Sunday, September 30, 2012

The Weekly Wrap-Up (IMM, STS, and The Sunday Post)

Getting Shelf/Mailbox/Basket/etc posts up by Saturday is nearly impossible for me right now, so I've decided to link up to multiple haul memes since the goal of these posts is to connect with other bloggers and see what everyone else will be reading, and these seem to spread throughout the weekend. Hope that's ok!

Stacking the Shelves is hosted by Tynga's Reviews, The Sunday Post is hosted by Kimba the Caffeinated Book Reviewer, and In My Mailbox is hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren!

So, it's been slow around here because work got a bit complicated, and after a very abrupt department switch and work hour adjustment (I now work from 6:30a-3p...have I ever mentioned I'm a night owl? Because I am.), it's been a lot more of a lifestyle change than I was prepared for. HOWEVER, I've finally carved a bit of time, and I have been reading some pretty awesome books lately and gone to some pretty sweet events...I'm excited to share and chat about them.

Coming up this week will be my October Reads post (check out my September one!), a review of Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry, and my brand new brilliant contributor Shanon will have her first review! Speaking of, did you see her intro post and read how fabulous she is? There's an International giveaway to celebrate her!

Onto the Book Haul!
I haven't done one of these in awhile - and I was hoping not to for awhile because that meant I'd finally curbed my book intake. And I was doing really well!...until. Oh, until. You need to see what AWESOME I got...

False Memory by Dan Krokos
The Forsaken by Lisa M. Stasse

The Perks of Being A Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
I read this when I was a young teenager, and while I know I loved it then, I simply don't remember it. Hope to re-read soon, since I'm seeing the movie next week!

Safekeeping by Karen Hesse (ARC)
Ksenia from MacMillan was cleaning out her Fall galleys on Twitter, and I snapped this one up when offered.

52 Reasons to Hate My Father by Jessica Brody (ARC)
donated to ARCycling from For What It's Worth - thank you so much Karen and Jen!

Tokyo Heist by Diana Renn
Won from the amazing Tara at Hobbitsies! This girl jumped through crazy hoops to get me a signed copy when the prize got delayed, and I am so grateful. Thanks Tara!

Across the Universe swag from Jen at I Read Banned Books
LOVE this swag! Books are mine, I just had to unite the pretty together for the pic :)

And now what completely blew me out of the water...Katelyn from Kate's Tales of Books and Bands has been one of my favourite book blogs since I ever discovered them, and she is so sweet and awesome. Her blog turned 2 a few weeks ago, and she celebrated with a HUGE giveaway. And by HUGE, I mean...
This greeted me one afternoon. That's a magazine there to the left, for size comparison. 
SO. MUCH. SWAG! (and the loveliest card :))
I KNOW. I seriously need a whole new bookshelf, and now I have so many I want to read!! Thank you Katelyn for all the books and amazing swag, your kindness and generosity knows no bounds!

So, that's the haul...and now I need to find a new house to have room for a new bookcase. Yep.

What's on your shelves?
Leave your link and I'll hop by!

Monday, September 24, 2012

Top Ten Series I Haven't Read/Finished

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish!

Top Ten Series
I Haven't Read or Finished Yet
(The topic is actually series not finished, but there are so few I've left hanging I had to expand it a bit.)
I say it all the time here: I rarely start series until they're finished, because I just can't imagine having to wait. So yes, I am aware that I'm absolutely crazy to have not started most of these series yet, and that I'm probably missing out on some fantastic books.

Started, But Not Finished

The Uglies series by Scott Westerfield
I really like this one, I'm not certain why I've not finished it - I've got Specials and Extras left to read.

The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flammel series by Michael Scott
I read the first one, and I liked it fine - but I just haven't picked it back up. Maybe one day.

The Erec Rex series by Kaza Kingsley
I ADORED this MG series when I started it, and I actually had no idea a fourth one was coming out until I saw it in stores a bit ago. I checked the fourth one out from the library and started it, but never finished before it had to be returned. I'll finish this one eventually, I'm sure of it.

The Jessica Darling series by Megan McCafferty
I know. I KNOW. I loved Sloppy Firsts (review here!), and of course Marcus Flutie, and I want to have these all read by the time her MG books focusing on Jessica pre-Hope moving away comes out - I even have Second Helpings sitting on my shelf!

The Mortal Instruments by Cassandra Clare
I know this one isn't done yet, but I haven't read City of Lost Souls yet either. I barely remember City of Fallen Angels as it is...

Haven't Started Yet

The Divergent series by Veronica Roth
The Delirium series by Lauren Oliver
The Wolves of Mercy Falls series by Maggie Stiefvater
The Chaos Walking series by Patrick Ness
The Paranormalcy series by Kiersten White

What series are unfinished for you?
Leave your link and I'll hop by!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Review: Reunited by Hilary Weisham Graham

Reunited by Hilary Weisham Graham
Simon & Schuster BYR, 336 Pages
US Release Date: June 12, 2012
Challenges: Local Library Challenge, Contemporary Challenge

1 Concert
2000 Miles
3 Ex-Best Friends

Alice, Summer, and Tiernan are ex-best friends.

Back in middle school, the three girls were inseparable. They were also the number one fans of the rock band Level3.

But when the band broke up, so did their friendship. Summer ran with the popular crowd, Tiernan was a rebellious wild-child, and Alice spent high school with her nose buried in books.

Now, just as the girls are about to graduate, Level3 announces a one-time-only reunion show.

Even though the concert’s 2000 miles away, Alice buys three tickets on impulse. And as it turns out, Summer and Tiernan have their own reasons for wanting to get out of town. Good thing Alice’s graduation gift (a pea-green 1976 VW camper van known as the Pea Pod) is just the vehicle to get them there.

But on the long drive cross-country, the girls hit more than a few bumps in the road. Will their friendship get an encore or is the show really over?
---------------------Goodreads summary

Notable Quote
Summer had always admired how uncensored Tiernan was. Sure, her lack of a filter got her into trouble sometimes, but it also got her what she wanted. Summer, on the other hand, spent so much effort not saying what she actually thought and denying herself the things she thought she "shouldn't" have that sometimes it was hard to remember what she really wanted in the first place.

I've always known that if *NSYNC ever reunited, I'd drop everything and every penny in my pocket to get to that show. Now thanks to Reunion, I'd absolutely love to do it with my two best friends in a green VW Van Pea Pod, too.

Reunion is a fun, winding adventure of 3 ex-best friends chasing the childhood band that had brought them together so many years ago. Though they're not friends now and have no plans of ever being friends again - thanks in part to a Winter Ball Showdown during their sophomore year - it seems their trip has other plans for them.

I'm never one to turn down a road trip novel, and this definitely ranks among one I'd love to have been on! The description of the Pea Pod was so much fun and so vivid, I felt like I could really see the band posters and collages plastered on the interior wall. The shenanigans they find themselves on during the trip, from the wayside hippie festival to the hot swimming boys to the radio contest were hilarious and filled with good hearted hijinks, and I loved every second of it.

I'll admit that some of the elements to this novel are not the most original. Each personality the friends represent are pretty typical, and the movement of friendships followed a clear path that a reader could have guessed no problem. And I know I'm not the only one who had flashbacks to the movie Crossroads with Britney Spears. Even the personalities of the three felt suspiciously like the characters from the movie - one studious, straight-laced brain, one popular flighty girl, and one party girl with a side of snark. I know there's no funny business going on, but I couldn't help but remember the movie as I was reading.

Still, despite some of the originality issues, this book was pure fun and friendship. Alice, the instigator of the trip and purchaser of the tickets, is fairly innocent throughout the entire novel; but Summer and Tiernan both have some other motives. I love the quote from Tiernan about how a runaway can always spot another runaway - it was so fitting and meaningful. And even though I'm focused on the friendship and adventures the girls stumble on, there's a great depth to the meaning of true friends and figuring out who you are as an individual amongst your friends - former or otherwise.

My only other issue with the book was how long it dragged out this Sophomore Year Winter Ball Showdown. Each girl constantly refers to it throughout the entire novel, always getting so close to finally explaining what happened until backing off. And that's fine, I get the point of drawing it out, but I felt it was a little...lackluster. A little underwhelming. It fit fine with the book, and I was quite happy that it's a situation that I understood how it would break up the friendship. In that respect, it's near perfect. But the buildup was so much, and the followthrough didn't quite live up to it.

Something I did love though? The ending. Parts of it were a bit unexpected, but it's totally a predictable ending that kind of ends all wrapped up in a pretty bow. Normally I'm not a fan of those, but with Reunited? It's so perfect and playful that I couldn't NOT love it. It's exactly as it should have happened, and I closed this book with a ginormous smile on my face.

4 Stars / 5

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Meet the Contributor: Shanon! + GIVEAWAY!!

It has been KILLING me keeping this in for the past month it has been in the works - I'm SO so pleased to have a contributor come on board at Ashley Loves Books. Even before I started working full time again and got lost in that time suck, I was thinking that I wanted a guest reviewer to join me - it's invigorating to have another opinion and entire other presence on a blog. And trust me, who I've got? She's incredible.
Say hi to Shanon!
Shanon's been one of my best friends for seems like forever because I'm fairly convinced we're soul sisters on so many levels, but still. Officially, we met in high school...sophomore year, I think? Maybe? All I know is, she made high school a better place. She's whip-smart, well-read, has creativity oozing out her ears, and is hilariously sarcastic in all the best ways. Unfortunately we haven't seen each other since 2005 when we graduated high school (aw crap I just dated us...) - she currently lives in Texas and I'm still in California - but not a day goes by I don't miss her presence or think about her.

And now I get to call her an official contributor to my blog! She'll be adding her awesome reviews, maybe taking on a meme or'll be a ton of fun, I promise :) For now, how about a little interview to get to know her better? Make sure you leave a comment to welcome her, and help me marvel in what fabulous bookish taste she has!

Let’s start with the usual: briefly introduce yourself!
I’m an eternal student. I love to learn about new things and usually at random. That makes for great reading and an advisory plan that will never get me out of college. Books are my sanctuary and I’m probably a born librarian in the wrong field…should probably correct that. ..

Tell us something surprising about yourself.
Mokrah! (If you get it, you know…if you don’t…google it. ;) [Ashley's note: I had to google it...]

What’s your earliest bookish memory?
Reading Dr. Seuss during an asthma breathing treatment in my parent’s old recliner. Couldn’t have been more than three.

What’s your favourite bookish memory?
Reading in the grocery store while my mom would shop. I’m terrible at grocery shopping; actually, I’m not leisurely strolling while I shop. My mom used to page me at the checkout with the cutest cashier she could find. That only started being funny now…10 to 12 years later. She knew where I was!

What type of books do you mainly read? (YA, sci fi, classics, Middle Grade, anything!)
I read a lot of sci-fi, fantasy and a fair amount of YA. Not so much into MG but I am an unashamed historical romance junkie…bring on the wooing!

Why do you read YA books?
Because they are honest and memory is fickle. Everything you felt at that age was magnified and on an extreme. Sarah kissed someone?! World-changing. Tommy was a jerk? You’ll hate that guy until you’re thirty. Those are the most real experiences I think we have and I think they can be undervalued in the rush to grow up. (Growing up includes things such as: car payments, student loan bills and jury duty…what were we in a hurry for again?)

Describe to (or show!) us your usual reading spot!
My office! Two desktop monitors, a HUGE tea cup that says “Keep Calm and Drink More Tea”, an unfinished baby blanket, a usually ringing phone…and three tall cabinets…mostly filled with books.

Have you ever met any authors? Do you have a favourite encounter?
I haven’t! It’s shameful to me now that I lived in San Diego and NEVER WENT to CC. *shame!* However…while working for A Certain Coffee Company, I did get to make coffee for Sheryl Crow and meet Alan Tudyk (again, if you don’t know…ASK SOMEBODY)!

What are your feelings on e-readers vs. print books? 
I used to be a print book snob. Hands down e-readers were for philistines. You missed out on sweet, glorious book smell…and who would trade in for that? Apparently I would, partially. My boyfriend bought me a Nook Color for my birthday a couple of years back…and my heart, life and paycheck were substantially altered. Holy Wombats Batman! Instant gratification with books! So now, I’m usually wandering about armed with a Nook and a few purse books. And my doctor said my shoulders should be recovering from book bend quite nicely.

How do you feel about insta-love in books? Hate it? Love it? Neutral?
I believe in insta-like. Insta-love is too immediate to be so real. That deep, abiding “I will not be like that heifer Rose and I will move over on the door the size of Montana so you can LIVE” love? That takes time to develop.

Thoughts on book-to-movie adaptations?
So torn. The books are always better, the movies can be close adaptations and when done with faithful casting and endings (I’m looking at you My Sister’s Keeper…WTF) can be enjoyable. An example: I’m thrilled for Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series being optioned for TV. I am horrified to think that with some serious miscasting and editing for TV…this could be a gigantic mess and that would be devastating.

We have to know…50 Shades of Grey. Did you go there?
Yeah. I did. In the original…yes, I know. I know! I was thoroughly amused (never shocked, oddly enough) by the story and appalled by the amount of red pen it would take for me to edit it properly. Dear Ms. James- get a damn thesaurus!

What’s one book you thought you’d love, but didn’t in the end? What about one you weren’t too keen on, but ended up loving?
> I thought I would love Stephen King’s Dark Tower series. The premise was interesting and my boyfriend, not much of a reader, recommended it. I figured it had to be awesome for him to be so interested in books that increased a la Harry Potter. HOWEVER. I’ve slogged my way through seven books and got to the last paragraph. I read it…blinked…read it again and heaved it across the room.
> I picked up Code Name: Verity under a bout of coverlust. It was so intriguing that I had to buy it. (Yes, I am one of those people). I wasn’t sure I would like it and initially the format of the story took me a few pages to wrap my head around. That book changed the way I think about friendship and that’s really all I can tell you without spoiling too much.

What’s one book you’re ashamed to say you haven’t read yet?
I haven’t read The Book Thief. STOP THROWING THINGS AT ME! *ducks and weaves* [Ashley's note: don't worry Shanon, I haven't either! Maybe I shouldn't admit that, people will shun the blog...]

What’s your reading pet peeves? 
There is a difference between what they’re doing and what their punishment will be.

Though we know nothing in life is better than reading (haha…not joking.), what are some of your other non-bookish interests?
Writing and playing music. Camping. Singing loudly in my car. Dancing around my house. Movie marathons, road trips and eye makeup.

Flash answer section!
Favourite genre? fantasy
Favourite recent read? Entwined
Favourite childhood book? Anne of Green Gables
Favourite word? Ameliorate
Favourite YA series? Jessica Darling!
Current book boyfriend? Marcus Flutie, always. (Seriously, my girlfriend and I tallied it up and aside from their first…encounter…I’m pretty much dating MF.)
Current read? Croak by Gina DaMico
Next read? Enclave by Ann Aguirre
Book you always recommend? The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss and Outlander by Diana Gabaldon
Go-To Comfort Read? The Wise Man’s Fear by Rothfuss. It’s like sliding into a bath that’s slightly too hot. By the time you’re all the way in…you couldn’t imagine anything better. And that paper…it’s like reading on silk.

Best of 2012:
Favourite book cover? Entwined by Heather Dixon is so gorgeous.
Least favourite book cover? Storm by Brigid Kemmerer…I was entertained by the story…but the cover looks like a bad boy band album…
Favourite secondary character? Bramble from Entwined. How can you not love someone with these words to her credit? “‘Down with tyranny!’ Bramble cried. ‘Aristocracy! Autocracy! Monocracy! Other ocracy things! You are outnumbered, sir! Surrender!’”

And lastly…your favourite quote from a book:
“It’s like being in love, discovering your best friend.” Code Name: Verity p.55
Did I not tell you she's FANTASTIC?! Seamless Titanic reference worked in, Code Name Verity, Jessica Darling, and admitting to 50 Shades? Sorry, fellow bloggers - she's all mine. Shanon's got some great reviews and content coming up, but for now, leave her some love in the comments, and get ready for ALL THE AWESOME. (On a technical note, please excuse any messes that may occur as we try to work out this contributor thing!)
Oh right, I mentioned a giveaway, didn't I? Well, I'm so damn excited to have Shanon here, I thought I'd celebrate by giving away a book she's mentioned!
And it's international!
If The Book Depository ships to you, you are free to enter! (Not sure if it does? Check here!)

The winner can choose ONE (1) of the following books:
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
Sloppy Firsts by Megan McCafferty (or any of the others in the Jessica Darling series)
Code Name: Verity by Elizabeth Wein
Entwined by Heather Dixon
Storm by Brigid Kemmerer

This'll be a quick one, as it ends on October 7!
If the winner is US, the book will ship from Amazon, BN, or TBD, depending on what's cheapest (hey, I'm excited but I'm still broke!); and if it's an International winner, it will come from TBD.
Please read my giveaway policy before entering, and as always
may the odds be ever in your favour.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Review: Ten by Gretchen McNeil (ARC)

Ten by Gretchen McNeil
Balzer + Bray, 294 Pages
Expected US Release Date: September 18, 2012
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher at ALA Annual 2012 (thank you Harper Teen!)

And their doom comes swiftly.

It was supposed to be the weekend of their lives—an exclusive house party on Henry Island. Best friends Meg and Minnie each have their reasons for being there (which involve T.J., the school’s most eligible bachelor) and look forward to three glorious days of boys, booze and fun-filled luxury.

But what they expect is definitely not what they get, and what starts out as fun turns dark and twisted after the discovery of a DVD with a sinister message: Vengeance is mine.

Suddenly people are dying, and with a storm raging, the teens are cut off from the outside world. No electricity, no phones, no internet, and a ferry that isn’t scheduled to return for two days. As the deaths become more violent and the teens turn on each other, can Meg find the killer before more people die? Or is the killer closer to her than she could ever imagine?
---------------Goodreads summary

Notable Quote
"I know you, Meg Pritchard. You don't say anything unless you mean it."
Meg winced. That was true, the fip side being that she didn't say half of what she wanted to.
Fair warning, I'm a damn scaredy-cat. I don't watch scary movies, I don't do horror or thriller or any of those. I still jump while watching I Know What You Did Last Summer, I definitely scream during Scream (PUN!), I hid through most of The Ring, and you can tell how long it's been since I've even attempted terrifying movies by how dated those examples are. I read some scary books, but I learned my lesson when I was 11 and reading Stephen King's Misery at 1am (add in that I even wanted to be a writer then, and you can imagine my pure terror) and have not done that since.

So I went into Ten a wee bit scared. I'd heard it was nail-biting, and I wasn't even going to play with that. But I'd also heard great things, I think Gretchen is possibly the most adorable and awesome author I've ever seen (I was so close to meeting her at ALA! We were at the same party! But alas, it shall have to wait until the release party.), and when I realized it was reminiscent of And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie - one of the classic, well-deserved mystery thrillers that everyone needs to have read if they haven't - I knew I'd give it a shot. And I'm so glad I did!

Under the ruse of a party thrown by a popular girl, ten teens gather on a remote island for the weekend of a lifetime - unknowingly the last weekend for most of them. We focus mainly on Meg, who has her own connections to a few of the select ten teens, and only later learn how they are all interconnected. From the moment Meg and Minnie step off the ferry onto the rainy island, I think my heart jumped into my throat and never, ever came back down until I closed the book.

Truthfully, it wasn't as terrifying as I thought it would be. There were definite moments I had to remind myself to breathe, and the entire last 40 pages or so I had to make sure I read in daylight - but the majority is that twisted thriller type, where it's the anticipation and the thinking that messes with you the most.  That half-knowing but whole-wondering that drives a person absolutely mad.

In terms of the characters, I was a bit underwhelmed - they were mostly flat, I found Meg to be a bit forced, and I felt the story lacked a bit of "show." We were told details, told who they were, told everything - and that's fine in a sense, but I never connected with any of them. I just had to take it at face value, and I never believed in any of them. I much prefer seeing their stories, really understand who they are, rather than being presented with details - and I was disappointed, because there was so much potential here! It would have made the book much longer, yes, but done right? That background detail would have been awesome.

However, I do understand that in some ways, the author couldn't give those details because it would detract from how we're taken through the story: through the diary. I can't say much more about it, because it would spoil a lot of the book, but I get why this is written this way. I don't have to like it, but I get it.

The story totally makes up for my disappointment with the character development though. COMPLETELY. This is a classic whodunit type story, where everyone and no one is innocent and guilty. (Schrodinger's cat, WHATUP!) I was questioning, and even though some parts seem a bit predictable to me, I was completely wrapped up in everything. I wanted to scream when I got scared, I held my breathe whenever a chapter ended, and I was totally taken by the story as a whole. Bodies were piling up everywhere, and I kind of loved how quickly kids were dying, in a terribly twisted way. I also loved the creativity behind the book: how people died, why they were dying and why they were chosen to die that good. All of it.

The scary touches of scenery and the DVD and slashes on the wall were a cherry on top of a thrilling novel. Like I said, I don't like scary things, but I do love this book. There's something so engaging and suspenseful about the whole thing, and I absolutely could not put it down or look away. I even may have maybe sorta possibly taken an extra few seconds (or a whole minute, whatever) during my work breaks and lunches just so I could keep reading. (If my bosses or co-workers are reading this: TOTALLY KIDDING NO I DIDNT I SAID MAYBE.)

Read this book. Even if you're like me and hate scary stuff and want to hide in a corner under a blanket and stick the book in the freezer* at the mere mention of darkness and an abandoned mansion and house boat on an island, you will love Ten. It is that good.

PS. Have you seen the trailer? Trust me when I say it portrays the feel of the book PERFECTLY. Plus, that's the author singing! How awesome is that?! (if you can't see the vid below, check out this post for it!)

PPS. Join the Army of Ten!
4 Stars
*if you get this reference, you are my new best friend.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Top Ten Tuesday: Books To Make You Think

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish!

Top Ten Books
That Make You Think

1. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
(read my review here!)
I feel this is fairly obvious.

2. The Perks of Being A Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
Honestly, it's been awhile since I read this book, but I remember reading it when I was in my early teens and getting that feeling that I was finally seeing something real about life. And just that one famous line "and in that moment, I swear we were infinite" always makes me think.

3. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
This will forever be my favourite book, because it spoke to me so much when I first read it...I was 7, I think! And every time I reread it now, I learn more. It's one of those books that makes me consider my family, my role in life, trajectory, the big picture. To this day I liken myself to Josephine March, and I'm happy with that thought.

4. The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson
(read my review here!)
It's hard to describe how and why this one made me think, but just know that I felt like my heart was on the page. Jandy Nelson's writing and poetry felt like a direct link from my head to my soul to the page, and it was terrifying and glorious all at once. If ever a book to make me consider love, in all its capacities and abilities, it is this one.

5. Wanderlove by Kirsten Hubbard
(read my review here!)
This book literally made me have a panic attack because so many of the feelings, thoughts and emotions were ones I recognized. Especially the parts about abandoning your art...there were so many lines that made me really think about my life and those integral years of growing up, and it was actually kind of tough to see it all there. Those are private fears and insecurities, and there they were, laid bare for anyone to read...

6. Personal Effects by EM Kokie & Something Like Normal by Trish Doller
(respective reviews here and here.)
Kinda fitting that this makes the list on 9/11, but it's true - so many facets to military life, and these expose such raw parts of them. They're both entirely different even though they are in the same realm, and I can't recommend either enough. They're brilliant and important. (I also have If I Lie by Corrine Jackson queued up to read next week, and I highly suspect it will make this list, too...)

7. The Age of Miracles by Karen Thompson Walker
(read my review here!)
I know, an adult book! GASP! But really, this was a fascinating read. It focuses on the world when the earth's rotation slows down, and it actually kind of freaked me out because it all felt so entirely real. I still think that this could really happen, and it really makes me think about how we live our lives and just how much daylight, night time, and seasons dictate our lives.

8. Temptation by Karen Ann Hopkins
(read my interview with the author here!)
I'm currently in the middle of reading this, and while it's far from my favourite read, it is absolutely riveting to read about the Amish culture. Every page I feel like I learn something new about the Amish, and I am blown away at the radical differences. Plus, if you saw my status update on Goodreads...yeah, the Amish would definitely frown on me. I mean, the girls aren't supposed to make eye contact with men unless they're courting! I broke that when I was like...a day old, probably. And most certainly I break that nowadays!

9. Ten by Gretchen McNeil
Not for some big life altering reason, but because I was thinking so hard while reading about who the killer was! My review will be going up later this week, but know that I was kept guessing to the very end - and I was still wrong.

10. His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman
I talk about this series often, because it is my favourite EVER. Literally, ever. Even before The Hunger Games and Across the Universe. I read The Golden Compass when I was 8, and I remember reading it and being in absolute awe of the world I was suddenly thrown into - not only is it a brilliant novel with fantastic writing and an original story, but it was completely invigorating to me as a creative writer. This was probably the first novel I ever read that made the world feel limitless, like I could create anything and everything I ever dreamt about. It is a book that I will discover new facets to every time I pick it up. (Haven't read it yet? I demand you do! And my friend Andrea at The Overstuffed Bookcase and Jess from The Daily Bookmark are having a read along of it right now! It's not too late to join!)

What books make you think?
Leave your link in the comments and I'll hop by!

PS. Don't forget to enter my follower appreciation giveaway - ends Thursday! FIVE winners, one of which is international!
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