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Lia
05 January 2013 @ 10:33 pm
I know I've been absent here, but that's not just because I'm busy with life - I've also been busy with moving to Wordpress. That's right, I've moved on. This is partly to do with the fact that Livejournal has been giving me so much trouble lately when it comes to posting things, and I wanted to make this blog look a little more professional. I'm still in the process of moving reviews and since that'll take forever I'm not sure if I'm going to bother transferring any other types of posts. As a result, I'm going to keep this blog around as an archive in case you wish to peruse the old memes, JABBICs, etc. But if you want to see new content (and old reviews), continue on to The Reading Shelf @ Wordpress.

 
 
Lia
26 December 2012 @ 04:18 pm
Sorry that I disappeared. It was due to a combination of switching computers (which has taken a lot longer than I expected and I am still somewhat in the process of doing), the kind of sickness where I don't want to do anything, and the general hustle and bustle of the holidays. So, you get this week's installment of All the Books a little late...

BOOKS I'M READING



I just started this book this morning and so far I think it's kind of interesting. The main character isn't my favorite and she pines for her best friend a little too much, but the story itself seems interesting so far, so we'll see how it turns out.

BOOKS I'VE READ

 

The same reasons I haven't posted anything in a week and a half also apply for the reason I haven't read more in said week and a half. I finished Embers and Echoes, which I thought was an interesting sequel that sets up the next book nicely, although I think the last line was kind of cheesy. Of course, this whole series can be considered silly, which is part of what I like about it. After that, I read (and just finished last night) Girl of Nightmares, another sequel that I feel did well. There were gruesome descriptions, like the first book, and ghost fighting, but this had more of a journey feeling, with the quest to figure out how to save Anna, complete with a secret organization. Overall, I thought it was a nice read, although probably better suited for Halloween than Christmas.

BOOKS IN THE READING SHELF



I need to go to the library, another trip that's been put off due to busy-ness and sickness. I only have one book left, the slim-looking The Best Night of Your (Pathetic) Life, but I have plenty of my own books to read once it's done and I do plan on getting to the library again at some point, just not sure how long from now.
 
 
Lia
16 December 2012 @ 02:37 pm
Time for another installment of All the Books, created by Ten Cent Notes...

BOOKS I'M READING



I'm about one hundred pages into this book, and luckily it seems to be a fast read just like the first one, despite its 400+ pages. The only reason I haven't finished it yet is because I just haven't gotten a chance to really read. Even though I'm now on break, I always seem to have other things to do. So far it's fairly enjoyable, though, and despite forgetting a fair bit of what happened in the first book, it's been fairly easy to catch back up.

BOOKS I'VE READ

 

Like I said, even though I'm on break I haven't been reading a whole lot. I finished Lies That Bind, and while it wasn't an amazing book it was decently entertaining and had a bit of a cliffhanger that will lead me to read a third book, if there is one. As for This is Not a Test, it was amazing. I read almost the entire thing in one sitting, staying up past two in order to do so. It wasn't a happy book by any stretch of the word, but it was captivating and tragic and generally amazing. And sad. Very, very sad.

BOOKS IN THE READING SHELF

  

Like I said last time, I have since gone to the library and have begun building up a stack of books to read for the winter break. Girl of Nightmares is the sequel to the creepy Anna Dressed in Blood and is a sophomore book, Shadow and Bone is a debut whose movie rights have already been bought and will apparently be produced or directed or something by one of the Harry Potter people, and The Best Night of Your (Pathetic) Life has barely been on my radar but involves seniors in high school who are just on the brink of the summer before college, so that should be interesting. I'm going to try to read them all in the next week or so and I'll be making another trip to the library this week, so I'll have plenty more to read.
 
 
Lia
15 December 2012 @ 05:26 pm
I saw this survey on Radiant Shadows a week or so ago and thought it would be a good Saturday post filler, although it definitely took a long time. Expect plenty of end-of-year posts to come in the next two weeks or so, which means you'll probably see many books repeatedly put in the spotlight. I tried not to repeat the same few books over and over again, but as you'll see, that didn't always work out.

Best in Books 2012

     
1. Best book you read in 2012? 
I have read over 100 books this year and have loved a lot of them, so rather than name just one favorite, I'm going to split it into categories - Best Reread, Best pre-2012 Released Book, and Best 2012 Book. I reread plenty of great books (after all, why would I reread them if I didn't like them in the first place), but I think one of my favorites had to be Ellen Raskin's The Westing Game, a book I first read in grade school and still love today. It's more MG than YA but I think it's a book that can be enjoyed by more than just elementary school-age kids. My favorite pre-2012 read has got to be the Ruby Oliver series, starting with the amazing The Boyfriend List. I plan on buying the books as soon as possible so I can reread them again next year. I'm not sure what it is about E. Lockhart's series, especially since I wasn't as big a fan of another one of her books (see the next question), but I love Ruby and all the people in her life and I loved reading about them even more. As for the best book released in 2012, my favorite has got to be Holly Black's Black Heart. I read it months ago but I still remember how quickly I read it, impatient to find out what happened next, and even when it was over I was happy with it and thought it was a great ending to such an interesting trilogy.


2. Book you were excited about and thought you were going to love more but didn't?

While I loved E. Lockhart's Ruby Oliver series, I wasn't nearly as impressed with The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks. It wasn't that it was a necessarily bad book, but Frankie and many of the other characters mostly annoyed me and the story just didn't impress me as much as Ruby Oliver's. I thought I would like it, not just because of my love of the Ruby Oliver series but also because the premise sounded interesting enough, not to mention I had heard some great things about it, but overall I was just not a fan of this book. I feel like it could have been so much better than it actually was.


3. Most surprising (in a good way!) book of 2012?

I didn't really expect to enjoy Sarah Beth Durst's Drink, Slay, Love. I didn't expect it to be bad necessarily but I also didn't expect it to be above an average vampire book. It sounded like it would try a bit too hard to be unique and hip but would end up being too stereotypical and slightly cliched. As I read this story, though, I found it more interesting than I expected. It's not one of my favorite books of the year, nor one of the most memorable, but it was definitely a highly enjoyable read that kept me happily, surprisingly occupied for a few days earlier this year.

4. Book you recommended to people most in 2012?

I don't really recommend books to people I know, but there are definitely plenty of books that I keep mentioning on here in order to convince people to read them, and the Ruby Oliver series seemed to pop up a lot so far this year, especially since I read it in the early part of the year and have been obsessed with it ever since. And I will recommend it again now: the Ruby Oliver series is amazing and you should read it.

5. Best series you discovered in 2012?

I really didn't want to repeat books more than once or twice but the Ruby Oliver series definitely gets this spot. It's amazing. Do I really need to keep saying that?

6. Favorite new authors you discovered in 2012?

Most of the books I've loved this year have been from authors I already like, but a new favorite author I recently discovered has got to be Courtney Summers. I would include E. Lockhart as well, but so far it's the Ruby Oliver series I really love, I'll have to read some more of hers before I really decide. But in the two or three weeks I've read three of Courtney Summers' four books and they've all been emotional knock-outs. It's hard to say that I loved them, but they certainly did affect me and were powerful books. I plan on reading whatever she writes, as well as her first book, in the future, that's for sure.


7. Best book that was out of your comfort zone or was a new genre for you?

I don't really read a lot of fantasy-heavy books, so I was pleasantly surprised when I read Maria V. Snyder's Poison Study and really enjoyed it, as well as the second book. That's not to say that fantasy is necessarily out of my comfort zone, but it's not something that I actively seek out so I was just a bit surprised when I enjoyed the book so much. As long as the books are good, fantasy is a good genre, and I was lucky enough to find a good fantasy book that paints the genre in a nice light.


8. Most thrilling, unputdownable book in 2012?

This has been a fairly busy year, so sometimes it was difficult to read for long periods of time, but there have been certain books that I've read in every scrap of freetime because I just had to see what would happen. The only book that has made me stay up into the early hours is Courtney Summers' This Is Not a Test, which I just read this week. Of course, I had the opportunity to sleep in the next day, but even if I hadn't I would have stayed up to read as late as possible. I don't know if it was necessarily thrilling - yes, it was about zombies, but it was the impact on the characters that really kept me reading and made me read all of it except the first chapter in one sitting (or lying-down, since I finished it in bed before going to sleep).


9. Book you read in 2012 that you are most likely to reread next year?

Again, the Ruby Oliver series is something that I'm almost counting down the days until I'm able to reread it again (I've avoided rereading a book I already read this year so far, which is why I haven't reread it yet), but I want to include a different book for this category: Cynthia Hand's Hallowed. I also plan on rereading the first book in the Unearthly series in preparation for the last book, but Hallowed was the book that proved Cynthia Hand was a great author and the Unearthly series was one that I wanted to continue reading.


10. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2012?

I love covers, if that isn't obvious by now, and it's difficult to pick just one amazing cover. Looking at all the books I've read this year, one of my favorite covers has got to be Lisa Mantchev's So Silver Bright. It was published in 2011, I think, but I just got around to finally reading it this year. It was sad to see the trilogy end but the cover remains awesome. You could say it's another stereotypical girl-in-a-dress YA cover, but one of my favorite things about it is the fact that it's an illustration rather than a photograph. I love how the hair color on the cover changes as it does in every book, and I love seeing the adorable fairies. Her two love interests were on the second book, but I think it's fitting that it's just Bertie on this cover, because in the end this trilogy is about Bertie and not the romantic decision she makes in the end.

11. Most memorable character in 2012?

Ruby Oliver. If I hadn't read this series this year then this list would be a lot more diverse and a lot more difficult to fill out. Ruby was just an interesting character - much of the books focused on her journey instead of a bunch of crazy happenings (although there were plenty), and she was a strong enough character to hold up the series.

  
12. Most beautifully written book read in 2012?

Rather than choose one book, I'm just going to put all three of Courtney Summers' books that I read. Especially with her first two books, she relies on a minimalist style of writing that works perfectly. The books are all fairly short - her latest is the longest and it was only about 320 pages, I believe - and the sentences are fairly short as well. It could seem like that would make the books seem very underdeveloped, and though I feel like secondary characters were often left less fleshed out than I wanted, the books themslves definitely seemed to be beautifully written.

13. Book that had the greatest impact on you in 2012?

Over the past year, I've become much more conscious of slut shaming and its unfortunately frequent appearance in YA books. Unfortunately, I've come across many good books that I'm hesitant to call great because they include slut shaming. One book that dealt with a main character who was slut shamed and that definitely affected me, even weeks later, was Courtney Summers' Some Girls Are. The protagonist is unfairly shamed for something that didn't even happen and her life is pretty much ruined as a result. One scene in particular, involving the main character locked somewhere with a particular character, still makes me mad and sad and many other emotions all at once. Yes, I read it less than a month ago and it's still partially fresh, but I think this is a book that I'm going to continue thinking about for a long time.

  
14. Book you can't believe you waited until 2012 to finally read?

I'm surprised I didn't even hear about Deb Caletti and her great books until last year, and that I've waited until this year to read some of her older books (trust me, the prior-to-2012 books from E. Lockhart and Courtney Summers are technically in this category as well but I wanted to give you a slight break from them). Yes, I technically read Stay last year but I decided to include it here as well because I reread it and it rounds out the category better. I don't love everything Deb Caletti writes - I also read The Queen of Everything this year and wasn't overly impressed - but I definitely enjoy the majority of what I've read from her so far, and I plan on reading more from her in the future.

15. Favorite passage/quote from a book you read in 2012?

I love reading quotes from books I enjoy, and even good quotes from ones that I don't, but I don't go out of my way to mark quotes I like, so I don't really have any to note. Maybe in the future I'll buy cheap copies of books I like and mark them up. Until then, I'll enjoy reading quotes from other people.

16. Shortest and longest book you reda in 2012?

Most of the books I read this year tend to be somewhere in the 300 page range, but there have been outliers. The shortest book I read was Ellen Raskin's The Westing Game, which, according to Goodreads, was about 182 pages, although the copy I had may have been more, I can't remember. The longest was the very first book I read this year (it was actually started in 2011) - Derek Landy's Skulduggery Pleasant: Death Bringer, which was a huge 602 pages.

17. Book that had a scene in it that had you reeling and dying to talk to somebody about it? (a WTF moment, an epic revelation, a steamy kiss, etc. etc.)

This Is Not a Test in general made me want to talk to someone about it all this week, but I don't really talk to my friends about books so I've remained quiet about it. If I ever find a friend that's read this and other Courtney Summers books, though, then we are totally going to talk about this.

18. Favorite relationship from a book you read in 2012?
I really liked the father-daughter relationship between Clara and her father in Stay. It made me sad when it started to suffer as a result of part of the plot of the book, and I was cheering them on to make it better. In general, I really like looking at family relationships, be it with parents and their children or between siblings. There have been plenty of family relationships in the books I've read, some better than others, but Clara's relationship with her father was one of the most memorable for me.


19. Favorite book you read in 2012 from an author you read previously?

Like I said, there have been plenty of books I've read this year that I liked, and most of them came from authors I already liked. In this case, though, I'm going to talk about a book I liked from an author whose first effort wasn't a favorite of mine: Beth Revis. As I've said multiple times, I wasn't that impressed by Across the Universe - it was a good enough book, but I didn't like the characters that much and one of the few that I did ended up dying (I won't say who or why). The second book, A Million Suns, was great and a huge improvement in my mind, which has raised my expectations for the last book greatly.


20. Best book you read that you read based SOLELY on a recommendation from someone else?

I get my recommendations from book blogs rather than friends (my friends are the type to mostly read hyped-up books, which aren't always my thing, no offense to my friends). In fact, at this point I rarely read books unless I've heard at least something about them and have read at least one review. There have been plenty of books that I might not have read if it weren't for book blogs, including the Ruby Oliver books, but one in particular is Tahereh Mafi's Shatter Me. When I originally read its premise and saw its intial typical girl-in-a-dress cover back in 2011, I wasn't that impressed, but I read some good reviews and decided to give it a go, and I'm happy about that. It was definitely not what I expected, and I'm interested to see how things continue in the second book.

Looking Ahead...

 
1. One book you didn't get to in 2012 but will be your number 1 priority in 2013?

At this moment, I have 119 books to-read, and I have plenty of books that have been there all year. Some books I really want to read but haven't gotten a chance to because they're never in the library and I'm too poor to buy every single book I want to read are: Ally Carter's Out of Sight, Out of Time and Siobhan Vivian's The List. Ally Carter's book is the fifth in the Gallagher Girls series and as a result I know I need to read it, while I've heard plenty of good things about Vivian's book, even though I've never read any of her previous books (which I may have to do if I really like this book). As soon as I see these books at the library, I'll definitely grab them and read them.


2. Book you are most anticipating in 2013?

There are so many books I am desperately looking forward to, but for now I'm going to focus on the ones that come out earlier in the year and that I therefore don't have to wait for as long. In this case, the final Unearthly book, Boundless, is definitely high on my list of most-anticipated books. I need to reread the first two and then I need to read this. And probably cry.

3. One thing you hope to accomplish or do in your reading/blogging in 2013?

As always, there were plenty of points where I kind of disappeared, and while I know it's impossible to prevent that from happening during the future year, I definitely hope to have less periods like that. I also want to do more than just reviews and All the Books posts. Of course, right now I barely seem to be doing any reviews at all, but once I catch up I think it should get better. Anyway, I just hope to be a better blogger in general. And of course I hope to read as much as possible.
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Lia
14 December 2012 @ 07:53 pm
I feel like I put so much more attention on new books I want to read and ignore some older books that are on my to-read shelf as well. So, every once in a while I'm going to do a few New Books post that I'm going to dub the Rewind edition - in other words, posts where I highlight older books I want to read. I hope you enjoy and will find some books you didn't know about or forgot about.

 

Wild Roses by Deb Caletti
After reading one of Deb Caletti's recent books, Stay, last year, I began working my way through the older books this year. So far I've read four of her books and I plan on trying to read most if not all of her other books. I can't remember what they're about at the moment, but I know this sounded interesting and it's by Deb Caletti, so that's good enough for me.

The Nature of Jade by Deb Caletti
Again, can't really remember what this book is about but when I was getting the image and link off of Goodreads I noticed something about mental illness, but, as with the previous book, it's Deb Caletti and that's good enough for me.

 

Forever Rose by Hilary McKay
When I was little, my mom bought me Saffy's Angel and I loved it. A few years later, I read the next three books in the series and loved them as well. A few weeks ago I decided to buy the rest of the series, including a fifth book that I hadn't realized I hadn't read. I know these books are probably more middle grade than young adult, but I really don't care - these are books about a quirky British family, how can I not read them?

Two-Way Street by Lauren Barnholdt
I haven't read any Lauren Barnholdt books yet but I plan on reading one of her more recent books and I've heard some good things about it. Plus, I need more college-age books, and this is about a girl and her ex on a road trip to their college, if I remember correctly. Sounds quite interesting...

 

Fire Study by Maria V. Snyder
This is the last book in the Study series, which I discovered and loved earlier this year. Unfortunately, I haven't been able to find this book yet and it's making me quite sad. Hopefully I'll be able to find it in ebook format or something, but if necessary (and if I have enough money) I can always buy the whole trilogy.

Cracked Up to Be by Courtney Summers
I read Courtney Summers' second and third books, and just this week I read her fourth book in almost one sitting and all of them have left me feeling at least a little bit emotionally drained. This is her first book so it could be her weakest since she's just starting out, but I have a feeling that, even at her weakest, it'll pack an emotional punch.

There are plenty of other at-least-a-few-years-old books that I want to read, but I don't want to use them all since I wouldn't mind doing more of these posts in the future.