Monday, June 9, 2014

Top Ten Books I've Read So Far This Year

This week is surprisingly easy since I've taken a page out of a few other bloggers book and kept an excel workbook page thingie with a list of books ranked.  And even more awesome - my friend has been asking me for books I'd recommend for her, so what's better than my favourite books of the year!  So Lydia, this list is dedicated to you!

10. Anna and the French Kiss - Stephanie Perkins

Anna and the French Kiss (Anna and the French Kiss, #1)

Why you should read it:  Paris, France. Studying abroad. The most perfectly imperfect dream boy ever. Pushing comfort zones, great friendships, complicated family relationships - this contemporary romance has it all. (And even if you're a doubter after the first few chapters like I was, TRUST ME. This relationship develops in the most real, amazing way.)

9.  The Truth About Alice - Jennifer Mathieu

The Truth About Alice 

 Why you should read it:  This book is powerful.  It deals with slut shaming from many different points of view (and if I recall, none of them were by Alice, the focus of the story). It's amazing how much of myself I saw in all of the characters. Mathieu doesn't take the easy way out - all of her characters are complicated, and as their stories unravel, you discover why they make the choices they do, and how this sort of situation snowballs so easily in real life.

The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender

Why you should read this: This cover. Magic realism. Some of the most beautiful writing I've ever read. I could get lost in Walton's prose.  I was pretty much speechless when writing my review. That's how beautiful and indescribable everything about this story is.

7.  The Gentleman Bastards series - Scott Lynch

The Lies of Locke Lamora (Gentleman Bastard, #1)

Why you should read this: Ocean's Eleven meets epic fantasy. Rogues meet Sherlock Holmes.  Clever trickery, elaborate plans, a whole cast of rogue characters, diversity, amazing bonds of friendship. And the third book? AMAZING SWOONERY. Best. Love. Confession. Ever.

6. The Harper Hall Trilogy - Anne McCaffrey

Dragonsong (Harper Hall, #1) 
Why you should read this: Dragons. Anne McCaffrey. Do you need another reason? Most of you don't know this, but I'm a pretty big Anne McCaffrey fan. I will say that you should probably read at least her first book of the Dragonrider Trilogy for this to make sense, but these can stand alone. (Also I pretend the third book isn't in the trilogy. But the first two are great!!)

5. Fangirl - Rainbow Rowell


Why you should read this:  Freshman year - the awkwardness, the terror, breaking out of your comfort zone, leaving your family, finding new boys, balancing life and classes.  Adorable boys, snarky but loving roomies, finding your own independence.  If you haven't hopped on the Rainbow Rowell craze...what are you waiting for?!

Daughter of Smoke & Bone (Daughter of Smoke & Bone, #1)

Why you should read this: Fantasy set outside of the Western world (Prague! Marrakesh!), diversity, world building, mythology, best secondary characters EVER (I love them all. But Zusanna and Brimstone have special places in my heart). This is right up there with Leslye Walton's book for most beautifully written. There's just a way that the words are put together that's so magical!  And the way some of the characters are described is just so vivid (and I can picture them in a Clive Barker Abarat painting. But more purple and less orange.)

3. The Lumatere Chronicles - Melissa Marr

Finnikin of the Rock (Lumatere Chronicles #1)

Why you should read this: OH MY GOD HOW HAVE I WAITED SO LONG TO READ THIS?!?!!?!  Finnickin of the Rock was fantastic - but Froi? And Quintana? OH MY GOD THESE BOOKS.  (I may have read these two weeks ago, so my obsessive love hasn't had time to chill out yet.) Actual reasons why you should read this? Yeah. Um. Any? All? If you like fantasy at all (and even if you don't but are thinking of trying it out), you need to read this.

2. The Drowned Cities (Ship Breaker #2) - Paolo Bacigalupi

Drowned Cities

Why you should read this: Scarily realistic (as in I can see us here in 50 years) dystopia, no romance (although that might not be a selling point for you), diversity, features my favourite character from the first book.  Although this is the second book, each book can be read as a stand alone, and both of them are powerful. I personally fell in love with this one, but the first one I think is a little less intense and features a bit of romance. 

1. The Newsflesh Trilogy - Mira Grant

Feed (Newsflesh Trilogy, #1)

Why you should read this: Zombies, government conspiracies, assassinations, bloggers, scientific background behind zombie virus, twists you'll never see coming, a CRAZY ending to the first book that I didn't think the author was really going to commit to, so when she did my great respect for her multiplied a thousandfold. I mean this series as it all.  It's so good that I've been craving a reread for MONTHS despite the fact that I read the series for the very first time in January. I don't crave rereads of things unless at least a year has past.  This is one of the first things I read this year and despite the other fantastic books on this list - nothing has topped this.  And I honestly don't think anything else will (maybe Heir of Fire?).  It's that good.  So read it.

And Lydia, forget everything on this list and go read The Handmaid's Tale if you are going to read ONE book I recommend you. (But really read all of these). And for everyone else, what made the cut for you? Leave me a link in the comments!


  1. Yay for Fangirl :D And yay for The Lies of Locke Lamora--I read the book years ago but have yet to read the follow-up novels in the series! The fact that you're the second blogger that's mentioned the series for this week's TTT is an indication that I need to catch up ;)

    The Strange and beautiful sorrows of Ava lavender has a gorgeous book cover--off to check it out on GoodReads now :D

    Great list! My TTT

  2. Emily @ Oh Magic HourJune 10, 2014 at 12:32 AM

    I love so many of these! I am currently reading Finnikin of the Rock and also don't know how or why I waited so long! I am loving it!! I really REALLY need to read The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavendar - it's been taunting me for a long time with that gorgeous cover. :)

  3. FANGIRL! I read that last year and loved it! Also, I'm really interested in The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender, that cover is gold! Magic Realism? That's a thing? Wow. I'm going to have to find that in the library.

    Also been meaning to read Feed too. And also Finnikin of the Rock. And Anna and the French Kiss. Wow I'm so behind on my reading. :P

  4. You haven some of my favorites on your list. I am a fan of the Laini Taylor series. I just finished the trilogy this past month. I am a fan of Fangirl. I love it that Rowell has positive male characters in her books.

  5. Brilliant list! I am looking forward to reading The Truth About Alice very soon. I've heard such amazing things about it!

  6. I love Fangirl!! It made me have SO many emotions. Happy ones, sad ones... all over the place. Rainbow Rowell is an amazing writer. I also loved Anna and now am dying for Lola to come out!! It's like being held hostage or something. I really really want to read The Truth About Alice. That just sounds like a "me" book. Cool list :)

    My TTT

  7. Awesome list, Elizabeth! I've read only 2 of these, Anna & the French Kiss a few years ago (and loved it, can't wait for Isla's book), and Daughter of Smoke & Bone, which actually ended up on my TTT, too :) I still need to read the rest, but I've heard great things about them all.

  8. I actually read the third Gentleman Bastards book first by accident (don't ask, I'm an idiot) so I can tell you that as much as I loved the first book, his writing continues to get even better in the other two. And the second book really shows how amazing and essential Jean is, which I really loved.

    I LOVE magic realism, so I'm unsurprised I loved that one. I've not read a single book in the genre that I didn't love, so I'm either inordinately lucky, or that's just a magic genre full of only good books haha!

  9. Yes! And I promise you that as amazing as you find Finnikin, you cannot possibly be prepared for how epic Froi is. (And also make sure you have Quintana ready to read after Froi or it will be a painful wait haha)

  10. Anna and the French Kiss was SO good! Also, I really want to read Fangirl!

    Thanks for sharing! Here's my Top Ten Tuesday post

  11. Finnikin! YES!

    Our Ten Top Tuesday!

  12. Oh man, get ready to fall in love with magic realism. It's a very real thing, and it's beautiful. I've never read a single book in the genre that I haven't enjoyed. There's this book, pretty much everything by Alice Hoffman, Skellig, Like Water for Chocolate...the list goes on. Definitely go find some!

    Lol story of our lives right? And man it's a toss up between Feed and Finnickin as to what I'd want to push on you - they're both SO amazing!

  13. I found the Laini Taylor trilogy just a little before the third book came out, so that was fantastic timing! And I really need to get to Rowell's other books - I know I'm going to love them if Fangirl is anything to judge by!

  14. I definitely think it is a you kind of book! (Hopefully I'm right haha)

  15. I have the Truth About Alice but haven't read it yet. I'm ready to froth at the mouth though because we both know how I feel about slut shaming. ;) I think I am picking it for my book club actually. I just finished Tease, which deals with slut shaming, bullying and suicide. Also, a complicated book...but well done I thought.

  16. Anna! Locke Lamora! Fangirl!! <333 I've heard amazing things about Ava Lavender, too - I REALLY need to read that one!

  17. I know right?! For a fairly uplifting novel, it certainly made me teary haha! For some reason I'm always pretty wary coming into contemporary YA novels, so I was surprised that a third of this list was contemporary (and proud of myself since they certainly aren't my go to ones). Although admittedly The Truth About Alice is usually my sort of go to contemporary and Anna and the French Kiss (aka romantic centric) are the ones I usually side eye haha. Hopefully this is going to help push me to expand my reading boundaries!

  18. Laini Taylor's writing is to die for! I've heard rumours she's going to write some more novels in the same universe which makes me really happy! I enjoyed the third book but it went in a COMPLETELY different direction than I was expecting - which is totally fine, I was just really looking forward to an exploration of the island angel people and whatsisname's magic (...names. Why can't I ever remember them?)

  19. I'm so glad I'm finally starting to loosen up and try more contemporary, because both these books were well worth reading :)

  20. Have you read the other two books? They're even better!

  21. That's great! I'm loving all things contemporary these days =)

  22. I think you'll like it judging with what you're saying about Tease (which I haven't read, but it sounds similar). But yes definitely some frothing at the mouth moments (but completely intentional on the author's part and done really well)

  23. If you are interested in magic realism at all, this should definitely be at the top of your list!

  24. Well, I still haven't finished the series, but everything she writes in the future (in that world or another) I'm going to read it, because I love her writing style :)

  25. Bloggin' 'bout BooksJune 10, 2014 at 9:16 PM

    I love FANGIRL. Such a fun book! I also really liked SHIP BREAKER, although I haven't read the sequel yet. The Scott Lynch series sounds excellent. I'm definitely going to check it out.

    Happy TTT!

  26. I am all about dystopian books with no romance. I guess I'm going to have to reread Ship Breaker so I can read the sequel. So many fans of Fangirl that I'm going to have to give it a go now... as soon as I finish Partials. Great list.

  27. I remember reading your review - I think I read it like RIGHT before I picked up the book from the library. I was like...ok. I NEED to this! And yes! Lies of Locke Lamora is just fantastic!

  28. By all means reread Ship Breaker (I mean it's pretty fantastic) but you
    really could read Drowned Cities without rereading since the only
    connection between the two stories is Tool. I'm glad I'm finding so
    many people who have read Ship Breaker because I haven't really seen it
    talked about around the blogosphere, and I don't have reading friends
    irl so I thought it might have gotten a bit lost with all the other
    great books out haha!

  29. I'm really glad I stopped procrastinating and read a Rainbow Rowell book, because it was just as amazing as everyone had said! On the other hand I'd not heard of Ship Breaker before and just randomly picked it up off the shelf and it turned out to be a book that made me really reevaluate my life. And yes, The Gentleman Bastard series is so much fun! I really recommend it :)

  30. Oh no! I hope I didn't spoil anything! -scans comment anxiously- ok. Nothing too spoilerish - sorry about that!

  31. Stephanie Perkins writes such cute books, and I loved the audio version for the Daughter of Smoke and Bone series (just checked out the third book!). I also checked out Fangirl, which I'm excited to see has been on a lot of top ten lists.

    AJ Bauers @ Covert Extrovert

  32. I think I am FINALLY starting to get into audiobooks. I'm used to reading a book in one sitting, so audiobooks are tough for me because they take SO LONG! But if I listen to them when I'm in the shower, it means I hear it frequently enough to remember what happened last, but don't get a headache because I've determined I want to finish the book and I've sat there for two hours lol

  33. Yay for cheating! I have been wanting to read Fangirl and have heard very good things about Melina Marchetta and your gushing just made me want to put her at the top of the list! As you know I love Gentleman Bastard series. Fun reading!

  34. Oh sorry, you already checked out my TTT and THAT'S HOW I FOUND YOU. But just a reminder it's

  35. I don't know much about your contemporary reads, but I can't imagine anyone not liking Fangirl, and Melina Marchetta is definitely up your alley!

  36. Omg I loved Fangirl so much - one of my favorite books ever. Lies of Locke Lamora is one that I have been wanting to read for a while! A recommendation from you is all I need to pick it up though, haha! Great list :)


Thanks for leaving a comment! You've totally made my day :D

I love talking to you guys, so I always respond to comments. Be sure to check back!