Tuesday, February 19, 2013

2012 BOTY Semifinals

Here's where we left off last time...

Today, it's on to round two. We have our sweet sixteen. Now they get whittled down to eight. It's going to be brutal...

Match up #1: 

Both of these books garnered 5 stars and both are excellent reads. 

The Night Circus is whimsical and fun. I loved it very much and it reminded me somewhat of Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen. I love the fact that it was able to be mystical without going over the top and seeming silly. It read very fast and I would absolutely read it again. 

Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? is a really cute comedic novel. Mindy Kaling tells short stories from her life in a way that just makes you giggle. She's fantastic. She writes with a laid back and semi-sarcastic style that just made me love her. I laughed out loud several times and sped right through it.

This was a pretty tight race. Both books are seriously excellent and are very welcome in my own personal library. But...there has to be a winner. So, just basing it on which book I would grab first to read again, the winner of match #1 is...

Match up #2:

Let's Pretend This Never Happened by Jenny Lawson vs. Saving CeeCee Honeycutt by Beth Hoffman

I hate to say it, but this match up was doomed from the start. Both of these books are great, but one is entering this round with a strong disadvantage.

Let's Pretend This Never Happened is a memoir based on Jenny Lawson's ridiculous life. She is hilarious and had me laughing out loud more or less consistently. It was to the point that I was taking photos of excerpts on my phone and texting them to Patti. I couldn't read it in public because I couldn't keep myself composed. I loved it more than I can tell you. Of course, I do have to explain that I may have a small girl crush on Jenny...so that might have worked in her favor.

Saving CeeCee Honeycutt is a really cute southern style novel. It is really fun and light-hearted. The characters are bubbly and wonderful. I really enjoyed the whole thing. It reminded me a lot of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood. Just fun southern women with some serious sass. 

Like I said, the deck was kind of stacked on this one. It's a tough one to beat. So...the winner of match up #2 is...

Match up #3:

The Sugar Queen by Sarah Addison Allen vs. City of Lost Souls by Cassandra Clare

I seem to be reading a lot of YA Fiction over the last little while. I just find it entertaining and relaxing. Some of the adult fiction can get so stuffy.

The Sugar Queen was the second of Sarah Addison Allen's books that I read in 2012. I love her style. She is very simple, but with an air of mystery. It's marvelous. She is so fun to read that I wound up reading four of her books last year. Yes...she's that good. The books read very quickly and hook you quite easily.

City of Lost Souls was the third of Cassandra Clare's books in 2012. I also read four of her novels last year. Kind of a crazy coincidence that the two end up pitted against each other. City of Lost Souls is the 5th novel in Clare's The Mortal Instruments series. The books are filled with action and suspense, but they are mellow at the same time. I read her books terribly quickly, only frustrated by the fact that there is still at least one more book to come in the series. Ah, the danger of reading serial books.

This was a really good match up. Either of these books would be a great easy weekend or rainy day read. Once again, a difficult decision to make. There are some really good books in the 2012 BOTY list.  The winner of match #3 is...

City of Lost Souls by Cassandra Clare

Match up #4:

The Shoemaker's Wife by Adriana Trigiani vs. The Girl Who Chased the Moon by Sarah Addison Allen

I'm finding this very hard to do. There are such great books here. In fact, it's kind of making me want to read some of them again. I hope that this year yields such a good group.

The Shoemaker's Wife is just an adorable love story. It stretches decades and continents. It is in the perfect time period for me (turn of the 20th century). I loved the characters. I mean LOVED them. This was one of the books where the characters started to feel like real people. I wanted to know more about them and I was sad when the book ended and I had to leave them.

The Girl Who Chased the Moon was the first Sarah Addison Allen book I read. I'll be honest here and admit that I picked it for the cover. I had never heard of Allen before, nor the titles of any of her books. I enjoyed this book so much that I wound up reading three more of her novels before the year was out. I'm hooked.

I struggled over this one and bounced back and forth on the winner a couple of times. There are versions of the bracket with each as a winner. But ultimately, I had to put my foot down and put one above the other. Winner of match #4...

Match up #5:

Now we've entered the right side of the bracket. I'm glad we're half way. This is seriously making me uptight. It's so hard to let a good book go in the loss pile. It's a sad state of affairs.

Criminy. These are both crazy good as well. 

Sarah's Key requires a bit of a strong constitution. It is a difficult read (from an emotional standpoint), but a good one. I typically don't seek out WWII era historical fiction as a favorite, but this one was flat out amazing. Dramatic and poignant and just beautifully written.

The Fault in Our Stars was kind of a surprise for me. For some reason, I didn't expect it to be as good as it was. Maybe I was judging it harshly because it's YA fiction. Perhaps because of that I held it to a lower standard. Whatever the case, this one was wonderful. I couldn't put it down. In fact, the first line of my Goodreads review?  READ THIS BOOK. 

The winner of the very emotional match up #5...

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

Match up #6:

Secret Daughter by Shilpi Somaya Gowda vs. Ape House by Sara Gruen

Okay...seriously...you pretty much just need to read all of the books on this list. Every time I move to the next section of the bracket all I can think is, "oooh...that book was soooo good." It's killing me.

Secret Daughter was a book I read because Erin would NOT shut up about it. She kept telling me to read it and I kept telling her I had a stack of books planned. I finally caved. Holy crap. This book is amazing. I loved it. Like...LOVED it. I took it to work with me to read in down time. (I never take books to work.) I couldn't wait for my lunch hour so I could get a few more pages in. I read until 2 A.M. a couple of times on work nights because I couldn't put it down. It was just fantastic.

I read Ape House simply because it was written by Sara Gruen and I had adored Water for Elephants. It wasn't what I expected and was totally different from Water for Elephants, but it was still great. In fact, I think I liked it better than Water for Elephants. Yup...it was that good.

But...once again Erin comes through with a winner. Match #6 is taken by...

Secret Daughter by Shilpi Somaya Gowda

Match up #7:

City of Fallen Angels by Cassandra Clare vs. Eight Keys by Suzanne LaFleur

I've discovered that this is much easier to do on my lunch break, when I don't have a ten-year-old hovering over me asking me to check spelling words and querying as to whether I would like to watch the TV show that I am currently obviously watching or if he can play Skylanders. Oy.

City of Fallen Angels is the 4th book in The Mortal Instruments. Like I stated earlier, this series is awesome. It reminds me of the Twilight series, but with less sparkling and a less whiny heroine. I'm a fan. I am currently not-so-patiently waiting for the 6th book in the series to be released...in 2014. Aaaarrrrgghh!

Eight Keys was recommended/lent by Patti. She won it as a FirstReads win on Goodreads. This book is a really cute read. It would be great for anyone from middle school age to adulthood. It's very well done. I quite enjoyed it.

For the second time in the 2012 BOTY, Cassandra Clare pulls ahead. Pretty impressive. The winner of match up #7 is...

City of Fallen Angels by Cassandra Clare

Match up #8:

The Secret Lives of Dresses by Erin McKean vs. Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen

We've made it to the final section of the bracket!! Yay!!!

Both of these books are super cute reads. They're both very girly, but I loved them. 

The Secret Lives of Dresses was fun to read and one of those books that you're sad to have end. It was mildly more ChickLit than I typically like (read: the main character can be a little whiny and occasionally predictable), but I still had a good time reading it. It had a super sweet premise and I just wanted to know more.

Garden Spells is yet another Sarah Addison Allen novel. I'm telling you, this girl can rock it. I just really enjoy her writing. It's like CoverGirl...easy and breezy. Magnificent. I can read her books in one sitting and they've all let me wanting for more.

And the winner of the final match up (#8) is...

Tada!!! And we have eight! I have to tell you...not the easiest decisions to make. I still stand by the fact that any of the books in this bracket are worth the read.

Tomorrow...the final four and the announcement of the 2012 BOTY. Hooray!!

1 comment:

  1. I think I would like a lot of those books! It may be time to get the husband to get some new downloads for me on my Kindle :)


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