2015’s top 10 #9

  • “Six of Crows” by L. Bardugo

six of crows coverSix of Crows is the first book in a new trilogy taking place in the Grisha world, soon after the Grisha trilogy. Although it takes place in the same world, in this first installment, we immediately understand that Leigh Bardugo has gone on a different path for this one. I enjoyed the Grisha trilogy, because of Bardugo’s elaborate writing and world, but never quite connected with the characters. In Six of Crows, we follow a diverse cast of 6 characters from different social and ethnical backgrounds, all of them outlaws. These characters are complex, and differ greatly from each other : we have here a large spectrum of morals, from the dutiful soldier to the ruthless murderer. In addition, the quick pace of the story makes Six of Crows a more exhilarating read than Shadow and Bone, and that combined with the different characters’ dynamics, made this book one of my favorite reads of 2015.

 

“Kaz leaned back. “What’s the easiest way to steal a man’s wallet?”
“Knife to the throat?” asked Inej.
“Gun to the back?” said Jesper.
“Poison in his cup?” suggested Nina.
“You’re all horrible,” said Matthias.”

2015’s top 10 #8

  • “Half Wild” by S. Green

Published March 24th

half wild coverHalf Wild is the sequel to Half Bad, which, I’ll say right away : I didn’t enjoy that much. To put it simply, Half Bad seemed to be 100 pages of action and 300 pages of ‘look how much sh*t happened to this kid’. Now that we know everything Nathan went trough, though, the action can start, and it is delightful. In this book, the characters and relationships are developed, the plot moves forward fairly quickly, and you might, like me, come to love Nathan’s singular narrative voice. Of course, I cannot say why I loved this book without mentioning the fact that it deals with racial issues, and has an LGBT+ main character : more points for diversity!

 

“I always thought a person’s Gift reflected something about that person and all I can think is that my Gift reflects my desires, and my desires are to be totally wild, totally free.”

2015’s top 10 #7

  • “A darker shade of magic” by V. E. Schwab

Published February 24th

Screenshot 2015-04-01 18.19.49A Darker Shade of Magic is the first book in Victoria Schwab’s latest fantasy series. It follows Kell, who has the ability to travel between different dimensions’ Londons, and Lila, thief-girl who dreams of being a pirate. There is Red London, in which magic thrives, White London, in which magic is toxic, and Gray London, in which there is no magic. The main reason I loved this book is the beautiful, carefully crafted writing, and the way the plot developed so logically, the witty banter between the characters. At the end of the book, you get the impression that you might just have read something too perfect.

 

Bad magic, Kell had called it.

No, thought Lila now. Clever magic.

And clever was more dangerous than bad any day of the week.

2015’s Top 10 #10

For this end of year, I resolved to write a Top 10, and as it turns out, this year, most of my favorite books have been published in the same year. Thus, I will be revealing a favorite of mine, out of this year’s published books, every day until January 3rd.

  • BOOK #10 : “Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda” by B. Albertalli

Published April 7th

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Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda is a heartwarming, funny book about a chapter of the life of Simon, young gay teenager who happens to not be completely out of the closet. That poses a problem, when someone in Simon’s school stumbles on his e-mails in which all of Simon’s internal struggles have been laid down. If this type of writing, and even this type of story has been seen before, the book is nonetheless refreshing, broaching LGBT and racial subjects, something I slowly came to expect from Young Adult literature. This is why I loved Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda, that and its pop culture references that left me grinning from beginning to end.

 

“But I’m tired of coming out. All I ever do is come out. I try not to change, but I keep changing, in all these tiny ways. I get a girlfriend. I have a beer. And every freaking time, I have to reintroduce myself to the universe all over again.”

A Currently Reading Pile

  • “Cam Girl” by L. Raeder

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Cam Girl is Leah Raeder’s latest book, and tells a story that seems to be even more toxic, even more heart wrenching than her previous book, Black Iris. I am expecting this book to explore the depths of sexuality and romantic relationships, and I know it will leave me wrecked when I finish it. I’m not sure I’m ready for this swirl of emotions.

 

  • “A Tale of Two Cities” by C. Dickens

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I am taking my sweet time with A Tale of Two Cities. Each paragraph is an exquisite pastry I savor. The characters are intriguing, the writing… I can’t possibly express how much I love Dicken’s writing in this book.

 

 

  • “Long Way Down” by K. and B. Ritchie

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Long Way Down is the last book in the Calloway Sisters series. I absolutely loved Fuel The Fire, the previous book, and my expectations are extremely high. Right now, I have read about a third of Long Way Down and I am not yet impressed by the way things are handled. I do hope I’ll end up loving this book as much as everyone around me.

 

 

  • “The Chrysanthemum and the Sword” by R. Benedict

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I am fascinated by Japan. I also love social sciences; and this book is a sociological analysis, done at the end of WWII, of Japan. I’ll admit I have only read the first chapter so far, but as with most non-fiction books, I can’t seem to be able to read it all at once.

 

 

  • “Exercises in style” by R. Queneau (Exercices de Style)

exercises in style coverThis book is hilarious. I have no idea if the translation to English does it justice, but I simply love the way Queneau twists words, meanings, phrases, into complicated patterns to express one small story in a hundred different ways. I like to pick up Exercises in Style now and then, read a few pages, and put it back with an amused smile on my face.

 

 

  • “Andromache” by J. Racine (Andromaque)

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I had a sudden urge to read Racine. I loved Phèdre, and I am now loving Andromache. It is a classic tragedy, and the plot is way too complicated for me to into it here, but I’ll tell you this : I want to quote about every verse in this play.

 

 

 

  • “Winter” by M. Meyer

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Winter is the last book in the Lunar Chronicles series, and it is just so long. And I am getting bored, and gradually annoyed. Why? The political intrigue is being handled so poorly. The protagonist has no idea what she’s doing, the battle between good guys and bad guys is getting redundant : what this shows me is an author who doesn’t really know what she’s doing. That being said, I am only halfway through the book.

 

  • “Frozen Tides” by M. Rhodes

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Frozen Tides is the fourth book in the Falling Kingdoms series. I have barely started it, but I fear that since reading Gathering Darkness, I have gotten gradually more bored with evil versus good, and am now expecting more character depth than in the previous books. Surprise me, Morgan Rhodes!

 

 

  • “The book of sand” by J. L. Borges (El libro de arena)

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The first story in the short stories collection that is The book of sand is dream-like, absurd, beautiful, and I get to learn Spanish meanwhile.

 

 

 

  • “Guardian of the dead” by K. Healey

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This seems to be your usual YA fantasy stand-alone, only taking place in New Zealand, and with an asexual character in it. I will finish this book, and if it is as good as the synopsis makes it look, I will promote the hell out of it. I have high expectations, needless to say.

5 Favorite Books Read in Fall 2015

Alas, Fall is my No Reading Time season. I did manage to find a few books I loved, though…

  • “Black Iris” by L. Raeder

Black Iris

Black Iris is the one book in this list I have given, irrevocably and without an ounce of hesitation, 5 out of 5 stars. It is a poignant, toxic tale about hate, vengeance, love, addiction. In Unteachable, Raeder has shown herself to be an author who will not back away from taboo subjects, who is willing to explore sexuality and the depth of humans’ toxic feelings—and this is what we witness in Black Iris. I cannot recommend this book enough, although I must warn you—it is not a light read, and might hurt sensitivities.

  • “Six of Crows” by L. Bardugo

six of crows cover

L. Bardugo is the well-known author of the Grisha series, and she comes back with a new series set in the Grisha world—this time, with more diverse characters. And these diverse characters are exactly what has been missing, during Bardugo’s last trilogy : her writing has always been a bit magical, the world she built holds great potential, but the previous cast prevented her from exploring this world and make it a fantasy world that stands out. In Six of Crows, the diverse cast, composed of 6 protagonists from different social and ethnic origins, allows Bardugo to develop the political Grisha world.

  • “The Book Thief” by M. Zusak

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… And I have finished it! Knowing how famous this book is, I am reluctant to sum it up, but I will say this : the narration by death, the poetic writing, the way the narration developed—it didn’t fail to break my heart. In fact, I remember full-on sobbing at the end, when, really, I had known how it would end.

  • “Carry On” by R. Rowell

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Carry On is the story of Baz and Simon, the one we got snippets of in Fangirl. It could be considered as Harry Potter fan-fiction : in which Simon, the young sorcerer with a great destiny, falls in love/has adventures with Baz, his arch-enemy and roommate. The story is full of action, with a bit of romance and some humor : Rowell keeps the light, bizarre narrative that fit so well to the contemporary novels she has delivered thus far. Consequently, I do not know if I should classify this as fantasy—if you are expecting an unpredictable plot, an original and complicated world, you will be disappointed. I hesitate to recommend this to everyone, for this reason : Carry On is an in-between, a book that is not quite fantasy, not quite contemporary, with adorable, funny characters, the way only Rainbow Rowell writes them, but nonetheless a book that is hard to take seriously and that does not quite fit in any given category.

  • “November 9” by C. Hoover

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This came as a bit of a surprise : Confess, Hoover’s latest release before November 9, had been a huge disappointment for me. November 9, though, tells a bittersweet story—in which I didn’t find the slut-shaming I dread in Hoover’s books—which follows this concept : two young people meet, fall in love, decide to meet only once every year and see if their love lasts. In true Colleen Hoover fashion, complications arise soon enough that you won’t think you’re reading a NA version of One Day. November 9 is, to me, Colleen Hoover’s best book to date.

An October TBR

Because I feel like it. Here’s a vague TBR for the month of October…

  • “Carry On” by R. Rowell

Carry On cover

Carry On, one of if not my most anticipated release of 2015, is out on October 6th, and I can’t barely hold my excitement. Carry On tells the story of Simon and Baz, enemies-to-friends-to-lovers in a magic school, and yes, it’s Cath from Fangirl‘s famous fan-fiction. We got snippets of it in Fangirl, which I’ll admit I almost preferred to the story, and I can’t wait to get the entire story!

  • “The Book Thief” by M. Zusak

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This is ridiculous. I started this book a year ago, and after an umpteenth spoil from Death, the narrator, promptly put it on-hold, 300 pages in. Now it’s fall, getting cold and rainy : perfect time to read this beautiful, tragic book.

  • “Guardian of the Dead” by K. Healey

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I will say what I’ve heard : this book is dark urban fantasy, set in New Zealand, with an asexual main character, and was nominated for a book prize. Do you need to know more? Because I don’t. I just need the book.

  • “Far From You” by T. Sharpe

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I’ve only heard amazing things about Far From You : it has a bisexual female protagonist, tackles serious subjects and has overall been loved by my bookish friends. Again, I don’t need to know more, I just need to read it.

  • “The Man who Laughs” by V. Hugo

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This is where it gets ambitious. I picked this book up a few days ago, decided I loved it after 2 pages (typical) and now I’m reading this big bad classic, and I hope I’ll be able to finish it this month. Hugo’s writing is very witty and satirical.

  • “Lolita” by V. Nabokov

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Yet another book I have already started. Lolita is such a famous book, I think I hardly need to introduce it to you, but I will say I am in love with the prose (so creepy…) and if it goes on the way it did for the first 100 pages it will end up being one of my favorite books.

  • “Crossed” by E. Crewe

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This is cheating, because by the time I post this, I’m finished with this book. Crossed is the last book in the oh-so-fun Soul Eaters trilogy, it came out last month, and you have to read this series if only for the sarcastic, morally ambiguous half-demon protagonist.

  • “The Flowers of Evil” by C. Baudelaire

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Having already read the first 85 poems of Spleen & Idéal, I only need to finish this marvelous collection of poems full of magnificent oxymorons and imagery (if you can’t tell I love poetry—)

  • “Selected Poems” by T. S. Eliot

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And another collection of poems. Eliot’s poetry is probably what made me fall in love with poetry in the first place, and this is almost a reread since I’ve almost read them all already, but boy do I not mind reading them again.

  • “Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children” by R. Riggs

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I do realize that this is the only Halloween-y book I have chosen for this TBR. I’ve heard very good things about this trilogy, and now that Library of Souls is out, I feel a pressure to pick it up. I also want to read a creepy book, so…