Saturday, December 31, 2011

Books and Sensibility's Favorite Books of 2011

Looking for our Happy New Year 2012 Giveaway Hop ? Click Here

Happy New Year's Eve ! So, we haven't been blogging long, but 2011 was filled with some great reads. Here is a list of our favorite books we read in 201l, what are yours ?

Kat's Favorites

Paper Towns by John Green
I'd actually been watching Green on YouTube for a year before reading his books this summer. I read this one all at once on a long bus ride and really loved it. It's one of the few books that has actually made me laugh. Green brings up some really interesting and complex ideas in a fun, crazy and insightful tale. This is the kind of book that actually makes you feel something.

Unwind by Neal Shusterman
This is one of the most intense books I have ever read. At first I wasn't into it, but by the end I couldn't leave my chair until I had finished it. Plus, it has some serious nightmare fuel.

Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare
This is one of the first few audiobooks I listened to and right away this one pulled me in. I think it is the right mix of historical fiction and urban fantasy. Plus, considereing how little I enjoyed The Mortal Instruments I was surprised to opening myself up to liking Infernal Devices. This is another one with some nightmare fuel.

Jess's Favorites

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
I like this book because it got me back into reading. After finishing it I wanted to read more books and I remembered how much I liked YA novels. It was the first book I'd read for fun in 3 years.
Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl
This book changed my perception of the paranormal romance genre. It showed that there was more to paranormal romance than sparkly vampires and insta-love. Even though I'm not crazy about the second book in the series I'm glad I found the series.

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
Um, where do I begin with this book. It was a magical read and not what I expected when I picked up a non-YA novel.

Friday, December 30, 2011

Book Review : We Hear The Dead by Dianne Salerni

Looking for our Happy New Year 2012 Giveaway Hop ? Click Here

"When given a choice between money and the good opinion of society, a lady must always choose her reputation."
- Dianne K. Salerni, We Hear The Dead

Synopsis: It started out as a harmless prank. But soon enough, spiritualism was the fastest growing movement of the nineteenth century, and Maggie Fox was trapped in a life of deceit. 

Meticulously researched by the author, We Hear the Dead reveals the secret of how the Fox sisters faked their rapping sounds and their motives for inventing the séance and founding spiritualism. 

I won this book from the Dianne K. Salerni during the Spooktacular Giveaway Hop and I'm glad I did. If I hadn't  I don't think I would ever picked this book up. For some reason, I was wary of independent and small book publishers and was surprised by We Hear The Dead. It is a thoughtful and thorough novel with an interesting story to tell.

The protagonist is Maggie Fox, although she sometimes tosses the reigns to her sister Kate Fox for a chapter or two. What begins as a prank by the two young sisters to fool their niece, quickly turns into something beyond their expectation. The girls begin to attract attention for their ability to communicate with spirits, too afraid to admit its all fake (or is it)and becomes a full-scale religion.

The first thing to know about this book is that this is based on the true story of Maggie and Kate Fox. Salerni has done a great job of digging up a long forgotten tale and weaving it into an entertaining novel. You really begin to feel for the characters and enjoy the ride.

No matter how little or less page time a character received, they all felt fully fleshed out. Maggie is a forward thinker for her time, who is trapped in between the life could have and the life she should have.
The novel quickly turns from a story about these sisters deceit and into a romance that could give Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy a run for their money. The romance elements offer some of the most exciting and emotional parts of the novel. It is hard to believe a relationship like this got lost in the pages of history.

The novel takes place over a number of years and by separating each part into sections, Salerni made the novel flow without feeling rushed or awkward.

I really enjoyed We Hear The Dead and was sucked into it. Salerni signed this copy hauntingly yours, but I have to say this book wasn't too scary. I think it's a great intro to historical fiction for people who don't usually read historical fiction.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Happy New Year 2012 Giveaway Hop - Begins January 30th !

E-mail subscription has been fixed !

Hello, welcome to our first giveaway. We made it easy, all you have to do is enter in the Rafflecopter below. We have 2 prizes today ! Over 200 blogs are in the hop so, Enter our giveaway and hop on to the next one here.

Prize #1 Clockwork Prince by Cassandra Clare

Prize #2 
A selection of Kat's favorite contemporary novels including : Just Listen by Sarah Dessen, Prep by Curtis Sittenfeld and Looking for Alaska by John Green

a Rafflecopter giveaway

2011 End of Year Book Survey

Jamie, the Perpetual Page Turner, provided us with a whole slew of questions about our 2011 bookish endeavors

1. Best Book You Read In 2011? 

YA contemporary-  Paper Towns by John Green
Dystopian- Delirium by Lauren Oliver
YA paranormal/supernatural: Caster Chronicles by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl
Adult Fiction: The  Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

2. Most Disappointing Book/Book You Wish You Loved More Than You Did?

I have to say Beautiful Darkness by Kami Garcia and Margret Stohl and Looking for Alaska by John Green I loved Beautiful Creatures, but Beautiful Darkness took all the good things about it and over did it too much for me. As for Looking for Alaska, it was hyped so much and in the end I felt it was just a manic pixie dream girl roller coaster.
3. Most surprising (in a good way!) book of 2011?

 Beautiful Creatures--I made fun of Jess for getting a lame paranormal romance. I thought it was a Twilight redux, but boy was I wrong. It is really good !

4. Book you recommended to people most in 2011?
I always reccommend Sarah Dessen.

5. Best series you discovered in 2011?
The Beautiful Creatures books. It's a fun group of characters

6. Favorite new authors you discovered in 2011?

Lauren Oliver, Tahereh Mafi, David Levithan and pretty much every author I follow on Twitter.

7. Best book that was out of your comfort zone or was a new genre for you?

 Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen. Its the first adult book I read that wasn't a genre novel like Dan Brown or Stephen King

8. Most thrilling, unputdownable book in 2011?

 Unwind by Neal Shusterman. I literally would not get out of my chair until I finished it. It was so amazing ! 

9. Book you most anticipated in 2011?

 Beautiful Chaos by Stohl and Garcia--and yet, I still haven't read it.  It's sitting in the TBR pile. 

10. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2011?

It's so shiny in person. It always catches my eye  when I see it in bookstores.

11. Most memorable character in 2011? 
Owen Armstrong from Just Listen by Sarah Dessen. 
12. Most beautifully written book read in 2011?

The Realm of Possibility by David Levithan. 
The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

13. Book that had the greatest impact on you in 2011? 

 I'd have to say The Hunger Games, it has really caused me to stop, step back and think.

14. Book you can't believe you waited UNTIL 2011 to finally read? 

 Um, pretty much all of the books. Mostly The Hunger Games.

15. Favorite Passage/Quote From A Book You Read In 2011? 

“Sometimes the only choice is between acceptance and madness.” 
 _ Cassandra Clare, Clockwork Angel

I thought it was cute and sums up the series quite nicely.

16. Book That You Read In 2011 That Would Be Most Likely To Reread In 2012? 

 I plan to re-read the Hunger Games.

17. Book That Had A Scene In It That Had You Reeling And Dying To Talk To Somebody About It? (a WTF moment, an epic revelation, a steamy kiss, etc. etc.) Be careful of spoilers! 

City of Bones. Just City of Bones. Read it, ya'll.

 Book Blogging/Reading Life in 2011 (optional)

1. New favorite book blog you discovered in 2011? 
I'm a new book blogger, so all of them really. I really like Reading Vacation and Reading, Writing Breathing because they are so young and yet have some of the most beautifully written reviews.

2. Favorite review that you wrote in 2011? 

 Um, City of Ashes or City of Glass because I brought the snark . . .

3. Best discussion you had on your blog?  

 Not on my blog per say. I liked the discussions on fiktshun's book blogger's corner.

4. Most thought-provoking review or discussion you read on somebody else's blog? 

The Story Siren's articles about book blogging always get me thinking.

5. Best event that you participated in (author signings, festivals, virtual events, memes, etc.)?
Well, I went to my first book signing at the DC book festival, but I have to say meeting Erin Morgenstern was better because it felt personal.  

6. Best moment of book blogging in 2011?

Just starting the blog for me was a big moment.

7. Most Popular Post This Year On Your Blog (whether it be by comments or views)?
 In Twilight We Jest--a post about Twilight Spoofs. It's popular because I linked it on Tumblr with a picture Jess took of a copy of Breaking Dawn in Wal-Mart with Jacob's face covered by a price sticker. I also added this caption

8. Post You Wished Got A Little More Love?

 A post about how Hunger Games is not the next Twipotter.

9. Best bookish discover (book related sites, book stores, etc.)?

 AUDIOBOOKS ! ! ! Love these things.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Waiting On Wednesday Vol. 10

This weeks Waiting on Wednesday features more books I'm planning to read for The 2012 Debut Author Challenge. There is still time to sign up at The Story Siren

The Selection by Kiera Cass

For thirty-five girls, the Selection is the chance of a lifetime. The opportunity to escape the life laid out for them since birth. To be swept up in a world of glittering gowns and priceless jewels. To live in the palace and compete for the heart of the gorgeous Prince Maxon.  But for America Singer, being Selected is a nightmare. It means turning her back on her secret love with Aspen, who is a caste below her. Leaving her home to enter a fierce competition for a crown she doesn't want. Living in a palace that is constantly threatened by violent rebel attacks. 

Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers

Seventeen-year-old Ismae escapes from the brutality of an arranged marriage into the sanctuary of the convent of St. Mortain, where the sisters still serve the gods of old. Here she learns that the god of Death Himself has blessed her with dangerous gifts—and a violent destiny. If she chooses to stay at the convent, she will be trained as an assassin and serve as a handmaiden to Death. To claim her new life, she must destroy the lives of others. 

Everneath by Brodi Ashton

Last spring, Nikki Beckett vanished, sucked into an underworld known as the Everneath, where immortals Feed on the emotions of despairing humans. Now she's returned- to her old life, her family, her friends- before being banished back to the underworld... this time forever.
She has six months before the Everneath comes to claim her, six months for good-byes she can't find the words for, six months to find redemption, if it exists. . .

What are you waiting for ?

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas Everybody !

Friday, December 23, 2011

Shopping Guide For The Bookish Types : Something For Everyone

Let's face it,  we can't read all the time even though we all want to. With these eclectic items readers can show their bookish pride without even turning a page.

Book Flask

Want a cute conversation piece or maybe keep your happy hour a little discreet ? Check out these book-like  flasks. Maybe you can slip some Polyjuice Potion when no ones looking ! Urban Outfitters

Bird and Lattice Bookends

Add a bit of whimsy to your bookshelf with this  polished iron heavyweight bookshelf, cut into two birds. Urban Outfitters

Ottlite LED Bookstand
Give props to your books with this sleek white bookstand. You can display your current reads like a piece of art ! Barnes and Nobles

The Gift Card

Last but not least if you're still not sure what to get for a bookish gift grab a gift card ! Instead of regular old bookstore check out a gift card from or they can have cheaper prices than other online shops.

Happy Holidays

Thursday, December 22, 2011

If These Books Were Judged By Their Covers : A Wicked Name Game

 Do Brits and Bostonians actually say wicked ? Or is it just Ron Weasly and Boston Rob? Either way, if you want to make a novel sound devious just throw the word wicked in the title.

You can keep it laconic 

 Maybe add a word in front . . .

or at the end

Or make it into a phrase

Which of these Wicked books have you read ?  I've read Wicked by Gregory Maguire and want to read Kenneth Oppel's  series. I also want to read Wicked Lovely  !

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Shopping Guide For The Bookish Type : For The Fashionable Reader

Tote Bags

Carry your books in style with in these classic novel insipred tote bags. They are great for hitting the library or carrying text books.

E-Reader Case

Is it a purse ? A clutch ? nope it's a sleek and stylish e-reader case by Lodis. Snap it up and carry your library under your arm.

Reading Glasses
Make that print a little bigger with these stylish reading glasses. You can find a colorful blinged out pair s to match any outfit.
 Typewriter Key Ring
Mix a love of the printed word and vintage style with a handmade ring. Made from actual typewriter keys this gift can hit all the right notes

Friday, December 16, 2011

Book Review : All These Things I've Done by Gabrielle Zevin

“Daddy always said you only explained things to the people that actually mattered.” 
― Gabrielle ZevinAll These Things I've Done

Synopsis : In 2083, chocolate and coffee are illegal, paper is hard to find, water is carefully rationed, and New York City is rife with crime and poverty. And yet, for Anya Balanchine, the sixteen-year-old daughter of the city's most notorious (and dead) crime boss, life is fairly routine. It consists of going to school, taking care of her siblings and her dying grandmother, trying to avoid falling in love with the new assistant D.A.'s son, and avoiding her loser ex-boyfriend. That is until her ex is accidently poisoned by the chocolate her family manufactures and the police think she's to blame. Suddenly, Anya finds herself thrust unwillingly into the spotlight--at school, in the news, and most importantly, within her mafia family. 

Anya Blanchaine is  the daughter of a Russian mob boss, but she isn't exactly Growing Up Gotti. All These Things I've Done is a novel comprised of  17-year-old Anya's confessions.She has the world on her shoulders; having to take care of her ailing grandmother and siblings while trying to keep out of the notorious family business of selling chocolate--which has become illegal in 2083.

Anya is a self aware character and is a stand out in the YA genre. She is s smart and rational, every choice she makes is for her  family and what it takes to keep them together, even when the world seems against them.

This novel features one of the strongest female heroines I've read lately, which usually makes a book all good in my eyes. However, I'm not sure this book really hit home fore me.We never get immmeresed into the futuristic setting or explore Anya's world.  Instead we focus on her love life, which is never really detailed.

Did I mention this is a dystopian  novel ? Because you would never guess by reading it. I mean  except for the futuristic setting this novel could easily pass for contemporary. It is a character driven story that bares little to no resemblance what we expect in a dystopian novel,  except for the illegal chocolate the world was pretty much exactly the same..

If you are a contemporoay fan and want to try a dystopian this novel is perfect. It tells a low-key realistic story with just a dash of dystopian

I've seen this book called Birthright #1, but  really this novel could pass for a stand alone if you don't want to get invested into a series.  

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Book Review : Daimon by Jennifer Armentrout

"You ever watch Clash of the Titans or read any Greek fables? Well those gods are real and yeah, I’m sort of a descendant of them."
- Jennifer Armentrout, Daimon

Ever since I've started book blogging, I've heard so much about a certain author named Jennifer L. Armentrout. Everyone simply adores her. I've even sat in on some of her video chats and I can see why everyone thinks she is (to say as she would) so awesomesauce. Which is why I was overjoyed when I won a copy of the prequel novel Daimon from Shellie over at Creative Reads.

Because it is just a prequel novel, it's pretty short and I read it in a few hours. We are introduced to the very alliteratively named Alexandra Andros and get a glimpse into her not so average life. She is a half-blooded descendant of the gods who has been living with mortals for the last 3 years.

Alex is a snarky narrator who has all the characteristics of a headstrong heroine. She delivers lines like :

"Was your mom a gardener . . .because a face like yours belongs planted on the ground"

Before drop-kicking guys to the floor.

As the short novella progressed I found myself feeling  a lot of sympathy for Alex and I got pretty engrossed in the story. And of course at that moment it ends on a cliffhanger.

We didn't get to hear much about the main male character, Aiden St. Delphi in this novella, but I'm sure he is seen plenty in Half-Blood. Damion is a great tease to Half-Blood novel , the whole covenant series and a quick fun read. It left me wanting more.

Looks like I'll need to get my hands on  Half-Blood to find out more. I also can't wait to read Obsidian (*cough* christmas presents, Jess *cough*)

You can read Daimon for free ! Download the e-version  at Spencer Hill Press

Saturday, December 10, 2011

In My Mailbox Vol.10

The Truth About Forever by Sarah Dessen
So, I love Sarah Dessen novels, but haven't read them all. I'm reading them in order and at only $4.00 at 2nd & Charles, how could I resist ?

Audiobook : Levithan by Scott Westefeld
I've seen this audiobook on  a lot of top lists, so I picked it up at the library.

Audiobook: Black Cat by Holly Black
Um, Jesse Eisenberg . .  . need I say more ?  I loved The Social Network and have really wanted to read some Holly Black.
Imaginary Girls by Nova Ren Suma
Jess picked this book up from the library after seeing it around.


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