Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten (or Four!) Best Sequels Ever

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Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly bookish list meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. To know more about it and participate, click here.

This week’s top ten list is about Best Sequels. Well, this is a tough one. Why? Because, usually, I don’t like the sequel as much as I liked the first book. Does it happen to you? Either the writing is sloppy, the plot disappointing and the characters inconsistent to the first installment. The truth is only one. It’s rare to find I sequel that I like, which is why I tend to avoid reading series. Still, there are a couple of sequels that turned out to be better than what I expected. 

Top Ten (or Four!) Best Sequels Ever
(click in the covers to find the books in Goodreads)

1. Son of Shadows

Son of Shadows is probably one of my favourite books of all time. This book is precious to me in so many ways. Not only the book is extremely well written, with amazing characters and plot, I also read it a very special time in my life. Though I loved the first installment in the series (Daughter of the Forest), this book is my absolute favourite of the entire Sevenwaters series, by Juliet Marillier. If I ever be in a deserted island, this is the book I choose to take with me. 

2. Romancing Mr. Bridgerton

This is my favourite second sequel of all time and also one of my favourite books. Yes, it’s chic-lit and historical romance. So what?! I love these characters and their story. This book warms my heart and my soul. Romancing Mr. Bridgerton is the book #4 of the Bridgerton series and, despite loving the second book (The Viscount Who Loved Me), this is one is special.

3. Tears of the Moon

Now, this isn’t among my favourite books, and probably isn’t the best sequel ever, but it is one of the first sequels I loved. I read it in my late teens and I really enjoyed the characters. Brenna is a mechanic and a kick-ass girl, while Shawn is a musician and more slow paced in life. I love the pair they made. Also, this book had a huge influence in my love for Ireland.

5. Archangel’s Kiss

Archangel’s Kiss is definitely not the best book ever. I’m having mixed feelings about this series and frustration is all over the place. Still, when I was a bit disappointed with the first book, it was this sequel that saved the series for me, (only to be utterly disappointed by book #3, but that’s another story). The book is well balanced, good paced, more consistent that the other book I’ve read and much more interesting plot, character and world development. So, because it’s an exception to what is usually the rule, the book made it to the list.

And this is it! Short list, only with two titles that I can really call “best ever”. It is what is is. What about you? What’s your favourite sequel ever? Do say that you have some amazing titles to recommend. I’m so very disappointed with series at the moment. I could use some good suggestions. 🙂

 

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Books On My Fall 2013 TBR List

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Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly bookish list meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. To know more about it and participate, click here.

This week’s top ten list is about my Fall TBR list for 2013. I’m a little disappointed with my monthly TBR lists because I’m having a hard time reading all the books for each month. August was a chaotic month for me and September is heading in the same way, so I have no idea if I’ll be reading 10 books this Fall. Nevertheless, here’s the books I’m planning on reading in the next couple of months. 

Top Ten Books On My Fall 2013 TBR List

My Fall 2013 TBR List

(not according to the order of appearance in the photo)

1. Me Before You, by Jojo Moyes: A very good friend recommended this book to me and I’ve always trusted her suggestions. Plus, the book is getting good reviews all over the web (I’m trying to avoid reading them). So, this one will be one of my next reads.

2. The Book Thief, by Markus Zusak: Honestly, I’m ashamed that I haven’t read it yet. The movie is almost here people! I really have to read it now. Why the book made it to my list, in the first place? Because great reviews follow it everywhere. Plus, it looks like a great story that I can’t miss.

3. The Rose Garden, by Suzanna Kearsley: To be honest, there isn’t a specific reason why I’m reading this book in particular. I wanted to try to “read” an audiobook and this one caught my eye during my last visit to the library.

4. Vision in White, by Nora Roberts: Because I’m craving for some cliché chic-lit and NR never disappoints.

5. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, by Mark Haddon: Another recommendation from a friend. The book also interest me a lot for being told by the POV of an autistic boy. I’ve high expectations about this one.

5. Serena, by Ron Rash: A book I bought this year because I’ve read amazing reviews on Goodreads. Hopefully, it will be my historical fiction book for the Fall.

6. The Ice Princess, by Camilla Läckberg: So many people have told me to read this book that I just can’t delay it anymore. I like to read a crime novel once in a while, so I hope this one doesn’t disappoint.

7. The Map of Time, by Félix J. Palma: The synopsis tells me that this book is a mixture of steampunk, historical fiction and fantasy. It sounds very good to me! 😀

8. Matched, by Ally Condie: One of my recent acquisitions. I’m very curious about the premise of the book, the Society and the matchmaking “thing”. The book also has good reviews, so I’m excited about it!! 🙂

9. Graceling, by Kristin Cashore: This book is in my list for ages!! It’s a book I love even before actually reading it. Does this make any sense to you? Anyway, this Fall I’ll read it and then have a real reason for loving it (hopefully!!)

10. The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making, by Catheryne M. Valente: The girl looks brave, adventurous and resourceful, so I think this is a book I’ll enjoy reading! 🙂 I miss a bubbly and magical kid’s fantasy book, so I’ll give this one a chance.

This is my list! As you can see, I’m constantly genre hopping. I love to try new genres, read new things, get out of my comfort zone and be surprised! Life’s too short do it otherwise. I might change some of these titles along the way, because sometimes a book just calls for me and I have to give it priority.

Now, let’s hear it from you. 🙂 Which books are you planning to read this Fall? Are some of them in my list? Have you read any of the books in my list? Could you tell me your opinion or direct me to your review? Let me know all about it! 🙂

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Most Memorable Secondary Characters

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Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly bookish list meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. To know more about it and participate, click here.

This week’s top ten list is about Memorable Secondary Characters. Well, I’m having a little trouble finding 10 secondary characters that were so perfectly written that they were simply unforgettable. Sadly, authors tend to dismiss secondary characters as mere accessories to the plot, so they’re not that layered and well built. However, I do have a few in my pocket and if you count Mr and Mrs Bennet separately, I made it to ten!

Top Ten (or Nine!) Most Memorable Secondary Characters
(This time in gif style, because they’re too cool to be featured in static pictures)

1. Severus Snape

I love Snape and I’m not that big of a fan of the Harry Potter series (I know, I’m weird, please don’t throw sticks at me… I just never got the chance to read past book 4). Still, read the first 4 books several times and saw all the movies. Snape’s character has always been one of my favourites. He’s also so deliciously layered! I just like his attitude, pose and emo kid style. He’s by far one of my favourite secondary characters ever!

2. Gollum

Gollum, gollum!!! I love the Smeagol/Gollum duo from The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings trilogy. Together they make this incredible character, so twisted and layered and overall one of the most unforgettable characters in the fantasy genre.

3. Mr and Mrs Bennet

Have you read Pride & Prejudice or, at least, seen the movies? P&P is one of my favourite books of all time, although not my favourite Austen. Nevertheless, I’m a huge fan, not only because a part of me is a hopeless romantic who loves Lizzy and Darcy, but also because all the characters in this book are absolutely amazing. Mr and Mrs Bennet are unforgettable. She is your typical mother hen, yet so ridiculously funny. She’s just full of love. 🙂 Mr. Bennet is witty, sometimes sarcastic, charismatic, book lover and a loving father. His dialogues were always so fun to read. If it weren’t for the Bennet parents, the book wouldn’t have the tremendous success we still see today.

5. Mr. Collins

Yes, he’s waving at you. 😀 Mr. Collins is absolutely ridiculous and creepy yet, at the same time, hilarious. (Yes…also P&P). It’s been years and years since I read the book and I still find myself and some of my friends joking around saying “Well, perhaps Mr. Collins has a cousin!”. Behold that wave and creepy smile. He’s just unforgettable…in a bad, absolutely funny way.

5. Ellen “Nelly” Dean

Nelly is the narrator of Wuthering Heights, also one of my favourite books of all time. She’s not very striking as a character. She’s observant, compassionate, comprehensive and quiet. Although, her voice stayed with me after all these years, and I could never quite forget her. So, she made it to the list. 🙂

6. Tyrion Lannister 

If you read A Song of Ice and Fire series or saw the Game of Thrones TV series, you know Tyrion Lannister. I haven’t read all books in the series, yet… but I really like Tyrion. He is just absolutely crazy, flawed, hilarious…he’s pretty unique and that makes him memorable.

7. Violet Bridgerton

The Bridgertons series, by Julia Quinn, is my favourite historical romance series. I won’t start talking about it, otherwise I’ll get into fangirl mode and won’t shut up. Violet is the mother of all the Bridgerton “kids” and she is fantastic. Sadly, there’s no movies or series adaptations, so that is not really her “adaptated” face. However, I picture her looking somewhat similar to Mrs. Gardiner (also P&P, but I just mean the looks). She is incredibly strong, wise, compassionate and funny. Plus, she’s an incredible mother. Violet’s character adds to the series richness and quality. She holds everything together! Without her, it wouldn’t be the same.

8. Rebecca de Winter

Rebecca, by Daphne du Marier, is also one of my favourite books. Rebecca de Winter names the book, yet she never appears in it, since she’s death (or perhaps not? read it to find out). However, her presence is always so powerful and haunting that it’s incredible. She never appears in the novel, people. Yet, she manages to sweep us over and demand our attention. So, she’s part of my list.

9. Minny

See that? Read The Help to know what that’s all about. I won’t tell you, but I’ll never forget Minny for that. I lover this character. As the synopsis say, Minny is “short, fat, and perhaps the sassiest woman in Mississippi. She can cook like nobody’s business, but she can’t mind her tongue, so she’s lost yet another job.” Read the book + see the movie = falling in love with Minny.

 Now, let’s hear it from you. 🙂 Which are your most memorable secondary characters? Do you share some of mine? Let me know all about it!

Top Ten Tuesday: Things That Make My Life As A Reader/Book Blogger Easier

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Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly bookish list meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. To know more about it and participate, click here.

This week’s theme is pretty interesting! I’m looking forward to read all your posts and share some tips that make our lives as readers/book bloggers much more easier. God knows how much we need it! I believe most of you might share with me the lack of time to be an active and highly productive book blogger and reader. So, sometimes, we really need some help.

Top Ten Things That Make My Life As A Reader/Book Blogger Easier
(click on the images and links to find the websites)

TTT_1 I dare say that every passionate reader in this planet with regular access to the Internet will have a Goodreads (GR) account to organise their shelves and rate the books they read. It needs no introduction. We all know it! As a book blogger, GR has always been a great tool, too. I like to direct people to the GR page of the books I talk about because you can find all the info you need about that book in it. And, since most people have a GR account they can add the book directly to the “to-read” shelf. It’s quick and easy to everyone!  As a reader, GR also helps me organise what I read and what I’ll read in the future. I never buy a book without checking the overall rating on Goodreads, so that tells you how dependent of it I am. To sum things up, it helps me keep things organised and it helps me finding new books to read.TTT_2

WordPress changed my life as a blogger. I remember that my first blog ever was blogspot.com and I used Blogger platform for a long, long time during my teens. Eventually I stopped blogging, but now that I have the experience of using both platforms, I definitely prefer and feel that it’s a lot easier to blog with WordPress. The themes are way better are you can completely customize them, you have more control over your blog (Blogger does not allow you to create self hosted blogs), more options to optimize your blog for search engines, better display of stats info, amazing pluggins and widgets, you have the media library, it looks and feels more professional, easy to use/very organised and complete dashboard, etc. WordPress made things easier for me.
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Feedly and Pocket also changed my life both as a blogger and online reader. For as long as I can remember, I’ve been receiving every single update from the websites and blogs I follow on my e-mail. *It was a mess!!!!!* Since Google Reader decided to retire, a friend of mine told me that Feedly was the best alternative. You can keep there all the websites and blogs you follow and it feels like you’re reading one single website with all the content you read online. You can also divide your content in categories and tags. It’s really, really great. Pocket works sort of the same way, but it’s only for single articles and pages. I don’t usually have time to read all your latest posts during the week so, instead of having my e-mail spammed with new updates and my Favourites Bar overflowing with links I just wand to read once, I save all the things I want to read later in Pocket. These two little fellows really make it a lot easier for me to follow you.

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Microsoft OneNote was a suggestion from Asti @A Bookish Heart. Thank you for introducing me to this, Asti! It also changed my life and I feel that everything is easier to deal with after I started to use it. It’s only been a week, I think, and I already feel that I have more control over my posts. I feel more focused about where I’m going with my blog. Check out Asti’s post where she tells you all about this tool.
TTT_6 Creative Market is a great place for bloggers with an interest in blog design. It’s makes it easier for me professionally, but also as a blogger because you can find all kinds of “handmade” fonts, templates, digital illustration, banners, (you name it!), at a great price. But that’s not where the party starts. Every week they let you have a few things FOR FREE, and they always send you an e-mail so that you won’t forget to get the free stuff each week. And the free stuff is usually really, really good to work with. So, there! Enjoy fellow design junkies. 😉TTT_7

If you check my IMM posts you’ll notice that 90% of my books come from charity shops. Yes, I’m a used books lover. But why do they make my life easier? Because they’re cheap and I can’t afford to buy everything I want to read otherwise. No.7 is a photo of an Oxfam Books near my flat. I pay them a visit every week, among other charity shops, like Irish Cancer Society. But this Oxfam Books really has good deals and used books that look like new.
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AwesomeBooks is my “online charity shop”. 🙂 When most people buy books at Amazon, I buy used books with these fellows. They have a great staff and an effective refund policy.
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Public libraries also make life easier when you’re short of money, which I usually am. The library in the picture is also near the place I live and I like to pay them a visit on my way to grocery shopping. Most of the time I just go there to visit the books. They have a really nice staff and a great collection. Plus, the building is enchanting!
TTT_10Yes!! You, dear reader and follower!! You, fellow book blogger!! You always make it easier with your fun and supportive comments, your discussion posts, your “let’s share experiences” posts, your book reviews and opinions. Without you life as a reader would be lonely and blogging would be boring. *Honestly, it would be impossible.* So, THANK YOU!

Now, let’s hear it from you. 🙂 What makes your life easier as a reader and/or blogger? Do you share some of the things that make it easier for me? Do you have any suggestions?

Top Ten Tuesday: Books With Middle Age Settings

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Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly bookish list meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. To know more about it and participate, click here.

This is one of my favourite bookish memes in the book blog world, so I decided to join in and contribute with my lists. This week’s topic was Top Ten Books With X Setting. I am a huge fan of fantasy and alternative history books, specially those written in a real or fictional Middle Age period of time (5th to 15th century). Usually, these books come in series, so my list will be more about book series with this setting.

Top Ten Books (actually 4 book series) With Middle Age Settings
(click on the images and links to find the books on Goodreads)

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Kushiel’s Dart was one of my favourite readings last year. This series is amazing in every way, but let’s just focus on the setting. The book follows the story of Phèdre, a courtesan in a medieval historical fantasy/alternate society of Terre d’Ange, which is a fictional/alternate version of France. In this universe, the people of Terre d’Ange are descendants of the angel Elua, who was born when the blood of Yeshua ben Yosef, the son of the one God (aka Jesus), mingled with the tears of the Magdelene and carried in the womb of Mother Earth. The book has an amazing new religious/political/sociological/political setting intrinsically connected to the alternate European world the author created. For this fact alone these books deserve all your attention, but the characters are so amazingly layered and the plot so twisted and delicious that, really, you should give it a try if you love epic fantasy with a dark flavour.

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My all time favourite series. The books are mainly set in the forest of Sevenwaters, in an ancient version of Ireland, and explore Celtic mythology and folklore wonderfully. The story will also carry you to the Otherworld (the world of the Little Folk), the shores of Britain and Alba (that I think it’s nowadays Scotland). It was with these books that I first fell in love with Ireland.

Untitled-3Who doesn’t know Tolkien’s Middle Earth? This one needs no explanations or introductory note. We all know it and most of us love it. (come on… Rivendale?? I would buy a one way ticket there and never come back if it truly existed!)

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Another one everybody knows about. Westeros is one of the best settings I’ve ever come across with. Though I wouldn’t want to live there (the risk of being accused of traison and murdered is too high!), I would love to visit Winterfell, Riverrun and Highgarden.

So, these are my Top Book Settings. Do you share some of them? Which are yours?