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Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Books of 2013

ImageAyyyy, it’s time for Top Ten Tuesday! This is a weekly book meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish!

2013 has almost come to an end (can you believe it?!), so I thought it’d be fitting to squeeze in a Top 10 of my favorite books this year…The books on this list weren’t necessarily released in 2013– I just read them in 2013.

So…LET THE COUNTDOWN COMMENCE.

10) Mistwood by Leah Cypress

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I just fell in love with the originality of the main character…I mean, how many other books out there have mythical, all-powerful beings as their main characters? None that I’ve read, that’s for certain. Think about how cool it would be to have that kind of power…Think about all those mere mortals you could cut in line at Taco Bell…

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9) The Cold King by Amber Jaeger

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Typical “Beauty and the Beast” retelling…but still so sweet. The love interest here is a bit cold (as is evident…from the title…why do I even try…), but by the end of the book, he had my heart melting.

8) Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver

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I loved, loved, loved this. The entire Groundhog Day-esque plot was beautifully executed, and I loved how we could peel back one more slice of the plot with each day Sam had to relive. And the love interest…

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Well, I guess I’ll leave you to figure that out for yourself.

7) The Emperor’s Edge by Lindsay Buroker

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Not as well-known as some of the other books on this list, but amazing nevertheless. I loved the  hardworking, likeable main character and loved even more her absolutely swoon-worthy love interest. Who doesn’t go weak in the knees for master assassins? I mean, I’m not the only one, right?…RIGHT?!

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6) Scarlet by Marissa Meyer

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I’d been waiting for this sequel to Cinder for forever. I waited so long in fact that I almost had to check myself in to the hospital for mental degeneration. Ah, yes. When I downloaded that book onto my Kindle, I was, like:

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Good times, good times.

Anyways! With its clever take on “Little Red Riding Hood” and its unique and fast-paced plot elements, this one easily earned a spot on my Top Ten. After I read it, I actually did check myself in to the hospital because the book was so amazing it had stunned my brain cells.

5) Archangel by Sharon Shinn

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The world-building here was freaking amazing. Angels and humans co-exist. God is a spaceship. The authority of angels is collapsing. I just…I just…I JUST–

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4) Dark Triumph by Robin LaFevers

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I fell in love with the first book, Grave Mercy, and Dark Triumph more than lived up to my expectations. With its dark, mature themes and subtle fantasy elements, this one was both a chilling and thrilling read. Plus, the whole not-insanely-good-looking-love-interest thing was pretty cool, too.

3) Flame of Sevenwaters by Juliet Marillier

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I pretty much love anything Juliet Marillier has ever written, but this was the only book of hers that I read this year. Unsurprisingly, it was as amazing as you would expect a book in this series to be. An adventure into another world, a prophecy, and a special bond between human and animal…this book had all the old Irish mythology and whimsical prose that I fell in love with when I first read Daughter of the Forest.

2) Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas

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AHHHHHHHHHHH. I waited so long for this book, it’s not even funny. I FREAKING LOVED THIS. Crown of Midnight is the sequel to the amazing Throne of Glass, and it was so intense, I felt like was in a freaking Matrix movie. Blood, insanity, romance…It was a darker, tenser, more heart-wrenching version of its predecessor, and if you haven’t read it yet, I demand that you go to Amazon and buy it now. Go on, now. Go. GO. BUY IT. BUY IT NOW.

1) Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo

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Here is what happened when I first got this book:

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As you can see, this is a picture of the color black.  I probably blacked out in sheer joy at least, I’d say, a good seventy-two times while I pored my eyes over this beautiful piece of wonder.

The character development and the setting and the Darkling and Stormhund and the amazing new powers that Alina develops…This book was just so action-packed and riveting and chilling…The ending, especially, was heart-breaking. I don’t think I can further explain this book without spiraling into a series of intense seizures.

– – -And that’s it for now! Make sure to subscribe for more bookish loveliness. Until then, keep dreaming, my friends!

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Rory by Ciye Cho – Book Review

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Title: Rory

Author: Ciye Cho

Rating: 3 out of 5 hoots

Hey, y’all! I haven’t gotten around to posting because junior year is a killjoy. Homework is the bane of my existence. Sigh.

Anyways! I recently received from the wonderful Ciye Cho a free copy of his newest book Rory! Cho is also the author of Florence, Luminaire, and a whole bunch of other goodies. Check them out if you have time!

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And onto the book review! I’ll be honest. The book had its awesome parts and it’s not-so-awesome parts. There were times where I wanted to hug my kindle until it exploded and times where I actually just wanted my kindle to explode.

Rory is a young adult fantasy which throws our protagonist from her disjointed life in the real world to a different realm altogether. An ordinary girl with a love for cake designing, one day, Rory is suddenly abducted by a gargoyle and spirited away to Palladino, a city of ghosts. Here, a Purgatory of sorts, spirits who are not ready to advance to the afterlife create their own semblance of everyday life.

Rory is one of many girls being trained to be “consorts” to the ghost lords in the city…companions to provide memories and human comfort. Palladino, however, hides many secrets, and Rory is soon swept up in its mystique. Who can she trust? Who should she fear? Is there a way out?

The idea of this all intrigued me. A ghost city? Ghost lords? A school to train consorts? Count me in! There is no doubt that this concept is an original one.

I did, however, have a few qualms about the story.

I felt like the book was in terrible need of an editor. Though the writing could be lovely at times, it was drowned out by the technical errors and awkward sentence structures. Take this sentence, for example: “I can’t remember the last time she said that, and this saddens me. I head down the lane, and the sky is now a bright orange. This makes me pause.”

The sentences fall flat and lifeless, and the repetition and choppiness of it kills any of the beautiful imagery it could have evoked. With some editing, however, this book would have been considerably improved. It just needs some polishing, that’s all.

The plot for me, too, was a bit mediocre. I felt like the whole story was only half-developed. By the time Rory is out of prep school, the books is already almost halfway done. In fact, much of the book, I felt, was taken up by events pointless to the plot. Things picked up towards the end, but for me, the reader, I was left feeling disappointed. I mean, I liked the book. It was addictive to read and certainly a page-turner, but at times, it felt like large parts of itcould have been condensed. Other, more important parts of the book, on the other hand, could have been expanded. It’s a bummer when you’re reading a book that you enjoy, and it’s almost done with hardly any plot carried through!

The place in which it ended, too, was a bit awkward. When I finished the story, I felt like it wasn’t complete. There are going to be other books in the series, certainly, but I feel like any book that’s in a series should be able to stand on its own. This book, unfortunately, does not.

From all the negative things I’ve been griping about, it probably sounds like I had a horrendous, seizure-inducing time reading this, but that’s completely untrue! Like I said earlier, writing errors aside, this book is gripping.

The setting is mystical and intriguing (Ghost castles? Heeeelll yeah.), and the characters are pretty well-developed overall. Rory was a bit too perfect at times, but she was pretty likeable in general. (Now that I think about it, how did she even win out agains the other girls in the first place? She awed everyone and became the object of their envy despite being “not pretty” and completely disadvantaged…She definitely has an invincibility factor about her. But anyways!) Unlike so many other YA heroines out there, Rory actually felt real. She was hardworking, tough, and fun-loving, and her name earns the book an extra 100 points. I freaking love her name.

And Martin. Ah, Martin our ghost-lord-love-interest. He’s also different from so many stereotypical YA characters, and I love that. He’s not the broody-dark-I-love-you-but-I-can’t-have-you type of guy many authors seem to throw into their stories as a quota. He’s quirky, smart, and a bit socially awkward, and the kissing scene is so cute and awkward that I might have died a little inside when I read it.

Cookie, Martin’s talking ghost cat, is also a favorite. He reminds me of some old cartoon cat, though it’s hard to imagine that a cat would say such human things even if it could talk, but…ah, whatever. He’s adorable. Maybe being a ghost has made him more human…? Idk.

Overall, I give this story three hoots. While it is wonderfully unique with interesting new concepts and archetype-breaking characters, it is also riddled with editing errors and a poor plot structure. This could easily be fixed, however, with the help of a good editor.

If you’re interested in paranormal settings, finishing schools, cute ghost lords, talking cats, and likeable female protagonists with totally cray-cray cake-decorating abilities…this is the book for you!

Go check it out if you’re interested. And thank you once more to Mr. Ciye Cho for the free copy and for his limitless patience as I tried to upload this book review!

As for me, I’m going to return to my daily dose of procrastination. Thanks for tuning in, guys! (Even though this isn’t a radio…Or…is it? DUM DUM DUM.)