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The 4 Books I am Always Reading

I saw a post on Book Riot with this exact title. I was intrigued and inspired. The author of the post stated the types of books she always has at hand, and I realized there are four types of books I always have on hand as well. I decided it would be fun to share my four with you.

Original post here.

1. NetGalley e-book

I read for NetGalley. This is a site where bloggers can get access to ARC’s of books and/or read and review the books shared on the site. It is a wonderful way to find new voices, get your hands on books you love early or find a way to advance your blog and the author’s reach by having advanced reviews upon release. I am always reading one and since they come in e-book, I always have it on me.

2. Audio Book

Next is my Audible listen. Audio books are the easiest way to get my reading goals in for the year. I have come across some great voices in audio books. The performances can make a huge difference. A good delivery and a great novel, there is no better combination.

3. My TBR Clean Out

I have a TBR shelf filled with books that I have yet to read. These are the books I have been longing to read for a while. Sometimes I just randomly pick one up, sometimes I follow a list.

4. Book Club Read

I run The Gothic Novel Book Club on Goodreads. We are a very active bunch and always choose two new books each month. We love all things Gothic and read everything from the most loved Classics to genuine Horror. We tend to focus on the paranormal, but all Gothic novels are up for nomination.

Some others find their way into my reads and I can be reading as many as seven books at a time, but I always have these four at hand.

Thanks for reading!

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Posted by on September 11, 2017 in Book Reviews

 

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A Full List of My Recommendations

I often have people request recommendations from me. I absolutely love giving them. This is one of my great passions in life, introducing people to their next favorite novel. I read nearly every genre out there and I try to get to know a person’s likes before giving a recommendation. So, with that in mind, I decided to create a full list of my “must-reads”.

*Note: If I am recommending the first in a series, I am recommending the entire series.

Fantasy:

Blood Song (Raven’s Shadow, #1) by Anthony Ryan

The Waking Fire (The Draconis Memoria, #1) by Anthony Ryan

The Name of the Wind (The Kingkiller Chronicle, #1) by Patrick Rothfuss

The Final Empire (Mistborn, #1) by Brandon Sanderson

The Way of Shadows (Night Angel, #1) by Brent Weeks

Blackwing (Ravens’ Mark #1) by Ed McDonald

Wizard’s First Rule (Sword of Truth, #1) by Terry Goodkind

The Warded Man (Demon Cycle, #1) by Peter V. Brett

The Blade Itself (The First Law, #1) by Joe Abercrombie

*Note: While this is my favorite genre, it is still fairly new to me. I have only been reading fantasy in the last few years, so I realize this list is far from complete. I will add to it as I read more.

Urban Fantasy:

Dead Witch Walking (The Hollows, #1) by Kim Harrison

Guilty Pleasures (Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter, #1) by Laurell K. Hamilton

Darkfever (Fever, #1) by Karen Marie Moning

Storm Front (The Dresden Files, #1) by Jim Butcher

First Grave on the Right (Charley Davidson, #1) by Darynda Jones

Bitten (Women of the Otherworld, #1) by Kelley Armstrong

Dead Until Dark (Sookie Stackhouse, #1) by Charlaine Harris

The Scent of Shadows (Signs of the Zodiac, #1) by Vicki Pettersson

Paranormal Romance:

Fantasy Lover (Dark-Hunterverse #1) by Sherrilyn Kenyon

Goddess of the Sea (Goddess Summoning, #1) by P.C. Cast

Morrigan’s Cross (Circle Trilogy, #1) by Nora Roberts

Dark Lover (Black Dagger Brotherhood, #1) by J.R. Ward

The Warlord Wants Forever (Immortals After Dark #1) by Kresley Cole

A Girl’s Guide to Vampires (Dark Ones #1) by Katie MacAlister

Young Adult:

Cinder (The Lunar Chronicles, #1) by Marissa Meyer

Vampire Academy (Vampire Academy, #1) by Richelle Mead

The Wrath and the Dawn (The Wrath and the Dawn, #1) by Renee Ahdieh

Mystic (Mystic, #1) by Jason Denzel

Poison Princess (The Arcana Chronicles, #1) by Kresley Cole

Truthwitch (The Witchlands, #1) by Susan Dennard

Red Queen (Red Queen, #1) by Victoria Aveyard

Rot & Ruin (Rot & Ruin, #1) by Jonathan Maberry

Daughter of Smoke & Bone (Daughter of Smoke & Bone, #1) by Laini Taylor

The Iron King (The Iron Fey, #1) by Julie Kagawa

A Great and Terrible Beauty (Gemma Doyle, #1) by Libba Bray

City of Bones (The Mortal Instruments, #1) by Cassandra Clare

My Soul to Lose (Soul Screamers, #0.5) by Rachel Vincent

Fiction:

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen

The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd

Firefly Lane (Firefly Lane, #1) by Kristin Hannah

The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver

These are the genres I read the most, below are a few from other genres that I don’t read often.

The Burning Times by Jeanne Kalogridis

The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

One for the Money (Stephanie Plum, #1) by Janet Evanovich

Tin Men by Christopher Golden

Zero World by Jason M. Hough

Artemis by Andy Weir … due out in November

I could go on and on about my favorite books but these are the one’s I always recommend to people. There are others in my favorites list that I didn’t list, simply because I tend to like darker things than most. And you will see many obvious choices (i.e., Harry Potter) missing, mainly because I’m just going to assume most people have already read them.

I hope you enjoyed this list!

Happy Reading!

 
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Posted by on September 4, 2017 in Book Reviews

 

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The Wrath and the Dawn – Renee Ahdieh

wrath

Synopsis:

In a land ruled by a murderous boy-king, each dawn brings heartache to a new family. Khalid, the eighteen-year-old Caliph of Khorasan, is a monster. Each night he takes a new bride only to have a silk cord wrapped around her throat come morning. When sixteen-year-old Shahrzad’s dearest friend falls victim to Khalid, Shahrzad vows vengeance and volunteers to be his next bride. Shahrzad is determined not only to stay alive, but to end the caliph’s reign of terror once and for all.

Night after night, Shahrzad beguiles Khalid, weaving stories that enchant, ensuring her survival, though she knows each dawn could be her last. But something she never expected begins to happen: Khalid is nothing like what she’d imagined him to be. This monster is a boy with a tormented heart. Incredibly, Shahrzad finds herself falling in love. How is this possible? It’s an unforgivable betrayal. Still, Shahrzad has come to understand all is not as it seems in this palace of marble and stone. She resolves to uncover whatever secrets lurk and, despite her love, be ready to take Khalid’s life as retribution for the many lives he’s stolen. Can their love survive this world of stories and secrets?

*Copied from Goodreads.com

Review:

This book captivated me from the very beginning. A strong female lead with values and ideals that get shaken to the core. This is a reimagining of A Thousand and One Nights. I don’t know what I was expecting from this novel but I had heard so much about it that I just had to pick it up. Shazi has become one of my new favorite characters. I have the next novel ready to go.

Favorite Quotes:

“Love is—a shade of what I feel.”  ― Renee Ahdieh, The Wrath & the Dawn

“So you would have me throw Shazi to the wolves?”
“Shazi?” Jalal’s grin widened. “Honestly, I pity the wolves.”
Renee Ahdieh, The Wrath & the Dawn

“Her conviction wavered further. “I told you; don’t try to own me.”
“I don’t want to own you.”

She swiveled her neck to meet his gaze. “Then never speak of sending me away again. I am not yours to do with as you will.”

Khalid’s features smoothed knowingly. “How right you are. You are not mine.” He dropped his palm from the door. “I am yours.”
Renee Ahdieh, The Wrath & the Dawn

“So you intend to go through life never loving anyone? Just … things?”
“No. I’m looking for something more.”
“More than love?”
“Yes.”
“Is it not arrogant to think you deserve more, Khalid Ibn al-Rashid?”
“Is it so arrogant to want something that doesn’t change with the wind? That doesn’t crumble at the first sign of adversity?”
“You want something that doesn’t exist. A figment of your imagination.”
“No. I want someone who sees beneath the surface-someone who completes the balance. An equal.”
“And how will you know when you’ve found this elusive someone?” Shahrzad retorted.
“I suspect she will be like air. Like knowing how to breathe.”
Renee Ahdieh, The Wrath & the Dawn

Recommendations:

Court of Fives (Court of Fives #1) by Kate Elliott

Rook by Sharon Cameron

Walk on Earth a Stranger (The Gold Seer Trilogy #1) by Rae Carson

 
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Posted by on June 26, 2016 in Book Reviews

 

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Authors I Love – Jeanne Kalogridis

Take a walk on the dark side with me.

I am a huge fan of the darker characters that Jeanne Kalogridis  takes on. I love how deeply she delves into the history of a person and it blows my mind every time.

I will warn you, her books are not for the faint of heart, they are not for the prude, and the are not for the easily offended. Her dark characters do dark things and her plot lines twist and the people she writes about border on the insane.

dracul

Covenant with the Vampire (The Diaries of the Family Dracul #1) by Jeanne Kalogridis

This is one of my favorite vampire series’. It is undeniably dark and sucks you in from the very beginning.
A sensual, terrifying, incredibly accomplished first novel, this fascinating prequel to the classic and most popular horror novel of all time, Dracula, focuses on Dracula’s great-nephew, who inherits the job of managing his great-uncle’s estate…and his appetite. Written in diary form as Draculais, this compulsively readable book has revelations that will shock and delight readers of the original. More erotic than Anne Rice, Kalogridis is a major new voice in vampire fiction. The first chilling tale in an exciting new trilogy is a rich and terrifying historical novel set fifty years before the opening of Bram Stoker’s Dracula. At the castle of Prince Vlad Tsepesh, also known as Dracula, Vald’s great-nephew Arkady is honored to care for his beloved though strange great-uncle…until he beings to realize what is expected of him in his new role. It seems that either he provides his great-uncle with unsuspecting victims to satisfy his needs, or Vlad will kill those Arkady loves. He is trapped into becoming party to murder and sadistic torture. And it is in his blood. When Arkady learns that his newborn son is being groomed one day to follow in his footsteps, he knows that he must fight Dracula, even if it means death.
*Copied from Goodreads.
borgia

The Borgia Bride byJeanne Kalogridis

Vivacious Sancha of Aragon arrives in Rome newly wed to a member of the notorious Borgia dynasty. Surrounded by the city’s opulence and political corruption, she befriends her glamorous and deceitful sister-in-law, Lucrezia, whose jealousy is as legendary as her beauty. Some say Lucrezia has poisoned her rivals, particularly those to whom her handsome brother, Cesare, has given his heart. So when Sancha falls under Cesare’s irresistible spell, she must hide her secret or lose her life. Caught in the Borgias’ sinister web, she summons her courage and uses her cunning to outwit them at their own game. Vividly interweaving historical detail with fiction, The Borgia Bride is a richly compelling tale of conspiracy, sexual intrigue, loyalty, and drama. *Copied from Goodreads.

monalisa

The handsome Giuliano de’ Medici is brutally assassinated in Florence’s magnificent Duomo. The shock of the murder ripples throughout the great city, from the most renowned artists like Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo, to a wealthy wool merchant and his extraordinarily beautiful daughter, Madonna Lisa.

More than a decade later, Florence falls under the dark spell of the preacher Savonarola, a fanatic who burns paintings and books as easily as he sends men to their deaths. Lisa, now grown into an alluring woman, captures the heart of Giuliano’s nephew and namesake. But when Guiliano, her love, meets a tragic end, Lisa must gather all her courage and cunning to untangle a sinister web of illicit love, treachery, and dangerous secrets that threatens her life.

Set against the drama of 15th Century Florence, I, Mona Lisa is painted in many layers of fact and fiction, with each intricately drawn twist told through the captivating voice of Mona Lisa herself. *Copied from Goodreads.

burning
And this is my all time favorite of hers.
Mother Marie Francoise, born Sybille, is a midwife with a precocious gift for magic — a gift that makes her a prime target for persecution at the hands of the Church. She flees her village and takes refuge in a Franciscan sisterhood. Before long, Sybille’s unusual powers bring her under the scrutiny of the Inquisition. Michel, a pious and compassionate monk sent to hear her confession, finds himself drawn more intimately into Sybille’s life and destiny than either of them could have imagined.
Like a magician herself, Jeanne Kalogridis weaves a tale of star-crossed love, of faith and heresy, of mysticism and witchcraft, against a fascinating historical backdrop — the Black Death, the Hundred Years’ War, and the catastrophic defeat of France at the hands of the English. The result is a page-turning novel about one of the most intriguing periods in history. *Copied from Goodreads.
These aren’t all of her works, just my favorite. Feel free to click on her name to see her Goodreads profile and explore her works further.
 
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Posted by on December 15, 2015 in Book Reviews

 

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The Shards of Heaven – Michael Livingston

shards

Synopsis:

With Julius Caesar assassinated on the senate floor, Rome is divided. Octavian, Caesar’s ambitious great-nephew and adopted son, decides to take on the great Marc-Antony and Cleopatra and a battle ensues to win the heart of Rome.

Juba, another of Caesar’s adopted sons, has decided to go after the Shards of Heaven, lost treasures that house the powers of the Roman gods, or in this case God himself. He already possesses what he believes to be the Trident, or in his mind, the staff of Moses. Now he will stop at nothing to obtain the other Shards, no matter the consequence.

Review:

I loved the rich history brought forth in this novel. Cleopatra is one of my favorite historical figures and I was thrilled when I received a NetGalley ARC.

The descriptions and battle scenes in this novel were quite epic. I absolutely loved the character building throughout the novel. The only thing that fell short for me was the dialogue. There were moments when conversations halted the story for me. I would set it aside and move on to something else. This made me feel like the book took way to long to read. But, I am a stickler for good dialogue. This was not enough of a deterrent to make me give a bad rating, in fact I would easily give it 3.5 stars out of 5.

(No quotes due to the fact that my copy was an ARC from NetGalley)

Recommendations:

Mystic (Mystic, #1)  by Jason Denzel

The Iron Lance (The Celtic Crusades, #1)  by Stephen R. Lawhead

The Burning Times  by Jeanne Kalogridis

Out of the Silent Planet (Space Trilogy, #1)  by C.S. Lewis

 
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Posted by on November 21, 2015 in Book Reviews

 

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Changeling – Philippa Gregory

changeling

Synopsis:

Luca Vero was given to the priesthood as a child. It is the only life he knows until the day he is charged with heresy. While imprisoned Luca is approached to join in with a group known as “The Order of Darkness” and is given orders to search out all evil and superstitions within the land.

Isolde, a seventeen year old girl, has just lost everything she ever hoped for in life. After finding out her father’s will has deemed her be locked away in a nunnery or be wed to a man who tries to rape her the day he meets her, Isolde chooses the nunnery. But things are not what they seem at the nunnery and things quickly go awry.

Their stories align when Luca is called upon to make inquiry on the nunnery. The women have all gone mad since Isolde’s arrival and many of the women are blaming Isolde’s lack of belief as the reason why.

Luca and Isolde will face all manner of medieval nasties before the story is finished and both set out on their own quests for truth.

Review:

Let me just say, I am a fan of Philippa Gregory. I started with her Wideacre series years ago and have been reading her books since.

I really enjoyed this book.

Does it achieve some kind of literary greatness? No.

Is it going to be one of those books that makes a lasting impression and changes your life forever? No.

It is just simply a good story. There are a few plot twists that I really enjoyed. There were a few lines I questioned the validity of but it was meant for teens and you can tell some of the phrasing and dialogue was geared towards a modern teen. But, hey, I see that as playing to your audience. I have read enough of her books to know she knows her history and I really didn’t question it with this novel. I do wish it was as engrossing as her other novels but again, awareness of her audience lent towards a shorter novel.

All in all, a great quick read.

Favorite Quote:

“Do you not think that God will protect us?”
“No,” he said flatly. “My experience is that He rarely attends to the obvious.”
Philippa Gregory, Changeling

Recommendations:

Grave Mercy (His Fair Assassin, #1)  by Robin LaFevers

The Diviners (The Diviners, #1)  by Libba Bray

The Girl in the Steel Corset (Steampunk Chronicles, #1)  by Kady Cross

Never Fall Down  by Patricia McCormick

 
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Posted by on November 21, 2015 in Book Reviews

 

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