Friday, December 31, 2010

FIVE Challenge: Best Reads of 2010

Happy New Year's Eve :)

This post is part of Persnickety Snark's FIVE Challenge for 2010.
**

I’ll be honest, sometimes when lists recommend like, 25 “best books of the year” I’m a bit quite overwhelmed, I mean, how am I supposed to choose? I’d like to know what’s the “best” or your favourite, not every decent book you’ve read this year. If anything, I’d love just a few solid recommendations for amazing books.

Much like the metaphor of “if your house was burning down what would you take” this list wasn’t too hard after I cut down the indecision. After the choice to choose more than five was taken away (by myself, hehe). Cut it down to black and white, and this will be what I come up with.

..So these are the big ones. The ones that affected me in such an indescribable way, the ones that made my heart flutter and race, the ones that reduced me to a blubbering ball of tears. The ones with such breathtaking writing it makes you want to shoot yourself (figuratively). The ones that made me think about life and love and hope and conflict. The best. And it's ranked, guys... wow, go me.


5. FALL FOR ANYTHING - Courtney Summers

-I'm still kind of riding the high of reading this novel so I had to include it. The novel was gut-wrenchingly beautiful, Courtney Summers is kind of like Reese Witherspoon in the movie Walk the Line. She totally gives the audience something new (a non-hard-assed character), something different, but still something effing fantastic and deserves total recognition for it.

My review.


4. MONSTERS OF MEN - Patrick Ness

-I love this series, but this book stands out because it's not just a book about war. It makes you think of all the sides involved, all the separate motivations that make sense but seem utterly bizarre. The choices are difficult, the result is unpredictable.. there are twists you won't see coming and sacrifices that will tear your heart out. Monsters of Men is one hell of a gutsy ride.

My review.


3. WHERE SHE WENT - Gayle Forman

-the only book that hasn't been released yet (April, 2011) but I'm placing it on my list because it, well, deserves a spot. I loved Mia's story in If I Stay, and I can say the same for Adam's story in Where She Went. I am in love with that boy, the writing, the story, the one whirlwind night in NYC... maybe not a bucketload of tears but still, such a stunning sequel.




1. THE SKY IS EVERYWHERE - Jandy Nelson

-LOL I'm sorry, but it is a TIE. I realized this book isn't the sole occupier (occupiee?) of #1 because I realized with some odd clarity that if I loved this book so much I would get off my behind and buy a copy of it the moment I returned it to the library. I didn't do that (shame on me). Of course, this doesn't mean I didn't love it. I did, I truly think it is extraordinary.

My review.


1. THE PIPER'S SON - Melina Marchetta

-I still pick this one off my shelf and reread parts because for the life of me, I can't let go of Tom Mackee and his aunt Georgie. I can't get enough of the bonds between family members, the brilliant friendships, the heartbreak and the tears, the god-send writing... Congratulations for being my favourite book of 2010!!

My review.


* throws confetti*


**
Well that's it!! I hope you liked the list, I do apologize for having 2 novels that haven't been released yet on it.. I just hope you will read them next year when you get the chance :)

Honourable Mentions:

All these I would recommend in a heartbeat but if asked: “Was it the best book you’ve read?” I would have to say… probably not. But they were still pretty damn good.

So before I conclude 2010, I just want to tell everyone how amazing this blogging year has been for me. Your support for my little blog means the world to me, and I wish all of you the very, very best for 2011.

Cheers,

Thursday, December 30, 2010

memorable Characters Of 2010

**I'm sorry. I seem to be unnaturally obsessed with LISTS. Is there such thing?... And there will be another list tomorrow. Sorry in advance? xD**

Like the title suggests, this post will be about stand-out characters in YA lit this year. These characters aren't on here because they are, as the term we seem to love to use, 'kick-ass heroines' etc, but mostly because they stood out. They caught my attention and held on to it.

These are the characters that are funny, tough, ridiculous, enigmatic... characters that are stuck in your head longer than you can remember their storylines. The characters that can make you want to tear you hair out, the characters that make you smile and cry, the characters that make you question life and right and wrong… They aren’t always the protagonists, they’re not the good guys everyone is cheering for. They’re three-dimensional, they can be manipulative and cunning, brave and loyal (or if it’s easier, members of ANY Hogwarts house).

Here they are, in no particular order...


1. MAYOR PRENTISS– Chaos Walking trilogy (by Patrick Ness)


I honestly can’t get a grip on this guy, in some moments I just want to scream at Todd and Viola to kill him, but at others he is leading the charge or saving the day. He makes sacrifices… or is it murder? What is the greater good?... He tortures and effs with people’s (not just characters, readers too!!) minds, basically he’s incredibly puzzling… I still don’t really know what to think. He totally kept me on my toes the entire series which is why he earned a spot on my list.


2. THOMAS MACKEE – The Piper’s Son (by Melina Marchetta)


There’s a quality about Tom that makes him unforgettable. I think it’s the way Marchetta managed to make him practically come to life… yeah, that must be it.


3. TINY COOPER – Will Grayson, Will Grayson (by John Green and David Levithan)



Honestly, I put him here because he made my laugh my ass off. He’s funny, outrageous and fabulous!! He just lights up the book and simply amazing.


4. ALICE – Living Dead Girl (by Elizabeth Scott)



She haunts me… I still remember the feelings I had when I read this emotional and heartbreaking novel. The prose revealed so much of her character, she’s so beyond broken it tears my heart out.
ps- I considered Lauren from Bloom by E.Scott, because I hated her so much. I opted not to.


5. KATNISS EVERDEEN – The Hunger Games trilogy (by Suzanne Collins)


WOOOO Katniss! Screw you haters, I love this girl and I totally admire her after all she’s been though in these novels. She’s amazing through the entire trilogy (aghh yes, even in Mockingjay!), she's strong, resilient and smart. She’s the symbol for a country’s revolution for god’s sake: she’s the Girl on Fire.


6. ADAM WILDE – If I Stay and Where She Went (by Gayle Forman)

After reading Where She Went... well I love him. So much. He’s full of raw-ness and honesty, he’s a walking emotional rollercoaster and I love him for it.



**
Okay, I wish I could have named more but I think I’ll stop there. I do have a ton of amazing Honourable Mentions though:


Let me know who I missed… there were just so many wonderful characters to read about this year!!

And tell me, who was the most memorable character for YOU in 2010???

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

memorable Moments of blogging 2010

So, this short post is about memorable moments I had during the year of blogging, mostly related to books, authors, or blogs. And I am tragically failing of thinking of ideas, so I went with just three stand-outs.


SPEAK LOUDLY

-now a website!
-original craptastic article that sparked it all
-LHA initial post

It was truly a phenomenom (in my eyes), so inspiring seeing the book blogging community make a stand against some ridiuclous guy trying to ban an amazing book (Speak) because of simply moronic reasons. I wrote my own piece about it, but I encourage you to read the many many other rebuttals other bloggers and authors alike have written. The way everybody came together was such an amazing.


LIBBA BRAY'S POST
(Click here to read)

This one spoke to me at a very personal level, it was about choices and futures... something that has been on my mind for a long time, considering I'm graduating from high school this year. Thank you Libba. And I would recommend all teens to read that post.
You know what you should be doing at seventeen, Fiona? Listening to music. Eating pizza before your metabolism goes to hell. Dancing. Spending a Friday night with your friends at the local playground having conversations about life, liberty, love, and Lady Gaga while sitting on a merry-go-round. Reading great books. Reading trashy books. Inventing personas. Trying on identities. Learning to drive. Going to concerts and games. Playing sports. Disdaining all of the above.

DISCOVERY

I think 2010 was a year of discovery, especially book-wise for me. I've discovered great books. Great blogs. Great bloggers, and even greater people. My little niche in the YA world has allowed me to not only learn so incredibly much, but also share it with some of the most amazing people. I have read books that I think I can consider life-changing, deciphered writing that is so beautiful it hurts. I have read and discovered books that made me think so much my brain started to leak out of my head. And I couldn't have done it without any of you. Thank you.

**
And just for fun, some honourable mentions: figuring out HTML (ish), holding contests, movies In My brain (I'll do it again next year I think!), Book Blogger Holiday Swap!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

BR: When the Stars Go Blue

by Caridad Ferrer

I was originally attempting to get into Ash by Malinda Lo, but I thought the writing (or probably just me) couldn’t get engaged. So I thought, maybe I’ll try another book, and if doesn’t work I’ll just switch tasks until I’m more in the reading mood. Little did I know the whirlwind that would ensue because from the very first pages I plunged into Soledad’s—passionate, emotional Soledad—world.

Summary (goodreads):

A dancer driven to succeed.

A musical prodigy attempting to escape his past.

The summer they share.

And the moment it all goes wrong.

Dance is Soledad Reyes’s life. About to graduate from Miami’s Biscayne High School for the Performing Arts, she plans on spending her last summer at home teaching in a dance studio, saving money, and eventually auditioning for dance companies. That is, until fate intervenes in the form of fellow student Jonathan Crandall who has what sounds like an outrageous proposition: Forget teaching. Why not spend the summer performing in the intense environment of the competitive drum and bugle corps? The corps is going to be performing Carmen, and the opportunity to portray the character of the sultry gypsy proves too tempting for Soledad to pass up, as well as the opportunity to spend more time with Jonathan, who intrigues her in a way no boy ever has before.

But in an uncanny echo of the story they perform every evening, an unexpected competitor for Soledad's affections appears: Taz, a member of an all-star Spanish soccer team. One explosive encounter later Soledad finds not only her relationship with Jonathan threatened, but her entire future as a professional dancer.

**
My Expectations: this was an unsolicited review copy so I don't really know what to expect, except I loved the cover.

Delivery: Whoa, blew my expectations out of the water! It was absolutely wonderful :)

Put-down-ability: 3.5/10
**

My Thoughts

When the Stars Go Blue swept me off my feet: it was a beautiful and raw novel with such a strong main character and a well-developed plot. Soledad is a dancer; she’s not a tiny anorexic ballerina, she’s a ball of energy and power, and the author successfully conveyed her character and ambitious personality so that I felt complete in tuned with her. Within the first few chapters I completely fell in love with her strength and realism.

Soledad’s voice is clear and vibrant, entirely engaging and filled with personality. I don’t know why, but I just loved one of the lines when she was calling one of the boys “that little shit” because it just felt so her, you know? I was miffed with the Spanish… most was unfamiliar for this non-speaker (think Perfect Chemistry times two). Secondary characters were by no means shoddy; they too were well-formed and lovable. I also want to touch on the fact that I admired how all the POC are so much more than their ethnicity.

While Ferrer managed to include so much into a novel— familial issues, first love, music, dance, the corps.. she makes sure that the story isn’t overwhelmed, it was Soledad’s journey with these little pieces transforming her summer and person. At first I really liked her romance with Jonathan (so cute!), though it moved a bit too fast for my tastes and I was afraid it would become clichéd. No, I wasn’t afraid, I was sure it would have a clichéd conclusion the more I read. The inclusion of the intriguingly hot soccer boy (who is awesome) just added to my adamant belief it was going to be “one of those stories”-- predictable, a bit emotional, but overall feel-good and overdone.

So imagine my surprise when things unravelled.

Man, the climax and everything that followed was such an impressive shocker for me, but this is important: it is not unbelievable. Ferrer managed to make the twist probable and even logical, the way she had developed the characters (splendidly) allowed me to think, “you know, that is actually pretty plausible… all things considered, I shouldn’t be surprised”.

So obviously I loved the intricacies of the plot. But another thing I loved was the whole vibe of the novel, the passion in the writing, the allusion to the opera Carmen (which I’m unfamiliar with), the dancing… things were intense, sexy and fiery, but there were also times of reflection and insecurity. Caridad Ferrer really managed to create a story with soul.

Rating in HP Terms: Exceeds Expectations!
Recommended for: YA Contemporary fans, people familiar with Carmen/dance/music will probably adore this too :p
Acknowledgments: Pretty good, 3.5/5

9/10 – because I was truly surprised and delighted by how good this book was. It has everything I wanted: a dynamic romance that doesn’t dominate, a strong protagonist, intriguing characters, cute ‘masochistic’ boys (love you Taz!), great and engaging voice, and a fantastic plot that moved like a dream. It dealt with issues with finesse, and oh, it has an ending that will amaze you. i wish I could ramble on forever, I can’t recommend this enough!!







source: publisher
author website /
twitter
inspiration for the title :)

Monday, December 27, 2010

BR: Fall for Anything

by Courtney Summers

So... my initial thought was "Man, I am such a grief junkie". It's like I'm a dementor or something; I just love these types of novels (TSIE, Hold Still... etc) I think I have issues?... :s

Summary (goodreads):

When Eddie Reeves’s father commits suicide her life is consumed by the nagging question of why? Why when he was a legendary photographer and a brilliant teacher? Why when he seemed to find inspiration in everything he saw? And, most important, why when he had a daughter who loved him more than anyone else in the world? When she meets Culler Evans, a former student of her father’s and a photographer himself, an instant and dangerous attraction begins. Culler seems to know more about her father than she does and could possibly hold the key to the mystery surrounding his death. But Eddie’s vulnerability has weakened her and Culler Evans is getting too close. Her need for the truth keeps her hanging on...but are some questions better left unanswered?

**
My Expectations: I expected more or less the same awesomesauce I have come to associate with the name Courtney Summers.

Delivery: Wow... this one left me breathless, it was excellent.

Put-down-ability: 1.5/10, crazy addictive ride!
**

My Thoughts

Where do I start? Fall for Anything is a gutting book, a searing read, a tremendous accomplishment. I’ve come to expecting nothing but the best from Summers and she has once again delivered a piece that made my skin crawl and my eyes water almost simultaneously.

While some novels I love for the breathtaking writing, I do believe Summers’ strongest suit is (despite phenomenal prose) her characterization. Eddie became a real person, a living, breathing and grieving person who was lost and searching after the shattering suicide of her father. Milo is more than the best friend, and Culler is more than the mysterious and intriguing stranger. Everyone is so much more, and I feel the author manages to deliver that extra oomph that many authors only aim for.

Motivations is a strong recurring theme in this novel, and it is through the characterization that nothing ended up feeling contrived. The feelings and actions of each individual never takes a back seat to the plot, no, things are complicated and twisted. People are wrongly motivated by the right intentions.

As I mentioned, I love the writing in Fall for Anything. Taking a turn from the mean, bitchy protagonists, Eddie Reeves is a broken, fragile teenage girl that is fully exposed through beautiful writing. The prose is elegant but also striking, yet it doesn’t fail to include some hilariously dry humour. Summers’ writing doesn’t ever falter with each book she puts out, I am continually impressed.

Now to the plot: well, it’s hard to describe it with words other than amazing. The mystery aspect blended well with Eddie’s need to believe that there was something more to her father’s death, her desperation to find out why drives the truth behind the mystery. When the twist is revealed, it truly is a hit to the gut because my thought process was along the lines of, “Courtney wouldn’t, I mean it could happen but she wouldn’t… no… OMFG SHE DID.” The author is fearless with her characters, delicately playing with their raw emotions… like damn.

Lastly, I loved the inclusion of photography. If anything, it makes the novel just sparkle. :-)

Rating in HP Terms: Outstanding.
Recommended for: All (probably older) YA readers, especially fans of contemporary and want to be wow-ed. Which should be you :p
Acknowledgements: Very nice, 4/5

9.1/10 – because it is an exceptional contemporary novel that I utterly love. It’s one of those novels that will be talked about for ages as Summers continues to blaze her path in Young Adult literature. Emotions are spinning wildy, prose is impeccable, the plot is utterly believable and characterization is perfection. Everything I could want from a novel with such serious themes is packaged up into this 230 page piece of art.






source: publisher
author website / twitter

Sunday, December 26, 2010

FIVE Challenge: Hopes for YA in 2011

This post is part of Persnickety Snark's FIVE Challenge for 2010
**

This one wasn’t actually as hard to think of as I thought it would be... which I'm glad about. Just some nitpicks I have about YA I guess...


Stand-alone novels

Series these days are the ‘big thing’ and it seems that every hyped up book is the first in a trilogy these days (Paranormalcy, Nightshade, Matched, Delirium…etc.) I want some knock-out stand-alones that keep you hooked and desperate for more, yet with a fitting conclusion that seals up a fantastic book. It shouldn't take three books to develop three-dimensional characters and a solid plot.


Originality
  • No more love triangles of doom.
  • No stereotypical gay best friends.
  • No beautiful best friends.
  • Less predictability.
  • Throw out those stock characters.
  • No lame, cheesy titles.
  • Creepy and stalkery does not equal hot.
  • No more super-sweet, super lovable basically-doesn't-have-a-spine love interest.
  • Three-dimensional villains!

Gritty books

I want to read those novels that leaves me reeling, the novels that aren’t afraid to push the edges of acceptable. The novels that dig deep and procure emotion and grit and fire. Thos novels that you can just *tell* the author poured their hearts and soul into it, the ones that are deemed extreme, that are challenged for their bravery.. those books. However, "gritty" does not necessarily have to mean "issues".


Refreshing Romance

Oh man, this one is HUGE. I mean 90% of YA has some aspect of romance, and it does get tiring to read the same thing over and over again. Gimme something new to gush over.

I’ll have a dose of realism with a side of swoon please.


People loving The Piper’s Son

Yup, this one is making the list because I think Melina Marchetta deserves so much more recognition than she’s getting in North America (Well.. I think she’s a big deal xD) And this book is amazing and you should definitely read it (and Saving Francesca, the first book, which rocked my socks off). It's released in March.


**
What are YOUR hopes for YA in 2011? Agree or disagree with mine?

Saturday, December 25, 2010

FIVE Challenge: Most Anticipated Books for 2011

MERRY CHRISTMAS EVERYBODY!! xx

This post is part of Persnickety Snark's FIVE Challenge of 2010
**

If you pay attention to my Waiting on Wednesdays, almost all of these have been featured (minus the ones without covers). That's becau
se I am soooo psyched to read them, I am giddy with excitement. I am nervous. I am drooling with anticipation.


WHAT HAPPENED TO GOODBYE - Sarah Dessen
Summary:

What Happened to Goodbye is about a high school senior who, after her parents’ divorce, has taken up the practice of assuming a new identity in each of the four towns she’s lived in.

I think Sarah Dessen is the queen of Young Adult 'feel-good' novels, I’ve read and loved all her books (and her blog) and I’m sure this one won’t let me down. I do hope it's not too formulaic, but to be quite honest, as long as it isn't a carbon copy I think I'll adore it all the same.

released: May 10, 2011 Viking Juvenile


THE DEMON'S SURRENDER - Sarah Rees Brennan

I am SO READY for a healthy dose of the Ryves brothers. Plus I thought Sin narrating would be weird but after reading the teaser chapter I can gladly say I am nothing but excited for this final installment of an awesome series. Bring on the demons! And the magic! My only worry is that I won't see enough of Jamie xD

Here are some fun links: Nick and Jamie Go to the Movies pt 1 / pt 2, The Demon's Surrender Chapter 1 , cookie ft. Jamie

released: May 2011 Margaret K. McElderry


LIKE MANDARIN - Kiisten Hubbard
Summary:

It's hard finding beauty in the badlands of Washokey, Wyoming, but 14-year-old Grace Carpenter knows it's not her mother's pageant obsessions, or the cowboy dances adored by her small-town classmates. True beauty is wild-girl Mandarin Ramey: 17, shameless and utterly carefree. Grace would give anything to be like Mandarin.

When they're united for a project, they form an unlikely, explosive friendship, packed with nights spent skinny-dipping in the canal, liberating the town's animal-head trophies, and searching for someplace magic. Grace plays along when Mandarin suggests they run away together. Blame it on the crazy-making wildwinds plaguing their badlands town.

Because all too soon, Grace discovers Mandarin's unique beauty hides a girl who's troubled, broken, and even dangerous. And no matter how hard Grace fights to keep the magic, no friendship can withstand betrayal.
~I am drawn to this book like Violet from The Body Finder is drawn to dead bodies. Hey, it's a perfect analogy... I don’t know what it is about it but since it’s cover reveal I’ve just wanted to read it desperately. I think it’s gonna be achingly beautiful… well I hope it is.

released: March 8, 2011 Delacorte/Random House


BITTERBLUE - Kristin Cashore
(no cover of description yet)

~No one (bar maybe Tamora Pierce and Melina Marchetta) tackles fantasy like Ms. Cashore. That woman is so crazily good, Graceling and Fire are both favourites of mine… I can’t wait!! I wish they will reveal the cover soon.. will it be blue? There isn't a summary, but it takes place six years after Graceling! I'm crossing my fingers that it will be released in 2011 :)


tentatively released: 2011 Penguin/Dial


THE IRON KNIGHT - Julie Kagawa

(no cover yet)
Summary:

Ash's story.
I NEED TO KNOW WHAT HAPPENS TO ASH. Yeah. Seriously.
And this is the fourth book in the series, the third, The Iron Queen (my review), also comes out in 2011. And it rocks.


released: 2011 Harlequin Teen


WHERE SHE WENT - Gayle Forman

Summary:

It's been three years since the devastating accident . . . three years since Mia walked out of Adam's life forever.

Now living on opposite coasts, Mia is Juilliard's rising star and Adam is LA tabloid fodder, thanks to his new rock star status and celebrity girlfriend. When Adam gets stuck in New York by himself, chance brings the couple together again, for one last night. As they explore the city that has become Mia's home, Adam and Mia revisit the past and open their hearts to the future and each other.

Told from Adam's point of view in the spare, lyrical prose that defined If I Stay, Where She Went explores the devastation of grief, the promise of new hope, and the flame of rekindled romance.
I’ve read this but this choice is for your benefit: YOU SHOULD LOOK FORWARD TO THIS because it is AMAZING. Definitely got the reaction from me I think the author intended because I was crying and laughing all over the place. A very very worthy sequel.... And here is a little surprise: I'll be giving away my ARC in January! Stay tuned! ;)

released: April 5, 2011 | Dutton Juvenile

**

So yeah. Please, Santa.


Some honourable mentions: The Death Cure (Maze Runner #3) by James Dashner, Desires of the Dead by Kimberly Derting, Uncommon Criminals by Ally Carter, Red Glove by Holly Black, Wolfsbane by Andrea Cremer and The Bridge of Clay by Markus Zusak (whose released date got pushed back.. waaah).

And believe me, I do notice that there's only one debut novel there :( I should probably be ashamed of myself :(







PS- there need to be a universal way to write Kristin/Kirsten/Kiersten/Kristen. Like seriously.

Friday, December 24, 2010

FIVE Challenge: Re-reads

MERRY X-MAS EVE!!! =D

This post is part of Persnickety Snark's FIVE Challenge of 2010
**

For this category, I included books that I’ve read and were published before 2010 that I just found myself rereading this year. Some are pretty obvious.. if you know me xD

I am including a quote from each book to demonstrate their awesome. You're welcome. :)

HARRY POTTER - JK Rowling


It’s basically the cornerstone in the rereading scene. Can’t ever go wrong with HP. Ever. If you haven't read (or at least tried) to read this... *shuns*. Anyone know which book this quote was from? :)
It was, he thought, the difference between being dragged into the arena to face a battle to the death and walking into the arena with your head held high. Some people, perhaps, would say that there was little to choose between the two ways, but Dumbledore knew - and so do I, thought Harry, with a rush of fierce pride, and so did my parents - that there was all the difference in the world.

JELLICOE ROAD - Melina Marchetta

This one I reread so many times this year, and each time is still brilliant. Anyways, I can’t express how much I adore this novel. It’s a masterpiece, it’s perfection, it’s heartbreaking and beautiful all mashed into one. Gah, if you haven’t read this yet, do it NOW!!! MM’s writing is exquisite.
Oh, and this quote makes me laugh. I guess even the most drool-worthy fictional characters use these jokes. And I love Taylor's commentary throughout xD
'Chaz,' Jonah Griggs says snidely. 'Your mum wants you to smile.'

'And yours wants you to eat shit and die.'

I'm standing between these two intellectuals while the local photographer snaps away, asking us to say words like 'holidays' and 'pornography'.

'Yours thinks you should loosen up,' Griggs continues to bait.

'Really?'

'Yeah. She told me last night.'

The first strains of the national anthem screech across the stage, causing everyone to wince.

'What did you say?' Santangelo asks quietly.

'Your mum. Nice lady. Really nice.'

THE PIPER'S SON - Melina Marchetta

Much like Jellicoe Road, this one's a treasure. I just couldn’t get enough of Tom Mackee, that psycho Tara Finke, Frankie and Will, Georgie and Dominic… I fell in love over and over with this book. And this book isn't just about Tom, it's about his family as well.. which is why I chose this beautiful quote. Released March 2011.
Except now he doesn't know what kind of family they are. What word is it that can define them? What would they call his family in the textbooks? Broken? He comes from a broken home. The Mackees can't be put back together again. There are too many pieces of them missing.
My review.


IF I STAY - Gayle Forman

In the anticipation of learning that Gayle Forman was coming out with sequel to this breathtaking novel, I actually went out and bought myself a copy so I could reread it. I remember when I first read it (library copy) I was impressed but not blown away. I’m glad to say that this is the type of novel that with each reading, my like-o-meter rises. This quote almost made me cry, Kim is Mia's best friend, and the 'him' refers to Adam.
The funny thing was, I never really bought into Kim's notion that they were somehow bound together through me-- until just now when I saw her half carrying him down the hospital corridor.

THE DEMON'S COVENANT - Sarah Rees Brennan

Nick and Jamie and Alan and Mae. Loooove them, though I think Sin needs a place in that little club now. I remember loving the ending and constantly going back. When Nick was... fine, no spoilers! :p And I always knew this would be a Jamie quote. I love his fast-talking face. And you should definitley read this series :)
'Demons don't touch anyone without a reason,' Nick went on, his eyes shut again. 'You an imagine what kind of reasons we usually have. I don't like-- not anyone-- I didn't mean anything by it.'

'Oh,' said Jamie. 'Oh, that's okay! That's fine. I understand. I am filled to the brim with understanding and, and acceptance! I'm very Zen like that.'

Nick snorted.

'Thank you,' Jamie said, fast, as if he wanted to get it out before any more misunderstandings appeared in their path. 'You didn't have to do that. If you guys had left me, I know you would have come back later. I mean, you could have done that. I was expecting it. You didn't have to, um, get stabbed for me. So thanks.'

'Stop talking like a moron,' Nick drawled. 'If you can.'

'Thanks,' Jamie repeated in a much less sincere tone.
My review.

**
So, there you go! Hope you liked the quote, and maybe it gave you a bit of incentive to read the book :)

Also, just wanted to give some Honourable Mentions: Fire by Kristin Cashore, Ballads of Suburbia by Stephanie Kuehnert, Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins, The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson, and Along for the Ride by Sarah Dessen.

What book could you not stop rereading this year?

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Giveaway hop Winner!!

First, thank you ALL for entering my Midwinter's Eve Giveaway Hop, it was lots of fun and I got tons of entries! The winner chosen by Random.org is....

Irene!!!

Congrats! You've won a $10 gift card or book under $10 from The Book Depository!

I have emailed you, please respond within 48 hours :)

Happy Holidays to everyone!

xoxo

FIVE Challenge: Series

This post is part of Persnickety Snark's FIVE Challenge for 2010.
**

Oh Adele, why must you torture me so? There are sooo many YA series these days it was hard to narrow it down to 5. These series all have at least one book released in 2010, or else Harry Potter would definitely be on it :p
The titles in each series are listed as bullet points in chronological order :)

THE HUNGER GAMES - Suzanne Collins
~trilogy; complete

  • The Hunger Games
  • Catching Fire
  • Mockingjay
Well... duh. It is LEGEN… wait for it… DARY. (anybody? Anybody??) But in all seriousness, this series is one of the very best YA series out there, definitely my favourite dystopian one. It’s intense, thrilling, exciting, fearless, and epic. Yeah.
PS- I didn’t review this series because I don’t think my words would do it justice. That’s how good it is.


CHAOS WALKING - Patrick Ness
~trilogy; complete

  • The Knife of Never Letting Go
  • The Ask and the Answer
  • Monsters of Men
If you were to listen to any of my recommendations, I suggest you take this one. The writing is awkward and smooth, jarring and fitting and so fricken great. Ness is a genius that LOVES TO MESS WITH OUR HEADS. Honestly, he is relentless and keeps you on your toes, some of the twists in the series…. Oh man. You should definitely pick up these books ASAP.

My reviews: book one, book three.


VAMPIRE ACADEMY - Richelle Mead
~six books; complete

  • Vampire Academy
  • Frostbite
  • Shadow Kiss
  • Blood Promise
  • Spirit Bound
  • Last Sacrifice
Well, the series has ended! Man, I am so glad I decided to try this series, one of the best paranormal novels, and perhaps the only novels where I can appreciate the inclusion of vampires. I prefer to stay far far away. And I would totes recommend this series, it rocked my socks off and Rose is kick-ass!

My reviews, book: one, two, three, five, six (yeah, poor book four)


THE DEMON'S LEXICON - Sarah Rees Brennan
~trilogy; books 1 and 2 released

  • The Demon's Lexicon
  • The Demon's Covenant
  • The Demon's Surrender (May 2011)
Alan and Nick = hands down best brothers in YA literature.
Jamie= most adorably awkward, little brother and magician.
Mae= great character that kind of bonds everyone together.
...Mix everything up and add some healthy doses of swords and magic, you’ve got yourself a fantabulous series.

My review: book two.


THE IRON FEY - Julie Kagawa
~dunno how many books; books 1 and 2 released

  • The Iron King
  • The Iron Daughter
  • The Iron Queen (Feb 2011)
  • The Iron Knight (2011)
I’m kind of cheating because I’m basing a lot of this on the third book that hasn’t been released yet, The Iron Queen. Here’s the deal: Books one and two were good, not brilliant but enjoyable enough for me to know what happened next. Then BAM, The Iron Queen throws me off my feet and I couldn’t help but fall in LOVE with the series and the characters. Don’t like vampires? Try faeries (well, Kagawa!Faeries anyways)

My reviews: book one, book two, book three.

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Whew! That was a long post! Well, long to write :) Anyways, what are your thoughts?? What are your favourite series of 2010?

I still haven't read some of those big debut ones from this year like Paranormalcy and Matched... I should get on that. Oh, and I almost forgot honourable mentions: Darkest Powers trilogy by Kelley Armstrong, The Maze Runner series by James Dashner and Percy Jackson by Rick Riordan (not sure if this counts, but oh well).

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

FIVE Challenge: Covers

This post is part of Persnickey Snark's FIVE Challenge for 2010.
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There were countless breathtaking covers this year, these publishers are seriously stepping it up! Every cover inspires envy, but there were some total stand-outs this year that I stopped and stared and went “woah”. I do feel a bit bad that some of these novels I haven’t read yet… Also, all these novels are published in 2010.


FALL FOR ANYTHING - Courtney Summers


~Ohh, is this something or what?! Initially it catches your eye because of the girl’s bowed head and the yellow tinge (I don’t think there’s that many yellow covers) but not only is the design and photography stunning, it also manages to convey a mood and emotion, something that is rare for covers. It makes you want to read the book to find out what the deal is.


THE SKY IS EVERYWHER
E - Jandy Nelson


~I love this one even more after reading the book, I think that tiny hole in the asymmetrical heart is so metaphorically beautiful and the whole cover is made of pretty things.

My review.


TAKE ME THERE - Carolee Dean

~This is probably the only novel I bought this year based almost completely on the cover and a tad on the summary (yeah go ahead, judge me). There’s no subtlety, which I love, it’s just boy and girl and intrigue. I will one day write a review for it..


TORMENT - Lauren Kate


~Oh man, striking and haunting. Love the dress. This series (book one: Fallen) I haven't read yet, but I can't deny that their covers are just effin' gorgeous.


FINNIKIN OF THE ROCK - Melina Marchetta


~I adore this cover because it embodies fantasy elements while making it contemporary and appealing. Everything meshes well and it’s a looker. No more of those horses/knights/random magic stuff, this is how fantasy covers should look. Gorgeous. Bonus points for the author's name xD

My review.

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I couldn't include all my favourite covers, but here are some honourable mentions: Perchance to Dream by Lisa Mantchev, Linger by Maggie Stiefvater, The Piper's Son by Melina Marchetta (Aussie version), Stolen by Lucy Christopher, The Iron King by Julie Kagawa...

What are some of your favourite covers this year??

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

FIVE Challenge: Debuts

This is part of Persnickety Snark's FIVE Challenge for 2010.
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I didn’t participate in the Debut Author Challenge this year (I’m not doing it next year either) for various reasons (monetary, for the most part haha) but I did get a chance to read a few that I enjoyed and have definitely put the author on my radar. I’m not ranking this particular list because I do feel some of the books’ ratings no longer ‘count’ for my feelings toward them. The summaries provided are from Goodreads. In no particular order...


THE SKY IS EVERYWHERE - Jandy Nelson

Summary:

17-year-old Lennie Walker, bookworm and band geek, plays second clarinet and spends most of her time tucked safely in the shadow of her fiery older sister, Bailey. But when Bailey dies abruptly, Lennie is catapulated to center stage of her own life - and despite her nonexistent history with boys, suddenly finds herself struggling to balance two. Toby was Bailey's boyfriend; his grief mirrors Lennie's own. Joe is the new boy in town, a transplant from Paris whose nearly magical grin is matched only by his muscal talent. For Lennie, they're the sun and the moon; one takes her out of her sorrow, the other comforts her in it. But just like their celestial counterparts, they can't collide without the whole wide world exploding.
My thoughts: The one that is going to be on many many lists… perhaps my favourite read this year it is incomprehensible that this is Jandy’s debut novel. Her writing is absolutely exquisite and she tells the story with such passion and emotion. Beautiful. A must-read.

My review.


THE BODY FINDER - Kimberly Derting

Summary:

A serial killer on the loose. A girl with a morbid ability. And the boy who would never let anything happen to her.

Violet Ambrose can find the dead. Or at least, those who have been murdered. She can sense the echoes they leave behind... and the imprints they leave on their killers. As if that weren't enough to deal with during junior year, she also has a sudden, inexplicable, and consuming crush on her best friend since childhood, Jay Heaton.

Now a serial killer has begun terrorizing Violet's small town... and she realizes she might be the only person who can stop him.
My thoughts: I didn’t think this book was spectacular when I read it, but I have recently reread it and I definitely really really enjoyed it. Plus, I seriously can’t wait for Desires of the Dead! Jay and Violet definitely grew on me...a suspenseful thriller romance!

My review.


PLAIN KATE - Erin Bow

Summary:

Plain Kate lives in a world of superstitions and curses, where a song can heal a wound and a shadow can work deep magic. As the wood-carver's daughter, Kate held a carving knife before a spoon, and her wooden talismans are so fine that some even call her “witch-blade”: a dangerous nickname in a country where witches are hunted and burned in the square.

For Kate and her village have fallen on hard times. Kate’s father has died, leaving her alone in the world. And a mysterious fog now covers the countryside, ruining crops and spreading fear of hunger and sickness. The townspeople are looking for someone to blame, and their eyes have fallen on Kate.

Enter Linay, a stranger with a proposition: In exchange for her shadow, he’ll give Kate the means to escape the angry town, and what’s more, he’ll grant her heart’s wish. It’s a chance for her to start over, to find a home, a family, a place to belong. But Kate soon realizes she can't live shadowless forever -- and that Linay's designs are darker than she ever dreamed.
My thoughts: the only non-contemporary (ish) novel on this list... feel flattered :p Plain Kate was such lovely fantasy novel with beautiful elements and great characters. So glad I got the chance to read this one, Ms. Bow is an author to look out for.

My review.



The DUFF - Kody Keplinger

Summary:

Seventeen-year-old Bianca Piper is cynical and loyal, and she doesn't think she's the prettiest of her friends by a long shot. She's also way too smart to fall for the charms of man-slut and slimy school hottie Wesley Rush. In fact, Bianca hates him. And when he nicknames her "Duffy," she throws her Coke in his face.

But things aren't so great at home right now. Desperate for a distraction, Bianca ends up kissing Wesley. And likes it. Eager for escape, she throws herself into a closeted enemies-with-benefits relationship with Wesley.

Until it all goes horribly awry. It turns out that Wesley isn't such a bad listener, and his life is pretty screwed up, too. Suddenly Bianca realizes with absolute horror that she's falling for the guy she thought she hated more than anyone.
My thoughts: I’m including this on my list because I thought it was one of the most addicting reads this year. While overall a sizzling read, what I’ll remember most is probably my horribly failed attempts to put it down and start homework.

My review.


BEFORE I FALL - Lauren Oliver

Summary:

What if you had only one day to live? What would you do? Who would you kiss? And how far would you go to save your own life?


Samantha Kingston has it all—looks, popularity, the perfect boyfriend. Friday, February 12th should be just another day in her charmed life. Instead, it’s her last. The catch: Samantha still wakes up the next morning. In fact, she re-lives the last day of her life seven times, until she realizes that by making even the slightest changes, she may hold more power than she had ever imagined.
My thoughts: I didn’t necessarily like Sam or the plot in general, but this one makes the list because Lauren Oliver’s writing is amazing. She is a total genius and I adored the prose in this novel (and in Delirium). She makes these gorgeous metaphors and similes flow so effortlessly, it’s brilliant.

My review.

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And in these lists, I will also include some Honourable mentions (ooh, so close!): The Iron King by Julie Kagawa... ohkay, I think it's obvious here that I definitely didn't read many debuts :p

Hope you liked this list, what are your favourite 2010 debuts?

And please let me know if any of these aren't debuts... I originally had Heist Society on this list! *facepalm*