Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Top Ten Books At The Top Of My Summer TBR List

In which Sam tells you about the next ten books To Be Read by her this summer, in no particular order, with explanations that may be less than satisfactory and a number of parentheses that may be more than reasonably necessary.

Original feature courtesy of The Broke and the Bookish!

Why yes I did take this picture using Instagram.
TBR lists tell you a lot about yourself. Sadly, this list tells me that I still quite often judge books by their covers. (This tendency will almost certainly be the topic of later discussion here at Mad But Magic.) As I have yet to really read any of the next ten books I can only vouch for their sparkling potential, and give you a glimpse into my book selection MO. Let’s plunge ahead!

1. Deborah Harkness, Shadow of Night. The second book in the All Souls trilogy, and the only book in this list I’ve actually started reading. Witch meets vampire meets history of science meets magic meets FEELINGS.

Why did I pick it up? Because the author is a respected historian who studies the history of magic and science. So pleased to discover that was a thing, a thing one could study (why am I in law school again?) that I simply had to pick up the first book in the trilogy – A Discovery of Witches – and after falling into Diana and Matthew’s world I had to join them on their next adventure.

2. Stephen King, Joyland. Murder mystery meets college student meets amusement park!

Why did I pick it up? Because I am a HUGE Stephen King fan (Dolores Claiborne & Pet Sematery are some of my tops) and suddenly one of my favorite authors ambled into one of my favorite genres, all without me having to summon a demon to do my bidding via warlock sacrifice (sorry, sorry, coming off a Mortal Instruments binge).
In sum: The cover looks like Kate’s Twitter profile picture.

3. Rachel Hartman, Seraphina. Murder mystery (sensing a theme here?) meets court musician meets DRAGONS!

Why did I pick it up? Confession: All of the protagonists in stories I’ve written are named Seraphina (each with their own nicknames! Sera! Fi! Do you see the cleverness?!) and to see that name emblazoned on a cover (with a DRAGON) was like walking past Best Buy and seeing last night's dream, starring shirtless Henry Cavill, splashed on all the television screens at once.
In sum: Shirtless Henry Cavill

4. Catherynne M. Valente, The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making. Adventure, female protagonist, DRAGON, you know where this is going.

Why did I pick it up? Because I’m Portuguese and we are still a little fixated on circumnavigation, thanks to Prince Henry the Navigator and Magellan, who, by the way, did you know was murdered en route back to Europe?!?
In sum: Brought to you by Magellan, the Guy Who Almost Circumnavigated the Earth

5. Patrick Rothfuss, The Name of the Wind. A wizard finds his way in the world. 

Why did I pick it up? Because of Penny Arcade, one of my favorite webcomics. Warning! The accompanying comic - link below -features PG-13 cartoon physical intimacy, so if you are at work and they frown upon that oddly specific sort of thing, y'know...open it on your phone instead ;)
In sum: Ninja lovin’

6. Julian May, Conqueror’s Moon. Royal lovers, a sorceress, and a secret. I am really hoping at some point there will be a dragon, but the cover makes no promises. There's a speck there, but I suspect it's a bird...

Why did I pick it up? Have you ever had this happen? This book emerged fully formed from my bookshelf. I have no idea where it came from, when it came, or when it may leave, so I simply must read it before it disappears again. This is what happens when you have too many books, but I sort of embrace the enchanted-object stylings of my fantasy bookshelf.
In sum: Enchanted objects reminds me of Beauty & the Beast which reminds me of...sigh.

7. Michael Scott, The Alchemyst: The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel. One of those glorious utterly self-explanatory titles. Somebody’s makin’ gold and stayin’ alive, and it’s not the Bee Gees (get it? Albums going gold? Stayin' Alive? No? Moving on.)

Why did I pick it up? Because the cover looked really cool. Also, Harry Potter.

In sum: I am a vacuous pair of eyes.

8. Stephen Hunt, The Kingdom Beyond the Waves. Back to my thing for scholars – another professor, this time on a voyage to find a forgotten world.

Why did I pick it up? I live next to the ocean. I want Atlantis to be real. And I want to be the one to find it. But if it can’t be me, I want to read about a daring lady who does instead.
In sum: Wait, Disney made a movie about Atlantis?

9. Chris Columbus & Ned Vizzini, House of Secrets. A mysterious house, meddling kids, and according to the book jacket, supernatural pirates.

Why did I pick it up? I’ve been slumming it with natural pirates, and I needed to step up my game. But mostly, it was curiosity that Chris Columbus (director of the first two Harry Potter films) had co-written a novel.
In sum: I am like a desperate ex-girlfriend who will buy things that just remind her of Harry, a little bit. Even only for a moment. (Which is why I will be going to see this movie and this one too.)

10. Michelle Hodkin, The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer. Aaaand we’re back – a murder mystery! A female protagonist! The presence of a dragon remains to be seen but the outlook is not optimistic. As you can tell, I know absolutely nothing about this book, but I can tell you that we will be doing a joint review of it this fall!

Why did I pick it up? Because Kate and Meg told me to :)
In sum: You should too.

So what makes you pick up a book? What’s on your To Be Read list? Let us know in the comments - we are always looking for suggestions!

And thanks for reading! :D

*Credit to Kate Beaton for “History is very serious.” And do yourself the huge favor of checking out another one of my favorite webcomics, Beaton's "Hark! A Vagrant!"


  1. So many great books on your list! I love Valente's books and The Name of the Wind was fantastic.

    My Top Ten

    1. Thanks, Kristen! Excited to hear that these books will be as good as the covers promise :) :)

  2. Seraphina and The Alchemyst are both AMAZING!!! I loved the entire Alchemyst series!!! Nice list!!
    Here's my TTT

    1. YES!!! That is just what we want to hear! Can't wait to read them now :)

      & thanks for dropping in! :D

  3. Seraphina is great, although my explanation for reading it would be nowhere as wonderful as yours. :)

    1. Thank you so much! :^) & we are excited to hear that Seraphina will be a good read indeed!

  4. I really liked Seraphina (I picked it up simply for the dragon), and I can't wait for House of Secrets. Also, I love how you put together your list; it's so fun & unique!

    Thanks for stopping by my TTT! :)

    Ashling @ Reading, Writing, & Anything but Arithmetic

    1. Happy to learn there are other dragon addicts out there ;) And thank you very much! We are so pleased you enjoyed our list - we certainly enjoyed yours! :)

  5. House of Secrets and Seraphina both look great. I'll have to check it out. Great list! Thanks for stopping by mine!

    1. You are quite welcome - we appreciate your visit very much! Glad to introduce some new titles to you :)

  6. I've been wanting to read the Unbecoming of Mara Dyer forever, maybe I'll finally get around to it this summer! Great list!

    And thanks for visiting my blog :)

    1. No problem, Maggie! We love that you stopped by too :) You should definitely read Mara Dyer - we are gearing up for it too! And by "we" we mean "Sam" ;)

  7. Seraphina is awesome. Hope you get to it soon.

    Tanya Patrice

    1. It's getting so many shout-outs, Sam's moving it to the top of her list!

      Thanks for stopping by! :)

  8. Oh god I love your "in sum" hahahha. I was dying laughing! And Kate and Meg were right you should read The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer

    1. :D Elizabeth, we're so glad you liked it! Sam also promises to listen to Kate and Meg and everyone else in the universe and read Mara Dyer ASAP ;)

      Thanks for stopping by!! We are so excited to have you as a reader :)

  9. Loved this list; it had me smiling all the way (especially shirtless Henry Cavill). I loved the entire Nicholas Flamel series - especially the history lessons in the author's notes. ;)

    With all the positive comments here about Seraphina, I'm seeing a dragon in my future!

    Thanks for stopping by my TTT earlier.

    Erin @ YA Book Crush

    1. Shirtless Henry Cavill IS the best, isn't he :^)

      History lessons in the author's notes in the Nicholas Flamel series?! That is news to Sam, and it is the BEST news.

      And yes, it seems there is lots of Seraphina love, isn't there?

      Thanks for stopping by, Erin! & we enjoyed your TTT too!!

  10. Hope you get to MARA DYER soon!

    1. Definitely, Sash & Em! It appears Kate & Meg are right, as usual ;)

      Thank you for visiting!!


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