Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Most Anticipated Books of 2015!

Since tomorrow starts the new year, I thought I'd share with you all my top ten (plus one) books that I am MOST anticipating in 2015!

Note: all links below lead to Goodreads pages for the books.

Most of these are sequels to series, so I am desperate for the next one. But there are a couple of standalones on here!


11. Fairest by Marissa Meyer 
Release date: January 27th

Book #3.5 in the Lunar Chronicles series. Need I say more? Since Winter is so far away, I need this to keep me sane until then! Plus, it'll be amazing to learn even more about Queen Levana. Since I just finished Cress not too long ago and absolutely fell in love with the series, I just HAD to include this one!

10. 99 Days by Katie Cotugno A
Release date: April 21st

I haven't read Katie Cotugno's other book, How to Love, yet, but this one sounds more up my alley anyway. And just look at that cover! How adorable and wonderful is that? And I did say I wanted to read more contemporary in 2015! 

9. The Fill-In Boyfriend by Kasie West
Release date: May 5th

I also haven't read anything by Kasie West yet, although all of her books are on my TBR. But this one sounds like EXACTLY what I need in a cute contemporary read. The summary feels like an adorable romantic comedy, something we don't get very many of anymore, so I'm super excited to read it!

8. Daughter of Deep Silence by Carrie Ryan
Release date: June 2nd (my birthday!)

As you know, I'm a zombie junkie, so I loved Carrie Ryan's zombie series, The Forest of Hands and Teeth. But what made that series so special was the writing, so I am ready for some more Carrie Ryan in my life! This book sounds super intriguing, and the cover is SO GORGEOUS. Seriously. And it comes out on my birthday, so happy birthday to me!

7. Forged by Erin Bowman
Release date: April 14th

This is the third book in the Taken series, and I just read the first two earlier this year. They're action packed and full of characters I love, so I can't wait to see how the trilogy concludes this spring!

6. The Rose Society by Marie Lu
Release date: October 6th 

This is the second book in Marie Lu's new fantasy series, The Young Elites, and it doesn't have a cover yet, though it does have a synopsis! I love Marie Lu, and the first book was a solid start to what I hope becomes a great trilogy. It has loads of potential, so I'm very interested to see where she takes the series and its characters!

5. Please Remain Calm by Courtney Summers
Release date: January 20th

This is the sequel to This is Not a Test, which I just read this past October. I seriously adored it, and I found out about this book not long after I finished the first, so I freaked out that we were going to get more of the story. It's being released exclusively as an ebook (for now,) so I guess I'll have to actually buy my first ebook in order to read it! 

4. Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo
Release date: October 6th

This is the first book in a new series set in the same world as Leigh Bardugo's Grisha trilogy, which is one of my favorite fantasies. I would read anything Leigh Bardugo writes, but she's also dropped hints that we may get to see a certain privateer again, so I need this book yesterday!

3. A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas
Release date: May 5th

A new adult fantasy trilogy from one of my favorite fantasy authors? Sign me up! The Throne of Glass series is one of my all-time favorite series, so once again I would read anything she writes. Plus, with this series starting next year, that means that for the next three years, we get TWO Sarah J. Maas books every year! How lucky are we?

2. Throne of Glass #4 by Sarah J. Maas
Release date: September 1st

I NEED THIS BOOK. Seriously, Heir of Fire was so amazing, but the series is only half over! I need more! And the fact that we haven't even seen a cover or a synopsis yet makes me more than just a little nervous that the publisher is going to push this book back on us, which would make me very upset. But for now, I am anxiously awaiting any little piece of information they release to us!

1. Winter by Marissa Meyer 
Release date: November 24th 

Did anyone not see this coming? I am desperate for this fourth and final book in the Lunar Chronicles series. I just want to know what happens to all our favorite people. And of course it doesn't have a cover or synopsis yet, either. Though it does have a one line blurb on Goodreads that basically tells us nothing. Stingy publishers. I'm sure we'll have to wait until after Fairest is released for them to tell us anything. Just my luck that my number one most anticipated book of 2015 is the one that I have to wait the longest for. Boo.

So there you have it! The books on my TBR list that I am MOST excited for. These are also the ones I'll probably be buying on release day, or maybe even pre-ordering. Since one of my resolutions is to limit book buying this year, these may be the only new releases I allow myself to buy. We'll just have to see! (JK, that's funny. ME, not buy books? Laugh riot.)

That's it for 2014! I hope you all have a fabulous New Year's Eve! 

Tell me: what is YOUR most anticipated book of 2015? Do you agree with any of mine? Let me know in the comments below!

Tuesday, December 30, 2014


Title: My True Love Gave to Me: Twelve Holiday Romances
Authors: Holly Black, Ally Carter, Matt de la Peña, Gayle Forman, Jenny Han, David Levithan, Kelly Link, Myra McEntire, Stephanie Perkins (editor), Rainbow Rowell, Laini Taylor and Kiersten White

Summary: On the first day of Christmas, my true love gave to me... This beautiful collection features twelve gorgeously romantic stories set during the festive period, by some of the most talented and exciting YA authors writing today. The stories are filled wit the magic of first love and the magic of the holidays. 

Why I read it: Take a look at that list of authors. Why wouldn't I read it? It gave me a chance to read more from some authors I love, as well as try out some new authors that I haven't read yet. Plus, it was Christmastime, so it was perfect! I read one story a day leading up to Christmas Eve.

Thoughts: Since this is an anthology of twelve short stories, I will talk about and rate each one individually!

Midnights by Rainbow Rowell
Rating: 5/5 stars

I adored this first story! This marks the fourth time I've read Rainbow Rowell this year, and she did not disappoint. This story is adorable, with just the right amount of tension and, for lack of a better word, angst. What a way to start the collection, because I would compare all the rest to how much I loved this one.

The Lady and the Fox by Kelly Link
Rating: 1/5 stars

This one was a clunker for me, sadly. Especially in its unfortunate place immediately follow Rainbow Rowell. It was intriguing at first, but the writing style wasn't my favorite. Our main character was fine, but everyone around her was boring and one-dimensional. And then the ending was just completely crazy and ridiculous. It felt like there was so much left unexplained, and not in a good way. Probably my least favorite of the bunch.

Angels in the Snow by Matt de la Peña
Rating: 4/5 stars

I actually really enjoyed this one. I've never read anything by Matt de la Peña, but I immediately took a liking to his writing. It's beautiful, but simple. I adored these two characters, and the romance between them was very believable, which I appreciated. What a cute ending, too!

Polaris is Where You'll Find Me by Jenny Han
Rating: 3/5

This was cute and very unique. I loved the whole concept of a human girl living at the North Pole, and Jenny Han's take on Christmas elves was super cool. However, being the shortest in the collection left me wanting a little more, especially being left on a cliffhanger that belonged in an indie romcom. It was cute, but not my favorite.

It's a Yuletide Miracle, Charlie Brown by Stephanie Perkins
Rating: 5/5 stars

Oh, Stephanie Perkins. You never let me down, do you? This was SO ADORABLE. I loved the banter between our two leads (and what a fabulous name is North for a guy?!) Really, I'll read anything that Stephanie Perkins writes, so it should come as no shock that this instantly became one of my favorites.

Your Temporary Santa by David Levithan
Rating: 2/5 stars

Just coming off two books by David Levithan that I really enjoyed, I was expecting to enjoy this one, too. I did appreciate the inclusion of an LGBT story in the collection. However, the subtitle to the collection is "Twelve Holiday Romances." And this story barely had any romance in it. I did enjoy part of this, but it didn't have nearly enough love for me, when that was what I was expecting.

Krampuslauf by Holly Black
Rating: 1/5 stars

I've heard so many amazing things about Holly Black, and I may still pick up one of her books to see if I like it, but this short story did absolutely nothing for me. The beginning was interesting, but the rest of the story fell flat. There was a lot of talk and no action during the middle, and I didn't ever fully connect with the characters. I also didn't feel a ton of love from the very brief romance at the end.

What the Hell Have You Done, Sophie Roth? by Gayle Forman
Rating: 5/5 stars

I loved this one, too! I absolutely adored the characters, and Gayle Forman's writing is always on point. Once again, dialogue was a highlight of the story for me, because personalities of characters really shined through with their words. Adorable. Loved!

Beer Buckets and Baby Jesus by Myra McEntire
Rating: 2/5 stars

It was okay. The characters were middling, the story didn't keep me very invested, and the dialogue was forgettable. This is probably the story I remember the least. Though I do remember it is set in Tennessee. I guess points for Tennessee.

Welcome to Christmas, CA by Kiersten White
Rating: 5/5 stars

This is my first Kiersten White venture, and oh my goodness, did I love it. I often have problems with short stories because I feel like I want more, that there's still more to the story. Not the case with this one. It really felt like a complete story to me. I didn't feel like I was missing any information at the beginning, nor did I feel like I was being cheated on a too-short ending. It was perfect. And it was the first story to make me cry. So kudos to Kiersten White, and I'll DEFINITELY be picking up more of her books!

Star of Bethlehem by Ally Carter
Rating: 4/5 stars

I love Ally Carter. I really do. This story was intriguing from the beginning, even though the main character annoyed me a bit. And part of that definitely stemmed from them mystery of her identity. But I really enjoyed this one. The singing bit on Christmas Eve definitely made me tear up again, too.

The Girl Who Woke the Dreamer by Laini Taylor
Rating: 4/5 stars

I didn't know what to think of this one at first. This was the only story that I really had trouble with deciding on a rating. At first, it took me a long time to get into the story, partly because it seemed like a major information dump. Two or three pages of background would be described, and then our main character would resume her actions from before, so it was a little confusing every once in a while. But once we got into the meat of the story, I really enjoyed it. It seems Laini Taylor has a definite knack for fantasy lore, which makes me even more excited to read her series!

Overall, I really enjoyed reading this anthology. There were definitely stories I liked better than others, but that's part of the fun in anthologies. I would still definitely recommend this to anyone who likes romance, the holidays and short stories!

Overall rating: 3.5/5 stars

Tell me: have YOU read this holiday anthology yet? What did you think about it? Let me know in the comments below! 

Top Ten Tuesday (12): 2015 Bookish Resolutions/Goals

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by the lovely ladies at The Broke and the Bookish!


Happy New Year (almost!) Can you believe it's already almost 2015?

This year has flown by. I can't believe it's already been MONTHS since I started this blog! I have never been big on New Year's Resolutions. I'm not sure I've ever done any. BUT, giving myself goals unofficially this year has really helped my reading, so I decided to do some OFFICIALLY for 2015, so you can help keep me on my toes! So today, I'm sharing my bookish goals or resolutions for 2015! 

Social Media

1. Post more often! 

I've been slacking off on my blogging duties here. I know that this is because this blog is a hobby of mine, and not something that I'm being expected to do for a job. I do not receive review copies, so I don't really have deadlines. That said, I started this blog to actually blog, and recently, I've been way too lazy about it. So I hope to have at least three blog posts up a week in 2015. This may not always happen, as I am not the fastest readers, so I don't have reviews as often as other bloggers, but between Top Ten Tuesday, Waiting on Wednesday, and other fun features I have planned, I'll try to keep it up as long as I can! 

2. Booktube more often! 

I received a new camcorder for Christmas, so now I have absolutely no excuse for not filming my wrap-ups, TBRs and book hauls. I'm planning on doing a bunch of tags, as well, and I have plans for at least one tag of my own! So look forward to that, coming in April most likely. 

3. Tweet/Instagram more often! 

Are you sensing a pattern here? Really, I just want to be more involved in the social media sphere again, like I was when I first started this blog, or when I first got my Instagram. I've been slacking there, as well, and I'd like to get back into it. 

4. Be more active in the community in general! 

I hope to start making more friends. I want to be a better community member, and that means actually communicating with other booktubers and bloggers and Instagrammers. So I want to start commenting more on other videos and posts, and making sure to reply to any comments I get on MY videos or blog posts. 


5. Read Insurgent and Allegiant before March 20th!  

I know. I still haven't read Insurgent, let alone Allegiant. I tried to read Insurgent last fall, but it had been so long since I'd read Divergent that I'd completely forgotten what happened in the first book, and especially who all the characters were. But now that I've seen the movie and gotten a refresher course on the first book, I'd like to finish out the series before the next movie comes out in March!

6. Finish more series than I start! 

This one's tricky, because I love finding new series to start. But I'm trying to whittle down my TBR pile, and this is definitely one way to do it! Like I said in my Year in Review post yesterday, I started TEN series this year, but only finished EIGHT. So next year, I'd like that number reversed! And goal number 5 will definitely help this goal.

7. Read more contemporary! 

I've always been a fantasy/paranormal/dystopian fan, but this year I really started to get into the contemporary mood again. After reading three Rainbow Rowell books this year, plus We Were Liars and the If I Stay duology, I'm finding more and more contemporary books that catch my interest. Next year, I hope to read a bunch of Morgan Matson and Huntley Fitzpatrick, and even more!

8. Limit the book buying! 

This has become a serious problem. I didn't do too bad in November, but I got close to 40 books for Christmas. And I have very few places to put them anymore. So I'm going to be limiting the amount of books I buy in 2015, especially in the beginning. There are a few books that I'm definitely going to be buying immediately, like Fairest by Marissa Meyer and Please Remain Calm by Courtney Summers, but I won't be buying every new release that looks interesting. And of course, if there are epic sales that I just can't pass up, I won't. I'm not that self-controlled. ;)

9. Participate in at least ONE readathon! 

There have been several readathons this year that have sounded like so much fun! Unfortunately, they have taken place when I just didn't have the time to commit to them, or I found out about them after they had begun already. So next year, I'm hoping to find at least one to participate in, hopefully during the summer. And who knows? Maybe I'll love it so much that I'll do even more!

10. Read 40 books in 2015! 

I read 11 books in 2013, so my goal for 2014 was 20 books. And I just finished book number 50. Wooo! So my goal is 40 for next year, because I'd rather aim a little low and surpass my goal than to go for the gold and fall short. So hopefully I'll be able to read more than 40, but if I at least reach that number, I'll be happy!

Tell me: what are some of YOUR bookish resolutions for 2015? Do any of yours match mine? Let me know in the comments below! 

Monday, December 29, 2014

2014: Year in Review!


Tomorrow, I'm sharing my 2015 Bookish Resolutions and Goals! So today, I thought I'd look back on 2014! NOTE: any links down below lead to reviews I've done on this blog, not the Goodreads pages.


In 2014, I read. A LOT. A lot more than I have in the past. Part of that is due to my Goodreads reading goal (and lack of accomplishment last year), but another part is due to my involvement in the book community! Hearing all of the big numbers in monthly wrap-ups from other booktubers really inspired me and challenged me to read more myself. So let's run down some numbers! 

I read FIFTY books in total! 

I've started TEN new-to-me series: 
  • TAKEN by Erin Bowman
  • THE LUNAR CHRONICLES by Marissa Meyer
  • IF I STAY duology by Gayle Forman 
  • LEGEND by Marie Lu
  • GRIFFIN AND SABINE by Nick Bantock 
  • MARA DYER by Michelle Hodkin 
  • WOLVES OF MERCY FALLS by Maggie Stiefvater
  • THE MAZE RUNNER by James Dashner
  • THE YOUNG ELITES by Marie Lu
I've finished EIGHT series: 
  • GRISHA by Leigh Bardugo 
  • IF I STAY duology by Gayle Forman
  • LEGEND by Marie Lu
  • RUBY RED by Kerstin Gier
  • GRIFFIN AND SABINE by Nick Bantock 
  • MARA DYER by Michelle Hodkin 
  • WOLVES OF MERCY FALLS by Maggie Stiefvater
And I've started AND finished six series total.

I also read my first graphic novel/comic book (30 Days of Night by Steve Niles and Ben Templesmith) and my first short story anthology (My True Love Gave to Me, edited by Stephanie Perkins.) And I'm hoping to finish my first novella (Destroy Me) before the year is up!

I've really read some awesome books this year. If you want to know which TEN books/series made the top of the list, check out the Top Ten Tuesday post from two week's ago!


This summer, I decided to start this blog. I've been slacking a little lately, but I really do love this blog. I love books and reading and I love getting to talk to other people who love it as much as I do. 

I try to get this blog out there. I have a Facebook page, a Twitter account, and an Instagram, which I promise to update more regularly. Do me a favor. If you like reading this blog, go show it some support and like/follow me on these other social media outlets! 

I also have a YouTube channel, which will become much more active in 2015, so go follow me there, too! Next week, I'll be posting a Christmas book haul, a December wrap-up and a January TBR. So look forward to those! 

To those of you who read my blog, thank you so much. I know that I am not the most reliable or consistent blogger, but I really do love this community. I love hearing from you through the comments or social media. Keep it coming! Tell me all your thoughts and opinions. I want to hear them. 

Thank you again for making 2014 such an amazing year. It's been a crazy year, here in virtual reality and in real life as well, but I always look forward to immersing myself in new blog posts or books or videos. Hope to see you again next year, too! 

Series Review: MARA DYER by Michelle Hodkin


Series Title: Mara Dyer
Book Titles: 
Author: Michelle Hodkin 

Summary (Unbecoming): Mara Dyer doesn't think life can get any stranger than waking up in a hospital with no memory of how she got there. 
It can.

She believes there must be more to the accident she can't remember that killed her friends and left her mysteriously. 
There is.

She doesn't believe that after everything she's been through, she can fall in love. 
She's wrong.

Why I read it: I had heard about the first book a while back when it first came out, and I was intrigued, but it was never a priority. This year, when I started this blog and started really following the booktube community, I started seeing the series again. Then, the third book was released this November and all pre-ordered copies were signed! So in July, I pre-ordered my copy and ordered the first two books. Then I marathoned the entire series when Retribution arrived at my house!

Thoughts: I seriously LOVED this trilogy. I have heard a lot of people had issues with the third book, and I can understand their reservations, but I had none of the same problems. I ran through the three books in about a week, and they're not small books. But that's how good they were.

The characters are fantastic. Mara is an unreliable narrator, as even she doesn't know what's going on around her, but she has a good heart, and I was constantly rooting for her throughout the series. Noah Shaw is the perfect bad boy with a heart of gold and I totally fell in love with him. Like seriously, Noah Shaw has jumped near the top of my book boyfriends list. But I also love Jamie Roth! Jamie is Mara's first friend at her new school, and he stole my heart. I was thrilled when he continued to be a main character in the trilogy.

Mara's family is also present throughout the series, which is a welcome surprise in a YA world where most of the families are unimportant to the story. Mara's parents want nothing but for Mara to be better, and her brothers are always on her side, which was a wonderful addition to the story.

As far as Mara and Noah are concerned, their romance is very realistic to me. There is an instant attraction, but a slow-build to anything real, and I loved every delicious second.

Michelle Hodkin's writing is perfectly suited to this kind of story. The way she describes Mara's hallucinations make you feel paranoid and crazy right along with Mara. It's a very visceral experience. I wanted to keep reading. I wanted to learn more.

The setting was great, too. Being a Florida native, I know firsthand what it feels like to be in Florida, and Hodkin paints that picture perfectly, as well.

I honestly wasn't sure what to expect with this series. I'd heard it was a thrilling, mess-with-your-mind adventure, and it totally was. But it certainly has some elements that I wasn't expecting, which made the series even more un-put-down-able to me. It had everything I love in a series: mystery, thrills, great characters and a fantastic romance.

I seriously adored this series. If you love a palpable romance between two leads, a mystery that you're racing to solve, and unreliable narrators, I would highly recommend you check out this trilogy!

Individual ratings: 
Unbecoming: 5/5 stars
Evolution: 5/5 stars
Retribution: 5/5 stars

Rating overall: 5/5 stars

Tell me: have YOU read the Mara Dyer series yet? What did you think of them? Let me know in the comments below! 

Friday, December 26, 2014


Title: Dash and Lily's Book of Dares
Authors: Rachel Cohn and David Levithan

Summary: "I've left some clues for you. 
If you want them, turn the page. 
If you don't, put the book back on the shelf, please." 

Lily has left a red notebook full of challenges on a favorite bookstore shelf, waiting for just the right guy to come along and accept its dares. But is Dash that right guy? Or are Dash and Lily only destined to trade dares, dreams, and desires in the notebook they pass back and forth at locations across New York? Could their in-person selves possibly connect as well as their notebook versions? Or will they be a cosmic mismatch of disastrous proportions? 

Why I read it: I loved the movie adaptation of Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist, by the same authors, so I've had their three collaborative novels on my TBR for a while. Then I saw this at Half Price Books for super cheap, picked it up, and saved it for Christmastime, since that's when it takes place!

Thoughts: I wanted to love it.

I didn't love it.

This book read like an indie rom-com film. Two very quirky characters, a unique love story, and interesting timeline format, and an open ending. On the surface, it sounds like something I would very much enjoy. And I did. On the whole, I enjoyed this book.

But there were definitely aspects I didn't enjoy.

Lily is an adorable, somewhat naive girl whose notebook spurs the entire adventure. I loved Lily. She can be a little judgmental (like when her perception of Dash is diminished slightly when he curses,) but she is generally a nice, shy girl intrigued by Dash's clever directions and insightful words.

Dash, on the other hand, is a cynical, pretentious boy who partakes in the adventure, though he often finds things going in a direction he doesn't care for. And Dash is the major reason I didn't love this book.

Dash's pretension drove me crazy. I can't stand pretension in real life, so reading Dash's thoughts was grating on my nerves. He is also judgmental to a fault. When Lily's instructions lead him to Madam Tussaud's Wax Museum, he spends a considerable amount of time deriding the wax museum and the kind of people that go there.

I also didn't care much for the ending. I felt like the love story had so much potential, but the reader doesn't quite get to see it through. We're still left wondering how it's going to end up. (Indie romcom syndrome, once again.) There are also several plot threads that are unrelated to the love story that are left unresolved, like Dash's relationship with his parents and Lily's potential move across the world.

Overall, my problem with this book isn't so much based on bad writing or poor character development, but rather based on personal preference. While I did eventually grow to like Dash (never love,) it took me a large chunk of this rather small book to really get past the pretension to see the person underneath. For that reason, I have to say that this was just an okay book for me.

However, I still plan on reading Cohn and Levithan's other collaborations, in the hopes that I will like them better!

Rating: 3/5 stars

Tell me: if you've read this book, what were YOUR thoughts? Also, if you've read either of Levithan and Cohn's other collaborations, which one did you like the best? Let me know in the comments below! 

Friday, December 19, 2014

Review: EVERY DAY by David Levithan

Title: Every Day
Author: David Levithan

Summary: Every day a different body. Ever day a different life. Every day in love with the same girl.

There's never any warning about where it will be or who it ill be. A has made peace with that, even established guidelines by which to live: Never get too attached. Avoid being noticed. Do not interfere.

It's all fine until the morning that A waes up in the body of Justin and mets Justin's girlfriend, Rhiannon. From that moment, the rules by which A has been livng no longer apply. Because finally A has found someone he wants to be with--day in, day out, day after day.

Why I read it: I've heard great things about David Levithan, and I've had quite a few of his books on my TBR for a long time. So when I found this book on Book Outlet, it was such a steal that I couldn't resist! Then I was in between TBR books last month, so I picked a book out of my TBR jar, and this is what came up!

Thoughts: I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It is not one of those books that will have you on the edge of your seat, but it is a book that will make you think a lot.

A, our narrator, is a captivating character. They think of themselves as genderless, which makes this review really hard to write. A's view on the world is refreshing, and I loved seeing through their eyes every day when they would wake up in a different body. Sometimes even more than the Rhiannon/love plotline, I enjoyed reading about each person that A would inhabit for a day.

That being said, Rhiannon is also interesting. I wanted to root for her and A, but sometimes she is selfish and closed-minded. When A shows up to see Rhiannon in a girl's body, Rhiannon finds it much more difficult to see past the body to the person underneath, to see A. Even when A is in a less attractive male body, she has a hard time with it. It made me think a lot. Would I be like Rhiannon, unable to see past the body? I think we'd all like to say "no," that's it the person inside that matters. But while personality is a huge factor in attraction and compatibility, physical attraction is also important. So while I know that I would more like Rhiannon than I care to admit, it still made me less sympathetic towards her since we were seeing everything from A's perspective.

I really enjoyed being able to see every aspect of A's life, and there were a couple of plot threads left hanging at the end, so I'm relieved that there will be a sequel of sorts next year, Another Day, this time from Rhiannon's POV.

There were times that the writing felt a little draggy, but for the more part, it kept me enthralled. It wasn't a perfect book, but a solid one. And I really enjoyed Levithan's writing, so I'm excited to pick up more of his work in the future!

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Tell me: have YOU read this book? What did you think of it? Let me know in the comments below! 

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday (11): Books I Read in 2014

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by the lovely ladies at The Broke and the Bookish!

So far this year, I've read 47 books in 2014, and I'm hoping to finish three more before year's end! So I have quite a few to choose from, but the following are what I think were my absolute favorites of the year. I have to admit, I've cheated a bit, because if I read more than one book in a series this year and I loved them, I included them in one number. So I technically have more than 10 books here. But what can I say? I'm a rebel. Also, I really, really love all of these books, so it's difficult to put them in a top ten order. So really, these are interchangeable. 

*Note: shout out to the AMAZING blog Pub(lishing) Crawl, whose past and present contributors have snagged FOUR spots on this list :)

10. Strange and Ever After by Susan Dennard: Here we have Pub Crawler #1. I've been waiting for this series since before it even sold for publication, so for the trilogy to finally be over is a bittersweet feeling. But I couldn't have asked for a better conclusion to the series. And luckily, it's not quite over! Susan is kindly continuing the story in a new Wattpad story, which just makes me the happiest girl alive. 

9. Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo: Pub Crawler #2! This is a series I only discovered last summer but it's quickly become one of my favorite fantasy series. Ruin and Rising finished the trilogy and though I knew some people had problems with it, I couldn't have been happier with it. Though it left me a little devastated for a while. Now I can't wait for her new series set in the same universe, Six of Crows

8. This is Not a Test by Courtney Summers: You can read my gushing review here! I love zombie books, and this is a zombie books for contemporary lovers, as well. The characters are at the forefront here, and I absolutely loved it. It's made me excited to read more Courtney Summers, so I picked up two more of her books during the Book Outlet Black Friday sale! 

7. Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson: This is a retelling/reimagining of Peter Pan, which you should know I love. I wasn't sure what to expect with this book, but it truly is an amazing, emotional read, and I would highly recommend it to anyone. 

6. Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell: I've read three Rainbow Rowell books this year (I've yet to pick up Attachments) and I really loved all of them. But I think Fangirl was my favorite. Everyone talks about how adorable it is (and it really is), but I think it has a lot of emotional resonance, as well. It is just an all-around great book that made me laugh and cry. 

5. A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness: This is the first book I've read by Patrick Ness so far, but what an introduction to his writing. It's a very short, illustrated book, but that by no means undermines its brilliance. It's a beautiful book, and its another that made me cry this year. You can read my mini-review here!  

4. Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer: Just in the past two weeks, I read Cinder, Scarlet and Cress, and I finally see what all the hype has been about. These are sci-fi retellings of fairy tales, but they're so original and creative in how each fairy tale has been twisted into this world. The plot is fantastic, and the characters even more so. I'll be writing a review of each book in the coming weeks, so look forward to that! 

3. Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein: This book broke me, but in a good way. Every once in a while, you just need a good "break-you" book. It took me a while to get into, but then I couldn't put it down. Another cry book, this one. I don't read a lot of historical fiction, but this one will always be one of my favorites. 

2. The Assassin's Blade AND Heir of Fire by Sarah J. Maas: Let's just be honest. Sarah J. Maas is probably going to make my Best of the Year lists for at least the next three years. She is Pub Crawler #3, and Throne of Glass was another series I waited on for a LONG TIME. It is probably my favorite fantasy series right now, and there are three more books in the series to be released in the coming years. In addition, her new series A Court of Thorns and Roses begins in the spring. If I could get a new book from Sarah every year until I die, I would die happy. You can read how much I loved Heir of Fire in my review here! 

1. Legend trilogy by Marie Lu: And here we finally have Pub Crawler #4! I marathoned this trilogy early this year and just fell in love with it. It is now definitely my favorite dystopian series. The plot is action-packed, the characters are amazing, and the writing is beautiful. Champion, the third and final book, killed me. I cried, and laughed, and then just hugged the book to my chest for a while after I finished. It was perfect. Now that I've read her newest book, The Young Elites, I can't wait to see where the rest of the series goes! 

Tell me: have YOU read any of these books? If you have, what did you think of them? What books made your Top of 2014 list? Let me know in the comments below! 

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Review: SINNER by Maggie Stiefvater

*WARNING: Minor spoilers for Wolves of Mercy Falls trilogy ahead!*

Title: Sinner
Author: Maggie Stiefvater
Series: Wolves of Mercy Falls #3.5

Summary: Everybody thinks they know Cole's story. Stardom. Addiction. Downfall. Disappearance. But only a few people know Cole's darkest secret--his ability to shift into a wolf. One of these people is Isabel. t one point, they may have even loved each other. But that feels like a lifetime ago. Now Cole is back. Back in the spotlight. Back in the danger zone. Back in Isabel's life. Can this sinner be saved? 

Why I read it: I just marathoned the Wolves of Mercy Falls trilogy in October/November, so I was ready to get back to that world at the end of November and finish out the series with this companion novel. And Cole St. Clair is my favorite character in the series.

Thoughts: If you've read my review of the original trilogy, you'll know that it wasn't my favorite series. I enjoyed it, but I had several problems with it. But I decided to read Sinner anyway.

I was so not disappointed.

First of all, Cole and Isabel. They're my OTP. Seriously, I love them. They're both so sarcastic and sure of themselves, but they're both broken on the inside in some way or another. They're perfect for each other.

Many of the things I disliked about the trilogy (Sam and Grace, the wolf drama, the open endings) were gone from this book. Though Cole is a werewolf, that fact plays a minor part in the book. It is more of a characteristic, a backstory, than an actual plot point. And I appreciated that. And while Sam and Grace make a couple of small (voice) cameos, they play no part in the plot, either. And this ending is very definite. And it was wonderful.

Other things I originally disliked were just different enough in this book that it didn't bother me. I hated Sam's songwriting in the original, because he would just spout of with several lines at a time out of nowhere. In Sinner, however, Cole's songwriting on the spot consists of short phrases that he writes in a notebook for later inspiration. It felt much more believable.

Mostly, I just loved this book because I got exactly what I wanted out of it. It is not the best book in the world. It is not mind-blowing or life-changing in any way. But I wanted a book about Cole and Isabel, and that's what I got. It's not about the wolf drama or some overarching plot. It's just about Cole and Isabel and their relationship. And I loved every second of it.

Rating: 4.75/5 stars

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday (9): A COURT OF THORNS AND ROSES

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine!

Author: Sarah J. Maas
Series: A Court of Thorns and Roses #1
Release date: May 5, 2015

Summary: When nineteen-year-old huntress Feyre kills a wolf in the woods, a beast-like creature arrives to demand retribution for it. Dragged to  treacherous magical land she only knows about from legends, Feyre discovers that her captor is not an animal, but Tamlin--one of the lethal immortal faeries who once ruled their world.

As she dwells on his estate, her feelings for Tamlin transform from icy hostility into a fiery passion that burns into a fiery passion that burns through every lie and warning she's been told about the beautiful, dangerous world of the Fae. But an ancient, wicked shadow grows over the faerie lands, and Feyre must find a way to stop it...or doom Tamlin--and his world--forever. 

Thoughts: Sarah J. Maas. A new fantasy series. Say no more. I would follow Sarah to the ends of the Earth for more fantasy books. She is fabulous, and I would read anything she writes. Also, in her own words, ACOTAR is a "New Adult fantasy retelling/blending of "Beauty and the Beast," "Tam Lin," and "East of the Sun, West of the Moon."" So, yes. EXCITING. SO MUCH. 

Tell me: what are YOU waiting on this Wednesday? Let me know in the comments down below! 

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday (10): New-to-Me Authors I Read in 2014

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by the lovely ladies at The Broke and the Bookish!

2014 has been a great reading year for me. No, I haven't always read as many books as I've wanted to, but there haven't been many of those books that I haven't loved. This list was a breeze for me because I've read tons of new-to-me authors this year!

10. Jodi Lynn Anderson: Tiger Lily was just one of the many books that gave me all the feels this year. I don't know if I'll ever read any other books by Jodi Lynn Anderson, but Tiger Lily will always have a special place in my heart.

9. Elizabeth Wein: I FINALLY picked up Code Name Verity this summer, and was definitely not disappointed. I'm usually not a historical fiction person, but I make an exception for this book. It has the high honor of being a book-that-made-me-cry. And I have high hopes for the companion, Rose Under Fire.

8. E. Lockhart: I'll admit that I went into We Were Liars mostly because of the hype. And a little bit because of the cover. (Let's admit; that thing is gorgeous.) But it caught me by surprise with its beautiful prose and unbelievable story. I still think about that ending every once in a while.

7. Patrick Ness: A Monster Calls is another cry-book for me. And that's usually a sign that a book is going to stay with me for a long time. I can't wait to read more Patrick Ness in the future.

6. Courtney Summers: I love zombies. It was Halloween. This is Not a Test was the perfect choice to read. I had an inkling of what I was going into, but I was not prepared for how much I would love it. Zombie contemporary novel. Right up my alley.

5. Erin Bowman: I'm a die-hard follower of Pub(lishing) Crawl, and I've discovered some amazing authors that way. (Leigh Bardugo, Sarah J. Maas, Susan Dennard...just to name a few.) Which is how I discovered the Taken series, and boy did I fall in love with it. I am ANXIOUSLY awaiting the final book in the trilogy, Forged!

4. Michelle Hodkin: I read the entire Mara Dyer trilogy last month and just flew through all three books in about a week. I was hooked. I adore this series and all of its amazing characters. I am SO interested to see what Michelle does next!

3. Marissa Meyer: This is a very recent addition to this list, coming in just under the wire. I read Cinder and Scarlet in the first week of December and just absolutely loved them. I'm a sucker for fairytale retellings, and the sci-fi aspect has me REALLY engaged. I'm currently reading a standalone, but as soon as I'm done, I'll be jumping headfirst into Cress!

2. Rainbow Rowell: In the past, I haven't been a huge contemporary person. Once I got past the Gossip Girl and A-List phase, I jumped into fantasy. But this year, I've been getting back into more contemporary, and that's partly due to Rainbow Rowell. Eleanor & Park was my first in January, then Fangirl in the spring, and then Landline this summer. And I've loved the all. Now I just need to get my hands on Attachments! Because Rainbow is definitely going to be an auto-buy author for me.

1. Marie Lu: Couldn't you see this coming? I have been raving about how much I love Marie's Legend trilogy for months. I marathoned the series earlier this year and just fell head over heels for it. The characters, the writing, the plot...everything was perfect for me. And the third book, Champion, made me cry. So, love. I've also read The Young Elites, the first in her new fantasy series, and I can't wait to see where it goes!

Tell me: who are YOUR favorite new-to-you authors of the year? Let me know in the comments below!

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Review: 30 DAYS OF NIGHT by Niles and Templesmith

Title: 30 Days of Night
Author: Steve Niles and Ben Templesmith
Series: 30 Days of Night #1

Summary: In a sleepy, secluded Alaska town called Barrow, the sun sets and doesn't rise for over thirty consecutive days and nights. From the darkness, across the frozen wasteland, an evil will come that will bring the residents of Barrow to their knees. The only hope for the town is the Sheriff and Deputy, husband and wife who are torn between their own survival and saving the town they love. 

Why I read it: The film adaptation of 30 Days of Night is one of my all-time favorite horror movies. And I really want to start getting into graphic novels/comics, so I thought this might be a good place to start. When I found it at my local Half Price Books for seven bucks, I picked it up and started it immediately!

Thoughts: I really enjoyed it. A lot of that enjoyment stems from my enjoyment of the movie. I already knew the plot and the characters, so it was a nice way to revisit all that I love.

The real problem with this comic book bind-up (3 issues in one) is that it's too short. The plot happens very quickly and the characters are hardly developed at all. Rather than being fully fleshed-out characters that we really connect with and care about, Eben and Stella are simply the window through which we view the events. Only in the end of the story does Eben really come into play, and then in the sequels, they're even more central to the plot.

Reading this really made me appreciate the movie even more. The movie was able to expand on the events and the characters so much. In the film, Eben and Stella start the story estranged, on the brink of divorce, and the events of the movie affect their relationship so much and bring them together again. They're more interesting as characters, and they have a bigger hand in driving the plot, rather than the plot simply happening to them. There are more side characters in the movie to care about as well. And as scary as the vampires are in the comics, they're even more terrifying in the film.

I also really enjoyed the art style. I've heard complaints about it being too messy, so you can't tell what's going on. But I found that the messiness enhanced the experience for me. I spent a lot of time really looking at the art, rather than skimming through it and taking it at face value. I love the color schemes, with the grays and blacks and dashes of red for blood and fire. I personally think it's visually stunning and just so much fun to look at.

All that said, I loved it, and I can't wait to pick up more of the series!

Rating: 3.5/5 stars