Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Books I Picked Up On A Whim


Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish. They created the meme because they love lists. Who doesn’t love lists? They wanted to share these list with fellow book lovers and ask that we share in return to connect with our fellow book lovers. To learn more about participating in the challenge, stop by their page dedicated to it and dive in!

This week’s topic: Top Books I Picked Up On A Whim

I pick up books all the time on a whim, books that I usually know nothing about. If a book has a idea I like, a pretty cover I like, whatever, I will pick it up. Here are some of my most recent splurges.

VermilionVermilion: The Adventures of Lou Merriwether, Psychopomp by Molly Tanzer

Gunslinging, chain-smoking, and Stetson-wearing Taoist psychopomp Elouise “Lou” Merriwether might not be a normal 19-year-old, but she’s too busy keeping San Francisco safe from ghosts, shades, and geung si to care much about that. It’s an important job, though most folks consider it downright spooky. Some have even accused Lou of being more comfortable with the dead than the living, and, well…they’re not wrong.

When Lou hears that a bunch of Chinatown boys have gone missing somewhere deep in the Colorado Rockies, she decides to saddle up and head into the wilderness to investigate. Lou fears her particular talents make her better suited to help placate their spirits than ensure they get home alive, but it’s the right thing to do, and she’s the only one willing to do it. On the road to a mysterious sanatorium known as the Fountain of Youth, Lou will encounter bears, desperate men, a very undead villain, and even stranger challenges. She will need every one of her talents and a whole lot of luck to make it home alive.

Beyond the Pool of StarsPathfinder Tales: Beyond the Pool of Stars by Howard Andrew Jones

Mirian Raas comes from a long line of salvagers, adventurers who use magic to dive for sunken ships off the coast of tropical Sargava. When her father dies, Mirian has to take over his last job: a dangerous expedition into deep jungle pools, helping a tribe of lizardfolk reclaim the lost treasures of their people. Yet this isn’t any ordinary job, as the same colonial government that looks down on Mirian for her half-native heritage has an interest in the treasure, and the survival of the entire nation may depend on the outcome….

The Years of Salt and RiceThe Years of Rice and Salt by Kim Stanley Robinson

It is the 14th century, and one of the most apocalyptic events in human history is set to occur – the coming of the Black Death. History teaches us that a third of Europe’s population was destroyed. But what if the plague had killed 99 percent of the population instead? How would the world have changed? This is a look at the history that could have been – a history that stretches across centuries, a history that sees dynasties and nations rise and crumble, a history that spans horrible famine and magnificent innovation. These are the years of rice and salt.

This is a universe where the first ship to reach the New World travels across the Pacific Ocean from China and colonization spreads from west to east. This is a universe where the Industrial Revolution is triggered by the world’s greatest scientific minds – in India. This is a universe where Buddhism and Islam are the most influential and practiced religions, and Christianity is merely a historical footnote.

Through the eyes of soldiers and kings, explorers and philosophers, slaves and scholars, Robinson renders an immensely rich tapestry. Rewriting history and probing the most profound questions as only he can, Robinson shines his extraordinary light on the place of religion, culture, power, and even love on such an Earth. From the steppes of Asia to the shores of the Western Hemisphere, from the age of Akbar to the present and beyond, here is the stunning story of the creation of a new world.

Ink MageInk Mage by Victor Gischler

In the first installment of the A Fire Beneath the Skin trilogy, the city of Klaar has never fallen. No enemy has ever made it across the Long Bridge or penetrated the city’s mighty walls. Even when a powerful invading army shows up at the gates, the duke and his daughter, Rina Veraiin, are certain that it poses little threat.

But they are cruelly betrayed from within and, in a horrific spasm of violence, the city is brought to its knees.

With the help of her bodyguard, Kork, the battle-trained young Rina narrowly escapes the slaughter and makes her way to the lair of an ancient sorcerer – the Ink Mage – who gifts her with a strange, beautiful set of magical tattoos.

Now a duchess in exile, Rina sets out on a quest to reclaim what is rightfully hers, aided by a motley assortment of followers who will help her in her cause – some for noble reasons and others for their own dark purposes.

With the enemy’s agents nipping at her heels, Rina must learn to harness her new and startling magical powers if she is to assert her rightful place as ruler of Klaar.

Certain Dark ThingsCertain Dark Things by M.J. Pack

What grotesque surprises will you find in the secret place between the shadow and the soul?

In her debut short story collection, M.J. Pack offers up a new breed of terror sure to delight any true horror fan. Don’t miss out on tales of telepathic twins, a campfire ghost story gone terribly wrong, pills that induce life-threatening nightmares, and the disturbing new sideshow at Coney Island: Lady Alligator. Take a haunting trip down infamous Bubblehead Road and follow Danny around the country as he’s pursued by unseen (and unrelenting) creatures.

Prepare yourself, you’re about to indulge in some certain dark things…

Gene MapperGene Mapper by Taiyo Fujii

In a future where reality has been augmented and biology itself has been hacked, the world’s food supply is genetically modified, superior, and vulnerable. When gene mapper Hayashida discovers that his custom rice plant has experienced a dysgenic collapse, he suspects sabotage. Hayashida travels Asia to find himself in Ho Chi Minh City with hired-gun hacker Kitamura at his side—and in mortal danger—as he pushes ever nearer to the heart of the mystery.

MorteMort(e) by Robert Repino

A genre-busting postapocalyptic first novel – a pause-resisting adventure channeling Animal Farm as imagined by Cormac McCarthy

The “war with no name” has begun; its goal, human extinction. The instigator of this war is the Colony, a race of intelligent ants who, for thousands of years, have been silently building an army that will forever eradicate the destructive, oppressive humans. Under the Colony’s watchful eye, this utopia will be free of the humans’ penchant for violence, exploitation, and religious superstition. The final step in the Colony’s war effort is the transformation of surface animals into high-functioning two-legged beings who will rise up and kill their masters.

Former house cat turned war hero Mort(e) is famous for taking on the most dangerous missions and fighting the dreaded human bioweapon EMSAH. But the true motivation behind Mort(e)’s recklessness is his ongoing search for a pretransformation friend – a dog named Sheba. When he receives a mysterious message from the dwindling human resistance claiming Sheba is alive, he begins a journey that will take him from the remaining human strongholds to the heart of the Colony, where he will discover the source of EMSAH and learn the ultimate fate of all earth’s creatures.

Ghost FleetGhost Fleet: A Novel of the Next World War by P. W. Singer, August Cole

The year is 2026. China has taken over as the world’s largest economy, while the United States, mired in an oil shortage, struggles to adjust to its diminished role. Then, a surprise attack throws the US into a chaos unseen since Pearl Harbor. As the enemy takes control, the survival of the nation will depend upon the most unlikely forces: the Navy’s antiquated Ghost Fleet and a cadre of homegrown terrorists.

Ghost Fleet is unique in that every piece of technology featured in the novel already exists or is in the works. Peter W. Singer is Senior Fellow and Director of the 21st Century Defense Initiative at the Brookings Institution and a consultant for the US Department of Defense and FBI. August Cole is a journalist and writer specializing in national security issues and is an Adjunct Fellow at the American Security Project.

Dust and ShadowDust and Shadow: An Account of the Ripper Killings by Dr. John H. Watson by Lyndsay Faye

In Dust and Shadow, Sherlock Holmes hunts down Jack the Ripper—the world’s first serial killer—with impeccably accurate historical detail and without the advantage of modern forensics or profiling. Sherlock’s desire to stop the killer who is terrifying the East End of London is unwavering from the start, and in an effort to do so he hires an “unfortunate” known as Mary Ann Monk, the friend of a fellow streetwalker who was one of the Ripper’s earliest victims. However, when Holmes himself is wounded in Whitechapel attempting to catch the villain and a series of articles in the popular press question his role in the crimes, he must use all his resources in a desperate race to find the man known as “The Knife” before it is too late.

Penned as a pastiche by the loyal and courageous Dr. Watson, this debut signals the arrival of a tremendous talent in the mystery and historical fiction genres.

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What books have you randomly picked up recently?




23 Comments on “Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Books I Picked Up On A Whim”

    • I remember reading your review, so I’m hoping for the best when I get around to this. I bought this one during a sale for gaming books along with another Pathfinder book called The Crusader Road. I plan to read one of them, likely the one I listed here, sometime this year along with the D&D books I bought at the same time.


    • I bought Ink Mage because of its second (The Tattooed Duchess) and third book (The Painted Goddess), which intrigued me. But I can’t dive into those books without reading the first. We’ll see how it goes.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. I bought Years of Rice and Salt on a whim when it came out 🙂 So many books under the bridge since then (so to speak) I don’t recall much about it – but I suspect I’d like it (even) more now than I did then.

    Gene Mapper looks intriguing!


    • The history angle of The Years of Salt and Rice is what made me pick it up. I’m a history nerd. I look forward to reading it, but who knows when I’ll actually get around to it.


  2. I’m guilty of impulse buys when the cover is pretty too. Vermilion and Mort(e) look interesting. I really love the cat face cover of Mort(e). 😛 I think I used to own Dust and Shadow, but ended up letting it go because it had been sitting on my TBR for years without me reading it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • The cover was probably most of the reason I picked up Mort(e), but the story sounds like it’ll be something interesting and different, too. I pick up books and then don’t get around to them, too. Hopefully I will get around to Dust and Shadow, but I think it’s one of those books I’ll have to be in the mood for.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I haven’t read any of these books, but Ink Mage definitely caught my attention. And I love its cover!

    I tend not to pick up books on a whim; I kind of like to know what I’m getting myself into beforehand. But the last one that sort of falls into that category is Kiera Cass’s The Siren. The romance didn’t do anything for me, but the siren mythology and the relationships between the protagonist and her “siren sisters” were well done.


    • I picked up Ink Mage because of its sequels–The Tattooed Duchess and A Painted Goddess. I was really intrigued by those, but I can’t just skip the first book. I guess I could, but I’m not one of those people who can do that.

      I’m glad to hear that your whim selection sort of worked out for you. I’ve looked at The Siren, but haven’t committed to it yet. I’ll see how I feel once I finish The Selection before I move into anything else.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I discovered Lyndsay Faye when I picked on a whim first book in her Timothy Wilde trilogy. It also historical setting (1845. New York), but mc is a copper in Five Points. It is one of my favourite accidental discoveries. I have to try her Sherlock book.
    Great random picks, Tiara, I liked Vermilion and Mort(e),too.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks!

      I haven’t read anything by Faye, but another book blogger turned me on to her because she wrote a Jane Eyre retelling and they remembered that Jane Eyre is one of my favorite books. So, I ended up getting Jane Steele (her Jane Eyre retelling) and this one. Jane Steele should be coming up very soon in my reading.


  5. I had wanted to read Mort(e)! How did you like it?

    I was at a used bookstore yesterday, and I picked up a copy of “The Baker’s Boy” and “A Man Betrayed” by J.V. Jones. Never even heard of them or the author, but it looked that like “classic” epic fantasy with the cover. So I thought: why not?! XD

    Liked by 1 person

    • I haven’t read it yet. However, it’s one of the books I am queuing up for next month if I don’t end up swapping out one of this month’s reads instead.

      I am terrible about picking up books for the covers. Covers I used to shy away from when I was younger I love now.


  6. I hope to read both of them later in the year. We’ll see how reading factors in over my increasingly crazy schedule.


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