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 #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?