Friday, December 21, 2012

It's Christmas Time Again...

Since I participated in the superlatives blogfest, I thought I might do something I haven't done in who knows long -- blog for five consecutive days.

I know, unheard of, right? I'll make this short and sweet.

First up, the rules.

This giveaway will run until the ball drops in New York on New Years' Eve and two winners will be announced on New Years' Day. You'll have 48 hours to claim your prize otherwise that whole forfeit thing happens and somebody else will be picked.

Each winner will receive two signed books. The grand prize winner will receive their choice of 1 of 3 signed books PLUS they can pick one of the titles (unsigned) that I featured during the 2012 YA Superlatives blogfest! The grand prize winner will also receive my current favorite Christmas song (gifted through iTunes) and a small surprise gift. The second winner will receive the two remaining signed books.

The books you can win are:

WINTER WONDERS Anthology signed by Me and maybe a few other people
ENTHRALLED: Paranormal Diversions Anthology - signed by Carrie Ryan, Sarah Rees Brennan, Jackson Pearce, Kami Garcia, Margaret Stohl, and Kimberly Derting

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Have a great weekend everyone!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Class of 2012: Best in Show

It is the final day of the YA Superlatives blogfest hosted by Jessica Love, Katy Upperman, Alison Miller, and Tracey Neithercott.

Favorite Cover:
If I were to list all my favorite covers, we'd be here all day long so I picked my top three for the year. First up is Spell Bound by Rachel Hawkins. I really do think she gets the best covers and I'm excited to see that her spin-off series is going to be following the same look. 
The cover for The Disenchantments totally threw me because I didn't know anything going into it and it was a major surprise (a good one though) to find out Colby was the narrator. I like this cover because it just reminds me of summer and fun.
Until I Die is just plain pretty. I love everything about it from the purples to the swirls around the title.

Cutest Couple:
Hazel and Augustus win this category hands down. Their relationship was just beautiful overall and they were just like two puzzle pieces that were made for each other. 

Most Likely to Succeed (Or, pick a Printz Winner):
I really don't think I have to say anything here.

Most Likely to Make You Miss Your Bedtime (The book you just couldn't put down!):
The Raven Boys did make me stay up to read until my eyes wouldn't stay open any longer. As soon as I was finished reading I wanted to open it back up to page one and start all over again. Just call me Veruca Salt because I want book two and I want it NOW!

Best Repeat Performance (Your favorite sequel or follow-up):
What I like about Jackson Pearce's re-tellings is that they're dark and they all somehow tie together. I almost didn't pick this one for this category but then I remembered how she tied this together with Sisters Red and Sweetly and that right there clenched it for me. 

Favorite Finale or End of Series Novel:
A LOT of stuff happened in The Savage Grace and the first thing I remember thinking when I finished reading it was, "now that's how you finish a series!"

Romance Most Worthy of an Ice Bath:
Whitley and Nathan FOR SURE. I mean, damn, the tension between those two leapt off the page *fans self*

Breakout Novel (Your favorite book by a debut author):
This was a no-brainer for me. This was one of my favorite stories of the year and I loved that it wasn't just a re-telling of Hades/Persephone but a loose re-imagining. 

Best Old-Timer (Your favorite read of the year, published BEFORE 2012):
OH, PERKS! How I love thee. I first read this book back in 2004 when a co-worker gave me her extra copy and I have loved it ever since. Very few books have stayed with me like The Perks of Being a Wallflower has and for a while there, I read this book at least once a year. I can't tell you how THRILLED I was when the movie finally came out in my city and to see that it was absolute perfection. That my friends, is how a movie adaptation is done.

Most Likely To Make a Grown Man Cry:
If you read this book and DON'T cry your name must be Chandler Bing. Seriously, you robot. 

Most Pleasant Surprise (The book you didn't think you'd like, but totally did):
Initially, the only reason I bought this book (and the first one) is because I was at Amy Plum's book signing* and after hearing her talk and see how she interacted with her fans, I knew I had to buy both. Plus, the cover is gorgeous. It was a few weeks before I actually started reading the series but I was surprised with just how much I loved it. 

Most Creative Use of a Love Triangle:
All I'm going to say about this one, in case someone hasn't read it, this is how a love triangle should be done. *bows to Maggie*

Sleeper Hit (Book you found so awesome you wish it had been hyped more):
I picked both of these books because not only did I love them but very few of my book nerd friends had heard of them/read them. I really enjoyed both books for different reasons and I can only hope that one person who hasn't read these will see this and decide to give them a try.

Favorite Outlier (Your favorite MG or adult 2012 book):
I mentioned it the other day but it's worth repeating: I am a complete sucker for the Percy Jackson books. I love everything about all books relating to Percy and friends and this is one reason I look forward to October rolling around. 
I also picked The Tiny Book of Tiny Stories, Volume 1 because it is just SO DARN cute and you can't help but smile when flipping through it. It may only take five minutes to read, but the idea behind it is just so cool. Plus, Joseph Gordon-Levitt is involved so it can't be bad, right?
I don't typically read Romance but my friend Macy Beckett's debut novel, Sultry with a Twist was released earlier this year and even if she weren't my friend, I'd still love it. It's playful, funny, and hot and I know this girl is going to have an awesome writing career!

Pick your own superlative category! - Most Likely to End up in the Freezer:
If you know anything about the TV show FRIENDS, you know why a book would end up in the freezer. I even mentioned as much to my husband and he looked at me like I was crazy. 

Welp, that's it for the Class of 2012. I had a blast compiling my picks and seeing everything that other people chose. Happy reading!!

*Even though I had never heard of her before, Birmingham doesn't get very YA Authors for signings in town so when they come, I have to show my support. 

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Class of 2012: Elements of Fiction

Welcome back for day three of the YA Superlatives blogfest hosted by Jessica Love, Katy Upperman, Alison Miller, and Tracey Neithercott.

Most Envy-Inducting Plot (Or, the plot you wish you'd thought of yourself):
Yep. If you've seen my blog the past few days, you're probably not surprised to see The Raven Boys in this spot. Maggie is a freaking genius and everything about this book just makes shake my head in awe.  She has a way with words and builds such complex, beautiful, fun, and mysterious works of art and all I can do is just sit back and let her take me on a ride that I know will not disappoint.

Most Formidable World (Or, the setting you most definitely would NOT want to travel to):
The reason I picked This is not a Test over any of the other books is that you have people surrounding you and you can fight for something --whether it's overthrowing the villain or quests to save friends --but in this world? It's basically hopeless. You're constantly on the run and always scavenging for food and safety, and if The Walking Dead has taught us anything, it's you can't even trust your closest friend.

Wanderlust-Inducting (Or, the setting you'd happily travel to):
Paris is on my must-see list of places to visit before I die and I love stories that take place there. I actually don't know why Amy Plum's books haven't made my list until now because I've really enjoyed them.

Loveliest Prose:
John Green is a master of words and I was going to put a quote or two from The Fault in our Stars here but how can you only pick one? I mean, just reading this makes me feel all the feels.

I can't leave out Maggie Stiefvater and Laini Taylor because writing beautiful is just in them. 

Most Dynamic Main Character:
Karou hands down. Had I participated last year, she would be the reigning champ.

Most Jaw-Dropping Ending:
All I will say about this is that there were some things I expected to happen but the ending was not one of them. 

Best Performance in a Supporting Role:
I kept flip-flopping on whether to pick The Raven Boys for this one but I decided that since their voice is heard, I would go with Cole in Everneath. Cole is such a complex character and there are times where you don't know whether to root for him or hate him. In my opinion, he's the ultimate bad boy because of the way he can make you believe him and while you know he might be deceiving you, you still want to believe in him. 

Best use of Theme:
I picked This is not a Test earlier because that world just seems completely and utterly hopeless but in Laini Taylor's series, there's nothing but hope. Even though there is war and death, you need some kind of hope to be able to want to move forward.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Class of 2012: Popularity Contest

Welcome to day two of the 2012 YA Superlatives blogfest hosted by Jessica LoveKaty UppermanAlison Miller, and Tracey Neithercott.

Today we'll be delving into some of my favorite characters.

Class Clown:
Yes, The Fault in our Stars may be about cancer, but Gus and Hazel are just so dang funny! They're real and they don't let their cancer define who they are are people and when you can joke about a friend going blind and it not be mean? That's a win in my book.

Most Likely to Become a Rock Star:
I knew only picking one book per category would only last so long. I picked Bev from The Disenchantments because while she may not be the best, she has the attitude and drive to be successful. Fake it til you make it should be her motto. I also picked Emme from Elizabeth Eulberg's Take a Bow. Unlike Bev, Emme is dripping with talent on the singer/songwriter scale and the only thing that can stop her is a lack of confidence in herself.

Mostly Likely to Start a Riot:
Ronan wins this category for sure. He doesn't put up with things he doesn't like and you'll know it. He's also pretty loyal to friends and isn't afraid to be heard.

Biggest Flirt:
Picking Whitley was a no-brainer for this category. The things that go down with her love interest is proof and Whitley isn't above making people uncomfortable for the sake of flirting.

Fashion King and/or Queen:
Evie has great fashion sense and is always looking pretty spiffy inside the book, but even the cover for Endlessly is gorgeous. 

Girl You’d Most Want For Your BFF:
Zuzana! I've wanted to be BFF's with Zuzana since I first read Daughter of Smoke and Bone and that was solidified when in the first chapter of Days of Blood and Starlight she forms a plan on what she wants to do to Kaz.

Boy You Wish You’d Dated in High School:
Four is basically a given. I mean, come on, it's Four. I love all the Raven Boys for different reasons and I also picked Colby from The Disenchantments because he's loyal and sweet and just an all around good guy.

Most Likely to Become President:
There's just something about Gansey that screams President to me. He has the upbringing for it and is pretty much the glue that is holding his group together. I also decided to add Elder as a Vice President because while he's not exactly cut out for leading, he desperately wants to do the right thing and I think he would be a great right hand man to Gansey.

Villain You Love to Hate:
There were two villains that I wasn't sure whether to like them or hate them because both the Darkling from Shadow and Bone and Cole from Everneath had these different layers to them and you just wanted to see what made them tick. Both of these guys are worthy of having a book that focuses solely on them.

Favorite Parental Figure:
Blue Sargent's whole psychic family. I really hope book two includes more of them because I like seeing parental figures involved in what's going on with their teenager.

Coolest Nerd:
I obviously have a lot of love for Gansey and I don't know if I would exactly classify him as a nerd but he does get total nerdgasms over his research and finding Glendower.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Class of 2012: Head of the Class

This week I am going to be partaking in the YA Superlatives 2012 Blogfest that is hosted by Jessica Love, Katy Upperman, Alison Miller, and Tracey Neithercott.

Compiling this list was a lot more fun than getting the yearly ballots in high school (in case you were wondering, had there been a "Most Invisible" category, I probably would have swept that). Please keep in mind that I've only read 48 books this year and not all of them were 2012 releases. So be prepared to see repeats but know that I really do love the books I'm posting.

Let's get this started!

Favorite Dystopian
I've been following C.J Redwine on Twitter for quite some time and it feels like this book should have been out before this year. I got a signed copy of this while at the Decatur Book Festival earlier this year and after meeting C.J, I knew I had to go home and read Defiance immediately. I loved this more than I expected and really enjoyed having another strong and determined female lead with Rachel.

Favorite Science Fiction

Sci-Fi is not something I enjoy on a regular basis. I don't know what it is but there are very few things in this genre as a whole that hold my attention and A Million Suns by Beth Revis is high on that list and I'm looking forward to see what happens next.

Favorite Fantasy
Oh, Laini Taylor. I haven't quite finished reading this book but I knew from page one that I was going to love it. Her writing is beautiful and so is the cover. I really can't wait to see where this story goes.

Favorite Contemporary
Was there any doubt that this would make the list as my favorite contemporary? Spoiler Alert! The Fault in our Stars is hands-down the best book I've read this year and is officially one of my newer all-time favorite books. John Green owns me and I think that this book is one that only he could do. It's gut-wrenching, sweet, and just plain beautiful and if you read any book on my list, please let it be this one. It has been almost a year since this book has come out and it is one of the few that I still think about ALL the time.

Favorite Action/Adventure
Veronica Roth's debut novel, Divergent was one of my favorite reads in 2011, so it was only natural for me to be itching to read book two in the series, Insurgent. I really enjoyed getting more backstory on some of the secondary characters and plus, more Four is always welcome. I'm looking forward to see how she wraps up this series.

Favorite Romance
I loved everything about this book from the traveling to the relationship between Bria and Rowan. The settings leap off the page and the emotions are very real. 

Favorite Paranormal /Favorite Mystery
I combined two categories because I couldn't decide which one to put Maggie Steivfater's The Raven Boys in. This was my second favorite book of the year and I was lucky enough to win an ARC of it. As soon as I was finished reading I probably would have started re-reading it immediately if I had not promised some of my friends I'd send it on a mini book tour. It has a little bit of everything and if I had any questions regarding Maggie's creativity (I didn't), this book would have put those to rest. Once again, Maggie has awed me with her world-building and her ability to create a complex story like no other. The writing is amazing and I love how well she does alternating POVs. Raven Cycle #2 is probably my most anticipated 2013 release and I'm glad there will be four to the series. 

Favorite Family Drama / Favorite Comedy
Another combination of two categories. I don't know what it is about Kody Keplinger but I just love her books and was not disappointed when reading A Midsummer's Nightmare. This book screams "family drama" to me and it was just a fun read that I couldn't put down. I love how her characters are always flawed and they just feel like real people to me. 

Favorite Genre Bender
Honestly, Everneath by Brodi Ashton was a HUGE surprise to me. After I ordered it, it sat on my shelf for a while and I had an "OMG WHY DID I WAIT SO LONG TO READ THIS?!" moment once I started it. For some reason I didn't read what it was about and had I done that sooner, I probably would have read it right away. I LOVED this book because it had the romance and the paranormal that I love so but it was a re-imagining of the Persephone myth and I absolutely adore Greek mythology --remember my love for all things Percy Jackson? So this was right up my alley and became one of those books that I love to recommend and was ecstatic when my friends Jennie and Joyce read it and loved it.  I am bouncing up and down with anticipation for the accompanying novella and book two that are both out soon!

Would any of my picks make your list? What are some of your favorite books of 2012?

Check back tomorrow for my Popularity Contest picks!