Top Ten Books I Would Like To See Made Into Movies

top ten tuesdayTop Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme created by The Broke and The Bookish. This week’s theme is:

Top Ten Books I Would Like To See Made Into Movies

This week is a freebie topic so since I love waxing lyrical about books and movies, I have decided to combine the two for this week’s theme.

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Top Ten Books About Friendship

top ten tuesdayTop Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme created by The Broke and The Bookish. This week’s theme is:

Top Ten Books About Friendship:

friendship

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Top Ten Characters who I’d like to send to the Bog of Eternal Stench

top ten tuesdayTop Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme created by The Broke and The Bookish. This week’s theme is:

Top Ten Characters Who I’d Like To Send To The Bog Of Eternal Stench

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Top Ten Most Unique Books I’ve Read

top ten tuesdayTop Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme created by The Broke and The Bookish. This week’s theme is:

Top Ten Most Unique Books I’ve Read

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Top Ten All Time Favourite Books in The Fantasy Genre

top ten tuesdayTop Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme created by The Broke and The Bookish. This week’s theme is:

Top Ten All Time Favourite Books in The Fantasy Genre

Fantasy is probably my all-time favourite genre but it was difficult narrowing down my favourite books to just ten! I ended up listed the series rather than just a singular book as there are so many fantasy series I love and I don’t just have one favourite in the bunch!

In no particular order:

1. Sarah Monette – Doctrine of Labyrinths

sarah monette

The Doctrine of Labyrinth series is incredibly under-rated and utterly brilliant. It really is a shame it is not more well-known. It follows two brothers Felix Harrowgate (a wizard) and Mildmay the Fox (an assassin/thief). This series is notable for turning most fantasy tropes on right their head and is a fantastic character study into two extremely messed-up individuals who are nothing at all like the usual heroes found in fantasy novels (and believe me, that is a very good thing).

2. Melina Marchetta – Lumatere Chronicles

melina marchetta

It took me awhile to finally get round to reading this series but once I did I was completely hooked. The first book Finnikin of the Rock was a solid fantasy novel but I felt the series really shone in Froi of the Exiles and Quintana of Charyn. I wasn’t sure how much I would like the second book given how it was mainly focused on Froi, a character who really did not endear himself to me at all in book one, but he managed to redeem himself and became one of my favourite characters.

3. Robin Hobb – Realm of the Elderlings

robin hobb

I love this series. Every single entry (even the later books set in the Rain Wilds). My favourites though are the Farseer trilogy and the Tawny Man trilogy because they have Fitz and my beloved Fool. I have already posted about the Fool, but Fitz is an equally fascinating character. A royal bastard who ends up saving his kingdom, Fitz starts off as an assassin but becomes so much more than that. Their bond drives the narrative for me, White Prophet and Catalyst – changing history with every step they take.

4. Juliet Marillier – Sevewaters series

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A thoroughly engrossing and captivatingly beautiful series. Daughter of the Forest was the first book I had ever read by Juliet Marillier and it is still my favourite (even though her other books are just as brilliant). Marillier’s lyrical prose combined with the historical setting and fairytale origin (it is loosely based on The Six Swans – a German fairytale that was collected by the Brothers Grimm) made this series one of my all-time favourites.

5. George R. R. Martin – A Song of Ice and Fire

grr martin

I have been a fan of ASOIAF for years, before the Game of Thrones series came out but not quite as far back as the initial release (think I would have gone a bit stir-crazy if I had still been waiting for the resolution to this series after following it right from the beginning). The is fantasy at its grittiest. Favourite characters are killed off all the time and the good guys seem to have the worst possible luck in the world. Nothing ever seems to go right for the Starks whilst many of their enemies seem to thrive. You never quite know who to root for in this series. The good guys act fairly idiotically at times so it sometimes seems as if they deserve their (often dire) fate. Likewise, some of the so-called bad guys are not quite so bad as you are first led to believe. It is full of twists and at times is incredibly brutal but it is always compelling.

6. Jacqueline Carey – Phèdre’s Trilogy

jcarey

This series is a rare gem. It would normally not have appealed very much to me but after reading many glowing reviews I decided to give this rather erotic fantasy a chance. I am glad that I did as it is a truly stunning series with flawed but incredibly real characters. It is set in a medieval world which relates to our own world – it is based in France (or Terre d’Ange as it is called in the book) and is a nation filled by the progeny of angels. The main character Phèdre is a courtesan, one who is addicted to pain. If this sounds unappealing do not worry – it is nowhere near as  bad as it sounds and Phèdre is actually a wonderfully complex character who somehow manages to be relatable.

7. Lynn Flewelling – Tamír Triad

lynn flewelling

I very much enjoyed Lynn Flewelling’s earlier Nightrunner series but this series is even better. It is about a Prince called Tobin who is actually a girl but doesn’t know it (not a spoiler – this is made very clear right at the outset). Tobin was born a girl but was changed by a dark magic. Tobin has no idea that he was born a girl yet there are signs that something is different about him which only becomes more noticeable with the onset of puberty. It is a fascinating tale of gender roles and identity set in a fantasy setting (the world in which the events take place is also a fascinating one and very well-crafted and Tobin’s struggle with his identity somehow never feels contrived or out-of-place in this setting).

8. Katharine Kerr – Deverry series

katharine kerr

This is one of the first fantasy series I read (well after Tolkien of course!) and it still remains a favourite of mine to this day. With its vaguely Celtic setting and the themes of reincarnation and magic, this series really is a standout. I have always been fascinated by the idea that we live many different lives meeting the same people over and over again (not saying I believe it mind you – just that it is interesting to me). It is a tale about forbidden love and redemption. The idea that a person must sometimes make amends for the mistakes they made in a previous life. Such a character is Nevyn – a man who failed his love and seeks her out life after life to atone for this grave error in judgement.

9. Raymond E. Feist & Janny Wurts – The Empire Trilogy

refeist jwurts

This is a spin-off from the Riftwar series. It takes place on the world of Kelewan, running almost parallel to the events of Magician and the following books in Raymond E. Feist’s epic saga. It tells the story of Mara of the Acoma, a young girl who is pulled from her life’s calling as a priestess when her father and brother are brutally killed by an enemy of their house. As the last living survivor of the ruling family, she must take up the mantle of leader and play the deadly Game of the Council, and somehow survive against truly terrible odds. As much as I enjoyed Magician, I feel that this series is much stronger (perhaps due to Janny Wurts’ influence). Mara is a fantastic main character who is every bit as clever and conniving as her male counterparts. She is a strong woman in a very male-dominated society who really shows her mettle when she goes up against those with more power and yet she somehow manages to come out on top (though not in a contrived way).

10. J. R. R. Tolkien – Middle-Earth Universe

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It goes without saying that Tolkien would be on this list. I have always loved these books and the world of Middle-Earth. It is one that I have revisited many times over and will likely continue to do so for many years to come. It was my first real foray into fantasy and the Lord of the Rings remains my number one book of all time.

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Top Ten Books That Will Make You Cry

top ten tuesdayTop Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme created by the Broke and the Bookish. This week’s theme is:

~Top Ten Books That Will Make You Cry~

I hate to admit it but I am a really big fan of books that will make me cry (though to be fair I can even cry at sad TV advertisements!). I am a bit of a softy and tend to get weepy over even the slightest little thing (to this day the scene in the Disney film ‘Dumbo’ where baby Dumbo is reunited with his mother still makes me bawl).

This list ended up being a little easier than last week to compile (last week was my first ever Top Ten Tuesday post!) mainly because sad books are a bit of a guilty pleasure for me. Here is my list (in no particular order):

park1. Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell – a tale of first love and all the pain that comes with it. What really makes the book so hard-hitting is Eleanor and her dreadful home situation. Alternately neglected and terrorized at home (and at school by the local bullies), Eleanor really has it tough and my heart was breaking for her. Luckily she meets fellow misfit Park and a lovely, heartfelt connection grows between the two, nurtured by a shared love of comics and music. I really loved this book and it is the type of story that will bring both sad and happy tears to your eyes.

if i stay2. If I Stay by Gayle Forman –  this was a real, honest to goodness, tearjerker of a book. It is a story of how life can change in a split second and one young girl’s choice about whether she will move on from this or give in. It is devastating, heartbreaking and yet irrevocably hopeful at the same time. The sequel Where She Went is even better though not quite as much of a sobfest.

jellicoe3. Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta – this book gives me all the feels. It is a beautiful and terrible story. So many little tragedies occur within the book’s pages it hard to pick one that is the most upsetting, but for me (given my own situation at the moment) I would have to say it is the fate of Taylor’s mother that gets to me the most. The story is sad without being overtly melodramatic. As hard as some of the characters have it, you never feel like you are being emotionally manipulated. A devastatingly good read and one of my all-time favourites.

sweet4. Sweethearts by Sara Zarr – a truly gut-wrenching novel. This book absolutely captivated me and even though I read it for the first time a year ago, I have thought about it often since. It covers a lot of bleak issues such as bullying, abuse, and neglect but still manages to feel hopeful as well. It does not have a happy ending as such, but it is by no means a sad ending – merely a little bit bittersweet.

suicide5. Suicide Watch by Kelly York –  this books topped my list of favourite reads last year and it definitely deserved to be at that number 1 spot. This book could be described as depressing but that really isn’t doing it any kind of justice. It was sad and bleak without a doubt – it broke my heart on numerous occasions – but it also managed to make me smile. The characters are so broken but when they find each other it is truly beautiful to witness.

crush6. Crush by Laura Susan Johnson – this was a hard book to read. Many times I found myself tearing up or finding it difficult to swallow. The characters are really put through the ringer in this book – that they are in any way functional is a minor miracle unto itself. Jamie and Temmy really stole my heart. I really loved both of them and wanted only good things for them. Unfortunately the suffering these poor boys went through during the course of the novel was extremely unsettling and difficult to read. I almost wanted to purge my brain afterwards yet there was a lot of beauty in their story too which cannot be overlooked. I would say this is one of the most emotionally draining books I had ever read.

teeth7. Teeth by Hannah Moskovitz – Rudy and Teeth (the fishboy) broke my heart. I was gutted (terrible pun I know – just trying to inject some humour!) by the things that happened to Teeth in this book. I found this to be one of the most heart-wrenching stories I have ever read (yes I know that one of the main characters is essentially a merman!). A hard-hitting tale that really hit all my buttons, Teeth manages to be whimsical and utterly brutal at the same time.

tied man8. The Tied Man by Tabitha McGowan – what can I say – stories of abuse hit me right in the feels. The difference with this book is that the one being abused is the hero and it is the heroine who is desperate to save him. I loved Finn and Lilith but their story almost broke me – my heart felt battered to the core by the end of this book and at one point I actually had tears streaming down my face. A beautiful and terrible story of love and desire and how these things can be twisted beyond all recognition.

left drowning9. Left Drowning by Jessica Park – I didn’t think Jessica Park could top her last book Flat-Out Love in the sadness factor but she really managed to outdo herself with Left Drowning. The characters in this book have been through so much – devastating loss, terrible abuse – it is not surprising just how messed up they all are. Blythe and Chris took centre-stage but I found myself more caught up with Sabin and the inner pain that he hides behind an jovial, jolly exterior. A brilliantly sad novel that tore at my emotions – it definitely belongs on this list.

warchild10. Warchild by Karin Lowachee – one of my favourite books EVER. The entire series is devastating and brutal but it was Jos who really stole my soul (he is the POV character in Warchild – the two subsequent books follow different characters but in the same setting). Jos goes through some of the worst abuse you could think of (none of it described in much detail – thank goodness) and although he is fundamentally damaged, there is still hope that he will eventually recover, if he can survive the war-torn universe  in which he resides. This book is dark – really dark – but it is one of the best books I have had the pleasure of reading (probably my number 1 Science Fiction read at the very least). The reader is taken along on a psychological journey in the mind of this young man who is only 8 years old when his life is changed forever. Jos must adapt to some truly horrific situations. There is just something about him that makes me want to gather him up in a hug and tell him it will all be OK (although he would probably kick my ass if I tried!).

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Top Reads of 2013

I must apologise once again for not having posted in some time. I have been going though some tough times in my personal life which has not given me any real time for blogging. I am hoping to rectify this at some point but for now, here are my top reads of 2013.

10: Angelfall by Susan Ee

angelfallSo many people have raved about this book I half-expected it to be a complete disappointment. Luckily (for me) it turned out to be an exciting, adrenaline-filled rush of a book – one I simply could not put down. Penryn was a great protagonist and I really ended up loving Raffe, the ‘fallen’ angel who becomes her companion when Penryn has to save her younger sister Paige from the clutches of a group of angels intent on harming her. 

9: The Tied Man by Tabitha McGowan

tied manThe Tied Man was an enthralling, unnerving and intense read. I felt positively battered when I got to the end of this book but it was well worth the emotional turmoil it put me through. This was a very dark read but was also incredibly emotionally satisfying.

8: Speechless by Hannah Harrington

speechI thoroughly enjoyed Speechless and thought its overall message was a positive one. Protagonist Chelsea learns the hard way the damage passing on a seemingly harmless piece of gossip can cause. Seeing her go from being a rather thoughtless, unlikable character to one with remarkable strength and courage was a joy to read.

7: Sweethearts by Sara Zarr

sweetThis book gutted me. I think it is one of the most heart-breaking books I have ever read. Managing to be both bleak and yet somehow hopeful – this book has stayed with since I first read it. This was my first Sara Zarr novel – it will definitely not be my last.

6: If I Die by Rachel Vincent

if i dieI loved the whole Soul Screamers series but this entry (book 5 of 7) was my favourite. This is where the stakes are truly raised for protagonist Kaylee Cavanaugh. When Kaylee discovers what fate awaits her, she finds herself turning to an unlikely source for help and comfort (and as a total fangirl of this pairing I couldn’t help but squee at this development!!). This was my favourite book series read this year and If I Die was the most exciting and emotional installment.

5: Dark Space by Lisa Henry

dark spaceLisa Henry is a new author for me. I was totally blown away by Dark Space – a truly fantastic space opera saga (and I am overjoyed to find out a sequel is now in the works!!). It was creepy and intense and had an almost claustrophobic atmosphere (being set primarily in a space station on the edge of alien territory) yet at the same time it managed to convey a sweetly compelling love story. The protagonists Brady and Cameron are two very different young men but the bond that grows between them was lovely to behold, even if there was an overwhelming sense of impending doom clouding their developing romance.

4: Sins & Needles by Karina Halle

sinsKarina Halle was another new discovery for me this year. Sins & Needles was the first book written by her that I read. I immediately tore through Karina Halle’s entire back catalogue once I had finished reading this.  Although overall I think I may prefer her Experiment in Terror series, I was totally sucked into this book and I loved the main character Ellie Watt. Her flaws made her seem all the more real and relatable to me (also Camden is one of the hottest love interests I have ever read – definitely my book boyfriend of the year – move over Adrian Ivashkov!!).

3: Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta

jellicoeI had a bit of a Melina Marchetta book fest last year. I read all of her catalogue – except for this book – which I had heard from reliable sources was the best of all her works. I could not convey eloquently enough in words just how brilliant this book is. I would urge anyone who has not already read this to seek it out. It is a fantastic, beautiful, if somewhat initially confusing read. I saved it for a time when I most felt I needed to read it – and the book did not disappoint.

2: Wanderlove by Kirsten Hubbard

wanderloveI adored this book with the strength of a hundred fiery suns. I stated in my original review that it is probably one of the best, if not the very best, YA novels I have ever read. I loved the story of Bria, a young girl who finds herself on a journey through Central America, and her friendship and eventual romance with Rowan, a young wanderer she meets on her travels. An evocative and inspirational book – I could not put it down. When I finished reading I almost wished I hadn’t read it yet so I could discover it all over again.

1: Suicide Watch by Kelley York

suicideThe number one spot was a close call for me but in the end I had to go with Kelley York’s Suicide Watch. This book has left a lasting impression on me and I have actually re-read it several times already this year. This book made me feel – it completely and utterly captivated me. It manages to be both depressing yet completely uplifting at the same time. Suicide Watch is a truly beautiful story that will haunt me for a long, long time.

Honourable mentions:

These books just fell short of my top ten but were exceptional reads that I would wholly recommend:

Teeth by Hannah Moskowitz
Paper Valentine by Brenna Yovanoff
Crush by Laura Susan Johnson
Know Not Why by Hannah Johnson
The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater