Top Ten Tuesday #10

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 Top Ten Tuesday prompt concerns books I’m sure I would go crazy without, and those are all the light and fun novels out there. Life becomes hectic, and sometimes the best relief I find comes in the form of quick, fun books. Here are some of my favorites to recommend:

1. Something Strange & Deadly by Susan Dennard

Okay, I unwrapped the mystery on this one. Dennard couldn’t fool me, but she did satisfy my never-ending reading obsession. The plot fell weak in my opinion, but the story overall holds a light tone with a hint of adventure prickling the air. As the sequel won’t be released until July, I look forward to the short story of A Dawn Most Wicked, which comes out next month.

SSanD

2. Shadow & Bone by Leigh Bardugo

Siege and StormShadow and BoneShadow & Bone makes me want to chuck it at people and make them read it. Bardugo’s writing is pinched in the right amount of detail with swift pacing, and my only regret is that I read through her book too quickly. I tried, I really did try, to slow down, but I realized Shadow & Bone is one of those books I couldn’t walk away from. That’s not to say the story is perfect — near the halfway mark it becomes easy to spot the antagonist and uncoil his plot. Regardless, it didn’t detract from my reading experience, which was rather fun. Now I’m left counting down the days for its sequel — out this June!

Anna and the French Kiss3. Anna & French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

I don’t usually recommend chick-lit, yet alone read it very often. Anna & the French Kiss, however, is equally light and fun riddled in some proper drama. I remember reading this smack in the height of stress during a biology course, and this book was the perfect remedy. Perkins kept me sane. I think Anna is a relatable character, if not frustrating at times, and although the book is predictable, it accomplishes what it should for its genre.

4. The Gathering Storm by Robin Bridges

The Gathering Storm reminds me of a cross between Bardugo’s Shadow & Bone and Dennard’s Something Strange & Deadly. The story follows Duchess Katerina Alexandrovna through the glitz and glam of Imperial Russia’s high society as she comes to terms with a disturbing power: necromancy. Filled with creatures from faeries to vampires, Bridges also includes romance and conspiracy. It sounds like a lot to bundle, yet it’s surprisingly light and fast-paced. I still have the sequel to read, and the third and final installment comes out this August!

TGS

5. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

I suppose this isn’t exactly “light” in context, eh? I’m cheating a bit here. Despite its violence, which –and correct me if I’m wrong, because it’s been a while — felt tamed, The Hunger Games is suspenseful and action-packed. It’s not the same type of  “light and fun” as other titles I mentioned so far, but I promise it is highly addicting. With the second film coming out this year, I highly encourage those who haven’t read the books to read them now. If you like the movies,  you’ll enjoy the series. (I warn you, though, Mockingjay is a depressing one.)

The Hunger Games

The Merchant and the Alchemist's Gate6. The Merchant & the Alchemist’s Gate by Ted Chiang

At 60 pages, Chiang’s novella might be short but it’s bound to make readers think. I always intended to review this story, and maybe someday I will, but for now it remains on my shelf of beloved books. Within this story lie several other stories with a prominent theme. Overall, this is a very easy-flowing and enjoyable book to sit down with, have a cup a of tea, and relax. To provide a sense of what The Merchant & the Alchemist’s Gate is about, I think its Goodreads summary best describes it:

It’s a story that includes not just buried treasure and a band of thieves, but also men haunted by their past and others trapped by their future; it includes not just a beloved wife and a veiled seductress, but also long journeys taken by caravan and even longer ones taken with a single step. Above all, it’s a story about recognizing the will of Allah and accepting it, no matter what form it takes.

Angus Thongs and Full-Frontal Snogging7. Angus, Thongs, & Full-Frontal Snogging by Louise Rennison

If you are in need of a good laugh, I recommend the Confessions of Georgia Nicolson. I’ve only read the first book in the series, but it gave me plenty of genuine laugh-out-loud moments. Anyone who’s lived through an awkward adolescence will appreciate the humor, and Georgia just might provoke your own pre-teen flashbacks with a laugh.

The Importance of Being Earnest8. The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde

I still have a collection of Oscar Wilde plays sitting on my desk (yes, my desk, because I’m so certain I’ll read it “soon” that I refuse to place it back on the shelf), but The Importance of Being Earnest remains the only one I have read. It’s smart, witty, and precise — a brilliant little play that mocks high society with light satire and humor that’ll have you coming back for seconds, possibly more. Wilde’s play is a classic I never tire of and simply adore.

Don Juan9. Don Juan by Molière

Yet another little play that I had fun reading for the light atmosphere and charming humor. Don Juan, or Dom Juan (also called The Feast with the Statue), is the third play in Molière’s hypocrisy trilogy. I can’t say I’ve read the first two plays, although I do have my eye on them. Until then, I’m left with the fond memories of reading Don Juan, which remains a work of literature I continually recommend.

Lips Touch10. Lips Touch: Three Times by Laini Taylor

This is a compilation of three short stories, each one different from the other yet connected by thematic elements. I must admit that I never did finish the third story, and maybe someday I will return to it. However, I did enjoy the second story quite a bit (it remains my favorite of the three), and the book overall is a light, pleasurable way to pass time.

››Notable Mentions:

The Melancholy Death of Oyster BoyThe Last MusketeerDr. Bird's Advice for Sad PoetsAn Idiot Girl's Christmas

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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?