Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Best Books I Read in 2012

1. Best Book You Read In 2012? (You can break it down by genre if you want)
Finnikin of the Rock by Melina Marchetta 

Up until I stumbled upon Finnikin of the Rock on a back shelf in my local library, I'd forgotten how much I craved true fantasy in literature. This heart-stopping, enchanting, mesmerizing, ingenious novel reawakened my passion for magic and kingdoms of long ago. Reminiscent of classic tales such as the Chronicles of Narnia, Finnikin of the Rock is downright epic. The scale and complexity of the novel blew me away.
2. Book You Were Excited About & Thought You Were Going To Love More But Didn’t?
Teeth by Hannah Moscowitz

As I was reading, I realized this book wasn't what I thought it was. I didn't know beforehand that this book centered on a gay relationship, but that wasn't the reason I disliked it. Mostly I didn't enjoy it because it was strange and depressing. While Teeth may look similar to a merman, he is more like Frankenstein's creation than a mythological being. His life is so sad to read about.
3. Most surprising (in a good way!) book of 2012?
Angelfall by Susan Ee

I only read this book because (a) it was $0.99 on my Amazon kindle app, and (b) I was stranded without a book in a time of need (unbelievable, I know). Recently, I hadn't had much luck with angel novels, and I was tad bit reluctant to suffer through another ridiculous reincarnation, forbidden love story. Now, I cannot express how glad I am that I gave this book a shot. I mean, wow. It was nothing like I thought it would be. Angels are a tricky category to tackle, but Ee did it with an entirely new and intriguing perspective. Gorgeous warrior angels AND post-apocalyptic societies? I am so there.
4. Book you recommended to people most in 2012?
Finnkin of the Rock by Melina Marchetta

When I selected Finnikin of the Rock out of a stack of forgotten books on a whim, I had no idea what was in store for my emotions. Then, halfway through the story, I dashed to the library and grabbed the second book so I'd have it on hand the moment I finished. This book blew past any expectations I had, earning itself a place on my favorites shelf. I have no idea why it isn't more popular. I'll be recommending it to everyone I know, especially my friends who adore The Lord of the Rings and other legendary tales. Loved. It.
5. Best series you discovered in 2012?
Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo 

This book surprised and delighted me. Usually I'm pretty adept at predicting story lines, but this book's plot had be gasping. I never saw some of these shockers coming. I love that in a series. 
6. Favorite new authors you discovered in 2012?
Marie Lu, author of Legend 

I love, love, love dystopian novels. I seriously can't get enough of them, and thankfully young adult authors are stepping up to meet the demand. Legend is yet another brilliantly written futuristic novel filled with nail-biting action scenes and fascinating conspiracies. Throw in a tiny bit of forbidden romance and voila! Another addictive novel to join the ranks of The Hunger Games and other beloved tales.

Anna Banks, author of Of Poseidon 

Ohmysweetgoodness, where do I begin talking about this fabulous debut? I've been in love with the idea of mermaids since I was a toddler. Thanks to my blow-up swimming pool, I imagined becoming one of the mythical creatures more than a few times. For some unfortunate reason, I've had a hard time finding mermaid novels that don't come across as completely ridiculous or weird. FINALLY, I have found a novel that made me fall in love with merfolk all over again.

Laini Taylor, author of Daughter of Smoke and Bone 

Overall, Daughter of Smoke and Bone is a wonderfully successful debut. Filled with unique creatures and characters, as well an addicting plot, it has easily captured the hearts and minds of many young adult readers. While I'm not head over heels like some, I'm definitely anxious to get my hands on the sequel. If you haven't hopped on the bandwagon yet, then I suggest you do so. Now.  
7. Best book that was out of your comfort zone or was a new genre for you?
On Writing by Stephen King 

I usually don't read autobiographical or informational books. However, this one was truly inspiring and fascinating. I'd recommend it to any fan of Stephen King and all aspiring writers. It's advice is invaluable. 
8. Most thrilling, unputdownable book in 2012?
Clockwork Prince by Cassandra Clare 

Cassandra Clare will never cease to amaze me. I'd forgotten how much I love her writing. It is utterly addictive. When I read Clockwork Angel, I thought it was "nearly as captivating and wonderful as Clare's other books," but not quite. It didn't have that extra spark that catapulted The Mortal Instruments series into fame. However, Clockwork Prince contains as many heart-wrenching love triangles, crazy intense fight scenes, and dramatic plot reveals as any of the TMI books. 
9. Book You Read In 2012 That You Are Most Likely To Re-Read Next Year:
Finnikin of the Rock by Melina Marchetta (again, I know)

I already want to reread this book. Like now. I loved it that much. 
10. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2012?
This Is Not a Test by Courtney Summers 

This cover is dramatic yet simple. I just love it. 
11. Most memorable character in 2012?
Anya from Because It Is My Blood 

Anya is an incredible character. I'd forgotten how utterly awesome this protagonist is. She's headstrong, brave, self-sacrificing, everything I admire in a lead character. Her love for her family and friends is evident as she takes great lengths to protect them from her corrupt family and ruthless enemies. As politicians and mobsters attempt to manipulate her, Anya displays a knack for reading people and situations that saves her life countless times. Despite her young age, she's seen more than many adults have, and she struggles to bear the burden of the Balachine legacy. I pitied and respected her, even when I didn't agree with her decisions. 
12. Most beautifully written book read in 2012?
Five Flavors of Dumb by Antony John 

Five Flavors of Dumb enchanted me with it's authenticity and provoking messages. The novel speaks out against conformity, encouraging readers to let their true identities show. The story holds a bit of everything, from action to romance, heartache to euphoria. Every young adult fiction lover should give this gem a shot.  
13. Book that had the greatest impact on you in 2012?
Amy and Roger's Epic Detour by Morgan Matson 

Every now and then, you find a book that sticks with you. I constantly find myself looking back to this novel and relating it to events in my life and thinking about the amazing journey the characters shared. As much as I love light-hearted summer novels, I didn't adore Amy and Roger's Epic Detour because an ordinary girl got to go on a road trip with a hot guy. That was certainly a bonus, but what I truly admired about this book were the deep, piercing emotions and the beautiful process of self-discovery and healing.   
14. Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2012 to finally read?
Bitterblue by Kristin Cashore 

Kristin Cashore has yet to disappoint me. While none of her books have been able to surpass Graceling in my mind, both Fire and Bitterblue enchanted me with their epic world-building and lovable characters. I can't explain how ecstatic I was when I discovered that characters like Katsa, Po, and Giddon return to stand by Bitterblue in this third novel. Cashore is quite adept at forming bonds between her characters and drawing the reader into the close group of friends. I hadn't realized how much I missed her writing!   
15. Favorite Passage/Quote From A Book You Read In 2012?
Girl Unmoored by Jennifer Gooch Hummer 

Since the beginning of literature, authors have attempted to pin down a definition for the emotion we humans call "love." From Shakespeare to Stephenie Meyer, millions upon millions of different opinions have been put to paper. However, I have never discovered one as pure and simple as Hummer's.

"Love doesn't always mean rings and veils and walks down the aisle. Sometimes love means broken windows and broken hearts, and not being able to fix either. And sometimes love means telling you, there's not such thing as time in Heaven so don't rush to meet me. Stay a while, and pick, girl, the roses."   
16.Shortest and Longest Books You Read In 2012?
(Shortest) Losing It by Cora Carmack 

Overall, I was extremely impressed with Losing It. I read it on a whim after one of my friends convinced me it was worth my time. She was right, of course. The adorable characters and humorous situations made for a wonderful read.

(Longest) Froi of the Exiles by Melina Marchetta 

The plot of Froi of the Exiles is much more political than the prequel's. While magic and unknown forces are still present, much of the story centers around the political upheaval in Chayrn and the relationships between the different kingdoms. I know what you're thinking- that sounds extremely dull compared to the first book. However, Marchetta brilliantly weaves in scenes of action, romance, and growth. I hung on every word and stayed locked in my room for hours, desperate to devour the story. Despite the long length (six hundred pages), I finished the story faster than I wanted to.
17. Book That Had A Scene In It That Had You Reeling And Dying To Talk To Somebody About It? (a WTF moment, an epic revelation, a steamy kiss, etc. etc.) Be careful of spoilers!
Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

I have to admit, I began Anna and the French Kiss with sky high expectations. Rarely do I come across a piece of chick lit with so much hype, and I was expecting some pretty swoon-worthy romance. Not only did I get that, but I was also introduced to a lovable cast of hilarious, quirky characters. This book really is the epitome of lighthearted romance novels. I squealed, cringed, and laughed out loud as I followed Anna on her escapades throughout one of the most beautiful cities in the world. Just thinking about it now makes me want to pick it up and read it all over again.   
18. Favorite Relationship From A Book You Read In 2012 (be it romantic, friendship, etc).
Jase and Sam from My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick 

I knew that I was in for a wonderful read the moment Jase climbed Sam's trellis. I immediately loved them together. Their relationship is what romance should be, in my opinion. They are open and honest with each other. They don't hold back, and they respect each others' lifestyles, no matter how different they may be. Sam and Jase's chemistry is more than physical attraction- their personalities just click. However, I'm not going to lie. Jase is flipping amazing, which may have swayed my opinion on their chemistry a bit.    
19. Favorite Book You Read in 2012 From An Author You Read Previously
City of Lost Souls by Cassandra Clare 

I truly adore Cassandra Clare's works. In fact, it's extremely difficult for me to convey the extent of my adoration. Simply opening the book and glancing over the familiar font she uses has me giddy with anticipation. I've tried to pinpoint what draws me to her writing so much, and I've come to the conclusion that it's everything. Her characters, her worlds, her stories, her romance. It's all incredible.   
20. Best Book You Read That You Read Based SOLELY On A Recommendation From Somebody Else:
Tiger's Curse by Colleen Houck 

One of my closest friends has been begging me to read this book. Seriously, she has done everything in her power to thrust this book in front of my face. Now I can see why she was so adamant. Tiger's Curse is an intriguing tale full of romance, myth, and culture. Not only was I swept away by Ren and his swoon-worthy-ness, but I also enjoyed immersing myself in the Indian lore and traditions.   

This survey was created by Lori at Pure Imagination. Feel free to join in!