All tagged Best of 2012

2012 Official List of Awesome

Some blogs have “best of” lists, Clear Eyes, Full Shelves has an Official List of Awesome. 

We’re honoring the reads that were most memorable of the year, using an extremely random scientific methodology. 

Favorite Debut - Something Like Normal by Trish Doller

Nominated by Sarah 


CEFS Review / Amazon / Goodreads

Best Under-the-Radar YA Novel - Miracle by Elizabeth Scott 

Nominated by Sarah


CEFS Review / Amazon / Goodreads

Book That Changed the Way I Think About Romance Novels - Can’t Buy Me Love by Molly O’Keefe

Nominated by Sarah


CEFS Review / Amazon / Goodreads 

Best Paranormal Not Written by Maggie Stiefvater - Unspoken by Sarah Rees Brennan

Nominated by Laura, Seconded by Sarah


CEFS Review / Amazon / Goodreads

Review: Live Through This by Mindi Scott

There’s something thrilling and even a bit nerve-wracking about reading the second novel by an author whose debut landed squarely on my True Book Love shelf.

It’s thrilling because of the anticipation of hoping that book magic will happen all over again. 

Mindi Scott’s 2010 debut, Freefall, is a book I love dearly (Laura’s review pretty much nails it) so I have been eagerly anticipating Live Through This. It received a starred review on Kirkus, and the pre-publication buzz has been extremely positive. When I saw it on the shelf at Barnes & Noble and noble—a whole week early—I squealed far too loudly and sprinted to the register, breathlessly explaining to the BN employee who rang me about about how much I’ve been looking forward to this book, and how it’s not actually out until October 2nd, and how I’ve got to know Mindi after I read Freefall and how it got a Kirkus star—and isn’t it all just so exciting! Needless to say, the poor guy thought I was a nutjob. 

Joint Review: The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

Note: This is a joint review by Sarah, Laura & Rebeca aka Renegade.

Blue had two rules: Stay away from boys, because they’re trouble, and stay away from raven boys, because they were bastards.

Without a doubt, the first book in Maggie Stiefvater’s new series, The Raven Boys, was one of our most anticipated novels of the year. All of us adored her 2011 standalone novel, The Scorpio Races, and couldn’t wait to see what sort of world Maggie created next. 

Blue Sargent has been warned her entire life that if she kisses her true love, he will die. When she and her clairvoyant mother hang out in the local graveyard on St. Mark’s Eve—as they due each year, for the first time, Blue sees a soon-to-be-dead person. This boy speaks to Blue and he’s a Raven Boy—one of the students at the exclusive Aglionby Academy in her Virginia town. 

Soon, Blue finds herself entangled in the Raven Boys’ world, a world filled with magic and mystery. 

The World/Setting

Laura: I love the setting of a boarding school in a small town, with the push and pull that comes from those who live there year-round and the revolving door of students. It reminded me quite a bit of the dynamics of Ithaca, New York where I attended college. In both cases, so much of the town’s economy and cultural vitality is dependent on the student population, yet there is still a tension between those who consider it home and those who come off as entitled, sweep in and out at will and live separately when they are there.  

Sarah: I am a sucker for boarding school in a small town books (there were a lot when I was a kid, okay?), so that alone makes me happy. The tension between townies versus the Raven Boys is really interesting and felt very vibrant. The magical world that’s alive beneath the surface of their town is really brilliant. I love how Maggie always takes a tiny bit of folklore (in this case, the Welsh sleeping kings) and makes it into something I completely believe in. The magical elements are thoroughly developed in this first book, but I also feel like there’s a roadmap for even more in this world’s mythology in the future books. As I was reading, I could feel the layers unpeeling. The way she melds the contemporary world and the paranormal is really distinctive in The Raven Boys, even more so than in the Mercy Falls series

Review: Unspoken by Sarah Rees Brennan

 Kami had never wanted to do anything but these two things: discover truth and change the world.

Until I picked up Team Human for book club last month, I’d never read a Sarah Rees Brennan novel. Clearly this was a grave oversight on my part.

Unspoken is a wonderfully unique gothic young adult novel (that’s also—arg!—the first in a series) centered around Kami Glass and her friends in the English village of Sorry-in-the-Vale as they attempt to unravel the mystery behind the Lynburn family, who has recently return after years abroad.

As long as Kami can remember she’s had an imaginary friend, Jared, who she hears in her head. Except it turns out he’s very real. 

I will admit, I was nervous about the premise behind Unspoken—I’m not a fan of the soulmates/deep, unexplain connection trope, especially in YA.

But Brennan takes that concept, the inexplicable connection, and turns it into something fresh. Jarden and Kami’s connection means that they are intimately a part of one another, but that doesn’t mean it’s not awkward and that awkwardness is heightened when they connect in real life. Jared is also an angry teenage boy. His life has been difficult, so being his friend in real-life isn’t that easy for Kami

In fact, Kami and Jared’s connection, and the challenges in negotiating having one another literally each other’s heads, is the most fascinating aspect of Unspoken. Their relationship is different from anything I’ve read in a YA novel. There’s really not any romance to speak of in this book, despite some of the blurbs that mention it being romantic-slash-swoony. It’s more complex than romance, and oddly closer. Kami, who tries her best to plan and be a smart girl, sees their connection as intrusive, yet at times also comforting. Jared, on the other hand, views Kami’s voice in his head as a lifeline out of his troubled family.

And, the contrast between the two makes this all the more interesting. Jared is a bit of a disaster, sort of emotionally stupid and oddly shy. Then we’ve got Kami, who’s all full of confidence and sass and though she’s not the most emotionally intelligent person, she’s pretty good at keeping it all together as well as a teenage girl who fancies herself a hard-hitting investigative journalist can. 

A serious journalist should probably not make so many jokes, but whenever Kami sat down to the computer it was as if the jokes were already there, hiding behind the keys, waiting to spring out at her. 

{List-O-Rama} Memorable Reads: 1st Half of 2012, Take 2

Well, CEFS contributors may not be known for their “blind acquiescence” but I’ve finally managed to scrape up a list of my favorite books so far in 2012.

Note: we just happened to randomly remember a few of the same books. Please disregard any repeats, as they have absolutely nothing to do with Sarah’s excellent taste. Her head is big enough already.

YA Novels

Such a Rush by Jennifer Echols - I finished this book last night or, more accurately, early this morning. When a book is better than sleep you know you’ve found a keeper. Echols does an excellent job portraying some wounded, imperfect characters you can’t help but love. {Review | Amazon | Goodreads}

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green - If Nicholas Sparks drives you nuts, this is the book for you. It’s an incredibly moving, honest, cliche free exploration of illness and mortality. And it still managed to make me laugh (sometimes through the tears.) Though I generally prefer less serious subject matter, this book is special, and worth the red eyes. {Review | Amazon | Goodreads}

Urban Fantasy

Fair Game by Patricia Briggs - In an attempt to save up for my trip to Europe, I decided not to buy the insanely expensive ebook (Sarah complained about this too) and instead got on the endless waiting list at the library. I lasted several days before I online stalked the non-holdable library copy, and raced in to snatch it up like the desperate reader I am. This is devotion. As the third novel in Briggs’ Alpha and Omega series, this book explores some of the ramifications of earlier plot developments. And yes, it was worth the trouble. {Amazon | Goodreads}