Friday, December 30, 2011

Class of 2011: Best In Show


It's the last day of the blogfest! Thank you all so much for playing along with us and sharing your favorite 2011 releases! Alison, Katy, Tracey, and I have had so much fun hosting you all this week, and we've loved reading about everyone's favorites. I don't know about you all, but I've certainly added some new books to my TBR pile!

Remember to hop around to the other blogs on the linky below to see everyone else's choices. And at the end of today's post, everyone chose their own superlative category, so make sure you weigh in on all of those.

Here are my picks for today...

Favorite Cover
Imaginary Girls by Nova Ren Suma

Oooh, pretty *pets*

Cutest Couple
Lola and Cricket from Lola and the Boy Next Door

You knew I was going to say this one, right?


and
Charlotte and Harlin from A Need So Beautiful

One thing I loved about this book was that it started with them already together. I loved that we saw how they were together as a couple...they were so adorable!

Most Likely to Succeed (Or, pick a Printz Winner)
Shine by Lauren Myracle
or
Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

To be quite honest, I have no idea what the requirements of the Printz are, besides, you know, excellence. These are the books I thought were the most overall excellent this year. 

Most Likely to Make You Miss Your Bedtime (The book you just couldn't put down!)
The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin

I literally stayed up all night to finish this one. It just kept getting more and more OMGWTF with every turn of the page!

Best Repeat Performance (Your favorite sequel or follow-up.)

Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins (duh)

I liked this companion to Anna and the French Kiss even more than the first one!

and
Demonglass by Rachel Hawkins

This is another one I liked even more than the first one!

Romance Most Worthy of an Ice Bath
An ice bath romance that also makes you want to tear out your eyes, Lochan and Maya in Forbidden by Tabitha Sazuma. (Why does the book with the, uh, most descriptive hook-up scenes have to be the book about brother/sister incest? Gah.)

If you want one that doesn't make you feel ooky...
Lola and Cricket in Lola and the Boy Next Door (obvs) 
(dang, the end of that book...)

Pair Most Likely to Stay Best Friends Till They’re 80

Karou and Zusana from Daughter of Smoke and Bone
I loved the friendship between these two!


Breakout Novel (Favorite Book by a Debut Author)
Moonglass by Jessi Kirby

I can't wait to see what else Jessi Kirby has in store for us! This debut was EXCELLENT! Such a perfect contemporary!

Best Old-Timer (Your favorite read of the year, published BEFORE 2011.)
Five Flavors of Dumb by Antony John
It was published in late 2010, so it's not a super old-timer, but this is one of my favorite reads of the year!

Most Likely to Make a Grown Man Cry
Milo: Sticky Notes and Brain Freeze by Alan Silberberg

So, this book doesn't really count because it's MG, not YA. But OMG if Milo doesn't make you cry then YOU HAVE NO HEART. And it's really the only book that made me cry this year. I didn't read too many tear-jerkers.
(ACK...I just realized that this was a 2010 release. Bah. I'm sticking by my answer anyway.)
Most Pleasant Surprise (The best book you didn’t think you’d like, but totally did.)
Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

It surprised the hell out of me how much I loved this book. Saying it's not my thing id the understatement of the century. I seriously wasn't expecting it at all...it's amazing what an incredible book will get you on board with.

Most Creative Use of a Love Triangle
Wither by Lauren DeStefano

The fact that there was some polygamy / sister wivery going on in this book in addition to the two potential love interests for the main character definitely put a spin on the traditional love triangle, making it more like a love rhombus or pentagon or something.

Sleeper Hit (Book you found so awesome you wish it had been hyped more.)
Sean Griswold's Head by Lindsey Leavitt
This book was so adorable! And so much fun to read! I don't know if it got the love that it really deserved this year.


And now it’s your turn! Pick your own superlative category and post it at the end of today’s list. Blog hoppers can drop by and vote for their pick in the comments of your blog!


Here's mine:
Book With Writing/Story Most Like Your Own

I know most of us are writers, so, writers, which book reminded you the most of your own writing? And non-writers out there, which book had the writing/story you could relate with the most?

For me, the book with writing most like mine was...
Catching Jordan by Miranda Kenneally

Throughout this book I just couldn't help thinking how much her style reminded me of mine. That made for a fun read, for sure. 

Ok, everyone...that's it! Thanks so much for playing along! Be sure to drop your linky in the list, answer my bonus question in the comments, and visit everyone else's blog. I hope you guys had a great time.


Thursday, December 29, 2011

Class of 2011: Elements of Fiction

Welcome to Day Three of the Blogfest! I hope you all are having as much fun with this as Katy, Alison, Tracey, and I are!

Okay, let's get to the choices. So, remember how yesterday I wanted to put Lola and the Boy Next Door for every single category? Yeah, well for this one I really just want to put Daughter of Smoke and Bone for everything. I would give my right arm to have written that book, so it goes without saying that, in my eyes, it's the number one choice for almost all of these.

So, like yesterday, I'm putting that one where it fits, but I'm also choosing an alternate so this doesn't turn into the Laini Taylor show. But for some of them it really was the only choice.

Most Envy-Inducing Plot (Or, the plot you wish you’d thought of yourself.)
Fantasy / Dystopian / Paranormal:
Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

If you guys knew the issues I had with coming up with even the most basic plot elements, you would understand how in awe I am of people who can come up with such creative stories and tie together all the amazing details in a surprising way. 

Realistic:
The Future of Us by Jay Asher and Carolyn Mackler

I wish I would have thought of kids in 1996 turning on AOL and seeing their future selves on facebook. It's a genius idea.

Most Wonderful World-Building

Across the Universe by Beth Revis
I loved the world that was established on Godspeed. It was cool the way Beth Revis imagined how things evolved over time from our current way of life. From the language to the season (barf) to even the cows, everything was just a little bit different, and it was fun to think about how it could get there from where we are now.


Most Formidable World (Or, the setting you most definitely would NOT want to travel to.)
Fantasy / Dystopian / Paranormal:
Delirium by Lauren Oliver or Wither by Lauren DeStefnao
All of the dystopian societies are pretty bad, but one where love is considered a disease? No thank you. And a life of polygamy only to be dead by the time I'm twenty? Barf. It's hard for me to choose which one of these awful lives would be worse.


Realistic:
Shine by Lauren Myracle
Sorry, rural south, but I have absolutely no desire to visit you.

Wanderlust-Inducing (Or, the setting you'd happily travel to.)
Fantasy / Dystopian / Paranormal:
Demonglass by Rachel Hawkins

The only thing I would love more than traipsing around England is traipsing around England with Sophie's magical powers.

Realistic:
The Vespertine by Saundra Mitchell

Well, this isn't a realistic book; Amelia has some pretty cool powers/abilities. But I love the realistic setting of 1890s Baltimore, and I would LOVE to hop in my time machine and visit it! I don't want to live back then permanently, but I really wouldn't mind a month or so of wearing the dresses, going to the parties, and filling up my dance card.

Loveliest Prose
Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor
I got this ARC on a tour through my little writing group. It was sent to me from my friend Jessica, who forgot to remove her post-it flags from her favorite passages before she sent it on to me. She had this passage flagged:
"This, she thought, isn't just for today. It's for everything. For the heartache that still felt like a punch in the gut each time it struck, fresh as new, at unpredictable moments; for the smiling lies and the mental images she couldn't shake; for the shame of having been so naive.
"For the way loneliness is worse when you return to it after a reprieve--like the soul's version of putting on a wet bathing suit, clammy and miserable." 
Best First Line
This was tough because I don't actually HAVE a lot of the books I read this year. But it was fun to look through the ones I have on my shelf (even the few I didn't get around to reading) and find my favorite first line.

Supernaturally by Kiersten White
"Oh bleep, I was going to die."

Most Dynamic Main Character

Karou
Obvs.
and
Tris
The whole book centers around Tris's dynamic qualities, how there is more to her than just one faction. I loved that about her, that she wasn't just one way.


Most Jaw-Dropping Finale
Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor
This whole book was a complete surprise for me. I didn't see any of it coming. I flew through the end of this book to see how it would turn out, and I seriously couldn't believe any of it. The teeth. The wishbone. Akiva and Madrigal and Brimstone, oh my!



and
Shine by Lauren Myracle

Well, this was tough for me because I HAD THE MYSTERY SPOILED. Grr. So I am assuming it was jaw-dropping if you didn't already know the big reveal. But even knowing the mystery, it was still very surprising how everything else in the story played out. It wasn't how I expected it to end AT ALL.

Best Performance in a Supporting Role
Beauty Queens by Libba Bray
There wasn't really one main character in this book, it was an ensemble cast, all playing supporting roles. I thought I would become confused with all of the girls on the island, but I never did. They all have such distinct personalities and voices, which I know must have been no easy task.

Best Use of Theme
Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor
The thematic idea of hope was woven so brilliantly through this entire story.

What do you think of my choices? If you played along on your blog, leave the link to your post below. If not, tell me some of your choices in the comments. And come back tomorrow for the last day of the blogfest!


Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Road Trip Wednesday: Best of 2011

Are you guys sick of me talking about my favorite books of 2011 yet? I hope not, because not only are there still two days left of the Class of 2011 blogfest, but I'm participating in today's Road Trip Wednesday, a blog carnival hosted by the lovely ladies of YA Highway.

This week's question:

What were your five favorite books of 2011?


Well, I like to break the rules a little bit. I have four major standouts, and then a few favorites that you might not have read. (I feel like my very favorites are the ones you see on every blog, but there are some smaller books out there I want to make sure you all know about.)

My four absolute favorites this year...

Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins

Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

Shine by Lauren Myracle

Divergent by Veronica Roth

And then some books I loved that you might not have read

Clarity by Kim Harrington

Sean Griswold's Head by Lindsey Leavitt

Moonglass by Jessi Kirby

I hope 2011 was full of good books for you! What were some of your favorites?

Class of 2011: Popularity Contest

Thanks for joining us over here at the Blogfest again for the popularity contest! The linky is at the bottom, so add your link and the then hop around to visit everyone's blog!

As for my picks, this was particularly difficult for me, because I found myself wanting to put Lola and Crocket from Lola and the Boy Next Door for every single category, and what fun is that? So, I put them where I wanted to, because I didn't want to LIE, but then I added another choice as well. Otherwise this would have been really boring.

So, I'm sorry for the multiple votes, you guys, but in some cases I just couldn't pick. I know the point of this is picking ONE favorite, but I really just couldn't. I'm terrible at making decisions.

Class Clown
Zusana from Daughter of Smoke and Bone

I loved Zusana, and I would love to sit next to her in class. But as a teacher, I would hate to have her in my class. You know she would be making snarky comments the entire time, which is awesome if you are sitting next to her, and not so awesome if you are trying to keep everyone in line.

Most Likely to Become a Rock Star
Well, Adam in Where She Went and Cole in Forever actually WERE rock stars, so I guess they don't count, right?

Noah Shaw from The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer

Not really for any musical ability or talent, but just because he has the rockstar look and attitude down pat. 

Mostly Likely to Start a Riot
Karou from Daughter of Smoke and Bone
I wouldn't mess with this girl. Not even for a second.

Biggest Flirt
Noah Shaw from The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer
He was almost on the skeezy side of flirting at the beginning of this book, but I'll forgive skeezy flirting when it's done in an English accent.

Fashion King and/or Queen

Lola from Lola and the Boy Next Door

It would be ridiculous if Lola wasn't on this list, since fashion is her THING

and
Evie from Supernaturally
It's not just those gorgeous dresses on the book covers...Evie wears some seriously cute clothes inside the book, too.

Girl You’d Most Want For Your BFF
I couldn't pick just one for this one. I tried, but, well, you know.

Lola from Lola and the Boy Next Door

I want to raid her closet and eat her dad's pies.
Ashely from Moonglass

We already live so close, it would be very easy for us to hang out. If you didn't love Ashely, I really have nothing to say to you.
Nicole (Miss Colorado) from Beauty Queens

I just really liked Nicole. She was the most down-to-earth without being a whiner, and she would be a lot of fun to hang out with. I liked a lot of the Miss Teen Dream girls, but Nicole was really my favorite.

Cat from Shine

If I was ever the victim of a violent crime I know she wouldn't rest until the mystery was solved and my attack was avenged, even if we hadn't even spoken in years. That's the kind of friend you want on your side.
Boy You Wish You’d Dated in High School

Cricket Bell from Lola and the Boy Next Door
What can I say? I love the tall, gangly nerds next door.
and
Cole from Forever by Maggie Stiefvater
What else can I say? I also have a thing for the rockers.

and
Four from Divergent

What ELSE can I say? I have a thing for...guys who have numbers for a name

Most Likely to Become President
Tris from Divergent

She would be a favorite of the public because of her Abnegation qualities, but then she would kick the butt of everyone who needs a butt kicking with her Dauntless qualities. This is what America needs...a Divergent president!

Quirkiest Character
Deb from What Happened to Goodbye by Sarah Dessen
Deb reminded me of Tracy Flick from Election, which should tell you everything you need to know about her. She stole every scene she was in in this book. 
Villain You Love to Hate
Warner from Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi
You guys, I know I'm supposed to despise Warner, but I find him so strangely sexy. I spent this entire book thinking, "Just KISS HIM Juliette! You know you want to do it! If you don't, I will!" Yeah, there is clearly something wrong with me, because dude is insane.

Favorite Parental Figure

Lola's dads in Lola and the Boy Next Door

Best parents in YA!
and
Brimstone from Daughter of Smoke and Bone
Oh, Brimstone! I loved you from the inessential penis speech and grew to love you more and more throughout the book! Everyone needs a father figure like Brimstone.

Coolest Nerd

Cricket Bell from Lola and the Boy Next Door

Build me something, Cricket!

and
Seth from The Liar Society by Lisa and Laura Roecker

I have a soft spot for the gingers. Especially the loyal gingers. (Not to be confused with Royal Gingers...but I love them, too.)

Whew. That was tough. Luckily tomorrow's choices, Elements of Fiction, are a little easier. What do you think of my choices?
We were going to keep one linky for the whole blogfest, but it looks like people were entering their individual pages, so we'll just keep that going. Link to your Popularity Contest post here, then hop around and check out everyone else's choices!