Thursday, December 31, 2009

The most memorable books of 2009

I really can't believe it's almost 2010 already. 2009 just flew by so quickly! But hopefully 2010 will bring even more great books.

I've decided to compile a list of some of the best books I've read this past year. I'll pick one or two from each month that were my absolute favorites and post them, along with a link back to the review and a little comment about the book. Not all of them will have been released in 2009, but the majority of them will be. And definitely not all of the best releases this year are on here (for example, I still haven't read Catching Fire because I haven't read The Hunger Games!) But I thought this would be a great way to look back and remember all of the great books I've read and definitely want to read again. So, here we go! March is the first month I started blogging, so we'll start there.

Leftovers by Laura Wiess
- The first Laura Wiess book I had read! It definitely got me hooked on her writing.

Willow by Julia Hoban
- Willow became one of my favorite books, ever. It was just simply amazing. I also donated a copy to the local library in hopes of spreading it around a bit, and every single time I've checked upon the status of it, it's been taken out by someone. This made me so happy.

The Rule of Won by Stephan Petrucha
- I'm not sure how many people actually read this book. It never seemed to get very big. But I loved the idea of it, and it was an interesting book that really made me think.

How To Buy A Love Of Reading by Tanya Egan Gibson
- This book was just kind of... strange. Everyone either loved it, or hated it and didn't get past the first couple chapters or so. It definitely wasn't for everyone, but for some reason it's just stuck in my head since I've read it, in a good kind of way.

Identical by Ellen Hopkins
- Another great book I read in June. I love Ellen Hopkins, and this book was just phenomenal. I'm kind of at a loss for words about it.

Fairy Tale by Cyn Balog
- This was a bit different from your typical fairy story, and I think that's what made me love it so much. The plot was so interesting and if I remember right, I finished the book in one sitting.

Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater
- Along with Willow, this has also become one of my all time favorite books. It's too great for words, really. I can't wait for the second book to come out!

Candor by Pam Bachorz
- As you've probably noticed, I love books with unique plot lines and books that make you think a bit, or make you see things in a different light. This was one of those books that kind of made me stop and think about the world around me.

Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick
- Another book that became one of my all time favorites. (That's three so far, jeez!) I loved Patch's character. I loved the whole idea of the book. The cover is absolutely beautiful. But I still haven't read the finished copy to see the changes in the ending.

The Maze Runner by James Dashner
- Another thought-provoking book! I love the whole other kind of world that the book took place in. Definitely a lot of interesting concepts in here.

Rage by Julie Anne Peters
- Perhaps I'm a bit biased about this one because I'm a total sucker for anything Julie Anne Peters or GLBT. But I thought the cover was gorgeous, and the book was a much needed story about dating violence in homosexual relationships.

Hold Still by Nina LaCour
- This book was almost kind of haunting, when I think about it. But I really did love it, and it's actually one of the things that got me wanting to learn more about photography. It seemed like such a personal book, and I think that's what made it wonderful.

Get Well Soon by Julie Halpern
- I loved this book because I could see so much of myself in the main character. And even when I couldn't, there were so many funny things going on that I couldn't help but love the book. The cover is simple, but I find it effective and cute.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Review: Get Well Soon

Title: Get Well Soon
Author: Julie Halpern

Publication date: September 1st, 2009


Anna Bloom is depressed—so depressed that her parents have committed her to a mental hospital with a bunch of other messed-up teens. Here she meets a roommate with a secret (and a plastic baby), a doctor who focuses way too much on her weight, and a cute, shy boy who just might like her. But wait! Being trapped in a loony bin isn’t supposed to be about making friends, losing weight, and having a crush, is it?

I loved everything about this book, from the plain but cute cover to the fresh writing style. Getting to know Anna and the other patients through her letters was fun, and it actually made it seem like being in a mental hospital could be kind of fun. I loved each of the characters I got to know, and I especially liked Anna's developing relationship with Justin. I'm also a sufferer of irritable bowel syndrome and panic attacks, so I instantly fell in love with Anna's character simply because I could relate so well to almost everything she said. All of the things that happened were interesting to read about, like all of the seemingly weird rules at the hospital and the different personalities of each person. The voice was so real and fresh, and I just kept wanting to read more and more about her stay. The ending left me a bit sad, but I loved seeing how Anna really evolved throughout the book. There are some things I can't say without giving away spoilers, but I enjoyed this book tremendously.

Characters: 10/10
Plot: 9/10
Originality: 8/10
Writing: 10/10
Overall grade: A

Monday, December 28, 2009

CSN Bookcase winner!

First off, I am SO sorry. I got caught up in all the Christmas excitement and totally forgot to announce the winner of the CSN bookcase contest. So without any further delay, the winner is...


She chose choice number one. Congratulations! I've sent you an email, please reply within 48 hours or a new winner will be chosen. Thanks to everyone who entered, and thanks again to Jason at CSN Bookcases for having me host the giveaway.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Holiday Break Reading Challenge, Activity #8

Merry Christmas to everyone! I hope that you all had a wonderful day with lots of yummy food and family and presents. Unfortunately I'm failing (a lot) with this reading challenge; I've only managed to finish one book so far, and I'll likely be busy doing other things this upcoming week (like playing with my awesome new camera!) But I'll try my hardest to at least meet my goal halfway before break is over.

I did participate in activity #8 over at the Holiday Break Reading Challenge blog, though I didn't do very well with that either. I scored 5 out of 15. It looks like I need to brush up on my Christmas literature! Go take the quiz yourself; I'm sure you'll do better than I did.

Don't forget to check back tomorrow for the winner of the CSN bookcase giveaway! You can enter up until Midnight tonight, Pacific time, if you haven't already.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Holiday Break Reading Challenge, Activity #3

For Activity #3 of the Holiday Break Reading Challenge, I needed to choose 3-4 books from my bookshelf and create a sentence. My sentence?
Strange Angels Teach Me What Happens Here.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Holiday Break Reading Challenge!

Holiday Break Reading Challenge

I love participating in challenges, and have desperately been looking for something fun to do over break, so I'm happy I found this lovely challenge. I'm starting a day late because I just found out about it, but oh well. Between today and January 3rd, I hope to read (at least) ten books. I don't have any specific books chosen yet; lately I've just been grabbing whatever looks good at the moment off of the shelf. After the first of the year I'll definitely get some books for the GLBT challenge in there. Right now I'm reading Waiting For You by Susane Colasanti. Click on the picture and sign up for the challenge, if you haven't already!

Review: What Happens Here

Title: What Happens Here
Author: Tara Altebrando

Publication date: May 6th, 2008

When Chloe's parents decide to take her to Europe the summer before senior year of high school, she's ecstatic...she only wishes her best friend, Lindsay, could come too. Living in Las Vegas, they have long imagined the world through the casinos inspired by great cities and have vowed to travel the globe together someday. Unfortunately, Lindsay's parents won't agree to send her along.

So Chloe goes to Europe and sends postcards to Lindsay every day. But when she comes home, she must cope with shocking news that rips her family -- and Lindsay's -- apart. And as she tries to uncover the truth about what happened, Chloe soon begins to feel that Lindsay's brother, Noah, is the one person alive for whom she'd go to the ends of the earth....

This is one of those books that barely anyone has heard of, but I think it deserves more exposure. It was so packed with emotions, from euphoria to depression, and I could really feel each of them. As someone who lives in Nevada and therefore knows Vegas quite well, and having also been to many of the places in Europe that were talked about, I felt that this book captured the feelings of each of the places perfectly. I could easily relate to the feelings that the descriptions of each place evoked, and believe that anyone reading the book who isn't familiar with these places would be able to experience the same emotions, just by the style of writing. It was a fun book in the beginning, but also had a deeper kind of meaning in the last half. Definitely one of those books that sticks around in your mind for a while after you've read it. If you're looking for a book that will give you a different mix of feelings in a perhaps not so normal setting, this is a great book for that.

Characters: 8/10
Plot: 9/10
Originality: 8/10
Writing: 9/10
Overall grade: B

Monday, December 14, 2009

CSN Bookcase Giveaway!

I've got a wonderful contest/giveaway to share with all of you! I would have loved to have another bookcase, but I just don't have the space at the moment. So I opted for a contest for my readers. One lucky winner will receive their choice of one of three bookcases from CSN Bookcases.

Choice One: Mylex 5 shelf bookcase

Choice Two:
Hanging corner bookshelf

Choice Three:
Winsome expresso storage shelf

Open to:

US and Canada

To enter:
Leave a comment with your email address and choice of bookcase.

Extra entries:
+1 for linking to this contest somewhere

Winner will be announced December 26th.