2012 End of the Year Book Survey

End of the Year Book Survey

The End of the Year Book Survey is hosted by The Perpetual Page Turner.

So, I found this survey on the blogosphere and thought, “You know, this would be awesome.” So I’m going to do it. Hopefully it’ll become an annual thing, and will help you guys find some new books to read. Oh, and cheating is going to be rampant.

1. Best Book You Read In 2012?

Cheating on the first question, ALRIGHT! Here’s my Top Ten Books I Read in 2012!

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

Erm, there were a few of these. Sweet Evil by Wendy Higgins was one of them. The blogosphere blew up about it but I … wasn’t on board as much. Same with Defiance by CJ Redwine. I wanted so much more out of that one. More recently, Prophecy by Ellen Oh. I liked all these, I just expected more.

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

Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein, most definetly. The way it’s written, I should hate it. But I LOVE IT.

4. Book you recommended to people most in 2012?

Depending on the person, it’s probably a tie between Code Name Verity and Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas.

5. Best series you discovered in 2012?

Oof. That’s a hard one. What’s Left of Me by Kat Zhang? Throne of Glass? Grave Mercy by R. L. LaFevers? The Immortal Rules by Julie Kagawa? I can’t pick one!

6. Favorite new authors you discovered in 2012?

Nina Berry (Otherkin), Kat Zhang (What’s Left of Me), Jodi Meadows (Incarnate), Sarah J. Maas (Throne of Glass), Jay Kristoff (Stormdancer)– I should probably stop at some point.

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

Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry. I don’t particularly like contemporary YA and am very cynical about YA romance, but this one just turned me into a marshmellow.

8. Most thrilling, unputdownable book in 2012?

Insurgent by Veronica Roth. Ohmygod.

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

The Golden Lily by Richelle Mead. THE IDIGO SPELL IS COMING!

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

Basically, my one goal here was to avoid a girl in a dress and that was REALLY HARD. This is Crewel by Gennifer Albin!

Crewel11. Most memorable character in 2012?

Eva and Addie from What’s Left of Me. These are two girls in one body. IT WAS FANTASTIC.

 12. Most beautifully written book read in 2012?

Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein. Hands down.

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

Code Name Verity for sure. Also Pushing the Limits.

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

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte. Yeah, I know, it’s THAT BAD.

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

ARE YOU CRAZY THIS IS IMPOSSIBLE? Uh.

“And this, even more wonderful and mysterious, is also true: when I read it, when I read what Julie’s written, she is instantly alive again, whole and undamaged. With her words in my mind while I’m reading, she is as real as I am. Gloriously daft, drop-dead charming, full of bookish nonsense and foul language, brave and generous. She’s right here. Afraid and exhausted, alone, but fighting. Flying in silver moonlight in a plane that can’t be landed, stuck in the climb—alive, alive, ALIVE.”

Code Name Verity

“Her shoulders never shook. No tears streamed down her face. The worst type of crying wasn’t the kind everyone could see–the wailing on street corners, the tearing at clothes. No, the worst kind happened when your soul wept and no matter what you did, there was no way to comfort it. A section withered and became a scar on the part of your soul that survived. For people like me and Echo, our souls contained more scar tissue than life.”

Pushing the Limits

“The hand on my hair moved to my back, and I realized someone was singing softly. The voice was familiar, and something about it made my chest ache.  Well, that was to be expected. Angels’ songs would be awfully poignant.
“‘I was working as a waitress in a cocktail bar, when I met you…'” the voice crooned.
I frowned. Was that really an appropriate song for the Heavenly Host to be–”

Spell Bound by Rachel Hawkins

(I think I’ll stop here…)

16. Shortest & Longest Book You Read In 2012?

Longest: Literary Theory: Anthology = 1,314 pages

Shortest: Shadowed Ground by Vicki Keire = 120 pages

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!

The Golden Lily by Richelle Mead. AGGHGHGHGH GUYS IT HAPPENED AND THEN AGHGHGHGH.

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

Endlessly by Kiersten White, because EVIE AND LEND. But also Syndey and Adrian from The Golden Lily. But then there’s Noah and Echo in Pushing the Limits. And Sophie and Archer from Spell Bound. And Ellie and Will from Wings of the Wicked by Courtney Allison Moulton.

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

City of Lost Souls by Cassandra Clare or Wings of the Wicked or Spell Bound.

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

Of Poseidon by Anna Banks, thanks to THE ENTIRE BLOGOSPHERE.

I’m going to hold this here because wow this is already long, but there are plenty of other questions about blogging and stuff on the whole thing, so check out The Perpetual Pageturner for more questions and blogs!

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ARC Review: “Ironskin” by Tina Connelly

Ironskin (Ironskin #1) by Tina Connelly

Goodreads | Amazon

Jane Eliot wears an iron mask.

It’s the only way to contain the fey curse that scars her cheek. The Great War is five years gone, but its scattered victims remain—the ironskin.

When a carefully worded listing appears for a governess to assist with a “delicate situation”—a child born during the Great War—Jane is certain the child is fey-cursed, and that she can help.

Teaching the unruly Dorie to suppress her curse is hard enough; she certainly didn’t expect to fall for the girl’s father, the enigmatic artist Edward Rochart. But her blossoming crush is stifled by her own scars, and by his parade of women. Ugly women, who enter his closed studio…and come out as beautiful as the fey.

Jane knows Rochart cannot love her, just as she knows that she must wear iron for the rest of her life. But what if neither of these things is true? Step by step Jane unlocks the secrets of her new life—and discovers just how far she will go to become whole again.

3 1/2 stars

Thank you to NetGalley and Tor/Forge for the ability to read this eARC! You can get a copy for yourself on October 2, 2012

There are books that I would die to have enjoyed completely, and this is one of them. Sadly, it fell short of my expectations.

In case you didn’t already realize, this book is a fey/steampunk retelling of Jane Eyre–you know, that book by Charlotte Bronte we all had to read in school. Jane Eyre was a school book that I actually didn’t mind, surprisingly, and I had high hopes for the awesomeness that could come out of adding fantasy elements.

For much of the book, however, it seems like Connelly stays too close to its original text. The names are hardly changed (not a big deal, but still) and the biggest part for me is that Ironskin reads just as slow as Jane Eyre did for a majority of the text. Retelling or no, this is still a YA book and people still want a faster pace than classic books–that’s why I read YA, at least.

My biggest problem was characterization. I never connected with Jane as a character–she was far too stiff all the time. Worse, she all of a sudden simply decided she was in love with Mr. Rochart without ANY kind of connection being made between them at all. This Mr. Rochart is more absent and strange than the one in Jane Eyre, and that’s saying something. Several other decisions and plot points were also simply made without any preamble or reasoning, and that bothered me to no end. Much of the story seemed to happen without much reason other than that it had to happen for the sake of the story.

I did, however, greatly enjoy the idea behind the story. This retelling was far more interesting than the original. However, the plot holes that were left in several places continued to irk me throughout the book. I can’t ask many of the questions I wish without giving away the plot, but I found myself at least mildly confused throughout the entire novel.

So why the 3 1/2 star rating, then? Because of the idea. This refreshing, interesting idea that–yes–wasn’t fleshed out to all its credit. Also, towards the end of the novel, the pace picked up greatly and was actually exciting. If Connolly had put that kind of pacing into the first three-fourths or so of the novel, I would have been much more invested. Also, moving towards the end, the story began to depart more and more from it’s very serious Jane Eyre parallels that were present in the beginning. I kept waiting for key plot points of Jane Eyre to crop up, some with dread (St. John, anyone?), but fewer of them actually came up, and when they did they were decidedly different from the original text. The end of Ironskin did not entirely make up for the beginning, but it did make the rating of this book much higher than I thought it would be.

All in all, though I enjoyed Ironskin, I wanted more from it than I was given. Perhaps this book requires more love for the classics than I have, or more patience, but I consistently felt like I was being let down by all the potential it most certainly had. The end of the book was a great deal more exciting than the beginning, but in truth I was lucky to make it that far. I have put the second Ironskin novel, currently untitled and due out in 2013, on my TBR list just because I’m curious to see where Connolly will take this story now that she’s exhausted Jane Eyre. Perhaps being freed from that model will open up more of the story’s potential.

The Book Reviews I Couldn’t Give My Teacher

I’m pretty sure all of you know how it goes. You walk into an English class and then stare for ages at the reading list in front of you. Sometimes it isn’t very long, sometimes it is. Sometimes you’ve heard of a few of the books on it, sometimes you haven’t. All you know is that they’ve got strange names–but titles and authors–and they sound like they’re going to be awful. Past experience tells you they probably are.

This year, in my AP Literature and Composition class, the list was no different. In fact, it seemed the ultimate attempt to drive me into depression and bring out my inner feminist. Given that I should get something out of it besides a grade I trudged through the depths of despair to get, I’m gifting you all with my unedited-for-the-teacher mini book reviews of the 7 classics I read for school this year. (If you enjoy classics, uh, you should probably stop right here. This is pumped on snark for my own amusement. What? I’ve been bit by senioritis and it’s time to have some fun!)

1. Hedda Gabler by Henrik Ibsen

First off, this isn’t a novel, guys, it’s a play. In my opinion, plays should be performed, not read. So, now being politically correct, I can tell you that this is a PLAY about the ultimate manipulative woman. Seriously. Every guy in this thing is eating out of her hand. Every girl too. She is the meanest, rudest person but you are supposed to feel sympathetic because you are. I did not feel sympathetic. Instead, I felt sick, because this woman drives a man to kill himself because she thinks it’s “beautiful.” And then kills herself in the end because she didn’t think the first guy committed suicide beautifully enough. Pretty sure if Ibsen published this in this day and age, the media would ream him out.

2. A Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams

You know, this one was not entirely unreadable. Just a little bit. A lot bit in places, but what do you expect? Until about halfway through, I actually enjoyed it. Then its discovered that Blanche is actually a cougar and Stella enjoys having her husband beat her and then Stella’s husband rapes Stella’s sister, Blanche and they send Blanche off to a nuthouse because they don’t want to deal with what actually happened. The only redeeming quality you get is that maybe Stella might leave Stanley. Maybe. But you’ll never know.

3. Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston

I have never read such a bipolar book. The juxtaposition between Hurston’s poetic prose and the dialect of the dialogue was WILD. It made me beg and beg and beg for the prose to continue and leave the dialogue behind. No matter the dialect, I don’t like it in books. Not even in moderate amounts. Janie also wasn’t a horribly written female character, which was nice, but I just felt so … defeated, in the end. Like the book had taken every bit of strength I had and SQUASHED IT TO PIECES. As if reading the dialect wasn’t draining enough.

4. Twelfth Night by William Shakespeare

I have been told that I hold several opinions on Shakespeare that offend a great many people. However, this is a free country and I say freely that I don’t like Shakespeare. Ever. Don’t get me started on Romeo and Juliet. Twelfth Night, I admit, wasn’t as bad, but the ending left me scratching my head and annoyed as all get-out with the females, again. Also, I must just say this: if you can only devote one page a turn to the play because the opposite page is all explanations for what the words on other page mean, something isn’t right.

5. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

You know what? I actually enjoyed this one. Mostly. It was actually wasn’t horrible to read or understand. It was long as all get-out because I was, uh, rushing and behind and stuff, so I had to swallow it forcibly, but I actually didn’t mind. Jane is actually a fairly strong character until, you know, the end. I guess the idea is supposed to be that Jane needed time to become Mr. Rochester’s equal but…er…at the end of the book, Jane has acquired more money and Mr. Rochester has lost several body parts. Pretty sure that message is a little convoluted.

6. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

YES, I UNDERSTAND F. Scott Fitzgerald has issues with his wife and the “New Woman” of the 1920s. But ARRRGH can no one write a female and have her have at least one redeeming quality? Really? Also, this was meant to be depressing and therefore totally is. People even kill each other and then commit suicide. Fantastic. Someday I hope people can make social statements without including suicide or other forms of death.

7. Annie John by Jamaica Kincaid

…you know what? I enjoyed this one. I ENJOYED THIS ONE. It’s like Kincaid took every ounce of teenage rebellion out there, bottled it, and then soaked it into the pages. I’m not a fan of the whole “I hate my parents so much I’m going to leave the hemisphere” thing, but I can over look it because the voice was so REAL. I’m rather glad my novel-reading journey ended here.

So there you have it! If YOU have opinions about these books, drop me a comment! Clearly, I have plenty of things to say about these books and there is nothing I enjoy more than a lively debate! (If you haven’t guessed, this is a discussion piece. :P)