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! :)

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Top 10 in 2011: Characters


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.

I decided that if I already chose a character as a "book boyfriend" that they couldn't qualify again for top 10 character of the year as well. Again, there are SPOILERS ahead so read at your own risk.

Top 10 Characters of 2011:

Character: Katniss
Title: The Hunger Games series
Author: Suzanne Collins

Why I chose Katniss as a favorite character:
Katniss is one of my favorite characters of all time. You start rooting her from the first chapter of the book and the moment she sacrifices herself by taking the place of her sister in the Games just breaks your heart because she loves her sister THAT much. She's a survivor because against all the odds, she somehow manages to provide for her family in the wilderness. She is a bad ass because she can adeptly work a bow and arrow. At the same time, she is vulnerable and that makes her real. I think young adult readers (that are actually young adults) greatly benefit from a strong, bold, courageous character like Katniss in YA literature. I can't wait to see what she's like in the movies.

Character: Emma Morley
Title: One Day
Author: David Nicholls

Why I chose Emma as a favorite character:
While reading One Day, I completely sympathized with Emma Morley. She is Dexter's best friend even though she obviously wants more from him. I feel like all of us were an "Emma" at some point or another where we were friends with someone all the while hoping that he/she would someday wake up and realize just how wonderful you are and how they cannot live another day without you. She's not the most confident or prettiest girl, which I could definitely relate to, but she's the girl next door. Dexter takes advantage of her in so many ways throughout their whole time together, but like I said, you know why she does it and you can't wait for things to just work out for her and Dexter so she can finally be with the man she's loved all along.


Character: Julie Seagle
Title: Flat Out Love
Author: Jessica Park

Why I chose Julie as a favorite character:
If I were a college student right now, I'd probably be a lot like Julie. Through unlikely circumstances, she ends up befriending the youngest child of the family she lives with while going to school who believes that a flat, cardboard cut out of her older brother is "real." She is so endearing with Celeste. I love her witty banter with Matt and Finn. Like Julie, I'm very sarcastic, but not nearly as witty. Plus, if I were in college right now, I would probably use facebook a lot too. (Heck, I do that right now as a full-fledged adult!)

Character: Enzo
Title: The Art of Racing in the Rain
Author: Garth Stein

Why I chose Enzo as a favorite character:
I just adore Enzo. The Art of Racing in the Rain is told from the perspective of a dog and Enzo is so pure and sweet. He wants so much to be human and throughout the whole book, he talks about what he'll do as a human. Enzo's loyalty and love for his master, Denny, is unconditional in only a way a dog could love someone unconditionally. Definitely one of my favorite characters, ever.

Character: Nathan
Title: The Christmas Shoes & The Christmas Blessing
Author: Donna VanLiere

Why I chose Nathan as a favorite character:
Nathan is an 8-year old boy whose mother is slowly dying. His story had me in tears for most of the book because his love for his mother is so pure. On Christmas Eve, he realizes that he is losing time with his mother on Earth and he scrounges up what little money he can find to buy the perfect pair of shoes for his mama so she will look nice when she goes to Heaven. Doesn't that just melt your heart?! The Christmas Blessing picks up while Nathan is in his 3rd year as a medical student.

Character: Jacob Jankowski
Title: Water for Elephants
Author: Sara Gruen

Why I chose Jacob as a favorite character:
This story follows Jacob Jankowski, who is telling his story in flashbacks of his time working with the Benzini Brothers Most Spectacular Show on Earth when he was much younger. He's an orphan who out of desperation is tossed onto a train and somehow ends up joining the circus. He's not outwardly brave, but you root for him for who he is on the inside. He falls in love for the wrong girl. Somehow the elephant, Rosie, makes a connection to him and the story is all about the relationship between the three of them.

Character: Hugo Cabret
Title: The Invention of Hugo Cabret
Author: Brian Selznick

Why I chose Hugo as a favorite character:
I have a soft spot for orphans. Hugo is an orphan who lives in the walls of the train station making sure the clocks work. He's a survivor. He steals because he has to and somehow in the midst of all of this he finds time to work on a project his late father left behind. An all-around wonderful middle grade fiction character.

Character: Olive C. Spence
Title: Dying to Meet You
Author: Kate Klise

Why I chose Olive as a favorite character:
Olive C. Spence is the ghost that is haunting the home that Spencer and Ignatius B. Grumply lives in. I'd like to think that if I were a ghost, I would definitely be a lot like Olive - maybe not so much meddling in other people's lives, but definitely borrowing books from the local library.

Just like my other posts, I chose some TV characters as well.

Character: Phil Dunphy
TV Show: Modern Family

Why I chose Phil as a favorite character:
I LOVE Modern Family. Like most TV shows recently, I've started them late and I'm glad I finally caught on to Modern Family. I actually love all the characters and for a long time could not decide who I liked the most. However, lately while watching the show, I just love all of Phil's scenes. He's a father to three and tries really hard to be the "cool dad" even though he doesn't always get it. Even though he often finds himself in all kinds of mischief, his intentions are always good and that's what makes him loveable. Of course, Ty Burrell's comedic timing is right on point which just makes Phil all the more hilarious.

Character: Alicia Florrick
TV Show: The Good Wife

Why I chose Alicia as a favorite character:
The Good Wife is such a wonderful show and it owes a lot of it to Julianna Marguilles who plays Alicia Florrick. Alicia is the wife of a politician who has been caught in a prostitution scandal. She goes back to work as a lawyer and is an amazing one at that. She is smart and intelligent, but she's also vulnerable especially when it comes to her family. Even though she is a lawyer, she is not always confident and it's her insecurities that make her relatable. She's emotional and real. Can't wait to see what Season 2 has in store!


Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Top 10 of 2011: Book Boyfriends


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.

While making this list, I realized that I actually read a lot more nonfiction this year than I realized and couldn't come up with 10 Book Boyfriends. So I chose 6 book boyfriends and 4 from TV and movies. WARNING: There are many SPOILERS ahead so if you have not read these books, consider yourself forewarned.

Top 6 Book Boyfriends:

Book Boyfriend: Dexter Mayhew
Title: One Day
Author: David Nicholls

Why I chose Dexter as a book boyfriend:
I am still majorly crushing on Jim Sturgess as Dexter even after all these months. I learned about One Day from the Goodreads challenge promoting the movie, so I didn't know about this book pre-movie. While reading it, I couldn't help but picture Jim Sturgess as Dexter and Anne Hathaway as Emma. As a character, Dexter is the bad boy that all of us girls have dated while subsequently trying to "rescue" and "save." You love/hate Dexter most of the story, but deep down you know why Emma loves him. All of us girls can also relate to the being close friends to the guy you actually really want to be your boyfriend because while being such a great "friends" with you, you are wishfully hoping that he will one day see the light, come to his senses and fall madly in love with you. I loved watching Jim Sturgess play Dexter in the movie and especially as he aged. If anything, I think he looks great with his salt-and-pepper look. Doesn't he look just yummy all scruffy too?


Book Boyfriend: Matt
Title: Flat-Out Love
Author: Jessica Park

Why I chose Matt as a book boyfriend:
I adored Matt from the moment that he picked up Julie in the first chapter of the book. He's geeky, socially awkward and altogether lovable. He's actually someone that I would have dated in college. My husband is a dorky one himself and I just love that about him. As the story goes on, I kept hoping that Julie would start crushing on him instead of Finn. Read the book and you'll see why you love Matt even more at the end.

Book Boyfriend: Gale
Title: The Hunger Games
Author: Suzanne Collins

Why I chose Gale as a book boyfriend:
Yes, I'm Team Gale. I always wanted to Katniss to end up with Gale. He was her best friend. He understood her. He was there for her through all the hard times of supporting her family. He was outdoorsy, rugged and masculine - the guy version of Katniss. Gale took care of his family in the same way that Katniss did for her own family. If the Games did not happen, I think she would have ended up with Gale. In the movie, Gale's character is a lot bulkier than I imagined in my head. Like I mentioned in my Hunger Games Trailer post, I pictured him more like Orlando Bloom in my mind a-la Legolas because of his abilities with a bow and arrow.

Book Boyfriend: Peeta
Title: The Hunger Games
Author: Suzanne Collins

Why I chose Peeta as a book boyfriend:
Like I said above, I am Team Gale. I do have to admit that I did root for Peeta Mellark though. Even though it was all a part of the Games for Katniss, he actually genuinely loves her. He was the baker's son who gave the bread to her and was punished for it. I didn't like him very much as the series went on though, especially in Mockingjay. As Peeta's character in the movie, did they have to make him so dang cute? I have a feeling that I will waver more between Team Gale and Team Peeta once I see the movie. (Just like what happened with Team Edward vs. Team Jacob in Twilight. I was ALL about Edward pre-movies, but they just made Jacob so lovable in the movies.)

Book Boyfriend: Michael
Title: Sundays at Tiffany's
Author: James Patterson

Why I chose Michael as a book boyfriend:
I haven't seen the Lifetime movie yet, but I have a feeling I am going to love it because I just love Alyssa Milano. Plus, the person that plays Michael is not so bad on the eyes either. I didn't LOVE Sundays at Tiffany's like I was hoping I would. I love the premise of it and the story itself is decent, I just wanted MORE - more details, more feelings, more romance. The premise of the book is that Jane has an imaginary friend that leaves her when she turns 10 because that's what he's supposed to do. However, their paths somehow cross again and there might be more than just friendship this time around.

Book Boyfriend: Carter Maguire
Title: Vision in White
Author: Nora Roberts

Why I chose Carter as a book boyfriend:
I married "Carter." My husband is a teacher and is sweet, gentle in nature and intelligent like Carter Maguire in Vision in White. He is shy and obviously isn't good with getting the girls, but nice guys finish last, right? It's hard to not like Carter because he is the level-headed one compared to the ups and downs of Mac and the girls.


To round off my Top 10, I supplemented my list with men from TV shows and movies, so here are my Top 4 TV/Movie Boyfriends:

TV Show Boyfriend: Will Gardner
TV Show: The Good Wife

Why I chose Will as a TV show boyfriend:
I think Will is my biggest character crush of the year. My husband and I just LOVE The Good Wife. It is SO well-written and everything about the show is top quality. The main character, Alicia Florrick, is the wife of a politician who set off a huge scandal with the prostitutes he's been sleeping with. She goes back to work as a lawyer with her former college friend, Will. He's a powerful lawyer who just exudes confidence. He dresses so well in his suits and even when he's dressed down, he looks put together. He's one of Chicago's 16 most eligible bachelors. There's TONS of sexual tension on the show between Alicia and Will - will they finally sleep together or not? And underneath it all, he's just a bit soft and vulnerable on the inside. Need I say more?

TV Show Boyfriend: Michael Westen
TV Show: Burn Notice

Why I chose Michael as a TV show boyfriend:
Burn Notice is one of the best shows on TV and it's because the characters are amazing. Michael Westen is an ex-spy who has been burned, but wants to find out who and why they burned him. In the meantime, he is like a Robin Hood of Miami, helping the good guys beat the bad guys. Who doesn't like that? Plus, he always looks so, SO good while fighting the bad guys. Michael probably wouldn't make the best boyfriend since he and Fiona have been on and off for many, many years now and he just can't seem to turn from the life of a spy even for the girl he loves.

TV Show Boyfriend: Marshall Eriksen
TV Show: How I Met Your Mother

Why I chose Marshall as a TV show boyfriend:
I think the fictional relationship that is most like my relationship with Adam is Marshall and Lily aka Marshmallow & Lilypad. We're both laid back, goofy and fun-loving. Marshall is just such an endearing character and Jason Segel is downright hilarious! It's always nice to have boyfriend that would make you laugh.

Movie Boyfriend: Edward Cullen
Movie: Twilight series

Why I chose Edward as a movie boyfriend:
I think this one goes without explanation. I definitely all for Team Edward. I think the how frenzy for Edward has to do with the fact that he is so protective of Bella and all of us women would love to have a man protect us - whether it be from harm or evil vampires, you can't help but fall for someone like Edward. *gushing*

Who would you choose for book/TV/movie 
boyfriends this year?

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Top 10 in 2011: Best covers


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.

Top 5 Books Covers of Books I've Read in 2011

Title: One Day
Author: David Nicholls

Why I loved this cover:
I don't usually like movie covers for books because it's not the "authentic" cover, but I actually bought this book specifically with this cover because I just love the moment it captures. I love the muted colors and it definitely fueled my crush on Jim Sturgess. Yum.

Title: Breadcrumbs
Author: Anne Ursu

Why I loved this cover:
The colors in this cover are absolutely beautiful. I am currently reading aloud in my classroom. It does a great job of capturing the colors of a sunset on a snowy day. Love the swirly wind gusts of snow too.

Title: Scones and Sensibility
Author: Lindsay Eland

Why I loved this cover:
Most of my library trips this year were intentionally because I went to pick up books that I put on hold. While browsing the stacks, I came across this cover and couldn't put it down. Love the colors and all the curly-cues. The recipe on the back cover was also very cute.

Title: Bookends
Author: Jane Green

Why I loved this cover:
I read Bookends years ago, but loved this new cover design after seeing it in the bookstore one day. I tried to use PaperBackSwap.com with Requestor Conditions to request books with this cover, but that was just a huge headache. I did eventually get a book with this cover, but I'm still working on building a collection of Jane Green books with the illustrated covers versus the photographic ones.

Title: Wonderstruck
Author: Brian Selznick

Why I loved this cover:
The shading in this cover is amazing. If you really look at it closely, there is a cityscape at the bottom and the lightning bolt looks completely white even though everything was shaded around it. Beautiful!






Top 5 Books Covers of Books I added to my to-read list in 2011: (I didn't get a chance to read these books, but I did add them to my to-read list this year.)

Title: Anna Dressed in Blood
Author: Kendare Blake

Why I loved this cover:
I saw this book EVERYWHERE on the blogosphere this year. There seems to be a trendy of the silhouette of a girl in a dress on YA book covers lately, but this one really drew me in. Love the juxtaposition of the white and red.

Title: The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer
Author: Michelle Hodkin

Why I loved this cover:
This was another one of those books that I could not avoid on the blogosphere. Each and every time, I'd catch myself just staring at the cover. The image is just so mesmerizing. Great choice of font too.

Title: Friendship Bread
Author: Darien Gee

Why I loved this cover:
I love the bokeh in this photo - that's photographer-talk for blurriness. :) It's so bright and warm too!

Title: A Vintage Affair
Author: Isabel Wolff

Why I loved this cover: I'm a sucker covers with pretty dresses. Put a pretty dress on a cover and there is a high statistical chance of me adding it to my freakishly long to-read list. One of my favorite Pinterest boards is my "pretty dresses" board. I picked up this book after finding it for sale for a $1 at our local library bookstore. Haven't read it yet, but looking forward to it.

Title: A Tale Dark and Grimm
Author: Adam Gidwitz

Why I loved the cover:
I raved about this book earlier this year and it's mainly because the cover drew me in. I love all the details in the branches of the trees. It's sitting on my nightstand. Hopefully I can read it sometime soon!









What are your favorite covers of 2011?

Best of 2011: $10 Amazon gift card giveaway


Thanks to I am a Reader Not a Writer for hosting this Best of 2011 Giveaway Hop!

Yesterday, you read my list of my favorite reads of 2011. Today, I'm giving away a $10 gift card to Amazon.com so that you can purchase one of my favorite reads (or another book of your choice).

Amazon_gift_card.jpg

Over 100 participating blogs are offering a book related giveaway and we are all linked up together so you can easily hop from one giveaway to another. The hop runs from Tuesday December 27th through Saturday December 31st. This is a shorter hop so don't wait until the last minute to enter!

***MUST BE A FOLLOWER TO ENTER***
(To follow, scroll down up the left side bar to the top and click "follow") If it does not show up, please refresh the page. GFC can be buggy. :(


Giveaway Details:
To enter giveaway please follow this blog then fill out the RaffleCopter.
Comments are for feedback and questions only.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Bookshelf Monday :: 26


I think you will all agree with me that Christmas just come and goes by way too quickly for my liking. So today's Bookshelf Monday post is still in celebration of the wonderful holidays. I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas celebration!

Top 10 of 2011: Books I've Read



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.

Top 10 Books I've Read in 2011


Title: The Hunger Games & Catching Fire
Author: Suzanne Collins

Why I loved this book:
I started 2011 with some amazing books. I finally read The Hunger Games series and devoured it all within days and it was just as good as I had heard from friends. If you haven't read it, you MUST read it! I am so excited about the movie coming out in March!


Title: Flat-Out Love
Author: Jessica Park

Why I loved this book:
This book was my surprise hit of the year. I fell really hard for the characters in this story and it was completely unexpected. I loved it from beginning to end and I've been shouting from the rooftops since then trying to get friends to read this as well!

Title: One Day
Author: David Nicholls

Why I loved this book:
This was my favorite love story of the year. It's been a long, long time since I've been heads over heels in love with a love story other than The Time Traveler's Wife. This one came close. I enjoyed it and couldn't stop thinking about it for weeks afterwards. I enjoyed that it wasn't just a straight-forward love story. It checked in on the characters once a year and it let you fill in the blanks as the story went on.

Title: The Book Whisperer: Awakening the Inner Reader in Every Child
Author: Donalyn Miller

Why I loved this book:
This was my favorite teacher book of the year, of the past few years and dare I say, ever? I thoroughly enjoyed reading it. It has been so rewarding to implement components into my classroom this year because my students are devouring books left and right to feed their reading appetites. This book is definitely a pivotal one in my career.

Title: The Christmas Shoes
Author: Donna VanLiere

Why I loved this book:
Every year during Christmas time, I crave Christmas stories whether it be via books or movies. This year, I finally read The Christmas Shoes and even though it was a lot heavier than I was expecting, it satisfied everything I was hoping for in a Christmas story. I also read The Christmas Note and The Christmas Blessing this year and really enjoyed them as well.

Title: Smitten
Authors: Colleen Coble, Kristin Billerbeck, Denise Hunter, Diann Hunt

Why I am loving this book:
I am actually not finished with this book yet. I received it last week via NetGalley, but haven't had time to read with a sick child (stomach flu) and doing all the last minute holiday errands before our Christmas travels. I am really enjoying it though. It reminds me a lot of the TV show, Gilmore Girls, which I absolutely adore because it takes place in a small New England town. It is bound to be one of my favorites of the year.

To round off my top 10, here are my favorite kid-lit books of the year:

Title: The Invention of Hugo Cabret
Author: Brian Selznick

Why I loved this book:
The illustrations are absolutely breathtaking. I poured over each and every illustration and it brought so much life to the book that it felt like I was watching a movie and not reading a book. I loved all the details and the story was very intriguing as well!

Title: Wonderstruck
Author: Brian Selznick

Why I loved this book:
Once I finished Hugo Cabret, I had to read this one. It is just as beautiful as Hugo Cabret and even the story was harder to follow, it was still as intriguing and heartwarming.

Title: Dying to Meet You
Author: Kate Klise
Illustrator: M. Sarah Klise

Why I loved this book:
This was another unexpected hit of the year. I received it as a free book from the Scholastic book orders and opened it out of curiosity. Fell in love from the illustrations on the very first page. It was a very fun read full of letters, newspapers and illustrations. My students are currently passing it on from one person to the next in our class as well.


What were your favorite reads this year?


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