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Best Books Read in 2012

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2012 has been an awesome reading year for me. I have discovered many wonderful new-to-me titles and authors all narrowed down to the following:


1. A Northern Light by Jennifer Donnely - This book is just so beautifully written that it was quite a page turner for me despite that it is under the historical genre. If you love books and words, it is impossible for you to not like Mattie and her story. 

2. Queen of Attolia by Megan Whalen Turner - I didn't quite really loved The Thief but this second installment, boy was I in for a wonderful ride. This book has just one unexpected thing after another! One of the best plots of all time.


3. Bartimaeus Trilogy by Jonathan Stroud - This series is a hilarious magical romp through old London and it's government. Magic + politics = a whole lot of fun.


4. Daughter of the Forest by Julliet Marillier - One of my best fairy tale retellings to date. It's such a beautiful heartbreaking tale of love and family with a bit of Celtic lore in it. 


5.…

Let it Snow by John Green, Maureen Johnson, and Lauren Myracle

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Summary from Goodreads:

Sparkling white snowdrifts, beautiful presents wrapped in ribbons, and multicolored lights glittering in the night through the falling snow. A Christmas Eve snowstorm transforms one small town into a romantic haven, the kind you see only in movies. Well, kinda. After all, a cold and wet hike from a stranded train through the middle of nowhere would not normally end with a delicious kiss from a charming stranger. And no one would think that a trip to the Waffle House through four feet of snow would lead to love with an old friend. Or that the way back to true love begins with a painfully early morning shift at Starbucks. Thanks to three of today’s bestselling teen authors—John Green, Maureen Johnson, and Lauren Myracle—the magic of the holidays shines on these hilarious and charming interconnected tales of love, romance, and breathtaking kisses.(less)

This is the first Christmas that I happen to have a Christmas themed book on hand, two Wintery Christmas themed bo…

The Mark of Athena by Rick Riordan

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Summary from Goodreads:

Annabeth is terrified. Just when she's about to be reunited with Percy—after six months of being apart, thanks to Hera—it looks like Camp Jupiter is preparing for war. As Annabeth and her friends Jason, Piper, and Leo fly in on the Argo II, she can’t blame the Roman demigods for thinking the ship is a Greek weapon. With its steaming bronze dragon masthead, Leo's fantastical creation doesn't appear friendly. Annabeth hopes that the sight of their praetor Jason on deck will reassure the Romans that the visitors from Camp Half-Blood are coming in peace.

And that's only one of her worries. In her pocket Annabeth carries a gift from her mother that came with an unnerving demand: Follow the Mark of Athena. Avenge me. Annabeth already feels weighed down by the prophecy that will send seven demigods on a quest to find—and close—the Doors of Death. What more does Athena want from her?

Annabeth's biggest fear, though, is that Percy might have changed. Wh…

Stardust by Neil Gaiman

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Summary from Goodreads:

Hopelessly crossed in love, a boy of half-fairy parentage leaves his mundane Victorian-English village on a quest for a fallen star in the magical realm. The star proves to be an attractive woman with a hot temper, who plunges with our hero into adventures featuring witches, the lion and the unicorn, plotting elf-lords, ships that sail the sky, magical transformations, curses whose effects rebound, binding conditions with hidden loopholes and all the rest.

I have always been a Gaiman fan, ever since I finished my first Gaiman book, American Gods. Followed by Anansi Boys and The Graveyard Book. All of which became my favorites. Plus I love fantasy and fairytales, so the possibility of me liking this one is huge.

I always get lost in Gaiman's world and this one in Stardust is no exception. It's a story book world where the real and the fantastical exists side by side. The ordinary town of Wall alongside the realm of Faerie, only separated by an actual physic…

A Golden Age by Tahmima Anam

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Summary from Goodreads:

As young widow Rehana Haque awakes one March morning, she might be forgiven for feeling happy. Her children are almost grown, the city is buzzing with excitement after recent elections. Change is in the air. 

But no one can foresee what will happen in the days and months that follow. For this is East Pakistan in 1971, a country on the brink of war. And this family's life is about to change forever. 

Set against the backdrop of the Bangladesh War of Independence, 'A Golden Age' is a story of passion and revolution, of hope, faith, and unexpected heroism. In the chaos of this era, everyone must make choices. And as she struggles to keep her family safe, Rehana will be forced to face a heartbreaking dilemma.

I have had a couple of adult fiction strike outs this year, so I was afraid that A Golden Age might just join the number of "unfinished adult literature casualty". But interestingly enough this was my first finished adult fiction read this ye…

Under The Never Sky by Veronica Rossi

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Summary from Goodreads:

WORLDS KEPT THEM APART.

DESTINY BROUGHT THEM TOGETHER.

Aria has lived her whole life in the protected dome of Reverie. Her entire world confined to its spaces, she's never thought to dream of what lies beyond its doors. So when her mother goes missing, Aria knows her chances of surviving in the outer wasteland long enough to find her are slim.

Then Aria meets an outsider named Perry. He's searching for someone too. He's also wild - a savage - but might be her best hope at staying alive.

If they can survive, they are each other's best hope for finding answers.

I was quite taken with the title of this book, it sounds very compelling, but lately, the dystopian genre has been a hit and miss for me (more misses than hits really) that I sort of mentally swept the genre under the rug for awhile. But when a friend came to me with a copy for lending, how can I refuse?  

Aside form the really cool title, I thought the world building was excellent. The whole id…

Top Ten Books I'm Thankful For

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1. Lady Bird Classics - These are story books of well loved fairy tales which have always been a huge part of my childhood. I thank them for providing my younger self with much magic and a whole lot of moral lessons.

2. Archie Comics - I will always be thankful for Archie and the Gang. They provided a sneak peak of Americana culture and gave me much entertainment as I used to exchange them with friends and sneak read them during class. (And I got caught...once) :)

3. The Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling - Who isn't thankful for Harry Potter? I mean, this book makes its way in almost every Top Ten Tuesdays List. I am immensely thankful to Ms. Rowling because HP started and cemented my obsession and love affair with books.


4. Mythology by Edith Hamilton - This is perhaps the only one from the required reading list in high school which I absolutely adored and I am thankful for it because I discovered the wonderful world of Greek, Roman and Norse Mythology.

5. The Hunger Games Trilogy …

Want Books: Fairy Tales from the Brothers Grimm: A New English Version by Philip Pullman

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Want Books? is a weekly meme hosted byChachic’s Book Nook and features released books that you want but you can’t have for some reason. It can be because it’s not available in your country, in your library or you don’t have the money for it right now. 


Summary from Goodreads:

Two hundred years ago, Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm published the first volume of Children’s and Household Tales. Now, at a veritable fairy-tale moment—witness the popular television shows Grimm and Once Upon a Time and this year’s two movie adaptations of “Snow White”—Philip Pullman, one of the most popular authors of our time, makes us fall in love all over again with the immortal tales of the Brothers Grimm.

From much-loved stories like “Cinderella” and “Rumpelstiltskin,” “Rapunzel” and “Hansel and Gretel” to lesser-known treasures like “Briar-Rose,” “Thousandfurs,” and “The Girl with No Hands,” Pullman retells his fifty favorites, paying homage to the tales that inspired his unique creative vision—and that continue t…

Bud Not Buddy by Christopher Paul Curtis

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Summary form Goodreads:

It's 1936, in Flint, Michigan. Times may be hard, and ten-year-old Bud may be a motherless boy on the run, but Bud's got a few things going for him:

1. He has his own suitcase filled with his own important, secret things.

2. He's the author of Bud Caldwell's Rules and Things for Having a Funner Life and Making a Better Liar Out of Yourself.

3. His momma never told him who his father was, but she left a clue: flyers of Herman E. Calloway and his famous band, the Dusky Devastators of the Depression!!!!!!

Bud's got an idea that those flyers will lead him to his father. Once he decides to hit the road and find this mystery man, nothing can stop him--not hunger, not fear, not vampires, not even Herman E. Calloway himself.

My attention was instantly caught by the title. I was pretty sure then that I had to read all about this Bud not Buddy kid and I was half wanting my name to be Elizabeth so I can tell people to call me Liz not Lizzie.

Bud Caldwell
I wa…

Elmer by Gerry Alanguilan

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Summary from Goodreads:

Elmer is a window into a world where chickens have suddenly acquired the intelligence and consciousness of humans, where they can now consider themselves a race no different than browns, black, or whites. Recognizing themselves to be sentient, the inexplicably evolved chickens push to attain rights for themselves as the newest members of the human race.

Originally self-published by the author in the Philippines, this is the first US edition of the book and the first edition to be made available to the book and library trade.

I first heard about this particular comic book via Trisha's (Lesbians with Books) comments on one of my Filipino Friday meme posts. Incidentally when I visited NBS, this book was right on the table located on the store front. I thought I might as well. And I was definitely intrigued by the idea of Planet of the Apes, Chicken Version.

I considered the world presented by Planet of the Apes as plausible because for one apes closely resemble h…

Top Ten Kick-Ass Heroines

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I have always loved strong heroines in novels and they are the ones that I get attached to, most often than not. 

Here are my top ten favorite kick-ass heroines:

1. Hermione Granger (Harry Potter Series) - I believe that Harry and Ron would be nowhere without her. She is really smart and brave. She plans and thinks of everything! 

2. Katniss Everdeen (The Hunger Games Trilogy) - Her physical skills are obvious enough but I think her emotional strength is at par too, having survived all the deaths around her.         

3. Katsa (Graceling) - With her grace, she can take down men twice her size!  

4. Lyra Belaqua (His Dark Materials Trilogy) - She is a clever, adventurous, and headstrong young girl who can face armored bears!

5. Kitty Jones (Bartimaeus Trilogy) - A girl and a commoner who can hold herself against magicians and djinnis. Tough and very self-reliant.

6. Sorcha (Daughter of the Forest) - She may not be physically strong or skilled, but she has been through so much pain in a very lo…

Top Ten Favorite Fantasy Authors

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The fantasy genre has always been my favorite, be it historical, urban, or high fantasy. It is the perfect escape from the hum drum of our normal lives. Anyway, let's get down to business. Here is my top ten list, in no particular order:
1. Megan Whalen Turner - She wrote The Queen's Thief series and she does political intrigue very well. I couldn't put down Queen of Attolia.
2. Jonathan Stroud - Stroud's Bartimaeus Trilogy is a great fantasy read about djinnis and master magicians and Old London with all its darkness and grittiness and mystery and magic, all told in the hilarious and witty voice of Bartimaeus.  
3. Susanna Clarke - Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norell is a brilliant, smart, and well-researched fictional story on the magicians of London and of magical beings like Faeries. I love the formal sort of language that it is written in.  
4. Juliet Marillier - I loved Daughter of the Forest, it's a wonderful fairy tale retelling with an epic fantasy vibe.   
5. Phil…

Bound by Donna Jo Napoli

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Summary from Goodreads:

YOUNG XING XING IS BOUND.

Bound to her late father's second wife and daughter. Bound to a life of servitude as a young girl in ancient China, where a woman is valued less than livestock. Bound to be alone, with no parents to arrange for a suitable husband. Xing Xing spends her days taking care of her half sister, Wei Ping, who cannot walk because of her foot bindings, the painful tradition for girls who are fit to be married. Even so, Xing Xing is content to practice her gift for poetry and calligraphy, and to dream of a life unbound by the laws of family and society.

But all of this is about to change as Stepmother, who has spent nearly all of the family's money, grows desperate to find a husband for Wei Ping. Xing Xing soon realizes that this greed and desperation may threaten not only her memories of the past, but also her dreams for the future.


Bound is dubbed as a Chinese Cinderella retelling and I was afraid that putting a western story in an east…

Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver

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Summary from Goodreads:

What if you only had one day to live? What would you do? Who would you kiss? And how far would you go to save your own life?

Samantha Kingston has it all: looks, popularity, the perfect boyfriend. Friday, February 12, should be just another day in her charmed life. Instead, it turns out to be her last.

The catch: Samantha still wakes up the next morning. Living the last day of her life seven times during one miraculous week, she will untangle the mystery surrounding her death—and discover the true value of everything she is in danger of losing

Since I haven't heard of the movie, Groundhog Day, up until a few minutes ago, the whole concept of being stuck in a time loop is a new idea to me, and this is what made me interested in Before I Fall. It's a Contemporary YA novel but made compelling with the added element of dying seven times over.

When I started reading the first few pages of this book, I didn't think I would be into it. The main characters are …

Top Ten Series I Haven't Finished

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I may just about have around 17 series that I have left unfinished for various reasons but for this post I am going to whittle it down to 10.
Series left unfinished due to lack of interest
The Gallagher Girls Series by Ally Carter - My teenage cousin recommended this and lent me three of the books in the series but after reading just one, I found that it wasn't my type. The whole spy school of teenagers might be a fun Disney movie though but I am more discriminating when it comes to books.Matched Series by Ally Condie - I have read up to the second book: Crossed. But still there wasn't enough action to engage me.  I like my dystopian reads to be action packed like The Hunger Games and Chaos Walking. Dark and gritty and explosive whilst Matched is the quite and peaceful kind, not really my type of dystopian read.Series left unfinished but will likely finish it only if someone lends me or gifts me with it
Infernal Devices by Cassandra Clare - I am not so quite keen on the paranorm…

Tales of Beedle the Bard by J.K. Rowling

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Summary from Goodreads:

The Tales of Beedle the Bard contains five richly diverse fairy tales, each with its own magical character, that will variously bring delight, laughter and the thrill of mortal peril.

Additional notes for each story penned by Professor Albus Dumbledore will be enjoyed by Muggles and wizards alike, as the Professor muses on the morals illuminated by the tales, and reveals snippets of information about life at Hogwarts.

A uniquely magical volume, with illustrations by the author, J.K. Rowling, that will be treasured for years to come.

The Harry Potter Series is what started my love affair for books. I love it so much that I have read books 2, 5, 6, and 7 twice and books 3 and 4 thrice! I acquired Beedle the Bard back when I was still longing for more of HP's magical world. I was looking for something to re-read so I grabbed this off my shelf. 

The name of this book made an appearance in Book 7: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows and played a prominent part in t…

Top Ten Bookish People You Want To Meet

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1. J.K. Rowling - I can say that I truly became a reader because of the Harry Potter books which contain such a wonderful magical world to get lost in. J.K. Rowling is brilliant and I would sure love to meet her over tea and crumpets at a cafe.

2. Neil Gaiman - He writes delightfuly dark, weird, magical and creepy stories. Some are adult fiction, some are young adult/children's fiction. And I was surprised to find that I loved all of them (American Gods, Anansi Boys, Stardust, and The Graveyard Book) no matter the age genre. If I would get a chance to meet him, it would be at a carnival/fair or maybe in a graveyard. :D

3. J.R.R. Tolkien - His works, The Hobbit and LOTR made possible the resurgence of the fantasy genre. In fact, he is dubbed as the father of modern fantasy literature, my absolute favorite genre. A walk in a sprawling English Castle while talking about all things LOTR would be delightful. 

4. Suzanne Collins - Post Harry Potter, I was in a bit of a reading slump. Most …

From Page to Film

There seem to be an abundance of book to movie adaptations this time around and for bookish people, they can be as exciting as book releases from a favorite author or series. Here are some of my most anticipated book to movie adaptations.

In which "I've read the book that the film is based on":

1. The Hobbit by J.R.R Tolkien - this is my absolute favorite Tolkien read and besides it's still Peter Jackson who'll do the film so I know he'll do it right and it'll be good.

2. Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins - Anything Hunger Games excites me. (If Twilight has Twihards and Harry Potter has Potterheads who do you call The Hunger Games Fans, I wonder.)  And Finnick, one of my favorite characters in Hunger Games will finally make an appearance in this one.  

3. Life of Pi by Yann Martel - I think it's one of those books that seems hard to make into a movie but Ang Lee did it and the trailer look absolutely breathtaking. 

4. The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones b…

Crossed by Ally Condie

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Summary from Goodreads:

Rules Are Different Outside The Society

Chasing down an uncertain future, Cassia makes her way to the Outer Provinces in pursuit of Ky--taken by the Society to his sure death--only to find that he has escaped into the majestic, but treacherous, canyons. On this wild frontier are glimmers of a different life and the enthralling promise of a rebellion. But even as Cassia sacrifices every thing to reunite with Ky, ingenious surprises from Xander may change the game once again.
Narrated from both Cassia's and Ky's point of view, this hotly anticipated sequel to Matched will take them both to the edge of Society, where nothing is as expected and crosses and double crosses make their path more twisted than ever.

While I wasn't quite taken with Matched, I still thought it had potential and the second installment might prove just that. From the blurb, I assumed I was finally going to get in Crossed what I thought lacked in Matched, more action. But.....

A huge c…