Top 3 Thursday: Books I Recommend

Even before I started the blog, the plan was always to incorporate more than just book review. I mean, those you can just post on Goodreads and Amazon, right? But I haven’t quite managed it. Mainly because I’m lazy. Then on Instagram, I saw that A Cosy Reading Blog started a ‘Top 3 Thursday’ thing and it seemed simple yet interesting, so I’m going with it. This time, it’s top three books I recommend to people.

 

1. Making Faces by Amy Harmon

27237358I don’t think I talk about this book enough on the blog. I read it a long time ago (I’m rereading it right now) and it was amazing. It still stands as one of the best books I’ve ever read. The story is absolutely beautiful, heartwarming and heart wrenching. I don’t technically have a favourite book but whenever I’m asked, this is the one that comes to mind and the one that I answer with. Whenever I’m asked for a must-read book, this is it, because I think everyone should read it. It’s a breathtaking romance about overcoming loss.

 

2. Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli

19547856If Making Faces is a book with heavy emotion, this might be the opposite. It’s a very light, fun and cute read but also very meaningful. That’s a combination that’s difficult to achieve but somehow, Becky did it. I read this one over two years ago and it was my favourite reads of the year. It’s the kind of book that makes you happy and makes you think at the same time. It’s exactly my kind of book and about as perfect as it can get. I don’t think any sane person could ever dislike it, same as with Making Faces.

 

3. Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling

3Last but never least, Harry Potter. Of course this was coming, even though recommending this series is complicated because most people have read it. Still, whenever some wants to delve into reading, my suggestion is always to “read Harry Potter” because it’s magical. That’s the only word I have for it. I mean, reading this series is practically a rite-of-passage at this point. You have to do it. And soon because the world is rife with spoilers since it seems that HP spoilers don’t even count as spoilers.

 

And those were the three books I recommend most often. The first is a personal, and amazing, favourite, the second is too likable to resist and the third is just important. That covers all the recommendation bases, don’t you think?

Finally, as a little bonus, I just have to mention Percy Jackson. It’s one of my favourite series, it’s fun, fast paced and action packed, and it’s hilarious. It’s also about Greek mythology (always a plus) and, most importantly, it has Percy in it, who is my favourite character (of all time and all forms of media).

And that concludes the list. Be sure to check out A Cosy Reader‘s post, and leave a comment about some of the books you find yourself recommending most often.

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My Top 10 Reads of 2017

I did it! And I survived doing to too! And by “it”, I mean making an ordered list of my favourite reads of last year. It was so hard. I don’t remember it being this difficult the last time. I actually had to hold a little tournament, well multiple tournaments. Each subsequent novel was one step lower on the ladder.

But that doesn’t matter. With each book, there was one feature that stood out for me, the thing that told me that it was the one. And it’s that one aspect that I’ll be mentioning for each item. But before I start, I want to, like last time, give a few books that were almost on the list but, in the end, weren’t because a top ten only has ten items. Shocker, right? Here are the honorable mentions (in no particular order):

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All the above books are awesome. Hell, I’m looking at them and thinking that if these are the honorable mentions, what’s on the list? And I made the list. But before I get to it, I just wanna say that the list is very much subjective. I don’t give two shits about what critics have to say about them, or what anyone else feels about them. These were the books that left most of an impact on me. If you don’t like them, that’s fine. I’m not saying you have to. Now, before I go into a rant about opinions, let’s get started.

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10. Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion

7619057This one is here for the narrative. I love this book but I also know that it’s kinda corny, despite the logic given behind the corny-ness. The narrative, though, is so freaking great. The book starts with “I am dead, but it’s not so bad. I’ve learned to live with it.” and only gets better from there. It’s from the point of view of a zombie, for Gods’s sake! Also the concept of a romance set during a literal zombie apocalypse, between a human and a zombie? How could you not love that?!

 

9. Lord of Shadows by Cassandra Clare

30312891As promised, I’m only talking about the highlight. And as much as I love the world that Cassie has created, which only grows with each book, for me, it’s always been the characters. In this series, Julian Blackthorn is my favourite. He’s the most interesting character. But with this book in particular, Diana Wrayburn. Her arc was unexpected and amazing. I can’t say enough about how much I loved it, even though I can’t talk about what it was. It’s the reason this book is on the list.

 

8. The Understatement of the Year by Sarina Bowen

22701480I know I have a rule about random shirtless dudes on my blog, but this is the ‘top 10 of the year’ list. I’m making an exception.
What sold me for this book were just a few lines. Lines that showed you how scarred, and scared, one of the protagonists was of someone finding out his sexuality. They helped understand him, and they hurt. Here are the lines:
“I’d made it to age twenty-one without ordering a cappuccino. Because at some point during my ignorant youth, I’d heard somebody say that it was a girly drink.”

 

7. A Conjuring of Light by V.E. Schwab

29939230Series endings suck. If it’s a bad ending, it sucks. It’s an awesome ending, you want more so it still sucks. In this case, it’s awesome and we’re getting a spin-off. Yes!
But that’s beside the point. Because the point is something I can’t talk about; because it’s a spoiler for those who haven’t read the second book. Just know that it’s a fabulous arc about a male character no one expected to like. It should be pretty obvious from that.

 

6. Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

23437156Kaz Brekker!
He’s such a clever bastard. I fucking love him. But… he’s not the only reason. I love all the characters. Especially Inej. But really, it’s the concept. I love the ‘gang of misfits united for a common cause’ trope. I love when books have a bunch of different character, all well-developed. And I love smart people and heists. There’s a reason I’m currently watching White Collar (again) and it ain’t for the paintings. Side-note, Six of Crows on number six! Total coincidence.

 

5. Our Dark Duet by Victoria Schwab

32075662The surprise entry. I mean, I loved it when I read it but I didn’t think it would have such a lasting impact. This series has a unique concept and a dark tone, it pulls you in. And there was such astounding characters development, not to mention the story and the pace. This novel is, in a word, gorgeous. This was the last book of the duology and I’m really hoping for a spin-off. This world is so full of potential. I need more from it.

 

4. Kings Rising by C.S. Pacat

17158532Another series ending. This has been a great year for series endings. And you might have noticed a pattern; I’m all about the characters. Here’s another one. Laurent. I can’t resist smart people and Laurent would give Kaz Brekker a run for his money. He’s also got restraint and composure like I’ve never seen. Not that Damen, with his determination and nobility, is any less. The two of them are a formidable team, and one of my favourite couples.

 

3. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams

11Probably the strangest book I’ve ever read. And that’s not even considering the fact that it went from being a book I wasn’t even sure I would finish, to one of my top reads of the year. And I have no clue how. I just know that I found myself think and talking about it probably more than any other book. And that it’s genius and makes a lot of sense in a way that makes no sense. The friggin’ whale and the fish and the dolphin… there are so many gems to find, and this is just the first book. I can’t wait to see what the others will bring.

 

2. Scythe by Neal Shusterman

28954189One of the most though-provoking reads of the year, I loved this novel from the very beginning. It pulls you right in with the concept of a perfect world, one without natural death, and then watches evilly from the sidelines as you witness the imperfections of this world with horror. Seriously, it’s so interesting and it really makes you think. But the shit that the characters, one in particular, go through… let’s just say that as much as I want to read the sequel (it’s out next week), I’m also terrified of what will happen.

 

1. Elle Kennedy

Before you accuse me of cheating, this is a personal tradition of mine. First place is almost always an author, a series, or even a character, without whom the year would not have been the same. Last year, it was Brandon Sanderson. This year, it’s Elle Kennedy.

I read almost two dozen of her books. That’s a lot of fucking books by one author. And I love her work. She writes contemporary romance, romantic suspense, and is currently the only author whose erotic romance novels I’m willing to read. I love her writing and her characters. The Him duology (co-written with Sarina Bowen) and The Deal would have definitely been on the list (maybe even a book from her Killer Instincts series). Isn’t it simpler to just put her on here? Then there’s my ongoing mission to read everything she’s ever written… This was the only easy choice on this list.

 

My Favourite Books: The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan

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Genre: Middle-grade, Fantasy, Mythology (Greek)
Pages: 375
Series: Percy Jackson and the Olympians #1
Release Date: June 28, 2005

This was a reread, and while I’d happily give the book 5 stars, I feel like my opinion may be biased so I’m not changing the rating that I’d given before.

4 Stars

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The Lightning Thief, for me, feels like the start of an era. Rick Riordan has now written many books set in this universe, featuring different mythologies, and it all started with this one book. And what a start it is.

Percy Jackson, my absolute favourite characters, is just a 12-year-old kid in this book. He has dyslexia and ADHD, and has been labelled a troublemaker. He gets kicked out of a different school every year. And in his vacations, he has to live with his horrible stepfather who treats both Percy and his mom very poorly. Things aren’t going the best for him.

What Percy doesn’t know is that he is a half-blood, meaning he’s half human and half god. He finds this out after gets to Camp Half-blood, the only place on earth where half-blood can be safe. On getting there, he finds out that he’s being blamed for something he didn’t do. And he has to go on a quest to clear his name, and to stop a war.

It’s a lot to handle for one kid. But Percy, while not entirely enthusiastic about this turn of events, takes whatever he has to face in stride. It’s one of his best qualities.

Percy has many great qualities and he is one of the biggest reasons this book is so amazing. He’s a really good person who is also exploding with sarcasm, a brilliant combination we get to see via the hilarious narrative. Seriously, this book has one of the most engaging and entertaining narratives I’ve ever read. Add that to the fact that Greek mythology is very interesting and this book is very well-written, and you already have a great read.

Then there’s the concept. It’s so cool. A modern-day demigod, all the Greek deities in the current time. It’s so cool to read how the gods have changed with time, everything from the way they dress to their beverage choices. I love the world that Rick Riordan has created. It’s fascinating.

Overall, I love everything about this book, this series and this world. Uncle Rick has written something unique and wonderful that I truly feel is for people of all ages. Doesn’t matter if you’re eight or eighty, you should definitely read this novel. You’ll be glad for it.

My Favourite Books: Cinder by Marissa Meyer

My Faves

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Genre: YA Sci-Fi
Pages: 390
Series: The Lunar Chronicles #1

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This book is a retelling of Cinderella set many years into the future. Cinder, the protagonist, is a mechanic and a Cyborg. Earth is ravaged by a deadly plague and the people of the moon, the lunars, are waiting for the opportunity to conquer it.

Cinder’s life becomes entwined with Prince Kai and the story seriously kicks off when Cinder’s sister is killed by the plague and her stepmother blames her for it.

The Lunar’s Chronicles is one of my favourite series and this book will always hold a special place. It is, most definitely, my favourite of the series.

I didn’t expect to like the book. I said so in my Goodreads review:

So… I did not expect to like this book as much as I did. This is a 4.75 stars for me because other than a few things that didn’t add up well for me, I loved it!

I wasn’t even sure if I wanted to read it because… Cinderella and Cyborgs? It just didn’t mesh. I was obviously mistaken because this books worked so well and I’m so glad that I decided to pick it up.

The first thing that I loved was the way that the author introduced human characteristics into droids and cyborgs, For example, the first one that I noticed was how a girl swooning over a guy was changed to an android saying,

“Prince Kai! Check my fan, I think I’m overheating.”

I loved that! I have no idea why, but I actually laughed out loud at that. And it was consistent throughout the book. Different human aspects being mechanically controlled. And that was solely because of the fact that Iko and Cinder were two of the main characters. So that was a smart decision on the author’s part.

Other than that, I really liked the characters. Cinder was, thankfully, nothing like the helpless Cinderella and I loved her. Iko was so much fun and I can’t wait to read about her again. I didn’t like the doctor at first but he grew on me. Hated Adri and Pearl, as was supposed to happen.

And Kai… He OWNED the title of Prince Charming because he was very charming indeed. And a Prince.

I was very much dreading the ending. I wanted to hurry up and get to it already and, at the same time, pretend that I’d already read it and it had been happy. the choice was hard. But since I knew that the next two books were already out, I decided against self-deception. Deception doesn’t work out in the end and I am dying for Levana to learn that lesson.

Enough said. I need to start on book two, now.

I don’t know why I didn’t give it 5 Stars since I failed to mention a reason. I’m just going to consider it 5 anyways because I have nothing but fond memories of this book. I loved it so so much.

I highly recommend this series if you have yet to pick it up. It’s amazing.

My Favourite Books: Siomon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becki Albertalli

My Faves

 

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Genre: YA Contemporary Romance, LGBT
Pages: 303
Series: No

Synopsis:

Sixteen-year-old and not-so-openly gay Simon Spier prefers to save his drama for the school musical. But when an email falls into the wrong hands, his secret is at risk of being thrust into the spotlight. Now Simon is actually being blackmailed: if he doesn’t play wingman for class clown Martin, his sexual identity will become everyone’s business. Worse, the privacy of Blue, the pen name of the boy he’s been emailing, will be compromised.

With some messy dynamics emerging in his once tight-knit group of friends, and his email correspondence with Blue growing more flirtatious every day, Simon’s junior year has suddenly gotten all kinds of complicated. Now, change-averse Simon has to find a way to step out of his comfort zone before he’s pushed out—without alienating his friends, compromising himself, or fumbling a shot at happiness with the most confusing, adorable guy he’s never met.

This book was my first read of 2016 and I adored it. It was the perfect way to start the year. Here’s my Goodreads review which, I’m sure, will tell you my feeling about it very well.

Oh my god, this was so preciously, beautifully, awesome-ly amazing and I loved it so so much… that I sound like a 12-year-old gushing over One Direction. Though that’s not entirely bad since we all need to get in touch with our fangirly side every once in a while.

Okay so the beginning line may have been a bit of an exaggeration but I really did love this book. Not just because I enjoyed it but also because my nitpick-y, critic side also very much approved. So this is gonna be one of those rare moments when I list all the things I loved and nothing else (I swear, those moments almost never happen).

  • I loved Simon and how adorable, funny, sweet, ignorant, silly, stupid, cute, loving, forgetful and basically just how human he was. He was such a likable main character and was the perfect choice for this book. Honestly, Becky Albertalli couldn’t have come up with protagonist for this story.
  • I loved all of Simon’s friends and their complicated, yet sometimes really simple, relationships with each other.
  • I loved that the author was careful to make Simon’s emails a combination of the narration and the way he talked. It’s not something I noticed initially and it was really smart.
  • I loved watching the two Simons, the one in the letters and the one with his friends, become one person even under the horrible circumstances.
  • I loved how the book wasn’t too dramatic and depicted life so well. There weren’t any too-perfect characters or loud dramatic monologues or evil villains. There were just a bunch high schoolers figuring out their life. It was simple and beautiful and so very real.
  • I loved the relationship between Simon and Blue and figuring out who Blue was. They were both so great and their emails were the cutest thing ever.
  • I loved the ending, even though I can’t tell you what it was. Things were tied up so well.

Overall, this book was so simple and so wonderful and I’m so happy to have read it. I definitely think everyone else should read it as well. This is not a story you want to miss.

Yeah… I went completely fangirl. No shame though.

But seriously, I really, highly recommend this book. It is amazing. I’m gonna be reading it again soon.

My Favourite Books: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

My Faves

I got this idea from a movie review on YouTube, Chris Stuckmann. He’s an amazing reviewer and I always watch all his videos. Anyway, he does this “My Favourite Movies” sequence and uploads a video every once in a while. So I thought I would do it too.

Oh and, you should also check out Chris’ channel. He’s really great.

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So for the first one, I couldn’t not go with a Harry Potter book. I went with this one because it’s my favourite of the series.

And I went with this cover because this is the one I have and because it’s absolutely gorgeous.

I mean, seriously, this has to be one of the most beautiful covers I’ve ever seen. It is very much pleasing to my eyeballs.

 

I wrote a review for the book recently while I was doing an HP marathon (confession: before the marathon, I’d only read half of the series) and here it is:

This book is definitely the best book of the series so far.

Not only do I have no complaints over any writing or happenings of any scene, this book was just so much fun. I was laughing for a large part of it and I really got into the Gryffindor team spirit for the Quidditch tournament. I just loved the whole book and I’m super excited for the next part.

One thing I would like to mention: This book has made me hate Snape very very much. Seriously, how is that guy allowed near children?! He’s a nightmare!

Overall, this is an awesome book.

Clearly, my reviewing skills go to hell when it comes to Harry Potter.

Anyway, I have this thing where the book that really makes me fall in love with the series is always my favourite one of the series. With The Lunar Chronicles, it’s Cinder, with The Mortal Instruments, it’s City of Ashes, and so on…

With Harry Potter, while I loved the first two book, my nitpick-y mind always found something to… well, be nitpick-y about. It couldn’t find anything in The Prisoner of Azkaban.

On top of that, this is the funniest book of the series in my opinion. And I love my humour.

The books that come after are also amazing. Maybe they’re even better in some aspects. But they’re dark and they keep getting darker because, you know, Voldy being a pain in everyone’s ass. This one has light in it.

It pulls you so deeply into the world and you get so connected you the character that you wish you could, even if it’s just for a second, be there. It’s… magical. This is the essence of the world and the series.

Hats off to you, J.K. Rowling.