Ten Recent Five Star Reads

Top Ten Tuesday: Recent Five Star Reads

Ten Most Recent Five Star Reads:

1. Morning Star (Red Rising #3) | Pierce Brown
2. Hawkeye Vol. 4: Rio Bravo | Matt Fraction
3. The Girl With Ghost Eyes | M.H. Boroson (My review)
4. A Silent Voice (#1) | Yoshitoki Ooima (My review)
5. Station Eleven | Emily St. John Mandel
6. I Kill Giants | Joe Kelly
7. Hounded (Iron Druid #1) | Kevin Hearne
8. Gotham Central Vol. 2: Jokers and Madmen | Ed Brubaker
9. Rat Queens Vol. 2 | Kurtis J. Wiebe
10. Leviathan Wakes (Expanse #1) | James S.A. Corey (My review)

What a five star read means for me:
* I will recommend it often, and not just within a reader’s comfort zone.
* Weaknesses are nitpicks rather than major flaws.
* Something in the writing stands out above average, whether characterization, plotting, prose, or a challenging structure.
* For graphic novels, it must achieve that level of quality in both story AND technique.
* My ratings can change over time as I read wider in a subgenre, my technical understanding progresses, or the emotional reaction fades.

What does a five star rating mean for you?

My stats:
To get my 10 most recent five star reads, I went back 59 reads, through mid July 2015. I awarded five stars 17% of the time, and my highest ratings were split equally between books and graphic novels.

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and The Bookish. This week’s topic is 10 most recent five star reads.

Ten Tales of Science Fiction Noir

Ten Tales of Science Fiction Noir

Science fiction and noir have been classic companions since Asimov and Phillip K. Dick, and the combo is still going strong. (Think Blade Runner.) If you’re in the mood for sharp shadows and dark secrets, tag along with a sci fi detective for a tale of mystery and intrigue.

Ten Tales of Science Fiction Noir:

1. Shovel Ready | Adam Sternbergh
2. The City and the City | China Mieville
3. Altered Carbon | Richard K. Morgan
4. The Disappeared | Kristine Kathryn Rusch
5. Caves of Steel | Isaac Asimov
6. Leviathan Wakes | James S.A. Corey
7. Gun, With Occasional Music | Jonathan Lethem
8. The Demolished Man | Alfred Bester
9. Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? | Philip K. Dick
10. The Prefect | Alistair Reynolds

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and The Bookish. This week’s topic is If you’re in the Mood For.

Status

Ten Horror Stories to Creep You Out

Ten Horror Stories to Creep You Out

Here at Come Hither Books, I cover mostly science fiction and fantasy. But recently more horror has been sneaking onto my to read list. So here are Ten Horror Stories I’ve enjoyed in the last few years. Take a peek into the shadows with me.

Leviathan Wakes by James S.A. CoreyLeviathan Wakes, James S.A. Corey
My review
Series: Expanse #1
Teaser: Leviathan Wakes starts out science fiction noir in a world of teeming spaceports and isolated outposts, then takes a turn into Lovecraftian horror as the plot races forward. Great cross-genre read.

Revival by Tim SeeleyRevival, by Tim Seeley
My review
Series: Ongoing graphic novel series
Teaser: The dead come back to life in rural Wisconsin. But they aren’t your standard zombies. The dead keep their memories and personalities. How do you make room for those you’ve already mourned? How do you move on if you’re stuck forever?

Wild Fell by Michael RoweWild Fell, Michael Rowe
My review
Series: Standalone
Teaser: For a hundred years, the townspeople of Alvina have prayed the darkness inside Wild Fell would stay locked away. Jameson Browning purchased Wild Fell to start a new life. But what lurks in the house is devoted to its darkness and guards it jealously. It’s been waiting for him.

Tokyo Ghoul by Sui IshidaTokyo Ghoul, Sui Ishida
My review
Series: Ongoing Manga Series
Teaser: Ken Kaneki is thrilled to go on a date with Rize. But she’s only interested in his body—eating it, that is. When a morally questionable rescue transforms him into the first half-human half-Ghoul hybrid, Ken is drawn into the dark and violent world of Ghouls.

Bones and All by Camille DeAngelisBones and All, Camille DeAngelis
My review
Series: Standalone
Teaser: Coming of age with cannibals. Maren is on her own at sixteen, with a horrifying habit and nowhere to turn. She sets off to discover the truth about herself and finds a makeshift family of her own. Accepting who you are is hard enough, but it’s even harder when you’re a monster.

Through the Woods by Emily CarrollThrough the Woods, Emily Carroll
My review
Series: Standalone, Graphic Novel Collection
Teaser: This collection of creepy illustrated stories for young readers shouldn’t be the scariest thing on this list. But it is. Through the Woods will remind you of the things that crept into your dreams after bedtime.

Dead Set by Richard KadreyDead Set, Richard Kadrey
My review
Series: Standalone
Teaser: After her father’s funeral, Zoe and her mother moved to the Big City to start over. But Zoe’s grief leads down a dark path. In an overlooked record shop, her father’s life is stored on a record and she can listen. For a price. First, a lock of hair. Then, a tooth…

Madman's Daughter by Megan ShepherdThe Madman’s Daughter, Megan Shepherd
My review
Series: Madman’s Daughter Trilogy #1
Teaser: A retelling of The Island of Doctor Moreau, with all the building horror and monstrous experiments you would expect, and the addition of a new narrator – Moreau’s sixteen year old daughter, Juliet.

Bunnicula by James HoweBunnicula, James Howe
My review
Series: Bunnicula #1
Teaser: Okay, fine. This series is more funny than scary, especially when reread as an adult. But there will always be room on my horror list for this kid’s classic. How can you not love the story of a sarcastic cat and loyal dog trying to defend themselves against a vampire bunny?

Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare BlakeAnna Dressed in Blood, Kendare Blake
No review, but it’s the book that started my current horror trend.
Series: Anna #1
Teaser: Cas is a hunter, trained to kill ghosts like his father before him. But he’s never faced a ghost like Anna. Anna Dressed in Blood has killed every person who steps foot in her house. Until Cas.

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and The Bookish. This week’s topic is books outside your comfort zone.

Status

Top Ten Canon Couples

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Canon Couples

Alana & Marko, Saga Series by Brian K. Vaughan
They fell in love across a battle line, and that brutal war is nothing compared to what they’ll have to do to stay together and raise a forbidden child. They’re fierce, clueless, idealistic, naive and stubborn. I’m rooting for them against all odds.

Patroclus & Achilles, Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller
You can’t find a love story more tragic than one out of a Greek epic, and Miller’s prose makes the world of the Iliad come to life. I knew how it would end, and fell in love anyway.

Rachel & Trent, The Hollows Series by Kim Harrison
My favorite series for character development over time, and nowhere is that better illustrated than through the eventual relationship of Rachel & Trent. They start as adversaries, then eventually friends and ultimately lovers. But it’s not hate turn to love. It’s personal growth, through a crazy series of hardships, that changed them both from what they were at the beginning. Their journey made them ready for love, and perfect for each other.

Amaranthe & Sicarius, Emperor’s Edge Series by Lindsay Buroker
Sicarius is a quiet, deadly assassin who everyone fears. Amaranthe is the goofy, slightly obsessive leader who dares to order him around anyway. She teaches him to smile and use his skills for a purpose. He stays at her side no matter what, and gives her the courage to take on the impossible. They’re just adorable.

Xena & Gabrielle, Xena: The Warrior Princess, TV show
They’re strong women in different ways, bring out the best in each other, and stay together to the end. What’s not to love? Plus, it proved awesome women could be surrounded by men without belittling or being threatened by them, and two women could find love without treating every man who came before as a place holder. Waaaay ahead of its time.

Darrow & Mustang, Red Rising Trilogy by Pierce Brown
NO BOOK 3 SPOILERS PLEASE!
He’s a damaged protagonist who needs her reminders to treat the people around him with kindness. She’s a privileged member of a brutal society blinded to some aspects of that society. They’re capable of violence and betrayal, and will break your heart again and again. But they complement each other so well that it makes me want for it to all work out in the end. (No guarantees.)

Lucius & Narcissa, Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling
My love of this canon couple is based on fanfiction and art as much as on JKR’s books, but whatever. Slytherin love all the way.

Finnikin & Evanjalin, Lumatere Chronicles by Melina Marchetta
These two come together as refugees cast out of their kingdom, and have to reclaim a home for their people. But it’s seeing how they change and grow stronger together afterwards when they thought the hardships would be over that makes them one of my top canon couples.

Jamie & Claire, Outlander Series by Diana Gabaldon (& TV show)
Theirs is a real marriage, with moments of doubt, fear and violent disagreement. They function as equals, in a time when that would be shocking, and their relationship is a constant series of negotiations and rebalancing. For all its swoon-worthy origins, I’ve never seen a more realistic portrayal of marriage over the whole series.

Vin & Elend, The Mistborn Trilogy by Brandon Sanderson
Vin grows from a paranoid street kid to a confident warrior, and Elend from a political theory geek to a wise leader. They see potential in each other long before anyone else, and bond for who they are on the inside.

What I learned:
I like my ships:
* Partnerships between equals
* Long-term relationships > Happily ever afters
* Series couples > Standalone romances
* Fantasy > Science Fiction
* Books > Television

The Fantasy > SciFi preference is mostly a side effect of reading more long series in fantasy. My science fiction picks are usually standalones, and less likely to contain a pairing at all.

Who are your favorite canon couples?

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and The Bookish. This week’s topic is a freebie Valentine’s Day list.

Status

Ten Tales of Old West Fantasy

Ten Tales of Old West Fantasy

I’ve spent most of my life west of the Mississippi, where ghost towns and ramshackle homesteads dot the landscape. It’s the history that lingers on in the land I know best. The Old West is a favorite setting of mine, especially when mixed with my favorite genres. Whether it’s weird western horror, steampunk adventure, western-influenced dystopia or historical fantasy, you’ll find something to hunker down with here.

Walk on Earth a Stranger by Rae CarsonWalk on Earth a Stranger, Rae Carson (2015)
Genre: historical fantasy, young adult
Series: Gold Seer Trilogy
When & Where: Gold Rush era, California
The story: Lee has the power to sense gold in the world around her, and people will do anything to control her. In California, where gold abounds, she can be herself for the first time.

Killer of Enemies by Joseph BruchacKiller of Enemies, Joseph Bruchac
Genre: dystopian, fantasy, steampunk, cross-genre, young adult
Series: Killer of Enemies (2013)
When & Where: post-apocalyptic, American Southwest
The story: When tech stopped working, the monsters got loose, and Lozen started hunting. Her powers are tied to an Apache legend. As her ancestors foretold, Lozen is destined to be a hero.

Six-Gun Tarot by R.S. BelcherSix-Gun Tarot, R.S. Belcher (2013)
Genre: steampunk, weird western, horror, historical fantasy
Series: Golgotha
When & Where: 1869, Nevada
The story: Golgotha, Nevada is a town of secrets, with monsters lurking in the shadows. But the abandoned mine hides a new threat. If it can’t be stopped, the darkness emanating from its depths will swallow everything.

Silver on the Road by Laura Anne GilmanSilver on the Road, Laura Anne Gilman (2015)
Genre: heroic fantasy, western, historical fiction
Series: The Devil’s West
When & Where: Old West era, Western Territories
The story: The Devil controls the Territories, making deals with mortals but always trading fairly. At 16, Isobel signs on to become the Devil’s left hand, unseen in the shadows.

Blood Red Road by Moira YoungBlood Red Road, Moira Young
Genre: dystopian, young adult
Series: Dust Lands Trilogy (complete)
When & Where: post-apocalyptic wasteland
The story: A girl sets out across the wasteland in search of her kidnapped twin brother. Along the way, she meets up with a girl gang of revolutionaries and the daredevil Jack. And finds the strength to take on a corrupt society from the inside. Perfect for fans of Mad Max: Fury Road.

Flash Gold by Lindsay BurokerFlash Gold, Lindsay Buroker (2011)
Genre: steampunk
Series: Flash Gold Chronicles
When & Where: Gold Rush era, Yukon territories
The story: Kali enters her steam-powered “dogless sled” in a race, whose prize money will let her escape forever. But fortune seekers and airship pirates want the secret of her father’s alchemy, flash gold.

The Gunslinger by Stephen KingThe Gunslinger, Stephen King (1982)
Genre: horror, Western, fantasy, post-apocalyptic
Series: The Dark Tower (complete, 7 books)
When & Where: Western style fantasy world
The story: Roland Deschain is the Last Gunslinger, on a mysterious quest through a desolate world. Leaving death in his wake, he pursues the man in black, an evil being who can bring the dead back to life.

Karen Memory by Elizabeth BearKaren Memory, Elizabeth Bear
Genre: steampunk, alternate history
Series: Standalone
When & Where: late 1800s, Seattle
The story: Karen guards the girls at a high class bordello. An injured girl arrives at their door, followed by a man with a mind-control machine. When a body turns up in the trash, it’ll take a lot for the ladies to stay safe.

Alloy of Law by Brandon SandersonAlloy of Law, Brandon Sanderson
Genre: epic fantasy, steampunk, magic
Series: Mistborn #4; #1 of followup series
When & Where: fantasy world
The story: 300 years after the Mistborn trilogy, the land is on the cusp of modernity. But Waxillium may not be able to put away his guns just yet. Alloy of Law works as the beginning of its own series, so don’t be afraid to give it a try whether you’ve read Mistborn or not.

Stranger by Rachel Manija Brown & Sherwood SmithStranger, Rachel Manija Brown & Sherwood Smith
Genre: post-apocalyptic, western, adventure, young adult
Series: The Change
When & Where: future Los Angeles
The story: The area once called Los Angeles retains its cultural diversity, but its technological marvels have faded to legend. A teen prospector arrives with a bounty hunter on his trail and a precious artifact in his pack. Life in the frontier town of Las Anclas will never be the same. My review

Pin for later

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and The Bookish. This week’s topic is historical settings.

Status

If you like 5th Wave – 10 Tales of Alien Invasion

If you like 5th Wave - Ten Tales of Alien Invasion for Teens. Young adult book recommendations from Come Hither Books

As 5th Wave hits theaters, it’s the perfect time to stay up late with an action-packed story of alien invasion and conspiracy. Each of these young adult stories features aliens on Earth. Whether they are friend or foe, strangers or the boy next door, you can’t miss with one of these great science fiction stories.

If you like 5th Wave, try one of these extraterrestrial tales today.

Ten Tales of Alien Invasion for Teens:

1. We Are the Ants | Shaun David Hutchinson
2. Illuminae | Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff
3. In the After | Demitria Lunetta
4. Ender’s Game | Orson Scott Card
5. The Knife of Never Letting Go | Patrick Ness
6. Shade’s Children | Garth Nix
7. Midnight City | J. Barton Mitchell
8. Rush | Eve Silver
9. Assault | Brian Falkner
10. I Am Number Four | Pittacus Lore

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and The Bookish. This week’s topic is a freebie topic.

Completed Reading Challenge – Alphabet Soup 2015

Alphabet Soup Reading Challenge

My Alphabet Soup List

A – Alice in the Country of Hearts (manga)
B – Bones and All (YA horror) & Bandette (comic)
C – Code Name Verity (YA)
D – Darkest Part of the Forest (YA fantasy) & Dumbest Idea Ever (comic)
E – Ember in the Ashes (YA fantasy)
F – Finn Fancy Necromancy (fantasy) & Fables (comic)
G – Grasshopper Jungle (fantasy) & Gotham Central (comic)
H – Hounded (urban fantasy) & Hilda and the Black Hound (comic)
I – Influx & I Kill Giants (comic)
J – Just City (scifi)
K – Kill My Mother (comic)
L – Leviathan Wakes (scifi)
M – Magician’s Nephew (kid’s fantasy) & Ms. Marvel (comic)
N – None of the Above (YA)
O – Otherbound (YA fantasy)
P – Persephone (YA fantasy romance)
Q – Rat (Q)ueens (fantasy comic)
R – Range of Ghosts (fantasy) & Revival (horror comic)
S – Stranger (YA dystopia) & Saga (scifi comic)
T – Traitor Baru Cormorant (fantasy) & Through the Woods (horror comic)
U – Undertow (YA scifi) & Ultimate Comics Spider-Man (comic)
V – Vicious (fantasy)
W – Wrath & The Dawn (YA fantasy) & The Wicked + The Divine (fantasy comic)
X – Proxy (YA dystopia) & Se(x) Criminals
Y – Years of Rice & Salt (alt history)
Z – Maze Runner (YA dystopia)

Because I had duplicates, I included both comics and novels when possible. Next year I’m thinking about trying for one each, but haven’t decided that for sure yet. I will definitely be repeating this challenge in some form during 2016 since I enjoyed it so much.

The Alphabet Soup Challenge is a reading challenge to read one book for each letter of the alphabet in 2015. You can find more details about how the challenge works at my original challenge post.

Top 5 Science Fiction Releases – September 2015

Top Five Science Fiction Releases for September 2015

September promises some great scifi novels. Here are the top five new and recent science fiction books for adults this September. Don’t miss these great new releases!

Add Zer0es to Goodreads or see more reviewsZer0es by Chuck WendigZer0es – Chuck Wendig
Five hackers are detained by the U.S. government and forced to work as white-hat hackers to avoid federal prison. At a secret complex, the “Zeroes” will spend the next year as an elite cyber-espionage team. But the Zeroes uncover secrets to make the most dedicated conspiracy theorist’s head spin. Soon they’re not just serving time, they’re trying the ultimate hack: burrowing deep into the U.S. government from the inside, and hoping they’ll get out alive.
By the author of the Miriam Black series

Add to Goodreads or see more reviewsThe Drafter by Kim HarrisonThe Drafter – Kim Harrison
Detroit 2030. Double-crossed by the person she loved and betrayed by the covert government organization that trained her, Peri Reed is a renegade. She is a drafter, with a skill for altering time, yet destined to forget both the history she changed and the history she rewrote. When Peri discovers her name on a list of corrupt operatives, she joins forces with a rogue soldier to piece together the truth about her final task.
By the author of the Hollows series!

Add to Goodreads or see more reviewsSupersymmetry by David WaltonSupersymmetry – David Walton
Ryan Oronzi has developed a technology that makes soldiers nearly invincible. But the technology gives power to a quantum creature known as the varcolac, which begins to manipulate Dr. Oronzi and make him a pawn in its bid to control the world. The only people with a hope of defeating the varcolac are two young women, but defeating it may mean losing themselves.

Add to Goodreads or see more reviewsLast Exodus by Paul TassiLast Exodus – Paul Tassi
The Earth lies in ruins after an extraterrestrial invasion, the land devastated by a war with no winners. The only people left alive have done horrific things to survive. Like Lucas. The search for his family is the one thing that drives him to outlive his dying planet. Instead, he finds hope: a working ship buried in a crater wall. To fly it, Lucas must join forces with an alien scientist and a merciless raider. They must find common ground, or die on a ruined Earth. Debut author!

Add to Goodreads or see more reviewsLuna: New Moon by Ian McDonaldLuna: New Moon – Ian McDonald
As the leader of the Moon’s newest corporation, Adriana Corta has wrested control of the Helium-3 industry from Mackenzie Metal and earned her family’s new status. She’s made many enemies. If the Corta family is to survive, Adriana’s five children must defend their mother’s empire from her enemies, and from each other.
Luna: New Moon comes out September 22 from Tor Books.

Status

Ten Diverse Books

Ten Books Featuring Diverse Characters

Five diverse books I’ve read in the past year and loved:
The Stranger
The Wrath and the Dawn
Signal to Noise
Saga
Ms. Marvel

Five more I want to read:
The long way to a small, angry planet
Shadowshaper
Three Parts Dead
El Deafo
Killing Moon

Late and graphics-free, because I’m running behind on life at the moment. But I love this topic too much not to participate.

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and The Bookish. This week’s topic is Ten Books That Celebrate Diversity/Diverse Characters.

Status

Top Ten Books of 2015 (so far)

Best So Far in 2015 Top Ten Tuesday

  1. The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making, Catherynne M. Valente
  2. Saga, Brian K. Vaughan
  3. Golden Son, Pierce Brown
  4. Code Name Verity, Elizabeth Wein
  5. Stranger, Rachel Manija Brown & Sherwood Smith
  6. The Wicked + The Divine, Kieron Gillen
  7. Rat Queens, Kurtis J. Wiebe
  8. Goblin Emperor, Katherine Addison
  9. California Bones, Greg Van Eekhout
  10. Ms. Marvel, G. Willow Wilson

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and The Bookish. This week’s topic is Top Ten Books I’ve Read So Far In 2015.

Most link to reviews here on Come Hither Books, one to my Goodreads review, and one I haven’t written yet so it just goes to Goodreads. Also, The Wrath and The Dawn belongs on here except I haven’t finished reading it yet, and therefore can’t decide where in the top five it belongs. 🙂