December 20, 2012

Class of 2012 YA Superlative Blogfest: Day 4

Day 4:  Best In Show
(All titles are linked to their Goodreads synopses.)

Head on over to the following blogs for more info on this blogfest:
Tracey NeithercottKaty UppermanAlison Miller, and Jessica Love

Favourite Cover: 
I suck at choosing just one...

Incarnate—because every time I see this beauty, it catches my eye.
Shadow and Bone—because the Russian flair on the cover and the pages inside is just gorgeous.
Throne of Glass (British cover)—because it truly reflects the kickassery of Celaena Sardothian.
The Selection—because even as a big girl I still dream about owning a frou frou princess dress.
Sapphire Blue—because the gem-like detailing and ornate curlicues is just so darn pretty.

Cutest Couple:
Bennett + Anna, Time Between Us

I'm assuming we're talking "Awwww" cute couples and not "Holy wow, this couple is smoking hot". This was a toss-up between Bennett + Anna (Bennanna—haha!) and Oliver + Hadley in The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight. Both couples were absolutely adorable, but I think Bennanna tips the scale just a hair in their favour.

Most Likely to Succeed 
(Or, pick a Printz Winner.):

Long after that other Shades of Grey series fades from memory, this book will still be around receiving the praise it truly deserves. This is one of those books you read alongside Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl and The Book Thief. {Addition: So I just found out that this book is a 2011 release. Whoops! I only heard about it for the first time this year, so I mistakenly thought it came out in 2012.}

Most Likely to Make You Miss Your Bedtime 
(The book you just couldn't put down!):

Maggie Stiefvater's writing is just so captivating that I found myself devouring The Raven Boys a lot quicker than I anticipated. I just finished Throne of Glass, and it was pretty darn good too. Mostly, I was just waiting for some swoony bits between Celaena and Chaol (and for the most part, I wasn't disappointed).

Best Repeat Performance 
(Your favourite sequel or follow-up.):

I kind of want to say Insurgent here, but there were things that irked me a bit in it, so I'll consider it first runner up. Sapphire Blue was everything I was hoping it would be after reading Ruby Red so long ago. Can't wait for the third book!

Favourite Finale or End of Series Novel:
I'm actually just starting or mid-series on a number of series, surprisingly. I've got no finales to list.

Romance Most Worthy of an Ice Bath:
Perry + Aria, Under the Never Sky

I read a lot of swoonworthy (read: steamy) romances in books this year, but I think Veronica Rossi wins this one with Perry and Aria. I think I can probably attribute this to how rugged and primal Perry came across.
Honourable mention: Ismae + Duval, Grave Mercy.

Breakout Novel 
(Your favourite book by a debut author.):

Gah! This was nearly impossible to choose. I resisted the urge to put two...or three. I think Cinder takes the title because it was just such a unique twist on a very familiar tale.
Honourable mentions: Shadow and Bone + Throne of Glass

Best Old-Timer 
(Your favourite read of the year published BEFORE 2012.):
I refuse to choose just one. (Big surprise, right?)

The Book Thief—because it's just such a powerful read with a new take on a truly awful point in history.
Audrey, Wait!—because Robin Benway is the queen of teen voice, and because it's stinking hilarious.
Graceling—because this book reminded me how much I actually do like fantasy, and because Katsa's kickass.

Most Likely to Make a Grown Man Cry:

The deportation and extermination of Lithuanians to Siberia by the Soviets in 1941 is a less familiar piece of history than other WWII-era events, but it's no less heartbreaking or important to pass on. (Lest we forget, or in this case, never hear about it in the first place.) It wasn't until the interview with Ruta Sepetys at the end that I really felt myself losing it. {Again, I didn't realize this was a 2011 release, so forgive me for cheating.}

Most Pleasant Surprise 
(The best book you didn't think you'd like, but totally did.):

I think something about the "no-strings-attached hookups" description on the flap was kind of a turn-off. I'm not big on the one night stands and sleeping around in the books I read. Of course, this doesn't end up being part of Bria's experience, and I got totally sucked into her story. It was hard not to love it, love Bria and Rowan, and the little sketches on the pages.

Most Creative Use of a Love Triangle:
Gansey + Blue + Adam, The Raven Boys

I feel like this category was made specifically for this book. Come on, you know it's coming. It may not have played out in Book 1, but we know (or have been more or less told) that it's in the cards. In case you're wondering, I'm Team Gansey.

Sleeper Hit 
(The book you found so awesome you wish it had been hyped more.):

For some reason I feel like this book hasn't been hyped up enough. And judging by the number of my Goodreads pals who either haven't read it yet or it hasn't made it onto their TBR lists, I think it could use more talking up. To those of you put off by historical fiction—Trust me, you won't find it boring. I have three words for you: Kickass. Nun. Assassin. That is all.

Favourite Outlier 
(Your favourite middle grade picture book or adult new adult 2012 book):

I know this was supposed to be middle grade, but since I haven't read any this year and since William Joyce's books are always fantastic (pardon the pun), I went with this one. It's a book about books and words and the illustrations are gorgeous (like always). Not only is the story totally cute, there's a short film of it as well that you can purchase on iTunes.

New Adult: Easy

Honestly, I think it's about time new adult became a thing. Judging by the popularity of books like Easy, there's certainly a market for it. A word of warning, though: This book is on the risqué side. So if you're squirrelly about such things, you might not want to pick it up. I loved the relationship between Jacqueline and Lucas. He was definitely swoonworthy!

Pick Your Own Category
Most Kickass Heroine:
Ismae Rienne, Grave Mercy
Celaena Sardothian, Throne of Glass

The common thread here is deadly assassin. I suppose I could have went with that as a category title. Both Ismae and Celaena are seriously lethal and yet both manage to be sympathetic heroines. I actually care about both ladies and want them to find happiness and fulfillment outside of simply being assassins.

Thanks go to Tracey, Katy, Jessica, and Alison for hosting this super fun blogfest. This was a great way to round out a fantastic year of reading. Here's to 2013 and another great year of reading! (Assuming the Mayans were wrong.)


  1. I really need to read Throne of Glass. This is terrible, but I haven't picked it up because I don't like the U.S. cover. But that U.K. cover makes me want to read it. Also, I love Gansey, but I don't know that I'm team Gansey. I feel like Adam would be better for Blue, and I'll just keep Gansey for myself. Although, I think I have a crush on Ronan--damaged and crazy and all. Between Shades of Gray sounds awesome. I'll have to pick it up.

    1. I liked the UK cover so much more, which is why I ordered it from the Book Depository. Now we'll have to see what the next one will look like in the UK cover. I'm hoping it'll be awesome too.

      I liked Adam, but I just liked Gansey so much more. And Ronan was just one of those characters you can't help loving, warts and all. :)

  2. I'd like to see Ismae go head-to-head with "Verity" from Code Name Verity. They are both kickass in TOTALLY different ways. If they didn't kill each other in the first ten minutes, I think they'd really like each other.

    1. Well, I guess I'll just have to read CODE NAME VERITY to be able to tell you what I think about this match up. :) I was fully planning on it anyway, so I'll have to do that soon. Then we can share our thoughts on it!

  3. I LOVE AUDREY WAIT! I wanted to choose her for so many categories, but ugh - not a 2012. And most kick-ass heroine? If I have to pick one, I'd say Katsa. GREAT topic!

    Have a wonderful holiday! And so glad you could participate!

    1. That's why I was happy AUDREY, WAIT! fit into book published before 2012. Such a fun book! :) Katsa is definitely kickass, but since she wasn't a 2012-er, I had to go with some others. Turns out I love a good kickass heroine. :)

  4. I loved AUDREY WAIT! too :D And funny because it came on my radar first on last year´s blogfest when Tracey mentioned it :D
    Between Shades of Grey sounds heartbreaking. I think I´ll pick this one and Code Name Verity for after the holidays.
    :D Great list, Jaime!

    1. I remember Tracey mentioned AUDREY, WAIT! on Twitter one day, so I went and read the first pages on Amazon. Oddly, I didn't pick it up and read it right away. I'm sure glad I finally did, though. :)

      CODE NAME VERITY will be something I'm reading soon too.

  5. Some fab books here I haven't read so I will be checking them out.

    I too love the Selection cover because I want a dress like that ;)

    1. I want my whole wardrobe to be dresses like that. :) I found a bunch of new books to read through this blogfest too. I think that makes it a complete success!

  6. "Bennanna" hahaha, I LOVE that name for them! So glad you read Wanderlove and liked it! I'm not a huge fan of one night stand stories either :/

    1. It's funny how that one thing (about the hookups) could have completely turned me off of the story. I'm so glad that it really didn't factor in. As for "Bennanna", I totally didn't realize that's what it was going to come out as until I started typing it. Cracked me right up. :D

  7. I totally agree about the love triangle in THE RAVEN BOYS. We may not have gotten to see it but the speculation about what is going to happen and how things will happen, is what makes me love it so!

    1. I can't wait for some swooniness with Gansey. :D It feels way too long until the next book comes out.

  8. I read AUDREY, WAIT! this year, too, and loved it! I think it was on Tracey's recommendation.
    SAPPHIRE BLUE has a great cover--I hadn't seen that one before.

    1. I remember Tracey mentioning it on Twitter some time back. I went to Amazon and read the first pages, but then didn't buy it and read it. Boy am I glad I finally did! So, so good. :)

  9. AUDREY WAIT was such a fun read! One of my all-time YA favorites.

    I am thinking I need to pick up BETWEEN SHADES OF GREY, now. I am a huge fan of WWII fiction, as depressing as they generally are.

    1. I'm not sure what took me so long to read AUDREY, WAIT! I'm really glad I finally got around to it, though. I think it's a great example of voice in YA books. BETWEEN SHADES OF GRAY was interesting because it dealt with some of the awful things that Stalin and his minions did to the people in places like Lithuania. It was a piece of history I wasn't overly familiar with before.

  10. Ooh awesome category. Friday Society definitely had my favorite kickass heroines!

    1. I still have to read that one, but it's definitely on my TBR list!

  11. Your line of covers there is mighty pretty! :) The UK cover for Throne of Glass is so badass, and I loved the little illustrative details inside Shadow & Bone! Speaking of great covers, wow, the Audrey, Wait! cover is eye-catching. I like it!

    So glad you found Graceling. It was my Old-Timer last year and I couldn't believe it had taken me so long to pick up. I adore Katsa and Po!

    I'm all on board with your Picture Book loving. I snuck one onto my list as well. :)

    1. Yes, I loved that cover too! That's why I purchased the UK one instead of the North American copy. As for SHADOW AND BONE, the details were just amazing and really added to the experience of reading it. :)

  12. Okay, so, EVERYONE loves Audrey, Wait! I guess I will be trying to read that, soon. :-) That Cinder cover--I almost listed it as a favorite even though I haven't read it, yet. Great to "meet" you through the blogfest, Jaime!

    1. Definitely read AUDREY, WAIT! The voice is just fantastic and it's an all-around good book. I thought about adding CINDER to my list of favourite covers too, but I was already getting a little carried away.

      It was great meeting you too, Kari! :)

  13. Hmm. Most Kickass Heroine... How about Lena from PANDEMONIUM. She was sort of weak in DELIRIUM, but I loved how she developed and learned to hold her own in the follow-up book. Can't wait to see how she behaves in REQUIEM. :) And great choice in THE SELECTION for favorite cover. That book is beautiful!

    1. You're right, Lena was way more kickass in PANDEMONIUM than she was in DELIRIUM. I'm really excited to read REQUIEM. :)

      Not only is the dress gorgeous on THE SELECTION, but the turquoise colour just really makes it pop. It catches my eye every time I see it. And then there's the fact that I just really want that dress and an occasion to actually wear it. :)

  14. I love that UK cover for THRONE OF GLASS. I've got to read it and GRAVE MERCY soon - I have them both - and I love kick-ass heroines!

    1. The UK cover definitely captures the kickassery of Celaena more than the North American cover does. I hope Book 2 has an equally awesome cover. You're in for some great reading with this book and GRAVE MERCY. Enjoy! :)

  15. I'm not such a huge fan of the U.S. Throne of Glass cover, but got stuck with it because I wanted to support my local indie. Also, I have to agree with your assessment of Celaena as the most kick-ass heroine. I think it's a tie between her and Miranda from False Memory.


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