LAUREN’S TOP 10
1) Six of Crows (Six of Crows #1) by Leigh Bardugo
As a massive fan of Leigh Bardugo’s The Grisha trilogy I was highly anticipating Six of Crows. I adored the characters, particularly Jesper, Nina and Inej. I loved the crews interaction even more, and how familial they all seemed. Six of Crows was better than The Grisha trilogy in my opinion; more lovable characters, an intricate plot and several heart stopping moments.
2) Walk on Earth a Stranger (The Gold Seer Trilogy #1) by Rae Carson
Torn from her family, Lee is thrust into a path she never expected to take and I really admired her development, and the relationships and bonds she found on the trail. The beginning is a little slow as it sets the story but I encourage you to persevere because once Lee sets off on the trail, it’s a whole new journey, and a fantastically engaging one at that. It’s gritty and an honest novel; the hardships travellers faced on the road to the west are not treated lightly and not everyone makes it out alive. Fans of historical fiction/fantasy will devour this.
3) The Girl from Everywhere (The Girl from Everywhere #1) by Heidi Heilig (ARC – Released Feb 2016)
This book is truly something special. Beautifully written with fantastic story telling. Such great character development, fantastic character interaction and I have a lot of love for Nix and Kashmir. I loved Nixie and her dedication to The Temptation, her love for travelling, her spirit and adventure. She certainly made this book for me. I loved the Hawaiian setting in the 1880s and it is clear the author put a lot of time and effort into the culture and the atmospheric setting.
4) Tiny Pretty Things (Tiny Pretty Things #1) by Sona Charaipotra and Dhonielle Clayton
I loved reading from June, Bette, and Gigi’s perspectives; the jealousy, the competitiveness, the bitter rivalries that goes on in elite ballet academies. But more importantly, Tiny Pretty Things features a diverse case and tackled issues such as racism, eating disorders and drug abuse, highlighting the pressures these young girls and boys have to be on top. Tiny Pretty Things is a fantastic, engaging, and cleverly plotted novel.
5) One by Sarah Crossan
It is rare I find a book that captures the essence of twins so honestly and realistically. I’m not a conjoined twin, and I don’t know what it is like. But I do know what it is like to have a twin, that one person you are so undeniably close to. Such a great, honest, raw and moving account of two girls who can’t live without each other.
6) The Winner’s Crime (The Winner’s Trilogy #2) by Marie Rutkoski
Since I read The Winner’s Curse, I have admired Kestrel for her wit and intelligence. This has not changed, and Kestrel is so fierce and smart and I really love her character. The suspense in The Winner’s Crime is fabulous, even if the story drags a little in the middle. It is full of courtly politics and political manoeuvring, which makes this high fantasy even better.
7) The Impostor Queen (The Impostor Queen #1) by Sarah Fine (ARC – Released Jan 2016)
I absolutely adored The Impostor Queen. I had such high expectations after Of Metal and Wishes and Sarah Fine surpassed them all with her new high fantasy novel. The world building was spot on, the characterization in-depth, and the romance exactly what I was looking for. I found myself enamoured with Elli and her passion, determination and willingness to learn for herself.
8) Little Peach by Peggy Kern
Little Peach is not an easy book to read. It’s a raw and heartbreaking story of a fourteen year old girl’s survival – out of options and charmed by her “Daddy”, she finds herself forced into prostitution. Peggy Kern does not hold back. She tells an honest, powerful, horrific and emotional story. It is a difficult one to read, but fantastic nonetheless.
9) Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson
I absolutely adored this book. I loved everything about it; Tiger Lily’s wild streak, Tink’s undying loyalty to Tiger Lily, the Lost Boys, Peter Pan and his courage and Pine Sap and his thoughtfulness. Tiger Lily is an incredibly unique retelling of a well known favourite, and Tink is a great narrator.
10) None of the Above by I. W. Gregorio
I found that None of the Above was a moving, raw and emotionally driven novel that tries its very best to stay authentic and provide a relatable intersex character struggling with her identity. Whilst also being informative and discussing the prejudice of being intersex, it also discussing the psychological impact and decisions that come with a diagnosis. None of the Above is informative but also emotional.
MEGANS TOP 10
1) The Wrath and the Dawn (The Wrath and the Dawn #1) by Renee Ahdieh
The Wrath and the Dawn was original, compelling and magical read. The writing and world-building was beautiful and enchanting. Shazi and Khalid were fantastic characters, and they were complex, strong, and beautifully written. A slow burn romance and a really well developed relationship. I recommend this to everyone.
2) The Summer of Chasing Mermaids by Sarah Ockler
The Summer of Chasing Mermaids is a retelling of The Little Mermaid. Elyse is disabled having just lost her voice, which she is still grieving with, and the novel is about her coming to terms with that loss, and figuring out how to cope with it. The novel features wonderful friendships, with some very positive and female empowering and feminist messages. A must read, especially for fans of contemporary.
3) One by Sarah Crossan
I have no words for how beautiful and utterly heartbreaking One was. I haven’t cried like that at a book in forever. I felt it right down to my very soul and very little books have made me feel like this. I could really connect with Grace and Tippi and I really did understand that bond between twins, one that very few people understand unless they are a twin themselves. One is a story about love, loss and acceptance and it is extremely powerful and moving.
4) Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys
I fell in love with many of the characters, and my heart broke when theirs did. Joana, Emilia, Florian, the shoemaker and the wandering boy. They all had such distinct personalities, with a lot of depth and development throughout the novel. Emilia was my favourite, Joana following closely behind. I think Salt to the Sea is a must read for any fans of historical fiction or history in general. I’d definitely recommend it to fans of Sepetys other novel, and for fans of the Book Thief and fans of Elizabeth Wein’s novels.
5) Vengeance Road by Erin Bowman
I loved the atmosphere of Vengeance Road. There were cowboys, gun fights, a gold mine, and a gang of murderous riders. I think what really added to that atmosphere was the narrative and writing style. Kate was a character I adored. She was ruthless, wild and fuelled by anger but she was also vulnerable and have a kindness in her. I loved the Colton brothers as well, who were also great and the back and forth between them all was really great and entertaining. The plot was exciting and suspenseful with numerous twists and turns, and there was never a dull moment. A truly engrossing read which shows how greed for gold creates madness and monsters of men.
6) The Abyss Surrounds Us (The Abyss Surrounds Us #1) by Emily Strutskie (ARC Releases Feb 2016)
The Abyss Surrounds Us is very unique and an original read. It was a very morally grey book, with no specific ‘good’ or ‘bad’ guys which I really loved. A science fiction story that is very engrossing with pirates and sea monsters and badass ladies, who had great and complex relationships and a great romance – a must read.
7) Dare Me by Megan Abbott
I loved the fact that 90% of the characters were girls and I loved their dynamics with each other. There were friendships and rivalries and love and hate. Friendships were sometimes just as toxic as the bad relationships and there were lies and despite that there was something really honest about the novel and its writing and its story. I loved the mystery. It kept me engaged right from the start and there were so many twists and turns and surprises and no matter how much I guessed I was always wrong. It was dark and raw and I really loved it – it was just my type of book.
8) Orleans by Sherri L. Smith
Orleans was a genuine breath of fresh air, especially in the dystopia/post apocalyptic genre. There was a lot of world building, and it was very original and so well done. Unlike most dystopian novels and post apocalyptic novels, there was zero romance. This is a story about survival, and Fen de la Guerre need to save her tribe’s newborn baby. It was such a well crafted story which was action packed, but slow paced at times and so delicate and well crafted. This was such a fantastically written novel with a brilliant, strong, intelligent and powerful protagonist with an amazing and original setting and world building.
9) Far From You by Tess Sharpe
Far From You is well-crafted mystery with strong and memorable characters, with positive bisexual representation. There were really great relationships, with strong, complex and flawed characters. I particularly enjoyed reading about Sophie, our protagonist, and Mina. A absolutely fantastic mystery novel with superb characters and relationships. A must read for contemporary fans.
10) All the Rage by Courtney Summers
All the Rage is a story of anger and gives a truthful picture of rape culture in society. One thing I really loved was how she writes girls, whether they be likeable or unlikeable but they all seem so real. Another thing I really loved is that Courtney Summers does not hold back with this story. It is gritty, raw and painful and just so important. I think All the Rage is a perfect title, because it does just that, it makes you rage, and it makes you angry. All the Rage is a very character driven novel, but that was essential to the story and it wouldn’t have worked so effectively had it not been a character driven novel.