Top 10 Book Covers of 2011

Today is the second day of Top 10 of 2011.

Top 10: A Week of Looking Back….
                                ………and Looking Forward.

If you haven’t yet signed up, there’s still time to participate. Just click on the banner above to read the details in the original post and sign up with the Linky.

I was so excited to be invited by Jessica from Confessions of a Bookaholic and Lisa from A Life Bound By Books to co-host this event along with my very best blogger friends Jaime & Patricia from Two Chicks on Books.

As fun as this event is, it’s a lot of hard work coming up with so many top tens. I’m all about Top 100, but Top 10 is tough! Though I am much happier with today’s post topic than I was with yesterday’s.

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Today’s topic is “Top 10 Book Covers of 2011.” I wish they didn’t only have to be books released in 2011 as I would totally have loved to include Everneath on this list among quite a few others like Pretty When She Kills, Until I Die, Rapture, A Touch Morbid and Endlessly.

While there were plenty of covers I loved this year, I think I was able to narrow the list down to my most favorite ones, though I did have a few honorable mentions including Witches of East End, Fateful, Unearthly, Imaginary Girls, Blood Magic and Swear.

Unlike with the Top 10 Books I’ve Read in 2011 list, I will not be going into detailed explanations of why these book covers are my favorite. I think the pictures tell the story as to why I love them all. Each one of them is beautiful in their own way, either graceful and elegantly beautiful or with a strong and powerful beauty.

But what is consistent with each one of these ten covers is that I can’t take my eyes off any of them. So, here they are in order…

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Top 10 Book Covers of 2011 

1.

Shattered Souls by Mary Lindsey

(Amazon, Barnes & Noble)

2.

Die for Me by Amy Plum

(Amazon, Barnes & Noble)

3.

Hereafter by Tara Hudson

(Amazon, Barnes & Noble)

4.

The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin

(Amazon, Barnes & Noble)

5.

Abandon by Meg Cabot

(Amazon, Barnes & Noble)

6.

Soul Screamers Volume One by Rachel Vincent

(Amazon, Barnes & Noble)

7.

Supernaturally by Kiersten White

(Amazon, Barnes & Noble)

8.

The Pledge by Kimberly Derting

(Amazon, Barnes & Noble)

9.

Wolfsbane by Andrea Cremer

(Amazon, Barnes & Noble)

I know this isn’t the final cover, but it’s the one I have on my ARC and one of my most favorite covers of the year.

10.

Existence by Abbi Glines

(Amazon, Barnes & Noble)

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Well, there you have it. As you can see, most of my covers are of the ladies, but I couldn’t resist this cover for Existence as those eyes just keep drawing me back to them. Mesmerizing, really.

Although I haven’t read all ten books, I own them all and they were all released in 2011 so they qualify according to the rules of the event.

Oh my gosh, I cannot believe I didn’t include Wither by Lauren DeStefano. I love that cover. It’s amazing. One of my favorites.

Well, I can’t possibly knock one of my ten picks off the list above to add Wither. I love them all so much and it took me forever to narrow them down to just ten. But Wither is definitely a cover that should be on my Top 10 List for 2011 and definitely close to the top of that list.

And while I also love the 2011 covers for Sherrilyn Kenyon’s Chronicles of Nick series and Gena Showalter’s Intertwined series, I was only able to pick just the ten.

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This event runs through Friday, and each day I will be posting a different list of top ten favorites. Tomorrow’s topic will be Top 10 Book Boyfriends in 2011, which I don’t even want to think about. I don’t know how I will narrow it down to ten. I’m just glad I didn’t read any TMI books this year or I’d be in even more trouble.

If you’d like to see what the rest of the topics will be, check out the original post or the update post for more details.

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NOTE: this is the SAME Linky on each of the Co-hosts Blogs, so please only enter your Name, Blog Name and the URL for YOUR Top 10 post of the day on one blog. Thanks!

Book Watch: Releasing This Week #30

Below are the YA books coming out this week that I am spotlighting for my “Book Watch: Releasing This Week” post.

These are books for the week of July 26th-August 1st that I have pre-ordered.

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Wolfsbane, the second book in the Nightshade series, by Andrea Cremer will be released in the U.S. on Tuesday, July 26, 2011 in the U.S. It is currently available to pre-order online at Amazon and Barnes & Noble in hardcover, eBook and audio formats.

Published by Philomel, the print edition is 400 pages.

It feels like I only recently discovered this series by the author, but I actually read and reviewed Nightshade in January, which was a lifetime ago. As soon as I finished that book I was crazed to get my hands on a copy of Wolfsbane. And I was fortunate enough to land an ARC in a charitable auction a few months back.

I added the finished copy to my list of eBook pre-orders as soon as it was made available and I can’t wait until it downloads on release date. This book is definitely one I want for my collection and I’m curious if there are changes between the early copy and the final copy.

As I will be posting my review for Wolfsbane on Tuesday, and as I already spotlighted this book for my Book Watch post – in which I went into way too much detail – I won’t be repetitive here.

If you haven’t met Calla and Ren and Shay, now is the time to do it. And at least you won’t have to wait after reading the first book before diving into the second one, which picks up right where things left off.

This is definitely an exciting series and both books, while fairly lengthy, are super quick reads. And for those fans who always like to choose a team, there is definitely a choice to be made in this one.

Wildefire by Karsten Knight will be released in the U.S. on July 26, 2011 in hardcover and eBook formats. It is currently available to pre-order online in both formats at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

Published by Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing, the print edition is 400 pages.

Wildefire is one of the books that can be chosen for the 2011 Debut Author Challenge hosted by Kristi at TheStorySiren.com and is one of my original twelve picks.

I know, I know. You must be sick of me talking about Wildefire already…or maybe you are just dying to read it. I don’t think a day goes by when I don’t have something posted about it here, or on the Annex. But I can’t not have it listed among the books releasing this week, because, well, it’s releasing this week.

And even though I did pick up a copy on Friday night in hardcover, the eBook will be downloading on Monday Midnight onto my Kindle. It is the oldest pre-order I have, and I can’t wait to finally have that one safely loaded onto my eReader.

I will not be redundant here, or should I say any more redundant, as I just posted my review last week and I’ve buzzed about it back in May. But, this is an awesome book with a seriously killer ending, some major girl power, not your everyday gods and goddesses and some pretty freaking terrific writing. What more could you want in a book?

(Yeah. I liked it. Just a little…some might say “obsessed” would be a better word.)

Supernaturally by Kiersten White is the second book in the Paranormalcy series. It will be released in the U.S. on July 26, 2011 in hardcover and eBook formats. It is currently available to pre-order online in both formats at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

Published by HarperTeen, the print edition is 352 pages.

This is yet another book I’ve had on pre-order since last year. I was such a huge fan of Paranormalcy that I immediately ran to Amazon and added this to my pre-orders the second I turned the last page. I loved Evie, attitude and all. And I completely fell in love with Reth and Lend and I couldn’t wait to see what was next.

Supernaturally is another book I’ve already read and reviewed, so I won’t blather on endlessly about things I’ve so recently talked about.

I will just say that two of my favorite things in this sequel were actually characters – Jack, whose manic enthusiasm really brought the story to life, and Reth who was just as intense and even more appealing than he was in the first book.

The ending sets things up for something pretty major to happen in Endlessly, the final book in the trilogy. And I’m a little scared for what might become of Evie in this last book.

Book trailer for Supernaturally:

I Am Number Four: The Lost Files: Six’s Legacy by Pittacus Lore will be released in the U.S. on July 26, 2011. It is currently available to pre-order online in eBook format only from Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

This eBook is published by HarperTeen.

When heading over to Amazon to buy a copy of I Am Number Four after receiving the ARC of The Power of Six from the publisher the other week, I noticed that there was this eBook novella available to pre-order. As someone who likes to get a complete picture of a series I’m reading, I added this to my list of pre-orders on the spot.

I will admit to having seen the movie, which I’m sure doesn’t do justice to the characters, so I have an idea of what this series is about, but I have not yet had a chance to meet any of them in print.

This eBook is Six’s back story and will fill in the details of exactly how she got to be as kick-a** as she is.

As hesitant as I was to read this series due to the external chatter, I am excited to meet Six.

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For some reason I thought that I had a lot more books on pre-order for July 26th. I think maybe it was just that there were three highly anticipated books releasing this week, two of which I’ve had on pre-order since 2010.

Fortunately for my TBR pile, all three of the full-length books have already been read and only one review remains to be written for Tuesday’s release. So, it’s just the eBook novella that’s added to the pile.

I’m hoping next week will only have a few new adds to the to be read pile, but as I’ve been too afraid to actually check my pre-orders, I have no idea what to expect.

As always, I would love to hear what you’re hoping to add to your collection this week!

And if you have any great suggestions of “must read” books to buy that are releasing this week, please let me know!

My Reading Pile #18

It was a really happy week for me. I think you can tell by the pile of awesomeness shown above. I got some of my much awaited contest wins along with a whole bunch of other goodies. And I didn’t even get any of the books I’m awaiting from trades, so this was a pretty amazing book week.

At the bottom of the pile are All These Things I’ve Done by Gabrielle Zevin and The Fox Inheritence by Mary E. Pearson, which I won from the amazing folks at Armchair BEA and which the publisher sent to me this week.

Next up is Raven, which is signed by the author, Allison van Diepen, that I won from a contest on the author’s blog. I also won The Betrayal of Natalie Hargrove by Lauren Kate from Moonlight Gleam’s Bookshelf thanks to her 500 followers giveaway.

I had pre-ordered The Wolves of Mercy Falls trilogy, signed and doodled by Maggie Stiefvater, from Fountain Bookstore, the independent bookstore the author partners with. And they are all so completely gorgeous. Way prettier than the three eBooks I presently own.

I received two surprise books this week from HarperTeen – Dark Eden by Patrick Carman and The Power of Six by Pittacus Lore. I am super excited to read them both – I just need to read  I Am Number Four in the next few weeks. Yes, I just headed over to Amazon to buy the eBook. And bought The Lost Files companion novella, too.

At the very top of the pile is Shattered Souls by Mary Lindsey which I received this week from the ARC tour the author has so graciously put together. As I already had a copy through a trade, I’ve been reading that copy, and have already sent this one on to the next recipient.

I also got some yummy swag thanks to Angeline Kace for her upcoming book, Descended by Blood. My giveaway winners will definitely be getting one of these bookmarks included with their wins. But you can bet that I’ll be keeping one for myself.

Here are the books I have in my reading pile this week.

(July 17-July 23, 2011)

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First up is Between the Lines by Tammara Webber. I received an eCopy for review from the author a little while ago, but haven’t had a chance to read it until now. And I’m really excited to check it out as it seems light and flirty and a whole lot of fun.

I’m thinking there will be a lot of hijinks involving a Hollywood hottie celeb starring in a role with a virtual unknown actress and that the two of them together will create some sparks. As this book is for slightly older young adults it will be interesting to see how steamy this one gets.

The description definitely has my interest piqued about the different characters and I hope it’s just as fun and wicked as it sounds.

Next up is Torrent by Lisa T. Bergren. I received an eARC from the author for review, which I won’t be able to post for a while, so an early read isn’t always in my blog’s best interest.

But I can’t help it. I just have to read this final book in the trilogy as Cascade left things up in the air and I’m dying to find out what happens next. I am really hoping for a happy ending for all the characters at the end of this series.

Reading the first two books was like going on an adventure back in time, and I can’t wait to return to see what this final journey has in store for Gabi Betarrini. The title has me a bit nervous about what the end result will be. But I’m guessing that things escalate even further – the danger, the action, the love story.

This is one book that won’t be getting left behind this week.

Last up is Wolfsbane by Andrea Cremer. It may be last, but it’s definitely not least. I read most of the story almost immediately after I received it when I won an ARC in a charitable auction.

But I read it strictly for pleasure, and stopped well before I got to the ending so I would only have the one peek at it when I wrote my review.

I have been dying to find out how this book ends. I almost caved several times over the past few months. Fortunately, the wait is up. And I am excited to finally get to experience the book from cover to cover.

I just wish that I had a copy of Bloodrose to start immediately when I finish. These long waits in between series books that I love are absolutely killer.

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This week wasn’t so great, though I plan on finishing most of the books that were on last week’s pile by Monday. I decided to move Spellbound to the top of the pile last week as it had an earlier release date than most of the others and was from a previous week’s pile.

And I did get halfway through Shattered Souls and will easily be finished today. It’s such an engaging and quick read. But I didn’t get much reading done during the week due to various distractions, like work and family.

I expect to be done with Soul Thief by Sunday and hope to start on Between immediately thereafter.

Hope springs eternal for me and my plans, but I’m also crossing my fingers because every little bit helps.

Wishful Thinking reads:

My wishful thinking reads are Immortal Beloved by Katie M. John and Summer’s Crossing and The Iron Knight by Julie Kagawa.

I’ve decided to keep my wishful thinking to a minimum this week. I have to stay focused or I might have another wandering week and end up reading none of my review books. And that would be so not good.

Those left behind:

Soul Thief, which I started but had to set aside in order to read and review a book that was promised long before I accepted this one for review. I will be reading Soul Thief this weekend, however. And so far it’s every bit as awesome as I expected it to be.

I also didn’t get a chance to read Between, but I plan on adding that to the top of this week’s pile.

My goal is to accept less books for review until I’ve reviewed the books I’ve already promised to read and review.

In a few weeks I will have some more vacation time and hope to get ahead. Although I’m not certain there is such a thing as “getting ahead” for a blogger. But I am at least hopeful to get close to caught up…

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Do you create a reading pile?

If so, what’s in your pile this week?

Book Watch: Wolfsbane

Wolfsbane is the second book in the Nightshade series by Andrea Cremer. It will be released in the U.S. on July 26, 2011 in hardcover, eBook and audio formats.

It is currently available to pre-order in all formats at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

Published by Philomel, the print edition is 400 pages.

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I know I’m skipping the week of July 19th for this week’s “Book Watch” post, but as there is only one book I’m aware of coming out on that date, I thought I’d take the opportunity to highlight a couple books releasing on July 26th over the next couple of weeks.

And I decided to choose Wolfsbane for this week’s pick because I’ve already read and reviewed, though not posted, the two other books I’ve been stalking – Wildefire and Supernaturally. I still haven’t decided which one of the two to spotlight next week, but am leaning toward one of them.

Nightshade was an early favorite of mine when I started blogging. It was a complete surprise to me because I wasn’t aware it was about wolves. From the title and cover, I was sure it was about witches and I just didn’t read books about witches before I started blogging.

I did buy Nightshade, because Amazon had recommended it to me, repeatedly, but didn’t actually open up the eBook until after I heard talk around the blogs about how amazing it really was.

The reviewers weren’t wrong. I loved it. I got completely caught up in the story and Calla’s world and I definitely chose sides. I am Team Ren all the way.

Goodreads is right, the action does pick up right where it left off. Just check out the excerpt, which I’ve linked below, although it might be torturous to read it now when there are still almost three weeks left until release date. It is definitely worth a peek, but it will leave you anxiously awaiting what comes next.

According to the excerpt and the description, the Searchers need Calla’s help and that of her pack, The Guardians. And if she is willing to risk everything she might win her freedom. Talk about a tough decision and one that is sure to have some pretty serious consequences however she chooses.

And it seems that no matter whether you are a fan of Shay or Ren, this book will keep you on edge.

Even though Wolfsbane hasn’t been released, I’m already looking forward to getting my hands on Bloodrose, the next book in the series.

To read an excerpt of Wolfsbane from the author’s website, CLICK HERE and choose the Wolfsbane tab and “download excerpt.”

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Goodreads description:

This thrilling sequel to the much-talked-about Nightshade begins just where it ended-Calla Tor wakes up in the lair of the Searchers, her sworn enemy, and she’s certain her days are numbered. But then the Searchers make her an offer-one that gives her the chance to destroy her former masters and save the pack-and the man-she left behind.

Is Ren worth the price of her freedom? And will Shay stand by her side no matter what?

Now in control of her own destiny, Calla must decide which battles are worth fighting and how many trials true love can endure and still survive.

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Author Andrea Cremer gives readers a sneak peek at Wolfsbane:

The Extras: July

Back with another “Extras” post. As some of you may already know…

Whenever I find either a legal free download, an excerpt or sneak peek of a book online, I try to link to it in a related post or include the link in my sidebar (to your right).

But once a month I’ll pop them into a post for a “one-stop shop” with a brief description. You may have previously seen some of these in my sidebar and one or two may still be lingering, well here they are once more in case you missed them. (My sidebar tends to have a LOT of info.)

We have a few peeks at upcoming releases, just released books and some of them are just items that have been offered for free for awhile but you might have missed.

And yes, I know it’s not July yet, but it’s a monthly post that I do around this time each month in anticipation.

Sirensong by Jenna Black will be released in the U.S. on July 5, 2011.

This is a fun and completely delightful series to read. Sirensong is the third book in the series and it continues Dana Hathaway’s adventures and this time she’s headed into Faerie.

The author is giving readers a look at Chapter One on her website, HERE

Even if you haven’t read the other books in the series the first chapter isn’t super spoiler-y.

Original Sin by Lisa Desrochers will be released in the U.S. on July 5, 2011.

This is the second book in the Personal Demons series. This is a book and series not to be missed. I have read both books in the series so I will give nothing away, but these books are definitely smoking hot.

Tor.com is giving registered readers a peek inside, HERE.

Texas Gothic by Rosemary Clement-Moore will be released in the U.S. on July 12, 2011.

I think this cover and the font and the title are so amazing. I love this author’s writing style and I’m dying to read this book.

The main character, Amy Goodnight, comes from a family of witches. She has to spend her summer on the Goodnight Ranch where there are apparently ghosts, a “hot neighbor cowboy” and a bunch of bodies turning up. Definitely not an idea summer vacation.

The publisher, Random House,  is offering a short excerpt on their website, HERE.

Forever by Maggie Stiefvater will be released in the U.S. on July 12, 2011.

It is the third book in the Wolves of Mercy Falls series. There is just something so addictive about this series and so amazing about the author’s writing style.

For each of the past two books I was completely entranced by the writing and the story. I suspect there was magic involved.

Maggie Stiefvater reads an excerpt from Forever:

Wildcat Fireflies is the second book in the Meridian series by author Amber Kizer. It will be released in the U.S. on July 12, 2011.

It’s been awhile but the sequel is finally coming out! I loved the idea of beings called Fenestras and I was completely hooked when I first read the book. Then I found out it would be ages before the sequel. I think I cried a little bit.

Wildcat Fireflies continues the story as Meridian and Tens search the country for other Fenestras. And there may be trouble in paradise for the two of them. But with less than a month until release the wait is almost over.

And an excerpt is available on the book’s website, HERE.

Wildefire by Karsten Knight will be released in the U.S. on July 26, 2011.

Anyone who has ever stopped by the blog knows what a huge fan I am of this book and the author. It is an amazing debut and I don’t think you’ll find one quite like it.

If you have any doubts just check out the super long look inside the publisher is offering.

Check out Wildefire courtesy of Simon & Schuster, HERE.

Wolfsbane by Andrea Cremer will be released in the U.S. on July 26, 2011.

If you haven’t read Nightshade by now, what are you waiting for? Wolfsbane is almost here. And if you haven’t yet, it’s time to choose sides – Team Ren or Team Shay?

If you’re still undecided you should definitely check out the book’s website. There is an excerpt for Nightshade there too.

An excerpt from Chapter One of Wolfsbane is available from the book’s website, HERE.

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And for one more chance to take a peek, here are a few books that are available now.

Illusions by Aprilynne Pike, Divergent by Veronica Roth, Die for Me by Amy Plum, Hereafter by Tara Hudson, Starcrossed by Josephine Angelini, Vampire Kisses 8: Cryptic Cravings by Ellen Schreiber and Something Deadly This Way Comes by Kim Harrison

Discovering this link was like a gold mine. I wish I had discovered it before I read most of the above books. But I own them all now, so I don’t need the look inside, but if you haven’t read them, be sure to check it out.

The Dark Days of the Supernatural and HarperTeen are offering chapter excerpts for their seven books, HERE.

Summer’s Crossing by Julie Kagawa is a free eBook novella in the Iron Fey series. It was released on June 1, 2011 in the U.S.

The Iron Fey series is absolutely charming and delightful. I cannot wait for The Iron Knight to be released and I’m so glad that the author has released another novella in the series to help bridge the gap between her next book’s release date.

I haven’t yet read it, but I believe Summer’s Crossing is told from Puck’s point of view. I did grab it before it was a freebie on Amazon, but also managed to snag the free version for my nook. I plan on reading it in the next couple of weeks as I just love the easy flow of the author’s writing.

It’s actually available for download from three sites – Harlequin, CLICK HERE, Barnes & Noble, CLICK HERE and Amazon, CLICK HERE.

Ten Things We Did (and Probably Shouldn’t Have) by Sarah Mlynowski was released on June 7, 2011.

This contemporary novel by author Sarah Mlynowski sounds like it will be a really fun read. I own a copy but haven’t yet read it. I’m just hoping it’s more sweet than bittersweet. And I haven’t checked out the sneak peek, but the publisher is giving readers another long look.

HarperTeen is giving readers a long look inside, HERE.

The Ivy: Secrets by Lauren Kunze and Rina Onur was released on May 31, 2011.

I have been trying to find the time to read the first book in the series so I can read this one immediately afterward. The Ivy sounds like a great series to read, and if you have read the first book but not the second, this sneak peek should give you a good look at what you can expect from this book.

I have not taken a look as I don’t want to risk any spoilers for book one.

HarperTeen is giving readers another long look inside, HERE.

The Vampire Diaries: Stefan’s Diaries Vol. 3 – The Craving was released in the U.S. on May 3, 2011.

I love L.J. Smith’s Vampire Diaries series. I haven’t yet read Midnight, but I did buy all of the books in this off-shoot series that ties in with the television show, because I love that too. This is the third book in the Stefan’s Diaries series of books so if you haven’t had a chance to read the first one, you may want to skip the peek.

However, if you check out HarperTeen’s “browse inside” feature, they do offer a number of peeks at various different Vampire Diaries books.

A look inside of The Craving is available from the publisher, HarperCollins, HERE.

Virtue by Amanda Hocking was released on May 27, 2011 in the U.S.

I downloaded the book the moment it was released but have not had a chance to read it. This story is a young adult fairytale and it promises a battle between good and evil.

I love the author’s writing and can’t wait to read her latest book which includes goblins, demon dogs and sea dragons. Sounds pretty epic to me.

You can check it out on Virtue’s blog, HERE.

Shade by Jeri Smith-Ready was released in the U.S. on May 4, 2010.

Shade is the first book in the series and the sequel, Shift, was released in May of this year. Both books are amazing, but Shade is still my favorite of the two. That ending is killer.

It is set in a world where a shift has taken place and those born after the shift have the ability to see shades. But there is an amazing love story, a bit of a love triangle, and a whole lot of heartbreak.

If you haven’t had a chance to read this series, check out the long look at the first 99 pages of Shade that Simon & Schuster is offering HERE.

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These are all great books and I hope you get a chance to read them. But it’s even nicer to get a long look inside before making the commitment. Happy reading!

My Reading Pile #7

I decided to combine a few of my reading piles for books that I plan on reviewing on the blog. That’s not quite everything I have to read in those two toppling stacks above – I still have a number of books I plan to read and review that are in my pile of signed finished copies. But these are the ones I need to read, like, now.

These are only the printed copies, obviously, and I still have quite a few eBooks I’ve received for review, but I am hoping for the day that my pile shrinks down to five or six books. But I digress…

Here are the books I have in my reading pile this week.

(May 1-May 7, 2011)

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I received an electronic copy of Shift through Simon & Schuster’s Galley Grab program for review. I had wanted to read it the second it downloaded, but had to wait due to really tight scheduling demands.

I fell in love with this series just a few pages into the first book, Shade, and could not believe it was a series and that I’d have to wait for another book for the story to continue. Well, the time has finally arrived so I’m super excited to start reading.

I’ve spotlighted this book in my Book Watch post a few weeks ago so I won’t bore you with all the details again here. But this is a fantastic series written by an amazing and super sweet author. I’ve pre-ordered two signed copies of the book from an independent bookstore and will be giving one of those away here on the blog as soon as it arrives.

But I hope, by the time I do get my copy I’ll already have read this so I won’t have to add it to that growing pile pictured above.

Wildefire by Karsten Knight is a last minute add. I had this post all scheduled to go up just after Midnight – one of the first times I actually had created a post in advance – but I went down to my mailbox this evening and was happily (okay, I almost fainted) surprised to find this book resting comfortably between the layers of junk mail.

I know it’s completely too early to review this on the blog, so I may start some kind of Teaser Review post feature or just write it and schedule it for July. But I will be reading Wildefire this week. This is one of the four most coveted books on my list for 2011. (Original Sin is one, Wolfsbane is another, now the only other one just out of reach is Half-Blood, which I’m still hoping to win in a contest tonight.) So there is no way I’m going to wait.

I even started reading this, just a little bit, and had to drag myself back to my current read, which is amazing, too. While the post office wasn’t as kind with my ARC as they could have been, it still looks even more yummy in person than the online images.

This is my very first unsolicited book I’ve received from a publisher and the lovely folks at Simon & Schuster couldn’t have picked a more perfect one to send me. My neighbors may not agree as I ran down the hall shrieking. Too bad, they must just be jealous. And yes, the first twenty pages are just as full of awesome as I imagined. Even if I never receive another unrequested ARC in my lifetime, I will die a happy girl.

You can experience some of the stuff that is awesome too, by clicking HERE for an excerpt from the publisher.

I haven’t decided if I will be reviewing Dead Reckoning here on the blog, but I will be reading it. And it will be at midnight on Monday when it downloads. This isn’t young adult so I’m not sure if I’ll be writing up a formal review as opposed to reading it purely for pleasure.

I was reluctant to get started on this series, even upon the recommendation of my friend Nic. But once I got past the first couple of pages in the first book, I got so completely hooked on the series that I read all remaining books released at the time in one sitting.

I don’t think I can quite explain the long history of Sookie Stackhouse, Eric the Northman and Bill Compton in this post without rambling on for thousands of words, but the series just keeps getting darker and darker and Sookie is losing some of her sweetness by this point. I’m keeping my fingers crossed as I am one million percent Team Eric and I will accept nothing less for our girl Sookie. But I am super pumped that this book will finally be released.

I am supposed to receive a copy of this from a trade, but if I don’t receive it before release date I’ll definitely be reading this very soon after. I have heard so many amazing things about this book without actually paying attention to what it was about. I have no clue. I just know that it’s amazing. And that I believe it’s dystopian.

So yes, I’ve fallen prey to the hype. And I think this cover is wicked cool. I can’t imagine everyone being completely wrong about this novel, but I will definitely judge it for myself and I can’t wait to read it this week.

I don’t want to include a description here, but feel free to check it out on Goodreads. I don’t want any spoilers and am happy to go into this completely blind, so I had to squint while grabbing the link in order to remain in the dark.

What Happened to Goodbye is another book I received through a trade. (By the way I love my trading partners. You know who you are so thank you again and again!) I’ve had this for awhile, but now have to read it as it’s a book that I’ve promised to another blogger and must get it to them before release date.

This will be my first Sarah Dessen book, but I know from word of mouth that she is a spectacular author and I am really excited to read it.

This will be the perfect book for me to read as it’s about a girl who moves around quite a bit and has to reinvent herself every time. I completely relate to that as growing up my family was always on the go and even now I tend to live a somewhat nomadic lifestyle – hence my love of the eReader.

But this looks to be a really entertaining contemporary young adult fiction story.

Here’s a link to the first chapter on the author’s blog if you’d like to get a sneak peek.

I shall wait no longer. I received Wolfsbane through an auction I participated in. (And no, I do not bid on or purchase ARCs from eBay sellers. Every single ARC I’ve won in an auction has been donated by the author themselves for Japan relief. I do not judge those who buy or sell, but I personally don’t do it, no matter how much I want a particular book.) Normally I would pass along my ARC when finished, but this one is signed with a really lovely message and so I’m keeping it in my collection.

Nightshade was one of the best and most surprising reads I’ve discovered in my TBR pile. I always thought it was a book about witches as there was something very witchy about Calla on that cover. If I had only bothered to find out that it was about wolves I would have read it the second I bought it, rather than just a few months ago.

Of course as soon as I heard about the sequel I immediately contacted the publisher in hopes of getting an advance copy. This was a rookie mistake, let me tell you, although I hope I was professional enough in my outreach to not ruin any future possibilities. (This was one of my three failed attempts at writing to a publisher.)

But I’ve finally got my copy and now that I have some time, I definitely will be reading it this week. I’m not sure when I’ll be posting my review, but as I have no limitations on when I can or can’t review it, it might just be next week.

***

I didn’t do too bad last week, although I had to stop reading Abandon so that I could read a book I hadn’t planned on, but needed to pass on to someone else before release date. I’m hoping to squeeze Abandon in this week, too.

I’ve added on a few extra books because I plan to spend a couple of my vacation days at the beach, completely unplugged, just me and my Kindle. Am really not trying to make anyone jealous, it’s just been a really long time since I had a day off work and I definitely need the break. And I still like to think that reading is my perfect escape.

Oh, and I’m glad I had a chance to read Illusions early or I really would be overwhelmed with books this week.

Wishful thinking reads:

Bite Club comes out this week. But I haven’t read Ghost Town yet. If time permits I’d like to read both books as I definitely need to get caught up on this series. I met the author at RT and she is so sweet and adorable and I just love this series.

But I Love Him also comes out this week. It’s another YA novel I have on pre-order and I’m looking forward to its release. As I don’t know whether I’ll have time to read and review it this week as I already have five books planned, I’ve assigned it to the wishful thinking list. But I hope to read it this week.

Those left behind:

I won’t go into my top ten list of books left behind. I just posted that a few days ago. I did have a pretty good week of reading, but as mentioned above, I still have to read Abandon, which I better be doing this week.

And I am still behind on writing a couple of reviews for Enclave and The Last Little Blue Envelope but I’m hopeful that I’ll have those done this weekend and up on the site shortly thereafter.

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Do you create a reading pile?

If so, what’s in your pile this week?

The Extras: February

Whenever I find either a legal free download, an excerpt or sneak peek of a book online, I try to link to it in a related post or include the link in my sidebar (to your right).

But once in awhile I’ll pop them into a post for a “one-stop shop” with a brief description.

Some of these are new, and some of them are just items that have been offered for free for awhile but you might have missed. Who doesn’t enjoy a nice sneak peek or freebie now and again?

Cryer’s Cross is a new book by Lisa McMann, author of the Wake, Fade, Gone trilogy. A nice long excerpt can be read at Scribd or you can listen to an audio excerpt at Simon & Schuster.

Wolfsbane is the sequel to Nightshade by author Andrea Cremer. The first chapter is available for free download from the Nightshade website. It will definitely tease you in with the tagline “How many trials can love survive?”

Darkest Mercy is the final book in the Wicked Lovely series by Melissa Marr. The author has been revealing excerpts of Darkest Mercy on her blog “one bite at a time.” Click here to read. I know I’ve posted the link before, but I’ve added here again as release date is in less than a month and she just updated with a long excerpt. Her next update will be on January 29th.


An excerpt of the first chapter from The Demon’s Surrender by Sarah Rees Brennan is available on the author’s blog. The Demon’s Surrender is the third and final book in The Demon’s Lexicon trilogy. It will be released on June 14, 2011 in the U.S.

Cat Calls from Cynthia Leitich Smith is a brief story set in the same world as Tantalize, Eternal and Blessed. It is available for a free download from Amazon. It was published on December 23rd, but is still being offered as a freebie. It will be included in Blessed if you would prefer to wait and read it in print on January 25th.

Don’t Die Dragonfly is a free Amazon download from author Linda Joy Singleton. It is a full-length book, and is the first book in the Seer series. It was originally released in 2004, but is currently being offered for free to entice you to read the other books in the series.