Thursday, January 31, 2013

Book Review #1388 Olivia and the Fairy Princesses by Ian Falconer

Book Review #1388
Olivia and the Fairy Princesses by Ian Falconer
Rating: two stars (out of four)

I thought this story was pretty entertaining. I liked how Olivia wanted to be different. Though her actions did remind me a little bit of a hipster, her whole not wanting to do what the "mainstream" crowd was doing. But she had spunk and wanted to be different because of her personality. Olivia wanted to shine and be in the spotlight. I also found it amusing how much she protested against being a princess. The pictures were pretty entertaining and I did enjoy seeing what sort of thing Olivia would come up with next. I can see why other people like this series so much. And while I did enjoy reading this book and others in the series, it's not my all time favorite. Though if I happen across an Olivia book I haven't read, I'm always happy to read it.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Book Review #1387 The Midnight Unicorn by Neil Reed

Book Review #1387
The Midnight Unicorn by Neil Reed
Rating: three stars (out of four)

Loved the realistic illustrations for this story. The pictures really brought this story to life and imaginatively displayed all of the adventures the little girl had with the unicorn. I thought pictures made the wonder of a unicorn feel even more real because the illustrations were so descriptive and glorious. It's something I could see a child coming back to again and again. I enjoyed the story, but it was really the illustrations that drew me in. I'd definitely recommend, especially for die-hard unicorn fans.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Book Trailer Tuesday! [24] Fragments by Dan Wells

Ever since I read Partials by Dan Wells I've been pretty anxious to get my hands on the sequel. And I loved the Partials trailer too - it was good at setting up the story without repeating summary information while also giving you something the book couldn't - visuals. This trailer is different because it acts very much like something you'd experience in the world - it's a propaganda film - and I love how neatly it leaves you wondering what is going to happen in the second book.

Fragments by Dan Wells
Published by Feb. 26 by Balzer + Bray

Book Review #1386 You Will Be My Friend by Peter Brown

Book Review #1386
You Will Be My Friend by Peter Brown
Rating: three stars (out of four)

I rather enjoyed this book. I liked the first book with the Lucy character and I found it amusing to see what sort of antics she got herself into this time. It was amusing to watch Lucy be nice to everyone and even though she had good intentions, she still managed to make a mess of the other animals and their habits/homes. Lucy wasn't trying to be a nuisance, she was simply trying to find a friend. It was a nice relief at the end to see she finally found someone. I was especially fond of the illustrations; they were modern, graphic, bright, and animated. I was defintely a fan and would recommend this book.

Monday, January 28, 2013

2013 Newbery and Caldecott Announcement!

And the results are in!

The 2013 Newbery Medal winner is...

THE ONE AND ONLY IVAN by Katherine Applegate!
Published by HarperCollins Children's Books

Newbery Honors:

Splendors and Glooms by Laura Am Schlitz
Published by Candlewick Press

Bomb: The Race to Build-and Steal-the World's Most Dangerous Weapon by Steve Sheinkin
Published by Flash Point

Three Times Lucky by Sheila Turnage
Published by Dial Books for Young Readers

The 2013 Caldecott Medal winner is...

THIS IS NOT MY HAT by Jon Klassen!
Published by Candlewick Press

Caldecott Honors:

Creepy Carrots! illustrated by Peter Brown, written by Aaron Reynolds
Published by Simon & Schuster

Extra Yarn, illustrated by Jon Klassen, written by Mac Barnett
Published by Balzer + Bray

Green by Laura Vaccaro Seeger
Published by Neal Porter Books

One Cool Friend illustrated by David Small, written by Toni Buzzeo
Published by Dial Books for Young Readers

Sleep Like a Tiger illustrated by Pamela Zagarenski, written by Mary Logue
Published by Houghton Mifflin Books for Children

Thoughts? Have you read any of these? A longer post is in the works....

There will also be more information posted on this website, and of course, you can check out ALA Youth Media Awards on Facebook.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Book Review #1385 Library Lion by Michelle Knudsen

Book Review #1385
Library Lion by Michelle Knudsen, illustrated by Kevin Hawkes
Rating: four stars (out of four)

I loved this story. It was a really sweet tale of friendship, lions, and libraries all bundled in one neat little package. The ending was especially sweet and I couldn't help but smile when things finally fell back into place. I also fell in love with the illustrations - they perfectly suited the book. The soft colors and hues greatly added to the gentle and loving atmosphere of the library setting. The people and lion were drawn beautifully. This is a book I could see myself reading again and again and I think that children will love the whimsical and imaginative qualities. After reading I really wished there was a lion at my library. Definitely recommend!

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Book Review #1384 Ping Pong Pig by Caroline Jayne Church

Book Review #1384
Ping Pong Pig by Caroline Jayne Church
Rating: three stars (out of four)

This book was so cute. The illustrations were charming and full of life. Ping Pong Pig was especially buoyant throughout the book and I did like how much his friends cared about him. I was expecting this book to be more lackadaisical in nature, but I was pleasantly surprised by the change of Ping Pong’s heart and his effort to give back. I was a definitely a fan of the subtle message in this book; the book was playful, but also managed to show children should reciprocate nice actions to others. I’d definitely recommend this book.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Book Review #1383 Where Is Home Little Pip? by Karma Wilson

Book Review #1383
Where Is Home, Little Pip? by Karma Wilson, illustrated by Jane Chapman
Rating: three stars (out of four)

The best part of this book are the gorgeous illustrations. The colors smoothly mix and blend  to create a dreamy winter landscape of blues, greys, and whites. It's beautiful. I could easily look at the illustrations over and over again. The story is fairly common, but it's told in an interesting way and isn't too tedious. It has a happy ending and I think children and parents alike will enjoy this story. It is sweet and I'd recommend.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Book Review #1382 LMNO Peas by Keith Baker

Book Review #1382
LMNO Peas by Keith Baker
Rating: three stars (out of four)

Delightfully amusing. The cadance and rhythm of the book's simplistic text was soothing and melodic. I especially enjoyed the pictures of all the peas and their various occupations. The illustrations were bright and warm and the peas were especially playful and animated. I liked seeing their interaction througout the book. It was a different take on the alphabet and I think that other people would enjoy reading this book. I'd recommend.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Book Review #1381 Let's go for a Drive by Mo Willems

Book Review #1381
Let's Go for a Drive! by Mo Willems
Rating: three stars (out of four)

I really enjoyed this book! I always like seeing the misadventures/antics/craziness of the Elephant and Piggie books. I liked Gerald's constant revelations of what they would need for their drive and how Piggie would gleefully run off to fetch the new things. I also loved how the book ended; specifically Piggie's clever resolution. Overall this book was entertaining and cute. I vastly enjoyed it and would definitely recommend to old and new fans alike. I was also amused to see not ONE but TWO hidden drawings of The Pigeon. One of my favorite aspects of Mo Willems' books is finding the secretive Pigeon he plants in his books.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Book Trailer Tuesday! [23] - Pulse by Patrick Carman

This trailer is pretty high-end. It looks and feels like a movie trailer. There are some elements that I found a little cheesy/dramatic, but it's one of the most interesting trailers I've seen this year. I liked the balance of text and live-interaction. And when they revealed the cover at the end, it was definitely eye-catching and inventive. I'd probably read it based solely on the cover. Though I have read Patrick Carman before and I enjoyed his books. I'm going to have to add this book to my to-read list.

Pulse by Patrick Carman
Published by Katherine Tegen Books
Available: Feb. 26, 2013

Book Review #1380 Plant a Kiss by Amy Krouse Rosenthal

Book Review #1380
Plant a Kiss by Amy Krouse Rosenthal, illustrated by Peter H. Reynolds
Rating: two stars (out of four)

A cute and amusing story. I really liked the illustrations (No surprise there, I'm a big fan of Peter H. Reynolds) and I thought they perfectly suited the story. It was fun to witness the whimsical planted kisses and see the children's interaction. I liked the story, but it's probably not something I'd read again. I'd still recommend.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Book Review #1379 Guyku by Bob Raczka

Book Review #1379
Guyku by Bob Raczka, illustrated by Peter H. Reynolds
Rating: three stars (out of four)

It was really cool to see a book of poetry aimed at guys. But I do think the book can be enjoyed by anyone even though it is geared towards boys. The haikus were imaginative and often playful, they accurately portrayed all of the seasons. And I loved the illustrations: perfect. I enjoyed the simplistic style of bold lines and splayed colors. I would recommend.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Book Review #1378 Petunia Goes Wild by Paul Schmid

Book Review #1378
Petunia Goes Wild by Paul Schmid
Rating: two stars (out of four)

This book was pretty amusing. I especially liked all of the reasons Petunia felt being human was a hindrance. The illustrations were playful and fun. I liked her parents’ reaction to her crazy request. But at the same time, I could still see things from Petunia's perspective. I think kids who love exploring their wild side or who enjoy being animals will especially appreciate this book.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Book Review #1377 I'm Here by Peter H. Reynolds

Book Review #1377
I'm Here by Peter H. Reynolds
Rating: two stars (out of four)

Initially, I wasn't sure where this story was going, but I still liked the feel and of the texts and pictures. It wasn't until the very end that I read it was a story told from the perspective of someone with autism. I liked how the author decided to portray the emotions and thoughts of the boy. The illustrations suited the book too. It was a sweet story and I'd probably recommend.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Book Review #1376 A Flower in the Snow by Tracey Corderoy

Book Review #1376
A Flower in the Snow by Tracey Corderoy, illustrated by Sophie Allsop
Rating: two stars (out of four)

There were a couple of pictures in this story that were just the sweetest. I really liked the friendship between the little girl and the bear. And while it was odd that they seemed to be the only ones living up in the cold artic, it still suited the book well. I did feel bad for the bear who had to go off and search for the flower. But I wasn't expecting the surprise that awaited him when he came back. It was interesting to see how the little girl had been resourceful during her time of grief and I liked the whimsical ending. I'd recommend.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Princess of the Silver Woods Blog Tour!

For my stop on this blog tour I'm featuring my review of Princess of the Silver Woods! You can find out more info about the book by  checking out Goodreads, Amazon, Jessica Day George, and Bloomsbury!

Review #1375
Princess of the Silver Woods by Jessica Day George
Rating: three stars (out of four)

This story certainly started off well! I was captivated and wanted to know more about the spunky heroine and her adventures. The cover was eye-catching (without being cliche) and I loved the fantastic flowing red cape. There was one aspect that made me grimace: love at first sight. Ugh.

Usually the whole oh-I-fell-in-love-at-first-sight thing kinda bothers me. (What am I doing using that flimsy word "kinda" when I really mean, "totally infuriates"?) And initially I was annoyed because this novel was starting to follow the same typical pattern. But then my view kind of shifted. Strangely enough, it was the author's use of magic that convinced me this scenario was different. Even the characters in the story addressed the whole love at first sight predicament. They acknowledged the craziness of it and even seemed to poke a little fun while doing so. And for some reason, that made my usual feelings of unrest totally at ease. I was completely fine with the whole love at first sight syndrome because it was illustrated in this magical realm where strange things happen. And hey, if girls can magically be trapped in a creepy underworld at night and forced to dance until their slippers wore out, why can't they magically fall in love at first sight too?

Okay, mini rant over. Here are some other things I noticed about the book. It was pretty clean, so no objectionable content. The characters were interesting; they weren't flat or superficial. There were definitely parts in the story where I was particularly muddled because I didn't know HOW the characters were going to get out of their unfortunate situations. I enjoyed seeing the sisters together again and was dismayed at the idea of them all having to go back to the King Under Stone. I also was pretty involved in the story and I think I read it in one sitting. I didn't like the ending though. Maybe because it seemed rushed (especially at the climax,) but I wanted a longer explanation, a prolonged dramatic conclusion. Everything seemed to resolve in a short span of pages and that was a little disappointing. The ending also seemed a little too reminiscent of the first book. But all in all, Princess of the Silver Woods was entertaining, fun main characters, and an interesting story line. Fans of Shannon Hale should also check out this series. I'd recommend.

*Thanks to Bloomsbury for allowing me to be part of the blog tour and providing a copy through Netgalley in exchange for my honest review.

Book Review #1374 How Does Sleep Come by Jeanne C. Blackmore

Book Review #1374
How Does Sleep Come by Jeanne C. Blackmore, illustrated by Elizabeth Sayles
Rating: two stars (out of four)

I can totally see parents liking this book for the obvious tie-in it has to children falling asleep right after their bedtime story. The story sentiments were sweet and I enjoyed the illustrations. The picutres were endearing and did a good job of capturing the essence of the text. It was a nice story and I can see other people enjoying it more than I did.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Book Review #1373 The Man Who Dreamed of Elk-Dogs by Paul Goble

Book Review #1373
The Man Who Dreamed of Elk-Dogs by Paul Goble
Rating: one star (out of four)

I appreciated that Goble worked with many different Native American tribes to get these stories and he wanted to tell them in a way that would preserve their original format. I just wasn't impressed with the stories themselves. Some of them didn't make much sense and I felt like something had been left out or I was missing relevant back story. I don't know if it's because Goble was so immersed in this culture that things was lost in translation or the stories were naturally abrupt. Either way, I didn't like most of the stories and there were some very strange ones. I don't think there was one story in this volume I would reread or want to share with other people. I understand Goble capturing this culture and identity, but this book just wasn't for me. I also wasn't a big fan of the art.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Book Trailer Tuesday! [22] - Revolution 19 by Greg Rosenblum

Sorry these book trailers kind of fell by the wayside! Now I'm going to try and be better about posting them!

This book features a hostile robot take-over and a human race determined to recover what was once theirs. Sounds pretty epic, right? I was definitely intrigued by the trailer and will probably put the book on my to-read list. What about you? Like? Dislike?

Revolution 19 by Gregg Rosenblum
Released Jan. 8, 2013 by HarperTeen

Book Review #1372 Porcupette Finds a Family by Vanita Oelschlager

Book Review #1372
Porcupette Finds A Family by Vanita Oelschlager, illustrated by Mike Blanc
Rating: two stars (out of four)

I could definitely see where this story was going. It seemed a little obivious to me, but I don't think children will notice the theme. It featured the unconditional love of a mother for her children. It did a nice job of illustrating how even if the children acted out, the mom was still going to take them back: no matter how different or how much they believed they didn't derserve to be part of the family. There were a couple of interesting animal facts thrown into the story as well and that was fun. The illustrations were sweet as well. I might recommend.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Book Review #1371 Made in China by Vanita Oelschlager

Book Review #1371
Made in China by Vanita Oelschlager, ilustrated by Kristin Blackwood
Rating: two stars (out of four)

The sentiments of this story were very sweet. Though I did wonder why the older girl mocked this adopted girl for being "made in china" - that seemed unnaturally cruel. But children are often cruel to people who are different from them. This concept of being "made in china" was turned around by her parents, who used it as a means to explain how much they loved their daughter. It was meant to show the unconditional love parents have for their children, regardless of where they come from. The illustrations were nice; there were a couple of pages I particularly liked because of the chunky graphics and color striations. I might recommend to people who like adoption stories.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Book Review #1370 Ivy in Bloom by Vanita Oelschlager

Book Review #1370
Ivy in Bloom by Vanita Oelschlager, illustrated by Kristin Blackwood
Rating: two stars (out of four)

The rhyme scheme was a little cheesy in the beginning, but then it rapdily progressed into something more poetic. The illustrations were nice; graphic and colorful, with just the right amount of stylization. I was a little confused by some of the text near the end of the book - it didn't seem to match up with the beginning of the story. But when I got to the end I understood: the author had incorporated lines from famous poets throughout. It was a neat idea, but felt choppy at times. Some of the lines that were extrapulated were a little ridiculous, taking only five random words from a longer poem. But I realized the author was simply using the essence of the nature-inspired poetry to create something new. She had included the original poetry in the back for children to read if interested. And she had marked all of the words that appeared in the book with green font as a frame of reference. All in all, it was an okay book, but I'm not sure I'd recommend.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Book Review #1369 Sophie's Fish by A. E. Cannon

Book Review #1369
Sophie's Fish by A. E. Cannon, illustrated by Lee White
Rating: three stars (out of four)

Ha! I really liked this book. It was amusing...with just the right amount of bizarre and whimsy thrown in for good measure. The illustrations were fabulous; they were a blend of decoupage and drawings. Each page was a work of art. I loved the over-active imagination of Jake and his worries about taking care of a fish. I LOVED the tribute to other children's books through spectacular fish book titles - those made me laugh. The ending was quite good and made me chuckle. It kind of reminded me a little bit of If You Give A Moose A Cookie crossed with Tim Burton - but without any creepy bits at all. You should check this book out!

Friday, January 11, 2013

Book Review #1368 Alfie Runs Away by Kenneth M. Cadow

Book Review #1368
Alfie Runs Away by Kenneth M. Cadow, illustrated by Lauren Castillo
Rating: two stars (out of four)

This book had a fairly common theme: running away to escape. The mother was very obliging and helped her son, which intrigued me at first, because I wasn't sure what to expect. But then I saw how much stuff she gave him to carry, knowing he wouldn't be able to make it very far. It was an interesting compromise between the mother and the son. This story had a sweet message and a happy ending, I’d probably recommend.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Book Review #1367 The Fabulous Bouncing Chowder by Peter Brown

Book Review #1367
The Fabulous Bouncing Chowder by Peter Brown
Rating: two stars (out of four)

This was a pretty entertaining read. It was interesting to see what sort of mischief Chowder got himself into. I also liked the twist at the end - it seemed fair but managed to still let both dogs win. The illustrations were pretty comical. I think fans of animals (and dogs especially) will get a kick out of this book.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Book Review #1366 Louise the Big Cheese by Elise Primavera

Book Review #1366
Louise The Big Cheese by Elise Primavera, illustrated by Diane Goode
Rating: two stars (out of four)

A fairly interesting story about one girl's wild imagination and big aspiration of being a star. She learns some truths about friendship and expectations. Eventually she realizes that maybe she should be happy with where she is right now. I liked the colorful illustrations - they were awfully pink - but other people would probably enjoy the multitude of pink. It was an amusing story, but not something I'd want to read again. I can see young girls who adore pink and musical-themed books really enjoying this book.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Book Review #1365 Ten Birds by Cybele Young

Book Review #1365
Ten Birds by Cybele Young
Rating: two stars (out of four)

The illustrations were strikingly different - unlike anything I've seen before in a children's book. I loved the sepia tone and the way each device to get the other side left a numbered illustration totaling the number of birds left behind. The story was fairly simplistic, but the pictures made it much better. The ending was a little random, but it still had nice elements. I liked the etching feel of the pictures too. It was a good book and I'd probably recommend.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Book Review #1364 Giraffe's Can't Dance by Giles Andreae

Book Review #1364
Giraffe's Can't Dance by Giles Andreae, illustrated by Guy Parker-Rees
Rating: two stars (out of four)

It had a sweet message, but it still felt a little cheesy and maybe just the slightest glimmer of trying too hard. I'd been seen this book around, so I was looking forward to reading it, but it wasn't phenomenal. The other animals were pretty rude to the giraffe, but in the end things worked out. The illustrations were colorful, but I wasn’t really attached to them. The rhyme scheme was fun, but I probably wouldn't recommend this book.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Book Review #1363 Press Here by Herve Tullet

Book Review #1363
Press Here by Herve Tullet
Rating: four stars (out of four)

What a fun book! Very imaginative and playful. I loved the interaction between text telling readers what to do and the animations on the next page. It was funny to see how the dots "complied." It was a whimsical story with hilarious book movement and colorful antics. Definitely something I'd recommend!

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Book Review #1362 My Name is Elizabeth by Annika Dunklee

Book Review #1362
My Name is Elizabeth by Annika Dunklee, illustrated by Matthew Forsythe
Rating: three stars (out of four)

This spunky little girl's name is Elizabeth and that's what she wants to be called. Not Beth, Betsy, or Eliza. She wants her full name because she loves it so much. The illustrations were especially fun. I loved the orange and blue striations of color that animated the people and places throughout the pages. I was also quite fond of the little duck that followed Elizabeth around. I usually try to read the author bios in the back and I'm always amused by the way the author/illustrator tie in the theme of the book with their bios. Annika prefers her full name, while Matthew doesn't mind be called Matt. Hilarious. I'd especially recommend for people who are not fan of their names being shortened. A great read.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Book Review #1361 A Ball for Daisy by Chris Raschka

Book Review #1361
A Ball for Daisy by Chris Raschka
Rating: two stars (out of four)

This was an amusing story of a dog's love for his toy. The illustrations were loud and playful - I liked how the pictures seemed to jump right off the page. The story was told without words, but it was illustrated in such a beautiful manner you could easily tell the emotions of the characters and setting. While I enjoyed this book, it wasn't one of my absolute favorites. I wouldn't have picked it for the Caldecott Medal, but it was still a good tale. I'd still probably recommend though.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

My Top Reads of 2012!

2012 was a pretty crazy year for me. But through it all I've still fed my voracious appetite for reading. I read just over 200 books last year. I use the 1-5 star rating on Goodreads as opposed to my 0-4 star rating here. But this is what I found most intriguing when I looked over my Goodreads statistics: I only had seven 5 star ratings for the whole year. And not one of those was a Young Adult novel! Weird, huh? All of my 5 star ratings were picture books except for one juvenile book. But since I had several YA books that came close to making a 5 star rating, I figured I'd include them in the list as well.

And without further ado, my top rated books from 2012.

Children's Books
Grandpa Green by Lane Smith
Such a sweet story. Made me cry a little at the end. Also loved the illustrations.

Goldilocks and the Three Dinosaurs by Mo Willems
This story cracked me up. I loved the interaction between the reader and the story - especially the quips from the narrator. Absolutely hilarious.

Library Lion by Michelle Knudsen
Sweet, sweet, story. Fans of libraries and books in general will find solace in this book. Also, made me teary-eyed at the ending.

Wave by Suzy Lee
Beautiful story told without words. I loved it, especially the blue hues throughout.

Press Here by Herve Tullet
Imaginative and interactive. Loved the playful attitude and banter from page to page. 

Happy Pig Day by Mo Willems
I'm such a big fan of the Elephant and Piggie books. This book was hilarious, as usual.

Juvenile Books!
The Hero's Guide to Saving Your Kingdom by Christopher Healy
HILARIOUS. I laughed out loud more times reading this book than all the other books I read this year combined. I'm going to reread with a highlighter so I can mark quotes. Highly anticipating the sequel.

And here's some 4 star books that almost made the cut (Goodreads 1-5 star rating still.)

Bink and Gollie, Two for One by Kate DiCamillo
Cute. Loved the interaction between these two friends and their zany adventures.

The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate
Heartbreakingly sweet and poignant. Fell in love with the cover and cried while reading.

Winterling by Sarah Prineas
I thought this was a great high stakes fantasy (without being too dark) aimed at a young audience. 

Young Adult Books
Like I said before, I didn't have any 5 star Young Adult books, but here's some 4 star books that almost made the cut.
Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas
 I was thoroughly entertained by this book. I liked the characters (though I wanted to jump in and give them advice sometimes). I'm intrigued to see where the story will go next.

Glitch by Heather Anastasiu
Major cover love going on here. And the story was pretty cool - reminded me of Ender's Game crossed with Matched. Dystopian.

Masque of the Red Death by Bethany Griffin
This book intrigued me. I liked the steampunk elements and I thought the characters were interesting.

Curveball by Jordan Sonnenblick
The first book I've read by Sonnenblick that's come close to my love for his Drums, Girls, and Dangerous Pie. Made me cry too. Can't help but love the characters.

Partials by Dan Wells
Another dystopian. I loved the setting and the story pulled me right in from the beginning. And even though the book ended with a lot more questions than answers, I wasn't annoyed. Just impatiently waiting the sequel.

Insignia by S. J. Kincaid
Another book that took me by surprise. I didn't think I was going to like this sci/fi flick, but when I started I couldn't stop. It was fast-paced and thrilling. I wanted so desperately to know how things would turn out. Definitely looking forward to the next book.

The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater
A little slow in the beginning, but there was something compelling about the characters and setting. It was a very strange sort of book, but at the end I still liked it.

And there you have it, my top reads of 2012. What were some of your favorite reads from 2012?