Wednesday, December 26, 2012

2012 Best of the Books survey

Last year I did some Best of 2011 that was really quick and easy and kind of random. But I loooove this idea from the lovely Perpetual Page-Turner. So here I am, linkin' it up! Enjoy!
1. Best Book You Read In 2012?
Best book I read... Oh my gosh don't do that to me. First question and I'm already blundering! Ok. So. There are a few. Delirium (a re-read) and Pandemonium. Divergent and Insurgent. And The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight. There's also Crossed and Reached.  There's also The Drowned Vault. And A Sudden, Fearful Death. For middle grade its's definitely Mark of Athena. But then I can't leave out Everneath. Inheritance. Article 5.  The Hunger Games (trilogy) and The Legend of Holly Claus.

Are you sensing a pattern? I can't choose. So. There you go. ;)
2. Book You Were Excited About & Thought You Were Going To Love More But Didn’t?
Hmmm.... The Rise of Nine by Pittacus Lore. Yah...I was so pissed when I finally put it down. The first 2 are some of my favorite books - and this was just BLECH. I'm still sad. Mourning a loss, you could say. Book 4 better make up for it!!!!
 3. Most surprising (in a good way!) book of 2012? 
The Assassin's Curse by Cassandra Rose Clarke... OH MY GOSH SO MUCH LOVE FOR THIS BOOK!!!!!! There are no words. I feel STUPID for not just knowing, based on the recommendations I got for it and the amazing premise, that it would be brilliant. But really, it was. It blew me OUT OF THE WATER. Also The Brides of Rollrock Island. That book shocked me with it's great beauty and literature prowess and terrifying story. Gah!! Much love!!
 4. Book you recommended to people most in 2012?
Oh man. The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight and also Code Name Verity.
 5. Best series you discovered in 2012?
By far the Everneath trilogy! So much love for that book - and already for the next 2 books! Can't even wait!! :)))
(After writing this I discovered that I read Divergent in 2012 as well, which means that it qualifies for this as well.  So.  It's a tie.)
 6. Favorite new authors you discovered in 2012?
Jennifer E. Smith, Brodi Ashton, and Caitlen Rubino-Bradway. And Julie Cross and Elizabeth Norris and Sarah J. Maas and Veronica Roth and Kristen Simmons. Dang. These ladies rock my world with their fantastic awesomeness.
7. Best book that was out of your comfort zone or was a new genre for you?
I feel like there were a few. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn - I would have never picked that up, but it ended up being an absolute favorite! Also Code Name Verity. Those two tie for best books out of my comfort zone.
8. Most thrilling, unputdownable book in 2012?
Oh gaw. Terrible question because there were quite a few of those this year! It has to be Ten, Such Wicked Intent, and The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight. Wow - crazy good reads!! :)
 9. Book You Read In 2012 That You Are Most Likely To Re-Read Next Year?
The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight. And Delirium/Pandemonium. And The Legend of Holly Claus (my yearly Christmas read). Also, The Hunger Games trilogy because the next movie comes out next winter!! :))))
10. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2012?

11. Most memorable character in 2012? 
Oh gosh. Probably Verity from Code Name Verity. And there's also Kelsey Hayes from Tiger's Destiny! Oh I looooove her!!! And male characters I think go to Four from Divergent/Insurgent and Chaol from Throne of Glass.  And for villains: definitely Phoenix from The Drowned Vault. Oh he scares me to pieces!!!!!
 12. Most beautifully written book read in 2012?
It's between The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight and Crossed/Reached and The Brides of Rollrock Island.
13. Book that had the greatest impact on you in 2012? 
The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight and Code Name Verity and Reached - all three equally and for three very different reasons!
 14. Book(s) you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2012 to finally read? 
Hahahaha love this one! There's always that one book, right? Well, it'd probably be The Hunger Games/Catching Fire/Mockingjay. Most assuredly. Wow those books. I can't even begin!

15. Favorite Passage/Quote From A Book You Read In 2012?

"It's like being in love, discovering your best friend."
- Code Name Verity

"I love you.  Remember.  They cannot take it."
"Love: It will kill you and save you, both."
"He who leaps for the sky may fall, it's true.  But he may also fly."
- Delirium

"Because the truth is that now that he's here, she can't imagine it any other way.  Now that he's here, she worries that crossing an entire ocean with someone between them might be something like torture."
"Even when she was old enough to read herself, they still tackled the classics together, moving from Anna Karenina to Pride and Prejudice to The Grapes of Wrath as if traveling across the globe itself, leaving holes in the bookshelves like missing teeth."
- The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight

"For some reason I imagine the scene taking place in a City Hall, under the dome, only instead of wearing bright dresses we are bearing bright pictures, holding colorful words, humming snatches of new melodies under our breaths, unafraid of being caught out, ready to be asked, What song is this you sing?"
"A little surge of bitterness goes through me like someone's shot it right into my veins with a syringe.  But I know how to get over the feeling: remember that it doesn't do any good.  I've been bitter before about losing her and it never gets me anywhere.  More importantly, that's not the kind of person I've spent my life trying to become."
- Reached

"The next morning I wrap my toes in cloth, stuff my feet into my shoes, and run again.  If you can...just a little bit farther...just a little bit'll see, you'll see, you'll see.  Alex is alive.
I'm not crazy.  I know he isn't, not really.  As soon as my runs are done and I'm hobbling back to the church basement, it hits me like a wall: the stupidity of it all, the pointlessness.  Alex is gone, and no amount of running or pushing or bleeding with bring him back.
I know it.  But here's the thing:  When I'm running, there's always this split second when the pain is ripping through me and I can hardly breathe and all I see is color and blur - and in that split second, right as the pain crests, and becomes too much, and there's a whiteness going through me, I see something to my left, a flicker of color (auburn hair, burning, a crown of leaves) - and I know then, too, that if I only turn my head he'll be there, laughing, watching me, holding out his arms.
I don't ever turn my head to look, of course.  But one day I will.  One day I will, and he'll be back, and everything will be okay.
And until then:  I run."
- Pandemonium

(Let it be known that I'm choking back tears writing all these quotes.  These books make me cry so much!!  They're so dear to my heart and are a testament to the power of literature!)

16. Shortest & Longest Book You Read In 2012? 

Inheritance by Christopher Paolini - at 860 pages it's definitely the longest!!  I can't believe I read it in one week!  It's because of the threat of library fines, that's the only way I managed.

Coraline by Neil Gaiman - at 162 pages it's the shortest!  It was crazy good, totally surprising, and took me like, an hour.  I loved it!
17. Book That Had A Scene In It That Had You Reeling And Dying To Talk To Somebody About It?
GASP!  I think it was the scene in Throne of Glass, toward the end, when Chaol and Celaena had that INSANE lovely moment together where he was all, "Get up!"  And I was like, "AAKLIHGWE99HY4389GNSADKFNOI2Y3RH8H!"  And then I died of happiness, but I couldn't talk to anyone about it.  And then my sister read it, and she DIDN'T EVEN REALIZE what part I was talking about.  So then I chatted with the author about it.  It calmed me down. ;)
18. Favorite Relationship From A Book You Read In 2012?
So many good ones this year!  Jackson and Holly (Tempest), for how down to earth they were.  Hadley and Oliver (The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight) for how they changed my perspective on love and loss and finding each other in the madness of life.  Cassia and Ky (Crossed/Reached) for all the sacrifice.  Ananna and Naji (The Assassin's Curse) for all the torture they put me through with their romantically suspenseful story.

But my absolute favorite this year, shockingly, has nothing to do with romance.  It's the friendship between Kittyhawk and Verity in Code Name Verity.  Hands down, it was brilliant and brutal and so lovely.
19. Favorite Book You Read in 2012 From An Author You Read Previously?
Crossed and Reached
Delirium and Pandemonium
Oh yes.  Those books, they all made me cry.  Which is usually code for:  BEST BOOK EVER.  (Hahaha!)
20. Best Book You Read That You Read Based SOLELY On A Recommendation From Somebody Else?
The Assassin's Curse by Cassandra Rose Clarke, because Small Review wrote this review.  And because I wasn't really interested and didn't think I'd like it much, and then BAM!  It ended up being a favorite. :)

And there you go, friends!  I hope my 2012 Best Of answers didn't bore you to pieces...if you're still reading this, you deserve a gold medal! ;)  I'm thinking, based on my answers, that The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight deserves a gold medal as well.  I mean, for having the longest title of all the books I read this year, and for being the one I recommend the most in this post, it's a trooper. ;)


Monday, December 17, 2012

Blog Tour ~ Review + Giveaway: Princess of the Silver Woods (#3) by Jessica Day George

Princess of the Silver Woods (#3) by Jessica Day George
Pages:  304
Release Date:  December 11th, 2012
Date Read:  2012, Oct. 11th - Nov. 9th
Received:  ARC via NetGalley
Rating:  3/5 stars
Recommended to:  11+

At sixteen, Petunia is the youngest of the twelve children in her royal family: all are girls, and all have had adventures.  Petunia is not expecting an adventure of her own, however, when she is attacked in the woods on the way to the Grand Duchess's estate.  She thinks she has things under control, but her captor, Oliver, turns out to be more than meets the eye.  When she discovers his plight, she decides to help him - and finds herself in a world where wrongs must be righted and old spells must be strengthened, before her whole world falls apart and she loses those she loves most.

I really wanted to love this book like the others - I really did.  I went into it hoping and praying.  I did enjoy it, don't get me wrong, but it was lacking in many ways.  Still ultimately adorable, but not the brilliant fairytale JDG has been known to give.

Petunia is one spunky girl.  For the most part I really enjoyed her, although I wish there had been more development for her.  Sometimes she felt like "just another sister", not an MC.  In any case, I found her to be charming and adorable and, eventually, a cute match for Oliver....

....who started out fantastic and swoon-worthy, and who turned into kind of a meh love interest and an okay hero.  He just didn't do enough.  And when he did stuff it was mostly impulsive and illogical.  However, I still enjoyed him, and I'm glad he was a part of the story.

Still, even to this day, Galen rocks my world.  He and Rose are magnificent, well-defined and utterly charming.  I just love them!  Especially Galen.  He is SUCH a man, from head to toe, and full of bravery, grand ideas, and lots of love.  Basically, he's my #1.

The villains in this story, to me, were incompetent.  As a personal rule, unless it is done VERY well, I HATE when dead and gone villains are brought back into the picture.  The King Understone and his brothers are back for this adventure; and while I enjoyed some aspects of this, most of it wasn't done right.  It felt like the same old, same old.

I wish the story had been based around a different antagonist.  Something new.  The King Understone was new the first time.  Princess of Glass had an entirely new scenario.  Silver Woods seemed like it had a new premise, but it was like Midnight Ball all over again.  For that, I was seriously bummed out.

However, I did like: the wolves (I wish there had been more), Grigori, The Grand Duchess...  I liked the escapes and the end scenes were marvelous!  (Mainly because of Galen... *swoon*)  I enjoyed the dynamic the invisibility cloak, the old crone, Walter, and the Bishop brought to the table.  Overall, it was a fun story with a little something for everyone.

A cute story!  Could have been much better, but worth a read all the same, especially if you're a die-hard JDG fan!

For the Parents -
Nothing!  Refreshingly clean children's book.  Recommended 11+

Now who's ready for a giveaway?! :D

The rules:
  • You must live in the U.S.
  • You must be 13 or older
  • You do not have to be a follower
  • The giveaway ends on December 24th

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, December 7, 2012

Friday Buys - The Everything's Extra 5% Off, Must Buy Whole Store! Edition

So....first, let's start with what I bought used.

Promise Me This by Cathy Gohlke - $2
It's in perfect condition!  Annnnd just the synopsis alone gave me butterflies!!  Ahhhh I can't wait to read it!!

Wake by Amanda Hocking - $3
Brand spanking new, guys.  I'm just cracking up.  Every time I go into this bookstore there's a brand new Amanda Hocking book, in order of publication, just waiting to be bought for really cheap.  I'm guessing Lullaby will be next?  And I'll be there to snatch it up! ;) 

Dark Lord of Derkholm by Diana Wynne Jones - $2
I can't wait to read her books!

A Darkness Forged in Fire by Chris Evans - $1
I NEVER buy adult fantasy....but here it is.  I bought this one, because IRON ELVES just sounds way too cool for me to pass up.

OUT OF REACH by Carrie Arcos - gifted
Ashley from Ashley Loves Books...she's just...wayyyy too cool for her own good.  I love her.  And she bought me this for Christmas, AT a Carrie Arcos signing, SO I GOT TO GET IT SIGNED!  I'm so happy.  Really and truly.  THANK YOU ASHLEY!!!!

Some swag...
You know you want it! (Come back another time for a chance to win some of this goodness!) ;)

('Cause there's bound to be more than one...)

Scent of Magic by Maria V. Snyder
When this amazingness came in the mail the other day, I about died.  I AM SO EXCITED!!!  It's beautiful, a finished copy, and brand new, and just soooo lovable!!  AND...

It came with BOOKMARKS.


Tempest by Julie Cross - $8
If you've read my review (read it here!), then you know how much I LOVE this book.  And Jackson.  And Holly.  And Julie.  So, you know, I'm happy.  $8 was a steal on Amazon and I'm just way too excited!! :DDDD


And NOW.
The Barnes and Noble purchases.  Because I'm a teacher, I get 20% off all B&N purchases.  Because it was December 1st, and B&N is cool like that, I received an EXTRA 5% off of everything I bought.  I bought 2 things and then went back in and bought 6 more.  3 ended up being Christmas presents, so here are the 5 for me, plus one I bought used.

The Canterbury Tales by Chaucer - $.50
The Hunchback of Notre Dame by Victor Hugo
And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie

Nicholas Nickleby by Charles Dickens (Because I'm addicted to Dickens...)
Notes from the Underground and other short stories by Fyodor Dostoevsky (Because I'm also addicted to Dostoevsky.)
Complete works of Edgar Allen Poe


So, there you go.

The moral of the story:  Don't tell me when there's a deal going on.  I will empty my wallet. ;)

What have YOU bought this week or last few weeks?  Link me up!! :D


Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Exiled (#1) by J. R. Wagner

Exiled (#1) by J. R. Wagner
Pages: 312
Release Date:  May 5th, 2012
Date Read:  2012, April 17th-30th
Received:  ARC via NetGalley
Rating:  2/5 stars
Recommended to:  12+

James, a boy who has trained to become one of the greatest magicians who ever lived, has been falsely accused of murder - murder of the man who he loved as his own father.  His sentence:  Exile to the Never.  Naked, powerless, and lost in a land where nothing is as it seems, James must find a way out - and the truth about the Black Castle that calls to him - and prove is innocence, before everything he worked for means nothing at all.

Exiled began brilliantly.  I'm talking breathtaking prose, exemplary characters, great dialogue, vivid world building...  I'd just read some really average and/or disappointing books and was dying for something exceptional.  Unfortunately, this book started going downhill about 5 chapters in.

James, James, James.  Who are you?  I kept hoping to find out, but his voice felt more and more impersonal with every new page, like the novelty of his character wore off for the author and therefore the reader suffered as well.  I had such high hopes for him, but was let down.  The people James meets in the village started out fascinating as well, but I soon lost interest in them.  They never grew or changed.  Especially Kilani.  I wanted to love her but she fell flat.
The most realistic character, who I actually really liked, was James' mother, Margaret.  She was strong and her actions and decisions progressed with the story.

Things started out brilliantly, like I said.  I was flying, happy, weightless, joyful - but that didn't last.  I dropped like a stone.  Or really, the wind on which I flew just stopped all together.  Sucks to be me.

Where was the excitement, the adventure, the mystery??  Well, I suppose it was there, or at least trying to be, but I didn't get it.  Too much description in the action scenes, and too many slow breaks between the action scenes.

And then there's the POV/time shift.  I'm sorry, but when I'm pleasure reading, I don't like being forced to remember dates and events in order, just so I can understand the flipping back and forth.  For example:
James - now
Margaret - 1894
James - now
James - 1889
James - now
Margaret - 1886

Yep.  It's that bad.  That's not exact, but it hopped around like crazy!  How can you expect me to enjoy that?  I would have rather read from just Margaret's perspective in chronological order - and then, in a 2nd book, about James.  Something like that.

Last thing - what the heck was that romance?!  Or, that totally creepy "16-year-old boy falls in love with a 26-year-old woman who may or may not be in love with but has a strange and possibly intimate relationship with the boy's tutor"?  Just too weird.  Sorry, don't force romance.  If there are no age-appropriate girls for your MC, don't worry - not every YA novel has to have a romance!

So strange.  Not the enjoyable kind either.  I'm just so bummed it didn't stay 5-star quality throughout.  i'm sure I'll read book 2.  Maybe I'll just wait for reviews first...

For the Parents -
Really nothing to report.  A minor curse or two, but nothing that stood out to me.  Recommended 12+.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I Wouldn't Mind Santa Bringing Me

This amazing meme is brought to you by The Broke and the Bookish. ;)

Ok, so I really like this week's theme...because, obviously, who doesn't want Santa to bring a bunch of books for Christmas?  I mean, I wouldn't mind AT ALL if these lovely titles showed up under my tree this Christmas. :)

(And because I'm a stickler, I would request both of these be hardcovers, because they're so beautiful and wonderful and I want to have them forever.)

Like my list?  Do we have similar lists?  Link me up in the comments!! :D
Happy reading!

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Bye-Bye Challenge

So guys.  Guess what?


Drum roll...........

I'm a super big loser.

(Did you guess it right??)

So yeah, basically, I'm a loser AND a quitter.  But at this point in time, I have no guilt.  None at all.  A bit of sadness that it didn't work out, and no hard feelings at all, but boyyy am I glad to be done with this.

I was really really excited to start this challenge at the beginning of the year.  The plan was to read 2 books a month toward the challenge and then I'd be passed my challenge marker.  As you've probably guessed already, that did not happen.  Review copies and fun reading got in the way, but I didn't even notice because the whole time I was reading for fun/review, I was stressing about the challenge.  Which made the year go by without me really noticing I'd read so many fun books just because I wanted to.  Everything felt like a challenge, which I'm almost certain is not what was intended by the amazing hosts of this challenge.

Basically, it's my personality.  I'm a closet stresser.  I stress and stress and stress and no one knows until I EXPLODE at the end.  So this is me...exploding, I suppose.  Today I just wanted to say, "I JUST CAN'T DO IT ANYMORE!!"  I just want to enjoy the last few weeks of the year, and read what I want, when I want, because I just want to.  I wouldn't have been able to finish the challenge anyways.  I need to read 10 more books and I've only been reading 5 books a month these last few months.

So this is me, bidding adieu to the challenge, and thanking the hosts for giving me the great opportunity to try something new and get at least 10 books I owned from before last year out of the way.  (Also an apology!  I'm so sorry, all you lovely hosts who work so hard!)

But I know - I won't be doing a challenge again.  At least not for a while.  It's just me - not the challenges.  I LOVE reading about them, seeing them all over the place and watching people's progress.  It's so fun!  Just not for me to do.

From now on, I will watch, read, and enjoy, because that's the way I roll.  Let it never be said I was a quitter twice.

The end.

The books I read:
Tunnels (3/5)
A Sudden, Fearful Death (5/5)
Coraline (5/5)
Mansfield Park (2/5)
The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane (4/5)
Lock and Key (4/5)
Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry (3/5)
Seeing Red (4/5)
Beauty (5/5)
Crossed (5/5)
Average:  4/5 stars

And since I've 99% for sure depressed you all with my sorry self, here's something to make you smile again.