End of Year Book Survey: 2015

I’ve seen this end of year survey floating around Goodreads and book blogs for the last two years, so I figured I might as well participate!  Thanks to Perpetual Page Turner for the idea!

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Number Of Books You Read: 102
Number of Re-Reads: 0
Genre You Read The Most From: either YA or NA

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1. best book you read in 2015: Carry On by Rainbow Rowell

2. book you were excited about and thought you were going to love more but didn’t: All Fall Down by Ally Carter

3. most surprising (in a good or bad way) book you read in 2015: The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman – I didn’t expect to like it nearly as much as I did!

4. book you “pushed” the most people to read in 2015: probably Beauty Queens by Libba Bray

5. best series you started in 2015: Addicted/Calloway Sisters by Krista & Becca Ritchie

6. best sequel of 2015: Golden Son by Pierce Brown

7. best series ender of 2015: Long Way Down by Krista & Becca Ritchie

8. favorite new author you discovered in 2015: Krista & Becca Ritchie

9. best book from a genre you don’t typically read/was out of your comfort zone: Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi

10. most action-packed/thrilling/unputdownable book of the year: I didn’t read a lot of action-packed books this year, so I would have to say Ready Player One by Ernest Cline, probably.

11. book you read in 2015 that you are most likely to re-read next year: I actually don’t do re-reads.

12. favorite cover of a book you read in 2015: a three-way tie between Firsts by Laurie Elizabeth Flynn, What I Thought Was True by Huntley Fitzpatrick, and The Queen of Bright & Shiny Things by Ann Aguirre

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13. most memorable character of 2015: probably Connor Cobalt or Rose Calloway

14. most beautifully written book read in 2015: such a hard question, but the one that stands out most is Seventh Heaven by Alice Hoffman

15. most thought-provoking/life-changing book of 2015: I don’t know if it changed my life, but Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri was definitely thought-provoking

16. book you can’t believe you waited until 2015 to finally read: Beauty Queens by Libba Bray – it’s been on my TBR for years but I was scared away by the relatively low rating

17. favorite passage/quote from a book you read in 2015: (I totally stole this from a previous TTT post.)

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18. shortest and longest book of 2015:

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19. book that shocked you the most (because of a plot twist, character death, left your mouth hanging wide open): I’m kind of a cynic when it comes to things like this – nothing really shocked me this year.

20. otp of the year/i will go down with this ship: Raisy ♥ (Hothouse Flower and Long Way Down by Krista & Becca Ritchie)

21. favorite non-romantic relationship of the year: the Calloway sisters

22. favorite book you read in 2015 from an author you’ve read previously: I’d probably have to go with Carry On for this one (by Rainbow Rowell)

23. best book you read in 2015 that you read based solely on a recommendation from somebody else/peer pressure: I read The Memory Keeper’s Daughter by Kim Edwards solely because a co-worker handed it to me and told me to read it.

24. newest fictional crush from a book you read in 2015: most recent fictional crush would have to be Garrett from The Deal (by Elle Kennedy)

25. best 2015 debut: definitely Firsts by Laurie Elizabeth Flynn

26. best worldbuilding/most vivid setting this year: old New York City in the Diviners series/Lair of Dreams by Libba Bray

27. book that put a smile on your face/was the most fun to read: probably The Virgin Romance Novelist by Meghan Quinn

28. book that made you cry or nearly cry in 2015: a few books made me cry, most notably Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri, which made me sob

29. hidden gem of the year: The Deal by Elle Kennedy.  It’s disguised as typical NA fluff, but it’s anything but!

30. book that crushed your soul: This honor would have to go to the entire Addicted series by Krista & Becca Ritchie.  (The original series, Lily & Lo’s books.)

31. most unique book of 2015: I’d have to go with Everyone’s a Casualty by Jaidon Wells.  It was so unique that I’m not really sure I fully grasped what was going on.

32. book that made you the most mad (but you didn’t necessarily dislike): Actually, Luckiest Girl Alive by Jessica Knoll made me mad, and I didn’t like it.  I don’t think any other books really made me angry this year.

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1. new favorite book blog discovered in 2015: 2015 was really the first year that I started following book blogs and other bloggers’ reviews.  I find that about 85% of the time, I agree with Emily May’s (The Book Geek’s) reviews.  The other 15% of the time, I still find them well-written, informative, and entertaining.  I have also really enjoyed participating in Top Ten Tuesdays from The Broke & the Bookish.

2. favorite review that you wrote in 2015: I really enjoy the rant against Vicky in my review of A Mad, Wicked Folly by Sharon Biggs Waller.

3. best discussion/non-review you posted on your blog in 2015: Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Tropes I’m Sick of Reading About (October 6, 2015).

4. best event that you participated in (author signings, festivals, virtual events, memes, etc.): I’m still not at the point of participating in author events (I feel like this blog is far from big enough for that yet), but I have greatly enjoyed participating in Top Ten Tuesdays.

5. best moment of bookish/blogging life in 2015: The best moment in my bookish life is always when the author likes my review. It happened a few times this year, both on the blog and on Goodreads, and I squeal like a little fangirl every time.

6. most popular post this year on your blog: According to one of those “Best of Your Blog” sites, my review of The Amber Spyglass was my most popular post written this year.  My review of UnEnchanted by Chanda Hahn over on Goodreads is still my most popular post of all time.

7. post you wish got a little more love: In general, I wish my review posts got more love.  I see people liking and reblogging my non-reviews, but I get very little feedback on my reviews.

8. best bookish discovery (book related site, bookstore, etc): I would have to say that honestly, the best bookish discovery of the year was when my unexpected Thanksgiving guest ended up being someone who coordinates book signings and author events at a NYC bookstore.

9. did you complete any reading challenges or goals that you had set for yourself at the beginning of this year: I had two goals for myself this year.  First was to complete Popsugar’s 2015 Reading Challenge.  Second was to read a total of 100 books.

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I’m happy to report that I did both!

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1. one book you didn’t get to in 2015 but will be your #1 priority in 2016: Winter by Marissa Meyer – it’s been sitting on my bookshelf since its release, but there was always an ARC I needed to read, or something else that needed to be done.  It’s my top priority next year for sure.

2. most anticipated book for 2016 (non-debut): Whatever book Krista & Becca Ritchie decide to release next year will be my most anticipated.  I’m not sure as of yet whether they’re planning to release Infini, Damaged Like Us, or Some Kind of Perfect next, but one of those three.

3. most anticipated debut for 2016: I have to be honest here and say that I haven’t really kept track of debuts recently.  I have a lot of anticipated books for next year, but none by debut authors.  Oops!

4. series ending/sequel you are most anticipating in 2016: Morning Star by Pierce Brown, definitely.

5. one thing you hope to accomplish in your reading/blogging life in 2016: I hope to post more steadily and write better-quality reviews.

6. any 2016 releases you’ve already read and would recommend: I have only read one book with a 2016 release date, and that is Firsts by Laurie Elizabeth Flynn.  I would absolutely recommend it.

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In general, I don’t approve of calling books “guilty pleasures.” I feel like we should all read what we like and not judge ourselves or each other for enjoying things that some might consider embarrassing. So what if I’m a 25 year old woman who enjoys reading books about teenage girls finding their princes? So sue me. But this book, oh goodness. This book might just be a guilty pleasure. This book is the novel equivalent of reality television. It is the novel equivalent of The Bachelor, which I have never watched a single episode of in my entire life, because really? A bunch of women competing over the love of one sleazy guy who, in this one very particular situation, has society’s approval to date mass quantities of women at the same time? Ew. It’s gross. The premise of this book is, in fact, gross. But I liked it. Ugh. I liked it.

I don’t even know why I liked it. In fact, I hated pretty much everything about it.

The names. Oh, dear lord, the names. Why is she called America Singer? She’s a singer. A singer with the last name Singer. It’s comically bad.

The relationships. I mean, come on. Her relationship with Aspen is not at all sexy. It’s not at all romantic, or endearing, or anything short of sad. Aspen is a jerk, a jerk who is happy to take advantage of America’s kindness and then just as quick to turn around and berate her for having the audacity to be good to him.

The worldbuilding. Oh wait, what worldbuilding? This is supposedly a future version of America, in which China invaded because America wouldn’t pay them back, and then Russia invaded, and then some random guy donated a bunch of money and saved the country and renamed it after himself. Illea. Now it’s Illea. And Illea inexplicably has an obscene amount of numbered castes with very specific professions assigned to them. America’s family is evidently near the bottom, but she stills owns a few fancy dresses, has plenty of makeup, and has food to spare.

Honestly, I could go on with what I hated about this book, but I won’t. Because I actually enjoyed it, despite my misgivings.

The main thing to understand about this book is that it’s entertaining. I wanted to keep reading. Even when I wanted to throw the book out the window because one of the male characters said something gross, I wanted to keep reading. Even though I knew that obviously this is a series and obviously America is going to make it through each round of elimination, I wanted to keep reading. If this book is anything, it’s readable. It’s fluff, but it’s readable fluff.

I don’t feel an intense need to pick up The Elite, but I will probably pick it up at some point. 

Final rating: ★★★☆☆

Happy Top Ten Tuesday!  You may have noticed that I’ve been a bit absent lately.  Unfortunately, I was saddled with a bad case of food poisoning over Christmas, and then my computer broke!  But I’m back now, and ready to discuss my top ten most anticipated releases for the first half of 2016.

Some of these (The Score, Morning Star, Stars Above, A Gathering of Shadows) are continuations of series I already know and love.  Others are books I’ve heard great things about and am looking forward to reading in the upcoming year.

Are there any upcoming releases that you’re excited about?

It’s official!  I did it!  My 2015 reading challenge is complete.  I’m already looking forward to next year’s challenge, because this year’s led me to some really great books I probably would not have otherwise picked up.  (There were some doozies, too, but what can you do.)

See all the books from my 2015 reading challenge below.

  1. a book with more than 500 pages: A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness
  2. a romance: Carry On by Rainbow Rowell
  3. a book that became a movie: The Duff by Kody Keplinger
  4. a book published this year: The Walls Around Us by Nova Ren Suma
  5. a book with a number in the title: Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
  6. a book written by someone under 30: Everyone’s a Casualty by Jaidon Wells
  7. a book with nonhuman characters: Marked by Sarah Fine
  8. a funny book: The Virgin Romance Novelist by Meghan Quinn
  9. a book by a female author: Undressed by Shannon Richard
  10. a mystery or thriller: Harrison Squared by Daryl Gregory
  11. a book with a one-word title: Joyride by Anna Banks
  12. a book of short stories: Best Food Writing 2015 by Holly Hughes
  13. a book set in a different country: Accidentally In Love by Laura Drewry
  14. a nonfiction book: The World on a Plate by Mina Holland
  15. a popular author’s first book: Wicked Lovely by Melissa Marr
  16. a book from an author you love that you haven’t read yet: Fairest by Marissa Meyer
  17. a book a friend recommended: The Memory Keeper’s Daughter by Kim Edwards
  18. a pulitzer prize winning book: Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri
  19. a book based on a true story: In the Unlikely Event by Judy Blume
  20. a book at the bottom of your to-read list: Beauty Queens by Libba Bray
  21. a book your mom loves: Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
  22. a book that scares you: Long Way Down by Krista & Becca Ritchie
  23. a book more than 100 years old: The Taming of the Shrew by William Shakespeare
  24. a book based entirely on its cover: Sing for Me by Gracie Madison
  25. a book you were supposed to read in school but didn’t: Don’t Look Back by Karin Fossum
  26. a memoir: Let’s Just Say It Wasn’t Pretty by Diane Keaton
  27. a book you can finish in a day: Rule Breaker by Harper Kincaid
  28. a book with antonyms in the title: Death, Dickinson, and the Demented Life of Frenchie Garcia by Jenny Torres Sanchez
  29. a book set somewhere you’ve always wanted to visit: Younger by Suzanne Munshower
  30. a book that came out the year you were born: Seventh Heaven by Alice Hoffman
  31. a book with bad reviews: Seeker by Arwen Elys Dayton
  32. a trilogy: Addicted by Krista & Becca Ritchie
  33. a book from your childhood: The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman
  34. a book with a love triangle: Twisted Souls by L.L. Collins
  35. a book set in the future: Carswell’s Guide to Being Lucky by Marissa Meyer
  36. a book set in high school: The Queen of Bright and Shiny Things by Ann Aguirre
  37. a book with a color in the title: One Lavender Ribbon by Heather Burch
  38. a book that made you cry: Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell
  39. a book with magic: Rebel Belle by Rachel Hawkins
  40. a graphic novel: The Fade Out, Vol. 1 by Ed Brubaker & Sean Phillips
  41. a book by an author you’ve never read before: The List by Kate L. Mary
  42. a book you own but have never read: The Amber Spyglass by Philip Pullman
  43. a book that takes place in your hometown: Addicted for Now by Krista & Becca Ritchie
  44. a book that was originally written in a different language: Room 702 by Paloma Aínsa
  45. a book set during christmas: Mistletoe & Margaritas by Shannon Stacey
  46. a book written by an author with your same initials: The Secrets Between You and Me by Shana Norris
  47. a play: A Midsummer Night’s Dream by William Shakespeare
  48. a banned book: Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi
  49. a book based on or turned into a tv show: Bob’s Burgers, Vol. 1 by Chad Brewster
  50. a book you started but never finished: Skipped Parts by Tim Sandlin

Did you challenge yourself in 2015?  If so, how did you do?

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I wouldn’t mind Santa leaving under my tree

Happy Tuesday!  Today’s theme is ten books I wouldn’t mind Santa leaving under my tree.

Did you know that when I was driving home from work yesterday, I passed Santa driving a red sedan?  He was rocking out to some Christmas music (I assume, what else would Santa listen to?) and dancing in his seat.

I never have a shortage of books on my Christmas list.  In fact, I had sooo many books on my Amazon wishlist that I ended up making a separate list for them. Some people feel weird about buying books as gifts, apparently.  Why?  Books are such an awesome gift!

Anyway, here are ten books I’ve got my eye on:

  1. Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel
  2. A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas
  3. To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han
  4. Vicious by V.E. Schwab
  5. Armada by Ernest Cline
  6. The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon
  7. The Girl in the Spider’s Web by David Lagercrantz
  8. Saint Anything by Sarah Dessen
  9. The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook by Deb Perelman
  10. The Food Lab by J. Kenji López-Alt

(Or, you know, any of the 312 other books on my current TBR.)

What are you hoping for this Christmas?

Book review: Long Way Down by Krista & Becca Ritchie

Goodreads   Amazon

It’s been a couple weeks now since I finished Long Way Down, and honestly I’m still pretty emotional. I had been looking forward to this book for months, but I scared to read it. It’s the end of an era (sort of), and there were rumors flying around that one of the main characters might die, people were speculating that something might happen to Ryke and/or Daisy, and there was generally just a feeling that something really dramatic was going to happen.

Now, let me make it clear: I trust these ladies completely. I am 110% convinced that I’ll love anything they write. But I was still scared that this book was going to break my heart.

Spoiler alert: It didn’t.

My heart is still whole. And it’s happy. Sure, this book has really sad parts. Terrible things happen. I cried. (More than once.) But this book is so good. It’s the perfect ending to Ryke and Daisy’s story.

That’s all I’m going to say in my review. Anything more and I run the risk of spoiling it for anybody who hasn’t read it or previous books in the series.

And I want to encourage everybody to read this series. (You can get the first book for free on Amazon.) It somehow gets better and better and better as it goes on. (You can see my ratings steadily increase, by the way.) I can’t wait for Some Kind of Perfect, Infini, and the Like Us series.

Of all the authors I first discovered in 2015, I’m most excited to have found Krista & Becca Ritchie.

 

Final rating:

★★★★★, of course.

For my 2015 reading challenge, I’m crossing off #22: a book that scares you.

   Goodreads   Amazon

I’m going to start off honestly: When I saw this book pop up on Netgalley, I was really intrigued and immediately requested it. Then I saw it was by Lisa Mantchev, an author who has disappointed me in the past. Last year, I read Ticker, which had a good premise but was really terribly written. I was nervous about starting this one in case the same thing happened, but I was actually pleasantly surprised. For the most part.

Here are the basics –

Vee is the lead singer of the Sugar Skulls, one of the bands promoted by Corporate. They tour around Cyrene, playing shows to generate the energy that powers the city. Energy is currency in Cyrene. The more of it you can generate, the happier Corporate will be. Vee is especially talented at generating energy. Her songs draw people in, to the point that she’s even been known to overload the thrum collectors.

Micah lives under the radar, running errands for the owner of a popular club. He overdosed on a powerful, illegal drug months ago, which kicked him off the grid. He sees Vee perform one night, and finds himself absolutely entranced with her. He obsesses over her for days, drags himself all over the city looking for her, and somehow this didn’t even bother me.

Vee and Micah are an indisputable case of instalove. Their eyes meet across the room. They fixate on each other. Without even knowing anything about each other, they have this connection that they just need to explore. And it’s okay. I can deal with it.

Suddenly, the story splinters off into a weird tirade against drug use. Of course I was rooting for Micah and Vee and hoping they would destroy the big bad evil drug dealer, but it didn’t seem to fit with the rest of the story. We go from fun nights at the club to helpless girls pumped full of drugs and it’s just weird.

So, overall, this book is good. The story definitely drew me in, but it had some hiccups in the plot that pulled me out, and it took some time to re-submerge myself in this world.

I’m teetering between three and four stars, but I think I have to be fair to my other four-star reads here and go with three.

Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for the free copy!

Final rating: ★★★☆☆