Saturday, December 31, 2011

In My Mailbox (vlog #1, Jan. 1st 2012)

In My Mailbox is a weekly event created by Kristi at The Story Siren where we all get to share the fabulous things that we received, bought or borrowed. It's a fun way to see all the great things happening to others in the book blogging community.

I am very excited today because I get to share my first ever video IMM with you all!! I got a Kodak PlaySport 2x3 video camera and a tripod for Christmas (I love it!). Please bare with me -- I have a cold so I might sound kind of off.

In My Mailbox:

For Review:

Miss World
by Randi Black
It's 1993. Kim Ho wishes she were Courtney Love, instead of the chubby 16-year-old who clashes with her traditional Chinese parents. Her very own Kurt Cobain arrives in the form of Kevin, a 26-year-old failed musician. But Kevin uses Kim's rock-star dreams to exploit her, and those dreams die along with the real Kurt Cobain.Too scared to tell anyone, Kim conjures up a cross-dressing imaginary friend and dates Walter Riordan, the cute boy from special-ed. Walter helps her recover, but after a joke snowballs into a plot to murder Kevin, Kim's forced to choose between revenge or her sanity. This is a truly daring and original coming-of-age novel about one girl's quest to reclaim her power from those who've stolen it.
I am very excited to be reading this as part of the blog tour, which is being hosted by Paranormal Wastelands. While this book covers a genre of music that is not my main focus, as a musician who has traveled, competed, etc. the music 'element' of this book definitely intrigues me. I am also very curious because Randi Black seems to have a very unique writing style. I can't tell you what I think of the book yet -- but I can tell you that reading it looks like it will be interesting. 

I Bought:

from Walmart
from Zellers
from Zellers

from Zellers
from Zellers
from Zellers


Thanks, A. Brenda!
Thanks, Shawn!
Thanks, A. Brenda!

Thanks, A Brenda!
Thanks, Shawn!
Thanks, A. Brenda!

Thanks, Shawn!
Thanks, Shawn!
Thanks, Shawn!

Thanks, Andrea!
Thanks, Aeicha!

So, were the holidays good to you? What did you get in your mailbox this week? Have anything to say about what was in mine? I'd love to know so feel free to leave a comment! :) Happy New Year!

2011 End of the Year Book Survey!

Part I: All About Books

1. Best Book You Read in 2011?

Overall: The Sky Is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson
Contemporary: Shut Out by Kody Keplinger
Dystopian: Divergent by Veronica Roth
Paranormal: Destined by P.C. & Kristen Cast
Fantasy: Tiger's Curse by Collen Houck
Science Fiction: Obsidian by Jennifer L. Armentrout

2. Most Disappointing Book/Book You Wish You Loved More Than You Did?
Shiver. I had heard such amazing things about it and it just did not work for me. Maggie Stiefvater is a very talented writer -- and I really need to get back to The Scorpio Races, which I was enjoying -- but I could not connect with Grace and Sam at all. I'm still watching and waiting for a book about a werewolf that will sweep me off my feet. Suggestions are welcome!
3. Most surprising (in a good way!) book of 2011?
 The Iron King. I had read a few fey books around the time that it released and didn't like them. So I ignored it back then. But with all of the praise I saw it receiving I had to check it out and I totally loved it. I have the rest of the series sitting here. Now I just need to find the time to read it.

4. Best Series You Discovered in 2011?

That's a tie, and both can be credited to Joanne over at The Fairytale Nerd. The two series that need to be listed are The Iron Fey series by Julie Kagawa and The Tiger Saga (Tiger's Curse, etc.) by Colleen Houck. They are both, as far as I'm concerned, fantasy / romance, and they are both totally fabulous. If you haven't started them, I highly recommend that you do. :)

5. Favorite New Authors You Discovered in 2011?

The first name that comes to mind is Jennifer L. Armentrout. I had the good fortune to read Obsidian and I absolutely loved it. What makes Jennifer stand out is that she has mastered the ability to create chemistry and tension between her characters that carries from the start of a book to the finish, and she is not afraid to make life difficult for them where getting together is concerned. Anyone who thinks 'romance is predictable' needs to give this book a shot. 

6. Best Book That Was Out Of Your Comfort Zone?

Wither by Lauren DeStefano. Hands down. No questions. When I first read the summary my thoughts were: (1) That is the most messed up thing I've ever heard. and (2) How the heck did a publishing company ever approve something that sounds this shocking in the YA market? (Can you tell this was before I started blogging?) What ultimately sticks with me, though, is how much I ended up caring about Linden -- a character I thought I was going to hate. Very impressive.

7. Most Thrilling Couldn't-Put-It-Down Book of 2011?

Divergent by Veronica Roth. This book is nearly 500 pages long and I read the entire thing in one sitting. I literally could not put it down. Did not want to move for anything. Did not want to be disturbed. It was one of the most exciting reading experiences I have had in a long time. Anyone who hasn't picked up this totally awesome book really needs to because it is absolutely fantastic!

8. Most Anticipated Book of 2011

Destined by P.C. & Kristen Cast. I've been a fan of the House of Night series for quite a while now and I await each book very eagerly. I have grown very fond of some of the characters in this world (*cough* Rephaim & Stevie Rae *cough*) and I must know what happens to them. This is actually the series that got me interested in YA in the first place, as well as what inspired me to finally sit down and write Moon Dance so it has a very special place in my heart.

9. Favorite Cover of 2011

This is another tie. The book pictured here, Dearly Departed by Lia Habel, has a cover so gorgeous in real life that I've never seen an image that has done it justice. I had the privilege of reading this via NetGalley and when I saw it in a store I had to have a physical copy because the book was so beautiful. My other choice is Wither by Lauren DeStefano, which I showed earlier. 

10. Most Memorable Character of 2011

I'm going to do this with male and female categories. For the male category I think I'm going to give this to Linden from Wither. Why? While he might not be the most oh-my-gosh swoon worthy hero that I want to end up with the heroine for sure at the end of a book, Linden is a deeply complex character who won my sympathy and my heart (whether or not he won Rhine's) by the time I closed the book. In the female category it has to go to Katniss Everdeen from The Hunger Games. As I said during heroine tourney -- "Heroines should be heroic!".

11. Most Beautifully Written Book of 2011

Graffiti Moon by Cath Crowley. Oh my God, where do I even start to properly sing the praises of the writing here? Everything here is exquisite. The way that she describes the art her characters do is so vivid and lovely that I could see it in my head. The way that she used that same style to practically turn emotions and hopes and fears into splotches of color was equally fascinating. I'm not really making sense, but just trust me. When this releases in North America on Feb. 14th, buy it.

12. Book That Had The Greatest Impact On You in 2011?

Summer on Fire by Kevin Craig. This book changed the shape and focus of my entire blog and is the 'pandora's box' that got me thinking that I might be able to make an impact on the world by reading books that I thought sounded exciting and sharing my views on them. It's the book that turned this into a book blog. And I am very glad for that. 

13. Book You Can't Believe You Waited Until 2011 To Read

The entire Perfect Chemistry trilogy. How did I live without these books? I love them so much! Each pairing was extremely interesting, well developed and fun to watch come together. I am sad that this is over, yet I am excited to see what Simone will work on next. Plus, I still need to go and check out the rest of her books. But yes, if you like contemporary and haven't read these yet, I strongly suggest that you do. 

14. Most Memorable Quotes of 2011

I'm guilty here, guys. I don't have a list of quotes to go to for this and I don't read in a way that really lends itself to recalling specific quotes easily. When I read it is kinda like watching a movie. Perhaps this is something I should try to remedy in 2012? Should I try to include a memorable quote with each of my reviews? 

15. Book You Read in 2011 That You'd Be Most Likely To Re-Read?

Bumped by Megan McCafferty. Why? First off I loved it. But the real reason I might re-read it is that it is part of a two book 'set' and the other half is releasing in 2012. While I wish I could do this every time a new book releases in a series I love, I know I don't have time if I want to keep this place running. But in this situation I might be able to pull it off and I feel the reading experience will be much richer. 

16. Most Memorable / Moving Scene

Nyx's forgiveness of Rephaim in Awakened. I remember where I was when I read this. It was May and I was sitting in the hospital waiting for my brother to come out of hip surgery and I kept having to stop and regain my composure because I wanted to weep for these characters, both for what they lost in this book and what they gained. It was bittersweet, both achingly raw and blindingly beautiful. The kind of impact that I think ever writer hopes and strives for. 

Part II: Book Blogging / Reading Life

Q: What Awesome Blogs Did You Discover This Year?

A: There are way too many awesome blogs out there to list them all. But here are a few.

Giselle @ Xpresso Reads
Darkfallen & Greta @ Paranormal Wastelands

Q: Best Review You Wrote in 2011?

A: I'm rather fond of my review for The Iron King. I think I did a good job in both expressing what I liked about the book, as well as being candid about the things I felt could have been better. I have always tried to be completely honest in my reviews and sometimes it can be challenging to do that when I really like a book. Plus, if I give an author everything I've got the first time I review them, what's left? On a little off note, I am glad that I started reviewing books because I think it will make me more gracious about them when they are about my book.

Q: What Is The Best Discussion You've Had On Your Blog?

A: I think that would have to go to the post I did asking people how they like to read series. I am going to try and have more discussion based posts in 2012. I have run writing them and I love hearing what people have to say. 

Q: Most Thought Provoking Discussion on Someone Else's Blog?

A: I don't have a particular one in mind, but my two favorite blogs to visit that often have interesting things to say are Fiktshun's Ramblings and Down The Rabbit Hole

Q: Best Event You Participated In?

A: Hands down, Zompacolypse. I had a lot of fun getting my blog ready for Halloween and taking part in Zompcolypse gave me lots of opportunity to make sure that my handiwork did not go to waste. It didn't hurt that I took part in the Spooktacular Paranormal Reading Challenge, the Monster Mash and Bash Hop and the Spooktacular Giveaway Hop. October was a very good month, socially. 

Q: Best Book Blogging Moment of 2011? 

A: Being approved to read Obsidian. I had been dying to read it since I first heard about it and had (and still have) every intention of picking it up. But it went something like this: got the file for my kindle, dropped everything I was doing and stayed up until 5 a.m. to finish it. That's how excited I was for that book. And it totally did not disappoint. I cannot wait for Onyx

Q: Most Popular Post?

A: If we aren't directly counting giveaways, my most popular posts are probably either In My Mailbox, Top Ten Tuesday, Waiting on Wednesday or anything that I request people look at during giveaways -- Christmas Wish List, TBR Pile, Moon Dance Christmas Sample, etc. 

Q: Post You Wish Would Get More Love?

A: Reviews, in general. I do have certain people who tend to comment on them a lot. And I am very thankful for that. But really ... It's a double edged sword. Reviews are suppose to be the heart of a book blog, as far as I can tell, and yet they can be one of the most difficult things to really use as a means to generate discussion -- which frustrates me since that is (in my opinion) the beauty of a blog over a normal website. The thing is it can be very hard to say very much other then "great review!" most of the time.

Q: Best Bookish Discovery? 

A: I have two. The first is actually book blogging itself. This has made one of my favorite passtimes become a lot more social and exciting. It has granted me the opportunity to connect with others who love the books that I do and it has made life far more exciting in general. The second thing I would list is likely The Book Depository. I love being able to send books to people and this site lets me focus my money on that rather then wasting it on expensive shipping fees. (Who doesn't hate those?)

Q: Did You Compete In Any Challenges? Did You Succeed?

A: I took part in two challenges: The Spooktacular Paranormal Reading Challenge and (from my own site) the Keeping It Real Reading Challenge. They were both three books plus within a month and I did meet the goal for them both. I am doing a few year long challenges for 2012. 

I've signed up for the Debut Author Challenge at The Story Siren, the Science Fiction Challenge at Working for the Mandroid, the Narnia Reading Project (I need to look up who is hosting that) and the TBR Pile Reading Challenge (multiple hosts). I'm also hosting my own challenge called Let's Talk About Love where I am encouraging people to discuss romances in books they read within various genres during the coming year. If you want to know more about that, you can click here

Part III: Looking Ahead

Q: What Book Did You Not Get To Read in 2011 That Will Be Your #1 Priority in 2012?

A: I think the books that come to mind most immediately are Clockwork Angel, Shatter Me and Destined.

Q: Most Anticipated Book of 2012? 

A: If we're talking sequels the answer is Fever, Thumped and Insurgent. If we're talking Debuts then I'd have to say Blue Sky DaysGrave Mercy and The Selection.

Q: What Are Your Reading, Blogging and Writing Goals? 

A: Let's answer this one thing at a time, shall we? 

Reading: I want to try and have at least two reviews out per week. I want to read a good mix of books I am looking forward to and books that I am approached about -- I need to learn to balance this better. I want to balance how many books I buy v.s. how many I read. I am hoping to read 100 books minimum in 2012.

Blogging: I want to get my blog more organized and I need to develop a new design soon -- going to be too warm for my current one before we know it! I want to start posting video reviews and video In MY Mailbox posts. I'm going to be sharing my first one tonight, actually! I also want to attend at least one blogging / books related event this year. That may sound like a small number but since I don't drive and my family will need to take me it's actually a pretty big deal.

Writing: I want Moon Dance to release on October 25th, 2012. So I really need to get my butt in gear on the revisions and make up my mind about a few key things. I also want to get started on outlining and writing Moon Shadow and Moonrise. (Names are tentative). So yeah... 2012 is going to be busy!

Anyway, thanks so much for taking the time to have a look at this. I had to fill this thing out. It is just such a great idea! Anyway, I'll be popping around to see what others had to say. I'll see you all on the other side of tomorrow! Happy New Year! 

Friday, December 30, 2011

2012 TBR Pile Reading Challenge

Here I go signing up for another challenge. But I'm not all that worried about this one, because it's going to line in fabulously with a major focus of the upcoming year: trying to get through the massive TBR of awesome books I have sitting here. I am a shopaholic and at this point I think I have 70 books on my shelf that I'm dying to read but haven't yet. I just can't say "no" to a good deal. Anyway, here are the rules incase anyone else wants to get involved. This sounds like it should be incredibly fun!


This challenge will run from Jan 1, 2012 – Dec 31, 2012.

As we would like to see quality reviews linked up to our monthly wrap-ups, only bloggers can enter. Sorry about that!

Any genre, length or format of book counts, as long as it is a book that’s been sitting on your shelf for some time now. Only books released in 2011 and earlier! NO ARCs and 2012 fresh-off-the-press releases allowed!

You can list your books in advance or just put them in a wrap-up post. If you list them, feel free to change them as the mood takes you.

When you sign up in the linky, put the direct link to your post about joining the 2012 TBR PILE Reading Challenge (You need to include the info + host list + challenge button. You can also grab the button code and add it to your sidebar!)

You can move up levels, but no moving down.

Sign-ups will be open until Dec 15, 2012, so feel free to join at any time throughout the year.

At the end of each month one of the hosts will post a wrap-up. Every wrap-up will have it’s unique theme, a mini-challenge, a giveaway and place for you to link up your reviews from this month. For each review you link up, you will get one entry in a drawing of one book of choice from Book Depository. It’s open to INTERNATIONALS. For participating in the mini-challenge you will get +1 entry.

If you miss a wrap-up post + giveaway, you can link up your reviews next month. Do not, however, try to link up one review twice – we will be checking

December is a wrap-up for the whole year. All the book reviews you linked up January-November + the ones you’ll link up in December will be entered into a HUGE giveaway – 12 books, 12 winners, INTERNATIONAL.

You don’t have to follow all the hosts to join the challenge, but you do have to follow all of us to be entered in giveaways!


1-10 – A Firm Handshake
11-20 – A Friendly Hug
21-30 – A Sweet Kiss
31-40 – Love At First Sight
41-50 – Married With Children

You can find an official sign up post with a complete list of hosts here.

I think I will be aiming to complete A Sweet Kiss. Sounds about right for the blog that rates in hearts, wouldn't you agree? ;) I think that reading 21 - 30 of the books on my shelf should be no issue considering some of the fabulous titles I have sitting here. Plus, I love the way that book challenges present an opportunity to make reading just a little more social. 

My 2012 TBR Pile Book Reviews:

(Coming soon.)

Top Ten of 2011

Someday, I will learn to write my posts in advance. Some-freaking-day. *shakes head* Normally I would not have had trouble keeping up with something like this. But it's not exactly "normal" to get sick at Christmas, and that's what happened to me this year. Our whole family has a nasty cold bug and it's knocking everyone on their butt.

So that's why all of my stuff is in one post. Thanks so much to anyone who decides to check this out, because it's bound to be a little bit lengthy. I bet you can all guess what my first New Years Resolution is going to be as far as blogging goes. (Hint: hopefully *this* won't happen again.) Anyway, enjoy! I hope you all had a wonderful holiday season and that the new year is full of nothing but awesome!

Top Ten Books of 2011:

I started my blog in June and started focusing it as a book blog in August. I have focused more on reading whatever looks really interesting to me, as opposed to strictly reading what has released this year. So my list contains some books that were released in 2011 and some that I read for the first time this year. Read on to see what books made my "I Love It!" list. 

1. The Sky Is Everywhere
by Jandy Nelson
My review is here.
Why I Love It: First up, you can write a hero who's name is Joe. Enough said there. Second: This is one of the most beautifully written books I've ever read in any genre. Third, the grief these characters feel is so raw that you can almost *feel* it, yet the book is about hope. That's not easy.
2. Divergent
By Veronica Roth
My review is here.
Why I Love It: First up: Four. Is any more explanation required? Second, Tris is a strong kick-ass heroine that I immediately clicked with. Third, the world building and social structure designed here are fascinating.
3. Obsidian
by Jennifer L. Armentrout
My review is here.
Why I Love It: First, Daemon. I still don't know if I want to kiss him or kill him, but I do know I still think about him / what will happen in the next book. That's a good thing. Two: Katy didn't put up with Daemon's crap and stayed reasonably consistent throughout the book. Third, aliens haven't been this much fun since Farscape.
4. Shut Out
by Kody Keplinger
My review is here.
Why I Love It: First, the characters are real and easy to relate to. Second, the dialogue was both believable and very funny at times. Third, Cash was a totally awesome guy from start to finish, so what's not to love? ;)
5. The Scarlet Dagger
by Krystle Jones
My review is here.
Why I Love It: First, Sloane is a completely kick-ass heroine who keeps it together despite having some really tough stuff thrown at her. Second, Aden is a hero that you want to love but that you are never totally sure it's 'okay' to love until the time is exactly right. And third, vampires + dystopian fiction = win. This was a really interesting combination that made both very fresh.
6. Dearly, Departed
by Lia Habel
My review is here.
Why I Love It: I think I'll just sum this one up with the quote I used when I made it October's book of the month: "Dearly, Departed made me fall in love with a zombie. Clearly, this book is a winner." Need I say more?
7. Tiger's Curse
by Colleen Houck
My review is here.
Why I Love It: I'll try to keep this short, but it's going to be hard. First, absolutely fabulous world building. I felt like I was there. Second, Ren. And Kishan. (As I said in my review, I think Kelsey and I can work this out. :p *kidding*) Third, I love the way that the adventure and romance elements interact, strengthen and balance each other. That makes for a very strong book.
8. The Key
by Felicia Rogers
My review is here.
Why I Love It: First, this book has one of the most original and well thought out paranormal creatures / mythologies I have ever seen. I didn't see it coming and I took great care not to spoil it in my review. Wanna know, huh? Go read it! Second, Chase was such an amazing hero. I totally loved how protective and caring he was toward Maggie. It fit the story well. Third, Dougal. There is a lot more to him then meets the eye. I love how he grew throughout the story and his choice at the end was moving. 
9. The Iron King
by Julie Kagawa
My review is here.
Why I Love It: I'm a gamer. Some of you know that, some of you possibly didn't. What really grabbed me about The Iron King was how well Julie was able to balance emotions and character growth with action and adventure. I also liked the way that the characters interacted, worked together, came and went. It reminded me of old school role playing games. And I'm saying that as a compliment. It's not something I notice often in books. Oh, and Ash is pretty fascinating, too. ;)
10. Catching Fire
by Suzanne Collins
My review is here.
Why I Love It: The middle of a trilogy is often the hardest part to read, but I did not find that here. Catching Fire did all of the things a good mid-book should: it expanded on the characters from book one, it showed consequences for what had happened, and it paved the way for the final book. Yet unlike many mid-books, Catching Fire was such a strong and solid read on it's own. By far my favorite in the Hunger Games trilogy.

Top Ten Book Covers of 2011:

As with the books, I am not restricting myself specifically to this year. The books that I have chosen are all things that I bought this year and that are currently on my shelves. Some of these I've read, some I'm still waiting to read. They say a picture is worth a thousand words and I think I'll let these lovelies speak for themselves.


Top Ten Book Boyfriends of 2011:

1. Joe Fontaine (from The Sky Is Everywhere). To anyone who says you can't have a leading man named Joe, I must politely disagree. Yes, yes you can.

2. Ash (from The Iron King). I love watching a character be redeemed. While we do not see a 100% reversal in Ash during this book, this is part of a series and I look forward to watching him grow. Plus, how many heroes in romance get their own book? (The Iron Knight) That really intrigues me.

3. Four (from Divergent). For some reason Four makes me think of part of Don Quixote by Gordon Lightfoot: "He is wild but he is mellow / He is strong but he is weak / He is cruel but he is gentle / He is wise but he is meek" Not all of these necessarily represent Four. It's the contrasts and layers of his character that made me think of the song.

4. Ren & Kishan (from Tiger's Curse). Each is equally swoon worthy in his own way and is totally unique and interesting. Kelsey is welcome to Ren. It's Kishan that has caught my interest. :p

5. Aden (from The Scarlet Dagger). I loved watching Sloane and Aden slowly come together. It's not often that a paranormal book takes its time, but there was no insta-love here and that was really refreshing.

6. Rephaim (from the House of Night series). I've been crushing on Rephaim since before I had a blog. I love the theme of love redeeming people and this is one of the finest examples I have ever seen.

7. Linden (from Wither) Oh. My. God. I had to go back and give this book an extra heart on account of this character. I couldn't -- okay, still can't! -- stop thinking about him. Which is shocking because I was prepared to hate him. What happened to him ripped out my heart. I hope by the end of the trilogy he can have some happiness.

8. Carlos (from Rules of Attraction). My favorite hero from the Perfect Chemistry trilogy. They were all fabulous but I really loved seeing Carlos and Kiara get together the most for some reason. A bad boy with a heart is always a win in my books.

9. Bram Griswald (from Dearly, Departed). The zombie who stole my heart. Bram is an amazing hero because despite the facts about him (Lia Habel's zombies aren't 'prettified') his personality is so uplifting and intriguing that I couldn't help cheering for him and Nora -- or falling for him myself. Very impressive!

10. Roland (from Mortal Obligation). A Dark One with a conscience, Roland has a difficult past that was alluded to during Mortal Obligation that makes him an interesting part of one of the best love triangles I have ever read. I cannot wait to find out more. Anyone know when Nichole Chase is releasing the next book?

Top Ten Must-Reads for 2012:

by Lauren DeStefano
Rhine and Gabriel have escaped the mansion, but danger is never far behind.

Running away brings Rhine and Gabriel right into a trap, in the form of a twisted carnival whose ringmistress keeps watch over a menagerie of girls. Just as Rhine uncovers what plans await her, her fortune turns again. With Gabriel at her side, Rhine travels through an environment as grim as the one she left a year ago - surroundings that mirror her own feelings of fear and hopelessness.

The two are determined to get to Manhattan, to relative safety with Rhine’s twin brother, Rowan. But the road there is long and perilous - and in a world where young women only live to age twenty and young men die at twenty-five, time is precious. Worse still, they can’t seem to elude Rhine’s father-in-law, Vaughn, who is determined to bring Rhine back to the any means necessary.

In the sequel to Lauren DeStefano’s harrowing Wither, Rhine must decide if freedom is worth the price - now that she has more to lose than ever.

I must know what happens! Wither ended with some pretty crazy things set in motion and I am very curious to see the results of the decisions that characters made.

by Veronica Roth
One choice can transform you—or it can destroy you. But every choice has consequences, and as unrest surges in the factions all around her, Tris Prior must continue trying to save those she loves—and herself—while grappling with haunting questions of grief and forgiveness, identity and loyalty, politics and love.

Tris's initiation day should have been marked by celebration and victory with her chosen faction; instead, the day ended with unspeakable horrors. War now looms as conflict between the factions and their ideologies grows. And in times of war, sides must be chosen, secrets will emerge, and choices will become even more irrevocable—and even more powerful. Transformed by her own decisions but also by haunting grief and guilt, radical new discoveries, and shifting relationships, Tris must fully embrace her Divergence, even if she does not know what she may lose by doing so.

New York Times bestselling author Veronica Roth's much-anticipated second book of the dystopian Divergent series is another intoxicating thrill ride of a story, rich with hallmark twists, heartbreaks, romance, and powerful insights about human nature.
I devoured Veronica's debut, Divergent. I absolutely loved everything about it. So of course I am anxious to get my hands on the sequel. I can't wait to see what will happen next and how the characters will grow and change.

by Megan McCafferty

It’s been thirty-five weeks since twin sisters Harmony and Melody went their separate ways. And now their story has become irresistible: twins separated at birth, each due to deliver twins…on the same day!

Married to Ram and living in Goodside, Harmony spends her time trying to fit back into the community she once believed in. But she can’t forget about Jondoe, the guy she fell for under the strangest of circumstances.

To her adoring fans, Melody has achieved everything: a major contract and a coupling with the hottest bump prospect around. But this image is costing her the one guy she really wants.

The girls’ every move is analyzed by millions of fans eagerly counting down to “Double Double Due Date.” They’re two of the most powerful teen girls on the planet, and they could do only one thing to make them even more famous:

Tell the truth.

Bumped was great but left me hanging off the edge of a cliff going "What?!". I normally hate it when books do that, especially when the wait is going to be huge, but I loved Bumped so much that I actually didn't mind. Is Thumped going to be a day one purchase for me? Absolutely! 

A Midsummer's Nightmare
by Kody Keplinger
Whitley Johnson's dream summer with her divorce dad has turned into a nightmare. She's just met his new fiancee and her kids. The fiancee's son? Whitley's one-night stand from graduation night. Just freakin' great.

Worse, she totally doesn't fit in with her dad's perfect new country-club family. So Whitley acts out. She parties. Hard. So hard she doesn't even notice the good things right under her nose: a sweet little future stepsister who is just about the only person she's ever liked, a best friend (even though Whitley swears she doesn't "do" friends), and a smoking-hot guy who isn't her least, not yet. It will take all three of them to help Whitley get through her anger and begin to put the pieces of her family together.

Filled with authenticity and raw emotion, Whitley is Kody Keplinger's most compelling character to date: a cynical Holden Caulfield-esque girl you will wholly care about.

I am so eager to read this that I'm listing it even without a cover image. Need I say more? 

Lenobia's Vow
by P.C. & Kristen Cast
The second in the enthralling new mini-series of novellas from the #1 bestselling authors of the House of Night, Lenobia's Vow tells the gripping story behind the House of Night's enigmatic riding instructor – and one of Zoey’s closest allies against evil

The House of Night is an international publishing sensation; with almost 12 million books in print, and an incredible 120 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list, the series has taken the world by storm. Now, the excitement continues as the Cast mother-daughter duo shares the back stories of a few of the House of Night's most important – and mysterious – characters. The second of the House of Night Novellas brings us Lenobia, the strong, beautiful horseback riding instructor, who guides Zoey through some of her darkest hours, and has a dark secret buried in her own past...

In a small southern town at the turn of the century, young Lenobia is developing into a beautiful young woman with ideas of her own. But when she is Marked as a fledgling vampyre, her world turns upside down, and she is drawn to the musical streets of New Orleans. There, she learns of the city’s dark underbelly, ruled by powerful black magic. As Lenobia experiences her first love – and loss – and discovers a passion for horses to sustain her, she must come face-to-face with Darkness itself. And she may not escape without scars.

Those who've been hanging around my blog for any length of time know I am madly, passionately in love with the House of Night series. So for me this is an absolute must read, especially after the fantastic setup that was done as one of the subplots in Destined. 

by Marissa Meyer
Humans and androids crowd the raucous streets of New Beijing. A deadly plague ravages the population. From space, a ruthless lunar people watch, waiting to make their move. No one knows that Earth’s fate hinges on one girl. . . .

Cinder, a gifted mechanic, is a cyborg. She’s a second-class citizen with a mysterious past, reviled by her stepmother and blamed for her stepsister’s illness. But when her life becomes intertwined with the handsome Prince Kai’s, she suddenly finds herself at the center of an intergalactic struggle, and a forbidden attraction. Caught between duty and freedom, loyalty and betrayal, she must uncover secrets about her past in order to protect her world’s future.

In this thrilling debut young adult novel, the first of a quartet, Marissa Meyer introduces readers to an unforgettable heroine and a masterfully crafted new world that’s enthralling.

I have two things to say about this one. First, I have it sitting on my bed and I'm having quite the time sitting on my hands to keep from reading it. (Chapters had it on Boxing Day. How on earth did that happen?) Second... Cinderella + Cyborgs? Sign. Me. Up.

Under the Never Sky
by Veronica Rossi
Aria is a teenager in the enclosed city of Reverie. Like all Dwellers, she spends her time with friends in virtual environments, called Realms, accessed through an eyepiece called a Smarteye. Aria enjoys the Realms and the easy life in Reverie. When she is forced out of the pod for a crime she did not commit, she believes her death is imminent. The outside world is known as The Death Shop, with danger in every direction.

As an Outsider, Perry has always known hunger, vicious predators, and violent energy storms from the swirling electrified atmosphere called the Aether. A bit of an outcast even among his hunting tribe, Perry withstands these daily tests with his exceptional abilities, as he is gifted with powerful senses that enable him to scent danger, food and even human emotions.

They come together reluctantly, for Aria must depend on Perry, whom she considers abarbarian, to help her get back to Reverie, while Perry needs Aria to help unravel the mystery of his beloved nephew’s abduction by the Dwellers. Together they embark on a journey challenged as much by their prejudices as by encounters with cannibals and wolves. But to their surprise, Aria and Perry forge an unlikely love - one that will forever change the fate of all who live UNDER THE NEVER SKY

The first book in a captivating trilogy, Veronica Rossi’s enthralling debut sweeps you into an unforgettable adventure.

This book has had my attention from the first moment that I heard about it. I love books that involve some form of adventure (and trying to rescue someone often does) and I also love books where the characters have to gradually come to accept each other; alliances or loves that are earned rather then instant. I can't wait to see what I think of this when it releases. 

Grave Mercy
by Robin LaFevers
Why be the sheep, when you can be the wolf?

Seventeen-year-old Ismae escapes from the brutality of an arranged marriage into the sanctuary of the convent of St. Mortain, where the sisters still serve the gods of old. Here she learns that the god of Death Himself has blessed her with dangerous gifts—and a violent destiny. If she chooses to stay at the convent, she will be trained as an assassin and serve as a handmaiden to Death. To claim her new life, she must destroy the lives of others.

Ismae's most important assignment takes her straight into the high court of Brittany—where she finds herself woefully under prepared—not only for the deadly games of intrigue and treason, but for the impossible choices she must make. For how can she deliver Death’s vengeance upon a target who, against her will, has stolen her heart?

Handmaiden of Death. Did you all stop reading right there and add this to your GoodReads? I've been intrigued by this book since the first time I heard about it. The premise sounds utterly fantastic. I was incredibly fortunate and won an ARC a while back, but I don't want to review it too early so it is waiting (not so patiently) to be read.

Of Poseidon
by Anna Banks
Emma and her friend Chloe are spending vacation in Florida. When Emma (literally) runs into a hot guy named Galen on the beach, little does she know he’s a prince of the Syrena. Galen and Emma both feel something strange – is it attraction? – and Galen suspects that Emma might well be the girl he’s heard of – a human who can communicate with fish.

What follows is a deadly scene with a shark in which Galen witnesses Emma’s gifts. He must know more about her, and follows her back to New Jersey, and high school, to find out for sure if she’s the key to saving his kingdom. Soon, Emma can’t deny her feelings for him, but can’t explain them, either – and both she and Galen must learn more about where she comes from and what her powers are before they can trust one another and their feelings.

Anything with people who live beneath the sea is -- pun totally intended! -- a siren song to me. I love stories about merfolk and other aquatic beings so this immediately grabbed my interest. I can't wait to check it out. 

The Selection
by Kiera Cass
For thirty-five girls, the Selection is the chance of a lifetime. The opportunity to escape the life laid out for them since birth. To be swept up in a world of glittering gowns and priceless jewels. To live in the palace and compete for the heart of the gorgeous Prince Maxon.

But for America Singer, being Selected is a nightmare. It means turning her back on her secret love with Aspen, who is a caste below her. Leaving her home to enter a fierce competition for a crown she doesn't want. Living in a palace that is constantly threatened by violent rebel attacks.

Then America meets Prince Maxon. Gradually, she starts to question all the plans she's made for herself- and realizes that the life she's always dreamed of may not compare to a future she never imagined.

This sounds incredibly interesting. But the question remains... Is this Prince worth all the trouble? If I was in this girl's shoes I think I'd have a hard time taking anyone like this at all seriously. If these girls have been selected for him it makes him seem indecisive and lazy. And if he needs, or feels he deserves, to have 35 girls put their lives on hold for him then he has a tremendous ego to boot. Going to be interesting to see whether I can be convinced otherwise. ;) 

Anyway, thanks for sticking around for all of that. :) I had a lot of fun putting this all together and I am incredibly excited to see 2012 get underway! I hope that you all had a wonderful holiday season and that the new year brings great things.

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