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?

Holiday Reads!

In just a few short days, Christmas will be upon us! I am ready to sit back & relax with the family, eat my weight and Christmas cookies, and curl up with a good book. Over the past year or so, I’ve read a few holiday/winter-inspired books that I’ve really liked and I have come across even more that I want to read! I thought I’d put together a fun little post showcasing those very books. Please feel to join in on the holiday festivities by sharing your favorite holiday reads in the comment box below!

Have Read:

Decked With Holly

Decked With Holly by Marni Bates (Amazon/Barnes & Noble)

My Thoughts: Marni has created yet another laugh-out-loud funny book! I adored her first book Awkward and I equally adored this one because let’s be honest, it’s centered around Christmas!

Snowed Over

Snowed Over by Angie Stanton (Amazon/Barnes & Noble)

My Thoughts: This was a sweet Christmas tale! Two college students stranded in an old cabin over Christmas — what could possibly go wrong (or right!)?

Falling

Falling by Jolene Perry (Amazon/Barnes & Noble)

My Thoughts: This isn’t exactly a Christmas story but with the snow (and there are LOTS of it) and the cozy lodge, this is the PERFECT curl-up-on-the-couch-with-fuzzy-socks-and-a-cute-story type of book!

Ex-Mas

Ex-mas by Kate Brian (Amazon/Barnes & Noble)

My Thoughts: I read this book last year and I thought it was a really cute, Christmas-themed love story!

Want To Read:

Tempestuous

Tempestuous by Kim Askew and Amy Helmes (Amazon/Barnes & Noble)

My Thoughts: I recently received this book and I must say, it sounds like the perfect winter break book although I may not want to be at the mall or any other public venue while reading it!

Clara Claus

Clara Claus by Alexandra Lanc (Amazon/Barnes & Noble)

My Thoughts: Jack Frost and Santa’s granddaughter!?! As cheesy as this may or may not be, I must say I am oddly fascinated by the whole premise!

Santa Baby

Santa, Baby by Jennifer Crusie, Carly Phillips, and Lori Foster (Amazon/Barnes & Noble)

My Thoughts: All three stories included in this book sounds so good! I am always game for some Christmas romance!

Mistletoe

Mistletoe: Four Holiday Stories by Hailey Abbott, Melissa De La Cruz, Aimee Friedman, and Nina Malkin (Amazon/Barnes & Noble)

My Thoughts: An awesome set of authors putting together what seems to be an awesome set of holiday stories!

All I Want

All I Want by Rachael Renee Anderson, Kaylee Baldwin, and Jolene Perry (Amazon/Barnes & Noble)

My Thoughts: All three stories in this book sound adorable! Jolene has made this list already with Falling so I’m excited to see what other holiday romance she’s put together!

Let It Snow

Let It Snow by John Green, Maureen Johnson, and Lauren Myracle (Amazon/Barnes & Noble)

My Thoughts: Take a look at the authors behind this holiday book. That is all.

In My Mailbox (40)

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!

I only have one book and a few CD’s to share with you guys but HOLY CRAP I am excited about what I got!

Bought:

Decked With Holly by Marni Bates

My Thoughts: You may or may not know this already but I am a HUGE fan of Marni! Her first book, Awkward is one of my very favorite books (and not JUST because I am an awkward person though that may have something to do with it). When I found out her newest book, a sorta-sequel to Awkward was out this week, I just had to go and buy it. I am so, so, so excited to read this one!

The Carpenter by The Avett Brothers

My Thoughts: I LOVE these guys but had yet to own a CD by them (I generally just listened to them on Spotify) but now I do and I couldn’t be happier!

Megalithic Symphony by AWOLNATION

My Thoughts: There are quite a few songs by these guys that I adore like no other. They do a superb job at getting me pumped up!

The Lateness of the Hour by Alex Clare

My Thoughts: My obsession with the song Too Close led me to purchase this CD. Good thing the whole CD is made of awesomeness.

Sigh No More by Mumford & Sons

My Thoughts: I had the new Mumford & Sons CD in my hand to buy and I was SOOOO excited for it but I really didn’t feel like spending so much money at once. My sister saw how torn I was over this CD and said she would buy it and I could make a copy of it. I liked the sound of this idea until I went to go copy the CD and found she didn’t purchase the new one! I mean, this one is still purely awesome-tastic but I suppose I will be buying the new one after all…

Well that’s it for me this week. I hope you all had an awesome, bookish filled week!

TGIF (54)

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:

Pimp Your Review:

Feature a favorite book review you’ve written in the past that you feel deserves more love!

I’m going to be a spotlight hog for a hot second because you all know for a fact that when asked to pick one, I tend to pick a lot more than one. Today I have a few book reviews that I absolutely loved…okay maybe it wasn’t exactly the book reviews that I loved but I adored these three books so very much. And I think they are so freaking adorable. And I think you should read them. And I think that if you read them you will love them too…

Freshman Year & Other Unnatural Disasters by Meredith Zeitlin

-This was a totally adorable book that reminded me of all those hilarious, unsure, awkward moments in high school.

Awkward by Marni Bates

-This book made me laugh out loud throughout the entire thing. Awkward is my middle name so loving this book just came natural to me.

The Fine Art of Truth or Dare by Melissa Jensen

-I feel like this book does not get the love that it should. There was a great underlying story underneath some more adorableness. Definitely a great book!

This week on Kate’s Tales of Books and Bands (8/10-8/17):

TGIF (53)

Life As Kate (21)

In My Mailbox (36)

Tune In Tuesday (65)

My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick

Kate’s Tales of Books and Bands Turns 2!!!! + Giveaway

TGIF (39)

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:

Book Moments:

What has been your favorite moment (scene) in a book that you’ve read so far in 2012? Please be kind & not include spoilers.

I have read some pretty AMAZING books since the start of 2012 and I think there are a ton of great moments in each and every one of them but my head hurts when I try to think of all of them so I narrowed it down to 3 books.  I really tried to resist a bit so you guys can discover them for yourselves just how brilliant these three books are. And yes, I did try to be spoiler free as much as possible!

Awkward by Marni Bates

I think my very favorite moment of this whole book, is when Mackenzie goes on the Ellen Show! First, I adore Ellen so very much (the woman is a comical genius!) and second, it shows how much confidence Mackenzie gains throughout the book while still managing to hang on to her super endearing awkwardness!

Ellen listened. I think that’s why she’s so good at her job. She really knows how to listen.

“You don’t have to be anyone but yourself.”

I stifled a groan. “I know! I mean, that’s what people keep telling me. But it’s not that easy is it? Because what if myself is just boring?”

She shrugged. “Do you think you’re boring?”

I laughed and looked back at the mic. “Not at the moment.”

Anew by Chelsea Fine

This book is so full of romantic, sweet moments (especially with Gabriel), but I think all of my favorite moments are with Tristan; Tristan when he is moody, grumpy, or even when he is being flat-out rude, you just know there is something extra sweet hiding right beneath the surface….swoooon <3

She hated that she was, essentially, trapped in the woods with Tristan.

Sure, he was beautiful and enticing in an inexplicable way.

But he was also a jerk.

The One That I Wantby Jennifer Echols

I haven’t reviewed this one quite yet but just a fair warning, I have some major love for this book! My all-time favorite moment is when Gemma finally realizes she is made of awesome and doesn’t need evil people telling her otherwise. That moment she comes out of her shell and isn’t afraid, well it just made my heart so very happy!

“Seriously, I don’t say that to be mean, or to get back at you, or to hurt your feelings. But you have hurt my feelings over and over again, for six years. I read insults into everything you say, even when you’re trying to be nice.” If she ever really was. “That makes me angry, and I do mean things to you in response. I don’t like the person I become when I’m around you.”

And since I have been a busy little bee in my “real” life the past couple of weeks….

The past 2 weeks on Kate’s Tales of Books and Bands (2/17-3/2):

Welcome To The Book Blogger Love-A-Thon!

TGIF (38) Book Blogger Pride

Book Blogger Love-A-Thon Mini Challenge #1 A Thank You Letter

Book Blogger Love-A-Thon Mini Challenge #2 New Blogs

Book Blogger Love-A-Thon Mini Challenge #3 Book Blogging Experience

Book Blogger Love-A-Thon Love Letter

Book Blogger Love-A-Thon End Post + Giveaway + Survey

A Touch Awesome Blog Tour: Week Five- Top ALL-TIME favorite moments

A Touch Awesome Blog Tour: Twitter Party

Tune In Tuesday (48) Paradise Fears

Before Leonora Wakes by Lee Thompson + Guest Post + 10 e-book GIVEAWAY!

Tune In Tuesday (49) End of the World Tour

TGIF (38)

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:

Book Blogger Pride:

What do you take pride in when it comes to blogging?

What an awesome question that honestly couldn’t have come at a better time! I take this question two separate ways. First, what I take pride in for being apart of the book blogging community as a whole and second, what I take pride in when it comes to my own blog.

I absolutely ADORE the book blogging community. It is through my blog, twitter, and goodreads that I have found some of my closest friends (so what if we haven’t met in person, bookish people still rock my world hardcore!). People in the book blogging community help me through blogging and life issues on an hourly basis, they make me laugh ALL the time, they understand the freak-outs I may have over certain release dates for books, they are the first people to sacrifice their time to help me out no matter what is going on, they are the ones that offer up their own copies of books when I am in need of it ASAP, they are just there for me! Almost every blogger I have had to encounter in the nearly 2 years that I have been going at this, has been kind beyond belief and they continue to astound me with how incredibly generous and loving they can be. Just saying that I am a part of this close-knit community, I’m included in this group of awesome people who help spread the love of books all over the world is something that I take a great deal of pride in!

When it comes to my own blogging experience, the thing I take the most pride in, is just doing it! There was no better feeling than my dad and stepmom cornering me a few months ago to say that they have finally read my blog. They were so proud of what I have been doing that they cried. I may not be the most consistent reviewer. I don’t read the most books, I don’t write the most reviews, heck I don’t even write the best of reviews but I do it anyways. Why? Because I love it. It is something that is mine, something that makes me happy, it makes me feel accomplished and a part of something epic. I take pride in my own blog because even if it is read by a handful of people and my review only convinces one person out there to read a book, that is still one more person that is being touched by the pure joy that books can bring us. That is definitely something to be proud of.

This week on Kate’s Tales of Books and Bands (2/10-2/17):

TGIF (37) My favorite love stories!

A Touch Awesome Blog Tour: Week Four. My top A Touch Mortal inspired songs!

In My Mailbox (32)

Anew by Chelsea Fine + Giveaway! This book has a BRILLIANT love triangle!

Tune In Tuesday (47) My favorite love songs!

Guest post on The Book Barbies: My dream date!

Awkward by Marni Bates. A laugh out loud, brilliant book for all nerds out there!

Welcome To The Book Blogger Love-A-Thon!!!!

Book Review: Awkward by Marni Bates

Title: Awkward

Author: Marni Bates

Publisher: K-Teen (Kensington)

Pages: 259 paperback

My Rating: 5/5 stars

Mackenzie Wellesley has spent her life avoiding the spotlight. At Smith High, she’s the awkward junior people only notice when they need help with homework. Until she sends a burly football player flying with her massive backpack and makes a disastrous – not to mention unwelcome – attempt at CPR. Before the day is out, the whole fiasco explodes on YouTube. And then the strangest thing happens. Suddenly, Mackenzie is an Internet sensation, with four million hits and counting. Sucked into a whirlwind of rock stars, paparazzi, and free designer clothes, she even catches the eye of the most popular guy at school. And that’s when life gets really interesting…

This book is for all the nerds out there! For all those girls who lose all common sense and mobility of the mouth when around cute guys. The girls that spend way too much time with their nose in a book and not enough time in the real world. It’s for the girls that make even the simplest moments awkward with their incessant babbling. Basically, it is for any of the girls (and guys) reading this right now!  I am not entirely sure how to describe the pure brilliance that is this book but you better believe I am going to try my very best! I think Marni is an absolute genius for creating a character so real (and yes awkward), a situation that could definitely happen, and a story of friendship and love!

Mackenzie is the nerd you see walking around school. She takes all the hard classes, does extra work whenever possible, she stays far away from the popular crowd unless she is tutoring one of them, weekends are spent doing homework, and you can forget a social life. She may seem strange at first but if you get to know her you realize she is hilarious, sweet, and caring. This girl is me; heck, she is YOU! She is any other person out there that may have felt awkward or strange in high school. She is the person who didn’t quite fit in, the person whose brain was too big for their own good, the person whose mouth ran wild even when their head was shouting “Zip it!” I think I fell so totally in love with this book because the main character was so relatable! I have felt just like her on more than one occasion. Of course if a cute guy is talking to me, the only reason is for homework help. Of course, I stayed after to talk extra credit with the teacher. Of course my senior quote in the yearbook says “Every day of my life includes an embarrassing moment.” (True story. If you don’t believe me, I will send you proof) She is just like every nerd out there. Mackenzie is just made of pure awesome! In all honesty, she is so funny, so awkward, so relatable, but what makes her even cooler is the way she owns up to it. She knows when she is making a fool of herself and she sure as heck knows when she has just done something lame and embarrassing and for the most part she just doesn’t care! This alone made her a total rockstar in my book!

So the situation that Mackenzie gets herself into is hilarious to say the least. I was doubling over laughing while reading about how the whole thing went down; I cannot tell you the last time a book made me laugh like this! Since Mackenzie is a super genius, her backpack can get a little heavy. One day, this overloaded backpack and the clumsy girl (Mackenzie) carrying it, take one step in the wrong direction and sends one of the schools biggest jocks down some stairs. Mackenzie then jumps on top of this guy and proceeds to give him CPR while freaking out majorly. Of course someone just had to film this catastrophe and Mackenzie is thrust into the limelight that only YouTube fame can bring! Sure the situation may seem far out there but I found it extremely believable. Soon Mackenzie is followed by paparazzi, invited to hang out with one of the biggest bands ever, and she is sent designer clothing left and right. It is just such a surreal experience to go through and while some of it may be “Sure…like that’ll ever happen moments,” I found myself being able to picture all of this happening to someone.

Of course Mackenzie is not going through all of this alone! Her best friends, Corey and Jane, are just as invisible as her to the popular crowd but are fun and vibrant in their own right, there are some “notables” that make an appearance, and then there is Logan…*sigh*. Jane is Mackenzie’s best friend and while we didn’t really see a lot of her, we get that she is a great friend. She is smart, responsible, and has her head on straight much like Mackenzie. You can definitely see how these two get along. Corey is Mackenzie’s very over-the-top, very pushy, very gay, and very sweet friend! He is that one that really helps Mackenzie to embrace this fun, crazy, new lifestyle that is thrown at her. As for the notables, I hated most of them but they are there for a reason. They are the people who made high school miserable, the ones that made the rest of us feel like scum compared to their utter perfection. We get to learn about a few, and while I still hate them, they help Mackenzie on this journey of finding her own place in high school. And now on to the wonderful Logan <3 If you want to read my very long and drawn out reasons for loving him, you can read this guest post I did for Valentine’s Day. However, if you do not feel like checking it out, pay very close attention. Logan is a notable. He is in the popular crowd so naturally us nerds stare at his beautiful face while also hating the fact that he is just so much better than us. At first I was confused on what role he would play in the story. He is tutored by Mackenzie and has been for some time now so they don’t have a friendship necessarily but they are kind enough to each other. He is quiet, sometimes rude, and he always seems to have an amused smirk on face especially when Mackenzie really gets talking. As time goes on, we get little hints that there may be more than friendship there especially when Logan helps Mackenzie out in a few fame-infused situations. I loved his attitude, the way his kindness was hidden under a layer of smugness, the fact that he fell for Mackenzie before all the fame…it was just so sweet! In the end, I really just loved him. It is that adorable “high school hockey star and total hottie” falls for the “nerd girl who can barely walk a straight line” type of romance, and it honestly just made me swoon like no other.

Obviously you guys can tell I adored this book! It was incredibly relatable, sweet, and hilarious. It is like the perfect mix of The Jessica Darling series and Audrey, Wait! which is really saying something because those two totally rock my socks off! Trust me on this one fellow book lovers and nerd people, this book is a must read! Here’s for all the awkward people out there!