Nerdy Special List December 2012 + Giveaway


Here’s what my blogging pals and I recommend this month, just in time for your holiday shopping!


From Jen at Jen’s Book Thoughts:

Invisible (Bantam, Dec. 11) is Carla Buckley’s sophomore novel, and like her debut, The Things That Keep Us Here, she leaves the reader with haunting thoughts about the science and technology surrounding us today. What if the technology that is supposed to create wonderful products, keep entire cities employed, and be sanctioned by the government is actually killing us? What if no one really wants to know the truth?

Buckley’s writing style, her fully developed characters, and her well-researched subject matter combine to create a riveting plot that readers will have trouble tearing themselves away from.

Buy it from Amazon| Buy it from an indie bookstore

Danielle from There’s a Book has two recommendations this time, the first a picture book, and the second a YA title:

Who wouldn’t “loathe” two adorable, best-friend monsters? I Loathe You by David Slonim (Aladdin, Dec. 18) is a story about best friends who, despite many bumps in the road, are always there for each other. Through beautifully rhythmic text and often hilarious illustrations, Slonim has brought to life two characters that children and adults will adore. Our family has been laughing hysterically while reading the silly things monsters do as friends, and since this is our first introduction to David Slonim’s work, we now know we’ll be searching out more in the very near future.

Buy it from Amazon| Buy it from an indie bookstore

The Darkest Minds (Hyperion Books for Children, Dec. 18) is the second book by the remarkable Alexandra Bracken, and she proves that the sophomore slump can be broken. This is the first book in a new planned dystopian trilogy, in which children ages 10-13 suddenly become ill. If they are among the few who survive, they acquire an X-Men-like ability. Many readers might instantly turn and walk away from yet another dystopian trilogy, but they’d be missing out. Darkest Minds has everything—a brilliant lead character and equally powerful supporting characters, including a villain who will take your breath away. This is truly one of the best novels of the year.

Buy it from Amazon| Buy it from an indie bookstore

PCN’s recommendation:

Jojo Moyes’s Me Before You (Pamela Dorman Books, Dec. 31) ruined me for days after I finished it, making me hesitate to pick up another book for fear it wouldn’t be as good as Moyes’s. The novel is about Lou, an “ordinary” 26-year-old woman who takes a job caring for Will, a former alpha male and extreme sports enthusiast who was hit by a motorcycle and is now paralyzed from the neck down. Will has lost his love for life, and Lou is hired to help him find it again. Their burgeoning friendship is realistic and completely devoid of any corniness. Some of Moyes’s scenes are achingly perfect, and the beauty of it all left me shattered.

But don’t take my word for it; you can see for yourself. Viking/Pamela Dorman Books has generously offered me five copies to give away to five people. Enter by leaving a comment about a book that blew you away and ruined you for the ones that came right after. I’ll take entries until Tuesday, Dec. 11, 9 p.m. PST. US addresses only, please. (Publishers Weekly, which gave this book a starred review, is sponsoring a Twitter chat with Jojo on Thursday, Dec. 6 at 1 p.m. EST. Join in by using the hashtag #JojoPW; you don’t need to have read the book first.)

Note: Please don’t enter the giveaway unless you can check back next week to see if you’ve won. I’ll announce results on or around December 12, and winners will have 48 hours to claim the prizes. I’m behind in returning emails, so having to track down five winners for mailing addresses may not get done for a while, and I want you to have this book as soon as possible.



  • Reply
    December 4, 2012 at 4:59 am

    The Fault in Our Stars by John Green blew me away. The audiobook was fantastic!

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    December 4, 2012 at 8:16 am

    Love this column, always find new things I’ve never heard of before. I only have Me Before You in my wish list because I ‘overheard’ you and Eleanor Brown discussing it. Sounds wonderful. The last book I read that impacted me that way was Tell The Wolves I’m Home by Carol Rifka Brunt. I was so pleased to see Kirkus include it on its list of top 100 books of the year. I’m certain it will make my top ten for 2012. And even though I borrowed it from the library, I’m going to buy a copy for my shelf. It’s probably the book I’ve recommended the most this year.

    Thanks for all the great suggestions!

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    December 4, 2012 at 8:25 am

    Many come to mind, but The Art of Racing in the Rain, Garth Stein popped first…this book had be crying, laughing and cheering. It is far removed from my normal reading habits, so it took some time to leave this book behind. I read it a few years ago and still think of it often.

    • Reply
      December 4, 2012 at 9:21 am

      Such a wonderful book, Paulette!

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    December 4, 2012 at 9:11 am

    So many books have left their mark on me and ruined me for those that came after. And many of them have me scratching my head and laughing out loud in hindsight, but the ones that come to mind are as follows:

    THE ODDS – i get teary just thinking about it. From the first page to the last. It will hurt you!

    THE CATCHER IN THE RYE – made me cry for a awhile because it was high school and I felt like everyone had the answers, but me.

    M.A.S.H. THE 4077th – i know you are laughing, but I found a dogeared copy in dentention and reading it made me feel so adult and finally in on something. I finished it, turned to the front page and began reading all over again.

    SEVENTH SON by Orson Scott Card – it was like a warm blanket during a cold winter in NYC. i just wrapped it around me while I rode the subway.

    CIDER HOUSE RULES- i ached after reading it. The kind of ache that you press on from time to time and get some odd comfort knowing it’s there.

    Wish I could be more specific, but books touch me in different ways and in different times of life. This is why I read.

    • Reply
      December 4, 2012 at 9:19 am

      Eirego – Is the M*A*S*H* book you read the one written by Hooker, or something different?

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    December 4, 2012 at 9:15 am

    Blue Highways by William Least Heat Moon. I read it almost 30 years ago and it still speaks to me. I was so captured by the book that for the next few years, my husband indulged me in “blue highway” vacations. Shosha also comes to mind. Funny, I used to read something other than detective/police fiction!

    • Reply
      December 4, 2012 at 9:20 am

      Jann – I’m so happy to see you list this book here. It’s been sitting on my shelf forever and for some reason I have been unable to pick it up. This may be just the impetus I need. Thanks!

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    December 4, 2012 at 2:49 pm

    When I was young little women.have heard a lot about this book.thanks for giveaway.

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    December 4, 2012 at 4:28 pm

    Right now, I am still loving Saving CeeCee Honeycutt by Beth Hoffman. I couldn’t read another book for a long time. I think that is going to be a favorite for awhile. I’m normally a crime fiction reader, but have to throw in a little lit now and then. Beth Hoffman truly touched me with that southern novel. It’s been a couple of years I’ve read that book and I still can’t forget it.

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