Not Enough Bookshelves: December 2012

Saturday, 29 December 2012

The Best of 2012

My favourites of 2012 as always Friends style

The one that has my heart

The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater. Actually a re-read but still the best book I read this year.

The one that made me burn the midnight oil

Days of Blood and Starlight by Laini Taylor

The one that lived up to the hype

Graffiti Moon by Cath Crowley

The one that was a brilliant follow up

Liar and Spy by Rebecca Stead.

The one that is the start of something special

The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

The one that I am still thinking about

Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein

The one my friend(s) wrote

The Right and the Real by Joelle Anthony and The Almost Truth by Eileen Cook – gosh my friends write terrific books!

The one that made me rush out and buy all the authors other books

The Peach Keeper by Sarah Addison Allen

The one that was a big surprise

I’ve Got Your Number by Sophia Kinsella – I really didn’t like the shopaholic series, but this was brilliant and incredibly funny.

The one I can’t wait for everyone to read 

Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell

Friday, 21 December 2012

Couples Christmas Countdown Part 2 – Couples 1-5


Here’s part two of my favourite couples of 2012. For those of you unfamiliar with the Christmas Countdown, it began in 2009 and was originally a countdown of my favourite romantic pairings. I am a big fan of happily ever after. But in 2010 I changed the rules ~ just so I could include Sarah Rees Brennan’s brilliant brothers Ryves – Nick and Alan ~ and now a couple simple means two people  whose relationship I adore.

So without further ado my Top Five Couples of 2012

Number 5 – Lucy and Shadow from Graffiti Moon by Cath Crowley

Two perspectives, one night ~ graffiti, poetry, past heartbreaks, new adventures, danger, friendship and new beginnings. I could not love this couple or this book more. Absolutely fabulous!

Number 4 – Verity and Maddie from Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein

The first non-romantic couple to appear this year. Oh how I loved them. This book is simply amazing and the friendship between Verity and Maddie is so well done and stayed with me long after I closed the book. It’s absolutely perfect.

Number 3 – Kami and Jared from Unspoken by Sarah Rees Brennan

If Sarah Rees Brennan has a book out, it is pretty much guaranteed that she will be on this list. I LOVE how she writes relationships, be they fraternal, romantic or, as in this case, slightly odd. Kami and Jared can hear each others thoughts, which is not as romantic as you might think, but does lead to a wonderful story.

Number 2 – Gansey and Adam and Ronan and Noah. . . and Blue too, actually, from The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

Oh my the friendship, the loyalty, the ties that bind in this book! It is an incredible feat. The connections Maggie Stiefvater draws between these characters, you can feel the weight of the history in their friendship, and when Blue joins the fabulous four, you can see the beginnings of friendship and understanding too.  Absolutely fabulous. I can’t wait to see how these friendships evolve.

Number 1 – Eleanor and Park from Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell

Only something completely amazing could knock my beloved Raven Boys from the top spot. And Eleanor & Park is amazing. I absolutely adore these two. This novel got under my skin, the same way The Scorpio Races did (Puck and Sean were my No.1 couple last year) and I can’t heap enough praise on it.

That’s it then, the couples Christmas Countdown of 2012. It’s been another good year for YA couples.

Please do tell me your favourites

Thursday, 20 December 2012

2012 Couples Christmas Countdown

2012 Couple Christmas Countdown

Usually the beginning of December marks the Couples Christmas Countdown here at Not Enough Bookshelves. This year I have been a very lazy blogger and so unorganised! But it wouldn’t be Christmas without a countdown! Even a very short one. So although there are no guest posts and I’m squeezing 5 couples into a post, I do hope you enjoy the 2012 Couples Christmas Countdown. Hopefully it will be back with a vengeance in 2013!

NB- There are spoilers as to who ends up with who in a book, so if you hate that, click away now!

Number 10 Anna and Cas from Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake

Such a good book, with such an excellent narrator in Cas. And while the human falls for ghost aspect may not be new, throw in the twist that the ghost murders everyone who enters her home and the human has come to kill her and you have a compelling story.

Number 9 Zuzanne and Mik from Days of Blood and Starlight by Laini Taylor

A sidekick couple, but such a fabulous one. I have adored watching them get together and in Days of Blood and Starlight they provide much needed affection, fun and hope. Plus the three quests!

Number 8- Julie and ? Flat Out Love by Jessica Parks

A little cheat on this one, but I really don’t want to spoil it for anyone, working out who Julie should be with is half the fun of this delightful book. All I will say is – can a relationship built on emails, facebook status updates, and texts stand up in real life?

Number 7 – Jamie and Trent from The Right and The Real by Joelle Anthony

Ah, relationships that start over a cup of coffee always go well I think. This one is sweet as sugar.

Number 6 – Elliot and Kai from For Darkness Shows the Stars by Diana Peterfreund

Past betrayals, a lot of crossed wires and antagonism, and THAT letter make this one of my favourite relationships of the year!

Come back tomorrow for couples 1-5? And please do tell me the couples you have loved this year.

Friday, 14 December 2012

Book Review: Days of Blood and Starlight by Laini Taylor

Once upon a time, an angel and a devil fell in love and dared to imagine a world free of bloodshed and war.

This is not that world.

Art student and monster’s apprentice Karou finally has the answers she has always sought. She knows who she is—and what she is. But with this knowledge comes another truth she would give anything to undo: She loved the enemy and he betrayed her, and a world suffered for it.

In this stunning sequel to the highly acclaimed Daughter of Smoke & Bone, Karou must decide how far she’ll go to avenge her people. Filled with heartbreak and beauty, secrets and impossible choices, Days of Blood & Starlight finds Karou and Akiva on opposing sides as an age-old war stirs back to life.

While Karou and her allies build a monstrous army in a land of dust and starlight, Akiva wages a different sort of battle: a battle for redemption. For hope.

But can any hope be salvaged from the ashes of their broken dream? (from Goodreads)

I closed 2011 with Daughter of Smoke and Bone and was utterly enthralled by it. It ended on such a cliff hanger that I immediately pre-ordered Days of Blood and Starlight. When it finally came I settled down, hoping to be swept away again.

And I was. The writing is as addictive as ever and I was happy to revisit well known characters. Despite it’s heft I gulped this book down in two sittings. The last quater I read at break neck speed, Laini Taylor is a master at upping the tension.

The narrative is split between Karou and Akiva and they are both is dark places, both physically and mentally. I was so sad for both of them. They are locked into situations they wouldn’t have chosen, especially Karou, but with no clear idea how they can possibly change things. It was quite a relief when Karou’s old friends Zuzanne and Mik turn up. They brought some much needed laughter, love and friendship with them. They are the hope in this book and I loved them.

I absolutely recommend this book if you’ve started the trilogy, it ends at an even bigger cliff hanger and I’m dying to see how things wrap up. But while I was certainly swept up in the lives of the characters it isn’t the easiest read. There is a lot of darkness in this book and because the writing is so vivid it’s tough to read. There was a scene where my stomach actually rolled, and I had to put the book down and take deep breaths.

Days of Blood and Starlight is addictive and gorgeously written, with brilliant characters and a fantatsic plot. It held my attention and transported me to the characters world, but it wasn’t the magical read Daughter of Smoke and Bone was. In the end I would have liked a little more starlight and a little less blood.

Thursday, 6 December 2012

Book Review: The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

 There are only two reasons a non-seer would see a spirit on St. Mark’s Eve,” Neeve said. “Either you’re his true love . . . or you killed him.”

It is freezing in the churchyard, even before the dead arrive.

Every year, Blue Sargent stands next to her clairvoyant mother as the soon-to-be dead walk past. Blue herself never sees them—not until this year, when a boy emerges from the dark and speaks directly to her.

His name is Gansey, and Blue soon discovers that he is a rich student at Aglionby, the local private school. Blue has a policy of staying away from Aglionby boys. Known as Raven Boys, they can only mean trouble.

But Blue is drawn to Gansey, in a way she can’t entirely explain. He has it all—family money, good looks, devoted friends—but he’s looking for much more than that. He is on a quest that has encompassed three other Raven Boys: Adam, the scholarship student who resents all the privilege around him; Ronan, the fierce soul who ranges from anger to despair; and Noah, the taciturn watcher of the four, who notices many things but says very little.

For as long as she can remember, Blue has been warned that she will cause her true love to die. She never thought this would be a problem. But now, as her life becomes caught up in the strange and sinister world of the Raven Boys, she’s not so sure anymore. (from goodreads)

The moment I got my hands on The Raven Boys I abandoned everything else and settled down to be spell bound.
And I was, completely and utterly. 
The start was wonderfully mysterious and, as usual, the writing was flawless. Maggie Steivfater cast a perfect spell and bound me to her amazing characters. When the story slowed down, and even meandered a little, I was already so invested I had to keep reading late into the night because I cared.
The  Goodreads description does make this sound like they’ll will be a lot of angst ~ we’re so in love but we can not touch type trauma.
It’s nothing like that. 
If I had to categorize it, I’d say it’s a quest book. It put me very much in mind of The Dark is Rising by Susan Cooper. Many strange and inexplicable things happen, but the power of the writing, and the brilliant build up make them seem not just possible, but the only way the story could have gone. 
The characters are amazing, so real, so complex and with so much backstory that is simmering just beyond the page. I can’t wait to find out more about them all. I liked Blue, although she does remain something of an enigma. I’m really hoping we get to know more about her in future books.
The boys, on the other hand, I fell for hard. Gansey, Adam, Ronan and Noah – I loved them all and I was left deeply worried about them, and their relationships with each other. I hope their friendship survives, I hope they survive! I know they’re all going to be changed; I just hope they’re not unrecognizable.
Although the themes and plot of The Raven Boys are sweeping and epic, it is also a book made up of small moments. You need to be paying attention because it’s the little things that change things.
Highly recommended.

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Book Review: The Right and The Real by Joelle Anthony

Jamie should have known something was off about the church of the Right and the Real from the start, especially when the Teacher claimed he wasn’t just an ordinary spiritual leader, but Jesus Christ, himself. But she was too taken by Josh, the eldest son of one of the church’s disciples, and his all-American good looks. Josh is the most popular boy at school too, and the first boy outside the drama geeks to give Jamie a second look. But getting her Dad involved in a cult was not part of the plan when she started dating Josh. Neither was her dad’s marriage to the fanatic Mira, or getting kicked out, or seeing Josh in secret because the church has deemed her persona non grata.

Jamie’s life has completely fallen apart. Finding her way back won’t be easy, but when her Dad gets himself into serious trouble, will Jamie be ready to rescue him, and maybe even forgive him? (from Goodreads)

The Right and The Real is such a fabulous book, I loved it. It’s fast paced, action filled, funny, and has wonderful characters.

I want to say that the premise belongs firmly in the realm of fantasy, but unfortunately the church of The Right & The Real feels all too possible. Things never become too dark because Jamie remains on the outside of the church and  is never part of it’s indoctrination, but there is a definite sense of threat that I found quite chilling.

Things get pretty grim for Jamie and while she is strong and tough and determined, I  was on edge for the majority of the book worrying about her and hoping she would be okay.

Luckily for Jamie, despite her life falling apart she does have some fabulous people to support her. I absolutely adored LeVon, the ex-con who has the room next door to Jamie’s at the motel she ends up having the stay in. I also really enjoyed Jamie’s two best friends, Krista and Liz, who brought a lightness to the story with their witty, fast paced, dramatic dialogue. Joelle Anthony really excels at writing characters you fall in love with.

Then there are the boys, although there are two of them (both gorgeous!)  there is no love triangle here, and I really loved Jamie’s interactions with both of them. Although I, of course, had a firm favourite.

The Right and The Real is a wonderful book and I highly recommend it.

Monday, 3 December 2012

Books for Winter

It’s beginning to feel a lot like Christmas here. I visited the SouthBank Christmas Market yesterday and  got into the spirit of the season. Carols, the smell of mulled wine and cinnamon, and twinkly lights will do that for a girl.

Now I feel all Christmasy, my mind has turned to books for the season. December is the one time of year I like my reading to match the weather.

I always re-read His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman (sometimes just Northern Lights, sometimes all 3), as well as a Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens and The HogFather by Terry Pratchett ~ Susan the gothic governess remains one of my favourite characters. Did you know she was played by Lady Mary from Downton Abby in the TV adaptation?

Other great seasonal reads include Let it Snow by John Green, Maureen Johnson and Lauren Myracle  and Dash and Lily’s Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan.

Then there are all the amazing Christmas books for children. My son (he’s 3) favourites are Mog’s Christmas, Dear Santa and The Night Before Christmas.

What are your favourite winter reads?

By the way I know this blog has been sadly neglected this year, poor blog. I’m hoping to catch up on reviews and book news this month.

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