April 2016 Top 5 TBR: Vacation Edition

I am currently on a week-long vacation with my best friend — escaping to someplace warm for some much needed R&R (rest & relaxation). That being said, I prescheduled this post before departing. This month’s TBR was put together with ‘vacation reading’ in mind.

I kept changing my mind about which books I wanted to bring. Then my second dilemma: how many books to bring; I didn’t want to pick too many books that it would contribute too much of my suitcase weight allowance, but I didn’t want to pack too little that I would run out of things to read and I couldn’t just bring one big book. So I have strategically picked a combination of different books to suit any situation and mood. I hope I have covered all my bases*.

I have carefully selected a combination of books for my trip. Depending on my mood and what activities my friend and I get up to, I have a book for any mood. Let’s see if I can read all these in one week, if I can’t then these will also be the month’s TBR.

TheBloodyChamberShort Stories by the Pool | The Bloody Chamber by Angela Carter

The  Bloody Chamber: recommended to me my a bookstore employee because they saw me in the fantasy section and had a handful of fairytale retellings. I was sold just looking at the cover and then I was told that these short stories, some retellings, that had a dark twist to them! The first page of Bloody Chamber starts with:

Angela Carter was a storytelling sorceress, the literary godmother of Neil Gaiman, Audrey Niffenegger, J. K. Rowling, and other contemporary masters of supernatural fiction.

Can we just pause and acknowledge those authors. So excited to start this book!

About This Book:

“Angela Carter was a storytelling sorceress, the literary godmother of Neil Gaiman, Audrey Niffenegger, J. K. Rowling, and other contemporary masters of supernatural fiction. In her masterpiece, The Bloody Chamber—which includes the story that is the basis of Neil Jordan’s 1984 movie The Company of Wolves—she breathed new life into familiar fairy tales and legends in a style steeped in the romantic trappings of the gothic tradition. This edition features a new introduction by Kelly Link, the Nebula and World Fantasy Award–wining author, one of a new generation of writers who’ve been inspired by Carter’s brand of fantastical, subversive, boundlessly imaginative fiction.” (Goodreads)

AGreatAndTerribleBeautyBeachy YA Easy Reading | A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray

I read this book back in 2005/2006 and I LOVED it, I was younger then and my reading tastes have change a lot since then, but I have fond memories for A Great and Terrible Beauty. I think relaxing on the beach is the perfect way to reunite with this book.

About This Book:

“A Victorian boarding school story, a Gothic mansion mystery, a gossipy romp about a clique of girlfriends, and a dark other-worldly fantasy—jumble them all together and you have this complicated and unusual first novel.

Sixteen-year-old Gemma has had an unconventional upbringing in India, until the day she foresees her mother’s death in a black, swirling vision that turns out to be true. Sent back to England, she is enrolled at Spence, a girls’ academy with a mysterious burned-out East Wing. There Gemma is snubbed by powerful Felicity, beautiful Pippa, and even her own dumpy roommate Ann, until she blackmails herself and Ann into the treacherous clique. Gemma is distressed to find that she has been followed from India by Kartik, a beautiful young man who warns her to fight off the visions.

Nevertheless, they continue, and one night she is led by a child-spirit to find a diary that reveals the secrets of a mystical Order. The clique soon finds a way to accompany Gemma to the other-world realms of her visions “for a bit of fun” and to taste the power they will never have as Victorian wives, but they discover that the delights of the realms are overwhelmed by a menace they cannot control. Gemma is left with the knowledge that her role as the link between worlds leaves her with a mission to seek out the “others” and rebuild the Order. A Great and Terrible Beauty is an impressive first book in what should prove to be a fascinating trilogy.” (Goodreads)

TheWindUpBirdChroniclesLong Spurts of Rest & Relaxation | The Wind-up Bird Chronicles by Haruki Murakami

I’ve been wanting to read Murakami’s works for quite some time but I didn’t know where to start. After much consideration and advice, I will begin with The Wind-up Bird Chronicles. I am hoping for some magical realism and whimsy. This 600 page book, it its tiny font, will be perfect for those times I’m looking for long and interrupted relaxation time or for the plane.

About This Book:

“Japan’s most highly regarded novelist now vaults into the first ranks of international fiction writers with this heroically imaginative novel, which is at once a detective story, an account of a disintegrating marriage, and an excavation of the buried secrets of World War II.

In a Tokyo suburb a young man named Toru Okada searches for his wife’s missing cat. Soon he finds himself looking for his wife as well in a netherworld that lies beneath the placid surface of Tokyo. As these searches intersect, Okada encounters a bizarre group of allies and antagonists: a psychic prostitute; a malevolent yet mediagenic politician; a cheerfully morbid sixteen-year-old-girl; and an aging war veteran who has been permanently changed by the hideous things he witnessed during Japan’s forgotten campaign in Manchuria.

Gripping, prophetic, suffused with comedy and menace, The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle is a tour de force equal in scope to the masterpieces of Mishima and Pynchon.” (Goodreads)

FablesV1Brain Hurt. No Interpret Words. Want Pictures. | Fables (Book 1, Issues 1-10) by Bill Willingham

This pick is for those times where I feel like turning my brain off (or giving it a break from the sugary all-inclusive adult beverages). Also, I don’t have prescription sunglasses and am too much of a klutz to put in contact lenses, so I reckon there will be instances where I won’t want to wear my reading glasses but will still want to be reading — enter Fables with your gorgeous illustrations, epic fairytale retellings, and only a little bit of reading.

About This Book:

“When a savage creature known only as the Adversary conquered the fabled lands of legends and fairy tales, all of the infamous inhabitants of folklore were forced into exile.

Disguised among the normal citizens of modern-day New York, these magical characters created their own secret society-within an exclusive luxury apartment building on Manhattan’s Upper West Side-called Fabletown. But when Snow White’s party-girl sister, Rose Red, is apparently murdered, it is up to Bigby, Fabletown’s sheriff, and a reformed and pardoned Big Bad Wolf, to determine if the culprit is Bluebeard, Rose’s ex-lover and notorious wife killer, or Jack, her current live-in boyfriend and former beanstalk-climber.

This Deluxe Edition collects the first two trade paperbacks of the series, issues 1-10.”(Goodreads)

UprootedThe Adventure Continues | Uprooted by Naomi Novik

I’m currently 1/3 through this book and will be taking it with me to finish. It fits nicely along with this fairytale retelling theme I have going. 😉  This will likely be my book of choice when I want to read something more complicated than YA Fantasy (A Great and Terrible Beauty) but not in the mood for lengthy chapters and rich content as Adult Fiction/ Magical Realism (The Wind-up Bird Chronicles).

About This Book:

This book has been explained as a Beauty & The Beast retelling.

“Agnieszka loves her valley home, her quiet village, the forests and the bright shining river. But the corrupted Wood stands on the border, full of malevolent power, and its shadow lies over her life.

Her people rely on the cold, driven wizard known only as the Dragon to keep its powers at bay. But he demands a terrible price for his help: one young woman handed over to serve him for ten years, a fate almost as terrible as falling to the Wood.

The next choosing is fast approaching, and Agnieszka is afraid. She knows—everyone knows—that the Dragon will take Kasia: beautiful, graceful, brave Kasia, all the things Agnieszka isn’t, and her dearest friend in the world. And there is no way to save her.

But Agnieszka fears the wrong things. For when the Dragon comes, it is not Kasia he will choose.” (Goodreads)


* This is where e-book lovers say that their e-readers are the ideal solution. Although I prefer physical books to e-readers, I still appreciate the convenience of the e-reader. Yes, they’re super handy for traveling, have more books than you could ever read and  without all the baggage/added weight. Well my Kobo is broken and I have not got a replacement — so thanks for reminding me. 😉

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