2013 Must-Have Books

I almost forgot to come up with this list because of my recent sort-of blogging slump. Thank goodness for archives, though, because I checked my posts during January and found my 2012 Books I Can’t Wait to Get My Hands On list. In order to keep up with tradition, I am coming up with a list for 2013 so I can remember which books to pre-order for myself and use laser labels (assuming I have them, that is).

Besides, it’s fun writing this list.

Image from we heart it

Image from we heart it

And here we go.

Iscariot by Tosca Lee (February 5). I’ve heard of this book around…2009? Early 2010? And finally, it’s coming out. I am so, so excited for this. I loved Demon and Havah, and when I heard that Tosca is writing a book about Judas Iscariot, I knew I had to get it. I actually have a galley of this already, but I am so, so getting a print copy because it’s Tosca. And I’m pretty sure she’s going to tear my heart apart again with this one.

Iscariot by Tosca Lee

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The Reread Factor (1): Anna and the French Kiss

A few months ago, I posted something about how I named some favorite books in the past after the first read and then when I pick it up again, I realize that I don’t really like them as much as I did during the first read. That post/thoughts made me a bit more careful about how I add some books to my favorites shelf. I wanted to make sure that the ones that make it there are the ones I like even if I read it over and over again. So I decided to start this little feature/challenge for this year: The Reread Factor.

The Reread Factor

The Reread Factor is about that: the reread. I pick some of my best reads from the previous year and reread them, and see if I still like them as much as the first time, and if they could be a book for the favorites shelf. Every now and then, I’ll be posting something about some of the books I found the time to reread, and I’ll talk about if I still liked it or not and what made me still like it or even dislike it after the second (or third) reread.

Note that the initial ratings I may have put on the book may change later on, but the first review will stay. Think of this as a follow-up review of sorts. :)

Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins
First read in: December 2010

Anna and the French Kiss was one of my favorite reads in 2010, and I pushed this book to everyone who’s ever wanted to read a contemporary YA romance novel. I loved this book so much that I searched for Point Zero in Notre Dame when I was in Paris in August 20111. I loved everything about this book, and I was on a contemporary mood early January so I decided to reread this.

Spoiler warning. If you haven’t read the book yet and you’re still planning to read it, skip towards the end, or just go to my review of Anna and the French Kiss.

Rereading Anna and the French Kiss was an interesting experience. It was familiar, and yet there were some parts I almost kind of forgot. There were some parts that I highlighted that I wasn’t even sure why I highlighted it. I suppose some of them were just really things that struck me, while others…I guess they were supposed to be funny but I’m not exactly sure anymore. Still, even if I knew what was going to happen, I anticipated so many things in the story: the first meeting, the conversations, the gifts and all the little moments that Anna and Etienne had together…and they all still made me smile.

Most of what I wrote back then still rang true on my second read: how easy it was to be immersed in Anna’s world, the side stories about cancer, absent friends and independence, and how the issues were addressed one by one at a given time frame with solutions that weren’t instant or too clean. Okay except maybe for the girlfriend issue, which I felt that maybe it was tied up without anything being heard from the other party. Was she just too tired to fight for it because it’s about to end anyway? Why were there no repercussions to what St. Clair did? Perhaps it would’ve been more realistic if there was one more encounter with Ellie…except that maybe it wouldn’t be as happily ever after if that happened.

On another note, the relate-factor of Anna and the French Kiss is still quite high, surprisingly. I won’t go into detail why (too personal, no need to bore you with that), but man, there were some sorta painful parts to read here when it started hitting too close to home. Interestingly, they weren’t the same parts that I highlighted on the first read. From my reading journal:

Still so good…the relate factor is still totally there, especially when Anna and Etienne were friends, but also not really. And how they kept on going at it without defining anything. WHYYYY.

Uh, yeah, I may have been more affected than I thought. ^^;

So is this book a favorite? Well…probably, but I have to admit that I wasn’t as in love with this as I was during my first read. But somehow, I wasn’t as enchanted with it as I was at the first time. A part of me is kind of wary that maybe a few years down the road, with more experiences under my belt, the book may not mean as much to me then as it does now and as it did in the first read. But that happens, right? However, it is still 100% swoony, and Anna will still be the one of the first books I will recommend to anyone who is looking for a feel-good and well-rounded romantic read.

Finally, I think this book just fueled my need to go back to Paris again to see the places Anna visited and make a proper wish at Point Zero. Someone bring me back there, please.

 

  1. Too bad I wasn’t able to bring my copy of the book so I could have posed with it on my Point Zero photo []

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?

Lola and the Boy Next Door

Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie PerkinsLola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins
Publisher: Dutton
Number of pages: 338
My copy: hardbound, ordered from Book Depository

Budding designer Lola Nolan doesn’t believe in fashion . . . she believes in costume. The more expressive the outfit — more sparkly, more fun, more wild — the better. But even though Lola’s style is outrageous, she’s a devoted daughter and friend with some big plans for the future. And everything is pretty perfect (right down to her hot rocker boyfriend) until the dreaded Bell twins, Calliope and Cricket, return to the neighborhood.

When Cricket — a gifted inventor — steps out from his twin sister’s shadow and back into Lola’s life, she must finally reconcile a lifetime of feelings for the boy next door.

* * *

It’s no secret that I loved Anna and the French Kiss last year, and it was one of my favorite reads in 2010. I think I neglected to add the companion novel to Anna in my Most Anticipated Reads for 2011, but soon after the cover and reviews for Lola and the Boy Next Door started popping up in blogs, I was really, really excited to get my grubby hands on it. :D

In Stephanie Perkins’ sophomore novel, we meet Lola Nolan, a girl who is always in costume — outrageous dresses, different hair such as sexy red wig and crazy accessories and make-up. Lola prides herself not only in her creative fashion sense, but also with her rocker and much older boyfriend Max, who her dads do not approve of. Still, Lola’s life is pretty good, until the Bell twins next door moved back. See, Lola had history with the boy next door — he broke her heart years ago. Swearing not to let Cricket Bell’s arrival bother her, Lola tries to carry on with her life, but she’s finding it hard when Cricket seems to be everywhere she goes, and it’s even harder for her when she realizes that she likes Cricket being there.

Ah Lola. Lola is a fun read, with the signature Perkins banter and characters. Lola’s world is very easy to get into, and I loved all the characters in the book, even if some of them got in my nerves. I remember reading the excerpt of this book way before it was released and I was already amused at how Lola had two dads. The characterization is awesome, as usual, and everyone just seemed more colorful here, like they all reflect Lola’s costuming personality. Add the fun dialogue to that and I was smiling and chuckling every now and then. :) I like it when the characters’ conversations feel authentic. And yes, I like it very much that we see more of Anna and Etienne here, and I still feel myself smiling every time I read about them here. It’s nice to see other loved characters showing up in another story — this is why I like reading spin-offs.

However, I find myself feeling a little bit distant with Lola. Unlike Anna, where I saw myself in some parts of her, I just couldn’t relate to Lola. I don’t know why, but Lola just seemed…well, different. I liked her voice, and I thought she was genuinely funny and creative, but I thought she was also…I don’t know, a tad immature? To be honest, there was a time when I really, really hated her, especially with how she treated Cricket. Not that she was especially mean to him, but she might as well be with how she handled her confusion with him. I liked her growth in the book, though. I’m not one to know, but people say her struggles in this book sound realistic, so I will take their word for it. ;) However, I do think Lola may be a bit too hippie for my taste.

Oh but Cricket. How much do I love him? This geek totally won my heart, just like how other blogger friends I know did. His adorable geekiness and his earnestness in with Lola and his love for his twin…everything just won me over. :) That’s why I wonder sometimes why Lola was having such a hard time with Max vs. Cricket — as if there was ever a contest? Although I must say that after I learned more about Cricket’s personality, it felt like Max was suddenly shown in a bad light. I guess there would have been more conflict if Max wasn’t shown to be such a bad person as the story went on. I mean, yes Cricket is amazing, but it doesn’t mean Max is an absolute bad guy, right?

My “I-can-relate!” factor for Lola is lower than it was for Anna because of my distance with Lola, but I found myself feeling so much for Cricket that sometimes I had to stop reading because I was hurting so much for him. Exaggeration? Maybe. I’ll never tell. ;) But I so wanted to give Cricket a hug when he said: “Please don’t make this any harder than it already is.” </3

I liked Lola and the Boy Next Door, but not as much as I loved Anna and the French Kiss. Still, I think this is a good spin-off, and I will definitely still be one of the first in line to get Stephanie Perkins’ next novel. :)

Rating:

Other reviews:
Angieville
Book Harbinger
Good Books and Good Wine
The Readventurer
Chachic’s Book Nook

In My Mailbox (20): Where did all these books come from?

This is me catching up on a couple of weeks of In My Mailbox posts again. It’s always more fun to post when you have more books to post about, right? :) Plus, I was out of town last weekend and I was just too exhausted to take photos and come up with an IMM post. Anyway, so many books in the past weeks — even I am surprised at my stash. Look:

Wee~

So, what did we get in the past few weeks?


I attended the launch of the fourth (and much-awaited!) Trese graphic novel at Robinsons Bestsellers two weeks ago. I’m not really a graphic novel person, but I loved Trese and I’ve been waiting for the fourth book ever since I finished all three a few months ago. :) The event was a success if you were to judge only with the number of people who attended (dress code was black, apparently :P). I do think it was an overall success because not only was it a full-house event, but also we got our books signed. :)

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