Top Ten Books I Wouldn’t Mind Santa Bringing Me This Year

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created here at The Broke and the Bookish. This week’s post is about the  Top Ten Books I wouldn’t mind Santa putting under my tree.

1. The Sleeper and the Spindle – Neil Gaiman

sleeper

A thrillingly reimagined fairy tale from the truly magical combination of author Neil Gaiman and illustrator Chris Riddell – weaving together a sort-of Snow White and an almost Sleeping Beauty with a thread of dark magic, which will hold readers spellbound from start to finish.

2. Station Eleven – Emily St. John Mandel

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An audacious, darkly glittering novel set in the eerie days of civilization’s collapse, Station Eleven tells the spellbinding story of a Hollywood star, his would-be savior, and a nomadic group of actors roaming the scattered outposts of the Great Lakes region, risking everything for art and humanity.

3. The Enchanted – by Rene Denfeld

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A wondrous and redemptive debut novel, set in a stark world where evil and magic coincide, The Enchanted combines the empathy and lyricism of Alice Sebold with the dark, imaginative power of Stephen King.

4. Lexicon – by Max Barry

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At an exclusive school somewhere outside of Arlington, Virginia, students aren’t taught history, geography, or mathematics–at least not in the usual ways. Instead, they are taught to persuade. Here the art of coercion has been raised to a science. Students harness the hidden power of language to manipulate the mind and learn to break down individuals by psychographic markers in order to take control of their thoughts. The very best will graduate as “poets”, adept wielders of language who belong to a nameless organization that is as influential as it is secretive.

5. Boy, Snow, Bird – by Helen Oyeyemi

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In the winter of 1953, Boy Novak arrives by chance in a small town in Massachusetts, looking, she believes, for beauty—the opposite of the life she’s left behind in New York. She marries a local widower and becomes stepmother to his winsome daughter, Snow Whitman.

6. Cruel Beauty – by Rosamund Hodge

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Based on the classic fairy tale Beauty and the Beast, Cruel Beauty is a dazzling love story about our deepest desires and their power to change our destiny.

7. Pretty Little Dead Girls: A Novel of Murder and Whimsy –

by Mercedes M. Yardley

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BRYONY ADAMS IS DESTINED TO BE MURDERED, but fortunately Fate has terrible marksmanship. In order to survive, she must run as far and as fast as she can. After arriving in Seattle, Bryony befriends a tortured musician, a market fish-thrower, and a starry-eyed hero who is secretly a serial killer bent on fulfilling Bryony’s dark destiny.

8. The Book of Lost Things – by John Connolly

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High in his attic bedroom, twelve-year-old David mourns the death of his mother, with only the books on his shelf for company. But those books have begun to whisper to him in the darkness. Angry and alone, he takes refuge in his imagination and soon finds that reality and fantasy have begun to meld. While his family falls apart around him, David is violently propelled into a world that is a strange reflection of his own — populated by heroes and monsters and ruled by a faded king who keeps his secrets in a mysterious book, The Book of Lost Things.

9. The Magicians – by Lev Grossman

magicians.

Quentin Coldwater is brillant but miserable. He’s a senior in high school, and a certifiable genius, but he’s still secretly obsessed with a series of fantasy novels he read as a kid, about the adventures of five children in a magical land called Fillory. Compared to that, anything in his real life just seems gray and colorless.

10.  The Cure for Dreaming – by Cat Winters

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Olivia Mead is a headstrong, independent girl—a suffragist—in an age that prefers its girls to be docile. It’s 1900 in Oregon, and Olivia’s father, concerned that she’s headed for trouble, convinces a stage mesmerist to try to hypnotize the rebellion out of her. But the hypnotist, an intriguing young man named Henri Reverie, gives her a terrible gift instead: she’s able to see people’s true natures, manifesting as visions of darkness and goodness, while also unable to speak her true thoughts out loud.

How about you? What books would you want Santa to put under your tree this year??

Book Review: Prince Lestat by Anne Rice

Book Review: Prince Lestat by Anne RicePrince Lestat (The Vampire Chronicles, #11) by Anne Rice
Published by Knopf Publishing Group on October 28th 2014
Genres: Fantasy, Fiction, Horror, Paranormal, Supernatural
Pages: 458
Goodreads

The vampire world is in crisis – their kind have been proliferating out of control and, thanks to technologies undreamed of in previous centuries, they can communicate as never before. Roused from their earth-bound slumber, ancient ones are in thrall to the Voice: which commands that they burn fledgling vampires in cities from Paris to Mumbai, Hong Kong to Kyoto and San Francisco. Immolation, huge massacres, have commenced all over the world.
Who – or what – is the Voice? What does it desire, and why?
There is only one vampire, only one blood drinker, truly known to the entire world of the Undead. Will the dazzling hero-wanderer, the dangerous rebel-outlaw Lestat heed the call to unite the Children of Darkness as they face this new twilight?
Anne Rice’s epic, luxuriant, fiercely ambitious new novel brings together all the worlds and beings of the legendary Vampire Chronicles, from present-day New York and Ancient Egypt to fourth-century Carthage and Renaissance Venice; from Louis de Pointe du Lac; Armand the eternally young; Mekare and Maharet; to Pandora and Flavius; David Talbot, vampire and ultimate fixer from the Secret Talamasca; and Marius, the true child of the Millennia. It also introduces many other seductive supernatural creatures, and heralds significant new blood.

ATTENTION: SPOILERS AHEAD. Do not continue to read if you don’t want to have a few things spoiled for you. 

Like many of the readers of The Vampire Chronicles, I started reading them in my teenage years. I fell in love with the characters and their elaborate lifestyles and stories. I loved the richness of the books, the decadent descriptions and the dramatic atmosphere. I have re-read most of the Vampire Chronicles while waiting of this new book Prince Lestat, and though Interview with The Vampire and The Vampire Lestat are still favorites of mine, I can not say the same for this book.

Let’s start with what I sort of liked….

* Lestat- He is back, and looking as splendid as ever and dressed to impress as always. Though I wanted him to be more like the Lestat of Interview, but what I got was a much more “grown-up” Lestat…and what fun is that?

*Louis- Dearest Louis is back in all his tragic beauty, though he is not in the book enough for my liking and basically becomes just another piece of the scenery.

*Trinity Place- The house where Armand lives in NYC with Louis, and his other little darlings. This house sounds awesome, and I wish I owned it. The fact that it has multiple libraries sealed the deal for me.

* The Clothing- If this book ever gets made into a movie (Hopefully a movie that will be more Interview with the Vampire and not the atrocity that was Queen of the Damned) I can only imagine how gorgeous and beautiful the costumes are going to be.

Now for the things that really peeved me….

* The Tribe- OMG…if I hear the word tribe one more time, I might start breaking things. We heard Benji enough, we understand that the immortals are now a “tribe”. Seriously, every other sentence at one point had the word “tribe” in it, and it drove me nuts.

* Maharet’s death- With all the knowledge  Fareed has (new scientist vampire character) you are telling me that he could not figure out how to get the “core” out of Maharet without her having to sacrifice herself?

*Rose and Viktor- ::gag:: The fact that Rose is like a “pet” child to Lestat is bad enough and that through her childhood he spoils her rotten. It is the fact that she is weak, and this delicate flower that will break into a million pieces. It was just annoying to have almost every single female character in the book be either helpless or weak or without much to say. As for Viktor, the mortal child of Lestat. Really? Really? This of course happens thanks to Fareed and science but it is almost as bad as when Edward got Bella pregnant in Twilight (not that those vampires could ever be compared to these…after all there don’t sparkle…thankfully). BTW,  they are in love, and both are given the dark gift. How absolutely more obvious and predictable can it get? Oh Anne…why? why?

* Bible-like Chapters- There are chapters that go on and on and on about the history, lineage and back history of many of these “ancient” vampires and they can be very dull. I might have fallen asleep at least once or twice with the book in my hand during such chapters.

*The Voice or Amel or the Sacred Core (whatever you call him)-  He not only gets on the nerves of the vampires in this book because he gets in their heads and “talks” to them, he also gets on the nerves of the reader. He is the “villain” of this story, at least he is in the beginning as he tries to kill off all the young vampires because they are a drain to his own power being stretched out too thin. Once Lestat takes the host into himself, this Voice goes from threats to basically becoming domicile and loving to the “tribe”. Yeah…okay. Sure.

*Pages and Pages of flowery overly descriptive filler- I used to love how rich in details Anne’s previous novels were, but maybe that’s because I was young and had plenty of time to read pages and pages describing every detail of how resplendent Lestat’s hair was or how perfectly attired in Armani suits he was, or how every single room has gold leaf tables, mirrors, frescos etc. It’s nice to have the beautiful descriptions, but sometimes less is more, and these get a little too winded for me these days.

*IPhones- Did they pay Rice to use the iPhone so much? Every time there needed to be a phone call made, it couldn’t just be made from the cellphone, it had to be very specifically an IPhone. Nothing against IPhones (I own one myself), but it felt like product placement, like she did it because she had to. Then again maybe Anne just really loves her IPhone.

*The Ending, you don’t even get to see Prince Lestat “rule” at his court…after all that buildup, all that anticipation, you are left with no satisfaction. Though you are left thinking that possibly there will be another book…or maybe not.

I really, REALLY wanted this book to live up to all the hype and all my love for Anne’s work. Sadly it did not. It kills me to give it only 2.5 Stars…and the .5 is because this book  allowed me the opportunity to meet Anne Rice and get the book signed by her, (which was an amazing experience) but I now wish I had my copy of Interview with the Vampire signed in place of this one.

Do I regret reading it? No…I don’t, not really. At the end of the day, this book is part of my beloved Vampire Chronicles and I will cherish it along with the others. It gave us fans Lestat again, even if he is a little “older”. I would recommend it to DIE HARD fan, and to others only reading it after having read the previous books so that you actually come to care enough for Lestat to put yourself through reading this latest addition to his story.

**This review was originally posted on Reading In The Tardis**

Book Review: The Wonder of All Things by Jason Mott

Book Review: The Wonder of All Things by Jason MottThe Wonder of All Things by Jason Mott
Published by Mira on September 30th 2014
Genres: Contemporary, Fiction, Magical Realism, Romance
Pages: 304
Goodreads
three-stars

From critically acclaimed and New York Times bestselling author Jason Mott comes a spellbinding tale of love, sacrifice and the power of miracles.
On an ordinary day, at an air show like that in any small town across the country, a plane crashes into a crowd of spectators, killing and injuring dozens. But when the dust clears, a thirteen-year-old girl named Ava is found huddled beneath a pocket of rubble with her best friend, Wash. He is injured and bleeding, and when Ava places her hands over him, his wounds miraculously disappear. Ava has a unique gift: she can heal others of their physical ailments. Until the air show tragedy, her gift was a secret. But now the whole world knows, and suddenly Ava is thrust into the spotlight. People from all over the globe begin flocking to her small town, looking for healing and eager to glimpse the wonder of a miracle. But Ava's unusual ability comes at a great cost, her own health, and as she grows weaker with each healing, Ava begins searching for an escape. Wash agrees to help Ava, but little does she know he has his own secret he's been harboring, and soon Ava finds herself having to decide just how much she's willing to sacrifice in order to save the one she loves most.

The Wonder of All Things by Jason Mott is  set in a small town of Stone Temple. Like most small towns everyone knows everyone else, and they generally spend their entire lives there without any need or want to go anyplace else. Things begin to change for this little town when during an airplane stunt show, one of the airplane crashes and almost kills Ava Campbell’s best friend Wash. The reason Wash does not die, is because Ava has a special ability that allows her to heal people.

The news starts getting out about “The Miracle Child” and soon the town is flooded with all sorts of people who want a little piece of Ava. From reports, churches, doctors and people seeking to be cured or to have their loved ones cured Ava is in high demand. The catch is that every time thirteen year old Ava heals someone, she becomes weaker.

Ava’s father is the sheriff of the town and he is struggling with potentially using his daughter’s gift to better their family’s life. Ava is also struggling with how much she should say about what the costs of using her power means. She feels guilty because she can only do so much, without completely destroying herself in the process.  Does she “have” to help others? What about just for her family? What gives people the right to “expect” you to help them just because they think you owe it to them? Should she sacrifice herself? Is she being selfish if she chooses to not save/heal someone so that she can stay alive and healthy?
I think Jason Mott has a beautiful story here, it is well written and the depictions of the town,  the people and the surroundings pull you right into the story.  I enjoyed reading this book, it was very poetic in places though I felt it seemed a bit rushed as things came to an end. In the end though, I am still thinking fondly of Ava and Wash and about all the questions that were raised in this book, and how I would handle them if I were ever in a similar situation.

**This review was originally posted on Reading In The Tardis**

three-stars

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Books I Read In 2014

 

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Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created here at The Broke and the Bookish. Today we answer the question of what our Top Ten Books of 2014 were.

2014 was a super busy year for us. Especially for me, with all the preparations for my wedding in September, the family gatherings and getting my new home ready to be moved into it was tough having free time to read as much as I wanted. I generally stuck with re-reading some classics such from Jane Austen such as  Pride and Prejudice (because you can never read it enough), Erin Morgenstern’s The Night Circus ( only my 10th or 11th time reading it)  and some short stories by Neil Gaiman. My TBR stack and list for 2014 is going to collapse over to 2015, but that’s okay. So I am keeping the below list to only NEW not yet best books I read in 2014.

1. The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender

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2.The Slow Regard of Silent Things

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3. The Silkworm

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4. The Fault in Our Stars

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5. The Book Thief

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6. The Raven Boys

THE RAVEN BOYS

7. The Dream Thief

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8. Blue Lily, Lily Blue

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9. The Shining GirlsThe Shining Girls

10. The Thirteenth Tale

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Hopefully 2015 will bring more new titles and stories my way, and also a bit more free time to enjoy the pleasure of reading. I already have a full list of 2015 releases that I can’t wait for. What are some of your favorite reads of 2014? What books are you looking forward to reading in 2015?

Blue Lily, Lily Blue by Maggie Stiefvater

Blue Lily, Lily Blue by Maggie StiefvaterBlue Lily, Lily Blue (The Raven Cycle, #3) by Maggie Stiefvater
Published by Scholastic Press on October 21st 2014
Genres: Fantasy, Magic, Young Adult
Pages: 391
Goodreads
five-stars

There is danger in dreaming. But there is even more danger in waking up.
Blue Sargent has found things. For the first time in her life, she has friends she can trust, a group to which she can belong. The Raven Boys have taken her in as one of their own. Their problems have become hers, and her problems have become theirs.
The trick with found things though, is how easily they can be lost.
Friends can betray. Mothers can disappear. Visions can mislead. Certainties can unravel.

If you haven’t read the first two books…STOP HERE. SPOILERS AHEAD.

The book begins right where we left off, or at least close enough. The boys (Gansey, Ronan, Adam and Noah) along with Blue Sargent are still on the hunt for the lost king Glendower. Blue’s mother is still missing. The Gray man’s ex-boss Greenmantle is now in Henrietta seeking his revenge on the Gray man and all he holds dear.

Like the first two books that came before, this one does not disappoint. If anything it leaves you with the WTF??? and looking for the rest of the pages because Maggie did not just stop writing and leave us with this crazy OMG,OMG, OMG  cliffhanger….but yes…yes she does. The magic and wonder are still there. The sweetness that is Noah is still there, ever more endearing, and so very sad. Please Maggie let something nice happen to Noah in the next book. Pretty please with sugar on top?

And let me just say you will laugh, and yell and cry…possibly all at once at some point while reading this book, and the previous two as well.

Simply put it was brilliant! As magical and whimsical as I expected it to be and more.  I don’t think I am yet able to put down in words how much I have fallen in love with this series. The fact that I am deeply devoted to every single character in the series says wonders. Maggie Stiefvater has developed them fully and they each have their own story and background. I just love that!

(tiny Spoiler ahead about a scene from the book)

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My newest obsession is Ronan and Adam…not sure where she is going with them, but how sweet was it that Ronan not only made Adam a mix tape but also left hand cream for Adam’s chapped hands on the seat of Adam’s car? It was freaking ADORABLE, yup…that is what it was.

Then of course there is the secret phone calls between Blue and Gansey, and god I hope that the prophecy about what will happen to Blue’s true love if she kisses him does not come to pass, because I will be so very heartbroken about it.

If you haven’t read this series yet….GO DO IT NOW! 🙂

I leave you with …

“Squash one, Squash two, Squash three….”

Do you plan on reading Blue Lily, Lily Blue? Have you finished it already? Share with us what you thought of it, or let’s just fangirl/boy together over The Raven Cycle series together.

**This review was originally posted on Reading In The Tardis**

five-stars