Thursday, January 31, 2013

Leslie's Review: Scarlet by Marissa Meyer

Thursday, January 31, 2013 with
book cover ARC: 452 pages 
Publisher: Feiwel and Friends
Release Date: Februrary 5, 2013
ISBN: 9780312642962

Source of my copy: publisher
Series: Lunar Chronicles #2
Synopsis (from Goodreads)
 

Cinder returns in the second thrilling installment of the New York Times-bestselling Lunar Chronicles. She’s trying to break out of prison—even though if she succeeds, she’ll be the Commonwealth’s most wanted fugitive.
Halfway around the world, Scarlet Benoit’s grandmother is missing. It turns out there are many things Scarlet doesn’t know about her grandmother and the grave danger she has lived in her whole life. When Scarlet encounters Wolf, a street fighter who may have information as to her grandmother’s whereabouts, she has no choice but to trust him, though he clearly has a few dark secrets of his own.
As Scarlet and Wolf work to unravel one mystery, they find another when they cross paths with Cinder. Together, they must stay one step ahead of the vicious Lunar Queen who will do anything to make Prince Kai her husband, her king, her prisoner.


Leslie's Review:
After enjoying Cinder so much, I had to continue the Lunar Chronicles series by reading Scarlet. I had high expectations for the book, and fortunately, they were all met, and I ended up really enjoying Scarlet.

Some reviews about Scarlet said that the shift of the primary focus to a new character, Scarlet, annoyed or disappointed them, however this was not the case for me--I actually really liked it. The new point-of-view was refreshing and had added more to the ultimate plot line of the series. Besides, every other chapter, the perspective, or narration, would change, so Cinder and Kai were still heard from in this book, as well as other new and old characters.

To be honest, I didn't warm up to Scarlet as quickly as I did Cinder. She was so different from Cinder. Scarlet's attitude, strengths, and weaknesses were almost opposite to Cinder's, and I related very easily with Cinder. However, I admired Scarlet's character. Unlike Cinder, she was very assertive and tough and the type of heroine who doesn't like to be messed with.

The love interest, Wolf, was also very different to Kai. I really wasn't sure what to make of him throughout the majority of the book because he was such a confusing character. Half the time he was really nice, but the other half half of the time he was serious, fidgity, and violent. By the end of the book, I was beginning to understand his character and I'm excited to learn more about him in the next book in the series.

Marissa Meyer did not disappoint with her new book Scarlet--it's a terrific read and I was once again caught up in the world of Cinder and Scarlet. I can't wait to read the third book of the series, Cress. If you haven't yet, please read Cinder and Scarlet--because both books are excellent and you will love them, I promise. The Lunar Chronicles series is a MUST-READ.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Why we covet this book: We are both suckers for romantic contemporary YA and The Book of Broken Hearts sounds like it fits the bill.

book cover
When all signs point to heartbreak, can love still be a rule of the road? A poignant and romantic novel from the author of Bittersweet and Twenty Boy Summer.

Jude has learned a lot from her older sisters, but the most important thing is this: The Vargas brothers are notorious heartbreakers. She’s seen the tears and disasters that dating a Vargas boy can cause, and she swore an oath—with candles and a contract and everything—to never have anything to do with one.

Now Jude is the only sister still living at home, and she’s spending the summer helping her ailing father restore his vintage motorcycle—which means hiring a mechanic to help out. Is it Jude’s fault he happens to be cute? And surprisingly sweet? And a Vargas?

Jude tells herself it’s strictly bike business with Emilio. Her sisters will never find out, and Jude can spot those flirty little Vargas tricks a mile away—no way would she fall for them. But Jude’s defenses are crumbling, and if history is destined to repeat itself, she’s speeding toward some serious heartbreak…unless her sisters were wrong?

Jude may have taken an oath, but she’s beginning to think that when it comes to love, some promises might be worth breaking.
The Book of Broken Hearts will be released on May 21, 2013 from Simon Pulse. For more info and news about the novel, visit check out the author's website. Click on the cover to go to the book's Goodreads page.

What book(s) do you "covet" this week?
Leave a comment with a link so we can check your WoW of the week too.


"Books I Covet" is a weekly or bi-weekly blog post series I am going to be doing here. It will feature books I am very excited about reading and plan on buying/borrowing in the near future. It is similar to the "Waiting On" meme hosted by Jill of Breaking the Spine. However, some of the books may already be published and others may still be in pre-order. I will include the books' blurb, cover art, and/or release date if they're available. Click on the WoW image on the left to join in!

Monday, January 28, 2013

Marie Lu Interview + Signed Prodigy Giveaway

Monday, January 28, 2013 with
Dear Legend series fans,
Are you as excited about the release of Prodigy (it's out TOMORROW!!) as we are?! We cannot wait to get our finished copy of Prodigy to match our hardcover copy of Legend.

As someone who read an advance copy of Prodigy, I can tell you it is fantastic (read my review) with so many twists and turns and plenty of action.

Last week, Michelle (along with other Legend series fans) got to be part of a phone interview with Marie Lu as part of Big Honcho Media's Legend/Prodigy campaign! Here's a transcript of Michelle's questions and Marie's answers:

Michelle: Did you have a story arc already planned when you started writing Legend, or did the story develop as you wrote? Like, for example, did you know what would happen to Kaede in Prodigy already?

Marie: I didn't really know exactly what was going to happen to Kaede. I sort of write by the seat of my pants. I have a very basic outline, and I try to follow it. But I'm really, really bad at following my outlines.

The characters really get away from me, and they kind of take on a life of their own.
For example, Kaede was supposed to be a walk on character in book one. She was supposed to appear in that bar scene, and that was it. That was supposed to be her only scene. But, somehow, she managed to worm her way into two of the three books.

So I definitely don’t always know what's going to happen. That can cause me quite a few panic attacks along the way, but it's sort of more fun that way in hindsight.

Michelle: If you could spend a day with any of the characters in Prodigy, who would it be and what will you do with that character during your day together?

Marie: That's an interesting question. I would really love to spend a day with Anden, actually. I think it would be really fun to see from his point of view what it's like to run the Republic from the inside. I would probably like to tell him all of the things that people are conspiring to do against him.
And he seems like he would be a fun person to hang around because he's very elegant and might take me to a really nice restaurant.

Michelle: What was your inspiration for the colonies?

Marie: For the colonies? It was definitely part of the whole feeding off of American politics during the Great Recession. It was just sort of disturbing and baffling to see how extreme our two political parties had to go in order to face off against each other during dire circumstances.
I feel like, in the Legend world, since it's very dystopian and there are a lot of crises, that was why the two countries became such polar opposites. So that was definitely an inspiration, the whole American politics that we know for the last four years.

******
See what we did there with the text color? ;)

That's just a small snippet of the interview--the other readers asked some great questions. If you're interested in reading the full interview, let us know and we'll post it.

Now for the giveaway: Thanks to Penguin, one (1) lucky winner get a signed copy of Prodigy! Open to US only and ends Feb. 16th. Fill out the Rafflecopter below to enter.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good luck everyone! Don't forget to pick up your copy of Prodigy tomorrow! Also check out @PenguinTeen and @Marie_Lu on Twitter, Legend The Series on Facebook and Marie's website for more Legend/Prodigy fun.

Have a great week,
Michelle & Leslie

Saturday, January 26, 2013

We got new books! (19)

Saturday, January 26, 2013 with
Hello book lovers,
This is our first "we got new books" post of 2013! Yay!

Our physical books:
Falling Kingdoms by Morgan Rhodes (won), The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Braken (bought), Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry (gift), Notes from Ghost Town by Kate Ellison (for review), Unremembered by Jessica Brody (won), Blaze (or Love in the Time of Supervillains by Laurie Boyle Crompton (for review), The Seduction of Elliot McBride by Jennifer Ashley (bought)
Leslie is part of the Harlequin Teen Panel and, in addition to Pushing the Limits, her December gift included this pretty snowflake bracelet.

We won a copy of Just One Day by Gayle Forman from the awesome Bookworm1858.

Michelle's digital stuff--Leslie has yet to convert to the awesomeness that are e-books and audiobooks. All of the e-books below (with the exception of Touching the Surface and The Chieftain, both of which I got to review) were all under $4--Exclusively Yours was even free!




As for the audiobooks, I got all of these within two months:

I listened to exactly half of them and my two favorites so far are The Fault in Our Stars (it made me cry like a baby in public!) and Something About You.

What did you guys get this week or month? Leave your links in the comments and we'll come visit and take a gander at your pretties.

Happy reading (and listening, if you're an audiobook fan like me),
Michelle & Leslie

Friday, January 25, 2013

Dear friends,
We are still alive, we've just been very, VERY busy (Leslie with her school stuff; Michelle with her jobs and school and internship).

And besides being busy, we've also been experiencing a blogging slight (okay, not so slight) blogging slump.

But we are coming back to the book blogging world next week and we are starting it with a BANG!!

You ready?!


Sunday:
It's We got new books! day!


Monday: (this is a BIG one)
To celebrate the release of Marie Lu's PRODIGY, we are going to post Michelle's interview with Marie (she got to interview Marie over the phone!) and also give away a signed copy of PRODIGY.

Tuesday:
Michelle is going to blog about her internship and feature the children's book and middle grade books she is going to add to the library's booklist order for March 2013.

Wednesday:
It's Books We Covet day!

Thursday:
Michelle's review of The Liar Society: Ties that Bind and explain why she is Team Bradley.
book cover

Friday:
Leslie will post her review of Level 2, Pretty Crooked, Scarlet (Meyer) or Paper Towns... she hasn't decided yet.

Saturday:
Um... we don't know yet. But it will be good!

Okay, so our goal in the coming is to post something everyday to make up for not posting almost 2 weeks. Friends, have a great Friday. 

Love,
Michelle & Leslie

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Happy Saturday everyone!

I was part of a blog tour in which I was supposed to review The Essence (book 2 in the The Pledge series by Kimberly Derting) and make a playlist to go with the novel, but I never received a copy of the book (actually, most of the bloggers that were part of the blog tour didn't get their copy either).

I debated what to post instead and decided on a series spotlight with quotes I like from the novels (that I got from Goodreads). Here we go...

Book 1 is called The Pledge.
book cover
In the violent country of Ludania, the classes are strictly divided by the language they speak. The smallest transgression, like looking a member of a higher class in the eye while they are speaking their native tongue, results in immediate execution. Seventeen-year-old Charlaina has always been able to understand the languages of all classes, and she's spent her life trying to hide her secret. The only place she can really be free is the drug-fueled underground clubs where people go to shake off the oppressive rules of the world they live in. It's there that she meets a beautiful and mysterious boy named Max who speaks a language she's never heard before . . . and her secret is almost exposed.

Charlie is intensely attracted to Max, even though she can't be sure where his real loyalties lie. As the emergency drills give way to real crisis and the violence escalates, it becomes clear that Charlie is the key to something much bigger: her country's only chance for freedom from the terrible power of a deadly regime.
Quotes:
“Curiosity is an addictive drug.” -Kimberly Derting, The Pledge

“Words held meaning, but voices held emotion.” -Kimberly Derting, The Pledge

“He leaned in then and kissed me again, sweet and soft and tender, silencing my arguments and stealing my breath, making me wonder how one simple gesture could be so tragically lovely.” -Kimberly Derting, The Pledge

Book 2 is called The Essence.
book cover
At the luminous conclusion of The Pledge, Charlaina defeated the tyrant Sabara and took her place as Queen of Ludania. But Charlie knows that Sabara has not disappeared: The evil queen’s Essence is fused to Charlie’s psyche, ready to arise at the first sign of weakness.

Charlie is not weak, but she’s being pushed to the brink. In addition to suppressing the ever-present influence of Sabara, she’s busy being queen—and battling a growing resistance determined to return Ludania to its discriminatory caste system. Charlie wants to be the same girl Max loves, who Brook trusts, but she’s Your Majesty now, and she feels torn in two.

As Charlie journeys to an annual summit to meet with leaders of nearby Queendoms—an event where her ability to understand all languages will be the utmost asset—she is faced with the ultimate betrayal. And the only person she can turn to for help is the evil soul residing within.
Quotes:
“He approached respectfully, cautiously. Warily. She'd always been capricious, his queen. But of late, she was nothing less than unpredictable.” -Kimberly Derting, The Essence

“Warriors do not cry, I admonished myself silently.” -Kimberly Derting, The Essence

“To anyone else, the carvings would appear to be gibberish. To me, the girl who could understand all languages, they were poetic: Danii, a weapon forged of steel and blood.” -Kimberly Derting, The Essence

Giveaway:
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Hello everyone,

I haven't done one of these journal-type of post in a while but I am doing something this spring semester that I am very, very excited about. I am an intern at the Hawaii State Public Library, the main library and the largest public library in the state of Hawaii.

What's more it is located in the historic district of downtown Honolulu (one of my favorite places to sight-see on Oahu), right next to the ʻIolani Palace and across the street from the Aliʻiōlani Hale (aka the Hawaii State Supreme Court Building; aka the Hawaii 5-0 "headquarters"). 

I am working with the children's and juvenile/middle grade collection. Admittedly, I am not as familiar with children's and MG books as I am with young adult and adult fiction but that only means I finally get that push to read more children's books and MG novels. 

I am especially excited because one of the first projects I am going to helping with is making the spring 2013 children's/MG booklist--since Hawaii State is the main library it makes THE BOOKLIST that will go out to the rest of branches statewide (Hawaii has the only statewide public library in the U.S.) to help them decide what books to purchase to add to their collection. 

Other things I will be doing are leading storytimes for the younger children, doing booktalks with older grades, manning the reference desk, weeding the collection, putting together other booklists in various topics and categories, among other things. 

It was only day 2 of my internship yesterday and I already feel at home there. Oh, but I do need to brush up on my Dewey for the non-fiction books... but, yeah, you'll probably see other posts about my internship and what I am up to in the future. 

-Michelle
(who is already making up booktalks for her favorite MG novels in her head as we speak)

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Safe Haven Fan Event + Giveaway

Wednesday, January 9, 2013 with
Labels:
Hello fellow romantics,
As you all know there's a new Nicholas Sparks novel-based movie coming out on Valentines Day:
Yep, Safe Haven--to tell the truth we would've preferred they make a movie for The Wedding but it's exciting nonetheless, especially for a romantic movie fan like us. (And it doesn't look as... fleshy as The Lucky One, which unfortunately Leslie and I had to skip for that reason). 

For those of you interested there's a special one-night event on January 17th presented by Fantom Event and Relativity Media.

What: A Night With Nicholas Sparks’ Safe Haven: Filmmakers, Author And Stars Bring The Book To Life  

Who: Nicholas Sparks, the cast of Safe Haven, including Josh Duhamel and Julianne Hough, and the Q&A will be moderated by Maria Menounos.

Where: Your cinema

Time: 8:00 PM ET/ 7:00 PM CT/ 7:00 PM MT/ 8:00 PM PT 

For more information, visit http://www.fathomevents.com/#!safe-haven

Thanks to Grand Central Publishing, we have one copy of the movie-tie-in edition of Safe Haven to giveaway! The book's will look the like the image above. Fill out the form below:

Enter now! This giveaway will run for 9 days only.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Hello fellow readers,

We are excited to welcome the wonderful Anne Osterlund today. Her first contemporary novel Salvation (a novel we are very excited to read and currently have on pre-order) will be coming out this coming Thursday, January 10th.
book cover
A smart, unexpected romance from an award-winning author.

Salvador Resendez--Salva to his friends--appears to have it all. His Mexican immigrant family has high expectations, and Salva intends to fulfill them. He's student body president, quarterback of the football team, and has a near-perfect GPA. Everyone loves him.

Especially Beth Courant, AKA the walking disaster area. Dreamy and shy, Beth is used to blending into the background. But she's also smart, and she has serious plans for her future.

Popular guy and bookish girl--the two have almost nothing in common. Until fate throws them together and the attraction is irresistible. Soon Beth is pushing Salva to set his sights higher than ever--because she knows he has more to offer, more than even he realizes.

Then tragedy strikes--and threatens to destroy everything that Salva has worked for. Will Beth's love be enough to save him?
Hi Anne! Welcome to our blog!
Thank you, Michelle. My characters—Salva and Beth—and I are thrilled to be here. It means a lot to be able to share our excitement about Salvation. This novel is very close to our hearts.

How is Salvation (besides it being a contemporary novel) different from your earlier novels?
Salvation is the story of Salvador Resendez, a brilliant young man who hovers just beyond the center of the spotlight. He is student council president, quarterback of the football team, and has a near perfect GPA. His Mexican immigrant family has high expectations and Salva intends to fulfill them. But instead of embracing his ability to lead, he allows his friends to direct his inner compass.
Until he collides with Beth Courant, AKA the walking disaster area. And all manner of chaos erupts.


Was it harder to write about Salva and Beth than it was writing about your earlier characters in your previous three novels, Academy 7, Aurelia, and Exile?
This is the first book I have written in which the guy’s story defines the action. It required a great deal of tossing and catching of objects: footballs, oranges, keys. Ultimately, though, the challenge remained the same. Digging as deeply into the character’s head—and heart—as possible, and allowing the reader to see the world from that character’s perspective.
Both Salva and Beth had a lot to say—a lot they needed to say. We really didn’t hit any major obstacles until Salva refused to go home.
http://www.anneosterlund.blogspot.com/2010/07/disobedient-characters.html
At which point the second draft slammed to a halt. Fortunately, Beth was on my side, or I’m not sure we would ever have reached the end.


Please describe your writing process, from being hit by an idea to turning in the final draft to your publisher.
1. Meet the characters.
http://www.anneosterlund.blogspot.com/2012/08/quirky-author-thoughts-introducing.html
2. Tackle the first draft. http://www.anneosterlund.blogspot.com/2011/01/art-of-first-draft.html
3. Revise. This requires everything from. . .
     a. Tasting research http://www.anneosterlund.blogspot.com/2010/07/blueberry-lemonade-taste-of-research.html
     b. To battling with your main character http://www.anneosterlund.blogspot.com/2010/07/disobedient-characters.html
     c. To listening to The VOICE.
http://www.anneosterlund.blogspot.com/2010/10/voice-and-laundromat.html
4. Edit. http://www.anneosterlund.blogspot.com/2011/07/throwing-up-and-climbing-down-fire.html
5. Copyedit. (In which I become a very odd, anal person who can argue about the placement of a comma).
6. And CELEBRATE! Often via wild and wacky blog posts.


I read your blog and you often talk to your characters. Do your "old" characters like Aerin or Aurelia still talk to you (or you talk to them) even though you are now focused on new characters?
Oh, they all talk! Aurelia is currently bursting with opinions about every single one of your questions. Her third—and final—novel, Redemption, is only two chapters away from a completed second draft and she absolutely wants to tell the world about it. But she’s biting her tongue and being remarkably well-behaved because she knows this is Salva and Beth’s moment.

Being a teacher, do you often draw inspiration from your students?
Constantly. In the past year, I have been introduced to hundreds of student-created characters: a girl with cancer who wants to play baseball, a blind young man who wishes to enlist in the army, a pickle that wants to be a cucumber, and a Popsicle stick that longs to be a tongue depressor! Kids are brilliant, especially if they have the freedom to create and share their own ideas.

Is it hard being a teacher and a writer?
Imagine juggling four hundred kumquats and scaling Mount Everest.

Please share your favorite line in Salvation.
I can’t. It’s a major reveal. I could tell you, but then I’d have to ship you to a deep dark hole beyond the range of the internet where you could never blog again. I can offer you a sneak peak at the prologue and tell you the first line:
“So you gonna ask her out?” came the inevitable question.

*****
You all are probably dying to read Salvation, right? We certainly are!

Thanks to Anne we have a bunch of signed swag to giveaway, including Salvation bookmarks and postcards as well as other postcards featuring Anne's previous books Academy 7, Aurelia, and Exile. We will choose 2 winners. Open to international readers. Ends January 31st. Just fill out the form below.

Happy reading,
Michelle

Saturday, January 5, 2013

2013 Debut Novels We Are Looking Forward To

Saturday, January 5, 2013 with
Hello YA enthusiast friends,

This post will highlight five (yup, it was hard but we are limiting ourselves to 5 books) 2013 YA debut novels we are dying to get our hands on. For eye candy purposes, we also tried to pick ones with covers already.

In the order of release date:
book cover
Blaze is tired of spending her life on the sidelines, drawing comics and feeling invisible. She's desperate for soccer star Mark to notice her. And when her BFF texts Mark a photo of Blaze in sexy lingerie, it definitely gets his attention. After a hot date in the back of her minivan, Blaze is flying high, but suddenly Mark's feelings seem to have been blasted by a freeze-ray gun, and he dumps her. Blaze gets her revenge by posting a comic strip featuring uber-villain Mark the Shark. Mark then retaliates by posting her "sext" photo, and, overnight, Blaze goes from Super Virgin Girl to Super Slut. That life on the sidelines is looking pretty good right about now... (out 2/1/2013)
Blaze reminds us a little of Good Girls by Laura Ruby, a novel we both loved.

book cover
She’s been six different people in six different places: Madeline in Ohio, Isabelle in Missouri, Olivia in Kentucky . . . But now that she’s been transplanted to rural Louisiana, she has decided that this fake identity will be her last.

Witness Protection has taken nearly everything from her. But for now, they’ve given her a new name, Megan Rose Jones, and a horrible hair color. For the past eight months, Meg has begged her father to answer one question: What on earth did he do – or see – that landed them in this god-awful mess? Meg has just about had it with all the Suits’ rules — and her dad’s silence. If he won’t help, it’s time she got some answers for herself.

But Meg isn’t counting on Ethan Landry, an adorable Louisiana farm boy who’s too smart for his own good. He knows Meg is hiding something big. And it just might get both of them killed. As they embark on a perilous journey to free her family once and for all, Meg discovers that there’s only one rule that really matters — survival.
 (out 5/14/2013)
Huh. What could Megan's father have done to warrant their always changing fake identities? And adorable farm boy? We love Ethan already.

book cover
Some say the seaside town of Echo Bay is cursed. They may be right. When a game of truth or dare spins out of control, three beautiful teen girls start receiving mysterious dares containing hints to dark secrets long buried. For artsy outcast Sydney Morgan; perfect, popular Caitlin “Angel” Thomas; and queen bee Tenley Reed, the truth is not an option.

This is no party game—-it’s do or die.

And it’s their turn to play.
 (out 5/14/2013)
We are hoping Truth or Dare will be a scare-your-pants-off, jump-at-every-tiny-creaking-sound kind of read.




book cover
Plenty of teenagers feel invisible. Fiona McClean actually is.

An invisible girl is a priceless weapon. Fiona’s own father has been forcing her to do his dirty work for years—everything from spying on people to stealing cars to breaking into bank vaults.

After sixteen years, Fiona’s had enough. She and her mother flee to a small town, and for the first time in her life, Fiona feels like a normal life is within reach. But Fiona’s father isn’t giving up that easily.

Of course, he should know better than anyone: never underestimate an invisible girl.
 (out 5/21/2013)
We are intrigued by the synopsis. It seems like the author will take the invisible girl story line in a different direction. And we are curious how Fiona will deal with her father. Love the vibrant cover too!

book cover
My darling daughter,

Know that I never would have left the Earth if it hadn't already been doomed. . .

The generation ship Asherah coasts through space, bound for a planet its passengers have never even seen. On the eve of their arrival, sixteen-year-old botanist Terra discovers that her orderly society has fractured. Walking home one night through the long-abandoned engine rooms, she witnesses the murder of an innocent man. Now, called on by the Children of Abel, a group of rebels intent on destroying the High Council, Terra must prove her mettle--assassinate the ship's rising captain. In order to carry out her task, Terra must betray her father, deceive her teacher, and challenge everything the Council has ever taught her was true.

The rebels think that Terra has nothing left to lose. But when she falls for Silvan Rafferty, the boy that she's meant to kill, Terra learns that "doing your duty" isn't always as easy as it seems. (out 7/23/2013)
Starglass had us at "she falls for the boy that she's meant to kill"--we are suckers with that kind romantic trope.
*****

Maybe we'll do another one of these posts (highlighting debuts we are excited for) mid-year--we don't mean to ignore the awesome ones that do not have covers right now! By then more covers should be revealed for releases later in the year. 

So... what do you all think of our picks?

We did a lot of listing of books this week, but we will be back to our regular posts (reviews, "books we covet," author Q&A, etc.) in the coming week. 

Til then, have a great weekend everyone!

-Leslie & Michelle

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Leslie's Favorite Reads of 2012

Thursday, January 3, 2013 with
Hi everyone!

I read a total of 27 in 2012. I read 5 debut novels (one of the debut is Level Two and it doesn't come out until January 15 but I'm counting it anyway).

My top 5 favorites are: (in no particular order)
bookcover
Vessel by Sarah Beth Durst
Hurrah for standalone books! I knew I was going to enjoy Vessel because everything I've read by Sarah Beth Durst I've liked. And I was right!

It is excellent, imaginative and you just fall in love with the characters. I loved Liyana--I admired her and I was so sad when I finished the book because my time with her was over already.

Vessel is a must-read.


bookcover

Paper Towns by John Green
I have been a long-time view of John Green and Hank Green's YouTube videos, Vlog Brothers. But it was only in 2012 did I pick up my first John Green novel.

Paper Towns did not disappoint.






bookcover
Cinder (Lunar Chronicles #1) by Marissa Meyer
The fairy tale Cinderella was always a favorite of mine. After seeing the cover of Cinder and finding out that in this particular retelling Cinderella is a cyborg, I was very intrigued. After reading it, I had a new favorite!

Cinder was amazing! I absolutely LOVED it!! I was lucky enough to get an early copy of Scarlet and well, you'll just have to wait for my review. *_~



bookcover

Why We Broke Up by Daniel Handler and Maira Kalman
The reviews for Why We Broke Up was mixed and when I first started reading it I wasn't sure how I would feel about it but I ended up really, really liking it. I liked the style of writing and I thought the illustrations complemented the narration well.






bookcover
Good Girls by Laura Ruby
I wanted to take a break from review books so I asked my sister for a recommendation and she suggested I read Good Girls.

Good Girls is not a recent release (it was published in 2008) and I am so glad I came across this book and read it. It's about a good girl Audrey who hooks up with popular guy Luke and someone took a picture of them in a compromising position. The picture was passed around not only to the students but to her teachers and parents. Soon Audrey was being labeled a slut but Luke was being treated like a... hero?

This book doesn't shy away from tough, heavy issues and was explicit at times but it was surprisingly a feel-good read all the same. I highly recommend it for both girls and guys to read.


Okay, there you have it! My favorite reads of 2012. Look for my and my sister's list of most anticipated reads of 2013 tomorrow.

Hugs and books,
Leslie

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Michelle's Favorite Reads of 2012

Wednesday, January 2, 2013 with
Hello fellow bookaholics!

I hope you all had a fabulous New Year! I am now going to share my favorite reads of 2012.

I read a total of 70 books in 2012. Unfortunately, I read 15 less than what I read in 2011 but I am happy with the number since 2012 was a crazy year. I had to juggle grad school, working part-time at two libraries, being a resident advisor (RA) at my university's student housing and then dealing with... everything else in life.

From the 70 books I read, 39 were romance novels, 26 were YA (8 were debut novels) and 5 non-YA/non-romance.

Favorite YA of 2012
bookcoverSeraphina by Rachel Hartman
Seraphina made me fall in love with fantasy all over again. I loved it so much, that it was impossible for me to write a review for it (although I did try, I just couldn't express how excellent it was). However, whenever someone asked me for a book recommendation Seraphina is one I always mention.

Seraphina is also my favorite YA debut of 2012.





Favorite General Fiction of 2012
bookcoverOn the Island by Tracey Garvis Graves
On the Island was one of those books I almost did not pick up--a older woman and younger man with a 14-year difference between them fall in love while stuck on a deserted island for many years? It's not going to work, I thought.

How very wrong I was!

On the Island blew my socks off. It was an amazing read and I had a hard time putting it down. I pretty much devoured the entire novel in one sitting.


Favorite Romance Novel of 2012
bookcoverAll Jacked Up by Lorelei James
It was hard picking my favorite romance read of 2012 but I have to give it to All Jacked Up. It was not published in 2012 but it started my love for extra steamy reads featuring hot cowboys.

If you like your romance extra steamy but has a solid plot and very emotional with heroes and heroines you will grow to love, I recommend you check out Lorelei James's Rough Riders and Blacktop Cowboys series.




If you're interested, view ALL the books I've read here. Look out for Leslie's favorite reads of 2012 post tomorrow.

Happy reading,
Michelle

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Happy New Year!!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013 with
Hello everyone!
Leslie and I would like to greet you all a very happy New Year!

Thank you for sticking with us here on our blog and with Michelle on Twitter. We hope 2013 will bring you all lots of happiness, good health and, of course, a whole lot of fantastic reading.

We will be posting our favorite reads of 2012 later on but for now, just HAPPY NEW YEAR  to you all!!

Love,
Michelle & Leslie