Wrong email address or username
Wrong email address or username
Incorrect verification code
back to top
Search tags: Rose-Favorite-Reads
Load new posts () and activity
Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
text 2015-01-01 09:25
Rose's Favorite Reads of 2014 - Part II: Superlatives

It's that time again. =)


A continuation of my favorite reads post for 2014, here are my superlatives for the year. Just in case you missed the previous posts of former years, here they are for your perusal:


Rose's Favorite Reads of 2012: Part I


Rose's Favorite Reads of 2012: Part II


Rose's Favorite Reads of 2013: Part I


Rose's Favorite Reads of 2013: Part II


Rose's Favorite Reads of 2014: Part I




To start this list, I should note that since I didn't read *as* many books this year (though I certainly wouldn't consider 168 a low number, it's just low for me), my choices were more limited as far as books were concerned.  So fewer categories and selections this year than previous years.  


Best Audiobook Narrator: Male and Female




It was very easy for me to choose one favorite male and one favorite female for audiobook readers this year.  For male audio narrator: R.C. Bray takes the title for his superb narration in Andy Weir's "The Martian".  Truthfully, I think his humored voice and candid portrayal of Mark Watney made the book even more enjoyable for me personally.  I'll give an honorary mention to Tim Gerard Reynolds for his narration of Pierce Brown's "Red Rising", because he gave such a potent performance in Darrow's voice, and I found that really enhanced my enjoyment of the story - both his narration and vocal performance in the work (he sings, man!  Very well in fact!)


My favorite female audio narrator was Kathleen McInerney for her performance of Jennifer Brown's "Hate List".  I'm really late picking this book up for reading, but having read it this past year, it blew me away.  I didn't have a dry eye finishing this book, and I thought her delivery emotionally and narratively fit the book very well.  Special mention goes to Julia Whelan for her joint audio narration with Kirby Heybourne for Gillian Flynn's "Gone Girl" (both of them were superb, but I give the mention to Whelan because she got Amy's voice spot on in the narrative.)


Best Food for Thought Reads:




I have three mentions for the food for thought reads I picked up this year.  First is "Vital Face" by Leena Kiviloma, who did an excellent articulation of various facial exercises for health benefit as well as cosmetic - I learned/reaffirmed so much through this read and give it high recommendations.  Carlen Lavigne's "Cyberpunk Women, Feminism, and Science Fiction" was a book I picked up after researching various academic literature in the cyberpunk genre, and I loved it.  It was such a thorough examination of issues pertaining to portrayals of women in cyberpunk literature, as well as female writers who were key to cyberpunk's movement (Pat Cadigan included).  My final mention goes to Brett Weiss's "100 Greatest Console Video Games: 1977-1987", as it was an enlightening list on the history of the videogames featured, as well as an interesting compilation to see in sequence and for Weiss's preference.  I'm looking forward to reading more of that compilation as they are released.



Best Couple:




I'll feature three couples from adult lit reads I've perused this past year.  First is from Cara McKenna's "Her Best Laid Plans."  It was a very short read, but Jamie and Connor made an impression on me, and I loved watching their brief chemistry.  Probably also because I have a thing for Irish guys (Psst, I'm part Irish in heritage).


For full novels, I'll cite Kristen Callihan once again for crafting two very strong characters in Will Thorne and Holly Evernight in "Evernight", part of her "Darkest London" series.  It wasn't my favorite book of the series, but I did enjoy watching their chemistry and banter throughout the book.   And lastly - this is a surprise even for me - I'll cite K.A. Tucker's "Five Ways to Fall" as an honorable mention.  Yeah - shocking because I don't often mention couples from New Adult as being those that are strongly asserted, but Reese and Ben actually worked for me.  I know!  I'm surprised too - I didn't expect them to click as well as they did - for development or chemistry.  If you had asked me the same of the previous books in Tucker's series, I wouldn't have said the same, but something about that book worked for me in retrospect.



Best Sci-Fi:




I mentioned it before, and I'll say it again - Andy Weir's "The Martian" was a fun journey into space exploration on Mars if I've ever seen it, very well researched and written.  And with a charismatic, intelligent, and hilarious leading character to boot.  The collective cast of this novel is so much fun to watch and well developed.  I love the science in it.  I still say Mark would be my BFF if he were a real person.  Maybe even a character crush because I like smart, funny characters - and he fits it to a tee.


Book that Made me Weep Buckets in 2014:




I've mentioned "Hate List", but I'm going to give a special spotlight mention to Jody Casella's "Thin Space".  This book hit a nerve with me because it not only features a character grieving over the loss of his twin, but features a very effective twist that stayed with me long after I closed the book.  Casella's one of my favorite newer YA writers, and I'm looking forward to seeing more of her writing in the future.


Reading this hurt, man.  In more ways than one.


Favorite Covers of 2014:




Self explanatory.  I decided to give myself a break considering I didn't get to many of these reads this year, but the ones I was able to peruse, I did enjoy.  And many of these are reads I'm highly looking forward to reading quite soon.  


Favorite Series of 2014:




Hands down, Kara Taylor's "Prep School Confidential" is my favorite series for the year. I love the intelligent, funny heroine, I love the overarching mysteries, and I adored these books overall this past year.  It's one of the best YA series I've picked up in a long while.  I still have yet to read the last book in the series, but man - to me this is what the best of YA represents, and I'd like to see more YA authors take after Taylor's example.


Miss Congeniality of 2014:




So, in light of the previous mention, I choose Anne Dowling from Kara Taylor's "Prep School Confidential" as my Miss Congeniality character for 2014.  She's smart, she's hilarious, she might've accidentally burned down part of her previous school and gotten the boot into another private school, but she made it work for her.  I love her narrative voice and eye for detail.


Most Disappointing Reads of 2014:





So you guys knew this was coming.  So I have several disappointing reads on my list this year, probably not up to ten titles, but enough to convey my dismay over some books with potentially great premises, but ended up dropping the ball harder than expected (while others just never got off the ground for me).


I'll mention one book off the bat that's not featured in the cover array: Jamie McGuire's "Apolonia".  Dude, I don't know if that was an instance of author trolling or what - but there was so much wrong with that narrative that it's hard to know what to point out in this brief summary.  The sexism, racism, glorified NA stereotypes coupled with a dull love triangle and mix of dull sci-fi and romance made me wonder where on earth this was going.  It was just a complete miss and bad call, man. The title's namesake isn't even a primary focal character in the book, that should tell you something.


"Dorothy Must Die" by Danielle Paige was unfortunately a disappointing read for me.  It had such a cool premise and imaging of "The Wizard of Oz".  Problem for me was that it was trying to do too much and force its hand.  I don't think it came together well in the end, especially with many parts of the narrative that dragged on and on, despite some very interesting depictions and moments.  It's unlikely I'll pick up this author's other work because of her support of another author stalking a blogger in real life (i.e. Kathleen Hale), but this was one series I think had the potential to move and grow in more ways than one, despite its stumbles.


I really wanted to like Colleen Hoover's "Maybe Someday" much more than I actually did, in retrospect for this year. At least for the promises of what it offered.  A music/lyrical theme? Check.  Depicting a character with a disability in a positive light? Double Check.


Subtly making fun of said character's disability while following common NA cliches? Absolutely NOT cool.  I did like the fact that the book linked its featured songs with an actual person singing them, though I don't know if I liked how that was incorporated in the work itself.  Nonetheless, I think Hoover could've done a better job with this one.


Amanda Grace's "No One Needs to Know" really disappointed me this past year. WTF man? For a love triangle with a same-sex theme, I thought it was sadly lacking and even offensive the way the couple was portrayed.  I found it hard to sympathize with either character, especially with how entitled the teens seemed to be, and it had the potential to have so much more depth than it actually had.  I guess it was one book that made me realize that Amanda Grace/Mandy Hubbard is not my cup of tea stylistically as an author overall.  I may still try her work in the future, but dude, I'd like to see more depth in her narratives for a change, and while I'm okay with reading about unlikable characters - the portrayal of those particular characters and themes wasn't cool at all.


On Claire Wallis's "Push" - worst ending and portrayal of an NA narrative I've seen so far. It already tested me for its over-the-top problematic characters, which I didn't think were portrayed with enough sensitivity or maturity to be able to carry them, but then the ending's congratulatory portrayal of violence against women and non-ending (pretty much looping back to its inconclusive beginning)?  No thank you. 


"Rellik" by Theresa Mummert had the potential to be a decent thriller, but you know, it's New Adult, it's a genre/age group that has more misses than hits.  It disappointed me in more ways than one - with poor editing, poorly constructed characters, and contrived scenarios. It was my first read from the author.  I'm not sure if I'm picking up another title by her, but I'd hope that the next work I'd actually bothered paying $4.27 for on Amazon has less than 100+ grammatical and spelling errors in the final copy. (For the record, I returned the book after I finished it.) That was a shame and inexcusable, dude.


Finally, Becca Fitzpatrick's "Black Ice" - I've seen premises similar to her's that have the potential to be awesome thrillers.  Unfortunately, considering this is the same author who thought a selfish, stalker/killer angel like Patch is a romantic hero - doesn't surprise me that the romance in this features a girl loving one of her captors.  In YA, this is not the kind of idea you want to glamorize.  Granted, Fitzpatrick might've made mention of how wrong it was, but the depiction wasn't very well done at all.  Plus, much of this book came across as very silly for suspenseful reveals, with very few instances of actual tension that was done well.  I will give credit to the audiobook narrator, though.  She was very good.  Unfortunately, the story was little more than D-grade horror movie fare.


That's all for my superlatives this year.  I'm hoping 2015 is a more fruitful year for reading in terms of the diversity and amount of books I'll get to peruse.  It's been a long year (2014) and an eventful one, but I totally enjoyed the experiences I've had in my reading journeys, and have learned much from them.


See you in the new year, guys!




Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
text 2015-01-01 07:00
Rose's Favorite Reads of 2014 Part I: Interesting Facts and My Top Ten
Hate List - Jennifer Brown
Prep School Confidential - Kara Taylor
Thin Space - Jody Casella
Frenzy - Robert Lettrick
The Silent Wife - A.S.A. Harrison
The Martian - Andy Weir
Lies We Tell Ourselves - Robin Talley
The Belief in Angels - J. Dylan Yates
By Megan Hart Flying - Megan Hart
Gone Girl - Gillian Flynn

It's that time again when I name some of my favorite reads and various book superlatives for the present year.  For those of you who aren't familiar with my superlatives lists, I bring you the lists from previous years that I've featured on my main blog and BookLikes blog (Note: it looks like my 2013 list was incomplete, but I figure I'll share that one anyway).


Rose's Favorite Reads of 2012: Part I


Rose's Favorite Reads of 2012: Part II


Rose's Favorite Reads of 2013: Part I


Rose's Favorite Reads of 2013: Part II


This superlative list will be two posts in total.  This post will kick off that series, starting with some interesting factoids and a list of 10 of my favorite books from this year  Let's do this.




So, in total for this year, I've read 168 books (maybe slightly more because there were some I didn't mark, but I know it was less than 200), which is way, way less than my total from 2012 (which was 365 books), and far less than the goal I set for myself this year (450).  


Some interesting tidbits:


First book I finished in 2014: "Garden of Lost Souls (Flin's Destiny #2)" by Erik Olsen (4 stars, Children's/Middle Grade Fantasy)




Last book I finished in 2014 (technically): "The Silent Wife" by A.S.A. Harrison (4 stars, Adult, Mystery/Suspense)




Longest book I read in 2014: "Gone Girl" by Gillian Flynn (560 pages, Adult, Suspense/Thriller)




Shortest book (not a novella or short story) I read in 2014: "Out of Sync" by Amanda Humann (103 pages, Children's/Middle Grade)



Shortest short story/novella read in 2014: Mrs. Maddox (Beautiful #1.5) by Jamie McGuire (2 stars, New Adult/Romance)


Longest short story/novella read in 2014: "The Nekkid Truth" by Nicole Camden (2.5 stars, Adult/Mature, Erotica)



Breaking down my reads by age group:


Children's/Middle Grade: 10 books

Young Adult: 41 books

New Adult: 36 books

Adult: 39 books

Non-Fiction (various age ranges): 42 books


So technically, I had about an even spread of reading through most categories, save for Children's/Middle Grade.


Breaking down my reads by star rating:


5-stars: 20 books

4-stars: 41 books

3-stars: 35 books

2-stars: 40 books

1-stars: 32 books


Rose's Top Ten Reads of the Year:




In no particular order of rank:


Hate List - Jennifer Brown: Definitely one of my favorite reads of the past year, it practically reduced me to tears by the time I finished the book, and I read the book in both audio format and physical.  It's the story of a young woman who copes with the aftermath of a tragedy, in which her boyfriend shoots multiple students at her high school before turning the gun on himself.  After getting in the line of fire herself, she has to both cope with her physical and mental scars to come to terms in the aftermath of the tragedy.  Brown's account is so vivid and realistic, especially getting into the eye of the character here.  It's one that cemented Jennifer Brown as one of my favorite YA authors.


Read my review of "Hate List" on Writing Through Rose-Tinted Glasses


Prep School Confidential - Kara Taylor: Kara Taylor is another of my favorite up and coming YA authors, and if you haven't checked out this series yet - it's a fun one.  I loved "Prep School Confidential", not just for its fiesty heroine, but believable characters and overarching mystery.  There aren't a lot of standout mystery titles I've come across in YA, but this one is funny, smart and harrowing to follow.


Read my review of "Prep School Confidential" on Writing Through Rose-Tinted Glasses


Thin Space - Jody Casella: Jody Casella's narrative in "Thin Space" really struck a chord with me, not just because of its viewpoint of a boy's loss of his twin, but with an interesting twist on events as his narrative comes to pass.  It was amazing, and one of my 5-star reads of the year.


Read my review of "Thin Space" on Writing Through Rose-Tinted Glasses


Frenzy - Robert Lettrick:  Dude, I haven't read a survival horror this year that struck me as strongly as "Frenzy", and it's a middle-grade book!  Robert Lettrick creates a potent narrative surrounding a very dimensional cast that's funny, developed, and kept me on my toes throughout the work. This is one read that I was exposed to on NetGalley and I bought it as soon as it was available.  I'm really glad I had a chance to read it.


Read my review of "Frenzy" on Writing Through Rose-Tinted Glasses


The Silent Wife - A.S.A. Harrison: "The Silent Wife" took a little while for me to get into, but it ended up being well worth the journey.  A slowly unfolding suspense and eye into a deteriorating relationship, with an unexpected direction to events.


The Martian - Andy Weir: My favorite read of the year, hands down.  Andy Weir's account of a man stranded on Mars and his journey of survival and path to rescue is well drawn, well-researched, and hilarious. Mark Watney's voice leaps through the page.


Read my review of "The Martian" on Writing Through Rose-Tinted Glasses


Lies We Tell Ourselves - Robin Talley: A wonderfully told narrative during a volatile time in American History - I really loved this honest narrative told between two girls who must confront their differences and each other during the Civil Rights era.


The Belief in Angels - J. Dylan Yates: Probably my favorite New Adult/Literary book of this past year - it's a wonderfully told meeting of generations - between a young woman growing up in a dysfunctional family during the 1970s and her grandfather, a survivor of the Holocaust.  Beautifully written and evocative.


Read my review of "The Belief in Angels" on Writing Through Rose-Tinted Glasses


Flying - Megan Hart: Megan Hart's "Flying" pleasantly surprised me this year, providing a refreshingly developed narrative of a woman navigating the rough turbulence of her relationships while contending with issues within her family.  I loved the development of the characters, the intimacy of the narrative, and the feisty heroine.


Read my review of "Flying" on Writing Through Rose-Tinted Glasses


and last but not least:


Gone Girl - Gillian Flynn: I guess you guys saw this one coming.  With a wonderful use of unreliable narration and developed characters in the midst of a deteriorating marriage and whirlwind events, Flynn's narrative is distinct and despite my love/hate relationship with the book, I enjoyed the journey. It left me thinking long after turning the final page.


Read my review of "Gone Girl" on Writing Through Rose-Tinted Glasses


That's all for this entry.  My Superlatives for the year are coming in the next part.




Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
text 2014-01-31 06:55
Rose's Favorite Reads of 2013: Part II - Book Superlatives

N.B.: Long post ahead.  Part II of a four part series of posts.


Hey guys, Rose here.  So this is the second part to my "Favorite Reads" list of this year. You can find the first post here.


So before I get into the second ten titles among my favorites for this year, I want to hand out some book superlatives just for fun/recognition.  I did this on my blog last year with completely random categories and a wide assortment of titles based on what I'd read that respective year.  


Brief description of how this works:


I have a list of superlatives among Young Adult Fiction, Adult Fiction, and Non-Fiction titles I’ve read in the past year.  Now, unlike the first post, most of these are pertaining to books that I read or started to read in 2013, regardless of publishing date. So this is a bit of a free-for-all.  Some of these weren’t featured on “Favorite Reads” of the last post, so this is kind of a chance for some other books to shine under some interesting categories.


This year is the same thing, though some categories are slightly amended for naming or for feature.  No worries, though.  The main ones are still here and I'm just going to start without further adieu.


Best Audiobook Narrator- Male




For this category, I'm choosing two honorees, one for YA fiction and one for adult fiction. First,  I'll give a strong nod to Sunil Malhotra, as he had one of the best narrating voices this year for the audiobook of Rainbow Rowell's "Eleanor and Park."  I thought he was able to bring Park's narration very well through the book, and he captures both the humor and sincerity of the character across many points.   The other nod I'll give to Neil Gaiman for his work "The Ocean at the End of the Lane." I never get tired of Gaiman's way of narrating his works.  He has that certain emotional clarity and power to his voice that make his stories come alive, and yet also feel smooth, effortless in delivery.  Loved their narrations both and they certainly enhanced the quality of the stories for me personally.


Best Audiobook Narrator - Female:




Ooh, this is a tough one for Best Audiobook Narrator - Female.  I picked two in YA and one in Adult, though in Non-fiction.  "Code Name Verity" by Elizabeth Wein is actually not a 2013 title, but I read it for the first time this year and was blown away by the narrations of Morven Christie and Lucy Gaskell.  They gave such life to both narrators in the work and made it that much more powerful, making it one of my favorite reads this year.


Rebecca Lowman gets my nod for best narration in Rainbow Rowell's "Fangirl" (Yeah, the audio in this was great also.  And you'll notice she also did Eleanor's voice in "Eleanor and Park").  She provides Cath with a convincing, sympathetic voice true to both her demeanor and emotional urgency throughout the events of the work. I was impressed even when I haven't heard that many narratives from Lowman before.  Lastly, I'll give a nod to the narrators of "I Am Malala." Both Malala Yousafzai (who narrates her own prologue - how about that? =))  and Archie Punjabi.  Malala's story is a powerful one and I couldn't help but be taken by not only Malala's own articulate narrations, but also by the strength of the narration Archie Punjabi gives to the rest of the narrative.  It was a pleasure to listen to and gain insight from.


 Best Biography/Autobiography




There were a lot of strong biographies/autobiographies released this year, but I have to give my autobiographical nods to both "I Am Malala", in which Malala Yousafzat chronciles her time after she was shot by the Taliban, and also to Linda Ronstadt, whose work I've admired for years in music and she takes the time to talk about her journey and respective struggles in "Simple Dreams."  Biographical nods go to "Furious Cool" by David and Joe Henry, who chronicle the life of the late versatile comedian Richard Pryor, and also Cary Ginell's wonderfully illuminating portrayal of Cannonball Adderley's life in "Walk Tall."


 Best Couple:




This was not as easy of a pick to establish this year because I had so many to choose from last year for character chemistry alone, but I'm going to give it to two couples from adult fiction and one from YA.  The two adult reads actually come from the same series: Kristen Callihan's "Darkest London".


Poppy and Winston from "Winterblaze" were phenomenal.  Think Mr. and Mrs. Smith for antagonistic chemistry at times, except for in an alternate historical London backdrop and with dark, supernatural leanings.  Granted, Poppy and Winston both have their respective flaws, but they're brilliant to watch when they work together to break the curse on their firstborn child among working out their respective issues in their marriage.  I loved reading about them.


Mary and Jack from "Shadowdance" were incredible to watch as well in their dynamic.  Both have an antagonistic chemistry in their partnership as they work the case for finding a serial killer, but they're more alike in their respective hardships than they bargained for.  Mary and Jack are also incredibly funny, and I found myself laughing at their banter in places of the narrative.


For YA, Cath and Levi from Rainbow Rowell's "Fangirl" really stood out to me.  They were so cute to see in their respective interactions, from Levi's goofy grins, to Cath gushing over her Simon Snow fic and reading it out loud to Levi in places. (She's a braver young woman than me, that's for certain.)  I really enjoyed watching the progressive building of their relationship, and found it among my top YA pairs for the respective year.


 Best Food for Thought Reads:




There were a lot of titles to choose from on this end of discussions, but I have to say that three titles stood out in my mind for my reads this year in the measure of "food for thought."   Jody Raphael's "Rape is Rape" was an eye-opening, emotional read, examining the ins and outs of what contributes to rape culture in our society.  It showcased a number of stories from victims of rape, and I'll admit it had me shaking with emotion and rage for the victims that did not, and continue to not be able to get adequate help as victims.  It had its respective limitations, but I thought it did a very nice job with the research and expansion.


Chad Smith's "Leadership Lessons from the Cherokee Nation" was an inspiring and illuminating guide to Smith's experiences as a chief, both not only chronicling his progress with the tribe, but also encouraging in the principles of what makes a great leader.  I learned and gained so much from it this year.


Lastly, the "Bullying Under Attack" anthology, which compiled stories from teens to teens showcased a number of different angles on the ever growing problem of bullying and cyberbullying in our society.  Like Emily Bazelon's "Sticks and Stones" - it's an eye opening account of how bullying occurs and shows stories of both determination, reformation, and illumination on the matter.  I greatly admired it.


Book that made me weep buckets in 2013:




I could name quite a few books in this space, including honorary mentions of "Kindness for Weakness" by Shawn Goodman and "Rose Under Fire" by Eilzabeth Wein, or even "Necessary Lies" by Diane Chamberlain.  Ultimately, I'm going to give this to Elizabeth Wein's "Code Name Verity."  I was just emotionally gutted by this book throughout, and I count it among my all-time favorite YA narratives for not only the expansion on the young female pilots it showcases the perspective for, but also their respective battles and bravery during WWII.


Favorite Covers of 2013:


Ooh, this is my favorite part.  I'm going to showcase 20 covers that stood out to me this year among the narratives I've read (or at least read in part).  Enjoy the pretty!




Favorite Horror (YA):




For this year?  Hmm, that's a tough one.  I didn't read that many YA horror titles, but I'm going to say hands down it was Neal Shusterman's "Unwind."  I'm still anticipating reading the rest of the series, but this was incredibly well done for the characterization and writing.  I read this for the first time this year.


Favorite Series of 2013:




This was difficult to choose as well, because I had to think of what series I've read this year that would qualify as an overall series I enjoyed and read multiple books for.  Last year, I gave it to E. Lockhart's Ruby Oliver series, because there wasn't any contest to how much I enjoyed the series for its charming protagonist and true to life expansions.  This year? Kristen Callihan's "Darkest London" series because it's blown me away with every installment.  It easily takes my #1 spot as far as favorite series this year were concerned, but it's still ongoing.


Longest Read:




So, according to Goodreads - my longest read book was a Norton Anthology on Writing with about 670 some pages, but I'm going to go with the next longest so that I can choose something from the realm of regular fiction/non-fiction.  So it ended up being Veronica Roth's "Allegiant" with about 526 pages.  Too bad that it didn't turn out to be a much better read that it was.  I felt the length of this work all too notably.


Miss (and Mr.) Congeniality (2013):




The Miss Congeniality honor ends up going to a female character that I love within the reads that I've had for a particular year.  Last year it went to Chloe from the YA comedy/slice of life book "Welcome Caller, This is Chloe".  This year it goes to Riley Carver from Adrienne Kress's "Outcast."  There were many reasons why I ended up choosing Riley.  Her narrative voice is priceless for humor and wit.  She's one of the few who can keep her cool when shooting an angel in the face and dealing with a naked boy who time-traveled in the past and doesn't have any memory of who he is.  She's actually fun to watch, and I almost nominated Riley and Gabe for best couple, but I figured, why not give them the Congeniality crowns?  So I guess that makes Riley Miss Congeniality, while Gabe's Mr. Congeniality.  (They both deserve it.)


Most Disappointing Reads of 2013:




And it's that time again.  I take no pleasure in revealing my top ten "Most Disappointing" reads of the year.  This year was much harder to choose from because I will probably know 2013 forever as the year I read so many New Adult titles as far as fiction went. Many did not sit well with me.


Some of these titles had the potential to be great books, but dropped the ball before it really had a chance to roll.  Others, well, they were just...not good.


I've already said my piece on RaShelle Workman's "Touching Melody."  If you haven't read my review on the problems in this book, you're welcome to read it here.  Fair warning, it's very long, but I could go on for the list of everything that was wrong about this book.  Take a very interesting story seed about a girl who attends school with a boy whose father possibly murdered her parents and completely screw over every single thing that could make the story potentially interesting with repetitious information, misguided sexual dialogue, half developed drug dealing details, and a hero and heroine who really have no chemistry whatsoever.  Based on a true story, it may be, but I honestly think the true story probably has more heart than this poorly written and offensive tale.


I've read Jennifer Echols previous works and think she's a decent writer in the YA/NA scheme.  I give her credit because when her narratives are good, she can get into the heart of her overarching conflicts and characters.  But when reading "Levitating Las Vegas" - I honestly had to ask what happened with that. It was like I was reading someone else's book.  The writing wasn't up to par, and the interesting magical realism premise was shortchanged by offensive portrayals of Native Americans, rampant misogyny and creepy sexual advances, and characters who couldn't think for themselves worth two cents.  Each and every time I think of this NA book, I cringe, maybe not as bad as I do with "Touching Melody", but I don't think well of it at all.  It upset me greatly. Luckily my reading of the author's "Dirty Little Secrets" this year wasn't as bad, but it still had issues.


Sara Hantz actually had a very interesting idea with "In The Blood" - one I would wholeheartedly give credit to for appeal alone.  The premise features a boy whose father goes to jail for kidnapping and killing four young boys, and his family has to deal with the aftermath.  But the execution of this YA novel was all over the place - and it completely undermined the serious tone for what the work offered.


I talked about Laura Preble's "Out," Jamie McGuire's "Walking Disaster" and Blue Ashcroft's "Deeper" in expanded detail in my reviews, but all made my list among the top ten of the worst books I've ever read.  "Out" presented a very shallow viewpoint of prejudices and abuses of its respected minority group, in an unrealistic way at that.  The language was not only pandering, but could be noted as condoning specific prejudices rather than condemning them.  It was...a challenging read to say the least.  McGuire's "Walking Disaster" was not much more than a very copious rehashing of Beautiful Disaster, its preceding book, just from the hero's perspective (with copy/pasted dialogue) and with a ludicrous epilogue that had me laughing and confused as to how it would ever happen in real life.  It felt like wish-fulfillment fantasy at best.


Ashcroft's "Deeper" was among New Adult titles at their worst, purportedly having a heroine who supposedly called out the misogyny of her LI, but ended up falling for him anyway.  Blatant scenes of near rape were among others that had me shaking my head at the work.


 "Bully" by Penelope Douglas greatly disappointed me in that it was a fluid read, but completely misconstrued and undermined the bullying against the heroine in the story, choosing to glorify elements in the progression of what ended up being a love story, I wasn't convinced or impressed by it.  


The last three books on this respective list are ones that I was looking forward to, either as follow-ups to their respective series, or as a promising stand-alone title, but every single one of them failed to deliver for execution.  "Allegiant," the last book in the Divergent series by Veronica Roth, didn't lose me for the measure of the ending, but rather the long, tedious slog of events, poor writing, and inconsistent characterizations of its leading protagonists. I couldn't feel much for the ending because I've read it done with much more resonance in other narratives vying for the same effect.  Plus, there was just a lot of science fail to be had (genetics don't work that way.  Seriously, it just doesn't.)


"Stolen Nights" by Rebecca Maziel felt like a completely different novel in the Vampire Queen series.  I had issues with the first in some levels, but that was a far more compelling narrative than this one turned out, almost like it was jumping the series shark by bringing back characters (and events) that were supposedly long resolved.  I just felt cheated after finishing it.  And as for "Tumble and Fall" by Alexandra Coutts? My choice for the biggest disappointment of 2013, but had the most potential promise.  It dropped the ball hard as a speculative narrative which forcast the end of the world - but had the most uninteresting, non-compelling characters to follow with an ending that didn't have much of a point (or impact, no pun intended).


I took a bit longer to put up this part of my favorites/superlatives list, but the next part will be coming soon.  Stay tuned.




Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
text 2013-12-28 22:16
Rose's Favorite Reads of 2013: Part I - Favorite Reads, First Ten
The Iron Traitor - Julie Kagawa
A Match Made in Heaven (My Boyfriend Is a Monster) - Trina Robbins,Nu Studio Xian
Hyperbole and a Half: Unfortunate Situations, Flawed Coping Mechanisms, Mayhem, and Other Things That Happened - Allie Brosh
Shadowdance - Kristen Callihan
Through the Smoke - Brenda Novak
Necessary Lies - Diane Chamberlain
Reality Boy - A.S. King
The Sea of Tranquility: A Novel - Katja Millay
Fangirl - Rainbow Rowell
Firefly Hollow - T.L. Haddix

N.B.: This is a long post and it's been split up into four different sections - Favorite Reads (2 parts), Superlatives, and Honorary Mentions. I'll have a link to parts II - IV once they're up.  This has been crossposted on my blog from BookLikes, so the formatting may be different than the one from last year (which was the first year of my "Favorite Reads" compilation.)


Yeah, it's that time again.  I can't believe that it's been a little over a year since I did my first "Favorite Reads" post, but this is usually my favorite part of the year to showcase some of the titles that I enjoyed immensely and to showcase what I like to call "book superlatives" to name titles, authors, audiobooks, among other measures in my book perusals. 


If you want to see my picks from last year, I've included links to them below just as a recap.  Last year's picks were fun, and I really enjoyed doing the showcase.  I may consider expanding this theme in the future, but I think for this year, the format will remain close to the same.


Rose's Favorite Reads of 2012: Part I


Rose's Favorite Reads of 2012: Part II


For this first post, the same rules apply for this particular section, and I'll repost them just to familiarize those of you who are new to it this year.


The first part of this will feature exclusively books that I’ve read this year that were also published this year.


This list is presented in random order while I note titles/authors, genres of the books, release dates, and a general reflection on why it made the list.  This is only the first part of my favorite reads of the year, so it's a group of 20 books, these are just the first ten (in completely random order).


Read more
More posts
Your Dashboard view:
Need help?