Armchair BEA Day 2: Best of 2012

Whenever we, book lovers, come to a gathering we always chat away about the books that we've read so far in the last week, in the last month, in the last year. We describe their riveting plots, their unique characters, THE love story, their faults and just about everything we love or hate about them. 

Now, let me enumerate the books that I've read so far this year that are, to me, the Best of 2012.
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4/5 apples
It could happen tomorrow . . .

An electromagnetic pulse flashes across the sky, destroying every electronic device, wiping out every computerized system, and killing billions.

Alex hiked into the woods to say good-bye to her dead parents and her personal demons. Now desperate to find out what happened after the pulse crushes her to the ground, Alex meets up with Tom—a young soldier—and Ellie, a girl whose grandfather was killed by the EMP.
For this improvised family and the others who are spared, it’s now a question of who can be trusted and who is no longer human.
Author Ilsa J. Bick crafts a terrifying and thrilling novel about a world that could be ours at any moment, where those left standing must learn what it means not just to survive, but to live amidst the devastation.
5/5 apples
In Beatrice Prior's dystopian Chicago, society is divided into five factions, each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue—Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). On an appointed day of every year, all sixteen-year-olds must select the faction to which they will devote the rest of their lives. For Beatrice, the decision is between staying with her family and being who she really is—she can't have both. So she makes a choice that surprises everyone, including herself. 

During the highly competitive initiation that follows, Beatrice renames herself Tris and struggles to determine who her friends really are—and where, exactly, a romance with a sometimes fascinating, sometimes infuriating boy fits into the life she's chosen. But Tris also has a secret, one she's kept hidden from everyone because she's been warned it can mean death. And as she discovers a growing conflict that threatens to unravel her seemingly perfect society, she also learns that her secret might help her save those she loves… or it might destroy her.
Debut author Veronica Roth bursts onto the literary scene with the first book in the Divergent series—dystopian thrillers filled with electrifying decisions, heartbreaking betrayals, stunning consequences, and unexpected romance.
5/5 apples | Review
In a future world, Vampires reign. Humans are blood cattle. And one girl will search for the key to save humanity. 

Allison Sekemoto survives in the Fringe, the outermost circle of a vampire city. By day, she and her crew scavenge for food. By night, any one of them could be eaten.
Some days, all that drives Allie is her hatred of them. The vampires who keep humans as blood cattle. Until the night Allie herself is attacked—and given the ultimate choice. Die… or become one of the monsters.
Faced with her own mortality, Allie becomes what she despises most. To survive, she must learn the rules of being immortal, including the most important: go long enough without human blood, and you will go mad.
Then Allie is forced to flee into the unknown, outside her city walls. There she joins a ragged band of humans who are seeking a legend—a possible cure to the disease that killed off most of humankind and created the rabids, the mindless creatures who threaten humans and vampires alike.

But it isn’t easy to pass for human. Especially not around Zeke, who might see past the monster inside her. And Allie soon must decide what—and who—is worth dying for.
5/5 apples
The Hematoi descend from the unions of gods and mortals, and the children of two Hematoi-pure-bloods-have godlike powers. Children of Hematoi and mortals-well, not so much. Half-bloods only have two options: become trained Sentinels who hunt and kill daimons or become servants in the homes of the pures. Seventeen-year-old Alexandria would rather risk her life fighting than waste it scrubbing toilets, but she may end up slumming it anyway. There are several rules that students at the Covenant must follow. Alex has problems with them all, but especially rule #1:Relationships between pures and halfs are forbidden. Unfortunately, she's crushing hard on the totally hot pure-blood Aiden. But falling for Aiden isn't her biggest problem--staying alive long enough to graduate the Covenant and become a Sentinel is. If she fails in her duty, she faces a future worse than death or slavery: being turned into a daimon, and being hunted by Aiden. And that would kind of suck.
4/5 apples
One choice can transform you—or it can destroy you. But every choice has consequences, and as unrest surges in the factions all around her, Tris Prior must continue trying to save those she loves—and herself—while grappling with haunting questions of grief and forgiveness, identity and loyalty, politics and love.
Tris's initiation day should have been marked by celebration and victory with her chosen faction; instead, the day ended with unspeakable horrors. War now looms as conflict between the factions and their ideologies grows. And in times of war, sides must be chosen, secrets will emerge, and choices will become even more irrevocable—and even more powerful. Transformed by her own decisions but also by haunting grief and guilt, radical new discoveries, and shifting relationships, Tris must fully embrace her Divergence, even if she does not know what she may lose by doing so.
New York Times bestselling author Veronica Roth's much-anticipated second book of the dystopian Divergent series is another intoxicating thrill ride of a story, rich with hallmark twists, heartbreaks, romance, and powerful insights about human nature.

4/5 apples | Review
Fourteen-year-old Durriken Brishen has lost his parents, his grandfather, and though he doesn't know it, his Gypsy culture's dangerous gift.

Taken in and raised on the rails by the first woman to pilot a freight train, Durriken has one remaining connection to his Romani roots: a small wooden box that hangs from the hammer loop of his overalls.

The last gift he received from his grandfather, the box contains the world's first chess set. But a piece is missing: the Red Queen. According to Durriken’s family lore, the complete set awakens the power of Tárie, a mercurial gift that confers unique abilities on each new Master.
When a suspicious fire erupts in the Chicago rail yard, Durriken's escape produces an uneasy alliance, though not without its silver lining. Dilia is few inches taller, several degrees cleverer, and oh yes – very pretty. While Durriken is uneasy allying with a girl whose parents were convicted of sedition, there's no doubt she is a powerful partner. And while it's not immediately clear to either, her own Guatemalan culture and family history are deeply entwined with the ancient Romani mystery.
Jumping box cars, escaping riverboats, deciphering clues, crossing swords with the brilliant madman Radu Pinch – with great American cities as its backdrop – Gypsy Knights is the page-turning saga of Durriken Brishen and his quest to rediscover his past.

4/5 apples | Review
At Barinkoff Academy, there's only one rule: no students on campus after curfew. Phoenix McKay soon finds out why when she is left behind at sunset. A group calling themselves night students threaten to taste her flesh until she is saved by a mysterious, alluring boy. With his pale skin, dark eyes, and mesmerizing voice, Demitri is both irresistible and impenetrable. He warns her to stay away from his dangerous world of flesh eaters. Unfortunately, the gorgeous and playful Luka has other plans.

When Phoenix is caught between her physical and her emotional attraction, she becomes the keeper of a deadly secret that will rock the foundations of an ancient civilization living beneath Barinkoff Academy. Phoenix doesn’t realize until it is too late that the closer she gets to both Demitri and Luka the more she is plunging them all into a centuries old feud.
4/5 apples | Review
Surviving agitated ghosts, irritated witches, angry werewolves, and the horrors of high school has never been so hard.

The night of Samhain may be behind them, but Yuki and her friends have only begun to face the challenges of their paranormal gifts. Tensions are rising--in the pack, at school, and within their tightly knit group of friends. 

The tragic death of Wakefield High student Dylan Jacobs has emotions boiling over. The J-Team, Yuki's arch nemesis, have turned the entire football team against her. They claim that Yuki is a witch and blame her for the death of their fellow teammate. Will Yuki be able to solve the mystery of Dylan's death, and the legend of Witchtrot Road, before tempers flare and things turn violent?
Emma is the friend that Yuki turns to when things get tough, but she's been behaving strangely. Emma has been acting distant and seems to be coming down with a mysterious illness. What will Yuki and her friends do if their healer is truly sick?
Calvin has become Alpha and wants the best for his pack. He is a dedicated and compassionate leader willing to do anything for the good of his people, but will Cal be able to hold the pack together when a fiery, young werewolf comes seeking revenge?
Simon may still be a roguish playboy, but he is taking his role as Calvin's second in command deadly serious. Will Simon be able to focus on his pack duties when he is forced to face his dark, emotional past? 
5/5 apples | Review

Himiko the beloved daughter of a chieftain in third century Japan has always been special. The day she was born there was a devastating earthquake, and the tribe's shamaness had an amazing vision revealing the young girl's future—one day this privileged child will be the spiritual and tribal leader over all of the tribes. Book One revolves around the events of Himiko's early teen years—her shaman lessons, friendships, contact with other tribes, and journey to save her family after a series of tragic events. Once again, Esther Friesner masterfully weaves together history, myth, and mysticism in a tale of a princess whose path is far from traditional.
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Twitter Party

Tuesday, June 5, 2012: 11:00 pm-1:00 am EST (8:00-10:00 pm PST)

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7 comments:

  1. I totally agree with you about the awesomeness of The Immortal Rules and the Divergent series. So fantastic!

    I love the cover of Taste- it looks like a gothic Pre-Raphaelite.

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  2. Loved Immortal Rules! So want to read Taste!
    Have fun with aBEA!

    http://cover2coverblog.blogspot.com/

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  3. So many great books, so little time to read them. *le sigh* I loved Divergent and Insurgent is sitting on my bookshelf, waiting to be devoured as soon as I can get to it. My fellow Litbrarians read and loved The Immortal Rules.

    I hope you have a great BEA-filled week!

    ~Christina (and the other Book Hookup Litbrarians)
    The Book Hookup's Best of 2012

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  4. These sound great! I see a lot of these books around the store often and it's good to learn more about them!

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  5. Loved Divergent. Insurgent and Ashes are already on my wish list, so you haven't corrupted me too badly. ;)

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  6. I love E.J. Stevens' books! She's such a talented author! I read her books last year so they didn't make my list. :(

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  7. I am really looking forward to Insurgent. My son nabbed it off my stacks when I wasn't looking!

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