Nate McGuire is currently part of Philadelphia PD, and teamed up together, the two make an excellent investigative unit.


The entirety of the Mindhunters series is dark, gritty, and intense with a great balance of romance and suspense.  Deadly Dreams is my favorite of the entire series with Waking the Dead as a close second and Waking Nightmare having sentimental value as the very first book in the series.


The criminologists of Adam Raiker's Mindhunter organization are all well-versed in every form of criminal investigation, with a strong emphasis on crime scene processing and profiling.  Each of the women in these stories also have their strengths and weaknesses.


The rest of the series investigators:

  • Waking Nightmare -- Abbie Phillips, Mindhunter; Rine Robel, Police Detective
  • Waking Evil -- Ramsey Clark, Mindhunter; Devlin Stryker, parapsychologist (yes, he does investigative work on the paranormal)
  • Waking the Dead -- Caitlin Fleming, Mindhunter with a specialization in Forensic Pathology
  • Deadly Intent -- Macy Reid, Mindhunter with a specialization in handwriting analysis; Kellan Burke, Mindhunter
  • Deadly Sins -- Adam Raiker, Mindhunter (yes, the Grand Poobah of Mindhunters); Jaid Marlowe, FBI agent



Something About You by Julie James



Investigators:  Jack Pallas and Sam Wilkins, FBI agents.

By all rights, this is technically a poor choice for this category, but it's a great book with fun narration and witty dialogue and banter, excellently created characters.  The investigation part of the book is minimal because the killer is revealed at the beginning anyway, but I'm biased (because I love this series) and Jack and Sam are FBI agents and DO present some short scenes of FBI investigating work...


But like the rest of the series, this is more of Contemporary Romance based on FBI/US Attorney workplace stories more than anything.  And no, Cameron doesn't do any investigating as a prosecutor, so she doesn't get to be called an investigator, not really, but I love her all the same.



Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers



Investigators: Ismae Rienne, NUN ASSASSIN!!  And Gavriel Duval, some guy at court working for his sister who happens to be the Duchess of Brittany.


I guess this book doesn't have any type of typical criminal investigations or whatnot, but there is some investigating going on as Ismae and Gavriel work together to uncover the secrets and plots of treason, as well as who is behind all the wrongs committed against the Duchess Anne.  And believe me, even if the tone isn't suspenseful or exciting, the story was clever and gripping and thought-provoking all the same.



Pivot Point by Kasie West

The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

The Archived by Victoria Schwab


With these last three books, we know that I truly am being biased.  Here's the honest truth, these three books are my favorite recent reads and even though they aren't typical investigation books with typical investigative story lines, there are some forms of some kinds of "investigating" going on.


In Pivot Point, Addie uses her ability to see into two possible futures dependent on a big choice she must make.  Amidst all of this, there are some strange things going on in both futures and some investigating going on by herself, her friends, and her parents about some random mystery that is actually lurking in the background compared to the main story line.


In The Raven Boys, Gansey and his crew are kind of seeking the whereabouts of a Welsh King so that he may grant a favor to the person who wakes him.  In a way, they're "investigating" the secrets of the Welsh King, the ley lines, and other paranormal stuff going on.


In The Archived, Mac's actual job is sending Histories back into the archives of the dead--backstory: when people die, their entire life is recorded in body-shaped records called Histories and shelved accordingly in the Archives, guarded by Librarians; but every so often a History will wake up and try to find his or her way out into the real world, but are trapped in a hallway in-between instead.  In The Archived, there is something mysterious and sinister afoot among the Archives and Mac finds that she needs to figure out what it is.



-- Honorable Mentions --



  • The Nightmare Affair by Mindee Arnett:  Dusty and Eli help investigate the murder of a fellow studen via psychic dreams that Eli has that only Dusty can enter and investigate.
  • Omens by Kelley Armstrong:  Olivia learns that her real parents are infamous cultist serial killers and so she leaves her comfortable adoptive home and investigates both her past and a possible truth behind the serial killings.
  • The Restorer by Amanda Stevens:  Amelia Grey is a graveyard restorer who can see ghosts and is tasked to voluntarily assist Detective John Devlin in a brutal murder that may be linked to headstone symbolism--something she is an expert at.
  • Cold Sight by Leslie Parrish:  Former psychic detective Aiden McConnell is asked (or rather begged) to come out of his hermit's shell by investigative news reporter Lexie Nolan to uncover what she believes is a string of serial kidnappings/serial killings of teenagers; because no one else in the town will believe her, she needs Aiden to help her find proof with his psychic abilities to save these teenage girls.
  • The Dollhouse Murders by Betty Ren Wright:  Amy studies the ghostly happenings of a by-scale, intricately detailed, exact replica dollhouse of her Aunt Clare's home to find out what really happened in the murders of her paternal grandparents over twenty years ago.  She even runs off to the library to do her own research using old newspapers on microfilm (that stuff makes me seasick!).



-- Honorable Mention Runner-Ups --


  • She's Got the Look by Leslie Kelly: The day before Melody Tanner's wedding, her friends convince her to make a "Sex List" of five men she is allowed to sleep with even after she's married.  Fast forward into the present, Melody has finalized her divorce from a cheating husband and her best friend wants her to follow through with said "Sex List" in order to rebound from her ugly marriage/divorce.  But the men on her list have all coincidentally started dying off, with one of them being an obvious murder; and so now Nick Walker, police detective (who is also on Melody's list), must look into a possible connection as he investigates his murder case.
  • Heartbreaker by Julie Garwood:  A serial killer challenges the FBI by openly threatening Nick Buchanan's best friend, Father Thomas Madden, telling the priest that he has his sights set on his sister Laurant.  Now Nick must hunt down this serial killer as well as keep her protected.
  • Investigating the Hottie by Juli Alexander:  Amanda finds out that her aunt is part of a spy agency working for the government and that she has been recruited as part of the teen spy program.  Her first assignment is to investigate hottie teen Will Middleton who may or may not be a threatening hacker, who may or may not have something big planned for the cyber world that could affect millions of people.





And there we have a ton of books with one aspect of investigating a mystery of some form or another.  Case in point, I love mysteries and I love reading about the investigative process by which out beloved characters go about searching for the truth.



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text 2015-04-27 07:22
A Word From Maggie...

I just read some news on Facebook that made me go "Boooo.....", but at the same time had me a little relieved.


See Maggie Stiefvater's Facebook page for an update on The Raven King:



You can click on the photo above or the link above to go to her news update.  And while I'm a little disappointed that the publication date has been pushed back to the end of February 2016 (That's ten months from now!), I have this feeling of relief that we won't be closing in on The Raven Cycle era too soon.  I'm still basking in this hype and trying to convince myself that Maggie won't do terrible things to Gansey and maybe decide to let him have a happily ever after, even when all plot points are saying otherwise.


Also, I dread the moment when I fly through The Raven King, finish it, and then drown in the empty void of FEELS of knowing it's the last book and there will be no more Gansey, or Blue, or Noah, or Ronin, or Adam.


Also, as others have pointed out, I'd rather have an excellent product a little bit later than get just a simple good product too soon.


Maggie is an excellent writer and manages to slip a lot of ingenious, thought provoking quips into her stories that can be easily missed if you're not paying attention.  At the same time, you always catch something new when you're skimming through the book and rereading certain scenes.


So I'm willing to wait out the extra few months to get another magical Maggie Stiefvater novel if it means I'll have something to fall in love with one more time.


Also, on a side note, if it's any indication that Maggie is an excellent writer with an interesting penchant for nonsensical, amusing one-liners and a great sense of humor, I enjoyed her news update post and had fun just reading THAT!


I can't wait to see what she has in store for us with the last Raven Cycle book.  But I will wait if only because it'll make the moment so much more pleasurable when the book finally comes out.


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review 2015-04-22 09:00
Brief Thoughts: Deadly Lies
Deadly Lies - Cynthia Eden

Deadly Lies -- Cynthia Eden

Book 3 of Deadly series

2011 Release -- Forever; Grand Central Publishing

Adult, Romantic Suspense, Erotica, Mystery



Just as suspenseful, thrilling, and romantically heated as Cynthia Eden's first two Deadly books, Deadly Lies was very much intense and un-put-down-able. I believe that I had picked it up thinking to just read a few chapters to get started... then I ended up a lot further than expected.

Once again, another Cynthia Eden book that hooks you from the start, with likable characters and an intriguing criminal mystery. The dark tone of the story helps too. And once again, the focus is really more on the Romance and the steamy sex than was really necessary. However, I flew through this book so quickly that I didn't even really take note when or if the romance scenes felt inappropriately placed.

The Story in Brief:
Samantha Kennedy was introduced in the first Deadly book, Deadly Fear and suffered a tragic, deathly torture at the hands of the killer called "Watchman". Using her fear of water against her, the twisted killer would drown her and then resuscitate her just to turn around and drown her again--it was an endless cycle of hell for Sam until she was finally rescued by her fellow SSD agents.

Unfortunately, Sam has not been able to recover from this incident. She's worried that she never will and that her SSD boss will see through her anxiety and that everyone will think that she is incapable of continuing to do her job. In order to forget, Sam chooses to lose herself in no-strings passion. Which is how she meets Max Ridgeway.

At present, the SSD is investigating a string of serial kidnappings--young college boys from well-to-do families are being taken. And the stakes are starting to become higher when two of the most recent kidnapping victims get sent back to their families in pieces.

The next kidnapping victim turns out to be Max's younger step-brother, Quinlan Malone. And on top of that, the SSD have learned that the game is changing for these kidnappers--their patterns are changing and their crimes are escalating.

Overall Thoughts:
As per usual, there are Romance elements spread throughout the story at some of the most inopportune spots. Sam will be in the middle of investigating a lead, but then she'd run into Max and the two get sucked into their whirlwind passion of lust and sex. And then the reader is left wondering, "Wait, what about that lead you were in the middle of following? What about the kidnapping case? What about the victims and the murders?"

And then almost immediately--after a quick scene of fast, steamy sex--we get right back on track: another victim gets kidnapped, calls are made, and Samantha slips into the Malone household, undetected even though the kidnappers specifically specify that there are to be NO COPS INVOLVED or else Quinlan will die.

I think why I liked this last Deadly book more than the previous two had to do with two things:

1st) I've come to like the world and the characters, because even the supporting characters have mysterious pasts and lives of their own to pique my curiosity;

2nd) Sam and Max's relationship was strewn with angsty emotions of a good kind of feel that I can't describe, because both of them are damaged individuals fighting their own demons alone until they meet each other. Sometimes I hate these tropes... sometimes, I guess depending on the characters and the focus of the story line, they work for me.

It probably also helped that we've known Sam since the beginning and have watched her struggle through her terror with the promise of finally being able to let go and move on with her life now.

Deadly Lies is fast-paced and exciting, and as I had already mentioned, you just didn't have time to dwell on the disconnects between Romance elements and Suspense elements, because both aspects are written very well, even if their continuity is a little bit stunted. As in the first two books, it was hard for me to reconcile the case investigations suddenly taking a turn into steamy sex being had and then back again.

But, honestly, did that really bother me at all? No. Not really.

Again, if it's one thing that Cynthia Eden does quite well it's Romantic Suspense. And despite the fact that this is the last book in the Deadly series (as of present, because who knows what will happen in the future) I really WOULD love to continue following the FBI team of Serial Services Division agents. There are still so many more stories to tell (Kim Daniels and Jon Ramirez are stellar side characters who need their own books) so will happily welcome a continuation of this series if it ever happens.

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review 2015-04-22 09:00
Thoughts: Prodigy
Prodigy - Marie Lu

Prodigy -- Marie Lu

Book 2 of Legend trilogy

2013 Release -- Putnam Juvenile

Young Adult, Dystopian, Science Fiction, Romance



The intensity of Prodigy is much more prominent in this second book of the Legend trilogy; though I have to admit, it took some time to get the excitement of the story going. While the first book lacked a solid world history and building, Prodigy makes up for it by finally giving us an idea of how the United States of America ended up in the chaos that is a divided country--The Republic to the west and the Colonies of America to the east. And fortunately, the history lesson we get through Day’s and June’s separate respective parts of their journey don’t feel like a textbook infodump.

Some of it still feels a little sketchy and requires a stretching of one’s willingness to suspend disbelief--such as the sun going haywire for a few years and melting all of the Antarctic’s ice and snow, thus causing a savage flood of the eastern coastline of North America, with a domino effect leading to the chaos that eventually required martial law to control the mass of panic from the people… (Yeah… I’m still processing that one.) … And then creating what is now an American broken into two separate countries, each with their own fallacies.

But at least the world of Legend now has some solid background to stand on so that the rest of the story can move forward; now we can know what June and Day will be fighting for after learning why the States are in such a terrible mess.

Unfortunately, Prodigy slightly suffers from what I like to denote as either the “Sequel Syndrome” or the “Hardships of the Bridging Book in a Trilogy”. As the second book, Prodigy not only needs to pick up where Legend left off and take the entire trilogy where it needs to go, but it must also give us that open-ended conclusion that tells us that there is still a final conclusion to be had in another whole book of 300+ pages or more (and do it without dragging or ending in an abrupt cliffhanger).

Prodigy felt slightly directionless after June and Day arrive at the Patriot’s headquarters despite the fact that the action never ceased moving forward. But the beginning of this book simply felt like it dragged on for quite some time until both June and Day were deposited in their respective assigned roles in the pending revolution against the Republic.

Afterwards, everything rushed forward in an extremely fast-paced, exciting adventure for our heroes, and I will admit that I finally got to the point where I couldn’t put the book down. It was unfortunate that we get a too open-ended conclusion--despite NOT being an abrupt cliffhanger, the end was still a cliffhanger, nonetheless.

An Official Blurb via Amazon:

June and Day arrive in Vegas just as the unthinkable happens: the Elector Primo dies, and his son Anden takes his place. With the Republic edging closer to chaos, the two join a group of Patriot rebels eager to help Day rescue his brother and offer passage to the Colonies. They have only one request—June and Day must assassinate the new Elector.

It’s their chance to change the nation, to give voice to a people silenced for too long.

But as June realizes this Elector is nothing like his father, she’s haunted by the choice ahead. What if Anden is a new beginning? What if revolution must be more than loss and vengeance, anger and blood—what if the Patriots are wrong?

Overall Thoughts:
I’d hate to admit that the plot was quite predictable from the moment that June and Day set foot in the Patriot’s headquarters, but it most certainly was. It wasn’t difficult to sum up exactly what would happen from that moment forward and determine who June and Day could trust and who they couldn’t trust and what they needed to do to move forward for the greater good of the common people.

Because as exciting and suspenseful as all the fast-paced events leading up to the ending hour were, Prodigy proved to be little different from the typical dystopian bridge book in any of the currently trending Young Adult dystopian trilogies. The only thing that sets Prodigy apart from the rest is that it DOES indeed have a solidly built foundation and extremely good writing to take us through the story. The descriptions and imagery are excellently done and the characters are unique, even if they seem insignificant.

The only complaint I have (aside from the slow start) are the typical, standard YA tropes thrown in for a nice angsty feel and further complicated messes of relationships. While it’s not a big one and while it doesn’t really bother me too much, there is a full blown love rectangle inserted, however insignificant it may be and however useless it actually feels.

I get the reasoning behind turning the young Tess into a potential love interest for Day, as well as Anden for June. There’s a social divide between Day and June consisting of money, family status, and how both of them grew up. But was a rectangle really necessary, because I don’t see any reason to insert romantic interests just to hammer home the fact that June and Day are from two different worlds; they do a good enough job of struggling with this on their own, and in the end, the entire ideal is moot anyway.

And then there's the ending of the book which

filed for a noble idiocy award with some cliched end hour tearjerker trope a la tragic K-drama fashion where someone is probably dying.

(spoiler show)

Yes, Ms. Lu definitely went there, using a typically exhausting reason to separate our couple. Again, was this really a necessary development? I don’t know and I guess we’ll have to find out in the last book.

Although I’m going to flat out admit that those angsty tearjerker moments throughout really did work, even if the ending one didn’t.

Mainly, I have this love for the constant presence of the deceased Metias throughout the book in June’s dreams and memories--one of few occasions in any story where a beloved character is one who is only physically present for an extremely short time, but whose essence continues to linger through his loved one and still manage to evoke a waterfall of FEELS from me in waves.

Is it strange that one of my favorite characters in this entire trilogy so far (and probably my most favorite character overall) is one who barely showed up in the story and dies within the first few chapters of the very first book? Maybe it helps that Metias’ life and his death catapulted almost everything that drives June’s actions.

Finally, a cliffhanger. Yeah. I should have seen in coming because the cliffhanger from the second book in a trilogy is always the one that hurts the most.




This book is a pre-chosen participant in the following Reading Challenge(s):


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text 2015-04-22 03:00
Top Ten Tuesdays: ALL TIME Favorite Authors

Top Ten Tuesdays is an original and weekly feature hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.



Top Ten ALL TIME Favorite Authors

(or Top Twenty)



ALL TIME Favorite Authors can mean a lot of things for me:  1) Authors I love whether or not I have read all of their works; 2) Authors I love but have not necessarily loved all their work; 3) Authors I love BECAUSE I love all of their work (that I have read); 4) Authors that may not have written the best work, but have story formulas or writing styles I love; 5) Authors whom are auto-buys for whatever reason I cannot pinpoint; 6) Authors I love "just because", if for no other reason.


And then there are also those authors who have made this list if only because they hold sentimental value because I DID like them when I was younger, but find no joy in reading new works or re-reading old works.


And then sometimes there are those authors which I love merely because of one particular book I have read that I have loved immensely... but no other books written by that author have given me the same kind of pleasure.


This is, of course, different from when I have one particular book that I love, but that I have not quite declared the author a favorite yet.


These ALL TIME Favorite topics are too broad for my own personal listings.



ALL TIME Favorites


1.  Michael Crichton

I have read the following:  


Jurassic Park, The Lost World, Timeline, Sphere, The Andromeda Strain, Congo, Rising Sun, Next, Micro, A Case of Need


Michael Crichton has always been a personal favorite ever since the first time I read Jurassic Park and The Lost World back in the good old teenage days of high school.  While I haven't enjoyed (or read) every book he's ever written, he easily became a favorite author of mine wherein I automatically paid attention every time he published a new book.


Thought provoking and controversial, I don't think I've ever been bored with any of Crichton's novels.  In fact, a lot of personal research into certain subjects and a lot of high school essays may or may not have been inspired by a Crichton work.  I know a lot of ongoing debates between my brothers and myself usually surrounded a Crichton book--my brothers aren't really bibliophile that I am, but Michael Crichton was one author they didn't mind diving into.



2.  Dean Koontz

I have read the following:



Phantoms, Strangers, The Door to December, Intensity, Cold Fire, 77 Shadow Street; novella: The Moonlit Mind


Dean Koontz is another author I've admired since I was a teenager.  His story formulas evoke a sense of semi-happily ever after, even if it's not the same kind of Happily Ever After™ I've come to love in the books I read now-a-days.  At the very least, I've always found that Koontz has a great sense of suspense and knows how to hook a reader--it's always his endings that irk the heck out of me because they have either dragged on as if he's trying to reach a specific required page number, or they end abruptly like he's hit that required page number and is in a hurry to find a stopping point.


Phantoms is actually one of my most favorite books and definitely my favorite Dean Koontz novel.  Dean Koontz himself has such a large listing of works that I doubt I'll ever be able to finish reading every single one.  But ever since Phantoms as well as several other books I had read, he readily became an author on my favorites list; for a while, he was even an auto-buy author.  I still have a handful of his books sitting on my shelf I haven't gotten around to reading yet.



3.  J.K. Rowling

I have read the following:


Harry Potter series:  The Sorceror's Stone, The Chamber of Secrets, The Prisoner of Azkaban, The Goblet of Fire, The Order of the Phoenix, The Half-Blood Prince, The Deathly Hallows


Cormoran Strike (written as Robert Galbraith):  The Cuckoo's Calling, The Silkworm


It took years of being a blind fangirl of J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter series before I could look back with a more critical, more objective eye and realize the genius that is truly J.K. Rowling.  Back then, I simply enjoyed the Harry Potter series as a young boy's adventure as he grows up in a magical world.  But the series itself and the issues and concepts it brings up are indeed thought-provoking and clever.


Even if I didn't like all of the Harry Potter books; even if I have my reserves about how Rowling twisted some of her plot lines throughout the series; and even though I'm not a hundred percent satisfied about how the entire series ended; there is no doubt in my mind that Harry Potter is one of the better top quality childrens/middle grade/young adult series out there.


And then I read The Silkworm and further cemented in my mind the state of Queen Rowling's pedestal in the writing world.  The Cuckoo's Calling might have started the series off on shaky footing, but The Silkworm is so much genius.



4.  Shannon Hale

I have read the following:



Book of a Thousand Days

Princess Academy:  Princess Academy, Palace of Stone

Books of Bayern:  The Goose Girl


The first Shannon Hale book I picked up was a discounted The Goose Girl at a Target.  In the same week I followed up by picking up Princess Academy because I thought the concept was interesting.  The books were read very quickly and I followed with Book of Thousand Days which then became one of my most favorite books... EVER... and of which I have read at least three times already and listened to once as an audio book.


I have plans to read more Shannon Hale books as I love her attention to world-building and culture-building details a lot.  It's just that I'm probably still looking for that next Book of a Thousand Days in the rest of her books, and I'm worried the rest won't stand up to it.


Still, I'd be hard pressed NOT to insert Shannon Hale into my ALL TIME Favorite Authors list.



Recent Favorites


5.  Julie James

I have read the following:


FBI/US Attorney: Something About You, A Lot Like Love, About That Night, Love Irresistibly, It Happened One Wedding


Stand alone novels:  Just the Sexiest Man Alive, Practice Makes Perfect


Julie James has become an auto-buy, auto-Read Right Now author.  Ever since Something About You and A Lot Like Love, I've come to love her witty characters and breezy, sweet romances.  Love Irresistibly was the one that sealed the deal for me and after that, I become determined to read every book James has written... and so far, I have.


Which is interesting considering I'm not really into Contemporary Romances unless they're written a certain way--maybe Julie James just writes them in the way that I happen to love.


Suddenly One Summer will be her newest addition to her Contemporary collections and will be published this summer.




6.  Cindy Gerard

I have read the following:


The Bodyguards:  To the Edge, To the Limit, To the Brink, Over the Line, Under the WireInto the Dark


Black Ops, Inc:  Show No Mercy, Take No Prisoners, Whisper No Lies, Feel the Heat, Risk No Secrets, With No Remorse, Last Man Standingnovellas/short stories: Leave No Trace, SEALed With a Kiss, Dying to Score


Cindy Gerard is also an auto-buy author, even if she's not an auto-Read Right Now author.  While I love her characters, her world, and she does great suspense, she also incorporates a bit of cheesy, tackiness that would make some people roll their eyes.  But I love her just the same and currently own every single one of her Romantic Suspense books in paperback; from the six Bodyguard books, to all seven Black Ops, Inc. books, and her most recent One-Eyed Jacks books (yes, all three of them too).


And yes, Johnny Duane Reed is an alpha male standard I will begin to hold all other alpha males in Romantic Suspense up to.  I love him THAT much.  And I will compare and contrast similar romances to the lovely one that is Johnny and his Tinkerbell, Crystal Debrowski.


I haven't read any of her older Romances, but one of these days I may give them a go.



7.  Kasie West

I have read the following:



Pivot Point:  Pivot Point, Split Second

Stand alone novels:  The Distance Between Us, On the Fence


I have this fear that Kasie West will become a one-hit wonder for me (or rather three-hit), but with her nerdy characters and dry sense of humor, I've loved her ever since being pleasantly surprised at how much I loved Pivot Point.  And then I read The Distance Between Us, and despite it's fluff factor and lack of a real story line and the uninspiring conclusion, I fell in love with Caymen and had a girl-crush I hadn't had in a long time.


As it stands, The Distance Between Us is one of my favorite YA Contemporaries even though there are others out there that are probably better--The Distance Between Us, however, has charm and character and a sarcastic heroine with my kind of humor.


But then On the Fence came around and felt a little off for a Kasie West book and now I panic just a little bit... maybe.


The Fill-In Boyfriend will be Kasie West's newest Contemporary, to be published at the end of this spring season.



8.  Maggie Stiefvater

I have read the following:



The Raven Cycle:  The Raven Boys; The Dream Thieves; Blue Lily, Lily Blue

Stand alone novels:  The Scorpio Races


One word:  Gansey!

Two words:  Maggie Stiefvater!


"Maggie is magic," is all I have to say.  I didn't think that I'd love a paranormal genre-book as much as I do The Raven Cycle books, but I most certainly do.  Nonsensical humor, fun and genius one-liners, unique and intriguing characters...  And a group of friends who love each other so much that even life-long grudges and lies and jealousies can't seem to break them apart.


Maggie's charming writing draws you right in, even with a rather mediocre book like The Scorpio Races.


And, oh yes, I'm setting myself up for heartbreak, but I just so LOVE Gansey.


The Raven King is the fourth and last book of The Raven Cycle quartet and will be published in February of 2016.



Favorite Mangakas


9.  Motomi Kyousuke

I have read the following:


Beast Master, The Beads Club, Youth Survival, Penguin Prince, Love Arrow, Dengeki Daisy



10. Nakahara Aya

I have read the following:


Lovely Complex, Secret Base, Nanaco Robin, Ringo Nikki, Tokimeki Gakuen Oujigumi, Hanada



Manga are still considered books in some aspects and mangaka are their creators and in a way, authors.  Both mangakas listed above have a sense of silly humor and stories that have fairly non-standard male/female roles and love stories, which is why they became two of my most favorite mangaka.


Despite the fact that I haven't really touched manga for some time, I am still intrigued to hear of any new works created, and would really love to continue reading Motomi Kyousuke-sama's Dengeki Daisy series.



-- Plus Ten Honorable Mentions --

(Because I can.)


  • Juliet Marillier

I have read the following:



Shadowfell: Shadowfell, Raven Flight, The Caller

Wildwood:  Wildwood Dancing

Stand alone novels:  Heart's Blood


Juliet Marillier is fast become one of my favorite Young Adult high fantasy authors.  Her writing is magical, her worlds are beautiful, her characters inspiring, and just... so much more praise.  Slow starts though... but once you get past those first few chapters of story building, the rest of the book progresses fantastically!



  • Victoria Schwab

I have read the following:



The Archived:  The Archived, The Unboundnovella: Leave the Window Open

Stand alone novels:  The Near Witch


Victoria Schwab has great imagination and I probably love her mainly because I loved The Archived.  This is an instance where I know she's an excellent writer, but where I'm wary about reading her other works because I've put The Archived at an extremely high spot on my "Favorite Books" pedestal.



  • Maria V. Snyder

I have read the following:



Study: Poison Study, Magic Study, Fire Studynovella: Assassin Study

Glass:  Storm Glass, Sea Glass, Spy Glass



Insiders:  Inside Out, Outside In

Healer:  Touch of Power, Scent of Magic, Taste of Death


I believe I have almost read every single Maria V. Snyder book.  I am still finding a place in my extensive and ever-changing reading list to insert her newest book, Shadow Study.  Even if Maria isn't the best writer, and even if a lot of stories have strange progression, logic, and haphazard conclusions, there is just a certain charm to her stories and characters that have hooked me to her.



  • Marissa Meyer

I have read the following:



The Lunar Chronicles: Cinder, Scarletnovellas: Glitches, The Queen's Army, The Little Android


I would love to add Marissa Meyer to my ALL TIME FAVORITES list, but while I've gushed over the two Lunar Chronicles books I've read, while I was reading them, whenever I look back, it just feels like there's something missing.  And it's probably also a new one that my favorite of this series so far is the novella The Little Android.



  • Rae Carson

I have read the following:



Fire and Thorns:  The Girl of Fire and Thorns, The Crown of Embers, The Bitter Kingdomnovellas: The Shadow Cats, The Shattered Mountain, The King's Guard


I loved Fire and Thorns, and thus I probably love Rae Carson because of Fire and Thorns.  But have no fear, she's publishing a new series soon with its first book out in Septemeber, Walk On Earth a Stranger.  I'm looking forward to it.



  • Leslie Kelly (Leslie A. Kelly, Leslie Parrish)

I have read the following:



Black CATs:  Fade to Black, Pitch Black, Black at Heart

(second set of covers uses one of Leslie Kelly's pseudonyms, Leslie Parrish)



Extrasensory Agents:  Cold Sight

Walker Brothers:  She Drives Me Crazy, She's Got the Look


I got into Leslie Kelly because of her three Black CAT Romantic Suspense books.  But it was surprisingly one of her Contemporary Romances that got me to definitively love her.  Strange how things work.  I have plans to finish the only other Extrasensory Agents book as well as get into the Veronica Sloan duology with hopes that she'll be writing more Romantic Suspense soon.  Otherwise, this is one author I have actually considered diving into her old Harlequin romances (since I've never really been a straight-up Romance-only genre reader).



  • Kylie Brant

I have read the following:


Mindhunters:  Waking Nightmare, Waking Evil, Waking the Dead, Deadly Intent, Deadly Dreams, Deadly Sins


The Mindhunters caught me by surprise and became one of my favorite Romantic Suspense series.  With strong, independent, skilled, and resourceful women in each book, what's not to love?  It's because of this series that I grew to admire the job of criminal profiling.  Kylie Brant presents fairly balanced stories of equal parts Romance and Mystery Thriller.  And then I found that Kylie Brant may be returning to the Mindhunters series at some time with more books.  I am so, totally on board with that.  (As am I on-board with going back and reading the rest of her earlier work.)



  • Pamela Clare

I have read the following:


I-Team:  Extreme Exposure, Hard Evidence, Unlawful Contact, Naked Edge, Breaking Point, Striking Distancenovellas/short stories: Heaven Can't Wait, Skin Deep, Marc & Julian Make a Beer Run, First Strike 


Pamela Clare could probably be my first foray into racier types of books with the side bonus of a suspenseful crime thriller to give me some thought-provoking substance.  And Pamela Clare was probably my first experience with wonderfully created, good guy, respectful alpha-males who don't just stand around and glower at everyone.  I've loved all of her books and all of her characters despite the fact that they just don't do the same thing for me as other favorite Romantic Suspense books do.


Pamela has a new I-Team novel in the works starring a consistently present character in all the previous books so far, Holly Bradshaw.



  • Harper Lee

I have read the following:


To Kill a Mockingbird


To be honest, I only remember that To Kill a Mockingbird was one of the many required classic literature reads in high school that I actually enjoyed (aside from Mark Twain).



  • Amy Tan

I have read the following:



The Hundred Secret Senses, The Joy Luck Club, The Kitchen God's Wife, The Bonesetter's Daughter, The Opposite of Fate


Back when I was a lot younger, Amy Tan was one of a very sparse selection of minority authors--Asian authors, to be specific.  And during my young pre-teen and teenage years, the books written by Amy Tan just felt like they spoke to me, even if none of the stories she's written really coincide with anything similar in my own real life; the only similarities between me and an Amy Tan heroine was the fact that these were women raised in American, fairly Americanized, with parents and relatives who are still very much traditional Chinese all-around whom they struggle to understand and cope with in their daily lives.


Amy Tan holds sentimental value for me and I may or may not continue to read her books.









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