Top Ten Tuesday: Five Years of Top Ten Tuesdays

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. This week, I decided to forgo the actually theme and do my own idea. Last year, I missed the week for Top Ten Tuesday Turns Ten but I absolutely loved Jana’s post and wanted too do something similar. This year marks my 5th year of participating in TTT so I decided to comment/update some of my Top Ten Tuesdays from the last five years!

Top Ten Tuesday: Favorite Historical Fiction (9/13/16)
For the most part, there’s not much I would change about this list. Most of these are still my favorite Historical Fiction books, however, there are a few that I would swap out to add From Ash and Sand, The Alice Network, and Salt to the Sea.

Top Ten Tuesday: Prettiest Books on My Bookshelf (1/24/17)
I’ve added so many books to my shelf in the four years since I wrote this #bibliophilelife. The UK edition of Uprooted is still one of the prettiest books I own.

Top Ten Tuesday: Most Anticipated 2017 Releases (5/30/17)
There are so many good books on this list! I ended up enjoying every book here, but Day of the Duchess was probably my favorite.

Top Ten Tuesday: 2018 Debuts (12/26/17)
Look back at this list is really interesting. On the one hand, a couple of these debuts that I was really looking forward to I ended up hating (Everless and The Hazel Wood). But it also features Sky in the Deep which not only became my favorite book of the year, but one of my favorite books ever. It’s also funny that A Court of Miracles was listed here because it didn’t actually end up releasing until 2020!

Top Ten Tuesday: Frequently Used Words in YA Fantasy Titles (4/24/18)
These words are still pretty popular, but looking back I don’t think they’ve been used as frequently in the past year or two.

Top Ten Tuesday: Authors I’d Love to Meet (10/02/18)
What a fantastic list of authors! Since writing this post, I’ve gotten to meet Laini Taylor, Adrienne Young, and Leigh Bardugo. One of the most disappointing things about the cancellation of BookCon 2020/2021 and YALLFest 2020 was that I wasn’t able to go to any author events or signings. I’m really hoping YALLFest will be back this year and I can cross another author or two off my list 🤞🏼

Top Ten Tuesday: Backlist Books (11/06/18)
I wrote this as a push to read more backlisted books on my TBR in 2019. The only books I’ve ended up reading since writing this was The Alchemists of Loom, The Hating Game, and Roomies. Honestly, the only book on the list that I’m actually still interested in reading would be the Red Rising series.

Top Ten Tuesday: Favorite Fanart (11/20/18)
These are still some of my favorite pieces of art. That Sansa remains of the most beautiful things I’ve seen created.

Top Ten Tuesday: Favorite Couples in Books (02/12/19)
Again, most of these couples I wouldn’t change at all and remain my ultimate #ships. However, there are a few that I would swap out. For instance, as much as it pains me I would probably switch out the Emma/Julian and Will/Tessa tie for Cordelia and James. And since I’m huge Rin/Nezha trash, I would somehow work them into the list as well.

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I’d Love to See on Netflix (08/18/20)
Books being adapted into TV series/movies seems to be a big theme over the past year or so. Since writing this, I’ve learned that The Mediator series was optioned for Netflix 🙌🏼 I also heard a rumor that Dark Matter was possibly also going to be made into a movie but I can’t find much more information about that. Liane Moriarty’s Nine Perfect Strangers will be out on Hulu soon I’m maintaining hope that The Husband’s Secret will join her other books and be adapted as well in the near future!

BOOK REVIEW: Small Great Things – Jodi Picoult ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️

Title: Small Great Things
Author: Jodi Picoult
Rating: ★★★★★

Jodi Picoult is an author whose books I’ve grown up reading and each one has left an lasting impact. Her stories are thought-provoking and compelling, and Small Great Things was no different.

The way Small Great Things is written is both powerful and provocative. The story centers around racism, internal biases, and privilege. Picoult doesn’t tip-toe around these topics in an attempt to make readers feel less uncomfortable, instead she shines a blaring spotlight on them. It’s blatant, it’s in your face, and it’s incredibly important.

As a nurse, the fact that the story’s protagonist was a nurse on trial for possible medical neglect was intriguing and the biggest reason I picked up this story. And while there’s no way I would ever be able to completely find myself in Ruth’s shoes, there were aspects of her story that I could sympathize with. Getting thrown under the bus by the hospital in the face of a lawsuit, having your license suspended, needing to prove yourself in a court as a capable nurse; these are every nurses’ greatest fears and for Ruth, it was even worse know the color of skin was the reasoning behind many of the decisions made.

My biggest issue with the book was the ending. On the one hand, I appreciated what Picoult was attempting to accomplish by giving Turk that closure: in a perfect world, people would learn and grow from their racism. However, this isn’t a perfect world and I found it almost unbelievable to find a member of a white supremacist group have a change of heart in that matter. While I would love to believe that people are capable of that degree of change, in my experience it’s unlikely.

Small Great Things is another engaging, thought-provoking book by Jodi Picoult that will leaving a lasting impact on me and my actions. The book centers around the incredibly important and relevant topics of racism and privilege in our country in a page-turning story sure to keep readers on the edge of their seats.

ARC REVIEW: You Lucky Dog – Julia London ⭐️ ⭐️ ½

Title: You Lucky Dog
Author: Julia London
Rating: ★★½

ARC provided by Berkley through NetGalley.

I never thought a book about dogs would disappoint me so greatly. At first glance, You Lucky Dog seems like everything I could ask for in a book: an accidental dog switch leading to a romantic match between their owners? Sign me up. However, between the lukewarm romance and the writing, I was pretty indifferent towards the story.

I am never a fan of long passages of text and exposition, and unfortunately You Lucky Dog was full of them. I can’t tell you how many chapters were dedicated to painstakingly describing every minute of Carly’s day in detail. I don’t care and it lends absolutely nothing to the story. I also wasn’t a fan of Max’s internal dialogue. Max is a neuroscientist, yes, but I found it super pretentious and annoying whenever he would think something like, “the norepinephrine levels were increasing throughout my body at the thought” instead of simply, “the thought was exciting me.”

The book does shine a light on autism awareness which was really appreciated. The author did a great job showing some of the challenges of living with someone/having a family member with autism. Max’s brother, Jamie, plays an important role in this book and it felt honest and realistic.

As a dog lover, I was really looking forward to You Lucky Dog. Who could resist that cover or the synopsis? But when it came down to it, I did not enjoy the writing style and the story itself was mediocre.

ARC REVIEW: Foul Is Fair – Hannah Capin

42595554Title: Foul Is Fair
Author: Hannah Capin
Rating: ★★

ARC provided by the publisher. 

What is this book about? The premise is amazing. This is a story about a group of teenage girls enacting revenge on a group of prep boys after one of the girls was assaulted at a party. The book is a loose retelling of Macbeth, which happens to be one of my favorite Shakespeare plays, with a little bit of inspiration from Heathers.

What did I like? I really loved the Macbeth retelling angle. The nods to original play are subtle, but so extremely well done. I also really liked that Jade and her friends were unapologetically the mean girls and owned it. There was no apologies for their behavior and they didn’t have a holier than thou attitude.

What didn’t I like? The first major issue I had with the book was the writing. To put it plainly: I couldn’t stand it. The scenes were very abrupt and the way the dialogue was written felt so stilted and unnatural. My other problem with the book was that a lot of the things that happened felt very far-fetched and unbelievable. I’m supposed to be believe that a group of (barely) sixteen-year-old girls were the mastermind behind multiple murders within the span of a week? That the main character would be able to successfully manipulate a boy into doing whatever she asked of him after one meeting? If the time frame had been extended or the criminal acts less severe, I think the story would have been more impactful to me. Yes, it’s fiction, however as a reader I can only suspend my belief to a limit.

Overall thoughts: The plot is a very clever retelling of Macbeth, but considering I almost DNF’d this like three times because I couldn’t stand the way it was written, I definitely did not enjoy this as much as I had hoped.

REVIEW: This Vicious Cure – Emily Suvada

46404266Title: This Vicious Cure (This Mortal Coil #3)
Author: Emily Suvada
Rating: ★★½

This Vicious Cure was one of my most anticipated releases for the year and therefore it pains me to admit how unsatisfied and disappointed I was with the conclusion to this trilogy. I was so excited for this release that I reread the first and seconds books–something I almost never do–because I loved them so much and wanted to fully enjoy the series all over again before starting this. Now I’m think that might have been a bad idea and perhaps that’s why This Vicious Cure feels so underwhelming.

What is this book about? This Vicious Cure picks up a little bit after the end of This Cruel Design. Jun Bei is back in control of her body, after wiping the memory of everyone from the past few months, and Catarina is trapped in their mind.

What did I like? Like the previous two books, the pacing was absolutely perfect. It starts out steady from the beginning, with just the right amount of action and forward-moving plot elements that easily kept me entertained throughout the story. There were also a few clever twists. I really loved finding out the truth about Catarina and her DNA!

What didn’t I like? This Vicious Cure is set through alternating chapters told through the points of views of Jun Bei and Catarina, and I’d be lying if I said I liked the change. I was not of fan of having to read half the book from her character mostly because we spent the first two books not having any kind of emotional connection towards her, and that didn’t change just because she now has her own chapters. I wouldn’t have minded a few chapters from her POV thrown in between Catarina’s, but more often than not I skimmed parts of her chapters because I just didn’t care enough.

I also felt really disconnected from the other characters as well. The interactions between Catarina and Cole, Leoben, and Anna were some of my favorite aspects from the previous books, and that was a something sorely missing from This Vicious Cure. And when they were together, it didn’t feel like a lot because the chapters would end abruptly and then jump back to Jun Bei.

And speaking of limited character interactions, the thing that was most disappointing was the complete lack of interaction between Catarina and Cole. After everything those two have been through together in the past two books, we are given one–O N E– scene with the two of them alone and having a conversation. Their feelings for each other are barely brought up, they hardly talk to each other, and their past is never touched upon. After the ending in This Cruel Design with Cole losing his memory and all their declarations of love, I was expecting……more? Instead, they exchanged probably less than fifty words throughout the book and we are given absolutely no closure for them. It honestly made me so sad and disappointed, especially since their relationship was one of my favorite parts from the series.

Overall thoughts: I would still absolute recommend this trilogy. It’s clever and unique and extremely well-written. But I wanted so much more from this conclusion than I was given, especially when everything regarding Catarina and Cole was basically swept under the rug and forgotten about.