Top 5 Tuesday: UVWXYZ

Well, thank you technology and my utter absence of luck for WIPING MY DRAFT and making me write this whole thing over. I only just got back from Disney last night so the re-writing couldn’t happen until the flight had landed. But hey–here it is.

This Top 5 Tuesday is made possible by a lot of cheating. Turns out I’ve read…no books for a bunch of these letters, which had been my fear and made choosing matching books a whole heck of a lot tougher. A note to authors: please start naming books with poor, neglected letters like XYZ to make our little reader challenge lives easier.

Aaaaanyway, let’s get to this alphabet chaos.

U:

Unspoken by Sarah Rees Brennan and Undead by Kirsty McKay

Surprisingly, I found multiple good U books for this top pick! In a classic Indecisive Brittney move–and in major part due to the utter failure of my last three letters and sheer excitement at finding ones to match the category rules–I opted not to choose and instead to pick both.

The first one is Unspoken, the first of the Lynburn Legacy trilogy and set in the magic-laden English Cotswolds (an adorable setting, secluded and small enough to make the eerie magic bite believable). With an investigative heroine, delightfully awkward romance, silly jokes and dashes of dark magic, blood ties, murders, corruption, and secrets, the book is a gothic fantasy treasure.

My other pick, Undead, is a playful laugh-out-loud take on a zombie outbreak featuring some freaky veggie juice and a ragtag group of teens stuck on the worst possible school trip. What I liked most about this is that the elements are really well-balanced–the humour and the action, alongside the light romance and friendship themes, complement each other seamlessly. While I was holding my gut laughing, my heart was also pounding in suspense

V:

Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead

None of my V options were necessarily favourite books but nearly all of them were decent. Vampire Academy gets my pick because I really enjoyed the friendship between Lissa and Rose and it was a very good introduction to Mead’s vampire world and the following books. I haven’t yet finished the series but I have thoroughly enjoyed all the magic dark vamp-y goodness that I’ve read so far!

W:

(The) Wrath and the Dawn by Renée Ahdieh

Flashback to when I reviewed this in a spoiler-y book talk on BookTube (click here to watch) and kept raving about how hot yet deeply confusing Khalid is! I loved this book since I opened it–the setting is beautiful, the writing is beautiful, the story is beautiful, the magic is beautiful. I still haven’t read the second book because I am lame, but I smile every time I see this one on my shelf just waiting for a reread.

X:

(E)Xquisite Captive by Heather Demetrios

Ooookay, here the cheating begins. Turns out, I have read a total of ZERO books that start with X, none that have a word beginning with X, and precious few that have an X in them at all. I’m trying to keep somewhat with the categories still so I’m picking the book with an X earliest in the title! Exquisite Captive follows a jinni (genie of sorts) in her attempts to gain freedom and return to her magical homeland. As if it weren’t enough that it’s inspired by Arabian Nights and filled with Arabic legend and magic–two things I find absolutely fascinating–everything in the book is rich, sensual and utterly captivating.

Y:

(M)Y Lady’s Choosing by Kitty Curran and Larissa Zageris

Oh look! I also haven’t read any Y books! My Lady’s Choosing is my pick for this a) because it has the earliest Y and the most Ys in the title and b) because it was absolutely hilarious! This is one ridiculous romp of a CYOA romance. You get to ‘play’ as a lusty 19th-century heroine on her hunt for love through a ton of Victorian love story tropes made all the more hilarious the descriptions of her experiences. There are like 8 different possible love interest with multiple different endings and multiple different ways to get there and I am unashamed to confess I read every. single. one!

Z:

(Cra)Zy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan

To end this month off, I’m cheating again because there are no Z books I’ve read either! Sidenote: I’m actually super disappointed at this and will now be on the hunt for books starting with XYZ so I can finish off this alphabet thang. Anyway! Crazy Rich Asians at least has a Z (that’s zed to me, btw) in and the fact that it was also a great book made this choice rather easy! The story and setting were just so much fun that it’s impossible not to have this one pop up somewhere in this tops list.

Top 5 Tuesday: KLMNO

Aaaaaand we’re back again with another Top 5 Tuesday (click here for Bionic Bookworm’s theme breakdown)! I think N was DEFINITELY the most difficult letter so far, quite to my surprise, since I’d only read about two books starting with N and neither of them were favourites, but otherwise I’m happy with my choices. Mostly I’m just happy to be droning on about other favourites I don’t get to talk about enough!

So, without further ado…

K:

(The) King Slayer by Virginia Boecker

I love love LOVED The Witch Hunter duology (The King Slayer is #2). It has magic, alchemy, dark creatures, conspiracy, corruption, murder, witches, hunters, romance. The Tudor-inspired YA historical fantasy with a dose of maturity is the biggest 5-star surprise I’ve had in a while. I’m not entirely certain which of the two I enjoyed better since I loved so many bits of both, so the duology as a whole is a must read.

L:

Linger by Maggie Stiefvater

This one is the second to Stiefvater werewolf series, The Wolves of Mercy Falls. I absolutely love Stiefvater’s writing and storytelling and these wolf-y novels are the first ones of hers I read. Now, I’m not usually into the werewolf fantasy stuff but I am into the romantic fantasy stuff and Sam and Grace’s sweet story was just enough to hook me. Linger is my pick here because it brings in a new character, Cole, who is my FAVOURITE in the series and starts a couple that is one of my all-time faves.

M:

Maid of Secrets by Jennifer McGowan

Maid of Secrets surprised me by how much I enjoyed it. Following former pickpocket-tuned-spy for the Tudor English queen Elizabeth I, the story is exactly my thing, and exactly similar to other historical fiction books I’ve read (it’s always Tudor spies!). I was surprised by how much I loved Meg as a heroine, I loved the fact that the spy girls weren’t just blindly loyal to the queen but push and question where necessary, and I love that the story and the romance were inseparable from the other and perfectly balanced. Plus, a rougish Spanish courtier love interest? The book is a buffet of all the things I enjoy.

N:

Of Neptune by Anna Banks

Okay, technically this is an O, but I’m not insanely into most N books I’ve finished reading (if anyone has any N recs, I am OPEN) so I’m calling the “Neptune” bit close enough. Anyway, I’ve always had a fondness for ocean-y watery tales and mermaid stories, so Anna Banks’ Syrena trilogy was a ton of fun to read! Of Neptune is the second and the first, Of Posiedon, was definitely my favourite but the series is most certainly a to-read as a whole!

O:

Once Every Never by Lesley Livingston

Give me Celtic time travel romances or give me nothing! Real Celtic history I find is so underdone–if we get Irish or Scottish history, we get druidic priestesses in fantasy or a Jamie Fraser from the 1700s. I find that the later stuff, the crazy cool human sacrifices and animal gods and body paint are hard to find, so this time travelling gem that sends our dear MC back to Boudicca and a hot warrior definitely gets the top O title. The series is quirky and not always serious but it’s fun and the characters are endearing and keeps you laughing throughout the misadventures through time.

The Clockwork Scarab

17084242The Clockwork Scarab by Colleen Gleason

What happens when a genius, a vampire hunter, and a time traveler walk into a museum?

I don’t even know where to begin with The Clockwork Scarab. This book is probably the craziest mismatched hodgepodge of different elements I have ever read…and yet I enjoyed it immensely!

The novel introduces Alvermina Holmes and Evaline Stoker, niece of Sherlock and sister of Bram, a detective and vampire hunter tag-team duo called to investigate missing persons and a murder. It really is such a shame that they hate each other and refuse to work as a unit–or maybe not, since their antics are hilarious! Enter a time-traveling teen and the cult of an Egyptian goddess in a steampunk Victorian London, et voilà! A masterpiece of strangeness. Continue reading

The Kiss of Deception

16429619The Kiss of Deception by Mary E. Pearson

You know that feeling you get when a book takes you completely by surprise? The Kiss of Deception takes that feeling and multiplies it to a million, then throws in a little extra for good measure.

THIS BOOK BLEW ME AWAY!

I don’t even know how to put into words how much I loved this! I love Lia, I love the assassin/prince stuff, I love the world, I love the plot, I love EVERYTHING. And yet all over goodreads people are dishing out one-stars like candy?????????

Does.

Not.

Compute. Continue reading