December 15th, 2011

deer winter

Top Ten Books Countdown, #10...

Well, it's that time of year again (though I can hardly believe it) -- time to list my top ten YA reads for the year. This year, I only made it to just over a 100 (ack), so it was pretty easy to pick out the ten. If I happen to read something fantastic between now and the end of the year, then it'll get a special mention, as well. :)

The covers link to The Tattered Cover's (our local indie) pages.

If you'd like to see all my year-to-date four-plus- and five-star recommendations, visit Robin ReadsnWrites.

These are all five-star reads:

***** I read every word, and I loved it! A favorite and definite reread.

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Starting with #10:

Always a WitchAlways a Witch, by Carolyn McCullough - Here's what I said right after reading it:

I enjoyed this even more than the first! Tamsin is a great character -- spunky, vulnerable, sympathetic. As always with time travel stories, there were a few issues which confused me, though not enough to ruin my enjoyment of the book. I liked how Tamsin figured out what she had to do and did it -- and how protective she was of Gabriel. I also liked how he was protective of her (one of my tiny nits is about this, however: I wanted to see more of what Gabriel had to go through to find Tam). I thought there was some nice tension, though I must admit that I never really felt Tam was in dire danger -- until the end. All in all, it was a fast, well-paced, intriguing story! The story: Tam is delighted with her Talent after thinking she didn't have one for most of her life. But when a stranger Travels into their home and takes over Tam's uncle, they all realize something has gone horribly wrong. Tam is determined to figure it out, but she wants to keep Gabriel out of it, hoping he'll be safer staying in his own time. When Tam uses the Domani to Travel back to the time right before her family binds the Knights' power (the rival and much more evil family), she finds herself stuck in that time -- and she can't find any of her family! She does manage to find the Knights, but when she discovers what they're doing, she learns things are even worse than they all thought.... (YA paranormal, released 8/11, publisher: Clarion)

What has stayed with me since then? Tamsin's determination to do what needed to be done -- her willingness to sacrifice almost anything. I also remember the one thing she didn't want to sacrifice (Gabriel), and his reaction to that. The magic is nicely done in this book, and the unique feel to the story also stayed with me. It's a romantic, magical, sweet (though nicely fraught) story!

Book Report (105)...

For those of you who happened to Google your title and ended up here, please know that one star is not a bad thing in Robin's world -- just the fact that I picked up your book and started it means that somewhere it's getting good buzz (or that your blurb was really cool). 'R' means it's a re-read. Different colored font means it's an ARC for 2011 (and I'll try to remember to put the month it's released, as well). I'm linking to Tattered Cover's pages for the ARCs.

If you'd like to see my year-to-date four-plus- and five-star recommendations, visit Robin ReadsnWrites.

* I didn't make it beyond the first 20 pages.
** I made it to the end, but I either skimmed or skipped large sections.
*** I might have skipped/skimmed, but I liked it and might read it again.
**** I read at least 95% of the book and it was good -- probably will be reread.
***** I read every word, and I loved it! A favorite and definite reread.

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Laddertop, by Orson Scott Card and Emily Janice Card **** I enjoyed this, although I'm not a huge graphic novel fan. However, I do love OSC, so I had to give it a chance. The story is definitely intriguing, but it was hard to finish the book and realize I'd gotten maybe 3 chapters worth of plot in that time. Still, it would be a great choice for reluctant readers (or those who like to read short books)! The story: Robbi and Azure are selected to begin the process of joining Laddertop Academy. There are four of the laddertop creations around the world, added to earth when an alien race, called the Givers, built them practically overnight. No one on earth seems to understand much about them, and only children can fit into the small areas where maintenance is needed. The adults around them act confident in front of the kids, but Robbi overhears a couple of conversations which let her know that they're wary about the Givers and their motives. When Robbi goes to Laddertop, she has dreams which make her think that someone -- either the Givers or someone who knows about them -- has a plan for her. Now she has to decide which path to take. (MG/tween graphic novel, released 8/11, publisher: Tor)