The Best of 2012!

2012 was an absolutely AWESOME year of books for me! I had such good look with many of the books I read. This past year I really branched out of my comfort zone as far as my reading taste goes. I slowly started to get more into the mature YA and NA books that were popping up like crazy. After having awesome luck with a few, I read as many as I could fit in. I also began seeing some of my blogging friends dipping their toes into the world of adult books and since I trust their opinions with my bookish life, I decided to give it a try. Some positive reviews led me to purchase a few and falling in love with those few led me to purchasing a whole lot more and boy am I glad that I did! Out of the 85 books I was able to squeeze into 2012, I gave 5 stars to nearly 40 of those books, crazy I know!!!! Below are all the books that I loved & adored with all of my heart in 2012. Clicking the picture will lead you to the Goodreads page of that particular book unless I had the chance to review it on the blog, if so, the picture will lead you to the review!

In no certain order, the best books of 2012:

The Hunger Games  Queen of the Dead  Die For Me  Throne Of Glass

Something Like Normal  Second Chance Summer  Shade  Born Wicked

Body & Soul  The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight  My Life Next Door  The Knife and the butterfly

Dark Days  Anew  Any Other Night  Pushing The Limits

Simply Irresistible  Awkward  The Fault In Our Stars  The Vincent Boys

On Little Wings  Smart Girls Get What They Want  Slammed  Shift

Easy  Crash  Just Remember To Breathe  Charade

Dizzy  Yours To Keep  Losing It  Try Me

Wallbanger  Hopeless

Did you get a chance to read any of these titles in 2012? Did you love them as much as I did? Are there any books you would recommend to me for 2013?

TGIF (37)

There once was an awesome blogger named Ginger and she decided to create a super fun feature where fellow bloggers would answer fabulous questions via blog posts every Friday. TGIF was born and we all have Miss Ginger at GReads! to thank for that! This week’s question is:

Love Stories:

What are some of your favorite fictional love stories?

Aside from my personal (and yes very fictional) love story that I have made up in my head, there are a TON of love stories in books that have completely captured my heart. I know I make a lot of lists and I often times go WAY overboard, and before you get ahead of yourself this post is no different, BUT I just wanted to let you know that I held back a lot or at least I tried to! There are so many wonderful, beautiful, breathtaking love stories (that I have read!) that deserve to be on this list but I only have so much time and I don’t think you want to be stuck here all day! Please excuse me while I get very excited, maybe a bit hot and bothered, and of course way too giddy!

Chelsea Fine

This girl is PURE GENIUS when it comes to writing love stories.

A few months ago I read Sophie & Carter and I was mesmerized by their love for each other. This story was about two people loving each other despite their completely screwed up lives. They accepted one another even with all the extra baggage that came along with it. Let’s be honest, this is what every relationship should be like!

Then the other day I finished Anew. I have not reviewed it yet but let me give you a little preview of what is to come “OH.EM.GEE!!!!!… That’s was crazy…Kissing Festival?….bright blue eyes….Gabriel<3….Twin brother!?!?!…..TRISTAN<3<3<3<3…swoon…drool…broken heart…LLLOOOVVVEEE!” Does that give you an idea about how epic this story is? Scarlet is lucky because she has two exceptional guys (did I mention they were brothers?) pining after her. One thinks life is rainbows and butterflies plus he worships the ground she walks on (Gabriel) and the other sacrifices EVERYTHING for her just to keep her safe (Tristan…sigh<3)

Stephanie Perkins

I probably don’t need to use up my time writing this out because we are all aware of how brilliant Stephanie is but I will do it just in case one of you is crazy enough to have not read her work before!

Anna and the French Kiss is adorable, there is lots of tension (the love kind, not the angry kind), and neither person involved in the relationship is technically available (Yeah, I know…this isn’t sounding like a good love story so far) but I still love it regardless. It is one story that captures the idea of a soul mate (or at least the idea of some who was almost made for you), some one so imperfectly perfect for you, that the only thing you can do in life is love them unconditionally.

Then Miss Stephanie had to go and show us that the first book was not just beginners luck. Lola and the Boy Next Door makes me smile by just saying the title. It shows that love can be messy and not always super pretty but there is such thing as forgiveness. Lola and Cricket have a strained relationship in the beginning but they work through it, they become good friends, and they have a heart-pounding smooching scene that I am insanely jealous of.

Megan McCafferty

I am a bit of a “newer” fan of the “I HEART EVERYTHING MEGAN WRITES” club, but that doesn’t change her level of brilliance. Which is pretty much as high as you can get.

I have only read the first 2 books in The Jessica Darling series so I will just have to go off of that. Wow!!! When I say Marcus you say LOVE. There is no definite way to describe this love story except that it’s full of laughs, two people being there for each other, making each other mad, apologizing in big ways (that may or may not include a whole song dedicated to them). Seriously, Jessica and Marcus are just so right together; they make sense. Plus, I just LOVE it when opposites attract to each other. They are both genius but Marcus has the whole rebel without a cause thing going for him and Jessica is brilliant, has her head on straight, and gets things done. Love<3

Simone Elkeles

If you didn’t know that I adore Simone with all of my heart then you have clearly been living under a rock!

Her Ruined series is all about the love! The reason this love story stands out the most to me is because of the work it takes. Amy and Avi are living in completely different countries and it is definitely NOT easy for them. Sure there are quite a few rough patches along the way but in the end they make it all work out!

Now we get to Perfect Chemistry, the book that imprinted the name Alex Fuentes into my heart <3 <3 <3 Seriously, when I said that I love how  opposites attract, it ALL started with this book ! Alex and Brittany are so different, they live in practically different worlds but they fall for each other regardless. They stick together no matter what their friends and families think AND we even get to see a softer side to Alex that Brittany totally brings out. Plus this book has a lot of kissing and I am a sucker for a good kissing scene!

Jennifer Echols

Jennifer is one of those authors that makes me squeal with excitement every time I hear she has a new book. She has easily found a place in my heart and will forever be one of my favorite authors. Plus guys, she is like the ROCK STAR of love stories!

Endless Summer is one of those love stories that make you miss high school. I know, MAJOR shock to hear “high school” and “miss” all in the same sentence but hear me out! Lori and Adam are so young, and crazy about each other even if they don’t quite realize it sometimes. It always makes me think of that “epic first love” that only the lucky people got to experience in high school.

And as many may know, Forget You is one of my favorite love stories and I can’t really tell if it’s because the love in it is amazing or because I could spend hours dreaming about Doug…. Zoey’s resistance to Doug, a dreamy guy who is good on crutches and makes Zoey angry in the most adorable ways,  makes this story so wonderful. You can see she is falling for him but it takes her so long to finally realize it. BUT when it does happen….your heart will pound <3

Going Too Far is another brilliant one. Actually, I dare you to find a Jennifer Echols book that I don’t like! This story is so lovely, and the two characters are beautiful and broken, and they definitely like to push each other to the limits (I think that is where the title comes from) but they also care for one another so deeply.Sure they may piss each other off immensely in the process but they make one another a better person in the end. Plus Officer After…*love* he can come arrest me any day of the week!

Sarah Dessen

I could easily pick any of Sarah’s book to fill in the number one spot. She has this magnificent ability to create stories that deal with these all so real and personal stories and they just happen to have an epic love story involved. I think I am picking The Truth About Forever not only because it is my favorite Dessen book EVER but because the love story in it means so much to me (which is really quite ironic because it shows so LITTLE of the romance!) Wes….okay yes he is gorgeous, sweet, gorgeous, a bit of a bad boy (at least in his past) and gorgeous. Yes those are all reasons to love him but he is also genuine. He speaks his mind, doesn’t sugar coat a whole lot, and he cares for you with his whole heart. He is a friend when you need him to be there and he is that extra push that helps you to be your very best. This is a story about supporting someone, being there for them regardless, and taking a chance on love and that my lovelies is why it is my very favorite fictional love story!

Wow, that post was way too much fun! I will now spend the remainder of my weekend dreaming of guys sweeping me off my feet…who just happen to be pretend. But then again, what’s new?

This week on Kate’s Tales of Books and Bands (2/3-2/10):

TGIF (36) What is it about books that really capture my eye?

A Touch Awesome Blog Tour Week Three: My top 5 favorite characters!

In My Mailbox (31) A few great books!

Tune In Tuesday (46) Some more randomness this week!

Trade Secrets by Yvonne Collins and Sandy Rideout! Such a cute follow-up to Love, Inc.

The Knife and the Butterfly by Ashley Hope Perez. A beautiful and touching story.

Book Review: The Knife and the Butterfly by Ashley Hope Perez

Title: The Knife and the Butterfly

Author: Ashely Hope Perez

Publisher: Carolrhoda Lab

Pages: 216 Hardcover

My Rating: 5/5 stars

Source: I received an e-book from the author in exchange for an honest and thoughtful review

After a marijuana-addled brawl with a rival gang, 16-year-old Azael wakes up to find himself surrounded by a familiar set of concrete walls and a locked door. Juvie again, he thinks. But he can’t really remember what happened or how he got picked up. He knows his MS13 boys faced off with some punks from Crazy Crew. There were bats, bricks, chains. A knife. But he can’t remember anything between that moment and when he woke behind bars.

Azael knows prison, and something isn’t right about this lockup. No phone call. No lawyer. No news about his brother or his homies. The only thing they make him do is watch some white girl in some cell. Watch her and try to remember.

Lexi Allen would love to forget the brawl, would love for it to disappear back into the Xanax fog it came from. And her mother and her lawyer hope she chooses not to remember too much about the brawl—at least when it’s time to testify.

Lexi knows there’s more at stake in her trial than her life alone, though. She’s connected to him, and he needs the truth. The knife cut, but somehow it also connected.

This book grabbed a hold of me from the very first page and if I am being completely honest, it still has a hold over me even days after reading it. I first fell in love with Ashley’s writing after reading What Can’t Wait. I learned that she has this impeccable ability to tie in beautiful, hopeful stories while also keeping it entertaining and realistic. The Knife and the Butterfly will anger you, make you happy, break your heart, and then put it together again. It is one emotional roller coaster of a book that is 100% worth your time.

The story follows Azael, a 15-year-old boy who wakes up in a cell with no recollection of how he got there. To add to his utter confusion, this lock-up is not quite like the others he’s encountered. He doesn’t have a set schedule, he sometimes gets to talk to a few guards but they hardly ever release information, and he spends his days watching Lexi, a girl he knows absolutely nothing about. Lexi’s story is complicated and intertwined with Azael’s somehow and I spent the whole book trying to figure out just how. I love that we are learning the events of his incarceration right along with him. Every confusing moment, every new clue, every elusive comment is there to help us piece together Azael’s whole story.

The book is separated into “now” and “then” chapters and it is through this that we learn all about Azael’s tough childhood like the death of his mother and the deportation of his father. Azael and his brother Eddie spent their days hiding from Child Protective Services, scrounging for food, and trying to survive the gang life. Ashley paints a portrait of a very sad and depressing childhood but it is one that must be painted. She stays true to what I imagine the gang life to be like, very gritty and very dangerous, and it often times includes kids who seem to have no choice just like Azael and Eddie. The brother’s original reasons for joining the gang are unsure but I know the reasons they stayed in; they grew to like the trouble, the money, and the family aspect of it all. Sure the boys have friends that have their backs but they are also introduced to a life of crime that lands them in trouble time and time again including the situation Azael is now in.

Azael definitely has a tough exterior and he said a lot of things that made me squirm but that did not deter me from loving him. Here is this boy with a beautiful heart who got put in the worst of situations, a boy who really wanted to change his life around, and due to bad luck and even worse choices, he is put into this cell to try and figure out what is going on. How could your heart not go out to someone like that? The same goes for Lexi. At first I couldn’t stand the girl but the more we learn about her background, the more I understood the way she presented herself to people. She is a troubled girl thrown into a huge mess of a situation and she is scared to death of it. Both Azael’s and Lexi’s stories pulled at my heartstrings.

Ashley’s writing was beautiful throughout the whole book! Azael likes to throw around curse words and he talks in a manner that is not exactly flattering but that is where Ashley’s talent shines the most. She was able to be so extremely realistic, down to the smallest details like his word choice, yet she still provided such a beautiful story.

The Knife and the Butterfly takes you through a lot. There is grief, sadness, but there is also a sense of hope to the whole thing. I have said it before, and after reading this book I will say it time and time again, but I will forever be a fan of Ashley’s writing!

In My Mailbox (29)

IMM is a weekly meme hosted by The Story Siren. It is a way for book bloggers to post what they have received for review, borrowed from a friend, bought at the bookstore, or picked up at the library!

The last IMM I posted was all the way back in November! Yeah, it is safe to say the holidays definitely got in the way but I am hoping to keep up with the weekly IMMs from now on. Since I missed almost two full months, this IMM is going to be a lot of craziness! Let’s take a look at what I got!!!

For Review:

Unbreakable Love by Angela Carling

Loving Emily by Anne Pfeffer

Dark Days by C.A. Kunz

Trade Secrets by Yvonne Collins & Sandy Rideout (e-book)

The Knife and the Butterfly by Ashley Hope Perez (e-book)

Settling by Shelley Workinger (e-book)

Bought:

Books

Don’t Expect Magic by Kathy McCullough

Winter’s Kiss: The Ex Games by Jennifer Echols and The Twelve Dates of Christmas by Catherine Hapka

Demonglass by Rachel Hawkins

The DUFF by Kody Keplinger

Supernaturally by Kiersten White

Beautiful Chaos by Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl

Queen of the Dead by Stacey Kade

The Extraordinary Secrets of April, May & June by Robin Benway

The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith

Switched by Amanda Hocking

A Touch Mortal by Leah Clifford

Hush Money by Susan Bischoff (e-book)

Impulse Control by Susan Bischoff (e-book)

Indigo Blues by Danielle Joseph (e-book)

Jessica’s Guide to Dating on the Dark Side by Beth Fantaskey (e-book)

Then Came You by Jennifer Weiner (e-book)

My Thoughts: I got some great deals over some awesome books the past couple months however I am now on a book buying ban! There are just too many things I am saving up for plus I now have enough books to last me a lifetime!

Music

Dashboard Confessional

Anberlin

Thriving Ivory

Ryan Adams

Fitz and the Tantrums

Foster The People

The Summer Set

My Thoughts: Can you tell that I ran into some deals at the CD store? All of their used CDs were super cheap plus if you bought 3, you got the 4th one free!

Gifted/Won:

From Alexa @ AlexaLovesBooks

Moonglass by Jessi Kirby

The Iron Daughter by Julie Kagawa

Chocolates & a card!

My Thoughts: Alexa is one freaking awesome book blogger (and not just because she sent me a super sweet gift!) She never fails to make my days brighter and the day I got this lovely package in the mail was no different. My brother managed to eat both chocolate bars she sent me but I am sure they were delicious! The card was so dang sweet and I cannot wait to read these books!

From Laci @ LovePassionBooks

Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver

Fever by Lauren DeStefano

A Taylor Swift card!

My Thoughts: Laci completely surprised me for my birthday! She saw it was my birthday on Twitter and offered to send me two books. I was stunned and so thankful when I got these two in the mail. Plus, she just knows me so well, she got a TAYLOR SWIFT birthday card!!! This made me smile big time :)

From Cyndi @ Dog-Eared and Bookmarked

Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen

Twilight Saga journal set

A Winter Song CD

Water For Elephants Soundtrack

A Christmas Song CD

The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Soundtrack

A hand-made scarf & a card!!!

My Thoughts: Cyndi is so full of amazing, I wish I could just hug her! She had been teasing me on Twitter for FOREVER about the gift she was sending me and when it finally got here I cried. Seriously. She was so extremely generous and thoughtful with her gift, it totally made my day!

From Jamie Manning @ Writers Write, Right?

A singed Eternal Starling bookmark from Angela Corbett

My Thoughts: I am not entirely sure how I got this or even why, but hey it is a gorgeous, signed bookmark; I am NOT complaining!

From my Dad and Stepmom:

Books

A New Bookshelf

Babe in Boyland by Jody Gehrman

Ten Things We Did (And Probably Shouldn’t Have) by Sarah Mlynowski

New stationary so I can write letters to all of my blogging friends!

Music

Grace Potter & The Nocturnals

Tenth Avenue North

The Fray

The Cab

My Thoughts: I love my dad and stepmom so much! They spoiled me on my birthday and Christmas and I couldn’t be happier :)

From my Mom:

City of Fallen Angels by Cassandra Clare

My Thoughts: It may have taken a while to convince my mom that it was actually okay to buy me books for Christmas but once she finally understood, she made an excellent decision! I can’t wait to continue on with this series.

From my Grandma:

Books

Clockwork Prince by Cassandra Clare

$25 gift card to Barnes & Noble

My Thoughts: My grandma also did good with the book choice this year! I haven’t read the first of The Infernal Devices but when I do, I now have the second to immediately follow-up with!

Music

Plain White T’s

The All-American Rejects

My Thoughts: Last time I asked for an All-American Rejects CD from my grandma, she got me an Alter Bridge CD. They are COMPLETELY different! I was so happy she could find the right ones this time around!

From my Aunts & Uncles:

Overprotected by Jennifer Laurens

Bookmark pens

The Nook!

My Thoughts: I am thrilled I got an awesome book and bookmarks but I am even more thrilled that I now have my very own Nook! I was very adamant that I would hate an e-reader, but I now love having one! Go figure!

So that’s a ton of great books that I got the past couple of months! Since it is going to take a lot of time to read those, I am officially putting myself under a book buying ban. It should be interesting to say the least. Don’t forget to leave a link to your IMM post in the comment section and I will be sure to check it out!

TGIF (33)

There once was an awesome blogger named Ginger and she decided to create a super fun feature where fellow bloggers would answer fabulous questions via blog posts every Friday. TGIF was born and we all have Miss Ginger at GReads! to thank for that! This week’s question is:

2012 Must Reads:

Which books are at the top of your list to be read this year (new or old releases)?

If I were to answer this question fully, you guys would be here for days reading over the titles I am most looking forward to! There are a ton of books, lots of new ones and even more old ones, that I want to read hopefully this year. I wish I could move every book to the top of my TBR list but I have not figured out where to obtain those super human powers yet!

I guess first and foremost, the top books on my TBR list this year are my review books! Right now I still have a huge pile of books (hard-copies and e-books) that need to be read for reviews. I will be the very first to admit that I sucked it up near the end of 2011. I am working my butt off trying to catch up on all my review books and so far it is kind of working! (Key-phrasing in that last sentence of course being “kind of”) Some of these titles that needed to be read like yesterday are:

Dark Days by C.A. Kunz

All These Things I’ve Done by Gabrielle Zevin

Trade Secrets by Yvonne Collins and Sandy Rideout

The Knife and the Butterfly by Ashley Hope Perez

Now there is the list of books that I own but have really not been read yet. I am officially (as of a few days ago) on a book buying ban. I really, really, really want to get through a few titles before I buy more books. The goal is that for every five “older” books that I read, I am allowed to purchase ONE book. I may have to remind myself of this rule a few thousand times but I hope it works because I now have 162 titles to work through! Some of the books at home that I want to read super bad are:

Sirenz by Natalie Zaman and Charlotte Bennardo

Shade by Jeri Smith-Ready

Queen of the Dead by Stacey Kade

A Touch Mortal by Leah Clifford

Ten Things We Did (and Probably Shouldn’t Have) by Sarah Mlynowski

Last on the list are the books I have for my challenges this coming up year! I have already mentioned several times how excited I am to actually complete all the challenges I signed up for so naturally I am pumped to read all of the books! You can check out the full list of books I hope to read on my 2012 Challenges tab but a few of the titles I can’t wait for are:

Forgiven by Janet Fox

Welcome, Caller, This Is Chloe by Shelley Coriell

Of Poseidon by Anna Banks

The Day Before by Lisa Schroeder

Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson

Angus, Thongs, and Full-Frontal Snogging by Louise Rennison

This week on Kate’s Tales of Books and Bands (1/6-1/13):

TGIF (32) All of my reading and blogging goals for the year!

Life As Kate (13) An actual good week! This is odd for me!

My New Name!!! My blog gets a new name and it’s all thanks to you guys!

Loving Emily by Anne Pfeffer + Author Interview <<< I LOVED this book!

Tune In Tuesday (42) This week features The Cab, one of my favorite bands!

A Touch Awesome Blog Tour + Sign Ups – If you guys have read A Touch Mortal by Leah Clifford (or can read it within the next week like me!!!) I would LOVE it if you signed up. It’s the first ever tour I have hosted!

The Best of Twenty-Eleven

The year has come and gone so quickly that I can hardly believe it! It seems like just yesterday I was starting my winter semester as a college Freshman and I was trying to squeeze in every ounce of fun that I could. A ton of memories were created this past year, some bad but mostly all good, and I like to think it has been one of the best years yet. In keeping with the same format that I used last year, here are some of the best moments of 2011!

Sidenote: Almost all of these are a tie between two or more things. Sorry about that, I tried my best to narrow it down but it just wasn’t happening!

1. Best Vacation– This is definitely a tie between the Myrtle Beach vacation I took with Kati and the Myrtle Beach Vacation I took with my family a month later. The weather was gorgeous both times and I got to experience a ton of different things with each trip. I was so lucky to be able to go on two vacations back to back like that!

2. Best Concert– This one also has a tie! It is between Warped Tour 2011 and the acoustic performance by We The Kings! Warped Tour is a day filled with music awesomeness! I saw so many bands perform, got a ton of stuff signed, and I even got to talk to a few of the performers. The We The Kings acoustic performance was brilliant for so many reasons: It was acoustic, it was small, it was free, it featured my future husband, I got to put my arms around my future husband, and I even got to take a picture with my future husband. IT WAS AMAZING!

3. Best CD– This is also going to have to be a tie! We The Kings dropped their latest album this year entitled Sunshine State of Mind. The title of the album couldn’t be more perfect because I get in a sunshiney state of mind EVERY TIME I listen to their CD. So what could be the competition to such an epic CD? All the mixed CD’s I got this past year! I had a lot of friends make me CD’s and all of them were filled with awesome songs that brings a smile to my face!

4. Best New Activity– I can’t explain too many details because I have yet to send out Christmas presents to some pretty freaking lovely bloggers but I do enjoy jewelry making. It takes time and is far more expensive than I could have imagined but it is so much fun to create!

5. Best Birthday Present– Last year I got a whole new bedroom so I was wondering how anything could ever live up to something like that. The answer came in the form of a brand-new bookshelf! I was making just the one work but I was desperately in need of one and my parents luckily noticed it! I love it so freaking much!

6. Best Movies– Well I do love me some movies…and popcorn! Some of my favorites were: Breaking Dawn: Part 1, Bridesmaids, Crazy Stupid Love, The Help, Harry Potter & The Deathly Hollows: Part 2, and Footloose.

7. Best Books– Oh gosh! It was my original goal to read 100 books in 2011 but Goodreads just wouldn’t stop telling me how sucky I was at completing that goal so I changed it to 80 and I still didn’t accomplish it! However, I did squeeze in 76 books. The best ones (some 4’s and all 5 stars) are:

Sidenote: Some of the titles will be linked to my reviews and other will be linked to Goodreads since I have not yet reviewed them!

Sophie & Carter by Chelsea Fine

Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins

A Girl Named Willow Krimble by Giuseppe Bianco

Rising Shadow by Jacquelyn Wheeler

Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta

Audrey, Wait! by Robin Benway

Released by Megan Duncan

Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour by Morgan Matson

Sean Griswold’s Head by Lindsey Leavitt

The Lonely Hearts Club by Elizabeth Eulberg

The Body Finder by Kimberly Derting

Faithful by Janet Fox

The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin

Divergent by Veronica Roth

Sloppy Firsts by Megan McCafferty

Second Helpings by Megan McCafferty

What Can’t Wait by Ashley Hope Perez

Other Words for Love by Lorraine Zago Rosenthal

Fall For Anything by Courtney Summers

Unearthly by Cynthia Hand

Matched by Ally Condie

What Happened to Goodbye by Sarah Dessen

Endless Summer by Jennifer Echols

Re-reads of both Sarah Dessen and Jennifer Echols books

Fade by Lisa McMann

The Childe by C.A. Kunz

Between by Cyndi Tefft

Love, Inc. by Yvonne Collins & Sandy Rideout

Girl v Boy by Yvonne Collins & Sandy Rideout

Five Flavors of Dumb by Antony John

The Pull of Gravity by Gae Polisner

Across the Universe by Beth Revis

Angelfire by Courtney Allison Moulton

8. Best Blogging Moment– How does one even choose something like this? In the past year I have met more authors, connected with more bloggers, reviewed more books, joined more weekly features, and had the most fun than I have EVER had! This whole experience has been one joyous event after another and I have all of YOU to thank for that. I have found some of the greatest friends and most influential people (and let’s not forget they all also kick butt when it come to writing reviews!) than I could have ever imagined. I would not trade this past year for anything!

9. Best Friend(s)– It is no secret that Kati has and always will be my best friend. I talk about her awesomeness all the time. But because of recent events, I feel like I must give a shout-out to my dear friend Stacey. Her and I were running buddies in high school. You could never find two girls who hated cross-country with such a deep passion like the two of us (even though we secretly loved it!) She has been there for both Kati and I through so many things and now it’s our turn to be there for Stacey. These two girls make my days so much better and I love them for that!

10. Best Family– Well of course this goes out to my family once again but not without some complaints! Zack and Zeke aka The Brat Pack drove me absolutely INSANE this past year. Those two boys are the epitome of annoying little brothers. I love them to death but jeez louise they sure are crazy! In all honesty, I am lucky to have my family always there for me. They support me through everything and even though they make fun of me every once in a while, they always know how to make me smile!

So that’s it for my 2011! I hope you all had a great year and an even better 2012!

TGIF (31)

There once was an awesome blogger named Ginger and she decided to create a super fun feature where fellow bloggers would answer fabulous questions via blog posts every Friday. TGIF was born and we all have Miss Ginger at GReads! to thank for that! This week’s question is:

First & Last:

What was the first book you read in 2011 and the last you finished in 2011? How do you feel about these books? Would you recommend them to other readers?

2011 has been an EXCELLENT year as far as  books have been concerned. Some, okay almost all, of my favorite books, I consumed during the last year and this post is definitely making me think about that. As I got ready for this week’s TGIF question, I enlisted the help of trusty, ole’ goodreads to do the dirty work (by this, I mean I looked at the books I read in 2011 in chronological order. Really, it made everything so much easier.) While doing this I pondered over some titles and thought to myself, “Wow, I seriously read that book within the last 365 days? It feels like forever since I’ve read it!” But of course goodreads never lies, and I have indeed read those books in 2011.

By doing this post, I got a little bit sad. I kept thinking of all the great titles, the “new book excitement” I got, the wee hours I stayed up to read, the countless amounts of time I put into expressing my feelings just so if only to convince at least one other person to read it. And it really did make me tear up a bit. I want nothing more than to read through some of those titles again. To experience those feelings of pure joy that I first got while reading them. But I shall resist because I know for a fact that there are excellent things to be read in 2012. The new books coming out, the review books gathering dust on my shelves, and let’s not forget the 152 books sitting in my room just DYING to be read. Will I get through these all in the coming year? Heck-to-the-no. But can I expect to have the same, uber excited feelings over books that will be read by yours truly? Well of course! Here’s to a fabulous year we all had in 2011 and an even better one to come in 2012. Happy New Year everyone!

sidenote #1: I would recommend almost ALL of the books that I read the past year to at least one reader out there. Even some of the lower rating books that I picked up, may not have been “the one” for me but there is someone out there who it is perfect for. It is all about finding the right person with the right interests! With that being said, there are a few titles below that I would recommend to pretty much every living, breathing human on this planet because of its sheer awesomeness!

sidenote #2: The first 5 books read in 2011 are linked to the review where as the last 5 books read in 2011 are linked to goodreads. I haven’t quite gotten around to reviewing those ones.

sidenote #3: If you do on an off-chance check out the reviews linked, pretty please with sugar on top DON’T laugh at my lameness. Okay…I guess you can laugh at my lameness but only little chuckles are allowed. The reviews are…interesting for lack of a better word.

The first 5 books I read in 2011 were:

1) Endless Summer by Jennifer Echols

Jennifer Echols is a YA contemporary rock star! I won this book from her, (and yes, it is now ruined thanks to two of my sibling. Don’t bring it up though. It still causes tears to spring to my eyes.) and then quickly devoured it. I was so caught up in the perfect summer she created for us. Every character was very real to me and I loved every second that I spent with them. It was the perfect, fun read to start off the new year.

2) Beastly by Alex Flinn

This was a pretty good story. It wasn’t the best thing I have ever read but it surely kept me entertained. Plus it was one of the first fairy tale retellings I have ever read and I am now hooked! It was very cool how Alex did it from the Beast’s perspective as opposed to Belle’s.

3) What Can’t Wait by Ashley Hope Perez

I have some serious love for this book and for this author. As I have stated before, Ashley was the very first author who ever took a chance on my blog. I still remember the cheesy smile that was plastered on my face for DAYS after she asked if I would review her book. I still get that same little high every time an author so much as responds to one of my tweets. This book was powerful and beautiful. I love it oh so much!

4) Fade by Lisa McMann

This whole series is full of greatness. I was able to read all three books super quickly and they entertained me from start to finish. Wake started my obsession with the series and Fade only added to it!

5) Girl vs. Boy by Yvonne Collins and Sandy Rideout

Yvonne and Sandy are a writing duo that I have quickly come to love and that is because of this book! They are just super fun and their books put a big smile on your face. It was easy to get through and it just made me insanely happy. After this, I will forever be a fan of theirs!

The last 5 books I read in 2011 were:

5) Never Eighteen by Megan Bostic

It is safe to say that this book made me extremely happy, it then broke my heart into a million pieces, and then left me feeling a sense of calmness. Any book that can take you through those emotions especially in a small amount of pages is HUGE!

4) The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin

Huh? What? Did that just happen? Was this a dream? Was this a nightmare? Wait…he did what? <<<That was my stream of thoughts throughout this whole book and now weeks after finishing it, those are STILL the thoughts I am thinking. I cannot grasp what exactly went down but I do know that I loved every thrilling, exhilarating moment of craziness that Michelle took us through. SUCH A GOOD BOOK!

3) Something, Maybe by Elizabeth Scott

This was my first Elizabeth Scott book and it is now safe to say she has made a fan of me. The book was fun but still packed with some emotion. The characters were super easy to relate to and sympathize with even if it seem we have nothing in common. I loved reading this one!

2) Summer on Fire by Kevin Craig

This was a pretty good book. There were a few things I didn’t quite like but I did love that it was from a teen boys perspective! We were really able to get inside the head of the main character and while I did not like a few of the things he did, it was all very believable and in the end it was a pretty good story.

1) Unbreakable Love by Angela Carling

This was also a pretty good book. There were some moments I thought were a bit cheesy or almost cliché BUT it was a really sweet love story and exactly what I needed to cheer me up.

This week on Katelyn’s Blog (12/23-12/30):

TGIF (30) Dear Santa: My Christmas wishlist!

Life As Kate (11): One tough, tough week :-/

The Trylle Series by Amanda Hocking + Book Trailer

Tune In Tuesday (40): My ultimate concert love for Taylor Swift & We The Kings!