Top Ten Tuesday #9

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!

Guess what this week’s Top Ten Tuesday’s prompt is all about? My favorite thing: book recommendations! And here are ten I suggest the most:

Between Shades of Gray How to Say Goodbye in Robot SeraphinaIt's Kind of a  Funny Story Looking for Alaska The Arrival The Book Thief 2 The Perks of Being a Wallflower

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1. Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys
Sadly, I’m always too wrapped up in other books to read Ruta Sepetys’ debut novel a second time. At some point, which I hope is this year, I would love to re-read and even review it. Ruta is one talented writer who, despite the stark atmosphere of this novel, manages to sprout hope between the pages. With writing so swift and striking, it’s no wonder that I recommend this book so often. It’s not that Between Shades of Gray is only well-written and tactful–and with a great protagonist to top it off–but the novel sheds light on a piece of history that’s been hidden in the shadows. Whether you have or have not read this book, I also highly recommend that anyone watch the ‘promotional trailer’ of sorts here.

2. How to Say Goodbye in Robot by Natalie Standiford
Another book I recommend often is Natalie Standiford’s How To Say Goodbye in Robot. As far as young adult contemporary/realistic fiction goes, I have yet to encounter any similar book and I don’t think I ever will. Standiford’s novel stands alone, which–regardless of its flaws–is great. I discuss a little of the book in this post, but I of course prefer that you check out the book instead — and read it!

3. Seraphina (Seraphina #1) by Rachel Hartman
I was crazy about Seraphina before it was published, and now I’m all sorts of crazy amplified by ten just waiting on the sequel. Although I’ve been successful in persuading others to read Hartman’s glamorousandkick-ass novel, I don’t think any amount of converts will please me because I just need to talk about this book ALL THE TIME. Hands down, I adore Seraphina as a character — she is an intensely smart, observant individual who is not simply relatable, but beautiful inside and out. My review can be read here, but I also mention Seraphina in this post as well.

4. It’s Kind of a Funny Story by Ned Vizzini
First, I desperately plead, do not judge this book by its movie. The two are quite different in my opinion, and in all places where the movie flounders the book prevails. Out of many young adult novels I’ve read that deal with mental health, I feel that Vizzini nails it. Craig embodies the emotions of those who live with and have experienced depression, and what I admire most of all is how Vizzini works in humor. Yes: this is a novel about depression that is not depressing. Who’d have thought? Instead, the book is an uplifting story as it follows a boy’s one-week stay in a mental hospital after choosing not to kill himself.

5. Looking for Alaska by John Green
I may never love another John Green novel as much as I love Looking for Alaska, because I’m still waiting for its equal. This book, alongside one other, is what hooked me into exploring young adult literature. Miles “Pudge” Halter is a rather sentimental guy, quite thoughtful, and he undergoes a memorable coming-of-age experience. Off at boarding school, he finds his place among life-long friends and in a sad turn of events, loses one. This novel is sincere but balanced well by John Green’s trademark wit, and I have the feeling that Looking for Alaska will have a special place on my shelf for years to come.

6. The Arrival by Shaun Tan
Shaun Tan’s work in The Arrival stunned me speechless. However wordless (that goes for the book and myself), Tan shows the wonder in his artistic ability through cinematic-like images. The story follows a man as he journeys away from his homeland only to arrive in a foreign world, filled with odd devices and customs, and even odder creatures. It’s an old tale to tell: the story of an immigrant, and what sets The Arrival apart is how Shaun Tan breathes life into it with impressive images. A lot of work–you might not think–went into creating this book, which you can read about (and view pages from the book!) by clicking here.

7. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
Maybe some day I will get the knots out of my tongue to properly review this page-turner. Until then, I will slap it across the head of anyone willing to listen. You might think a smack from a 550-page book would hurt, but that is nothing in comparison to what its words and characters do to your heart. Death, as a narrator, does a spectacular job — even when he spoils the ending way ahead of time — because he’s much more human than he likes to think, and I swear there’s a heart and soul trapped in the pages.

8. The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
This is one of those book that, if I catch you insulting it, I will smack you silly across the face. …In my head. I won’t really abuse your face til it’s red and raw, but I’m rather attached –unfortunately?–and I will judge. There are people who easily dismiss Chbosky’s book because of its lasting popularity, and I’m happy to say that I picked this up on whim. I had no previous knowledge of this book, but a friend listed it as one of her favorite reads. Trusting her taste, I gave it a go as well and fell in love.

There Are No Children Here A Monster Calls

9. There Are No Children Here by Alex Kotlowitz
There Are No Children Here was required reading for my sociology class, and reading it had me deeply interested in the lives of these two boys. Far from simply informative, it’s heart-wrenching and mind-opening — even more so because it isn’t fiction. This is the true story, as told by Alex Kotlowitz, of Lafeyette and Pharoah growing up in “the other America.”

10. A Monster Calls written by Patrick Ness, inspired by Siobhan Dowd, and illustrated by Jim Kay
I can’t recommend this book enough. It’s honest and keenly written with certain awareness. From the moment I started reading I could see no happy ending, which–to be honest–was not what I’d expected. Unaware of the story, I believed a spooky tale lie ready for reading, and how completely wrong I was. It is unusual for me to like a book, and more to love a book, when initial expectations are struck down, and it’s not often that literature brings real tears dripping down my face.

Which books do you recommend most often?

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In My Mailbox #3

In My Mailbox is a book meme hosted by The Story Siren. Click here to read more and participate!

In My Mailbox is a book meme hosted by The Story Siren. Click here to read more and participate!

I think this will stay put as my last IMM post for a short while, now. No doubt I can walk back into the store or click around online, but I just shook off the effects of a disordered bookshelf again. It’s a frustrating thing, not knowing where to place which book without creating messy stacks that mingle with disorganized school and general paperwork. Last weekend I managed to clean the entire place, and it feels rejuvenating to live in organized space.

My bookshelves and mind alike have once again found sanity. (Or rather: While the above is true, this is mostly what I say to make myself feel less compulsive, because finances dwindle quickly when splurges occur…? Oops.)

So what happiness did I buy this time?

Monsters of Men & Daughtr of Smoke & Bone

Finally, Monster of Men came in! I originally planned to buy this whenever the moment comes where I begin the series, but I enjoy complete sets nonetheless. The first time I tried to read this series also happens to be my last attempt, but I don’t intend to keep it that way. Detractors included school and a dead brain, and if memory serves correctly, I accomplished a skim-reading of two entire pages. In any case, the Ness-hype and compliment-pool were enough to persuade me into buying all three Chaos Walking books. (I want to consume them all like I do with Dashner’s Maze Runner series. Right now.)

I can’t begin to try and remember the number of times Laini Taylor’s book has been recommended to me, but every time I see it reviewed or added to another’s TBR list — aha! I remember that Daughter of Smoke & Bone is sitting on my list and it wants to be read. I’ve tossed a coin between this and Maureen Johnson’s The Name of the Star for months, and now we all know which I decided to grab. All it took to convince me was spotting Rachel Hartman’s four-star rating on GoodReads. In the end, that is what helped me choose. It ended the never-ending coin toss. Why? Because I have carefully placed Rachel Hartman on a pedestal that can only level with gods, and I trust her ratings.

And, really, I think I made the right choice. Of course, I can’t know until I read Taylor’s book, but I must say: I made a quick stop to the library on Friday just to pick up The Name of the Star, and I feel relief that didn’t buy it. Just maybe, I might reach for the sequel, but Johnson’s writing didn’t live up to my hopeful expectations. That said, I sincerely hope to enjoy Daughter of Smoke & Bone.

(I thought bookstores might already be out of the hardback cover, as I haven’t seen it for several weeks. Of course, I see the hardback edition once again the day after I bought the paperback. It’s all right; I like this cover as well, but I have a thing for pretty hardbacks.)

Yes, I bought my own copy of Sepetys’ book (which I still thrust at people as a must-read), but what is that sticking out of the pages?

A very sweet and thoughtful letter arrived this week from Savindi (The Streetlight Reader), and she included The Unfailing Light (Katerina #2)   sticker! I’m certain her letter arrived before I started The Gathering Storm, but I had no idea a sticker was in there. (The backing camouflaged extremely well to the white envelope. That, and my eyesight is very poor.) So: A thank you to Savindi! She is the nicest blogger you can meet and a great person to know. The fact that she also has lots of great recommendations does nothing but add to her awesome quality.

Although I took a short break to plow through Maureen’s book in roughly a day, I’m returning to where I left in The Gathering Storm, as well as a few other books I said I’d read…

In the mean time: I take this opportunity to recommend (yet again) Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys. This book had me hooked and sniffling well into early-morning hours. Hours which birds begin to chirp and sun rays invade my bedroom through window blinds. Hours which normal people are just waking up and not going to sleep. This book is an addicting tear-jerker, and I hope you all give it a chance.

Bis später!

Quarterly Reading Challenge #5 (Books 1-5)

As some may know, I participated in the YA Book Club‘s May through March quarterly reading challenge. For anyone unfamiliar with these challenges, the GoodReads group issues a different challenge with new requirements for the duration of three months. Within those three months, members endeavor to read at least 10 young adult books.

In this post, I will cover the first five books and discuss the second half tomorrow. (Unless the tide sweeps me out into the Sea of Neglected Work, that is. In which case: books 6-10 will have a post sometime later in the week.) Without further ado: Continue reading