2012 was actually a very busy year for me, reading-wise…. but not book-wise! I read a lot of fanfiction – 98% of it absolutely brilliant – and only a few books. Truth is, most of the books I picked up I did not enjoy. I have quite a big pile of books in my room half-read… including some from series I adore.
But there have been some great books in 2012. Here’s a wrap-up of them all with the help of The End of the Year Book Survey hosted at Perpetual Page Turner!
1. Best Book You Read In 2012?
There are three that come to mind immediately… but I’d have to say If I Die by Rachel Vincent. One of the reasons I loved this book so much was because it was such a surprise – I expected a good-or-just-OK novel, and instead got a brilliant one.
2. Book You Were Excited About & Thought You Were Going To Love More But Didn’t?
Easy: The Shadow Reader by Sandy Williams. God, this book was just so frustrating. I had read so many great reviews of the book but found riddled with cliches and featuring the most idiotic of love triangles. Never got round to reviewing it as I couldn’t face revisiting it…
3. Most surprising (in a good way!) book of 2012?
Darkness Falls by Cate Tiernan – I enjoyed the first book in this series, but didn’t think it anything special. This book proved me wrong!
4. Book you recommended to people most in 2012?
The Soul Screamers series, by far.
5. Best series you discovered in 2012?
The Wallflowers series by Lisa Kleypas – I am not really a romance reader, let alone a historical romance reader… but the first two books in this series were just SO entertaining and well written.
6. Favorite new authors you discovered in 2012?
Again, Lisa Kleypas.
7. Best book that was out of your comfort zone or was a new genre for you?
I’d say the Vampire Academy graphic novel. I was my first full-length graphic novel ever, and I really enjoyed it!
8. Most thrilling, unputdownable book in 2012?
Instead of a single book, I’d say the entire Soul Screamers Series by Rachel Vincent. Even in my reading slump, I devoured these.
9. Book You Read In 2012 That You Are Most Likely To Re-Read Next Year.
Probably A Study in Scarlet by ACD – it’s a classic for a reason.
10. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2012?
The UK cover of Muse by Rebecca Lim, by FAR.
11. Most memorable character in 2012?
I adored Mercy Thompson in River Marked by Patricia Briggs this year. She has always been exceptional, but she was even more badass in that book.
12. Most beautifully written book read in 2012?
Meh… none of them. All great – none “beautiful”.
13. Book that had the greatest impact on you in 2012?
I’d say Pure Blood by Caitlin Kitteredge… and not for a good reason. I loved the first book in this series, but this book made me want to hit things. That it came after reading two other UF novels with similar female leads didn’t help…
14. Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2012 to finally read?
Doubleblind by Ann Aguirre. I had adored the first two books in the Jax series, and I wish I had dived into the sequels sooner!
15. Favorite Passage/Quote From A Book You Read In 2012?
“What you do in this world is a matter of no consequence. The question is what can you make people believe you have done.”
– A Study in Scarlet
16. Shortest & Longest Book You Read In 2012?
I think the longest book I read this year was actually only half a book: A Clash of Kings by George R.R. Martin. I read the first 500 pages, but put it down as it was getting horribly depressing… The shortest would have to be Mercy Thompson: Homecoming by Patricia Briggs (graphic novel).
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 scene with Faythe and Jace in Prey by Rachel Vincent – I knew it was coming but… WTF?!
18. Favorite Relationship From A Book You Read In 2012 (be it romantic, friendship, etc).
Vel and Jax in the Sirantha Jax series – I heart these two SO MUCH, even in spite of one of them being a bug alien… rather impressive, me thinks.
19. Favorite Book You Read in 2012 From An Author You Read Previously.
River Marked by Patricia Briggs: the woman is a legend for a reason.
20. Best Book You Read That You Read Based SOLELY On A Recommendation From Somebody Else.
It is really rare for me to read a book without first getting a recommendation from someone… so, all of them.
Darkness Falls by Cate Tiernan
Series: Immortal Beloved #2
Published by Hodder & Stoughton, Poppy
Genres: Paranormal YA, Young Adult
Source: Received for review from publishers
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Also in this series: Immortal Beloved
Nastasya has lived for hundreds of years, but for some reason it never seems to get any easier. She's left behind her days of debauchery to find peace and forgiveness at River's Edge, a safe haven for wayward immortals. There she's uncovered her family's epic history, reclaimed her magickal powers, and met Reyn, whom she dubs "the Viking god. " Just as she settles into her new life, Nastasya learns that her old friends might be in town....
Reuniting with her gorgeous and dangerous ex-best-friend, Innocencio, Nas wonders if she'll ever be truly free of her dark legacy. Is Incy dangerous, power-hungry, and wicked? Or is he the only one who truly understands Nas's darkness? Either way, Nas is desperate to find out who she really is-even if the answer kills her.
Thoughts: I am really rather surprised by how much I enjoyed Darkness Falls. The first book in the series, Immortal Beloved, was… OK. The overarching plot of the book was a bit of a washout, but I remembered rather enjoying the main character, Nas, who was a tough cookie who had finally managed to check her damaged self into rehab. Her love interest Reyne, on the other hand, I would have paid good money to have killed.
Darkness Falls managed to keep the Nas I had enjoyed in the previous book, while also fixing the things I didn’t like! It was rather miraculous. Though I will never be swooning over Reyne, nor will I ever completely understand the draw between him and Nas, I did end this book with a much better understanding of his character. Considering the bounties I’d been putting on his head, that’s pretty amazing!
Tiernan added a lot of context to the background stories she introduced in Immortal Beloved and, to my surprise, they actually worked. Reyne was still the “Butcher of Winter” from the first book, but he was also the nice guy who helped out on the farm. Tiernan showed that the two identities could coexist, but cleverly she did it through another character (who I actually liked to start off with).
Also, as if by request, Darkness Falls featured a lot of Nas’ former-BFF Incy… who was just fabulous. He certainly lived up to be dark, unhinged party boy Tiernan had described. But like all her characters, he wasn’t completely past redemption. While I doubt we will see it in the final book, I really hope that Incy and Nas manage to reconnect at some point in the future. Sure, they were overly codependent for almost a century, but I don’t think they were altogether terrible for each other.
But I have to warn you, the book does begin with some of the terrible premises that were in Immortal Beloved. A couple of lines at the start turned my stomach, as Nas practically swooned “you murderer! I want you!”. But stick it out. It gets better and less rape-apologetic, I promise.
Bottom line? Darkness Falls has a tough heroine, a murderous villain, a brilliant betrayal, a bunch of unanswered questions… the works. I thoroughly enjoyed it.
Hello fellow book lovers! It’s been months, but I am back with a big book haul a-la Stacking the Shelves (Tynga’s Reviews) / In My Mailbox (The Story Siren) / Mailbox Monday.
These aren’t all the books I’ve acquired since my last post, but it’s a fair bunch of them. I also picked up a bunch at Eastercon, where I met a tonne of authors and covered for a radio station with another presenter. The segment was broadcast months ago, but is not online yet. Once it is, I will do a mini (belated) wrap-up!
Moving on… For Review I received:
- The Edge of Nowhere by Elizabeth George – This cover is really, really lovely. Hope what’s inside is as good as what’s on the outside!
- Darkness Falls by Cate Tiernan – I’m reading this right now and – after a few horrible pages – am quite enjoying it! Reviewed the first in this series here.
- Breathe by Sarah Crossan – I actually requested this one; it just sounds super awesome. Sarah’s blog tour is coming round soon, so you should see her one the interwebs soon.
- Zombies Don’t Cry by Rusty Fischer – This sounds absolutely hysterical and is on my very-soon-to-read pile!
- Kiss the Dead by Laurell K. Hamilton – This is book… 21 (?!) of the Anita Blake series. Seeing as how I am on book four of this series, I think it will be a while before I get to it. Though I have to say, the new UK covers are gorgeous.
- Wicked Business by Janet Evanovich – I’ve never read a book by Janet, but I know she’s super popular. This is the second book in a series – anyone know if I can get away without reading the first?
- The Chemickal Marriage by Gordon Dahlquist – This cover is GORGEOUS and the book sounds fab – but, again, it’s the third in a series. Do I need to go out and buy the first two?
- The Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith – This is supposed to be candy-covered brilliance. Not sure why I haven’t read it yet…
- 1.4 by Mike A. Lancaster – Again, this is the second book in a series that I haven’t started. I have 0.4 on my kindle, though. May splash out on the paperback if I like it, as the cover is so freakin’ creepy!
- The Watcher by Charles Maclean – This is a re-print of a horror novel that came out in the 80s. I was surprisingly intrigued by the premise, despite it not being my genre.
- Skin Deep by Laura Jarratt – This sounds rather painfully good. I think I’ll have to get myself in a zone before I start it.
- Mister Creecher by Chris Priestley – This sounds rather fun, and I’ve heard great things about the author.
- Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein – Usually I am not a fan of historical novels, but this one sounds really, really good! And it has had fantastic reviews.
- The Last Four Things by Paul Hoffman – This is the second in a series, but I think I can get away without reading the first. I hope so, anyhow, as this one sounds super-super cool! Like a Season 4 Supernatural episode…
- Forbidden by Ted Dekker and Tosca Lee – Reading the summary for this one, I’m not sure quite what it is going for. It’s a dystopian, post-apocalyptic… horror novel? I think so, anyhow.
- The Power of Six by Pittacus Lore – This series isn’t up my alley, so I passed it on to an actual teenager (surprise, surprise!).
- Dissing You Already by Kate Kingsley – Again, not really my kind of book! Passed this one on as well.
- Shadow of Night and A Discovery of Witches (not pictured) by Deborah Harkness – This is one of those series that has had some fantastic crossover appeal. I am eager to see why so many people liked it!
- Between the Lines by Jodi Picoult and Samantha van Leer – I have never been attracted to Jodi’s books, but this one sounds brilliant. Contemporary fiction mixed with a fairy tale = just my cup of tea.
- A Touch of Power by Maria V. Snyder – I have had mixed feelings about Maria’s books; I really hope this book lives up to the quality of Poison Study and not the “meh”-ness of Fire Study.
- Heart-Shaped Bruise by Tanya Byrne – This one sounds super creepy!
- The Out of Office Girl by Nicola Doherty – Since I knew this wasn’t going to be my kind of book, I passed it on to a friend… who really, really enjoyed it. Apparently, if you are looking for a new chick-lit-type author, check out Nicola.
- Why We Broke Up by Daniel Handler – This is written by he-who-is-also-known-as Lemony Snicket! I read some rather polarized reviews for it, so I am curious to find out what I think of it…
I was going to include a bunch of books that I bought as well, but after that I am rather exhausted! You’ll see them next week.
Any suggestions, people? I’ve got Zombies Don’t Cry and Breathe up next on my TBR pile, but I’d love some input!
Book Notes is a regular feature at Dead Book Darling highlighting bookish news, curiosities and gossip spotted across the blogosphere. May the drama be with you…
New Book Deals
- Little, Brown Books for Young Readers has acquired two books (Arcanum and an untitled novel) by Ransom Riggs, the New York Times bestselling author of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. Arcanum, a new young adult novel, begins in the attic of an old, forgotten rural museum, where secret objects from the distant past lie in dust and in wait. When a group of teens discover this cache of sinister curiosities, they unsuspectingly unleash hell in their sleepy town. Magic, mystery, and evil intertwine in this dark, creepy, and frightening story, which is set for a spring 2014 publication. I haven’t had the chance to read Ransom’s first book yet, but it is on my TBR pile!
- Vicki Pettersson, Sign of the Zodiac series author and one-time showgirl, sold a new series to Harper Voyager/Morrow. The three book deal begins with The Taken, and is scheduled as a paperback original for June 2012.
- Rachel Caine has sold a stand-alone novel to NAL built around the character of Benvolio, from Romeo and Juliet. She’s also sold 3 new books in her YA Morganville Vampires series to NAL. I’m starting to wonder when these books will ever end.
- Bloomsbury/Walker Books for Young Readers bought a new trilogy by recent Columbia-grad Yelena Black; book one is called Diabolical. The book is a tale of a 15-year-old who starts witnessing spooky goings-on at her prestigious ballet school. When she becomes suspicious of the controlling choreographer at her academy, she stumbles upon the fact that he is staging a performance in which the school’s dancers become pawns in a world of demons. The first book in the series will be published internationally in English—in the U.S., U.K., and Australia—in winter 2013.
UK signings and events
- Jeffrey Eugenides. Jeffrey – bloody – Eugenides. Be still my heart. In case you’ve been hiding under a rock, Jeffrey is the world-renowned, Pulitzer Prize winning author of Middlesex (which is one of my favourite novels). He is going to be at Waterstone’s Picadilly, London, on Friday, 4 November 2011, 7:00PM. This is a proper meet-and-greet event, so you do have to buy tickets. They are £5 (or £3 for Waterstones card holders). You can buy them online here.
New Book Covers
- Blue-Blooded Vamp by Jaye Wells – This is the final book in the fantastic Sabina Kane series. In case you somehow missed it, I am a BIG Jaye Wells fan. She epitomises everything that is brilliant about the Urban Fantasy genre and, in short, rocks.
- Bitterblue by Kristin Cashore – There is a reason bloggers everywhere dedicated posts to the release of this book. Because OMGSDFSHKFHS BITTERBLUE!
- Darkness Falls by Cate Tiernan – This is the gorgeous US cover to the next book in Cate’s Immortal Beloved series. I liked the first book but I LOVE this cover!
- Partials by Dan Wells – I had heard nothing about this book until the cover came out… and what a cover! Now it’s way up on my 2012 wishlist!
- Revived by Cat Patrick – Cat’s novel, Forgotten, has gotten nothing but brilliant reviews. Although I haven’t read her work yet, this cover is making me want to run out and buy her work. I just adore the cover of Revived – it’s actually pretty damn original!
- Hemlock by Kathleen Peacock – I found this book on goodreads way back when, and was very excited when it finally got a cover (even one I’m not too keen on!).
See your art on a book cover!
Faber and Faber and The Guardian are hosting a fantastic initiative for artists aged 13 to 16… putting their cover art on seminal novel The Lord of the Flies by William Golding. It’s a terrifying novel, and I can’t wait to see what scary images contestants come up with. Here’s some more detail about the competition (and info about how to enter!):
Immortal Beloved by Cate Tiernan
Faber and Faber and Guardian News & Media are calling on young artists to create a brand new look for one of the world’s most famous books: Lord of the Flies by William Golding. One talented artist will be selected by a team of expert judges and will have the chance to watch as their work is transformed by the Faber design team into a cover for the new educational edition of Lord of the Flies.
The winning illustration will be unveiled at a special exhibition showcasing the best of the entries. The winner and other featured entrants will be invited to the opening of the exhibition at the Guardian’s offices in London in February 2012.
The competition is open to young artists aged 13 to 16, and submissions are welcome in any medium. The closing date for entries is 20 January 2012. The competition is hosted on its own site, which also features exciting additional content for aspiring illustrators. Please visit: http://lordofthefliescover.com/
Series: Immortal Beloved #1
Published by Hodder & Stoughton, Poppy
Genres: Paranormal YA, Young Adult
Source: Received for review from publishers
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Also in this series: Darkness Falls
Nastasya has spent the last century living as a spoiled, drugged-out party girl. She feels nothing and cares for no one. But when she witnesses her best friend, a Dark Immortal, torture a human, she realizes something's got to change. She seeks refuge at a rehab for wayward immortals, where she meets the gorgeous, undeniably sexy Reyn, who seems inexplicably linked to her past.
Nastasya finally begins to deal with life, and even feels safe--until the night she learns that someone wants her dead.
Thoughts: Immortal Beloved is a difficult book to describe. In a way, it felt like adult fiction. The main character is 400+ years old, so needless to say, she’s a grown-up. And the trauma she’s been through over those past 400 years? Not teenage stuff.
At its heart, Tiernan has written a book about a woman in rehab. I absolutely loved the main character, Nastasya. She has had an extraordinary, painful life and watching her deal with that was just stunning. Nas is tough and self-confident, but is also uncertain about what her ultimate purpose in life is. She has spent 400 years suppressing all emotion and she finally needs to just deal with it – and with the clever help of flashbacks, we get to go through it with her. I loved watching her transformation, and I actually really related to it. But plot-wise, Immortal Beloved was a let down.
This is one of those extremely rare books where I loved the main character, but was let down by everything else. Sure there was a over-arching mystical theme, a few supposedly-sinister characters – but both seemed to be thrown in last minute. The real drama was Nas dealing with her memories – including an unbelievable-yet-immediate threat on her life was just an unwelcome distraction from the real substance. I also really disliked Nas’s love interest. They had every reason to want to kill each other, and yet some sort of magical attraction conquered all. Right. Sure. *stabs* If he dropped dead for the next book, I would not mind at all.
As for the next book in the series… I do look forward to seeing more of Incy, who I found rather adorable in an evil, dark and twisty sort of way. Is that wrong? Perhaps.
Bottom line? I’m not sure how much a teen reader would get out of this book, as some of the themes are rather adult. But if you are looking for a main character to love, look no further. Just don’t go in expecting a paranormal romance or an action flick – this book is neither.