Monday, 27 January 2014

My 2014 Booket List!

I was hoping to have a review of Neil Gaiman's American Gods for you today, but alas uni work has taken priority on my to-do list so my review will just have to remain unfinished for a little while longer!

However, I am determined to provide a new blog post every Monday and Friday so I have something else for you. Instead of a review I'm going to give you a list of books I'd like to finally tick off my TBR list by the end of 2014!

I've picked one book each from eight genres - Historical Fiction; Science Fiction; Fantasy; Contemporary; Horror; Crime; Classic; Non-Fiction - as well as a duology, a trilogy, and a longer series.

I know there are even more genres than the ones on my list, but if I picked a book from every genre imaginable this list would be endless...

Classic


by Alexandre Dumas

Imprisoned for a crime he didn’t commit, Edmond Dantès spends 14 bitter years in a dungeon. When his daring escape plan works he uses all he has learned during his incarceration to mastermind an elaborate plan of revenge that will bring punishment to those he holds responsible for his fate. No longer the naïve sailor who disappeared into the dark fortress all those years ago, he reinvents himself as the charming, mysterious, and powerful Count of Monte Cristo.

The Count of Monte Cristo was the first book that I mentioned in my previous post about Classics I'd like to try and read this year. Out of all the ones I mentioned this is the one I'd like to read most this year, not only because it's huge but because I've owned my copy for about four years and it's ridiculous that I still haven't read it.


Contemporary


by Rainbow Rowell

Cath is a Simon Snow fan.

Okay, the whole world is a Simon Snow fan . . .

But for Cath, being a fan is her life — and she’s really good at it. She and her twin sister, Wren, ensconced themselves in the Simon Snow series when they were just kids; it’s what got them through their mother leaving.

Reading. Rereading. Hanging out in Simon Snow forums, writing Simon Snow fan fiction, dressing up like the characters for every movie premiere.

Cath’s sister has mostly grown away from fandom, but Cath can’t let go. She doesn’t want to.

Now that they’re going to college, Wren has told Cath she doesn’t want to be roommates. Cath is on her own, completely outside of her comfort zone. She’s got a surly roommate with a charming, always-around boyfriend, a fiction-writing professor who thinks fan fiction is the end of the civilized world, a handsome classmate who only wants to talk about words . . . And she can’t stop worrying about her dad, who’s loving and fragile and has never really been alone.

For Cath, the question is: Can she do this?

Can she make it without Wren holding her hand? Is she ready to start living her own life? Writing her own stories?

And does she even want to move on if it means leaving Simon Snow behind?

I actually purchased my copy of Fangirl back in October when my sister gave me some spending money for my birthday, but I've yet to get around to reading it. Story of my life really. I took it home with me over Christmas with the intention of reading it but I just wasn't in the mood for a contemporary read, and since then I've spoken to a friend of mine (whose blog can be found here) who also hasn't read it yet. So we've decided to read it together when we both have a copy to hand!


Historical Fiction


by Sarah Waters

Sue Trinder is an orphan, left as an infant in the care of Mrs. Sucksby, a "baby farmer," who raised her with unusual tenderness, as if Sue were her own. Mrs. Sucksby's household, with its fussy babies calmed with doses of gin, also hosts a transient family of petty thieves - fingersmiths - for whom this house in the heart of a mean London slum is home. 

One day, the most beloved thief of all arrives - Gentleman, a somewhat elegant con man, who carries with him an enticing proposition for Sue: If she wins a position as the maid to Maud Lilly, a naïve gentlewoman, and aids Gentleman in her seduction, then they will all share in Maud's vast inheritance. Once the inheritance is secured, Maud will be left to live out her days in a mental hospital. With dreams of paying back the kindness of her adopted family, Sue agrees to the plan. Once in, however, Sue begins to pity her helpless mark and care for Maud Lilly in unexpected ways. . . 

To be perfectly honest with you I just want to read some Sarah Waters in general. She's one of those authors I'd somehow never heard of before last year, and then I stumbled across all of her books at once. I also discovered she did her English MA at my university! I'm pretty sure Fingersmith is the novel she's most famous for, and I managed to find a copy in great condition in a charity shop in South Wales so I can't wait to sink my teeth into it.


Fantasy


by Sarah J. Maas

In the dark, filthy salt mines of Endovier, an eighteen-year-old girl is serving a life sentence. She is a trained assassin, the best of her kind, but she made a fatal mistake: she got caught.

Young Captain Westfall offers her a deal: her freedom in return for one huge sacrifice. Celaena must represent the prince in a to-the-death tournament—fighting the most gifted thieves and assassins in the land. Live or die, Celaena will be free. Win or lose, she is about to discover her true destiny. But will her assassin’s heart be melted?

If you'd asked me which book I'd put in this category this time last month I'd've said something completely different, but as it happens I stumbled across a copy of Throne of Glass for less than a fiver and picked it up because I've heard nothing but praise for it. I think there's six books planned for this series so far, and I know book two's already out, so I'd better get started!


Science Fiction


by Marissa Meyer

Rapunzel’s tower is a satellite. She can’t let down her hair—or her guard. 

In this third book in the bestselling Lunar Chronicles series, Cinder and Captain Thorne are fugitives on the run, with Scarlet and Wolf in tow. Together, they’re plotting to overthrow Queen Levana and her army. 

Their best hope lies with Cress, who has been trapped on a satellite since childhood with only her netscreens as company. All that screen time has made Cress an excellent hacker—unfortunately, she’s just received orders from Levana to track down Cinder and her handsome accomplice. 

When a daring rescue goes awry, the group is separated. Cress finally has her freedom, but it comes at a high price. Meanwhile, Queen Levana will let nothing stop her marriage to Emperor Kai. Cress, Scarlet, and Cinder may not have signed up to save the world, but they may be the only ones who can.

What a surprise, right? Perhaps I'm cheating a bit here - The Lunar Chronicles might not be what some people think of when you mention sci-fi - but unfortunately I'm not a big reader of the genre. I definitely need to read more of it in future, and right now The Lunar Chronicles is doing a great job of coaxing me into it. I'm currently half way through Scarlet, the second book in the series, and I pre ordered my copy of Cress just the other day. I can't wait for it to arrive next month!


Horror


by James Herbert

"We thought we’d found our haven, a cottage deep in the heart of the forest. Charming, maybe a little run down, but so peaceful. That was the first part of the Magic. Midge’s painting and my music soared to new heights of creativity. That was another part of the Magic. Our love for each other – well, that became the supreme Magic. But the cottage had an alternative side. The Bad Magic." 
"What happened to us there was horrendous beyond belief. The healings, the crazy sect who wanted our home for themselves, the hideous creatures that crawled from the nether regions, and the bats – oh God, the bats! Even now those terrible things seem impossible to me. Yet they happened..."

Here we have yet another genre I've barely read any of, and I haven't read any James Herbert at all. I think The Fog might be Herbert's most famous novel, but I've been meaning to read The Magic Cottage for years because it's my Dad's favourite of Herbert's novels; he made it sound very creepy when he told me about it. Now I just need to get my hands on a copy!


Crime


by Karen Rose

A secret cellar
A multimedia designer is hard at work. His latest computer game,Inquisitor, heralds a new era in state-of-the-art graphics. But there's only one way to ensure that the death scenes are realistic enough...

An isolated field
Detective Ciccotelli's day begins with one grave, one body and no murder weapon. It ends with sixteen graves, but only nine bodies and the realisation that the killer will strike again...

A living hell
When it's discovered that the murder weapons are similar to those used in medieval torture, Ciccotelli knows that he's up against the most dangerous opponent of his career - let the games begin...

When it comes to this particular genre I'm more likely to read it when it's mixed with something else. Basically, I read an awful lot of Historical Crime, but not a lot of Contemporary Crime at all. I really want to cross this book - and the ones that follow it Scream For Me and Kill For Me - off my list because it's been on it for far too long. With any luck it'll get me into reading more Crime set in the modern day.


Non-Fiction


by Ian Mortimer

The past is a foreign country - this is your guide.

We think of Queen Elizabeth I's reign (1558-1603) as a golden age. But what was it actually like to live in Elizabethan England? If you could travel to the past and walk the streets of London in the 1590s, where would you stay? What would you eat? What would you wear? Would you really have a sense of it being a glorious age? And if so, how would that glory sit alongside the vagrants, diseases, violence, sexism and famine of the time?

In this book Ian Mortimer reveals a country in which life expectancy is in the early thirties, people still starve to death and Catholics are persecuted for their faith. Yet it produces some of the finest writing in the English language, some of the most magnificent architecture, and sees Elizabeth's subjects settle in America and circumnavigate the globe. Welcome to a country that is, in all its contradictions, the 
very crucible of the modern world.

When it comes to Non-Fiction it's books like this one that I read the most. I'm a huge History nerd and the Tudor era fascinates me just as it's fascinated generations of people before me and will continue to fascinate people in the future. While the Tudor monarchs themselves were incredibly interesting I was so excited when I came across a book that could teach me what life was like for the Average Joe in the 16th/17th century. Not only will this book be fun to read, but it'll also be a great help considering the novel I'm working on for my MA is set in Elizabethan England!


Duology


by Alison Goodman
Sixteen-year-old Eon has a dream, and a mission. For years, he's been studying sword-work and magic, toward one end. He and his master hope that he will be chosen as a Dragoneye-an apprentice to one of the twelve energy dragons of good fortune.
But Eon has a dangerous secret. He is actually Eona, a sixteen-year-old girl who has been masquerading as a twelve-year-old boy. Females are forbidden to use Dragon Magic; if anyone discovers she has been hiding in plain sight, her death is assured.
When Eon's secret threatens to come to light, she and her allies are plunged into grave danger and a deadly struggle for the Imperial throne. Eon must find the strength and inner power to battle those who want to take her magic...and her life.
There aren't enough duologies in the world and I've been dying to read this one for a while now. I love the idea of reading two books and finishing a series; in fact there are plenty of trilogies out there which could have done without being spread across three books! I don't own either of these books just yet, but I think I might order them in time for my Easter holiday so I can complete a series while taking a break from uni life.


Trilogy


by J. R. R. Tolkien

One Ring to rule them all, One Ring to find them, One Ring to bring them all and in the darkness bind them

In ancient times the Rings of Power were crafted by the Elven-smiths, and Sauron, the Dark Lord, forged the One Ring, filling it with his own power so that he could rule all others. But the One Ring was taken from him, and though he sought it throughout Middle-earth, it remained lost to him. After many ages it fell by chance into the hands of the hobbit Bilbo Baggins.

From Sauron's fastness in the Dark Tower of Mordor, his power spread far and wide. Sauron gathered all the Great Rings to him, but always he searched for the One Ring that would complete his dominion.

When Bilbo reached his eleventy-first birthday he disappeared, bequeathing to his young cousin Frodo the Ruling Ring and a perilous quest: to journey across Middle-earth, deep into the shadow of the Dark Lord, and destroy the Ring by casting it into the Cracks of Doom.

The Lord of the Rings tells of the great quest undertaken by Frodo and the Fellowship of the Ring: Gandalf the Wizard; the hobbits Merry, Pippin, and Sam; Gimli the Dwarf; Legolas the Elf; Boromir of Gondor; and a tall, mysterious stranger called Strider.

Out of all the trilogies in the world I have yet to read this is the one I really need to read the most. I love Peter Jackson's adaptations of Tolkien's masterpiece but I so want to read the original stories - so far there's just been something so intimidating about them! I'm thinking of saving them for the summer and working my way through the trilogy in July and August.


Series


by Michael Grant
In the blink of an eye. Everyone disappears. GONE.
Except for the young. Teens. Middle schoolers. Toddlers. But not one single adult. No teachers, no cops, no doctors, no parents. Just as suddenly, there are no phones, no internet, no television. No way to get help. And no way to figure out what's happened.
Hunger threatens. Bullies rule. A sinister creature lurks. Animals are mutating. And the teens themselves are changing, developing new talents-unimaginable, dangerous, deadly powers-that grow stronger by the day.
It's a terrifying new world. Sides are being chosen, a fight is shaping up. Townies against rich kids. Bullies against the weak. Powerful against powerless. And time is running out: On your birthday, you disappear just like everyone else...
I bought my copy of Gone a couple of years ago, and long before that it always caught my eye each time I passed it in the book shop. Last year the series finally came to an end with the release of Light and now that the series is finished I'm eager to get started on it at last; especially as one of my friends recently read the entire series in the space of two weeks because she enjoyed them that much!

What are you hoping to cross off your booket list this year? Check back next week for my review on American Gods and at the end of this week for my January Wrap-Up!

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