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Top 5 Wednesday: Summer Reads

Top 5 Wednesday was created by Lainey and is hosted by Samantha.

All information can be found here.

The weather’s heating up, the days are getting longer. Even if it’s not sunny, even if it rains all the time (Thank you, Belgium), we still have our summer reads to get us in the summer-mood.

Here are five books I’d recommend.

Tigers in Red Weather – Liza Klaussmann (buy)

tigers in red weather Liza Klaussmann

Nick and her cousin, Helena, have grown up sharing sultry summer heat, sunbleached boat docks, and midnight gin parties on Martha’s Vineyard in a glorious old family estate known as Tiger House. In the days following the end of the Second World War, the world seems to offer itself up, and the two women are on the cusp of their ‘real lives’: Helena is off to Hollywood and a new marriage, while Nick is heading for a reunion with her own young husband, Hughes, about to return from the war.

Soon the gilt begins to crack. Helena’s husband is not the man he seemed to be, and Hughes has returned from the war distant, his inner light curtained over. On the brink of the 1960s, back at Tiger House, Nick and Helena—with their children, Daisy and Ed—try to recapture that sense of possibility. But when Daisy and Ed discover the victim of a brutal murder, the intrusion of violence causes everything to unravel. The members of the family spin out of their prescribed orbits, secrets come to light, and nothing about their lives will ever be the same.

This book is all about secrets. Everyone has details about their life they’d rather keep hidden. I loved the atmosphere in this book, it felt like I was there on that island. Don’t expect a super in dept murder mystery because that’s not what this is. It’s about a family that doesn’t really get along. About putting on masks to protect yourself. Intrigued? Go on, give it a go…

This is what happy looks like – Jennifer E. Smith (buy)

this is what happy looks life Jennifer E Smith

When a young movie star accidentally sends a small-town girl an email about his pet pig, the two teens strike up a witty correspondence during which they share their views on everything without revealing their actual identities, an episode that causes a relationship to develop which ultimately transforms when the actor chooses the girl’s hometown for the setting of his latest film.

This was cute and fluffy and the story takes place over the summer. I’m not a big contemporary reader but there’s just something about summer and contemporary fiction that makes them fit together perfectly.

Outlander – Diana Gabaldon (buy)

outlander diana gabaldon

The year is 1945. Claire Randall, a former combat nurse, is just back from the war and reunited with her husband on a second honeymoon when she walks through a standing stone in one of the ancient circles that dot the British Isles. Suddenly she is a Sassenach—an “outlander”—in a Scotland torn by war and raiding border clans in the year of Our Lord…1743.

Hurled back in time by forces she cannot understand, Claire is catapulted into the intrigues of lairds and spies that may threaten her life, and shatter her heart. For here James Fraser, a gallant young Scots warrior, shows her a love so absolute that Claire becomes a woman torn between fidelity and desire—and between two vastly different men in two irreconcilable lives.

I’m putting this on my list because I started reading it while on holiday in the Provence. I FLEW through it. I haven’t read any of the other books in this series since but I really enjoyed this one! If you want something you can immerse yourself in, this might be the one.

The Secret Life of Bees – Sue Monk Kidd (buy)

The secret life of bees Sue Monk Kidd

Set in South Carolina in 1964, The Secret Life of Bees tells the story of Lily Owens, whose life has been shaped around the blurred memory of the afternoon her mother was killed. When Lily’s fierce-hearted black “stand-in mother,” Rosaleen, insults three of the deepest racists in town, Lily decides to spring them both free. They escape to Tiburon, South Carolina–a town that holds the secret to her mother’s past. Taken in by an eccentric trio of black beekeeping sisters, Lily is introduced to their mesmerizing world of bees and honey, and the Black Madonna. This is a remarkable novel about divine female power, a story women will share and pass on to their daughters for years to come

This.is.such.a.great.book!!! I LOVED this book when I read it and I can still see myself sitting in the sun being completely overwhelmed by this story. If you haven’t read it yet, you’re missing out!

Station Eleven – Emily St. John Mandel (buy)

station eleven emily st john mandel

One snowy night a famous Hollywood actor slumps over and dies onstage during a production of King Lear. Hours later, the world as we know it begins to dissolve. Moving back and forth in time—from the actor’s early days as a film star to fifteen years in the future, when a theater troupe known as The Travelling Symphony roams the wasteland of what remains—this suspenseful, elegiac, spellbinding novel charts the strange twists of fate that connect five people: the actor, the man who tried to save him, the actor’s first wife, his oldest friend, and a young actress with the Traveling Symphony, caught in the crosshairs of a dangerous self-proclaimed prophet. Sometimes terrifying, sometimes tender, Station Eleven tells a story about the relationships that sustain us, the ephemeral nature of fame, and the beauty of the world as we know it.

If you would like something more thrilling to read on those hot summer days, this is one to put on your list. I know that a lot of people have already read this one but I couldn’t not include it. This is a beautiful dystopian story about the different ways someone can ‘survive’. It’s also the next book for Sanne‘s #EndOfTheWorldBookClub , you might want to check that one out 😉

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Top 5 Wednesday: Books as Event Themes

Today’s topic is Books we would like as event Themes.
I had a few in mind and just went mad on Pinterest 😉 so yeah, enjoy!

I chose books I’ve read and enjoyed, which also have a lot of atmosphere.

The Great Gatsby

Bookish events Great Gatsby

I love vintage looks so anything inspired by the 20s, like The Great Gatsby, is right up my street. It’s chique with minimal colors and it just looks so classy. (source)

Bookish events Great Gatsby2

(source)

Bookish events Great Gatsby 3

I think the best color scheme is black, gold and maybe some silver. Don’t forget to put a green lantern outside! (source)

Harry Potter

Bookish events Harry Potter

Ow my god. This is just one of a million pictures for a Harry Potter themed wedding and I am so in love. The dress, the location…. it’s amazing!!! (Other pictures here)

Bookish events harry potter

Look at those chocolate frogs on the plates. So incredibly beautiful! (source)

The Night Circus

Bookish events Night Circus

Few books are more atmospheric than The Night Circus. Color scheme here is black and white with pops of red. (source)

Bookish events Night Circus2

Circus vibes means popcorn, right? (source)

Bookish events night circus

Mmmmm candy… (source)

Pride and Prejudice

Bookish events Pride and Prejudice

Those flowers! I would LOVE to sit at that table. (source)

Bookish events Pride and Prejudice 2

Imagine every guest gets his or her silhouette on their chair. (source)

Bookish events Pride and Prejudice

Throwing this kind of party outside gives it a whole new dimension. (source)

Alice in Wonderland

Bookish events Alice in wonderland

I love the chaotic, messy style of these Mad Hatter tea parties. (source)

Bookish events Alice in wonderland

Mmmmmm cookies!! (source)

Bookish events Alice in wonderland

Love this.. sooooo much. Isn’t that clever? (source)

Bookish events Alice in wonderland

If you want some extra inspiration, this is the place to look. What a great and beautiful set of pictures. (source)

I looked up Game of Thrones parties and they are hysterical!! There are so many funny ideas out there. But I haven’t read the books so I couldn’t add them to this list.

And there you have it. Five ideas for bookish events.

Which one is your favorite?

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Top 5 Wednesday: Favorite SFF Cover Art

Top 5 Wednesday was created by Lainey and is hosted by Samantha.

All information can be found here.

Today I share with you some of my favorite Science Fiction and Fantasy book covers. I rarely ever buy books based solely on the cover but these once I absolutely adore.

A Natural History of Dragons ( a memoir by Lady Trent) – Marie Brennan

a natural history of dragons lady trent marie brennan

“You, dear reader, continue at your own risk. It is not for the faint of heart—no more so than the study of dragons itself. But such study offers rewards beyond compare: to stand in a dragon’s presence, even for the briefest of moments—even at the risk of one’s life—is a delight that, once experienced, can never be forgotten. . . .

All the world, from Scirland to the farthest reaches of Eriga, know Isabella, Lady Trent, to be the world’s preeminent dragon naturalist. She is the remarkable woman who brought the study of dragons out of the misty shadows of myth and misunderstanding into the clear light of modern science. But before she became the illustrious figure we know today, there was a bookish young woman whose passion for learning, natural history, and, yes, dragons defied the stifling conventions of her day.

Here at last, in her own words, is the true story of a pioneering spirit who risked her reputation, her prospects, and her fragile flesh and bone to satisfy her scientific curiosity; of how she sought true love and happiness despite her lamentable eccentricities; and of her thrilling expedition to the perilous mountains of Vystrana, where she made the first of many historic discoveries that would change the world forever.

I haven’t read these books yet but the moment I saw them online, I knew that I had to have them. The story also really appeals to me.

The Melancholy of Mechagirl – Catherynne M. Valente

melancholy of mechagirl catherynne M valente

Science fiction and fantasy stories about Japan by the multiple-award winning author and New York Times best seller Catherynne M. Valente. A collection of some of Catherynne Valente’s most admired stories, including the Hugo Award-nominated novella “Silently and Very Fast” and the Locus Award finalist “13 Ways of Looking at Space/Time,” with a brand-new long story to anchor the collection.

I’m not sure if this is a book I actually want to read. I’m not very good at story collections. But this cover is absolutely stunning!!

Six of Crows/Crooked Kingdom – Leigh Bardugo

book_review_six_of_crows_leigh_bardugo22299763

Criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker has been offered wealth beyond his wildest dreams. But to claim it, he’ll have to pull off a seemingly impossible heist:

Break into the notorious Ice Court
(a military stronghold that has never been breached)

Retrieve a hostage
(who could unleash magical havoc on the world)

Survive long enough to collect his reward
(and spend it)

Kaz needs a crew desperate enough to take on this suicide mission and dangerous enough to get the job done – and he knows exactly who: six of the deadliest outcasts the city has to offer. Together, they just might be unstoppable – if they don’t kill each other first.

I love the covers of these two books (I liked the content too by the way). I love how the feathers shape the towers and the blood on Crooked Kingdom’s cover. It’s all in the details. The maps inside are also pretty great. The hardcover’s even have colored pages. Unfortunately, I don’t own those. *sad face*

The Gracekeepers – Kirsty Logan

the gracekeepers kirsty logan

As a Gracekeeper, Callanish administers shoreside burials, sending the dead to their final resting place deep in the depths of the ocean. Alone on her island, she has exiled herself to a life of tending watery graves as penance for a long-ago mistake that still haunts her. Meanwhile, North works as a circus performer with the Excalibur, a floating troupe of acrobats, clowns, dancers, and trainers who sail from one archipelago to the next, entertaining in exchange for sustenance.

In a world divided between those inhabiting the mainland (“landlockers”) and those who float on the sea (“damplings”), loneliness has become a way of life for North and Callanish, until a sudden storm offshore brings change to both their lives–offering them a new understanding of the world they live in and the consequences of the past, while restoring hope in an unexpected future.

Inspired in part by Scottish myths and fairytales, The Gracekeepers tells a modern story of an irreparably changed world: one that harbors the same isolation and sadness, but also joys and marvels of our own age.

Words cannot describe how much I love this cover. It’s so whimsical. This is another one of those books I’m forever hesitating to buy. I’m not even sure why… The story sounds fascinating. If only I could buy ALL the books…

The Night Circus – Erin Morgenstern

het nachtcircus dutch cover erin morgenstern

The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it, no paper notices plastered on lampposts and billboards. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not.

Within these nocturnal black-and-white striped tents awaits an utterly unique, a feast for the senses, where one can get lost in a maze of clouds, meander through a lush garden made of ice, stare in wonderment as the tattooed contortionist folds herself into a small glass box, and become deliciously tipsy from the scents of caramel and cinnamon that waft through the air.

Welcome to Le Cirque des Rêves.

This is the Dutch cover of The Night Circus. I got a copy like this for my birthday when I was still working at the bookstore. I had been obsessing over it ever since we had received the promotional information. Needless to say, I loved it although I do think I would have loved it more if I read it in English. I found spelling errors and because it was translated into Dutch-Dutch and not Flemish-Dutch (there’s a difference but I’ll explain some other time) I remember getting annoyed with the words they chose.
Anywayssss… All that has nothing to do with the cover of course… I’m still in love with it :).

 

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Top 5 Wednesday: Authors You Want to Read More From

Top 5 Wednesday was created by Lainey and is hosted by Samantha.

All information can be found here.

This week we talk a little about the authors we want to read more from. I don’t really have favorite authors and I always look at their work one book at a time but there are some that I’d be more inclined to read more from.

Let’s go!

Naomi Novik

author naomi novik

I’ve read Uprooted and really liked it. I’m considering picking up the Temeraire series but I’m a bit reluctant because it’s already a big series. This is a good thing because it means once I start and love it, I can just keep reading and reading and reading but it’s also a bad thing because I’m reading at a slow pace right now so I just don’t have the time to take on a series like that.. I’d get no other reading done whatsoever…

Ernest Hemingway

Author Ernest Hemingway

I’ve only read The Old Man and The Sea (and loved it) but I had For Whom The Bell Tolls on my shelf, so I should read that one soon.

Jane Austen

Author Jane Austen

I read Pride and Prejudice a while ago and I want to something else by her but I’m not sure what exactly. Any recommendations?

Neil Gaiman

Author Neil Gaiman

American Gods is now a TV series but when I tried to read it, I could not get into it. It’s also a massive book so I need some real reading time if I ever want to get through it. I’ve loved Neverwhere and The Ocean at the end of the Lane and I have Trigger Warning sitting on my shelf, so it’s only a matter of time before I pick something else up by him.

Ian McEwan

Author Ian McEwan

If you’ve read my review for Nutshell yesterday, you’ll know that I have a soft spot for Ian McEwan. Although I don’t enjoy all of his work, I’m always in awe of his writing style. I’ll just have to find the stories that really appeal to me.

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Top 5 Wednesday: Favorite LGBTQ+ Reads

Okay, here goes… I don’t read a lot of LGBTQ+ books. It’s not a concious descision, it’s not that I don’t want to, I can’t remember enough to fill a top 5 Wednesday list.

The only one I can 100% recommend is The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller which was one of the most beautiful books I’ve ever read.

So I’m making this into a Top 5 LGBTQ+ books I have on my TBR – list.
Then you can tell me which ones I should get to first. Deal?

Aristotle and dante discover the secrets of the universe benjamin alire saenz tbr

Aristotle and Dante discover the secrets of the universe – Benjamin Alire Sáenz

Aristotle is an angry teen with a brother in prison. Dante is a know-it-all who has an unusual way of looking at the world. When the two meet at the swimming pool, they seem to have nothing in common. But as the loners start spending time together, they discover that they share a special friendship—the kind that changes lives and lasts a lifetime. And it is through this friendship that Ari and Dante will learn the most important truths about themselves and the kind of people they want to be.

I’ve heard that the audiobook for this was narrated by Lin Manuel Miranda. If that’s true than this could be the first audiobook I’ll ever listen to. People are generally very positive about this book so I’m curious to see if I’ll like it too.

miseducation of cameron post emily m danforth

The miseducation of Cameron Post – Emily M. Danforth

When Cameron Post’s parents die suddenly in a car crash, her shocking first thought is relief. Relief they’ll never know that, hours earlier, she had been kissing a girl.

But that relief doesn’t last, and Cam is soon forced to move in with her conservative aunt Ruth and her well-intentioned but hopelessly old-fashioned grandmother. She knows that from this point on, her life will forever be different. Survival in Miles City, Montana, means blending in and leaving well enough alone (as her grandmother might say), and Cam becomes an expert at both.

Then Coley Taylor moves to town. Beautiful, pickup-driving Coley is a perfect cowgirl with the perfect boyfriend to match. She and Cam forge an unexpected and intense friendship — one that seems to leave room for something more to emerge. But just as that starts to seem like a real possibility, ultrareligious Aunt Ruth takes drastic action to ‘fix’ her niece, bringing Cam face-to-face with the cost of denying her true self — even if she’s not exactly sure who that is.

This just grabbed my attention but I haven’t heard anyone else talk about it. So if you’ve read this, let me know if you liked it! I’m going to be on the lookout for this one from now on.

More happy than not - Adam Silvera

More happy than not – Adam Silvera

In the months after his father’s suicide, it’s been tough for 16-year-old Aaron Soto to find happiness again–but he’s still gunning for it. With the support of his girlfriend Genevieve and his overworked mom, he’s slowly remembering what that might feel like. But grief and the smile-shaped scar on his wrist prevent him from forgetting completely.

When Genevieve leaves for a couple of weeks, Aaron spends all his time hanging out with this new guy, Thomas. Aaron’s crew notices, and they’re not exactly thrilled. But Aaron can’t deny the happiness Thomas brings or how Thomas makes him feel safe from himself, despite the tensions their friendship is stirring with his girlfriend and friends. Since Aaron can’t stay away from Thomas or turn off his newfound feelings for him, he considers turning to the Leteo Institute’s revolutionary memory-alteration procedure to straighten himself out, even if it means forgetting who he truly is.

Why does happiness have to be so hard?

This book is going to destroy me, isn’t it?

 

oranges are not the only fruit Jeanette Winterson

Oranges are not the only fruit – Jeanette Winterson

This startling novel describes the adolescence of a ferociously bright and rebellious orphan adopted into a Pentecostal household in the dour, industrial Midlands and her coming to terms with her unorthodox sexuality.

I know that this is based on Jeanette Winterson’s own life and that’s exactly why I want to read it. I like the idea of fictionalizing true events to get a message across.

Captive Prince C S Pacat

The Captive Prince – C.S. Pacat

Damen is a warrior hero to his people, and the rightful heir to the throne of Akielos. But when his half brother seizes power, Damen is captured, stripped of his identity, and sent to serve the prince of an enemy nation as a pleasure slave.

This could be either really good or really bad. I’ve heard a lot of mixed reviews but the blurb sounds like something I’d enjoy reading.

 

What do you think? Which one should I read first?