Top 3 Thursday :: Series I Fell in Love with Out of the Blue

This week I got inspired.

Wait. Rewind. So, for the New Year I didn’t do so much of a resolution for the blog as I made a list of a few promises. There were emotions I wanted to push myself toward (hard topics to breach), I wanted be more courageous about opening up, I wrote out a few monthly goals of focus (haiku, dialogue, spoken word, character development, etc.) and ABOVE ALL –> everyday: challenge, challenge, challenge.

One of these promises also included spinning Pearl Bayou more in a bookish direction.

I love very few things in this world as much as I love writing. However, reading is one. They go hand in hand, right? The more you read, the more you write. The more you write, the more you read. They feed off one another. I love discussing books with people. I love sharing my latest favorites. I love everything about the world of literature. I’m a mythology addict, fantasy obsessed, sci-fi fan, and die-hard romantic. I spend 99.9% of my free time with a book in my hand and still wish I could read more. I adore Goodreads, to the point of checking it about once a day and doing the reading challenge each year. Not gonna lie. Used bookshops are like crack cocaine. I have piles and crates of books to be read. I’m the person who doesn’t communicate for hours because she’s lost in another world. I will spend hours browsing if I’m allowed and a good chunk of my daily journal includes what I’m reading at the moment, my own book reviews/ratings, and quotes I’ve saved.

Therefore – I also am a total Booktube/Bookstagram nerd as well. I love watching videos of reviews, monthly hauls, and seeing pretty flat lays of favorite covers. (If you’re not familiar with this world, you’re missing out. It’s a ridiculous amount of fun if you’re a book person.) Last month I started sharing TBR Jar :: Introductions Reviews and so far am loving the HELL out of sharing them with you guys! Hope you all are, too. As if I could’ve been anymore crazy about my TBR Jar before…but I am loving every second of it.

I follow several blogs who do a “top 5” or a “top 10” or something along those lines each week. (One of my favorites is Dee Reads Things Bookish Blog – she does a Top 5 Wednesday and I ADORE it!)

In an effort to follow through with one of my promises – I’ll be starting my own Top 3 Thursdays!

(Okay, so maybe I’m a little TOO excited but whatevs…y’all love me for who I am, right?)

You all know (if you’ve been with me for awhile) I am a YA book person. I read A LOT of YA. However, I do dip my toes into other genres as often as possible – I call them my “big kid” books. TO BE FAIR – most of these Top 3’s will be YA based. I’ll try and mix it up as often as possible but I really just love me some YA fantasy/sci-fi. So, you’ve been forewarned.

Hope you get excited when you see these posts each week! If you enjoy them – hope you’ll give Pearl Bayou a follow and join me each week, too. I love getting book suggestions and those are ALWAYS welcome in the comments/on Facebook. You literally can NEVER suggest a bad book, in my opinion.

So…without further ado…here is this week’s Top 3 Thursday!


**Now, these three series are “lesser-talked-about” under the radar series. Let it be known, I am a series junkie, okay? I love all the “staples”: Harry Potter, Outlander, anything by Cassandra Clare, The Lord of the Rings, the Temperance Brennan series by Kathy Reichs, all things Sarah J. Maas – on and on the list goes. There’s something addictive about slowly falling in love with a character then watching them grow/diminish. Learning a world backwards and forwards. I am a glutton for punishment, I suppose, because I like having to wait a whole YEAR to find out what’s going to happen in the next installment.

These three series caught me completely off guard. Not necessarily because I expected not to love them but mainly because I didn’t expect to love them so much. If that makes any sense. They were pleasant surprises!

#1: Graveyard Queen series by Amanda Stevens

THIS IS NOT Young Adult – this is grown up stuff, y’all! There are currently five books in this series with a sixth to be released in 2017. (March, I think?) I have the fifth book on my Kindle but loved it so much that I’ll have to have a hard copy sooner than later.  It’s a paranormal, romance series based in the Deep South – mostly South Carolina – focusing on Amelia Gray. Amelia is a graveyard restorer; a walking, talking, sassy wealth of knowledge/expertise on the resting place of the dead. So much so, I found myself enjoying that particular educational portion of the book more than the romance (at moments). Amelia is intelligent as f*%! but faces many hazards in a workday, the most pivotal her ability to see ghosts. I may have lost a few of you already but I will also let you in on a secret: there were times these books scared the hell out of me. This isn’t a cutesy “she-communicates-with-spirits” kinda plot where she falls in love with a super handsome ghost and life is grand. This was a series I read before I fell asleep and about jumped out of my skin every time something creaked in the house. Amelia is raised with rules on how to handle this condition (laid out by her father, who also sees ghosts), the most important being: never acknowledge the dead. So, what happens when she does acknowledge them? When she can’t pretend any longer due to the fact of the love interest? Insert: John Devlin. Hellllllllo talk, dark, and brooding. The physical chemistry is pretty much palpable right from the get-go (if not a little too much so) between the Graveyard Queen and the detective but Devlin is a haunted man – followed around by ghosts of an intimate nature. The series goes from 0-60 pretty quick and you feel equal parts joy and heartbreak along the way, soak in all the southern anecdotes, get some major heebie-jeebies, and learn some graveyard folklore. This series has a tiny piece of everything: romance, thrill, mystery, history, contemporary issues/class differences, and Stevens handles her cliffies pretty magically. It’s so worth the roller coaster of back and forth, back and forth.<< I got the first three installments on Thriftbooks super cheap!>>

(1)The Restorer, (2)The Kingdom, (3)The Prophet, (4)The Visitor, (5)The Sinner, (6)The Awakening

#2: Stoker & Holmes Series by Colleen Gleason

Steampunk. Mythology. Sherlock Holmes. Bram Stoker. TWO POWERHOUSE FEMALE MCs. Like, really. I was in complete heaven when I picked up this series. Now, I’m not usually a huge fan of multiple or dual POVs however I really dig it in this case. You bounce between two contrasting girl’s brains- one: brave, fierce, hot-headed, and passionate. The other: logical, intelligent, level-headed, and dominant. They are rivals of sorts in the beginning but quickly discover they work well together with the same drive and dedication. This doesn’t necessarily mean they like each other all that much but they swallow their differences in personality and work toward the “greater-good.” There’s mystery (of course), time travel, murder, an abundance of literary references, and biting battles of wit. I just naturally sort of fell into this one without even having to try – it has all the elements I love in a YA series. The male characters are just as engaging, if not emotionally frustrating, but keep you on your toes. There are (3) books in hard print with a fourth and a fifth prospectively, just unreleased. (I’m sooooo hoping they happen.) This series is serious in its own right but damn is it fun. Once I started, I couldn’t stop.

(1)The Clockwork Scarab, (2)The Spiritglass Charade, (3)The Chess Queen Enigma

#3: Annabelle Lee series by Stacey Jay

Welcome to Donaldsonville, Louisiana where fairies are bug size but can kill you with one bite. Or at least, turn you insane. That is, unless you’re one of the few immune. Annabelle is one such lucky individual but she lives her life far from the definition of “lucky.” She is rough, toxic, self-destructive and content to scrape by (she’s rich actually) as a sample collector for law enforcement – since she can go places unharmed where others are forced to suit up and risk infection. One perk of the job is bangin’ Cane, the hottest cop around who is opposite of everything Annabelle. LET ME BE 100% CLEAR HERE – this was a guilty pleasure read. There is dry humor galore, a lot of substance abuse, and a love triangle I tolerated because it was hot, hot, hot. When Annabelle’s ex boyfriend, turned FBI agent comes to town on a case – personalities clash and (duh, duh, duh) reconnect. There’s only two books (Dead on the Delta and Blood on the Bayou) but they both were equally enjoyable. Dead on the Delta introduces you to Annabelle for who she truly is. Blood on the Bayou introduces you to the Annabelle you want her to be. Like I said, it’s not an earth shattering duo. It was just a blast to read even if you want to kick Annabelle’s ass 99.9% of the time because you know she’s capable of being a better, bigger person. I loved the setting more than anything – small town turned safe haven for Louisiana folk with plenty of twisty secrets, bayou references, and dive bars.

© Pearl Bayou 2017

(Pictures are my own. Thanks!)


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