December 16th, 2012

e on ground

Book Report (111)...

This will be my final book report of 2012 -- I'll still be reading (hopefully), but I will report on any books read after this point in 2013. That way, I can also start my top books of 2012 today without having to worry about missing any. :)

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. Brackets mean it's an ARC or e-galley. I'm linking to Tattered Cover's pages for the ARCs.

If you'd like to see my recent four-plus- and five-star YA 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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Unspoken, by Sarah Rees Brennan (sarahtales ****+ I really enjoyed this. I like Kami, most of all. She's such an irrepressible personality, and her ability to square her shoulders and keep going was truly charming. At the same time, I ached for her when she felt the sting of rejection -- and the tension between her and Jared was remarkable (and hard to read, at times). The only reason this didn't get five stars is because the ending was a serious cliff-hanger -- but I want to add that, in this case, I realize it's necessary. The book was quite well-paced, imo, because we saw the resolution of the main mystery, we understood what was really going on in Sorry-in-the-Vale, and we knew that things were just beginning...thus, the need for at least one more book (I'm guessing it'll be a trilogy, perhaps?). What I like about this (especially in light of completing the Matched trilogy recently) is that it's quite apparent that book two will NOT be a placeholder. It can't be, and things are already set up for something important to happen. Hopefully (oh, I so hope), Jared will find some peace! (Oh, and I also love the realistic mix of romance -- gay and straight). The story: Kami has an imaginary friend with whom she talks in her head -- until the day he turns up in her village, in her school, and she has an actual body with a face and a physical voice she must now relate to. And that's only the beginning of the strangeness, as Kami believes there are some animal mutilations going on -- and then a girl (a ex-friend of Kami's -- a girl who ditched her when she heard Kami actually talked to someone in her head) is murdered. Kami doesn't want to believe it has anything to do with Jared or his family, but things aren't looking good. And when Kami is threatened, secrets come pouring out, and Kami realizes she will have to make some choices about her link with Jared -- choices that he might not agree with. (YA paranormal/mystery, released 9/12, publisher: Random House)

On Deck: I picked up a bunch of books from the library yesterday -- I have NO time to read currently, but we're going to the family cabin after Christmas, and I'm hoping to make some headway there. :) I feel like it's the best way to start off a new year (reading, reading, reading).

Top Eleven Reads of 2012! Number Eleven...

It's hard to believe it's the end of 2012 -- which means it's time for another list of books from yours truly. ;) I would've only done the top ten, except that I only have eleven five-star reads this year -- so I will highlight them all. It's always challenging to put this in any kind of order, and I want to point out that it's rather subjective (on top of already being a subjective list), as the way I feel about these books right now is different than I might have felt three months ago. Plus, the top six are clumped so closely together in my mind (in terms of enjoyment) that they're almost random in their order -- you could simply say that I loved all eleven, and I adored the top six pretty much equally! (All the covers link to their Tattered Cover book page, fyi.)

That said, let's begin with number Eleven (out of 111 books read this year):


The False Prince, by Jennifer Nielsen
Why did I enjoy this so much? First, it reminded me of one of my favorite childhood books -- The Lost Prince, by Frances Hodgson Burnett. I adored TLP as a kid, and I reread it numerous times -- but I couldn't get my son to read it. Like many books written decades ago, its style just isn't contemporary enough for most kids to enjoy. He didn't like all the words, all the descriptions, etc. But Jennifer Nielsen takes a similar concept, a similar feel to the story, and creates a beautiful (and much more contemporary-feeling) tale that also has emotional impact and a sympathetic main character. My son loved it too. Second, I like fantasy/fairy-tale type stories. I like the political intrigue of that type of era, and I really liked Sage. He was spunky, self-serving, and compassionate all in one. Having read TLP, I knew from the get-go what would happen...mostly. I did keep wondering as various events unfolded, because numerous outcomes could stem from the circumstances, all of them satisfying. I'm pretty sure I've read that there will be more of Sage's story, and I will be the first in line to pick it up and sink into Sage's world again. :)