My Top 10 Reads

Top Ten of 2012

In my opinion, these are all 5 Star books.

 The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern.
Pub Date: September 13, 2011.
Read in: June 2012.

Goodreads Summary:
The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not. Within the black-and-white striped canvas tents is an utterly unique experience full of breathtaking amazements. It is called Le Cirque des Rêves, and it is only open at night. 

But behind the scenes, a fierce competition is underway—a duel between two young magicians, Celia and Marco, who have been trained since childhood expressly for this purpose by their mercurial instructors. Unbeknownst to them, this is a game in which only one can be left standing, and the circus is but the stage for a remarkable battle of imagination and will. Despite themselves, however, Celia and Marco tumble headfirst into love—a deep, magical love that makes the lights flicker and the room grow warm whenever they so much as brush hands. 

True love or not, the game must play out, and the fates of everyone involved, from the cast of extraordinary circus per­formers to the patrons, hang in the balance, suspended as precariously as the daring acrobats overhead. 

Written in rich, seductive prose, this spell-casting novel is a feast for the senses and the heart.


The Book Thief by Markus Zusak.
Pub Date: March 14, 2006.
Read in: March 2012.

Goodreads Summary: 
It’s just a small story really, about among other things: a girl, some words, an accordionist, some fanatical Germans, a Jewish fist-fighter, and quite a lot of thievery....

Narrated by Death, Markus Zusak’s groundbreaking new novel is the story of Liesel Meminger, a young foster girl living outside of Munich in Nazi Germany. Liesel scratches out a meager existence for herself by stealing when she encounters something she can’t resist – books. Soon she is stealing books from Nazi book-burnings, the mayor's wife's library, wherever they are to be found.

With the help of her accordion-playing foster father, Liesel learns to read and shares her stolen books with her neighbors during bombing raids, as well as with the Jewish man hidden in her basement.

This is an unforgettable story about the ability of books to feed the soul.

Venom by Fiona Paul.
Pub Date: October 30, 2012.
Read in: November 2012.

Goodreads Summary:

Cassandra Caravello is one of Renaissance Venice’s lucky elite: with elegant gowns, sparkling jewels, her own lady’s maid, and a wealthy fiancé, she has everything a girl could desire. Yet ever since her parents’ death, Cassandra has felt trapped, alone in a city of water, where the dark and labyrinthine canals whisper of escape.

When Cass stumbles upon a murdered woman—practically in her own backyard—she’s drawn into a dangerous world of courtesans, killers, and secret societies. Soon, she finds herself falling for Falco, a mysterious artist with a mischievous grin... and a spectacular skill for trouble. Can Cassandra find the murderer, before he finds her? And will she stay true to her fiancé, or succumb to her uncontrollable feelings for Falco?

Beauty, love, romance, and mystery weave together in a stunning novel that’s as seductive and surprising as the city of Venice itself.


Monsters of Men by Patrick Ness. (Chaos Walking Trilogy #3)
Pub Date: May 3, 2010.
Read in: August 2012.

Goodreads Summary:
"War," says the Mayor. "At last." Three armies march on New Prentisstown, each one intent on destroying the others. Todd and Viola are caught in the middle, with no chance of escape. As the battles commence, how can they hope to stop the fighting? How can there ever be peace when they're so hopelessly outnumbered? And if war makes monsters of men, what terrible choices await? But then a third voice breaks into the battle, one bent on revenge - the electrifying finale to the award-winning "Chaos Walking" trilogy, Monsters of Men is a heart-stopping novel about power, survival, and the devastating realities of war.

Fury by Elizabeth Miles
Pub Date: August 30, 2011.
Read in: October 2012.

Goodreads Summary:

It’s winter break in Ascension, Maine. The snow is falling and everything looks pristine and peaceful. But all is not as it seems... Em is thrilled that the guy she’s been into for months is finally noticing her. But if she starts things with him, there’s no turning back. Because his girlfriend is Em’s best friend. And on the other side of town, Chase’s social life is unraveling and the stress of his home life is starting to take its toll. But that’s nothing compared to what’s really haunting him. Chase has done something cruel....And it’s only a matter of time before he’s exposed.

In Ascension, mistakes can be deadly. There are three girls—three beautiful, mysterious girls—to choose who will pay. Em and Chase have been chosen.

Ten Cents a Dance by Christine Fletcher.
Pub Date: April 1, 2008.
Read in: September 2012.

Goodreads Summary: 
With her mother ill, it’s up to fifteen-year-old Ruby Jacinski to support her family. But in the 1940s, the only opportunities open to a Polish-American girl from Chicago’s poor Yards is a job in one of the meat packing plants. Through a chance meeting with a local tough, Ruby lands a job as a taxi dancer and soon becomes an expert in the art of “fishing”: working her patrons for meals, cash, clothes, even jewelry. Drawn ever deeper into the world of dance halls, jazz, and the mob, Ruby gradually realizes that the only one who can save her is herself.  A mesmerizing look into a little known world and era.

People's Republic by Robert Muchamore (Aramov Series #1)
Pub Date: August 4, 2011.
Read in: July 2012.

Goodreads Summary:
What links a drugs smuggler, a corrupt customs official and the illegal immigrant who made your lunchtime sandwich?

Ryan Sharma's about to find out.

Ryan is the newest recruit to CHERUB. Twelve years old, just out of basic training and as green as grass. He's got his first mission: befriending Ethan Aramov, a spoilt rich kid living in California whose grandmother just happens to run a billion-dollar criminal empire. Ryan's got no idea that his routine first mission will turn into one of the biggest in CHERUB history...


The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater.
Pub Date: October 18, 2011.
Read in: October 2012.

Goodreads Summary:
It happens at the start of every November: the Scorpio Races. Riders attempt to keep hold of their water horses long enough to make it to the finish line. Some riders live. Others die.

At age nineteen, Sean Kendrick is the returning champion. He is a young man of few words, and if he has any fears, he keeps them buried deep, where no one else can see them.

Puck Connolly is different. She never meant to ride in the Scorpio Races. But fate hasn’t given her much of a chance. So she enters the competition — the first girl ever to do so. She is in no way prepared for what is going to happen.


A Woman in Berlin by Anonymous.
Pub Date: 1954.
Read in: February 2012.

Goodreads Summary:
For eight weeks in 1945, as Berlin fell to the Russian army, a young woman kept a daily record of life in her apartment building and among its residents. "With bald honesty and brutal lyricism" (Elle), the anonymous author depicts her fellow Berliners in all their humanity, as well as their cravenness, corrupted first by hunger and then by the Russians. "Spare and unpredictable, minutely observed and utterly free of self-pity" (The Plain Dealer, Cleveland), A Woman in Berlin tells of the complex relationship between civilians and an occupying army and the shameful indignities to which women in a conquered city are always subject--the mass rape suffered by all, regardless of age or infirmity.


The Help by Kathryn Stockett.
Pub Date: February 10, 2009.
Read in: April 2012.

Goodreads Summary:
Three ordinary women are about to take one extraordinary step.
Twenty-two-year-old Skeeter has just returned home after graduating from Ole Miss. She may have a degree, but it is 1962, Mississippi, and her mother will not be happy till Skeeter has a ring on her finger. Skeeter would normally find solace with her beloved maid Constantine, the woman who raised her, but Constantine has disappeared and no one will tell Skeeter where she has gone.
Aibileen is a black maid, a wise, regal woman raising her seventeenth white child. Something has shifted inside her after the loss of her own son, who died while his bosses looked the other way. She is devoted to the little girl she looks after, though she knows both their hearts may be broken.
Minny, Aibileen's best friend, is short, fat, and perhaps the sassiest woman in Mississippi. She can cook like nobody's business, but she can't mind her tongue, so she's lost yet another job. Minny finally finds a position working for someone too new to town to know her reputation. But her new boss has secrets of her own.
Seemingly as different from one another as can be, these women will nonetheless come together for a clandestine project that will put them all at risk. And why? Because they are suffocating within the lines that define their town and their times. And sometimes lines are made to be crossed.
In pitch-perfect voices, Kathryn Stockett creates three extraordinary women whose determination to start a movement of their own forever changes a town, and the way women - mothers, daughters, caregivers, friends - view one another. A deeply moving novel filled with poignancy, humor, and hope, The Help is a timeless and universal story about the lines we abide by, and the ones we don't.

Honourable Mention:
The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness. (Chaos Walking Trilogy #1).
Pub Date: May 5, 2008.
Read in: August 2012.

Goodreads Summary:
Prentisstown isn't like other towns. Everyone can hear everyone else's thoughts in an overwhelming, never-ending stream of Noise. Just a month away from the birthday that will make him a man, Todd and his dog, Manchee -- whose thoughts Todd can hear too, whether he wants to or not -- stumble upon an area of complete silence. They find that in a town where privacy is impossible, something terrible has been hidden -- a secret so awful that Todd and Manchee must run for their lives.

But how do you escape when your pursuers can hear your every thought?

Top Ten of 2013

I want to to wrap up 2013 by giving a shout-out to some of the absolutely fantastic books I've read this year. I'll start with a "top ten" (not actually ten exactly, but whatever. It's my blog and I can cheat on lists if I want to). This was REALLY hard, guys. Really hard. I'm not going to do it list-style because it's way too hard to actually rank them. Instead, I'll just divide them up by category and chat about them.

Historical Fiction: 

No surprise that the biggest number of favourites from this year comes from this genre.

Code Name Verity and Rose Under Fire by Elizabeth Wein.
What can I possibly say about these books that hasn't already been said? They're incredible historical fiction novels that bring forward some complex, beautiful stories and absolutely wonderful female friendships.
My review of Code Name Verity.

Tarnish by Katherine Longshore.
Katherine's take on Anne Boleyn is one of the most compelling and engrossing I've ever read. She truly brings her and Henry VIII's court to life, depicting the ups and downs and all the emotions that come with them.
My review.

Belladonna by Fiona Paul.
An excellent example of a book that doesn't suffer from second-book syndrome. Belladonna builds on both the story and the characters first introduced in Venom in just the way I want from a middle book in a trilogy while not being afraid to pull out a few surprises. It also provided an excellent set-up for the final book, Starling.
My review.

In the Shadow of Blackbirds by Cat Winters.
Atmospheric, ghostly, twisted... my goodness. I can't say this was a book I thought I would love, just because ghosts and whatnot aren't always my thing. But Cat Winters has made a new fan in me after just one book because the way she handled the ghost subject plus the different historical elements she incorporated in so well made it a fascinating read.
My review.

The Caged Graves by Dianne K. Salerni.
Another one I didn't expect to adore as much as I did, but Dianne Salerni's handling of the YA tropes instalove and love triangles was so different and interesting that, combined with the story and the historical setting, I was very pleasantly surprised.
My review.


Not a Drop to Drink by Mindy McGinnis.
One of the books I was most excited about this year turned out to be a hit! Mindy McGinnis' debut story is smart, engrossing, and harsh but not without hope. The world she created and the relationships that form between her characters were so interesting to explore and I'm so glad I enjoyed this one as much as I did.
My review.


Cinder and Scarlet by Marissa Meyer.
Marissa Meyer has created a series that she is weaving together with such skill that only becomes more clear as it goes on. It has fun and loveable characters, an inventive story, and such a cool futuristic world. I get completely caught up in these books.
My reviews of Cinder and Scarlet.


Canary by Rachele Alpine.
Canary is a strong, heart-wrenching story about how harmful our society's negative rape culture really is for the individuals who have to deal with it directly. It is not a light story, but it is an important one and I thought Rachele Alpine handled it very well.
My review.

The Distance Between Us by Kasie West.
This, on the other hand, is a rather light, cute story and I absolutely adored this Pretty In Pink-esque romance. The MC is a little quirky and the love interest turns out to be pretty great, and overall this was just the kind of thing I look for in a cute romance novel.


There's only one book in this category (boo to not finding high fantasy to love this year) and though I don't know how I'd categorize it, Goodreads says fantasy, so that's what I'm going with.

The Archived by Victoria Schwab.
This novel is one of the most original and imaginative that I've read in a long time. It has a twist on the world unlike any I've seen before and I absolutely loved that. Not to mention that there are some truly wonderful characters whom I wish were real people because I really would love to be friends with Wes.

2014 Releases That Make the Cut:

I've read a few 2014 releases already and four of them were absolutely fantastic and definitely deserve spots on this list. So, in the order I read them:

Starling by Fiona Paul.
The Art of Lainey by Pauka Stokes.

Cress by Marissa Meyer.
Brazen by Katherine Longshore

Top "Ten" of 2014:

I read some really fantastic books and I loved them for various reasons and honestly there was no way I was going to get it narrowed down to just ten. So here are my thirteen favourite books I read in 2014 and four 2014 releases that I read and loved in 2013. This post is me officially vouching for all of them.

2014 Releases:

A Mad, Wicked Folly by Sharon Biggs Waller

Prisoner of Night and Fog by Anne Blankman

Maid of Deception by Jennifer McGowan

The Young Elites by Marie Lu

Nil by Lynne Matson

Rites of Passage by Joy N. Hensley

The Unbound by Victoria Schwab

The Kiss of Deception by Mary E. Pearson

A Thousand Pieces of You by Claudia Gray

Previously Released:

Vicious by V.E. Schwab

Dark Triumph by Robin LaFevers

2015 Release:

Under a Painted Sky by Stacey Lee

Most Unique, Unexpected Love of the Year: 

Fave 2014 Releases Read in 2013:

Cress by Marissa Meyer

Starling by Fiona Paul

The Art of Lainey by Paula Stokes

Brazen by Katherine Longshore

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