Saturday, December 29, 2012

2012 End of Year Book Survey

I don't regularly book blog but I thought I'd give this a go since I've read so many great books this year and experience so many feels ;_____; I'm still a newcomer to the book blogging community (not really part of it - yet) but maybe I'll be more active in 2013.

This was something started by Jamie aka The Perpetual Page Turner aka @brokeandbookish 3 years ago and bloggers have taken to using her survey :D I'm hopping on the band wagon! Questions are by Jamie, responses by me c: 

Commence reflection of my 2012 reads!

1. Best Book You Read In 2012? (You can break it down by genre if you want)

Deity by Jennifer L. Armentrout and The Gathering Dark by Leigh Bardugo

Contemporary YA: The Fault in Our Stars by John Green, Easy by Tammara Webber, My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick, Slammed and Point of Retreat by Colleen Hoover, If I Stay and Where She Went by Gayle Forman (old I know but I only found out about them this year!)
Dystopian YA: Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi, Insurgent by Veronica Roth, Under The Never Sky by Veronica Rossi
Paranormal: Onyx and Opal by Jennifer L. Armentrout, Endless by Jessica Shirvington, Losing Lila by Sarah Alderson, My Super Sweet Sixteenth Century by Rachel Harris
Fantasy: Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

2. Book You Were Excited About & Thought You Were Going To Love More But Didn’t?

The Golden Lily by Richelle Mead - don't get me wrong I loved this but it wasn't as great as all the built up hype made it out to be

Rapture by Lauren Kate - this was the best book in the series and the final one but honestly the series was a real let down and I kept expecting it to get better. It did get better by the final book but it just didn't hit that note I wanted to hear.

Breathe by Abbi Glines - I'd heard such good things about Breathe and so many people recommended it to me. But the writing was pretty bad (so many useless, short sentences that were telling rather than showing) and the two main characters were cheesy and lacked depth :c

3. Most surprising (in a good way!) book of 2012?

Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi - I always have doubts about dystopians and friends had been bugging me to read this for ages

Seraphina by Rachel Hartman - it sounded a tad weird but it was hella awesome!

My Super Sweet Sixteenth Century - I was worried this was like some Mary-Kate and Ashley book but the reviews were good so I hesitantly bought it and it's been one of my favourite reads this year.

4. Book you recommended to people most in 2012?

Definitely The Fault in Our Stars by John Green.

Also The Iron Fey by Julie Kagawa, Slammed and Point of Retreat by Colleen Hoover, Divergent/Insurgent by Veronica Roth

5. Best series you discovered in 2012?

It's a tie between The Grisha Trilogy by Leigh Bardugo and Covenant by Jennifer L. Armentrout.


Lux by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Divergent by Veronica Roth

Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi

Lila by Sarah Alderson

Unearthly by Cynthia Hand

6. Favorite new authors you discovered in 2012?

Eep so many:

Leigh Bardugo (The Grisha Trilogy - stunning fantasy world, extremely unique and omg those characters)

Jennifer L. Armentrout (Lux, Covenant, Cursed - how did I only find out about this legend this year?! Everything she writes is AMAZING)

Sarah Alderson (Lila - only just found out about the Lila series this year and it's amazing)

Veronica Roth (Divergent - the world she creates is amazing; I usually don't get sucked into dystopians but I fell right into this one)

Colleen Hoover (Slammed - her debut novel was like she's been writing award winning poetry and prose her whole life)

Veronica Rossi (Under the Never Sky - awesome dystopian world)

Rachel Harris (My Super Sweet Sixteenth Century - I'm a sucker for European history and Rachel painted it in a beautiful and accurate way)

Tammara Webber (Easy) - woah just WOAH. I want me some more Lucas!

7. Best book that was out of your comfort zone or was a new genre for you?

My friends and I all know I don't like dystopians/sci-fi - the amount I've picked up and tried to read but put down is quite large: Delirium, Across the Universe, Uglies, Inside Out, The Immortal Rules (I'll hopefully get back into this because I do love Julie's writing).

So when I was recommended Divergent I was EXTREMELY hesitant to read it. I actually put it off for a good 2 months. Then I bought a cheap $5 copy at Basement Books. Then I finished it in 1 sitting in a matter of hours and had to get Insurgent the next day. Divergent definitely made me like dystopians again.

Tahereh Mafi's Shatter Me was also really good too!
8. Most thrilling, unputdownable book in 2012?

Hunting Lila by Sarah Alderson (and the sequel Losing Lila) - holy crap this was so action packed it was like Heroes without the fillers. Loved every moment of it!

Also Deity by Jennifer L. Armentrout. The things this book did to me. I laughed, cried, screamed and nearly chucked things through my laptop.

9. Book You Read In 2012 That You Are Most Likely To Re-Read Next Year:

Deity by Jennifer L. Armentrout and The Gathering Dark by Leigh Bardugo.

10. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2012?

Pure by Jennifer L. Armentrout! My favourite colour is blue (I'm biased I know) and the rose just fit so perfectly with the story. It was also so simple yet so elegant - none of those girls-in-dresses or girls-and-half-naked-guys-with-wings-in-the-air covers.

That being said, my favourite Girls in Dresses cover would have to be none other than Kiera Cass's The Selection.

11. Most memorable character in 2012? 

Hands down the Darkling in Leigh Bardugo's The Gathering Dark (The Grisha Trilogy).

She's created a dark, seductive, troubled, damaged, sexy, hot, handsome, eloquent, I-know-there's-more-to-you-deep-inside-than-the-scheming-evil-villain-you're-made-out-to-be secondary love interest for the love triangle <3

12. Most beautifully written book read in 2012?

It's a tie (again) between:

Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins - my favourite line “French name, English accent, American school. Anna confused.” The voice Stephanie created for Anna is beautiful, realistic, relatable, paranoid and so like me it was stunning. The way this was written was UGH love.

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green - need I explain myself? Anybody who's read this book (any of John Green's books really but ESPECIALLY TFiOS) will vouch for this. Your argument is invalid.

Where She Went by Gayle Forman - Adam's voice and the lyrics used are amazing. The raw emotion conveyed is heartbreaking and bone chilling - utterly captivating.

Slammed by Colleen Hoover - the use of poetry to tell people's back stories and explain their feelings is an amazing technique Colleen used in this book and I just kgd;fkjsdhfsdfsd -squirms excitedly in chair- LOVE

My Super Sweet Sixteenth Century by Rachel Harris - Rachel's descriptions are so beautiful, her imagery so detailed ; the words she chose were so vibrant and rich I was catapulted back into the 16th Century with Cat.

My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick - witty, funny and just plain adorbs I loved the writing style of MLND.

13. Book that had the greatest impact on you in 2012?

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green - having had an immediate family member battle cancer, this book basically hit close to home. Poignant, heart-wrenching, raw, this book had the honour of breaking my heart.

14. Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2012 to finally read?

Divergent by Veronica Roth. Fk me dead lol I'm always inwardly bashing myself whenever I think of how much I missed by not reading this earlier.

15. Favorite Passage/Quote From A Book You Read In 2012?

"That's the funny thing about trying to escape. You never really can. Maybe temporarily, but not completely." - Jennifer L. Armentrout, Onyx

"You don't get to choose if you get hurt in this world... but you do have some say in who hurts you. I like my choices." - John Green, The Fault in Our Stars

"The problem with wanting is that it makes us weak." - Leigh Bardugo, The Gathering Dark

"Love is not the absence of logic

but logic examined and recalculated

heated and curved to fit

inside the contours of the heart" - Tammara Webber, Easy

16.Shortest & Longest Book You Read In 2012?

Longest — Hallowed by Cynthia Hand or Stormdancer by Jay Kristoff I think? Endless by Jessica Shirvington looks long (it's the same size as Hallowed and Stormdancer) but I don't think it is...

Shortest — I'm assuming e-novellas and POVs don't count *cackles* so... Everything Left Unsaid by Jessica Davidson and Breathe by Abbi Glines - I'm not sure which is shorer

17. Book That Had A Scene In It That Had You Reeling And Dying To Talk To Somebody About It? (a WTF moment, an epic revelation, a steamy kiss, etc. etc.) Be careful of spoilers!


When Clara finds out about her father in Hallowed I choked.

18. Favorite Relationship From A Book You Read In 2012 (be it romantic, friendship, etc).


Alex/Aiden in Deity are so amazing but but Tris/Four in Divergent AND AND Lila/Alex in Hunting/Losing Lila...

My favourite friendship would be Grace and Tim's from My Life Next Door!

19. Favorite Book You Read in 2012 From An Author You Read Previously

Everything I read this year was either a debut author or an author I'd just discovered *sighs*

So I'm going to cheat and say Endless by Jessica Shirvington coz that's book 4 in The Violet Eden Chapters LOL.

20. Best Book You Read That You Read Based SOLELY On A Recommendation From Somebody Else:


Divergent by Veronica Roth :3

Monday, December 17, 2012

Review: Unearthly (Unearthly #1) by Cynthia Hand

Date Read: December 13 - 17 2012
Release Date: January 4th 2011
Publisher: HarperCollins Australia
Source: Bought
Genre: Paranormal
My rating: 

"In the beginning, there's a boy standing in the trees . . . .Clara Gardner has recently learned that she's part angel. Having angel blood run through her veins not only makes her smarter, stronger, and faster than humans (a word, she realizes, that no longer applies to her), but it means she has a purpose, something she was put on this earth to do. Figuring out what that is, though, isn't easy.

Her visions of a raging forest fire and an alluring stranger lead her to a new school in a new town. When she meets Christian, who turns out to be the boy of her dreams (literally), everything seems to fall into place and out of place at the same time. Because there's another guy, Tucker, who appeals to Clara's less angelic side.

As Clara tries to find her way in a world she no longer understands, she encounters unseen dangers and choices she never thought she'd have to make between honesty and deceit, love and duty, good and evil. When the fire from her vision finally ignites, will Clara be ready to face her destiny?

Unearthly is a moving tale of love and fate, and the struggle between following the rules and following your heart."



I've been putting off reading this for years now simply because, when I first saw it, the Australian cover reminded me too much of Fallen and I thought "ick". And then I read how it was about angels and I thought "this is way too similar to Fallen no thanks". PEOPLE. I STAND CORRECTED. UNEARTHLY WAS LITERALLY UNEARTHLY. SO GOOD! Better than Fallen! I had to go out and buy Hallowed straight away today!

I like how the part-angel thing with Clara is established. There's no horrifying revelation with teen angst; the reader immediately knows what Clara is and what any part-angel can do. We know what comes easily and what doesn't which I really liked. Clara isn't perfection. That made this perfection.

Also. NO INSTALOVE THANK THE HEAVENS OR PART-ANGELS OR ANGELS OR WHATEVER. I love how even though her visions show her Christian, she has feelings for another boy. I love the love triangle.

The writing style was witty and sarcastic and it's one of those that makes you wonder if the author was serious or not - I love the open ended-ness of that and how there are some things the reader is left to interpret on their own.

I just loved everything about this. Except the cover. I hate the cover I have. I should have bought the Australian cover. At least then it would match my Hallowed and Boundless in the future. I also hate how I cracked the spine of this. I will buy the Australian cover. That is all.


Friday, December 14, 2012

Review: The Selection (The Selection #1) by Kiera Cass

Date Read: December 13 2012
Release Date: June 7th 2012
Publisher: HarperCollins Australia
Source: Bought
Genre: Dystopia
My rating: 

Synopsis: "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 a palace and compete for the heart of 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."


Like practically everybody that's read The Selection, I wanted to read it because of the gorgeous cover. Luckily for me, I didn't have particularly high expectations since I've read many other people's reviews.

I think I'll start by saying this book has a lot of potential as my friend Mariam put it. I generally liked the story and some of the characters but there were just too many things I disliked to make it anything more than "ok".

It only took me like 4~5h to read this in one go and each turn of the page felt like a guilty pleasure: the book itself wasn't that great but it was insanely addictive in that I really wanted to know what happened.

Let's start with the bad because I like getting the icky stuff out of the way first:
- I didn't really feel the dystopian side of it. Everything was too light and not as bad as they should have been?
- The writing was a bit immature for my liking. It wasn't due to lack of complex/descriptive words but more that the syntax wasn't sophisticated enough and the semantics not as in depth and symbolic as other books I've read.
- The romance between Aspen and America was so fake. Everything seemed so forced I don't even know how to explain. Maybe it was just me?
- Aspen was an absolute jerkface. Everything he did seemed fake and a front. He didn't seem selfless at all, rather his actions all seemed calculated, selfish and filled with way too much pride. He SEEMED to care for America and "love" her but I'm sorry I just didn't buy it. Him being "thoughtful" of her and their future just didn't seem that thoughtful. And the way he was being "responsible" and doing the best by America just seemed so FAKE. Yes I used the word fake here way too many times but honestly there's no other way to describe it. Fake/unreal/forced/imitation whatever synonym used there's no denying what it is.
- And now proceed extremely long rant where I go into detail how FREAKING SIMILAR TO THE HUNGER GAMES THIS BOOK WAS:
-- Each caste had a particular role/specialised in a particular industry. E.g. Fives (America's caste) were artistic and I think it was Fours that were agricultural. Ahem sound like the Districts much? But a lot cleaner? This is what I mean by the dystopian side of it not coming through. Being forced into art just doesn't seem as bad as being forced to mine I'm sorry.
-- Aspen looks a helluva lot like Gale. Both have dark hair and are devoted to their families and their sole provider - "man of the house" without a father present. Like Gale, Aspen doesn't show how much the girl he loves means to him until it's too late
-- Maxon is blonde like Peeta and both are protective of the girl they care for
-- America enters the Selection and stays because of the money it would provide her family... woah doesn't that sound familiar?
-- Gavril Fadaye sounds a lot like Caesar...
-- May is the adoring, gorgeous little sister. OMG DID SOMEONE SAY PRIM?
-- America acts 'herself', she's the most natural of the selected girls and isn't afraid to speak her mind. Hrmmm I know of another dark haired heroine who wasn't afraid to speak her mind either...
-- Katniss' gown of red fire when she went on her interview with Caesar made her stand out... OH LOOK AMERICA'S IS RED AND SHIMMERY AND MAKES HER STAND OUT AS WELL WHEN SHE'S INTERVIEWED BY GAVRIL... Ok maybe I'm nitpicking here but seriously I couldn't overlook that

There might have been other similarities. I swear as I was reading this I wanted to get out my phone and just jot them down but I couldn't be bothered - wasn't worth my effort.

Also some of the names were just plain wtf. Tiny Lee is actually Tiny. Who names their kid Tiny? And Bariel um what? Sounds like barrel. America I'll accept I guess. But Aspen? Skiing anybody?

That's a shitload of bad isn't it?

So now onto the good:
- I liked America's voice throughout this. Even though she reminded me of Katniss a lot, I liked her honesty.
- The connection between Maxon and America was cute. It wasn't instalove thank god but was slow and even America isn't sure of what she feels for this inexperienced prince.
- Maxon's character seems genuine. His sheltered lifestyle has led him to not understand many of the more intricate details with regards to relationships. Actually any detail really. It was adorable seeing him try.
- There were more serious and pressing issues than just the prince looking for a wife. A new vulnerable country at war is always a problem: I would have REALLY liked this issue to be explored more. Not from the perspective of just seeing raids and screaming girls but some actual political juice!
- I'll admit the Selection itself was pretty exciting, I liked seeing what girls had what qualities and would have liked this explored further i.e. what each girl listed as her talent that could have possibly led her to being picked but hey this'll do
- The King and Queen are mysterious characters that leave room for exploration; the reader begins to question their intentions (well I did)

Overall, I WILL read The Elite just to see how things turn out. Guilty pleasure as I said.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Review: Opal (Lux #3) by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Date Read: December 5 - 12 2012
Release Date: December 11th 2012
Publisher: Entangled Teen
Source: Bought
Genre: Sci-Fi
My rating: 

"No one is like Daemon Black.
When he set out to prove his feelings for me, he wasn’t fooling around. Doubting him isn’t something I’ll do again, and now that we’ve made it through the rough patches, well... There’s a lot of spontaneous combustion going on.

But even he can’t protect his family from the danger of trying to free those they love.

After everything, I’m no longer the same Katy. I’m different... And I’m not sure what that will mean in the end. When each step we take in discovering the truth puts us in the path of the secret organization responsible for torturing and testing hybrids, the more I realize there is no end to what I’m capable of. The death of someone close still lingers, help comes from the most unlikely source, and friends will become the deadliest of enemies, but we won’t turn back. Even if the outcome will shatter our worlds forever.

Together we’re stronger... and they know it."



Ohmygod this was amazing. Armentrout really knows how to end on a cliffhanger -sobs uncontrollably-

I think out of the 3 Lux books so far, this has been the most REAL. My emotions were just everywhere throughout this.

There were so many changes to the characters - Dee, Katy, Daemon among others (no spoilers here) and it showed just how much each of them had been through and what each was willing to risk and sacrifice for those they loved.

As usual, Katy and Daemon's snarky/witty remarks were interspersed with the more trying issues making me laugh and cry at the same time.

So many relationships are tried and tested throughout Opal and I loved it. Things aren't easily fixed, trust isn't easily given but so easily broken. Trust really was an overarching theme that came in the form of a sheet of frost - one slight disturbance and it would shatter. Katy is made to question who is truly her friend, but it turns out those we thought were friends can be used as a weapon.

There was also so much grief and hurt I was so proud of Katy - how she made it through everything and has become such a strong young woman by the end of Opal. Looking back at the timid girl we met in Obsidian she's almost a different person. She will do anything to protect those she loves and she really understands the weight of those words and their consequences which I loved.


I admit that there were some really useless sentences/paragraphs chucked in and I was like "what was the point of this?" but those can be overlooked in the amazingness of this book. Armentrout's writing is sophisticated and quirky as usual and Katy's voice extremely real.

To sum it up as Dee would say “Oh, dear God and baby Jesus in the manger!”

Monday, December 3, 2012

Mini-Review: Elixir (Covenant #3.5) by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Date Read: December 2 2012
Release Date: November 22nd 2012
Publisher: Spencer Hill Press
Source: Bought
Genre: Paranormal/fantasy
My rating: 
"Aiden's novella

Aiden St. Delphi will do anything to save Alex.
Even if it means doing the one thing he will never forgive himself for.
Even if it means making war against the gods."


Oh poor Alex and Aiden!

The two have been through so much but it just doesn't end does it?

I was a blubbering mess while reading this. Written in Aiden's POV we can really see his feelings for Alex. Any doubts anybody had about the power and intensity of those feelings he has for Alex are immediately diminished as soon as the eyes hit the first page.

This was written so beautifully and my heart was breaking all over the place - for Aiden, for Alex, for Marcus, Lea even Apollo. After finishing Deity I had hopes but Elixir just sent them crashing down - but it didn't totally dispel that hope... as Elixir taught me "there is still hope".

And my hope is that their love can conquer all.