#TopTenTuesday: Favorite Books I’ve Read in 2016 (So Far)

#TopTenTuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. You can find a list of all TTT themes on their blog!

This week’s theme: Top Ten Favorite 2016 Releases So Far This Year

Well, I haven’t read a lot of new releases this year (I’m always SO behind on new books). So, I’ve decided my list will be Favorite Books I’ve Read in 2016 So Far. Some of them are 2016 releases and some are older. I’m also going to divide my list into two categories: novels and graphic novels. Here we go!

Graphic Novels

 

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Through the Woods by Emily Carroll

*shudders* What a delightfully creepy book. Through the Woods is a series of short, illustrated horror stories, and it’s utterly addicting. Plus, it has amazing illustrations.

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Lumberjanes, Vol. 1: Beware the Kitten Holy by Noelle Stevenson, Grace Ellis, Shannon Watters, and Brooke A. Allen

My younger siblings are obsessed with these books, so I gave the first one a try and I loved it! It’s really adorable and laugh-out-loud funny, and it has wonderful character diversity. I still need to read the sequels!

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Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic by Alison Bechdel

I was lucky enough to see the musical adaptation of this book on Broadway a few months ago––but before I went to see it, I sat down and read the graphic novel first. And dang, it’s amazing. Somehow it manages to be both heart-crushing and darkly funny (as the tragicomic in the title implies). It’s some really powerful stuff.

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Daytripper by Gabriel Bá and Fábio Moon

Wow, this book is mind-blowing and gorgeous in every way. It’s nearly impossible to describe what it’s about, but it’s a fascinating exploration of the relationship between life and death, and how each gives the other meaning. It’s surreal, moving, and utterly haunting.

Novels

 

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Winter (The Lunar Chronicles, #4) by Marissa Meyer

I was a little late getting around to reading this one––but when I finally got my hands on it, I could not put it down. If you haven’t read the series, don’t let the glittery covers fool you––this is some really awesome, hardcore sci-fi. It’s like … Star Wars meets fairytales. It has a truly lovable cast of characters, and the plotting is fantastic. Even though this book was over 800 pages long, I wanted it to keep going forever. I adored this book and the entire series!

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The Abyss Surrounds Us by Emily Skrutskie

This book is just so much fun. SEA MONSTERS. PIRATES. AHHHH. Also, awesome characters, cool world-building, and a cute romance between two ladies. ❤

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The Raven King (The Raven Cycle, #4) by Maggie Stiefvater

*clutches chest* Oh my God, this book. This series. No words could ever capture my feelings. It’s one of the most unique and enchanting series I’ve ever read, and The Raven King is a beautiful conclusion. The characters and the relationships between them mean the world to me, and it’s an incredible story. I really don’t think there will ever be anything quite like these books.

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The Hidden Oracle (The Trials of Apollo, #1) by Rick Riordan

You know, this book really surprised me. As much as I love Rick Riordan and his whole PJO/HoO universe, I didn’t have very high expectations for The Hidden Oracle. I was just going to read it for the heck of it (and because I was curious to see where the PJO/HoO characters had ended up), so I was a little shocked by how much I enjoyed it. In my opinion, it’s actually the best thing Rick Riordan has written in the past few years. It deviates slightly from his usual formula, and Apollo’s narration is fantastic.

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UnDivided (Unwind Dystology, #4) by Neal Shusterman

Another series I was a little slow to finish, but it was totally worth it! I finally finished this one, the last book in the series, last month––and wow, wow, wow. Neal Shusterman, how do you do it? This is definitely one of the greatest dystopian series I’ve ever read, and UnDivided is possibly the best of the whole “dystology”. It’s twisted, heart-stopping, and unsettlingly believable.

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Wildwood (Wildwood, #1) by Colin Meloy, illustrated by Carson Ellis

This was another pleasant surprise for me. I don’t read many middle-grade books, and I expected this to be “cute” more than anything. But it was actually quite dark and intense at times! I couldn’t put it down. It’s like a hipster-Narnia-fairytale with gorgeous illustrations, and it was right up my alley. I’m really excited to read the sequels!


How about you guys? 

  • Have you read any of the books on my list? What did you think of them?
  • What are some of your favorite books you’ve read this year?
  • If you made a TTT post, please link me to it!

#TopTenTuesday: My Favorite Websites & Apps

#TopTenTuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and The Bookish. Check out their blog to find out about all the awesome TTT themes!

This week’s theme:

Ten Websites I Love That Aren’t About Books (you could go specific and do like top ten favorite food/travel/craft/fitness blogs I follow, 10 websites I visit daily,  10 fun websites I waste a lot of time on etc.)

Haha well, my most-visited website is Goodreads, but I guess I’ll have to leave that out! Otherwise I mostly only use social media websites, and also I’ve decided to expand my TTT to favorite apps as well as websites. So, here we go: my favorite (non-book-related) social media websites and apps!

Social Media:

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Tumblr

Hooooo boy, I’m a big Tumblr fan. It can be a crazy place, but I’ve also found it to be a great way to connect with fans of all the things I love.

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Facebook

What can I say? I enjoy seeing what my friends/family are up to!

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Twitter

I love Twitter and, as I’ve said before, it’s actually a great way to meet other writers.

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Last.fm

As someone who is obsessed with music, I am constantly on Last.fm. Honestly this website has changed my life and helped me find out about so many bands/artists I’d never heard of before.

Apps

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Duolingo

A free and fun app for language-learning! I’m currently using it to learn German and French, and to brush up on my Spanish as well.

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Instagram

Yep, I’m that annoying person who Instagrams everything. I just love taking pretty pictures and making them look nice with the filters!

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Snapchat

I’m a frequent Snapchat-er as well. And I love watching my friends’ stories to get a glimpse of what they’re doing with their lives. 😀

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Neko Atsume (Kitty Collector)

Oh my gosh this app is THE. CUTEST. THING. EVER. It’s relatively simple: you just set out cat food/toys and CUTE LITTLE CATS APPEAR. And then the cats leave you fish and you can use them to get more items/backgrounds. (And the nice thing is, nothing bad happens to the cats if you forget to feed them. They just don’t show up.) It’s super adorable, and it always cheers me up a little.

Here is one picture of my “yard:”

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AWWW.

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1 Second Everyday

This is an app where you can create “projects” made up of 1-second video snippets. For example, I started one on January 1st that’s one second for every day in 2016. It’s a cute way to capture the little moments in your everyday life.


How about you guys?

  • Do you use any of these sites/apps? What do you think of them?
  • Do you have any other sites/apps to recommend?
  • If you also wrote a TTT post, please post a link and I will check it out!

#TopTenTuesday: Childhood Characters You’d Love to Revisit as Adults

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Check out their blog for future TTT themes, and to link up to your TTT post if you’ve written one.

It’s been quite a while since I participated in TTT, but I love this week’s theme:

Ten Childhood Characters You’d Love To Revisit As Adults (ie a novella or something to see what they grew up to be) — you could always just pick YA characters you’ve read recently you wouldn’t mind revisiting in 10 years or so. Or you could pick 10 characters and guess what you think they’d be doing in 10 years or 20 years. OR you could go the other way and wish for coming of age stories for adult characters you love.

Haha, that’s a lot of options! But I’ve decided to go with the first one: that is, childhood characters I’d be interested to see as adults.

Percy Jackson

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At the rate Rick Riordan is cranking out Percy Jackson spin-offs (not that I’m complaining––I’m supposed to get The Hidden Oracle in the mail today and I’m very excited), I imagine I’ll probably get to see this someday. 😛 But anyway, I’m really curious to see what this kid’s adulthood is like. Mostly does he ever get a break?! Because I feel like every time he thinks he’s resolved everything, he’s pulled back into more shenanigans with the gods/monsters/etc. (Also I must know if he and Annabeth get married.)

Matilda

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I probably read this book like ten times as a kid, and I always wanted to be Matilda. She’s so smart and she has telekinetic powers for crying out loud! I’m dying to know what happens when she grows up. I could see her becoming a teacher or something––but also she’s freakishly intelligent and has supernatural abilities … so I could also see her like, becoming a secret agent.

Pippi Longstocking

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I always admired how adventurous, independent, and imaginative Pippi is––and also that she’s so deeply empathetic towards everyone she meets. (Not to mention, she’s so strong she can lift a horse above her head––how cool is that?) And I bet those characteristics last into her adulthood. I think it would be really cool to read a story about her as an adult, probably traveling all over the world and meeting/helping lots of people.

Coraline

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*shudders* This poor child. Part of me hopes that she never has to deal with anything scary again––but another part of me thinks it would be interesting to see her still stumbling into more supernatural things as an adult.

Alice

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Similarly to Coraline, I wonder if Alice ever has to deal with alternate universes ever again. 😛 I guess there’s some implication that Wonderland is ~just a dream~ but I always believed it was something more than that. So it makes me wonder if, ten years down the road, Alice is still getting sucked into Wonderland from time to time.


How about you guys?

  • Would you also like to see any of the characters I listed as adults?
  • What characters would you add to the list?
  • If you also wrote a TTT post, please post a link and I will check it out!

Top Ten Tuesday: Recent 5-Star Reads

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by The Broke and The Bookish. Check out their blog for upcoming TTT topics, and to link up to your post if you’ve written one!

Today’s theme is: 10 Of My Most Recent 5 Star Reads (Or Ten Of The Best Books I’ve Read Recently)

I’m a picky reader, so I don’t give out 5 stars easily! But these are the most recent 10 books I’ve given 5 stars on Goodreads. (A few of these are re-reads, but I’m going to count those anyway. :P) Ordered from least to most recent.

Wolf by Wolf by Ryan Graudin

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Through the Woods by Emily Carroll

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Lumberjanes, Vol. 1: Beware the Kitten Holy by Noelle Stevenson

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Winter (The Lunar Chronicles, #4) by Marissa Meyer

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Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic by Alison Bechdel

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Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling
(re-read)

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Unwind by Neal Shusterman
(re-read)

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The Abyss Surrounds Us by Emily Skrutskie

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Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (Harry Potter, #2) by J.K. Rowling
(re-read)

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UnWholly (Unwind, #2) by Neal Shusterman
(re-read)

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As you can see, I’ve been doing a lot of re-reads lately. And I’ve also been on a bit of a graphic novel kick, since I’m trying to read more graphic novels/comic books this year (and I’m not super familiar with the genre––so if you have any recommendations, please let me know!). 🙂

How about you guys?

  • Do we share any 5-star/favorite books?
  • If you also wrote a TTT post, please link me to it! I’m always on the lookout for book recs. 😀

Top Ten Tuesday: Spring TBR

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme started by The Broke and the Bookish. You can check out their blog for all the TTT themes and to find links to other TTT posts! This week’s theme is Ten Books On My Spring TBR.

Ah, spring! It has finally arrived! Or … it almost has, anyway. Lately the weather around here can’t seem to make up its mind. Last week it was 70˚ and sunny, and now it’s freezing cold and raining. *Sigh*

Anyway, it’s a good time to start spring-cleaning my TBR pile!

This year I’m on a bit of a re-read kick, since I have a lot of favorite books/series that I want to re-read. So, I’m going to divide my TTT into Re-Reads and First Time Reads. Here we go!


 

Re-Reads

Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling

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I made a goal to finally re-read the whole Harry Potter series this year! So far I’ve re-read the first two books, so I still have five to go. I probably won’t get to all of them this spring, but I’d like to finish re-reading another one or two of them.

The Raven Cycle by Maggie Stiefvater

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In preparation for the fourth (and last) book finally coming out (*SCREAMS*), I really need to re-read the first three books to refresh my memory.

Chaos Walking by Patrick Ness

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This is one of my favorite series in the world, and I’ve been meaning to re-read it for ages! Hopefully I’ll at least get around to re-reading the first book soon.

First-Time Reads

Willful Machines by Tim Floreen

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I saw this book at Barnes & Noble about a month ago and thought it looked really interesting, and recently I checked it out of the library. I’m really looking forward to reading it!

A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab

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I’ve been seeing this book everywhere recently, and I’m really curious about it! I adore the cover art, and synopsis is intriguing as well.

Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

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I feel like I’m really behind on the times with this one––I’ve been hearing about it for months and months, and I still haven’t read it yet! But it sounds really cool and I’ve heard nothing but good things about it, so I hope to give it a try soon.

The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater

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GAHHH I AM SO EXCITED FOR THIS BOOK. The wait has been far too long, and I can’t wait to find out what happens to Blue and the raven boys. ❤ (But I am also terrified. DON’T HURT MY BABIES. *bites nails*)

UnSouled and UnDivided by Neal Shusterman

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Okay so here’s the thing: I’ve read the first two books in this series (Unwind and UnWholly) and they are both super amazing, but for some reason I just never got around to reading the last two books. But I felt like I should re-read the first two books since it’d been years since I read either one; so I’ve already re-read Unwind and I’m currently re-reading UnWholly, and then I’m finally going to finish this series!


How about you guys?

  • Have you read any of the books on my TBR? What did you think of them?
  • Do we have any spring TBR books in common?
  • If you also wrote a TTT post, please link me to it! I’d love to hear what you’re reading this spring. 🙂

#TopTenTuesday: Books To Read If You’re in the Mood for …

#TopTenTuesday is a weekly book meme started by The Broke and the Bookish. The link-up for all TTT posts are on their fabulous blog, so check it out if you want to see more Top Tens!

This week’s topic is: Top Ten Books To Read If You’re in the Mood for [X]

I’ve decided to make my post about Books To Read If You’re in the Mood for Historical Fantasy! I’m a big fan of historical fantasy and alternate history, and I feel like it’s a genre that doesn’t get enough appreciation. So here are five historical fantasy books that I love!


 

1. Wolf by Wolf by Ryan Graudin

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An alternate history where the Nazis won WWII. A Jewish girl who has the supernatural ability to steal people’s faces. An epic motorcycle race. A plot to kill Hitler. THIS BOOK, MAN. THIS BOOK. It was one of the big surprises of 2015 for me. I got it out of the library knowing next to nothing about it, and it totally blew me away. It’s unlike anything I’ve ever read, and I highly recommend it.

2. Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld, illustrated by Keith Thompson

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Hey, speaking of alternate histories! Here’s another one. Leviathan is an alternate sci-fi/fantasy history that takes place during WWI, where everyone fights each other with war machines and giant genetically-mutated creatures. The world-building is incredibly cool, plus the characters are awesome and the illustrations are breath-taking. (Not enough YA/adult books have illustrations, if you ask me!)

3. The Diviners by Libba Bray

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This book/series takes place in the 20’s and involves psychics, demons, and all kinds of other spooky stuff! While the books are a little lengthy and have a ton of characters, I find them super compelling and original. Plus the cast of characters is really diverse, and they’re all complex and interesting.

Also, honorable mention to Libba Bray’s other trilogy Gemma Doyle, which is a Victorian-era fantasy and also amazing!

4. The Monstrumologist by Rick Yancey

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You’ve probably heard of Rick Yancey’s very popular 5th Wave series––but if you ask me, his earlier series The Monstrumologist is a far greater achievement. Unfortunately it did not sell very well, to the point where Simon & Schuster nearly canceled the last book in the series. But in my opinion, this is one of the most unique and compelling series out there. It’s like Frankenstein meets Sherlock Holmes, but of course with its own original twists. It’s very graphic and gory, which is not the kind of thing I’m typically into, but the interesting characters and moral complexity are what make it one of my all-time favorite books.

5. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

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Maybe I’m cheating a little with this one––the only fantasy aspect of this book is that it’s narrated by Death––but I figured I would squeeze it in because it’s one of my favorite books ever! And I’ve always thought it had a surreal aspect to it that makes it stand out from other historical fiction books for me.


Thanks for joining me for another Top Ten Tuesday! Remember to check out The Broke and the Bookish for future topics and to check out all the other TTT posts!

How about you guys?

  • Have you read any of the books I listed? What did you think of them?
  • Do you have any other historical fantasy books to recommend?
  • If you also wrote a TTT post, please link me to it and I will check it out!

#TopTenTuesday: Outside My Comfort Zone

#TopTenTuesday is a weekly book meme created by The Broke and the Bookish. You can check out all upcoming themes on their (awesome) blog!

This week’s theme is: books you read/enjoyed in the past year or so that were outside your comfort zone. Here are 5 books I’ve liked recently (or at least semi-recently) that were not in my usual genre(s).


1. Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic by Alison Bechdel

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This one is pretty fresh in my mind since I only read it last week! It’s both a graphic novel and a memoir––two genres that I haven’t delved into much. I loved this book. It’s honest, powerful, and very compelling. (I also saw the Broadway musical this weekend, which was amazing!)

2. The Penderwicks by Jeanne Birdsall

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At the end of 2015, I was scrambling to meet my yearly book goal. I decided to give some shorter, middle-grade books a try. My younger sister had recently enjoyed The Penderwicks, so I picked it up. And I enjoyed it immensely! It’s a cute story with touching themes about childhood and family, and it reminded me of a lot of classic books I liked when I was a kid.

3. Vengeance Road by Erin Bowman

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I must admit, what first drew me to this book was some intense cover lust. JUST LOOK AT THAT COVER ART. I saw it a few times at bookstores, and I finally got it out of the library. Luckily, the contents didn’t disappoint! Vengeance Road is a YA western––something I don’t think I’d ever tried before. But it was a fun and exciting story with a pretty badass main character. It’s kind of like a YA version of True Grit.

4. To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han

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I tend to have a bit of an aversion to contemporary romance––and from the cover/title of this book alone, I probably never would have picked it up. But I heard some really positive things about it from friends, so I decided to take a risk and buy a copy. And actually, I really liked it! It was a sweet story, and I thought the romance was well-developed and not exactly what I expected.

5. Seraphina by Rachel Hartman

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I’m not usually drawn to epic fantasy, but I’d heard good things about Seraphina––and also, DRAGONS. Enough said. I really enjoyed this book, and I loved Rachel Hartman’s descriptive writing style and original world-building.


 

How about you guys?

  • Have you read any of these books? If so, what did you think of them?
  • If you’ve also written a #TopTenTuesday post, feel free to post a link in the comments! 🙂

#TopTenTuesday: Songs I Wish Were Books

#TopTenTuesday is a weekly meme started by The Broke and Bookish. I’ve seen other blogs participating in this meme for a while now, and now I’ve finally decided to join in on the fun!

There is a new “Top Ten” prompt every week. This week’s prompt is: 10 Songs I Wish Were Books. I really love this prompt and I’m excited to share my list! Music is one of my greatest writing inspirations, and there are a lot of amazing songs that spark my imagination. Here are ten of those songs, and some of the most intriguing lyrics from them!


 

Foxes – “White Coats”

Take my hand and lead me out from here
Hunted down their footsteps drawing near
I knew you would come for me
I’m sorry you’re in so deep

And if the men in white coats are coming
I know you’ll still be there for me
To chase down the walls around us
I keep the memories inside my mind
To show me how to leave the darkness
You will take me home one day believe me

Halsey – Castle

I’m headed straight for the castle
They wanna make me their queen
And there’s an old man sitting on the throne
that’s saying that I probably shouldn’t be so mean
I’m headed straight for the castle
They’ve got the kingdom locked up
And there’s an old man sitting on the throne
that’s saying I should probably keep my pretty mouth shut

MS MR – Dark Doo Wop

If we’re gonna die, bury us alive
If they’re searching for us they’ll find us side by side
That’s my, that’s my man
This world is gonna burn, burn burn burn
As long as we’re going down,
Baby you should stick around
Baby you should stick around

Of Monsters and Men – Dirty Paws

Her dirty paws and furry coat,
She ran down the forest slopes.
The forest of talking trees,
They used to sing about the birds and the bees.
The bees had declared a war,
The sky wasn’t big enough for them all.
The birds, they got help from below,
From dirty paws and the creatures of snow.

:papercutz – Where Beasts Die

I’ll follow you to where the scent of a new beginning leads.
Across a land we once knew,
where the wild boldly grew.
(I’ll follow you, I’ll follow you)
Can you hear the lone wolf howling into the night? With pride
We’ve traveled over the seas, far beyond our insecurities.
Now we’re finally reaching the lilac tree.
With all your perfect imperfections,
when I walk beside you I’m a better me.
I’ll will follow you to where beasts die.
Into the wild, we go, the great unknown.

Florence + The Machine – Howl

Now there’s no holding back, I’m making to attack
My blood is singing with your voice, I want to pour it out
The saints can’t help me now, the ropes have been unbound
I hunt for you with bloody feet across the hallow’d ground

Like some child possessed, the beast howls in my veins
I want to find you, tear out all your tenderness

Passion Pit – Moth’s Wings

You’re just like your father
Buried deep under the water
You’re resting on your laurels
And stepping on my toes
Whose side are you on?
What side is this anyway?
Put down your sword and crown
Come lay with me on the ground

Woodkid – Run Boy Run

Run boy run! The sun will be guiding you
Run boy run! They’re dying to stop you
Run boy run! This race is a prophecy
Run boy run! Break out from society

Tomorrow is another day
And you won’t have to hide away
You’ll be a man, boy,
But for now it’s time to run, it’s time to run

Beautiful Small Machines – Bring Out Your Dead

They dyed their eyes
They sewed their legs
Took off their heads
Hung them on pegs
it all began
Without much fuss
Someone whispered,
“They’re not like us”

I just wanna be myself
But they say,
“Hey-o, Hey-o, jump in the gun”
They say, “Right, left, turn around, shoot ’em and run”
They say, “Hey-o, hey-o, fall into line”
They say, “Right, left, turn around, join or you die”

Arcade Fire – Keep The Car Running

Every night my dream’s the same
Same old city with a different name
They’re not coming to take me away
I don’t know why, but I know I can’t stay
There’s a weight that’s pressing down
Late at night you can hear the sound
Even the noise you make when you sleep
Can’t swim across a river so deep
They know my name because I told it to them
But they don’t know where, and they don’t know when
It’s coming
When it’s coming

Hmm, I seem to have a thing for creepy songs! 😉 But also, I think what appeals to me about all these songs is their narrative quality. There seems to be some kind of story behind each of them that I’m missing out on––and I want to know those stories!

Are there any songs you wish were books? (Also if you’re a fellow #TopTenTuesday participant, feel free to link me to your post!)