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Posts Tagged ‘must read’

Dark EnergyDark Energy by Robison Wells
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Parental guide: Minor swearing, some violence, nothing explicit.

Holy moly, this book was SO GOOD. It’s a fairly quickly read, but I enjoyed every minute of it. Alice is one of the best protagonists that I’ve read about in a loooong time, and I felt that the author did a fantastic job of writing from a female perspective. Also? I loved the fact that she had such a great relationship with her father. I feel like too many times in YA literature, the parents are either absent for one reason or another, or they’re portrayed as idiots. All parents were teenagers at one point in time or another, so it’s not entirely unreasonable to assume that some of them remember what it’s like. Alice’s father was a good mixture of protective and supportive, which made their interactions that much more fun.

Anyway, if you’re in the mood for a quick sci-fi, give this one a chance. I’m off to go check out some of the author’s other books now, don’t mind me.

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Just a tad bit past nearly forever ago, a friend of mine tagged me on Facebook with a fun meme. I thought it sounded great and started it…and then I became distracted and only recently discovered the half-finished product. Whatever the case, I have since completed my answers and thought it might make for an interesting blog post. These are the authors and books that inspired my own writing.

10 Books That Stayed With Me:

1.) The Bible – It may not be obvious to all, but this book has been the number one thing that has changed my life and my perspective over the years. I have indeed read it cover to cover and various translations, and every time that I read its passages I get something new from it.

2.) Beverly Cleary series – I’m kind fudging on this one, because it’s way too hard to narrow down which specific Cleary books spoke to me most. I grew up reading about Beezus and Ramona, Ralph S. Mouse and all the rest. They were instrumental in cultivating my passion for the written word, even in grade school.

3.) The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain – One of my best memories is the year that my mother read the story of Tom Sawyer to me while I ate breakfast every morning. I’ll confess that I was really hesitant to this at first, but Mom insisted and I am very glad she did. I got so caught up in the story that I quickly forgot why I hadn’t wanted to hear it in the first place.

4.) The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien – I read this one while I was in high school for a book report. Basically I just needed to choose something from the list that the teacher gave us. I picked it at random, thinking that the title sounded interesting, and discovered an amazing world. This story was part of what really piqued my interest in the fantasy genre as a whole. It opened up a whole different set of doors, as far as reading went.

5.) The Chronicles of Narnia series by C.S. Lewis – Probably not much surprise here either, but this is another series that I’ve always adored. I read The Silver Chair in high school (another book report project that turned out very well for me). While The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe has probably remained my favorite of the series, The Silver Chair and The Last Battle are right up there.

6.) Artemis Fowl series by Eoin Colfer – This still remains one of my all-time favorite YA series. I loved Colfer’s twist to both modern and ancient fairy tales, and the storyline, while not always what I expected, was fantastic. Great character development, great villains…in fact it’s been long enough that I’m probably due for a re-read.

7.) Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson – Sanderson is a semi-new author to me, but so far I have loved each book that I’ve tried. This was the first story that I read of his, which also happened to be his first attempt at YA, and it’s difficult to pinpoint just why it stuck with me so much. I tend to be very character driven when it comes to movies and books, so all I can figure is that I loved the character of Steelheart so much it wedged in my brain and wouldn’t let go. Whatever the case, this was one of my favorite books of the year. And so far, the rest of the series hasn’t disappointed either.

8.) The Oath by Frank Peretti – It’s been a looooong time since I last read this one, but it was another book that always stuck with me. I originally read it in high school and loved it. This was the first book of Peretti’s that I had read, and while it was a little slow in the middle, the primary storyline kept a quick pace and kept my attention through it all. Not your typical dragon story, but still a well-crafted plot for an author of his particular genre. As a “Christian author,” he pushed boundaries with this book and might have even made people a little uncomfortable. Not necessarily a bad thing, in this case.

9.) The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson – Yes, he gets to be on my list twice because he’s just that amazing. I won’t lie, The Way of Kings is definitely a commitment at nearly 400,000 words, but I can’t recommend it highly enough for those who love epic fantasy. The worldbuilding, the characters…all of it is just too amazing for words. It has become one of my all-time favorite stories ever. (It was one of the few books where I literally read the last sentence and wanted to go right back to the beginning and read it again because I loved it so much.) And Words of Radiance, the sequel, is just as fantastic as the first.

10.) The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis – This was the first non-fiction work of Lewis that I read, again while in high school, but it’s always stuck with me. Lewis really stepped outside the box of his time by writing this book, and it made you really think about your prayer life and the spiritual battles that continuously rage on everywhere. While definitely an older book, I can still recommend it. (Actually, it’s another one I need to re-read…)

So there you have it. This is a basic glimpse of my all-time favorite books and authors, and though many others have made impressions with me, these are the ones that I will never forget.

What are your top ten faves?

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Divergent

Divergent (Divergent, #1)Divergent by Veronica Roth
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Amazing. That’s the first word that pops into my head after finishing “Divergent.” Followed closely by heartbreaking, action-packed and incredible.

This was one of the books that I’d heard so much about. In fact, it had been mentioned to me so many times that I was sick of hearing about it. I ignored it for a while, then I saw it for a good price at a Barnes and Noble. I figured what the heck. I would see what all of the fuss was about.

Two chapters into it, and I couldn’t put it down.

I devoured this story in a matter of days. It brought about such a conflict of emotions. Half of the time, I didn’t know whether to admonish Tris for her pride or praise her for her bravery. She was a flawed heroine, but a strong one. I admired her for that. The plot was fast-paced and character driven and kept me riveted until the end.

Four was probably my favorite character. I loved his quiet strength and back story. I enjoyed watching his and Tris’s relationship develop. Yes, my heart was ripped to shreds at times. No, it won’t be for everyone. But my only regret was that I didn’t pick up book two when I bought book one. Altogether a fantastic read.

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We Hear the Dead

We Hear the DeadWe Hear the Dead by Dianne Salerni
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I loved this book. No, it wasn’t what I expected. Yes, the cover and description are rather misleading. But I loved it.

The author captured the essence of the time period without reciting facts like a dictionary. I loved her writing style and how subtly the plot came around. What started out as an innocent prank turned into a cult following that spawned the spiritualist movement of the 1800’s. I’ll admit I’m not very educated in this particular section of history, so I don’t know how much fact blended with fiction in this story. But the characters were both charming and devilish, and I absolutely loved Maggie’s tumultuous relationship with Dr. Elisha Kane.

The author managed to make me fall in love with him one little bit at a time, just as Maggie did in the story. That’s a definite sign of masterful storytelling. My heart broke during her tragedies, of which there were plenty, and rejoiced in her moments of fun and triumph. While I would have loved a truly happy, happy ending, the author stayed true to real life, leaving it rather bittersweet. All in all, I thoroughly enjoyed it and will anxiously await Ms. Salerni’s upcoming novel.

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The Snow Child

The Snow ChildThe Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book was so amazingly, beautifully wonderful in every sense that I didn’t want it to end. My heart ached with love for the characters in this story and their triumphs and tribulations. There are few stories that I have read that make me feel so connected and so attached to the characters and their longings, but this author absolutely captivated me from page one. Her descriptions of the raw landscape and how it was both magnificent and treacherous painted an amazing backdrop to an exquisite story.

I loved Jack especially. His soft-spoken strength and the struggles that he felt were so real and so heartfelt. I wanted happiness for him and for Mabel.

This is truly one of the most beautifully written stories I have experienced. It’s a must-read for anyone looking for a little magic in their lives.

View all my reviews

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