I had a lot of plans for this blog back in January. I really wanted to read lots, review regularly and get more involved in the book blogging community. Sadly, I guess life got in the way and Turn the Page has become quite neglected, especially since the summer. There are a few reasons for this, my laptop died and while I love my iPad, I simply cannot stand trying to write and organise blog posts on it, I took on a new job and an internship, and I kind of lost the drive to read for several months. I certainly lost the drive for reviewing. So – sorry to anyone who used to actually semi-follow things around here, and a big sorry to anyone I promised a book review for and didn’t deliver.
That being said, I did have a pretty great reading year and have some amazing books you need to read if you haven’t already.
So, here’s my list of Top 10 books Read in 2012.
Easy by Tammara Webber
I loved Easy. This is a self published novel but it is miles ahead of so many books I’ve read that have been traditionally published. Easy falls into the New Adult category and it was so good to read about protagonist closer to my own age.
If you’re looking for some hot moments, tension and a healthy, respectful, romance than this is the book for you. Easy isn’t just a romance, however, as it has a darker storyline and does include some well-written but unsettling scenes of sexual assault. Don’t let that put you off as Webber balances the two out nicely.
Another self published novel and one that very quickly became popular through word of mouth on Goodreads and across the blogs. Angelfall has done so well that Amazon published Ee’s novel in paperback this year.
This is one paranormal YA that I absolutely adore and there are very few out there that I have liked. I couldn’t put it down. The mythology was great, the world-building strong and the romance just right. Best of all, Ee knows how to write a leading man who isn’t a jerk and a heroine who can take care of herself, who is compassionate but kick-ass if the situation calls for it.
Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein
This book shattered my heart. It’s everything I look for when I pick up a book. Everything I want to say about Code Name Verity is summed up in my review and I just hope you give this book a chance if you haven’t already. A few parts in the first half may be a little slow for some people (especially if, unlike me, you have no interest in World War II planes) – but it’s worth the build up when everything clicks into place.
One of my highlights this year was having Wein on the blog where she agreed to give an in-depth spoiler-free interview about the book, which you can read here.
Words in the Dust by Trent Reedy
This is one of those quiet, no fuss books that tend to get lost amongst the popular, hyped titles. If I saw this book on the shelf I would, in all honestly, be put off by the cover and probably carry on by. But this is a heartfelt, intelligent book and I simply cannot praise it highly enough. Words in the Dust, written by former soldier Trent Reedy, tells the story of Zulaikha, a young girl living in worn-torn Afghanistan. The Taliban may be defeated, but Zulaikha is bullied daily and often shunned because of her cleft lip, until the day the American’s arrive and offer her a surgery that will transform her life. Words in the Dust is such a rich novel and just flows so beautifully, giving an insightful, non-judgmental glimpse into very different culture and way of life. It was heartening to watch Zulaikha grow in confidence and choose her own future. The authors note at the end is also well worth a read. An excellent book for younger and older readers.
Princess Academy by Shannon Hale
Princess Academy surprised me. I was expected a very girly book, what I got was a strong, intelligent young girl struggling to find her place in the world with a strong emphasis on the importance of education and choice. Princess Academy is what I would call a ‘light’ fantasy but it’s perfect for young readers and an enjoyable, inoffensive escape for older ones. Check out my full review here.
I am a big fan of Peter Pan. I adore the original story (which is actually a lot darker than people expect, given that most seem to just be familiar with the Disney version), I also unabashedly love Hook, a film where Peter Pan has grown up, had children of his own and has forgotten Neverland.
Now, I was never a Wendy fan. She was far too much of a simpering goody-two-shoes, and I hated any version of the story that hinted at a big romance between Peter and Wendy. I was always rather intrigued by Tiger Lily, she seemed much more of a kick ass character and I always wanted to know more about her, not to mention her relationship with Peter before that girl came along. So you can imagine how excited I was to get my hands on this book when I first heard about it. And Anderson doesn’t disappoint. Tiger Lily is beautifully written, heartbreaking and bittersweet. Everything you could want from a book. Anderson manages to capture the feel of the original story whilst making it her own. Even if you’re not a Peter Pan fanatic, I would highly recommend picking this one up.
I am a major fan of Stephanie Burgis and her Kat series. This is the third, and what sadly looks to be the final, book of Kat’s adventures, unless I can persuade a lot of people to buy them, thereby forcing the publishers to beg Burgis to write more. Oftentimes the first book in a series is the best. But I can say without a doubt that these just get better and better as they go on. Not to mention this one has lots of Freddie in it (take a look at my reviews and you can probably tell that I’m a bit of a Freddie fan). Like it’s predecessors, this is a fun and dare I say it, flirty, read. A fantastic end to what has become a favourite series.
If you’re a fan of Coraline, then you’ll love this. In fact, I think it’s better. Creepy and disturbing, The Cavendish Home for Boys and Girls is a great choice for kids and adults alike, and the ending…. *shivers delightfully*. Perfect.
Fastidious Victoria is a wonderful protagonist and just the kind of stubborn, no-nonsense sort of heroine needed when the children in Belleville start to disappear, and the adults just don’t seem to care… I loved the friendship and loyalty between Victoria and Lawrence, I loved watching Victoria grow as a character and I loved how dark this book was. It’s also a very beautiful book to own – the cover illustration is gorgeous and captures the book very well.
I say Queen of Attolia, what I really mean, is all the books in this series, which are equally outstanding. But I think perhaps this one wins out as my favourite. Just. What I love about Turner is how not only can she masterfully weave a story of complex characters and motivations, but she isn’t afraid to put her characters in grave danger and follow through on it. Something very shocking happens at the beginning of this book, so shocking that I couldn’t quite believe it actually happened. I refused to like the book on principle at first because of it! Then I (a little grudgingly) admitted just how amazing a book it was. And certain characters that I swore to hate, I ended up rooting for. You can get used to reading books safe in the knowledge that whilst most of your heroes and heroines will be put in horrible situations, they’ll mostly make it out unscathed or be saved at the last moment. Not so when you read a Megan Whalen Turner book. It’s pretty brutal. And brilliant. The repercussions of a certain event are felt throughout this book and into the next and you’re never quite sure if any of them will recover from it. I think what I love most of all about this series is that so much is going on behind the scenes, so much is left unsaid, you’ll think you have a grasp on the story and it turns out you knew nothing at all. One of the best fantasy series out there. It’s certainly well worth waiting four years for each book *twiddles thumbs*.
Normally a book I found so difficult to get into wouldn’t make my Top Ten. The world building in this is very complicated for all it’s interesting and Elliott is guilty of some long, awkward info dumps, particularly in the beginning the book. But at some point, Cold Magic just clicked for me and I fell head over heels for it. A big part of that has to do with the tension-filled banter between a certain a couple. I was hooked. So much so that I found myself walking from bookshop to bookshop in London hunting down book two immediately after finishing the first. No matter what it’s faults, I have to say that’s one of the best endorsements you can give a book. I’d recommend fans of fantasy give this a go and stick with it.
Top Ten of 2012 is hosted by Lisa from A Life Bound By Books, Jessica from Confessions of a Bookaholic, Jaime from Two Chicks on Books , Rachel from Fiktshun and Mindy from Magical Urban Fantasy Reads.