Saturday, December 31, 2011

NetGalley January Pledge!


So, I’ve decided to participate in the NetGalley January Read-A-Thon over at Red House Books, which I am SUPER excited about because 1) all the previous NetGalley months have been very busy for me, so I’m thrilled to actually be able to participate this time, and 2) I SUCK at keeping up with my NetGalley books. Like, it’s really really bad. You guys don’t even know.

AND I just recently got a brand new Kindle (which will be known as St. Clair from now on :D), which means I get to read all these NG books NOT on my computer screen! Yay!

I don’t want to set too lofty a goal and then be feel bad about myself if I don't meet it, but here are some of the books I’m hoping to knock off my list in January:

Tempest by Julie Cross
Saving June by Hannah Harrington
Seraphina by Rachel Hartman
Obsidian by Jennifer L. Armentrout
Wanderlove by Kirsten Hubbard
Shattered Dreams by Ellie James

And I’m going to stop there for now. I also have some other review books I’ll need to read, so I can’t concentrate solely on NetGalley, but I’m definitely looking forward to this. :) What better way to start the new year?

Happy January reading, everybody!

Wander Dust Giveaway Winners!

Thanks so much to everyone who entered the Wander Dust giveaway! Random.org has done its thing and the winners have been chosen!

The winner of the signed paperback copy of Wander Dust, the Tolkein quote necklace, and a signed bookmark is Kristina Haecker!

The other nine winners, who will each receive a signed Wander Dust bookmark, are:
Gladys Gonzales Atwell
Sayomay
DB Graves
Monica
Pyper541
Shanon (Escaping with Fiction)
Melissa
Deann Fox
Emily C.

Congrats to all of you! Notification emails have been sent out with more information, and since I know it’s a holiday weekend and people might be out of town, I’ll wait until Wednesday night (the 4th of January) for responses. If I haven’t heard from you at that point, other winners will be chosen.

Happy new year everyone!

Review: The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith

By: Jennifer E. Smith
Publisher: Poppy
Release Date: January 2, 2012
Genre/Age: YA Contemporary
Pages: 256
Source: ARC borrowed from Sarah

Who would have guessed that four minutes could change everything?

Today should be one of the worst days of seventeen-year-old Hadley Sullivan’s life. She’s stuck at JFK, late to her father’s second wedding, which is taking place in London and involves a soon to be step-mother that Hadley’s never even met. Then she meets the perfect boy in the airport’s cramped waiting area. His name is Oliver, he’s British, and he’s in seat 18B. Hadley’s in 18A.

Twists of fate and quirks of timing play out in this thoughtful novel about family connections, second chances and first loves. Set over a 24-hour-period, Hadley and Oliver’s story will make you believe that true love finds you when you’re least expecting it.


Who doesn’t dream of meeting the perfect guy in an airport? Anybody could end up sitting next to you on a plane, so why not the guy of your dreams? To everyone who has ever had a thought similar to this, The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight will be total wish fulfillment. It was for me, and I loved every single second of it. I read the entire book in one sitting with a smile on my face the whole time and a happy sigh at the end of it. I LOVED it.

Now, normally I am not a fan of love at first sight stories. I usually like my romance to happen slowly, growing out of friendship with lots of tension and gradually building up to that final payoff. But somehow I was totally on board with everything in Statistical Probability. Despite the title, and the fact that the story takes place over only 24 hours, this does not feel like one of those insta-love YA romances. It’s not cheesy or hokey, and it feels totally realistic and believable. Which takes great skill, in my opinion. Way to go, Jennifer.

I adored Hadley, fell in love with Oliver, and even grew to like Hadley’s parents and her dad’s new wife. Hadley and Oliver are both dealing with their own issues, making Statistical Probability more than just a love story, and their romance doesn’t overshadow the other things going on in each of their lives. Every facet of the novel was well-balanced and it all meshed together incredibly well.

Aaaaaaand let’s talk just a little bit more about Oliver, shall we? SWOON. Oliver is… well, he’s absolutely wonderful. (He wasn't listed as one of my favorite book boyfriends from 2011 for nothing!) He’s incredibly clever and sweet, and he has a wicked sense of humor. He’s adorable and funny and charming, he’s BRITISH (so many automatic points right there), and he and Hadley have fantastic chemistry together. Airport gods, can I meet an Oliver the next time I travel? PLEASE? Great, thanks.

I absolutely adored this book, and if you’re a fan of contemporary stories you definitely won’t want to miss it. My one complaint would be that it’s too short, but in some ways that just makes it feel like a perfect little bite-sized treat. :)


*Thank you so much to Sarah from The Book Life for offering to lend me her copy of Statistical Probability. You are a gem. <3

Friday, December 30, 2011

My Top Ten Books I'm Looking Forward to in 2012

The 2011 Top Ten meme is hosted by Jessica from Confessions of a Bookaholic, Lisa from A Life Bound by Books, Jaime & Patricia from Two Chicks on Books, and Rachel from Fiktshun.

Previous Topics:


This is also the Top Ten Tuesday topic for January 3, which is hosted at The Broke and the Bookish.


Today’s topic:
Top Ten Books I’m Looking Forward to in 2012

There are so many amazing-looking books coming out in 2012 that it was really hard to narrow it down, but somehow I managed! So here they are, in order of release date, my top ten most anticipated books for 2012:


By: Abby McDonald
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Release Date: January 24, 2012

Contemporary books are my new-found weakness, and this one looks so cute. And fortunately it's coming out in January, so not much of a wait left!





By: Kristin Cashore
Publisher: Dial
Release Date: May 1, 2012

I LOVED Graceling and I feel like I've been waiting for Bitterblue forever. I can't wait to return to the world and find out what everyone has been up to (Katsa and Po in particular :P).




By: Jessi Kirby
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing
Release Date: May 8, 2012

Road trips! Last wishes! Heartache! Her older brother's stubborn, arrogant (and good looking) best friend as a driving companion! So much goodness in one novel (and possibly too many exclamation marks).




By: Diana Peterfreund
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Release Date: June 12, 2012

Ajsdfk jlekfjlzsdkf I NEED THIS BOOK RIGHT NOW. Oh my lord. I don't even know what to say. My WoW post featuring this book is much more coherent and lists the six main reasons I want it, which are too long to post here.




By: Trish Doller
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Release Date: June 19, 2012

This book looks amaaaaaazing and I've heard incredible things about it. I love stories with love interests who have a bad history together and I also love that it has a male protagonist. I'm going to explode with awesomeness come June.




By: Lara Zielin
Publisher: Putnam Juvenile
Release Date: August 2, 2012

Yet another one I'm DYING for. (I know, I know, that's what this whole list is about.) Tornado chasing, family drama, tornado chasing, escaping with her older brother and his tornado chasing friends for a summer, did I mention the TORNADO CHASING? I've always had a secret desire to be a stormchaser. Aaaaah, I want this book.


By: Gina Rosati
Publisher: Roaring Brook Press
Release Date: August 7, 2012

Astral projection! Body snatching! Falling in love with someone you can't touch! And an absolutely gorgeous cover. This one sounds fantastic.







By: Miranda Kenneally
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Release Date: October 2012

Miranda blew me away with Catching Jordan, and I'm SO excited to read more from her. I don't know much about this one but I already love it. It's about a girl named Parker (I LOVE guy names for girls) who falls for the older baseball team coach (not older in a creepy way, older in a hot, she's-17-and-he's-23 kind of way). Plus, I've heard that our favorite characters from CJ make appearances, which is always fun. :D


By: Tahereh Mafi
Publisher: HarperCollins
Release Date: November 2012

Shatter Me was freaking amazing, so even though the sequel doesn't yet have a title, cover, synopsis, or even an exact release date, my finger is already hovering over the 'preorder' button. I NEED more of Adam, Juliette, Warner, Kenji, James... and of course Tahereh's swoonworthy writing.


By: Stephanie Perkins
Publisher: Dutton
Release Date: 2012

It's no secret I'm a HUGE fan of Stephanie Perkins, and although I'm dreading the end of my visits with my beloved characters with this final companion novel, I still absolutely cannot wait. And I REALLY can't wait to see what delectable new guy Steph manages to create. She's already outdone herself with Cricket and Etienne, I honestly don't know how I can handle any more. My heart is exploding already.



Alright, now that I'm salivating over all these novels that won't come out for months and months, what books are you looking forward to in 2012?

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Review: Waltz This Way by Dakota Cassidy

By: Dakota Cassidy
Publisher: Berkley Trade
Release Date: March 6, 2012
Genre/Age: Adult Contemporary Romance
Pages: 352
Source: ARC for Good Choice Reading ARC Tours

Left without a partner…

When former ballroom champion Melina Cherkasov found out that her famous husband was cheating, she was devastated, especially since she was informed by a sleazy reporter on national TV. Thanks to an ironclad pre-nup and a scumbag ex, Melina has to pack up her dog and her dignity and take refuge in her dad’s retirement community in New Jersey.

… it’s time to take the lead.

To make ends meet, Melina puts her dancing shoes to use as an instructor at Westmeyer – a private school for boy geniuses. Teaching a bunch of hormonal teenagers the waltz it trying, but the school’s sexy handyman proves to be an ample distraction. Drew McPhee is perfect, except for one thing: he doesn’t like dancing. Thankfully the finesse Drew lacks on the floor is more than made up for by his skills in the bedroom. And after one steamy night, the ballroom diva is the one getting swept off her feet…


As a former dancer I knew I was going to enjoy Waltz This Way, but you don’t need to appreciate ballroom dance or reality TV shows in order to love this story. It’s full of relatable characters, snappy dialogue, and sexy moments, and it’s such a fun ride every step of the way.

I loved loved LOVED the interactions between Drew and Mel. I like my romances hot and snarky, and these two have chemistry in spades. They’re hilarious and clever and absolutely wonderful together. Mel is just a fantastic character all on her own; I love her relationships with everybody. Her scenes with the boy geniuses in dance class were especially fun.

The supporting characters were actually one of my favorite parts of Waltz This Way. From Drew’s eccentric family (particularly his son, Nate), to Mel’s best friends from LA, the different personalities definitely made the story what it was.

And although this is technically the third book in the Ex Trophy Wives series, it stands well on its own and it isn’t at all necessary to have read the previous books in order to enjoy it. I was really intrigued by the glimpses we got of the previous ex trophy wives, and I’m definitely looking forward to going back and reading the first two books in the series, particularly to learn more about Jasmine’s story.

I will say that I thought everything was wrapped up just a little too neatly and maybe slightly unrealistically, but it was a nonetheless satisfying ending. When I decide to read a contemporary romance I’m usually expecting a happy ending, so I’m not really complaining. :)

Overall, Waltz This Way is a fun, sexy story with sweet moments, fabulously clever dialogue, and a great cast of characters. If you’re a fan of contemporary romance you won’t want to miss this one!

My Top Ten Book Boyfriends in 2011

The 2011 Top Ten meme is hosted by Jessica from Confessions of a Bookaholic, Lisa from A Life Bound by Books, Jaime & Patricia from Two Chicks on Books, and Rachel from Fiktshun.

Previous Topics:


Today’s topic:
                           Top Ten Book Boyfriends in 2011

So I have a huge thing for fictional guys (come on, what reader doesn’t?), but I actually found this list rather difficult to put together, not because I had too many, but because I didn’t have enough! Apparently I am pickier with my fictional men than I thought. Although some of them were total no-brainers. :D

My list (absolute favorites grouped at the top, but not exactly in order):


√Čtienne St. Clair
Found in: Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins
Okay. Obviously he’s going to be at the topic of this list. Sweet, caring, funny, lovely, with-an-accent, perfect (in an imperfect way) St. Clair. His friendship with Anna is my favorite thing about the book. I even named my Kindle after him. He is wonderful. I have to admit, I never fully got on board with his whole lack-of-height thing, but don’t worry, that gets taken care of with….




Cricket Bell
Found in: Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins
Possibly even swoonier than St. Clair (didn’t think it was possible, did you?), Stephanie Perkins CLEARLY knows how to write a love interest. I’ve said it before, she should really just write my life. Cricket is adorable and awkward and sweet, and again, perfect. But he’s also completely real, which is a big thing for me with my fictional boyfriends. And my favorite thing about Cricket? He’s TALL. Like, super tall. Clearly we’re meant to be. <3


Adam Wilde
Found in: If I Stay and Where She Went by Gayle Forman
Oh my lord, Adam. I don’t even know if I can put my feelings for him into words. (This is why my reviews for these two books haven’t been posted yet, haha.) He’s sweet, he’s caring, he’s funny, he’s hot, he’s a musician, he cries in front of Mia, he gets along with her family… the list goes on and on. I loved Adam in If I Stay but I fell absolutely head-over-heels for him in Where She Went, which is told from his point of view (seriously, if you haven’t read it yet, I just don’t know what to do with you). My heart clenches every time I think about him. Swoon.



Adam Kent
Found in: Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi
I’ve realized I love a lot of Adams (there’s also Jennifer Echols’ Adam from The Boys Next Door/Endless Summer, who would totally be on this list except I didn’t reread those this year). I’ll laugh if I end up married to an Adam in real life. Shatter Me’s Adam is also sweet and caring and swoony, and his chemistry with Juliette is OFF. THE. CHARTS. Seriously, it is amazing. I am sooooo excited for Book #2, partly because I can’t wait to read more with the two of them. Hoo baby.



Oliver
Proof that you don’t even need to know someone’s last name to fall for them, Oliver made me believe in love at first sight – or at least the possibility of a future relationship based on an instant connection. :P He is absolutely hilarious and so clever and wonderfully sweet. Plus, he has a British accent. Sold.




Sam Henry
Found in: Catching Jordan by Miranda Kenneally
I loooooove best friend stories, and Sam Henry is such an amazing best friend. He’s always there for Jordan but they also have that wonderful snarky quality to their friendship. They’re comfortable teasing and making fun of each other, and that is such an attractive thing to me. Basically I love him, and I can’t wait to catch glimpses of him in the companion novels.



Jesse de Silva
Found in: The Mediator series by Meg Cabot
I reread this series this year (for about the millionth time), so that’s my excuse for putting Jesse on this list. :P And I love that I have an excuse to include him, because I ADORE Jesse de Silva. He may be a ghost, but he’s hot, he speaks Spanish (I grin every time I hear the word ‘querida’ now), he bandages Suze whenever she gets injured fighting other ghosts, he has a totally endearing jealous streak, and he has those fantastic 19th century mannerisms that make him such a perfect gentleman (sometimes TOO much of a gentleman, if you know what I mean ;)). Jesse was one of my first book crushes, and he will forever be on my list. <3


Fred Weasley
Found in: The Harry Potter series by JK Rowling
Again, reread the books, get to include him, blah blah. I do love all the characters in the HP world (and I have a particular soft spot for Snape, as some of you may know, although not in a boyfriend capacity), but Fred Weasley has one of the larger pieces of my heart. And yes, of course I am in denial and he is alive and well in my head. Necrophilia shmecrophilia. (What’s it called when the dead person is fictional??)




Roger Sullivan
Found in: Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour by Morgan Matson
Roger is hot, sweet, willing to be the solo driver on a road trip across the ENTIRE UNITED STATES without complaining, and he has awesome taste in music. What more could you want?





Magnus Bane, William Herondale, James Carstairs
Found in: The Mortal Instruments series (Magnus Bane) and The Infernal Devices (Will and Jem) by Cassandra Clare
I’m lumping these together because they’re all Cassandra Clare creations and I only have one spot left on my list. :D Magnus is clearly awesome, and he’s amazing with Alec, although obviously he would never be MY boyfriend. :P And Will and Jem both have qualities that I love, so I’ve always had trouble choosing between them. Will is dangerous and hot and keeps you on your toes, but Jem is sweet and funny and also hot. How is a girl supposed to choose?



Whew, I did it! So much swooning just happened as I wrote this. Who were your favorite fictional boyfriends from 2011? I’d love to meet more delicious guys. :)

"Waiting On" Wednesday #30


“Waiting on” Wednesday is a weekly event hosted at Breaking the Spine that spotlights an upcoming release (or releases) that we’re eagerly anticipating.

My picks this week:

The Selection
By: Kiera Cross
Publisher: HarperTeen
Release Date: April 24, 2012

Description:

For thirty-five girls, the Selection is the chance of a lifetime. The opportunity to escape the life laid out for them since birth. To be swept up in a world of glittering gowns and priceless jewels. To live in the palace and compete for the heart of the gorgeous Prince Maxon.

But for America Singer, being selected is a nightmare. It means turning her back on her secret love with Aspen, who is a caste below her. Leaving her home to enter a fierce competition for a crown she doesn’t want. Living in a palace that is constantly threatened by violent rebel attacks.

Then America meets Prince Maxon. Gradually, she starts to question all the plans she’s made for herself – and realizes that the life she’s always dreamed of may not compare to a future she never imagined.

Why I’m Waiting: Oh wow, this book sounds awesome! Secret loves, palace intrigue, rebel attacks, and what sounds like a dystopian version of The Bachelor. And look at that cover! So so gorgeous. I wish I had an occasion to wear that dress.


Glitch
By: Heather Anastasiu
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Release Date: August 7, 2012

Description:

In the Community, there is no pain or war. Implanted computer chips have wiped humanity clean of destructive emotions, and thoughts are replaced by a feed from the Link network.

When Zoe starts to malfunction (or “glitch”), she suddenly begins having her own thoughts, feelings, and identity. Any anomalies must be immediately reported and repaired, but Zoe has a secret so dark it will mean certain deactivation if she is caught: her glitches have given her uncontrollable telekinetic powers.

As Zoe struggles to control her abilities and stay hidden, she meets other glitches, including Max, who can disguise his appearance, and Adrien, who has visions of the future. Both boys introduce Zoe to feelings that are entirely new. Together, this growing band of glitchers must find a way to free themselves from the controlling hands of the Community before they’re caught and deactivated, or worse.

In this action-packed debut, Glitch begins an exciting new young adult trilogy.

Why I’m Waiting: A society based on implanted computer chips, how cool is that? With the crazy advances technology continues to make, this is such an interesting idea to explore. Can’t wait to see where Heather goes with it! (And again, a gorgeous cover.)


Be sure to check back on Friday to read my list of the top ten books I’m looking forward to in 2012! And I’d love to know what books you’re waiting on this week. :)

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

My Top Ten Favorite Book Covers in 2011

The 2011 Top Ten meme is hosted by Jessica from Confessions of a Bookaholic, Lisa from A Life Bound by Books, Jaime & Patricia from Two Chicks on Books, and Rachel from Fiktshun.

Previous topics:

Today's topic:
Top Ten Book Covers

I love this topic, because I always have the urge to make cover pictures in my posts absolutely HUGE, and now I have an excuse! :D So, in no particular order, and regardless of how I felt about the actual book itself, here are my ten (plus two) favorite covers of the books I read in 2011:













Honorable Mentions:


Monday, December 26, 2011

My Top Ten Favorite Books in 2011


&


2012 is almost here, which means it’s time for Top Ten lists of 2011! I love lists, so this is always super fun for me. This year, Jessica from Confessions of a Bookaholic, Lisa from A Life Bound by Books, Jaime & Patricia from Two Chicks on Books, and Rachel from Fiktshun are hosting the Top 10 of 2011, with a whole week of fun Top 10 posts. Check back all week for lists like my top ten favorite book covers from 2011, top ten books I’m looking forward to in 2012, and (my personal favorite) my top ten book boyfriends! :D

Today the topic is the Top Ten Books I’ve Read in 2011. This is also the theme for this week’s Top Ten Tuesday list, hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, so it’s two for one!

After making my list, I realized that my 2011 in books was a year of fantaaaaaastic contemporaries. Seven of the ten books I chose (and the honorable mention) are contemporaries! And all ten books are HIGHLY recommended, of course.

In no particular order:

Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins (my review)
Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins (my review)

The new gold standard in YA contemporary romantic fiction. Totally squeeworthy. I even named my Kindle St. Clair in honor of the amazingness that is Stephanie Perkins.


If I Stay by Gayle Forman
Where She Went by Gayle Forman

Oh. My. Goodness. I am officially in love with Gayle Forman. These books rip your heart out of your chest, stomp on it, and then mash it back in. They are SO. GORGEOUS. Where She Went in particular is one of those books that I pick up almost every day and read a bit from. I haven’t actually reviewed either of these on From A to Z (although I do have an incredibly emotional  and slightly melodramatic review written for Where She Went), but I’m hoping to do it soon. Nobody should go without reading these.






by Cath Crowley

This comes out in the US in February, and everyone should go preorder it NOW. The writing is indescribably amazing. Amaaaaaaazing. My review will be up closer to the release date.







by Sarah Mlynowski

Pure fun. Hilarious and adorable and sweet and did I mention hilarious? I’d love to live inside this book.







                                       



                                  Catching Jordan 
                              by Miranda Kenneally 

I wasn’t expecting to love this one as much as I did, but oh boy, do I love it. Jordan is so freaking lucky to be friends with so many awesome guys. I want her life (and I especially want her best friend, Henry!).










by Tahereh Mafi 

Loooooove this book. It is gorgeous. That is all.












by Kendare Blake 

Another surprise hit! And very different, which makes it a standout in a world of sooooo many paranormals. Loved it.










by Holly Black

This was one of the first books I read in 2011, before I was even blogging, and even though I have yet to read the sequel, Red Glove, I absolutely loved White Cat. Holly has long been one of my favorite authors, and her mythology for the curseworkers is so fascinating and unique. I can’t wait to read more.







Honorable Mention:






by Jennifer E Smith

This book is sooooo adorable and total wish fulfillment. Love love love. My review will be up in a few days. (EDIT: My review!)











There you have it, my top ten (eleven) books from 2011! What were your favorites this year?


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