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The Return: Midnight

    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.


    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.


    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.


    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.


    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.


    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.


    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.


    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.


    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.


    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.


    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?


    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!


    Book Watch: Releasing This Week #11

    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 15th-21st that I have pre-ordered.

    I am posting this a day early as I have a couple of reviews that I would like to post for Sunday eve and Monday.

    The Vampire Diaries: The Return: Midnight by L.J. Smith will be releasing on March 15, 2011 in the U.S. It is available online for pre-order at Amazon and Barnes & Noble in hardcover and eBook formats.

    Published by HarperTeen, the print edition is 576 pages.

    I have previously spotlighted this book in my “Book Watch” post, but it’s finally coming out this week. I can’t wait. I’ve had this on pre-order for the longest time. And as mentioned before it is the last The Vampire Diaries book completely written by L.J. Smith.

    The characters in this series have been through an incredible journey and I can’t wait to see what happens in this lengthy installment. I have not yet read the excerpt which was made available a few days ago by the publisher. I have the link in my sidebar, but you can also click here to read.

    I also have stayed away from any reviews or spoilers so that I could read this book and be completely surprised, although I probably won’t be able to read it for a couple weeks as I need to get caught up on my TBR pile, but I am anxiously awaiting the download on Monday Midnight.

    Steel by Carrie Vaughn will also be released on March 15, 2011 in the U.S. in hardcover and eBook formats. It is available online for pre-order in both formats from Amazon and Barnes & Noble. I’ve seen it out in the wild for over a week at my local Barnes & Noble so you might find it at your local store bookstore.

    Published by HarperTeen, the print edition is 304 pages.

    I have not yet read one of author Carrie Vaughn’s books, but I own her book Voices of Dragons, which still in my TBR pile.

    Steel is one of the books that Amazon had recommended to me based on my purchase history. This book is different than those I typically read, but it has time travel, magic, pirates and a duel to the death which are all very intriguing and sound like a great adventure.

    I used to love stories like this when I was younger and I think I still might. From the description Steel sounds like the perfect book to read to find out if I still do.

    Click here to read an excerpt from chapter one on the author’s website.

    Subway Girls is the debut young adult novel for author P.J. Converse. It will be published on March 15, 2011 in the U.S. and is available online at Amazon for pre-order in hardcover and eBook formats.

    Published by HarperTeen, the print edition is 224 pages.

    Subway Girl is one of the books that can be chosen for the 2011 Debut Author Challenge hosted by Kristi at

    I first heard of this book from the list of available books for the DAC. It isn’t one of my original twelve books, but I’ve seen it on a few In My Mailbox vlogs and it piqued my interest. I checked it out on Amazon this past week and thought it looked like a quick read and a sweet story so I decided to pre-order it. (I couldn’t find it on Barnes & Noble, though.)

    The Goodreads description gives a bit more detail, so I’ve included it below, along with a link to the book on Goodreads in case it’s one you might want to add to your TBR list.

    I haven’t heard much else about the book or the author, but I am always one to support debut authors and because this story sounded so charming I had to buy. But according to the author bio on HarperTeen, he is a “below-average ballet dancer, ex-waiter, and zealous fantasy football player…”

    Goodreads description:

    He is shy. Unassuming. Inexperienced.

    She is Subway Girl. Cool. Unattainable.

    From the moment he sees her on a Hong Kong subway, Simon is intrigued by Amy, but he doesn’t have the nerve to talk to her. When he finally works up the courage, he realizes he can’t. Because Amy doesn’t speak Chinese, and Simon is failing English.

    But somehow, Amy and Simon connect, and they find that they understand each other. Enough for Simon to admit that he is dropping out of school. Enough for Amy to confess that she is pregnant with her ex-boyfriend’s baby. Amy and Simon feel lost in a world so much bigger than they are, and yet they still have each other.

    In this brilliant debut by P. J. Converse, two unlikely teenagers discover that love has a language all its own.


    I do not have a lot of books on pre-order this week, although there are quite a few that I’ll be getting next week. But…

    UPDATED 3/13/11

    There is one other book that I am hoping will be releasing this week on March 18th at Amazon in eBook format. (As its release is not yet announced I obviously don’t have it on pre-order, but plan on buying it on release date.)

    So, I’m keeping my fingers crossed and posting this just in case it does. It’s a self-published young adult paranormal/romance book by debut author Tiffany Ross King called Meant to Be.

    Once an official release date is announced I will update this post with the information and link to the book.

    The author announced the release date of March 18th today on Twitter and posted the cover art on her blog.

    I “met” the author on Twitter and checked out her blog. She had a description of her new book on the blog along with a teaser. I thought it was so beautifully written that I’ve been anxiously awaiting the book’s release.

    She should be revealing revealed the cover art for her book on the blog some time later today, Sunday, March 13th and I will update updated this post with the artwork once it’s revealed. Cover is wicked cool!

    Check out the author’s blog to read the teasers.

    Description of Meant to Be from the author’s site:

    Krista Miller feels like she has lived her entire life in a glass box with her every emotion on display. She can’t help feeling like a defect as her sensitivities have made her socially inept and without any real friends; the one exception being the boy that visits her each night in her dreams.

    Krista’s emotions are put to the test when a move to California triggers a devastating change to her fantasy world. The nightly comfort that the boy provides has now become a recurring nightmare as he is taken from her by an unseen force.

    Struggling to appear normal, Krista enrolls in a new school and finds it to be nothing like she thought.  Her new life is sent spiraling out of control from a strange connection with a boy, Mark, who claims to know all her secrets.

    As Krista begins to explore the emotions that Mark evokes in her, secrets from their past about their shared connection threatens to separate them just when they have found each other.