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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Waiting on Wednesday (February 19)

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Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly book meme hosted by Breaking the Spine, which spotlights upcoming releases that are eagerly anticipated.

This week, I’m waiting on Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo, which has an expected publication date of June 17, 2014.

The capital has fallen. The Darkling rules Ravka from his shadow throne.

Now the nation’s fate rests with a broken Sun Summoner, a disgraced tracker, and the shattered remnants of a once-great magical army.

Deep in an ancient network of tunnels and caverns, a weakened Alina must submit to the dubious protection of the Apparat and the zealots who worship her as a Saint. Yet her plans lie elsewhere, with the hunt for the elusive firebird and the hope that an outlaw prince still survives.

Alina will have to forge new alliances and put aside old rivalries as she and Mal race to find the last of Morozova’s amplifiers. But as she begins to unravel the Darkling’s secrets, she reveals a past that will forever alter her understanding of the bond they share and the power she wields. The firebird is the one thing that stands between Ravka and destruction—and claiming it could cost Alina the very future she’s fighting for.

This is easily my most anticipated read of 2014. I absolutely adored Shadow and Bone, and somehow I enjoyed Siege and Storm even more. I’m not quite sure how I’m going to manage waiting until June to find out what happens with Ravka and the Darkling (but mostly the Darkling). And can I just say how gorgeous that cover is?! I need a copy on my shelf ASAP.

Which books are you waiting on? Leave me a link or a list to your Waiting on Wednesday post below. 3

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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Book Review: Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo

Alina Starkov doesn’t expect much from life. Orphaned by the Border Wars, she is sure of only one thing: her best friend, Mal–and her inconvenient crush on him. Until the day their army regiment enters the Fold, a swath of unnatural darkness crawling with monsters. When their convoy is attacked and Mal is brutally injured, Alina reveals a dormant power not even she knew existed.

Ripped from everything she knows, Alina is taken to the royal court to be trained as a member of the Grisha, the magical elite led by the mysterious Darkling. With Alina’s extraordinary power in his arsenal, he believes they can finally destroy the Fold. Now Alina must find a way to master her untamed gift and somehow fit into her new life without Mal by her side. But nothing in this lavish world is what it seems. As the threat to the kingdom mounts and her dangerous attraction to the Darkling grows, Alina will uncover a secret that could tear her heart–and her country–in two.

My Rating: 5 cupcakes

From the first sentence, I was quickly drawn into the world of Ravka. The book begins quickly and never slows down, leaving me at the edge of my seat at all times. The plot was so well done, and I was so easily wrapped up in the story that the plot twist completely took me by surprise. By the time I hit the ~50% mark I found that I couldn’t tear myself away from the story, and now I’m kicking myself for not buying the sequel.

The world of Ravka is wonderfully imaginative. It’s a welcome change from the typical setting of “the middle ages,” and the elements of Russian folklore that are weaved into the world are a really nice touch. While the language and the Grisha hierarchy take a little bit of time to get used to (you have no idea how proud I was when I finally got the hang of it), they add to the magic and mystery that makes Ravka so intriguing.

I think it goes without saying that the writing is wonderful. The descriptions are vivid and I could easily visualize the Grisha world. It certainly helps that there’s a map at the beginning of the book, though the detailed descriptions kept me from having to tear myself away from the story and check it. And the romance! I found myself swooning over all the fictional men, since all of those scenes are just so well-written.

All of the characters were very well-developed. I can’t say too much about them since I don’t want to spoil anything, but they all had distinct personalities and I loved them all so much. Alina is naive, weak, and rather self-conscious at the beginning, but by the end of the book she has undergone a journey of self-discovery and becomes a force to be reckoned with. I loved her loyalty and determination, and I can’t wait to see how her character deals with certain conflicts in the sequel. Mal is sweet, loyal, brave, and protective. If it weren’t for the fact that he didn’t truly notice Alina until she was gone and the fact that I completely ship Alina and the Darkling I probably would have liked him a lot more though, admittedly, he did start to grow on me near the end. And then there’s the Darkling. It took less than two scenes for me to become hopelessly fascinated by his personality, power, and the mystery surrounding him. If there’s ever a novella written from his perspective, I can guarantee that I’ll be the first in line for it.

I absolutely loved Shadow and Bone, and I can’t recommend it enough. Go on, read it – you certainly won’t regret it.

Book Haul!

My entire week may have been made just by checking the mail today. Between bills and letters for my parents were three parcels for me, all containing books!

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The books in the pile on the left are ones that I had just ordered on Monday, so I certainly wasn’t expecting them to be here already! The ones on the right are books that I won through Goodreads First Reads Giveaways (which is super exciting; I never win anything).

Here’s the complete list:
Divergent by Veronica Roth
Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo
Ruby Red by Kerstin Gier
The Silent Summer of Kyle McGinley by Jan Andrews
The Thinking Woman’s Guide to Real Magic by Emily Croy Barker

I can’t wait to start reading these! : )
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