Blog Tour: Blade and Soul by C.M. Estopare (Guest Post)

Blade and Soul by C.M. Estopare
Release date: June 30th, 2017
Publisher: C.M. Estopare
Genres: Adult, fantasy

Goodreads | Amazon

To defy gods, she will sacrifice all.

After the death of its duchess, Safrana is in turmoil. Two equally powerful families vie for power, quickly turning the beautiful citadels of Safrana into a hellish warscape. While, on the outside, there is a desperate search for the one true heir to the throne. The one man who could stop an encroaching civil war and force the citadels into peace.

But he is no where to be found. Presumed dead. While a threatening war looms over Safrana, promising to tear it apart.

Thrust into a political world which only buys and sells in blood money, with an impending civil war at hand, Marceline Brandy is called to take charge of a peace effort in a foreign city. But nothing is certain in this world rife with political strife. Everything must be questioned, even a push for peace.

Desperate to complete her mission, Marceline soon finds herself tangled up in the strange political affairs of an arrogant woman with dangerous ties to the long lost heir of the Safranian throne. But there is another, more powerful presence that lurks on the borders of Safrana’s imploding government. A presence that would stop at nothing to see Marceline and her allies fail.

Seized by a foreign city she is sworn to save, she has few to turn to for help. The list of allies she could count on is cut short by corrupt patriotists hungry for war and livid at the mere notion of foreign driven peace. Months pass as Marceline heads this peace effort, but the fiercer she works the more dire the situation becomes and time is running out.

A war looms, one that promises to destroy Safrana, as mythological creatures rise from ancient graves. The fiends intent on absolute destruction.

Is this an all-out test of Marceline’s strength and will?

Or, are the gods themselves against her?


Author Guest Post: Writing Soundtrack

It’s almost impossible to write without some type of music in the background–I hope I’m not the only one that feels this way! Silence is awesome, but if I’m writing an action scene I need something (without lyrics usually) that gets my blood pumping. Depending on the type of music, I’ll either leave it playing in the background or I’ll just sit back and listen for five minutes while trying to envision the scene (got that idea from James Scott Bell!). I’ve got an entire playlist full of just writing music (and it’s like…over almost 300! Whoa!). Out of that long, long, long playlist my top five are…

1. You’re Immortal by Percival Schuttenbach and Marcin Przybyłowicz

Video games have some of the best soundtracks for writing because the loop over and over without a sudden (concentration-blowing) ending. This raw and guttural piece is perfect when writing horrific and bloody fight scenes where the protagonist might just let it all go and seriously harm someone else. I’ve used this one countless times and I’ve got to say it’s my favorite (it’s from the Witcher DLC Hearts of Stone!).

2. Bitter Cold, Shogun II: Total War Original Soundtrack

When I’m looking for something a little more cold and biting, I turn to this piece. It’s easily loopable (just right click the screen and bam!) and it sounds totally natural when you loop it for hours (so it’s seriously easy to forget!). Bitter Cold creates a somber, mellow, theme. Like the sound in your head while perusing a battlefield caked with carreon crows. It’s perfect for when the protagonist needs to feel a bit down.

3. I Was Lost Without You by Sam Hulick

This one can work double duty. If the protagonist has seriously hurt someone they cared about, or if they are having a tender moment with the romantic interest, this little piano piece can make me feel butterflies or cry. Either one. It’s soft, smooth, and chilling. It’s also one of my absolute favorite piano pieces (it’s also from one of my favorite game trilogies, Mass Effect!).

4. Somnus by Yoko Shimomura

Sometimes when epic battles happen raw and passionate music just isn’t called for. Soft piano pieces can really accentuate the beauty of blood in battle and that is what Somnus (the instrumental version) does for me. The combination of soft piano playing and the harsh hum of the violin is the heartbeat of epic battles involving gods and dragons (at least, that’s what it is to me).

5. The Choice by Gustavo Santaolla

This is an awesome guitar riff for a character teetering on the brink of change (or refusal). Mellow tones merge and evolve onto a higher plane. It’s almost as if Gustavo Santaolla is asking you to look at a sunset that isn’t there. This can be an emotional piece as well if you’ve played the game it’s attached to, The Last of Us.

Blade and Soul’s soundtrack would definitely contain one (if not all) of these. All of these helped me write the series and it’s awesome to go back and listen to them again.

What songs to you use to help you write? Do you use any? Or, maybe you use ambience? I’d love to know!


About the Author

C.M. Estopare is a full-time author, avid yoga enthusiast, and veteran of the United States military. She is the author of HEARTFELT SOUNDS, a young adult coming of age fantasy about the enthralling power of one young woman’s voice.

KINDRED SOULS is a three part epic and dark fantasy series hitting Amazon and Kindle Unlimited beginning in February 2017. The first book, WINTERSKIN, debuted February 9th, 2017. The second book, BLADE AND SOUL, debuts June 30th, 2017. Be sure to mark your calendars!

When not writing, C.M. Estopare enjoys reading about the fantastical worlds in the minds of others. She also enjoys playing around with her puppy, Duke, and adventuring with her husband.

Website | Goodreads | Facebook | Twitter


Giveaway

Click to enter a Rafflecopter giveaway! Win a $25 Amazon gift card. Good luck 🙂

Blog Tour: Now I Rise by by Kiersten White

NOW I RISE

I received this book for free from NetGalley/Rockstar Book Tours in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

22817331Now I Rise by by Kiersten White
Release date: June 27th, 2017
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Genre: Young adult, historical fiction, fantasy
Format: eBook

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Goodreads | Amazon

Lada Dracul has no allies. No throne. All she has is what she’s always had: herself. After failing to secure the Wallachian throne, Lada is out to punish anyone who dares to cross her blood-strewn path. Filled with a white-hot rage, she storms the countryside with her men, accompanied by her childhood friend Bogdan, terrorizing the land. But brute force isn’t getting Lada what she wants. And thinking of Mehmed brings little comfort to her thorny heart. There’s no time to wonder whether he still thinks about her, even loves her. She left him before he could leave her.

What Lada needs is her younger brother Radu’s subtlety and skill. But Mehmed has sent him to Constantinople—and it’s no diplomatic mission. Mehmed wants control of the city, and Radu has earned an unwanted place as a double-crossing spy behind enemy lines. Radu longs for his sister’s fierce confidence—but for the first time in his life, he rejects her unexpected plea for help. Torn between loyalties to faith, to the Ottomans, and to Mehmed, he knows he owes Lada nothing. If she dies, he could never forgive himself—but if he fails in Constantinople, will Mehmed ever forgive him?

As nations fall around them, the Dracul siblings must decide: what will they sacrifice to fulfill their destinies? Empires will topple, thrones will be won . . . and souls will be lost.

My Review

Last year I found the first book in the series, And I Darken, to be extremely intriguing. I loved the idea of Vlad the Impaler being reimagined as a woman. The story was unique, dark and oh so violent. I enjoyed And I Darken but had issues with its pacing and some of the characters. However, the ending, well it did its job and left me wanting more. I didn’t think twice when this book was posted on NetGalley. I requested it right away.

Usually, the sequel isn’t as good as the first book. I don’t know if that’s true for everyone, but it is at least for me. But Now I Rise definitely broke this trend and floored me! It built on all of the amazing things featured in its predecessor…it was just AMAZING! Seriously, if you had any doubts about the first book you need to read this one! It’s perfectly dark, brutal and historically believable. Ahhh…I loved it!

While the main characters in the first book were well rounded and developed, the side characters felt like plot devices. They would show up for a few pages, cause some trouble and disappear. Here that is totally not the case! In fact, the side characters really got to shine and they new ones are perfect! You just never know what they will do and it kept even the slower parts moving along.

Talking about characters, I actually grew to love Radu. I know, I know. In the first book I found him whiney and slightly irritating but here he’s just so precious! He actually stands up and fights for the people he loves. His character development was so well done. I groaned and most definitely grumbled with some of the decisions he made but not everyone is perfect. *shrugs* Lada wasn’t as in your face as she was in the first book. Here she’s already a blood thirsty soldier. She’s cruel, dark and somehow sympathetic. I don’t know…she’s not a “nice” or “good” character at all. She wouldn’t think twice about slicing your throat but I just want her to succeed so badly. Does that even make any sense?

Basically, Now I Rise is one of those rare sequels that are better than their predecessor. If you were on the fence with And I Darken you need to give this book a try. It takes all of the best parts of the first book and further creates an intriguing world of war, politics and betrayal. I can’t believe that I’ll have to wait another year for the third book!

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About the Author
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Kiersten White is the New York Times bestselling author of the Paranormalcy trilogy; the dark thrillers Mind Games and Perfect Lies; The Chaos of Stars; and Illusions of Fate. She also coauthored In the Shadows with Jim Di Bartolo. She lives with her family near the ocean in San Diego, which, in spite of its perfection, spurs her to dream of faraway places and even further away times.

Website | Twitter | Goodreads


Giveaway

Enter to win one of three finished copies of Now I Rise! The giveaway is open to US residents only. Good luck!


Tour Schedule

Week One:

6/19/2017- Bookfever– Excerpt

6/20/2017- Lisa Loves Literature– Review

6/21/2017- Two Chicks on Books Interview

6/22/2017- Fiktshun– Review

6/23/2017- Carina’s Books– Review

Week Two:

6/26/2017- Dazzled by Books– Review

6/27/2017- Books and Things– Review

6/28/2017- Rattle the Stars– Review

6/29/2017- YABC– Review

6/30/2017- Once Upon A Twilight– Review

Week Three:

7/3/2017- Adventures of a Book Junkie– Interview

7/4/2017- Seeing Double In Neverland– Review

7/5/2017- Fiction Fare– Review

7/6/2017- YA and Wine– Review

7/7/2017- Little Red’s Reviews– Review

 

Top Ten Tuesday

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Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. The topic this week is: Best Books You’ve Read In 2017 So Far. I may be struggling with reading consistently, but overall I’m quite pleased with the books that I have read so far this year. Here is a list of some of my favorites (not in any particular order).

260615811. The Dark Days Pact by Alison Goodman: June 1812. Just weeks after her catastrophic coming-out ball, Lady Helen Wrexhall—now disowned by her uncle—is a full member of the demon-hunting Dark Days Club. Her mentor, Lord Carlston, has arranged for Helen to spend the summer season in Brighton so that he can train her new Reclaimer powers. However, the long-term effects of Carlston’s Reclaimer work have taken hold, and his sanity is beginning to slip. At the same time, Carlston’s Dark Days Club colleague and nemesis will stop at nothing to bring Helen over to his side—and the Duke of Selburn is determined to marry her. The stakes are even higher for Helen as she struggles to become the warrior that everyone expects her to be

233080842. The Rose & The Dagger by by Renee Ahdieh: In a land on the brink of war, Shahrzad is forced from the arms of her beloved husband, the Caliph of Khorasan. She once thought Khalid a monster—a merciless killer of wives, responsible for immeasurable heartache and pain—but as she unraveled his secrets, she found instead an extraordinary man and a love she could not deny. Still, a curse threatens to keep Shazi and Khalid apart forever.

Now she’s reunited with her family, who have found refuge in the desert, where a deadly force is gathering against Khalid—a force set on destroying his empire and commanded by Shazi’s spurned childhood sweetheart. Trapped between loyalties to those she loves, the only thing Shazi can do is act. Using the burgeoning magic within her as a guide, she strikes out on her own to end both this terrible curse and the brewing war once and for all. But to do it, she must evade enemies of her own to stay alive.

256679183. Binti by Nnedi Okorafor: Her name is Binti, and she is the first of the Himba people ever to be offered a place at Oomza University, the finest institution of higher learning in the galaxy. But to accept the offer will mean giving up her place in her family to travel between the stars among strangers who do not share her ways or respect her customs.

Knowledge comes at a cost, one that Binti is willing to pay, but her journey will not be easy. The world she seeks to enter has long warred with the Meduse, an alien race that has become the stuff of nightmares. Oomza University has wronged the Meduse, and Binti’s stellar travel will bring her within their deadly reach.

If Binti hopes to survive the legacy of a war not of her making, she will need both the gifts of her people and the wisdom enshrined within the University, itself – but first she has to make it there, alive.

250922544. Cold Summer by Gwen Cole: Kale Jackson has spent years trying to control his time-traveling ability but hasn’t had much luck. One day he lives in 1945, fighting in the war as a sharpshooter and helplessly watching soldiers—friends—die. Then the next day, he’s back in the present, where WWII has bled into his modern life in the form of PTSD, straining his relationship with his father and the few friends he has left. Every day it becomes harder to hide his battle wounds, both physical and mental, from the past.

When the ex-girl-next-door, Harper, moves back to town, thoughts of what could be if only he had a normal life begin to haunt him. Harper reminds him of the person he was before the PTSD, which helps anchor him to the present. With practice, maybe Kale could remain in the present permanently and never step foot on a battlefield again. Maybe he can have the normal life he craves.

But then Harper finds Kale’s name in a historical article—and he’s listed as a casualty of the war. Kale knows now that he must learn to control his time-traveling ability to save himself and his chance at a life with Harper. Otherwise, he’ll be killed in a time where he doesn’t belong by a bullet that was never meant for him.

314476015. Noteworthy by Riley Redgate: Jordan Sun is embarking on her junior year at the Kensington-Blaine Boarding School for the Performing Arts, hopeful that this will be her time: the year she finally gets cast in the school musical. But when her low Alto 2 voice gets her shut out for the third straight year—threatening her future at Kensington-Blaine and jeopardizing her college applications—she’s forced to consider nontraditional options.

In Jordan’s case, really nontraditional. A spot has opened up in the Sharpshooters, Kensington’s elite a cappella octet. Worshipped…revered…all male. Desperate to prove herself, Jordan auditions in her most convincing drag, and it turns out that Jordan Sun, Tenor 1, is exactly what the Sharps are looking for.

Jordan finds herself enmeshed in a precarious juggling act: making friends, alienating friends, crushing on a guy, crushing on a girl, and navigating decades-old rivalries. With her secret growing heavier every day, Jordan pushes beyond gender norms to confront what it means to be a girl (and a guy) in a male-dominated society, and—most importantly—what it means to be herself.

Continue reading

Review: Mr. Rochester by Sarah Shoemaker 

I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

29773957Mr. Rochester by Sarah Shoemaker 
Release date: May 9th, 2017
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Genre: Fiction, historical fiction, romance
Format: eBook

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Goodreads | Amazon

“Reader, she married me.”

For one hundred seventy years, Edward Fairfax Rochester has stood as one of literature’s most romantic, most complex, and most mysterious heroes. Sometimes haughty, sometimes tender-professing his love for Jane Eyre in one breath and denying it in the next-Mr. Rochester has for generations mesmerized, beguiled, and, yes, baffled fans of Charlotte Brontë’s masterpiece. But his own story has never been told.

Now, out of Sarah Shoemaker’s rich and vibrant imagination, springs Edward: a vulnerable, brilliant, complicated man whom we first meet as a motherless, lonely little boy roaming the corridors and stable yards of Thornfield Hall. On the morning of Edward’s eighth birthday, his father issues a decree: He is to be sent away to get an education, exiled from Thornfield and all he ever loved. As the determined young Edward begins his journey across England, making friends and enemies along the way, a series of eccentric mentors teach him more than he might have wished about the ways of the men-and women-who will someday be his peers.

But much as he longs to be accepted-and to return to the home where he was born-his father has made clear that Thornfield is reserved for his older brother, Rowland, and that Edward’s inheritance lies instead on the warm, languid shores of faraway Jamaica. That island, however, holds secrets of its own, and not long after his arrival, Edward finds himself entangled in morally dubious business dealings and a passionate, whirlwind love affair with the town’s ravishing heiress, Antoinetta Bertha Mason.

Eventually, after a devastating betrayal, Edward must return to England with his increasingly unstable wife to take over as master of Thornfield. And it is there, on a twilight ride, that he meets the stubborn, plain, young governess who will teach him how to love again.

Jane Eyre has always been one of my favourite books. There’s a darkness to it that I find intriguing. I can’t help but be drawn to the gloomy English moors, the candle lit Thornfield Hall and the raw emotions of the characters. Jane’s resilience and intelligence has also always endeared her to me. I don’t think I have or will ever find another book such as this one. So, being a huge fan of Jane Eyre, I couldn’t wait to read Sarah Shoemaker’s novel Mr. Rochester. It provides readers with Edward Rochester’s backstory, basically what turned him into the jaded, grumpy and changeful character readers find at the start of Jane Eyre.

I wanted to love this book, I really did. I swept aside all of my fears and reservations about it because sometimes it’s really difficult to let go of something you hold so dear. But in the end, this book was not what I was expecting at all. It sadly ended up being a long, drawn-out examination of a life that didn’t reveal anything new.

My main issue with this book was how Mr. Rochester was portrayed. The character here is sentimental, bland…a nice guy who has some rotten luck. THIS ISN’T THE ROCHESTER I KNOW AND LOVE!!!!! In Jane Eyre, Rochester was never, ever bland. He was intense, dark and unknown. A complete mystery to the reader and after finishing this book, I think it would have been better if it was left that way. Sometimes you just shouldn’t mess with something that was already perfect on its own.

I also couldn’t identify with the characters and made no connection with the events that happened in the story. Everything felt distant, like the writing didn’t allow me to fully become consumed with the story. I was reading it, understanding it but in the end there really wasn’t anything that kept me holding on, wanting to turn the page. It felt long, like a lot of work. For me, reading shouldn’t be like that. It should be an escape or at least something that challenges your thoughts and beliefs. This book did neither and that disappointed me.

So, do I recommend this book? Hmmm…go read the classic first. If you did enjoy Jane Eyre then I would give this one a chance. You never know, you may actually find the pacing, descriptions and characterizations to your liking. That’s the things about reviews, everyone has a different opinion. If you have read Mr. Rochester I would really like to know your thoughts!

The Narnia Tag

Book Blitz_Thank you to Azia at The Uncharted World for tagging me. It was a long time ago (way back in March) and I’m so sorry it’s taken me so long to post. If you haven’t visited her blog before, go and do so now, because it’s beautiful! ❤


NARNIA – A magical world you would like to visit

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I love the whole aesthetic of the 1920s. The dresses, the music clubs…this book contains all of that, plus intrigue, danger and homeopaths (people with the ability to persuade and manipulate the emotions and thoughts of others through poetry and music). This book is so unique and I would love to have the abilities that the main characters have.


THE MAGICIAN’S NEPHEW – A book you think is underrated

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This book helped fill a huge hole left by the cancellation of Firefly years back. It was so much fun with sarcastic dialogue, strange and wonderful characters, space action, love/hate romance…you really need to pick it up! Why aren’t more people talking about this book? I just don’t get it.


THE LION, THE WITCH, AND THE WARDROBE – A classic that you love

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I usually answer Persuasion for this type of question, but Jane Eyre is my other favorite classic. It’s hard to pick between the two.


THE HORSE AND HIS BOY – A book you picked up without knowing what it was about

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I remember downloading this from NetGalley. I knew it was a fantasy book set in Asia but that’s about it. It turned out it was a fantasy book set in Asia. The idea of it was fascinating but it moved along at a slow pace…it was truly a struggle to get through.


PRINCE CASPIAN – A sequel that you loved

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Best. Sequel. Ever!!! I devoured this book in two days (a huge feat since I’ve been in a reading slump and it’s over 400 pages). The romance. The fighting. The regency period. Ahhhh…it’s a book you simply must read.


THE VOYAGE OF THE DAWN TREADER – A quest you’d like to be a part of

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I’m obsessed with Assassin’s Creed. Yes, it’s a super dangerous world and quest but how cool would it be?!?!


THE SILVER CHAIR – A book you didn’t expect to love

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I joined the book’s blog tour mostly based on the cover. It looked interesting and I was new to blogging. I had no clue what I was getting myself into. But wow…this book wasn’t anything like what I was expecting. The mix of history and fantasy was so well done. And the characters stole my heart. The other two books in the trilogy are even better. A must read!


THE LAST BATTLE – A perfect ending to a series you love

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Ok, it’s not a series but this book floored me. It ripped out my heart, stomped on it and I loved every second of it. It was beautifully written, heartbreaking, emotional and never what I expected. Ryan Graudin’s books just keep on getting better and better.


THE PEVENSIES – A siblinghood of friendship you’d love to be a part of

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Who doesn’t love the friendship between Harry, Ron and Hermione? I automatically thought of their friendship when I saw this prompt. One of my favourites of all time!


EUSTACE SCRUBB – A character who grew on you

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In the first book, And I Darken, I hated Radu. He was always complaining…basically a huge baby. He started to change near the end of the book (thank goodness) and in Now I Rise, my view of Radu has completely changed. I enjoyed reading the parts that featured him. I just want to wrap him up in a big hug. Seriously, he’s precious!


MR. TUMNUS – Your favourite mystical creature

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The manticore called Ongraygeeomryn was seriously one of the best things about this sequel. She’s sassy and brutally honest. I just loved her so much! ❤


CASPIAN – A character with regal qualities

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Without question the only answer for this prompt is Nikolai Lantsov *sigh* I love him to bits.


THE WARDROBE – Your favourite hideout/place to read

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I really wish this was my bedroom. *sigh* I do most of my reading in my room. It’s where I keep my book and the quietest place in the house. Sometimes I also read outside on the patio but that totally depends on how hot it is outside.


MY TAGS…

Waiting on Wednesday

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Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event that is hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine and spotlights upcoming releases that we’re eagerly anticipating.

25528808This week I’m looking forward to That Inevitable Victorian Thing by E.K. Johnston. The cover for this book is so pretty! *squeals* I love pretty book covers! And I love how it’s about the descendent of Victoria I and based in Toronto. TORONTO! Why don’t we have more YA books based in my beautiful city? Everything about this book sounds intriguing. It’s set to be released on October 3rd by Dutton Books for Young Readers.

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Set in a near-future world where the British Empire never fell and the United States never rose, That Inevitable Victorian Thing is a novel of love, duty, and the small moments that can change people and the world.

Victoria-Margaret is the crown princess of the empire, a direct descendent of Victoria I, the queen who changed the course of history two centuries earlier. The imperial practice of genetically arranged matchmaking will soon guide Margaret into a politically advantageous marriage like her mother before her, but before she does her duty, she’ll have one summer incognito in a far corner of empire. In Toronto, she meets Helena Marcus, daughter of one of the empire’s greatest placement geneticists, and August Callaghan, the heir apparent to a powerful shipping firm currently besieged by American pirates. In a summer of high-society debutante balls, politically charged tea parties, and romantic country dances, Margaret, Helena, and August discover they share an unusual bond and maybe a one in a million chance to have what they want and to change the world in the process —just like the first Queen Victoria.

Top Ten Tuesday

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Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. The topic this week is: Top Ten Series I’ve Been Meaning To Start But Haven’t. Ok, my list isn’t 10 series long but to be honest, I’ve been avoiding a lot of book series due to the fact that I’ve been severely disappointed with the quality of writing or storytelling. Instead, I’ve been really into reading duologies or standalones. However, here are some books that I’ve been meaning to read for ages…

1. The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer

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2. Graceling Realm by Kristin Cashore

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3. Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

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4. Daughter of Smoke & Bone by Laini Taylor

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5. Penryn & the End of Days by Susan Ee

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6. Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin

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7. To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han

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Have you read any of these books? Do you have any suggestions? I’d love to hear your thoughts and opinions. 🙂