Top Ten Tuesdays are hosted by The Broke and The Bookish, and feature lists related to all things bookish–characters, authors, titles, and favorites. They’re an excellent way to find new interesting books on a variety of topics, and to find bloggers that love the books you do.

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May 13: Ten Books I Almost Put Down But Didn’t

My rule for books is that I give them three chances instead of focusing on page count–if I find myself not wanting to continue a third time, after putting a book down twice, the book is done for.

ancillary justice

1. Ancillary Justice; Ann Leckie. A spaceship piloting a human body, looking for revenge on the person who destroyed the ship itself. I knew this book was narrated by a culture that has no gender–with ‘she’ being the default of the narrator, but I didn’t expect quite how often the narrator would dwell on whether a particular ‘she’ was actually male or female.

casual vacancy

2. The Casual Vacancy; J.K. Rowling. An office-holder in a small town dies, and the opposing sides of the town council scramble to fill his seat with one of theirs. This book is so different from the tone I was expecting, so dark and hopeless I needed a break from it often. But it was still a good book, and an interesting read.

cry of peacock

3. Cry of the Peacock; V.R. Christensen. A woman is unexpectedly offered help to improve her station, and a husband that will elevate her status. This is just a case of poor ability to relate to people from the past–the female character is, as she historically would be, a bit of a doormat, focused on how little she deserves and how she must be humble and please people.

daughter smoke bone

4. Daughter of Smoke & Bone; Laini Taylor. Trapped between the human and demon world, a girl discovers her unusual history. At first, I thought this book was more hype than substance–and maybe it is a bit–but the substance is incredibly addictive.

dreams golden age

5. Dreams of a Golden Age; Carrie Vaughn. The children and grandchildren of a city’s superheroes, struggling to find their own place and deal with emerging powers. The build up for this was a little slow, and I liked one of the narrating characters more than the other–but the world building and character development and tense plot won me over.

end life book club


6. The End of Your Life Book Club; Will Schwalbe. A son spends time with his dying mother. This is a hard subject, and a hard book in places–but also touchingly sweet, and hopeful about the ability to connect with people, and carry them with you even after they’re gone.

every other day

7. Every Other Day; Jennifer Barnes. A teenage girl is normal and human one day, and then something else every other day. At first, she got on my nerves a bit, but she grew on me and I ended up liking the story.

heart of briar

8. Heart of Briar; Laura Gilman. When a woman’s lover is taken by elves, she must get him back. I didn’t put this book down because I didn’t like it or wasn’t interested, I put this book down because it’s psychologically terrifying, even if I suspected how the end would go.


9. Omens; Kelley Armstrong. After moving to her parent’s hometown, a woman discovers some strange secrets. This is such a first book in a series, it’s not even funny. Hints abound, and world-building moves so very slowly. But there was just enough for me to want to see what happens next–it better be good!


10. Perdition; Ann Aguirre. A space-station prison, where criminals are sentenced to life–and frequently kill each other to survive. I was expecting something redeeming in these characters, but there really isn’t much. Still, they’re fascinating, complicated, and very readable–if you can enjoy a character you don’t much like.


About Caitlin Stern

I have a MA in English, and have so many fantasy/urban fantasy WIPs it's not even funny. I'm an avid reader of science fiction, fantasy, mystery, romance, biography, fiction, and anything else that catches my interest. I collect books, and bookmarks I find that are visually appealing and useful.

6 responses »

  1. lynnsbooks says:

    Interesting about the J K Rowling – I wasn’t sure to pick it up or not as I’d read a few negative reviews.
    Lynn 😀

    • caitlinstern says:

      Some of those bad reviews, I think, are because the book’s audience doesn’t have a lot of overlap with most HP fans.

      Appearances vs. reality, deeply flawed characters, deceit, violence, and a dark tone make it a book that’s not for everyone. It’s well written, the characters are complex, and it’s pretty riveting–but anyone who picked it up expecting it to in any way resemble the HP books was in for a shock.

  2. danitronmc says:

    So I HAVE The Casual Vacancy, but I still haven’t read it . . . And yes, I am ashamed of that fact. Even though I haven’t read it, I’m still glad you didn’t put it down–is that weird?;)

    • caitlinstern says:

      As long as someone has read the book, right? And I suppose my persistence bodes well for your possible completion.

      It’s definitely not a book for everyone, but I hope you enjoy it!

  3. Anne says:

    Daughter of Smoke and Bone was very addicting for me. I got so wrapped up in the story, characters and setting. I just finished the last book late last night. Sigh, I wish there was more.

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