Monday, December 31, 2012

Favority-Fave Reads of 2012 [Part 2]

Welcome to Part 2 of my favorite books of 2012! Below is the second half of the books that left a great impression on me this year. I've included small summaries of why I thought each book was awesome as well as links to any reviews I've done.

To see more info, click the title to go to each novel's Goodreads page. There is only one category in this part and the books are listed in alphabetical order.

Favority-Faves: Books Read in 2012 Published Before 2012

Across the Universe by Beth Revis ~ Released 2011 (full review)
This tense sci-fi mystery kept me guessing and on the edge of my seat. I loved the dual POV and all the secrets aboard the Godspeed. I can't wait to dive into the rest of the series!

All These Things I've Done by Gabrielle Zevin ~ Released 2011
There is so much more to this story than the restrictive future society I expected. I adored Anya, the strong main character, and felt for her through her trials and the mystery she is thrown in to.

Ashes by Ilsa J. Bick ~ Released 2011 (full review)
Oh my gosh this book terrified me. I felt like I was living this book with the characters, who must survive the wilderness, desperate people, and things that aren't exactly people anymore.

Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver ~ Released 2010 (full review)
I love this book. Not only did Oliver's writing sweep me up and the characters make me anxious to know what happened, but the poignant ending sticks with me to this day.

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak ~ Released 2006
This historical YA novel with a twist (it is narrated by Death) is intelligent, humorous, and sad. It showed me a different view of the World War II and is definitely a book everyone should read.

The Dark Divine by Bree Despain ~ Released 2009 (full review)
When I picked up this book, I was expecting a mushy werewolf romance. What I got was a wonderfully written story full of mystery, unique werewolf lore, and fantastic characters.

Every Other Day by Jennifer Lynn Barnes ~ Released 2011 (full review)
This novel is fun, fast-paced, full of action, and I loved every minute of it. It has a nice twist on creatures in the real world battling a rag tag team of quirky characters.

The Iron King by Julie Kagawa ~ Released 2010 (full review)
After not having any success with fey stories, I found this one. It is full of action with fantastic world building and I loved all the different fey creatures and the bravery of the main character, Meghan.

The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness ~ Released 2008 (full review)
Despite this being one of the most gut-wrenching books I've ever read, it is also one of the best. A uniquely written and excellently told story, this tale of two young people on the run is not one to miss.

The Light by D.J. MacHale ~ Released 2010
I wasn't sure what to expect with this book, but what I got was a dark, action-packed story. It read like a suspenseful horror movie and was gripping with every dangerous encounter.

Looking for Alaska by John Green ~ Released 2006
Through some unforgettable characters, this great contemporary brings to life the awkward, exciting time of high school and the yearning and searching that often happens there.

Numbers by Rachel Ward ~ Released 2010
This book has a unique and gritty story that had the characters on the run in England. Add in the element of seeing death dates and trying to change fates, and you have one exciting novel.

The Revenant by Sonia Gensler ~ Released 2011 (full review)
I absolutely love this intelligent historical that is wrapped in a ghost story and topped off with mystery. It is well-written and has so many fantastic elements and I cannot wait for what Gensler has in store.

Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly ~ Released 2010 (full review)
I had a rocky start with this book, but after giving it another go, I came to adore it. It is beautifully written and chock full of emotion with a fantastic dual narration.

Ruby Red by Kerstin Gier ~ Released 2009
I went in to this book not really knowing what to expect and came out amazed. Secret societies, time travel, great characters, and a fight over an artifact and a prophecy were plenty to keep me wanting more.

Unleashed by Nancy Holder and Debbie Viguie ~ Released 2011
I was pleasantly surprised when I took a chance on this book and found that I liked it as often werewolf books are not my thing. But this novel is exciting with plenty of action and mystery.

That's it, quirks! I hope you enjoyed my list and take a chance on some (or many) of these if you haven't read them already.

Share your favorites or thoughts on mine in the comments!


Sunday, December 30, 2012

Favority-Fave Reads of 2012 [Part 1]

Welcome to my favorite books of 2012 post! Below is the first half of the books that left a great impression on me this year. I've included small summaries of why I thought each book was awesome as well as links to any reviews I've done.

To see more info, click the title to go to each novel's Goodreads page. The list is separated up by category and within each section the books are in alphabetical order.

Favority-Faves: Debuts, Standalones, and Firsts in a Series Published in 2012

Cinder by Marissa Meyer ~ Debut (full review)
This futuristic fairytale retelling exceeded my expectations! I loved Cinder as a protagonist and appreciated the interesting world, full of action and aliens and cyborgs, oh my!

Counting Backwards by Laura Lascarso ~ Debut (full review)
Mental health is one of my 'issues' that I try to find good books about, and this one is great. I loved watching Taylor struggle, fail, struggle, grow, and redeem herself in this book.
The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken ~ First in a Series (full review)
Complete with great writing, fantastic characters, and lots of action, Bracken blew me away with this book. I am completely on board with series and can't wait for more.

Defiance by C.J. Redwine ~ Debut (full review)
Redwine is not only one of the sweetest people I have ever met, but her debut novel, about a girl fighting to find her father and the brave techie boy that helps her, is awesome.

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green ~ Standalone (full review)
Just trying to sum up this book into a couple sentences is reminding me of all the feels. This is by far my favorite John Green book and should be read by everyone, everywhere.

The Immortal Rules by Julie Kagawa ~ First in a Series (full review)
Kagawa wrote the only fey book I have every really enjoyed and she got more awesome by adding to the vampire spectrum with an exciting dystopian take with some of my favorite characters ever.

The Year of the Gadfly by Jennifer Miller ~ Standalone
This is one of the most intelligent books about teens, boarding schools, secrets, and tragedies I have ever read. Compelling, quirky, and heart-wrenching, this is a book I haven't, and will never, forget.

Favortiy-Faves: Series Read with a Book Published in 2012

Belles & Winter White by Jen Calonita
(Belles full review) (Winter White full review)
This series is complete fun and full of drama, from mean girls to family relationships to boys, and has that Southern sensibility that I adore.

Darkenss Falls (Immortal Beloved #2) by Cate Tiernan
Everything I loved about the first book, the magic, mystery, and struggling main character, were back in this fantastic follow-up. Even better, there was a lot more action that kept me hooked!

Insurgent (Divergent #2) by Veronica Roth
This book is the epitome of heart-pounding intensity. I love Tris and Four and Roth ratcheted up the action and stakes in this sequel as well as the secrets and surprises.

Spell Bound (Hex Hall #3) by Rachel Hawkins
I've been hooked on Hawkins from the get-go and this final installment was no different. I love the magic, humor, and action in these books and I thought this novel wrapped up the series perfectly.

Timepiece (Hourglass #2) by Myra McEntire (full review)
This is my favorite sequel this year! Not only does McEntire write with humor and feeling, but I absolutely adore the narrator of this one, Kaleb, as well as Lily, one of the feistiest heroines around.

Favority-Faves: Books Read in 2012 to be Published in 2013

The Archived by Victoria Schwab ~ Release Date: 01/22/13 (full review)
Schwab is one of the most talented and creative novelists out there. This unique book of mystery, action, and the dead is one to definitely get your hands hands on in 2013!

That's it for Part 1. Check back tomorrow for Part 2 to find out more of my favorite 2012 reads, and don't forget to let me know what you think in the comments!

Thursday, December 27, 2012

From Where I'm Standing [10] - 2012: The Year of Signings and Sadness

I did a Year in Review post for last year that I had a lot of fun with, chronicling the events in my life, but if you have been following WQ this year, you know what the single most important and devastating event was, the loss of my dad.

Despite the hardships of this year, there were good times. One was celebrating my first wedding anniversary with Captain Italian. All the others came in the form of awesome bookish events.

Those special times where I got to meet authors and other book bloggers is what I am going to focus on in this post. I apologize because I have a boat load of stuff from these things that I never shared, so here you get it all a.k.a. this is a long post with a lot of photos.

Way back in April I finally figured out what I wanted to use this feature for, and I did that, but only a couple of times because I got lazy and then things happened and you know the rest of the story. The two posts I did get to were about getting to meet Rachel Hawkins at Parnassus Books in March and getting to go to SOKY Book Fest in April. What follows is all of what I didn't get to (and advanced apologies for my lacking photography skills).

My trusty friend and traveller, Meg, accompanied me to Parnassus Books to see Myra McEntire and Amy Plum. It was a lovely event that I remember for two main reasons. The first is that there was a guy doing some filming for a piece on independent bookstores for the BBC and at one point Myra looked right at him and basically said she wanted to lick Matt Smith's face. Having not delved into Doctor Who yet, I didn't really get it, but oh how I do now. Second, this was the first time I got to meet some of my bestest blogger friends!

Myra McEntire and Amy Plum
L-R: Hannah (The Book Vortex), Nikki (Books Most Wanted), Marla (Starting the Next Chapter), Lauren (The Housework Can Wait), me, Meg (Myth-illogical)

At the last minute I got the opportunity to go to Nashville to see Myra McEntire again at a public library with Marla (STNC). We got there a little late because we were trying to find copies of Timepiece (my review here) and the bookstore we went to was out. But we did get there and it was great fun because we all just sat in a circle and just chatted with Myra about anything and everything. We got to see Lauren (THCW) again and I finally got to meet Shannon of Stalking the Bookshelves. I also ran into reader and bookseller Elizabeth and her mother Debbie, both of whom I had met at the Southern Festival of Books in 2011. After the event, Shannon, Marla, Lauren, and I went to Applebee's and got to meet Paul, the worst server we've ever had the displeasure of knowing (you can read Lauren's hilarious account here).

L-R: Marla, Elizabeth, me, Myra McEntire, Shannon (Stalking the Bookshelves), Lauren

I got to go to my very first book launch for the release of C.J. Redwine's debut novel, Defiance (my review here). Meg and Captain Italian was with me as well as my friend Catilyn (whom I have converted to the YA cult muahaha). Lauren was there again (which is awesome because she is awesome and I love seeing her) and I also got to see Myra McEntire again and she remembered who I was and gave me a hug, which is also awesome. And then I ended up standing in line with Melinda Doolittle of American Idol fame, which was very cool because she is extremely sweet and gorgeous. There was also delicious cake made by C.J.'s husband, and all in all it was an amazing event.

Defiance cake!

There were two events that I went to that sat on the weekend before Labor Day, and those were Dragon*Con and the Decatur Book Festival. Both were amazing but DBF was much more my speed, though I got to meet a lot of great authors at both places. There is too much to even talk about, so suffice it to say if you ever have the chance to go to either, you should go.

me and Captain Italian
Boggart Snape and Dumbledore

Decatur Book Festival
David Levithan                                                 Meg Cabot    
Margaret Stohl and Kami Garcia                                 Erin Morgenstern     

      Barry Lyga                                                   Maureen Johnson

I went to two great events in September. The first happened right in my hometown when Anne Lamott, bestselling writer and author of one of most influential books for writers (Bird by Bird) came to our local university. Meg and I went and listened to her speak and it was amazing and inspirational.

Anne Lamott and me

The second event happened at the end of the month when I want to see C.J. Redwine and Kat Zhang at Parnassus Books. It was another lovely event where I got to see two great authors and meet another awesome blogger, Ang. After the event I went to McKay's and spent three hours filling a cart with books.

Kat Zhang and C.J. Redwine

The month of falling leaves and spooks also had two events. The first was an Author/Blogger dinner at The Old Spaghetti Factory in Nashville along with the Southern Festival of Books. The dinner was organized by Hannah (TBV) and I had so much fun at the dinner meeting a lot of bloggers I have only known online. I also got to meet and hang out with several amazing YA authors and I must shout out to Amanda Havard who sat next to me and had to deal with my randomness all night. It was great fun and the food was awesome too. Sadly, none of my pictures turned out because we were sitting at a very long table in a dim room.

The next day Meg and I made our way to the Southern Festival of Books. We got to listen to and meet so many great authors and came away with tons of books. We also got to eat lunch with Shannon and it was good to see her again, as well as hang out with Lauren after our last panel.

Siobhan Vivian and Jenny Han                                       Gillian Flynn            

          Bethany Griffin and Amanda Havard                             Sharon Cameron                                      

The second event was YA Trick or Treat at Parnassus Books. There were six authors on the panel and they shared their personal haunted happenings and talked about their books. The featured authors were Myra McEntrire (and if you think I've become a major Myra would be correct), Victoria Schwab, Sonia Gensler, Beth Revis, Tessa Gratton, and Stephanie Perkins. Ruta Sepetys (whom I got to meet at SoFest but never got a picture with) and Kat Zhang were also there and we got a great picture with all of the authors together.

Back L-R: Ruta Sepetys, Stephanie Perkins, Sonia Gensler, Victoria Schwab, Myra McEntire, Beth Revis ~ Front L-R: Tessa Gratton, Kat Zhang

I also got the best signature from Myra in my copy of Timepiece which was totally worth not owning a copy until then. The reason I didn't own a copy yet (despite loving the book) is that when we went to the library to see her back in June, I only had one book and I had her sign it for Meg (who couldn't make it). Myra, because she is sweet and amazing and thought it was nice of me to use the only book I had for my friend (Meg is totally worth it ^_^), told me that she would send me a copy, but she forgot, which was no big deal because I thought it was nice of her to offer in the first place.

So when I got up to the table to have my copy signed at the event in October, she looked at me and stared for a second and then said, "I was supposed to have sent you this!" and it was so funny. So now she is supposed to send me the next book to make up for it and I got a great memory from it. Anyone not understanding why Myra is the best ever?

best signature ever

So quirks, that was my year of bookish events! I hope you enjoyed it and I applaud you if you made it to the end. If you can get to any signings or festivals in the coming year, I highly recommend it. And just like last year, my Favority-Fave Reads of 2012 list is coming up, so check back in a few day!