A few weekends ago I was in Chicago for NCTE and in addition to going to some great sessions I also walked away with 83 books to read, many of them ARCs. Now I hate reviewing ARC's super early,I always feel like I'm going to spoil it for someone, so a lot of times I think to myself "I'll hang onto this and review it when it comes out" and then I never do because I get busy and then suddenly the release date has passed me by. This happened last year- I got so many books at NCTE and then didn't review hardly any of them. So here is my solution... ARC mini-reviews of the first 5 books I read. These are the books I was most looking forward to getting my hands on and couldn't wait to read!
Cinder by Marissa Meyer
Release Date: January 3, 2012
My Ramblings: We saw this book sitting on the ARCs shelf at the publishers booth and were struck by the amazing cover. Then we saw that it was a dystopian retelling of Cinderella. Two of my favorite genre's mashed into one book. And it's going to be a series (sort of) with retellings of other fairy tales coming out over the next few years. It was pretty awesome! There were a few little spots that I felt were just added in to parallel the traditional story, but by and large it was done in a way that referenced the original without copying it, which I imagine is a really hard task. I especially loved the familial relationships in this story, the wicked stepmother, and the sort of ugly (on the inside) stepsisters. I also love the prince, Kai, and his story of stepping into his father's shoes and leading a nation. In short I absolutely loved the main characters and really can not wait to see what happens next!
Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver
Release Date: Marc 6, 2012
My Ramblings: This is the book I was most looking forward to AND most dreading. Delirium was one of my top books of last year, it was brilliant and I was terrified that Pandemonium would fall into the middle book trap and end up sucking. I really, really didn't want that. Luckily Pandemonium was every bit as wonderful as Delirium. In fact, both books could absolutely stand alone. Obviously this is a sequel, but the story is 100% complete in and of itself. I love that. I love Lena and it was heartbreaking to see her move forward in the Wilds and try to find herself. The story was also so full of hope, as she finds a new purpose and a new family. It truly is a brilliant book!
Take a Bow by Elizabeth Eulberg
Release Date: April 1, 2012
My Ramblings: I sometimes forget how amazing a writer Elizabeth Eulberg is. I'm not sure why this is, maybe because her books don't get nearly as much credit as they deserve. When I look back at her past 2 books (Lonely Hearts Club and Prom & Prejudice) they are both on my top 10 books for the year. They are so well written and absolutely capture what High School and being a teen is like. This book, set in a performing arts school hit particularly close to home for me. I was a theater brat, a dancer who really wanted to sing and act. A dancer who was never going to make it big (what with being a good 3-4 inches taller then all the boys- makes it hard to partner), but who loved being part of it all anyways. This book got it so right. All the drama, the competitiveness, the using people to get ahead, to get the best part, to be the star. The idea that you get pigeonholed into one role and you can't get out of it. Most importantly it get the idea that amid all the craziness that comes with being an artist, you can find some of the best friends in the world. I love this book. I can pretty much guarantee that it will be on the top 10 list again!
Everneath by Brodi Ashton
Release Date: January 24, 2012
My Ramblings: First of all the cover of this book is gorgeous (despite the whole decapitation thing) and it was all it took for me to read this book asap despite not knowing anything about it really. It is an awesome read! Amid all the vampires and dystopians I've been reading it was really fun to pick up something that still dealt with fantastical issues, but was totally fresh and new. The story was really intriguing, essentially looking at what you would do if you ad 6 months to undo all the pain you've caused other people, to make your apologize, set things right again and then ultimately say goodbye. How do you mend those wounds when you know you will have to rip them open again? Do you even want to? Like I said, so good. I loved the main girl, Nikki and I really liked both of the boys in this story, Jack and Cole, although I never really did get the feel of a love triangle. Which is totally fine with me, but I've seen some other posts/comments that talk about the choice Nikki has to make between the two boys. For me it seemed more like a choice between two fates, each one contains one of the boys, but I didn't not getting the feeling that there was much choice there at all, and that the boys were a minor influence instead of a major one. In any case, I LOVED that it didn't play as a true love triangle and I can't wait to see where it goes next and who Nikki will ave to turn to in order to really get things set right again!
The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith
Release Date: January 2, 2012
My Ramblings: This is a really fun book and the title pretty much tells you everything you need to know. Is there such a thing as love at first sight? Is it possible to fall in love even as the relationships of those around you seem to be falling apart? Hadley is on her way to her fathers wedding where he will marry a woman Hadley has never met. She bitter and angry and doesn't want to go. When she misses her flight she ends up crossing paths with Oliver, who is headed back to London for an event of his own. From there they embark on a mini adventure together, each finding something they need in the other. But can one flight be enough to base a whole relationship on? What I really liked about this book is that it doesn't paint love and marriage as a one size fits all prospect- we see all types of partnerships here. Ones that work, one's that don't and second chances that make it all worthwhile.