Thursday, December 31, 2009

Reflections and Resolutions

I wanted to put up a post of my favorite twelve books of 2009. But, despite the fact that I read tons of books, I couldn't actually find twelve favorites that really excited me enough to be considered a favorite. So, instead of just posting my FAVORITE 2009 books, I will include a few that I consider great books and would still recommend people to read (some of these books may not have actually been published in 2009, but I read them in 2009, so they make the list).

1. Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater
2. Fire by Kristin Cashore
3. Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick
4. The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
5. Need by Carrie Jones
6. Catching Fire by Suzanne Jones
7. Intertwined by Gena Showalter
8. Lament: The Faerie Queen's Deception by Maggie Stiefvater
9. Ballad: A Gathering of Faerie by Maggie Stiefvater
10. City of Glass (The Mortal Instruments book 3) by Cassandra Clare
11. City of Ashes (The Mortal Instruments book 2) by Cassandra Clare
12. City of Bones (The Mortal Instruments book 1) by Cassandra Clare

I've tried my best to put those in order, starting with my favorite. It's a close call between Shiver and Fire. I am in love with both Maggie's and Kristin's writing styles. Simply gorgeous! If you haven't read any of these books in 2009, definitely pick them up for 2010.

And now that I am done reflecting on the books I've read, I think it's time to look ahead. I have come up with a few resolutions that I hope I can stick to in 2010.

1. Write more = finish draft 1 of novel!!
2. Exercise more, lose a little weight (that means actually using the gym membership I'm paying for and probably riding the bike my husband bought for me)
3. Pay off some debt! = decrease stress level

How about you? Any favorite books of 2009 that I didn't mention? Any good resolutions for the new year?

HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYONE!!! Have fun and be safe!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Look What the Book Fairy Left Me (5)

The Book Fairy and Santa conspired this year to bring me some good books. Unfortunately, Santa did not make me the book shelves that I wanted for above the closets in my bedroom. I've run out of floor space. Now I'm going up for storage! :) Of course, my husband/aka Santa, is thrilled by this idea.
I got a pretty good haul this Christmas! I seriously need two of me just to read all the books in my TBR pile. But I am not complaining...

Deadly Little Lies (A Touch Novel) by Laurie Faria Stolarz
this is the sequel to Deadly Little Secret, which is in my TBR pile.
Last fall, sixteen-year-old Camelia fell for Ben, the mysterious new boy at school who turned out to have a very mysterious gift--pyschometry, the ability to sense the future through touch. But just as Camelia and Ben's romance began to heat up, he abruptly left town. Brokenhearted, Camelia has spent the last few months studying everything she can about psychometry, and experiencing her own strange brushes with premonition. Camelia wonders if Ben's abilities have somehow rubbed off on her. Can the power of psychometry be transferred?
Even once Ben returns to school, Camelia can't get close enough to share her secret with him. Despite the romantic tension between them, Ben remains aloof, avoiding contact. Then when an unexpected kiss leads to a frightening argument, Camelia makes the painful decision to let Ben go and move on. Adam, the hot new guy at work, seems good for her in ways Ben wasn't. Adam is easygoing, and seems to really care about her.
But when Camelia and Adam start dating, a surprising love triangle results. A chilling sequence of events upturns secrets from Ben's past--and Adam's. Someone is lying, and it's up to Camelia to figure out who-before it's too late.

Shadowland by Alyson Noel
This is the third in the Immortals series. I enjoyed the first two, so I am excited to see how this new book unfolds. From the book description, it appears there are going to be some twists. I'm a little bummed only because some of what I've read from the book description is a little similar to the book I am writing. But that's ok...hasn't stopped me yet!
Ever and Damen have traveled through countless past lives—and fought off the world’s darkest enemies—so they could be together forever. But just when their long-awaited destiny is finally within reach, a powerful curse falls upon Damen…one that could destroy everything. Now a single touch of their hands or a soft brush of their lips could mean sudden death—plunging Damen into the Shadowland. Desperate to break the curse and save Damen, Ever immerses herself in magick—and gets help from an unexpected source…a surfer named Jude.
Although she and Jude have only just met, he feels startlingly familiar. Despite her fierce loyalty to Damen, Ever is drawn to Jude, a green-eyed golden boy with magical talents and a mysterious past. She’s always believed Damen to be her soulmate and one true love—and she still believes it to be true. But as Damen pulls away to save them, Ever’s connection with Jude grows stronger—and tests her love for Damen like never before…

Fallen by Lauren Kate
I absolutely love the cover of this one! Ever since I saw it, I've wanted it. Hope the inside holds up to the outside.
There's something achingly familiar about Daniel Grigori.
Mysterious and aloof, he captures Luce Price's attention from the moment she sees him on her first day at the Sword & Cross boarding school in sultry Savannah, Georgia. He's the one bright spot in a place where cell phones are forbidden, the other students are all screw-ups, and security cameras watch every move.
Even though Daniel wants nothing to do with Luce--and goes out of his way to make that very clear--she can't let it go. Drawn to him like a moth to a flame, she has to find out what Daniel is so desperate to keep secret . . . even if it kills her.
Dangerously exciting and darkly romantic, Fallen is a page turning thriller and the ultimate love story.

Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl
I grew up in SC (although, I believe the town in this book is fictional), so I'm intrigued to read a fantasy in that setting.
There were no surprises in Gatlin County.
We were pretty much the epicenter of the middle of nowhere.
At least, that's what I thought.
Turns out, I couldn't have been more wrong.
There was a curse.
There was a girl.
And in the end, there was a grave.
Lena Duchannes is unlike anyone the small Southern town of Gatlin has ever seen, and she's struggling to conceal her power and a curse that has haunted her family for generations. But even within the overgrown gardens, murky swamps and crumbling graveyards of the forgotten South, a secret cannot stay hidden forever.
Ethan Wate, who has been counting the months until he can escape from Gatlin, is haunted by dreams of a beautiful girl he has never met. When Lena moves into the town's oldest and most infamous plantation, Ethan is inexplicably drawn to her and determined to uncover the connection between them.
In a town with no surprises, one secret could change everything.

Books I bought with Santa money!
First Test by Tamora Pierce

I've heard such great things about her as a writer and I am always interested in reading about strong female characters, so I am hopeful that this is a good book. The problem I have discovered, which probably isnt really much of a problem at all, is that this book is set in the world of Tortall and apparently there is another series of books Ms. Pierce has written set in this world with some of the same characters. Of course, the other series precedes this one, so I am torn on whether or not I should try to pick up that other series first. It isn't necessary, according to the book jacket, but it would be nice to be familiar with some of the characters that are mentioned in this newer series.
Ten years after the proclamation that girls are eligible for a page's training at the court of King Jonathan of Tortall, 10-year-old Keladry applies and is accepted, but on probation, a condition never forced on male applicants. Resolutely accepting the challenge, the hostility of the royal training master, and harassment by fellow pages, Kel makes her way through this difficult year. Trained from early childhood by stoic Yamani warriors, she is capable of hiding her feelings, fearless in a fight, and willing to work hard to develop the necessary physical capacity. Her sympathy and support for the underdog and her sense of chivalry earn her the admiration of a group of fellow pages. She also befriends the sparrows that live outside her window and wins over a difficult horse. Kel performs well in her first real battle and is grudgingly allowed to stay for another year of training. The medieval/magical world of Tortall has been the setting for eight of the author's titles; in First Test, the first of a new series, this fantasy world is clear and well developed, allowing the book to stand on its own. Characters who may be familiar to readers of the previous titles are reintroduced successfully or remain on the sidelines. The scrappy Kel is an appealing and believable girl whose struggles to integrate a formerly all-male world are both familiar and freshly told.

My Soul to Save (Soul Screamers series) by Rachel Vincent

The sequel to My Soul to Take, the third book is due out any day now...
I have these in my TBR pile. So many books, not enough time!
The last thing Kaylee needs right now is to be skipping school, breaking her dad’s ironclad curfew and putting her boyfriend’s loyalty to the test. But starry-eyed teens are trading their souls for a flickering lifetime of fame and fortune in exchange for eternity in the Netherworld — a consequence they can’t possibly understand. Kaylee can’t let that happen, even if trying to save their souls means putting her own at risk....

Darklight by Lesley Livingston

sequel to Wondorous Strange, both of which are in my TBR pile...are you seeing a recurring theme here? :)
Much has changed since autumn, when Kelley Winslow learned she was Faerie royalty, fell in love with changeling guard Sonny Flannery, and saved New York City from a rampaging Faerie war band. When a terrifying encounter in Central Park sends Kelley tumbling into the Otherworld, her reunion with Sonny is joyful—but cut short. For they’ve been plunged into a game of Faerie deception and wavering allegiances in which the next move could topple a kingdom...or part them forever.

The Dark Divine by Bree Despain

Bree's debut novel. I came across this one purely by accident. I can't wait to read it.
Grace Divine, daughter of the local pastor, always knew something terrible happened the night Daniel Kalbi disappeared--the night she found her brother Jude collapsed on the porch, covered in his own blood--but she has no idea what a truly monstrous secret that night held.
The memories her family has tried to bury resurface when Daniel returns, three years later, and enrolls in Grace and Jude's high school. Despite promising Jude she'll stay away, Grace cannot deny her attraction to Daniel's shocking artistic abilities, his way of getting her to look at the world from new angles, and the strange, hungry glint in his eyes.
The closer Grace gets to Daniel, the more she jeopardizes her life, as her actions stir resentment in Jude and drive him to embrace the ancient evil Daniel unleashed that horrific night. Grace must discover the truth behind the boy's dark secret...and the cure that can save the ones she loves. But she may have to lay down the ultimate sacrifice to do it--her soul.

And there you have it! A very long list. Can't wait to dig in!
Did you get anything good for Christmas?

*book descriptions were taken from and

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

I Think I'm In Love...Again

What can I say? I've gone and done it again. I've fallen in love with a book...
I want to remain spoiler free so that the rest of you who haven't already fallen for this book can enjoy it in it's entirety. If you haven't picked this book up - DO! It's awesome. If I could only choose two words to describe it they would be: exciting and sexy! And did I mention how gorgeous the cover is?! I could barely put it down, and when I had to I was devastated. You know a book is good when you get so emotionally involved in the characters - that's all I'm going to say about that...

Here's what has to say about it:
For Nora Grey, romance was not part of the plan. She's never been particularly attracted to the boys at her school, no matter how much her best friend, Vee, pushes them at her. Not until Patch came along.
With his easy smile and eyes that seem to see inside her, Nora is drawn to him against her better judgment.
But after a series of terrifying encounters, Nora's not sure who to trust. Patch seems to be everywhere she is, and to know more about her than her closest friends. She can't decide whether she should fall into his arms or run and hide. And when she tries to seek some answers, she finds herself near a truth that is way more unsettling than anything Patch makes her feel.
For Nora is right in the middle of an ancient battle between the immortal and those that have fallen - and, when it comes to choosing sides, the wrong choice will cost her life.

This is author Becca Fitzpatrick's debut novel, and it's a beauty! I am so stoked for the sequel, Crescendo, due out in the Fall.
So, hopefully Santa will be bringing all of us books for Christmas this's not too late to ask for this one.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Things That Made Me Smile Today

Just a quick post to squee about a few things that make me smile.
Tonight was the finale of SYTYCD!! And, guess who was there dancing his little booty off? That's right! Legacy! But, really, the entire show was great - minus a few of those musical performances. It made me smile to get to see some of those awesome dances again.
I was excited that my 3 faves of the final 6 came to be the final 3. I was only slightly bummed that they won in reverse order for me. I really would've liked to see Kathryn or Jakob win it all, but Russell was just precious.
On to the second thing that made me smile today:
Thing Three:

A book that will be on next week's Look What the Book Fairy Left Me post; Bright Star: Love Letters and Poems of John Keats to Fanny Brawne.
Is there anything that made you smile today?

Thursday, December 10, 2009

The TV Killed Me Last Night...

Any time I am feeling particularly emotional over something I feel the need to post, the need to share my highs and lows. Last night I experienced one of each: a high and a low. And I am just not sure how I feel about it this morning. I think that even though the high was a good one, it has been overshadowed by the extreme low. So, I will deliver the bad news first:

My favorite - FAVORITE - dancer of all time on SYTYCD was kicked off last night. Why do they do it to me?! I called in. I voted. Every week!! I can't believe that America didn't vote to keep Legacy, the most awesome b-boy in SYTYCD history, on for the finale.

You know, Ryan and Ashleigh were ok. They'd gotten better. They'd grown on me. But, SERIOUSLY?! Just because Ryan tried to be all chivalrous and asked the fans to vote for his wife instead of him is no reason to keep him on the show if his dancing wasn't as good as someone else's. And though I wasn't quite as devastated about Mollee being voted off, I am still a little annoyed. She danced her ass off on Tuesday and had done her best all season! And the Travis contemporary dance that Legacy and Ellenore did? Holy crap! It was freakin' AMAZING! Ok...I digress. This is going to take a while for me to get over.
Now, on to the second order of business. The high for last night that helped to slightly ease my broken heart: Glee.

Last night's season finale had everything I could've hoped for! More new songs. Some news coming out that had been secret to at least one of the characters. (Not to mention that last weeks episode was also awesome in the secrets being revealed arena). And a perfect ending! Will and Emma kissed! Eeek! I squealed like a little girl and my husband just rolled his eyes and laughed.
I absolutely can't wait for the Spring season premiere!!
How about you? Did you happen to watch?

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Look What the Book Fairy Left Me (4)

Well...I'm finally back. I took a short break from blogging. Reasons? Holidays (house guests), sad things, and, well, simply because I didn't have anything much to blog about. Where does the time go, by the way?
I don't have much to brag about for this week. I did get one new book. I've slowed down a bit on book buying. My shelves are overflowing and I am already out of room again since I got my new bookshelf in September. I have a whole crapload of borrowed books that I just got my hands on, so maybe next weeks book fairy post will show all of those books. That's going to be a long list :)
So, without further ado, this week's book is Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld.
I have yet to read any of Mr. Westerfeld's books, but have several in my TBR stack. Despite that, I really wanted this book. Steampunk stuff intrigues me. The book itself intrigues me. The cover is awesome. The book is heavy - and for some reason, I like that. It is full of cool illustrations. And on top of all of that, one of the really cool things is that the book has a girl character in disguise as a boy. I really can't wait to read it.

It is the cusp of World War I, and all the European powers are arming up. The Austro-Hungarians and Germans have their Clankers, steam-driven iron machines loaded with guns and ammunition. The British Darwinists employ fabricated animals as their weaponry. Their Leviathan is a whale airship, and the most masterful beast in the British fleet.
Aleksandar Ferdinand, prince of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, is on the run. His own people have turned on him. His title is worthless. All he has is a battle-torn Stormwalker and a loyal crew of men.
Deryn Sharp is a commoner, a girl disguised as a boy in the British Air Service. She's a brilliant airman. But her secret is in constant danger of being discovered.
With the Great War brewing, Alek's and Deryn's paths cross in the most unexpected way...taking them both aboard the Leviathan on a fantastical, around-the-world adventure. One that will change both their lives forever.*

*book description taken from