Friday, December 31, 2010

Top 10 in 2010

I wasn't going to do a top 10 post, but I've been reeled in. Here are my 10 favorite books of the year, in no particular order (you can click on the name for my review):

The Percy Jackson series


I started reading these because my students were and I wanted to know more about them. I quickly fell in love and devoured the entire series shortly after. I've loved Greek mythology ever since we studied it in 5th grade. This was no exception.


Hex Hall


Can you say LOVE? I'm so glad that I got my hands on this book. The characters, the premise, and everything about this book was fun. I've been following the author, Rachel Hawkins on Twitter, and she's an absolute hoot.



The Help


Amazing. This book was so fabulous for so many reasons. It had a great message and the writing was simply beautiful. I actually put it down without finishing the last chapter for a while because I didn't want it to end.

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The Darkest Powers trilogy


Another fun paranormal YA series from this year.

The Wake trilogy


I didn't go into this trilogy with high hopes and I hadn't heard much about it, but I was BLOWN AWAY.

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The Hunger Games trilogy


Do I even need to explain this one? Suzanne Collins = always fabulous.

The Mortal Instruments series


I was late to the game in reading this one. I just finished it a few weeks ago, but I am still thinking about it. I can't wait for the fourth book to come out next year.

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The Sky is Everywhere


This was such a simple and beautiful story. It was highly reviewed by everyone who has read it. I loved every second of it.

 

Tulsa Burning


This was a fabulous YA historical fiction book. I live about 40 minutes away from Tulsa, so this one hit home. I really need to read more historical fiction next year. I always forget how much I love them until I read one.

 


Shiver


This was a highly anticipated book and I'm so glad that I read it early in the year. Maggie Steifvater is a wonderful writer!

I hope you enjoyed my top 10. It's hard for me to pick favorites of anything, but I managed to make it work. Don't forget to enter my contest to win one of the books that I've reviewed this year! (Click below)

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Contest time!

In honor of meeting my goal of 75 books read in 2010, I'm having a contest! Isn't that great? I read...you win. It's a fabulous deal, really.

What can you win? The winner will receive his or her choice of book from those that I've reviewed in 2010. Need a refresher on what those were? Click on the monster:



How to win:


Just click on the button and fill out the form on the page. (Please read the rules below before entering.)



Entries will be accepted until midnight on Sunday, January 2nd. I will pick a winner on Monday, January 3rd. You must be a follower of my blog and you must be at least 13 years old. This is open internationally, so everyone is invited to participate. I'll contact the winner by email and they'll have 48 hours to respond. I'll pick a new winner if they don't respond. Good luck everyone!

Scarlett Fever


Scarlett fever


by Maureen Johnson


My rating: B+


From Goodreads: Ever since Mrs. Amberson, the former-aspiring-actress-turned-agent, entered Scarlett Martin's life, nothing has been the same.

She's still in charge of the Empire Suite in her family's hotel, but she's now also Mrs. Amberson's assistant, running around town for her star client, Chelsea - a Broadway star Scarlett's age with a knack for making her feel insignificant.


Scarlett's also trying to juggle sophomore year classes, her lab partner who is being just a little TOO nice, and getting over the boy who broke her heart.

In the midst of all this, her parents drop a bombshell that threatens to change her New York life forever...

I really enjoyed Suite Scarlett for so many reasons, but I didn't feel as much love for the sequal, Scarlett Fever. The characters are once again great, and there are some interesting character additions that had me laughing. The relationship between Scarlett and her older brother, Spencer, which I loved in the first novel was lacking in this book. I felt like the plot wasn't nearly as engaging as the first novel. I hate to keep comparing the two, but I'm not really sure how not to.

Overall, this is still a really fun, quick read. If you're wanting more of Scarlett and her adventures at the Hopewell, you'll definitely be rewarded.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

The Mockingbirds



 

The Mockingbirds


by Daisy Whitney


My rating: A-


From Goodreads:

Some schools have honor codes.
Others have handbooks.
Themis Academy has the Mockingbirds.

Themis Academy is a quiet boarding school with an exceptional student body that the administration trusts to always behave the honorable way--the Themis Way. So when Alex is date raped during her junior year, she has two options: stay silent and hope someone helps her, or enlist the Mockingbirds--a secret society of students dedicated to righting the wrongs of their fellow peers.

There's just something wonderful about a book that takes place at a boarding school. There's already something so foreign and mysterious about boarding schools. Add to that a secret society based on my favorite book of all time? It makes for a complete winner. Also, The Mockingbirds deals with really important issues, like date rape. Aside from the secret society stuff, the book deals with date rape in a very real and believable way. It doesn't sugar coat it, which I think is terribly important for young women. I really love some of the strong characters in this book. Alex has some awesome friends who step up for her when she needs it most. Her relationship with her sister is fabulous (but again, believable) and Martin...I love science nerd Martin.

I gave the book an A- for a few reasons. 1) The plot wasn't very surprising. I was totally able to guess how it turned out. 2) I can't explain it, but the book was lacking something for me. Overall, it was a great read!

The Sky is Everywhere



The Sky is Everywhere

by Jandy Nelson


My rating: A


From Goodreads: Seventeen-year-old Lennie Walker, bookworm and band geek, plays second clarinet and spends her time tucked safely and happily in the shadow of her fiery older sister, Bailey. But when Bailey dies abruptly, Lennie is catapulted to center stage of her own life—and, despite her nonexistent history with boys, suddenly finds herself struggling to balance two. Toby was Bailey's boyfriend; his grief mirrors Lennie's own. Joe is the new boy in town, a transplant from Paris whose nearly magical grin is matched only by his musical talent. For Lennie, they're the sun and the moon; one boy takes her out of her sorrow, the other comforts her in it. But just like their celestial counterparts, they can't collide without the whole wide world exploding.

This book was really beautiful. It was well written and told such an amazing story that needed to be told. I've (thankfully) never been through the loss that Lennie has, but I imagine that this portrays her grief pretty accurately. It's more than just a girl grieving, though. She's a normal teenager shoved into an extraordinary situation and she's dealing with these feelings of guilt about moving on and feeling normal teenage feelings. I love the interaction between her family and Joe. What a fabulous cast of characters! You know what this book made me want to do more than anything? Hug my sister.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Suite Scarlett


Suite Scarlett


By maureen Johnson


My rating: A+


 

From Goodreads:

Scarlett Martin has grown up in a most unusual way. Her family owns the Hopewell, a small Art Deco hotel in the heart of New York City.
When each of the Martins turns fifteen, they are expected to take over the care of a suite. For Scarlett’s fifteenth birthday, she gets both a room called the Empire Suite and a permanent guest named Mrs. Amberson. Scarlett doesn’t quite know what to make of this C-list starlet and world traveler.
And when she meets Eric, an astonishingly gorgeous actor who has just moved to the city, her summer takes a second unexpected turn.
Before the summer is over, Scarlett will have to survive a whirlwind of thievery and romantic missteps. But in the city where anything can happen, she just might be able to pull it off.

I want to hang out with Scarlett. I want a big brother like Spencer. I want to spent my days at the Hopewell. It's no wonder this book received such rave reviews from awesome authors like Meg Cabot and Scott Westerfield. It deserves every single great review it got. Johnson did a great job of creating realistic, likeable characters that are going through realistic trials. I cannot wait to read the sequel to this!

Oh, and you should totally follow Maureen Johnson on Twitter. She's sort of fabulous.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

The Mortal Instruments series

About a year ago, my friend Becca was telling me about this awesome book called City of Bones. I saw it in Hastings on sale and picked it up. I set it on my shelf, and it has been there ever since. Until a few weeks, that is. I picked it up again and never put it down! I quickly read next two books in the series, City of Ashes and City of Glass. In order to avoid spoilage here, I'll just review the first book. Take my word though, you'll want to read the 2nd and 3rd as soon as possible!



 

City of Glass


by Cassandra Clare


My rating: A


Summary from Goodreads.com: When fifteen-year-old Clary Fray heads out to the Pandemonium Club in New York City, she hardly expects to witness a murder - much less a murder committed by three teenagers covered with strange tattoos and brandishing bizarre weapons. Then the body disappears into thin air. It's hard to call the police when the murderers are invisible to everyone else and when there is nothing - not even a smear of blood - to show that a boy has died. Or was he a boy?

This is Clary's first meeting with the Shadowhunters, warriors dedicated to ridding the earth of demons. It's also her first encounter with Jace, a Shadowhunter who looks a little like an angel and acts a lot like a jerk. Within twenty-four hours Clary is pulled into Jace's world with a vengeance, when her mother disappears and Clary herself is attacked by a demon. But why would demons be interested in ordinary mundanes like Clary and her mother? And how did Clary suddenly get the Sight? The Shadowhunters would like to know....

Exotic and gritty, exhilarating and utterly gripping, Cassandra Clare's ferociously entertaining fantasy takes readers on a wild ride that they will never want to end.
Wow! That's quite a summary. The first book of the series was fabulous, but not my favorite, to be honest. I love the characters that Clare introduced. Clary, Jace, Simon, and the others are just so fabulous that I want to be their friends. They are strong characters without being overbearing. They're funny without being annoying. There's diversity without being in-your-face. Love that.

Basically, if you like fantasy at all, you should read this. It's very 'good versus evil' with a lot of teenage angst and witty banter thrown in for good measure. I've heard that there were a few issues with the author's integrity a while back, but I wasn't aware of that going into these books. Whatever may have happened, I think she's a wonderful writer, and I can't wait to read her other stuff. 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 



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