Thursday, January 24, 2013

Article 5 - Kristen Simmons

Title: Article 5 (Book #1)
Author: Kristen Simmons
Paperback: 362 pages (ARC version)
Publisher: Tor Teen
Published date: January 2012
FTC: Received ARC from Tor Teen

A few months ago I started Article 5 and then 50ish pages into it or so I got distracted by a shiny new book and put it away.  Two days ago I needed a quick book I could speed through while waiting for some library books to come in.  I grabbed Article 5 and had no clue I'd devour it in less than two days.  This is going to be a hard review because this is the type of book where I wanted to slap the crap out of the main character the ENTIRE time and after I finished I was quickly looking up when the next book was coming out.

Back of the book:

New York, Los Angeles, and Washington D.C. have been abandoned.  The Bill of Rights has been revoked and replaced with the Moral Statutes.  There are no more police - instead, there are soldiers. There are no more fines for bad behavior - instead, there are arrests, trials, and maybe worse.  People who get arrested don't usually come back.

Seventeen-year-old Ember Miller is old enough to remember that things weren't always this way.  Living with her rebellious single mother, it's hard to forget that people weren't always arrested for reading the wrong books or staying out after dark. It's hard to forget that life in the United States used to be different.

In the three years since the war ended, Ember has perfected the art of keeping a low profile. She knows how to get the things she needs, like food stamps and hand-me-down clothes, and how to pass the random house inspections by the military. Her life is as close to peaceful as circumstances allow.

That is, until her mother is arrested for noncompliance with Article 5 of the Moral Statutes. And what's worse, one of the arresting officers is none other than Chase Jennings...the only boy Ember has ever loved.

My thoughts:

Ok. There's going to be rants and tiny spoilers because arg...I just wanted to seriously slap the crazy out of Ember.

This is dystopian fiction so the U.S. that Ember lives in is fascinating.  I really believed the world Kristen Simmons built even though she left out a lot of back story.  Who started the war?  What sides fought and what happened?  We know some cities are abandoned, some cities are deserted Red Zones (but not nuclear deserted, just cleared out), and we know a side won.  But did they win the whole U.S. or just parts?  I'm hoping that in her next book she goes more into that part (Sorta Spoiler) because it's going to focus more on the Resistance.

This is dystopian but it's mainly a romance a.k.a. there's got to be some kind of obstacle between the star-crossed lovers.  While I have no issue with this, it seemed like instead of the obvious obstacle of the dystopian world or any number of cool things she could have used, the obstacle was Ember's naiveté and selfishness.  Again.  Slap!

The characters:  while the whole story is from Ember's perspective and she was the character who just grated my nerves all the time, I really got sucked into the story because of Chase Jennings.  What an interesting character he seemed to be: a boy who lost his family, who got drafted into the military, and who obviously has a post-tramatic stress thing going on.  Ember.  What to say about Ember.  Perhaps Kristen Simmons wrote her spot on.  The entire time I was wanting to slap her and shake her because she was so naive and selfish.  But then again this is seventeen-year-old and I'll be honest and ask who wasn't a selfish naive person when they were seventeen?  I totally was.  I'm hoping that in book #2, Ember grows up and becomes someone I can root for and maybe Kristen Simmons will do some alternating chapters from Chase's perspective.

Remember how in the beginning I said that my interest kind of tapered off in the first 50 pages?  Without giving you a spoiler - keep reading.  I kept thinking that the majority of the book was going take place with Ember being in the rehab place.  It's not.  Keep going.

End result?  While not the perfect dystopian novel or even romantic story, while I seriously had issues with the main character, and while I really wish Chase would ditch Ember and the book would be about him, it ended up being a book I enjoyed and am looking forward to book #2, Breaking Point.  Head over to Tor Teen on Facebook and right now you can enter to win Breaking Point.

Also Reviewed By:

Becky's Book Reviews

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Leviathan Wakes - James S.A. Corey

Title: Leviathan Wakes (Expanse #1)
Author: James S.A. Corey
Paperback: 561 pages
Publisher: Orbit Books
Published date: June 2011
FTC: Borrowed from the library

A short while back I mailed my brother a package that included my copy of Old Man's War.  My brother lives in Alaska and while he has a full-time job, his just for fun part-time job is to work at a book store.  Which makes our phone calls so much fun - we love talking about books.  He started reading Old Man's War and was loving it and recommended I read Leviathan Wakes.  I said, sure!

O. My. Gosh.  I love this book.  It one of those that I completely forgot I had other books to read, I completely forgot it was over 500 pages, I just read and read and read.  I was going to get into the Old Man's War series but I decided to hit the library again and read this one.  Book #2 is out and I think Book #3 is coming out this year.  Wooohoo!

In a nutshell, Leviathan Wakes is a mix of Firefly, Sam Spade noir, Aliens, and vomit zombies.  O yeah.  Vomit Zombies.

Back of the book:

Humanity has colonized the solar system - Mars, the moon, the Asteroid Belt and beyond - but the stars are still out of our reach.

Jim Holden is XO of an ice miner making runs from the rings of Saturn to the mining stations of the Belt.  When he and his crew stumble upon a derelict ship, the Scopuli, they find themselves in possession of a secret they never wanted.  A secret that someone is willing to kill for - and kill on a scale unfathomable to Jim and his crew. War is brewing in the system unless he can find out who left the ship and why.

Detective Miller is looking for a girl. One girl in a system of billions, but her parents have money and money talks. When the trail leads him to the Scopuli and rebel sympathizer Holden, he realizes that this girl may be the key to everything.

Holden and Miller must thread the needle between the Earth government, the Outer Planet revolutionaries, and secretive corporations - and the odds are against them. But out in the Belt, the rules are different, and one small ship can change the fate of the universe.

My thoughts:

So much fun.  The book alternates chapters between Holden and Millers perspectives.  Unlike some books, I didn't have a favorite character, I enjoyed Holden and Miller in their own ways.  Holden is a handsome XO Earther and he just reminded me of a bit of Firefly's Mal only more of a straight arrow type.  His crew is awesome and I just loved the relationships they had.  Detective Miller is totally a Sam Spade character.  (I really have a thing for noir detective stories so obviously I adored his part in the story.)  He's divorced, in that age where you just too old to start over, and such a fascinating character to get inside of.   I absolutely loved when these two characters finally met up and the their interactions.

The world building is awesome.  My only issue is I kind of wish there was a map or something so I could where everything was in system.  After reading the author interview in the back of the book I loved that they picked a time in science fiction that is sometimes overlooked - Earth has expanded into our solar system but we hadn't yet gone beyond.  So this obviously takes place in the future but in a future that isn't too unbelievable and is remarkably like ours.  I thought the friction and sometimes downright animosity and almost racism that existed between people from Earth, Mars and Belters.  Totally believable but then it was awesome to see Holden's crew, who had people from all three areas, come together as a crew and be above that stuff.

I think there's a lot of genres in this book that are pulled together really well that if you aren't used to reading science fiction, you might enjoy this one.  I fell kind of silly to admit that while I enjoy sci-fi, I have no clue what a "space opera" really entails and if this is a good example of one.  All I can say is I am hooked in the series and will be heading out this weekend for Book #2.


As I was reading I kept thinking about who I'd cast if this was a movie or tv series.  I just might have to sign up for a StoryCasting account and have my brother help me out.  I do know that Giancarlo Esposito from Breaking Bad is totally Colonel Fred Johnson, The Butcher of Anderson Station, a kick-butt side character whom I can't wait to read more about.  I just saw on GoodReads that his character has a 40 page story I'm going to have to read.

A quick note: James S.A. Corey is a pen name for authors Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck, George R.R. Martin's assistant.

Also Reviewed By:
Pat's Fantasy Hotlist

I read this book as part of Carl's Science Fiction Experience

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Sacré Bleu - Christopher Moore

Title: Sacré Bleu: A Comedy D'Art
Author: Christopher Moore
Paperback: 394 pages
Publisher: William Morrow/Harper Collins
Published date: October 2012
FTC: Requested to review from William Morrow

When I first heard of Sacré Bleu I was dying to read it.  I adore Vincent van Gogh (you MUST read Sunflowers by Sheramy Bundrick) and while I'm not a huge fan of the Impressionists, my mom is a fan and I grew up knowing a lot of the art.  That said I had never read a Christopher Moore novel but knew he was a tongue-in-cheek type of writer.

I'll admit I'm torn on exactly how I feel about this book.  Moore obviously spent a lot of time getting to know this time period, the artists, and their paintings and it really shows.  If you've ever wanted to be thrown into what it was like in Paris during this period, read this book.  On the other hand, Moore's tongue-in-cheek is often a tad crude.  Although it's really not like these artists were saints so he probably didn't go too far out of bounds.  That and the blue lady featured on the cover is actually a huge character and part of the book and I'll admit that it was a fascinating sort of fantasy almost mythological thing going on that was pretty freaking original.

Back of the book:

In July 1890, Vincent van Gogh went into a cornfield and shot himself. Or did he?

Vincent's friends, baker-turned-painter Lucien Lessard and bon vivant Henri Toulouse-Lautrec, have their doubts.  Now they're determined to answer the questions surrounding van Gogh's untimely death -- like who was the crooked little "color man" Vincent claimed was stalking him across France...and why had the painter recently become deathly afraid of a certain shade of blue? Ooh la la, quelle surprise, and zut alors, what follows is a surreal odyssey and brothel-crawl deep into the art world of late-nineteenth century Paris, as the one, and only, Christopher Moore cooks up a delectable confection of intrigue, passion, and art history...with cancan girls, baguettes, and fine French cognac thrown in for good measure.

My thoughts:

Ok.  What I loved about this book.

Getting to know the artists that flittered through the pages.  While I knew most of the artists mentioned in the book, it was so much fun to be immersed into their world and see these artists, now legends, just going about their days and lives.  I was under no illusions that these artists were saints so that was not a huge shock for me.  In fact, I loved that one of the main characters was Henri Toulouse-Lautrec who always seemed like such a fascinating character...and Christopher Moore put a voice to him that made me enjoy him even more.

The book itself is well written making me curious to check out other Moore novels.  I also enjoyed the thought that went into the book - the map at the beginning, the research that went into the story, and I give a huge thumbs up to Moore for including some paintings as he mentions them throughout the book.  The story isn't linear either as it changes character perspective and goes back in time (it makes perfect sense when you are reading it).

What made me really enjoy this book is the originality of the almost mythological storyline Moore created.  Without wanting to give away much, the idea of the muse and the sacred color blue which is really fascinating.  I really had no idea of that before I had read this book.  Moore has a really good Afterward in this book called So, Now You've Ruined Art which is quite fascinating.  He mentions quite a few books and things that helped and made him write this book.  One book I'd heard of is Color by Victoria Finlay which I've been wanting to check out.  He also mentions what started his idea of this book is the question of Vincent van Gogh's death.  Who goes out to paint, shoots himself in the chest, and then walks a mile for help?  Odd?  I totally agree.

My two biggest hang-ups were the length and some of the language.  It's 394 pages but the writing is pretty small and and while I was enjoying the story, there was a point about halfway through that I kind of wish it would pick up the pace.  Then there's some of the language.  I get sex and foul language if it makes sense in the story and with the characters.  But sometimes in this one it made it a tad distracting - like I had to be reminded that this was a silly book and not to take it too seriously.  An example is one character's nickname for another character is Poop Stick.  Ok.  Slightly juvenile.  But sometimes it just seemed overtly crude.

Did I like Sacré Bleu? Yes.  Was it perfect?  No, but probably only because my expectations are super high.

P.S. Montmartre - I stayed there my first time to Paris (I'm saying first because I WILL go back) and I loved that it played such a huge part in these artists lives:

Monday, January 14, 2013

The Grand Sophy - Georgette Heyer

Title: The Grand Sophy
Author: Georgette Heyer
Paperback: 372 pages
Publisher: Sourcebooks
Published date: 1950/2009
FTC: Won from either Jane Austen's World or Jane Austen Today - both fun blogs

I read this book over the holiday season just like my last non-serious read.  I was just in the mood for light reads.  When you are in that type of mood you can't go wrong with Georgette Heyer.  The Grand Sophy is one of her Regency romance books and if you enjoy a Jane Austen-esque type of book you must check her out.  This is my second Georgette Heyer book (my review of These Old Shades) and I think the next time I pick one of her books up I'm going to try one of her historical fictions.

Back of the book:

The Grand Sophy has arrived.  And when Sir Horace Stanton-Lacy is ordered to South America on Diplomatic Business he parks his only daughter, Sophy, with his sister in Berkeley Square. Sophy can immediately see that her cousins are in a sad tangle: Charles is engaged to a bluestocking, and Cecelia's in love with a poet of all things. It seems Sophy has gotten there just in time...

And the Hon. Charles Rivenhall's life will never be the same.  While Sophy is going to outrageous lengths to solve everyone else's problems, she finds that she herself might have some big surprises in store.

The Grand Sophy is one of Heyer's most beloved heroines.

My thoughts:

I think it would be hard not to have fun with a Georgette Heyer novel.  I can see why the blurb on the back said that Sophy is one of Heyer's most beloved heroines.  She has so much spunk and spark and plans up elaborate schemes to get everyone to be where they need to be - happy and in love.  Aww.

You obviously don't go into a Heyer novel expecting intricate plotlines or award winning writing. But like Jane Austen, there is a ton of subtle jabs and wit that make you smile and outright laugh as you read.  I also enjoyed the characters that the siblings where obviously not supposed to be with.  They were so annoyingly irritating to be extremely hilarious.

Heyer also must have done a ton of research into the Regency era: in this book especially horse-drawn vehicles owned by the ton.  I checked out pictures of phaetons,  barouches, and curricles.  Quite interesting!

Tiny spoiler oddity thing:  I'm still not comfortable with the idea, in books like these, based on the time period's acceptance, of first cousins being married.  So creepy and odd.  Period.

Anyways, have you read a Georgette Heyer novel?  If you liked them, what ones do you recommend?  Have you read any of her historical fiction?

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Glamorous Illusions - Lisa T. Bergren

Title: Glamorous Illusions (The Grand Tour Series #1)
Author: Lisa T. Bergren
Paperback: 402 pages
Publisher: David C Cook
Published date: June 2012
FTC: Won from Cara Putman's blog

I'm not sure what internet links catapulted me one day to Cara Putman's (Christian author) blog.  I've never read one of her books but they do sound interesting.  Anyway, she was giving away a copy of Glamorous Illusions and the cover and synopsis sounded fun.  I'm in love with the cover girl's dress.  Over the holiday season this past year I was just so tired of depressing books (I had started and stopped a couple of them) and I just wanted a light fun read.  This was perfect for that moment.

Back of the book:

It's the summer of 1913, and Cora Kensington's life on the family farm has taken a dark turn. Not only are the crops failing, but someone dear to Cora is failing as well.

One fateful afternoon, a stranger comes to call, and Cora discovers a terrible secret about her past...a secret that will radically changer her future.

Cora is invited to take the "Grand Tour" of Europe, a trip intended to finish a person's education and solidify an understanding of refinement and ancient culture. As she travels from England to France with kin she's never known, Cora encounters the blessings of a family name, as well as the curses. But when an unbidden love begins to form, she realizes there are far greater challenges ahead...

The first book in the Grand Tour series will take you on a journey of cultural refinement -- but, moreover, on an inner journey of self-discovery.

My thoughts:

I just realized by typing the synopsis that it is kind of vague.  So here's a tad bit more:

Cora isn't just a farm girl but she's on break from college - her family scrimped and saved to send their only daughter to college to become a teacher.  So while she can milk cows and kill and pluck a chicken, she's also fairly educated and loves to learn.

It definitely alludes to Cora finding out that unbeknownst to her, she's related to one of the most wealthiest men in the country, a Montana copper king.  To finally atone for his past and include her in his family, he is sending her with his other children on a Grand Tour of Europe.

This series is definitely about a young girl's journey of self-discovery - she needs to figure out who she is and how her new family, her old family, her new wealth, her faith -- how everything fits and how to be true to her real self.

I had fun with this book.  I loved that the author is making it a series because it really gives her room to give each character depth.  The narration isn't only through Cora's eyes but chapters are given to Cora's new found father, the copper king, as well as the young and handsome tour guide assistant who is leading the Grand Tour.  I actually really enjoyed the tour guide Will's perspective and character and loved that it is included.  Cora is a fun character to follow because she has spunk but not a crazy amount to be unbelievable.  I also thought her struggles where realistic as she tries to navigate the new world she's thrust into and not sure if she wants.

Just FYI, this is a Christian fiction series but it's very well done and not annoyingly overt.  Cora's character is strengthened by the fact that she sometimes prays a quick sentence or two which shows how she is struggling in certain areas.  If you are not used to reading Christian books I don't think this one would put you off at all.  There's also a bit of romance as Cora obviously catches the eye of a gentleman or two which made for a fun read.  While this book is 400 pages it's definitely easy to read in a day or two.

Obviously a fun aspect of the book/series is the Grand Tour - I love popping through the countries in the early 1900s and sightseeing with the characters.  This is a fun period in history when things were still pretty lighthearted before two world wars helped devastate a continent.

While I won't be waiting on pins and needles, I'd still love to grab book #2 when it comes out and follow the characters on the rest of their journey.

Ooo a bit of GoodReads searching showed me that book #2 is coming out in Spring of this year and is called Grave Consequences and book #3, Glittering Promises, comes out in the Fall.

Also Reviewed By:

Bookish in a Box (4.5/5 stars)
A Bookish Libraria (4/5 stars)
Luxury Reading  (5/5 stars)

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

The Secret Keeper - Kate Morton

Title: The Secret Keeper
Author: Kate Morton
Paperback: 463 pages (ARC version)
Publisher: Atria Books
Published date: October 2012
FTC: Received from Atria as ARC

This is my first book of 2013 and wow, I wished I had read it right when I received it.  I loved this book.  I kept thinking that an almost 500 page book would take me forever to read.  Nope.  Blew right through this one.

Synopsis from Goodreads:

1961 England. Laurel Nicolson is sixteen years old, dreaming alone in her childhood tree house during a family celebration at their home, Green Acres Farm. She spies a stranger coming up the long road to the farm and then observes her mother, Dorothy, speaking to him. And then she witnesses a crime.

Fifty years later, Laurel is a successful and well-regarded actress, living in London. She returns to Green Acres for Dorothy’s ninetieth birthday and finds herself overwhelmed by memories and questions she has not thought about for decades. She decides to find out the truth about the events of that summer day and lay to rest her own feelings of guilt. One photograph, of her mother and a woman Laurel has never met, called Vivian, is her first clue.

The Secret Keeper explores longings and dreams, the lengths some people go to fulfill them, and the strange consequences they sometimes have. It is a story of lovers, friends, dreamers and schemers, play-acting and deception told against a backdrop of events that changed the world.

My thoughts:

This is the type of book I was waiting for.  I was in a bit of post holiday reading slump and this was the perfect book to jump start me again.

The book starts out in the 1960 rural England where Laurel witnesses a crime.  I was a little nervous about the vagueness of the crime but don't worry.  Fifty years later, present day-ish and Laurel is a fairly famous actress.  Her mother is in the hospital and doesn't have too much longer to live.  Laurel begins to wonder about that day back in the sixties: what really happened, what she kept as a secret, and what her mother's secret is.  Lots of secrets.

The best part of the book is that it isn't linear at all and is narrated by multiple characters -- Dorothy in the 1940's during the London Blitz, Dorothy's early paramour Jimmy who was a war photographer, and Vivian, the mysterious woman in a photograph that Laurel uncovers.  Through these characters eyes and their stories, the mystery starts to unravel and secrets start leaking out.

The way the book is written makes it so hard to put down or stop for any amount of time.  I just HAD to know what really happened.  And then the ending!!!!!!!!

Please comment (and say SPOILERS!) or email if you've read this book and want to discuss the ending or any part of the book.  If you've read it, did you love it?  Did you uncover any of the secrets first?

More books from Kate Morton:

I think that I'm going to collect Kate Morton books.  I read and reviewed and own The House at Riverton.  I have hardback version but I love the paperback cover:

I also have an ARC of The Distant Hours - I'll have to buy the paperback though since my ARC really has no cover, it's just blue:

I've also snagged a copy of The Forgotten Garden at a library book sale.  Again I have a different cover but love this version more:

Funny side note: 
As I was asking my husband to grab my copy of The Secret Keeper while he was upstairs in our house, he yelled down that I should have 50 cats.  What?  Apparently ol' hubby thinks it looks like a cat lady book.  Which is actually funny because he loves cats.  What do you think?

Also Reviewed By:
Caribous Mom
A Reader's Journal
S. Krishna's Books
Reading the Past

2013 Science Fiction Experience

As some of you might have noticed, I do love a bit of science fiction.  My dad was a huge fan of science fiction and after he passed away I inherited quite a few of his paperbacks and books.  While he was alive I didn't really read much science fiction but I remember watching a lot of sci-fi movies with him -- he was a big Doctor Who fan, loved the movie Dune, and of course we watched Star Trek together.

I love when Carl over at Stainless Steel Droppings hosts his yearly Science Fiction Experience.  It gives me a chance to pull off some books I'd normally not get around to reading and enjoy the world of sci-fi.  I also love that he started off his post with my favorite quote:

“For my part I know nothing with any certainty,
but the sight of the stars makes me dream.”
~Vincent Van Gogh

Last year I LOVED John Scalzi's Old Man's War.  I'm going to have to do a post on that awesome book soon.  It totally reminds me of the movie Starship Troopers which I love.  I'll probably be picking up another one of his books too.

My brother recommended his favorite book Leviathan Wakes - a MUST READ.

Other than that, I'll just let my browsing take me where it wants to go.  I just snagged these two from my shelves that look interesting:

And Connie Willis is one of my all-time favorite authors.  How cool does this book look?

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

2012 Wrap Up

Just a bit belated right? O well.  Right now I'm reading the second Game of Thrones book right now so that should give me some good time to catch up on all my backed up reviews.

I saw this wrap up survey over at Books. Lists. Life. and she got hers from Perpetual Page Turner.  So here we go...

I read 57 books this year
10 YA  books
10 Audio books
7 Classics

1. Best book you read in 2012? (You can break it down by genre if you want.)
YA: Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo
Sci-fi: Old Man's War by John Scalzi
Classics: Great Expectations by Charles Dickens
Overall: Flight Behavior by Barbara Kingsolver

2. Book you were excited about and thought you were going to love more, but didn't?
I surprisingly had quite a few of these this year. I hate being disappointed.

The first one was Advent by James Treadwell.  I was expecting a good Harry Potter-esque feel and while the first part of the book was awesome and it had a great story/idea, it just fell flat as it went on, to the point that I'll probably not pick up the next books in the series.

The next one was City of Dark Magic by Magnus Flyte.  Also another history/magic/Prague/time travel could you go wrong?  It did.  For a book with one of the most ingenious time travel ideas I've ever heard of and a awesomely interesting plot, the dialogue was juvenile (especially for a bunch of professionals in their fields), the sex scenes were crude and embarrassing, and the romance just unbelievable.

3.  Most surprising (in a good way!) book?
Sister by Rosamund Lupton was an amazing book.  The back of the book makes it almost sound like a Lifetime movie (which isn't my cup of tea) but it's really a beautifully written book and it just sucked me right in.  Loved it.

4.  Book you recommended to people most?
I loaned out a few of my YA books including Cinder and Shadow and Bone because you have to read those if you are into YA books.  I also lent my book Old Man's War to my brother who LOVED it...and he works at a book store so he's got good taste.

5.  Best series you discovered?
Again there's a few this year.
Game of Thrones - why oh why didn't I listen to my friend and read this series years ago?  Awesome!  Shadow and Bone - NEED to read the rest of the series when they come out.
The Dark Unwinding by Sharon Cameron looks like it has potential so I'll be checking that out too.
Cinder -- the next book Scarlet will be coming out and her series looks like it's going to be fun.
Old Man's War - must read more!!

6.  Favorite new authors you discovered?
A ton!
I'm going to have to pick up some Charles Todd books. I read The Walnut Tree and if it's an inkling of what his Bess Crawford series is like then sign me up!  
John Scalzi - Old Man's War was awesome and I can't wait to read more of his Old Man's War series and then some of his stand alone ones like Red Shirts
Susanna Kearsley - After reading The Winter Sea, I think she's going to be one of my go-to I know I can curl up and love her books type of authors.
Sarah Waters - I read my first Sarah Waters this year, The Little Stranger, and know she's going to be a favorite. Good thing I have a few of her books on my shelf waiting to be read.

7.  Best book that was out of  your comfort zone or in a new genre for you?
Hmmm. Not sure I really read anything that was outside of my genre. I definitely read some books that weren't my favorites. I even had a not-finished book this year.  But nothing really outside of what I normally read.

8.  Most thrilling, unputdownable book?
Shadow and Bone - since it's YA it was super fun and easy to read right through..

9.  Book you read in 2012 that you are most likely to reread again next year?
Possibly Shadow and Bone since it's a quick read and I like to remember what's going on when the new book comes out.

10.  Favorite cover of a book you read?
Again, Shadow and Bone comes to mind. I think it's just simple and beautiful:

I also love some historical fiction covers that I read.  Restoration is just gorgeous:

And Juliet Grey's Marie Antoinette series always has beautiful covers:

11.  Most memorable character?
This one is hard because there are so many great characters.  So I'll go with Gemma in The Flight of Gemma Hardy.  I just loved her character in the book even though she was not always perfect.  I adored this book.

12.  Most beautifully written book?
Flight Behavior by Barbara Kingsolver.  For having a plot that doesn't sound that thrilling and a main character who sometimes made me want to slap, it still came out as my favorite book this year.  Man, Kingsolver has proven that she can write.

13.  Book that had the greatest impact on you?
This one is definitely Between Shades of Grey by Ruta Sepetys.  I listened to the audio book and wanted to cry at certain parts and then actually did during the author's talk at the end.  I think this should be mandatory reading for everyone in school.  Wow.

14.  Book you can't believe you waited until 2012 to finally read?
A Game of Thrones, definitely.  YEARS ago my friend told me I should read it and I never did. Drat.

15.  Favorite passage/quote from a book you read?
Hmmm.  I sometimes dog ear (I KNOW!) pages but I really don't mark down a lot of quotes.

16.  Shortest and longest book you read?
Longest book is Outlander by Diana Gabaldon at 850 pages.  Not sure about shortest.

17.  Book that had a scene in it that had you reeling and dying to talk to someone about it? Be careful of spoilers.
Sister by Rosamund Lupton -- the ending!! That's all I'm saying. I'd LOVE to know if anyone else saw it coming.  I definitely did not.

18.  Favorite relationship from a book you read?
Again Sister by Rosamund Lupton.  I love how you are so immersed in the relationship between the sisters and even get to know the younger sister and you don't even meet her.  Beautifully done.

19.  Favorite book you read in 2012 from an author you had read previously?
So that I pick something other than Barbara Kingsolver's book,  I'll go with The Technologists by Matthew Pearl.  I read The Last Dickens a while ago and enjoyed it but The Technologists made me a Matthew Pearl fan.  I also listened to and enjoyed The Poe Shadow and still need to review that one.

20.  Best book you read based solely on a recommendation from someone else?
Well I read some books for TLC Tours that I had never heard of before but one that sticks out is Old Man's War.  I honestly can't remember which blogger I heard about it from, it could have been Carl at Stainless Steel Droppings.  All I know is that I recognized it at a library book sale and snagged it up.  So glad I did. It's awesome.