Top Ten Books I’ve Read So Far This Year

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Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and The Bookish. Check out their blog here!

Today’s TTT topic is: Top Ten Books I’ve Read So Far This Year. I’ve had an incredible string of FANTASTIC reads, so I’ll try to keep it to just ten. No promises though! I’ve listed them in order, starting from January up until now.

1. Avalon by Mindee Arnett. This was the beginning of my two month romance with deep-space sci-fi. I CRAVED anything space ship related for weeks after finishing this book. The friendships are my absolute favorite; Jeth is one of my favorite characters I’ve read in a while.

2. Me Since You by Laura Wiess. I’m honestly not sure I can talk about this book any more than I already have. Seriously, you all need to read it. It changed my life ❤

3. Scarlet by Marissa Meyer. Cress is a close runner up for this slot, but Scarlet still has my heart. I loved both MCs: Scarlet and Wolf. And their relationship is SO perfect!

4. Ignite Me by Tahereh Mafi. Another one that really, I’ve talked way too much about. But the character development in this conclusion was just flawless, and honestly I need a reread. If only for Kenji! But Juliette is great incentive as well, as is Warner 😉

5. Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour by Morgan Matson. This is one that made my heart hurt so much, but also filled it with happiness. I adored the road trip setting, the romance was perfect, and the friendship was even better!

6. Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell. Another that completely, utterly changed my life. I felt like the book was speaking directly to me!

7. Allegiant by Veronica Roth. Okay, I know I put it off for like five months after I bought it. And I know I wailed for days about my feels and creys. But I’m so glad I pushed through it, because Allegiant was one of the best series enders I’ve read, right up there with Ignite Me.

8. The Assassin’s Blade by Sarah J. Maas. The entire series is my favorite, but TAB really sold me on the whole thing, and novellas actually. I never thought I’d be so hooked on novellas before this book! And to have them all in print, in my hand – it was beautiful.

9. Open Road Summer by Emery Lord. Matt. Finch. That is all. Plus, road trips.

10. The Beginning of Everything by Robyn Schneider. Still a bit miffed that the title was changed from Severed Heads, Broken Hearts, but whatever. I still love this book with all my heart ❤

11. Since You’ve Been Gone by Morgan Matson. Two Matson books on this list! That should tell you something about how awesome this lady’s writing is. Really, there’s no way for me to express how much I love this book.

12. To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han. I feel like this whole post is just me gushing way too much but ALL THE FEELS from this book! It’s so lighthearted and it makes me so happy ^_^

13. My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick. This is proof that you should always listen to book pushers: I almost didn’t read it, but I’m BEYOND glad that I did! Another that made my heart so happy ❤

So, I only did 13. Not too horrible! I can restrain myself after all. Also, a fun note: you can tell how my reading mood has changed over the last five months. Darker, more sci-fi and fantasy books, gradually moving towards light and summery contemporaries.

That’s my list for this week – link me yours below!

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Review Roundup: January – April, Pt. I

Round up pt 1

Since the beginning of the year, I’ve read 51 books. Yes, 51. That’s actually way more than I had thought. Woohoo! Clearly, I haven’t reviewed 51 books. Not even close. So, since I’m so backlogged on my reviews, I’m going to shove them all together and give a bunch of mini-reviews *mini meaning three-ish paragraphs, since I clearly cannot contain myself when I start typing* This is part one, part two will eventually be along. Eventually. This isn’t to say that I disliked them, in fact, only one out of the seven received less than four stars! Most are some of my favorites, so be prepared for some fangirling!

Oh, and it’s very late and I’ve slept very little, so SPOILER ALERTS since I’m too exhausted to censor myself. Also, forgive the grammar.

Title: Pushing the Limits
Author: Katie McGarry
How Did I Get It? Bought it
Format? Hardback
Find it: Goodreads

After I read Crash Into You, I knew I needed to go back to the beginning. So with my Christmas money, I bought the entire series, and binged them all. OMG SO WORTH IT. My heart broke for Noah and Echo, and honestly I teared up so many times because why can’t life just give them a break. But that’s why these are my favorite books — they’re about beaten down people who just keep fighting and I had that swelling in my heart where I’m like THESE ARE MY BABIES and cheering them on from the sidelines as they defeat their demons and fall in love along the way. Because clearly Echo and Noah were made for each other. Clearly.

Also, besides the romance, Noah’s journey with his brothers were alternately heart-breaking/heart-warming. The maturity was astounding, but at the same time I just kept asking whyyyyy why so much pain why can’t they all be happy and live in one big house with like 20 families shoved together?? But the resolution was the best I could have hoped for, and McGarry handled it so well.

A new favorite for sure, and I’m already re-reading it barely 3 months later!

My Final Rating:

Anchors Aweigh

Title: Dare You To
Author: Katie McGarry
How Did I Get It? Bought it
Format? Hardback
Find it: Goodreads

 McGarry has done it again. Honestly, you would think I’d get tired of the formula being reworked a bit each time to get the almost-same story, but hot diggity I’ll be buying book 23 when I’m in a wheelchair if it kills me. This time, it’s punk Beth and jock Ryan — who, by the way, stole my heart with his little writer soul. I really connected to Ryan more than Beth, actually, just because I know several people who are in his position, and I wished I could help him just as much as I yearn to help those real-life people.

BUT THE RAIN WATER AND THE RIBBONS SOMEONE PLEASE HOLD ME.

Ahem. Anyway, I loved it. Plain and simple. I will admit that it’s my least favorite of the series, but by like .025 percent. Please don’t make me pick my favorite of the three. And God help me when Take Me On is released and I fall in love with West even though he was a royal douchebag in Crash Into You. I’m really hoping that Ryan and Beth are somehow incorporated – I missed them when I was reading CIY!

My Final Rating:

Anchors Aweigh

Title: Pivot Point
Author: Kasie West
How Did I Get It? Bought it
Format? Hardback
Find it: Goodreads

Even though I’m more open to paranormal nowadays, I still prefer the lighter stuff. This is more of a contemporary, except the chapters alternate between the Para world and the Norm world. I prefer the Norm world, because TREVOR. I think it’s also because the world-building was a bit lacking in this one, so in the Norm world it was easier to pretend that this was a contemporary book with a girl who just so happened to be able to see the future every once in a while.

The concept was great, and while there was a bit of a falter in the execution, I thought that overall it was really interesting! Plus, having the vocabulary words at the top of each chapter was really cool – I loved how PARA or NORM was in brackets, so you could tell which world Addie was in in that chapter. Overall, an enjoyable read (that ending left me going WHAT), but I’m not running out to buy Split Second.

My Final Rating:

Four Anchors

Title: Clockwork Angel
Author: Cassandra Clare
How Did I Get It? Bought it
Format? Paperback
Find it: Goodreads

Okay, I totally get it. I REALLY enjoyed Clockwork Angel, even more so than The Mortal Instruments I think! I enjoyed Tessa’s spunk, and her fighting personality. Plus, Jem. Oh my poor heart it has been stolen by Jem Carstairs ❤ Veronica can have Will for all I care – he really came off as a huge douchebag. I’m sure I’ll find the chip on his shoulder in book two, but for now I’m satisfied with being a Jessa shipper.

The steampunk feel was something I hadn’t read before, so that was a nice foray into new territory. And YAY for Tessa not being a Shadowhunter! I mean, she’s still badass, but I love how she’s not just a perfect fit into the group like Clary was with the Lightwoods as far as same species(?) sort of thing. I can’t wait to read Clockwork Prince, but I’m also so terribly afraid of the feels because I know they’re coming and I’ll have to go buy tissues for all this emotion.

My Final Rating:

Five Anchors

Title: Scarlet
Author: Marissa Meyer
How Did I Get It? Bought it
Format? Hardback
Find it: Goodreads

 Ajljfklajfdsd. The love for this book cannot even be put into words ❤ Cinder was good, but not great. Scarlet was not only great, but it was AMAZEBALLS. Scarlet’s sass and boldness was so refreshing: she was bold and dynamic and I love her to pieces. Wolf was just… oh man. He’s perfect. He’s perfect and she’s perfect and they’re PERFECT together and I ship it. So hard. The twist about Wolf’s past was unexpected, and I’m pretty sure I scraped my chin on the floor.

On the other side of the story, Cinder with Thorne was an amazing plot as well. Their sarcastic, slightly antagonistic friendship was so refreshing in that it was purely platonic, and there was never a love triangle trying to enter the fray! Plus, Thorne is Thorne. And he’s flawless, in a totally flawed sort of way. He’s arrogant, swaggering, and a bit of an ass at times, but at the base of it all he’s got a heart of gold and the compassion to go with it.

Okay, okay, I’ll stop. READ THIS SERIES PLEASE DO NOT WAIT LIKE I DID. Seriously, this has broken the “bad book two” curse.

My Final Rating:

Anchors Aweigh

Title: The Archived
Author: Victoria Schwab
How Did I Get It? Bought it
Format? Paperback
Find it: Goodreads

I’ll admit, the beginning of this book was a bit slow. After a chilling prologue that sets up this gloomy, mysterious atmosphere, I felt kind of let down for the first few chapters. But then things really started picking up, and I found myself sucked into the story completely! Once the whole Wesley plot twist came into play, I was sold. Okay — Wes. He’s so atypical; the flashy hair, painted nails, a total non-pretty boy. But he was goofy, and charming, and a great friend for Mac. Can I please find someone who will read me Dante while I clean the kitchen??

About 2/3 of the way through, the plot slowed down again for me, but that may just be because I don’t like mysteries all that much and I hate being led on. So it’s a personal issue, and I mostly got over it. The other thing that bothered me was Mac’s attitude towards the Histories: she really slacked off on her responsibilities, and I just kept thinking, aren’t you supposed to be doing this as your job?? But by the end, I liked her again, and the ending made me smile. I won a copy of The Unbound, so I’ll get to reading that one eventually too.

My Final Rating:

Four Anchors

Title: The Shadowhunter’s Codex
Author: Cassandra Clare & Joshua Lewis
How Did I Get It? Bought it
Format? Hardback
Find it: Goodreads

 I read this back when I was binging the entire Mortal Instruments series (though I stopped after City of Glass). It was after CoG, so right when I was losing that ardor I had. It was a nice way to say goodbye to the series for a while. The whole idea was great – more world building for the Shadowhunter world – but ultimately it came off as a schoolbook rather than an extra add-on. Some parts were pretty dry, and I found myself skimming in certain chapters.

HOWEVER! I really loved all the written in notes from Clary, Jace, and Simon, as well as the doodles on some of the pages. The characters were sassy, if a bit goofy, and it gave some levity to the dryness of the pages. So ultimately I’m glad I read the Codex, because I have a better understanding of the Shadowhunter world, but it’s something that now that I’ve read it, I’ll just peruse every once in a while and pick what chapter to look at.

My Final Rating:

Three Anchor

Alternate Reality Giveaway: Fairytale Retellings

Alternate Reality GiveawayWelcome to the third discussion post for Veronica’s and my giveaway extravaganza! Today I’ll be discussing fairy tales and the trend that I’ve been seeing lately of adapting these tales to darker YA books.

There are three books that I’ll use as my examples today:

Splintered is a retelling of the Alice In Wonderland stories, Cruel Beauty a remix of Beauty and the Beast, and Scarlet a sci-fi infused Red Riding Hood.

Why I Love This Trend

First of all, I know it’s been around for forever, taking all the old fairytales and turning them into updated stories, but it seems to me that there’s been a bigger wave of these kinds of stories coming around in the YA sphere lately, especially with the release of Cress. I’m not a huge fan of the original tales, for whatever reason (I haven’t actually sat down and thought out a reason), but when the basic themes and plot points are turned into science fiction and heavy fantasy, then I’m hooked!

While I haven’t read as many of these types of stories as I’d like, what I have experienced of the trend is fantastic. Especially Scarlet (which is a favorite of mine), and how Red Riding Hood as a character was changed from a quiet girl into this badass chick who doesn’t take any fooling around – her main goal is to save her grandma, no matter the consequences.

I think that’s what this trend comes down to for me, now that I think about it. All of these old tales, which I love – don’t get me wrong, can tend to be a bit sexist. I mean, not every girl is a damsel in distress, right? Some are – which is why I’m really excited to read Cress and see the title character, who everyone says isn’t as bold as the two other protagonists, but is still a strong female character.

I love seeing all these different facets of women, and how they can be bold and courageous and kickass, but are still able to fall in love, be feminine, and, well, be a girl without being put into the submissive position. I think it’s something very important to represent in YA lit, and as far as I’m concerned, this trend can stay as long as it wants!

Spotlight on Cruel Beauty

As part of our giveaway, Veronica and I are offering one ARC copy of Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge to our grand prize winner. Here’s some more information on the book – take a look!

Graceling meets Beauty and the Beast in this sweeping fantasy about one girl’s journey to fulfill her destiny and the monster who gets in her way-by stealing her heart.

Based on the classic fairy tale Beauty and the Beast, Cruel Beauty is a dazzling love story about our deepest desires and their power to change our destiny.

Since birth, Nyx has been betrothed to the evil ruler of her kingdom-all because of a foolish bargain struck by her father. And since birth, she has been in training to kill him.

With no choice but to fulfill her duty, Nyx resents her family for never trying to save her and hates herself for wanting to escape her fate. Still, on her seventeenth birthday, Nyx abandons everything she’s ever known to marry the all-powerful, immortal Ignifex. Her plan? Seduce him, destroy his enchanted castle, and break the nine-hundred-year-old curse he put on her people.

But Ignifex is not at all what Nyx expected. The strangely charming lord beguiles her, and his castle-a shifting maze of magical rooms-enthralls her.

As Nyx searches for a way to free her homeland by uncovering Ignifex’s secrets, she finds herself unwillingly drawn to him. Even if she could bring herself to love her sworn enemy, how can she refuse her duty to kill him? With time running out, Nyx must decide what is more important: the future of her kingdom, or the man she was never supposed to love.

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Top Ten Books in the Sci-fi Genre

TTT BannerTop Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and The Bookish. Check out their amazing blog here!

Today’s TTT topic is: Top Ten All Time Favorite Books in X Genre. I’ve chosen science fiction, since the last time I did this one I think I chose fantasy. Most of you probably remember that I was on a gigantic sci-fi kick for the first two months of 2014 – here are some of my favorites!

1. Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury. This was the first sci-fi book I ever read, and it’s still one of my favorites. It was the book that inspired me to be a writer – I wanted to inspire others just as Bradbury had changed me!

2. Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card. Another book that changed my way of thinking and opened up so many possibilities as far as how I considered problems. 

3. Control by Lydia Kang. While this one had some faults (which I’ll talk about when I review it next week), the basic ideas that Kang started as far as the genetically-linked abilities really has some potential and I’m very excited to see how they develop in the second book.

4. Altered by Jennifer Rush. For sure an underrated series – and Andi agrees with me! There’s some romance, some action, and a whole lot of mysterious genetic tricks going on.

5. Scarlet by Marissa Meyer. While Cinder was a great start to the series, Scarlet is really what sold me on the whole thing. I loved the fiery nature of Scarlet, and with the Lunar tech involved, I couldn’t put it down. 

6. Avalon by Mindee Arnett. Well I know that half of you don’t like the similarities to Firefly, but I freaking LOVED it. The characters, the adventures, the space – PERFECT!

7. The Program by Suzanne Young. This one has a bit more contemporary in it, but the basic ideas are sci-fi based. It’s an interesting take on depression and mental illness as well – I highly recommend it!

8. Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi. This is like fantasy and sci-fi blended, and while I haven’t read the second or third books, this one had some technology that kind of reminds me of that new book coming out this month called Elusion. I’d have liked to see more of the tech, but the fantasy bits were great as well. 

9. Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins. Okay, I know it isn’t pure science fiction, but there’s enough of it in there I think. To be honest I just really wanted to include this book because I’m watching the movie right now and it’s just fdjakslfjas;fed *flails*

10. The Testing by Joelle Charbonneau. More dystopian than sci-fi, but it has some sci-fi roots as far as the technology and such. It’s race-based, but the beginning and the school parts are really interesting, despite the fact that the characters are just sitting at desks.

That’s my list for this week – link me yours below!