December 17, 2012

It's That Time Again

Head on over to the following blogs for more info on this blogfest:
Tracey Neithercott, Katy Upperman, Alison Miller, and Jessica Love

I didn't end up participating last year, and since I've been a lousy blogger of late, I figured I'd be a joiner this time around. My choices for each category were limited as 2012 ended up being a bit of a catchup year for reading (ie. reading books from previous years that everyone else and their dog has already read). But I did manage to read a number of stellar books that were published this year. Here are my winners for today's superlatives categories:

Day #1: Head of the Class
(All titles are linked to their Goodreads synopses.)

Favourite Dystopian: Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi and/or The Selection by Kiera Cass
Does post-apocalyptic count? If so, I'm going with Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi. If not, my pick would be The Selection by Kiera Cass. The former had a pairing of both an advanced/futuristic society and a more primitive society which I found very compelling. Or was it Perry that was compelling? Hmm... The latter had a fairy tale quality to it—a prince choosing a bride, gorgeous dresses (check out that cover!), an invading enemy—and a sweet love story between a girl we want to root for and a guy we have no difficulty loving. Can't wait for the next book in both series.

Favourite Science Fiction: Cinder by Marissa Meyer
This was a super easy choice. I won an ARC of Cinder from the lovely Rebecca Behrens just before Christmas last year and wasted no time diving into it before it was released in January 2012. The pairing of a familiar fairy tale with science fiction (Cyborgs and androids and lunars, oh my!) and a dash of Sailor Moon was genius, in my opinion.
Honourable Mention: For Darkness Shows the Stars by Diana Peterfreund

Favourite Fantasy: Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo
Again, this was no contest really if we're going with straight-up fantasy (as in, not paranormal). Leigh Bardugo's Shadow and Bone was fantastic for so many reasons: the Russian fairy tale feel to it, the Darkling (sigh), the Grisha and their powers, the cover and the beautiful chapter embellishments, a likeable heroine... There's much to love about this book.

Favourite Contemporary: Wanderlove by Kirsten Hubbard
This was definitely a five-star read for me. It felt real to me in so many ways, mainly because Hubbard didn't glamorize the backpacking life. If a place was filthy and buggy, then that's how she described it. Bria was a believable character who you so badly want to see burst out of her shell. This is a story of growth and letting go of the things that hold us back—lessons that we can all learn no matter our age or where in life we find ourselves. The margin drawings by the author herself were a nice touch as well.
Honourable Mention: My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick.

Favourite Action/Adventure: Sapphire Blue by Kerstin Gier
Though I'm not entirely sure it fits squarely in this category, my pick is Sapphire Blue by Kerstin Gier. This is first and foremost a time travel story, but it's certainly got a fair amount of adventure (and romance!). Who wouldn't want a first-hand glimpse at life in other eras? And to take that glimpse in a gorgeous dress with a swoonworthy and dashing albeit frustrating boy? There were definitely buckles swashed, and I'm eagerly anticipating the final instalment in this series.

Favourite Historical Fiction: Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers
Hands down, bar none, without a doubt Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers. If 'kickass nun assassin' and 'majority-age love interest who's okay to crush on' don't win you over, then I don't know what will. Seriously, you guys, this book was fantastic in so many ways. It's historical fiction for those who might not be crazy about historical fiction, it's romantic and full of swoon, full of action, difficult choices, suspense... I could go on, but I'll spare you the fangirl blathering. Just read it.

Favourite Comedy: Still thinking...

Favourite Mystery: A Million Suns by Beth Revis
While not exclusively a mystery, Beth Revis' A Million Suns does have elements of mystery. This was not a perfect book, but it did have plenty of things that I liked. For me, a lot of that came down to the suspense and science fiction aspects of the story. I like being forced to keep reading so I'll finally know what's going on in a story (in a good way, not in a what-the-H-is-going-on-I'm-so-confused-and-frustrated kind a way), and this was one of those instances. I can't wait to find out what's next for Amy, Elder, and the rest of Godspeed in the final book of the series.

Favourite Romance: The Statistical Probability of Love At First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith
Oddly, a number of the romance books I read this year weren't published in 2012 so they didn't count. But that doesn't really matter because fortunately my pick for this category was simpler than typing out it's cumbersome (but awesome) title. This was a fun, simple, and sweet romance between two very likeable characters. I loved the dual settings of an airplane and London as well as the fact that the author didn't shy away from the possibility of love at first sight. Come on! We all want to believe it happens, don't we?

Favourite Paranormal: Everneath by Brodi Ashton
Though I'm not positive it fits under the 'paranormal' category, my pick is Everneath by Brodi Ashton. For those of you unfamiliar with this story, it's a YA retelling of the Greek myth of Persephone, which in and of itself is compelling. The romance between Jack and Nikki, a ticking clock (before Nikki must return to the Everneath), an intriguing yet evil-ish Hades character (Cole), and just a captivating take on the myth make this well worth the read.

Favourite Family Drama: Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys
I'm a little confused about this category (what does it mean exactly?), but I think my pick fits here. It follows the story of a young girl who is deported by Stalin to Siberia in 1941 along with most of her family. (From Goodreads: Lina fights for her life, fearless, risking everything to save her family. It's a long and harrowing journey and it is only their incredible strength, love, and hope that pull Lina and her family through each day. But will love be enough to keep them alive?) All that aside, it's a powerful read and needed to be somewhere on this superlative list.

Favourite Genre Bender: The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater
Because it hasn't yet made it on this list and it was fantastic and because it seems to fit under a few categories. I loved, loved, loved the dynamic between the Raven Boys themselves and felt invested in all of them. Maggie Stiefvater is the master at providing an atmosphere-rich backdrop for her story to take place—Gansey's warehouse apartment, Blue's house full of wacky women, the dreamlike quality of the woods (the tree!!). But while this story dealt with the supernatural, with legend, and even with issues of class disparity, it was not without its funny parts. Such a good book!


32 comments:

  1. There are a number of books on here I didn't read this year, so I'll have to check them out. I picked the same genre bender as you! Also, did you just make your image of the book covers in photoshop? I love the way you do those.

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    1. I'm finding so many new titles to read or to bump up my TBR list today. That's a good thing! I put all of my books together in Corel Paintshop Pro and I have Blogger set up to add a little frame around all the pictures I dump into my posts. :)

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    2. Oh ok! I'll have to give something like that a try. I just lumped mine into a post, took a screenshot, then used that. Heh.

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  2. Under the Never Sky --> I need to read that one, don't I? :D
    There are some others you have listed there that are towards the top of my TBR, and I cross my fingers to get to them soon. I've just started diving into my new WiP, so my reading will slow down a bit.

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    1. Yes! You definitely need a good dose of Peregrine (aka Perry) in UNDER THE NEVER SKY. He's a favourite book boyfriend. :) I'm finding so many new books to add to my TBR list today, which is just awesome. Glad to hear you're diving into the new WIP. I'll be revisiting WATCH OF NIGHT after Christmas and revising it again before querying again.

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  3. Love your picks! Grave Mercy and Wanderlove were big winners for me, too :) Even if historical and travel aren't usually what I read, their stories were so, so well done. (p.s. It's been a while since I saw your site outside of google reader, and it looks gorgeous!)

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    1. Both GRAVE MERCY and WANDERLOVE were awesome! I'm not all that big on travel books either, but WANDERLOVE totally surprised me. I like to be surprised like that. :) Thanks for the blog compliment! It was time to go with something a little less busy than what I had previously.

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  4. I really want to read SAPPHIRE BLUE-but I think my copy of Ruby Red stayed behind at my school when I moved, so I'll have to grab a copy of that from the library first! I also really dug THE SELECTION--there was a TV adaptation in the works but it seems to be a no-go, which is disappointing. That could have been fun.

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    1. I really enjoy Kirsten Gier's books. They're not a perfect German to English translation, but it's pretty easy to forget that they're translated. I was really into THE SELECTION too. At first it felt a tiny bit bumpy, but I got sucked right in. I think there's still hope for a CW show, but it's still up in the air. I think it would have been totally fun!

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  5. Oh, I think Perry was VERY compelling ;)

    There were several books on here that I haven't read, but I've got hold requests in for a lot of them at the library already, so I will soon! And I'm glad to see Cinder making it onto so many lists :)

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    1. I think in the dictionary under the word 'compelling' is Perry's smoking hot picture. :P I'm adding a lot of books to my TBR list today too, or just bumping up the list to read sooner. CINDER definitely deserves to be on so many lists. Such a good book!

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  6. I have so many of these sitting on my shelf and I need to read them!!! I also chose Raven Boys as my genre bender. I could've put that one in so many categories!

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    1. Today is just further confirmation that these books on our TBR lists need to climb the stacks and get read sooner! :) I've added a couple to my list that weren't previously on it, so that's pretty cool. And I agree, THE RAVEN BOYS could have been slotted into nearly every list here. :)

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  7. Great picks! I loved BETWEEN SHADES OF GRAY and WANDERLOVE and THE RAVEN BOYS. I still need to read THE STATISTICAL PROBABILITY OF LOVE, as soon as I can. :)

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    1. STATISTICAL PROBABILITY is a nice, sweet, quick read. I think you'll like it. :) So far I think I'm the only one who mentioned BETWEEN SHADES OF GRAY. It's such a good book! Maybe now more people will read it, right?

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  8. Gah! I thought Everneath was a 2011 release so I didn't include it in my line up. What was I thinking?! haha. I love your selections!

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    1. It came out in the first week of January I think. :) Surprisingly, I didn't have all that many books to choose from. I spent a lot of this year reading books published in earlier years. Looks like I had enough, though. :)

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  9. We have a few similar picks and I'm really excited to see Everneath on someone else's list..one of my favorite 2012 novels!

    I was thisclose to picking Shadow and Bone and The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight to my list.

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    1. I think you and I are the only ones with EVERNEATH on our lists. I'm not sure that too many people I follow on Goodreads have actually read it. Maybe now it will climb their TBR lists. I guess that means that Book 2 is coming out right away. I just got really excited! :D

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  10. I really, really want to read Wanderlove SO bad, and now it's on everyone's lists just taunting me. I need to get on that! Great list.

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    1. WANDERLOVE was really good! I wasn't expecting to love it because it didn't really seem like my kind of book. I won my copy off of YA Highway's Christmas/New Year's giveaway last year (hoping for INSURGENT). I was pleasantly surprised at just how good it was. :)

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  11. Ah, so glad you liked Wanderlove! Adored that one. I finished Under The Never Sky last week, and dude, Perry is AH-MAZING. Also, Aria :)

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    1. WANDERLOVE kind of surprised me because I didn't expect to like it as much as I did. I like being surprised like that! As for Perry, I really can't wait for the next book in the series! :)

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  12. Nice list! definitely a few on there I would have picked too.

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    1. I'm operating off of a fairly small list of books published in 2012, but I still managed to come up with some pretty solid picks. Tomorrow's post is a bit of a RAVEN BOYS love-in. :P

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  13. GREAT choices! I LOVED Wanderlove!

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    1. I didn't expect to like WANDERLOVE as much as I did, so it was a nice surprise. :)

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  14. I loved UNDER THE NEVER SKY & CINDER & MY LIFE NEXT DOOR! They're all on my list. Lots of your other picks are at the tippy top of my must-read-soon list, especially RAVEN BOYS & SHADOW AND BONE & GRAVE MERCY. How many more books can I read this month??

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    1. There were so many good releases this year! Though, I did read a number of books from previous years as well, otherwise it would have been way harder to choose for each category. :)

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  15. Ooh, we have several books in common, Jaime! I really need to read SMOKE AND BONE, especially now that I've seen in on several lists today. Great choices, lady!

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    1. SHADOW AND BONE was really good, as is THRONE OF GLASS which I'm currently reading. I'm really kind of into the fantasy thing right now I think. :)

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  16. I didn't love Shadow & Bone as much as I wanted too, BUT I agree with you on a bunch of points - like I loved the Russian background, the beautiful cover, and OMG did I love the Darkling *swoon*. :)

    I thought about Under the Never Sky for the Dystopian category as well but ultimately felt Insurgent was more straight dystopian. Still UtNS was an entertaining read with an intriguing world; I'm looking forward to more.

    ALL THE HEARTS for The Raven Boys!

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