For me this week's top ten basically boils down to what kinds of books do you like to read. So I've listed ten and paired them up with some examples of previous books that fit the same mold.
Top Ten Settings Pick #1: Dystopian - Divergent (Divergent, #1) by Veronica Roth
In Beatrice Prior's dystopian Chicago world, society is divided into five factions, each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue--Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). On an appointed day of every year, all sixteen-year-olds must select the faction to which they will devote the rest of their lives. For Beatrice, the decision is between staying with her family and being who she really is--she can't have both. So she makes a choice that surprises everyone, including herself.
During the highly competitive initiation that follows, Beatrice renames herself Tris and struggles alongside her fellow initiates to live out the choice they have made. Together they must undergo extreme physical tests of endurance and intense psychological simulations, some with devastating consequences. As initiation transforms them all, Tris must determine who her friends really are--and where, exactly, a romance with a sometimes fascinating, sometimes exasperating boy fits into the life she's chosen. But Tris also has a secret, one she's kept hidden from everyone because she's been warned it can mean death. And as she discovers unrest and growing conflict that threaten to unravel her seemingly perfect society, she also learns that her secret might help her save those she loves . . . or it might destroy her.
This title will forever be one of my favorites. It has all of my favorite elements. Forbidden romance, a big brother-type government like body that may not be looking out for everyone's best interest. Add in a ton of action and a strong leading character and I'm excited for release day.
Top Ten Settings Pick #2: Contemporary Romance - Beautiful Disaster (Beautiful, #1) by Jamie McGuire
INTENSE. DANGEROUS. ADDICTIVE.
Abby Abernathy is a good girl. She doesn’t drink or swear, and she has the appropriate number of cardigans in her wardrobe. Abby believes she has enough distance from the darkness of her past, but when she arrives at college with her best friend, her path to a new beginning is quickly challenged by Eastern University’s Walking One-Night Stand.
Travis Maddox, lean, cut, and covered in tattoos, is exactly what Abby wants—and needs—to avoid. He spends his nights winning money in a floating fight ring, and his days as the ultimate college campus charmer. Intrigued by Abby’s resistance to his appeal, Travis tricks her into his daily life with a simple bet. If he loses, he must remain abstinent for a month. If Abby loses, she must live in Travis’s apartment for the same amount of time. Either way, Travis has no idea that he has met his match.
While I've always loved the imaginative and creative worlds that can be found in the fantasy genre, there will always be something equally special about a possible real life couple's story as well. And if there are more out there like this favorite of mine by McGuire than you can sign me up!
Top Ten Settings Pick #3: Fantasy - Glimmgerglass (Faeriewalker, #1) by Jenna Black
It's all she's ever wanted to be, but it couldn't be further from her grasp...
Dana Hathaway doesn't know it yet, but she's in big trouble. When her alcoholic mom shows up at her voice recital drunk, again, Dana decides shes had enough and runs away to find her mysterious father in Avalon: the only place on Earth where the regular, everyday world and the captivating, magical world of Faerie intersect. But from the moment Dana sets foot in Avalon, everything goes wrong, for it turns out she isn't just an ordinary teenage girl, she's a Faeriewalker, a rare individual who can travel between both worlds, and the only person who can bring magic into the human world and technology into Faerie.
Dana finds herself tangled up in a cutthroat game of Fae politics. Someone's trying to kill her, and everyone seems to want something from her, from her new found friends and family to Ethan, the hot Fae guy Dana figures she'll never have a chance with...until she does. Caught between two worlds, Dana isn't sure where she'll ever fit in and who can be trusted, not to mention if her world will ever be normal again.
Books are often my break from reality and the stress of every day life. So I often enjoy reading titles that are fantastical enough that I'm not reminded that before long I'll be right back to the normal bump and grind. I like their typical light hearted nature along with their occasional dark side. It's a great recipe for a literature vacation.
Top Ten Settings Pick #4: Angel and Above - Angel Star (Angel Star, #1) by Jennifer Murgia
Seventeen-year-old Teagan McNeel falls for captivating Garreth Adams and soon discovers that her crush has an eight-point star etched into the palm of his right hand; the mark of an angel. But where there is light, dark follows, and she and Garreth suddenly find themselves vulnerable to a dark angel's malicious plan that could threaten not only her life, but the lives of everyone she knows.
Divinely woven together, Angel Star takes readers on a reflective journey when one angel's sacrifice collides with another angel's vicious ambition in a way that is sure to have readers searching for their own willpower.
I have not gotten enough of these lately, but Murgia's work reminds me of everything great about this type of book. Divine intervention, angelic beings, true and unconditional love, and usually a fight that comes down to good vs. evil. I would really like some more of these in 2013.
Top Ten Settings Pick #5: Reality Checks - Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher
Clay Jensen returns home from school to find a mysterious box with his name on it lying on his porch. Inside he discovers thirteen cassette tapes recorded by Hannah Baker, his classmate and crush who committed suicide two weeks earlier.
On tape, Hannah explains that there are thirteen reasons why she decided to end her life. Clay is one of them. If he listens, he'll find out how he made the list.
Through Hannah and Clay's dual narratives, debut author Jay Asher weaves an intricate and heartrending story of confusion and desperation that will deeply affect teen readers.
While the setting could be just about anywhere, I would like to see more books like Asher's previous and memorable release. I call them reality checks because by the time you're finished reading, it's impossible not to reflect. Asher's book had me doing some major thinking and proved to be incredibly eye opening for anyone who came across it.
Top Ten Settings Pick #6: Paranormal Romance - My Blood Approves (My Blood Approves, #1) by Amanda Hocking
Teenager Alice Bonham's life feels crazy after she meets Jack. With his fondness for pink Chuck Taylors and New Wave, he's unlike anyone she knows. Then she meets his brother, Peter. Even though he can't stand the sight of her, she's drawn to him. Falling for two guys isn't even the worst of her problems. Jack and Peter are vampires, and Alice finds herself caught between love and her own blood.
With so many books falling into this category I don't think any of us will ever be out of options for our next read, but some of course are better than others. Hocking's My Blood Approves series had an awesome combination of romance, family ties, intense action and suspense, and of course the right amount of paranormal activity.
Top Ten Settings Pick #7: Romantic Comedy - The Lonely Hearts Club by Elizabeth Eulberg
Love is all you need... or is it? Penny's about to find out in this wonderful debut.
Penny is sick of boys and sick of dating. So she vows: no more. It's a personal choice. . .and, of course, soon everyone wants to know about it. And a few other girls are inspired. A movement is born: The Lonely Hearts Club (named after the band from Sgt. Pepper). Penny is suddenly known for her nondating ways . . . which is too bad, because there's this certain boy she can't help but like. . . .
I often find myself drawn to romances, but when I want to keep things light and upbeat I look to Eulberg and the like. Give me light and flirty, fun and laugh out loud entertainment. That's a winning combination. Romance doesn't always have to be unrequited and full of angst, right?
Top Ten Settings Pick #8: Time Travel - Hourglass (Hourglass, #1) by Myra McEntire
One hour to rewrite the past . . .
For seventeen-year-old Emerson Cole, life is about seeing what isn't there: swooning Southern Belles; soldiers long forgotten; a haunting jazz trio that vanishes in an instant. Plagued by phantoms since her parents' death, she just wants the apparitions to stop so she can be normal. She's tried everything, but the visions keep coming back.
So when her well-meaning brother brings in a consultant from a secretive organization called the Hourglass, Emerson's willing to try one last cure. But meeting Michael Weaver may not only change her future, it may also change her past.
Who is this dark, mysterious, sympathetic guy, barely older than Emerson herself, who seems to believe every crazy word she says? Why does an electric charge seem to run through the room whenever he's around? And why is he so insistent that he needs her help to prevent a death that never should have happened?
I'm not a huge fan of historical fiction/non-fiction reads. Terrible I know, but its just not my go-to. However, time travel tales give me the chance to see an author's view of the past, present and future of any given place. It's always an adventure and like with McEntire's series, there's a good bit of intrigue and action as well.
Top Ten Settings Pick #9: University Life - The Ivy (The Ivy, #1) by Lauren Kunze and Rina Onur
Congratulations! You have been admitted to the most prestigious university in the world. Now what are you going to do?
Callie Andrews may not have money or connections or the right clothes, and she may have way too many complications in her love life, what with
the guy she loves to hate ...
the guy she'd love to forget ...
the guy she'd love to love ...
the guy she really should love ...
all vying for her attention.
But she has three fantastic roommates (best friends or her worst nightmare?) and a wholesome California-girl reputation (oops) and brains and beauty and big, big dreams.
Will it be enough to help her survive freshman year at Harvard?
Give me a background of a college university or a boarding school of some type and it's half the battle. There's just something about it...no idea what exactly but the "it" factor is there. It could be a lot of things but for whatever reason I'm a fan and would always enjoy seeing more books use the setting.
Top Ten Settings Pick #10: Super Powers - Minder (Ganzfield, #1) by Kate Kaynak
Sixteen-year-old Maddie Dunn is special, but she needs to figure out how to use her new abilities before somebody else gets hurt. Ganzfield is a secret training facility full of people like her, but it's not exactly a nurturing place.
Every social interaction carries the threat of mind-control.
A stray thought can burn a building to the ground.
And people's nightmares don't always stay in their own heads. But it's still better than New Jersey. Especially once she meets the man of her dreams...
A long time X-Men and superhero fan what's not to love about books where powers are used for both good and evil, where the good must use these special gifts to defeat the bad, etc... I think I just love a good hero and characters with super powers often fit that mold.