Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created over at The Broke and the Bookish. This feature was crated because they're particularly fond of lists at The Broke and the Bookish (and who isn't?). They're all about creating new lists including a little bit of everything and I've been meaning to participate for so long but always seemed to get behind. I've decided that's going to chance in the new year. So here we are and hopefully you'll head over to their page and check out what everyone else put up for this week's Top Ten.
This was how my year kind of went. There were more titles I read than normal that I wasn't sure about but thought I'd give them a shot anyways and was pleasantly surprised with what I found. Here are a few of the books I'm talking about.
Surprise #1: A Breath of Eyre (Unbound, #1) by Eve Marie Mont
In this stunning, imaginative novel, Eve Marie Mont transports her modern-day heroine into the life of Jane Eyre to create a mesmerizing story of love, longing, and finding your place in the world... Emma Townsend has always believed in stories-the ones she reads voraciously, and the ones she creates. Perhaps it's because she feels like an outsider at her exclusive prep school, or because her stepmother doesn't come close to filling the void left by her mother's death. And her only romantic prospect-apart from a crush on her English teacher-is Gray Newman, a long-time friend who just adds to Emma's confusion. But escape soon arrives in an old leather-bound copy of Jane Eyre...
Reading of Jane's isolation sparks a deep sense of kinship. Then fate takes things a leap further when a lightning storm catapults Emma right into Jane's body and her nineteenth-century world. As governess at Thornfield, Emma has a sense of belonging she's never known-and an attraction to the brooding Mr. Rochester. Now, moving between her two realities and uncovering secrets in both, Emma must decide whether her destiny lies in the pages of Jane's story, or in the unwritten chapters of her own...
I was never a huge fan of Bronte's classic so I wasn't all that optimistic about this spin on the original but I was wrong. Mont brought new life and light to a book I fear I may have misjudged.
Surprise #2: Obsidian (Lux, #1) by Jennifer L. Armentrout
Starting over sucks.
When we moved to West Virginia right before my senior year, I'd pretty much resigned myself to thick accents, dodgy Internet access, and a whole lot of boring.... until I spotted my hot neighbor, with his looming height and eerie green eyes. Things were looking up.
And then he opened his mouth.
Daemon is infuriating. Arrogant. Stab-worthy. We do not get along. At all. But when a stranger attacks me and Daemon literally freezes time with a wave of his hand, well, something...unexpected happens.
The hot alien living next door marks me.
You heard me. Alien. Turns out Daemon and his sister have a galaxy of enemies wanting to steal their abilities, and Daemon's touch has me lit up like the Vegas Strip. The only way I'm getting out of this alive is by sticking close to Daemon until my alien mojo fades.
If I don't kill him first, that is.
Who would have thought aliens could be sexy? Not me, but I was wrong again. I enjoyed this series opener so much I rushed to get the next two installments and I'm not waiting on the fourth to hit the shelves.
Surprise #3: Ariel (The Ariel Saga, #1) by Aaron Patterson
All Airel ever wanted was to be normal, to disappear into the crowd. But bloodlines can produce surprises, like an incredible ability to heal. Then there’s Michael Alexander, the new guy in school, who is impossibly gorgeous…and captivated by her. Somewhere in the back of her mind, she can hear the sound of pages turning, and another, older story being written. It is the story of an ancient family, of great warriors, of the Sword of Light, and the struggle against an evil so terrible, so far-reaching, that it threatens everything. Airel knew change would be an inevitable part of life. But can she hold on when murder and darkness begin to close in and take away everything she loves? Will she have what it takes when the truth is finally revealed?
Unfortunately I just couldn't get into this one. I was super excited to start and was never able to keep that feeling going. I'm not sure if it was the material or possibly just a reading funk that I fell into. I'm considering going back to this one and trying to start over from scratch to see if I get a different result the second time around.
Surprise #4: The Wrap-Up List by Steven Arnston
In this modern-day suburban town, one percent of all fatalities come about in the most peculiar way. Deaths—eight-foot-tall, silver-gray creatures—send a letter (“Dear So-and-So, your days are numbered”) to whomever is chosen for a departure, telling them to wrap up their lives and do the things they always wanted to do before they have to “depart.” When sixteen-year-old Gabriela receives her notice, she is, of course devastated. Will she kiss her crush Sylvester before it’s too late?
Friendship, first love, and fantasy artfully mesh in this magically realistic world that ultimately celebrates life.
Very skeptical to read about eight feet death escorts and wasn't sure I'd be able to take it seriously. I was wrong and so glad to be. Arnston proved to be witty and fun and his story reflected all that and more.
Surprise #5: Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
It's the year 2044, and the real world is an ugly place.
Like most of humanity, Wade Watts escapes his grim surroundings by spending his waking hours jacked into the OASIS, a sprawling virtual utopia that lets you be anything you want to be, a place where you can live and play and fall in love on any of ten thousand planets.
And like most of humanity, Wade dreams of being the one to discover the ultimate lottery ticket that lies concealed within this virtual world. For somewhere inside this giant networked playground, OASIS creator James Halliday has hidden a series of fiendish puzzles that will yield massive fortune--and remarkable power--to whoever can unlock them.
For years, millions have struggled fruitlessly to attain this prize, knowing only that Halliday's riddles are based in the pop culture he loved--that of the late twentieth century. And for years, millions have found in this quest another means of escape, retreating into happy, obsessive study of Halliday's icons. Like many of his contemporaries, Wade is as comfortable debating the finer points of John Hughes's oeuvre, playing Pac-Man, or reciting Devo lyrics as he is scrounging power to run his OASIS rig.
And then Wade stumbles upon the first puzzle.
Suddenly the whole world is watching, and thousands of competitors join the hunt--among them certain powerful players who are willing to commit very real murder to beat Wade to this prize. Now the only way for Wade to survive and preserve everything he knows is to win. But to do so, he may have to leave behind his oh-so-perfect virtual existence and face up to life--and love--in the real world he's always been so desperate to escape.
A world at stake.
A quest for the ultimate prize.
Are you ready?
I was asked to read and review this one long after it's release date and had never heard of it before that request. For those reasons alone I didn't set the bar high but it blew my mind how quickly and how much I ended up enjoying this one.
Surprise #6: 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.
Had seen the cover image around the blogosphere from time to time but never paid much attention to it. Thank goodness I got my act together because now it's in my top five favorites of all time!
Surprise #7: A Witch In Winter by Ruth Warburton
Anna Winterson doesn't know she's a witch and would probably mock you for believing in magic, but after moving to the small town of Winter with her father, she learns more than she ever wanted to about power. When Anna meets Seth, she is smitten, but when she enchants him to love her, she unwittingly amplifies a deadly conflict between two witch clans and splits her own heart in two. She wants to love Seth, to let him love her – but if it is her magic that's controlling his passion, then she is as monstrous as the witch clan who are trying to use her amazing powers for their own gain.
Although a perfect fit for the paranormal romance genre, A WITCH IN WINTER avoids fangs, excessive body hair and submissive female leads, and tells the heart-wrenching story of a couple meant to be together, but being forced apart. Seth is utterly irresistible and Anna is an empowered, proactive young woman with unimaginable magic inside her. This is fast-paced, sensuous writing with believable incantations inspired by Warburton's research into witchcraft legend and old English.
Can't explain it but this book and I just didn't click for some reason so I admitted defeat and raised the white flag about half way through. I try not to ever do that because I honestly don't think it's fair and have read plenty of books that started out slower than I'd have liked but really picked up after the half way point. But this time around I just didn't expect that to happen for me and this read.
Surprise #8: Chasing Brooklyn by Lisa Schroeder
Restless souls and empty hearts
Brooklyn can't sleep. Her boyfriend, Lucca, died only a year ago, and now her friend Gabe has just died of an overdose. Every time she closes her eyes, Gabe's ghost is there waiting for her. She has no idea what he wants or why it isn't Lucca visiting her dreams.
Nico can't stop. He's always running, trying to escape the pain of losing his brother, Lucca. But when Lucca's ghost begins leaving messages, telling Nico to help Brooklyn, emotions come crashing to the surface.
As the nightmares escalate and the messages become relentless, Nico reaches out to Brooklyn. But neither of them can admit that they're being haunted. Until they learn to let each other in, not one soul will be able to rest.
When I found out it was written in prose I cringed...literally. But it didn't even take me the first couple of pages to know this would change my opinion of this style of writing and it did. It was my first experience with Schroeder's work, but after falling in love with her writing I wasn't going to stop there, and now pick up everything of hers that hits the shelves.
Surprise #9: The Forest of Hands and Teeth (The Forest of Hands and Teeth, #1) by Carrie Ryan
In Mary's world there are simple truths. The Sisterhood always knows best. The Guardians will protect and serve. The Unconsecrated will never relent. And you must always mind the fence that surrounds the village; the fence that protects the village from the Forest of Hands and Teeth. But, slowly, Mary’s truths are failing her. She’s learning things she never wanted to know about the Sisterhood and its secrets, and the Guardians and their power, and about the Unconsecrated and their relentlessness. When the fence is breached and her world is thrown into chaos, she must choose between her village and her future—between the one she loves and the one who loves her. And she must face the truth about the Forest of Hands and Teeth. Could there be life outside a world surrounded in so much death?
Zombies are just not for me I guess. Everyone seems to rave about this book and series so I was excited to start and then later let down when I didn't fly through the pages like I thought I would. I think this time around though it was more a case of the expectations were set very high and possibly unrealistically.
Surprise #10: Song of the Moon (Artemis Lupine, #1) by Catherine Banks
What if you found out that there was another world inside your own? What if all of the things you thought made you weird, actually made you powerful?
Artemis's life is changed forever when the mysterious man from her dreams, Ares, comes to claim her as his mate. The seventeen year old girl must find a way to adapt to her true life and accept her fate or run from it. She must overcome her fears and human ideals to give her self to the dangerous world, and man, that is her destiny.
I judge the book by it's cover and figured it would be a bust to be honest. But once again I was wrong and so glad to be! I love this series and can't wait to read more from Catherine Banks.