Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish. Each week they will post a new Top Ten list that one of the bloggers there at The Broke and the Bookish will answer. Everyone is welcome to join!
Today’s topic is the Top Ten Favorite Books You’ve Read During the Lifespan of Your Blog. This incarnation of my blog has been active since February 2012, just fyi!
1) Ordinary Magic by Caitlen Rubino-Bradway [REVIEW]
The entire premise of this book is basically a reverse Harry Potter. Abby lives in a world of magic, but on her thirteenth birthday discovers that she doesn’t have any, and is labeled an “Ord” (for ordinary). She must learn to adjust to her new life, while dodging mercenaries who would use her nonmagical abilities to get around spellwork set by others. The book is absolutely wonderful, from the setting, to Abby’s family, to the friends she makes at her new school. It is a Middle Grade book, but I was surprised at the darkness that’s present in the world, and the way that the author didn’t really shy away from it. Really an absolutely fabulous read.
2) Wondrous Strange by Lesley Livingston [REVIEW]
I’m going to say upfront that I have a weakness for fairy books, and MAN is this a good fairy book. I loved the romance between Sonny and Kelley, and the fact that, while being a fairy book, it didn’t just take place in the different Faerie courts. There was a mystery and a joining of our world with that of Faerie, and Kelley was wonderfully headstrong and determined. And the romance was completely and utterly swoon-worthy, too, which is always a plus. I haven’t had a chance to read the other two books in the trilogy, but you can bet that they’re on my to-read list, and I am dying to get to them soon. If you like books about faeries, definitely check this one out! It had a freshness about it that’s very hard to find nowadays.
3) Croak by Gina Damico [REVIEW]
Anyone who has followed this blog for any length of time has probably heard me mention my love for this book. I am the first person on my library’s list for the sequel, Scorch, and seriously can’t wait to get my hands on it. Lex is a bit of a hellion, and not someone who easily ingratiates herself with the reader, but once she gets to Croak and starts working in the family Grim Reaping business, she really becomes someone that I, personally, thoroughly enjoyed reading about. The sweet romance between her and Driggs didn’t hurt, either, nor did the awesome silver cover of the book. With the perfect mix of humor and darkness, Croak was a book that I had a very hard time putting down.
4) The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern [REVIEW]
Oh, this book! I was completely engrossed in the descriptions of the circus itself, from the way it only opened at night and was completely black and white, with fabulous attractions and wonderful smells and a completely whimsical atmosphere. This was another book that completely drew me in and made it impossible for me to stop reading. The romance between Celia and Marco was so wonderful and heartbreaking; the way they couldn’t help but be drawn to each other, even after figuring out the truth of their situation and the fact that they were basically condemned to their fates. I also adored the different ways they showed their feelings for each other, with the attractions like Celia’s Wishing Tree. If only there was actually a place like the Cirque des Rêves!
5) Breaking Beautiful by Jennifer Shaw Wolf [REVIEW]
Even though I didn’t give this five stars, this book was still heartbreaking in its own right, and it was the feelings it invoked that make me add this to the list. The book has a mystery – what really happened to Trip the night he was killed – and how it ties in to the relationship he had with Allie, which was far from perfect. The handling of the abuse Allie suffered at Trip’s hands was really quite masterful, capable of invoking a wide range of emotions in the reader. I also really loved the fact that the mystery wasn’t solvable from the get-go. There were tons of twists and turns in the story, and even though Allie starts off in a really dark place, I loved her relationship with her brother and her best friend (who becomes more).
6) Shadow & Bone by Leigh Bardugo [REVIEW]
This was one of my most anticipated reads of 2012, and I kept hearing nothing but praise about it, which made me leery to start it just in case it didn’t measure up to all the praise. While I had a pretty big quibble with the main character’s willingness to set aside her own life for that of her best friend, Mal, she redeemed herself in my eyes later on in the book, and I actually ended up liking her quite a bit. I was likewise captivated by the Darkling and the world of the Grisha, and the atmospheric prose used to describe the world of Ravka. There was one extremely hot make out scene as well, which is always a bonus. I am definitely looking forward to reading the second book in the planned trilogy.
7) I’d Tell You I Love You, But Then I’d Have to Kill You by Ally Carter [REVIEW]
This is a complete 180 from the other titles on this list, in that it is not dark in the slightest. However, I found the entire world of the Gallagher Academy, from the girls to the classes they take, to the back-stories of the staff members, to be absolutely enchanting. Cammie is a first-rate narrator, and I absolutely loved how Ally Carter wrote her interactions with her friends and the boy on the outside that she meets and falls for. Everything about this book was cute and fluffy and made me want to smile and smile some more. This book is not full of amazing prose, and it’s quite possible that I just read it at the right time, but my overall reaction when I finished was to want to draw hearts all over it. And sometimes, those are the best books there are.
8) Grave Mercy by R.L. LaFevers [REVIEW]
Time for another admission: I have a THING for historical romances. When I was a teen, I absolutely devoured them, and they still remain one of my guilty pleasures. Add to that the whole idea of assassin nuns, and I was pretty much sold on this book from the start. I loved the slow-burning relationship between Ismae and Duval, and the way that we got to see them become progressively more. Plus, any heroine who hides a crossbow in her skirts gets massive props from me! While this was quite the hefty book, I read it with almost no breaks, I was so drawn into the story and setting, from Ismae’s life at the convent and some of her assassination jobs, to the intrigue in Anne’s court. And Duval is a completely swoon-worthy hero as well; I so loved the fact that he was a genuinely good guy.
9) Masque of the Red Death by Bethany Griffin [REVIEW]
While Araby Worth takes a while to grow on you (her idea to punish herself by not letting herself experience things her dead twin brother will never experience grew old really quickly), the world she lives in was enough to suck me right in. A plague has decimated the population, and the town she lives in is crumbling to pieces. Everyone wears porcelain masks when they’re out, and Araby spends her evenings at a club with her friend, April, trying to forget about her horrible life. While I’m not a fan of love triangles, I actually thought the one in this book was done fairly well, although I can’t help but root for Will.
10) Sweet Evil by Wendy Higgins [REVIEW]
I was predisposed to dislike this one. I mean, it’s an angel book, and I haven’t had the best of luck with angel books. And admittedly, Anna was a tad too good to be true (and I mean “good” as in goodie-two-shoes). But then Kaiden showed up, and the book took off, completely sucking me in. I was particularly enthralled with her mythology; the idea that the fallen angels who first followed Lucifer became “dukes” of a particularly deadly sin, and had children to help corrupt us mortals. Not to mention that the romance between Kaiden and Anna, while zigzagging back and forth over and over again, was absolutely marvelously developed and had me rooting for them more than I’ve probably ever rooted for a fictional couple. The achy-breaky ending was the cherry on top. I really hope book two gets picked up by the publishers soon because I absolutely MUST know how things are going to work out.
So those are my Top Ten Books from my blog’s life. What are yours? Please link me up!