Showing posts with label reading. Show all posts
Showing posts with label reading. Show all posts

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Top Ten Tuesday: Books That Took A While To Get Through - Some Paid Off, Others Not So Much

Top Ten Tuesday is weekly book blog meme hosted by the lovely girls over at The Broke and the Bookish.

This week's Top Ten Tuesday topic is books you had a hard time with - tweaked however works best - so I chose to feature some books that took me a while to get through. Some of these books were worth the slog, but others... well, I wouldn't want to pick them up again.There are quite a few books in this list that are really popular, so that makes me just a tad bit nervous to share them, but hey, we all have our own opinions, right? Let me know what books were a slog for you to get through -- or if any of these were the same for you!

Footnotes in GazaChronicle of a Last Summer: A Novel of EgyptThe Once and Future King

Footnotes in Gaza by Joe Sacco: The story and content itself is fascinating, but this graphic novel just has so much information and the way it jumps around can be confusing. I liked it overall, but getting through it was challenging.

Chronicles of a Last Summer: A Novel of Egypt by Yasmine El Rashidi: Something about the writing style of this book just made it impossible for me to enjoy, and I ended up DNF-ing this book. I really wanted to like this one, but I just didn't.

The Once and Future King by T.H. White: I hated that I didn't immediately love this book. I wanted to so badly. There were parts of this book that I loved and enjoyed, but there were more parts that just seemed dry and seemed to be a bit of a slog to get through. I don't know, I was disappointed. Would I still recommend it? Absolutely.

The Watchmaker of Filigree StreetInfinite JestWildwood (Wildwood Chronicles, #1)

The Watchmaker of Filigree Street by Natasha Pulley: The cover alone is enough for me to love this book, but unfortunately the content was just.. disappointing. I wasn't that engaged in the story and it just felt rather odd and disjointed; it ended up taking me longer than normal to get through this one.

Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace: Look, I'm glad I read it, but... I wouldn't do it again. And I'm hesitant on whether or not I would recommend it.

Wildwood by Colin Meloy: This book... I don't even know. The cover, the premise, everything just screams amazing middle grade fantasy. The reality? Something extremely long-winded and, quite frankly, rather boring. I also DNF-ed this one.

Two Years Eight Months and Twenty-Eight NightsThe Little Paris BookshopThe Queen of the Tearling (The Queen of the Tearling, #1)

Two Years Eight Months and Twenty-Eight Nights by Salman Rushdie: This is one of Rushdie's weaker works, in my opinion. I just didn't care about anything that was happening, nothing really made sense, and I really had to force myself to finish it.

The Little Paris Bookshop by Nina George: I couldn't find the plot! It had such a fantastic concept and strong start, but it just fell flat int he middle and didn't seem to pick itself back up.

The Queen of the Tearling by Erika Johansen: I actually might consider rereading this one someday, but as of right now I just found this incredibly slow and uninteresting.  I would like to give it another chance, though.

Slaughterhouse-FiveThe Book ThiefS.

Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut: Over the years, I've discovered that Kurt Vonnegut is just not for me. I had to force myself to finish this one. I won't say that Vonnegut isn't talented,because he clearly is, but his writing just isn't for me.

The Book Thief  by Markus Zusak: I was so hesitant to include this one since it's such a beloved book to many people, but my god I hated it. I thought it was extremely gimmicky and confusing and just not at all interesting. I didn't care for any of the characters and I ended up DNF-ing it. If you love it, that's awesome and I completely respect that, but I personally just didn't get this one.

S. by J.J. Abrams: To be clear, the marginalia story in this book was incredibly interesting and entertaining, but the main story itself was such a drag to get through. 

What books have you struggled to finish? Did it pay off in the end? Let me know in the comments!

Friday, September 1, 2017

Month in Review: August 2017

Month in Review:
August 2017

I hope you all remembered your tickets to Hogwarts, because today's the day!

Can you believe it's already September? I truly don't know where this year has gone. September means I'm moving and I'm not ready for that! This is also the first September since I first started schooling that I do not have to go back to school. It's an incredibly weird feeling, and although I am somewht relieved, I also sort of miss it. Plus, I loved shopping for school supplies? There's nothing better than a fresh notebook.

But on to the books! I apparently read less books than last month, which is odd considering how many I felt like I read. Regardless, I still had a great reading month and am now ready for this month's releases! All of my blog activities from August can be found below. 
How was your August reading month?

Books read: 11

Objective Troy: A Terrorist, a President, and the Rise of the DroneA Path Begins (The Thickety #1)The Gene: An Intimate History
The Once and Future KingThe Tethered Mage (Swords and Fire #1)Godblind
Akata Witch (Akata Witch, #1)Grist Mill Road

Objective Troy: A Terrorist, a President, and the Rise of the Drone bby Scott Shane 
A Path Begins (The Thickety #1) by J.A. White 
The Gene: An Intimate History by Siddhartha Mukherjee 
The Once and Future King by T.H. White 
The Tethered Mage by Melissa Caruso (review to come) 
Godblind by Anna Stephens (review to come) 
Akata Witch by Nnedi Okorafor 
Grist Mill Road by Christopher J. Yates (review to come!) 

Have you read any of these? What books did you read this month? Comment below!

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Monday, October 3, 2016

Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake

Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake. HarperTeen, 2016. Hardcover. 416 pages.

This review is so difficult for me to write because I have so many feelings that are a mixture of both positive and negative (though overall, I feel good about this book!) A majority of me completely fell in love with this book and cannot wait for the next one. However, there is a small part of me that was somewhat confused and annoyed by various minor aspects. From an entertainment and overall plot standpoint, Three Dark Crowns is a solid winner. This is an exciting journey that is rather twisty in nature, and I loved reading it.

However, from a closer and more detailed look, there are a few areas that I had some issues. The biggest one was with the distinction (or lack of) between the sisters; I initially - and a few times throughout - had trouble distinguishing between the sisters' perspectives. Yes, I know it is obvious who is who based upon where they live and what their special gift is, but personality-wise they all seemed so... similar. They all acted fairly sweetly and seemed somewhat 'innocent,' and it wasn't until much later in the story that I felt like I could really start to tell them apart, though I felt Katharine and Mirabella shared many traits. This problem is partly what made it take me so long to become fully immersed int he story.

I was also somewhat confused about Jules' character. I could never truly figure out what her role was: why was she so prominent? Why was their an additional character that we focused on in Arsinoe's world perspective and not int he other sisters' Maybe this will be answered more in subsequent books, but I'm just not sure right now, and it just felt like this underlying question that was never fully answered. It almost made Jules seem like a more important character than Arsinoe, which certainly can't have been the intended goal? Regardless, I still enjoyed Jules' character - she was strong, entertaining, and I also loved Camden.

I loved the blend of romance, action, political-esque intrigue, and overall culture and world building that made up Three Dark Crowns. It just felt like a perfect amount and mix of every single one of these elements, and Blake did a wonderful job of incorporating them all within this story.

I've also seen some people complain about a lack of action in this book, but to be completely honest, that didn't really bother me. I felt that there was sufficient action; however, I am also not huge on action - too much action in a book often bores me, so I appreciated the more political and behind-the-scenes types of action that went on. I enjoyed the developments between characters and alliances.

Lastly, I feel as though I was slightly led astray regarding the actual plot of this book, as I assumed this book would be focused on the actual event in which the queens attempt to kill each other. Instead it was more about the preparation leading up to the 'event'. I was also unclear on how the final 'ascension year' would really work, too - is it Hunger Games-style where they are put into a ring and may the best woman win? Or do they continue living in their own lands and subtly try to murder one another? Honestly, I'm still feeling a bit fuzzy on the details, but I'm hoping the next book will straighten everything out.

I know that based upon what I have been saying in this review it might sound like I didn't enjoy Three Dark Crowns that much, which isn't true at all and why this review was so difficult to write. I had so much fun reading this book! I looked forward to picking it up everyday. Despite the many flaws, it still makes a wonderfully exciting reading and Blake's writing is extremely strong when it comes to plot and suspense. I definitely recommend this popular book, and am giving it four stars!

You might also like:
A Shadow Bright and Burning by Jessica Cluess
A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas
Of Metal and Wishes by Sarah Fine
A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas
A Torch Against the Night by Sabaa Tahir

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Wonder Women: 25 Innovators, Inventors, and Trailblazers Who Changed History by Sam Maggs

*Wonder Women by Sam Maggs will be released on Tuesday, October 4th!*

Wonder Women by Sam Maggs. Quirk Books, 2016. Paperback. 240 pages

*I received a physical ARC of Wonder Women courtesy of Quirk Books in exchange for an honest review.*

It doesn't matter who you are or what you do: you should go pick up this book whenever you have the chance. Wonder Women tells about the many inventions and contributions women have made throughout history, and it does so in an incredibly engaging and informative manner. Out of the many incredible women spotlighted in this book, I am almost embarrassed to say that I had only heard of a small handful prior to reading Wonder Women! 

This is such an incredibly needed and important book that brings to light the accomplishments of women in the fields of science, medicine, espionage, innovation, and adventure. I think it is astounding how many women have made such huge marks throughout history, but yet have very little notice - if any at all - in many textbooks and history books! Where were all of these women when I was learning history in my early schooling? For that matter: where are they still?

Each profile was the perfect length that provided well-researched and detailed information about each woman and her impact; there was no excessive rambling or extensive information that could potentially turn away some readers. Also, a bonus to this already great book is the list of resources listed in the back pages that offer an abundance of websites and organizations that girls can explore and join in order to follow their own dreams.

The only negative reaction I had to this book was how disappointed I felt that I am not a part of the scientific community - but fortunately this has nothing to do with the writing or content of the book itself, just my own feelings. I used to want to enter the world of science, but I soon realized that it simply is not something I was born to do, and I excel much more in other areas. Still, I love reading about the many accomplishments that all of these women have accomplished over the years, and I am almost sure that you will, too!

Quite frankly, I don't know I could give this wonderful book anything less than five stars!

You might also like:
The Girl with Seven Names by Hyeonseo Lee
The Secret of Dreadwillow Carse by Brian Farrey
Seven Brief Lessons on Physics by Carlo Rovelli

Thursday, June 30, 2016

All Is Not Forgotten by Wendy Walker

All is Not Forgotten is now available!

All Is Not Forgotten by Wendy Walker. St. Martin's Press, 2016. 320 pages. Paperback/Softcover.

**I received a review copy of All Is Not Forgotten courtesy of St. Martin's Press.**

All Is Not Forgotten is a psychological thriller that left me in complete awe at the mastery of Walker's storytelling. This book completely messed with my head, and I loved every minute of it.

This book has one of the best unreliable narrator situations that I've read in a long time, and it was amazing. There was such a slow development of the narrator's personal descent from appearing to be an objective, behind-the-scenes storyteller to the immense role we realize he has been playing throughout the entire story. I am still reveling in the beauty of this darkly twisted story. This is such an intricate, carefully plotted story that I am still in awe of how wonderfully Walker executed it.

I don't want to go into describing the characters themselves too much, largely because I don't think one should go into this book knowing too much about any of them, and I also don't want to accidentally revel anything. This book completely banks (in my opinion) on the need to be completely unaware of anything that is going to happen because it must be unraveled on your own in your own personal experiences. The way in which all of the characters end up weaving together in this densely created spider web of entanglements is brilliant, and I spent a lot of my post-finishing ten minutes trying to work it all out in my head.

All Is Not Forgotten is not for the faint of heart, as it is at times graphic, intense, and brutal. However, it is also darkly beautiful and provides an interesting look at how deeply memories can affect us and alter our own emotions. I was a bit unsure at first about the treatment described that erases Jenny's memory of the event, as it sounded slightly far-reaching, but once I started the book and figured out exactly what it was and meant, it made much more sense and it worked really well. The way in which Walker plays with the concept of memories and explains them is finely detailed and nuanced - it truly shows just how fragile our minds an memories are, and also how powerful they can be in making us believes thing, whether they happened or not.

It is incredibly difficult for me to believe that this is Walker's debut novel, and it is apparent that she must be immensely talented and detail-oriented. She is definitely going on my authors to watch list, and I look forward to seeing what else she has in store for her readers. This is must-read for thriller-fans or those who want something gripping for the hot summer months.

A word of caution: if you are in a place where rape triggers you or causes you any form of anxiety or pain, you may not want to dive right into this one just yet. There are some very graphic depictions of both the act itself and the feelings it creates that may pose a challenge.

I know I've been giving what seems to be an abundance of high amounts of stars lately, but All Is Not Forgotten completely deserves yet another four-and-a-half stars from me.

You might also like:
Consequence by Eric Fair

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Sun Kissed by Coco Nichole

Sun Kissed by Coco Nichole. Nov. 2015. Softcover/Paperback. 

A little over a month ago I was emailed by Coco Nichole regarding reading and reviewing her new book, Sun Kissed, which I readily agreed to after reading the synopsis provided. I was very pleasantly surprised!

The story begins right after Sofia Aguilar has moved from her boarding school in the United States to live with her brother and dying mother in a remote Amazon village. The locals tell of the legend of the Encantados, mythical beings that can transform, control the weather, and enter into the dreams of humans. Sun Kissed takes us on Sofi's journey into this unique legend where we discover more about the mysterious Encantados.

Sun Kissed is a wonderful mixture of fantasy, myth, suspense, and entertainment that proves to be an effortless and enjoyable adventure. There is an exceptional blend of the innocence of youth with the temptations and dangers of the world as we mature. The setting of this story is in a small village in the beautiful South American Amazon and I found it to be a wonderfully refreshing change from many common settings. I loved the mysterious, enchanting Amazon river and the culture of the area. Nichole successfully created a realistic and culturally accurate setting; it's obvious that she did her research and put her heart into this story.

Sofi is a willful young girl with many human qualities that often trip her up and cause her to make mistakes that any normal person would, which made her relatable and understandable. She falls prey to the kind, smooth words of a beautiful man, but also has the sense to realize when things aren't quite right. Out of all the characters, Sofi appears to have experienced the most changes, going from a grumpy, unhappy, and bored teenager to one caught up in the thrill of an old legend and a growing love for her brother and mother.

The rest Nichole's characters are all teasingly diverse and full of life. However, I did feel that the character development was slightly lacking. The characters were unique and had great personalities that defined each one, but they needed a bit more in the developmental area. While the characters do undergo change and have dynamic qualities, these changes appear to be a bit too blunt and random, and I wish that, as the reader, I would have had more of a chance to witness the dynamic change within each person.

I also found this development issues within the plot as well. Before I go further, however, I do want to say that the plot and idea of this story is wonderfully unique and I think Nichole has struck gold with her story. It's refreshing, multicultural, and highly intriguing. Yet, in a manner similar to the character development, I just felt that the plot could have used a bit more explanation. Sun Kissed contained many points where more expansion could have benefited, though Nichole was still successful at developing complex backstories for her characters.  I would have loved to hear more about the Encante and some of the things they have done or are capable of doing. They are such an intriguing topic and legend, and I am excited to see what Nichole continues to develop within her story.

Overall, I am giving Sun Kissed three-and-a-half stars for its magical storytelling and exciting plot. I would recommend this to any who enjoys myths and legends, fantasy, or multicultural literature taking place in a new and exciting setting!

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You might also like:
The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh
Uprooted by Naomi Novik
A School for Unusual Girls by Kathleen Baldwin
Azurite by Megan Dent Nagle
Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Of Metal and Wishes by Sarah Fine

Of Metal and Wishes by Sarah Fine. Margaret K. McElderry Books, 2014. Hardcover. 321 pages. 

I came across Of Metal and Wishes on a whim one day while perusing Goodreads. I had never of this book or the author, Sarah Fine (who apparently has quite a few successful books out that I would like to check out), and it sounded immensely appealing, so I made sure to pick it up at my library. Random book finds are always a gamble, but this one turned out to be quite rewarding.

This book follows a young woman named Wen who assists her father at the medical clinic of a slaughterhouse. There are rumours of a ghost that dwells within the factory that is believed to grant wishes to those that provide offerings, though there is no hard evidence. Ghostly things begin to happen when Wen makes a wish one day, and as a result we are pulled into a dark story surrounding Wen, her father, and recently hired Noor men, a foreign culture that is looked down upon.

Of Metal and Wishes has a distinct Asian culture setting, though there are no specifics on time period of location, which is actually somewhat refreshing. I actually felt rather unrestricted because of this, which really allowed my imagination to thrive without getting caught up in too many specifics regarding the locations and politics of an area.

Prior to reading Of Metal and Wishes, I had no idea that it was a form a Phantom of the Opera retelling until after I finished, but I can now certainly understand that element. This book had such a distinct style and atmosphere that it is difficult to describe. There is little warmth or gentle narration, but rather a distinct bleak atmosphere. Despite thinking I was becoming bored at various times or about to put it down, in reality I found I couldn't stop reading because I simply had to find out the fate of Wen, her father, Ghost, and the Noor.

This book does have romance, though it is in no way your typical story romance; the chemistry between the characters does become rather prominent, but I found it to be done in a very realistic and timely manner that did not take away from my enjoyment of other elements of the plot. This book is gritty, dark, gory, and unforgiving; at times it felt hopeless that life could ever change for the characters that dwelled within the story.

Fine has an elegant and precise form of writing that makes every sentence count, and her words stick in your mind hours after you have put down this book. It is hauntingly beautiful. The characters she has created are all nicely unique and embody varying personalities despite their limited circumstances and inability to live freely. Her plot is certainly unique, though at times it felt underdeveloped. Things happened too quickly and too predictably, and I struggled to understand where exactly the plot was going at various moments. Regardless, I still found myself interested in Wen and the story itself, which led me to continue reading.

Wen was a very complex character, and I enjoyed getting to know her with each page. At times, she is entirely complacent and obedient, knowing that she must do exactly as dictated by society, her father, and their strict, dirty boss, Mugo. However, at various points in the story we catch glimpses into her more stubborn and strong-willed side. She is both meek and bold. She is brutally aware of the horrors that occur at the factory and any accidents she has been involved in, and we often see her feeling the negative effects of being exposed to such a life. This also makes her a strong character, as she grows throughout the novel and becomes more involved with the Noor and the events at the factory. The only critique I have about Wen is that I never felt overly connected to her character. I began to understand her actions and empathize with her, but I never felt an overly strong connection. It was similar to the feeling of having a friend or acquaintance that you feel you know well and get along well with, but there always seems to be a thin wall between you and them, which always leaves that air of coolness and distance that prevents a true connection. Wen built her wall to keep out other people and her emotions, but at the same time she kept out her readers (or at least me).

The Noor themselves were a group of young men that I slowly learned to respect. In the beginning, they appear cold, distant, and disrespectful to women. However, we begin to see the other sides of the Noor as they struggle to survive at the factory, and we are able to watch them care for one another in a compassionate, loyal, and dedicated manner that is apparently foreign to Wen and their society's customs.

Wen's father is a character that I actually wish Fine wuld have expanded more or included more in the story. He is a quiet, exceedingly competent man and an excellent doctor. he is also extremely obedient to his boss, largely because the only alternative is likely a labour-type camp. Despite it not being overly apparent, he care deeply for his daughter and always tries his best to keep her safe ad provided for.

Overall, I a giving Of Metal and Wishes three-and-a-half stars because it is a solid, interesting story with strong characters and a unique, enjoyable plot. It lacked in some developmental areas, and it didn't feel like I always understood where the plot was going, but it was enjoyable nonetheless.

                   Get more reviews and book news in your inbox and subscribe to Forever Lost in Literature!

You might also like:
The Madman's Daughter by Megan Shepherd
An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir
Hidden Huntress by Danielle Jensen
Throne f Glass by Sarah J. Maas

Friday, December 11, 2015

My Top Books of 2015!

After reading so many good books this year, I can't help but want to share them with everyone, so I have decided to create a best books of 2015 list or you all!

First up, we have my favorite books from this year were just released this year. (These are listed in no particular order.)

Best 2015 Releases:

1. Slade House by David Mitchell
I really don't want to say too much about this book, so I think the best way to lure you in is to say that this centers around a house on Slade Alley that only appears when it is ready to feast...
This is a short read made even shorter by how compelling it was and easy to get through. This is the first book I've read by David Mitchell and his writing and storytelling just blew me away.

2. Lair of Dreams by Libba Bray (review to come)
I read this immediately after finishing The Diviners and it completely lived up to its predecessor. Libba Bray drags you into her full-fledged 1920s setting with complex and strong-willed characters that are so unique and full of life that you never want to stop reading.

3. Elon Musk: Inventing the Future by Ashley Vance
Even if you don't give a hoot about Elon Musk or know who he is, this is still an incredibly fascinating look at a determined man who will stop at pretty much nothing to get what he wants done. Ashlee Vance writes in an extremely readable and entertaining manner that made it impossible to put down.

4. An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir
This was one of the top YA fantasy releases this year - and with good reason. Sabaa Tahir has created a brutal alternate world modeled after Ancient Roman elements, and within it we delve into the lives of a slave, Laia, and a soldier, Elias, where the two eventually become intertwined in each other's individual quests.

5. A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas
If you love Throne of Glass, you'll probably love this one also! Sarah J. Maas does not disappoint with her first novel in a new series that embodies a wide-ranging cast of characters, each with their own strong and unique personality. I really enjoyed this one and breezed right through it thanks to Maas' vivid writing and compelling plot.

6. The Heart Goes Last by Margaret Atwood
This was my first Margaret Atwood book and I loved it! I've been burned out on the whole 'dystopian' genre for a while, but Atwood has brought it back with a vengeance. This is fairly short read, but it is still extremely gripping and deeply complex as we discover what happens when a society attempts to become 'perfect.' We all now how that normally goes, don't we?

7. Black Chalk by Christopher J. Yates
I just recently read this one and I had to add it my best of 2015 list. If you like The Secret History, then I highly recommend you give Black Chalk a go. This story is centered around six college students who develop a game to play that ends up wreaking much more havoc on their lives than they could have ever imagined.

Best non-2015 releases:

1. The Mysterious Benedict Society (review to come)
I always like to add in some middle grade books to my reading each year, and this was the perfect addition! Trenton Lee Stewart has created such a unique and delightful world with dynamic, engaging characters to match. If you like A Series of Unfortunate Events or intelligent, quirky children, then this is the perfect book for you as well.

2. The Madman's Daughter by Megan Shepherd
Modeled after H.G. Wells' masterpiece, The Island of Dr. Moreau, The Madman's Daughter is a haunting yet beautiful story of a young girl who discovers that her father is not the misunderstood scientist that she thinks she is. Megan Shepherd has expertly retold this story, and I absolutely loved it.

3. The Diviners by Libba Bray
I picked this one up because I kept seeing rave reviews for the recently released Lair of Dreams. First off - wow! I was not expecting this book to be so good, mainly because I did not really enjoy Libba Bray's Gemma Doyle Trilogy, but I was extremely wrong! Bray has developed such a complex storyline with a rich array of diverse characters in a strong 1920s theme. Highly, highly recommended.

4. The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt
I really have no words to describe this. But finding the words to describe books is sort of what I do, so I'll try. Tartt employs her mad stream-of-consciousness skills throughout this huge, exceedingly intricate, and well-developed novel.

5. The Paying Guests b y Sarah Waters

The Paying Guests is a hefty novel, both physically and mentally. Frances Wray and her mother have decided to take in boarders in their house in the years after the war in order to pay for their expenses. And this is where the drama all unfolds. I am saying nothing else because it is best left to find out on your own. Just read it and be prepared for intense events.

6. Kafka on the Shore by Haruki Murakami
Haruki Murakami's intricate magical realism elements are strong in this book, and are complete with plenty of cats - talking cats! - and cooking. I can't help but love each one of his books, and Kafka on the Shore was just as good as all the rest. I absolutely love the way he delves into the human mind and sort of plays around with our thoughts and emotion. Oh, Murakami...

7. Mrs. Poe by Lynn Cullen
I'm a pretty big fan of Edgar Allan Poe, so when I saw this fictionalized tale about Mr. Poe himself and his wife, I had to pick it up. This story is told from the perspective of Frances Osgood, an aspiring writer who observes Poe and his wife and becomes caught up in the midst of their mysterious lives. Cullen has a hauntingly beautiful prose makes this a breeze to read!

8. The Kindly Ones, Sandman Vol. 9 by Neil Gaiman
The concluding tale (at the time) to Neil Gaiman's illustrious Sandman series, and also one of the best, though it would be absolutely impossible for me to pick a favorite from the bunch.

9. Shanghai Girls by Lisa See
A devastatingly beautiful tale of two sisters struggling to make their way in the United States. This tale will give you strong emotions as you journey with these two sisters and their new struggles in America. Despite the many hardships they face, and despite the many times they may have almost hated each other, they know they're always sisters and will always be there for one another. Seriously, it's a great book.

10. Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami
See, I'm not lying when I say I have a problem with Murakami.  I just can't help but love everything he writes - at least not yet, anyway. (*sweats nervously at the thought of reading a bad Murakami book* - does that even exist!?) Not as many cats as Kafka on the Shore, but still plenty of cooking!


The Wolves in the Walls by Neil Gaiman
The Wolves in the Walls is one of Neil Gaiman's finest books for younger fans, as its wonderfully creepy and charming at the same time and will definitely keep you flipping pages! The illustrations are also the masterful work of Dave McKean, who has done other artwork for Neil Gaiman's work, such as Coraline, and is wonderfully haunting and unique, a perfect fit for Gaiman and this book.

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