Sunday, 23 April 2017

'Warbreaker' by Brandon Sanderson (2009)

Synopsis: Warbreaker is a standalone high-fantasy novel and is set in a world called Nalthis. In this world there is a complex system of magic known as the BioChroma and certain individuals will sometimes come back from the dead ("The Returned"). There are also two nations in this world called Idris and Hallandran which were once part of the same kingdom and now clash with each other over almost everything - religion, politics, aesthetics, territory, lifestyle, and the use of magic. As the tension between these nations is steadily increasing, the King of Idris has arranged for his eldest daughter Vivenna to one day marry the God-King of Hallandran (a powerful Returned) so that she can provide him with a divine heir. To prepare her for this, Vivenna has been extensively tutored in politics and diplomacy since childhood. However, much to everyone's astonishment, the king changes his mind at the very last minute and decides to send Vivenna's younger, tomboyish sister Siri away instead. Siri is completely unprepared for her new life in Hallandran with its imposing palaces, disdainful priests, and her new husband who seems to be ignoring her (and whom Siri isn't even supposed to speak to or touch outside of the bedchamber). At the same time, Vivenna, who is usually very calm and composed, is so outraged to have had her purpose in life snatched away from her that she then secretly travels to Hallandran and begins to work with a small band of mercenaries and rebels with the aim of rescuing her sister. But both princesses then discover that all is not as it seems. Siri soon realises that her new husband Susebron isn't at all the cold, cruel tyrant that she thought he was but is instead a very shy and sweet mute who is nothing more than a figurehead. Siri secretly begins to teach Susebron to communicate with her and the two of them rapidly fall in love. However, Siri is also beginning to suspect that his priests are plotting to assassinate them both. And Vivenna then makes the horrifying discovery that her actions may have set the wheels in motion for a war that could tear both Hallandran and Idris apart. Desperate to put everything right again she then teams up with a mysterious man called Vasher who has a powerful, sentient weapon. Meanwhile, an unconventional and cynical Returned god called Lightsong finds himself becoming increasingly disturbed by the changing political dynamics in the gods' court. Almost in spite of himself he then takes it upon himself to befriend Siri and to investigate a mysterious murder that the priests seem to be hushing up.

Warbreaker was a great read! It contained everything that I've come to expect from a Brandon Sanderson story... a gripping plot with unexpected twists, humorous dialogue, terrific world-building, a unique and detailed magic system, the themes of faith and identity, highly engaging and likeable main characters (especially Lightsong who was my favourite!), and plenty of political intrigue, mystery, action and suspense. I also appreciated how colourful and tropical the setting of Hallandran was as it made for a very nice and interesting contrast to the world of Scadriel in The Mistborn books.

The only reason why I haven't given this book a five star rating is because I was somewhat disappointed with its ending, as it was very rushed and the sequel for this book that Sanderson eventually plans to write (Nightblood) is set up in rather an awkward way. Having said that I still really enjoyed this book and I do hope that Sanderson will eventually get around to writing its sequel as its characters and world definitely deserves another story.

Brandon Sanderson is definitely one of my favourite writers now: I have yet to be disappointed in anything that he's written and I'm very glad that he's such a prolific author and that I still have a lot more from him left to read :)

Rating: 4.5/5

Saturday, 8 April 2017

Bookish and Not So Bookish Thoughts

Bookish and Not So Bookish Thoughts is a weekly blogging event hosted by Bookishly Boisterous. It allows book bloggers (and non-book bloggers) to write about pretty much anything, bookish or otherwise (i.e. share exciting plans for the weekend, rants on things they've encountered during the week, etc).

1. Hello again, everyone! This post has been lying in my draft box for ages and I'm finally finishing it off today - as I got back from an 11 hour flight from the U.S. just this morning and I'm desperately trying to fight off the jet lag and stay awake! So, yes, the most notable thing that I have to share is that I've been on holiday! It was my second trip to the U.S. (you can read about my first visit in my last Bookish and Not So Bookish post!), I was there for just over a week, and I was visiting my good friend Samara who lives in Seattle. I would certainly never have predicted that my second trip to the States would be less than six months after my first; in fact the only reason I was able to go on this trip was because of a tax rebate from the government as it turns out that I was paying too much tax between the years 2014-16! Anyway, Samara and I had a lot of fun late-night conversations and she also took me to see Pike Place Market, the MoPop Museum, the University of Washington campus, Gas Works Park (which features quite prominently in 10 Things I Hate About You), the Columbia Center Observation Deck, Bainbridge Island, and the Seattle Art Museum. I also went on a short side-trip over to Victoria in British Columbia so I got to see a little bit of Canada on this trip as well! In Victoria I went to their Chinatown and Fisherman's Wharf districts and I also had my first Tim Horton's and did some shopping at Munro's Books (where I bought copies of Garth Nix's Sabriel and Hannah Kent's Burial Rites). Yeah... I'd say that it's been a pretty great week! :D

2. Oh and as I didn't manage to spend all of my spending money during my trip I think I'm going to be putting it to good use by going clothes shopping at some point in the next week :D

3. I turned 29 in January (I'm having a very hard time accepting that I'm almost 30!) and I've also had my bedroom redecorated since my last Bookish and Not So Bookish post. I've had the walls re-painted and I've had new furniture, a new carpet, and new curtains put in.

4. I've also started to collect funko pops for my bedroom as I wanted to jazz up my bookshelves a little bit and the dolls are so very cute. At this moment in time I only want a small collection but from what I've gathered it can be a very addictive hobby so who knows how many I'll eventually end up with, lol?!

5. The best books that I've read since my last B&NSB post have been Star Wars: Bloodline by Claudia Gray, Warbreaker by Brandon Sanderson, and Katherine by Anya Seton - all brilliant reads!

6. It looks like the book The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel-Pie Society is finally getting made into a movie! I've only read the book once (am hoping to re-read it fairly soon though) and that was quite a few years ago but I remember really loving it and thinking that it could make for a wonderful movie. And the cast for this movie looks great so far as well! Lily James, Michiel Huisman, Penelope Wilton, Matthew Goode and Jessica Brown Findlay :)

7. I have a new phone! I've gone from having an iPhone 5c to an iPhone SE in Rose Gold. Ooh, get me! :D I know the SE isn't the fanciest iPhone out there (it's basically a more updated version of their 6c I believe) but I can't really afford Apple's newer products and I'm honestly really happy with it. My new phone only costs me 50p more a month than my old phone but has three times its amount of storage and data (I was constantly having to delete apps on my old one!)

8. Sadly I think I'm going to have to give my local bookshop a wide berth for a while as I was sitting in their café a couple of weeks ago and happened to notice something moving around under my table. So I looked down and saw a mouse (or possibly even a rat) running around by my feet! I was pretty freaked out and left pretty sharpish after that but not before informing the barista who told me that they've been having problems with them for a while now. So, yeah, I think I'm going to be buying most of my books online for a while *shudders*

9. I hate to be negative - especially since almost everyone I follow online seems to have loved this film - but I've seen the new Beauty and the Beast and I was honestly so frustrated with it :( The 2015 Cinderella is still by far and away my favourite of the new Disney live-action films. The animated Beauty and the Beast is probably my favourite Disney film and although I never for one minute believed that this new live-action version could top it I genuinely believed that it could be a great "companion piece" to that film. But this film was just... *groans* Alright, there were some positive aspects to the new version to be fair. The castle looked awesome, Luke Evans and Josh Gad were both great (their musical theatre backgrounds really show!) and on a shallow note I also very much appreciated the opening scene in which the Prince gets turned into the Beast (as Dan Stevens was giving me major David Bowie from Labyrinth vibes). But aside from that... for the vast majority of the time I was just wishing that I was watching the original version instead. The big musical numbers in this new version had none of the energy and animation (pun intended! :D ) of the original's, the pacing seemed off in places, and the new songs that were in it were forgettable. Emma Watson seems like a very nice and intelligent person in real-life but I still have yet to be sold by her as an actress and I certainly think that she was miscast as Belle. The blatant auto-tuning to her voice had me cringing at times, I didn't sense any chemistry between her and Dan Stevens, and to me her Belle just didn't have any of the warmth and liveliness of Paige O'Hara's. And finally, because this rant is getting a bit longer than I intended, the new plot additions and backstories for the characters added very little to the story and even created some logical inconsistencies i.e. SPOILERS (highlight to read) Why didn't Belle just use the Beast's magic book to transport her back to her father? And if the Enchantress has been living in Belle's town for the whole time then how come she never placed a curse on Gaston? We know she likes to punish the arrogant, which Gaston definitely is, and he even insulted her on one occasion! 

10. And now that I've finally finished this post I'm going to have a good long shower and...

Good night! 

Tuesday, 7 March 2017

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created here at The Broke and the Bookish. This feature was created because we are particularly fond of lists here at The Broke and the Bookish. We'd love to share our lists with other bookish folks and would LOVE to see your top ten lists! Each week we will post a new Top Ten list that one of our bloggers here at The Broke and the Bookish will answer. Everyone is welcome to join. All we ask is that you link back to The Broke and the Bookish on your own Top Ten Tuesday post AND add your name to the Linky widget so that everyone can check out other bloggers lists! If you don't have a blog, just post your answers as a comment. Have fun with it! It's a fun way to get to know your fellow bloggers. 10 is just a suggestion to aim for if you can hit it -- do a list of 3 or 5 or 20 on your list. Your post, your choice! Really, it's just a starting off point. We realize 10 can be hard and we don't at all always expect it. And we always thumbs up anyone putting a different yet related spin on the topic to make it work for them!

Today's Topic: Still on hiatus but freebie link-up

For today's freebie I've decided to go with my Top Ten Opening Sentences. According to quite a few online articles that I've come across, the opening sentence is by far the most important aspect of a story because if a book doesn't immediately engage its reader from the very first sentence then the reader will in all probability abandon said book and never bother to pick it up again. But I happen to very much disagree with this commonly-held view as quite a few of my favourite books have had opening sentences that didn't instantly grab me! The opening sentence of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone ('Mr and Mrs Dursley, of number four, Privet Drive, were proud to say that they were perfectly normal, thank you very much') has never really struck me as a particularly great first line for example. Opening sentences are certainly important I think but what's even more important is everything that comes after that. That being said, there are certainly opening sentences that I really love and that I feel give a glimpse of the greatness that lies in store :)

1. 'It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife.' From Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen.

2. 'There was no possibility of taking a walk that day.' From Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte.

3. 'In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit. Not a nasty, dirty, wet hole, filled with the ends of worms and an oozy smell, nor yet a dry, bare, sandy hole with nothing in it to sit down on or to eat: it was a hobbit-hole and that meant comfort.' From The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien.

4. 'There was a hand in the darkness and it held a knife.' From The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman.

5. 'In the land of Ingary, where such things as seven-league boots and cloaks of invisibility really exist, it is quite a misfortune to be born the eldest of three.' From Howl's Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones.

6. 'The first thing you find out when yer dog learns to talk is that dogs don't got nothing much to say.' From The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness.

7. ‘Whether I shall turn out to be the hero of my own life, or whether that station will be held by anybody else, these pages must show. To begin my life with the beginning of my life, I record that I was born (as I have been informed and believe) on a Friday, at twelve o’clock at night. It was remarked that the clock began to strike, and I began to cry, simultaneously.’ From David Copperfield by Charles Dickens.

8. 'There was a boy called Eustace Clarence Scrubb and he almost deserved it.' From The Voyage of the Dawn Treader by C.S. Lewis.

9. 'The monster showed up after midnight. As they do.' From A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness.

10. 'It was night again. The Waystone Inn lay in silence, and it was a silence of three parts.' From The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss.

So there you have my list of opening sentences! It was very hard to limit it down to just ten and in the end I chose to leave out the opening sentences of The Great Gatsby and Anna Karenina as I felt that they were maybe a bit too iconic and obvious. And now I'm very curious! Which of these books would you now be interested in reading purely on the basis of their opening sentences? And what are your personal favourite opening sentences? :)

Tuesday, 21 February 2017

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created here at The Broke and the Bookish. This feature was created because we are particularly fond of lists here at The Broke and the Bookish. We'd love to share our lists with other bookish folks and would LOVE to see your top ten lists! Each week we will post a new Top Ten list that one of our bloggers here at The Broke and the Bookish will answer. Everyone is welcome to join. All we ask is that you link back to The Broke and the Bookish on your own Top Ten Tuesday post AND add your name to the Linky widget so that everyone can check out other bloggers lists! If you don't have a blog, just post your answers as a comment. Have fun with it! It's a fun way to get to know your fellow bloggers. 10 is just a suggestion to aim for if you can hit it -- do a list of 3 or 5 or 20 on your list. Your post, your choice! Really, it's just a starting off point. We realize 10 can be hard and we don't at all always expect it. And we always thumbs up anyone putting a different yet related spin on the topic to make it work for them!

Today's Topic: Top Ten Books I Loved Less/More Than I Thought I Would (recently or all time) -- or you could do something like books I liked more/less than everyone else. 

I thought I'd have a go at handling both sides of this topic today. The first part was much harder to narrow down than the second part as I'm usually very reluctant to read books that I don't think I'll enjoy!

Top Five Books I Loved Less Than I Thought I Would.

1. Paper Towns by John Green. I read this book purely on the strength of John Green's The Fault in Our Stars. I loved that book so much when I read it a few years ago and I remember being really excited to read more from him! But Paper Towns was such a disappointment. The early chapters of it were actually quite promising and made me think that it was going to be a really interesting and fun novel, but once Margo went missing it became such a boring and aimless read and I found both her and Quentin's characters super whiny.

2. The Colour of Magic by Terry Pratchett. I've only read two of Terry Pratchett's books but both of them were disappointments. One of those was Good Omens which he co-wrote with Neil Gaiman (who's usually a favourite author of mine) and the other was The Colour of Magic - the first novel in his Discworld series. I think I read that book sometime back in 2012 or 2013 but I never reviewed it on this blog. I know I didn't enjoy that book but unfortunately I can't really explain why because I can remember absolutely nothing about it apart from the fact that I didn't like it! I still intend to give the Discworld books one more try though because a girl that I knew at university once told me that all of the Rincewind books in the Discworld series were crap and that I'd be much better off starting with one of the books that feature the Witches. And what do you know! I had a flick through the Witches' book Maskerade at the library the other day and it was... funny!

3. The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman. I did enjoy some of the descriptive passages in this book and its refreshing choice of setting (1920s' Western Australia). However, the pacing was much too slow for me and I found Isabel so incredibly selfish that I just couldn't bring myself to feel very much sympathy for her.

4. This is Where I Leave You by Jonathan Tropper. This book certainly isn't bad and I did still like it overall but I ended up much preferring its film adaptation which I saw afterwards! The film has a great ensemble of actors who are all perfectly cast in their roles (i.e. Jason Bateman, Adam Driver, Jane Fonda), it's less crude than the book, and it's also much funnier than the book.

5. American Gods by Neil Gaiman. As I've already mentioned, Neil Gaiman is one of my favourite authors but not everything that he's written has worked for me. Good Omens is one of those books and so is American Gods. Although I know many people out there consider American Gods to be his masterpiece, it's never been a book that I've much cared for. The book has a great premise and some interesting themes but it really drags in places and I found Shadow's character to be so bland that I just wasn't able to connect with or care about him at all.

And now for the happier, more positive side of this topic...!

Top Five Books I Loved More Than I Thought I Would.

1. Howl's Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones. I read this book after falling for its Studio Ghibli adaptation and I was so pleased with it! Because I'd loved the film so much - and had heard that it was actually very different from the book - I really wasn't expecting to enjoy the book as much as I did! Although I do still love the film I now love Diana Wynne Jones's book even more as it's much funnier, its world is richer, and its characters are more flawed and are therefore more interesting in my opinion.

2. A Room with a View by E.M. Forster. A friend of mine had to read this book for school and didn't enjoy it which then put me off from reading it for several years. But when I then discovered that two of my blogger friends were both big fans of it I thought I might as well give it a go for the Classics Club. I then loved it! The book was much funnier than I thought it was going to be and I loved its prose, its colourful characters, its Jane Austen-esque social satire, and its Italian setting!

3. Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen. Northanger Abbey is one of Jane Austen's lesser-known works and because I hadn't seen it talked about all that much I really wasn't expecting all that much from it the first time I read it. But boy was I in for a surprise! Catherine Morland and Henry Tilney are both such loveable characters and this book has made me laugh out loud more than any of Austen's other works! It's such a fun read and is one of my favourites of Austen's novels.

4. The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Bronte. Since I'd read both Emily's Wuthering Heights and Charlotte's Jane Eyre I was starting to feel that I really ought to read something by Anne. The reviews for Anne's The Tenant of Wildfell Hall were more favourable than for her other novel Agnes Grey so I decided to go for that one first but - just as with Northanger Abbey - I still had some doubts about this book because of it not being as famous as the works by her sisters. But I was amazed! The Tenant of Wildfell Hall is brilliantly-written and is such a fascinating, powerful and modern book! It's a criminally underrated work!

5. Star Wars: Bloodline by Claudia Gray. This book is literally the book that I last finished! Even though I'm a massive Star Wars fan I haven't had very much luck with its tie-in novels. Ian Doescher's William Shakespeare's Star Wars books were hilarious reads but up until now I've been very disappointed with the few EU and new Disney canon novels that I've read. So even though I'd heard a lot of good things about Bloodline I still had some doubts about this book. But in the end I was hugely impressed with it! The book is set six years before the events of The Force Awakens and is focused on Leia Organa's character. Claudia Gray captures Leia wonderfully and I had no trouble whatsoever in imagining Carrie Fisher saying all of Leia's lines, which was especially welcome to me given her recent tragic passing (I sobbed when I heard that she'd died). The new characters in this book (Ransolm Casterfo, Joph, Greer Sonnel) are extremely interesting, likeable and well-developed as well and the story in this book is great. I honestly think that this book is a must-read for Star Wars fans!

So what books have surprised you in both good and bad ways? :)

Thursday, 16 February 2017

'The Hero of Ages' by Brandon Sanderson (2008)

Synopsis: The Hero of Ages is the third novel in the Mistborn series and is the final book in its original trilogy. The novel is set a year after Vin was tricked into releasing the evil, destructive force Ruin from the Well of Ascension. Now that Ruin has escaped from imprisonment, the end of the world is closer than ever before. Volcanoes are spewing black ash and lava, crops and animals are dying, the Steel Inquisitors have gone rogue, the Koloss are rampaging throughout the land, and the mists are attacking and killing people every day. In a desperate attempt to save the world, Vin and her newly-made Mistborn husband Emperor Elend Venture have been travelling all over the land. They've been using their emotional allomancy to bring the Koloss under control and have been conquering cities in order to seek out the storage caches of food and water that were left behind by the Lord Ruler. They've also been trying to find the Lord Ruler's hidden supply of atium which Vin believes must be essential to the saving of the world. The only two major unconquered cities remaining are Fadrex City, which has reverted to the Lord Ruler's old structure of Skaa repression, and Urteau, a city where the Skaa are free and where the nobility are being ruthlessly executed. In order to bring these two cities into their empire, Vin and Elend set about trying to conquer Fadrex City whilst their friends Spook, Sazed, and Breeze travel to Urteau to attempt to negotiate with the city's leader the Citizen...

I finished this book several months ago and it's taken me quite a while to finally get this review of it out of my draft box. Hopefully that means I can now start to make some progress on clearing the other half a dozen or so reviews that are still sitting in there! :D Warning: the rest of this post contains major spoilers! 

The previous two books in the Mistborn trilogy were certainly epic and suspenseful reads but The Hero of Ages is even more so and is the best series finale that I've come across ever since I first read Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows almost 10 years ago! The threats and perils that the characters face feel so intense and real in this book and Sanderson does a truly superb job of tying up all of the various loose ends of the trilogy in it e.g. we finally get to learn about the true nature and origin of the mists, how Scadriel came to look like it does, and the true identity of the Hero of Ages.

Another aspect of this book that I especially loved was the reveal that the threat to the world was so much greater than the Lord Ruler and that the Lord Ruler was actually well-meaning and good in comparison to how evil and terrible Ruin is! In that sense this trilogy reminds me so much of the experience of reading J.R.R. Tolkien's Middle-Earth books - where with each novel there was always brand new information revealed that would considerably enrich our understanding of everything that had gone on before. Because Tolkien first gave his readers The Hobbit, an epic story in its own right, and then followed that up with the even more epic The Lord of the Rings in which we learn that Bilbo's discovery of the one ring was far more significant than we thought. And then Tolkien eventually went on to follow the LOTR up with The Silmarillion in which we learn that the War of the Ring is only a tiny part of a history that has spanned 10s of 1000s of years and that the villain Sauron pales in comparison to how terrible Morgoth was.

Yet another aspect of this book that I especially loved was its wonderful character development. It was fascinating to find out how Elend has developed his new Mistborn powers and Spook, who has only been a fairly minor character up until now, gets far more page-time in this one and ends up getting one heck of an awesome character arc! And the ending of this book! It was so beautiful and moving and perfect that I was pretty much an emotional mess at the end :') I was so happy for Sazed and Spook! I was sad that both Vin and Elend died of course but I was glad that they both died together as I personally feel that it would have been far more tragic had one died and the other survived. And we know from Sazed's final letter to Spook that there's an afterlife in the Mistborn world and that the two of them are together and happy which I loved! And Kelsier even got to have a presence in this book as well!

This Mistborn trilogy is an amazing series that I would completely recommend to any fantasy fan and I'm certain that these books are going to continue to impress me in the future. I really want to read Sanderson's second Mistborn series as well now although I don't think I'm quite emotionally ready for those books yet and have decided to check out some of Sanderson's other fiction for a while. At the moment I'm currently reading his standalone novel Warbreaker and then later on in the year I'm hoping that I can make a start on his YA series The Reckoners :)

Rating: 5/5

Wednesday, 1 February 2017

My Year of Reading (2016)

I suppose it's quite late to put this up now, since we're now into February, but as I've done it for previous years... here are all of the books that I read in 2016! I read 35 books last year (not including a handful of books that I didn't finish) which is low compared to the previous couple of years in which I averaged at about 50 but is still higher than the national average I believe. My favourite books from last year are here and I'm hoping that I can get back into book reviewing again over the next couple of weeks :)
  1. Star Wars: The Force Awakens by Alan Dean Foster (2015)
  2. Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery (1908)
  3. Mistborn: The Final Empire by Brandon Sanderson (2006)
  4. False Colours by Georgette Heyer (1963)
  5. Anne of Avonlea by L.M. Montgomery (1909)
  6. The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay by Michael Chabon (2000)
  7. This is Where I Leave You by Jonathan Tropper (2010)
  8. Anne of the Island by L.M. Montgomery (1915)
  9. Kim by Rudyard Kipling (1901)
  10. The Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling (1894)
  11. The Painted Veil by W. Somerset Maugham (1925)
  12. R American Gods by Neil Gaiman (2001)
  13. Lost in a Good Book by Jasper Fforde (2002)
  14. N The Theater of War: What Ancient Greek Tragedies Can Teach Us Today by Bryan Doerries (2015)
  15. S by J.J. Abrams and Doug Dorst (2013)
  16. The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion (2013)
  17. Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by J.K. Rowling, John Tiffany and Jack Thorne (2016)
  18. The Well of Ascension by Brandon Sanderson (2007)
  19. A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness (2011)
  20. Love and Freindship and Other Youthful Writings by Jane Austen (2014)
  21. N As You Wish: Inconceivable Tales from the Making of 'The Princess Bride' by Cary Elwes and Joe Layden (2014)
  22. The Hero of Ages by Brandon Sanderson (2008)
  23. The Glimpses of the Moon by Edith Wharton (1922)
  24. East O' the Moon, West O' the Sun by Naomi Lewis (1991)
  25. A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas (2015)
  26. A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas (2016)
  27. The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness (2008)
  28. The New World by Patrick Ness (2010)
  29. The Ask and the Answer by Patrick Ness (2009)
  30. The Wide, Wide Sea by Patrick Ness (2013)
  31. Legion by Brandon Sanderson (2012)
  32. Monsters of Men by Patrick Ness (2010)
  33. Snowscape by Patrick Ness (2013)
  34. The Lost Wife by Alyson Richman (2011)
  35. Adulthood is a Myth by Sarah Andersen (2016)
  • R = Re-read
  • N = Non-fiction

Tuesday, 24 January 2017

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created here at The Broke and the Bookish. This feature was created because we are particularly fond of lists here at The Broke and the Bookish. We'd love to share our lists with other bookish folks and would LOVE to see your top ten lists! Each week we will post a new Top Ten list that one of our bloggers here at The Broke and the Bookish will answer. Everyone is welcome to join. All we ask is that you link back to The Broke and the Bookish on your own Top Ten Tuesday post AND add your name to the Linky widget so that everyone can check out other bloggers lists! If you don't have a blog, just post your answers as a comment. Have fun with it! It's a fun way to get to know your fellow bloggers. 10 is just a suggestion to aim for if you can hit it -- do a list of 3 or 5 or 20 on your list. Your post, your choice!

Today's Topic: FREEBIE --- that super specific list you want to make?? All yours to tackle this week!

My first post of 2017 sooo... I'm alive! :D I hope everyone reading this has had a great year so far! Today's topic is a freebie which works out well for me as it allows me to do a topic that I didn't get around to last year - my Top Ten Books of 2016. Some of these books I still haven't got around to writing in-depth reviews for yet so I'm glad that I get to talk about them a little here :) So in alphabetical order they are:

1. Adulthood is a Myth by Sarah Andersen
I first became aware of Sarah Andersen after seeing some of her "Sarah's Scribbles" illustrations floating around on Pinterest. This book is a compilation of many of Andersen's drawings and I'm a big fan. I find her drawings to be so funny and relatable!

2. As You Wish: Inconceivable Tales from the Making of 'The Princess Bride' by Cary Elwes and Joe Layden. 
The Princess Bride is one of my favourite films of all time (it would easily make my top 10) and this book is a delightful memoir from its lead actor Cary Elwes about the making of that film. The majority of it is told from Elwes's perspective but there are still plenty of asides from various other cast and crew members. If you're a fan of The Princess Bride then I'd say that this book is an absolute must-read as it's full of funny and interesting stories and its tone is thoroughly affectionate and positive. I'd especially recommend the audiobook version of this book as well as it's read by most of the cast and you'll get to hear Elwes's excellent impressions!

3. Chaos Walking by Patrick Ness.
Since I loved Patrick Ness's A Monster Calls so much (which you'll also find on this list) I decided to read his YA dystopian series Chaos Walking for a blog event called the Sci-Fi Month. My feelings on the first two novels in the series were initially very mixed as I was reading them and I couldn't quite work out if I actually liked them or not... but the final book was so great that it made me look back on the series as a whole far more favourably! And now I'd even say that this series has surpassed The Hunger Games as the most impressive YA dystopia that I've yet read. Although this series is rather violent and difficult to get through in places, its concept is so unique, its world and characters are so well-developed, and its themes are so rich and thought-provoking.

4. The Court of Thorns and Roses Saga by Sarah J. Maas.
Last year I finally got around to reading the hugely popular YA high-fantasy author Sarah J. Maas and I was very much impressed by her ACOTOR series! Not only was the quality of the writing far better than I was expecting - I found the prose unexpectedly lush and atmospheric - it's a very imaginative and fun series. The books are set in a super interesting world ruled over by various fairy courts and are filled with adventure, political intrigue and sexual tension. And a big bonus point is that its covers are gorgeous! I can't wait to read the third book in the series which is due out later this year and to eventually get started on Maas's Throne of Glass series!

5. East O' the Moon, West O' the Moon by Naomi Lewis.
This book is a middle-grade picture book and is a faithful retelling of a beautiful Norwegian fairy tale called East of the Sun, West of the Moon. This book would make for an ideal Christmas/Winter read and I loved it very much. It features absolutely stunning illustrations from P.J. Lynch and the fairy tale itself has an active and resourceful heroine and a story that is strikingly similar to the much more famous French fairy tale Beauty and the Beast, which is probably because both of them were drawing from the same source material (the Eros and Psyche story of Greek mythology).

6. The Lost Wife by Alyson Richman.
This novel is such a bittersweet and haunting work of historical fiction and concerns a young Jewish couple called Lenka and Josef who find themselves separated during WWII. The writing in this book is exquisitely beautiful and lyrical, the difficult subject matter is well-handled, and I became so invested in Lenka and Josef's characters and love story. I'm still thinking about this book months after I finished it.

7. A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness.
A Monster Calls is a middle-grade low-fantasy novel and is a brilliant work. It's such a moving, poignant and powerful read and - although the story is a sad one that concerns death and grief - I still found it to be extremely inspiring as there's so much courage, love, hope and forgiveness in it as well. I'd also especially recommend the illustrated paperback version of this book as it features beautifully eerie drawings from Jim Kay. I'm looking forward to finally getting to see this book's film adaptation tomorrow as well :)

8. The Original Mistborn Trilogy by Brandon Sanderson.
The original trilogy of Brandon Sanderson's high-fantasy series The Mistborn pretty much blew my mind and was every bit as amazing as I'd heard! It's got action and adventure, political intrigue, a truly fascinating and imaginative world, humorous dialogue, hugely likeable characters, an utterly unique and detailed magic system, a lovely romance, genuinely shocking plot twists, and an ending that gave me ALL THE FEELS! :) I do really want to read the second Mistborn series as well now but I've decided to put that off until 2018 and will instead focus on reading some of Sanderson's other works for the rest of this year (e.g. Warbreaker, The Reckoners). I'm glad that he's such a prolific author!

9. The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion.
This book was somewhat outside of my comfort zone since it's contemporary fiction (which I don't tend to read very much) but I loved it so much that I then bought it for two of my two best friends! This book is hilarious (one of the funniest that I've ever read!) and is such a quirky and heartwarming read. I also loved its refreshing choice of setting as most of this book takes place in Melbourne, Australia.

10. The Theater of War: What Ancient Greek Tragedies Can Teach Us Today by Bryan Doerries.
This book is both a memoir and a piece of literary analysis. It was written by a man called Bryan Doerries who runs a charity called The Theater of War that puts on productions of plays (mainly Greek tragedies) for soldiers, prisons, churches, synagogues, hospitals, and natural disaster survivors. Doerries includes some stories from his personal life and the people that he's met over the years that I found very moving and I loved getting to learn more about the Greek tragedies. I'd also highly recommend the audiobook version of this book which was read by Adam Driver - one of my favourite actors and my biggest celebrity crush :)

Honourable Mentions: Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery, The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay by Michael Chabon, The Painted Veil by W. Somerset Maugham, and Legion by Brandon Sanderson.

What were your favourite books in 2016? What topic have you chosen to do today? :)