Shannon’s best reads of 2012; how four books earned five stars and another almost scored.

It’s time to talk about books. Ooooo, booksies! Ok sorry, had to get that out. *book shimmy* Ok, had to get that out too. AHEM. Last night the hubs and I were talking books (read: I was whining about not winning any of the ARC contests I’ve entered lately) and he asked me what he should read next. Of course, at least seven titles came to mind but I had to backtrack because some of the things I luuuuurve are a little too girly for him. I decided to get on Goodreads and look at what I gave five stars to in 2012.

Now, here I must explain why a 5-star review from me is such a big deal. And that is, simply, because you have to have written not only a work of art, but a work of absolute genius in my eyes. Some titles that have scored highly (just to give you an idea of what I mean): the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling, Stephenie Meyer’s The Host, Madeleine L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time, and Memnoch the Devil by Anne Rice. It’s not everyday that an author can reach Harry Potter greatness…so I can’t give that last precious star away to just anyone. I’m OCD about it. I can love love love and absolutely adore a book and still have to settle with four stars because it just doesn’t quite make it.

So, imagine my surprise when I realized that I gave away five stars to a whopping FOUR books in 2012….and found myself once again wavering over another. It was like this:


Well I decided to do a little recap, complete with links to the book profiles on Goodreads so that if, for some strange and decidedly stupid reason you don’t trust me when I say you need to read these books, you can go get your generic synopses and see what other folks had to say about them. Without further ado, here are the amazing books that made my life complete in 2012:

CinderCinder by Marissa Meyer
I don’t know what it was about this book. It’s a Cinderella re-telling, yes. And yes, I knew from the beginning of the book exactly what would be revealed at the end of the book. But it was just so good. I loved how different it was. Something about the cyborg/android sci-fi goop of it left me wanting more. But it wasn’t just that. It wasn’t that it was a new spin on the dystopian sub-genre I so love. It wasn’t even that Cinder was risen from the ashes of her unfair life to find that she was so much more than she ever truly dreamed. It was more because it was based not on her beauty, but her character instead. I love that Meyer made her imperfect – physically impaired. She struggles with that, as many of us (especially females) struggle with what we consider flaws. But what Cinder fought to hide was exactly what made her beautiful. This is such a great story, especially for someone who has a physical disability/abnormality. And I think that’s why it stole my heart.

The Night CircusThe Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
Mysterious and haunting in all the best ways, this book grabbed hold of me from the very beginning and didn’t let go until long after I’d finished it. I couldn’t even be upset that the ending was convoluted enough to make me wonder if I’d really understood any of it at all. It was beautiful. Ms. Morgenstern managed to reach out from the pages of this book and manipulate my senses. Her descriptions were so detailed that my imagination had little to no work to do. I could see it, I could feel it, I could taste it, I could smell it. The wonder of it all was there for me to reach out and touch any time I wanted. She performed magic with her words the way her characters performed their illusions within The Night Circus.

Beautiful ChaosBeautiful Chaos by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl
These ladies can WRITE. There’s really not much else I can even say about this book except that if you haven’t read the series, you need to. I was skeptical about this, number three, after a tiny bit of a sophomore slump in the second book but it did not disappoint. Thick with southern tradition and mystery, it’s totally possible that these books speak to the down home southerner in me. I’m not sure you can truly appreciate these books if you’re not a southerner or haven’t at least been to the south, but you can sure give it a try. Oh, and if you hate Lena just a little bit, don’t worry – it’s totally acceptable. The girl is a walking meatbag of “needs a kick in the head”. But damn if that Ethan doesn’t tug on the heartstrings. And somebody tell me why I thought this was a trilogy?? It’s not! Glorious glory that is holy, there’s another book a’coming.

The Evolution of Mara DyerThe Evolution of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin
Second in the Mara Dyer series showed no sophomore slump to speak of. Ms. Hodkin is on fire with this series. It’s dark, it’s dangerous, and it’s scary as hell, with just enough romance thrown in to make you come up for air after a nice little hideout under the covers. Noah, oh you deliciously bad gone good yummy boy that you are – I need more of you and Mara in my life! Ok, so if you thought you were going to get answers after the mind-rape that was The Unbecoming, well….YER WRONG!!! Just kidding, just kidding, you get a few. But not enough to satisfy even a tiny part of your “I don’t know WTF is going on right now but I’m reading because reading is good and fun and SERIOUSLY WTF IS SHE DOING RIGHT NOW OMG” psyche because GUESS WHAT? Michelle just dumps a whole new load of WTF whoopass on you. Every time I think I’ve got the storyline figured out, here comes a curve ball. This is one of the only series that has kept me guessing, and that is no small feat. I absolutely cannot wait for book three. I NEED TO KNOW WHAT’S GOING ON WITH THIS GIRL!!! This book will possess you. Like, literally, I think there’s some Hoodoo involved. But don’t try to fight it! No, just let it. Shhh…shhh…it’s totally ok…

Sweet EvilSweet Evil by Wendy Higgins
And last, but certainly not least….the only book that has ever solidly landed in the 4 1/2-star range with me. It was hard not to give this book five stars. HARD, I tell you. I still can’t really tell you what kept it out….maybe the fact that I’m just not a fan of angel-related stories, especially in the YA category. I actually tend to avoid them, but something about this book called to me. I HAD to read it. And man, when I did…sweet Jesus in Heaven, this book had so many feels. My emotionsssssss! Oh Anna! Oh Kaiden! Just shut up and have beautiful nephilim/angel/whatever babies together already! No WAIT, don’t do that. Keep being deliciously taunting. Because you do it oh so good. Imagine my shock to find myself actually crying as I read this book (see Kramer gif above). I felt everything. The anger, the fear, the love, the lust…whew! It was such a tasty piece of loverliness that I’m having a hard time NOT re-reading it right now. I keep telling myself that my TBR pile is much too big but Sweet Evil calls, and calls…it whispers to me that I need it, and I believe it. Just go read it. I’m done. I’M DONE.

Have you read any of these books; if so what did you think about them? If not, was there anything you read in 2012 that left you haunted or hungry, begging for more?

About the author /

Hi. My name is Shannon and I like books. And photography. And video games. I use this space to talk about books, review books, and generally participate in badassery.


  1. Sara

    Wow, this was an awesome post! I loved your little mini-reviews of each of the books! I’ve never read some of these so I’ll have to check them out. :]

    • Shannon

      Thank you! So glad you enjoyed. :]

  2. River

    I read EVOLUTION in a day and then couldn’t function for a full MONTH afterward. It was pretty sad and awful. GIVE ME THE NEXT BOOK NOW OR GIVE ME DEATH.

    • Shannon

      I KNOW. I’m still dying. I can’t get this story out of my head. I think about it every. Single. Day.

      Is this what obsession is like?

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Hi. My name is Shannon and I like books. And photography. And video games. I use this space to talk about books and particpate in badassery. You can read a bit more about my awesomeness and how Twilight Sleep came to be (the name has absolutely NOTHING to do with the Twilight series by Stephenie Meyer, contrary to popular belief) on the about page. :]

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