The Quintessential Summer Book Tag was created by the Bookish Kat and we’re putting our own spin on it by reminiscing about my favorite books from 10 years ago or that was published in 2012.
Iced Drink – A Refreshing Book
Cinder, Marissa Meyer
Sixteen-year-old Cinder is considered a technological mistake by most of society and a burden by her stepmother. Being cyborg does have its benefits, though: Cinder’s brain interference has given her an uncanny ability to fix things (robots, hovers, her own malfunctioning parts), making her the best mechanic in New Beijing. This reputation brings Prince Kai himself to her weekly market booth, needing her to repair a broken android before the annual ball. He jokingly calls it “a matter of national security,” but Cinder suspects it’s more serious than he’s letting on.
Cinder is a refreshing “Cinderella” retelling. In this case, “Cinder” is a gifted cyborg mechanic with a mean step-mother. The plot & pacing were all very engaging. The characters are so brilliantly written that I wanted to reach into the book and strangle the step-mother when she was acting like an ass, and I loved Cinder and her friends. This is the first book in the Lunar Chronicles series … each book introduces a new heroine all modeled after fairytale princesses. There is Scarlet (Little Red Riding Hood), Cress (Rapunzel), and Winter (Snow White). There is a novella and two graphic novels that are companions to the series.
Cotton Candy – A Book That was Fluffy and Sweet
A Rogue by Any Other Name, Sarah MacLean
A decade ago, the Marquess of Bourne was cast from society with nothing but his title. Now a partner in London’s most exclusive gaming hell, the cold, ruthless Bourne will do whatever it takes to regain his inheritance—including marrying perfect, proper Lady Penelope Marbury.
It’s not often that I read historical romance novels, but when I do, Sarah MacLean is my go-to author. In A Rogue By Any Other Name, it’s the characters that me love this book so much. Bourne is truly despicable, but lovable, and Penelope is strong willed and feisty and very likable. Of course this story is predictable, but it’s a fun journey to get to the end.
Sunglasses – A Dark Book
Feed, Mira Grant
The year was 2014. We had cured cancer. We had beaten the common cold. But in doing so we created something new, something terrible that no one could stop. The infection spread, virus blocks taking over bodies and minds with one, unstoppable command: FEED. Now, twenty years after the Rising, bloggers Georgia and Shaun Mason are on the trail of the biggest story of their lives – the dark conspiracy behind the infected.
Props for a unique book with a presidential campaign + zombies + bloggers. It’s about life years after zombies have become rampant. It’s not exactly a traditional zombie novel though, meaning, don’t expect the focus to be on zombies chomping down on everyone. Instead, I would call Feed more of a political thriller with zombies. The strengths of this novel include the incredibly detailed, well thought out World-building, strong characters, and unexpected plot twists.
Picnic on a Rainy Day – A Sad Book
Before I Fall, Lauren Oliver
For popular high school senior Samantha Kingston, February 12 – “Cupid Day” – should be one big party, a day of valentines and roses and the privileges that come with being at the top of the social pyramid. And it is … until she dies in a terrible accident that night. However, she still wakes up the next morning. In fact, Sam lives the last day of her life seven times, until she realizes that by making even the slightest changes, she may hold more power than she ever imagined.
This story could definitely be rated “teenage drama” and I’m usually not a fan of these types of books, but the strength of this one (for me) is in the exploration of the relationships. The idiosyncrasies of friendship of the “mean girls”, the relationship to Samantha & her popular boyfriend, her self-exploration, her relationship with a boy who she stopped talking to when she became popular and he didn’t; and the relationships of the people they tortured – her looking at it in a new light now that she’s looking at how she spent her last day on Earth.
Summer Blockbuster – Your favorite book-to-screen adaptation
A Game of Thrones, Georg R.R. Martin
In a land where summers can last decades and winters a lifetime, trouble is brewing. The cold is returning, and in the frozen wastes to the north of Winterfell, sinister and supernatural forces are massing beyond the kingdom’s protective Wall. At the center of the conflict lie the Starks of Winterfell, a family as harsh and unyielding as the land they were born to. Sweeping from a land of brutal cold to a distant summertime kingdom of epicurean plenty, here is a tale of lords and ladies, soldiers and sorcerers, assassins and bastards, who come together in a time of grim omens.
Holy crap what a book! I will say it’s not easy to read and keep everything straight as there is SO MUCH going on, but it’s so well written that I was invested in the characters and the story from the very beginning. George Martin is not loyal to any character and that kept me on edge throughout the book – and the series. I also loved the tv series adaptation – more than the books actually!
Dropped Ice Cream – A book You Were Anticipating That Wasn’t Good
Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me, Mindy Kaling
Mindy Kaling has lived many lives: the obedient child of immigrant professionals, a timid chubster afraid of her own bike, a Ben Affleck – impersonating Off-Broadway performer and playwright, and, finally, a comedy writer and actress prone to starting fights with her friends and coworkers with the sentence “Can I just say one last thing about this, and then I swear I’ll shut up about it?” In Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?, Mindy invites readers on a tour of her life and her unscientific observations on romance, friendship, and Hollywood, with several conveniently placed stopping points for you to run errands and make phone calls.
I thought the book was okay – it was funny … sometimes, but I figure a memoir is suppose to inspire me to do something, be better, or impart (or even re-affirm) some nuggets of wisdom. This book didn’t do any of that. I suppose it was nice to hear that there are (other) people out there who grow up with normal childhoods, who liked spending time with their parents, who then go on to have a relatively normal post-college experience of being broke & trying to get a job. So I suppose there’s that – normalcy – which people don’t tend to write about since it’s boring … and they may have a point.
Palm Tree – A Big Book You Loved
The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, Stieg Larsson
Harriet Vanger, a scion of one of Sweden’s wealthiest families disappeared over forty years ago. All these years later, her aged uncle continues to seek the truth. He hires Mikael Blomkvist, a crusading journalist recently trapped by a libel conviction, to investigate. He is aided by the pierced and tattooed punk prodigy Lisbeth Salander. Together they tap into a vein of unfathomable iniquity and astonishing corruption.
Get ready for a wonderfully engaging reading experience. This book has drama, action and an unforgettable main character in Lisbeth. She is a loner, has been through some things and is completely badass in a not-so-understated way. It does take a little bit to get into, but stick with it and before long, you’ll not want to put this down.
Fireworks – A Book That Exploded Onto the Scene
The Help, Kathryn Stockton
Twenty-two-year-old Skeeter has just returned home after graduating from Ole Miss. She may have a degree, but it is 1962, Mississippi, and her mother will not be happy till Skeeter has a ring on her finger. Aibileen is a black maid, a wise, regal woman raising her seventeenth white child. She is devoted to the little girl she looks after, though she knows both their hearts may be broken. Minny, Aibileen’s best friend, is short, fat, and perhaps the sassiest woman in Mississippi. She can cook like nobody’s business, but she can’t mind her tongue, so she’s lost yet another job. Seemingly as different from one another as can be, these women will nonetheless come together for a clandestine project that will put them all at risk. And why? Because they are suffocating within the lines that define their town and their times. And sometimes lines are made to be crossed.
This book is rich in both characterization and plot, but it’s probably the emotional upheaval that happens during this book that resonated with me the most – anger, love, pride, fear, shame, doubt. It’s not perfect – definitely a bit of a watered down version of what it was really like being black in the South during that time, and being considered not much better than an animal. And there is an aspect of “white Savior” that has been brought up, but The Help is both charming and heart wrenching at once, and it was such a good read.
I skipped the prompts “Sand – A Book That Irritated You” and “Bonfire – A Book You Want to Burn” but it was fun reminiscing about the books I read during the summer 10 years ago. All these books remain fresh in my memories even now.