December 31, 2012

2012 Challenge Results & Reading Recap

Challenge Results

This year I took part in the Debut Author Challenge and the New Adult Challenge. Here are the results for both of those --

  1. Cinder by Marissa Meyer
  2. First Date by Krista McGee
  3. Everneath by Brodi Ashton
  4. Destiny's Fire by Trisha Wolfe
  5. Article 5 by Kristen Simmons
  6. Freshman Year & Other Unnatural Disasters by Meredith Zeitlin
  7. Embrace by Jessica Shirvington
  8. Pilgrims Don't Wear Pink by Stephanie Kate Strohm
  9. Born Wicked by Jessica Spotswood
  10. Life on the Edge by Jennifer Comeaux
  11. Of Poseidon by Anna Banks
  12. Monument 14 by Emmy Laybourne
  13. The Last Princess by Galaxy Craze
  14. Secret Letters by Leah Scheier
  15. Pushing The Limits by Katie McGarry
  16. A World Away by Nancy Grossman
  17. Auracle by Gina Rosati
  18. Glitch by Heather Anastasiu
  19. Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maac
  20. Defiance by C.J. Redwine
  21. My Super Sweet Sixteenth Century by Rachel Harris
  22. Poison Princess by Kresley Cole
  23. The Assassin's Curse by Cassandra Rose Clarke
  24. What Happens Next by Colleen Clayton
  25. Time Between Us by Tamara Ireland Stone
  26. Meant To Be by Lauren Morrill
  27. The Sea of Tranquility by Katja Millay
  28. Impossible by Komal Lewis
  29. The Friday Society by Adrienne Kress
  30. Tempestuous by Kim Askew & Amy Helmes

The challenge goal is to read 12 debuts, so I feel pretty good that I was able to review 30 of them!

  1. Moving Neutral by Katy Atlas
  2. Graffiti Moon by Cath Crowley
  3. Blue Sky Days by Marie Landry
  4. Wanderlove by Kirsten Hubbard
  5. From What I Remember by Stacy Kramer & Valerie Thomas
  6. Life on the Edge by Jennifer Comeaux
  7. Amplified by Tara Kelly
  8. Glamorous Illusions by Lisa T. Bergren
  9. Come See About Me by C.K. Kelly Martin
  10. Shifters (Series Spotlight) by Rachel Vincent

I initially challenged myself to review 6 New Adult titles, so I'm psyched that I almost doubled that! I also know that I read a ton more New Adult titles than I actually reviewed.

2012 Re-Reads

Those I re-read before reading the next book in the series:
- Wither by Lauren DeStefano
- Divergent by Veronica Roth
- The Gathering by Kelley Armstrong
- Shade & Shift by Jeri Smith-Ready
- Last Breath by Rachel Caine
- Blood Red Road by Moira Young
- Obsidian by Jennifer L. Armentrout
- Storm by Brigid Kemmerer
- Cinder by Marissa Meyer
- Enclave by Ann Aguirre
- Between the Lines by Tammara Webber
- Graceling by Kristin Cashore
- The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson
- Article 5 by Kristen Simmons
- The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson
- The Way We Fall by Megan Crewe
- Life on the Edge by Jennifer Comeaux
- Onyx by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Books re-read simply for the pleasure:
- Not That Kind of Girl by Siobhan Vivian
- Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta
- Catching Jordan by Miranda Kenneally

I divided the titles like this because I found it interesting how much I re-read this year simply based on re-familiarizing myself with the series plot and characters.

Reading Re-cap

Number of...

Books Read: 285
eBooks Read: 173
Library Books Read: 40
Books Reviewed on Book Labyrinth: 106

December 30, 2012

End of 2012 Book Survey

You might think I'd be sick of "Best Of" lists after last week, but you'd be wrong! ;)

Last year I took part in Jamie's end of the year book survey, and this year I'm happy to be doing so again.

(Graphic is Jamie's; image links back to her post)

Best in Books

1. Best Book You Read In 2012? (You can break it down by genre if you want)
The Sea of Tranquility by Katja Millay, hands down.

2. Book You Were Excited About & Thought You Were Going To Love More But Didn’t?
A Need So Beautiful because it seems like everyone loves it, but I just wasn’t impressed. Secret Letters because the concept sounded epic, but I found the delivery to just be so-so.

3. Most surprising (in a good way!) book of 2012?
Onyx! While I liked Obsidian, I didn’t see what the big deal was. Avery convinced me that Onyx was epic and way better than Obsidian, and she was right. First I re-read Obsidian and I liked it more the second time around, and when I read Onyx I totally loved it.

4. Book you recommended to people most in 2012?
Well, I always recommend Jellicoe Road and pimp it out to everyone. Besides that, probably Come See About Me or The Sea of Tranquility.

5. Best series you discovered in 2012?
Well, I didn’t discover it this year, but I finally started reading Women of the Otherworld by Kelley Armstrong.

As for an actual discovery, I read the Experiment in Terror series just based on a tweet from Kristilyn about how it was a sexy series about a duo on a ghost hunting show.

6. Favorite new authors you discovered in 2012?
Brigid Kemmerer, Nyrae Dawn (fab YA contemp romances!!), Sarah Rees Brennan, and Marni Bates.

7. Best book that was out of your comfort zone or was a new genre for you?
That’s a tough one, because within YA I read pretty much all genres, and outside of YA I tend to stick to romance/paranormal romance type books. I guess if I had to say it would Sign Language by Amy Ackley, because it features a younger YA character, and it’s a sad cancer book, which isn’t usually my thing. I can’t say it was a favourite of the year, but it was very powerful and beautifully written.

8. Most thrilling, unputdownable book in 2012?
Well, a lot of them were unputdownable, but add in the thrilling and it’s gotta by Scarlet (Marissa Meyer), The Darkest Minds, and Throne of Glass.

9. Book You Read In 2012 That You Are Most Likely To Re-Read Next Year:
My Life Next Door, The Sea of Tranquility, Come See About Me ... & many, many more. I love re-reading!

10. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2012?
There are so many choices, but I love Unspoken’s cover, because it fits the book perfectly and it’s not a typical YA cover.

11. Most memorable character in 2012?
Wolf from Scarlet, Gansey from The Raven Boys, & both Elisa & Hector in The Crown of Embers.

12. Most beautifully written book read in 2012?
The Sea of Tranquility.

13. Book that had the greatest impact on you in 2012?
Oh wow, tough call! Probably Second Chance Summer, The Sea of Tranquility, and Just One Day.

14. Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2012 to finally read?
Probably Bitten and the other Women of the Otherworld books. I’m still making my way through them, and they’ve been on my TBR for quite a while. In a way it’s good, though, since I don’t have to wait for any of them to be released.

15. Favorite Passage/Quote From A Book You Read In 2012?
I’m actually not a big quote person. I should keep track of my favourite passages in a better way! Two stick out to me, though, because I favourited them on Goodreads.

Both from my fave of the year, The Sea of Tranquility.

I know at that moment what he's given me and it isn't a chair. It's an invitation, a welcome, the knowledge that I am accepted here. He hasn't given me a place to sit. He's given me a place to belong.

"I wished my mother was here tonight, which is stupid, because it's an impossible wish." He shrugs and turns to me, drowning the smile that cracks me every time.

"It's not stupid to want to see her again."

"It wasn't so much that I wanted to see her again," he says, looking at me with the depth of more than seventeen years in his eyes. "I wanted her to see you."


16.Shortest & Longest Book You Read In 2012?
Shortest: A read quite a few novellas, but for shortest full length novel Goodreads tells me it was What A Boy Wants at 119 pages (though it didn't seem that short??).

Longest: The Crimson Crown at 598 pages (and this one doesn't seem so long... it's deliciously long, where you can speed through it and you don't want the book to end).

17. Book That Had A Scene In It That Had You Reeling And Dying To Talk To Somebody About It? (a WTF moment, an epic revelation, a steamy kiss, etc. etc.) Be careful of spoilers!
Well this is just cruel because the two that stick out to me are the endings of The Madness Underneath & Just One Day ... and both are 2013 releases. I need to talk about them!!!!!

18. Favorite Relationship From A Book You Read In 2012 (be it romantic, friendship, etc).
This is tough! I could probably list a zillion, but I’ll stick to just 1 for each category. Romance wise it’s tough to beat Zach & Aura from the Shade books, specifically Shine which concluded the trilogy this year. Friendship-wise, the Raven boys & Blue really stick out to me.

19. Favorite Book You Read in 2012 From An Author You Read Previously
Okay, well this could be a REALLY long list. Ummm, I will try and cut it down to a few. The Crimson Crown was a fantastic ending to the Seven Realms series. Second Chance Summer was an amazing follow-up to Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour, which is one of my favourites. I am a big Melissa Walker fan, and Unbreak My Heart was -- no surprise -- so lovely.

20. Best Book You Read That You Read Based SOLELY On A Recommendation From Somebody Else:
Well, I think The Sea of Tranquility fits into this category. Ann Aguirre tweeted that it was her favourite contemporary of the year, or one of her favourite contemporaries ever, or something along those lines. I am a huge contemp fan, so I immediately looked it up. I saw 5 star review after 5 star review on Amazon and Goodreads, and I decided I had to read it ASAP. Thank goodness I did!! While the reviews confirmed to me that I had to read this one, it was really the tweet that caught my attention and made me aware of the book.

Looking Ahead

1. One Book You Didn’t Get To In 2012 But Will Be Your Number 1 Priority in 2013?
As of right now, The Host. I have owned this book since the month it was released, yet I haven’t read it yet. Must read before the movie!!

2. Book You Are Most Anticipating For 2013?
Oh jeeze. Well, I have been incredibly lucky to receive ARCs of Things I Can’t Forget, Scarlet, Breaking Point, Just One Day, and The Madness Underneath -- otherwise those would be at the top of my list. Otherwise it has to be Requiem, Clockwork Princess, The Indigo Spell, and Divergent #3. [ok getting too lazy to link those, sorry!]

3. One Thing You Hope To Accomplish Or Do In Your Reading/Blogging In 2013?
I’d like to write up more discussion posts, because they seem to get some good comments/interaction. I’d also like to work on redesigning the blog, because I’ve been talking about it for months now and just haven’t got around to it.

December 28, 2012

Top 10 of 2012: Looking Forward to 2013

Top 10 of 2012 is a week long event celebrating the best of books from the past year. It is co-hosted by Rachel from Fiktshun, Lisa from A Life Bound By Books, Jessica from Confessions of a Bookaholic, Jaime from Two Chicks on Books, & Mindy from Magical Urban Fantasy Reads.

Top 10 Books I’m Looking Forward To in 2013

This is the one category where I didn't feel like I could stick even close to only 10 books. So many of the 10 I initially wrote down were the conclusion or continuation of favourite series, which is great. But what about those titles I've already had the pleasure of reading that deserve to be spotlighted? And what about the new standalones or starts to new series? They're definitely equally as exciting. So here are the books I'm most looking forward to in 2013, separated into 3 sections.

The releases I've already read & adored:

1. The Madness Underneath (Shades of London #2) by Maureen Johnson
I loved The Name of the Star, and this sequel is pretty much as good. Warning: the ending may cause you some therapy hours.

2. Scarlet (Lunar Chronicles #2) by Marissa Meyer
I loved this one so much that I had to add it to my Top 10 of 2012. Possibly even better than Cinder.

3. Breaking Point (Article 5 #2) by Kristen Simmons
This sequel to Article 5 is incredibly action-packed and interesting.

4. Just One Day by Gayle Forman
I am a huge fan of Gayle's, and this book is just fabulous. It has left me dying for the sequel, written from the guy's POV.

5. Shadowlands by Kate Brian
I have been a fan of Kate Brian/Kieran Scott for SO long now, and I was thrilled to read this one early. Let me say that the ending was crazy!

6. Things I Can't Forget by Miranda Kenneally
This was easily one of my most anticipated for 2013, and now that I've read it I can say that I enjoyed it as much as Miranda's previous books.

Additions to series I'm a huge fan of:

1. Just One Year (Just One Day #2) by Gayle Forman
See above, re: Just One Day. I need to get into Willem's head!!

2. Boundless (Unearthly #3) by Cynthia Hand
Team Tucker! In all seriousness I can't wait to see what happens with all the angels and their purposes.

3. Unravel Me (Shatter Me #2) by Taherah Mafi
Okay I still haven't finished book 1.5, but I am super curious what will happen next!

4. The Indigo Spell (Bloodlines #3) by Richelle Mead
More Sydney/Adrian is needed pronto. 'Nuff said.

5. Requiem (Delirium #3) by Lauren Oliver
Okay I saw the ending to Pandemonium coming miles away and yet it still made my heart stutter. I need this book nowwwww!

6. Clockwork Princess (The Infernal Devices #3) by Cassandra Clare
I can't possibly see a happy ending to this, I am deathly afraid of what will happen, but I will basically need to inhale this as soon as it's released. I am Team Don't Make Me Choose.

7. Dark Triumph (His Fair Assassin #2) by Robin LaFevers
Loveddd Grave Mercy, so I'm very psyched for this one. More assassin nuns is always a good thing.

8. The Rising (Darkness Rising #3) by Kelley Armstrong
Eeeep, so excited to connect the Darkest Powers/Darkness Rising characters!

9. Star Cursed (Cahill Witch Chronicles #2) by Jessica Spotswood
The ending of Born Wicked kind of killed me, so I am incredibly curious about what will occur in this one.

10. Currently Untitled (Divergent #3) by Veronica Roth
Holy moly, I am definitely intrigued to see what happens here after the big reveal at the end of Insurgent.

Standalones/Start of a New Series:

1. Mind Games by Kiersten White
Alternating POV from sisters with super powers. Sounds fab!

2. Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins
Josh and Isla, yes please. So excited to check out their story, and to see it connected with Anna/Etienne & Lola/Cricket (counting this as a standalone because of it being a companion book rather than a series).

3. Canary by Rachele Alpine
The whole summary reminds me of a Friday Night Lights episode. It's a sports book about the power those important town figures have, and what speaking up about assault might result in.

4. The Moon and More by Sarah Dessen
I am a Dessen fangirl, so of course I am bouncing off the walls in anticipation of this one.

5. When You Were Here by Daisy Whitney
I really enjoyed The Mockingbirds & The Rivals, and the emotions within them, and this story sounds incredibly moving as well.

6. Dirty Little Secret by Jennifer Echols
Friends turned lovers & country music!!! Yes please times a zillion.

7. The Book of Broken Hearts by Sarah Ockler
It's Sarah Ockler, so of course it's going on my TBR list. Add in a plot about sisters and a group of heartbreaking brothers and you can colour me intrigued.

8. This is What Happy Looks Like by Jennifer E. Smith
An accidental email correspondence with a movie star that turns into something more? So good!!

9. Nantucket Blue by Leila Howland
Summer romance with an off-limits boy, and what sounds like a tough friendship story as well.

10. The Rules for Disappearing by Ashley Elston
A girl in witness protection because of something her father did or saw, and the boy who is too smart for his own good. Oooh...

It was a lot of fun coming up with all these lists, and I hope you've enjoyed reading them as well! I also hope that you've been able to add a ton to your TBR list, because I'm sure by the time I read through all of yours I will be adding many books to mine.

December 27, 2012

Top Ten of 2012: Book Boyfriends

Top 10 of 2012 is a week long event celebrating the best of books from the past year. It is co-hosted by Rachel from Fiktshun, Lisa from A Life Bound By Books, Jessica from Confessions of a Bookaholic, Jaime from Two Chicks on Books, & Mindy from Magical Urban Fantasy Reads.

Best Book Boyfriends of 2012

In no particular order... And keep in mind that these quotes may be spoilery to a certain extent.

1. Hector from The Crown of Embers (Fire and Thorns #2) by Rae Carson

"I love you the way a drowning man loves air. And it would destroy me to have you just a little."

Oh, Hector. *sigh* You have no idea how much I ship him and Elisa.

2. Gabriel from Spark (Elementals #2) by Brigid Kemmerer

A girl on the cheer squad had once asked Gabriel if having a twin was like looking in a mirror all the time. He'd asked her if being a cheerleader was like being an idiot all of the time - but really, it was a good question.

What? There had to be at least one funny quote. ;) But don't you worry, Gabriel's still so hot that plays with fire -- literally.

3. Adrian from The Golden Lily (Bloodlines #2) by Richelle Mead

"I tried to be a better person for her– but it was to impress her, to get her to want me. But when I’m around you, I want to be better because… well, because it feels right. Because I want to. You make me want to become something greater than myself. I want to excel. You inspire me in every act, every word, every glance. I look at you, and you’re like… like light made into flesh. […] You have no clue how beautiful you are or how brightly you shine."

*melts into a puddle*

4. Zachary from Shine (Shade #3) by Jeri Smith-Ready

"I don't need to see you to know that you're beautiful."

Zachary leaned in, and I thought he was going to kiss me. Instead he pressed his cheek to mine and held it there. It felt more intimate than a kiss.

Zachary is just so lovely, he will forever be on this list. Such a fabulous character!

5. Daemon from Onyx (Lux #2) by Jennifer L. Armentrout

"I always liked you. From the moment you first flipped me off."

"If there is anything, there is us. You and me. No one else."

Daemon is always good for snark and suggestive comments, but he can be pretty swoony as well, I gotta admit.

6. Han Alister from The Crimson Crown (Seven Realms #4) by Cinda Williams Chima

"So here's the truth - I love you. I love everything about you – [...] You've given me the words I need to become whatever I want. [...] I love how you go after what you want – whether it's kisses or a queendom. [...] I want to breathe you in for the rest of my life."

Jeeze, the swoon here is at such a high level I had to take out sentence upon sentence to make that passage quotable!

7. Jared from Unspoken by Sarah Rees Brennan

"Nothing else ever mattered to me, and you weren’t even real. All I ever wanted was you."

Oh Jared, you co-dependent moody little thing -- why do I love you so?!

8. Josh from The Sea of Tranquility by Katja Millay

"I wished my mother was here tonight, which is stupid, because it’s an impossible wish." He shrugs and turns to me, drowning the smile that cracks me every time.

"It’s not stupid to want to see her again."

"It wasn’t so much that I wanted to see her again," he says, looking at me with the depth of more than seventeen years in his eyes. "I wanted her to see you."

What even. Josh, you are way too swoony. I freaking adore the relationship in this book.

9. Shane from Let It Bleed (WVMP #3.5) by Jeri Smith-Ready

"If I were a poet, I would say you outshine the sun, moon, and stars put together." He steps forward, pressing the length of his body against mine. "But I'm not a poet, so I'll say that no matter what you wear, I always picture you naked."

Okay, there had to be a sexy quote too, and a lot of what Shane says definitely fits the bill. Shane & Ciara's relationship is super hot, but super loving and sweet as well.

10. Chase from Article 5 by Kristen Simmons

"Ember, you're the only piece of me I have left. Everything else - my family, my home, my soul - they're all gone. I don't know who the hell I am anymore. If it weren't for you... I don't know."

He put a hand on his throat, as though trying to stop the words, but they came anyway. "You're home. To me."

I adore how much Chase loves Ember, and how much he's done for her, even when she doesn't realize it at all.

December 26, 2012

Top 10 of 2012: Best YA Contemporaries

Top 10 of 2012 is a week long event celebrating the best of books from the past year. It is co-hosted by Rachel from Fiktshun, Lisa from A Life Bound By Books, Jessica from Confessions of a Bookaholic, Jaime from Two Chicks on Books, & Mindy from Magical Urban Fantasy Reads.

Today is reader's choice day for categories, and I have chosen to feature...

Best YA Contemporaries of 2012

In no particular order...

1. Second Chance Summer by Morgan Matson
Gorgeously written and incredibly emotional, this book just confirmed Morgan Matson's status on my auto-buy list.

2. My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick
Despite the crazy twist that occurred part way through, I still really adored this one. I loved the big family aspect, and the relationship between Samantha and Jase felt very realistic.

3. Stealing Parker by Miranda Kenneally
Miranda Kenneally is the queen of witty, smart, and swoony contemporary YA. I love how this book deals with a lot of sensitive issues without feeling preachy.

4. Unbreak My Heart by Melissa Walker
This book was so emotionally satisfying for me. I adored the romance, but I loved how it was about family and friendship as well. It contains some of the best side characters I've read about in a long time.

5. The Sea of Tranquility by Katja Millay
This is my favourite book of the year, so it definitely had to make this list. Heartwrenching, romantic, and just plain fabulous.

6. Measuring Up by Nyrae Dawn
This was such a fun romance, and a great book of character growth as well. I wasn't expecting to enjoy it so much, so it was a great surprise. One of the best examples of chemistry between two main characters that I've read lately.

7. From What I Remember by Stacey Kramer & Valerie Thomas
This one is just so much fun. I adore the hate to love trope, and this book pulls it off fabulously. Add in some teens behaving badly and you've got an awesome concept.

8. Bittersweet by Sarah Ockler
Another great combo of family, friends, and romance. Bonus points for a fabulous wintery feel, hockey boys, and lots of cupcakes.

9. Awkward by Marni Bates
I really can't say enough good things about this one. It was so cute, and absolutely hilarious. If you enjoy humourous books with a great romance, definitely check this one out. I also promise that you'll feel completely socially competent next to Mackenzie.

10. Such A Rush by Jennifer Echols
I've liked all the Jennifer Echols books I've read, but none of them have lived up to the first one of hers I read, Going Too Far, until this one. I didn't relate to the main character at all, and yet I still felt for her. There is also a completely hot romance in this one, and not a love triangle like the jacket flap suggests.

December 25, 2012

Top 10 of 2012: Best Covers

First of all,
I hope you are all having a fabulous holiday, spending lots of time with loved ones, and getting tons of bookish presents under the tree. ;) Lots of love and blessings to anyone not celebrating Christmas as well. =)

Top 10 of 2012 is a week long event celebrating the best of books from the past year. It is co-hosted by Rachel from Fiktshun, Lisa from A Life Bound By Books, Jessica from Confessions of a Bookaholic, Jaime from Two Chicks on Books, & Mindy from Magical Urban Fantasy Reads.

Best Book Covers of 2012

In no particular order...

Shatter Me (paperback release) by Taherah Mafi
This one is completely eye catching, and you could probably stare at it for hours to get all the details. Gorgeous!

The Forsaken by Lisa M. Stasse
This one is almost creepy, but it's also intricate and interesting. I love it because it's not like any other YA cover I've seen.

Me and Earl and the Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews
I haven't read this book, but this cover has stuck in my mind since I first saw it. I love the use of diorama, the way it's split up into sections, and the colours.

Meant To Be by Lauren Morrill
I just can't help but love the colours! I didn't love this book as much as everyone else seemed to, but I still adore this cover.

Burn for Burn by Jenny Han & Siobhan Vivian
This one sticks out to me first and foremost because of the great use of font, but what's also fabulous is that the cover models actually represent the characters perfectly!

Unspoken by Sarah Rees Brennan
I love how it's not a photo cover, which makes it automatically unique. It's also pretty and interesting, and it really shows the gothic nature of the story.

The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith
Absolutely perfect use of font, and the photo itself is great; put together, these elements make the cover both romantic and memorable.

The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken
I love the ominous barbed wire making its way across the cover! I also like the look of the psi symbol, and I think it will make people curious what it stands for.

The Book of Blood and Shadow (UK cover) by Robin Wasserman
I specifically ordered this UK cover of the book for myself because I love it so much. The colours are beautiful, I love the action element, the tagline is intriguing, and it just comes together to be both gorgeous and mysterious.

My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick
This cover is so simple, but it's really pretty. Lens flare has been a popular element lately, but I think it really works on this one, making the cover look sweet and romantic.

December 24, 2012

Top 10 of 2012: Best Books

Top 10 of 2012 is a week long event celebrating the best of books from the past year. It is co-hosted by Rachel from Fiktshun, Lisa from A Life Bound By Books, Jessica from Confessions of a Bookaholic, Jaime from Two Chicks on Books, & Mindy from Magical Urban Fantasy Reads.

Best Reads of 2012

In no particular order...

1. The Sea of Tranquility by Katja Millay
This one was easily my favourite book of the year, and I'm pretty sure it's made my best books EVER list. If you are at all into contemporaries (or even not??) this is a must-read.

2. Come See About Me by C.K. Kelly Martin
An amazing "new adult" story, it's both tragic and romantic. I loved the character journeys in this one.

3. The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater
This one is slow paced, but completely magical. I loved the quest aspect, and the friendship between all the characters.

4. Shine by Jeri Smith-Ready
The best ending to a trilogy that I've read in a long time, or possibly ever. Mythology, heartache, & swoons.

5. Storm & Spark by Brigid Kemmerer
Had to include both these books, belonging to the fabulous new Elementals series. I fell in love with these brothers and their stories.

6. Second Chance Summer by Morgan Matson
Gah, so many tears! Loved the family aspect, the character growth, and the romance.

7. Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas
Absolutely kick-butt main character, a mystery, a competition to become the king's assassin, and some swoons as well. Epic!

8. The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken
AMAZING. I loved the whole concept of the colours & abilities, and I was completely enthralled with the characters and their journey.

9. Unspoken by Sarah Rees Brennan
So fabulous!! My review for this one is still to come, but it is a must-read. So many emotions, I swear.

10. Scarlet by Marissa Meyer
I really tried to keep this list all 2012 releases, but this one was too good to not include. It's even better than Cinder, which is saying a lot.

While I wanted to keep my list down to 10, I feel it would be remiss not to mention some of my favourite 2012 releases which I read in 2011. I may have read these titles a little early, but they make up some of my favourite books published this year:

- Cinder by Marissa Meyer
- The Book of Blood and Shadow by Robin Wasserman
- Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver
- Graffiti Moon by Cath Crowley
- Wanderlove by Kirsten Hubbard
- Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers

Phew, that was difficult! Now I'm so curious to see which books made the cut for everybody else.

December 21, 2012

Tempestuous by Kim Askew and Amy Helmes

Release Date: December 18, 2012
Publisher: Merit Press
Pages: 224
Series: Twisted Lit
Review Source: Netgalley

Synopsis: (from Goodreads)
Recently banished, unfairly, by the school’s popular crowd, former “it girl,” Miranda Prospero, finds herself in a brave new world: holding dominion amongst a rag-tag crew of geeks and misfits where she works at the Hot-Dog Kabob in the food court of her local mall. When the worst winter storm of the season causes mall workers and last-minute shoppers to be snowed-in for the night, Miranda seizes the opportunity to get revenge against the catty clique behind her social exile. With help from her delightfully dweeby coworker, Ariel, and a sullen loner named Caleb who works at the mall’s nearby gaming and magic shop, Miranda uses charm and trickery to set things to right during this spirited take on Shakespeare’s The Tempest.

My Thoughts:
There’s something about a story where teens are trapped in one location that always intrigues me. Mix that with being trapped in a mall (who hasn’t dreamed about that before?), and the fact that this is a “twisted lit” novel based on Shakespeare’s ‘The Tempest’, and you definitely have a winner on your hands.

What I really liked about ‘Tempestuous’ is that it’s just plain fun. Miranda is an over the top character, but in a good way. She’s someone who is just realizing how her actions have affected others in the past, and while she’s still a bit judgey in the beginning, she really starts to come into her own throughout the novel.

I felt like it was easy to figure out who was responsible for the store robberies, and yet it was still fun figuring out when the teens would discover the true culprit. Despite deducing the overall plot (because of being a bit familiar with ‘The Tempest’), I was still wondering what exactly would happen next and how the play would be referenced and connected.

‘Tempestuous’ features some really fun side characters that stuck out as individuals, especially Ariel, who is all kinds of adorable. The relationship between Caleb and Miranda throughout the evening seemed natural. There was cute banter and, eventually, begrudging respect from both of them. I loved the plot device where they were literally tethered together, so you had both of them present at all times.

This book is a big mall adventure that you could almost see as cinematic, with all the hijinks going on and the visual way they are described. Pretty much if you’re looking for a really fun reading experience, then look no further.

The Cover:
I really like almost as a piece of artwork (you know, minus the soda cup), but as a book cover I'm not sure if it sticks out that well.


Find Tempestuous by Kim Askew and Amy Helmes on Goodreads, Book Depository, & Amazon.

December 20, 2012

The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken

Release Date: December 18, 2012
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Pages: 496
Series: Darkest Minds
Review Source: Netgalley

Synopsis: (from Goodreads)
When Ruby woke up on her tenth birthday, something about her had changed. Something alarming enough to make her parents lock her in the garage and call the police. Something that gets her sent to Thurmond, a brutal government "rehabilitation camp." She might have survived the mysterious disease that's killed most of America's children, but she and the others have emerged with something far worse: frightening abilities they cannot control.

Now sixteen, Ruby is one of the dangerous ones.

When the truth comes out, Ruby barely escapes Thurmond with her life. Now she's on the run, desperate to find the one safe haven left for kids like her--East River. She joins a group of kids who escaped their own camp. Liam, their brave leader, is falling hard for Ruby. But no matter how much she aches for him, Ruby can't risk getting close. Not after what happened to her parents.

When they arrive at East River, nothing is as it seems, least of all its mysterious leader. But there are other forces at work, people who will stop at nothing to use Ruby in their fight against the government. Ruby will be faced with a terrible choice, one that may mean giving up her only chance at a life worth living.

My Thoughts:
I LOVED THIS BOOK! Guys, I just totally adored it. It’s a long book (500ish pages), but it kept me totally glued to my seat. I was obsessed with this future version of America, with the concept, and especially with the characters themselves. Seriously, do yourself a favour and order this book now because you will definitely want to read it.

There are tons of apocalyptic and dystopian books out there, but 'The Darkest Minds' separates itself from this pack with its sci-fi super powers element. While “super powers” via science experiments is becoming a bit more popular trope in YA, it’s still unique enough to keep my attention every time. In this case I loved how Alexandra Bracken assigned colours to each type of power, so especially at the beginning of the book it’s a bit of a mystery which colour is what type of ability.

The plot itself is exciting and action-packed. The group is on the run from others who would do them harm, and they’re on a quest to find help. While this was a lot of fun, what really made the book, for me at least, was the characters. I loved them individually, I loved their relationships, and the progression of them working together and getting to know one another. I truly cared about the characters, which made me excited to keep reading.

‘The Darkest Minds’ is a thrilling and emotional read, with an ending that will definitely leave you itching for book 2, and will quite possibly break your heart. This book was definitely one of my favourites for the year.

The Cover:
Really like it, especially the ominous barbed wire.


Find The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken on Goodreads, Book Depository, & Amazon.

December 19, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday (4)

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine where bloggers feature upcoming book releases that they're looking forward to.

This week I'm eagerly anticipating...

Nobody But Us
by Kristin Halbrook

Publisher: HarperTeen
Release Date: January 29, 2013

Synopsis (from Goodreads):
Bonnie and Clyde meets IF I STAY in this addictively heart-wrenching story of two desperate teenagers on the run from their pasts.

They’re young. They’re in love. They’re on the run.

Zoe wants to save Will as much as Will wants to save Zoe. When Will turns eighteen, they decide to run away together. But they never expected their escape to be so fraught with danger....

When the whole world is after you, sometimes it seems like you can’t run fast enough.

Nobody But Us, told in alternating perspectives from Will and Zoe, is an unflinching novel, in turns heartbreaking and hopeful, about survival, choices, and love...and how having love doesn’t always mean that you get a happy ending. Described as “beautiful, heartbreaking, and exhilarating” by Kody Keplinger, author of The DUFF, Nobody But Us will prove irresistible to fans of Nina Lacour, Jenny Han, and Sara Zarr.

Add it on Goodreads.

This one just sounds so intense! The cover is what drew me in, but the synopsis really cemented it being on my TBR list. I love books that are both heartbreaking and hopeful. And bonus, this one is a 2013 debut!


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