Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Titles That Made Me Want to Read the Book
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 Ten Titles That Made Me Want to Read the Book
Today’s theme is all about unique book titles, and I can think of no better way to shine a light on the topic than to feature some books whose titles made me want to read them.
This was a crazy wild ride I never wanted to end. After having a blast with Angus Watson’s Iron Age trilogy I had a good feeling that his new book would be another glorious full-hearted adventure through new frontiers of dark fantasy, and I was not disappointed. Though this novel is more heavily steeped in magic and fantasy, the author has once again drawn much of his inspiration from history. Inspired by the cultures of Native Americans as well as the Vikings, he has created a small population of villagers known to the surrounding local tribes as the “Mushroom Men”, who are simply content to live their modest, bucolic lives. So when the attack came, none of them could quite believe it. Thanks to a prophecy that says the Mushroom Men will destroy the world, they are all now marked for death. It’s a story that commands your full attention from the very first page, whisking readers away on a journey set in an imaginative world full of riveting characters and gritty adventure. After all, I would expect nothing less from a book called You Die When You Die. (Read the full review…)
Every time I go to Audible my account page is always bombarding my recommended list with this one, and well, it’s hard not to be curious with that title. This is sci-fi done in a way I’ve never really seen before. While the tone of the narrative is familiar, with its snarky humor and heavy infusion of geek pop culture jokes, the story and the characters and the worlds feel different and fresh. Mostly, this was because of how fun it was to follow all the “Bobs” – our protagonist who has been turned into a self-replicating interstellar von Neumann probe with the goal of exploring the galaxy. What could have been a lonely tale about a solo space explorer into an uproariously entertaining experience filled with many vibrant and unique personalities. The characters in this book are all one person—but they are also not. The story actually makes it a point to emphasize that the Bobs are distinct individuals, each possessing different aspects of the original. Having finished this book and seen for myself what it’s all about, I can understand now why the popularity of this book blew up in such a short time. I highly recommend taking a look for yourself, especially if you enjoy space opera or sci-fi comedy that manages to be both smart and funny. (Read the full review…)
Ever wonder what it’s like to be a girlfriend or wife of a superhero? The answer is not so glamorous in this collection, whose title is inspired by the term “Women in Refrigerators”, coined to describe a trope used in many comic book plots involving the deaths, disablement, and disenfranchising of female characters to forward a male superhero protagonist’s storyline. The six tales in here focus on the women of the Hell Hath Club, all based well-known characters in the DC or Marvel universes so that even passing fans of comics should recognize some of their origins. Every one of them has been killed, depowered, or generally dismissed in favor of the male superheroes (and in one case, a supervillain) in their lives. Now the six of them meet regularly in the afterlife, hanging out at a quaint little joint called the Lethe Café where they share their stories, support each other, and listen to the gargoyles bands play punk rock. (Read the full review…)
If you’re feeling nostalgic for the Golden Age pulps and the thrilling sci-fi classics of the past, then I think you’ll be quite happy with this rollicking mashup of the old and the new. Set in a future as imagined by “the world of tomorrow” in the 1939 World’s Fair, the story opens in the megacity of Retropolis, its art deco inspired skyline bestrewed with hover cars and monorail tracks. The hero of our tale is a freelance adventurer named Kelvin Kent, who is sometimes better known by his professional name of “Dash”. Soon, he finds himself hired by Lola Gardner, a woman representing a group of switchboard operators who have all just been fired from their jobs for reasons they don’t understand. Surely a large city like Retropolis with millions of people needing to communicate and access data on their InfoSlates would need the services of switchboard workers to keep on running, which means that another system must have sprung up to take their place, and Lola would like Dash to figure out who is behind this mysterious plan and why. Like most homages to the classic science fiction adventures of the 1920s to 1950s, Slaves of the Switchboard of Doom was clearly written for fans by a fan, wearing its pulp era-inspired roots on its sleeves proudly while riffing on genre tropes with an eye towards faithfulness and good-natured humor. (Read the full review…)
What is the language of dying? That was the question in my mind when I saw this book’s title. A beautiful soul-rending song straight from the heart, this novella packs an emotional punch by shifting gears instead to look at the turbulent nature of grief and the profound effects it has on one troubled family. The story starts with a woman sitting by her dying father’s bedside waiting for the other members of her family to arrive in order to say goodbye. But deep in her heart, our narrator is secretly hoping for one other visitor. Only twice in her life has she seen him, both after a painful loss in her life. She can tell no one what she saw, because she’s not even sure what she saw was real. But still, she believes, and now, she waits. This is a hard book to categorize into any one particular genre, though it’s the themes of pain, grief, death, and loss that really come through. I’ve never seen a more transparent, open and honest portrayal about the agony of confronting the inevitable, of letting go of a dearly beloved, and ultimately it’s not an easy book to read, but you will be glad you did. (Read the full review…)
This book went straight onto my to-read pile the moment I learned about it, for two main reasons: first, because I love Chuck Wendig, and second because…well, I figured I couldn’t go wrong with any book with a title like Dinocalypse Now! But it wasn’t until I was halfway through reading this book that I started to do some research and found out a little more about its background. Crowd-funded through Kickstarter in 2012, it is based on Evil Hat Productions’ Spirit of the Century role-playing game which is set in a 1920s/30s-era pulp adventure world, so think jetpacks, talking gorillas, psychic dinosaurs, ancient Atlanteans and more! It all begins when a group of heroes calling themselves the Century Club are brought in to prevent the assassination of FDR, only to find that the president isn’t the target — they are! Though, what comes next is actually a threat to the entire planet as King Khan the ape conqueror storms this world through a dimensional portal, leading his vast army of primates and dinosaurs. Now it’s up to the Centurions to stop him and save the world! (Read the full review…)
I read somewhere once that the working title of this book had been “Love in the Minus Eighty” before it was shortened to the way it is now. It refers to the temperature at which dead women in cryogenic dating farms are kept, waiting for a rich lonely suitor to come along one day to resurrect them and take them home. For this futuristic dystopian novel, Will McIntosh expanded upon the ideas from his award-winning short story “Bridesicle”, writing about a group of characters whose lives are all interconnected because of these dating farms. What a disturbing and yet fascinating basis for a story, and it’s all set before a backdrop which seems at once so outlandish but also familiar enough to be uncomfortable at the same time. Some things will always stay the same, apparently. People will still look for love – that timeless, formless, unshakeable deep connection to another soul. This makes Love Minus Eighty a sci-fi novel that’s definitely more about the human story and less about the science and technology. Questions like how the dead can be brought back to life, or how these dating farms even manage to revive dead women for short periods of time aren’t the point. Instead, what’s important is the emotional impact of the story, and I found this one to be a very thoughtful commentary on the ways of the heart and just twisted enough for me to eat it up. (Read the full review…)
In gaming lingo, the term “level grind” often has negative connotations, typically used to describe having to engage in mind-numbingly tedious or repetitive tasks to gain experience or complete an achievement. Hence you can understand my curiosity when I saw this book. Happily though, the aforementioned description is not at all how I would describe my experience with it. Collecting the first four novellas in the Twenty-Sided Sorceress series, this omnibus is in fact a very witty, vibrant, and entertaining urban fantasy following our protagonist Jade Crow. After twenty-five years of hiding from her ex-lover and fellow sorcerer who wants to eat her heart (gross, yes, but that happens to be the only way to kill a sorcerer and steal their powers) she has ended up settling in small town in Idaho which is also home to a thriving paranormal community that includes shapeshifters, witches, and leprechauns. A lifelong gamer and nerd, Jade is content enough to lie low and live a quiet life among friends, running her comic book and game store. (Read the full review…)
Anyone picking up this book would be rightly forgiven for mistaking this book for a campy, humorous mashup. After all, that was my initial thought as well, after seeing the title. But as it turns out, my first impression couldn’t be further from the truth. Dracula vs. Hitler is actually a quite serious endeavor, reinforced with what appears to be plenty of research and painstaking attention to detail. For one thing, it is written in an epistolary style like the original Dracula by Bram Stoker, a nod to the classic work. The story officially begins with the Editor’s Note, as the author recounts a recent trip deep down into the bowels of a cavernous Washington DC document warehouse (think the final scene of Raiders of the Lost Ark), where he ends up finding a thick packet of papers labeled “TOP SECRET”. Inside this classified folder are the documents making up most of this book, mainly a series of entries from the journal of one Jonathan Murray Harker dated between the months of April to June 1941, as well as a number of excerpts from a novel believed to be authored by Lucille Van Helsing writing under a pen name. These two characters are of course the descendants of the original characters from the novel Dracula, the ending of which apparently didn’t play out the way Stoker had written them. (Read the full review…)
“History is just one damn thing after another” is a quote most commonly attributed to famous historian Arnold Toynbee. It has also been partially adopted for the title of this novel, which has got to be about time travel, of course! The story stars our plucky narrator Madeleine “Max” Maxwell, a historian who gets recruited by a group of time travelers working undercover behind the façade of St. Mary’s Institute of Historical Research. After the most hilariously bizarre interview process, Max join up with them and the adventures—and the disasters—immediately begin. There’s a rigorous training program required for all newbies where they learn all the dos and don’ts of time travel, and they also have to pass a series of tests, including a physical component because you never know what can happen during a trip back in time. After a while, it’s clear that Murphy’s Law generally applies to all missions at St. Mary’s. The plot is very entertaining and filled with boisterous, comedic hijinks (and perfect if you enjoy British humor). (Read the full review…)