Friday, July 13, 2012

My Top Ten Books of 2012 so far

I know everyone's been saying it, but it's true. This year has gone by far too quickly.  That it is already July and therefore 2012 is already half over blows my mind.  When did that happen?

But instead of contemplating the movement of time (and thus how little I've accomplished this year which would lead to crying) today I want to talk about some of my favourite books that I've read this year.  At the time of writing this blog post, I have read 109 books.  And there have been some amazing books that I've read this year.  But I forced myself to pick 10 of the best, and so here they are.

In no particular order...


Heart-Shaped Bruise by Tanya Byrne - I love this book so much.  I love that it is a book by a debut author, which just means that there is more awesome to come from Tanya Bryne.  I love that it is a story about a girl who is so clearly broken and has done some terrible things but her story is told in such a sympathetic way.  So even as the reader knows that the things our main character has done is wrong, we can still relate to her and sympathise with all the crap she's going through.  I love how much of the book circles around identity and how important that is.  Emily's entire life and sense of self is called into question suddenly which leads poor Emily down a path of terrible choices and revenge.  I was so wrapped up in this story and the beautiful writing and the emotionally drawn characters that I didn't want to put it down for a second and I was bereft when it finished.  Beautiful story, this one.


Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry - Even though this book hasn't technically been published here in the UK (expected publishing date: 3rd August from MIRAInk) I couldn't not include this book on this list.  It is so addictive to read, once I started, I didn't stop until the early hours of the morning when I'd finished.  These are really my favourite sort of love stories - between two characters that are very broken by other circumstances.  I can understand that and relate and, for me, their story becomes more emotional and impactful to me as a reader because of it.  I loved how both Echo and Noah have their demons to deal with - Noah with the pressures and worries of getting his younger brother back and Echo with her lack of memory for a hugely traumatic event in her life.  And memory issues in stories are something I'm particularly drawn to, especially those concerning a parent.  Seriously folks, look out for this one when it is released! 


Unravelling by Elizabeth Norris - This is the book that got me out of my horrible reading slump earlier in the year.  This book is incredibly exciting and fast-paced and nail-bitingly tense.  I love the 24esque feel of it, with a steady countdown until a major disaster occurs.  And while there is some little niggles with the believeability of the world resting on the shoulders of two teenagers, I was quite happy to suspend my disbelief and just roll with this fantastic story.  I loved the twists and turns of the storyline, but what's more, I loved the characters.  And there are some brilliant characters in Unravelling, from our main character, Janelle, and the stoner boy love interest, Ben.  I also really loved Alex, Janelle's best friend and Janelle's father.  Janelle surrounds herself with some awesome people and I cannot wait to read more about them.  This book lifted me out of my reading slump so wholly and completely and I loved diving into such an interesting story!


Seraphina by Rachel Hartman - It's not often that I read fantasy novels and after devouring books like Seraphina by Rachel Hartman, I'm left wondering 'why on earth not?!' Rachel Hartman does a wonderful job of building this world in which dragons and human co-habitate not altogether peaceably.  And Seraphina is there, stuck in the middle with her music and her somewhat strange ways.  I love how this book is part mystery, part love story, part political thriller.  But with dragons!  Orma in particular, is my absolute favourite character.  It's interesting to see the dragon's search to discover one's own humanity and also see an outsider's struggles to find a place to belong.  I found this book to be a perfect book for escaping into and losing myself. 


The Fault in Our Stars by John Green - I have still yet to find the words to convey how emotional and beautiful I found this book.  I don't think I'll be reviewing it because I don't think I could anything that hasn't already been said about the book.  I really loved the story and the characters.  I love the nerdiness of some of the observations and the dialogue, even if I didn't find it very realistic coming from the mouths of teenagers.  I really enjoyed the inclusion of a favourite book and author and how the exploration of the fictional characters' lives reflected Hazel's worries about herself and her family.  I loved Hazel and Augustus so, so much I could cry just thinking about them now.  I loved Amsterdam and oh... this book so much.


Second Chance Summer by Morgan Matson - Oh Morgan Matson, how you pull at my heartstrings!  I was a huge fan of Morgan Matson's previous book, Amy and Roger's Epic Detour, so I was always going to be excited to read her next book.  So much so, that I never really read what it was about.  And of course, the colourful and cheerful UK cover led me to believe that this would be a nice summer love story... so I was hugely surprised that this book turned out to be so much more emotional and heart-wrenching than I initially expected.  I thought Second Chance Summer started off pretty slowly, but that even in its slow beginning, I was still very much connected to the story and to its characters and found myself instantly tearing up at the slightest of sweet moments between Taylor and her father who is ill with cancer.  I loved that Taylor was able to have her second chances with her childhood crush, with friends left behind and especially with her family.  This is such a beautiful story.


Saving Daisy by Phil Earle - I've become quite the fan of Phil Earle's after writing such beautiful books about trouble teens. Daisy is a character that got under my  skin straight away.  Her vulnerability and her guilt over the deaths of her parents is heartbreaking to read.  She's been through some terrible things, most of which were out of her control and she's taken them to heart and believes herself to be at fault.  And all the emotions of losing loved ones and experiencing traumatic events eventually leads poor Daisy to depression, anxiety and self-harm.  Without the tireless support and patience of Adebayo, Daisy is help to take those small steps towards a happier place.  I loved this book.  It contains four little words that makes me instantly cry: 'it's not your fault.'  I love how raw and emotional and ultimately hopeful this book is.


Before I Wake by Rachel Vincent - I don't think it's possible to say how much I love this series enough times.  I really do love it.  And part of what I love so much is how much my feelings for characters have changed so much throughout the series.  It's been such a roller coaster ride with Nash.  First kind of loved him, then despised him and now I'm feeling sorry for him.  Sabine is another character that I loved to hate at first and now I just plain love her.  And throughout it all is unabiding love for Tod.  Right from the very first time we're introduced to him, he leaped out from the pages and stole my heart.  I love the way things are going with this series and I'm hugely anticipating and dreading the final book in the series. 


Real Live Boyfriends by E Lockhart - Oh no. Oh no, oh no.  This is the reason that I held off reading this book for such a long time.  I am not ready for a world in which there are no more Ruby Oliver books.  I cried like crazy reading this book.  I adore Roo so much (and by extension E. Lockhart!) and I just couldn't handle some of the events of this book.  Even before I started reading I knew that the plural of boyfriend in the title would mean SOMETHING going wrong between Ruby and my preferred boyfriend of choice.  My floods of tears when reading Real Lives Boyfriends just showed me how emotionally connected I am to the characters and to the story.  I have a small stack of other books by E Lockhart waiting for me to read now that I've said my goodbyes to Ruby... hopefully something will fill the hole in my heart.


Immortal Rules by Julie Kagawa - I was set on not reading this book.  I thought to myself 'vampires? really? another one? *sigh*' and I didn't ask for a review copy ... but I was still thinking about the book and wondering.  It got worse when I started reading to steady trickle of reviews coming out for it.  And my interest and curiosity won the better of me and I requested a copy on the book swapping site I use. And oh my god, how did I ever doubt Ms Julie Kagawa?! Her Iron Fey series is one of my favourite series of all time and after reading Immortal Rules and loving it to bits, I will know for next time: she can write about absolutely anything and I will want to read it.  I loved Immortal Rules.  I loved how the story changed and built up and I so want to know more about these characters and this world and discover its mysteries! 


Honourable mentions: A Love Story Starring My Dead Best Friend by Emily Horner, Insurgent by Veronica Roth, and A Swift Pure Cry by Siobhan Dowd.

These are my top 10 books that I've read so far this year, I would love to know yours!

20 comments:

  1. Nice mix on your list, Clover. I haven't read it but I have a feeling that Tanya Byrne might be at the top of quite a few people's best of lists. It's definitely a book that we will read at some point.

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    1. Oh Mel, I highly recommend it! Amazing book.

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  2. So many amazing books on your list. Two or three of them are going to be on mine as well!

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    1. I've been so lucky to read such incredible books so far this year :)

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  3. Such a great post, and a great idea for a post! I may have to have a look back at what I've been reading too, I think there may be one book that's on your list that will definitely be on mine too.

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    1. I love reading posts like these, would be really interesting to see which books you'd choose!

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  4. Ooh, I hadn't heard of Seraphina. Must look out for that.

    You might like Charlotte English's Draykon series - it has various unusual species but feels very down-to-earth for a fantasy plot and has some wonderful characters (human and otherwise). The third in the trilogy just came out (I cried). Another of my fantasy favourites this year was Empire in Black and Gold, which is the first in a loooong series - I've only read the first one so far but it was great, though probably only if you like a bit of politics and war :-)

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    1. Thanks for the recommendations Rachel, I shall look into both of those as they sound really good! And yes, Seraphina is definitely a book to look out for! :)

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  5. I'm really looking forward to reading Unravelling, The Fault in Our Stars, Second Chance Summer, and The Immortal Rules. They all sound awesome! I'm glad that they are in your favorites... they must be good!

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  6. Great Top-Ten! Pushing the Limits looks interesting. :)

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    1. Thanks! And it is, a really great book :)

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  7. I feel like I'm missing out, I haven't read any of these! The Fault in Our Stars looks amazing, I really want to read it. I also love the cover of Wake! Thanks for posting :)

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  8. I've just added Seraphina to my list, and I've been waiting for The Fault is In our Stars to come out in softcover, two weeks to go! I really enjoyed your synopsis of each book, and you look like you have had a super reading year so far, reading so many books.

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    1. I definitely have had a super reading so far :) I hope you enjoy TFiOS as much as I did!

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  9. Ok- wow- I totally agree with you about The Immortal Rules, Pushing the Limits and Unravelling! Amazing books. Next up on my reading pile is Before I Wake and Seraphina, so I'm even more excited about reading them now!
    I feel like I have to check out those others now as well.
    Thanks for posting this- I want to do a top 10 list now!

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    1. Please do a top 10 list! And I hope you loved Before I Wake and Seraphina as much as I did :)

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  10. Ooooo I was going to do a post like this next weekend! haha I may have to link to yours from mine! I've not read loads of these but there are some great books on this list that I have read and Second Chance Summer will definitely be in my own! I cant wait to read Pushing the Limiris and Seraphina

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    1. SO many great books, it'll be fun to see which books are on your list!

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