Saturday, November 30, 2013

Stefanie's Favorite Books 2013

Hello, lovelies!
2013 was a tough year for me. But when people ask me why I write, I've always said that it's because I know what it's like to need to escape into other worlds when your real one gets too hard to handle. And after this past year, I believe in that more than ever.
There were so many books that I loved this year, so it was hard to pick my favorites. But since I have to.... I'll try my best to narrow them down. :-)
New Adult
I really got into the New Adult genre this year. I love that it's an upcoming popular genre, because it's awesome like YA (y'all KNOW I love my young adult), but with a little mix of that something extra that YA lacks (you know what I mean *wink wink*).
Losing It by Cora Carmack

Hopeless by Colleen Hoover

I tend to gravitate towards fantasy or sci-fi stories (what can I say? I'm a sucker for magic) but both of these books are contemporary romance, and they are both "stay up until 3 a.m. until you finish" type novels. SO GOOD. They have head strong female protagonists and men that will make you swoon. AND they each have sequels (which I haven't read yet, so don't spoil it!) and this makes me happy. Read them if you haven't!
My Favorite Authors
The next three books are by my favorite YA authors. I love EVERYTHING that these ladies write--whether it's a novel, a short story, a deleted unedited scene, a blog post, or a tweet--because they're funny, brilliant women that I look up to. Seriously. Okay, I'm done gushing. You can grab a rag to clean up the mess, I'll wait.
Infinityglass by Myra McEntire

I waited for this book for what seems like forever. I LOVE the Hourglass series (especially Kaleb. He's mine, you can't have him. *gives you the shifty eyes*). During my hiatus from twitter and such, I MISSED THE RELEASE. WHAT? I was so disappointed when I realized that it had already been out for three months when I finally bought it. BUT I read it, I love it, I want more, and I want to marry Myra McEntire (or you know, meet her). READ IT. It's about time travel, you'll love it. (Um, also, I'm in love with this cover. *drools*)
Unravel Me by Tahereh Mafi
Tahereh's prose is my favorite thing ever. She is one of those writers that makes me feel completely inadequate-- like I should just give up now because she's amazing and the publishing world doesn't need me too, but at the same time, makes me wanna get out my laptop and get to work. And the woman can write a kissing scene. Like... O_O 
I actually have this series on audiobook, and the narrator does and AMAZING job in conveying Juliette's personality. So I definitely recommend this one on audiobook if you're into that sort of thing.
The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

This book is so amazing and well plotted. I have had a writer-crush on Maggie for a long time (and I owe it to her for helping me find the three wonderful ladies that critique my stuff and write stories on this website, so I am forever grateful to her for that.) PLUS everything she writes is brilliant and makes me feel ALL the feels. So I will always recommend her stuff, because I have no doubt that it will only get better. READ IT.
Other Good Books
Through To You by Emily Hainsworth

The premise of this book hooked me, and I am so glad I bought it. It's a magical realism story about an alternate dimension where the protag's dead girlfriend is still alive. Sounds awesome, right? IT IS. It's very well written,and will keep you hanging on until the last page.
Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell

I didn't read this one until after I watched the movie, and it's amazing, and weird, and captivating, and I love it. If you haven't seen the movie, Tom Hanks is perfect in it. So check out both if you haven't.
Reading Now
Reboot by Amy Tintera

This was another book that I've been looking forward to for a while, and it's also one that I missed the release of on my twitter hiatus. So I just started it yesterday, but I already love it so much that I am recommending it. It's a fresh new take on zombies, and I can't wait to see where she takes it!
If you haven't read any of these books yet, PLEASE DO. And if you know of any that are like the ones I recommended, please tell me what they are in the comments! I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving, and I hope you ALL have a happy holiday season.
 Next month, we're reposting our favorite stories from this site, so stay tuned!

Friday, November 22, 2013

Amy's Book Recommendations from 2013

So this year I read a WHOLE lot of books. Mostly, though, I read as many of the debut books for this year as I could since it was my debut year too and I wanted to see what everyone else was writing and support my fellow Lucky 13ers. What this means is that I'm going to have a really hard time picking just a few to recommend to you and that most of the ones I recommend will be debuts. I could sing the praises of SO many and just overwhelm you with all the choices, seriously. I think maybe I'll do a few category recommendations instead and list the books that I can't forget even after a bunch of time has passed since I read them. Here goes:

Favorite Zombie Books (a must category for me):

The End Games by T. Michael Martin
In The After by Demetria Lunetta
Reboot by Amy Tintera

Favorite YA Contemporaries:
Infinite Sky by Chelsey Flood
Bruised by Sarah Skilton
Red by Alison Cherry
Pretty Girl 13 by Liz Coley

Favorite Historicals/Paranormals

Belle Epoque by Elizabeth Ross
In The Shadow Of Blackbirds by Cat Winters
The Madman's Daughter by Megan Shepherd
Some Quiet Place by Kelsey Sutton
Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea by April Tucholke

Favorite Science Fiction:

Starglass by Phoebe North

Favorite Horror Books:

NOS4A2 by Joe Hill
Another Little Piece by Kate Karyus Quinn

Favorite Thriller:

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
Joyland by Stephen King (I'm putting this one here although it did have paranormal and some mild horror, it mostly read like a thriller to me)

So there you have it. My list of the reads I still think about from this past year. Can't wait until 2014! I plan on catching up with all the many adult reads  and veteran YA author reads I didn't get to this year and checking out some of the 2014 debuts as well. I've already been lucky enough to read Hexed by Michelle Krys which I thoroughly enjoyed and am prepping to read a few more arcs in the coming months. I'll keep you posted.

 Happy Turkey Day and all that jazz!

Friday, November 15, 2013

Jenn's Book Recommendations (Series)

Once again we're posting favorite and recommended books. This year I'm focusing on series.

Wicked by Gregory Maguire: There's a lot going on here and Maguire takes the reader on a ride in Oz. The larger politics for the arrival and dictatorship by the Wizard. The segregation of so many groups. How Elphaba (the wrongly deemed Wicked Witch of the West) and Glinda (originally Galinda) became best friends despite their differences. There's a world of love and pain in Wicked that comes full circle in the end, even though you may already know how it ends. It's heavy in terms of world-building and Maguire stuffs a good amount of description in this text, yet it is such a spectacularly recreated world I highly recommend. I enjoyed Wicked immensely and the sequel Son of a Witch. The third and fourth/final books in the series were a bit much for me, but I'd still suggest them if you're interested in every character's full arc. If Elphaba is the one you love the most than you may want to stop at Wicked. 

The Apothecary by Maile Meloy with illustrations by Ian Schoenherr: Maile Meloy is a lauded writer of short fiction and novels (primarily for an adult audience) and The Apothecary is her first foray into writing for children/teens. She wrote The Apothecary with the intention for it to be a standalone, but having received so many letters from her new young fans she decided to expand and make it a trilogy. The Apprentices released earlier this year and the final book is due out next year. I'm excited. I've met Maile a handful of times since she's toured in NYC and she is super friendly, really kind, a fantastic writer, and a fan of cupcakes. So what is there not to like? What pulled me into this series were the great balance of illustrations by Ian and the history that Maile weaves into Janie's coming-of-age tale. Janie is an American in England (post World War II) who gets thrust into a world she's not prepared to be in and realizes some of her potential. The series gets a bit darker in the second book and who knows how dark it may go in the finale but I'd highly suggest that readers check it out if they haven't along with Maile's other work because she has a way with characters and tension and especially dialogue. 

The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater: Everyone here at Fiction Femme Fatale is a huge Maggie Stiefvater fan (as you can see from Krystalyn's post last week & Stefanie's the year before). I became aware of her with the Shiver trilogy. I found the first book in my old company's library several years ago when I needed something to read on the ride home. Since then, hooked. Dream Thieves is the sequel to The Raven Boys series (which will be four books total). Maggie has a literary style and digs deep into her characters. I mean DEEP. It's a multiple POV series and in the sequel you get more of the hard-ass character of Ronan. My God you will adore him after reading this book. I couldn't stop thinking about Dream Thieves a couple of weeks after I read it and even went back to the first book to see the clues that Maggie left there. Woman is masterful in her writing and great to her fans. If you haven't read a Maggie book yet I'd advise you to stop reading this post (okay finish reading and then) head to your nearest bookstore/library and read one of her books. ANY of them, now. 

Days of Blood & Starlight by Laini Taylor: This is also a sequel in the Daughter of Smoke & Bone series and man if I said Apprentices was a bit dark than this book is pitch black! Like Maggie, Laini has a literary and fantastical style that is all her own and quite unique in the humor she weaves in with the drama and more action-packed moments. She can write some of the most heartbreaking scenes you've ever read which means you're invested in her characters and books for the long haul. Karou and Akiva are like Romeo & Juliet as seraphim and demons. The sequel sets off a larger story that is set to end next spring and I am psyched. One of Laini's books was on my recommendations last year and I'm more than happy to recommend her again because this series is a standout. 

The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey: I heard the hype and was refusing to indulge but hey Rick Yancey was at Book Expo, so was I, so why not get a copy? I have since raved about my love for this book. The main characters of Cassie and Zombie are so refreshing. Angry and prideful and flawed but determined and loyal and fighters down deep. From the first moments with Cassie on her own to Zombie's emergence as a soldier and even a couple 3rd-person POVs thrown in Rick takes you through the waves that slowly took down a world and how the rest of it is coming to an end all the while the climax for this first book is: what is the 5th and (final?) wave? I was into it from page one to the end and this is one of those times when I am anxious because I have to wait a year (or less by now) for the next book and then another year for the one after that. Dang.

Happy reading, writing (aka NaNoWriMo), and holidays!

Friday, November 8, 2013

Krystalyn's Favorite Books of 2013

This has been a crazy year, to say the least. I haven't had nearly as much time to read as I would like, but I have managed to squeeze in a few books here and there. This year, I've decided to list one YA, one MG, and one old favorite. Of course, two of those are series, so bear with me.

My favorite YA book I read this year was The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater. I'm currently in the middle of The Dream Thieves, and once again, it does not disappoint. I love how Maggie seems to paint with words. If you love lyrical writing, quirky characters, and a paranormal story that seems more like part of real life than real life often does, check out this series.

My second recommendation is See You At Harry's by Jo Knowles. This is an MG book, and since my next book is MG, I've been spending a lot of time in that area of the book store. See You At Harry's is heart wrenching, but it's told beautifully from such an innocent point of view. It shows that there are not always answers in life, but there is absolution.

My last book is the Blossom Culp series from one of my favorite authors of all time, Richard Peck. This summer, I re-read some of the Blossom Culp books. I had read them as a teenager, because I loved the paranormal aspect of them. Plus, I adored the Disney Sunday night movie, Child of Glass, which was based off of the first book, The Ghost Belonged To Me. Reading the series as an adult helped me appreciate the historical aspect of them as well. The research that must have gone into these books is incredible. Plus, the ghost story totally holds up.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Get Your Gated Fix for Free!!!

Haven't checked out Amy Christine Parker's book, Gated, just yet, but are curious to see what's actually happening behind those gates? Well guess what? You can download an extended sneak peak--as in the first seven chapters of the book--to your e reader right now and get a bonus author's note where Amy talks about where her fascination with cults comes from--it involves the creepiest sociology experiment ever! How's that for awesome? All you have to do is go to Gated's page on Amazon , or Barnes and Noble, or visit the Random Buzzers site. We hope you'll enjoy the read as much as we do!!

Friday, November 1, 2013

Holiday Break Time!

Happy Holidays all! Remember this time last year when we took a break from posting monthly photo prompts and new flash? Well, we'll be doing it again this year. With November being NaNoWriMo month (are you participating?), end-of-year deadlines, and the holidays coming into full swing we need a break.

But that doesn't mean there'll be no writing and it certainly doesn't mean there'll be no posts. We'll be doing more recommendations (or reviews) on Fridays this month and will be re-posting past favorites in December. And then in the official New Year there'll be a new picture prompt.

So hope you have a great holiday season and that the end of the year is productive for you. And even if 2013 isn't going how you had expected or hoped that 2014 will more than make up for it.

Happy writing, reading, and eating!