+ The Shattering by Karen Healey
Blurb: Seventeen-year-old Keri likes to plan for every possibility. She knows what to do if you break an arm, or get caught in an earthquake or fire. But she wasn't prepared for her brother's suicide, and his death has left her shattered with grief. When her childhood friend Janna tells her it was murder, not suicide, Keri wants to believe her. After all, Janna's brother died under similar circumstances years ago, and Janna insists a visiting tourist, Sione, who also lost a brother to apparent suicide that year, has helped her find some answers.
As the three dig deeper, disturbing facts begin to pile up: one boy killed every year; all older brothers; all had spent New Year's Eve in the idyllic town of Summerton. But when their search for the serial killer takes an unexpected turn, suspicion is cast on those they trust the most.
As secrets shatter around them, can they save the next victim? Or will they become victims themselves?
As I've said before, The Shattering is the book of my heart. I think it would make an excellent gift, particularly for those who like supernatural adventures and friendships and amazing flawed characters and chosen families.
+ Raised By Wolves and Trial By Fire by Jennifer Lynn Barnes.
Blurb (for Raised By Wolves, to avoid later spoilers): At the age of four, Bryn watched a rogue werewolf brutally murder her parents. Alone in the world, she was rescued and taken in by the mysterious Callum, the alpha of his werewolf pack. Now fifteen, Bryn’s been raised as a human among werewolves, adhering to pack rule (mostly). Little fazes her.
But the pack’s been keeping a secret, and when Bryn goes exploring against Callum’s direct orders, she finds Chase, a newly turned teen Were locked in a cage. Terrifying memories of the attack on her mom and dad come flooding back. Bryn needs answers, and she needs Chase to get them. Suddenly, all allegiances to the pack no longer matter. It’s Bryn and Chase against the werewolf world, whatever the consequences.
These have been my favorite werewolf media of 2011, combining so many of my favorite things, werewolves and strong female characters and best friends who are badasses and, again, chosen families. Highly, highly recommend.
+ Leila by Elizabeth Reeve
Blurb: When college student Megan hits the library, she's looking for sources for a paper on Carmilla, an early vampire story. But in gorgeous librarian Leila, she finds much, much more. It's no surprise that Leila haunts Megan's dreams, but as her fantasies heat up, she begins to wonder -- is Leila really who she seems to be?
Sexy, charming, and fun, I love this lesbian vampire and human love story.
+ Lilo & Stitch
An alien lands on Kauai and goes from bad to good. Siblings being heartbreaking and sweet and delightful and the most adorable chosen family ever.
+ Fast Five
I actually recommend most of the series (The Fast and the Furious, Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift, and Fast & Furious, at least), but this one is a delightful heist movie full of characters of color. I was surprised that this ended up being one of my favorite movies, but it was a grand adventure.
+ Three Cheep Chicks
Three friends of mine (one of whom is also my sister) make beautiful, affordable jewelry. I have a ton of pieces from them, but every time I see something new, I find more to love. Shiny, inexpensive, but quality bits and bobs are wonderful.
So what are some of your favorite things this year?
(NB: Links to Amazon are affiliate links. Karen and Eliza and the Three Cheep Chicks are all friends of mine, but I objectively love these things as well.)
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