Monday, December 22, 2014

Top of 2014: Best Books I've Read on 2014!!


This year I'm very happy to once again join in the Top 10 of 2014 week hosted by Rachel from Reading YA Rocks, Jamie from Two Chicks On Books, Mindy from Magical Urban Fantasy Reads and Nancy of Tales of A Ravenous Reader.

We're gonna start the week right, with our Top 10 Best Books we've read this year. They don't have to have been published this year, but they must have been read this year.

Since there have been so many books and choosing just 10 is gonna be tough, I decided to list here only those that weren't debuts, and then on Wednesday I'll share my Top 10 Debuts of 2014, so I'll have another 10 awesome books that I loved this year.


 Best Books I've Read in 2014.

This is one very very tough list to make because I've read so many books I've loved! I might have to add some honorable mentions after the Top 10. And I will be listing the books in the order that I read them throughout the year. I've limited myself to books read & published in 2014.


https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18896874-cress


https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17756559-the-winner-s-curse


https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/20733621-the-forever-song


https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/19430954-unhinged


https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/20789538-deliverance
 

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/20613470-heir-of-fire


https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17235026-the-girl-with-all-the-gifts



https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/20518918-mortal-gods



https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/22978079-blue-lily-lily-blue


https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/23001855-the-shape-of-my-heart


And now the honorary mentions because damn it, I cannot choose just ten when I've loved so many books this year! Red Rising by Pierce Brown, The Body Electric by Beth Revis, Uninvited by Sophie Jordan, Athenas's Ashes by Jamie Grey, Ruin & Rising by Leigh Bardugo, Dreams of Gods & Monsters by Laini Taylor, Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins, The Rephaim trilogy by Paula Weston, Mortal Heart by Robin LaFevers, Sweet Reckoning by Wendy Higgins, Avalon by Mindee Arnett and First World Problems by LeighAnn Kopans.

Mark This Book Monday: The Luckiest Girl by Beverly Cleary!!

Hello everyone!

A new week starts, and hopefully one full of good news! It's also the week of Xmas, so Happy Holidays to you all! We won't be celebrating too much over here in the family, but please keep your fingers crossed for me while I continue to try and get my apartment!

For this Mark This Book Monday I have another classic YA book that will be my 8th, allowing me to count the Classic YA & MG Challenge & readalong at The Midnight Garden as completed and not flunked! This one was March's book so I'm a bit late to the discussion, but better late than never!





The Luckiest Girl (An Avon Camelot Book)The Luckiest Girl by Beverly Cleary

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


This is another of those classics that I never had heard of before and that I missed originally on the Classics challenge at The Midnight Garden when I was the readalong book in March.

But wanting to complete the challenge and not fail it, I decided I needed to read a book that wasn't too long, and went for this one!

Shelley was a very sweet teenager but her mental processes being so taken up with boys did manage to annoy me on occasion. But the moment she started arguing with her mum about the slick vs the raincoat and reacted by destroying the roses... I decided that I liked her more! I was never too explosive as a teenager but I could really understand the frustration and the differences between mother and daughter. I still have them today with my own mother, but I am the kind that doesn't really argue but end up doing whatever I want... ;)

Shelley moves to California for a school year with her mum's college roommate, which seems like a fantastic adventure for a sixteen year old girl that had never travelled on her own or spent time away from home. I really loved that she appreciated everything and looked at her trip and all the differences as wondrous instead of comparing them and finding them lacking with what was "back home". Her enthusiasm popped from the page and was quite contagious too.

Seeing San Sebastian and the new school through her eyes was quite refreshing, and although her obsession with Phil was a bit eye-rolling-inducing, she felt very genuinely a teenager, because at some point and in varied degrees... we were all obsessed with boys (or girls).

I loved how Shelley grew and learnt some lessons during the course of the book, how she became to understand herself better seeing Katie and her reactions, and how that gave her perspective to her past and current actions, making her understand her mother better.

Shelley also realized why she felt like she got tired of Jack and why she didn't feel like things were working out with her dream boy in San Sebastian and realizes that crushes when you don't have many things in common can get pretty awkward, and sometimes the guy you think of as a friend and enjoy sharing things with is the one you can be with and love in the end.

What I found extremely sweet and that dated this story more than anything else was the way Shelley thought about the boys and the relationships, how it was all "going steady" and there were so few kisses and dates were more doing things together and the boys going into the house to meet the parents (or responsible adults) compared to what contemporary books of today show, with more absent parents, more uninformed parents and loads more kissing! ;)

A very sweet read that I ended up liking more than I expected at first. 3.5 to 4 stars for thi one.



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Sunday, December 21, 2014

Nerd Blast: Where Silence Gather by Kelsey Sutton!!


Welcome to the Nerd Blast for Where Silence Gathers by Kelsey Sutton hosted and organized by Jean BookNerd!!


Publisher: FLUX
Format: Paperback | 350 pages
Dimensions: 132mm x 201mm x 25mm | 340g
Publication date: 8 July 2014
Publication City/Country: Woodbury
ISBN 10: 0738739472
ISBN 13: 9780738739472


Synopsis

 In this companion novel to the critically acclaimed Some Quiet Place, Alex must choose between Revenge and Forgiveness.

For as long as she can remember, Alexandra Tate has been able to see personified Emotions, and she's found a best friend in Revenge. He's her constant companion as she waits outside Nate Foster's house, clutching a gun. Every night since Nate's release from prison, Alex has tried to work up the courage to exact her own justice on him for the drunk driving accident that killed her family.

But there's one problem: Forgiveness. When he appears, Alex is faced with a choice—moving on or getting even. It's impossible to decide with Forgiveness whispering in one ear . . . and Revenge whispering in the other.



 


Kelsey Sutton has done everything from training dogs and making cheeseburgers to selling yellow page ads and cleaning hotel rooms. She lives in northern Minnesota and received a BA in English from Bemidji State University. 

When Kelsey is not writing or trying out a new career, she can be found in the park with her dogs, ordering a coconut mocha at the local coffee shop, or browsing a bookstore.


  




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Saturday, December 20, 2014

Saturday Pages: Little Women by Louisa May Alcott!!

Today is yet another later than usual Saturday Pages, I was just hooked up finishing one book and starting another and it took me a while to part me from the books when I woke up after my morning-nap-after-night-shift-at-work, but I'm finally here and there's a review up!

This Saturday's book is December's book for The Midnight Garden's Classic MG & YA Challenge and Readalong, and it is yet another challenge that I've managed not to flunk and that I will continue with over in 2015, since I've already bought the books for Jan & Feb!

After or before reading my review of Little Women, don't miss dropping by the discussion at The Midnight Garden!





Little WomenLittle Women by Louisa May Alcott

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


I read the book for the first time when I was 12-13 and then saw the 1994 movie and I feel that most of my opinions on the story became influenced more by the movie than the original reading of the book, and that reflects very much on how heartbroken I was over Jo and Laurie.

But if there's something this re-read has showed me is that although some perceptions have changed from my first reading, some essentials have not changed: I adore Beth and suffer greatly for that sweet darling, I continue to understand Jo's struggle to be who she wants to be and her defiance of what is expected and proper, I still despise Amy with a burning passion, Meg is still a dear, Laurie is "a great chap" but he loses all points with his final choices and the social expectations and limits on women still make me see red with a white hot rage.

I appreciated in a different way the love and bond between the sisters and I found it to be quite probably the biggest highlight of the book for me. I didn't appreciate as much and was much more bothered by the moralizing in the book this time around. I don't mind some references to being a good person and being caritative and cheerful with what you have, but all the references to what a good woman should do or do not... again white hot rage. I know it's frame in its time period, but it always makes me happy that I was born on the age I was, despite the way still to go.

I wasn't happy how Amy seemed to get rewarded for sticking to the shape society chooses for women no matter how horrible a person she continued to be and that Jo being herself and not conforming to the square she was supposed to stay in, ended up being punished and had to try and settle somewhat with someone that will allow her a position but also some sort of freedom, but that doesn't seem like will make her really happy.

After the discussion at The Midnight Garden it also made me wonder if Jo's wants to be a boy were more than just her wanting the freedoms and choices that men had and she didn't have as a girl, or if it had a queer underside, with Jo feeling like she should have been a boy, therefore showing some trans qualities.

The book has gone a lil bit up on this re-read, from my upset 3 stars to 3.5 to 4 stars. A classic that has to be read.



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Friday, December 19, 2014

Friday Reads: ARC Review of Golden Son by Pierce Brown!!!

Hello guys!

Friday Reads is back a lil later in the day than usual, but this week has been a bit strange and yesterday though full of good news and potential good news left me completely drained, so I've slept in today like there's no tomorrow.

Today's book is a sequel without middle book syndrome and one that absolutely made my day when I was approved by Random House via NetGalley to read it (THANK YOU!!)! The only bad thing about reading it as an ARC? The even longer wait for Book 3!!

As an ARC it will be counted towards my 2014 Review Pile Reading Challenge and as a science fiction dystopian it will be counted towards my Dystopian Reading Challenge 2014!







Golden Son (Red Rising Trilogy, #2)Golden Son by Pierce Brown

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


When the first book in a series sets itself up as a 5 stars, there's always the question of how will the second one fare compared to it but in this case have no fear. Golden Son doesn't suffer from second book/sequel syndrome AT ALL, if anything I'd say it's even better than Red Rising, and that's quite a feat in itself!

Darrow has found himself a successful place in the Gold elite, apprenticing under Nero au Augustus, the ArchGovernor of Mars and a man that believes he has the best interests of the human race and that his way is the only way to proceed.

Darrow's plight is as dire as ever, he needs to get a position of power so he can follow the plans of the Sons of Ares to destroy the Society from within, and that is not getting any easier the higher he climbs. The amount of political intrigues, tactical changes and who to trust, who not to trust in this book is estupendous!

Darrow has gained himself some enemies within the Augustus family and due to their conspiring, he loses his place there. But it doesn't stop there, because the Sovereign is involved and soon everything progresses into a bigger scale for Darrow, for the Augustuses/Augustii and maybe even for the Society as a whole.

I am simply in love with the complexities of the world the author has crafted in these books, with how the Society elite being so rooted in Roman tradition, and not only by family names or Gods, but also because if there was something the Romans knew about was politics and intrigue!

One word of warning, this is a LONG book and although it is quite full of action everywhere and politics and intrigue and tactics and counterattacks and it never seemed slow for me and I couldn't turn pages fast enough and I finished the second half of the book before sleep, it reads a lil different, the pace is not as fast but every page is full of fascinating and intricate relationships, changes of alliances and quite shocking reveals!

Yes, there are twists and reveals, and like Darrow I felt like I should have realized that before, but I was completely blindsided, and no don't worry I'm not gonna give more hints as to what reveal I'm talking about.

After more epic scheming, and seeing what a great team in political matter Mustang and Darrow make, an epic battle and when you think that things are finally looking up... the othe shoe drops, and holy shitzu does it drop the big way. The ending of the book is painful and a full on cruel cliffhanger that will give you a very serious book hangover!!

Golden Son earns its gold fair and square and it's a sequel that does what every sequel ought to do, bring up the stakes even higher, make the world more complex and leave you pining and crying for the next book! Very much well deserved 5 stars!!



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Thursday, December 18, 2014

12 Days of Lailah - Ink & Batter Lailah holiday cupcakes!!



Lailah by Nikki Kelly
Styclar Saga #1
Release date: October 7th 2014

Synopsis:

The girl knows she’s different. She doesn’t age. She has no family. She has visions of a past life, but no clear clues as to what she is, or where she comes from. But there is a face in her dreams – a light that breaks through the darkness. She knows his name is Gabriel.

On her way home from work, the girl encounters an injured stranger whose name is Jonah. Soon, she will understand that Jonah belongs to a generation of Vampires that serve even darker forces. Jonah and the few like him, are fighting with help from an unlikely ally – a rogue Angel, named Gabriel.

In the crossfire between good and evil, love and hate, and life and death, the girl learns her name: Lailah. But when the lines between black and white begin to blur, where in the spectrum will she find her place? And with whom?

Gabriel and Jonah both want to protect her. But Lailah will have to fight her own battle to find out who she truly is.



  photo addtogoodreadssmall_zpsa2a6cf28.png photo B6096376-6C81-4465-8935-CE890C777EB9-1855-000001A1E900B890_zps5affbed6.jpg 




Hey guys! Today I have a very special Ink & Batter edition, because it is part of the 12 Days of Lailah celebration! You might be wondering what the 12 Days of Lailah are? Well, it's a special tour organized by the founder members of the Styclar Street Team and Nikki Kelly herself!You can discover many new tidbits about the book and the characters, find you awesome Xmas music and drool with Lailah themed cupcakes and cookies!

For my own stop I couldn't choose anything else but Lailah inspired decorated cupcakes! I went with chocolate & vanilla cupcakes (half & half so to speak!) with vanilla cream cheese icing, since it'd would also give a nice contrast in looks as well as in flavour! And then did a few fondant decorations that highlight some key details in the book: angel wings, Lailah's ring, the chess game, fangs, a few country flags and let's not forget the Xmas tree that Lailah and the others decorate!



















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And don't miss out on any of the days either past or present of the 12 Days of Lailah!!

 
*Sunday, December 14th: Beth at Curling Up With a Good Book shares a Lailah-themed Christmas playlist.
*Monday, December 15th: Brittany at Please Feed the Bookworm matches Lailah characters to their fitting ugly Christmas sweaters.
*Tuesday, December 16th: Rachel at A Perfection Called Books shares exactly what to get the Lailah, Gabriel and Jonah for Christmas.
*Wednesday, December 17th: Patricia at The Unofficial Addiction Book Fan Club shines some light on exactly how Gabriel and Jonah would celebrate the holidays in their respective realms.

*Thursday, December 18th: Pili at In Love With Handmade whips up some Lailah holiday cupcakes.
*Friday, December 19th: Andrew at Endlessly Reading showcases Jonah and Brooke's potential Christmas outfits.
*Saturday, December 20th: Jessica at The Book Bratz hosts a guest post by Lailah author Nikki Kelly where she shares her favorite Christmas traditions and memories.
*Sunday, December 21st: Ri at Hiver et Cafe releases some exclusive Lailah quotes and shares her take on what Lailah would wear for Christmas.
*Monday, December 22nd: Andrew at Endlessly Reading hosts a character interview with author Nikki Kelly, Lailah, Jonah and Gabriel.
*Tuesday, December 23rd: Genissa at A Story Diary hosts a guest post from Nikki Kelly about the Christmas scene from Lailah.
*Wednesday, December 24th: Dana at Dana Square bakes some Lailah-inspired Christmas cookies.
*Thursday, December 25th: Amber at The Book Bratz releases a brand-new rendition of The Twelve Days of Christmas - Lailah style.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Waiting On Wednesday #73!!


Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly feature hosted at Breaking The Spine  that spotlights those can't-wait-to-get-my-hands-on-them books that we are eagerly awaiting!

This week the book I'm absolutely dying to read is a sequel of a book that I read because it came highly recommended by one of my canaries and bookish friends, Kristen from My Friends Are Fiction. And book might that be, you say? The Mime Order by Samantha Shannon!!





Goodreads Summary:

"Paige Mahoney has escaped the brutal penal colony of Sheol I, but her problems have only just begun: many of the fugitives are still missing and she is the most wanted person in London.

As Scion turns its all-seeing eye on Paige, the mime-lords and mime-queens of the city’s gangs are invited to a rare meeting of the Unnatural Assembly. Jaxon Hall and his Seven Seals prepare to take center stage, but there are bitter fault lines running through the clairvoyant community and dark secrets around every corner.

Then the Rephaim begin crawling out from the shadows. But where is Warden? Paige must keep moving, from Seven Dials to Grub Street to the secret catacombs of Camden, until the fate of the underworld can be decided. Will Paige know who to trust? The hunt for the dreamwalker is on."



Why am I eagerly awaiting The Mime Order? Well, I adored The Bone Season, that was book one and I adored everything about the book, from the world building that was intricate and complex and simply fantastic, to Paige the main character to Warden, and I just cannot wait to get back into this world! I read a sampler for this book and loved it, so I cannot wait till I can read the next book!


What are you all (im)patiently awaiting this week?

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

105 Challenge 2015 hosted by Read Write Love 28!!


Well, today I'm doing my usual Tell Me Tuesdays because I'm still reading Symbiont since last week, but I am joining yet another reading challenge for 2015!!

Remember when I said I didn't want to over do it? Well, already signed up for 3 challenges and 2015 still hasn't arrived!

The good thing about the 105 Challenge is that you can combine more than one challenge! It is hosted by Nori of Read Write Love 28 and you're supposed to read 105 books!

And not only read 105 books, because you might think that 105 is a bit of an odd number, but it's done by adding up 12 + 11 + 10 + 9 + 8 + 7 + 6 + 5 + 4 + 3 +2 + 1!

One incentive for joining the challenge will be a rafflecopter where you can get points for completing each group of books! Rafflecopter will be picking a winner each month who will receive a special prize for completing part of the challenge.

The one requirement that Nori has for joining this challenge is that whenever you FINISH reading an entire category, please make a GR shelf for it and send her the link through rafflecopter!

Here are my categories for this challenge!

12 - Review copies (either physical or eARCs)

11 - Sequels

10 - Physical books from my TBR that have been there since 2014

9 -  Diversity & LGBT books

8 - Classic MG & YA

7 - Alyssa Recommends books

6 - YA contemporary

5 - 2015 new releases

4 - Dystopian books

3 - Indie books

2 - Re-reads

1 - Non-fiction book

So that's it, I'm planning to add a lil more variety, keep up with my review copies and make sure I don't stress myself too much thinking of completing my challenge!

If you need more info, check Nori's post about the challenge HERE!