Top Ten Books On My Summer TBR List

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Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish.
Play Dead (A Dog and His Girl Mysteries, #1) by Jane B. Mason & Sarah Hines Stephens

When Dodge, a German shepherd police dog, finds himself retired after an accident leaves him deaf in one ear, he's lucky to be adopted by the perfect family. Twelve-year-old Cassie Sullivan, his girl, smells almost as good as a dog, and gets her nose for sleuthing from her police chief mom and coroner dad. Cassie is smart and quick on her feet, and doesn't mind breaking a couple rules to get to the bottom of a mystery. Dodge has forty-two dog years of experience solving crime, as well as a great network of other four-legged colleagues when he needs more intel.

When Verdel Ward, the richest man in town, goes missing, it seems like everyone from the mayor to the housekeeper wants his fortune, which he's left behind with no will. But Cassie and Dodge can smell a mystery from a mile away, and can't help wondering why a miser would go swimming in a dangerous cove, what's up with the suspicious fiancee, who's been sneaking around the mansion, and where a twin brother has come from.

The Mad Scientist's Guide to World Domination: Original Short Fiction for the Modern Evil Genius

From Victor Frankenstein to Lex Luthor, from Dr. Moreau to Dr. Doom, readers have long been fascinated by insane plans for world domination and the madmen who devise them. Typically, we see these villains through the eyes of good guys. This anthology, however, explores the world of mad scientists and evil geniuses―from their own wonderfully twisted point of view.

An all-star roster of bestselling authors―including Diana Gabaldon, Daniel Wilson, Austin Grossman, Naomi Novik, and Seanan McGuire…twenty-two great storytellers all told―have produced a fabulous assortment of stories guaranteed to provide readers with hour after hour of high-octane entertainment born of the most megalomaniacal mayhem imaginable.

Everybody loves villains. They're bad; they always stir the pot; they're much more fun than the good guys, even if we want to see the good guys win. Their fiendish schemes, maniacal laughter, and limitless ambition are legendary, but what lies behind those crazy eyes and wicked grins? How―and why―do they commit these nefarious deeds? And why are they so set on taking over the world?

If you've ever asked yourself any of these questions, you're in luck: It's finally time for the madmen's side of the story.

A Conspiracy of Alchemists (The Chronicles of Light and Shadow, #1) by Liesel Schwarz

In a Golden Age where spark reactors power the airways, and creatures of Light and Shadow walk openly among us, a deadly game of Alchemists and Warlocks has begun.

When an unusual cargo drags airship-pilot Elle Chance into the affairs of the mysterious Mr. Marsh, she must confront her destiny and do everything in her power to stop the Alchemists from unleashing a magical apocalypse.

Illness Is a Weapon: Indigenous Identity and Enduring Afflictions by Eirik Saethre

Illness Is a Weapon presents an engaging portrayal of the everyday experience of disease in a remote Australian Aboriginal community. While chronic Aboriginal ill health has become an important national issue in Australia, Saethre breaks new ground by locating sickness within the daily lives of Indigenous people. Drawing on more than a decade of ethnographic research in the Northern Territory, Saethre explores the factors structuring ill health, the tactics individuals use to negotiate these realities, and the ways in which disease and medical narratives are employed to construct, manage, and challenge social relations. Reframing current debates, this book argues that disease and suffering have become powerful expressions of Indigenous identity. Through dialogues and interactions, Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people engage in a reciprocal discussion about the past, present, and future of indigeneity.

Rarely are disease and suffering understood as a form of protest, and in Illness Is a Weapon, Saethre confronts the stark reality of the current contest between all parties in this struggle. As Saethre explains, "Cursing at nurses, refusing to take medication, and accepting acute illness as unremarkable are simultaneously acts of defiance and rejections of vulnerability."

Sky Jumpers (Sky Jumpers, #1) by Peggy Eddleman

Twelve-year-old Hope lives in White Rock, a town of inventors struggling to recover from World War III. But adventurous Hope is terrible at inventing. She would much rather sneak off to cliff dive into the Bomb’s Breath, the deadly band of air that surrounds the town.

When bandits invade White Rock to steal its greatest invention—priceless antibiotics—the town is left with a heartbreaking choice: hand over the medicine and die from disease, or die fighting the bandits. Help lies in a neighboring town, but the bandits count everyone fourteen and older each hour. Now Hope and her friends Aaren and Brock are only ones who can escape through the Bomb’s Breath.

For once, the daring and rebelliousness that usually get Hope into trouble might just save them all.

The Templeton Twins Have an Idea (Templeton Twins, #1) by Ellis Weiner

Suppose there were 12-year-old twins, a boy and girl named John and Abigail Templeton. Let's say John was pragmatic and played the drums, and Abigail was theoretical and solved cryptic crosswords. Now suppose their father was a brilliant, if sometime confused, inventor. And suppose that another set of twins—adults—named Dean D. Dean and Dan D. Dean, kidnapped the Templeton twins and their ridiculous dog in order to get their father to turn over one of his genius (sort of) inventions. Yes, kidnapped. Wouldn't it be fun to read about that? Oh please. It would so. Now in paperback, this is just the first in a series perfect for boys and girls who are smart, clever, and funny (just like the twins), and enjoy reading adventurous stories (who doesn't?!). And now, there's more!

Under the Empyrean Sky (The Heartland Trilogy, #1) by Chuck Wendig

Fear the Corn.

Corn is king in the Heartland, and Cael McAvoy has had enough of it. It's the only crop the Empyrean government allows the people of the Heartland to grow—and the genetically modified strain is so aggressive that it takes everything the Heartlanders have just to control it. As captain of the Big Sky Scavengers, Cael and his crew sail their rickety ship over the corn day after day, scavenging for valuables. But Cael's tired of surviving life on the ground while the Empyrean elite drift by above in their extravagant sky flotillas. He's sick of the mayor's son besting Cael's crew in the scavenging game. And he's worried about losing Gwennie—his first mate and the love of his life—forever when their government-chosen spouses are revealed. But most of all, Cael is angry—angry that their lot in life will never get better and that his father doesn't seem upset about any of it. When Cael and his crew discover a secret, illegal garden, he knows it’s time to make his own luck... even if it means bringing down the wrath of the Empyrean elite and changing life in the Heartland forever.

Viral Nation (Viral Nation, #1) by Shaunta Grimes

After a virus claimed nearly the entire global population, the world changed. The United States splintered into fifty walled cities where the surviving citizens clustered to start over. The Company, which ended the plague by bringing a life-saving vaccine back from the future, controls everything. They ration the scant food and supplies through a lottery system, mandate daily doses of virus suppressant, and even monitor future timelines to stop crimes before they can be committed.

Brilliant but autistic, sixteen-year-old Clover Donovan has always dreamed of studying at the Waverly-Stead Academy. Her brother and caretaker, West, has done everything in his power to make her dream a reality. But Clover’s refusal to part with her beloved service dog denies her entry into the school. Instead, she is drafted into the Time Mariners, a team of Company operatives who travel through time to gather news about the future.

When one of Clover’s missions reveals that West’s life is in danger, the Donovans are shattered. To change West’s fate, they’ll have to take on the mysterious Company. But as its secrets are revealed, they realize that the Company’s rule may not be as benevolent as it seems. In saving her brother, Clover will face a more powerful force than she ever imagined… and will team up with a band of fellow misfits and outsiders to incite a revolution that will change their destinies forever.

Confessions of a So-Called Middle Child (Confessions of a So-Called Middle Child, #1) by Maria T. Lennon

Meet Charlie C. Cooper, reformed bully, misguided fashionista, and so-called middle child! Fans of Louise Rennison, Harriet the Spy, and Mean Girls will cheer when they meet her. This fresh tween coming-of-age story is an honest look at bullying and the obstacles of middle school from talented screenwriter Maria T. Lennon. Extras in the back of the paperback offer tidbits about famous middle children (including Abraham Lincoln and Madonna) and a special interview with heroine Charlie herself.

Both seriously funny and poignant, this story follows the hilarious Charlie as she tries to fit in at her new school in Los Angeles. As a middle child, she knows what it feels like to be overlooked. To get attention, she resorts to becoming a prankster, which leads to big trouble. So her therapist gives her a seventh-grade mission—she must turn over a new leaf, find the most bullied girl at her school ("Marta the Farta"), and become her friend.

Charlie faces down the mean girls and decides between right and wrong once and for all. And she does it all in turquoise Doc Martens boots! As Charlie learns to help Marta, she uncovers the meaning of true friendship and impresses new crush Bobby along the way.

Magic Marks the Spot (The Very Nearly Honorable League of Pirates, #1) by Caroline Carlson

Hilary Westfield has always dreamed of being a pirate. She can tread water for thirty-seven minutes. She can tie a knot faster than a fleet of sailors, and she already owns a rather pointy sword.

There's only one problem: The Very Nearly Honorable League of Pirates refuses to let any girl join their ranks of scourges and scallywags.

But Hilary is not the kind of girl to take no for answer. To escape a life of petticoats and politeness at her stuffy finishing school, Hilary sets out in search of her own seaworthy adventure, where she gets swept up in a madcap quest involving a map without an X, a magical treasure that likely doesn't exist, a talking gargoyle, a crew of misfit scallywags, and the most treacherous—and unexpected—villain on the High Seas.

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