Saturday, December 25, 2010

Christmas Special: Ginny's Recommendation List Part 1

Merry Christmas, everyone!!

I hope you are having amazing time with your family/friends/lover!
And I hope you've all gotten what you'd wished for.
I got -bookwise- Stray (reviewed by me) by Rachel Vincent, Moon Called (reviewed by Jen) by Patricia Briggs, Wanderlust by Lucy Silag, Deadline by Chris Crutcher and The Lucky One by Nicholas Sparks.They are all great, or at least I hope they are, but I have to admit, I'm secretly waiting for the next occasion where I can wish for books! (Don't tell my mom! ;D)
Of course I gave all of my closest friends books as presents and I found out that the hard part is finding out what kind of books they'd like.
So I thought I could make a list of books, separated by genres, that I have read this year and that were so great I would recommend to everybody. The initial idea I've got by visiting Steph Su's blog, Steph Su Reads, and her posts about her 2010 list you can see here.

Here goes Ginny's List for 2010!

Light Reads
Looking for a book you can simply enjoy and you don't have to think much about? Looking for a good laugh that will chase away boredom or anxiety? Looking for a book that will lighten your mood? Then you're at the right place!

Jessica Darling series by Megan McCafferty

Jessica is an amazing heroine. She's funny, smart, skeptical, honest and uses a lot of her witty sarcasm to readers' delight. Her rocky romance with Marcus is really heart-warming and I hope she were real so we could be best buds! Also, see my review for the first book in the series, Sloppy Firsts.
The series is completed with 5 books, including: Sloppy Firsts, Second Helpings, Charmed Thirds, Fourth Comings and Perfect Fifths. (I have read them all and I LOVE them!)
Also: YA Contemporary Romance

The A-List by Zoey Dean

Now, please don't think it's another rip-off of Gossip Girl.
The book is mostly written in Anna Percy's PoV and yes, she's rich and yes, she's very pretty but no, she isn't dumb. And no, she isn't stealing her friends' boyfriends or drinking like crazy, either. Just the opposite: She's really intelligent, good-hearted and also tired of being the 'good girl'. So when the chance offers, she bolts from NYC to L.A. to her dad to leave her goody-goody girl's memories behind. In the plane, she meets the gorgeous Ben Birnbaum and that's the start of a long, complicated tangle of adventure that Anna has yet to survive.
I might not have liked this book if not for Anna, because I really, really like her. Although she wants to be reckless for the first time in her life, it's her nature to be calm, polite and well-tempered.
The series is completed with 10 books, including: The A-List, Girls on Film, Blonde Ambition, Tall Cool One, Back in Black, Some Like It Hot, American Beauty, Heart of Glass, Beautiful Stranger and California Dreaming.
Also: YA Contemporary Romance

The Bermudez Trianlge by Maureen Johnson

I adore this book. It's cute, funny and it manages to stay light while clearly delivering the message of a serious issue because one of the main characters is gay and too shy to come out.
It's summer holidays and the first time the three best friends Nina, Avery and Mel get separated. While Nina is in Stanford Summer Programm, everybody finds their love interest. Nina has fallen for the 'eco-warrior' Steve down her hall and Mel and Avery for... each other. But Avery isn't gay - or is she?
I also loved the friendship between the Trianlge. If you have friends like Nina, Avery and Mel, you're a lucky girl!
It's a stand-alone book, and you can read my review here.

The Boyfriend List by E. Lockhart

Ruby Oliver has a rough life. In the last ten days, she had a panic attack, got dumped by her boyfriend, lost all her friends, did something suspicious with a boy, did something advanced with another boy, had an argument with a boy, drank her first beer and got caught, which all led to 11 shrink appointments and to the Boyfriend List where 15 boys are listed.
I know what one might think after reading the synopsis, but Ruby isn't a slut or even slutty. There are 15 names, but half of them are elementary school-crushes and it's just that there are more than one boy who interest her. Ruby is a funny narrator and I could totally relate to her.
The series is (as far as I know) completed with 4 books, including The Boyfriend List, The Boy Book, The Treasure Map of Boys and Real Live Boyfriends.

This Lullaby by Sarah Dessen

Remy knows when to dump a boyfriend: past the first-excitment-phase but before it gets too intimate. Living with her mom and watching her work on her husband No. 4 because her mom believes in Happy Ever After has its affect on Remy. But then she meets Dexter who is a musician. Musicians are normally a no-go for Remy but will Dexter be an exception?
I LOVE this book. It's my favorite Sarah Dessen book, and Remy kicks ass. I love her, with all her flaws and I can't really blame her she doesn't believe in HEA. I really enjoyed watching her growing fondness of Dexter and how she tries to watch out for her mom so she doesn't get hurt.
It's a stand-alone book, and also read Leonor's review.
Also: YA Contemporary Romance

The Clique by Lisi Harrison

Now, don't call me shallow but this book is actually fun. And we're at the Light Reads section, right?
Massie is the 'Alpha' of her clique, The Pretty Committee and she absolutely doesn't want a tagalong. But what should she do when her parents expect her to become best friends with Claire, the new girl in the town who also happens to be the daughter of her father's best friends and who happends to be living in Massie's guest house? Massie wants to keep Claire at her arm's length, and Claire is determined to be accepted by Massie.
Massie is kind of shallow, but she isn't stupid. She also isn't that mean, either. But Claire is the one I like best because she has this sunny aura around her and I have to give her credits for trying stand up for herself. Life would be easier if she and Massie were best friends - and Claire is ready to fight for it.
I really liked the first three books of the series but I have to add that the series rather goes downward - and it's completed with 14 books.
If you want a more precise review, please go here.

Bloom by Elizabeth Scott

Bloom is about an average girl who is torn between what her heart says and what she thinks -or rather, what the others think- is the 'right' thing to do. It's about following one's heart and overcoming the fear of not being accepted by others.
It's a feel-good book. A quote from my review of Bloom: "It’s more about accompanying a girl on her journey to find out what she really wants and how to stand up for what she wants. [...] I really enjoyed to float along as Lauren struggled to stand up for her own happiness, more than I thought I would."
It's a stand-alone book.
Also: YA Contemporary Romance

YA Contemporary Romance

Who doesn't love Young Adult genre? Who doesn't love romance? Looking for a light/funny/romantic/poignant romance between teens? I have a bunch of books I'd recommend you!

A-List series by Zoey Dean

Now, I have only read the first two books, so I can't say about the others, but there are plenty of love interests in these two books. Because Anna isn't the only one who has fallen for Ben. So have three other girls, the 'real' Hollywood A-Listers, Cammie, Sam(-antha) and Dee. Oh, and there are other boys as well - like Adam and Parker, so what does it sound like? Right, drama! And from what I can gather, there will be more romance in the following books!
Also: Light Reads

Beautiful Americans by Lucy Silag

Beautiful American is about four American students who are studying abroad for their junior year.
Alex is used to getting what she wants - and she's convinced who she wants to have. But how would she face a *gasp* rejection?
Zack has fallen for the wrong one. He's gay, and he knows that the other one isn't...
Olivia is a terrific dancer, and she dreams big. She has a boyfriend in America but what happens if she meets a nice, handsome French guy who seems to understand her?
Then there is P.J., who is trying desperately to hide her dark past...
Beautiful Americans is set in Paris, and I love the alternate narration of the four main characters. My favorite is P.J., and Alex pissed me off and I hope she has learned her lesson.
This series is completed with 3 books, including Beautiful Americans, Wanderlust and Experienced (Yes, the second book is the same I've gotten for Christmas and I can't wait to read it!)

This Lullaby by Sarah Dessen
A skeptical-about-Happy-Ever-After girl meets a cheery guy who's convinced they're meant for each other.
Sounds like it won't work out, right?
Then you haven't met Sarah Dessen yet. I love the way she keeps her characters alive, and I love the way Remy and Dexter are together... *sigh*
Also: Light Reads

Twenty Boy Summer by Sarah Ockler

When I first heard about this book, I thought it would be a light beach read. Nope. This book deals with grief over losing someone who meant a lot to you.
It is beautifully written, and makes your heart cry. No, wait, there is this quote from Jo Knowles (author of Lessons from a Dead Girl): "Breaks your heart and puts it back together again." Her opinion is so accurate, I can't help but nod.
It isn't an easy romance read with HEA, but it's really beautiful.
There is also a review from me and Elyssa.
Also: Serious Issues

Jessica Darling series by Megan McCafferty

As mentioned above, I A-D-O-R-E this series. If you're tired of damsel-in-the-distress or über-perfect kind of girls, Jessica is there for you. I think almost everyone would be able to relate to her.
And Marcus? Wow, before him, I didn't know that one can get obsessed with a fictional character. He's sexy, he's smart and he's sweet. And he has a shade of dangerousness. What are you waiting for?! Grab a copy of the book, find a quiet place where nobody can listen to your laughter and 'ooh's and stay there until you finish it. That would be my recommendation.
Also: Light Reads

Just Listen by Sarah Dessen

Annabel was the girl who had everything: friends, family, beauty and "fame" (through modeling) Now, after what happened between Annabel and her best friend Sophie happened, she has nothing. No friends, no peace at home due to her anorexic older sister, and no one to sit with at lunch. Then she meets Owen Armstrong, a reformed aggressive boy who's obsessed with music and to tell the truth. As Annabel starts to find an unexpected comfort with him, she may consider telling everybody the truth about what happened the night she and Sophie stopped being friends.
The romance between Annabel and Owen wasn't as great as the one between Remy and Dexter from This Lullaby, but I still love this book!
Also: Serious Issues

Bloom by Elizabeth Scott

Actually, there are two love interests in this book. Lauren - Dave and Lauren - Evan. (Although I wouldn't call the first one a happy relationship)
It's not like Dave is a bad guy who's abusive or anything. On the contrary. He's THE perfect guy and every girl at Lauren's school wants to be with him.
So why is it that Lauren does not feel that happy around Dave? It takes the arrival of a friend from her childhood to find out why. And now she has to decide what she wants...
The romance between Lauren and Evan is so sweet! This book makes you realize that everybody has a different idea of what makes him happy.
Also: Light Reads


In the mood for bloody crime scene and ass-kicking cops? I have to say that mystery isn't my thing (I haven't even read any of Agatha Christie novels. Yeah, I know, now this is a crime, right?) but I'm pleased to say that I have found two series that I enjoy reading very much.

*With Homicide cops/detectives as main characters (plus some steamy scenes I don't wish to elaborate any further), I have to add that both Kara Gillian and In Death series belong to adult category.

Kara Gillian series by Diana Rowland

On the outside, Kara Gillian is a Homicide detective but what nobody except her aunt knows is that she's also a demon summoner. Sometimes she uses her ability to summon demons from another realm to solve a case but she has never intended to summon Rhyzkahl - she has no freaking clue who or what he is and she doesn't know how she has summoned him.
Rowland managed to make a good blend of Urban Fantasy and Mystery. It's dark, it's sexy and it's dangerous.
I haven't been able to figure out the person behind the murders but maybe you can. Just in case you want to know more, I found this review on Goodreads very good.
This series is currently contracted for 5 books with two books already out, Mark of the Demon and Blood of the Demon, and the third book, Secret of the Demon, comes out in January 2011.
Also: Urban Fantasy

In Death series by Nora Roberts writing as J.D. Robb

As I have stated before, mystery/murder isn't my kind of thing but because this series was written by Nora Roberts, one of my favorite author, I decided to give it a go.
Set in the future, Lieutenant Eve Dallas has seen many murders and knows when her instinct is right. But she can't help herself from falling for Roarke, an Irish billionaire - and a suspect in Eve's murder investigation.
Now it's up to Eve to find out whether or not to trust him and who killed the three women, all 'licensed companions' -a future term for prostitues- shot three times to death?
This series has many genres thrown together and it works amazingly well. Fans for Romance -sigh! I love watching Eve's and Roarke's growing relationship!-, Sci Fi -hello? People go off-planet for a vacation!- and Mystery will find this series to their liking.
This is an ongoing series and currently with 31 published volumes and 8 novellas, I have a long way to go!
Also: Science Fiction

Science Fiction
I'm not a fan of Sci Fi but 2010 is a year of surprise for me!

Hunger Games triology by Suzanne Collins

Now, who doesn't love The Hunger Games? I hadn't planned on reading this triology because I'm not much of future or science person, but everybody was talking about this book and as childish as it might sound, I hated being left out. And Goodreads statistics -The Hunger Games, 99,963 ratings, avg rating 4.55 out of 5 (Stand Dec 25th, 2010)- screamed at me to stop being stubborn and start reading. So I gave in - and I was hooked.
The book was filled with suspense and action, which is a good reason not to let the book out of your hands until you're done. But there was more. The characters, they felt so real. Katniss' descriptions - I felt like as if I was with her all the time. And, oh, the emotional parts of the book left me broken-hearted. It built so much hate against the Capitol inside me, I was shocked at my rage against something that didn't even exist.
If you haven't read this book, you should. Really. Even my mom loves the triology and she hasn't read for pleasure for years.
This series is completed with three books, including The Hunger Games, Catching Fire and Mockingjay. Read Zakiya's review of The Hunger Games.

In Death series by Nora Roberts writing as J.D. Robb

Like I said before, this series has so many different genres in it, I wasn't required to like Sci Fi to love this series. I'm currently reading the fourth book, and maybe the term 'futuristic' describes the society Eve Dallas lives in better. It certainly has scientific aspects but you don't have to be a Sci Fi fan to enjoy this series. And if you're a Nora Roberts fan, it's a given.

I am going to post the second part of Ginny's Recommendation List on January 1st, 2011 as New Year Special with following themes: Urban Fantasy, Serious Issues, Original and Paranormal.

I hope you enjoyed my little collection of books :) I have read over 100 books this year and almost all of them were great but I didn't have the time and the space to post them all.

Merry Christmas again and have nice holidays!



Zakiya LadyWings said...

Awesome booklist, Ginny! I will be adding most of these to my TBR list, because I'm sure if you loved them, I will, too!!

~Zakiya :)

Anonymous said...

that is an awesome list and I now have some new books and series on my TBR!! (yay!) I agree with you on all the books in that list I've read, so I'm sure I'll love the ones I haven't too. I'm especially looking forward to reading The Jessica Darling Series, The Boyfriend List, The Bermudez Triangle, Beautiful Americans and that book by JD Robb. I haven't read anything by her yet but I can't wait- everyone's told me she's great.

Can't wait for the second part of that list, especially because it'll have my favorite themes ^^

and, yeah, nice holidays ;P

Ginny said...

@Z: Thank you!! I can already hear your TBR list groaning under protest! Hope you like them :)

@Leo: Yay! Finally someone I can talk to about Jessica Darling & The Bermudez Triangle and Nora Roberts!! If I had the space & time & energy left, I would have another category Romance - where I'd introduce all Nora Roberts books I've read. Plus Something Borrowed by Emily Giffin.
I'm looking forward to the second part myself!

Nice holidays to y'all!

Jen the bibliophile said...

That was an amazing post Gin! I really hope you enjoy the Mercy Thompson series, I am rereading it again now because I just love it so much!


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