Thursday, December 26, 2013

2013 Book Round-up!

So this year, I was kind of a dismal failure when it came to reading books. I haven't actually gone back and crunched the numbers, but I'm quite certain I fall short of my high water mark from previous years! (Which is, in fact, quite short of what many of you fellow readers can accomplish! Well done, you bibliophiles, you!) My excuse for not setting the high water mark this year?


See, some might view pregnancy as a great opportunity to veg on the couch and read books… these people would be wrong. 

Veg on the couch? Most certainly. 

Read books? Child, please. That takes WAY too much brain power!

I'm pretty sure I spent AT LEAST a solid three months on the couch doing nothing but watch Bones and barfing. As it turns out, Bones probably isn't the best show to watch when you're feeling queazy, on account of all the guts and gore involved with dissecting dead bodies. Go figure. But still, I got hooked. What's a girl to do?

Anyhow… despite the fact that growing a human being made me, well, less than human for seven months, I did manage to scrape up a few favorite books from 2013. So here they are… my top five, in no particular order:

(1) The Eternity Cure (Blood of Eden, #2), by Julie Kagawa

Allison Sekemoto has vowed to rescue her creator, Kanin, who is being held hostage and tortured by the psychotic vampire Sarren. The call of blood leads her back to the beginning—New Covington and the Fringe, and a vampire prince who wants her dead yet may become her wary ally.

Even as Allie faces shocking revelations and heartbreak like she’s never known, a new strain of the Red Lung virus that decimated humanity is rising to threaten human and vampire alike.

(2) Requiem (Delirium #3), by Lauren Oliver

They have tried to squeeze us out, to stamp us into the past.

But we are still here.

And there are more of us every day.

Now an active member of the resistance, Lena has been transformed. The nascent rebellion that was under way in Pandemonium has ignited into an all-out revolution in Requiem, and Lena is at the center of the fight.

After rescuing Julian from a death sentence, Lena and her friends fled to the Wilds. But the Wilds are no longer a safe haven—pockets of rebellion have opened throughout the country, and the government cannot deny the existence of Invalids. Regulators now infiltrate the borderlands to stamp out the rebels, and as Lena navigates the increasingly dangerous terrain, her best friend, Hana, lives a safe, loveless life in Portland as the fiancĂ©e of the young mayor.

Maybe we are driven crazy by our feelings.

Maybe love is a disease, and we would be better off without it.

But we have chosen a different road.

And in the end, that is the point of escaping the cure: We are free to choose.

We are even free to choose the wrong thing.

(3) The Brides of Rollrock Island, by Margo Lanagan

Rollrock island is a lonely rock of gulls and waves, blunt fishermen and their homely wives. Life is hard for the families who must wring a poor living from the stormy seas. But Rollrock is also a place of magic - the scary, salty-real sort of magic that changes lives forever. Down on the windswept beach, where the seals lie in herds, the outcast sea witch Misskaella casts her spells - and brings forth girls from the sea - girls with long, pale limbs and faces of haunting innocence and loveliness - the most enchantingly lovely girls the fishermen of Rollrock have ever seen.

But magic always has its price. A fisherman may have and hold a sea bride, and tell himself that he is her master. But from his first look into those wide, questioning, liquid eyes, he will be just as transformed as she is. He will be equally ensnared. And in the end the witch will always have her payment.

Margo Lanagan has written an extraordinary tale of desire, despair and transformation. In devastatingly beautiful prose, she reveals unforgettable characters capable of unspeakable cruelty - and deep unspoken love. After reading about the Rollrock fishermen and their sea brides, the world will not seem the same.

(4) Dancing in the Dark, Robyn Bavati

North American debut of the Australian award-winning drama. Ditty Cohen is passionate about ballet--she loves how it feels to stand en pointe, to rise and spin across the room. But her Orthodox Jewish parents want Ditty to focus on the teachings of the Torah and to marry at a young age according to their religious tradition. Although her parents forbid her to take dance lessons, Ditty secretly signs up for ballet and becomes entangled in a web of deceit. As one lie leads to another and another, Ditty knows she must stop dancing, but she can't abandon the one thing that gives her freedom. She begins to question her faith and everything her parents have taught her, realizing just how much is at stake as her two worlds collide.

(5) The 5th Wave, by Rick Yancey

After the 1st wave, only darkness remains. After the 2nd, only the lucky escape. And after the 3rd, only the unlucky survive. After the 4th wave, only one rule applies: trust no one.

Now, it’s the dawn of the 5th wave, and on a lonely stretch of highway, Cassie runs from Them. The beings who only look human, who roam the countryside killing anyone they see. Who have scattered Earth’s last survivors. To stay alone is to stay alive, Cassie believes, until she meets Evan Walker. Beguiling and mysterious, Evan Walker may be Cassie’s only hope for rescuing her brother—or even saving herself. But Cassie must choose: between trust and despair, between defiance and surrender, between life and death. To give up or to get up.

Aaaaaand, because I'm totally indecisive, and couldn't kick this book out, (despite the fact that it has pretty dresses and handsome princes and even a love triangle--a completely shallow YA novel), I loved this book nonetheless, and award it my Honorable Mention:

The Elite (The Selection #2), Kiera Cass

Thirty-five girls came to the palace to compete in the Selection. All but six have been sent home. And only one will get to marry Prince Maxon and be crowned princess of Illea.

America still isn’t sure where her heart lies. When she’s with Maxon, she’s swept up in their new and breathless romance, and can’t dream of being with anyone else. But whenever she sees Aspen standing guard around the palace, and is overcome with memories of the life they planned to share. With the group narrowed down to the Elite, the other girls are even more determined to win Maxon over—and time is running out for America to decide.

Just when America is sure she’s made her choice, a devastating loss makes her question everything again. And while she’s struggling to imagine her future, the violent rebels that are determined to overthrow the monarchy are growing stronger and their plans could destroy her chance at any kind of happy ending.

All of these books were epic in their own right. They were unique (yes, even the vampire one, you naysayers! Don't be hatin'), they were all well written, and they were all undoubtedly, wonderful stories! If you haven't read them already, you should probably get on down to the library and check 'em out. You won't be sorry!

And what would a top five round up be without a bottom dwelling round up? I don't have FIVE biggest disappointments, (because honestly, thats a depressing list). However, I do have a couple of terrible, awful, no good, very bad standouts that I feel compelled to warn you against. I give you, my two biggest disappointments of the year… 

(1) Reached, by Ally Condie, and
(2) Allegiant, by Veronica Roth

You both should be flogged for starting off with such smashing book ones, then tapering off in book twos, only to nose dive over a cliff in your book threes. May we fellow writers never be guilty of letting our poor readers down in such a dismal fashion! You, Ally Condie and Veronica Roth, were the most disappointing of 2013. May the critics rest your souls. 

Anyway, there you have it, my lovely writers and readers! My 2013 round up! What were your '13 favs? Your '13 nose dives? I'd love to hear them! Especially since I have some lost ground to make up in 2014. Bring it on!


Monday, December 16, 2013

Honey, I'm home!

Honestly, I sort of suspect that any of the few people I DID have following my blog, probably thought I died or something, and stopped following me MONTHS ago. I don't blame those people, I really don't. Radio silence for going on seven-ish months? I get it! And I wish I could say I had some awesome excuse for failing my faithful blog followers, but I really don't.

I mean, I DID have a rather gnarly pregnancy. And its true it ended in an emergency c-section. And I had to spend the first 38 days of my daughter's life visiting her in the hospital, on account of she's a cheeky little bugger and decided to come two months early… buuuuuut… as good as those reasons are, alas! None of them had anything to do with why I stopped posting. 

I just had to choose for a little while there: writing or blogging. Time is a precious commodity. You know how it goes. I see you in the back there. Yes, you, nodding your head. We understand each other!

But I'm back now. YAY! (Though I realize that many of you have now checked out, seeings how it is, in fact, the holidays….) But perhaps we can all meet again after the festivities have died down for another year?

Until then, you should probably start thinking of your fav books of 2013. Cause I will be asking shortly, on account of I have a book addiction (its a problem), and I'm sure I missed some good ones whilst holed up on the couch during my pregnancy! Missed you, writers! So glad to be back!