Most books I read aren’t new releases, but I thought I’d do my own list of my favourite books that I read this year. Some are new, others not. I decided to stick to books that I read for the first time this year, so that rules out favourites like Hamlet and The Lord of the Rings. I chose books that made me fall in love with them because they are clever, well-written, and just add to the literary discourse of the human heart.
(This is my fifth review in exchange for a free book. You can find the other books I have reviewed here on my old reviews blog.)
Disclaimer: All material that follows is much more woman-friendly than for the men (sorry guys!), but men are welcome to learn as well.
Anna’s rating: 5 stars
When Alison approached me about reviewing her book, I was quite excited to find someone else who knows about the world of charting. Her book did not disappoint! While there was much information that I already knew (as a person with pcos who started charting in an attempt to reach fertility), I still learned quite a bit and this book also refreshed everything that I had learned before.
This book is specifically directed to Christian girls who are not sexually active; however, I think any woman could benefit from reading this book. Not only does one learn how to chart her cycles (and why it is wonderful to be able to do so), but also multiple ways of lessoning the symptoms of PMS, and why the Pill is so harmful. I loved how Alison Protz tied the woman’s cycle into Christianity and the way she described charting your cycles as really a way embracing womanhood.
All in all, it was a delightful read and a book that I would definitely recommend to any girls (or women!).
You can read more about the book here.
Wow. Magnificent. Oh my goodness gracious me. I was blown away by the utter magnificence of this book – I think it could even replace my beloved The Lord of the Rings as my favourite book of all time?? I don’t think I’m ever going to be able to completely process everything, but then a good book is one that captivates you every time you read, for years to come, isn’t it?
Anna’s rating: 5 stars
Thomas Argyle, Charlie Cooper, and Livia Naylor live in a world not unlike Dicken’s Victorian England. In fact, Dan Vyleta begins with a quote from the Master Author’s novel Dombey and Son:
“Those who study the physical sciences, and bring them to bear upon the health of Man, tell us that if the noxious particles that rise from vitiated air were palpable to the sight, we should see them lowering in a dense black cloud above such haunts, and rolling slowly on to corrupt the better portion of a town. But if the moral pestilence that rises with them … could be made discernible too, how terrible the revelation!”
(Beginning a section of a book with a quote from Dickens or Dostoevsky or Dante or one of those other great authors is my new favourite thing.)
That quote really summarizes the setting of the novel. In this world, any baser emotion, whether that be lust or anger (or even joy), causes a human being to emit Smoke. The Smoke is seen as a sign of one’s fallen state – therefore, the common people live in Smoke, the aristocracy using Smokelessness as a sign of their right to rule. (Of course, they are just able to hide their Smoke because they have the money to do so – nothing to do with morality.) The Smoke is therefore highly entangled with both religion and politics. In the boarding school which Thomas and Charlie attend, the slightest sign of Smoke brings great punishment upon the unfortunate boy whose clothes are found stained with the soot which will not disappear. However, the two boys soon begin to learn that everything they have been taught is a lie and there are deeper, darker secrets to be found in the streets of London.
I’ve got a bad cold, so it looks like it’s going to be a lazy day. Perfect time for a blog post, eh? I thought so, too.
I just finished reading The Anatomy of Curiosity by Maggie Stiefvater, Tessa Gratton, and Brenna Yovanoff. It’s a book that teaches writing by showing examples of writing, a technique of which I most heartily approve. I put this book on hold at the library because after reading The Raven Cycle, I am absolutely spellbound by Maggie Stiefvater. Her writing has such magic to it, and she makes me fall in love with writing in a way that only my friend Gina (author of the recent The Rose and the Sword) has been able to do before.
This was such a great read not only because I got writing advice from my beloved Maggie (
if I was born in the time of Homer, I’d probably offer sacrifices to beg her to be my Muse), but because I discovered a new favourite – Brenna Yovanoff (now I have to go look for books she’s written). Not only was her story right up my alley (modern YA with a twist of the Gothic), but she showed her writing process in a very different way from Maggie and Tessa (just the short story with comments here and there). Brenna first told a story from her childhood of a drowning that stuck with her the rest of her life before showing the short story as well as a very different earlier draft. While I wasn’t a big fan of Tessa and her world-building, her story at least kept my interest. The book also had a few sections of words from the author s – for example, how to gain ideas and the overwhelming doubt that plagues readers.
Anna’s rating: 5 stars (note to self: need to buy a copy of this book to have forever)
Anna’s rating: 5 stars
Rebecca Veritas is excited to be beginning her psychology internship. She’s made a few new friends and found a delightful bookstore. However, not all is butterflies and sunshine – an old dear friend seems to be drifting away and Dr. Yin, the psychologist Rebecca is studying under, uses many methods that make Rebecca uneasy. As time passes, a growing sense of unease quickly transitions into more disturbing events that make her question if all is as it seems. When circumstances take an eerie turn, Rebecca will find herself a player on a larger scale than she had ever anticipated, a scale that could cause one to pay the ultimate price.
I was so excited to hear that my friend Gina had published her second book of the Veritas Chronicles! And while I thought I Thirst was amazing, I was absolutely blown away by The Rose and the Sword. (Those who follow me on tumblr will attest to this – I was live blogging about this book all night.) I finished the entire 373 pages in a few hours – I didn’t even know I could read that fast?? I guess it’s just because I was just so captivated and had to find out what happened next. Some of my thoughts that I sent out last night…
“The king sleeps still, under a mountain , and around him is assembled
his warriors and his herds and his riches. By his right hand is his cup,
filled with possibility. On his breast nestles his sword, waiting, too, to wake.
Fortunate is the soul who finds the king and is brave enough to call him to wakefulness, for the king will grant him a favour, as wondrous as can be imagined by a mortal man.” (The Raven Boys)
Anna’s rating: 4 stars (1 flag)
I haven’t read many YA books due to the fact that there tends to be the same storyline to most of these books. I recently got re-introduced to the genre with The Foxhole Court, and because I really enjoyed that series, I decided to try another of Tumblr’s favourites – The Raven Cycle by Maggie Stiefvater.
Books in order: The Raven Boys || The Dream Thieves || Blue Lily, Lily Blue || The Raven King
It’s definitely got a different storyline from the usual girl-meets-boy in a story with x plot but-really-the-whole-reason-for-the-story-is-that-she-learns-something-about-herself-and-falls-in-love (bonus points if contains love triangle) – you know, the type of story that makes me roll my eyes and sigh from desperation.
Blue Sargent lives with her mother and several other women (some are cousins?) at 300 Fox Way. Blue is different because she isn’t a psychic like all the other women are. In fact, she would just be ordinary if it weren’t for the fact that she is an aid to the other psychics because she ‘increases the energy’ – which doesn’t change the fact that Blue still feels basically useless. But all of this is about to change when Blue meets Richard Gansey III and his friends from Aglionby Academy.
Gansey is searching for a Welsh king named Glendower. This king is sleeping, not dead, and he will grant a wish to whoever will wake him. Gansey’s friends Ronan Lynch, Adam Parrish, and Noah Czerny – as well as Blue – come along on the quest with him. Blue meets the boys when Adam asks her on a date, but falls in love with Gansey. However, there’s a catch – before she met Gansey, Blue learned that he was on a list of people to die. And Blue is fated to kill her true love when she kisses him (i.e. Gansey). Adam wants to use the wish to make sure Gansey doesn’t die. Ronan wants to use the wish to make sure his little brother Matthew doesn’t die. But other, more extreme, situations arise…