Wednesday, December 19, 2012

UNDERDOG Challenge Question: Last Reads of 2012 Read-A-Thon

PUT ON THE RED LIGHT....I almost missed my chance to throw out a challenge question to the read-a-thoners! Thankfully, I was browsing my google reader when I saw the post and clicked on it to see what topic and day I was doing. YIKERS!!! Did I just admit that I wasn't reading? Oh, you got me! I have a good excuse. I'm waiting for the finale of The Voice, then I swear I'm turning off the computer. I've finished my first book and have started round two. I'm only 10% of the way in, but I will slash that during the late hours of the night.
Here's My Challenge to the Last Reads of 
2012 Read-A-Thon[erds]

What are the best underdog books you've read? 
These are books that weren't originally published by the big guns or debuted immediately on the NYT or any Bestsellers list. Heck, they don't ever have to make it, but as far as you're concerned they are gold medal winners. 

I've compiled the best underdogs list from my 2012 read for review requests. Here are just a few, but probably not ALL, of my gems.

I'm thankful that I was invited to read these books! I've included Goodreads links if you'd like to add them to your to-be-read list. Also, the source of how I discovered or became acquainted with the book is noted beneath each title.  People always ask, "How'd you find out about that book?!" Here's how...

Author Jane George
Novel Publicity 
Book Club Bash Event

In 1980 NYC, eighteen-year-old J.J. Buckingham is an uptight trendoid. Working as a mannequin painter and a counter girl, she moonlights as a creature of the nightclubs. J.J. falls for aloof, crazy-talented artist and bicycle messenger X-It. In order to win his love, she succumbs to the dark machinations of drug dealer Marko Voodoo. X-It will love her if she’s the queen of underground Manhattan, right? Her plan backfires with horrendous consequences. Can J.J. find her way out of a maze of drugs, clubs, and danger? See my review
Author Colleen Hoover
NetGalley (in 2011)

Following the unexpected death of her father, 18-year-old Layken is forced to be the rock for both her mother and younger brother. Outwardly, she appears resilient and tenacious, but inwardly, she's losing hope. Enter Will Cooper: The attractive, 21-year-old new neighbor with an intriguing passion for slam poetry and a unique sense of humor. Within days of their introduction, Will and Layken form an intense emotional connection, leaving Layken with a renewed sense of hope. Not long after an intense, heart-stopping first date, they are slammed to the core when a shocking revelation forces their new relationship to a sudden halt. Daily interactions become impossibly painful as they struggle to find a balance between the feelings that pull them together, and the secret that keeps them apart. See my review
About Slammed: I know what you're thinking...WAIT! Slammed is not an underdog. It's a NYT Bestseller and published by the power house, Simon & Schuster. Not so fast my little book junkies. Although I did an extensive search to back up my underdog claim, it appears Slammed was born with no past. Not the truest of truths. Actually, over 10 months ago this fabulous read was self-published by author Colleen Hoover. GASP!!! Yep, she was an indie author doing that self-published thang. Although the general opinion is self-publishing leads to nowhere, bad reviews, horrid edits, ugly covers and awful writing -- it appears not ALL are....wait for it...shockingly horrible. Some are actually worth that $0.99 price tag -- Heck, with an endorsement and publishing stamp (note cover stayed the same and is rather 'self-published' looking) that same ebook is magically selling for $5.99. Oh, did I mention movie deals, too?  

I requested and received this ebook through NetGalley when it was still under the indie hocking first round for reviews. I also had several indie book reviewers  hit me over the head to read it.  I was so far behind due to indie requests that it took me awhile.  Of course, in that time the book blew up and got signed or 'reborn.'  I almost didn't read it because I thought, "Ew, went mainstream," but quickly scolded myself for reverse discrimination, something I can't endorse.  So, I moved it to the top of the pile. I began late one night. I remember mumbling, "Okay Ms. Hoover, show me what you've got and please don't be another Stephanie Meyer." I read until the sun came up (not kidding). I even took the time to write Colleen a personal email to express just how the book touched me. Yep, I was THAT goofy fangirl! I've never done that before, but given some recent events in my own life, the book made a strange and startling connection.  

Hotel Noir
Author Casper Silk
Author email request for review
Welcome to the Hotel Noir, peerless gem of hospitality and sole holder of a Michelin star on the island of St. Germaine. When the controversial American author Francis Stein is stabbed to death in the hotel's environs, the search for his murderer takes islander Bat Manley north to the other half of Stein's double life, south to St. Germaine's vice-ridden slums, and finally into the realm of the psyche, where the blind see and the dead speak. A kaleidoscopic striptease of the human soul, Hotel Noir will make you sweat. See my review
About Hotel Noir: Amazingly, this book has only 3 reviews posted at Amazon and one of them happens to be mine! Prior to receiving a request for review, I'd never heard of or knew the author. Since my review I've had no further contact. The work speaks for itself. This indie novel is beautifully doomed and brilliantly written. Definitely a gem and underdog in the world of books, but worth the read if the genre and subject appeals to you.

Author Laura Elliot
Author email request for review

When the effects of an illicit love affair destroys Lorraine Cheevers' marriage, the artist and mother uproots her teenage daughter from their comfortable city-centre home to make a new life for themselves in the small seaside village of Trabawn. She is determined to forget the past but it is following her and catching up. As Lorraine adjusts to her new surroundings, Killian Devine-O'Malley, the young victim of the hit and run, lies in a coma. His father, the well-known screen writer Michael Carmody, is determined to find the person responsible for his son's accident. His search brings him to Trabawn where he comes into contact with Lorraine. Though she has resolved to be alone, she cannot deny the strong attraction she feels towards this troubled stranger who has appeared so suddenly in her life. But why has Lorraine turned her back on friendship and love? What lies behind her flight from all that was once familiar? As the bond between her and Michael grows, the stakes rise. Because what neither of them know is just what the other is running from. Or why it matters. See my review


  1. Ooops! I haven't read any of those! Good luck with the reading :)

  2. I haven't read any of these, but thanks to blog reviews, I have Slammed on my TBR. I will have to check out some of these other titles too.

  3. Great list of underdogs, Charlie!
    I LOVE Slammed too!!! And I'm reading Hopeless right now! :)

  4. I haven't read any of these, but I've heard AMAZING things about Slammed!

  5. Ahh I LOVE The Voice! (Whooo! Go Cassadee!!)

    I have not read any of these, but some of my fave underdog books are the Eve Hallows books by Robert Gray, The Spellbound series by Nikki Jefford, and the Marina's Tales series by Derrolyn Anderson.

  6. Slammed is hot on my reading wish list, thanks for sharing these underdogs!

  7. Slammed is the only one I've heard of. Thanks for sharing the rest of them!!! :)

    Brandy @ A Little of the Book Life

  8. I'm realizing most of the books I read are pretty heavily hyped but Slammed has recently popped up on my radar and I will remember its humble origins as I check it out.

  9. I've just downloaded iStripper, so I can have the hottest virtual strippers on my taskbar.

  10. There's a chance you're qualified to get a $1,000 Amazon Gift Card.