Top Ten Tuesday is all thanks to Broke and the Bookish!
This week we are talking about books we love that perhaps don't get flailed about as much, or get lost in the sheer amount of books read in a year. Since I am trying to reread more old favorites this year, and trying to read more new-to-me backlist titles, I aimed for books along those lines.
1. India Black: Madam of Espionage by Carol K. Carr (Madam of Espoionage #1)
India Black is a madam, and a spy, and she's damned good at both, thank you very much. Her exploits and chemistry with an English rogue named French (just go with it ok) are made of banter, chemistry, and sexual tension. Along with that Carr serves up fun mysteries that keep readers -- and India -- on their toes. Please read the whole series to appreciate her voice and take-no-shit attitude.
2. Vaclav & Lena by Haley Tanner
A sweet, heartfelt contemporary story about immigration and young love. The writing in this debut is stellar and left an impact; Vaclav and Lena felt so real to me when reading and even when I was done. Even years later, I still remember some of my favorite quotes verbatim. This is full of emotions but it never veers saccharine or cheesy.
3. The Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wecker (The Golem and the Jinni #1)
Evocative, memorable, full of legend and myth come alive. This story is historical fiction but with a supernatural element seamlessly meshed alongside. Magical realism and 19th century New York are a great fit for an author with a mind for detail, place-as-character, and atmosphere. It's ride full of imagination and imagery.
4. The Lost Girl by Sangu Mandanna
This book is a cool concept with superb execution and beautiful writing. It's a story about identity and the right to life, and so much more but Mandanna carries all these themes so well and makes her points subtly. Amarra is a vibrant character, memorable long after the book is finished. It's the cousin of Never Let Me Go and it's quiet appearance is deceptive. This is a book that lingers.
5. The Wild Girl by Kate Forsyth
The Brothers Grimm owe a lot to the almost-forgotten Dortchen Wild -- a girl "wild by name and by nature" who more than helped them in their work. Forsyth excels at spotting special moments in history to recreate and retell and this is another example of her skill.
6. The Book of Blood and Shadow by Robin Wasserman
This book is a great blend of mystery, horror, and great setting. Wasserman weaves a really intricate tale of murder and secrets and it's so so good. It's a novel that rockets along at a breakneck pace but never becomes predictable or boring.
7. The Copper Promise by Jen Williams (The Copper Promise #1)
Great characters, clever writing, and a strong plot recommend this series opener. The characters are incredibly well-drawn and the author's fresh spin on fantasy tropes made this an early and permanent favorite.
8. The Dogs of Babel by Carolyn Parkhurst
This is an old favorite from when I was a teen. It's a strange but lovely story about grief, and commitment and it just really made me Feel a lot of complicated things. It's intricately written and the bond between humans and dogs is a big theme.
9. Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly
One of the best historical fiction novels I've ever read, Donnelly's story alternates between a modern plot and a centuries-past one. It's evenly-handled, researched and detailed, and the characters really shine. The past really comes to life for this author and her view into ancien France is hard to put down.
10. Ilium by Dan Simmons
Say it with me now: Trojan War retelling... on MARS. By a master author. This book is.. ambitious and weird and should not work but yet totally does? This update to science fiction from legend is a brave move but Simmons has the imagination and the skills to pull it off. This book is unlike anything else and it's damn good.
Anyone else out there love these books? Cause really, I want to both reread them all right now and/or push them on all my friends because I've just remembered how awesome they allll are.