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Afterlife

    Random Thoughts: My 2011 Top Ten List of Unread Books

    This post can alternatively be titled: My 2011 Unread Books Shame Spiral

    So, I’ll be the first one to admit that I can’t possibly read every single book when it comes out. But, oh, I so want to. However, I usually try to read all of my favorites within a week or two, but sometimes things don’t go according to plan. And as more time passes, especially now that my evenings are taken up with blogging, some of my favorite reads are falling farther and farther down my “to be read” list.

    I never thought the day would come when a “can hardly wait” book would end up at least thirty books away from the top of the heap, but it’s happened. And I’m actually kind of devastated.

    When I first started blogging my enthusiasm fueled me and allowed me to pull any number of all-nighters to stay up reading and writing my reviews. Those days feel like a lifetime ago. Somewhere around two o’clock in the morning I crash and no amount of caffeine will keep me awake reading into the wee hours of the night. Or morning as the case may be.

    Of course what prompted this post of shame is the fact that I am sitting here, three weeks after release date and I still haven’t read City of Fallen Angels. I do blame iBooks and their download debacle which has yet to be resolved, but in the end, I am ultimately to blame for not taking the time out to read this book.

    I’ve posted quite a few giveaways, saw the author at both the signing and the RT Convention in Los Angeles, but still haven’t managed to finish the book. And right now, it’s about midway through the second page on my Kindle, and falling fast, as week after week more books download and push it farther away from my watchful eyes.

    But CoFA isn’t the only book that has drifted from my grasp. There are oh so many more that have slipped away – sometimes quietly, sometimes not – but I do feel their loss.

    If I had to go back to November 2010 when I started blogging I don’t think I could create a top ten list, as there would just be too many to choose from. And so I will list just those books released in 2011 that I was so eager to read on release date and yet still haven’t managed to squeeze in the time.

    #10

    Blue Bloods by Kailin Gow is one of the books I was eagerly awaiting. This installment was to be much more action packed than its predecessor and I couldn’t wait for its release. I’m sad to say it is still waiting a read.

    #9

    Like Mandarin by Kirsten Hubbard was also a book I wanted to read right away. I even started to read it, but was on deadline for a promised review – I feel like I’m on way too many deadlines these days – so had to put it down. Sadly it has yet to be picked up again, but I have not forgotten just how much I want to read this book.

    #8

    The Liar Society by Lisa and Laura Roecker was so top-of-the-list for me. I couldn’t help but become hooked on all the craziness with the pink wigs and pinked Twitter avatars. I could not wait for this book and was so jealous of everyone who got a chance to read it before release date. I think four or five books downloaded that night for me and I knew that there was no way I could read it immediately, but that didn’t mean I didn’t want to. I kept moving it forward so that it wouldn’t sink to the back of the pack on my Kindle, but now it’s four pages in.

    #7

    Lemniscate by Jennnifer Murgia wasn’t released too long ago, but it was a sequel I was waiting forever for. It took me two reads to fall in love with the first book in the series, but fall in love I did. It was one of the first Indie books I had read and wasn’t quite used to the different style of the Indies, but when a much wiser and more experienced me re-read it I absolutely adored it. And then couldn’t wait for the sequel. And I’m still waiting to find the time to read it. I don’t feel too bad as it’s only three pages back, but still. So much for reading on release day.

    #6

    The Vampire Diaries: The Return: Midnight by L.J. Smith was an absolute must read. I have loved this series forever. (Both the TV show and the books.) I couldn’t wait to find out what happened next but I knew that there is no way I’d have time to read this book immediately as it’s a huge book. And sadly when time is a factor, it’s much easier to choose the shorter reads. Besides, I’m not entirely sure just how to write a review for these books as they are so elaborate and so detailed. But I really want to read this last book in the series written completely by the author and am sad that I still haven’t done so.

    #5

    Secrets and Shadows by Shannon Delany was a fairly newly discovered series for me. I read the first book only a short while before book two was to come out. I couldn’t wait. I was so hooked on this series that I couldn’t imagine not reading it the second it downloaded. But I can’t even remember what happened. I was so psyched to read it, and then somehow completely spaced. By the time I realized that I missed the chance to read it, I was already late on every single deadline and so I had to put this one back in the TBR pile. This is a book that I do not want to wait to read until the release of the paperback so that I’ll have a timely review. I just hope it doesn’t end up that way just because of my schedule.

    #4

    Invincible by Sherrilyn Kenyon is one one of the books that I hyped here on the blog. I couldn’t wait for its release and I absolutely love this cover. I was completely fired up to read this on release date and once again I had to set it aside for a mandatory read. I’m not too far off from release date, and I still see it hanging out on page three of my Kindle, but that’s way too far back for my liking. I really hope to have the time to read this one in the next few weeks. I think I have got to stop checking NetGalley and requesting new books to review.

    #3

    Afterlife by Claudia Gray is my saddest missed read. I didn’t care that this was the end of the road, I just had to know what happened. I even set aside a book I was reading and began to read this one. It was just as grabbing as all the rest of the Evernight series and I couldn’t wait to finish it. But as I was reading, the guilt crept in and I had to put this down. There was a little war between good and evil going on inside, but sadly the hedonist did not win against responsible me and since that date I have not had a moment to return to this story.

    #2

    Darkest Mercy by Melissa Marr is yet another final book in a series that I absolutely loved. I was desperate for this book to come out, but at the same time I was devastated. I knew, especially as there were a whole bunch of series ending, that I might not want to read this right away and say goodbye to some of the most interesting characters I’ve known in a young adult series. But I didn’t think I’d have waited this long. Really. This cover still calls to me from my book pile even though the eBook is now long buried I don’t know how many pages in.

    #1

    Oh c’mon did you really expect to see anything else here? I talked about this before I even started the list! City of Fallen Angels by Cassandra Clare is my greatest shame. There is no real reason why I shouldn’t have blown off every single deadline and read this from start to finish. Who cares that there’s a cliffhanger ending? Who cares that every single person would have read and reviewed it on the exact same day? There are absolutely no excuses for why this book has not yet been read and reviewed. None.

    ***

    Do you have any books that have fallen prey to the deadlines of blogging? Have you sacrificed your favorite read because your life got in the way? Have you overspent on books that were less important, forgetting about your favorite release and now your wallet is bare?

    I’ve shared with you my dirty little secret and would love to know what unread books are your greatest shame?

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    The Extras: April

    I can’t believe it’s been a month since my last “Extras” post. Time flies in the blogosphere. So, 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 a couple are still there, 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 April yet, but it’s a monthly post that I do around this time each month in anticipation.

     

    Red Glove is the second book in Holly Black’s Curse Workers series. It will be releasing on April 5, 2011. Holly Black is an amazing author and this is an amazing series.

    The author has given us a peek at the first chapter in this book on her blog, HERE.

    I have read and loved the first book in the series and can’t wait to read this book. If you’d like to read my review or learn more about Cassel Sharpe and the curse workers, click here.

    Where She Went by Gayle Forman is the sequel to If I Stay. It will be releasing on April 5, 2011. There is still time to read the first book in the series in anticipation of this release.

    For those of you who’ve already read the first book and just can’t wait to find out more or for those of you who haven’t read If I Stay, Scribd has something for all. They have provided an excerpt of the upcoming book and a chapter of the first, HERE.

    I have owned If I Stay for awhile, but it’s on my way too long TBR list. However, I am planning on reading this in the next week, as I have an early copy of Where She Went which I hope to read and review and I never like to read a sequel without having read the first book. I’ve heard such amazing things about this author, so this is a sneak peek worth checking out.

    City of Fallen Angels, the fourth book in The Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare will be releasing on April 5, 2011.

    And I know, I know…I’ve already “Book Watch” posted this, with all sorts of links to extras and videos, but as this is just for the Extras, I can’t exclude it. But I won’t ramble on about this book since I’ve already done. So…

    Cassandra Clare has included an excerpt from chapter one on her site, HERE. I have not read this particular excerpt, if you can believe, as I’m trying to hold out until April 5th.

    What Happened to Goodbye by Sarah Dessen will be releasing on May 10, 2011. It is her tenth novel.

    An excerpt is available on the author’s blog, HERE.

    I have not yet read this author’s work, but I’ve heard such great things and so this will be my introduction to her characters and writing. I can’t wait and just have a feeling I’ll be a huge fan. (Which means I’ll have nine more books to read before I run out – this is a good thing.)

    Goodreads is offering a chance to win this book as part of their First Reads program. You can look through all the books they are offering for giveaway here.

    Hard Bitten is the fourth book in author Chloe Neill’s Chicagoland Vampires series. It will be released on May 3, 2011.

    This series is the author’s adult series, but I’ve included this excerpt here for fans of the author who have read both her adult and young adult series.

    An excerpt from Chapter One is available on the author’s website, HERE.

    I just love her young adult Dark Elite series and am very interested in reading the Chicagoland Vampires series.

    ***

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

    A Touch Mortal is Leah Clifford’s debut novel and the first in a series. It was released on February 22, 2011.

    If you haven’t read this book, HarperTeen has offered a look inside, HERE.

    I absolutely loved this book and am excited to see what’s coming up in the series. If you want to learn more or read my review, click here.

    Demonglass is the second book in the Hex Hall series by Rachel Hawkins. It was released on March 1, 2011.

    An excerpt is available on the Hex Hall website, HERE.

    I’ve read and reviewed both books on the site and I loved them both, although I love Demonglass just a bit more than Hex Hall!

    Afterlife is the final book in the Evernight series by Claudia Gray. It was released on March 8, 2011.

    This is an amazing series, and if you haven’t yet read it, you can now and won’t have to wait to read all the books. (Lucky readers.)

    HarperTeen has provided an excerpt for readers who haven’t yet gotten caught up with the series, HERE.

    Illegal is the debut novel for author Bettina Restrepo. It was released on March 8, 2011.

    I am excited to start reading this one later this month, and have not taken a look at the excerpt in case of spoilers.

    But once again the folks at HarperTeen have generously provided a look inside, HERE.

    The Vampire Diaries: The Return: Midnight by L.J. Smith was released on March 15, 2011.

    By now everyone’s heard of the television series, but these are the books that have started it all.

    HarperTeen has been kind enough to give us a peek, HERE.

    I own but still must read this book and cannot wait to find the time – it’s a fairly long book filled with goodness!

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    Book Watch: Releasing This Week #10

    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 March 8th-14th that I have pre-ordered.

    Afterlife is the fourth and final book in the Evernight series. It will be releasing in the U.S. on March 8, 2011 in hardcover and eBook formats. It is currently available for pre-order online at Amazon and Barnes & Noble in both formats.

    Published by HarperTeen, the print edition is 368 pages.

    Afterlife is another ebook I’ve had on pre-order for ages – since October 5th, 2010. I don’t even have the same device for it to download to on Monday at Midnight, so I’ll have to get it manually.

    I cannot believe this series is ending. I am certainly not ready to say goodbye to Bianca and Lucas. This has been an amazing series filled with surprises, twists and heartbreak in every book. And based upon the description and trailer this book looks like a great finish to the series.

    I have not read the excerpt or any reviews as I want to go in completely surprised. And I was not able to re-read the entire series before the Tuesday release as I had hoped so I may hold off reading this for another week or two so that I can at least re-read the first book in the series.

    As I had already spotlighted this book as one of my “Book Watch” posts I have not included many details here.

    To get more information about Afterlife, click here to check out my Book Watch post, which has links to the author’s website, an excerpt, the Goodreads description and the trailer.

    Illegal is the debut novel for author Bettina Restrepo. It will be released in the U.S. on March 8, 2011 in hardcover and eBook formats. It is currently available for pre-order online at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

    Published by Katherine Tegen Books the print edition is 272 pages.

    Illegal is one of the books that can be chosen for the 2011 Debut Author Challenge hosted by Kristi at TheStorySiren.com. Although not one of my original twelve picks I look forward to reading this one for the DAC.

    I discovered this book after I had signed on for the 2011 DAC. I read the description on Goodreads and found it to be unlike any YA story I’ve read before. It sounds like a wonderful, inspiring and hopeful journey for this young girl and her family and I look forward to seeing how everything turns out.

    To learn more about the author, check out her website HERE.

    Book trailer for Illegal:

    Like Mandarin is the debut novel for author Kirsten Hubbard. It will also be releasing in the U.S. on March 8, 2011 in hardcover and eBook formats. It is available for pre-order from Amazon and Barnes & Noble in both formats.

    Published by Delacorte Books for Young Readers, the hardcover is 320 pages.

    Like Mandarin is one of the books that can be chosen for the 2011 Debut Author Challenge hosted by Kristi at TheStorySiren.com. This also wasn’t on my original list of DAC books chosen, but is one I will definitely read this year.

    I actually saw this book around everywhere and it was the title that intrigued me most. I discovered that Mandarin is a character in the book, which further sparked my interest as it is such a unique name. But it was the description on Goodreads that really made this a must read for me.

    I always enjoy stories where the characters are in the same trapped situation that Grace is and when someone like Mandarin comes into their life they see them as this sort of escape from the drudgery of life. But as the description teases, Mandarin is troubled and something happens to their friendship that makes it sound like this just won’t end well. This is definitely the kind of story that I love to read.

    I am going to try and make the time to read this book this month, but if not, I will definitely read it in April.

    Book trailer for Like Mandarin:

     

    Evercrossed by Elizabeth Chandler is the fourth book in the Kissed by an Angel series. It will be released in the U.S. on March 8, 2011 in hardcover, eBook and audio formats.

    It is currently available for pre-order from Amazon in all formats and from Barnes & Noble in hardcover and eBook formats.

    Published by Simon Pulse (a division of Simon & Schuster), the print edition is 288 pages.

    I saw this book first on Simon & Schuster’s Galley Grab newsletter and downloaded it to review. It was only after downloading it that I realized that it wasn’t the first book in the series.

    I knew that I would not be able to read all books before release date, as I only discovered this a few weeks ago, and so would have to forgo a review, but I knew this was a series I’d be interested in reading and so I purchased all books in the series with the hope of getting to this book very soon.

    I did end up reading this book’s description on Simon & Schuster’s website and on Goodreads and knew that this series, which dates back to the mid-1990’s was one that I would enjoy. Tragic death, celestial guardians, mystery and suspense are all the right ingredients.

    I am very interested in seeing how this series, originally planned as a trilogy, evolves after a fifteen year gap.

    To read an excerpt from Simon & Schuster, click here. To listen to it in audio format from Simon & Schuster, click here.

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    The Trailers: March

    It’s that time again. For those times when you just need a short break from reading. Here, for your viewing pleasure, are a few amazing book trailers for upcoming books releasing this March.

    (And yes, you may have seen one or two of these on the site already, but they are compiled here for your viewing pleasure.)

    ***

    Falling Under by Gwen Hayes

    Release date: March 1, 2011

    ***

    Clarity by Kim Harrington

    Release date: March 1, 2011

    ***

    The Liar Society by Lisa Roecker and Laura Roecker

    Release date: March 1, 2011

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    Afterlife by Claudia Gray

    Release date: March 8, 2011

    ***

    Born at Midnight by C. C. Hunter

    Release date: March 29, 2011

    ***

    And while we are still awaiting the trailers for Invincible: The Chronicles of Nick series, The Dark and Hollow Places and The Vampire Diaries: The Return: Midnight here are the trailers for the previous books in the series to tide you over.

    Infinity: Chronicles of Nick trailer:

    Invincible: The Chronicles of Nick by Sherrilyn Kenyon

    Release date: March 22, 2011

    The Dead-Tossed Waves trailer:

    The Dark and Hollow Places by Carrie Ryan

    Release date: March 22, 2011

    The Vampire Diaries: The Return: Shadow Souls trailer:

    The Vampire Diaries: The Return: Midnight by L.J. Smith

    Release date: March 15, 2011

    We hope you enjoyed the lovely distractions. Stay tuned…we’ll be back with our regularly scheduled programming tomorrow.

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    Book Watch: Afterlife

    Afterlife by Claudia Gray is the fourth book in the Evernight series. It will be released in the U.S. on March 8, 2011 in hardcover and eBook formats. It is currently available for pre-order online at Amazon and Barnes & Noble in both formats.

    Published by HarperTeen, the print edition is 368 pages.

    ***

    If you haven’t yet started this series, it is the perfect time to do so. Afterlife is the final book in the series (which I didn’t realize until creating this post and so now am a bit devastated). However, according to the author’s website, there will be a spinoff book, Balthazar, which will obviously be about Balthazar, and it’s due out in March 2012.

    There is a nice long excerpt of the book which I’ve included in a link, below. I have not yet read it as I don’t want to be left hanging even more than I already have been since reading Hourglass.

    Claudia Gray is yet another amazing author and this series has been the perfect escape. I have loved all the characters and the twists and turns and surprises the books have thrown my way.

    Yes, this series is about vampires, one of my favorite types of paranormal characters, but that doesn’t give it an automatic gold star. But the first book in the series threw me a curveball that so surprised me that I immediately fell in love with the book and vowed to follow this series and author for however long the books keep coming.

    If you have read Evernight, you’ll know what I mean and if you haven’t, just read it and see. It is so cool the way the author handles this huge twist.

    I am going to try and re-read the entire series before the March 8th release date of Afterlife as I want it to be completely fresh in my mind when going in. Also, I didn’t re-read the first two books before reading Hourglass and I think that might have affected my involvement with the book (and skewed the ratings I gave it on Goodreads). This of course was long before I started writing reviews, so the ratings for Hourglass may very well change after the re-read.

    I still remain hopeful for Bianca and Lucas although I have that sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach that things may not go well for them. Watching the book trailer totally adds to that feeling of unease. But a girl can hope, can’t she?

    ***

    To read the book descriptions for each of the novels on the author’s website, click here.

    To read an excerpt from the publisher, HarperTeen, click here.

    Description of Afterlife from the author’s website:

    Bianca and Lucas have always believed they could endure anything to be together. When a twist of fate not only transforms Bianca into a ghostly wraith, but also turns Lucas into a vampire—the very creature he spent his life hunting—they are left reeling.

    Haunted by his powerful need to kill, Lucas can turn to only one place for help… Evernight Academy. Bianca is determined to remain with him. But with the vampire leader of Evernight waging a war against wraiths, her former home has become the most dangerous place she could be, despite the new powers her transformation has given her.

    A battle between wraiths and vampires looms, and Bianca and Lucas face a terrifying new reality. They’ve overcome every obstacle life has thrown at them, but is their love strong enough to survive the challenges after life?

    Book trailer for Afterlife:

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