12 Best Books of 2012

So the 2012 reading year was interesting because I think this is the most I’ve explored different genres. I blame my book club for this, especially with our monthly discussions and their book recommendations. As a result, I didn’t reach the 150-ish book goal. However, I did enjoy exploring these other books that I wouldn’t normally read, so it’s still a pretty good year reading year.

I’ll talk about my reading stats more on another post. First, let’s get the best list out. 12 Best Books for 2012. Let’s get at it, shall we?

  1. Angelfall by Susan EeGruesome, creepy and scary but absolutely fun. I read this book because of all the good reviews I read from my Goodreads friends, and I devoured it in several days. I loved Penryn the kick-ass heroine and the equally bad-ass angels who caused the apocalypse. When is the sequel coming out again? Please make it soon?
    Angelfall by Susan Ee Continue Reading →

Blackout

Blackout by Mira Grant

Blackout by Mira Grant
Newsflesh # 3
Publisher: Orbit
Number of pages: 659
My copy: paperback, ordered from Book Depository

Rise up while you can. – Georgia Mason

The year was 2014. The year we cured cancer. The year we cured the common cold. And the year the dead started to walk. The year of the Rising.

The year was 2039. The world didn’t end when the zombies came, it just got worse. Georgia and Shaun Mason set out on the biggest story of their generation. The uncovered the biggest conspiracy since the Rising and realized that to tell the truth, sacrifices have to be made.

Now, the year is 2041, and the investigation that began with the election of President Ryman is much bigger than anyone had assumed. With too much left to do and not much time left to do it in, the surviving staff of After the End Times must face mad scientists, zombie bears, rogue government agencies-and if there’s one thing they know is true in post-zombie America, it’s this:

Things can always get worse.

* * *

Warning: This may not end up as a review, but a very fan-girly love letter to the trilogy. Also, spoiler free.

So normally I would have written a review for this book as soon as I finished it, but with my record of reviewing books lately, I took my time. In all honesty, I can’t remember parts of the book anymore, but I remember that sad feeling I got when I finally arrived at the end of this amazing trilogy.

So three years ago, I stumbled upon Feed by accident, and I only really wanted the book because I judged it from its cover the moment I saw it. Little did I know that this would spark a love affair between me and the After the End times staff, with Georgia and Shaun Mason and Buffy and Mahir and Becks and Maggie and Alaric and everyone who’s ever been a part of this series. Yes, that includes other fans who I have met and virtually squealed with and liked reading updates and shared speculations with over and over again.

Let me back up a little: for the uninitiated, Blackoutis the third book in the Newsflesh trilogy, where we readers follow the After the End times staff with uncovering a humongous conspiracy that could very well mean the death of human civilization as they know it. With zombies around, it’s easy to imagine how it could end, especially with how Deadline ended. But of course, there’s more going on without the team’s knowledge and when these things finally collided, well…it was pretty explosive. Blackout is one of my most awaited books this year, and I waited a little bit before I actually read it because I just didn’t want it to end yet.

Granted, Blackoutis probably the weakest among the three books. But by weak, I don’t mean that it sucked — it was just not as engaging as Feed or as mind-blowing as Deadline was, but there were still so many feelings that came and went at the reading of this book. But here’s the thing: I love the characters and the series so much already that I can’t not love this book. I can’t not love its finale, for all its faults and awesome things, for all the emotions and fist shaking it brought. I felt like I’ve invested so much in this series that I can’t not love even this book.

Oh and maybe the zombie bears had something to do with it! :)

I have fangirled in this review so I’m afraid this review of this particular book may not be as helpful as the others, but if you feel like picking up the series, then consider this review as my own version of pushing it to you. I am very, very happy that I stumbled upon Feed years ago, because somehow it made me feel like I’m a part of this series ever since its first release. I’m not an expert on the genre, but this is definitely one of the best zombie books I’ve read in a while. It is with a sad heart that I said goodbye to all these characters, and I will miss them all terribly…but I’m pretty happy with how this ended.

We started as a news site. Somewhere along the line, we became a family.

 

Rise up while you can.

Rating:

Required Reading: July

Other reviews:
The Book Smugglers
The Midnight Garden
reading is the ultimate aphrodisiac

Minis: Alternate Endings, Award Winners and Love Stories

I feel this counts as cheating, but sometimes, I read some short stories and books just to up the number of books I read. Is that bad? They can’t really be books since they’re super short sometimes, but they count as one because they’re stories. Right? Or I’m just making excuses?

But anyway, I am still reading every-so-slowly and I really don’t know what’s up, but I will stop worrying about that. And I will “cheat” anytime I want to, so there. :P Besides, cheating means more Mini-Reviews posts, right? :D

Fed by Mira Grant Fed by Mira Grant
Publisher: Orbit
Number of pages: 53
My copy: ebook

An alternate ending to the first novel in the Newsflesh trilogy, Feed.

* * *

So I actually wrote a review on this on Goodreads as soon as I finished reading it because I was so overwhelmed. Here’s the short review in verbatim, and right now I still stand by this. Mira Grant, you are an evil genius.

If you haven’t read Feed yet, don’t even try opening this. Read it first, digest it, and then come back for this when you’re ready enough to do so.

Well if you think having your heart broken from Feed wasn’t enough, try this alternate ending. I never thought it could happen this way, but when you think about it, this seemed like the way it could and would happen.

Of course, if you’ve read Deadline, questions will pop up about how this ending happened. But that doesn’t make this less heart breaking.

Mira Grant, I am in awe.

Rating:

The Paper Menagerie by Ken Liu The Paper Menagerie by Ken Liu
Publisher: The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction
Number of pages: 15
My copy: ebook

A gentle fantasy. Love, paper tigers, mail order bride, culture clash.

* * *

I wouldn’t have heard of this short story if it wasn’t for my Goodreads friends who started reviewing it on their profiles.The Paper Menagerie is a short story about a boy whose mom was a mail-order bride from China who can barely speak English and can make magical paper origami. The boy had a collection of moving paper animals from his mother as a kid, and it was their odd but sweet means of communication. However, as the boy grew up, he had to deal with his friends who don’t understand their family set-up and eventually, he started drifting apart from his mother.

This short story reminded me of all those stories that I used to read as a kid, the ones that make me feel guilty and inspired at the same time — guilty because I know that I can be like the kid who push away her parents because I am starting to have my own life, but also inspired because it makes me not want to have the same fate as the kids in the story. The fantasy elements in The Paper Menagerie were indeed gentle, and at first I wasn’t sure if I read it right. It made me wonder for a moment if origami paper animals were really supposed to move and I’ve been doing the things I used to do wrong.

This is short and sweet, and it would take little time to read it. It left me with a feeling that…well, I don’t want to end up being like the boy in the end. It’s not the kind of regret that anyone wants to have, for sure. You can read The Paper Menagerie here, or listen to the story here.

Rating:

Comic Stories About Love & Heartbreak Comic Stories About Love and Heartache by Various Authors, edited by Elbert Or
PSICOM

Comic Stories About Love and Heartache by Various Authors, edited by Elbert Or
Publisher: Psicom
My copy: gift from KD

The long-awaited anthology contains eleven stories exploring characters who have loved and been loved, have broken hearts and had their hearts broken and still love (or long to be loved).

* * *

Here’s my theory about love stories, or at least, anything romantic: my appreciation level in the story is directly related to the state of my heart while I was reading it. Wow, look at that, me using that phrase state of my heart. But it’s true, isn’t it? It’s easier to appreciate happy love stories when you’re happy, and heartache stories resonate more when you more or less share the same state, or have been in that state before and you can relate.

So how exactly did I find this comic book? Well, if the state of my heart was any indication (and I am probably digging a grave for myself by writing this), I liked it. Maybe I’m just really a romantic at heart, or I’m just a generally happy person, or there’s something else, but I thought this book is pretty sweet, despite it being “stories of love and heartache”. I’m no expert at art, but I appreciated the comics, especially the cute stories in between each major story.

I guess this is one of those books that show different facets of love, and how things can work out or how things may not work out. It’s a very quick read, and I finished it in one sitting, but I didn’t feel as if I wanted more. Perhaps the reading was enough to satisfy the state of my heart then.

My favorite part in the entire anthology is the last story, Red String, about a man who has been looking for his soul mate by looking for whoever was tied to the other end of the red string on his finger. I don’t know about you, but I found the last part quite…hopeful.

The Red String

Okay, maybe I am just a happy person. :)

Rating:

Required Reading: July

Hello, July! Hello second half of the year! :)

I owe several reviews on this blog but I’m sort of pressed for time with work and other things recently, so reviewing has kind of taken a back seat. I figure a post should suffice now so you know I’m still alive, and I’m not off doing some funeral planning checklist or you know, not reading. I am, I’m just terribly slow! But right now I just happened to be caught in the rain and waiting for it to stop so I can go to work, so I had the time to squeeze in a quick blog entry. Then I remembered that I haven’t made a Required Reading post yet and it’s already the 3rd day of the new month. So here we go!

From the quite dismal reading month that is May, I had a pretty good reading month for June! And I’m particularly proud of this June accomplishment because the two books from my list aren’t exactly the easiest books to read. So yay, recap!

  • A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin (4/5)
  • Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkien (5/5)
  • The Extraordinary Secrets of April, May and June by Robin Benway (3/5)

Plus, I managed to quit being lazy and interviewed Maria for my What I Read post. So even if I didn’t really have an active reviewing month, I think had a pretty good reading and blogging month. :)

Required Reading: July

Continue Reading →

2012 Books I Can’t Wait to Get My Hands On

So hello, it’s 2012. I will be all cliche and stuff and say that I can’t believe we’re at a new year all over again. Didn’t 2011 just start yesterday?

Happy 2012!

And now I’m done being cliche, I will not stop blathering on and share some of the reasons why I’m looking forward to this year (even if the Mayans think the world will end by December) — good books for another year, they’re things to be excited about, yes?

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

The Fault In Our Stars by John Green (January 10). You know this isn’t even a question, really. Anyone who’s a fan of contemporary YA novels should be looking forward to this, especially because: (1) It’s by John Green and (2) All pre-ordered copies were signed by the author himself. You still have time to pre-order this if you haven’t — go and do it now!

Blackout by Mira Grant

Blackout by Mira Grant (June 7). If you’ve been a regular reader of this blog or my friend in real life, you would know how much I love the Newsflesh trilogy. So much that I’ve given away so many copies of Feed and Deadline already. Now the end is near, the end of this amazing trilogy is also near. I’m so excited for this that I already pre-ordered it on Kindle. :D

This is Not a Test by Courtney Summers

This is Not a Test by Courtney Summers (June 19). And more zombies! I haven’t read all of Courtney Summers’ stuff, but I liked Some Girls Are and the news of her releasing a zombie novel just tickled me pink. :) Or maybe that wasn’t the right term to use. But anyway, with a creepy cover like this, who wouldn’t be excited?

The Return of the Shandar

The Last Dragonslayer # 3: The Return of the Shandar by Jasper Fforde (November 2012). This is also really no question. I love Jasper Fforde, and I loved The Last Dragonslayer. I’ve yet to read The Song of the Quarkbeast, but since I’m a completist for Jasper Fforde, I must have this. :)

Thursday Next # 7: Dark Reading Matter by Jasper Fforde (July 12). And here’s another Fforde! I love that he has two-books-a-year release deal, so now we get to know more about what happens next to Thursday next sooner rather than later. Awesomeness.

Hallowed by Cynthia Hand

Hallowed by Cynthia Hand (January 17). I’ve read and loved Unearthly last year, and I’ve also already read and loved the next book. It’s probably high time I get myself a print copy of both books. I hope this one is as shiny and pretty as Unearthly. :)

For Darkness Shows the Stars by Diana Peterfreund

For Darkness Shows the Stars by Diana Peterfreund (June 12). I loved Rampant, even if I have never read the next book, I still think Diana Peterfreund is someone to look out for. And then, she comes out with a new book. That is dystopian. And is based on Jane Austen’s Persuasion which I also loved. How. Freaking. Awesome.

Discount Armageddon by Seannan McGuire

Discount Armageddon by Seanan McGuire (March 6). I haven’t read any Seanan McGuire books…oh wait, she’s also the same person as Mira Grant. One more time. I’ve never read any October Daye books and I plan to, one day. But I can’t deny being excited over Seanan’s new series. This sounds so interesting, and knowing the author, I’m sure it’s going to be great, too.

Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins. While I didn’t really like Lola and the Boy Next Door as much as I liked Anna and the French Kiss, I can’t deny that I’m a fan of whatever Stephanie Perkins writes. I know that Isla brings us back to one of Anna’s friends in the first book, Josh, and it has that romantic feel of “I like this guy but he has no idea that I exist“. Aw. </3

Gunmetal Magic by Ilona Andrews (August 2012). A spin-off in Kate Daniels universe — how exciting is this!!!!! (Yes, the exclamation points should express my excitement even if it’s not enough :D)

Bitterblue by Kristin Cashore

Bitterblue by Kristin Cashore (May 1). It’s been a long, long time (okay, fine, two years) since I read Fire and Graceling, and I’ve waited for so long to get my hands on this. Finally, the wait is about to end! :)

Interim Goddess of Love by Mina V. Esguerra. And finally, I can’t ignore a local book coming out, yes? One of my favorite local authors is coming out with a YA book! We were talking on Twitter about this one time and I told her that I want to put her book in my list, and that would make her focus. So..here it is. Yay for more Filipino YA! :)

I’m pretty sure there are more books to look forward to in the coming year, but let’s be surprised at that, yes? I hope 2012 becomes a good reading year for everyone! What books are you looking forward to in 2012?