Saturday, December 31, 2011

Best of 2011: Contemporary

Yesterday I posted about my favorite non-contemporary books of 2011. Today is the day for the contemporaries I read in 2011 to shine! As always, you can see my (overall) top ten favorite books of 2011 here.

Saving Francesca by Melina Marchetta - Melina Marchetta is, and always will be, a writing genius.

Hold Still by Nina LaCour - Amazing writing which led to amazingly real emotion in its characters.

Some Girls Are by Courtney Summers - I actually discovered Courtney Summers for the first time this year. I soon realized that she didn't sugar coat her stories, and that made them all the more real.

Where She Went by Gayle Forman - Only the sequel I never thought would come!
We'll Always Have Summer by Jenny Han - I loved this series, and this was the perfect ending to it!

Twenty Boy Summer by Sarah Ockler - This is one of the two books that almost had me in tears this year. The emotion that is in this book is absolutely heartbreaking, but at the same time absolutely amazing.

Split by Swati Avasthi - This was quite compelling even though it was a bit outside my usual comfort zone.

Then I Met My Sister by Christine Hurley Deriso - Who wouldn't love to read about a girl who learns she has a secret sister?

The Probability of Miracles by Wendy Wunder - There's no accurate way to describe this book. Amazing, wonderful, spectacular, heartwarming, heartbreaking; these are the best words I could find to describe it. Definitely my favorite book of 2011.

Saving June by Hannah Harrington - You guys know I'm a sucker for road trips!

Friday, December 30, 2011

Best of 2011: Non-Contemporary

I read a lot of great books this year. I got really into contemporary fiction, so my non-contemporary reading (paranormal/fantasy/dystopian/etc.) was not as high as usual. You can check out my top ten books of 2011 here, but now for my favorite non-contemporaries!

XVI by Julia Karr - This was such a new look at dystopian! It was cool to see that yes the dystopian world was somewhat the same as far as government, but someone was fighting to be different.

Unearthly by Cynthia Hand - Aaaahhh! So much hype with such a good turn out! Yes it's angels, but who doesn't love angels?!

A Long, Long Sleep by Anna Sheehan - This was a completely new thing for me. Gotta love originality!

Clarity by Kim Harrington - Great characters and a great paranormal mystery!

Starcrossed by Josephine Angelini - Starcrossed lovers are only my favorite part of books.

Brightly Woven by Alexandra Bracken - Okay so technically I just re-read this one, but still, it's amazing.

Blood Red Road by Moira Young - You didn't read this book? You didn't experience the absolutely amazing characters, plot, and writing? You should probably get on that.

Divergent by Veronica Roth - Constant action and adventure!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Cover Talk (13)

Cover Talk was inspired by Kristi's Books to Pine For and Steph Su's Cover Lust. I started Cover Talk as a way to show and talk about the cool/pretty/new covers I find while looking for new books (mostly on Goodreads).

Unbreak My Heart by Melissa Walker
Amelia Anne is Dead and Gone by Kat Rosenfield

Lucid by Ron Bass and Adrienne Stoltz
Slated by Teri Terry

The Temptation by Alisa Valdes
Beauty by Lisa Daily

My Life in Black and White by Natasha Friend
My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick

Crazy Dangerous by Andrew Klavan
The Alchemy of Forever by Avery Williams

Dangerous Boy by Mandy Hubbard
Life Is But a Dream by Brian James

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday (52)

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme started and hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine. WoW is a way for bloggers to post about a book or books they're excited or "waiting" for. This week my WoW is:

Nothing Special by Geoff Herbach
May 1, 2012

Felton Reinstein thought he had it all-a great girlfriend, an athletic scholarship in the bag, and football friends he could totally count on. Wrong! Like an elephant storming a house of cards, it all comes crashing down. And it's Felton's fault. Turns out his little brother has taken an impromptu road trip to Florida (aka desperate flight from all the talented people) to make a bid for stardom (aka fronting a hotel rock band with escapees from a retirement community). What's a big brother to do but help pick up the pieces, even if it means giving up all the status, all the glory and once again facing a life of nothing special.


ROAD TRIP! I just love road trips. I'm also a fan of realistic fiction, and this sounds about as realistic as it gets!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Top Ten Favorite Books I Read in 2011

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. For more info go here

Top Ten Favorite Books I Read in 2011

Hold Still by Nina LaCour
Some Girls Are by Courtney Summers
Unearthly by Cynthia Hand
Clarity by Kim Harrington
Blood Red Road by Moira Young
Split by Swati Avasthi
Then I Met My Sister by Christine Hurley Deriso
Divergent by Veronica Roth
The Probability of Miracles by Wendy Wunder

Friday, December 23, 2011

Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi

Title: Shatter Me
Author: Tahereh Mafi
Published: November 15, 2011 by HarperCollins
Pages: 338/Hardcover
Series: Shatter Me #1
Challenge: 2011 Debut Author Challenge
Source: bought

 Juliette hasn't touched anyone in exactly 264 days. 

The last time she did, it was an accident, but The Reestablishment locked her up for murder. No one knows why Juliette's touch is fatal. As long as she doesn't hurt anyone else, no one really cares. The world is too busy crumbling to pieces to pay attention to a 17-year-old girl. Diseases are destroying the population, food is hard to find, birds don't fly anymore, and the clouds are the wrong color. 

The Reestablishment said their way was the only way to fix things, so they threw Juliette in a cell. Now so many people are dead that the survivors are whispering war-- and The Reestablishment has changed its mind. Maybe Juliette is more than a tortured soul stuffed into a poisonous body. Maybe she's exactly what they need right now. 

Juliette has to make a choice: Be a weapon. Or be a warrior. 

Review: I had heard a lot about Shatter Me from other bloggers and most had loved it. I didn’t love it, but it was still a great book!

The style of writing in Shatter Me was hard to get used to at first, but once I did it made understanding Juliette a lot easier. The book’s written in a stream-of-consciousness style. It kind of flows along with whatever the character is thinking right then. So punctuation and staying on point can kind of go astray at times.

At the same time, this writing style really allowed me to see exactly what Juliette was thinking. This made it a lot easier to connect with her and feel her emotions about what was going on.

I feel like this book was much more characters based than action based, mainly because I didn’t see that much in the plot. She gets out of the prison she’s in and then ends up trying to escape the people who are keeping her. Besides these developments not a lot comes up. It’s mainly the characters we learn about: their pasts and secrets and powers.

I didn’t see much development in the plot, but the characters made up for it. With a unique writing style and even more unique characters, Shatter Me was a great book that also served as a good book to ponder. 

Thursday, December 22, 2011

The Probability of Miracles by Wendy Wunder

Title: The Probability of Miracles
Author: Wendy Wunder
Published: December 8, 2011 by Razorbill
Pages: 336/Hardcover
Challenge: 2011 Debut Author Challenge
Source: bought

Summary: Dry, sarcastic, sixteen-year-old Cam Cooper has spent the last seven years in and out hospitals. The last thing she wants to do in the short life she has left is move 1,500 miles away to Promise, Maine - a place known for the miraculous events that occur there. But it's undeniable that strange things happen in Promise: everlasting sunsets; purple dandelions; flamingoes in the frigid Atlantic; an elusive boy named Asher; and finally, a mysterious envelope containing a list of things for Cam to do before she dies. As Cam checks each item off the list, she finally learns to believe - in love, in herself, and even in miracles.

Review: This is by far one of my favorite books of 2011 if not of all time. I know that this review is not going to give this book the justice it deserves, but I’ll do my best.

The Probability of Miracles was amazing, to put it simply. The characters alone are proof of Wunder’s amazing writing ability. Each character had a complex history and personality. I felt like I could walk outside and meet any of the people from this book.

Cam was one of the strongest protagonists I’ve seen. She was also by far the most cynical. She was incredibly negative about the world, but throughout the story you see her learn to let go of her cynicism and live her life.

Asher was the sweetest guy I think any girl could ask for. He helped Cam learn to live and he didn’t treat her differently because of her disease. Not just Cam and Asher, but all of the characters played a special role in this story and brought it to life.

It takes a lot to make me cry over a book. I hardly ever do, but this book accomplished it. It was just so incredibly heartbreaking. The story really is like a slideshow. You can actually see Cam changing and learning to accept things and give hope a chance.

The ending is by far the saddest thing about the book, but I was surprised by how much I liked it. I feel like if there had been any other ending it wouldn’t have been as good or had the effect it had. The ending it has is really the only way to properly finish Cam’s story.

There is so much I’m leaving out of this review either because I don’t want to ruin the book or I’m too caught up in writing this review to remember, but you need to read The Probability of Miracles. There’s really no other book like it. It will make you laugh and cry, and I still haven’t done justice with this review.  

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday (51)

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme started and hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine. WoW is a way for bloggers to post about a book or books they're excited or "waiting" for. This week my WoW is:

First Comes Love by Katie Kacvinsky
May 8, 2012 

Like his name, Gray is dark and stormy. Dylan, a girl always searching for what's next, seemingly unable to settle down, is the exact opposite: full of light and life. On the outside, they seem like an unlikely couple. But looks can be deceiving and besides, opposites attract.
What starts as friendship, turns into admiration, respect and caring, until finally these two lone souls find they are truly in love with each other.
But staying in love is not as easy as falling in love. If Dylan and Gray want their love to last, they're going to have to work at it. And learn that sometimes love means having to say you're sorry.
Awkward cover aside I think this looks like a really good book. I like that it's about the work involved in staying in love instead of love being the easiest thing in the world. It should give a different perspective on things I think.

Catching Jordan by Miranda Kenneally

Title: Catching Jordan
Author: Miranda Kenneally

Published: December 1, 2011 by Sourcebooks Fire
Pages: 288/Paperback
Challenge: 2011 Debut Author Challenge

Source: NetGalley

Summary: What girl doesn't want to be surrounded by gorgeous jocks day in and day out? Jordan Woods isn't just surrounded by hot guys, though - she leads them as the captain and quarterback on her high school football team. They all see her as one of the guys, and that's just fine. As long as she gets her athletic scholarship to a powerhouse university. But now there's a new guy in town who threatens her starring position on the team... and has her suddenly wishing to be seen as more than just a teammate.

Review: Catching Jordan was one of those books that I was really excited about, and after reading it I wasn't totally blown away or in love with it, but it made for a good read.I was surprised by the romantic aspect of this book. I knew by the summary that there was going to be some kind of romantic plot with the new football player on the team, but I wasn't expecting this to turn into a love triangle. However, once it did I realized that I really didn't like Ty. So I wasn't all that upset when Jordan made her choice.

Jordan was a constant source of annoyance for me until the end of the book. She was a strong character and went after what she wanted, except when it came to her boyfriend. She knew she didn't want to be with Ty but she stayed with him anyway. Some of her choices and decisions just didn't click with me. But she was still a good character, and even though she annoyed me she was a good fit for the story. 

And speaking of the story, I'm a sucker for any book involving a girl playing football. I don't know why but I seem to always love them. I loved reading about Jordan's interactions with her teammates and other girls off the field.

There were parts of Catching Jordan that didn't sit that well with me. I either didn't like what was going on or what the characters were doing, but it was still an enjoyable book that I think everyone should give a chance.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Top Ten Books I Hope Santa Brings

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. For more info go here

Top Ten Books I Hope Santa Brings

Fury of the Phoenix by Cindy Pon
Blood Red Road by Moira Young
Nothing But Ghosts by Beth Kephart
Karma by Cathy Ostlere
A Blue So Dark by Holly Schindler
Shattered Souls by Mary Lindsey 
Why We Broke Up by Daniel Handler
Luminous by Dawn Metcalf
Dearly, Departed by Lia Habel
Across the Universe by Beth Revis

A lot of these books have been out for a while, but some of them just came out this month. Either way these are all books that I've wanted to read for a LONG time, and hopefully Santa will be the person to bring them to me!

Blog Tour: Living Violet by Jaime Reed

Title: Living Violet
Author: Jaime Reed
Published: December 27, 2011 by Dafina
Pages: 304/Paperback
Series: The Cambion Chronicles #1
Challenge: 2011 Debut Author Challenge
Source: publisher for ARC tour

Summary: He's persuasive, charming, and way too mysterious. And for Samara Marshall, her co-worker is everything she wants most--and everything she most fears. . . 

Samara Marshall is determined to make the summer before her senior year the best ever. Her plan: enjoy downtime with friends and work to save up cash for her dream car. Summer romance is not on her to-do list, but uncovering the truth about her flirtatious co-worker, Caleb Baker, is. From the peculiar glow to his eyes to the unfortunate events that befall the girls who pine after him, Samara is the only one to sense danger behind his smile. 

But Caleb's secrets are drawing Samara into a world where the laws of attraction are a means of survival. And as a sinister power closes in on those she loves, Samara must take a risk that will change her life forever. . .or consume it.

Review: I was honestly blown away by Living Violet. I really didn't think I was going to like it that much, but boy was I wrong.

It seemed like there was constant action and mystery around what was going on with Caleb. From the very beginning I was wondering, like Samara, if I could really trust him or not.

The characters were one of the things that made this story amazing. They felt like real people! At first I was wary and not too fond of Caleb, but he started to grow on me. This developed because his characters was developing like an actual person, not just a character in a book. It was like this for all o the characters, which were all funny and smart, and overall wonderful.

I'm kind of growing tired of paranormal books, but this one was a breath of fresh air. I've never read about "cambions" or anything like them, so it was nice to finally see something new in a usually predictable genre.

Living Violet was a great book and hopefully the beginning of a great series!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday (50)

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme started and hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine. WoW is a way for bloggers to post about a book or books they're excited or "waiting" for. This week my WoW is:

The Waiting Sky by Lara Zielin
August 2, 2012

Seventeen-year-old Jane can’t quite face her mother’s alcoholism even though it sucks to spend all her time and energy keeping them afloat—making sure her mom gets to work, that the bills are paid when there’s money to pay them, and that no one knows her mom is so messed up. But when Jane’s mom drives drunk almost killing both them and Jane’s best friend, Jane can no longer deny her mom is spiraling out of control. Jane has only one place to turn: her older brother Ethan, who left years ago to go to college. A summer away with him and his tornado chasing buddies may just provide the time and space she needs to figure out whether her life still includes her mother.


I've always been fascinated by tornadoes, and my guilty pleasure is watching the tornado chasers on tv. I've also been getting more into contemporary fiction lately. So I'm hoping that the two will mesh well together.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

2012 Reading Challenges

2012 Debut Author Challenge
Learn more and sign up here.

  1. Incarnate by Jodi Meadows 
  2. Article 5 by Kristen Simmons 
  3. Born Wicked by Jessica Spotswood
  4. Breaking Beautiful by Jennifer Shaw Wolf
  5. Everneath by Brodi Ashton
  6. Never Eighteen by Megan Bostic 
  7. Of Poseidon by Anna Banks
  8. The Selection by Kiera Cass
  9. Something Like Normal by Trish Doller
  10. Struck by Jennifer Bosworth
  11. Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi
  12. Unraveling by Elizabeth Norris  

Sophomore Reading Challenge
Learn more and sign up here.

  1. Insurgent by Veronica Roth
  2. Hallowed by Cynthia Hand
  3. Dreamless by Josephine Angelini
  4. Until I Die by Amy Plum
  5. Goddess Interrupted by Aimee Carter
  6. Wings of the Wicked by Courtney Allison Moulton
  7. Perception by Kim Harrington
  8. Truth by Julia Karr
  9. Enshadowed by Kelly Creagh
  10. Timepiece by Myra McEntire

Completely Contemp Challenge
Pledge Number: 10
Learn more and sign up here.

  1. The Secret Year by Jennifer R. Hubbard
  2. Freefall by Mindi Scott
  3. The Karma Club by Jessica Brody
  4. The Naughty List by Suzanne Young
  5. The Summer of Skinny Dipping by Amanda Howells
  6. A Blue So Dark by Holly Schindler
  7. All You Get is Me by Yvonne Prinz
  8. Not That Kind of Girl by Siobhan Vivian
  9. She's So Dead to Us by Kieran Scott
  10. Boys, Bears, and a Serious Pair of Hiking Boots by Abby McDonald
  1. Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins
  2. Amplified by Tara Kelly
  3. The Probability of Miracles by Wendy Wunder
  4. Babe in Boyland by Jody Gehrman
  5. Ten Things We Did by Sarah Mlynowski
  6. Back When You Were Easier to Love by Emily Wing Smith
  7. Dreamland Social Club by Tara Altebrando
  8. Why We Broke Up by Daniel Handler
  9. My Beating Teenage Heart by C.K. Kelly Martin
  10. The Summer of Firsts and Lasts by Terra Elan McVoy
  1. The Statistical Probability of Love of First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith
  2. The Catastrophic History of You and Me by Jess Rothenberg
  3. Graffiti Moon by Cath Crowley
  4. Don't Breathe a Word by Holly Cupala
  5. The Story of Us by Deb Caletti
  6. The Disenchantments by Nina LaCour
  7. Bittersweet by Sarah Ockler
  8. Being Friends with Boys by Terra Elan McVoy
  9. The Thing About the Truth by Lauren Barnholdt
  10. The Fine Art of Truth or Dare by Melissa Jensen

2012 Standalone Challenge
Learn more and sign up here.

  1.  Fracture by Megan Miranda
  2.  The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith 
  3.  The Catastrophic History of You and Me by Jess Rothenberg
  4.  This Is Not a Test by Courtney Summers
  5.  The Fine Art of Truth or Dare by Melissa Jensen 
  6.  Wanderlove by Kirsten Hubbard
  7.  Don't Breathe a Word by Holly Cupala
  8.  In Honor by Jessi Kirby
  9.  First Comes Love by Katie Kacvinsky
  10.  Someone Else's Life by Katie Dale
  11.  Bittersweet by Sarah Ockler
  12.  The Disenchantments by Nina LaCour
  13.  Where It Began by Ann Redisch Stampler
  14.  The Story of Us by Deb Caletii
  15.  Being Friends with Boys by Terra Elan McVoy


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