Friday, November 16, 2012

Books I Love

I've read a lot of books this year and these are just a few that stood out for me. My criteria? I read into the night or at every possible moment, ignoring everything around me including fighting children and new episodes of The Walking Dead (if you know me, then you'll know that these books would have to be pretty awesome for me to blow off Grimes and the rest of his posse). So here goes:

1. A MONSTER CALLS by Patrick Ness, Inspired by Siobhan Dowd

The inside jacket flap says this: "The monster showed up after midnight. As they do. But it isn't the monster Conor's been expecting. He's been expecting the one from his nightmare, the nightmare he's had nearly every night since his mother started her treatments, the one with the darkness and the wind and the screaming..."

People, there are no words for this book. NO WORDS. I loved it, loved it loved it. I was a pile of rubble, of mush, of tear-leaking ruin when I got done. SO well written, so well executed, so magical and powerful. If I can recommend one book with my whole heart this year, this is THE ONE. But be forewarned, it is not the book to read when you need to be up and jolly. This is a book to contemplate by the fireside, tea cup in hand, tissue box at the ready.

2. THE DIVINERS by Libba Bray

Inside jacket flap: "Evie O'Neill has been exiled from her boring old hometown and shipped off to the bustling streets of New York City--and she is pos-i-tute-ly ecstatic. It's 1926, and New York is filled with speakeasies, Ziegfield girls and rakish pickpockets. The only catch is that she has to live with her uncle Will and his unhealthy obsession with the occult..."

I'm going to geek out as a writer here and just say that there's a passage in the first chapter about the wind that I just think is beautiful, sweeping, and elegant. The kind of prose that has this writerly novice wringing my hands and pacing the floor because I want to write something close to it and have not managed as of yet. That said, as a reader, I loved the historical setting and the way Libba wove it into the story. I loved the generous cast and the way that chapters skipped from one character to the next. It fit the story so well--a story that to me is reminiscent of Stephen King's THE STAND in it's scope. At it's heart it's a story of good vs. evil, interspersed with witty lines and an effervescent main character who I can just see doing the Black Bottom in my head. And if Naughty John doesn't give you the heebie jeebies, you are a stronger reader than me. He is AWESOMELY evil.

3. I HUNT KILLERS by Barry Lyga

Okay, by now I'm sure that you're starting to see a pattern with my choices. I gravitate towards the darker stuff. I won't deny it, it's true. My list is not for you if you are rainbows and sunshine kind of reader.

Goodreads Summary: "What if the world's worst serial killer...was your dad?

Jasper "Jazz" Dent is a likable teenager. A charmer, one might say.

But he's also the son of the world's most infamous serial killer, and for Dear Old Dad, Take Your Son to Work Day was year-round. Jazz has witnessed crime scenes the way cops wish they could—from the criminal's point of view.

And now bodies are piling up in Lobo's Nod.

In an effort to clear his name, Jazz joins the police in a hunt for a new serial killer. But Jazz has a secret—could he be more like his father than anyone knows?"

I thought that Barry did a brilliant job building the plot on this one. The characters were relatable and real and the killers were definitely creepy. The main character in particular is handled really well, especially since he's torn between wanting to do the right thing and having a scary urge sometimes....not to. This is a great thrill ride of a novel, a Criminal Minds mixed with Dexter for young adults that I read late into the night.

So there are my three, but it's almost not fair because there are really so many more that I could've added to this list, some I'm still reading now. So, because I routinely cheat on our stipulated word count and am apparently, at heart, a rebel with this type of thing, here's a list of some others I enjoyed a lot.

THE BLOOD KEEPER by Tessa Gratton
WHAT'S LEFT OF ME by Khat Zhang
11/22/63 by Stephen King
THE RAVEN BOYS by Maggie Stiefvater

AND just to show you that I have a softer, side, I DO, I SWEAR! Here's my all time favorite reading list from when I was a wee bit of thing:

LITTLE WOMEN by Louisa May Alcott--I wanted to BE Jo and marry Mr. Bear.
THE SECRET GARDEN by Frances Hodgeson Burnett


  1. Yay! More Maggie love! And Joe Hill is awesome. He's as sweet as his dad and talented.

    1. Okay, geeking out a little that you've met Joe Hill:-)

  2. Yay, another vote for The Secret Garden. And I really need to read The Diviners. It may just go on my Christmas list.