Top Ten Tuesday: Books to Escape Into

It’s time for another Top Ten list from That Artsy Reader Girl. Today’s topic is listed as “Genre Freebie,” which means we give our own spin to the list, with the broad theme of “genre.” I haven’t been reading seriously for long enough to be able to make 1 entire list with only 1 genre present, so I decided to let the current state of affairs inspire my list.

With dominoes continuing to fall as schools, businesses, and entire states close down in the US, it seems like a great time to escape into books. So my list today contains my recommendations for the best books (or series) to escape into. Simply put, I chose my single-favorite book from 10 different genres, so maybe there will be something for everyone, except for those who don’t read any of these 10 genres.

Some of these books can fit into more than 1 genre, of course, so I’ll mention that as well. I’m not going to say much about each book, though, because just the fact that they’re on this list says that I loved (or at least really liked) them, and I don’t want to go on at length today.

Sci-fi: Lock In by John Scalzi
Also a mystery, kind of a police-procedural. There is also a sequel, Head On, which I still liked, but not quite as much. See my review for the first book here.

wingfeather

Fantasy: The Wingfeather Saga by Andrew Peterson
I have only read the first 2 of this 4-book series so far, but I highly recommend it.
See my review for book #1 here and my review for book #2 here.
The author, Andrew Peterson, has been reading the series on Facebook Live for the last 4 nights, and will continue to do so, I’m guessing at least through the first book, as a way to help people combat listlessness and to raise spirits during all of this virus business. He does voices and laughs at his own funny parts. It’s so much fun to listen to! If you want to check it out, the first day’s reading is still on his site, but due to licensing reasons, he said he can’t keep it up much longer.

Romance: The Land Beneath Us by Sarah Sundin
Also historical fiction (WWII time period) & Christian fiction. It’s the third in a series, but they’re disconnected enough that you don’t have to have read the first 2 before you read this one. Though if you’re in the position to binge read, you might as well read them all in order. See my review here.

Historical: The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer & Annie Barrows
WWII time period, a stand-alone story. It’s been made into a Netflix movie, though I’m afraid to watch it. See my review here.

Mystery: The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton
Also could be classified as a thriller, and has a touch of fantasy. See my review for this book here.

Classic: Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery
It may be written for kids, but adults will love it too. This is a series of 9 books. See my review for this book here.

Non-fiction: Blessed Are the Misfits by Brant Hansen
I couldn’t decide between this and I Want to Punch You in the Face But I Love Jesus by Sherri Lynn. Both are funny and insightful. I only chose the one I did because, even though I firmly believe men should read Sherri Lynn’s book too, Brant’s book is a little less exclusive. See my review for this book here.

Thriller: The Lost Causes of Bleak Creek by Rhett McLaughlin & Link Neal
Also could fit the mystery genre and is labeled as horror, though I didn’t find it all that frightening. See my review for this book here.

Christian: Illusion by Frank E. Peretti
Could also be classified as a mystery or thriller with a touch of fantasy/sci-fi. See my review for this book here.

Comic: West of Bathurst and It Never Rains by Kari Maaren
This one will take a bit more of an explanation. West of Bathurst is a book only in the technical sense. It’s actually a webcomic, and when the 7-year-long storyline and comic came to an end, Kari compiled it into a book. A big, heavy book. I do own this book, but I’m sure she does not have any more to sell (it was crowdsourced and not an easy endeavor for her). But the comic in its entirety can be read online, and it’s good for many hours of binge-reading. Though it’s a web comic, and some of what happens in it is specific to the setting (a residence hall at University of Toronto), even someone like me who is completely lost in that setting can get caught up in the story and find the jokes along the way funny.

It Never Rains is Kari’s currently on-going comic, with 6 years of story. This one has more of an actual story feel, and it’s really gotten good recently.

The links in the bold above for both of these lead to the first comic in each series.

What are your favorite books to escape into? Link your TTT post so I can see what you did with today’s freebie!

Book Review: Weave a Circle Round

Finished Reading: Weave a Circle Round by Kari Maaren
My rating: 3.5 / 5
Genre: YA Fantasy

WaCR

Freddy doesn’t have the most pleasant life–she doesn’t get along with her siblings very well, her parents are basically non-existent, and her friendships are fragile at best. When Cuerva Lachance and Josiah move in next door, and Josiah starts going to her school, I’d imagine she longs for the simpler days when those relationships were her only problems. The new neighbors just don’t seem to obey the laws of physics, and worse yet, they end up sucking Freddy into their bizarre lives, which just happen to involve time travel.

I enjoyed most of this book. Though I didn’t connect with the main character or her family in the first section of the book, the mystery presented in the second section had me coming back to it every chance I got. I also enjoyed the way the author looped the time traveling, especially when it related to “present time.” My sense of foreboding grew along with the main character, as the time travel played itself out. However, the ending of the book didn’t deliver quite the punch I was expecting. I didn’t follow some of it, and for the rest of it, I was a little out of my element regarding the fantasy elements. There was one moment that I really liked, that called back to the very beginning, but I can’t say more than that. I appreciate Kari’s mind toward continuity within a story.

Overall, I’d say this book is worth a read, especially if you enjoy fantasy, fairy tales, and mythology.

I also want to again mention Kari’s web comics, West of Bathurst and It Never Rains. The former has some fantasy/fairy tale elements, and the latter is more sci-fi. Both have long-running plots (as opposed to a gag-a-day type format).

Find out more about Kari Maaren and Weave a Circle Round

Up next: The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton

If you’ve read this book, or read it in the future, feel free to let me know what you think!

Book Preview: Weave a Circle Round (currently reading)

Following my shameful admission earlier this week, I’ll add this one: a friend of mine published a book a year and a half ago, and I’ve owned it for much of that time, but I hadn’t even read the first page until this week.

I am very quickly remedying this, though, as I have already finished over half of Kari Maaren’s Weave a Circle Round since I started into it on Monday. It is a fantasy novel in the YA range. I have been enjoying it so far, but that’s all I’ll say in that regard until I finish it.

I will at least say that I strongly identify with the main character, 14-year-old Freddy Duchamp, at least when it comes to her introverted tendencies. One particular line in the 1st chapter jumped out at me, explaining my own desire to avoid confrontation in a way I had never consciously thought of it: “Confronting people was just another way of drawing attention to yourself, which wasn’t the best thing to do when you weren’t even sure you were right about anything.” This is me to a T.

I will have more to say on this book next week, as I expect to have finished reading it by then, but for now, let me point you in the direction of Kari’s other works of fiction. I have been a reader of her web comics for 5 years now, reading West of Bathurst from the start right after it ended. I enjoyed it immensely, despite being a bit lost about things specifically related to the setting. Then she began a new web comic, which is still going on now, called It Never Rains. I recommend both of them, especially if you’re a fan of fantasy or sci-fi. (Also, I’m sort of in It Never Rains, which I forgot about until right now.)

Find out more about Kari Maaren and Weave a Circle Round