...Eight Books That Surprised Me (in a good way) in 2012
A Temptation of Angels by Michelle Zink
When her parents are murdered before her eyes, sixteen-year-old Helen Cartwright finds herself launched into an underground London where a mysterious organization called the Dictata controls the balance of good and evil. Helen learns that she is one of three remaining angelic descendants charged with protecting the world's past, present, and future. Unbeknownst to her, she has been trained her whole life to accept this responsibility. Now, as she finds herself torn between the angelic brothers protecting her and the devastatingly handsome childhood friend who wants to destroy her, she must prepare to be brave, to be hunted, and above all to be strong, because temptation will be hard to resist, even for an angel.
Seventeen-year-old Danny Cummings' life is far from a fairytale, but that's okay since he doesn't believe in happy endings. After spending a year in juvenile hall for maliciously beating his sister's boyfriend, Danny embraces his badass image. Spending most nights drinking, fighting and collecting gambling debts for his Uncle, Danny's life is out of control. His addiction to the bad boy lifestyle won't let him do anything about it, even with his family begging him to go straight. But, when fifteen-year-old Lauren McIntosh stumbles into one of his nightly escapades, the self-proclaimed anti-romantic can't concentrate on anything except Lauren and the fact that she's on the same path his sister was on. Danny knows true love happening for the villain is as common as gamblers paying their debt on time, but he's never backed away from a challenge before and he hates the idea that history will repeat itself. Growing old with the man she loves-in the small town where she was born-is the only dream Lauren McIntosh has ever had; that is until her family is practically run out of town amidst rumors of arson and adultery. So, when she meets Danny at her new school and hears the rumors about his activities from her new friends, she wants nothing to do with him or the gossip that seems to follow Danny everywhere. After a dangerous and ill-fated attempt at sneaking out, she develops unwelcomed feelings for Danny that he seems to reciprocate. But, Danny's unrelenting pursuit makes Lauren nervous, especially since he's the only one that wants to know the secrets surrounding her family's move. Lauren can't tell if Danny's intentions are true or if he has other plans for their new-found and unlikely friendship. The only way to figure out is to let him in and that could destroy everything, including the popularity and social acceptance she desperately seeks.
North of Beautiful by Justina Chen Headley
It's hard not to notice Terra Cooper.
She's tall, blond, and has an enviable body. But with one turn of her cheek, all people notice is her unmistakably "flawed" face. Terra secretly plans to leave her stifling small town in the Northwest and escape to an East Coast college, but gets pushed off-course by her controlling father. When an unexpected collision puts Terra directly in Jacob's path, the handsome but quirky Goth boy immediately challenges her assumptions about herself and her life, and she is forced in yet another direction. With her carefully laid plans disrupted, will Terra be able to find her true path?
Written in lively, artful prose, award-winning author Justina Chen Headley has woven together a powerful novel about a fractured family, falling in love, travel, and the meaning of true beauty.
Leander McLoughlin is leader of the Ikati, an ancient tribe of beautiful, savage shape-shifters who live hidden in the forests of England. Their survival is rooted in secrecy, a secrecy threatened by the very existence of one raised outside the tribe. Charged with capturing her before she can expose their secret, Leander tracks the unsuspecting outsider to Southern California. The great warrior is prepared for a fight ? but not for the effect the courageous young beauty has on his heart. Jenna Moore spent her childhood in hiding, on the run from an unseen enemy. Now her mother is dead and her father has vanished without a trace, leaving Jenna alone to contend with sudden strange, superhuman abilities. When handsome, enigmatic Leander McLoughlin appears, promising answers to all of her questions, she knows she shouldn't trust him. But their connection is as undeniable as the dangerous destiny drawing her home?
The Demon's Lexicon by Sarah Rees Brennan
Nick and his brother, Alan, have spent their lives on the run from magic. Their father was murdered, and their mother was driven mad by magicians and the demons who give them power. The magicians are hunting the Ryves family for a charm that Nick's mother stole -- a charm that keeps her alive -- and they want it badly enough to kill again.
Danger draws even closer when a brother and sister come to the Ryves family for help. The boy wears a demon's mark, a sign of death that almost nothing can erase...and when Alan also gets marked by a demon, Nick is desperate to save him. The only way to do that is to kill one of the magicians they have been hiding from for so long.
Ensnared in a deadly game of cat and mouse, Nick starts to suspect that his brother is telling him lie after lie about their past. As the magicians' Circle closes in on their family, Nick uncovers the secret that could destroy them all.
When Wendy Everly was six years old, her mother was convinced she was a monster and tried to kill her. Eleven years later, Wendy discovers her mother might have been right. She’s not the person she’s always believed herself to be, and her whole life begins to unravel—all because of Finn Holmes.
Finn is a mysterious guy who always seems to be watching her. Every encounter leaves her deeply shaken…though it has more to do with her fierce attraction to him than she’d ever admit. But it isn’t long before he reveals the truth: Wendy is a changeling who was switched at birth—and he’s come to take her home.
Now Wendy’s about to journey to a magical world she never knew existed, one that’s both beautiful and frightening. And where she must leave her old life behind to discover who she’s meant to become…
Faithful by Janet Fox
Sixteen-year-old Maggie Bennet's life is in tatters. Her mother has disappeared, and is presumed dead. The next thing she knows, her father has dragged Maggie away from their elegant Newport home, off on some mad excursion to Yellowstone in Montana. Torn from the only life she's ever known, away from her friends, from society, and verging on no prospects, Maggie is furious and devastated by her father's betrayal. But when she arrives, she finds herself drawn to the frustratingly stubborn, handsome Tom Rowland, the son of a park geologist, and to the wild romantic beauty of Yellowstone itself. And as Tom and the promise of freedom capture Maggie's heart, Maggie is forced to choose between who she is and who she wants to be.
Strangers in reality, inseparable in dreams…
After years of suffocating under her boss’s scrutiny, whale biologist Zoe Morgan finally lands a job as director of a tagging project in Hervey Bay, Australia. Success Down Under all but guarantees her the promotion of a lifetime, and Zoe won’t let anything—or anyone—stand in her way. Not the whale voices she suddenly hears in her head, not the ex who won’t take no for an answer, and especially not the gorgeous figment of her imagination who keeps saving her from the fiery hell of her dreams.
Gavin Cassidy hasn’t been called to help a human Wyldling in over a year, which is fine by him. Still blaming himself for the death of his partner, he keeps the guilt at bay by indulging in every excess his rock star persona affords. That is, until he’s summoned to protect Zoe from hungry Fyre Elementals and learns his new charge is the key to restoring order in the dying Dreaming. He never expects to fall for the feisty Dr. Morgan…nor does he realize he may have to sacrifice the woman he loves to save an entire country.