Saturday, December 31, 2011

Top 10 in 2011: Books I'm Looking Forward to in 2012


Lisa at A Life Bound by Books, Jessica from Confessions of Bookaholic, Rachel from Fiktshun, and Jaime and Patricia from Two Chicks on Books are hosting a week of looking back and looking forward through the Top 10 of 2011 series. Each day I will be posting a new Top 10 list. I love making lists so it will be nice to recap this year's books with these Top 10 lists.

These are the books that I am looking forward to reading to in 2012. (Hopefully this will mean that I'm going to put them at the top of my TBR pile.) Most of these are not 2012 debuts.

Top 10 Books I'm looking forward to in 2012:

Title: Divergent
Author: Veronica Roth

Why I'm looking forward to this book:
This book has been the most talked about on the blogosphere and I actually OWN the book, but haven't picked it up yet. I am definitely in need of a book to satisfy the gap that The Hunger Games has left behind, so I WILL pick this up this year. Apparently, the 2nd book, Insurgent, is coming out in May so I better pick up the pace! I normally come into series late, so maybe I can catch up in 2012 with this one.

Summary from Goodreads:
In Beatrice Prior's dystopian Chicago, society is divided into five factions, each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue—Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). On an appointed day of every year, all sixteen-year-olds must select the faction to which they will devote the rest of their lives. For Beatrice, the decision is between staying with her family and being who she really is—she can't have both. So she makes a choice that surprises everyone, including herself.
During the highly competitive initiation that follows, Beatrice renames herself Tris and struggles to determine who her friends really are—and where, exactly, a romance with a sometimes fascinating, sometimes infuriating boy fits into the life she's chosen. But Tris also has a secret, one she's kept hidden from everyone because she's been warned it can mean death. And as she discovers a growing conflict that threatens to unravel her seemingly perfect society, she also learns that her secret might help her save those she loves… or it might destroy her.

Debut author Veronica Roth bursts onto the literary scene with the first book in the Divergent series—dystopian thrillers filled with electrifying decisions, heartbreaking betrayals, stunning consequences, and unexpected romance.


Title: The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake
Author: Aimee Bender

Why I'm looking forward to this book:
I read a sample of this on my Kindle app awhile back and was anxiously waiting for it to move up on my wishlist on PaperBackSwap.com. It finally arrived late 2011, but I haven't had time to get into it yet. It's currently on my nightstand so hopefully it'll get read in early 2012.

Summary from Goodreads:
The wondrous Aimee Bender conjures the lush and moving story of a girl whose magical gift is really a devastating curse.

On the eve of her ninth birthday, unassuming Rose Edelstein, a girl at the periphery of schoolyard games and her distracted parents’ attention, bites into her mother’s homemade lemon-chocolate cake and discovers she has a magical gift: she can taste her mother’s emotions in the cake. She discovers this gift to her horror, for her mother—her cheerful, good-with-crafts, can-do mother—tastes of despair and desperation. Suddenly, and for the rest of her life, food becomes a peril and a threat to Rose.

The curse her gift has bestowed is the secret knowledge all families keep hidden—her mother’s life outside the home, her father’s detachment, her brother’s clash with the world. Yet as Rose grows up she learns to harness her gift and becomes aware that there are secrets even her taste buds cannot discern.

The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake is a luminous tale about the enormous difficulty of loving someone fully when you know too much about them. It is heartbreaking and funny, wise and sad, and confirms Aimee Bender’s place as “a writer who makes you grateful for the very existence of language” (San Francisco Chronicle)

Title: The Little Women Letters
Author: Gabrielle Donnelly

Why I'm looking forward to this book:
Little Women was my favorite book as a young adult. I love anything Little Women related so hopefully this will be a good story. I also received it from my Bookworm Santa. Thanks Silsbee!

Summary from Goodreads:
A contemporary novel about sisters who are the descendants of Little Women's Jo March.


Title: Dead Until Dark (Sookie Stackhouse series)
Author: Charlaine Harris

Why I'm looking forward to this book:
I've heard about this book for many years now, but haven't got into it. I've been in the mood for a new series for awhile now. Plus, I think I'm in need of a vampire fix too. :)

Summary from Goodreads:
Sookie Stackhouse is a small-time cocktail waitress in small-town Louisiana. She's quiet, keeps to herself, and doesn't get out much. Not because she's not pretty. She is. It's just that, well, Sookie has this sort of "disability." She can read minds. And that doesn't make her too dateable. And then along comes Bill. He's tall, dark, handsome - and Sookie can't 'hear' a word he's thinking. He's exactly the kind of guy she's been waiting for all her life.

But Bill has a disability of his own: He's a vampire. Worse than that, hangs with a seriously creepy crowd, with a reputation for trouble - of the murderous kind.

And when one of Sookie's colleagues is killed, she begins to fear she'll be next.

Title: The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight
Author: Jennifer E. Smith

Why I'm looking forward to this book:
I only dabble in YA, but I have to admit that I often feel like I'm missing out on a lot because many bloggers blog almost exclusively about YA. I heard about this one actually from a non-blog source and it caught my eye, so now it's on my TBR list! Plus, I will always been a fan of "love at first sight" - there's just something quintessentially romantic about it.

Summary from Goodreads:
Who would have guessed that four minutes could change everything?

Today should be one of the worst days of seventeen-year-old Hadley Sullivan's life. She's stuck at JFK, late to her father's second wedding, which is taking place in London and involves a soon to be step-mother that Hadley's never even met. Then she meets the perfect boy in the airport's cramped waiting area. His name is Oliver, he's British, and he's in seat 18C. Hadley's in 18A.

Twists of fate and quirks of timing play out in this thoughtful novel about family connections, second chances and first loves. Set over a 24-hour-period, Hadley and Oliver's story will make you believe that true love finds you when you're least expecting it.


Some middle-grade fiction (kid-lit) that I'm looking forward to reading:

Title: Inside Out and Back Again
Author: Thanhha Lai

Why I'm looking forward to this book:
I've heard great things about this book. It sounds very thought-provoking.

Summary from Goodreads:
No one would believe me but at times I would choose wartime in Saigon over peacetime in Alabama.

For all the ten years of her life, Hà has only known Saigon - the thrills of its markets, the joy of its traditions, the warmth of her friends close by...and the beauty of her very own papaya tree.

But now the Vietnam War has reached her home. Hà and her family are forced to flee as Saigon falls, and they board a ship headed toward hope. In America, Hà discovers the foreign world of Alabama - the coldness of its strangers, the dullness of its food, the strange shape of its landscape...and the strength of her very own family.

This is the moving story of one girl's year of change, dreams, grief, and healing as she journeys from one country to another, one life to the next.

Title: Okay for Now
Author: Gary D. Schmidt

Why I'm looking forward to this book:
Same thing with this one. It's been on many lists for middle-grade fiction this year so I'm hoping it will live up to the hype.

Summary from Goodreads:
Midwesterner Gary D. Schmidt won Newbery Honor awards for Lizzie Bright and the Buckminster Boys and The Wednesday Wars, two coming-of-age novels about unlikely friends finding a bond. Okay For Now, his latest novel, explores another seemingly improbable alliance, this one between new outsider in town Doug Swieteck and Lil Spicer, the savvy spitfire daughter of his deli owner boss. With her challenging assistance, Doug discovers new sides of himself. Along the way, he also readjusts his relationship with his abusive father, his school peers, and his older brother, a newly returned war victim of Vietnam.


Title: Floors
Author: Patrick Carman

Why I'm looking forward to this book:
The cover (front & back) drew me into this one. I've always been intrigued by the idea of living in a hotel too.

Summary from Goodreads:
Charlie had his chocolate factory. Stanley Yelnats had his holes. Leo has the wacky, amazing Whippet Hotel.

The Whippet Hotel is a strange place full of strange and mysterious people. Each floor has its own quirks and secrets. Leo should know most of them - he is the maintenance man's son, after all. But a whole lot more mystery gets thrown his way when a series of cryptic boxes are left for him . . . boxes that lead him to hidden floors, strange puzzles, and unexpected alliances. Leo had better be quick on his feet, because the fate of the building he loves is at stake . . . and so is Leo's own future!

Title: The Candymakers
Author: Wendy Mass

Why I'm looking forward to this book:
I've heard great things about Wendy Mass as an author and again, I was drawn to this book by the cover. It also reminds me of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and I have such fond memories about that book.

Summary from Goodreads:
Four children have been chosen to compete in a national competition to find the tastiest confection in the country. Who will invent a candy more delicious than the Oozing Crunchorama or the Neon Lightning Chew?

Logan, the Candymaker's son, who can detect the color of chocolate by touch alone?

Miles, the boy who is allergic to merry-go-rounds and the color pink?

Daisy, the cheerful girl who can lift a fifty-pound lump of taffy like it's a feather?

Or Philip, the suit-and-tie wearing boy who's always scribbling in a secret notebook?

This sweet, charming, and cleverly crafted story, told from each contestant's perspective, is filled with mystery, friendship, and juicy revelations.


New books in 2012 that I am looking forward to:

Title: Catherine the Great: Portrait of a Woman
Author: Robert K. Massie

Why I'm looking forward to this book:
I've done a lot of reading of The Tudors (most via historical fiction), but I've always been intrigued by the Romanovs as well. This biography looks really interesting. Plus, it says it reads like a narrative biography which is much more to my liking.

Summary from Goodreads:
The Pulitzer Prize–winning author of Peter the Great, Nicholas and Alexandra, and The Romanovs returns with another masterpiece of narrative biography, the extraordinary story of an obscure young German princess who traveled to Russia at fourteen and rose to become one of the most remarkable, powerful, and captivating women in history.

Born into a minor noble family, Catherine transformed herself into Empress of Russia by sheer determination. Possessing a brilliant mind and an insatiable curiosity as a young woman, she devoured the works of Enlightenment philosophers and, when she reached the throne, attempted to use their principles to guide her rule of the vast and backward Russian empire. She knew or corresponded with the preeminent historical figures of her time: Voltaire, Diderot, Frederick the Great, Empress Maria Theresa of Austria, Marie Antoinette, and, surprisingly, the American naval hero, John Paul Jones.

Reaching the throne fired by Enlightenment philosophy and determined to become the embodiment of the “benevolent despot” idealized by Montesquieu, she found herself always contending with the deeply ingrained realities of Russian life, including serfdom. She persevered, and for thirty-four years the government, foreign policy, cultural development, and welfare of the Russian people were in her hands. She dealt with domestic rebellion, foreign wars, and the tidal wave of political change and violence churned up by the French Revolution that swept across Europe. Her reputation depended entirely on the perspective of the speaker. She was praised by Voltaire as the equal of the greatest of classical philosophers; she was condemned by her enemies, mostly foreign, as “the Messalina of the north.”

Catherine’s family, friends, ministers, generals, lovers, and enemies—all are here, vividly described. These included her ambitious, perpetually scheming mother; her weak, bullying husband, Peter (who left her lying untouched beside him for nine years after their marriage); her unhappy son and heir, Paul; her beloved grandchildren; and her “favorites”—the parade of young men from whom she sought companionship and the recapture of youth as well as sex. Here, too, is the giant figure of Gregory Potemkin, her most significant lover and possible husband, with whom she shared a passionate correspondence of love and separation, followed by seventeen years of unparalleled mutual achievement.

The story is superbly told. All the special qualities that Robert K. Massie brought to Nicholas and Alexandra and Peter the Great are present here: historical accuracy, depth of understanding, felicity of style, mastery of detail, ability to shatter myth, and a rare genius for finding and expressing the human drama in extraordinary lives.

History offers few stories richer in drama than that of Catherine the Great. In this book, this eternally fascinating woman is returned to life.

Title: Elizabeth the Queen: The Life of a Modern Monarch
Author: Sally Bedell Smith

Why I'm looking forward to this book:
This looks like another fabulous biography because I know so little about Queen Elizabeth.

Summary from Goodreads:
In this magisterial new biography, New York Times bestselling author Sally Bedell Smith brings to life one of the world’s most fascinating and enigmatic women: Queen Elizabeth II.

From the moment of her ascension to the throne in 1952 at the age of twenty-five, Queen Elizabeth II has been the object of unparalleled scrutiny. But through the fog of glamour and gossip, how well do we really know the world’s most famous monarch? Drawing on numerous interviews and never-before-revealed documents, acclaimed biographer Sally Bedell Smith pulls back the curtain to show in intimate detail the public and private lives of Queen Elizabeth II, who has led her country and Commonwealth through the wars and upheavals of the last sixty years with unparalleled composure, intelligence, and grace.

In Elizabeth the Queen, we meet the young girl who suddenly becomes “heiress presumptive” when her uncle abdicates the throne. We meet the thirteen-year-old Lilibet as she falls in love with a young navy cadet named Philip and becomes determined to marry him, even though her parents prefer wealthier English aristocrats. We see the teenage Lilibet repairing army trucks during World War II and standing with Winston Churchill on the balcony of Buckingham Palace on V-E Day. We see the young Queen struggling to balance the demands of her job with her role as the mother of two young children. Sally Bedell Smith brings us inside the palace doors and into the Queen’s daily routines—the “red boxes” of documents she reviews each day, the weekly meetings she has had with twelve prime ministers, her physically demanding tours abroad, and the constant scrutiny of the press—as well as her personal relationships: with Prince Philip, her husband of sixty-four years and the love of her life; her children and their often-disastrous marriages; her grandchildren and friends.

Compulsively readable and scrupulously researched, Elizabeth the Queen is a close-up view of a woman we’ve known only from a distance, illuminating the lively personality, sense of humor, and canny intelligence with which she meets the most demanding work and family obligations. It is also a fascinating window into life at the center of the last great monarchy.



What are you looking forward to reading 2012? I'm always looking for recommendations! :)

1 comment:

  1. You're welcome, Jasmine! :)
    I hope you enjoy it. I am going to be reading "Little Women" for the first time this year (for the "Getting Lost in a Comfortable Book" Challenge). I'm excited!

    Happy New Year!
    Silsbee

    ReplyDelete

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