Friday, December 28, 2012

Top Adult Books of 2012

Well, as promised here I am with my favourite adult reads of 2012.  There are much less of them because in general I read more YA this year than adult fiction.  In no particular order here they are:

 Still Missing by Chevy Stevens: This book is so disturbing but it is done in a way that you just can't put the book down.  If you are a realtor- never read this book. 

Forgotten by Catherine McKenzie: I read all of McKenzie's books this year and I have to say this one was my favourite.  It is about a woman who gets stuck in Africa after an earthquake and when she gets back she discovers that everyone thought she was dead.  This is a great concept and it is well written.  She is a new favourite author. 

 Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn: This book is the definition of WTF.  Every time you think you have it figured out you realize that this is just the icing on the cake.  I will be reading her other books in 2013.

The Jane Austen Marriage Manual by Kim Izzo: This is a fun read but it also delves into some serious issues.  Very well written.

 Night Road by Kristin Hannah: This is the year I was introduced to Kristin Hannah and WOW!  This book was listened to on audio and I spent a few mornings on the way into work bawling my eyes out.  Not just crying but bawling.  Such a good read! 

We Need to Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver: Another audiobook selection.  This book was difficult to get into while reading but was perfect for audio listening.  It was so disturbing and it really makes you think. 

Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter: This book is not the typical kind of book I read but I really enjoyed it.  It seemed like it would be a beachy type of read but it wasn't at all.  This was a good thing!  

What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty: A book about memory loss? Yes please!

Well there they all are.  I know, I know.  How can I have so many favourites?  I just can :)  Happy Reading!

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Top YA books of the Year

Well, it's that time of year where we all compile our top 10 books of the year.  Well, I just can't do it this year.  I simply cannot pick only 10 books that I loved this year.  This year I read over 140 books which is an all time high for me and I think it's only fitting to pick 20 books that I loved this year.  I will be splitting these up into 2 posts.  This post will be all my fave YA books of the year and tomorrow I will post my fave adult books of the year.  So without further ado, I present to you all my fave YA books of 2012.

Twenty Boy Summer by Sarah Ockler: This book made me ugly cry like no other.  I can`t believe I waited so long to read it. 

Th3teen R3asons Why by Jay Asher: Again, another ugly cry book.  That being said, I loved the idea/concept of this book so much.  It was truly haunting.  

 Never Enough by Denise Jaden: Wow, is all I can say about this book.  It not only dealt with eating disorder issues but it also did it in a way that shows how a family can be torn apart by it while also dealing with their own problems. 

Scarlet by Marissa Meyer: Okay, I don't know if this is cheating because it only comes out in 2013 but I read it in 2012 so I'm counting it.  Since I make the rules, I think this is A-OK.  Anyhow, I wasn't too sure about Cinder when I read but wanted to continue with the story and I was not disappointed.  I liked this better than the first!

 Fixing Delilah by Sarah Ockler: This was my introduction to Sarah Ockler and I love love love her books!  This book definitely hit home and reminded me a bit of growing up and trying to find my way as a teen. 

Forbidden by Tabitha Suzuma: This book was so disturbing but it worked.  Again, another book that hit close to home.  No- not the incest part but the part about a less than ideal living situation and the bonds it forms between siblings. Again let me say that it was not the incest part.

Insurgent by Veronica Roth: I think this on EVERYONE'S list but I had to add it in as well.  I love where the story is going and I can't wait to read more. 

The Evolution of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin: Again this is on most people's list.  I can see why.  One word: Noah! Oh and I guess one phrase that comes to mind WTF.  

This Miseducation of Cameron Post by Emily M. Danforth: If I had to pick my all-time favourite it would be this book.  It deals with a teen trying to come to terms with her homosexuality in a highly Christian world.  LOVED IT! 

Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver: Another second in a series and it left off in another cliffhanger.  2013 is going to be a great year for endings.  

Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry: This book is excellently written and deals with all kinds of contemporary issues. It made me cry and I wasn't expecting it. 

Second Chance Summer by Morgan Matson: Oh dear, what's with the ugly crying books this year.  They all seem to be my faves.  This one was a great read.  

 Trafficked by Kim Purcell: This book is about human trafficking and not into prostitution which is the kind of book I have never read before. It was intriguing. 

Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi: I listened to this as an audiobook and quite enjoyed.  I can't wait to see how the series progresses in 2013.

Well there were a lot and like I say I make the rules so I hope you enjoyed.  Stay tuned tomorrow for my fave adult reads of 2013.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

WoW: Just One Day

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine and it is a weekly feature where bloggers share what they are excited to read next.

 Goodreads Summary: 

A breathtaking journey toward self-discovery and true love, from the author of If I Stay
When sheltered American good girl Allyson "LuLu" Healey first meets laid-back Dutch actor Willem De Ruiter at an underground performance of Twelfth Night in England, there’s an undeniable spark. After just one day together, that spark bursts into a flame, or so it seems to Allyson, until the following morning, when she wakes up after a whirlwind day in Paris to discover that Willem has left. Over the next year, Allyson embarks on a journey to come to terms with the narrow confines of her life, and through Shakespeare, travel, and a quest for her almost-true-love, to break free of those confines.

Just One Day is the first in a sweepingly romantic duet of novels. Willem’s story—Just One Year—is coming soon!

Oh Gayle Forman I have a feeling you're going to take my heart and rip it out with this one.  I love Forman's other novels and I'm sure this one will be just as good.  It comes out January 8th, 2013.   Can't wait! 

Happy Reading! 

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Ho Ho Ho!

Merry Christmas!
(or Happy Holidays- depending on what you celebrate)

I want to wish every one of you a very happy holiday.  I will be spending it with family and friends.  It is our first Christmas in our new home and my husband and I both have 2 weeks off to rest, relax and spend time with those we love.  Every year my siblings and I (all 6 of us!), along with our cousins, play a few rounds of The Game of Things and things usually get a little wild.  That being said, there are ALWAYS tonnes of laughs and my cheeks hurt the next day.  

What are some of your holiday traditions?

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Review: My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick

Publisher: Dial Books for Young Readers
Publishing Date: June 14th, 2012
Genre: YA Contemporary
Pages: 396 pgs
ISBN: 9780803736993
Source: borrowed from library

Summary from Goodreads: 

A gorgeous debut about family, friendship, first romance, and how to be true to one person you love without betraying another

“One thing my mother never knew, and would disapprove of most of all, was that I watched the Garretts. All the time.”

The Garretts are everything the Reeds are not. Loud, numerous, messy, affectionate. And every day from her balcony perch, seventeen-year-old Samantha Reed wishes she was one of them . . . until one summer evening, Jase Garrett climbs her terrace and changes everything. As the two fall fiercely in love, Jase's family makes Samantha one of their own. Then in an instant, the bottom drops out of her world and she is suddenly faced with an impossible decision. Which perfect family will save her? Or is it time she saved herself?

A dreamy summer read, full of characters who stay with you long after the story is over.

My Review: 

I have heard nothing but good things about this book and I was in need of a little contemporary.  I have to admit that YA contemporary can go one of two ways for me: either I love it or I find it super cheesy.  I am happy to say that I quite enjoyed this book.  I come from a large family so I could relate to Jase in this book.  I am the eldest of 6 kids and things at our house were never calm.  In fact things were downright chaotic and our yard was never tended perfectly.  There were definitely toys all around the corner lot that I grew up on.  In fact, I can remember on more than one occasion having people come to our house and asking if we were having a yard sale when we were just cleaning out the shed.  I loved all the chaos of Jase’s house in this novel and I also loved the relationship between Samantha and Jase.  Things between them start off slow and continue gradually; there is no insta-love in this story.  I found all the characters to be well-rounded. Not a one of them was unrealistically perfect and they all had their own flaws.  Similarly, no one was essentially all bad either.  Each character was perfectly balanced, even the minor characters.  I ended up reading this novel quite quickly and I was sad to see it go back to the library.  I may have to purchase this one for my personal library after this move is done.  I also love the fact that this book is a stand alone.  It was refreshing to read a book and have it all tied up at the end.  I will definitely be reading more from this author!

Monday, December 10, 2012

Review: Monument 14 by Emmy Labourne

Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Publishing Date: June 5th, 2012
Genre: YA
Pages: 294 pgs
ISBN: 9780312569037
Source:borrowed from library

Summary from Goodreads:
Your mother hollers that you’re going to miss the bus. She can see it coming down the street. You don’t stop and hug her and tell her you love her. You don’t thank her for being a good, kind, patient mother. Of course not—you launch yourself down the stairs and make a run for the corner.Only, if it’s the last time you’ll ever see your mother, you sort of start to wish you’d stopped and did those things. Maybe even missed the bus.But the bus was barreling down our street, so I ran.

Fourteen kids. One superstore. A million things that go wrong.

In Emmy Laybourne’s action-packed debut novel, six high school kids (some popular, some not), two eighth graders (one a tech genius), and six little kids trapped together in a chain superstore build a refuge for themselves inside. While outside, a series of escalating disasters, beginning with a monster hailstorm and ending with a chemical weapons spill, seems to be tearing the world—as they know it—apart.

My Review: 

I had wanted to read this book since I first heard it was about a bunch of kids stuck in a superstore, a la Walmart style, during some sort of natural disaster.  I immediately put it on hold at my local library, as my book buying habits have been a little out of control, and it seemed to take forever for it to be my turn to read this book.  When it finally came it I was pretty excited to dive right into but the only problem was that I am smack dab in the middle of moving and I was afraid I’d lose the book.  A sensible person may decide to leave it and not pick up a library book a week before moving but I, my friends, am not a sensible person at times.  I decided to pick it up and get right into it.  It took me a little bit of time because I have been busy but it didn’t take me that long all things considered.  This is the type of book you can devour in one sitting if you wanted to.  The book starts off with a lot of action, a bunch of kids in a bus heading to school get stuck in a major hail storm.  I’m not talking about the kind of hail storm you see from time to time in the winter; I am talking hail big enough to crush people and cars.  If that isn’t a good way to suck someone in, I don’t know what is. 
I have to admit that while there was a lot of action in the beginning there wasn’t too much action in the middle section of the book.  I can see some people finding the book a little flat at times but I have to say that I didn’t find the book that way.  The middle part was used to develop the characters in the book.  While Dean is the main character and the book is told from his perspective, the rest of the cast of characters gets a pretty equal amount of face time in the book.  I really like that you get to know all the characters, including the little ones who may not be seen to have too much to contribute to the story. 
One of the things that drew me into this book is that I thought it was a stand alone novel.  I’m not sure why I thought this at the time but by the end of the book it became apparent that this was not a standalone novel.  With 20 pages left we still didn’t know much about what was going on in the outside world.  This was the one disappoint of the novel.  I have read so many series lately and ending every book on a cliff hanger is really starting to irritate me.  I do like the anticipation of the second or third book a bit but in the long run I am the most impatient person ever.  I also find that because I read so many books, sometimes I forget the storyline of the first book by the time the second book comes out. 
Does anyone else have this problem?  Anyhow, all this to say that I was slightly disappointed not to know what was going to happen with the characters by the end of the book.  I suppose if this was my only fault in the story then it must have been a pretty good novel.  Overall,  I quite enjoyed this book and I will be impatiently awaiting the second one. 

Friday, December 7, 2012

ARC Review: The Almost Truth by Eileen Cook

Publisher: Simon Pulse
Publishing Date: December 4th, 2012
Genre: YA Contemporary
Pages:256 pgs
ISBN: 9781442440197
Source: ARC received from Simon & Schuster Canada for an honest review

Summary from Goodreads:

Sadie can’t wait to get away from her backwards small town, her delusional mom, her jailbird dad, and the tiny trailer where she was raised…even though leaving those things behind also means leaving Brendan. Sadie wants a better life, and she has been working steadily toward it, one con at a time.

But when Sadie’s mother wipes out Sadie’s savings, her escape plan is suddenly gone. She needs to come up with a lot of cash—and fast—or she’ll be stuck in this town forever.

With Brendan’s help, she devises a plan—the ultimate con—to get the money. But the more lies Sadie spins, the more she starts falling for her own hoax…and perhaps for the wrong boy. Sadie wanted to change her life, but she wasn't prepared to have it flipped upside down by her own deception. With her future at stake and her heart on the line, suddenly it seems like she has a lot more than just money to lose...

My Review: 

 Wow, what can I say about this book?  It was fantastic! I have been in the worst reading slump I have even been in since I can remember.  It started in August and continued until this month and this is one of those books that reaffirmed that I indeed do LOVE to read.  This book is about Sadie whose mother steals her college money from her.  Sadie then has to think of a new scheme to try and get money to get away from all the chaos of her current life.  She pairs with Brendan and comes up with a pretty intense scam which may or may not involve a story in which Sadie was kidnapped as a child.  This scheme ends up opening doors that Sadie never really wanted opened in the first place and in the end she learns a ton about herself and her relationship not only with her parents but also with her partner in crime Brendan.  

I don't know what it was about this book that I loved.  I don't think it's just one thing but a combination of many things.  The writing sucks you in and is light at times but is also serious at other times.  You can't help but feel for Sadie but at the same time you fall in love a bit with Brendan.  He is a bit of a player but he has deep feelings for his best friend Sadie.  I think that a part of my love for Sadie is the fact that I could totally relate to her.  When I was a teen the one thing I wanted to do was get out of my small town and away from my family.  This is something that I did but I never really stopped to think about how my decisions and my deep want to leave would affect the rest of my siblings and my good friends at the time.  

Long story short, I love love loved this book!  I couldn't put it down and I would definitley recommend it if you need a fun contemporary with a great main character.   

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Blog Tour: The Almost Truth by Eileen Cook

 My review of this wonderful YA contemporary by Eileen Cook will be up tomorrow but I was lucky enough to be able to participate in the blog tour for this book.  I loved it and it was wonderful to be able to ask Ms. Cook a few questions.  Here they are: 

Q & A:  

Where did you get the inspiration for this story? 
Most often book ideas for me start as  a bit of an idea here, another piece there, until it sticks together as one whole idea.  This process can take forever and sometimes it never comes together. This is one of the few books where I can remember the exact second I had the idea.  I was on the ferry and saw a missing child poster.  At the bottom there was an age enhanced photo so you could see what the person might look like now. I had the thought "How weird would it be if I looked like the age enhanced photo?"  In that instant the idea of the book dropped into my head. I ran back to my seat and wrote it down as fast as I could.  I spent another week thinking over some different details, but I started writing almost right away. 

Who is your favorite author? 
How can I pick just one?!  I find a lot of what book I like depends on what type of mood I'm in.  Different books fit different moods. There are times I put a book down because I can't get into it and then if I try it again another time I can't stop reading it.  A few of my favorite books this year were The Fault in Our Stars by John Green and Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn. Some authors that I like that you might not have heard of include Joelle Anthony, Denise Jaden and Cat Patrick. I could keep listing books and authors for hours. There's nothing I like more than talking about books. 

What is your biggest bookish pet peeve?
When I'm writing my biggest bookish pet peeve is when all of a sudden the BRILLIANT outline I came up with at the beginning of the book is no longer working and I have no idea what should happen next in the book.  This is followed by panic and beating of my head on the desk until I'm able to sort it out. 

When reading, my biggest pet peeve is when people write in library books. What part of "your are borrowing this book and it doesn't belong to you" doesn't that person understand? I also once found a used Kleenex smooshed between the pages. Some people should have their library cards revoked.

Thank you so much to Simon & Schuster Canada for allowing me to ask a Eileen Cook a few questions.  She sounds like my kind of gal and I'd love to sit down and talk books with her. 

Happy Reading!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

I am a Slacker, oh and I have a new blog design!

Wow, I can not even believe that it's been a whole month since I've posted anything on my blog.  I am very sorry but I have a good excuse!  My husband and I bought a house! It's our first home and we officially move this weekend.  If you've ever purchased a home before you know how quickly things go and how many meetings you have to make.  On top of all this things at work have been a little bit stressful.  I can't say much about it but I am a teacher and there have been a lot of labour disputes happening.  While I won't state my opinion on the matter, I will say that it is stressful not knowing exactly what is going on.  I love my job and I love teaching my SK classes and I just want to do my job effectively and well.  Anyhow all this to say that I am back and I will continue blogger and blogging well.  That is my resolution for the soon to be new year.

On another note as some of you may have noticed, I have a new blog design.  It was designed by the lovely Linna at LJ Design Studio.  I love the new look and I have to say that she was a pleasure to work with.  I can't complain one bit!

If you haven't already you should definitely check her out!

Blog design by Linna at LJ Design Studio