Top Ten of the Most Unique Books I’ve Read

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Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly book meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Each week, she posts an idea relating to books and encourages other book bloggers to respond with their own top ten lists.

This week’s topic is “top ten of the most unique books you’ve read.” Whether it’s in terms of plot, characterization, or narration, there were a lot of books that stood out when I was compiling this list. Here are just a few of them:

1. The Book Thief
Death is not exactly the most traditional choice of a narrator, however Markus Zusak pulls it off with aplomb. It’s such a beautiful yet heartbreaking read, and I often find myself wondering if it would have been as powerful if told from Liesel’s perspective.

2. Shadow and Bone
Ravka is such an intriguing world, steeped in Russian folklore, magic, and fantastic characters (like the Darkling). I haven’t read anything quite like this series, which helps place it even further up on my favourites list.

3. Shatter Me
Although I wasn’t a huge fan of this book, there’s  no denying that it’s very uniquely written. Littered with so many beautiful (and strange) similes, metaphors, and crossouts, Juliette’s thoughts are portrayed in a very interesting style.

4. Cinder
Cinder doesn’t fit the typical Cinderella story to a T and involves a lot of creative liberties, such as the inclusion of aliens and cyborgs, making for a very engaging fairytale retelling.

5. The Night Circus
This is such a beautiful, breathtaking, and magical read. The circus, the tents, the characters, and the plot are all so mesmerizing and different, making it one of my absolute favourite books.

6. Every Day
Every Day has both a unique premise and an unusual choice of narrator: every day, A wakes up in a different body – male, female, old, young, all are possibilities. A’s gender is never established, and it was strange talking about this book and not being able to refer to A as “him” or “her.”

7. Two Boys Kissing
Like Every Day, Two Boys Kissing has an unexpected narrator – this time, in the form of a Greek Chorus of gay men who have lost their lives to AIDS. The use of the inclusive “we” made the story that much more poignant, touching, and memorable.

8. The Knife of Never Letting Go
I didn’t expect to like this book (or series) as much as I did. The spelling and grammar varies between characters, giving them their own distinct voices – and, to further add to that, different fonts, sizes, and italics are used to distinguish between the Noise of the men from each town. The noise itself was such a neat inclusion, making for an unforgettable read.

9. Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children
The inclusion of found black and white photographs adds to the creepy atmosphere of this read. I’m also still not quite sure what to classify this as: supernatural horror, perhaps?

10. Angelfall
This book restored my faith in YA books that involve angels. A post-apocalyptic setting, cannibalism, angels that certainly aren’t cherubic, and a wonderful female lead make Angelfall a far cry from the “fallen angel falls in love with a human” story that I’ve read far too often.

+ Honourable Mentions
Because I’m awful and can’t choose just ten, here are a few of the others I would include: Harry Potter, The Archived, anything by Neil Gaiman, Good Omens, and The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.

What are some of the most unique books you’ve read? Leave me a list or a link to your list in the comments below.

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Top Ten Books I Read In 2013

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Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly book meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Each week, she posts an idea relating to books and encourages other book bloggers to respond with their own top ten lists.

This week’s topic is “top ten books I read in 2013.” 2013 was an excellent year for reading, thanks to the discovery of both Goodreads and book blogs. While it’s virtually impossible to narrow down all 217 books that I read this year to the 10 that I thought were the best, the ten below are ones that I really enjoyed reading — and ones that I’ll likely read again.

1. Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock by Matthew Quick
When I received this book, I stayed up all night reading it — I laughed, I cried, I highlighted poignant quotes, I had my heart broken, and I felt a strange sense of hope within all the angst and despair. It’s such a touching, important, powerful book, and I can’t recommend it enough. My review can be found here.

2. Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
I’m convinced that Rainbow writes books for me, personally. Fangirl perfectly captures what it’s like to be a fangirl and what it’s like to go away to college in true Rainbow Rowell style: it’s quirky, fun, adorable, and character-driven. My review can be found here.

3. The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater
This was one of my most anticipated reads of the year, and it completely surpassed my (already high) expectations. I don’t know how I’m going to survive the wait until the third book — I need more of my Raven Boys in my life!

4. Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas
Crown of Midnight addressed all of the issues that I had with Throne of Glass, kept me guessing at every turn, and made me feel all the emotions. It’s such a good example of how to write a sequel since I enjoyed it a lot more than Throne of Glass, and I can’t wait to see where the series will go from there. My review can be found here.

5. Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo
Between swoonworthy boys, magic, and inventive fairytales/mythology, this series is so enthralling. And the Darkling! (I know that I already said swoonworthy boys, but he really deserves his own special mention). Can Ruin and Rising please hurry up and be released?! My review can be found here.

6. The Archived by Victoria Schwab
The Archived has such a unique and spooky premise, and it definitely delivered on that front. I easily got lost in its world, which I desperately wanted to know more about, and the mystery aspect of it, which kept me guessing throughout the story. My review can be found here.

7. Angelfall by Susan Ee
Angelfall single-handedly redeemed angel books in my eyes, which is certainly no small feat! Its post-apocalyptic setting, amazing female lead, and brutal angels make it a step above the rest for good reason, and it’s definitely worthy of all of the hype surrounding it. My review can be found here.

8. A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness
This book both broke my heart and healed me. It’s a really moving piece on grief and loss, and I’m so, so glad that I read it. My review can be found here.

9. The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy NelsonThe Sky is Everywhere is a beautiful piece on grief, love, and loss. It’s lyrical, moving and honest, and will definitely stay with me for a long time to come. My review can be found here.

10. The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman
I don’t even know how to describe The Ocean at the End of the Lane. It’s beautiful, haunting, nostalgic, creepy, and filled with so much wisdom. There’s a reason that Neil Gaiman is one of my favourite authors, and this book is just another reason why.

What were some of your favourite reads of 2013?3

Book Review: Angelfall by Susan Ee

It’s been six weeks since angels of the apocalypse descended to demolish the modern world. Street gangs rule the day while fear and superstition rule the night. When warrior angels fly away with a helpless little girl, her seventeen-year-old sister Penryn will do anything to get her back.

Anything, including making a deal with an enemy angel.

Raffe is a warrior who lies broken and wingless on the street. After eons of fighting his own battles, he finds himself being rescued from a desperate situation by a half-starved teenage girl.

Traveling through a dark and twisted Northern California, they have only each other to rely on for survival. Together, they journey toward the angels’ stronghold in San Francisco where she’ll risk everything to rescue her sister and he’ll put himself at the mercy of his greatest enemies for the chance to be made whole again.

My Rating: 5 cupcakes

Angelfall had been on my to-read list forever. In 2011, the online world exploded with love for this self-published ebook about angels and the apocalypse. I’m usually a sucker for hype, but the idea of an angel book worried me a bit; after all, a lot of the more popular ones (Hush Hush, Fallen, Halo) had been incredibly disappointing. After reading all of my Goodreads friends’ five star reviews and seeing that my library had ordered in a copy, I finally got around to reading it — and I’m so glad that I did.

The post-apocalyptic world that Ee has created is horrifying, brutal, and very compelling. The cities have crumbled, street gangs run rampant, and humans have resorted to any means necessary to survive. Angels roam the skies, but they’re nothing like the cherubic image that probably popped into your head when you saw the word “angel” — they’re tough, menacing, and strongly resemble God’s warriors from Biblical times. You can certainly tell that Ee did her research: the mythology surrounding these angels is accurate and realistic without becoming too preachy.

Penryn is easily my favourite YA protagonist. Smart, funny, and a martial arts pro, Penryn is the ideal heroine in every way. Accompanied by a paranoid, schizophrenic mother and a wheelchair-bound sister, Penryn shoulders a lot more responsibility than your average seventeen year old girl, yet she rarely complains about it. Instead, she desperately wants to protect her family, and is willing to put herself straight into the path of danger to keep them safe.

One of my favourite things about Angelfall is the fact that there’s no instalove and no love triangle; instead, the relationship develops slowly and naturally, and takes a backseat to the action. There’s a suggestion of romance but both parties involved certainly have their priorities straight: after all, rescuing your sister and safely navigating a post-apocalyptic world are a bit more important than declaring your love for a perfect stranger.

Angelfall is certainly deserving of all of the hype. This quick-paced, action-packed story filled with unforgettable characters, witty banter, dark touches, and well-researched angelic lore made for an excellent read that will certainly be picked up again and again.

Top Ten Books That Should Be Turned Into Movies

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Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly book meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Each week, she posts an idea relating to books and encourages other book bloggers to respond with their own top ten lists.

This week’s topic is “top ten books that should be turned into movies.” I’m quite wary when books that I love are about to become movies, since theyre usually fairly disappointing. In an ideal world, though, these are some of the ones that I’d love to see.

1. A Series of Unfortunate Events
I love these books, but unfortunately the movie that combined the first three books was slightly disappointing. I’d eventually love to see all thirteen books turned into a movie (or tv series) since I would love to see the Carnivorous Carnival and all of the other spots the Baudelaire orphans travelled to.

2. Shadow and Bone
I’ll admit that part of this is because I love the Darkling. I mean, who wouldn’t want to see him on the big screen? The world of Ravka is so wonderfully imaginative, and it would be so neat to see the Fold, the volcra, the stag, the Grisha… the list goes on! It’d be an instant box-office hit, I assure you.

3. Throne of Glass
The world needs more movies with kickass female assassins, which Throne of Glass certainly possesses! It’s the perfect mix of action, romance, suspense, and supernatural occurrences, which seem to be requirements for most movies. And the gruff yet loveable Captain of the Guard is also a point in its favour.

4. Looking For Alaska
This is one of my favourite John Green novels. Each time I read it, I fall more and more in love with the characters, and I would love to see them brought to life on the big screen. I would probably spend the entire movie crying, but that’s okay!

5. The Night Circus
I feel like this book always makes my top ten lists, but that’s because it’s absolutely amazing! Imagine a maze of clouds, an ice garden, a wishing tree… Now picture adorable red headed children who train kittens to jump through hoops, and two duelling magicians. It sounds like perfection, and I would gladly line up for hours to see it on opening night.

6. Angelfall
This was the book that redeemed angels (of the book variety) for me. It’s home to a horrifying post-apocalyptic world, compelling characters, and the occasional cannibal. And brutal, destructive angels that aren’t anything like their cherubic counterparts. What’s not to like?

7. The Infernal Devices
It’s no secret that I love Will Herondale. The clockwork creatures are neat, the banter is beautiful and sarcastic, and the story is better than The Mortal Instruments (in my opinion). As long as it doesn’t turn out like City of Bones, I’m happy.

8. The Archived
The idea behind The Archived is so neat: there’s a library of the dead, but sometimes they wake up, forget that they’re dead, and wander around, occasionally killing people. It fits into both the paranormal and zombie genres, so Hollywood should get on it ASAP.

9. Anna and the French Kiss
This would be the most adorable movie. Etienne and Anna’s relationship is realistic yet cute, and is quite high on my list of favourite book relationships. Swooning over Etienne and marvelling over Paris for a few hours sounds quite nice.

10. The Golden Compass
I know that this already is a movie, but I’d love for it to be remade since I was disappointed by it. I love Lyra’s Oxford and her daemon, and would love to see how a filmmaker envisions it.

What books would you love to see as movies? Leave me a list or a link to your Top Ten Tuesday post below.
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30 Day Book Challenge: Day 20, 21, 22 & 23

I stumbled across this 30 day book challenge by The Chronicles of Radiya and decided to give it a try. Hopefully it will lead to 30 consecutive days of blogging that liven up the blog a bit and give us a chance to get to know each other a little better.

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I was away in Simcoe for the Gentlemen of the Road stopover this weekend (which I’ll likely make a huge post about, even though it has nothing to do with books) and, once again, I forgot to schedule my 30 day book challenge posts. Here’s another “four bookish things to learn about Erin for the price of one post,” so I apologize in advance for how long this post may be!

Day 20: Favourite Romance Book

I don’t really read books for the romance; I read them for the plot. That being said, there are a lot of contemporary YA books that have adorable romances that make me swoon, smile, laugh, and occasionally cry.

I already mentioned this one in my day 5 post about a book that makes me happy, but I’m going to use it again anyways.

By now, I’m sure that you all know how much I dislike instalove. It may just be the more pragmatic part of me speaking, but I feel like love at first sight isn’t really love – after all, how can you fall in love with someone that you don’t really know? That’s why dating the person and getting to know them before declaring your love for one another is important, but it seems to be skipped over a lot in most books… instead, characters are just inexplicably drawn to one another because they find each other attractive.

Thankfully in Anna and the French Kiss, the relationship between Anna and Etienne starts as friendship and then grows to something more. It’s a realistic progression filled with sweet moments and complications. I fell in love with Etienne along with Anna and was completely invested in their relationship. They’re just too cute.

Day 21: Favourite Book From Your Childhood

When I was younger, I absolutely loved the Inkheart series. I desperately wanted to be like Meggie and Mo, since I’d have so much fun with my favourite book characters. I identified with them so much: they loved books as much as I did, and insisted on carrying as many as they could with them whenever they traveled. I haven’t re-read these books in years, but I sincerely hope that I’ll still enjoy them as much when I give them another read in the future.

Day 22: Favourite Villain From A Book

Ooh, this one is an easy one! I absolutely love The Darkling from The Grisha series. The Darkling is my favourite kind of villain: the morally ambiguous kind. He’s such a complex character: as evil as he may be, he has these flickers of humanity that are intriguing and make him a more sympathetic character. I’m sure that he feels like his actions are for the greater good, and he had completely convinced me that he was trying to help Ravka… right up until the tables turned and left me confused and hurt by his betrayal. I can’t wait to see why he did all of the horrible things that he did, and I’m really excited to see if he has a redemption arc in Ruin and Rising.

Day 23: A Book You Wanted To Read For A Long Time But Still Haven’t

I’ve heard so many wonderful things about Angelfall and it’s been on my to-read list for ages. My library has finally ordered in a copy — and, of course, I’m heading off to school in a week so I’ll have to put off reading it for even longer. I will get to it eventually, I promise!