Friday, December 28, 2012

My Precious-es

*Side Note: Me n' Blogger are fighting. Formatting issues are the resulting casualty. So sorry for some of the weird-ness... Its out of my hands blog peeps!

John Milton wrote:

"A good book is the precious life-blood of a master spirit, embalmed and treasured up on purpose to a life beyond life."

Do I know exactly what it means? 


But since books ARE My Precious (I'm still riddin' the "Hobbit high," can you tell?), and I've always pretty much consider myself a master spirit (I mean, come on, really?), I thought it made a pretty good quote to round up my year of book-ness!By the way, random side note... this pic of Gollum? Totally looks like what my mom used to call my "chin up" smile:
Coincidence? I think not.
(P.s., I'm the blonde babe in the yellow shirt, if you didn't make the Gollum connection. The pink cherub with the cheeks is my little brother, who will probably be mortified that I posted physical evidence on my blog that my mom secretly wanted another girl, not a boy. Heehee.)

(Just kidding about the mom wanting a girl thing... but seriously... boys in pink, mom? Heehee again.)

Moving on...

Its been another glorious year of reading! You can find a list of My Precious-es under the "Book Worm" tab at the top of this here blog. I like to read all genres, but most of them were YA this year. I heard a guy at a writing conference say one time that writers should read 300 books in their chosen genre, that have been published in the past 5 years. So that's the excuse I give when people ask me why I read so much YA. 

But lets be honest. You all know me. 

I'm just a straight up YA addict! 

I really should start making some kind of rating system for my junkie Precious list, cause not all those books were created equal. I log all of them down. Not just the ones I read within a 24 hr. time frame. Then again, I suppose if you're too lazy to click on my goodreads link to the right, then you probably don't care much what rating I'd give the books anyway, right? 

ANY-whoooo! Here's my top five (in no particular order):

The Immortal Rules, by Julie Kagawa 

"In a future world, vampires reign. Humans are blood cattle. And one girl will search for the key to save humanity."Allison Sekemoto survives in the Fringe, the outermost circle of a vampire city. By day, she and her crew scavenge for food. By night, any one of them could be eaten.

Some days, all that drives Allie is her hatred of "them." The vampires who keep humans as blood cattle. Until the night Allie herself is attacked--and given the ultimate choice. Die...or become one of the monsters.

Faced with her own mortality, Allie becomes what she despises most. To survive, she must learn the rules of being immortal, including the most important: go long enough without human blood, and you will go mad..."

I thought I was done with vampire books, that I had read all that was worth reading as far as our immortal, blood-sucking friends go. I--in a word--was WRONG. Julie Kagawa's vampire dystopian was epic. I fell in love! Read it. You'll be glad you did. (Twilight wha??)

Partials, Dan Wells

"The human race is all but extinct after a war with Partials--engineered organic beings identical to humans--has decimated the population. Reduced to only tens of thousands by RM, a weaponized virus to which only a fraction of humanity is immune, the survivors in North America have huddled together on Long Island while the Partials have mysteriously retreated. The threat of the Partials is still imminent, but, worse, no baby has been born immune to RM in more than a decade. Our time is running out.

Kira, a sixteen-year-old medic-in-training, is on the front lines of this battle, seeing RM ravage the community while mandatory pregnancy laws have pushed what's left of humanity to the brink of civil war, and she's not content to stand by and watch. But as she makes a desperate decision to save the last of her race, she will find that the survival of humans and Partials alike rests in her attempts to uncover the connections between them--connections that humanity has forgotten, or perhaps never even knew were there."

This was actually one of those that kept me up thinking and pondering into the wee hours of the morning. What does it mean to be human? Can it be measured? Created? Bought? Or is it one of those abstract concepts we will never be able to tag an easy definition to? I can't wait for the next installment of this series! 

The Running Dream, Wendelin Van Draanen

"Jessica thinks her life is over when she loses a leg in a car accident. She's not comforted by the news that she'll be able to walk with the help of a prosthetic leg. Who cares about walking when you live to run?

As she struggles to cope with crutches and a first cyborg-like prosthetic, Jessica feels oddly both in the spotlight and invisible. People who don't know what to say, act like she's not there. Which she could handle better if she weren't now keenly aware that she'd done the same thing herself to a girl with CP named Rosa. A girl who is going to tutor her through all the math she's missed. A girl who sees right into the heart of her.

With the support of family, friends, a coach, and her track teammates, Jessica may actually be able to run again. But that's not enough for her now. She doesn't just want to cross finish lines herself—she wants to take Rosa with her."

This is one of those books that made me laugh, weep and ache with equal parts throughout the entire ordeal. Jessica's injuries and her devastating loss seem almost too much to bear at times, and you almost want to throw down the book in protest of her hardships! But then--ahhh--to overcome! The sweet victory she achieves when she overcomes her own personal Gethsemane is beautiful and incredibly inspiring. I absolutely adored this book!

Ashes, Ilsa J. Bick

"An electromagnetic pulse flashes across the sky, destroying every electronic device, wiping out every computerized system, and killing billions.

Alex hiked into the woods to say good-bye to her dead parents and her personal demons. Now desperate to find out what happened after the pulse crushes her to the ground, Alex meets up with Tom—a young soldier—and Ellie, a girl whose grandfather was killed by the EMP.

For this improvised family and the others who are spared, it’s now a question of who can be trusted and who is no longer human.

Holy goodness... can you say CREEP-TASTIC?! This book gave me goosebumps! Bick does not shy away from make-your-skin-crawl descriptions of horrific end-of-the-world grotesque-ness, and has no qualms about making you check your closet for monsters after reading this. Oh and also? She is the new Queen Masta of cliff hangers. For real. Read with lights on.

The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks, E. Lockhart

"Frankie Landau-Banks at age 14:
Debate Club. Her father’s “bunny rabbit." A mildly geeky girl attending a highly competitive boarding school.

Frankie Landau-Banks at age 15:

A knockout figure. A sharp tongue. A chip on her shoulder. And a gorgeous new senior boyfriend: the supremely goofy, word-obsessed Matthew Livingston.

Frankie Laundau-Banks.

No longer the kind of girl to take “no” for an answer. Especially when “no” means she’s excluded from her boyfriend’s all-male secret society. Not when her ex boyfriend shows up in the strangest of places. Not when she knows she’s smarter than any of them. When she knows Matthew’s lying to her. And when there are so many, many pranks to be done.

Frankie Landau-Banks, at age 16:

Possibly a criminal mastermind. This is the story of how she got that way."

THANK YOU, Barbara Kloss, for recommending this delicious book! Definitely a "My TOP Precious" contender! Perhaps its because I walked the thin line of "criminal mastermind" myself, back in the day, but this book struck home. I haven't has as much wicked delight reading a book since I read "The Boys Start the War, the Girls Get Even," back in grade school! Frankie is witty, clever, and can get a whole heap of boys to do her bidding, without even breaking a sweat. This book is fresh, original  and perfect, if you're looking for something funny and unique! 

SO, there you have it, my fellow read-a-holics! My 2012 Precious-es. My top five reads of the year. And although it physically pained me to eliminate some of the books I did (dagger to the soul), the top five can, well, only hold five. *sigh* Enjoy your own delicious holiday reads! I look forward to seeing some of your own 2012 highlights in the next few days!


Kristen said...

Haven't read any of these! But maybe Frankie-LB? I might have started it? Why can't I remember?


Julie said...

K: Isn't that the best, though? Now you have five FANTASTIC reads to put on your "To Read" victim list! I always get excited when that happens... I loathe running out of good books to read ( :

Jess said...

Oooo, that last recommendation looks so original and fun! Thanks for the others as well. Oh, and I had a "chin-up" smile too :)

Julie said...

Jess: Seriously, check 'er out... its awesome! I <3 Frankie ( :

P.s. Woot, woot for the chin up!!

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