Tag Archives: Ready Player One

Tammy’s Top Ten Books From the Last Three Years

Top Ten Tuesday new 7-14 copy

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish! Hop on over to find out more about Top Ten Tuesday and maybe even join in the fun, as they give us a new theme each week! This week’s theme was very hard to narrow down, but even though I wanted to choose more than ten books, I decided to stick with the program. Since I’ve been blogging for about three-and-a-half years, it was easy enough to choose books I’ve read and reviewed on this blog. To that end, all the links go to my reviews. (You’ll also note that I made up a *special* designation for books I loved above and beyond the usual love. I did that for a while, but I’m no longer using that award.) Here they are, in no particular order, my top ten books from the past three years:

1. Vicious by V.E. Schwab. This book has everything I look for in a perfect story: awesome characters, a rip-roaring plot, emotional connections and a deliciously complex story construction. Read it if you haven’t!

2. Red Rising by Pierce Brown. The first book in Brown’s series was a hell of a ride, and a debut novel too! It only gets better in the second book, but I wanted to highlight this one since it was such a memorable read for me.

3. The Blue Blazes by Chuck Wendig. This book! This is still my favorite Chuck Wendig book to date. Although I haven’t cracked his Miriam Black series, and I know a lot of people love those books. Just read it, OK?

4. Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandell. I know this went on to be a bestseller and an award nominee, but I read it before all the hype, and I can tell you it’s well deserved. A quieter, more introspective read than most of the other books on this list, it was magical and dazzling.

5. Broken Monsters by Lauren Beukes. Beukes is a new “auto buy” author for me, and I’m catching up on her backlist as well. This is her latest, and it’s so well written and plotted and paced, that I can’t imagine how she can get any better.

6. The Girl with All the Gifts by M.R. Carey. This zombie tale was unexpectedly emotional, and once again, it’s a book that reflects my mantra for my most favorite books: “It’s all about the characters.”

7. Ready Player One by Ernest Cline. This was another surprise book, one I didn’t expect to love so much. But Cline is a born storyteller and I clung to each and every word. I can’t wait for Armada, which comes out this year!

8. The Martian by Andy Weir. Here’s another bestseller on the list, and again, I like to think that I read it before it became one. I’ve never had so much fun with only one character! (For the most part. Of course, there are more characters in the story than the MC, but his scenes take up the bulk of the book.)

9. Stormdancer by Jay Kristoff. I love the entire series, but this is where it all began. Jay’s books are emotional and sad and wondrous. You really should read this series if you love fantasy!

10. Three by Jay Posey. This was an amazing start to a fantasy series, and it’s also Jay’s debut. I wasn’t as crazy about the follow-up, Morningside Fall, but I know there is a third book on the horizon, and I’m dying to read it:-D

There you have it, my top ten books from the last three years. Have you read any of these?


Filed under Top Ten Tuesday

Waiting on Wednesday (124) ARMADA by Ernest Cline (Take Two)


WOW 2014 copy

Welcome to the Sci-Fi November version of Waiting on Wednesday! Sci-Fi November is hosted by Oh, The Books! and Rinn Reads, and Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Breaking the Spine. This month I’m highlighting upcoming science fiction titles that I’m dying to read.

I say “Take Two” up there because I have already highlighted Armada in a WoW post, WoW #68, more than a year ago. Apparently, the publication date was pushed back, and now Armada isn’t due out until July 2015. So…


Let’s try this again! I have been waiting for this darn book to come out for almost THREE YEARS. I reviewed Ready Player One back in the first months of this blog, and loved it to pieces, and I’ve been dying to read another book by Cline ever since. Here’s the description from Goodreads:

Zack Lightman is daydreaming through another dull math class when the high-tech dropship lands in his school’s courtyard-and when the men in the dark suits and sunglasses leap out of the ship and start calling his name, he’s sure he’s still dreaming.

But the dream is all too real; the people of Earth need him. As Zack soon discovers, the videogame he’s been playing obsessively for years isn’t just a game; it’s part of a massive, top-secret government training program, designed to teach gamers the skills they’ll need to defend Earth from a possible alien invasion. And now…that invasion is coming.

As he and his companions prepare to enter their ships and do battle, Zack learns that the father he thought was dead is actually a key player in this secret war. And together with his father, he’ll uncover the truth about the alien threat, race to prevent a genocide, and discover a mysterious third player in the interplanetary chess game he’s been thrown into.


Please, Crown Publishing, let it be for reals this time!! Let me know what you’re waiting on this week:-)


Filed under Waiting on Wednesday

Tammy’s Top Ten Most Anticipated Books of 2014

Top Ten Tuesday New copy

It’s Tuesday, and time for another awesome Top Ten list! Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by the Broke and the Bookish. This is the time of year when book bloggers struggle to choose our favorite books of the year, as well as the books we’re most looking forward to in the new year. I just looked at last year’s Most Anticipated post, and I’m sorry to say that I only managed to read four of the ten books I was looking forward to! I’m not going to let that happen this year, I swear! This list only includes books that already have a book cover, because I don’t like to talk about books that don’t. I personally need the visual, and I’m sure many of you do to. So here is my list of Most Anticipated Books of 2014, in order of release date (clicking on the book image will take you to Goodreads):

pass_9780385743877_jkt_all_r3.indd1. Acid by Emma Pass. Release date: March 11 2014. This is one of those books that came out in the UK first, and I was confused by the U.S. release date. But now that we have a firm date, I’m very happy. I’ve been following Emma’s blog since I heard about the UK release, and I feel like I know her!

Under-Nameless-Stars-small2. Under Nameless Stars (Zenn Scarlett #2) by Christian Schoon. Release date: April 1 2014. I loved Zenn Scarlett, particularly the unique and imaginative world that Schoon created. I look forward to more of Zenn’s adventures.

The Ophelia Prophecy

3. The Ophelia Prophecy by Sharon Lynn Fisher. Release date: April 1 2014.  Ah, science fiction romance! What a fun genre, and Sharon Lynn Fisher does it really well. I loved Ghost Planet, and I can’t wait to read more SLF!

High and Dry

4. High & Dry by Sarah Skilton. Release date: April 15 2014.  Here’s another second book by a 2013 debut author. Sarah’s Bruised was a powerful young adult contemporary, and her second book looks very different, but just as good.

Morningside Fall

5. Morningside Fall (Legends of the Duskwalker #2) by Jay Posey. Release date: April 29 2014.  Oh boy. The first book in this series, Three, blew me away. In fact, it won one of my top *awards* here on the blog, my Crystal Chandelier Award of Awesome. I’m unbelievably excited about this book, but also worried because of *something that happens at the end but I can’t say because it’s a spoiler*


6. Hexed by Michelle Krys. Release date: June 10 2014. This already has some stellar reviews on Goodreads. That alone makes me want to read it, but it’s also about witches, a subject I can’t get enough of.

The Murder Complex

7. The Murder Complex by Lindsay Cummings. Release date: June 10 2014. Don’t you love this cover? It just screams “murder,” doesn’t it?? This is a futuristic YA, “for fans of La Femme Nikita.”

Rebel Nation

8. Rebel Nation (Viral Nation #2) by Shaunta Grimes. Release date: July 1 2014. I just featured this on a Waiting on Wednesday, and it’s definitely up there in the top ten!

Full Fathom Five

9. Full Fathom Five (Craft Sequence #3) by Max Gladstone. Release date: July 15 2014. I almost fell over when I saw this cover this past week! I mean, I just read Two Serpents Rise, and the publisher already has a cover for the next book! Max is one of my favorite writers, and I can’t wait for this one. Plus, I’m dying to know who those people on the cover are. Goodreads doesn’t have a description for this yet, so I guess I’ll just have to wait.


10. Armada by Ernest Cline. Release date: October 7 2014. This might be the book I’m most excited about on this list. Ready Player One is still one of my all-time faves, and I’m curious to see what Cline does next.

Are any of these on your top ten list? Let me know!


Filed under Top Ten Tuesday, Uncategorized

Waiting on Wednesday (68) ARMADA by Ernest Cline

Waiting on Wednesday copy

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Breaking the Spine, and is my favorite way to see what upcoming releases everyone is excited about. I’m stealing my idea this week from Lucy at The Reading Date who highlighted this last week. I’m beyond excited for this book, as Ready Player One was one of my top ten favorite books of 2011. Ernest Cline’s latest won’t hit stores until next summer, but the cover has already been revealed:


Armada by Ernest Cline. Release date: July 2014 (Crown Publishing). I adored Ready Player One, and I have high hopes for Cline’s follow-up. This has an Ender’s Game vibe to it, but I’m sure Cline will put his own crazy spin on it. Here’s the description from Goodreads:

Zack Lightman is daydreaming through another dull math class when the high-tech dropship lands in his school’s courtyard-and when the men in the dark suits and sunglasses leap out of the ship and start calling his name, he’s sure he’s still dreaming.

But the dream is all too real; the people of Earth need him. As Zack soon discovers, the videogame he’s been playing obsessively for years isn’t just a game; it’s part of a massive, top-secret government training program, designed to teach gamers the skills they’ll need to defend Earth from a possible alien invasion. And now…that invasion is coming.

As he and his companions prepare to enter their ships and do battle, Zack learns that the father he thought was dead is actually a key player in this secret war. And together with his father, he’ll uncover the truth about the alien threat, race to prevent a genocide, and discover a mysterious third player in the interplanetary chess game he’s been thrown into.


The retro-video game looking cover is pretty cool. Whatever this book turns out to be, I’m sure it will rock. Ernest Cline is like, well, one of my book heroes:) What are you waiting on this week?


Filed under Waiting on Wednesday

Tammy’s Top Ten Posts on Books, Bones & Buffy

Welcome to Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by The Broke and the Bookish! This week they are asking bloggers to list the top ten posts on their blogs that will give readers the best idea of what your blog is all about. The posts I’m listing highlight the things I love most and will hopefully give any reader an over-all picture of my personality.

Fifty Shades of Purple Prose. (April 9, 2012).  I wrote this right before Fifty Shades of Grey took off into the stratosphere. Yes, I wanted to get my two cents in before everyone else did, and I also wanted to poke fun at the general public for making this book a bestseller (myself included!). My plan worked, and this has become my most visited post ever.

What Keeps Me Up At Night. (October 8, 2011). I wrote this as a love letter to Stephen King. I also wanted everyone out there in blog-land to know how much The Dark Tower series means to me, as well as give some background on my life as a book collector. Writing this post brought back so many memories, and also made me realize I want to write more posts like this in the future.

Tammy’s Top Ten Things I Learned at Camp NaNoWriMo. (July 10, 2012) I participated for the first time in NaNoWriMo this summer, and it was an eye-opening experience, to say the least! I urge anyone who has been thinking about writing a novel to check it out. Everything is explained in this post, and you can even sign up for the August camp, which is going on right now.

Curse of the Bestsellers. (October 12, 2011).  After several months of blogging, I began to notice that just about every book I selected for my “Read Me!” feature (which I have since abandoned) was also appearing as the main book selection in Entertainment Weekly. I didn’t want people to think I was stealing their ideas, so I wrote this post to defend myself.

Tammy’s Top Ten Books I Think Would Make Good Book Club Picks. (January 31, 2012). This is also the longest title of all the blog posts I’ve written! I love this post because the girls in my book club mean a great deal to me, and these are some of my favorite reads. For anyone in a book club that needs ideas, start here!

The Night Circus – Review. (September 30, 2011). One of my favorite books last year, The Night Circus recently came out in paperback, so I’d love more people to read my review of this magical and dreamy book. I also just realized how short this review is! I’ve definitely become more verbose since starting my blog.

Ode to Joss Whedon #1. (December 16, 2011). You might be able to tell from the crazy name of this blog that I love Buffy, and by extension, I love Joss Whedon and just about everything he does. Strangely, I haven’t written any posts about Buffy, but on occasion I like to highlight my favorite Joss Whedon projects. This is one that’s near and dear to my heart.

Ready Player One – Review. (November 21, 2011). Here’s another of my favorite reads of 2011 that has just been released in paperback. I loved everything about this book: the characters, the futuristic and hallucinogenic world that Cline created, and the blast-from-the-past 80’s vibe that infused every part of the story. This is a “can’t miss” book that everyone should read!

The Future of Us – Or How Two Writers From Opposite Ends of the Country Wrote a Book Together. (January 26, 2012). OK, this is the longest blog title I’ve written so far! The story was a fun and futuristic take on Facebook, but the real joy of writing this post was getting to hear the story behind the book, from the authors themselves.

Tammy’s Top Ten Horror Books (They Aren’t What You Think). (March 13, 2012) Or maybe they are what you think, but the reason I threw that into the title was to indicate that my Top Ten did not include any classics. I’m all about current book releases, and even though a few of these choices are on the older side, they are still what I would consider “modern.”

So now you know who I am! Leave me a comment and a link so I can get to know you better, too.


Filed under Top Ten

Tammy’s Top Ten Books to Read in a Day

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, and this week we are asked to pick ten books that we would read in one day. I interpret this as books that are so engaging that I can’t stop reading! If only I still had time to read a book in a day…I think those days are well behind me, but that doesn’t mean I can’t think of ten books that would fit the bill if I had absolutely nothing else to do for a whole day! So here we go…

1. Twilight by Stephenie Meyer.  OK, all you Twi-haters, this may come as a shock to you, but before it became fashionable to hate the Twilight series, this book was actually given good reviews by the publishing industry. I am happy to say that I read Twilight long before it became popular, and I was so taken with it, that I emailed everyone I knew and told them to drop everything and go get it!  Stephenie Meyer may be the brunt of sparkly vampire jokes now, but she was able to pull off something rare: she created an amazing chemistry between two characters that compelled you to keep reading.  In fact, this is the only time I’ve ever finished a book, then immediately turned back to page one and read it a second time. No, she’s not the best prose writer out there, but let’s give credit where it’s due: this book created a sensation. I dare anyone out there to prove me wrong.

2. Harry Potter (any or all of them) by J. K. Rowling. This selection should be on everyone’s list this week, I think.  Rowling is a master story-teller, and she deserves every bit of fame she’s struggled for.  The Harry Potter books are extremely readable and hard to put down once you’ve started.  I love the way they evolved over the years, as Rowling herself matured as a writer.  Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone may have been written for kids, but The Deathly Hallows that ended the series had a different audience in mind.

3. Incarceron by Catherine Fisher.  This unique story kept me turning pages as fast as I could.  The main characters are separated throughout most of the story, which made the tension palpable. Finn is a prisoner in Incarceron, and Claudia is the daughter of the prison warden, who doesn’t even know Incarceron exists, until she discovers a secret.  Her follow-up to Incarceron, Sapphique, was not as engaging for me, but the writing and world-building in both are top rate. Fisher really knows her stuff, and if you haven’t read the books, I suggest you add them to your list.

4. His Dark Materials Trilogy by Philip Pullman.  Another unique concept, The Golden Compass and the two books that follow it, The Subtle Knife and The Amber Spyglass, ought to be as widely read as the Harry Potter books, but their controversial anti-church theme has kept them from reaching a wider audience. The characters are amazing, and Pullman’s idea of each person having their soul embodied by an animal struck me as genius. Forget the movie, read the books. You won’t regret it.

5. Daughter of Smoke & Bone by Laini Taylor.  Lots of hype about this book pre-publication did not detract from its greatness. The story of a girl who uses wishes to do things like make her hair blue was so original and readable that it was over before I knew it.  Although some of the elements feel familiar, like the fact that Karou is a girl trying to find out who she really is, mostly the book is loaded with originality. Laini’s other books are just as good, and her buoyant writing style just makes you happy! Plus, this cover is gorgeous, I love its simplicity. I can’t wait for her next book…

6. The Sisters Brothers by Patrick DeWitt.  My book club just read this, and yes, it was my pick, I’m happy to say.  This western set in Oregon and California during the 1850’s gold rush was compelling for many reasons, but mostly for the first person narrative of Eli, one of the brothers in the title.  Charlie and Eli Sisters are hired guns, and they have been recruited to kill a man in California.  The tale of how they attempt to do this is strange, violent, and at times, tender-hearted.  This funny and irreverent tale should not be missed.

7. Ready Player One by Ernest Cline.  I’ve mentioned this book before, but it definitely falls in the category of books that are hard to put down.  I’ve noticed a pattern to all my picks, and that is that they all have unique worlds and compelling characters.  With so many over-used plots out there, it’s nice to find writers that work hard to go against the grain.  Ready Player One is set in a horrible future where people escape into a virtual computer world rather than face real life.  It’s a mind-bending concept and I found myself literally forgetting which world I was in.  Plus, a futuristic novel that glorifies the 80’s? How can you not want to read that!

8. Cinder by Marissa Meyer.  Cinder is still fresh in my mind, so I immediately thought of it when compiling this list. Again, it’s got a special and clever idea that borrows from something recognizable (the fairy tale of Cinderella) and drops it into an unfamiliar framework (science fiction). This combination, especially in the hands of a talented writer, is unbeatable.  Knowing there are three future books in the Lunar Chronicles is gratifying, but having to wait a year for the second installment is going to be torture.  Read it and you’ll see what I mean.

9. City of Bones by Cassandra Clare. It’s hard to keep track of all the different series Cassandra Clare has going on, but it all started with this book, by far my favorite.  Great characters, romance, special powers, and a story that will keep you reading long past your bedtime, City of Bones has it all for me.  The narrative moves fast, and it has that element we’re all looking for in a story: it makes us want to know what happens next.  Not only would I read this in a day, but I would go back and re-read it if I had time.

10. Hyperion by Dan Simmons.  Simmons is a rock star, no matter what genre he writes in, but I have to say his Hyperion books are still my favorite.  This one and The Fall of Hyperion are classics, and I don’t mean because they were written twenty years ago.  Simmons’ imagination is unsurpassed in my book, and even though Hyperion is a bit lengthy, you will not want to stop reading once you have started.


Filed under Top Ten, Uncategorized

Tammy’s Top Ten Books of 2011

The year is almost over, and I finally get to post my top ten favorite books of the year. For the first time, I am participating in “Top Ten Tuesday” created by The Broke and the Bookish.  Each week they come up with a new top ten list and invite other bloggers to participate.  I read some great books this year and it was harder than I thought to narrow it down to only ten.  But I did!  And here they are, my favorite reads of 2011, in no particular order:

1. READY PLAYER ONE by Ernest Cline.  A high-speed romp through a future where virtual reality is the norm and knowledge of 80’s pop culture might lead you to hidden treasure.  OK, it’s really hard to describe this book in one sentence.  Ready Player One is filled with 80’s trivia, fantastic characters, and enough adrenaline to keep you up late reading. You can read my review here.

2. DAUGHTER OF SMOKE & BONE by Laini Taylor.  A young-adult novel about a mysterious girl named Karou who has blue hair and draws pictures of creatures that may or may not exist.  A beautifully written story and one of the most imaginative young adult books I’ve read this year.  It’s also the only young adult title on my list, and I read a lot of them.  Unfortunately, young adult books are all starting to feel the same to me, but this one stood out, not only for its content, but for the lovely and original dust jacket.

3.  THE NIGHT CIRCUS by Erin Morgenstern.    A story that spans decades, The Night Circus is a surreal tale of dangerous magicians and true love.  Morgenstern’s prose is magical and lush, and I loved the dream-like experience of reading this book.  You can read my review here.

4.  THE FAMILY FANG by Kevin Wilson.  If you are looking for a stand-out story about a dysfunctional family, this is the one to beat.  The story of a family of performance artists, The Family Fang is a cautionary tale of how parents can damage their children.  It is funny, strange and sad, and I loved every word.

5. ORYX AND CRAKE by Margaret Atwood.  This book originally came out in 2003, but I just got around to reading it this year, and I’m so glad I did.  It’s a beautiful and horrifying vision of a future where genetic engineering has gone too far.  Oryx and Crake is written in Atwood’s usual lush style and I could not put it down.

6.  THE LAST WEREWOLF by Glen Duncan.  A bloody, sexy and funny story of, you guessed it, the last werewolf on earth.  I loved the characters, and Duncan’s writing is gorgeous.  You can read my review here.

7. INCENDIARY by Chris Cleave.  Although the subject matter is hard to read, this story of a distraught wife and mother who has lost her husband and son to a suicide bomber is a must-read.  The first-person narrative is powerful and even humorous despite the character’s pain and is the reason this novel succeeds on so many levels.

8.  STATE OF WONDER by Ann Patchett.  One of my favorite books of all time is Bel Canto by Patchett, and I’m happy to say State of Wonder is just as good.  The story takes us deep into the Amazon jungle on a search for a missing scientist. It’s got everything: drama, suspense and lots of mystery.

9.  A DISCOVERY OF WITCHES by Deborah Harkness.  In short, an epic story about the relationship between a vampire and a witch.  It’s much more than that, however, and I’m very happy that this is the first of a trilogy (Book Two comes out in 2012!).

10.  SWAMPLANDIA! by Karen Russell.  Another tale of a dysfunctional family, Swamplandia! is a story of a family of alligator-wrestlers. How can you not want to read this book?  It is poignant look at one family’s attempts to survive in a changing world.

It was a great year for books, and I’m looking forward to 2012.  Stay tuned for my next top-ten list, “Tammy’s Top Ten Books of 2011 That I Wanted to Read but Didn’t…”


Filed under Top Ten

READY PLAYER ONE by Ernest Cline -Review

So, after reading Ready Player One, it turns out I’m a geek.  I suspected I was, since I’ve always had a fondness for all things geeky. But although I was never really into video games (I do remember, however, obsessively playing a game called “Castle” sometime around 1988 or ’89.  It was loaded on my computer at work and my coworker Dilip and I played it every chance we got), I realize now that it is possible to geek out over reading about people playing video games. If you aren’t a geek now, I guarantee you will be after reading this fantastic debut by Ernest Cline.

Ready Player One takes place in 2044, where a desolate Earth has fallen on hard times that feel very familiar: fossil fuels are all but used up, the predicted effects of global warming have finally come to pass, and the economy has gone to hell in a hand basket. The world is in the midst of the Global Energy Crisis, and Wade Watts, our eighteen-year-old hero, is struggling to survive in “the stacks,” a low-income housing area consisting of hundreds of mobile homes stacked on top of one another, just outside of Oklahoma City. Life is grim, and most people spend their waking hours inside the OASIS, an intricately constructed virtual reality world where every bit of 80’s pop culture has been lovingly recreated.  Here avatars are free to explore the galaxy, play video games, slay opponents, and earn credits by collecting magical objects and winning games. Wade’s avatar, Parzival, like many others, is obsessed with finding Halliday’s Easter egg, which has been hidden somewhere inside the OASIS by James Halliday, the brilliant and eccentric creator of the game who died five years earlier. Because finding the egg first means acquiring Halliday’s fortune and control of the OASIS, Parzival spends his days learning every possible bit of minutia about the 80’s, hoping he will stumble upon something that will unravel the first clue. Pursued by “Sixers,” the identical employees of Innovative Online Industries, who are collectively trying to find the egg and gain power of the OASIS for nefarious purposes, Parzival and his avatar competitors Aech and Art3mis race to find the egg.  But when the danger of the OASIS spills over into Wade’s real life, Wade joins forces with his friends to try to stop the Sixers from getting to the egg first, win the prize, and save the world.

If you think this plot seems overly complex, then you would be right.  Ready Player One is stuffed with so much information that I marveled at Parzival’s (and Cline’s) exhaustive knowledge of the 80’s. (In fact, I’m pretty sure the aforementioned “Castle” makes an appearance somewhere in this book.)  And this review barely scratches the surface.  Dive into the story on your own and you will discover a story driven by frenetic energy, likable characters, and enough suspense to keep you going for the rest of 2011. Add in some social commentary and witty dialog, and you’ve got a winning combination. Will the good guys win? Will Parzival ever meet Art3mis in real life? Will the coin Parzival won at Pac-Man figure into the final showdown? You’ll just have to read to find out.

Ready Player One is a wild and exhausting romp through time and space, and the most fun I’ve had reading in a long time. If you love the 80’s (and even if you don’t), you will find this action-packed trip down memory lane an unforgettable experience. So stop what you are doing right now and Go. Read. This. Book.


Filed under Reviews