Saturday, December 31, 2011

2011 Wrap-Up

2011 has been a crazy year! I graduated from college, moved, joined Goodreads, started the blog, met a bunch of awesome people, and read a lot of great books! I met Maggie Stiefvater (who is terribly funny and if possible even more amazing in person than she is on paper), Cassandra Clare, and Michelle Hodkin (both of whom are quite entertaining). Thank you all so much for reading and following; I appreciate all your comments and your support. And I appreciate not talking to myself here, because I do enough of that already.
...I have done this. A lot.

I don't know if you notice this, but I read fast. (This is something that happens when you start reading 700 page books when you are twelve. You have to read fast or you will never finish anything.) So I am happy to say that I read a lot of books this year. You can see what I've read since the end of July by going to my challenge page on GR. Here's a screen shot, though you can't necessarily see what all the books are:

Since July 27, 2011 I have read 163 books, of which 128 were new reads. My goal was originally 60 (because I had never counted the number of books I read before), which I then changed to 200 when I finished the first 60 by September. While I didn't end up meeting my revised goal, I think it was a pretty successful year!

I also took part in the Horror and Urban Fantasy Challenge to read and review at least 24 horror/UF books, and I'm pleased to report that even though I didn't start until August, when I started my blog, I managed to review 33 books for the challenge. Thanks to the lovely ladies at Book Chick City for hosting this challenge!

How many books did you read this year? Did you finish your challenges? Leave a comment or link to your wrap-up post and let me know! Have a fun and safe New Year's Eve, and Happy New Year!

Obsidian by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Jennifer L. Armentrout
Lux #1

Déjà vu. That's what I felt when reading this book.

Let me tell you a story. Once upon a time, there was this girl who met this boy, and the boy was a gorgeous, but a jerk. She was kind of fascinated with him (because he was gorgeous, and also mysterious), but they didn't get along. One day, something happened that almost killed her, but the boy saved her, and he did it by doing something that should have been impossible. Turns out the boy's not human, and he has enemies. Now she'll be targeted by those enemies too.

Sound familiar? That's because not only is that the plot of Obsidian, it also perfectly describes Twilight, Die for Me, Hush, Hush, and probably other books I haven't read. It's not a bad plot, exactly, but I'm getting a little tired of reading the same thing in every YA paranormal romance.

I'm not a fan of the "human girl meets supernatural boy" aspect, either. Either both parties should have superpowers or neither should. The discrepancy makes it hard to have a healthy relationship.

I did like Katy a lot. It was fun (and a little surreal) to read about her book blog, and I loved that she didn't just sit back and let everything happen to her. I also appreciated that, instead of whining about moving to a small town where she knew absolutely no one, she was determined to make the best of it, which was a nice change from the all-too-frequent YA angst. I think Katy's character made this book actually stand out from the crowd I mentioned before.

Granted, the alien aspect of the story was different as well, but it really just seemed like the same setting as I Am Number Four. And while the Luxen were pretty cool, I was not impressed by the Arum. Evil should never be explained by saying, "that's just the way their species is." Good and evil aren't about what we are, they're about what we choose, and eliminating that choice by making a whole group innately bad makes the story seem superficial and juvenile. I want stories to give me reasons for people to do the things they do, and "they're all like that" is terribly unsatisfying, unless it turns out that they're actually not and that's a major part of the story. (From what I've seen so far, that doesn't seem likely here, but I guess you never know.)

This book the plot of Twilight with the world of I Am Number Four. If you liked those, I am sure you will like this one. Personally, I found it fairly unoriginal, but I liked the writing and the characters enough that I will probably read the sequels, maybe.

Quality: Fair
Enjoyability: Acceptable

Friday, December 30, 2011

Shadow Heir by Richelle Mead

Shadow Heir
Richelle Mead
Dark Swan #4

**This review contains spoilers for all of the previous Dark Swan novels. If you haven't read them yet, DON'T READ THE REVIEW! I'll let you know before we get to the Shadow Heir spoilers, but there will be some of those later on too.**

At the end of Iron Crowned, I wasn't sure how Richelle Mead was going to be able to wrap this series up in just one more book. I don't know about you, but I've never seen a baby with the ability to hold a sword – or even hold its own head up. So unless we were going to skip forward twenty years or so, it didn't seem like the prophecy would really be resolved.

We did not skip forward twenty years or so. Rather than the prophecy, this book actually revolves around a quest to protect Eugenie's, Dorian's, Maiwenn's, and other neighboring kingdoms from a deadly winter spell. I thought it was a little strange that not a whole lot of focus was on Eugenie's kids. (Okay, the first quarter of the book was about them/her pregnancy, but it wasn't that exciting.) It seems like, since the whole series was about Eugenie's potential kids, there would be more attention on them when they were no longer potential, however hard she tried to hide them, but they ended up with this random threat from a kingdom we'd never heard of.

Overall, I found this conclusion (which I'll talk about specifically soon) mostly reasonable but unsatisfying. Everything about it just seemed really out of the blue. The previous books really needed to have more hints of the ending, and this one should have been about Eugenie and Dorian trying to stop Kiyo and Maiwenn from killing Eugenie's son, not a sudden mission to a previously unknown kingdom. I would have been fine with this book, which has Mead's standard fun, easy-to-read writing style, if it hadn't been the last one of the series. As it is, it feels kind of rushed and not really complete.

**If you haven't read Shadow Heir yet, STOP HERE! The rest of the review contains spoilers for Shadow Heir.**

I have to say, one thing I am very happy about is that Eugenie ended up with Dorian. I was so worried that she was going to go back to Kiyo, and I'm incredibly relieved that didn't happen. (Although I would have been totally okay with her letting him die too. But maybe that's a little harsh.)

However, other than that, I wasn't really pleased with the ending. How could no one know Ysabel was Storm King's daughter? I thought the Paigel plotline, while a reasonable solution to the prophecy, really came out of nowhere. There was never a hint that Ysabel was Storm King's daughter – sure, she had red hair and air magic, but Dorian has red hair too, and presumably lots of people have air magic. I really disliked that this whole solution came out of nowhere, and then when Maiwenn arbitrarily decided that the prophecy might shift to Isaac, I was even more annoyed. The randomness didn't even solve anything!

While it was interesting to learn more of Volusian's history, I would really have preferred if they took out the Yew Land plotline altogether. It really wasn't necessary and made the series wrap-up part of the story feel even more rushed. If the whole book had been focused on Paigel and the twins, it might not have felt so unsatisfying.

Finally, why the hell did Kiyo wait until then to tell Eugenie he wasn't the father of her kids? That really came out of nowhere. He never thought to say, "Hey, honey, I got a vasectomy, so you don't have to worry about getting knocked up with me anymore"? That was the most WTF moment in a book with far too many WTF moments. And I really objected to Eugenie then a) deciding not to tell Dorian that he was the father of her children, and b) planning to keep them hidden from him. Besides just being cruel, that seems like it's inviting future trouble. Has she never read Oedipus? Or the Iliad? Don't send your kids away to try to avoid prophecies!

So although I did enjoy Shadow Heir, I can't say I'm pleased that it was the last book in the series. It seems as though the only thing that was fixed was Eugenie and Dorian's relationship, which was definitely not enough to complete the series for me.

**End spoilers**

Quality: Fair
Enjoyability: Acceptable

GARS Score: 0.8 (1/3/3/2)
What's a GARS score?

Magic Bites by Ilona Andrews
Touch the Dark by Karen Chance
Once Bitten by Kalayna Price

Top Ten Books I'm Looking Forward to in 2012

Welcome to Friday, the final day of Top 10 week, hosted by FiktshunConfessions of a BookaholicA Life Bound by Books, and Two Chicks on Books! Today's topic: the books of 2012.

While there are a lot of books I'm looking forward to next year, I limited this list to the books I really, really want. And also ones that actually have titles, because I was not having "Untitled" on my list. No offense, Mercy Thompson/Night Huntress/Mara Dyer/Cassie Palmer. I love you all, but you can't be on the list without a title.

Cold Days by Jim Butcher (Dresden Files #14)
Expected publication: July 2012

The Dresden Files just keeps getting more interesting, and I can't wait for the next book! Very few series are still excellent in their teens, but Jim Butcher manages spectacularly, and after the end of Ghost Story, I'm dying to see what he has up his sleeve.

Iced by Karen Marie Moning (Fever World #1)
Expected publication: October 30, 2012

Do I even need to explain this one? When KMM announced the trilogy about Dani, the squeals of glee echoed across the blogosphere. Fever may be the most addictive series I've ever read, and I hope the next visit to this world will be just as good.

A Perfect Blood by Kim Harrison (The Hollows #10)
Expected publication: February 21, 2012

Pale Demon was the best book yet of the Hollows, and left me desperately wondering what will happen next. I've heard pretty positive reviews so far, so it sounds like A Perfect Blood will be another great one!

Gunmetal Magic by Ilona Andrews (Kate Daniels #5.5)
Expected publication: August 2012

In some ways, I'm a little disappointed about Gunmetal Magic – I love Kate and I want her, not Andrea, to tell the story. But I trust Ilona Andrews to do as good a job with this one as they have with everything else they've written, and I'm getting more and more excited about this book as it gets closer.

The Golden Lily by Richelle Mead (Bloodlines #2)
Expected publication: June 19, 2012

While very different from Rose in Vampire Academy, Sydney was a great lead in Bloodlines, and I'm looking forward to seeing more from her in The Golden Lily.

A Memory of Light by Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson (Wheel of Time #14)
Expected publication: March 2012

After over thirty years (holy crap!) the Wheel of Time will finally be complete. Like all the other WoT fans, I was nervous when Brandon Sanderson took over the series after Robert Jordan's death, but he's done an amazing job so far and I can't wait to see how they conclude this epic saga.

Shadow Bound by Rachel Vincent (Unbound #2)
Expected publication: June 1, 2012

Blood Bound was one of the best series debuts of 2011. I loved the world of Unbound and the intricacy of the plot. I look forward to the same quality from Shadow Bound this summer!

The Mark of Athena by Rick Riordan (Heroes of Olympus #3)
Expected publication: September 2012

I discovered this summer how awesome Percy and his friends were in Percy Jackson and the Olympians, and I'm happy they've embarked on a new quest in the Heroes of Olympus. I love the way Rick Riordan has incorporated both Roman and Greek mythology into the story, and I'm thrilled there's still more to come.

Insurgent by Veronica Roth (Divergent #2)
Expected publication: May 1, 2012

YA dystopian books have been pretty hit-or-miss with me, but Divergent was definitely a hit. I eagerly await the sequel to Veronica Roth's action-packed debut.

Since that's only nine, here are a few more books I'm looking forward to in 2013:

The Doors of Stone by Patrick Rothfuss (The Kingkiller Chronicles #3)
The Republic of Thieves by Scott Lynch (Gentlemen Bastards #3)
Highprince of War by Brandon Sanderson (Stormlight Archive #2)

That's it for the 2011 top ten lists! Thanks so much to the hosts for organizing such a great event! Stop by tomorrow for my 2011 wrap-up post!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Top Ten Characters of 2011

Welcome to Thursday of Top 10 week, hosted by FiktshunConfessions of a BookaholicA Life Bound by Books, and Two Chicks on Books! Today's topic: characters.

I hope everyone realizes at this point that, as much as I enjoy top ten lists, I'm too wishy-washy to rank things. In the spirit of wishy-washy-ness, I decided to create many different categories and pick one character for each, sort of like the Academy Awards if the Academy Awards were about books and there were only ten of them and I got to pick the winners.

Best Heroine: Kate Daniels
Magic Slays by Ilona Andrews

I love Kate. Kate is my favorite. She is strong and funny and kicks major ass, and she cares about her friends more than anything.
"You said sloppy! Look, I didn't even use my sword; I hit him with my head, like a moron."

Whatever storm was brewing, I'd find it and fight it. If it was the price of being with Curran, then I'd pay it. He was worth it.

Best Hero: Kvothe
The Wise Man's Fear by Patrick Rothfuss

Kvothe is a hero with depth. He's brilliant and fascinating to read about. He's also far too clever for his own good, but just enough clever to make readers extremely happy. I look forward to The Doors of Stone.

I slid Threpe's sealed letter inside, where it joined the hollow horn with Nina's drawing and a small sack of dried apple I had stowed there. There was nothing special about the apple, but in my opinion if you have a secret compartment in your lute case and don't use it to hide things, there is something terribly, terribly wrong with you.

Best Teen Heroine: Puck Connolly
The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater

The Scorpio Races is an unusual book, and Puck is an unusual character. She's stubborn and she cares. If you get a chance, definitely check this one out; it's a wonderful story.

It's been a long time since I've been in Skarmouth after dark, and it reminds me of the time Dad cut his hair. For the first seven years of my life, Dad had dark, curly hair that was like me–in that he told it first thing in the morning what he wanted it to do, and then it went and did pretty much whatever it wanted to do. Anyway, when I was seven, Dad came back with the docks with his hair close shaven and when I saw him walk in the door and kiss my mother on the mouth, I started to cry because I thought he was a stranger.

And that's what Skarmouth has done, overnight: it's turned into an entirely different Skarmouth from the one I've known my whole life, and I don't feel like letting it kiss me on the mouth any time soon.

Best Teen Hero: Percy Jackson
The Son of Neptune by Rick Riordan

Percy is loyal, courageous, and sometimes not all that bright, which make for an ideal MG hero. His journey through the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series and now the Heroes of Olympus continuation has been great to read.

Just his luck he was related to this grubby old dude. He hoped all sons of Neptune didn't share the same fate. First, you start carrying a man satchel. Next thing you know, you're running around in a bathrobe and pink bunny slippers, chasing chickens with a weed whacker.

Best Animal Companion: Oberon
Hexed by Kevin Hearne

Oberon is Atticus O'Sullivan's Irish wolfhound, and he's definitely the dog I want. While he can communicate with Atticus in actual words, it's definitely clear that he's a dog, which makes for some highly entertaining conversations.

Oberon looked at me. <I know that has to make you sad. But call to me instead, Atticus. I'll always answer. Your fly has been open all this time, by the way, and Granuaile hasn't said a thing.>

Thanks, buddy, I said silently as I tried to surreptitiously zip up my jeans.

<See? I got your back AND your front. I deserve a treat.>

Best Sidekick: Jenks
Pale Demon by Kim Harrison

Jenks is absolutely hilarious. Even though I love Rachel, Ivy, and all the other supporting characters, Jenks is my favorite because of his ridiculous swearing, his 54 kids, and his complete lack of respect for any kind of authority.

"Tagged by a whiny little vamp," he said gesturing. "Rache, take this sword and stick it in me. Just go and stick it in me. I'm a back-drafted, crumple-winged, dust-caked, dew-assed excuse for a backup. Worthless as a pixy condom. Taken down by my own partner. Just tape my ass shut and let me fart out my mouth."

Best Villain: Ku'Sox
Pale Demon by Kim Harrison

Ku'Sox is a frightening creature. It's hard to say much else without spoilers, but Ku'Sox was definitely a part of the reason Pale Demon was the best book of The Hollows yet.

Best Villain/Reluctant Ally: Ruben Cavazos
Blood Bound by Rachel Vincent

Ruben is definitely not a good guy. But he is oddly fascinating, a lot like Johnny Marcone from the Dresden Files but probably less classy.

Best Character Development: MacKayla Lane
Shadowfever by Karen Marie Moning

Who went from a pink-skirt loving southern belle who cared about nothing more than her favorite nail polish to this:
"Some people wouldn't see a traitor when they looked at me. Some people would see a survivor. Call me anything you like - I sleep fine at night. But you will look at me when you say it. Or I'll get so far in your face you'll be seeing me with your eyes closed. You'll be seeing me in your nightmares. I'll scorch myself on the backs of your eyelids. Get off my back and stay off it. I'm not the woman I used to be. If you want a war with me, you'll get one."

Best Humor: Harry Dresden
Ghost Story by Jim Butcher

Harry is both extremely witty and extremely heroic. The heroic generally doesn't work out great for him, but at least he has the witty to mock bad guys.

"Star Trek?" I asked her. "Really?"

"What?" she demanded, bending unnaturally black eyebrows together.

"There are two kinds of people in the universe, Molly," I said. "Star Trek fans and Star Wars fans. This is shocking."

She sniffed. "This is the post-nerd-closet world, Harry. It's okay to like both."

"Blasphemy and lies," I said.

Stop by tomorrow for the year's final top ten list, books I'm looking forward to in 2012! 

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Top Ten Book Boyfriends of 2011

Welcome to Wednesday of Top 10 week, hosted by FiktshunConfessions of a BookaholicA Life Bound by Books, and Two Chicks on Books! Today's topic: book boyfriends.

I object to the use of the term "boyfriend" in this post. None of the men on my list are anything at all like boys. In fact, I'm finding it rather difficult to write anything interesting here, because I'm far more interested in them...

Jericho Z. Barrons
Fever by Karen Marie Moning


What? Oh yeah, I'm supposed to be writing. Um...Barrons is hot. That is all.

I know part of what turns me on so hard, makes me violent with lust, is that he's dangerous. I fell for the bad guy. I'm crazy about the one who's trouble. The alpha that doesn't play well with others and doesn't take orders from anyone.

"Last night you said you wanted to know what to expect so you could better select your attire. I told you we were going to visit a vampire in a Goth-den tonight. Why, then, Ms. Lane, do you look like a perky rainbow?"

Curran Lennart (Yes, that's really his surname. See?)
Kate Daniels by Ilona Andrews

I ripped my left arm out of his hand and slammed my elbow into his solar plexus. He exhaled in a gasp. I lunged for the dagger and sat on top of him, my knees pinning his arms, my dagger on his throat.

He lay still. "I give up," he said and smiled. "Your move."

Er. I was sitting atop the Beast Lord in my underwear, holding a knife to his throat. What the hell was my next move?
-Magic Strikes

Curran and Kate are my favorite couple. Their conversations are absolutely hilarious and Ilona Andrews did a great job building their relationship.

"If I fought for them and was crippled, they would all say nice things, and then they would replace me and forget that I was ever there. You would stay with me. You would take care of me because you love me. I love you too, Kate. If you ever became hurt, I would not leave you.

"I'll be there. Wherever you want 'there' to be."
-Magic Slays

John Pritkin
Cassie Palmer by Karen Chance

After reading Touch the Dark, I never would have thought Pritkin would be so awesome. But he is. I really, really want him and Cassie to get together, especially after Hunt the Moon!

"I'm fine," I told him tersely.

"Of course you are. You're one of the strongest people I know."

It took me a second to process that, because he'd said it so casually. Like he was talking about the weather or what time it was. Only Pritkin didn't say things like that. His idea of a compliment was a nod and to tell me to do whatever it was I'd done over again. Like that was usually possible.

But that had sounded suspiciously like a compliment to me.
-Hunt the Moon

Dark Swan by Richelle Mead

Dorian is fascinating. He's arrogant and ambitious and he doesn't take anything seriously. But if Eugenie ends up with Kiyo at the end of Shadow Heir, I'm going to scream, because I love Dorian.

"Since I'm presuming you don't mean you finally bought him a leash, let me say simply that there is a big difference between letting an animal ravage you and allowing yourself to be ravaged. One is common. The other is art. It is planned. Crafted, even. Only capable of being done by a master."
-Thorn Queen

Adam Hauptman
Mercy Thompson by Patricia Briggs

Adam is a good man. He's also a werewolf alpha, and the combination is rarer than you might think. Watching his and Mercy's relationship develop has been a joy.

"I like having you wear my ring. I like that people can just look at you and know that you are taken, that you are mine." He closed his eyes and laughed. "And yes, I know that sentiment is at the top of the Women's Liberation Movement's list of things not to say to a modern woman."
-River Marked

Harry Dresden
The Dresden Files by Jim Butcher

Is it weird to love someone who is the main character rather than the love interest of the main character? Whatever, I love Dresden. He's witty and he's a hero, all at the same time. And there's nothing he won't do for the people he loves.

A bolt of warmth, fierce with joy and pride and gratitude, flashed through me like sudden lightning. I don't care about whose DNA has recombined with whose. When everything has gone to hell, the people who stand by you without flinching - they are your family. And they were my heroes.
-Proven Guilty

Atticus O'Sullivan
Iron Druid by Kevin Hearne

Atticus is another one of the main character men I love. He's a lot like Dresden, but more relaxed. It's probably because he's 21 centuries old.

Brighid's eyes flashed with a blue flame, and I wondered if she had learned to do that just so she could compete with the Morrighan's red flashes. Maybe I should try to figure out how to make my eyes flash green so I could freak out the baristas at Starbucks. "No, you foolish mortal," I'd say as my eyes glowed, "I ordered a nonfat latte."

The Princess Bride by William Goldman

Why yes, I did read The Princess Bride this year. This addition seemed appropriate because I have been in love with Westley since I was twelve.

"I've been saying it so long to you, you just wouldn't listen. Every time you said 'Farm boy do this' you thought I was answering 'As you wish' but that's only because you were hearing wrong. 'I love you' is what I was saying, but you never heard."

Guild Hunter by Nalini Singh

Raphael is gorgeous and powerful, and he loves Elena like nothing else. And he has wings. What more could you ask?

"You are mine, Elena. If you choose to sleep in another bed, I will simply pick you up and bring you home."
-Archangel's Consort

Cam Caballero
Unbound by Rachel Vincent

I love Cam's defiance of destiny and his willingness to do whatever it takes to be with Liv.

"I love you, Olivia," he whispered, and my heart ached as if it would break in half. "You think we'll die if we stay together, but I've been dying for the last six years. I'm taking my life back, Liv. Our life together. And this time, I'm not going to let you go."
-Blood Bound

Stop by tomorrow for the top ten characters of 2011! 

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Top Ten Book Covers of 2011...Well, Sort Of

Welcome to Tuesday of Top 10 week, hosted by FiktshunConfessions of a BookaholicA Life Bound by Books, and Two Chicks on Books! Today's topic: book covers.

I tried to do this. I really did. But here's the thing.

I really, really can't bring myself to care about book covers.

Sure, I like it when they're pretty or interesting, but they could be really boring or ugly and I would barely even notice. What I care about is the content, not the packaging.

Don't worry, I'm not trying to say that I'm a less shallow person because I'm indifferent to cover art. If anything, judging by the frequent squeals of delight among book bloggers over new covers, there may be something wrong with me. Even so, I refuse to bend to the peer pressure of cover love (mostly because I truly don't see that much of a difference between what people consider good and bad covers).

Of course, I may judge book covers by their font choice. (Please don't use Papyrus. Or Times New Roman.) Maybe I'm just a font snob rather than a cover snob! I have found my niche! I am pleased.

Anyway, since you were promised a list, I decided to pick ten of my favorite quotes of the year. I won't guarantee that they're the best quotes of 2011 (because all I did was go on Goodreads and look at some of my favorite books), but I like them. And hey, I put the covers there too! Enjoy!

"Jump into an open grave? What kind of idiot are you?" Butters replied. "I might as well put on a red shirt and volunteer for the away team. There's snow and ice and slippery mud down there. That's like asking for an ironically broken neck."
-Jim Butcher, Ghost Story

"I have an apple that thinks it is a pear," she said, holding it up. "And a bun that thinks it is a cat. And a lettuce that thinks it is a lettuce."
"It's a clever lettuce, then."
"Hardly," she said with a snort. "Why would anything clever think it was a lettuce?"
"Even if it is a lettuce?" I asked.
"Especially then," she said. "Bad enough to be a lettuce. How awful to think you are a lettuce too."
-Patrick Rothfuss, The Wise Man's Fear

“Are you sure you know where you're going?" Andrea frowned.
"Would you like me to pull over and ask that bamboo for directions?"
"I don't know, do you think it will answer?"
We peered at the bamboo.
"I think it looks suspicious," Andrea said.
"Maybe there is a heffalump hiding in it."
Andrea stared at me.
"You know, heffalump? From Pooh Bear?"
"Where do you even get this shit?”
-Ilona Andrews, Magic Slays

Hope strengthens, fear kills. That simple adage is master of every situation, every choice. Each morning we wake up, we get to choose between hope and fear and apply one of these emotions to everything we do.
-Karen Marie Moning, Shadowfever

"Can you draw a skeleton riding a motorcycle with flames coming out of it? And I want a pirate hat on the skeleton. And a parrot on his shoulder. A skeleton parrot. Or maybe a ninja skeleton parrot? No, that would be overkill. But it'd be cool if the biker skeleton could be shooting some ninja throwing stars. That are on fire."
-Richelle Mead, Bloodlines

“There!" Mars finished writing and threw the scroll at Octavian. "A prophecy. You can add it to your books, engrave it on the floor, whatever."
Octavian read the scroll. "This says, 'Go to Alaska. Find Thanatos and free him. Come back by sundown on June twenty-fourth or die'."
"Yes," Mars said. "Is that not clear?"
"Well, my lord...usually prophecies are unclear. They're wrapped in riddles. They rhyme, and..."
Mars casually popped another grenade off his belt. "Yes?"
"The prophecy is clear!" Octavian announced. "A quest!”
-Rick Riordan, The Son of Neptune

"None of this makes any sense."
"I'm beginning to think I should make that the title of my autobiography"
-Rachel Hawkins, Demonglass 

Noah shifted on the bed, and the oddest crunching sound came from beneath him. I looked, really looked, at the bed for the first time.
"What," I asked slowly, as I eyed the animal crackers strewn all over it, "the hell?"
"You were convinced they were your pets," Noah said, not even trying to surpress his laughter. "You wouldn't let me touch them."
-Michelle Hodkin, The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer

"If you're going to carry a knife, you need to learn how to use it."
I frowned at it. "I know how to use it. I stick the pointy end in things I don't like."
-Kalayna Price, Grave Dance 

"Becoming fearless isn't the point. That's impossible. It's learning how to control your fear, and how to be free from it."
-Veronica Roth, Divergent

I hope you enjoyed my nonconformity! Stop by tomorrow for my top ten book boyfriends of 2011!

Monday, December 26, 2011

Top Ten Books I've Read in 2011

Welcome to Top 10 week, hosted by Fiktshun, Confessions of a Bookaholic, A Life Bound by Books, and Two Chicks on Books! Today's list might just be the hardest - I'm really bad at book comparisons. Especially comparisons of very different books. So instead of ranking my favorite books of the year, I decided to split them into categories.

High Fantasy
The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson (The Stormlight Archive #1)
My review

I can't believe I waited a year to read this book. I enjoyed the rest of Sanderson's work reasonably well, but The Way of Kings was easily one of the best books I read this year. Amazing worldbuilding and very sympathetic characters make for a wonderful story.

The Chaos Crystal by Jennifer Fallon (Tide Lords #4)

It makes me terribly sad that Jennifer Fallon's books are published so much later in the US than in Australia, because I love her writing, characters, and the intricate plots she creates. The Chaos Crystal was an excellent conclusion to the Tide Lords series.

Urban Fantasy
Shadowfever by Karen Marie Moning (Fever #5)

Waiting for Shadowfever almost killed me. Anyone who has finished Dreamfever will know what I mean. I was so excited for Shadowfever to come out that I got mad at Amazon for sending it out at midnight Pacific time and not Eastern time. Fever is one of the most engrossing series I've ever read, and I highly recommend it to anyone who hasn't read it yet.

Pale Demon by Kim Harrison (The Hollows #9)

Pale Demon was by far the best installment of The Hollows thus far. Filled with surprising developments, not to mention danger, it was a thrill to read and made me want desperately to get my hands on A Perfect Blood.

Magic Slays by Ilona Andrews (Kate Daniels #5)

I love, love, love this series. It's amazing. It's both funny and serious. There is swordfighting, romance, family drama, mystery, and basically everything that makes stories great.

YA Fantasy/Supernatural
The Wolves of Mercy Falls by Maggie Stiefvater
My review

Maggie Stiefvater's writing is gorgeous. Sam and Grace are one of the sweetest couples I've seen, and the lack of stupid relationship drama was a refreshing change from most YA tales. The Wolves of Mercy Falls was a very interesting take on werewolves and I absolutely loved it.

I love reading MG books. There's something so refreshingly wonderful about them. The Percy Jackson series is one of those great stories that's perfect for all ages, with heroes, villains, mythology, friendship, family, humor, and love. What more could you ask from a book?

The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin
My review

This book had a few pretty obvious flaws. The impressive part was that I realized that as I was reading and still couldn't put it down. Something about this story just grabbed me and wouldn't let go, and I loved the suspense and all the weird psychological things that happened.

Not Fantasy

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows

I have only recently started branching out into non-fantasy-related genres. (Inconsistency is not one of my flaws. At least where books are concerned.) This book was one that I picked up because someone at my local bookstore recommended it, and I'm so glad she did. It's a wonderful, touching story that takes place shortly after World War II, and it's told in a series of letters and notes. I love it!

If I Stay by Gayle Forman (If I Stay #1)
My review

If I Stay is a brilliantly told, wonderfully emotional story about choices and love. It is spectacular. Just read it.

Stop by tomorrow for the top ten book covers of 2011!