Countdown to 2012: Books I Can’t Wait to Read (Part 1)

Does anyone else write down book release dates on their calendar? Because I do. The second I get a date, it’s scrawled on the calendar in a colored pen so fast the ink gets mussed. I got a calendar as a present and that was the first thing I did. Thank you, Goodreads. Here’s a list of books I’m waiting for and their release dates! If you see one that’s on yours too, SQUEE WITH ME. If there are ones that aren’t on here, and that fact BLOWS your MIND, tell me in the comments! You can never get too many books.

JESSICA RULES THE DARK SIDE by Beth Fantasky (Jessica #2)

Release Date: Jan 10

Why: Because I’m honestly curious what Fantasky is going to do, since I was so sure the first book–Jessica’s Guide to Dating the Dark Side–was a stand alone novel. It certainly didn’t leave any loose ends or anything. It was genuinely interesting and a new take on vampirism, so I enjoyed it. I may or may not be a sucker for “what happens after the fairytale ending” stories. Plus, Lucian was a hot vampire. Sign me up!

HALLOWED by Cynthia Hand (Unearthly #2)

Release Date: January 17

Why: I linked to my review of the first book, Unearthly, which will talk more about my feelings about the book, but I will say again that I am genuinely curious how Hallowed is going to unfold, not just plot-wise but also writing style-wise. Unearthly was good but slow, though I was too intrigued by Hand’s take on angelicism to put it down. I think without the time constraints that she was limited to by her own plot conventions in the first book, Hand can really do something special with this one. Or at least I’m hoping. You’ll certainly be the first to know when I figure it out! I’ve already got it pre-ordered.

EVERNEATH  by Brodi Ashton

Release date: Jan 24

Why: THIS BOOK SOUNDS SO COOL. Alright, blurbs can often be very misleading, but, come on. This book has a really, really neat concept as described here. It’s been advertised on inkpop and all over Goodreads, and I can’t help but cave. It probably won’t be on my instantly pre-ordered list because of all the series I’m excited to further and finish, but I most definitely want to pick it up when I get the chance.

WINGS OF THE WICKED by Courtney Allison Moulton (Angelfire #2)

Release Date: Jan 31

Why: Angelfire made me go gaga, plain and simple. Just…gaga. The storyline is awesome, the mythology is awesome, the twists were awesome, the romance is awesome and the guy is one I would love to date. Need I say more? Because I will, actually. The end of book one left opened up twists that I sure as heck didn’t see coming and left more questions than answers, and I NEED ANSWERS. It’s already been preordered and I am counting down days.

FEVER by Lauren DeStefano (The Chemical Garden #2)

Release Date: February 21st

Why: Alright, yes, my book review of the first bookWither–wasn’t completely complimentary, but I can’t help but be intrigued. DeStefano handled some really tough issues really well and wrote in some great relationship stuff (and some not great, but I hold onto hope)…and the blurb talks about Rhine and Gabriel ending up in a “twisted carnival whose ringmistress keeps watch over a menagerie of girls.” Maybe I’m a sucker. Maybe I’m a big sucker. But come on. This is crazy enough it just might work, and Wither was good enough that I’m not ready to give up on this world quite yet.

SPELL BOUND by Rachel Hawkins (Hex Hall #3)

Release Date: March 13

Why: WHY DO I NEED TO TELL YOU? Ahem. Anyways. Have you read these? Because you need to read these. Yes, girl at magical boarding school has been tried and tried again, but I am in LOVE. LOVE. LOVE with this books. They are interesting, they are funny, they are will written and the love interest(s) are to die for. Oh, and it is SO NOT FAIR how Hawkins just leaves you hanging again and again. …I am very impatient when I just NEED to know what happens next, you may have noticed. I tend to pre-order by month, so you know what I’ll be doing March 1st instead of celebrating my father’s birthday.

INSURGENT by Veronica Roth (Divergent #2)

Release Date: May 1

Why: Divergent may or may not have been overhyped for a reason. It isn’t groundbreaking amazingness, but it is pretty darn near close. I’ve yet to read a dystopian that I’ve enjoyed this much. It was the realist, and the one I connected the most with. It had pretty much everything I look for in a book, plus I truly enjoy reading Roth’s writing. It’s easy but it sends a message clearly, which is really hard to do. It started a new wave of dystopian trends for a reason. If you haven’t read it yet, READ IT.

CITY OF LOST SOULS by Cassandra Clare (The Mortal Instruments #5)

Release Date: May 8

Why: CASSANDRA CLARE. That should be enough for anybody. I’ll admit,  I was almost a little upset when Clare decided she was going to write 3 more books in this series instead of keeping it at a trilogy as planned, but that doesn’t stop me from being a freakish fan girl. Jace and Clary make me so amazingly happy–not to mention Alec and Magnus and Simon and–everybody. Let’s just go with everybody. The last book wasn’t great; it was almost like Clare was actually making stuff up to keep the series going. Now, half of the people I talk to are pretty sure she was actually doing that, but goodness don’t SHOW it. Either way, sign me up for this one and all the rest. I just can’t put these books down EVER.

There were just too many books for this post, so you can find part 2 here!

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Review: Unearthly by Cynthia Hand

Unearthly by Cynthia Hand

3 ½ stars

When Clara Gardner learns she’s part angel, her entire life changes. She now has a purpose, a specific task she was put on this earth to accomplish, except she doesn’t know what it is. Her visions of a raging forest fire and a mysterious boy lead her to a new high school in a new town but provide no clear instruction. 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 the boy in her vision and the boy in her life, 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?

As a fan of the Fallen series by Lauren Kate, I was pretty psyched to get a hold of this book. The Fallen books are great, but I was really looking for a fresh take on angels and I got it. The main character, Clara, is a quarter angel who is trying to be a normal teenage girl while also trying to fulfill her purpose from God, which comes to her only as a short vision. Yes, the “normal teenage girl who actual [insert superpower/secret here]” premise has been well tried, but Hand pulls it off quite well.

The problem, however, comes with the middle of the book. The beginning starts off fast and interesting, but the middle kind of sinks. It focuses more on the teenage stuff as we wait with Clara for her purpose to reveal itself and be fulfilled, but the waiting—while realistic—takes far too long. I blew through this book only partially because it was compulsively readable. The other reason was that I kept flipping through pages looking for the next big angelic event, not prom. Clara falling in love for real was cute, but it felt like filler. Once you get towards the end—if you can hold on that long—you are rewarded, as things start happening one after the other in a very exciting way.

Once again, I’m going to harp on the fact that young adult books have this horrible tendency to have their main characters—typically females—fall instantly in love with their guys. Love at first sight is great, but I’ve seen this so many times it makes me groan. I understand that Christian was the guy from her vision and all, but come on. All these female MCs falling head over heels for guys the second they meet is making me lose faith in my own gender. Hand’s insta-love was certainly not the worst I’ve ever seen, and she even tried to balance it out, so I’m being unduly harsh in this particular review, but the constant issue of this is pushing me onto my soapbox. I’m off now.

Despite how unflattering this review sounds, I am genuinely excited to read the next book. I think that now that Hand has things moving, events are really going to start happening. Unearthly was compulsively readable and hard to find a stopping point even at its dullest middle event. The ending was very vague in a way that leaves me conflicted as to whether it is good or bad, but either way it does its job. There were so many loose ends that the next book has the possibility of being jam-packed with excitement. The end of Unearthly gives me faith that Hand can pull that off is she doesn’t feel locked into waiting for Clara’s purpose to show itself in a realistic timeframe. You can be sure you’ll hear how that goes!

(The second book in the Unearthly series, Hallowed, is expected to be released January 17, 2012)