Happy 4th of July, U.S.ians! Also, happy just over the halfway point of the 2013! (Insert obligatory "time flies!" comment here.)
To celebrate both our freedom to read and the bounty of books on the shelves right now (in stores and libraries and our own shelves, too!), we'd like to recommend a few books we've read during the first half of 2013. Some of these books released this year, but others didn't. They just happen to be books we read over the past six months that we LURVE and want everyone else to read. So here's what we recommend you get your hands on (other than our OWN books, of course, which you can view more about in the sidebar ----->).
Days of Blood and Starlight by Laini Taylor: Her prose KILLS me because it is so beautiful & so uniquely descriptive without ever going overboard. Everything about this book (& its predecessor) is just so perfect to me.
This Is Not A Test by Courtney Summers: I am actually obsessed with this book & have read it like four times now. It is a perfect blend of bleakness and hope and realistic raw teen emotions and it's all done in such a way that I would recommend it even to people who adamantly don't like novels with zombies.
We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson: This book is incredible because Jackson handles the darkness like a boss, using a glorious balance of beautiful descriptions and creepy underlying tension to create a reading experience that is both pleasurable to the senses and discomforting to the mind.
House of Leaves: The cold and almost clinical descriptions of the happenings, combined with a truly unsettling metafiction layout, is the reason this one came out a winner for me. Spine-tingling for sure!
Clive Barker's Books of Blood, Volumes 1-3: The tales range from sweet to grotesque to funny to appalling to straight up terrifying...need I say more?
GIRL OF FIRE AND THORNS by Rae Carson and ARISTOTLE AND DANTE DISCOVER THE SECRETS OF THE UNIVERSE by Benjamin Alire Sáenz: For their beautifully developed settings that are crucial to the main character's development, not just a hook.
WILD AWAKE by Hilary T. Smith and ALL OUR PRETTY SONGS by Sarah McCarry: Both these books had well-developed, fiercely individual main characters, and I loved how both of these books explored the transcendent experience of music for young women.
BLACK HELICOPTERS by Blythe Woolston: Incredible book that has so much story in so few pages. It's powerful, intense, emotional and absolutely relevant.
DR. BIRD'S ADVICE FOR SAD POETS by Evan Roskos: I loved James' voice so much. It rang very true, as did his struggles with depression and anxiety.
Bruised by Sarah Skilton: For fantastic, realistic characterizations and a kick-ass heroine that trains in the martial arts.
Out of the Easy by Ruya Sepetys: For a fascinating cast of characters, a beautifully written historical New Orleans setting and a mystery that keeps the pages turning.
Your turn! What book did you read in the first half of 2013 that you'd recommend to everyone? Have a safe and fabulous Independence Day!