Monday, January 28, 2013

YAA New Years Resolution: Read What I Have!

by Noelle

I have a problem called a Black Hole Bookshelf.  I buy a book (or seventeen--damn you, bargain book bin!), put them on my bookshelf to read at a later date and...never pick up that book again.  Piled on my nightstand? Books have a chance.  On the Black Hole Bookshelf?  Some haven't resurfaced in years!  I get distracted by library due dates and ebooks that sweep in and steal the spotlight.

This past December I decided to finally organize and rearrange my bookshelf and made myself look at the hard truth.  Below are the books I have purchased (or been gifted) and lay wasting away on my bookshelf unread.  Yup, that would be 41 books.
And that's not even counting the remaining books of the series that I own (18!) or my unread nonfiction books (5!).  On second thought I should rename my bookshelf Mogwai.

So, with it being the New Year and all, I figured why not a Book Resolution YAA Style?  I will knock thirteen of these bad boys out of this pile by the end of 2013!  To help me out, I asked Maggie and our most frequent (and beloved) commenters for some help choosing which of them to read. To keep things interesting, I told them to pick one they want me to read---even if they haven't read it themselves.

First let's just designate Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta as the hands down most chosen pick.  I have no idea why I haven't read it yet other than I was saving it for the hypothetical situation of being stranded on a desert island and needing a new book to read.  (What? I think about these things, okay?) Everything Beautiful by Simmone Howell and Please Ignore Vera Dietz by A.S. King were close seconds.

Here is what everyone chose for me:

9. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie, chosen by Carla of Makeshift Bookmark

10. Crown Duel by Sherwood Smith, chosen by Chachic of Chachic's Book Nook
11. Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys, chosen by Jasprit of The Reader's Den
12. A Certain Slant of Light by Laura Whitcomb, chosen by Maja of The Nocturnal Library

And lucky #13 for 2013 is...

13. The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman, chosen by Anna of Verity Reads

It's a great group of books if I do say so myself.  Makes me want to check the bargain book bin...*slap* I mean I'm excited that I finally have a resolution that I actually want to do!  Thanks to all the lovely ladies for helping me out and stay tuned for the reviews! 

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Checking Out: 2012

Ah, 2012.  Basically, we started blogging because Gmail kept cutting off our email chains and it got annoying looking at emails like this:

| | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | M/F/K Shadow, Wolfie, Adam Wilde?
| | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | I know!!
| | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | TOM MACKEEEEEEEEE.

It's been such a fun year with mostly highs and a few lows (like when we accidentally unlinked our Contact form with our email, thus ignoring one of our favorite authors for WEEKS).

Maggie: Final YAA Confession of 2012? I haven't finished a book in over 2 weeks. It's a good thing we don't have a book blog or anything.

Noelle: And I haven't reviewed a book in um, a month? I like to think we are the Pamela Swynford de Beaufort of blogging... as in extremely lazy, but loyal.

Maggie: Even if we overlook it at times, I'm glad we started blogging.

Noelle: Me too...It's kind of fitting we're posting our 2012 retrospective two weeks into 2013. Like you'd have it any other way!

Let's get to it.

Book Breakdown:

Books read (total): 115

Books read she'll admit to on Goodreads: 107
Books read (total): More like 125-ish.  I wasn't as diligent in my spreadsheet of shame this year.

Favorite Books Read in 2012:


In no particular order besides the first two:
1. Queen of the Night by Leanne Hall - My absolute favorite book of 2012 with a close second to...
2. Friday Brown by Vikki Wakefield (my review) - I should just move to Australia already, basically.
3. Wanderlove by Kirsten Hubbard (my review) - By far my favorite American contemporary I read this year.  (And the instigator of the Goodreads Fictional Male Hairstyle and Facial Hair Advisory Board.)
4. The Gracie Faltrain Series by Cath Crowley--particularly Gracie Faltrain Gets it Right (Finally) (book one review, book two review) -- Gracie, loving you is a roller coaster and I never want to get off.  Or to put it in sports term for the soccer phenom, Gracie is the queen of the no-no-no-no-YESSSSSSS goal shot...and it seems, in life.  Love you, girl.
5. The Wicked and the Just by J. Anderson Coats (my review) - My favorite historical fiction YA I read this year.  So good.
6. The Assassin's Curse by Cassandra Rose Clarke (my review) - Everything I'm a sucker for--all in one book! I had so much fun reading it that it had to make an appearance on this list.
7. A Storm of Swords by George R. R. Martin - My sister and I had a readalong over Labor Day weekend and the sheer amount of punctuation in our text messages must have broken a new record.  I was freaking out for a solid 75% of the book and when the book is 1,128 pages that is a LOT of freaking out.  Hoooooooooly shit.  I cannot wait until Season 3 of Game of Thrones so we can all flail together.
8-10: Or I Finally Finished The Queen's Thief Series Over Christmas Break and What Was I Doing With My Life Before Now?  Megan Whalen Turner is diabolically clever, even after you get to book two and know it's going to be clever which is where the whole diabolical part comes in.  I mean, dang.  New favorite author, for sure.


1. Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein (my review) - "It's like being in love, discovering your best friend." Want to see me cry? Quote a line from this book.
2. The Year Nick McGowan Came to Stay by Rebecca Sparrow (my review) - Also like being in love? Discovering a new author. This was the year I discovered Rebecca Sparrow. Nick McGowan, Girl Most Likely (my review), Joel and Cat (my review)... each one had me howling with laughter. She's now my sherpa to my happy place, along with...
3. Gracie Faltrain series by Cath Crowley (my review) - I know, I tried not to repeat Noelle's picks but I love this series so much. It reminds me of Friday Night Lights in a way and I'm tempted to keep a copy on me at all times on the off chance I run into Peter Berg around LA.
4. A Corner of White by Jaclyn Moriarty - This was also the year I discovered Jaclyn Moriarty. Feeling Sorry for Celia (my review) and A Year of Secret Assignments are fantastic and I highly recommend them both. A Corner of White though is on another level. A blend of fantasy and contemporary, it's so uniquely Moriarty that I still haven't been able to properly write a review.
5. Fire by Kristin Cashore - Like I texted Noelle at 5am upon finishing this book, it's a good thing my ass isn't pregnant because that kid would be named Brigan.
6. Holier Than Thou by Laura Buzo (my review) - Young Adult, New Adult, Adult, whatever. This book holds its own in any category.
7. Me and Earl and the Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews (my review) - Have you ever wanted to snort laugh through a cancer book? You will. In fact, I dare you!
8. The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater (my review) - Reading this was like watching a movie in my head. Maggie Stiefvater is such a visual writer. As horrifying as capaill uisce are, I want them and everyone else in this story to be real.
9. All I Ever Wanted by Vikki Wakefield (Noelle's review) - Rarely does an author go on my auto-buy list after just one book, but Vikki Wakefield made me a permanent fan with her debut novel. I read both of her books this year, and as much as I love Friday Brown, this book is my favorite. It's not just that Wakefield looks at problems head on, it's that she looks to the left and the right. She looks at the people pushed aside and shines a light on them. Mim is definitely on my Kickass Heroines shelf.
10. Quintana of Charyn by Melina Marchetta (my review) - Last but not least, the reason why I have a Kickass Heroines shelf. My most anticipated book of 2012 did not disappoint and ended my journey through Skuldenore as only Marchetta could -- simultaneously content and wanting more.

YAA Reviews Breakdown 

Maggie Total: 42
Noelle's Favorite Maggie Review: Cheating and picking two!  First: Maggie's review of My Most Excellent Year because of how it showcases everything awesome about Maggie: she's hilarious, personable, witty, charismatic and genuine (even talking about rats!) Reading her reviews always makes me feel like I'm chatting with a Kindred Spirit.  Second: Gracie Faltrain Takes Control because it's the most fun I've had doing a joint review EVAR.  Maggie is truly the Leslie Knope to my Ann Perkins (and vice versa because we totally have a joint custody plan.)

Noelle Total: 34 
Maggie's Favorite Noelle Review: Friday Brown. I had so many feels after reading that book and no idea how to put it into words. I mean, how do you describe, "Ahhhslsjfi2ntksob!!"? Noelle did -- beautifully. I love how she's able to break down a story/character and capture its essence. She makes me want to read every book she talks about. Honorable mention and Carlton snaps to Assassin's Curse!

Favorite Part of Blogging:
Noelle: Interacting with the YA blogging community. I've (internet) met, or further developed friendships with so many wonderful people this past year.
Maggie: Seriously. I love being part of this global community. Now if I can just get some magic pants. And... I GOT TO MEET MELINA MARCHETTA! TWICE!!
Noelle: Who knows? Maybe authors or bloggers will decide to visit Florida in 2013?  TUNE IN TO FIND OUT.

Happy New Year!