From the Notebook: Top 10 Series I NEED to Finish!

So, last week’s video was made of some rather unpopular opinions, as I discussed the Top 10 series I would never finish. On the heels of that, I boomeranged back the other way this week with a MUCH more positive (but no less expressive) video about the top 10 series I could have finished … but haven’t. Ergo, I need to get on finishing these series RIGHT THE HELL NOW. Ahem. Anyways, enjoy!

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ARC Review: “Once We Were” by Kat Zhang

Once We WereOnce We Were (The Hybrid Chronicles #2) by Kat Zhang

Goodreads | Amazon

“I’m lucky just to be alive”

Eva was never supposed to have survived this long. As the recessive soul, she should have faded away years ago. Instead, she lingers in the body she shares with her sister soul, Addie. When the government discovered the truth, they tried to “cure” the girls, but Eva and Addie escaped before the doctors could strip Eva’s soul away.

Now fugitives, Eva and Addie find shelter with a group of hybrids who run an underground resistance. Surrounded by others like them, the girls learn how to temporarily disappear to give each soul some much-needed privacy. Eva is thrilled at the chance to be alone with Ryan, the boy she’s falling for, but troubled by the growing chasm between her and Addie. Despite clashes over their shared body, both girls are eager to join the rebellion.

Yet as they are drawn deeper into the escalating violence, they start to wonder: How far are they willing to go to fight for hybrid freedom? Faced with uncertainty and incredible danger, their answers may tear them apart forever.

Four and a half stars

Thanks to HarperCollins and Edelweiss for this eARC! This title will be released September 17th, 2013.

WARNING: This review WILL include spoilers for the first book, What’s Left of Me. Read my review for more!

Getting a hold of an ARC of this book became an absolute necessity after reading the first book. When Edelweiss declined my first request, I requested again – basically until they let me have it. I was like a dog with a bone for this book, and with good reason. What’s Left of Me blew me out of the water and then some. Of course, after that, it was impossible to like the second one as much as the first, but the book gave me a good go, anyways!

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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!

Top Ten Books I Read in 2012

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish!

Okay, just fyi – TEN IS REALLY HARD. So don’t take this as the only top books I read. But this is what I could cull it to. And this is in no particular order.

Wings of the Wicked1. Wings of the Wicked by Courtney Allison Moulton

Okay, you guys all know how much I love this books and Courtney herself. I believe I used the phrase “rapid machine gun of awesomeness” to describe this book in my review.

2. Incarnate by Jodi MeadowsIncarnate

There are far too many CAPS in my review of this book. I mean, really. But I went so gaga for it I themed my prom dress around it. Okay, so that wasn’t originally intentional but it soon became that way.

The Immortal Rules3. The Immortal Rules by Julie Kagawa

Not going to lie: this was the first Julie Kagawa book I ever read. I’ve now caught the Julie Kagawa bug and want to read everything from her books to her shopping lists. See my review here.

4. Grave Mercy by Robin LaFeversgrave mercy

Historical fiction. Assassin nuns. Fly to the bookstores right now. If assassin nuns doesn’t do it for you, I don’t know what will. It certainly did for me!

Code Name Verity5. Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein

This historical fiction piece on World War II made me cry. And I never, ever, should have liked this book because it’s written with a few of my pet peeves. But it’s one of the best things ever, and here’s why.

6. Insurgent by Veronica RothInsurgent

It’s Insurgent by Veronica Roth. Do I have to explain it to you? (If so, read my review!)

city of lost souls7. City of Lost Souls by Cassandra Clare

Okay, okay, I’m still not a fan of continuing the series after what I thought was the perfect ending. But if there was a way to continue the series, this is it – here’s why.

8. Throne of Glass by Sarah J. MaasThrone of Glass

High fantasy for young adults. They said it was impossible, but Maas did it. ALL OF THE LOVE. Another review with too much excitement.

The Golden Lily9. The Golden Lily by Richelle Mead

It’s Richelle Mead and Adrian. I love Adrian. I love him so much I might almost love him more than Dimi– oh dear, I feel the fan girls descending. Go read my review for more!

10. What’s Left of Me by Kat ZhangWhat's Left of Me

The main character is two girls in one body. That is all. For more, read my review.

Top Ten Favorite Books I’ve Read During The Lifespan Of My Blog

Top Ten Tuesday is a feature hosted by The Broke and the Bookish!

This is a really hard topic for me this week. How do you pick FAVORITES? I mean, I liked this book for this or that book for that… I love so many books. I’ve been doing this for YEARS. However, I guess the simplest way would be to start with the ratings system… (All title links go to the reviews.)

1. Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

This was the first five star review I ever gave, and … oooh boy is it embarrassing. There is so much squealing and CAPSing going on. Still, I love it lots, and it would be faster to list the TTTs that I HAVEN’T listed Anna on than haven’t because SO. MUCH. LOVE.

2. Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein

Holy moly guys. Sometimes I give out 5 stars because I just lovey dovey squeal over a book. I did that with this one for sure but … wow, it was something else. This was one of the most powerful books I’ve EVER read. 5 stars doesn’t even begin to cover it.

3. Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers

I am a huge fan of historical fiction, but it’s not often that I find it done well. Grave Mercy was not only historical fiction, it was fantasy historical fiction and IT WAS AMAZING! It’s also a huge book AND it can be read as a stand alone, which made it the answer to so many of my prayers it was unreal. 5 stars.

4. Insurgent by Veronica Roth

Guys, it’s Insurgent. If I have to explain this, you haven’t been paying attention. 5 stars.

5. City of Lost Souls by Cassandra Clare

Though I still haven’t entirely forgiven her for taking a perfect trilogy and making it into 6 books, City of Lost Souls at least redeemed the series for me, if not the idea to turn it into 6 books. 5 stars.

6. Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

GUYS. HAVE YOU NOT PICKED THIS UP YET? What’s WRONG with you? This was the PERFECT book. I ADORED IT. It was funny, there was a kick ass heroine, the love triangle WORKED and wasn’t cliche to death, the world was epic and the builiding flawless and– guys. Just read it. 5 stars.

7. What’s Left of Me by Kat Zhang

This book actually hasn’t been released yet, but I’m going to tease you anyways. This book was GREAT, guys. It was mysterious, it was exciting, it had great writing and fantastic characters. Zhang somehow managed to ROCK writing two characters inside one body. 5 stars.

8. Wings of the Wicked by Courtney Allison Moulton

My feelings about this book can be summed up into what I “retitled” it: a rapid machine gun of awesomeness. Seriously. It NEVER STOPPED MOVING. I knocked it down to 4 1/2 stars for reasons that CAM later dispelled over Twitter, so … I should probably actually file this under 5 stars.

9. The Immortal Rules by Julie Kagawa

The first major book NetGalley ever got me, with FANTASTIC results. I’d never read Kagawa before, and now I’m DYING for more. This is the best YA vampire book I’d read in terms of the dark side of vampires, hands down. 4 1/2 stars.

10. Incarnate by Jodi Meadows

Beautiful cover. Beautiful book. Beautiful author. (Twitter is the best place.) Words cannot describe how awesome this book is. I even themed my prom dress around the cover because YEEEEES!

ARC Review: “What’s Left of Me” by Kat Zhang

What’s Left of Me (The Hybrid Chronicles #1) by Kat Zhang

Goodreads | Amazon

Eva and Addie started out the same way as everyone else—two souls woven together in one body, taking turns controlling their movements as they learned how to walk, how to sing, how to dance. But as they grew, so did the worried whispers. Why aren’t they settling? Why isn’t one of them fading? The doctors ran tests, the neighbors shied away, and their parents begged for more time. Finally Addie was pronounced healthy and Eva was declared gone. Except, she wasn’t…
For the past three years, Eva has clung to the remnants of her life. Only Addie knows she’s still there, trapped inside their body. Then one day, they discover there may be a way for Eva to move again. The risks are unimaginable–hybrids are considered a threat to society, so if they are caught, Addie and Eva will be locked away with the others. And yet…for a chance to smile, to twirl, to speak, Eva will do anything.

5 stars

A big thanks to Edelweiss and HarperCollins for this ARC! You can get a copy for yourself on September 18th, 2012.

When I requested this on Edelweiss, I thought I’d make a big mistake. I already had a have-but-need-to-read list of 20 books. At least 7 of those were books I had to review. Some of them I’d had from NetGalley since the previous month and needed to be read YESTERDAY. But I thought “…what the heck?” Then it came through and I thought, “What have I done, I can’t read this fast enough to get the review done in time!”

I finished this in one afternoon. I couldn’t have put it down even when my mother asked me to.

The premise is just as interesting as it sounds. I drank up every little detail about it, and there was lots of that. In places it was a little infodump-ish, but I didn’t mind. Zhang had so many layers built into this world that I never even dreamed of. After all, who would think to go PAST a world where two souls start out in every body? That’s got enough going for it as it is. But Zhang also added a global element to this book. The setting is in a dystopian United States, where the Americas are supposedly cut off from the rest of the world because hybrids are burning up every other continent with their wars. This aspect was only mentioned briefly, but it opens up the other books in this series for literally a world of possibilities that are very intriguing.

The characters of Eva and Addie were also very well done. It was always easy to tell who was talking and thinking, because they did have a slightly different way of talking and acting. I also loved how yet another level of the plot was Eva and Addie’s constant battle and pact with each other. After all, they are two parts of the same whole, yet they are two different people. It would have been so easy to make Addie seem evil for not wanting Eva to take control, but Zhang gives you just enough of each girl so that you are emotionally invested in both their sides of the argument and there is no black and white.

The plot never stopped moving. Eva and Addie had to roll with so many punches that just kept coming and coming and coming. I wasn’t particularly shocked by any of them, but Zhang’s impeccable writing kept my heart rate up the whole time. Even in moment’s where it seems like the plot is slowing down, your nerves aren’t because you just KNOW something is RIGHT AROUND THE CORNER.

Somehow, this plot is also devoid of some of my “favorite” clichés. Insta-love? Addie and Eva never had the freaking time, they were too busy trying to survive. Love triangles? I thought it would be way too easy to fall into this, what with two people inhabiting a bunch of bodies and all, but Zhang didn’t lower herself to that, either. Instead, the small fraction of romance in this book was done spectacularly well, yet somehow made me feel so sad for both Addie and Eva at the same time. (No, I won’t tell you which one is in love. Read it and find out!)

Basically, this book is everything I want a book to be, which makes it really hard to write a review about it. It had plenty of action, a fantastic premise, impeccable writing and great characters. It lacked any YA love clichés and wasn’t romance focused, though it did include romance that I actually enjoyed. I have nothing left to say besides READ THIS BOOK ASAP!

Stacking the Shelves #3

Welcome to My Life is a Notebook’s 3rd Stacking the Shelves, as hosted by Tynga’s Reviews! I have 6 books to share with you guys this week, plus tons of insider information on two blog tours (with giveaways!) and an ARC I’ve already read…

Bought:

Possess by Gretchen McNeil – Goodreads

Changeling by Philippa Gregory – Goodreads

For Review:

What’s Left of Me by Kat Zhang – Goodreads

Mystic City by Theo Lawrence – Goodreads

Blog Tour:

Witchstruck by Victoria Lamb – Goodreads

Amateur Angel by Karri Thompson – Goodreads