Most Intimidating Books in my TBR Pile…

So I follow several different booktubers and this tag came up a lot. Basically these are just three books that I’m a little afraid to read (for a variety of different reasons) but I really want to read them. These books are either going to require some extra focus or determination but I think I can get through them (and hopefully enjoy them!).

After Alice by Gregory Maguire

IMG_4416

Uh can we just talk about this cover for a second, I’m in love. I’m all about a fairy tale spin-off, and Gregory Maguire is known for them. And unf just listen to this plot description on Goodreads:

When Alice toppled down the rabbit-hole 150 years ago, she found a Wonderland as rife with inconsistent rules and abrasive egos as the world she left behind. But what of that world? How did 1860s Oxford react to Alice’s disappearance?

In this brilliant new work of fiction, Gregory Maguire turns his dazzling imagination to the question of underworlds, undergrounds, underpinnings — and understandings old and new, offering an inventive spin on Carroll’s enduring tale. Ada, a friend of Alice’s mentioned briefly in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, is off to visit her friend, but arrives a moment too late — and tumbles down the rabbit hole herself.

Ada brings to Wonderland her own imperfect apprehension of cause and effect as she embarks on an odyssey to find Alice and see her safely home from this surreal world below the world. If Euridyce can ever be returned to the arms of Orpheus, or Lazarus can be raised from the tomb, perhaps Alice can be returned to life. Either way, everything that happens next is After Alice.

Cool right? But honestly, I don’t know if I will be able to handle his writing. I read Wicked and that was brutal. Not that it was bad, it was just A LOT. Granted, this one is smaller than Wicked but I’m still a little nervous. It just sounds so cool so I hope that I’m engaged. And it’s just so pretty. (#priorities)

 

Walk on the Earth a Stranger by Rae Carson

IMG_4417I think I’ve only read short stories by Rae Carson, if anything. I’ve heard her writing is good and the plot of this one sounds pretty unique:

Lee Westfall has a strong, loving family. She has a home she loves and a loyal steed. She has a best friend—who might want to be something more.

She also has a secret.

Lee can sense gold in the world around her. Veins deep in the earth. Small nuggets in a stream. Even gold dust caught underneath a fingernail. She has kept her family safe and able to buy provisions, even through the harshest winters. But what would someone do to control a girl with that kind of power? A person might murder for it.

When everything Lee holds dear is ripped away, she flees west to California—where gold has just been discovered. Perhaps this will be the one place a magical girl can be herself. If she survives the journey.

The acclaimed Rae Carson begins a sweeping new trilogy set in Gold Rush-era America, about a young woman with a powerful and dangerous gift.

Here’s the thing: 1) it’s a big book, 2) I’m not familiar with the author, and 3) it’s the start of a series. Some people get so excited to start a series, I get a little nervous. I have this tendency to not finish them. I have book commitment issues. I’m hoping that the writing and plot will be so good that I’ll just have to keep up!

 

Ink by Amanda Sun

IMG_4418

COVER. Oh my gosh it is so pretty. So this book isn’t very long, and it’s got a decent sounding plot (plus it takes place in Japan):

On the heels of a family tragedy, the last thing Katie Greene wants to do is move halfway across the world. Stuck with her aunt in Shizuoka, Japan, Katie feels lost. Alone. She doesn’t know the language, she can barely hold a pair of chopsticks, and she can’t seem to get the hang of taking her shoes off whenever she enters a building.

Then there’s gorgeous but aloof Tomohiro, star of the school’s kendo team. How did he really get the scar on his arm? Katie isn’t prepared for the answer. But when she sees the things he draws start moving, there’s no denying the truth: Tomo has a connection to the ancient gods of Japan, and being near Katie is causing his abilities to spiral out of control. If the wrong people notice, they’ll both be targets.

Katie never wanted to move to Japan—now she may not make it out of the country alive.

Okay so this is a part of a series so there is my book commitment problem. But also, I’ve heard pretty mixed reviews.

 

What are some books on your shelf that seem a little intimidating? I want to know! Have a great day guys!

 

 

January TBR

Hey guys! I know it’s been awhile since I’ve posted, but I’m getting back into it this new year! 🙂 This is what I’m planning to read this next month.

I’m hoping because I still have some time off that I’ll be able to get to all of these, but these are not set in stone. One of my many resolutions for this year was to read books that have been sitting on my shelf for awhile now.

I picked up A Discovery of Witches (the first book in the All Souls Trilogy) and thought it was pretty good, good enough to continue the series. I’ve already started Shadow of Night so I’m hoping to marathon these in the next couple of days. I’ll post a review about A Discovery of Witches within the next couple of days.

grim

If you know me I always go for a fairy tale retelling. When I saw Ellen Hopkins on the cover I knew I had to have it. I have a book by Julie Kagawa sitting on my shelf (Iron something? I’m too lazy to go get up and look) that I should probably read but I’m just going to go for it.

other words for love.jpg

Okay so the main reason why I picked up this one was because I saw it on Book Outlet for super cheap and it has been sitting on my TBR list on goodreads for entirely too long. After the previous books I’ll be reading this month this will probably be a breeze to read. I can always go for a good chick flick so this is the one I’ll go for.

measure of danger

This one was kind of a weird one for me. I’ve tried to avoid suspense/thriller like these for awhile just because I could never really get into them. Recently, I have had kind of an urge to get back into them. The synopsis seems cool enough so I think I’ll give this one a go.

bell jar

It’s been awhile since I’ve picked up a classic. One of my friends has been nagging me to read it for close to two years now. Strangely enough, I’ve never read anything Sylvia Plath, so I’m anxious to jump into it.

That’s it for my January TBR folks. You can find descriptions for each book on Goodreads. 🙂

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Fantasy/Sci Fi Books

One of my favorite genres! I hope you all enjoy!

1. The Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling

Harry PotterUh, what is any top fantasy list without Harry Potter?! I grew up with this series and I could gush about it all day. I don’t really think I need to say a lot about the plot, but if you haven’t read the books you NEED to. The movies are awesome, but the real Harry Potter experience is the books. I remember staying up wayyyyyy past my bedtime just to finish them and playing quiddich with my friends. I could go on but I’ll save you the sappy stories! It’s a series I’m not ashamed to keep rereading over and over again!

2. Angelfall by Susan Ee

angelfallRight from the start Angelfall sends you for an action packed ride, you probably won’t be able to put it down. It features an awesome heroine named Penryn. The characters are real and of course filled with wit. It’s dystopian so it’s plot is pretty interesting (and filled with so many plot twists) and the angels featured in it seemed pretty realistic. AND THE EMOTIONAL TENSION UGH. It grew on me slowly, like falling in love (wow that was sappy please ignore me). The imagery can sometimes be a little gruesome, but not in like an overbearing way. PLUS, it’s a series!

3. Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

daughter of smoke and boneI remember reading Daughter of Smoke and Bone and thinking that the writing was just breathtaking! The way that Taylor created this whole word through her words so beautifully blew me away, it’s pretty talented and I would give anything to be able to write like that! She made the setting of Prague so magical, I mean, I have never been to Prague, but now I kinda want to go. The imagery just makes it come to life. Just marvelous! That opening line also: “Once upon a time, an angel and a devil fell in love. It did not end well.”

4. Beastly by Alex Flinn

beastlyIf you are into romances that will make you sob (did you mean Ashley?) look no further! I love re-written fairy tales like this, it kinda reminds me of the show Once Upon a Time, which I’m obsessed with. I didn’t actually expect to like it as much as I did, but I’m glad that I picked it up one day at the library. It’s fantasy fused with a little bit of realism with a dash of humor. I can’t say that the movie is good only because I haven’t seen it but I’ve heard mixed things about it.

5. Fairytales from the Brothers Grimm

brothers grimmI have a super thick copy of some of the Brothers Grimm fairytales that I pick up every once in a while when I’m feeling magical. They are pretty messed up at times, but I think they are heck of a lot more interesting than the Disney versions. Aside from the popular stories, The Brothers Grimm wrote a variety of other stories you have probably never heard of!

6. Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes

flowers for algernonI find myself going back to this short little tale whenever I need a good cry. I felt a vast array of emotions when reading Flowers for Algernon. It looks at mental disability, perseverance, love, and humanity. In the end, it made me really think about how fortunate I am to have what I have. The diary entries really help you understand Charlie’s level of intelligence at that point in time. As Charlie becomes more and more intelligent after the experiment, the attitudes towards him change, it’s pretty eye opening when it comes to attitudes toward people with mental disabilities.

7. The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien

lord of the ringsThe Lord of the Rings is a genuine fantastical masterpiece! A top ten fantasy list is incomplete without it. It’s original and creative, plus the movies are the bomb. Frodo’s act of self-sacrafice is incredible and Gandalf’s’ magical lore draws you in. I have yet to see a fantasy novel come even remotely close to what The Lord of the Rings has.

8. Uglies by Scott Westerfield

ugliesWesterfield creates this world that just intrigues you and lures you in for the long haul! I think it kinda plays on today’s perceptions of beauty, an interesting notion. The narrative voice is phenomenal and it flows right with the plot. There are some parts that are downright hilarious and some parts that are pretty terrifying. Even though this world is different, Westerfield strategically parallels it  to our own world. Tally’s character is believable in my opinion, she talks and acts like a typical sixteen year old. She holds together this intriguing narrative.

9. The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis

chronicles of narniaI remember watching The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe, and then thinking “oh yeah, there are books, maybe I should read those.” My Dad and I really got into them, and they hold a special place in my heart. Both children and adults can find pleasure in this series. The magic will never fade. They hold a deeper meaning that we begin to understand as we get older. I will always quote C.S. Lewis’ Chronicles of Narnia!

10. Parable of the Sower by Octavia Butler

parable of the sowerParable of the Sower is a groundbreaking dystopian novel. It features a strong African American heroine, Lauren, facing change and adaption in her struggle to survive. It focuses on the bonds of a community and her belief “God is Change” is what brings her community together. This apocalyptic world is terrifyingly realistic. Butler warns against the destruction of the environment, as this ultimately leads to the demise of the society in Parable of the Sower.

Links of the Week: 4/24

Hey everyone! Here’s another look at what I’ve found surfing the interwebs!

  1. Getting a new home? Looking for accents? Are you just bored? Here’s the psychology of color!
  2. For when you are in a rainy mood
  3. Looking to cheer up your friend? Here are 20 ways to brighten a person’s day!
  4. 12 great books and the perfect mood to read them in?! I’ll have to watch my moods…
  5. Hey, if you are trying to spruce up your writing, Here a 32 beautiful English words.
  6. Calling my fellow history buffs! Here are 40 rare and important archaeological finds!
  7. Well I’m now thoroughly confused, let’s see if you can understand the pixar theory.
  8. Okay I have 2 cats so anything to help me keep the litterbox area clean is much appreciated!
  9. Looking to get strong feet? Here are some exercises to help yah out!
  10. LEARN HOW TO WRITE ELVISH OMG OMG OMG

cs lewis

Have a great weekend everyone!

XO Ashley

Top Ten Tuesday: My Top 10 Contemporary Novels

So these books are technically “contemporary” but it’s really just a hodge podge of books that have a “contemporary” label with some mini reviews!

Here we go!

1. Please Ignore Vera Dietz by A.S. King

please ignoreI remember checking out this book in high school, not really thinking much of it. It has turned out to be one of my favorites that I consistently recommend. Vera has been in love with one of her best friends for awhile, and now she still finds herself being in love with him even after everything he has done. Then, Charlie dies under unusual circumstances, and Vera knows the truth, but she does not know who to trust. Please Ignore Vera Dietz is tense, but it also adds some humor. I like how it’s not overtaken by romance, but it focuses on a wide variety of things. Vera faces a lot of problems in her own life, and I think the novel really reflects a lot on growing up as well.

2. Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen

water for elephantsOkay so I know it’s not exactly contemporary, but goodreads classifies it as contemporary and I really want to talk about it so that’s good enough for me! I read this book in a night and in the same night I watched the movie (needless to say I did not get any sleep that night). It focuses on Jacob, now an old man reflecting on his time spent in the Flying Squadron of the Benzini Brothers Most Spectacular Show on Earth (boy that’s a mouthful). Underneath all the glitz and glamour, the circus hides some dark secrets. I remember crying when reading about the harsh conditions both the  humans and animals face. With deeply thought out characters and plot, the emotion really slaps you in the face!

3. A Long Way Down by Nick Hornby

a long way downI adore this book because I think it really confronts the character’s own mortality, which I feel for a writer would be pretty difficult to express. A Long Way Down is features four distinctively different individuals who all meet on top of a roof, each wanting to end their own life (the movie is pretty good too). They are so different that it of course creates some absolutely hilarious moments. Each character is so real, genuine, and filled with quirks. The end of the book is something that’s also believable, not with each one finding each other’s friendship and somehow forgetting the mistakes they have made, but finding that one thing that makes them happy.

4. Dark Places by Gillian Flynn

dark placesAAHHHHH! I’m sorry I just love love love this book so much. It’s my first Flynn novel and it hit me like a ton of bricks. It’s all about a girl named Libby’s search into her dark past to when her mother and sister were brutally murdered by who she believes to be her brother. New twists begin emerge and Libby begins to question what happened that night. Flynn’s gripping and creepy writing made me only read it during the day (I know I know I’m a big baby). If you are into Flynn or just looking for a dark mystery, give it a shot. I cannot wait to read Sharp Objects next!

 

5. Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher

13 reasonsThirteen Reasons Why is about a guy named Clay, who finds a set of tapes that a girl named Hannah recorded before she committed suicide. I think it tackles a lot of issues that teenagers face today. I don’t want to tell a lot about because I don’t want to spoil it, but I highly recommend it!

 

 

 

 

6. The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold

the lovely bonesThe Lovely Bones is about a family that is completely ruined by the gruesome murder, that is retold and by the teenager, Susie. Susie describes the sick crime, how she was raped and killed by a local man. Susie is not ready to move on, watching the events of investigation and her grieving family unfold. Sebold’s voice throughout the novel is original and unique. Her character’s are believable and genuine, each bringing something new to the story. When looking at other reviews of this book, it seems that people either absolutely love it, or hate it. I guess I’m one of those crazy people who loved it!

 

7. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian by Sherman Alexie

absolutely true diaryThe Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, which also is based on some of Alexie’s experiences, revolves around a kid named Junior growing up on the Spokane Indian Reservation, but then decides to leave it behind to attend an all white high school. It follows him in a modern setting trying to break away from the life that many others expect him to take on. Additionally Ellen Forney’s illustrations really liven this narrative up making it even more potent. It’s hilarious, poignant, and superbly written. And, on a side note, Sherman Alexie even came to my university to accept some award and he was freaking hilarious!

 

8. If I lie by Corrine Jackson

if i lieJackson’s debut novel gives perspective on what the truth actually is and what the truth may seem to be. Our main character Quinn kissed another boy, but it was not her boyfriend that is currently serving in Afghanistan and is essentially the town hero. Naturally, Quinn is shunned by her friends, as well as the rest of the town. Quinn could spare herself the misery and tell everyone the truth, but that would mean revealing a secret that would hurt many. I read this book in three days at the beach and I loaned it to my friend who read it in one, yep it’s that good! It’s highly character-driven and covers a variety of other subject matters.

 

9. Stolen: A Letter to my Captor by Lucy Christopher

stolen

Gemma is kidnapped from an airport and taken to the desolate Australian outback. Ty, her captor, is not what you expect. Again, I don’t want to say much so that I don’t ruin it. It’s written, as you can tell by the title, in letter form, from Gemma to Ty. The story and the character development is absolutely breathtaking.

 

 

 

10. Impulse by Ellen Hopkins

impulse Impulse follows three young people and their time in Aspen Springs psychiatric hospital, as well as how they got there. As with all of Hopkins’ novels, it’s written like a poem. I highly recommend it if you liked Thirteen Reasons Why.