Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Each week there is a new topic for bloggers to choose and list their top ten. This week’s theme is Top Ten Books I Wouldn’t Mind Santa Leaving Under My Tree.
However because I had trouble coming up with what I thought was an original list, honestly any book I’ve ever featured on a Top Ten Tuesday post of my favourites would be a book I’d love Santa to leave under my tree, I decided to do something a little different. A few weeks ago I did a Top Ten Tuesday post on gift ideas for book lovers and this week I decided to continue with that topic; and have picked ten books to gift people, rather than ten bookish goodies.
Fantasy is my ultimate go-to genre so my only problem with picking two books from this genre was that there were so many amazing options I could have chosen. In the end I picked two of my favourite reads from this year.
Passenger by Alexandra Bracken is one of my favourite time travel books and, in my opinion, it was even better than her Darkest Minds trilogy. The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi is a beautifully written story full of magic, wonder and mythology. Either would make perfect gifts for any fantasy book lover.
Passenger by Alexandra Bracken
i. A brief section of music composed of a series of notes and flourishes.
ii. A journey by water; a voyage.
iii. The transition from one place to another, across space and time.
In one devastating night, violin prodigy Etta Spencer loses everything she knows and loves. Thrust into an unfamiliar world by a stranger with a dangerous agenda, Etta is certain of only one thing: she has travelled not just miles but years from home. And she’s inherited a legacy she knows nothing about from a family whose existence she’s never heard of. Until now.
Nicholas Carter is content with his life at sea, free from the Ironwoods – a powerful family in the colonies – and the servitude he’s known at their hands. But with the arrival of an unusual passenger on his ship comes the insistent pull of the past that he can’t escape and the family that won’t let him go so easily. Now the Ironwoods are searching for a stolen object of untold value, one they believe only Etta, Nicholas’ passenger, can find. In order to protect her, he must ensure she brings it back to them—whether she wants to or not.
Together, Etta and Nicholas embark on a perilous journey across centuries and continents, piecing together clues left behind by the traveller who will do anything to keep the object out of the Ironwoods’ grasp. But as they get closer to the truth of their search, and the deadly game the Ironwoods are playing, treacherous forces threaten to separate Etta not only from Nicholas but from her path home…forever.
The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi
Fate and fortune. Power and passion. What does it take to be the queen of a kingdom when you’re only seventeen?
Maya is cursed. With a horoscope that promises a marriage of death and destruction, she has earned only the scorn and fear of her father’s kingdom. Content to follow more scholarly pursuits, her whole world is torn apart when her father, the Raja, arranges a wedding of political convenience to quell outside rebellions. Soon Maya becomes the queen of Akaran and wife of Amar. Neither roles are what she expected: As Akaran’s queen, she finds her voice and power. As Amar’s wife, she finds something else entirely: Compassion. Protection. Desire…
But Akaran has its own secrets—thousands of locked doors, gardens of glass, and a tree that bears memories instead of fruit. Soon, Maya suspects her life is in danger. Yet who, besides her husband, can she trust? With the fate of the human and Otherworldly realms hanging in the balance, Maya must unravel an ancient mystery that spans reincarnated lives to save those she loves the most…including herself.
When it comes to contemporary books there is a lot to consider, do you want a light and fluffy book or one with more substance, a happy ending or a ‘real’ one?
The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson is a wonderful story about dealing with loss and the aftermath of someone so loved dying so suddenly. The Boy Most Likely To by Huntley Fitzpatrick is a companion novel but there’s so much more development there, the characters are flawed and you find yourself really rooting for them as the story unfolds.
The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson
Seventeen-year-old Lennie Walker spends her time tucked safely and happily in the shadow of her fiery older sister, Bailey.
But when Bailey dies abruptly, Lennie is catapulted to centre stage of her own life—and suddenly finds herself struggling to balance two boys. One boy takes Lennie out of her sorrow; the other comforts her in it. But the two can’t collide without Lennie’s world exploding…
The Boy Most Likely To by Huntley Fitzpatrick
The romantic companion to My Life Next Door—great for fans of Sarah Dessen and Jenny Han.
Tim Mason was The Boy Most Likely To find the liquor cabinet blindfolded, need a liver transplant, and drive his car into a house
Alice Garrett was The Girl Most Likely To…well, not date her little brother’s baggage-burdened best friend, for starters.
For Tim, it wouldn’t be smart to fall for Alice. For Alice, nothing could be scarier than falling for Tim. But Tim has never been known for making the smart choice, and Alice is starting to wonder if the “smart” choice is always the right one. When these two crash into each other, they crash hard.
Told in Tim’s and Alice’s distinctive, disarming, entirely compelling voices, this novel is for readers of The Spectacular Now, Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist, and Paper Towns.
Although I don’t read it much, compared to fantasy and contemporary books that is, sci-fi is still one of my favourite genres; and there are so many books out there you can choose from if you’re searching for a gift from that genre.
Illuminae by both Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff is one everyone is talking about, but the book is beautiful both inside and out and the story is just as amazing as the format it’s told in. The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers is a masterpiece of sci-fi writing. There is so much development of and diversity in the characters and the world, it’s a story you can really lose yourself in.
Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff
This morning, Kady thought breaking up with Ezra was the hardest thing she’d have to do.
This afternoon, her planet was invaded.
The year is 2575, and two rival megacorporations are at war over a planet that’s little more than an ice-covered speck at the edge of the universe. Too bad nobody thought to warn the people living on it. With enemy fire raining down on them, Kady and Ezra – who are barely even talking to each other – are forced to fight their way onto an evacuating fleet, with an enemy warship in hot pursuit.
But their problems are just getting started. A deadly plague has broken out and is mutating, with terrifying results; the fleet’s AI, which should be protecting them, may actually be their enemy; and nobody in charge will say what’s really going on. As Kady hacks into a tangled web of data to find the truth, it’s clear only one person can help her bring it all to light: the ex-boyfriend she swore she’d never speak to again.
Told through a fascinating dossier of hacked documents – including emails, schematics, military files, IMs, medical reports, interviews, and more – Illuminae is the first book in a heart-stopping, high-octane trilogy about lives interrupted, the price of truth, and the courage of everyday heroes.
The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers
Somewhere within our crowded sky, a crew of wormhole builders hops from planet to planet, on their way to the job of a lifetime. To the galaxy at large, humanity is a minor species, and one patched-up construction vessel is a mere speck on the starchart. This is an everyday sort of ship, just trying to get from here to there.
But all voyages leave their mark, and even the most ordinary of people have stories worth telling. A young Martian woman, hoping the vastness of space will put some distance between herself and the life she’s left behind. An alien pilot, navigating life without her own kind. A pacifist captain, awaiting the return of a loved one at war.
Set against a backdrop of curious cultures and distant worlds, this episodic tale weaves together the adventures of nine eclectic characters, each on a journey of their own.
Magical Realism is still a genre I’m discovering but so far there has yet to be a book I’ve read from it that I haven’t loved. I feel like my favourite magical realism book is out there a fair bit now so I decided to feature two I love but which haven’t gotten the recognition they deserve.
The Love That Split the World by Emily Henry is a beautiful and moving story, and you won’t be able to help falling in love with both Natalie and Beau, and feeling for their struggle. While I’m sure a lot of people have heard of Anna-Marie McLemore’s second book her first, The Weight of Feathers, is just as magical and just as wonderful to read as When the Moon Was Ours was.
The Love That Split the World by Emily Henry
Natalie’s last summer in her small Kentucky hometown is off to a magical start…until she starts seeing the “wrong things.” At first, they’re just momentary glimpses—her front door is red instead of its usual green, there’s a pre-school where the garden store should be. But then her whole town disappears for hours, fading away into rolling hills and grazing buffalo, and Nat knows something isn’t right.
That’s when she gets a visit from the kind but mysterious apparition she calls “Grandmother,” who tells her: “You have three months to save him.” The next night, under the stadium lights of the high school football field, she meets a beautiful boy named Beau, and it’s as if time just stops and nothing exists. Nothing, except Natalie and Beau.
The Weight of Feathers by Anna-Marie McLemore
The Palomas and the Corbeaus have long been rivals and enemies, locked in an escalating feud for more than a generation. Both families make their living as travelling performers in competing shows—the Palomas swimming in mermaid exhibitions, the Corbeaus, former tightrope walkers, performing in the tallest trees they can find.
Lace Paloma may be new to her family’s show, but she knows as well as anyone that the Corbeaus are pure magia negra, black magic from the devil himself. Simply touching one could mean death, and she’s been taught since birth to keep away. But when disaster strikes the small town where both families are performing, it’s a Corbeau boy, Cluck, who saves Lace’s life. And his touch immerses her in the world of the Corbeaus, where falling for him could turn his own family against him, and one misstep can be just as dangerous on the ground as it is in the trees.
Beautifully written, and richly imaginative, The Weight of Feathers is an utterly captivating young adult novel by a talented new voice.
When it comes to historical fiction I haven’t read many books, but all the ones I have picked up have been wonderful, five-star reads for me.
While I feel like The Book Thief would be a standard pick from this genre when choosing a gift, All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr is just as brilliant, just as well-written, and just as stirring. It’s perfect for any fan of WWII fiction that will move them to tears.
All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
Winner of the Pulitzer Prize.
From the highly acclaimed, multiple award-winning Anthony Doerr, the beautiful, stunningly ambitious instant New York Times bestseller about a blind French girl and a German boy whose paths collide in occupied France as both try to survive the devastation of World War II.
Marie-Laure lives with her father in Paris near the Museum of Natural History, where he works as the master of its thousands of locks. When she is six, Marie-Laure goes blind and her father builds a perfect miniature of their neighbourhood so she can memorize it by touch and navigate her way home. When she is twelve, the Nazis occupy Paris and father and daughter flee to the walled citadel of Saint-Malo, where Marie-Laure’s reclusive great-uncle lives in a tall house by the sea. With them they carry what might be the museum’s most valuable and dangerous jewel.
In a mining town in Germany, the orphan Werner grows up with his younger sister, enchanted by a crude radio they find. Werner becomes an expert at building and fixing these crucial new instruments, a talent that wins him a place at a brutal academy for Hitler Youth, then a special assignment to track the resistance. More and more aware of the human cost of his intelligence, Werner travels through the heart of the war and, finally, into Saint-Malo, where his story and Marie-Laure’s converge.
Doerr’s “stunning sense of physical detail and gorgeous metaphors” (San Francisco Chronicle) are dazzling. Deftly interweaving the lives of Marie-Laure and Werner, he illuminates the ways, against all odds, people try to be good to one another. Ten years in the writing, a National Book Award finalist, All the Light We Cannot See is a magnificent, deeply moving novel from a writer “whose sentences never fail to thrill” (Los Angeles Times).
Is there anyone out there who doesn’t like making lists of their favourite books, or favourite films, or ultimate must-see travel destinations? This is a journal series that gives you the opportunity to do just that and more.
There’s plenty out there; a journal for book lovers and a journal for music lovers, there’s one for the wanderlusters and another for the foodies. I have brought one of these for three of my friends now, and will probably buy more for more of my friends in the future, and every single one of them has loved it. There really is a Listography book out there for everyone.
Literary Listography: My Reading Life in Lists by Lisa Nola
Now fans of the bestselling Listography journal series can keep track of their literary life – past, present and future. With over 70 entertaining and thought-provoking list topics ranging from the quintessential (favourite books by genre, authors to explore) to the lovably idiosyncratic (favourite reading spots, books to skip), this illustrated journal will serve as a unique autobiography and reading log for bibliophiles.
So what do you think? Did you take part in this week’s Top Ten Tuesday, if so let me know what gifts you’d like to see under the tree from Santa, or what books you’d give as Christmas gifts.