Friday, December 31, 2010

Me on Reading in 2010

I really do think that this past year was the best reading year I've had so far. So many books were read, some bought, some borrowed, and even some won.

It was a year of firsts for my reading. First ever ARC (Crescendo). First book signing in years (Mindi Scott's book release fun for Freefall). First time I've borrowed books from the library in years. First introduction to Cassandra Clare's great books (and all in the past 2 months). First time book review blogging. First e-book reader (got a Kobo for Christmas).

It was a good year. I'll start at the beginning.

Shiver and Hush, Hush. Whoa. Both were so good, and had enough suspense and mystery mixed in with being a teenager while dealing with a new guy that's more that what he appears to be on the surface. Shiver's Sam was the sweetest boyfriend ever, a werewolf with a poet's heart, while Hush, Hush's Patch was the classic bad boy with a twinkle in his eye. Then came Meridian, a book that wobbled a bit for me. It was good, life and death, good and evil, helping others, finding out your purpose in life. Maybe the religious wacko was a little much for me.

Fallen. More angels, yes, but the whole past life addition and creepy private school tweaked it to make it interesting. I like Luce because she's not a pushover, she knows something's wrong, and she's got this desire to figure out what the deal is.

The Hunger Games. I'll cover all 3 books here. They were close to epic. It was odd, reading books about teenagers in a post-apocalyptic cloudy smoky world needing to compete and kill each other in order to survive. It's a dismal world, one that could very well happen in the future, and it shows the depths that people go to to be able to survive, to keep their families alive and safe. It was a weird journey, those 3 books, but still good.

More werewolves appeared in The Dark Divine. Another twist on werewolves, on good and evil, on religion. It was one of those books where I can't explain how I like it, but I do. Grace wasn't necessarily a pushover but she wasn't a wimp, Daniel was brooding and hot, Jude was angry. It was great. Then I found The Forest of Hands and Teeth, which I hadn't expected. It was creepy and haunting, and felt oddly colonial to me, but that's probably because of the lack of technology and the long skirts.

Wings and Spells were sweet and romantic, full of faeries with pretty wings and gross trolls, plus the ever popular love triangle. Oh, Laurel. Whoever will you pick in the end? Beautiful Creatures appeared in between. It's an epic book, epic length, epic action, epic magic, epic romance. It feels so Southern and tragic and gothic and romantic. Sisters Red was so good (find my review), The Body Finder was haunting, and Forgive My Fins was fun.

Sea was one of the surprise reads. I didn't expect it to cover what it did, to go so deep into the aftermath of the tsunami in the South Pacific 4 years ago (I think it's 4 years). So real, so eye-opening, so emotional. The werewolves made another appearance in Linger, the sequel to Shiver. I don't want to give away spoilers but there was more Sam being the best boyfriend ever, more Grace just wanting to be with Sam, more Isobel being angry and confused, and brand new Cole.

If you've seen my review of Bleeding Violet, you know I loved it. Siren was different, involving a paranormal character that doesn't appear a lot (sirens). Jealousy brought me back to Dru kicking ass and putting up with all the guys around her who want to treat her with kid gloves. And the cliffhanger? Shocking. ;)

Oh, Scott Pilgrim. I'm not a big comic book/graphic novel reader, but these were so good. There's action, there's bands, there's nerd references, there's Canadian references. It's like comic books for dorks who might not ever be heroes except if life were more like video games. So so good.

Paranormalcy kicked butt, or tased butt (see my review). Both Eyes Like Stars and Wondrous Strange reminded me how much I love Shakespeare, especially when mixed with teens and romance. The Replacement was haunting, so spooky and creepy and twisted. You've got to read it in the dark in the middle of the night. So good.

Torment brought me back to Luce and Daniel, only this time there's more Luce asking questions and getting next to nothing until she takes it into her own hands and goes diving off into something dangerous, but sometimes a girl has to do that.

Crescendo. More building up for Nora and Patch, only this time they've been split apart, sort of, and Nora starts to learn some things about her father and why he died. And why Patch showed up not long after. Then the end, a giant of a cliffhanger that's left everyone gasping for breath, wanting the third book. And find my review for Nightshade to find out how good it was.

I've written a review for Clockwork Angel, but I also read the first three Mortal Instruments books right before that. All were really good, like epic fantasy for teens and weird twists and New York and new cities. It's an amazing world in those books.

Matched was oddly refreshing at the end of the year (sort of). I think I'd been waiting for something dystopic that wasn't dangerous and deadly like The Hunger Games or epic fantasy-ish like Incarceron. It reminded me in parts of Brave New World, where the world has changed and people are controlled to do and to learn and to feel what they are supposed to. Cassia's smart, but curious where the Society doesn't want her to be, and isn't going to give up looking for Ky. Plus both Ky and Xander were both hot book guys. How to choose? ;)

So, this is my snippit of the books I've read over the past 12 months. Not all the books, since I've read 122 books this past year, but some of the good ones. :)

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Me on Sisters Red

Part of my Christmas Re-reading. Rather festive, don't you think?? :)

Title: Sisters Red
Author: Jackson Pearce
Release Date: June 7, 2010
Publisher: Little, Brown
Pages: 326 (Hardcover)

Red Riding Hood's okay, but Sisters Red is way cooler, and way more bad-ass. ;) Like if Red could kick butt, wielded sharp knives, and was gritty as hell with a chip off her shoulder. And a little sister. I figured me and my sister could be like Scarlett and Rosie, if we had knives and could beat the crap out of Fenris when they tried to kill someone and Rosie was older. My sis can be feisty, she'd fit as Scarlett. ;)

Scarlett and Rosie March, sisters who feel like they each have one half of the same heart, live alone in a small cottage. Scarlett loves hunting Fenris, werewolves that lure young girls to them, and has hunted them since one scarred her for life while she protected her younger sister. Rosie wants to be just like her big sis, but dreams of a life away from hunting, away from weapons and buying 11 packs of gauze every few weeks. They've got an unbreakable bond, but their differences are threatening to drive them apart, especially when Silas, an old friend comes back, and different packs arrive to jack up the body count.

I kept thinking of my sister as I read this, mostly because she's the only sibling I have, and while Scarlett and Rosie were similar, they had their differences. Scarlett was rough while Rosie was soft and sweet. Scarlett was logical while Rosie's the dreamer. Their relationship was so realistic, so perfect. I could just see them arguing right in front of me, bright red cloaks swirling, Fenris blood dripping from Scarlett's hatchet.

The involvement of Silas was almost like a wedge slowly splitting them apart. His ability to get to Rosie shows here that her and her sister aren't the same person, that she doesn't have to spend the rest of her life hunting, that she doesn't have to bandage cuts and scars every other night and live in a small, dusty cottage, even if it's what Scarlett wants. It was a little sad, seeing their separation, but they'll always love each other. They'll always be linked together, even if they don't share the same heart.

This is a great book for sisters, for people who wants to see what a sister will go through to save the other, for people who like werewolves without being obvious about it and a bit more normal/regular character development, and all fans of Little Red Riding Hood stories.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Me on Waiting on Wednesday (7)

More Waiting on Wednesday fun can be found at Breaking the Spine where Jill rules. ;)

This whole thing could be the books I want for Christmas, but it won't be. :)

Title: Wildcat Fireflies
Author: Amber Kizer
Release Date: July 12, 2011
Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Pages: 528 (Hardcover)

On Goodreads:

Meridian Sozu is a Fenestra—the half-human, half-angel link between the living and the dead. She has the dark responsibility of helping souls transition safely into the afterlife. If people die without the help of a Fenestra, their souls are left vulnerable to be stolen by the Aternocti, a dark band of forces who disrupt the balance of good and evil in the world and cause chaos.

Having recently lost her beloved Auntie—the woman who showed her what it meant to be a Fenestra—Meridian has hit the road with Tens, her love and sworn protector, in hopes of finding another Fenestra. Their search leads them to Indiana, where Juliet, a responsible and loving teenager, works tirelessly in the nursing home where she and several other foster kids are housed. Surrounded by death, Juliet struggles to make a loving home for the younger kids, and to protect them from the violent whims of their foster mother. But she is struggling against forces she can't understand . . . and even as she feels a pull toward the dying, their sickness seems to infect her, weighing her down. . . .

Will Meri and Tens find Juliet in time to save her from a life of misery and illness? And will Meri and Tens' own romance weather the storms of new discoveries?

I read the first book, Meridian, last Christmas/birthday when I got it as a present, which means I've been waiting for almost a year for the next book. I thought it was interesting, kinda different, and maybe a little sad but there's nothing wrong with that. I so want this next book.

Title: Born at Midnight
Author: C.C. Hunter
Release Date: March 29, 2011
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Pages: 416 (Paperback)

On Goodreads:

Kylie Galen has had a lot of crap tossed in her lap. Her parents are getting a divorce. Her boyfriend broke up with her because she wouldn’t put out. Her grandmother died and now Kylie’s acquired a stalker. Unfortunately, she’s the only one who seems to be able to see the stalker. And that gets her sent to a psychologist’s sofa.

The kooky psychologist gets Kylie sent to Shadow Falls Camp. Kylie and her parents think it’s a camp for troubled teens.

They thought wrong.

It’s a camp of supernaturals: vampires, werewolves, fairies, witches and shape shifters. And if she believes the camp leader, Kylie is one of them, too.

Just because she’s seeing ghosts, just because she was born at midnight, does that really mean she’s not human? And if so, what is she? Not even the other supernaturals can tell her.

As Kylie attempts to cope with the realization that these creatures actually exist, and that she might even be one of them, the ever present stalker/ghost appears to have secrets that could unravel the mystery of Kylie’s identity and her destiny.

But getting a ghost to open up is as hard as getting a guy to talk about his feelings.

As Kylie struggles to find answers, two hot guys, a werewolf and a half-fairy vie for her attention. However, Kylie’s determined that before she lets her heart discover a new love, she needs to solve her identity crisis and unearth the truth of her destiny.

This book just sounds weird and funky and cool. :)

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Me on Paranormalcy

Title: Paranormalcy
Author: Kiersten White
Release Date: August 31, 2010
Publisher: HarperTeen
Pages: 335 (Hardcover)

Part of my Christmas Re-reading list.

There's no other way I can describe this book without using the word adorable. Evie's cute, fun, bubbly, says what she's thinking, knows that she wants, yells when you piss her off (Reth is such a jerk), but she just wants to be normal. Sort of. She wants the normal that is TV teen dramas like her wonderful Easton Heights. It was one of the funny parts. I remember watching TV shows like that and imagining that's what high school was like. *sigh* Good times.

Kiersten White's created a weird world where paranormal creatures (vampires, werewolves, faeries, mermaids, hags, trolls, other spirits and the like) are all hunted to keep track of. It's an authoritarian deal that teens are bound to rebel against, as well as people who aren't big fans of enforced authority, imprisonment, and the like. Plus it was like chick lit mixed with paranormal stuff, which is pretty good. Sure, there was kissing (yay) but it was fun and not all dark and sad and dangerous. Well, maybe some danger. ;)

I really liked Evie. She's fun, cute, and carries a pink taser. How can you not like her? How many of us wouldn't want their own taser? She was different than other paranormal YA characters, a little lost in terms of the real world, but she'd been kept locked away from the world. It had a way of making you pissed off and just a little rebellious once you get glimpses of what's really going on. And Lish. My favourite bleeping mermaid.

And of course Evie has guys to fight over her, even if one's nice and one's an obsessed nutbar. I'm pro-Lend and anti-Reth. Reth just seemed a bit too creepy, like a stalker ex-boyfriend. Lend was new and different and interesting, and the fact that he lives in the real world and goes to real high school and has a real locker. An actual real locker. Oh, bleep. ;)

I wondered how the little twists and cliffhangers were going to be pulled off. Sometimes I wasn't sure what would happen next, what was really going on, what Evie really was with her ability to see through glamours, why Lend looked all watery, why Reth was acting so strange. White pulled it off, I never really saw some parts coming, like what Evie really was.

And so I'm waiting for book 2, Supernaturally, and I can only hope that it's just as good as the first one. :) I bleeping loved it. :)

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Me on The Eternal Ones

Title: The Eternal Ones
Author: Kirsten Miller
Release Date: August 10, 2010
Publisher: Penguin/Razorbill
Pages: 416 (Hardcover)

I first heard about this book not long after I read Ann Brashares' My Name is Memory. They sounded sort of the same: girl meets a guy who remembered all their past lives together and trouble ensues. And so, after reading a general adult fiction book that dragged on a bit and looped around and was a bit too long for my liking, I wasn't so sure on Kirsten Miller's foray into past lives and love that never dies. (I promise I didn't mean to rhyme there)

The book in general had a very old-timey 1920's or 30's New York feel to me, even at the beginning of the book where we meet Haven in present day small town Tennessee. I enjoyed the overall story, the different places Haven and Iain go to, the flashbacks and notes and other small parts. Even though Haven's character bugged me a little, she seemed a bit passive in some spots, but when I finished I wanted to jump into it again and re-read it to see if I could pick out any hints at the society or a sequel.

And I found out there's going to be a book two titled As You Desire. Ooooooo. Sounds intriguing.

I enjoyed the fact that there was a society set up to keep track of people who could remember their past lives. It felt practical, but calling it the Ouroboros Society made it sound both romantic and inescapable. The snake eating its own tail is a powerful symbol if you believe that you're destined to relive the same events over and over again, that no matter when we live or who we are, everything is connected and happens over and over again.

It's rather philosophical, if you think about it.

Haven's a strong girl, she's able to survive the verbal and emotional abuse from her grandmother and the lack of being able to fit in in a small town and takes charge by heading to New York to find Iain, but I thought she took a long time leaving Tennessee. I suppose I assumed she'd pick up and go once she realized that Iain was Ethan, her love from a past life, but there was a chunk of time where she had to suffer and prepare before leaving.

It may sound like I'm torn on whether or not I liked this book, but I did. It was romantic, thoughtful, philosophical. I'm tempted to run out and buy my own copy so I can read it again. I think the idea of past lives is interesting, when the only thing that keeps you going year after year, decade after decade, is love (reminds me of Lauren Kate's Fallen series). It's not contemporary or paranormal, it's nowhere near sci-fi, it might be fantasy, or it's a new sub-genre of reincarnation.

Whatever it is, I'm enjoying it. :)

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Me on Waiting on Wednesday (6)

Check out Breaking the Spine where Jill hosts Waiting on Wednesday every week.

Title: Slice of Cherry
Author: Dia Reeves
Release Date: January 4, 2011
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Pages: 512 (Hardcover)

From Goodreads:

Kit and Fancy Cordelle are sisters of the best kind: best friends, best confidantes, and best accomplices. The daughters of the infamous Bonesaw Killer, Kit and Fancy are used to feeling like outsiders, and that’s just the way they like it. But in Portero, where the weird and wild run rampant, the Cordelle sisters are hardly the oddest or most dangerous creatures around.

It’s no surprise when Kit and Fancy start to give in to their deepest desire—the desire to kill. What starts as a fascination with slicing open and stitching up quickly spirals into a gratifying murder spree. Of course, the sisters aren’t killing just anyone, only the people who truly deserve it. But the girls have learned from the mistakes of their father, and know that a shred of evidence could get them caught. So when Fancy stumbles upon a mysterious and invisible doorway to another world, she opens a door to endless possibilities….

If you've read my review of Bleeding Violet, Dia's first book, then you know how excited I am to read this next book set in the freakishly strange town of Portero. I was to visit this town. It seems to satisfy the weird, gruesome part of me. I bet I could find a weird boyfriend there. ;) Plus the giggly part of me wants a Swan and Little Swan cameo. So adorable. :D

Title: City of Fallen Angels
Author: Cassandra Clare
Release Date: April 5, 2011
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry
Pages: 432 (Hardcover)

Love, blood, betrayal and revenge — the stakes are higher than ever in City of Fallen Angels. Simon Lewis is having some trouble adjusting to his new life as a vampire, especially now that he hardly sees his best friend Clary, who is caught up in training to be a Shadowhunter—and spending time with her new boyfriend Jace. Not to mention that Simon doesn’t quite know how to handle the pressure of not-quite-dating two girls at once. What’s a daylight-loving vampire to do? Simon decides he needs a break and heads out of the city—only to discover that sinister events are following him. Realizing that the war they thought they’d won might not yet be over, Simon has to call on his Shadowhunter friends to save the day — if they can put their own splintering relationships on hold long enough to rise to the challenge.

After my Clockwork Angel review and general enjoyment of the first three Mortal Instruments books, and the release of this gorgeous cover yesterday (the 14th), how could I not feature this one? And now it's Simon's time to shine, I see. ;) Score. He's like the cute nerd vampire missing from so many other vampire books.The thing is I read the first three all mostly together. Now, if I read this one not long after it comes out, there'll be a big wait for the next two books. *sigh*

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Me on Amy & Roger's Epic Detour

Title: Amy & Roger's Epic Detour
Author: Morgan Matson
Release Date: May 4, 2010
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing
Pages: 344 (Hardcover)

No new In My Mailbox this week. No new books, plus I'm starting my Christmas Re-reading. It's all good. I've read about 118 new books this year. :)

So, this book. It was a mix of the summary and the cover that made me want to read this. The cover is adorable, and Amy and Roger are lots of fun. Well, Amy was fun while Roger was semi-obsessed with his ex-girlfriend and it takes the detour road-trip to get him to realize that maybe she wasn't right for him. The ex, not Amy. Amy and Roger are cute together. :)

Amy's life kinda sucks: her mother's making her move from California to Connecticut between her junior and senior year (grade 11 & 12), her brother's off in rehab, she's ignoring her friend's e-mails, and her dad recently died in a car accident. Now she has to drive their car to Connecticut with a guy she barely remembers from her childhood. Yeah, things aren't perfect.

Amy needs this trip and the detour that Roger proposes. She needs to break free, to live, to cope, to survive, to take control of her life again and live it instead of just going through the motions. She needs to move on from the accident, and Roger helps her do that, even if it upsets her mother. Yeah, well, if I was Amy and I'd been forced to move across the country, I'd take my time getting there, too.

The story was good, the characters funny, but what drew me in were the little pictures and journal entries and driving playlists and all the extra bits. I love bits like that in books. It makes it feel real and less like a bunch of words. In a book like this, it needed it. The receipts from buying gas and chocolate bars, the hotel reservation cards, the e-mails and postcards. So cool.

If you're looking for a book that's fun and sweet and sort of a character-building exercise for a girl pushing forward with her life after a tragic loss, then this is the book for you. Well, how about you go read it just because. It was a fun read. :)

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Me on Clockwork Angel

Title: Clockwork Angel
Author: Cassandra Clare
Release Date: August 31, 2010
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry
Pages: 479 (Hardcover)

The cover's so pretty. There, I've got that out of the way. ;)

I've read Cassandra Clare's other books recently, the first three in The Mortal Instruments series. I actually waited to read this one so I could read those three first, just so I would be like everyone else who read her books in the same order. I almost wonder what my perception would've been not reading those three first, if I'd waited those two years for the rest of The Infernal Devices.

Tessa Grey heads for Victorian London to find her brother Nate only to be kidnapped by a pair of creepy sisters. It's there she learns she's not exactly human but a Downworlder, one of the warlocks, werewolves, vampires or other supernatural beings that wander through the streets. She can change into another person, living or dead, as long as she's holding onto something that belongs to them. And, of course, someone wants her because of this power.

Then she gets saved by Will and is introduced to the Shadowhunters while getting mixed up in a new evil plot to take over London (and quite possibly the world).

I liked this one a little more than The Mortal Instruments books for possibly one reason: it's set in Victorian London. I love this time period. It was England at possibly its best: industry was booming, population was booming, science and technology was growing, the high-class social scene (the ton) was gorgeous, and literature was great. The small part of my literary brain that loves Victorian literature loved the quick book dropping of Lady Audley's Secret by Mary Elizabeth Braddon (only because I read it while getting my B.A.). I need to read more Victorian lit.

The clockwork/steampunk-ish addition was funky and cool. This is a time of technology and practicality, people were figuring out how things worked and how to create bigger and better machines. Evolution was new and controversial, but some grabbed hold of it and loved it. Who needs magic or religion when there's no explanation for it? (This is more of the Victorian scholar in me talking.)

And the love/like triangle. Tessa's a little meek and confused and lost, but I like it, and she's drawn to both Will, someone ballsy and opinionated and possibly more than a little reckless, and Jem, someone quieter and kinder and more fragile. I can't pick a side like so many other fans have. I don't know who Tessa should end up with. The ending confused me a little, (spoiler so I won't say), but it also made me want to go back and read the book again. Which I can't right now (December 9, 2010) because I borrowed the book from the library. I will get my own copy one day.

There were lots of similarities between this book and the other series: the girls being mostly the main focus and the fact that they're totally clueless to Shadowhunters and Downworlders and everything else, the love triangle, the brother as a factor, the last names, the in charge mother figure, the vaguely angry girl who's a Shadowhunter, the running around and being captured/kidnapped, the evil guy wanting to take over. I wasn't surprised by it because the differences balanced it out for me: the setting, the fact that Tessa isn't a Shadowhunter while Clary is, the clockwork machines instead of the Circle (man and machine instead of magic and power). I imagine there were some readers who thought it was pretty much the same book all over again, but the familiarity of the previous three books didn't take away anything for me. It was the same but different. That's why I read series more often than stand-alone novels.

And I loved the "return" of Magnus Bane. ;)

And Tessa's little clockwork angel necklace. So cute. I want one. And it's so going to mean something later on, I just know it.

So, maybe a little rambly, but when aren't my reviews a little rambly? Rarely. ;)

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Me on Waiting on Wednesday (5)

More Waiting on Wednesday fun can be found at Breaking the Spine where Jill sponsors it every week. :)

Seems to be a 'half of one face with sweepy hair on the cover of a book written by someone with a last name that starts with C' Wednesday, too. ;)

Title: A Touch Mortal
Author: Leah Clifford
Release Date: February 22, 2011
Publisher: Greenwillow Books

From Goodreads:

Eden didn’t expect Az.

Not his saunter down the beach toward her. Not his unbelievable pick up line. Not the instant, undeniable connection. And not his wings.


So long happily-ever-after.

Now trapped between life and death, cursed to spread chaos with her every touch, Eden could be the key in the eternal struggle between heaven and hell. All because she gave her heart to one of the Fallen, an angel cast out of heaven.

She may lose everything she ever had. She may be betrayed by those she loves most. But Eden will not be a pawn in anyone else’s game. Her heart is her own.

And that’s only the beginning of the end.

Doesn't that sound exciting?? And supposedly (from what I've seen on Goodreads), Az might be Eden's ex. Curveball. ;)

Title: Entangled
Author: Cat Clarke
Release Date: Quercus Publishing Plc.
Publisher: January 6, 2011
Pages: 374 (Paperback)

From Goodreads:

The same questions whirl round and round in my head:
What does he want from me?
How could I have let this happen?

17-year-old Grace wakes up in a white room, with a table, pens and paper - and no clue how she got here.

As Grace pours her tangled life onto the page, she is forced to remember everything she's tried to forget. There's falling hopelessly in love with the gorgeous Nat, and the unravelling of her relationship with her best friend Sal. But there's something missing. As hard as she's trying to remember, is there something she just can't see?

Grace must face the most important question of all. Why is she here?

A story of dark secrets, intense friendship and electrifying attraction.

Oooooo, how mysterious. Why is she in that room? Who is "he"? What's missing? Why is the room all white?

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Me on My Re-reading Christmas

I love books. Duh. ;) If I read it once, it was okay. If I read it more than once, I freaking loved it. When I first read Lili St. Crow's Strange Angels and Becca Fitzpatrick's Hush, Hush, I read them again once I was finished (not at the same time).

Since my library books are due back soon, I'm planning to hide out over the Christmas break and do some re-reading. Which might be almost all of the YA books I've bought this past year.

It's been such an amazing reading year. So many good books. As of this posting, I've read 113 books in 2010. That's a lot. I'm surprised it's more than 100.

So, why am I re-reading instead of reading for the first time? Because I bought so many pretty and wonderful books this year and I want to read them again. I want to find those worlds again, re-learn the secrets and surprises, meet the characters again but this time suffer as they slowly trek their way through the book when I already know the ending.

Re-reading is like meeting up with friends after not seeing them for a year: you remember the good times and the bad, you realize bits about them you totally forgot. Sure, there's no catching up and learning new things, but that's what sequels are for. ;)

Here's my re-reading list:

Hush, Hush & Crescendo by Becca Fitzpatrick 
Strange Angels, Betrayals, & Jealousy by Lili.St. Crow
Nightshade by Andrea Cremer
Paranormalcy by Kiersten White
The Replacement by Brenna Yovanoff
Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl
Wondrous Strange by Lesley Livingston
The Body Finder by Kimberly Derting 
Sisters Red by Jackson Pearce 
Sea Change by Aimee Friedman
Forgive My Fins by Tera Lynn Childs
Sea by Heidi R. Kling
13 to Life by Shannon Delany
A Year in Europe: Three Novels by Rachel Hawthorne

I wonder if you're asking, "Do I have to do this as well??" You don't, but if you don't have review deadlines or stacks and stacks of books to read for the first time, I would give it a shot. I'm doing this because at the moment I have no new books to read (well, except for Insight and Matched). Besides, I really liked these books and I want the chance to read them again with no pressure.

Of course, I might review some every so often. ;)

Happy Christmas reading, people. :)

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Me on In My Mailbox (5)

Yay! New books this week! No time to read them, though. Nuts. Head on over to The Story Siren for more IMM fun. :)

And finally, something other than contemporary YA. ;) Well, I am reading Kiersten Miller's The Eternal Ones right now. I wouldn't call it contemporary. It's got a classy old world 1920's feel to it, even with the present day setting. Score. :)

Bought (more like caved and bought it for myself as a finishing NaNoWriMo present):
Matched by Ally Condie (so pretty, I looked through all 10 copies at the bookstore to find the prettiest one) :)

Won on Goodreads:
Insight by Jamie Magee (thank you to Jamie and to Goodreads, this one will be reviewed once I get through the 3.5 library books I have left to read)

Happy reading, people. Stay warm. :)

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Me on The DUFF

Title: The DUFF
Author: Kody Keplinger
Release Date: September 7, 2010
Publisher: Little, Brown/Poppy
Pages: 288 (Hardcover)

To start: holy freaking crap.

It was edgy, it was punchy, it was shockingly honest. It was so outrageously real that when I finished it I wished that I was back in high school so I could appreciate it more.

Now, I will admit that in the beginning I didn't want to read this book. High school, for me, was the closest thing to hell on earth. I was in that group of nerd-ish girls that never had dates or went to dances or had close guy friends. I didn't want to read this book because I didn't want to admit to myself that I was a 'duff.' (And I'd never heard the term before, but hey, I live in BC, Canada. Some slang doesn't always cross the border.) After reading, I've admitted to myself that I was a duff, but it's true what Keplinger writes, that we're all duffs. We're all insecure about how we look or act or talk, and it shouldn't matter, we should be able to look or act or talk the way we want, but it does matter. I wish I had this book when I was in high school. Maybe I wouldn't have been so introverted, or uncomfortable, or lonely and single.

On to the book. It's an amazing book. Keplinger is so honest and so realistic. I immediately meshed with Bianca, a smart girl with a punchy attitude who thinks her friends are way prettier than she is. I understood her hatred and later using of Wesley. He's a womanizing slimeball like so many other guys in high school, and smoking hot to boot, but he's got problems, too.

Sure, Bianca uses Wesley for sex to escape from friends and family and ex-boyfriends, and while she's 17 and in high school, I didn't have a problem with it. I was okay with it. She's mature in using condoms and birth control, and she's smart enough to understand the consequences (mostly) of sleeping with a guy while being 17 and in high school.

So much is being thrown at her, too: an absent parent, friends moving on with their lives, an ex-boyfriend who cruelly used and dumped her. She's desperate for a distraction, even one that's brought on by kissing a guy she hates, then sleeping with him, then falling for him. I love that Bianca vs. herself conflict over her relationship with Wesley. She thinks he's a jerk, but there's that elusive 'something about him' that makes her forget all about her problems for that brief period of time.

The small teeny tiny issue I had was that Bianca kept so much inside and slept with Wesley to forget about her problems instead of talking about them with her best and closest friends. I guess it's just the truth that everyone keeps secrets, even from the people they're closest to.

All in all, I thought this book was really good. The honesty was a wonderful surprise. It wasn't gritty in the realism like Harmonic Feedback was, but still honest and realistic and very believable.

I promise my next review will be a paranormal YA book. I should really blend my reading of the two. ;)

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Me on Waiting on Wednesday (4)

No IMM this week because I'm new book-less and still working my way through that giant pile of library books. But there is new Waiting on Wednesday, brought to us by Jill at Breaking the Spine, because my to-read list is almost 350 books deep.

Since it's December, the obvious holiday month (as well as my birthday), I'm doing more than one book. :) Also because of the cover love. So pretty. :D

Title: Blood Magic
Author: Tessa Gratton
Release Date: April 26, 2011
Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers
Pages: 368 (Hardcover)

From Goodreads:

For Nick Pardee and Silla Kennicot, the cemetery is the center of everything.

Nick is a city boy angry at being forced to move back to the nowhere town of Yaleylah, Missouri where he grew up. He can’t help remembering his mom and the blood magic she practiced – memories he’s tried for five years to escape. Silla, though, doesn’t want to forget; her parents’ apparent murder-suicide left her numb and needing answers. When a book of magic spells in her dad’s handwriting appears on her doorstep, she sees her chance to unravel the mystery of their deaths.

Together they plunge into the world of dark magic, but when a hundred-year-old blood witch comes hunting for the bones of Silla’s parents and the spell book, Nick and Silla will have to let go of everything they believe about who they are, the nature of life and death, and the deadly secrets that hide in blood.

Sounds spooky, doesn't it?? Well, good. I love this kind of secret mystery magic stuff. :)

Title: Delirium
Author: Lauren Oliver
Release Date: February 1, 2011
Publisher: HarperTeen
Pages: 440 (Hardcover)

From Goodreads:

Before scientists found the cure, people thought love was a good thing. They didn’t understand that once love -the deliria- blooms in your blood, there is no escaping its hold. Things are different now. Scientists are able to eradicate love, and the governments demands that all citizens receive the cure upon turning eighteen. Lena Holoway has always looked forward to the day when she’ll be cured. A life without love is a life without pain: safe, measured, predictable, and happy.

But with ninety-five days left until her treatment, Lena does the unthinkable: She falls in love.

This book's gotten a lot of early buzz and positive reviews. It does have an interesting concept, that love is a disease, because it is, in a way, depending on who you are and how you've lived your life. This is another one of those books that I'm avoiding reviews of so it isn't spoiled for me (like with Nightshade and Crescendo, and also Matched)

Title: Imaginary Girls
Author: Nova Ren Suma
Release Date: June 14, 2011
Publisher: Dutton
Pages: 304

From Goodreads:

Chloe’s older sister, Ruby, is the girl everyone looks to and longs for, who can’t be captured or caged. When a night with Ruby’s friends goes horribly wrong and Chloe discovers the dead body of her classmate London Hayes floating in the reservoir, Chloe is sent away from town and away from Ruby.

But Ruby will do anything to get her sister back, and when Chloe returns home two years later, a precarious and deadly balance waits. As Chloe flirts with the truth that Ruby has hidden deeply away, the fragile line between life and death is redrawn by the complex bonds of sisterhood.

Imaginary Girls is a masterfully distorted vision of family reminiscent of Shirley Jackson, laced with twists that beg for their secrets to be kept.

Another contemporary YA I'm looking forward to reading. I think it's the relationship between the sisters and the circumstances for their separation that interest me the most.