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Top Ten Reads of 2013

Top Ten Books of 2013

Hosted by the Broke and the Bookish

I read so many wonderful books this year it was hard to pick just 10..but here ya go:

Cinder (Lunar Chronicles, #1)Cinder/Scarlet by Marissa Meyer (YA Fantasy/Fairiytale)

I expect these are many, many lists this year. They’re amazing and Marissa Meyer is wonderful 🙂

Shadow and Bone (The Grisha, #1)Shadow and Bone/Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo (YA Fantasy)

So addictive. I didn’t sleep the few nights it took to read these. I just had to Keep. Reading.

The Passion of the Purple Plumeria (Pink Carnation, #10)The Passion of the Purple Plumeria by Lauren Willig (Adult Historical Fiction/Romance)

I love Lauren Willig. Every time a new bok by her comes out, it feels like Christmas and I know I’m in for a special treat. I always try to make the books last a week, but end up staying up all night and finishing them in a couple days…

WonderWonder by R.J. Palacio (Junior Fiction)

Everyone must read this book! Haven’t reviewed it yet, but it’s A-Mazing!  Forces readers to look at how they treat people and will most likely make you a better person for reading it…

Clockwork Angel (The Infernal Devices, #1)Infernal Devices Series by Cassandra Clare (Review to come…I’m still recovering from the emotional rollercoaster (YA Fantasy)

Started and finished this trilogy over my Holiday break…and I am still an emotional wreck because of it…In a good way. I am in love with Clare’s writing! Please write faster Ms. Clare !!!

The House of Hades (The Heroes of Olympus, #4)The House of Hades by Rick Riordan (Junior Fiction)

Like Willig, with Riordan every book is a treat and this was no exception. I used reading a chapter of this book as a reward system for writing a page of my school papers… It was such an epic story!

The Woman Who Died a Lot (Thursday Next, #7)The Woman Who Died A Lot by Jasper Fforde (Adult Fiction Fantasy)

I love this series and frankly, I don’t think I will ever get tired of Thursday Next. This one was the most hilarious out of all of them for me so far. I quote from it daily….

Delirium (Delirium, #1)The Delirium Trilogy by Lauren Oliver (YA Fiction Dystopian)

I loved this trilogy…and the ending was much better for me than the Divergent trilogy.  It focused more on feelings than actions, but I love the way that Oliver writes.

FearlessFearless by Cornelia Funke (YA Fantasy/Fairytale)

Cornelia Funke is spectacular. This book (2nd in a series) is haunting and exciting, yet beautiful. I love the worlds that Funke can transport me to.

The Fire Chronicle (The Books of Beginning, #2)The Fire Chronicle by John Stephens (JF Fantasy)

Great action packed series! I love the world it’s set in and the characters are awesome…wish the third book would hurry up though 🙂

There you have it. My top 10 for 2013. Any of the same? Strongly disagree with some??

Not So Sherlock: Secret Letters by Leah Scheier

 

Secret LettersLeah ScheierYA MysteryRating: 3

Secret Letters
Leah Scheier
YA Fiction
Rating: 3

 

I picked this one up while I was putting away some library books at work because the premise sounded so promising: A young girl wants to be like Sherlock Holmes, who is a real person in the story, and solve mysteries in old-time London. This wasn’t a bad read, it just fell a bit flat for me.  I guess I had high expectations because I saw that Sherlock Holmes was going to be in it and was a bit disappointed when I found out he has died in the very beginning of the story (so it’s not a spoiler :P).  In my opinion, if you’re going to involve Sherlock Holmes as a character in a story it better be very well done to be believable and accepted. For me, there was just something lacking and I can’t quite put my finger on what it was.  I didn’t find the involvement of Sherlock believable, or frankly, very interesting. (Maybe my expectations are too high from watching too much of the BBC’s Sherlock. So Amazing!!) Anyway, thinking of this as a non-Sherlock story, it was a pretty decent YA read.  It has enough mystery, action, and suspense to keep you turning the pages

Dora convinces her cousin to take her to London to seek the help of Sherlock Holmes, only to find out that he has died. Dora’s cousin is devastated because she is being blackmailed by compromising letters given to an ex-lover and needs Sherlock’s help to get the letters back. However, Dora takes the news much worse than her cousin for reasons she doesn’t care to share. Despite the devastating news, the girls decide to enlist the help of two other investigators in London. One of which, a Mr. Cartwright, is close to Dora’s age and works in ways reminiscent of Mr. Holmes. Together, Mr. Cartwright and Dora work to solve the problem Dora and her cousin came to London to eliminate. However, they have stumbled upon a situation worse than they bargained on, and put themselves in danger instead.

 

Does anyone know of good books involving Sherlock Holmes as a character?

 

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I Recommend the Most

Top Ten Books I Recommend the Most

Hosted by the Broke and the Bookish

This was a really hard post for me to write and I totally didn’t think it would be! I’ve realized it’s because the books I recommend depend a lot upon who I’m recommending them to.  I mean there’s one friend I have who has pretty much the EXACT same taste so I will tell her to read absolutely everything I enjoy, but she is the only one I’ve ever met like that.  So for this post I’ll also tell ya why I recommend them.  Here you go:

For Endless Adventure:

Inkheart by Cornelia Funke

I read this trilogy about six years ago, but it has stayed with me ever since and I tell people about it all the time.  The story is based on such a cool concept, reading stuff (people, objects, etc.) into/out of books, and is executed so well that I fell head over heels in love with it and haven’t stopped talking about it yet. (Probably time for a re-read…)

A Wrinkle in Time (Time, #1)A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle

One of the authors who first got me excited about reading for fun.  Not the first book I read by L’Engle, (I started with Many Waters book #2) but I do recommend to others that they start with this one, the first in the series.

 

For Fast-Paced Action:

City of Bones (The Mortal Instruments, #1)

City of Bones (The Mortal Instruments #1) by Cassandra Clare

This series is soo super addicting and I am guilty of turning multiple people onto it. Paranormal creatures, romance, and non-stop action…what more could you want?  (Also, I am madly in love with the main male character Jace!!)

 

For a WWII Historical Fiction Fix:

Sarah's KeySarah’s Key by Tatiana Rosnay

I love this book….and the movie they made out of it.  A story told about Jews in France during WWII, which was quite eye-opening for me. It’s sad, but not so depressing it takes weeks to recover from (which is why I didn’t list The True Story of Hansel and Gretel by Louise Murphy, although it’s also a good read).

book thiefThe Book Thief by Markus Zusak

Another unique take on WWII fiction, with “Death” as the narrator throughout the story.  Haven’t read this in quite a few years, but lend my copy out often! Quite excited for the movie of this to come out, according to IMDB.com the release date is set for January 17, 2014.

For Light-Hearted Fun and a Dash of Romance Read:

The Secret History of the Pink Carnation (Pink Carnation, #1)The Secret History of the Pink Carnation ( It’s a series!) by Lauren Willig

I LOVE this series!! They are sooo fun and funny and make you happy.  All of my friends read them now and I shamelessly put them on display at the library whenever I get a chance. The books are filled, with romance, mystery, suspense, and action.  Plus, they take place back in Napoleon times. Check out Lauren’s website here, she is pretty awesome.

Princess diariesPrincess Diaries by Meg Cabot

These are fun, fast reads I tore through in high school and have recommended ever since.  (Just last week I was thanked for turning someone onto them.) The hilarious diary entries of an awkward high school girl, who just found out she’s also a princess. (Beware: this is nothing like the movie! The movie is actually made fun of in later books, however I do still love the movie when not compared to the book.)

For Book Lovers Who Want a  Laugh-Out-Loud Read (that makes you feel smart):

The Eyre Affair (Thursday Next #1)The Eyre Affair (Thursday Next Series) by Jasper Fforde

This was recommended to me by an ex-coworker and now I get to enjoy recommending it to others.  People who have already read Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte would probably get the most out of this particular book in the series, but it’s not necessary.  A whole new kind of “Book World” is brought to life in this story and is then (this is the best part) carried on to, currently 7 books…eeee! The main character, Thursday Next, is hilarious. I typically don’t go for “funny” books, but these are amazing and I literally laugh out loud while reading them scaring everyone around me.

For a Keep-Your-Lights-On-All-Night-Long ‘cuz it’s Kinda Scary Read (but so worth it):

The HistorianThe Historian by Elizabeth Kostova

The Historian is a REAL vampire novel (if there were real vampires), featuring none other than the horrifying Count Dracula.  I don’t read horror novels and I scare pretty easily, so I must say this is the scariest book I have ever read.  I still remember when I had finished reading for the night about half way through this book and then could not turn off the lights because I was so afraid, but in an oddly good way (I laughed about it, but still left the lights on).  This book is fascinating and scary and so good!

For a Magical Escape:

The Night CircusThe Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

So pretty! This story is just so pretty!(as is the cover) I want to live at the Night Circus.  It’s not a book for everyone I’ve found out by over-recommending it, but I will keep on telling people about it because it is just such a lovely story to get swept away with magic, romance, and always an air of mystery.

 

Well there you have it; the top ten books I recommend the most often!

Any recommendations from my lovely readers???

Hard to Read, but Hard to Put Down: Push by Sapphire

PushSapphireAdult FictionRating: 4

Push
Sapphire
Adult Fiction
Rating: 4

Push by Sapphire is quite the piece of literature. It is moving, brutal, eye-opening, hard-to-read-yet-hard-to-put-down, and all around a story that should be read by lots and lots of people.  However, after reading the book, I really don’t know if I can stomach watching the movie. It was pretty rough. There’s a lot of violence, sexual abuse, and tons of swearing.  But the message of overcoming and “pushing” through life’s obstacles no matter how difficult they are, which is thrown at you throughout the story, is so unbelievably powerful it will definitely change your way of thinking after you’re through with the book.

The story follows 16 year old Precious on her journey from her destructive home life, where she has had one child by her father already (yes, her father), is pregnant with the second and is beaten by her mother, then steps onto a path where she meets new people who care and are willing to teach her how to read and write.  She faces so many incomprehensible difficulties along the way, but always seems to push right on through.  It is truly moving.

Sapphire does a wonderful job at showing transitions in Precious’ character throughout the story by her wonderful usage of the stream of consciousness writing style.  Every once in while it’s interesting to read a story written from this point of view because it offers such a unique perspective on the main characters’ progression and thought process and this story is a fantastic example.

I finished the book in under a day. It’s not a long read, but it will shake you up.  After the first two pages of reading, I knew that’s where a lot of people were going to stop reading.  It’s riddled with derogatory terms, incorrect grammar, and swearwords, but they are there to prove a point of the lifestyle lived by the main character, Clareece Precious Jones.  Sure, I would have appreciated a few less “F” bombs (it’s quite shocking to me) but, wow, it packs a punch when you realize that this is the environment the character had actually grown up in and it’s supposed to be shocking.  I also could have done without the descriptive incest, rape, molestation scenes, but whoa, was I completely naïve.  Sure everyone “knows” it happens, but reading about a first-hand account (fictionalized, okay) and then the mental repercussions, it really hits home.

Okay, now I need to go find something less deep and depressing to read…

To Reveal or Not to Reveal…Your True Opinion That Is

Life of Pi

Life of Pi
Yann Martel
Just Not My Cup of Tea

Fellow recommenders of books (librarians, bookstore workers, booksellers, book reviewers, avid readers, and the list goes on…) I’m guessing we face this same problem: what do you do when someone asks “Have you read this book? Did you like it?” and you want to scream to “NOOO!!” at the top of your lungs, but don’t or can’t for some reason or other. This problem has come up a few times recently for me where I just couldn’t tell someone I didn’t like the book they were asking about.  There are times when our opinions just need to stay in the backseat about this.

Like if someone comes to me in the library and asks if they should read a particular book, let’s use Life of Pi for example, I can’t just spew out “Omygosh that book bored me to tears, I could hardly stand it.” That would make me a horrible librarian for multiple reasons.  One of which being the book has been deemed a great piece of fiction and has won the Man Booker Prize Award in the UK, however, the story  is just totally not my cup of tea. Just because I despised the book, doesn’t mean the person asking about it won’t really love it.  If I tell them I didn’t like it, they probably won’t even give the book a shot, because being a librarian and an avid reader, my opinion matters.  I suppose a polite “Well yeah I’ve read it; it wasn’t really my kinda book. Maybe you would enjoy it more though,” might do, but even that scares people away from books THEY might like and that is the LAST thing I want to do because everyone has a different taste in reading materials.  I would hate to have missed out on The Night Circus by Erin Morgentstern(favorite book of 2012!) because one of the haters had told me they wouldn’t recommend it.

Would not have ended up in Lacock Abbey where parts of Harry Potter was filmed if I hadn't read the books !

Would not have ended up in Lacock Abbey where parts of Harry Potter were filmed if I hadn’t read the books !

I enjoy discussing why and what I do and don’t like about what I’ve read, but there is a time and place for that, like on a blog for example ; ).  But the time and place to discourage a book is not when someone is asking someone of “authority” if they should read a particular book if said “authority” doesn’t already know the persons’ specific reading preferences or abilities.  It’s completely different, for instance if a reader of Christian Fiction romance comes up to me and asks if they should read “that Fifty Shades of Grey book”.  I will (refrain from shouting “NO!” and making bug eyes) keep composure and calmly say, “That’s probably not something you would enjoy, but have you heard of Dee Henderson?”

Don’t worry I will always give my completely honest views and opinions on this blog though.  I feel this is one of the places where true views can be shared and discussions can be had without causing too much discouragement of reading to people who would actually enjoy the books anyway.  If I don’t like something I will tell you exactly why I don’t like it.  I’m much better at articulating exactly what I think about what I’ve read in writing too, so that’s another reason I prefer expressing my REAL opinions on a blog instead of when asked in person.

I never really thought my job “mattered”, but thinking about it now, if a librarian had told me when I was younger “You probably don’t want to read Harry Potter. I couldn’t stand those books! Let’s look for something else,” I would be living an entirely different life right now…

Tell me about your experiences and thoughts!!

Upcoming Review: Days of Blood and Starlight by Laini Taylor

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