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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In My Mailbox #6

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!

Well, I had hoped I would have my Showtime review posted by now, and instead I let my blog grow quiet for a week. My mind’s been stuck in a haze, and while Midnight Coffee Monster sat in its own stagnant puddle of silence, I became lazy. For once, classes and schoolwork didn’t interfere with blogging and reading — a first? I think so.

Now I’m a couple days behind, which I hope to catch up on as I busy myself today with workworkwork. Let’s see if I can get out of this funk before it worsens and I de-evolve into another bedblob. Doing nothing became my newest hobby, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t resist the allure of Shiny New Books — which is something.

Sense & Sensibility and The Outsiders

I am in the habit of frequenting Barnes & Nobel for a couple of reasons. For one, I not only live and go to school less than ten minutes away from the store, but it is the closest bookstore around. Unless I wish to venture across town or walk into Borders, which is located in the mall and — I’m sad to report — has a rather sad book selection. I also like to plop myself in front of B&N’s bargain-priced books and fancy buying them all. I wouldn’t dare, but I do love the covers — they’re hardback and pretty eye candy. Naturally, I’m prone to snatching one for myself now and then.

I have heard lots of praise surrounding Austen’s Emma–which will probably be my next Austen-buy–but the itch to own Sense & Sensibility has bothered me for a long time, and I’m happy to finally own a copy.

I saw the movie years ago — not horribly long ago, but long enough to where I can hardly recall the movie at all. What I do remember is that I enjoyed it, and I’ve wanted to read the novel ever since I spaced out during a class read-along in seventh grade. Hopefully I can fit The Outsiders as one of my reads this year!

…Oops. Wait a minute. Don’t I already have this book? Didn’t I already order this? Yeah, I did — my mistake! Like I said, my mind has been fogged this week. What I wanted to pre-order is Robin Bridges The Morning Star, which is the third and final book to her Katerina trilogy. This book here is the second in the series, which I have yet to read but already own. I have to skulk on down to the bookstore and hope there are no problems with a return, but either way: I will have my pre-order!

A Monster Calls

  • A Monster Calls written by Patrick Ness, inspired by Siobhan Dowd, and illustrated by Jim Kay

I bought a copy! For myself! I have A Monster Calls! I read this last year and it quickly became a book that I can’t separate from. I can read this a million times over, and the charm that Ness, Dowd, and Kay created won’t ever grow faint or wither. Not for me, anyway. I will give away one copy once my review is written up, and I sincerely hope that whoever I send it to will cherish this story as much as I do.

netgalley

These last three are from NetGalley, which I’ve had an account with for some time and only now am I taking advantage of it. NetGalley sent me invitations to read the first two, and the third is one I requested. (I’m a bit excited for Gavin Extence’s book especially!) I’m notorious for spending ample time working through ebooks, so I expect a challenge — hopefully I won’t take too long. If there is one thing I took from my last digital book, it’s that it is possible to lasso my attention span so long as I’m even slightly interested.

And that’s a wrap. Share your latest bookish finds with me!

Raya
xo

In My Mailbox #5

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!

Classes started back up again this week, and–like most first weeks–it went by smoothly. For the first time in a long while, I finished several books and managed to complete all my work. (This really is an accomplishment of pathetic sorts, all scatter-brainedness considered.) If only this week could be a predictor for how the rest of my quarter will go! Meanwhile, I did buy new books (and it was torture trying not to read them all right away), which I’m rather excited about. First off:

Dr. Bird's Advice for Sad Poets & Life of Pi

This was the quietest little book on my to-read list. It recently came out, and it seems that not too many people were anticipating its publication like I was. I stumbled across its GoodReads page not long ago, and the title alone caught my interest. Yes: I really wanted to read this, and so I did — do expect a review from me! Overall, I think the pacing is steady but you can finish it in under a day, and I find James Whitman naturally endearing.

I haven’t seen the movie, and for good reason: I am waiting on little ol’ me to read the book. Finally–finally!–I picked it up! I’m just beginning my trek through Shelley’s Frankenstein, and after that I like to think I’ll begin either Persuasion, Johannes Cabal the Necromancer, OR The Unfailing Light, so who knows when I’ll make room for Martel’s novel. It’s one of those books that’s received plenty of praise in an ocean full of hype, but I think I’ve steered clear of spoilers and overly indulged plot descriptions. If there is anything hype is good for, it’s raising my expectations to the point of deflation.

Dracula

How can I pass up a Dracula hardback when it’s only $11? It’s classic, inexpensive, hardback, and with a pretty cover to boot. I’m satisfied, to say the least.

A couple years ago I made a failed attempt at reading this, but only because it was due back at the library. Curses! To think: I read half way through (just when Bram had hooked me at last) and I didn’t get to see the end. It took me a long while to get it, but I now have my own personal copy — no due dates to interrupt my read this time!

The Unfailing Light & SS&D

Although I bought The Gathering Storm (Katerina #1) last year, I didn’t find my way to reading it until February of this year. I discovered that Robin Bridges keeps the atmosphere light with quick pace, but she still manages to include conflicts. By no means is The Gathering Storm perfect–and you can read my thoughts about it here–but I enjoyed reading it for stress-relief and fun. I couldn’t deny the sequel, so I plan to read and review that as well.

I surprised myself! Last year I read–and reviewed–SS&D, and I always planned on reading the sequel by the same means that I read book one: through the library. I enjoyed Dennard’s novel, regardless that I easily uncoiled the mystery and disliked the main character. Something strange happened. Strange, but not deadly. (I don’t think so, anyway.) Obsession hit back in March, or perhaps in February, because all I wanted was something quick! fun! light! I wanted Susan Dennard’s Something Strange & Deadly, so now I have it. (Now, of course, I also intend to buy the sequel. If only summer would get here sooner.)

That’s all from me. Which books did you snatch up this week?

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?

In My Mailbox #4

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 know it’s been a little while since I have been around, but I desperately needed time away for school. And now? I’m baaaaack! And with new books, too, as well as what I’m sure is a broken toe and sprained ankle — but let’s leave the latter tidbit at “Raya is too lazy to schedule a doctor’s appointment” and move on to the books. All right? Right.

Johannes Cabal the Necromancer & About a Boy

Soon after experiencing a mild burn-out on young adult literature, I was very firm about what my next purchase would involve. This included more “grown-up” works, yes, but I had a particular title in mind. No matter how many books I would buy, no matter how little or plenty I would spend, my next book purchase needed to include Johannes Cabal the Necromancer. By happenstance, I first spotted it in the bookstore months ago and failed to seize the opportunity. Hoping it was still there and that I wouldn’t have to wait even longer by placing an order, I strode back into the store this week. And? There it was, sitting exactly how I’d seen it before — crunched between other Howards and Hughs or whoevers — and I’m quite glad to be the proud owner of a sizzling hot book. (By “sizzling hot” I mean, “The cover is valuable and completely worth the immeasurable time I spend ogling and drooling,” as well as, “This book sounds great and I would like to figuratively consume it.”)

As for Nick Hornby’s About a Boy: the book was practically next to Howard’s novel. An impulsive buy! Who knows when I will get around to reading it, thinking about the number of unread books I already own — not to forget crazy stacks of library copies that I am prone to hoarding. In the least, I have seen the film. Although it’s been years since I last watched it, I did enjoy it and found the movie somewhat touching with good humor to boot. For now, I can only hope that I’ll develop similar feelings towards the book.

A Monster Calls

  • A Monster Calls: inspired by Siobhan Dowd’s idea, written by Patrick Ness, and illustrated by Jim Kay

Let me tell you: I experienced a strange emotion when I left the bookstore. Book-buying is a pick-me-up. If I’m not buying for someone else, I am buying to make myself a little less craptastic, and in both cases I walk out in a boosted mood. This time around I felt bad. This is the first time, and hopefully the only time, that I will associate icky emotions and book-buying, although I suspect this has to do with the lovely numbers on the receipt. I don’t normally spend $50 in one visit, because I’m used to spending $30 or below. I might drop in twice in one week and spend $70 — and then go in two more times the following week — but spending little increments during each visit feels better than going all-out. Doesn’t it?

In any case, I did not buy this for myself! If you caught my last post, I mentioned a giveaway. Of course, deciding on which book(s) to give away is something I have difficulty on narrowing. There are a number of great books I’d love to share and gift, but which do I choose?! [Frowns. Pulls hair. Grunts.]

I spied A Monster Calls, and I knew then that is one book I’d love to ship off to someone. No hesitations here: this is one book that will sit on my favorites shelf for years and years. It’s endearing for its honesty, which I appreciate, and I was taken aback by how moving a story I find it. I will give it away (internationally, and I’ve already decided that you do NOT need to be a follower)* once I have reviewed it, so readers be looking.

*To note: I am leaning toward Tumblr’s reblogging system for this. As I’m not particularly fond of Rafflecopter, this seems like a straight-forward means. If you have experience with other giveaway methods, to share about it is more than welcome.

Out of the Easy & The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

Although I bought Sepetys’ and Stevenson’s books several weeks back, I thought I’d slip them in this post — and I’m doing exactly that. I am aware that I have only read Ruta Sepetys’ debut novel, Between Shades of Gray, but I already consider myself a fan. Having read and adored nearly everything about Ruta’s first novel, I find it difficult to imagine that Out of the Easy will disappoint me. Unfortunately, as I’ve said, I’m in a ‘YA lit is a no-no’ mood. I don’t plan to start this book any time too soon, but I expect and look forward to having my emotions flipped around like pancake batter.

In the mean time, I’m sl-o-w-ly making my way through Stevenson’s collected stories. The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde is one story I’ve nagged myself for years to read, and: I read it, finally! I will save my thoughts for a review, but what I think is similar to how I feel about Treasure Island: likeable and readable but lackluster. For now I’m keeping a distance, but I do plan on returning for the next story: The Lodging for the Night.

And I’m all out of new books to share! Which books have you recently picked up?

Raya
xo

Top Ten Tuesday #8

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 is… Top 10 series I’d like to start but haven’t yet. Similar to these book series, I have exams I should be studying for at this very moment — especially since I will take two of them tomorrow. As anyone may guess, I haven’t started a cram session yet. I sigh! And, internally, I scream. Luck, I hope, is on my side for the next few days, but in the meantime I will also be daydreaming about cuddling up in my special reading spot with these babies:

Underdog1. Wolfe Brothers by Markus Zusak

Zusak’s The Book Thief made me feel all sorts of horrible, sad emotions, but I love him for it. Mist glossed my eyes and I tried to hold in the tears, but the tears poured out regardless, and — after all this time — I continue to feel the tug and pull of his characters’ fates. To feel truly moved and touched by a book in that way doesn’t happen all too often for me, and now I am left waiting, waiting, waiting. I need more Zusak in my life. Recently, I read I am the Messenger, which anchored my adoration for Markus Zusak’s writing more deeply. Until he and his people decide his next book is ready for print, the only Zusak books left to explore are those belonging to his Wolfe Brothers series. As far as I know, Underdog is his first published novel — something that I’m both eager but cautious to approach. How does this series compare to his two most recent books? I hope to find out.

Daughter of Smoke and Bone2. Daughter of Smoke & Bone series by Laini Taylor

I will admit that, upon skimming the summary, this is not a kind of book I would typically pick up. However, as I’ve kept track of reviews, the buzz that surrounds this series isn’t easy to ignore. Daughter of Smoke & Bone sat on my to-read list for nearly a year, and I never so much as looked for it at the bookstore or requested it from the library. For shame. A few weeks ago I did (finally!) purchase it, and I’m excited to read it soon. I sincerely hope that Time wants to be pals with me so that I can read the the first book before summer.

The Knife of Never Letting Go3. Chaos Walking by Patrick Ness

I have ALL of the books! The Chaos Walking trilogy sits in a special spot on one of my shelves, positioned just so — sticking a tad ways out. For quite some time, I itched to own this series, but I’ve wailed about wanting to read them for longer. A Monster Calls remains as the only encounter I’ve had with Patrick Ness, and even then: Ness worked off an idea from Siobhan Dowd. It will be interesting to see any differences in writing technique, I am sure, but mostly: a) I heard The Knife of Never Letting Go is good, b) YA dystopian, and as I know very well… c) Good + Dystopia = My Thing.

The Maze Runner4. The Maze Runner series by James Dashner

And here I have yet another YA dystopian series that I also hear is good. Naturally I own the set, unless we count the prequel. I first picked up The Maze Runner from the library, and I read an estimated one-fourth of the book before classes practically tore it away. Since then I’ve made one or two more attempts, though I feel dread at re-reading and re-reading and re-reading the same pages — it always seems that I’m setting it down for one reason or another. Once I make it past those already-read pages, I’m certain the hook will reel me in once more.

The Golden Compass5. His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman

A very clear memory of sixteen year-old me perusing the mall’s main bookstore and refusing to leave without The Golden Compass still remains. Sometimes, when I’m honest with myself, I quietly admit that the real reason I unleashed my death grip that day all centers on the book cover. It’s pretty eye-candy, really. Sadly, attractive book covers are not enough to make me read the actual book. Sigh. A number of people have recommended I try His Dark Materials, and I like to think that someday I’ll follow up on that recommendation.

6. The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis

I’ve seen all but the last released film (and I’m busy feeling upset the remaining Narnia books won’t be adapted?!), but I have only read The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe. I was twelve, and enjoy brooding over the fact that my literature teacher was not impressed by my pop-up and paper-made wardrobe. I thought it gave my book project creative pizazz; my teacher begged to differ. Fine, whatever — I had fun making the mini-wardrobe, but I had even greater fun reading the book. For whatever reason, I never carried on to finish the series. It’s a sad fact that I do not wish to remain a fact. Some day I’ll return to the first book and begin a Narnia adventure through all seven books.

The Chronicles of Narnia

Barnes & Noble leatherbound edition of C.S. Lewis’ Chronicles of Narnia series

Johannes Cabal The Necromancer7. Johannes Cabal series by Jonathan L. Howard

Johannes Cabal: the soulless necromancer who wants his soul back! If only Satan was easier to bargain with. No, wait — ! His soul is back where it belongs, but now he’s on the run from the government. …And then? His necromancy powers are purchased by “The Fear Institute”?

In all honesty, I’m smitten with the cover. I’m smitten with the covers of all three books, and I’ve come close to buying these pretties on more than one occasion. As of yet, I’ve backed away from all buying opportunities, and the rest of the time I am busy forgetting that this series exists. At some point I’d like to set down all three books in their beautiful glory on my shelf. There’s no feeling like the feeling of ownership, but I’m just as eager to read this fantastical trilogy. First thing is first: it might help if I would actually remember to pick them up for reading.

A Tale Dark and Grimm8. A Tale Dark & Grimm by Adam Gidwitz

As a fan of Brothers Grimm fairy tales, I kept an eye on the first book, A Tale Dark & Grimm, for months before I knew a sequel would come. I don’t know if there are any more books planned for future publication, but I’m mostly always down for fun re-tellings of favorite classic fairy tales. In A Tale Dark & Grimm, readers journey alongside Hansel and Gretel through 8 tales, followed by the companion novel: In a Glass Grimmly, in which Jack and Jill step in to lead roles. The books seem well-received, fun, and enjoyable, and I look forward to discovering the Grimm-based and inspired world.

The Monstrumologist9. The Monstrumologist series by Rick Yancey

Another book to dose readers up on a healthy serving of spooks, or so I hear. Only recently did I realize The Monstrumologist is just one of several books, although I am not entirely sure if this series is a good match for me. There is allure in entering a mysterious world full of strange creatures and horror that will make you gasp, however, and I’m interested. Monstrumologist be ware; I’m coming for you.

 

Hold Me Closer Necromancer10. Necromancer series by Lish McBride

I don’t always have time for reading the books I want to read, and I reach a breaking point when several days becomes several weeks of hardly consuming few pages at a slow pace. That’s when I seek quick, fun books that are light but complex enough to still hold interest. From what I hear, Hold Me Closer, Necromancer is good entertainment that leaves readers wanting a sequel. Well, a sequel was released last year, and the third (and fourth?) book is expected. Maybe, just maybe, I’ll get around to the first two books in time to join the rest of the fans for book three.

 

Which book series do you have your eyes on?

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!