What better way to settle into a new blog than make a list! Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly challenge hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl, where each week you write a list of ten particular books.
This week, the theme is: books I predict will be 5-star reads.
Although some of these books have been published recently, most of them are years old and either finally fighting their way off my to-be-read list, or new discoveries from authors I enjoyed. Either way, I’m expecting many good things.
Includes: fantasy, contemporary fiction and non-fiction.
Science-fiction and Fantasy
Gideon the Ninth – Tamsyn Muir
Synopsis: The Emperor needs necromancers. The Ninth Necromancer needs a swordswoman. Gideon has a sword, some dirty magazines, and no more time for undead bullshit.
Space fantasies are my absolute favourite books. Kings and queens become squabbling interplanetary rulers, spaceships appear… what’s not to love?!
I’ve heard nothing but glowing reviews about this book and I’m ready to dive in. I’m expecting some excellent world building.
The Fifth Season – N. K. Jemisin
Synopsis: This is the way the world ends… for the last time. It starts with a great red rift across the heart of the world’s sole continent, spewing ash that blots out the sun.
I became a fan on NKJ’s work only recently, after downloading the first book of her Inheritance Trilogy onto my Kindle and quickly devouring the rest. Despite this, I know that SF&F is Jemisin’s world and we’re just living in it.
Ahead of her latest novel releasing this year, I’m finally making time to read the Hugo Award-winning Broken Earth trilogy, beginning with The Fifth Season.
The Ten Thousand Doors of January – Alix E. Harrow
Synopsis: In a sprawling mansion filled with peculiar treasures, January Scaller is a curiosity herself. As the ward of the wealthy Mr. Locke, she feels little different from the artifacts that decorate the halls: carefully maintained, largely ignored and utterly out of place.
This is one of the books that has done the rounds on many of the blogs I follow, usually accompanied with gushing reviews. I’m aiming to start reading more historical fiction/fantasy books this year, so this is likely a good place to start!
The Demon King – Cinda Williams Chima
(When 16-year-old Han Alister and his Clan friend Dancer encounter three underage wizards setting fire to the sacred mountain of Hanalea, he has no idea that this event will precipitate a cascade of disasters that will threaten everything he cares about.)
Look… can I call myself a fantasy fiction fan if I haven’t read The Demon King? I’m kinda angling towards no, but just know that this book has been on my TBR for years. Why haven’t I read it yet? No answer for that one.
A Long Petal of the Sea – Isabel Allende
Synopsis: That September 2, 1939, the day of the Spanish exiles’ splendid arrival in Chile, the Second World War broke out in Europe. Victor Dalmau is a young doctor when he is caught up in the Spanish Civil War, a tragedy that leaves his life – and the fate of his country – forever changed.
Isabel Allende is a writer I’ve always planned to read. She is one of the most widely-read authors in the world, a leader in Spanish-language fiction and translated fiction in English. She’s known particularly for the magical realism techniques in her writing, a genre I’ve always appreciated because I think it must take a lot of skill to write.
Bridge of Clay – Markus Zusak
Synopsis: Bridge of Clay is about a boy caught in the current, a boy intent on destroying everything he has in order to become everything he needs to be.
The Book Thief was an instant favourite when I read it – heart-rending and hopeful in equal measure. So I bought Zusak’s second book pretty much as soon as I could… where it has lived on my bookshelf waiting for me to get around to it. I’m finally making time, and I know I won’t be disappointed.
Ducks, Newburyport – Lucy Ellmann
Synopsis: Latticing one cherry pie after another, an Ohio housewife tries to bridge the gaps between reality and the torrent of meaningless info that is the United States of America.
Confession, I started this one a little while ago, then life jumped in the way and I haven’t picked it up since. Mostly I’ve been trying to find the right time to read it, as it strikes me as the kind of book that benefits from long read sessions, rolling narrative and all. That it’ll be a 5-star read doesn’t take much guessing, as it’s a Man Booker Shortlist novel (and pie is a central theme).
What I’ve read, I already love. Bring on the next 900 pages of run-on sentences!
The Testaments – Margaret Atwood
Synopsis: Picking up ten years after its predecessor’s tantalisingly open-ended conclusion, The Testaments provides a new window into Atwood’s dystopian world, as seen through the eyes of three women of Gilead: a girl brought up within its confines, another on the run beyond its walls, and a woman at the very heart of the regime’s dark designs with secrets of her own.
This joint Man Booker prize-winning novel returns to the dystopian world of Gilead years after The Handmaid’s Tale was published. The original book is both thought-provoking and incredibly unsettling. It’s definitely not one of my favourite novels, but I can’t argue that it’s excellent writing. I’m expecting the same from this one.
The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo – Taylor Jenkins Reid
Synopsis: Ageing and reclusive Hollywood movie icon Evelyn Hugo is finally ready to tell the truth about her glamorous and scandalous life. But when she chooses unknown magazine reporter Monique Grant for the job, no one is more astounded than Monique herself.
I wasn’t sure what to expect when I started reading Daisy Jones and The Six. I’m not always a fan of the epistolary novel style, as I can sometimes find it easy to lose attention. Added to that the fact that I always find music a weird topic to read, I shouldn’t have been a fan. But I was, and I’m eager to move onto Reid’s next story, totally converted to her intriguing way of storytelling.
It’s Not About the Burqa – Mariam Khan
Synopsis: Here are voices you won’t see represented in the headlines: seventeen Muslim women speaking frankly about the hijab and wavering faith, about love and divorce, about feminism, queer identity, sex, and the twin threats of a disapproving community and a racist country.
I have heard so much about this book, primarily glowing reviews across Twitter about how vital it is. An incredible roster of influential Muslim women from around the globe write essays about everything from the hijab to love. This book pushes aside repetitive media narratives to give voice to the women who are talked about relentlessly without representation. I’m expecting to love every page.