Top 5 Wednesday – May 17th, 2017

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Top 5 Wednesday was created by Lainey at Gingerreadslainey and is now hosted by Sam from Thoughts on Tomes. Every week, book reviewers all over the world are given a bookish topic and respond with their top 5 books (or elements of books) that relate to that topic. Click here for the Goodreads group if you would like to learn more about Top 5 Wednesday and join in!

This week’s Top 5 Wednesday topic is books that remind you of summer and are your quintessential summer reads. I’ve decided to go back a few years and pick out my top five favorite reads that I randomly picked up from the library during the summer and fell in love with. The library always reminds me of summertime, and it is the perfect time to not only do a ton of reading, but also to go out of your comfort zone and choose some books you might not normally have picked up. So here are my reads that I loved and thought were perfect for reading in the summer! 🙂

Love and Other Unknown Variables by Shannon Lee Alexander

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Charlie Hanson has a clear vision of his future. A senior at Brighton School of Mathematics and Science, he knows he’ll graduate, go to MIT, and inevitably discover solutions to the universe’s greatest unanswered questions. He’s that smart. But Charlie’s future blurs the moment he reaches out to touch the tattoo on a beautiful girl’s neck.
The future has never seemed very kind to Charlotte Finch, so she’s counting on the present. She’s not impressed by the strange boy at the donut shop—until she learns he’s a student at Brighton where her sister has just taken a job as the English teacher. With her encouragement, Charlie orchestrates the most effective prank campaign in Brighton history. But, in doing so, he puts his own future in jeopardy.
By the time he learns she’s ill—and that the pranks were a way to distract Ms. Finch from Charlotte’s illness—Charlotte’s gravitational pull is too great to overcome. Soon he must choose between the familiar formulas he’s always relied on or the girl he’s falling for (at far more than 32 feet per second squared).

Precious by Sandra Novack

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The summer of 1978, ten-year-old Vicki Anderson rides her bike to the local park and goes missing. Her tight-knit blue-collar Pennsylvania neighborhood, where children roam the streets at night playing lightning tag, aboveground pools sparkle in backyards, and flowers scent the air, will never be the same.
Down the street from Vicki’s house, another family is in crisis. Troubled by her past, headstrong Natalia Kisch has abandoned her husband and two daughters for another man. Frank Kisch, grappling with his anger, is left to raise their girls alone, oblivious to his daughters’ struggles with both disappearances: Eva, seventeen, plunges into an affair with her married high school teacher, and nine-year-old Sissy escapes to a world of imagination and storytelling that becomes so magical it pierces the reality of the everyday.
When Natalia unexpectedly returns, the struggles and tensions that have built over the summer erupt into a series of events that change the Kisches irrevocably—forcing them to piece together their complicated pasts and commitments to each other.
In this haunting, atmospheric debut, Sandra Novack examines loss, loyalty, and a family in crisis. Lyrical and elegiac, Precious illuminates our attempts to make sense of the volatility that surrounds and consumes us, and explores our ability, even during the most trying times, to remember and hold on to those we love most.

Wherever Grace is Needed by Elizabeth Bass

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In this thoroughly heartwarming novel, Elizabeth Bass-author of Miss You Most of All-creates an unforgettable story of friendship, compassion, and the extraordinary love that lies at the heart of every ordinary family.
When Grace Oliver leaves Portland for Austin, Texas, to help her father, Lou, recuperate from a car accident, she expects to stay just a few weeks. Since her mother’s divorce thirty years ago, Grace has hovered on the periphery of the Oliver family. But now she sees a chance to get closer to her half-brothers and the home she’s never forgotten.
But the Olivers are facing a crisis. Tests reveal that Lou, a retired college professor whose sharp tongue and tenderness Grace adores, is in the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease. Grace delays her departure to care for him, and is soon entwined in the complicated lives of her siblings-all squabbling over Lou’s future-and of the family next door.
Ray West and his three children are reeling from a recent tragedy, particularly sixteen-year-old Jordan, whose grief is heightened by guilt and anger. Amid the turmoil, Grace not only gives solace and support, but learns to receive it. And though she came to Austin to reconnect with her past, she is drawn by degrees into surprising new connections.
With wit, wisdom, and unfailing insight, Elizabeth Bass tells a story of loving and letting go, of heartache and hope, and of the joy that comes in finding a place we can truly call home.

The Day Before by Lisa Schroeder

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One moment can change everything.
Amber’s life is spinning out of control. All she wants is to turn up the volume on her iPod until all of the demands of family and friends fade away. So she sneaks off to the beach to spend a day by herself.
Then Amber meets Cade. Their attraction is instant, and Amber can tell he’s also looking for an escape. Together they decide to share a perfect day: no pasts, no fears, no regrets.
The more time that Amber spends with Cade, the more she’s drawn to him.  And the more she’s troubled by his darkness. Because Cade’s not just living in the now—he’s living each moment like it’s his last.

We Were Liars by E. Lockhart

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A beautiful and distinguished family.
A private island.
A brilliant, damaged girl; a passionate, political boy.
A group of four friends—the Liars—whose friendship turns destructive.
A revolution. An accident. A secret.
Lies upon lies.
True love.
The truth.
We Were Liars is a modern, sophisticated suspense novel from National Book Award finalist and Printz Award honoree E. Lockhart. 
Read it.
And if anyone asks you how it ends, just LIE.

Honorable Mention:

The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle

What books remind you of summer or have been your favorite summertime reads? Let me know in the comments!

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Top 5 Wednesday – May 3rd, 2017

topfivewednesday

Top 5 Wednesday was created by Lainey at Gingerreadslainey and is now hosted by Sam from Thoughts on Tomes. Every week, book reviewers all over the world are given a bookish topic and respond with their top 5 books (or elements of books) that relate to that topic. Click here for the Goodreads group if you would like to learn more about Top 5 Wednesday and join in!

This week’s Top 5 Wednesday topic is your top five favorite science fiction and fantasy cover art. This topic is pretty similar to my Top 10 Tuesday topic yesterday, but for this list, I did not reuse any of the covers from the other. So this will be a rather short and sweet post today. Here are some of my favorite SFF covers! 🙂

The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden

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The Evaporation of Sofi Snow by Mary Weber

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Spellslinger by Sebastian de Castell

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Tyrant’s Throne by Sebastian de Castell

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A Conjuring of Light by V.E. Schwab

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Which SFF books have some of your favorite cover designs? Let me know in the comments!

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Top 5 Wednesday – April 5th, 2017

topfivewednesday

Top 5 Wednesday was created by Lainey at Gingerreadslainey and is now hosted by Sam from Thoughts on Tomes. Every week, book reviewers all over the world are given a bookish topic and respond with their top 5 books (or elements of books) that relate to that topic. Click here for the Goodreads group if you would like to learn more about Top 5 Wednesday and join in!

This week’s Top 5 Wednesday topic is the top five science fiction and/or fantasy books you want to read ASAP! As always, this sort of topic is fantastic for me and my embarrassingly large TBR pile. Science fiction and fantasy are my absolute favorite genres, and there are so many books that I am completely ashamed about still having on my “to read” list. So, join me on my mini book guilt trip as I pick out the top five SFF books I am the most eager to read! 🙂

5. The Martian by Andy Weir

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I got this for my dad fairly soon after it came out—back before it got super popular, and before the movie (…yes, I am just hipster like that…). Originally, it wasn’t something I was really looking at to read myself, but after all the amazing things I’ve heard about it, I definitely want to give it a go!

4. The Alchemists of Loom by Elise Kova

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This is actually the least embarrassing book on my list since I only discovered it a couple of weeks ago. But I am so excited to read this book! I’ll admit, part of this excitement comes from the fact that one of the main characters is named Ari…but everything else about this book sounds so awesome as well! Anyone who knows me knows I love some good steampunk in my life!

3. Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

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It seems like everyone but me has read this book by now! And I can’t even count the number of times it’s been recommended to me. This is another one that I got for my dad, this time with the intention of doing a buddy read. However, he has read it and I have once again failed to pick up a book I am dying to read!

2. The Final Empire by Brandon Sanderson

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Yep…still on my list. Still sitting next to my bed, calling to me. I know I’m going to love this book. I want to read this so badly—there’s no good excuse as to why I haven’t yet. This is just another example of how freaked out I can get by big fantasy books sometimes. But mark my words—I will pick this up before 2017 is over!

1. A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin

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And finally, the most embarrassing TBR book in my pile. Yes, even after talking about wanting to read it for almost two years, I still have yet to start the series! Not only do I just want to get going on these books in general, but my parents got me the lovely and beautiful illustrated edition for Christmas (it is insanely gorgeous!). I’m really hoping this will be the year that I finally stop talking and start reading! 😛

What are some science fiction and fantasy novels that you are most eager to read? Do we have any in common? Let me know in the comments!

 

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Top 5 Wednesday – March 29th, 2017

topfivewednesday

Top 5 Wednesday was created by Lainey at Gingerreadslainey and is now hosted by Sam from Thoughts on Tomes. Every week, book reviewers all over the world are given a bookish topic and respond with their top 5 books (or elements of books) that relate to that topic. Click here for the Goodreads group if you would like to learn more about Top 5 Wednesday and join in!

This week’s Top 5 Wednesday topic is the top five books you think will be considered classics one day. I absolutely love this topic! It’s so cool to speculate on what novels we read now that might become important and well-love reads for many upcoming generations. We get to imagine the future of the literary history that is being create here and now!

This was actually surprisingly tricky for me to compile because a large number of my favorite novels are already considered classics. But I finally managed to come up with a few novels that I love and really hope to see on the list of classics sometime down the line! 🙂

5. The Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling

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4. Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

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Click here to read my full review of Gone Girl!

3. The Giver by Lois Lowry

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2. The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini

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1. A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness

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Click here to read my full review of A Monster Calls!

Honorable Mentions:

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
A Song of Ice and Fire by George R. R. Martin
Percy Jackson and the Olympians by Rick Riordan

I’d love to hear what books you guys think will become classics one day! Let me know in the comments! 🙂

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Top 5 Wednesday – August 24th, 2016

topfivewednesday

Top 5 Wednesday was created by Lainey at Gingerreadslainey and is now hosted by Sam from Thoughts on Tomes. Every week, book reviewers all over the world are given a bookish topic and respond with their top 5 books (or elements of books) that relate to that topic. Click here for the Goodreads group if you would like to learn more about Top 5 Wednesday and join in!

This week’s Top 5 Wednesday topic is the top five books you want to read before the end of the year. Welcome to yet another installment in the “Ari’s TBR Shame” series! Today, we’ll be doing a bit of New Year’s reading resolution shaming, as I believe that all of these books are off of my “16 in 2016” TBR from the beginning of the year. However, on the positive side of things, I have a fairly good feeling I’ll be able to finish all of these novels by the end of the year (she says with eternal optimism…). 🙂

5. The Final Empire by Brandon Sanderson

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This one comes straight off my “been on my TBR for way too long” list from yesterday. Even though I’m sure I’ll love this one, I am so overloaded with books right now, I think I’ve been putting this series off mainly because of the length. I’ve been trying to put a bit more of a dent in my TBR before starting on this one, but I’m going to make sure it gets read before the year is out!

4. A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin

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Tying in with yesterday’s Top 10 Tuesday post, this is a book that I’ve had sitting on my TBR for a very long time—definitely since well before I started blogging. In fact, it was one of the first books I added to my Goodreads TBR. I’ve started working on this one already, so my finishing it before the end of the year is pretty certain.

3. Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

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This is another one that’s a duplicate from yesterday’s list. I’ve owned a copy of this novel since it was first released and have been dying to read it for years—and yet, it’s still siting on my TBR. I started it at one point, got really busy with schoolwork, and unfortunately had to put it aside. But I already know I love the story—or at least what I’ve read—so this is a must read before the end of 2016!

2. The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien

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As I said before, this was on my list from the beginning of the year, and it’s been a goal of mine to read my first Tolkien novel in 2016. Thus, The Hobbit makes it onto this list. I figure this will be a good one to start off with, and then I can jump into LOTR later on.

1. A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab

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And once again, another one rolling over from yesterday’s list! I’m really determined to get some of these ones that have been sitting on my TBR done soon. Though this has been on my list the least amount of time out of the five I’ve chosen, this is by far the craziest one. Victoria Schwab is one of my favorite authors and it is absolutely insane that I haven’t begun this series yet! This is a top priority!

What books are you guys hoping to eliminate from your TBR before the end of 2016? Let me know in the comments!

-Ariana

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Top 5 Wednesday – August 17th, 2016

topfivewednesday

Top 5 Wednesday was created by Lainey at Gingerreadslainey and is now hosted by Sam from Thoughts on Tomes. Every week, book reviewers all over the world are given a bookish topic and respond with their top 5 books (or elements of books) that relate to that topic. Click here for the Goodreads group if you would like to learn more about Top 5 Wednesday and join in!

This week’s Top 5 Wednesday topic is your top five favorite first sentences of books. A first sentence is by far one of the most important aspects of any novel. It’s what draws the reader into the story by immediately making them want more. It creates a feeling of mystery and intrigue, causes a reader to question what might happen next or why the first sentence says what it does. Making a good first impression on a reader is key in any good book.

Here are five of my all-time favorite first sentences. Some are gripping and enticing, others just have that nostalgia factor for me. Either way, each of these opening lines holds a fond place in my heart.

The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini

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“I became what I am today at the age of twelve, on a frigid overcast day in the winter of 1975.”

A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness

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“The monster showed up just after midnight. As they do.”

Alice by Christina Henry

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“If she moved her head all the way up against the wall and tilted it to the left she could just see the edge of the moon through the bars.”

 Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

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 “When I think of my wife, I always think of her head.”

 Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury

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“First of all, it was October, a rare month for boys”

Nostalgia Bonus! 😀

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling

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“Mr. and Mrs. Dursley, of number four, Privet Drive, were proud to say that they were perfectly normal, thank you very much.”

What are some of your favorite opening lines from novels? Let me know down in the comments! 🙂

-Ariana

Top 5 Wednesday – July 20th, 2016

topfivewednesday

Top 5 Wednesday was created by Lainey at Gingerreadslainey and is now hosted by Sam from Thoughts on Tomes. Every week, book reviewers all over the world are given a bookish topic and respond with their top 5 books (or elements of books) that relate to that topic. Click here for the Goodreads group if you would like to learn more about Top 5 Wednesday and join in!

This week’s Top 5 Wednesday topic is the top five most recent additions to your reading wishlist. I’ve decided to tack on a little extra element and also list the top five recent additions to my physical TBR that I am most excited to read.

Top 5 Wishlist Additions

1. The Muse by Jesse Burton

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From the internationally bestselling author of The Miniaturist comes a captivating and brilliantly realized story of two young women—a Caribbean immigrant in 1960s London, and a bohemian woman in 1930s Spain—and the powerful mystery that ties them together.

England, 1967. Odelle Bastien is a Caribbean émigré trying to make her way in London. When she starts working at the prestigious Skelton Art Gallery, she discovers a painting rumored to be the work of Isaac Robles, a young artist of immense talent and vision whose mysterious death has confounded the art world for decades. The excitement over the painting is matched by the intrigue around the conflicting stories of its discovery. Drawn into a complex web of secrets and deceptions, Odelle does not know what to believe or who she can trust, including her mesmerizing colleague, Marjorie Quick.

Spain, 1937. Olive Schloss, the daughter of a Viennese Jewish art dealer and English heiress, follows her parents to Arazuelo, a poor, restless village on the southern coast. She grows close to Teresa, a young housekeeper, and her half-brother Isaac Robles, an idealistic and ambitious painter newly returned from the Barcelona salons. A dilettante buoyed by the revolutionary fervor that will soon erupt into civil war, Isaac dreams of being a painter as famous as his countryman, Picasso.

Raised in poverty, these illegitimate children of the local landowner revel in exploiting this wealthy Anglo-Austrian family. Insinuating themselves into the Schloss’s lives, Teresa and Isaac help Olive conceal her artistic talents with devastating consequences that will echo into the decades to come.

Rendered in exquisite detail, The Muse is a passionate and enthralling tale of desire, ambition, and the ways in which the tides of history inevitably shape and define our lives.

 

2. The Forbidden Wish by Jessica Khoury

(I blame Heather for this one!)

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She is the most powerful Jinni of all. He is a boy from the streets. Their love will shake the world…

When Aladdin discovers Zahra’s jinni lamp, Zahra is thrust back into a world she hasn’t seen in hundreds of years—a world where magic is forbidden and Zahra’s very existence is illegal. She must disguise herself to stay alive, using ancient shape-shifting magic, until her new master has selected his three wishes. 

But when the King of the Jinn offers Zahra a chance to be free of her lamp forever, she seizes the opportunity—only to discover she is falling in love with Aladdin. When saving herself means betraying him, Zahra must decide once and for all: is winning her freedom worth losing her heart?

As time unravels and her enemies close in, Zahra finds herself suspended between danger and desire in this dazzling retelling of Aladdin from acclaimed author Jessica Khoury.

 

3. The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Bronte

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‘She looked so like herself that I knew not how to bear it’

In this sensational, hard-hitting and passionate tale of marital cruelty, The Tenant of Wildfell Hall sees a mysterious tenant, Helen Graham, unmasked not as a ‘wicked woman’ as the local gossips would have it, but as the estranged wife of a brutal alcoholic bully, desperate to protect her son.

Using her own experiences with her brother Branwell to depict the cruelty and debauchery from which Helen flees, Anne Bronte wrote her masterpiece to reflect the fragile position of women in society and her belief in universal redemption, but scandalized readers of the time.

 

4. The Palace Job by Patrick Weekes

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The most powerful man in the republic framed her, threw her in prison, and stole a priceless elven manuscript from her family.

With the help of a crack team that includes an illusionist, a unicorn, a death priestess, a talking warhammer, and a lad with a prophetic birthmark, Loch must find a way into the floating fortress of Heaven’s Spire–and get past the magic-hunting golems and infernal sorcerers standing between her and the vault that holds her family’s treasure.

It’d be tricky enough without the military coup and unfolding of an ancient evil prophecy–but now the determined and honourable Justicar Pyvic has been assigned to take her in.

But hey, every plan has a few hitches.

 

5. It’s All Fun and Games by Dave Barrett

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When Allison’s best friend, TJ, convinces her to come along for an epic game of LARP (live-action role-playing), she reluctantly agrees despite her reservations about the geeky pastime. TJ’s weekends are filled with powerful wizardry, mystical creatures, and intense battles with his LARP group. Each adventure is full of surprises, but the goal is always the same: to defeat the monsters and find the treasure.

Not long after their quest begins, the friends discover that something has gone wrong. The fantasy world they’ve built has transformed, and the battle they’re in the midst of is no longer make-believe.

Now they must fight for survival against brigands, kobolds, and other deadly mythical creatures that come to life. Fortunately, the group’s once-fictional magical powers have also become real – including Allison’s newly acquired gifts as a healer. They’ll need everything in their arsenal if they hope to make it home alive.

Top 5 Physical TBR Additions

I’ve just gotten back from traveling and my birthday was on Monday, so let’s just say, there have been a few new additions to my book collection! I’ll be doing a full travel and birthday book haul post in a few days, but for now, here are some of the books that I have recently acquired that I am most looking forward to reading.

 1. And I Darken by Kiersten White

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Any novel with a strong, kickass-sounding female lead immediately catches my attention! This story sounds dark, intense, and action-packed, exactly the type of story I love. I’m really hoping I’ll be diving into a gripping and unique fantasy, something I’ve been very in the mood for lately. I’ve also heard some very good things about Kiersten White’s writing, so I’m excited to experience it for the first time.

2. Dubliners by James Joyce

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I know a few people who really didn’t enjoy this novel and think I’m crazy for wanting to read it! But we read a few excerpts from it in school a while back, and I loved all of them. I’ve been wanting to read the rest for a long time, and this will also contribute to my mission to read more classics this year. The other exciting fact about my copy of this is that I picked it up while I was in Dublin earlier this month!

 3. In Sunlight or In Shadow compiled by Lawrence Block

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When I saw this on Netgalley, I completely freaked out! This is a collection of short stories written by a group of well-known authors where each story is inspired by a painting by Edward Hopper. Not only am I a massive fan of short story collections, Edward Hopper is one of my favorite painters of all time. For an art/writing assignment, I myself wrote a short story about his painting, Nighthawks. To top off my excitement about this book, I was approved for an ARC on Netgalley! I can’t wait to start this!

4. Beowulf translation by J.R.R. Tolkien

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This is another novel that we read an excerpt from in school ages ago, but never actually read the full book. And again, I really enjoyed the part that we read, so I’ve been wanting to pick up a copy of it so I could finally finish it off. I recently heard about this edition that was translated by Tolkien, so I immediately knew this was the translation I needed to read! I’m so looking forward to it!

5. An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir

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This is a novel I’ve been debating picking up for a while, so when I saw it on sale on Kindle, I decided, why not give it a try. I’ve heard tons of incredible things about this novel, however, reports of a potential love square sort of put me off for a bit. But it sounds like my type of story and I was excited about it when it was released last year, so I figured I should finally give it a go.

What are some books that you guys have recently added to your reading wishlist? Are there any new bookish purchases you’ve made lately that you are particularly excited about? Let me know in the comments! 🙂

-Ariana

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