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Thursday, June 30, 2011

Day 3 of Faves of 2011

Yes, it's more of Nomes's fabulous little blog series, the Faves of 2011. Today we have a few random awards to give out. Hope you enjoy my list!  

the scenes
1. best first chapter
Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist.
I loved how the scene just seemed to fly off the pages, almost like stream of conscious type writing, and as many of you know, I'm particularly fond of opening scenes that involve kissing strangers (points to Nikki's Wish button above). 
2. best climax
There are really too many that fit this description so I'm going to break my rules of choosing just one.
All of these are kind of action packed, though I didn't intentionally do that.
Chains by Laurie Halse Anderson
Finnikin of the Rock by Melina Marchetta
Nightshade by Andrea Cremer
Shipbreaker by Paolo Bacigalupi 
The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness

3. best ending
Finnikin of the Rock by Melina Marchetta
The ending of Finnikin is just much, much too sweet for words.

4. best plot twist/revelation (no spoilers!)
Fall For Anything by Courtney Summers
Because I was too blind to see it coming. :( 

5. scariest/most disturbing scene
Across the Universe by Beth Revis
There's a scene in the middle of this one that absolutely turned my stomach. I mean I knew that it wouldn't come to fruition, so to speak, but it was still chilling to read. 

6. steamiest scene (or sweetest/sexiest kiss award)
Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist
This book is so sexy almost from the get-go, but there's one scene in particular that was just HOT - and then funny - and then rather sweet. Loved it. :) 

7. best swoon-worthy moment
Anna and the French Kiss
Close to the end, at the park. Yes, that one. :)

8. biggest nail-biting moment
Burning For Revenge, Tomorrow Series #5 by John Marsden
This series is full of nail-biting moments actually, but there's one in particular in book 5 that sort of turns the whole series around. JM isn't afraid of kill off his characters, and I was certain that one of them was going to bite the bullet this time around. Can't say whether they did or not, of course.

9. most hilarious scene
Angus, thongs and Full Frontal Snogging by Louise Rennison
Picture a young girl, a Sex God, and um... hair fried by over-bleaching. I started laughing out loud. :)

10. most heart-breaking/tear-jerker moment
Please Ignore Vera Dietz
There are a few heartbreaking moments in this one that makes you just kind of crumble up inside. Anyone who has ever had a friend turn on them will be able to relate.

 the random

1. fave first sentence
The Piper's Son by Melina Marchetta
The string slices into the skin of his fingers and no matter how tough the calluses, it tears. 
(so she's talking about a guitar here, but you could take a leap and say that it's a metaphor for the MC - just brilliant!)

2. fave book title 
I am the Cheese by Robert Cormier
It's significant, unlike so many other titles out there, but you won't know what it means until the very end. Also I know that I could never come up with anything that simple, desolate, and brilliant.
3. fave reading experience (ie: created a great reading memory)
Guitar Highway Rose
This book made me crazy desperate to be a teen and free of responsibilities and eager to make mistakes again. Gah! 

4. book with the best food in it (made me so crazy-envious-hungry)
Chains by Laurie Halse Anderson
Examples: Turtle soup, pheasant stuffed with figs, stewed oysters, potted larks, greens cooked with bacon, pickled watermelon rind, buttered parsnips, cold tongue. Gingerbread, pies of brandied peaches, cherries and mincemeat, macaroons, blancmange, Jordan almonds, and maple syrup bread pudding. The list goes on and on. Obviously not everything in this book would appeal to all palates. 

5. book with the most sensual weather (made you shiver/sweat)
Ship Breaker by Paolo Bacigalupi 
Well, it's set in a futuristic world where much of New Orleans is underwater and there are hurricanes all the time and what not. And it's very very hot. And they're on a ship for parts of the story. Nasty. 

6. most embarrassing book cover (feeling sheepish in public)
Angus, Thongs, and Full Frontal Snogging by Louise Rennison
So it wasn't particularly the picture, but rather the title, especially since I was reading it at my son's soccer practice. :)
7. can’t believe you waited this long to read the book (!)
Handcuffs by Bethany Griffin
If there's one book that deserved a heck of a lot better marketing, it was this one. 

I'll be hopping around to all the blogs again soon. If I've missed you over the past couple days, my apologies. I try to visit everyone, but sometimes I get lost in Bloggerworld and can't find my way out. 

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Faves of 2011 continues...

Faves of 2011 continues...

this is a continuation of the Faves of 2011 series hosted by Nomes at Inkcrush. Again, I had so much fun picking these out. Thanks Nomes for coming up with this series. It's brilliant!

1. best female POV 
The Earth, My Butt, and other Big Round Things
It was hard to choose this one because so many books are written in the female perspective. I decided to go kind of askew here and picked one that I thought dealt particularly well with a girl's emotions and struggles of just trying to figure out who she is. The Earth, My Butt definitely has this going on. 

2. best male POV 
The Piper's son 
This one was a pretty easy choice. Tom's voice is so authentically male, Melina Marchetta hit it spot on. But then, it's MM, what do you expect?

3. Best couple 
Anna and Etienne from Anna and the French Kiss
I really liked how their relationship grew over a longer period of time. You rarely get that these days - usually it's just love at first (and man am I guilty of that in my own writing, hehe). Loved the chemistry between them and the friendship and especially the moment when Anna realizes that she's in love with him and starts calling him by his real name. It was so well done.

4. who i so want to be best friends with
Bindy Mackenzie from The Murder of Bindy Mackenzie 
She was so brilliantly funny. She's kind of socially inept, yet you know she'd be the kind of pal who would never let you down. And yes, that pictures is pretty much spot on.

5. who i fell completely in love with 
Etienne from Anna and the French Kiss
Okay, I admit there were times when I was frustrated with him, but he had it all going on, funny, friendly, made the girl feel special just by a glance, and a British accent to boot! Yeah, he's definitely my new literary crush. 

6. worst (best) villian 
Aaron from the Knife of Never Letting Go
He's a preacher out to kill the main character (or so you think). Every time he showed up in the novel I felt like I wanted to scream, why isn't he dead? And kill him already, kill him! And run! He reminded me of that evil preacher guy from the last season of Buffy. Oh he is just too deliciously evil. :)

7. best character twist (who you loved then hated or vice versa) 
So this award goes to a secondary character from Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist, Nick's last girlfriend.
 who unfortunately I can't recall the name of (it was a library borrow). Anyway, you think she's a total bitch, but in the end she turns out to be actually kind of nice. It was a good character twist, I thought.

8. best kick-arse female
Rose from Vampire Academy. 
I've said it before that Rose reminds me of Faith from Buffy the Vampire Slayer (although not as psychotic). She's tough, sexy, a boy-magnet, doesn't really care what others think of her, and although she might not be the toughest protector around, you just know that she's going to get the wind under her sails (she has to with an instructor like Dimitri). I NEED to read more of this series. 

9 best kick-arse male 
Four from Divergent
I don't usually go for military types, but Four could teach me boxing lessons any day. :)

10. broke your heart the most 
Culler from Fall For Anything
I was really hoping that Culler would turn out to be the older, crushworthy guy who turns a crush into something more. There were clues this wouldn't happen, but I ignored them. Totally broke my heart. 


11. best/worst character names 

Worst: Delilah from Fixing Delilah - not sure what it is about that name that just niggles with me.

Best: Alliecat from Chasing Alliecat. 
Well, her real name is Allie, but she's a mountainbiker who always lands on her feet (both literally and figuratively). I loved how the nickname fitted her personality.

 bonus: 5 fave covers:
Linger by Maggie Stiefvater - I love the artistry in these covers so much. It's so unique and fresh.

Raw Blue by Kirsty Eager- There's just something about the blues on this cover that makes me feel all achy inside.

Matched by Allie Condie - If that dress had been any other color than green, I don't think I would have liked it as much. 

The Piper's Son by Melina Marchetta - I love this cover for some reason. 

Angus, Thongs and Full Frontal Snogging by Louise Rennison - look at that cat, just look at him!!

I'm eager to see what everyone else picked, so I'll be going through the blogs over the next few days. This series is so much fun, yes? YES!!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Faves of 2011 - Day 1

So my good friend Nomes over at InkCrush is hosting a Faves of 2011 blog series (ain't that button just adorable?) where you get to award your favorite books that you've read in 2011. The blogs series will last 3 days/posts and has all kinds of funky good categories. These are my awards for Day 1. You can join in the fun and post your own - go have a looksee at what Nomes has listed and add a link to yours. This is a great way to build your TBR list (not that mine needs to be any bigger, haha). In truth I had a ton of fun just thinking back about all the books I've read so far this year. It was really hard to choose some!! Hope you enjoy my list. :)

1. favourite book read so far in 2011 Raw Blue by Kirsty Eager 

I had a hard time choosing between this and Anna and The French Kiss. I loved both, but Raw Blue was just so quietly astounding. Wonderful prose and so atmospheric, I could just feel myself on that beach. So many books about rape border on the preachy side, and focus on the aspect of having to "tell" about what happened, but this book never did. It focused more on the healing of the person inside, and I really felt in tune to Carly's struggle to learn to trust again. I loved this book so much that I gave it to a friend to read and then sent it across the country for another friend and she sent it to another. Hoping that the book tour continues and more can share this wonderful story! If you'd like to read it (and you live in the US) drop me a line.

2. most powerful book Hold Still by Nina LaCour

I have read a lot, and I mean a lot, of YA books that deal with death - of siblings, friends, parents (I've even written one myself). I have to say that Hold Still is probably my favorite. It was so beautiful and uplifting to see this young woman pull herself back into the world of the living after her friend dies, and the new friends she made, well they're the kind that I want for myself. 

3. brilliantly funny Angus, Thongs and Full Frontal Snogging by Louise Rennison

I read this just two days ago!! And found myself laughing out loud. Oh, it was just so funny and brilliant and awesome. I passed it on to someone else already and I look forward to the rest of the series. I have to see what goes on with the Sex God!!

4. best ache-y, heart-breaking, tear-jerker read Hold Still by Nina LaCour 
Well, I haven't read that many books this year that I can nominate a book for just one award. Let's just say that I was in tears through a good portion of the pages

5. most beautiful story Raw Blue by Kirsty Eager 

6. delicious rainy day comfort read Guitar Highway Rose by Brigid Lowry. 

I just finished this one last night, and it was an easy choice. It's so brilliantly quirky and fun. The tone of this book reminded a lot of Beatle Meets Destiny (a fave of last year). I liked the simple prose and the way she described the setting by using lists. It reminded me that you don't have to get flowery with your words to convey a meaning. Plus I really enjoyed the way she incorporated all of the characters, even the parents, into the story. I really just adored it. *sigh*

7. adrenalin-fuelled, unputdownable award Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist by David Levithan and Rachel Cohn 

This book takes place over the course of one night and really it is kind of non-stop action, and kissing and sexy sexy dancing, and just a whole lot of music, fun and good good times! This is youth at it's best. :)

8. the beautiful prose award Linger by Maggie Stiefvater
Maggie Stiefvater continues to astound me with her use of words. And book 3 is coming out soon!

9. most atmospheric and vivid setting Fire by Kristin Cashore

It was a toss up between this and Finnikin of the Rock. I love epic fantasies for the way that they transport you to another place and time.

10. i-so-want-to-go-there award Anna and The French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins
I've always wanted to go to Paris, never got a chance in high school even though I took 3 years of French. C'est une tragedie! This book really did it for me. I WILL go there someday! 

11. most original and imaginative The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness  
I recently did a review of this one, here. I loved most everything about this book, but the thing that struck me the most was how I thought it was one thing when it was something completely different. 

12. best under-appreciated, hidden gem book Handcuffs by Bethany Griffin
The back cover blurb of Bethany's first book doesn't do it justice. It's sexy and true to life and maybe just a wee bit, okay a lot, addictive. Read it in nearly one sitting. :) 

13. i-had-no-idea-i-would-love this-so award The Midnighters by Scott Westerfeld
This is more of a MG book than a YA, and the thing is that I always have this reaction to SW's stories. I don't expect to enjoy them so much, but then I do. I love the concept and there's one scene in particular in the first book that continues to play with my imagination. It was just that cool. 

14. most haunting story The Chocolate War by Robert Cormier 
This book isn't haunting in that it's scary. It's haunting in that it has a very strong message about the way the world works. It's a tad pessimistic, which goes against every grain in my being, and yet it's true. I think that's why it sticks with me as being haunting because I know that people can really be like that. Highly recommended read, especially if you like dark stuff without a lot of edginess (as in sex, swearing and stuff). 


15. outside my comfort zone but gosh how i loved it  

Sorry, none of my 2011 reads fit this category. I'm not sure if that means that I'm comfortable with everything or what. I know if I had read that Ellen Hopkins book I was thinking of getting that I'd have something to list. I think me and books in verse are just not going to mesh well.

16. series that i’m loving Tomorrow Series by John Marsden
Everyone should read this series. It's so easy to look away when war isn't in your backyard, but this book/series reminds us that it could very well happen to you. Plus, kids kicking the butts of trained soldiers? What's not to love?
17.  most memorable voice award The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness 

See my review for a sample of Todd's voice. Loved it. 

18. completely awesome premise award Feed by MT Anderson
Oh gosh. I have to admit that I really didn't like this book when I was done with it. I spent a lot of time hating the characters while marveling over the technology that Anderson invents. It took me a while to understand that the whole book is a parody (yes, I'm that slow), but once I understood that I liked it a whole lot more. This book leaves you with a lot to think about.

19.  would make the best movie Divergent by Veronica Roth
I imagine this as a Matrix meets Fight Club meets Hunger Games mix. Haha... Of course I really just want to know who they'd choose to play Four. :)

20.  want to re-read already Raw Blue by Kirsty Eager
Dang, if I had time I would re-read everything on this list. But, I don't, and I always think that there are so many good books out there that I haven't experienced that I tend NOT to re-read things. Still, if there is one book that I will take seconds of, it will be this one.



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