Top Ten Tuesday #13

Top Ten Tuesday is an original weekly meme hosted by  The Broke and the Bookish. Click  here to read more and join!

Top Ten Tuesday is an original weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Click here to read more and join!

This week’s TTT concerns top 10 books I’ve read in 2013. I’ve read under my usual number of books this year, and I might normally have a difficult time choose just 10 books. 2013, however, has not been my best year for reading–it started off well enough, and then I ran smack into one- and two-star books back-to-back-to-back. It frustrated me and stole a bit of my love for reading. I have read more books that aren’t brilliant but I do like, yet those aren’t enough to make my top ten. It’s only recently that I’m regaining enjoyment through some wonderful books, and I have some enticing reads planned out for the next few weeks. For now, though, here are my favorites of 2013:

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I am the Messenger

1. I am the Messenger by Markus Zusak
After reading the heart-wrenching tear-jerker, The Book Thief, I wasn’t too sure that Zusak could impress me as much as he did with his 2006 bestseller. Whether he did or didn’t is hardly the point, as I don’t believe the two novels can compare against each other. The two books are profoundly different, and the one similarity they share is the person who wrote them: the wonderfully talented Markus Zusak. I am the Messenger punched my emotions all around, and at the same time, the story of Ed’s journey and personal growth is both touching and inspiring. If you haven’t read The Book Thief, or if you  have and didn’t enjoy it, I highly recommend giving this a try.

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Teeth

2. Teeth by Hannah Moskowitz
For nearly a month, I did a little dance around the bookstore with Teeth only to sit it back on the shelf. I wanted to buy it–not just read it, but physically own it–yet I had little knowledge of the plot. All for the best, I’d say. I did succumb to the strong urge to buy Hannah Moskowitz’s book, and once I had it I read it and didn’t stop until I hit the last page. It’s gritty, it’s beautiful, and it’s bleak. Some might call the end bittersweet… I think it’s just sad, and it still gets my emotions wound up months after finishing the book. Good on you, Moskowitz — I look forward to reading the rest of her novels!

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Siege and Storm

3. Siege & Storm (The Grisha #2) by Leigh Bardugo
Us Grisha fans waited a year to see this book’s publication, but how I wanted it to come out sooner–and desperately. Shadow & Bone remains one of my top favorite reads from 2012, just as Siege & Storm will remains one of my favorites from this year. Leigh Bardugo surprised me senseless and silly with how much growth both the characters and storyline undergo, and my one regret in reading Siege & Storm is reading it too soon and too quickly. Why? Because now all I care for is third (and–sob–last) Grisha book, Ruin & Rising, which does not come out until 2014.

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Saving Francesca

4. Saving Francesca by Melina Marchetta
I’m disappointed that it took me this long to read a Melina Marchetta book. I did attempt Finnikin of the Rock–and I admit that just might not be the book for me–but it is Saving Francesca that became my first Marchetta read. It’s  heart-warming and heart-wrenching all at once, and it was well worth the moments my eyes teared up–and it is certainly worth reading for all the moments it made me laugh.

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The Knife of Never Letting Go

5. The Knife of Never Letting Go (Chaos Walking #1) by Patrick Ness
If anyone is searching for a gripping novel, this is for you. It’s an addicting page-turner where there is no place to pause.  The Knife of Never Letting Go is one of the best, if not the best, young adult dystopian novel I have read. Danger and risks await at every page and lurk in the margins, but more than that, I love the writing and I love the characters. Anyone who’s read this will understand my restless upset over Manchee, but I also enjoy the path that Viola’s and Todd’s friendship take. The villains are nothing but insane (and insanely evil), and more than anything, they are indestructible. (What is up with that?) Yikes.

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Warm Bodies

6. Warm Bodies (Warm Bodies #1) by Isaac Marion
No, I still have not seen the movie–but at least I read the book! I’m not sure where Marion will take this in the sequel, whether it will contain the same characters or introduce an entirely set that live in the same universe. Either way, Warm Bodies surprised me with its lucid eloquence and its equally intelligent characters. For a zombie, R shows keen perception of his environment and complex thought, and I enjoyed reading his journey of self-exploration and finding love.

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Dr. Bird's Advice

7. Dr. Bird’s Advice for Sad Poets by Evan Roskos
I took an instant liking toward Rosko’s protagonist, James Whitman. He’s endearing without trying, and he’s likable on an adorable level where I’d hug him if he were real. Dr. Bird’s Advice for Sad Poets tells the story of sixteen year old James and his struggle against depression, anxiety, and life itself. (Oh, and his therapist is an imaginary pigeon.) Books of this nature are typically “gritty” and mood-dampeners, but Rosko’s novel takes after the humor found in Ned Vizinni’s It’s Kind of a Funny Story. The story is not without flaws, but I enjoyed reading it nonetheless–and I intend to give it another go this summer.

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Alanna

8. Alanna: The First Adventure (Song of the Lioness #1) by Tamora Pierce
I finally did it: I read a Tamora Pierce novel! Alanna: The First Adventure makes the one and only Pierce novel I have read, but not for long. I have the rest of the series on hand, and–if I’m lucky–I can move onto Pierce’s next series within the next few weeks. Alanna is a strong and determined character who makes an excellent role model for young readers. I wasn’t blown away by the writing or world-building, but it did entertain me — I’m eager to see where Alanna’s journey leads (and I’m excited to read through more of Tamora Pierce’s series)!

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Alex Woods

9. The Universe versus Alex Woods by Gavin Extence
The Universe Versus Alex Woods is the most recent book I have finished, and my review is scheduled to post soon — it’s a wonderful coming-of-age story about the very peculiar Alex Woods and his friendship with war veteran Mr. Peterson. The writing sits on the slow but steady side of pacing, yet I find the novel smart like its narrator (even if he is young and naïve).

 

Which of your 2013 reads make the top of your list?

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50 thoughts on “Top Ten Tuesday #13

  1. Ahahah I knew your list would have Siege and Storm lol :). I like how we can pretty much predict which books will make each other’s lists :). I was debating putting I am the Messenger in my list, but then I decided against it for some reason. It would be so interesting if they ever made a movie for that one, but The Book Thief movie will be something to look forward to :). Yay for Saving Francesca. I need to pick it up from the library at some point again. I’m really glad that you enjoyed Tamora Pierce’s book :).

    • It was such a good sequel! I have to do re-read just to wrap my head around everything that Leigh throws at you. Crazy but awesome stuff.

      Aha, I might’ve been more fickle with I am the Messenger if I’d read more awesome books — I was one short of ten! I’m looking forward to The Book Thief film. I think I’ve moved beyond nervousness, because whether it’s a good or bad adaption (and I have doubts that it’ll be bad), I know the book is still here and radiant as ever.

    • Dr. Bird’s Advice for Sad Poets is a quick read, and you could probably finish it in a day if you have a free one. It’s not perfect, but it’s certainly enjoyable with a good main character to boot. (:

  2. I wouldn’t mind checking out I Am The Messenger since I adored The Book Thief, I’m glad you enjoyed it. Siege and Storm was simply an awesome sequel. Great list!

    • If/When you do read I am the Messenger, I hope you enjoy it! I think The Book Thief will always remain my favorite by Zusak, but Messenger is quite different and just as likely to touch readers with its story. I agree about S&S — fantastic sequel! I’m re-reading it as soon as I finish my re-read of S&B.

    • I haven’t seen the film yet, but I’m wondering if it’s similar to the book. I’d seen the trailers and thought the movie looked quirky and a bit on the funny side, so Isaac Marion surprised me with his serious tone, but I loved the writing.

      • I have yet to read the book, it’s my next book to read after I get some ARCs done and dusted.
        It is a bit of a quirky movie, and there are funny bits. Now I’m interested to see what the novel is like!

  3. I LOVED The Book Thief – might have to give more Zusak a try (haven’t because worried it could never live up to The Book Thief… which doesn’t sound like a sensible reason now that I’ve written it down!).

    • I feel like The Book Thief will always be my favorite book by him, but I am the Messenger is great in its own way. I don’t love it as much as I love The Book Thief, but they’re such different books that it’s difficult to really compare them anyway. I hope you enjoy it, if/when you do read it!

  4. I have Dr. Bird from the library and look forward to reading it. So glad it made your list! I liked Warm Bodies the book and the movie, and Teeth also sounds fantastic.

    • I hope you enjoy Dr. Bird! It’s a quick read, and I enjoyed the humor and James as a character. Teeth is also wonderful — definitely one of my favorites!

  5. The Song of the Lioness series is one of my all time favorites from childhood. I still go back and reread those books regularly. You’re never too old to enjoy them, so I’m glad you discovered Pierce’s work!

    • I just picked up In the Hand of the Goddess to read this weekend, too. I love Alanna’s strong character, yet she’s still relatable and has a few soft spots. I’m looking forward to finishing the series and getting to know the rest of Tamora’s work (:

      • I’ve always had a fondness for the Song of the Lioness series. The Immortals and Protector of the Small series are great too. I kind of fell off after that, but enjoy Pierce in general.

    • It was one of the books I wanted to pick up for the title and cover alone — both are catchy, and I’m glad that I wasn’t disappointed by the content!

  6. I’ve heard people talk about Teeth by Hannah Moskowitz but I read her book Invincible Summer and I just can’t bring myself to read another one by her. I really disliked that book that much. Now Saving Francesca, that was a book I really loved.

    My TTT List

    • Invincible Summer is the only one of Moskowitz’s novels that doesn’t appeal to me, and it will probably be the last one I check out. Teeth was an emotionally-pulling read for me, though, and I’d love to re-read it. Saving Francesca kept me up all night! I love that book, and I plan to read The Piper’s Son soon (:

    • If you managed to get around to S&S I hope you loved every bit of it! I read it during finals week because the pull was too tempting for me, and I stayed up just to finish the book. Now I’m looking to re-read it.

    • I hope you enjoy Teeth (: It landed a spot on my favorites shelf — that book does things to me. It makes me sad but I’d re-read it in heartbeat.

    • I think the whole idea and theme to I am the Messenger makes the book a great read, and an inspiring one, too! Once I finish books two and three in the Chaos Walking series, I have a feeling that it’ll become my favorite dystopian series as well.

  7. Oh my gosh, so many of these books are on my TBR list – Alanna, The Grisha series, something by Melina Marchetta. I really need to make the time for them.

    • You may want to wait on the Grisha trilogy until the third book is released, because Siege & Storm has me dying for the last book! It couldn’t get here soon enough.

  8. I reeeeally want to read Dr. Bird’s Advice for Sad Poets. I’ve been eyeing that book since before it came out and it just sounds so good.

    • I’d been eyeing it, too, and I snatched it up the instant I saw it in the bookstore. I’ve been meaning to review it, but it’s difficult now since I read it several months ago. I really want to re-read it!

      • I’m in the same boat as far as reviews go. Oh man.
        I hope to eventually read what you thought about it (:

  9. AHHHHHHH Welcome to the world of Tamora Pierce! I think the writing & plot grows with the characters. Wait til you get to Lioness Rampant! Although my favorite Tamora Pierce character is Kel from Protector of the Small :)

    The rest of the books are new to me (though I think Meg @ Mad But Magic has read a few ;) so the new recommendations are much appreciated! Thanks for a sweet list!

    Cheers,

    Sam @ Mad But Magic

    Our TTT: http://madbutmagicya.blogspot.com/

    • I picked up In the Hand of the Goddess for a weekend read, and I look forward to Lioness Rampant! I’m especially excited by the prospect of reading more Tamora Pierce series, so it looks like I’ll become acquainted with quite a bit of her books this summer.

  10. Well your list has pretty much every book I really want to read, Tamora Pierce is now definitely somebody I need to check out with, along with Zusak, the Grisha series, Teeth and Melina Marchetta is an author I need to read too. Oh and I’ve seen the Warm Bodies film, but not read the book. I am just all around terrible.
    Fabulous, fabulous list!

    • I love Teeth. The book may as well have stabbed me fifty times through the heart, but it only makes me love it more. About the Grisha series: I personally like the first book quite a bit — it was such an addicting, fun read for me. Some people either love it or think it’s okay, but the second book was wow. A lot more intelligent and I love the character growth. If/when you get around to any of these books, I hope you like them!

    • I’m looking forward to reading the rest of the Song of the Lioness series — I adore Alanna’s character and the world that Tamora Pierce has thought up. (:

  11. The Knife of Never Letting Go has been sitting on my shelf for AGES. After the emotional roller coaster that your last few recommendations have put me through, I’m just going to pick it up and get right to it. :)

    • Ugh, oh my god — The Knife of Never Letting Go. The emotions. You might end up holding a temporary (or permanent) grudge against Ness, but I won’t say more because you should totally read it and then let me know your thoughts!

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