I got my black belt on December 8th!
Before I continue, I should say I'm not a book blogger. I don't write super long, in depth reviews, but I adore people who do. That being said, I compiled a list of my favorite books from the fall a couple months ago, and, since I survived the end of the world (and if you're reading this, you did too, congrats, welcome to the club), I thought I'd do another list for winter. Most people use stars, but in honor of my black belt, I'm going to use belts. (The belts my martial art uses, so if you do another martial art and it doesn't match, that's why.)
Without further ado,
The Black Belts (equivalent to a 4.5 or 5 star rating)
Time Between Us by Tamara Ireland Stone
**Nothing I say will do this book justice, but in case you haven't heard of it, it's a YA time travel romance. Wonderfully written and tightly crafted. It also made me add Thailand to my travel list.
The List by Siobhan Vivian
**A fantastic look at HS drama. The narrative voice was impeccable, truly getting into each of the character's heads and capturing their motivations. Also, there is a large cast of characters and each one is complex and well-developed.
Something Like Normal by Trish Doller
**Male narrator done really well. This book is clearly well-researched. An overall great read. (Now, go to goodreads for a real review.)
The Brown Belts (4 star rating)
Jersey Tomatoes are the Best by Maria Padian
**I adore books with female athletes in them. This book is more for the younger YA crowd, maybe 14-16 years old, but it was cute and dealt with more than just sports. It's a story of friendship, family, and body image as well. The main characters are a tennis player and a ballerina.
To Read: Bunheads by Sophie Flack (another ballet story)
Not That Kind of Girl by Siobhan Vivian
** I loved The List and wanted to read more by the author. This book was good, but not incredible. I related to the main character and was pleased that the writing style and complexity of the narrative voice was also present in this book, but it just didn't compare to black belt status of The List.
Legend by Marie Lu
Another wonderful dystopian-esque read. I loved Divergent and The Hunger Games. This is another good read. As a writer of contemporary YA, I think reading outside my main genre has helped my writing. Legend is told in alternating POV's and this aspect is done very well. The characters' motivations are clear. It's a great Les Mis-esque parallel. On a writing level, I grew frustrated with the eons of passive sentences that could have easily been made active. Why was this not caught in editing? I respect that it could be the author's style, but still, it was distracting. The next book in the series will be released at the end of January 2013. Looking forward to it.
Red Belts (3.5 Stae Rating)
The Dead and Buried by Kim Harrington (Had a lot of potential, but ultimately fell flat. Clean writing. Read like a horror movie, which worked well in some places and hindered it in others. The gemstone knowledge was interesting but also a major gimmick--the MC is named Jade and collects gemstones. Also, the stepmom's character was cliche. Worth finishing and an entertaining read, but not what I thought it was going to be.)
Blue Belts (3 star rating)
Spotting for Nellie by Pamela Lowell (Starts out
wonderfully, but drags on and has one, maybe two too many POV
Ask the Passengers by A.S. King
Balancing Act by April Adams
Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins
**There are a ton of amazing books being released in 2013. I can't wait. I'll update this list as the winter continues and will do another list in the spring.