Top 10 Reads of 2012

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.

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Book Review: Two Way Street by Lauren Barnholdt

Publisher: Simon Pulse

Published: 26th June 2007

Format: Paperback

Pages: 288

Genre: Contemporary Romance,  YA

Recommended Reading Age: 14+

Rating: 5/10

Amazon/Goodreads

There are two sides to every breakup. 

This is Jordan and Courtney, totally in love. Sure, they were an unlikely high school couple. But they clicked; it worked. They’re even going to the same college, and driving cross-country together for orientation.

Then Jordan dumps Courtney — for a girl he met on the Internet.

It’s too late to change plans, so the road trip is on. Courtney’s heartbroken, but figures she can tough it out for a few days. La la la — this is Courtney pretending not to care.

But in a strange twist, Jordan cares. A lot.

Turns out, he’s got a secret or two that he’s not telling Courtney. And it has everything to do with why they broke up, why they can’t get back together, and how, in spite of it all, this couple is destined for each other.

Final thoughts on finishing Two Way Street: Was that it?

And: I wonder if the author was being sponsored by MySpace for writing this book? Continue reading

Fitzwilliam Darcy, Rock Star by Heather Lynn Rigaud

Fitzwilliam Darcy, Rock Star by Heather Lynn RigaudBodice-ripper and romance fans might enjoy this modern version of Pride and Prejudice. There is a lot of sex in this book, so if you’re not a fan of steamy novels you might want to give this one a miss.

Fast music, powerful beats, and wild reputations-on and off stage-have made virtuoso guitarist Fitzwilliam Darcy’s band into rock’s newest bad boys. But they’ve lost their latest opening act, and their red-hot summer tour is on the fast track to disaster. Now Darcy and bandmates Charles Bingley and Richard Fitzwilliam are about to meet their match…

Enter Elizabeth Bennet, fiercely independent star of girl-band Long Borne Suffering. Elizabeth, her sister Jane, and friend Charlotte Lucas have talent to spare and jump at the opening band slot. Elizabeth is sure she’s seen the worst the music industry has to offer. But as the days and nights heat up, it becomes clear that everyone is in for a summer to remember.

There were some things I really liked about Fitzwilliam Darcy, Rock Star, and a lot things that I just found very mediocre. I loved the idea of Darcy as a rock star, lead guitarist in a band called Slurry, with Elizabeth as his counter-part in girl-group Long Borne Suffering, who have been booked as their opening act. It was definitely a refreshing, new take on the original and Rigaud doesn’t stick so faithfully to Pride and Prejudice it feels like you’re reading a watered down version of the same story. I really liked that Charlotte was more of a lead character in this version as well. Rigaud certainly makes the character her own, though no doubt some Austen lovers will hate the way Rigaud has written her.

The first half of the book is definitely the strongest, I enjoyed the dynamics between the two bands, the music, how they eventually learn to work together on tour. I also loved the banter and distrust between Darcy and Elizabeth and their gradual understanding of each other, the connection they had through their music.

Unfortunately, this book is about 150-odd pages too long and really started to drag in the second half. It becomes ridiculously angsty and drawn out. After a while, the multiple sex scenes become superfluous. When you’re simply bored that your protagonists are at it again, and wishing you could just get on with the story, you’ve lost the point of including the scene in the first place. There is also a very long, awkward prologue which is written interview-style, and really is just a massive info-dump for the reader.

My main issue with the book, however, was Jane and Charles. Purple prose alert – these two were nauseating from the get-go and I have to confess that I resorted to skim-reading or flat-out avoiding any scenes featuring these two.

Fitzwilliam Darcy, Rock Star was a fresh idea that turned into a Mills and Boon cliché. Worth reading even if you’re not a Pride and Prejudice fan, for some flirty, sexy, Darcy and Elizabeth scenes and if you enjoy characters with a passion for music, but I can’t deny that it does fizzle out half way through.

Book Review: Hold Me Closer Necromancer by Lish McBride

Publisher: Henry Holt and Co

First Published: 12th October 2010

Format: Hardback

Pages: 352

Genre: Paranormal, YA

Recommended Reading Age: 16+

Rating: 8/10

Amazon/Goodreads

‘Sam leads a pretty normal life. He may not have the most exciting job in the world, but he’s doing all right—until a fast food prank brings him to the attention of Douglas, a creepy guy with an intense violent streak.

Turns out Douglas is a necromancer who raises the dead for cash and sees potential in Sam. Then Sam discovers he’s a necromancer too, but with strangely latent powers. And his worst nightmare wants to join forces . . . or else.

With only a week to figure things out, Sam needs all the help he can get. Luckily he lives in Seattle, which has nearly as many paranormal types as it does coffee places. But even with newfound friends, will Sam be able to save his skin?’

Hold Me Closer, Necromancer was a breath a fresh air in a genre I have generally come to avoid.  Continue reading

Book Review: Forbidden by Tabitha Suzuma

 

‘She is pretty and talented – sweet sixteen and never been kissed. He is seventeen; gorgeous and on the brink of a bright future. And now they have fallen in love. But …They are brother and sister.’

A lot of people have given this book glowing reviews – the general consensus being that the romance between brother and sister Lochan and Maya, far from being off-putting, was not only a passionate love story, but heartbreaking as well.

Ironically, the incest in Forbidden was the least of my problems with this book – though it will be a deal breaker for many readers. I like fiction that explores difficult and taboo subjects, that makes me question why I feel a certain way about a serious, sensitive issue. If nothing else, Forbidden is a pretty daring YA novel. But I couldn’t help but feel slightly… manipulated as I read this. Continue reading

Book Review: A Certain Slant of Light by Laura Whitcomb

 ‘Someone was looking at me, a disturbing sensation when you’re dead.

 In the class of the high school English teacher she has been haunting, Helen feels them. For the first time in 130 years, human eyes are looking at her. They belong to a boy, a boy who has not seemed remarkable until now. And Helen, terrified, but intrigued, is drawn to him. The fact that he is in a body and she is not presents this unlikely couple with their first challenge. But as the lovers struggle to find a way to be together, they begin to discover the secrets of their former lives and the young people they come to possess.’

I kept seeing this novel described as ‘compelling’, and that’s exactly what it is. Compelling. With so many supernatural romances filling the shelves lately, it’s hard to find one that stands out from the crowd and actually delivers a unique story. A Certain Slant of Light does just that. It’s far more sophisticated and more adult in terms of depth and plot line compared to many of the other paranormal books around.

Firstly, isn’t that just a divine title? It sends a shiver down my spine, that, combined with the frankly stunning cover, gave me a good idea that I was about to read something a little bit special.

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