Monthly Archives: December 2015

River’s 2016 Bookish resolutions and 2015 end of year survey

So last year I wrote this post with my bookish resolutions… let’s see how I did!!!

1) Read 100 books or more (or less).
I did it!!!! I read 158 books in 2015! Boom!
2016: Read 100 books or more again!

2) Review better.
I DID!!! I don’t think I missed writing any reviews in 2015! I think the only things I didn’t review were DNFs, backlist, and things not given to me by the pub. Go me!
2016: Keep up the good work!

3) Read my own books.
Okay I don’t think I did this as much as I had wanted to… but I did manage to read a good handful from my TBR non-ARC shelf. But I need to do better with this.
2016: Read MORE of my backlist!

4) Get a library card.
I did! I got one for the Cambridge Public library. Now to just use it…
2016: Use said library card and go to the library!

5) Buy less.
Oh yay I stuck to this pretty well. I only bought a few eBooks (that were on sale) and then just a few physical books here and there (at events, or sales). I feel good about this! I did do a lot of book trading, but that was super cheap so yay!
2016: Keep buying less books!

6) Blog more!
Okay this is something that I still majorly failed at. I just… I don’t know. I like blogging, but whenever I sit down to do it I just find other things that I’d rather do. Honestly if I didn’t have The Best Co-Blogger In The World this blog probably would have died a slow death a long time ago…
2016: Blog when I can. And try to be more personal.

7) Book events!
Oh yes I did this! I went to a lot of events and I had so much fun and made actual friends and yes. I am going to ALAMW next weekend!
2016: Go to more select events. So I went to a lot of author events last year and a few were just random and not even for authors that I was interested in. I feel like I bought a few books that I prob wont read (okay I did buy a few books that I wont read) and this year I want to focus more on either big events (ALAMW, BTAF, BEA) or events featuring authors that I am actually interested in. It was fun to go to All The Things because I could, but now I want to narrow it down a little bit more…

8) Purge the shelves.
Okay I did this too! I did a lot of booksfortrade on twitter (until it started to suck) and started a book swap party with my local book friends! I have GAINED a lot of books but it’s more of a collection now than just a ton of books that I might read. I still have a few piles of books that I am iffy about but… it’s much better!
2016: Keep on getting rid of books that I don’t LOVE and keeping only the favs!

9) Less eBooks.
Ah yes I did this too! I think I only bought 3-5 eBooks and that was ONLY when they were on sale.
2016: Same!

10) Be less OCD and anal about everything book related.
Hahaha yeah right. If anything I learned that OCD isn’t something that just goes away…
2016: Just be myself!

All right so those are my new book resolutions! What are some of yours?

And now I leave you with…

 

2015-end-of-year-book-survey-1024x984-900x865

It’s that time of year again (crazy huh?) Did I even do this last year? I can’t remember… ALAS. I am doing it again. Without further preamble…

2015 Reading Stats

Number Of Books You Read:
Number of Re-Reads: 2
Genre You Read The Most From: Contemporary

Best in Books

1. Best Book You Read In 2015?
Wolf by Wolf by Ryan Graudin

2. Book You Were Excited About & Thought You Were Going To Love More But Didn’t?
Tonight the Streets are Ours by Leila Sales

3. Most surprising (in a good way or bad way) book you read?
Illusionarium by Heather Dixon (did NOT expect to love it as much as I did!)

4. Book You “Pushed” The Most People To Read (And They Did)?
Wolf by Wolf. I made Maggie Stiefvater read this book (or at least I got the publisher to send her a copy). My mom also pre-ordered it. And of course all my friends read it.

5. Best series you started in 2015? Best Sequel of 2015? Best Series Ender of 2015?
Series: Wolf by Wolf
Sequel: Ten Thousand Skies Above You
Ender: Hollowgirl

6. Favorite new author you discovered in 2015?
Mackenzi Lee (This Monstrous Thing) (More like favorite new FRIEND)

7. Best book from a genre you don’t typically read/was out of your comfort zone?
Salt & Storm by Kendall Kulper

8. Most action-packed/thrilling/unputdownable book of the year?
Wolf by Wolf

9. Book You Read In 2015 That You Are Most Likely To Re-Read Next Year?
Wolf by Wolf

10. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2015?
myu

11. Most memorable character of 2015?
Oliver Finch from This Monstrous Thing by Mackenzi Lee

12. Most beautifully written book read in 2015?
The Weight of Feathers by Anna-Marie McLemore

13. Most Thought-Provoking/ Life-Changing Book of 2015?
The Night We Said Yes by Lauren Gibraldi

14. Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2015 to finally read?
Finnikin of the Rock!

15. Favorite Passage/Quote From A Book You Read In 2015?

16.Shortest & Longest Book You Read In 2015?
Shortest: Breathe by  Anne-Sophie Brasme
Longest: Symbiont by Mira Grant

17. Book That Shocked You The Most
What We Saw by Aaron Hartzler

18. OTP OF THE YEAR (you will go down with this ship!)
ME X OLIVER FINCH (THIS MONSTROUS THING)

19. Favorite Non-Romantic Relationship Of The Year
Oliver and Alasdair Finch (brothers in This Monstrous Thing)

20. Favorite Book You Read in 2015 From An Author You’ve Read Previously
Wolf by Wolf

21. Best Book You Read In 2015 That You Read Based SOLELY On A Recommendation From Somebody Else/Peer Pressure:
A Court of Thorns and Roses by S.J. Maas

22. Newest fictional crush from a book you read in 2015?
Oliver Finch

23. Best 2015 debut you read?
The Night we Said Yes

24. Best Worldbuilding/Most Vivid Setting You Read This Year?
The Unquiet by Mikaela Everett

25. Book That Put A Smile On Your Face/Was The Most FUN To Read?
The Revenge Playbook by Rachel Allen

26. Book That Made You Cry Or Nearly Cry in 2015?
The Year we Fell Apart by Emily Martin

27. Hidden Gem Of The Year?
The Night We Said Yes

28. Book That Crushed Your Soul?
Violent Ends

29. Most Unique Book You Read In 2015?
Illuminae

30. Book That Made You The Most Mad (doesn’t necessarily mean you didn’t like it)?
The Ruby Circle (cuz wtf at the end of it all)

Your blogging / bookish life

1. New favorite book blog you discovered in 2015?
Uhhh… not really blogs but how about people? And the blogs attached to them? Melissa and Nicole and Mackenzi… they all have blogs!

2. Favorite review that you wrote in 2015?
¯\_(ツ)_/¯

3. Best discussion/non-review post you had on your blog?
¯\_(ツ)_/¯

4. Best event that you participated in (author signings, festivals, virtual events, memes, etc.)?
Boston Teen Author Fest!

5. Best moment of bookish/blogging life in 2015?
MAGGIE FOLLOWED ME ON TWITTER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

6. Most challenging thing about blogging or your reading life this year?
Having time for it!

7. Most Popular Post This Year On Your Blog (whether it be by comments or views)?
Really way too lazy to check.

8. Post You Wished Got A Little More Love?
¯\_(ツ)_/¯

9. Best bookish discover (book related sites, book stores, etc.)?
Not really a discovery… but starting our ARC trading party! So much fun!

10. Did you complete any reading challenges or goals that you had set for yourself at the beginning of this year?
I wrote about this at the top!

Looking Ahead

1. One Book You Didn’t Get To In 2015 But Will Be Your Number 1 Priority in 2016?
Drift & Dagger!

2. Book You Are Most Anticipating For 2016 (non-debut)?
Is this even a question? THE RAVEN KING THE RAVEN KING THE RAVEN KING

3. 2016 Debut You Are Most Anticipating?
I am honestly not even sure…

4. Series Ending/A Sequel You Are Most Anticipating in 2016?
THE. RAVEN. KING.

5. One Thing You Hope To Accomplish Or Do In Your Reading/Blogging Life In 2016?
To do more of it D:

6. A 2016 Release You’ve Already Read & Recommend To Everyone:
The Darkest Corners!!!

 

HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYONE!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Bookish & Blogging Resolutions for 2016

If you can all believe it, 2016 is happening in a few days and if I’m being honest: I still haven’t read everything I wanted to read. I realize it’s impossible to read everything you want to read, but dammit, I tried. I thought I’d try to layout some resolutions this year and see how I do. I’m not the best at keeping resolutions, but I’m going to try.

  1. In 2015 I participated in the Book Riot Read Harder Challenge, and I did not complete it. I was one book away from completing it, but it was a book I just wasn’t in the mood for. Part of my issue is I am a mood reader, and if I don’t feel in the mood for the book I am reading, I set it aside until I’m ready to read it. Considering I read 400+ books in 2015, I think it’s okay to have not completed this challenge. What I learned from the Book Riot Challenge is that while it’s great to read things out of your comfort zone, sometimes you just don’t want to be restricted to what you’re reading. So in 2016, I’m going to just work on reading whatever the heck I want and not make reading feel like a job.
  2. So my Goodreads Goal in 2015 was 311 books (which was the amount I completed in 2014). My goal for 2016 is going to be 200 books, and if I exceed that (which apparently is totally do-able because I am a crazy person), then I will bump it up. However, I’m not going to try to do 400ish books again because lets face it, you REALLY don’t remember what you read.
  3. Read at least 100 books from my personal TBR Shelf of Shame. I have roughly 200+ physical books that I haven’t read yet, and I’ve made it a priority to read what I can, and if it’s not a favourite or a book I want to loan to friends then I donate it to the public library I work at. I want to work on paring my shelves down, because I just own too many books. I want to read ALL of them, but I also need to make space!
  4. Participate in more read-a-thons. I LOVE read-a-thons and find them to be fantastic motivators to work through my TBR. Especially if they have challenges because it forces me to read some of the older stuff on my shelves, which I often need more encouragement to tackle. 2016 has a few read-a-thons I’m already aware of, so I’ll be diving in (Such as #TBRTakedown!)
  5. To not be bound to my ARC pile. River and I get a stupid amount of ARCs in the mail — we love reviewing books for you guys, but I do find that sometimes I tend to put my ARC pile over my regular reading pile and that’s kinda bad given that it means I don’t tackle my personal books as much. I usually try to do one ARC, then a personal book, then an ARC again and for the most part that methods works, but sometimes I want to just read what I want when I want.
  6. Less library books. So fact about me: I’m a library technician who works in both an academic library and a public library. Guess who brings books home from work a lot. Yeah, this is pretty tough for me, especially because when I’m doing rovering reference I tend to find stuff on the shelves that I’m like “Oooooo I need to borrow this” and then I do, and then I neglect my personal book piles. Currently I have four books out, so once I read those, I think I’ll just do stacks of four that way I’m not going too crazy with my holds. We’ll see though.
  7. Finish at least five series. I love my book series, and I always end up in the middle of too many at once. I want to just sit down and finish a few, or at least get myself caught up in the series if it’s incomplete. There’s nothing worse than starting a series you enjoyed and then being like, “Why haven’t I read the next one yet?” especially when you own it. The five series I’d like to catch up on/finish are: The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer (I just need to read Winter!), The Reckoners trilogy (just need to read Calamity when it releases) by Brandon Sanderson,  The Fairyland series by Cathrynne M. Valente (just need to read books 4 and 5!), the Salavage duology by Alexandra Duncan (I own both books, just need to sit and read them!) and lastly, the Dreamdark duology by Laini Taylor because I have had them forever.
  8. Read more Adult Fiction. Since I started blogging with River, my main focus has been on YA and Middle Grade (mainly because in my public library work that’s the demographic I work with), so adult fiction tends to get pushed aside. Sadly thing is, I LOVE IT. Especially a meaty fantasy series, so I need to get back on this train. Hell, even some non-fiction would be good too!
  9. Write more personal posts. I used to do this all the time and now it’s something I hardly do. I’m a bit shy when it comes to talking about myself, mostly due to my anxiety or because I’ve been burned by people in the past. Reviewing and blogging helps me work all of that out, but I’m still nervous about talking personally about myself. Hopefully I can break this habit and try to share more personal stuff (even if it’s slightly bookish too) too.
  10. Just continue to love reading and blogging. I love this community so much and River has been an amazing piece of encouragement for me, especially for bouncing ideas off of, venting, and just goofing around and being silly. She’s a huge part of why I do things here, and I love sharing my reading experiences with her. Reading is something that keeps me grounded, and while I have no desire to ever be a published author, reading is not just for pleasure as it’s a huge part of my library work. I want it to be more pleasure based again though, and that’s something I need to work on balancing.

What are some of your bookish resolutions? I’d love to know if any of what I’ve posted above is something you struggle with or if it’s something you also want to work on. Here’s to a fantastic 2016, full of happiness and good books!

ARC Review – This Is Where It Ends by Marieke Nijkamp

24529123Title:  This Is Where It Ends

Author: Marieke Nijkamp

Rating: ★★★

Synopsis: 10:00 a.m.
The principal of Opportunity, Alabama’s high school finishes her speech, welcoming the entire student body to a new semester and encouraging them to excel and achieve.

10:02 a.m.
The students get up to leave the auditorium for their next class.

10:03
The auditorium doors won’t open.

10:05
Someone starts shooting.

Told over the span of 54 harrowing minutes from four different perspectives, terror reigns as one student’s calculated revenge turns into the ultimate game of survival.

Huge thank you to Raincoast Books/Sourcebooks Fire and Netgalley for this ARC!

Sam’s Review:

Ever read a book where you read the synopsis and it turns out to be exactly as the back says? To the letter, no less? That is what reading This Is Where It Ends was for me, and in a lot of ways I was surprised I didn’t enjoy this book as much as the synopsis would have led me to believe.

I love diverse YA, I equally love tough issue YA, and yet this book didn’t draw any emotion from me. That bothers me too given a lot of what the synopsis promised, but I found this book very hard to connect with. Part of it was that we have some many points of view, which is both a point in the books favour, but a point against it. I loved the multiple points of view and how it was used to layer the disturbance present in this novel, but I disliked that the characters didn’t have much personality or something to connect with. It made for both a great and frustrating experience, because while I loved seeing Tyler from each of their eyes, I still felt like I didn’t know these characters very well, even up until the end.

For a book about a school lockdown and shooting, there was a lot that felt very convenient in the story to move it along. Perhaps it’s me comparing it to school shootings that have occurred in the news in the past, but part of me expected a bit more of an onslaught from Tyler’s part, given the level of revenge he wanted to take on his classmates and the school. I wasn’t shocked or surprised by the outcome of this book, and I felt as if it was the only way the author could have ended the book… but I was mad that I didn’t show any emotion over the story or its characters. I should have given their horrific circumstances, but alas, it didn’t happen.

That’s not to say that this is a bad book! Far from it, the writing is quite good and engaging, and it’s a quick read too. I think I just would have connected to this book more had I found characters to latch onto, and you know, hadn’t readViolent Ends earlier in the year. This book is an interesting perspective of school shootings and how people crack under emotional pressure, and if you like that sort of thing, I’d recommend it. If you love a character driven novel, you won’t find that here, I’m afraid.

 

Feature — My True Love Gave to Me: Twelve Holiday Stories

MyTrueLoveGaveToMe_animated_PS[4]My True Love Gave to Me: Twelve Holiday Stories

If you love holiday stories, holiday movies, made-for-TV-holiday specials, holiday episodes of your favorite sitcoms and, especially, if you love holiday anthologies, you’re going to fall in love with My True Love Gave To Me: Twelve Holiday Stories by twelve bestselling young adult writers, edited by international bestselling author Stephanie Perkins. Whether you enjoy celebrating Christmas or Hanukkah, Winter Solstice or New Year’s there’s something here for everyone. So curl up by the fireplace and get cozy. You have twelve reasons this season to stay indoors and fall in love.

Huge thank you to St. Martin’s Press for sending me a finished copy of this!!!

Guys guys guys *points to book cover* IT’S MOVING!!!! Ahh so cute. I love this book so much. I actually am using it as a Christmas decoration in my home right now. It is just that perfect. So I was VERY excited when St. Martin’s Press asked me if I would feature it on my blog. I was like duh!!!! Everyone needs to read this book because it is the most PERFECT holiday read out there! Out of the twelve stories it’s so hard to choose my favorites, but I think that White, Rowell, & Black’s are my favs. But I read them all (which is rare for me when it comes to anthologies of short stories. I usually skip and pick and choose) and really enjoyed each one.

I think the best thing about this book is that it celebrates the winter holidays in very unique ways. Don’t think of his as a Christmas book. It has way more than just Christmas to offer. So dive in, or pick up a copy and pass it on (as I am! This is going to be my sister’s Christmas present… shhhh don’t tell!)

Happy Holiday’s friends!!!!

ARC Review – Worlds of Ink and Shadow by Lena Coakley

25818163Title:  Worlds of Ink and Shadow

Author: Lena Coakley

Rating: ★★★★

Synopsis: Charlotte, Branwell, Emily, and Anne. The Brontë siblings have always been inseparable. After all, nothing can bond four siblings quite like life in an isolated parsonage out on the moors. Their vivid imaginations lend them escape from their strict upbringing, actually transporting them into their created worlds: the glittering Verdopolis and the romantic and melancholy Gondal. But at what price? As Branwell begins to slip into madness and the sisters feel their real lives slipping away, they must weigh the cost of their powerful imaginations, even as their characters—the brooding Rogue and dashing Duke of Zamorna—refuse to let them go.

Gorgeously written and based on the Brontës’ juvenilia, Worlds of Ink & Shadow brings to life one of history’s most celebrated literary families.

Huge thank you to Harper Collins Canada for this ARC!

Sam’s Review:

Back in the summer of 2015, I had the pleasure attending the Harper Collins’ Frenzy event. The event’s guest of honour was Lena Coakley, and she was there to promote and share Worlds of Ink and Shadow with all the bloggers in attendance.

I was smitten with the premise. While I am not the biggest Brontes fan (I am very team Anne though!), something about this story sounded really amazing and kind of crazy at the same time. After chatting with Lena a bit, she explained that she had done an intense amount of research for this novel, and after reading it, it truly shows.

This book is about imagination and the way in which the Brontes’ in a lot of ways, lived in their own minds while crafting some of their childhood characters. It does make for a weird, almost meta reading experience, but I found myself really enjoying this aspect of the novel. Sometimes the switch in perspective can make this book a tad difficult to read, but I enjoyed the creative license that Coakley took with the siblings and the worlds that they dreamed of.

I think part of why I also enjoyed this novel may be because I’m not a huge Brontes fan. I admittedly didn’t like Wuthering Heights or Jane Eyre, and I only knew snippets of their lives based on what I studied in my literature courses. I think because I’m not a fan of the Brontes core works, it made me appreciate them more as people when reading this novel.

The way in which the worlds and fantasy blend together in this book though, it’s truly magical. Coakley’s writing is lovely, and while the concepts feel challenging at times, I really enjoyed the way in which she made me character about this family and their characters. I loved Rogue, and Anne was such a Grumpy Gus at times in this story (yet she cares about her siblings. A lot.) Having the worlds bleeding together is such an interesting concept, and while it’s been done before, I liked that Coakley blurred the lines between reality and fantasy, making it difficult to distinguish.

I really enjoyed reading Worlds of Ink and Shadow. While I had the odd moment of having to reread bits to make sure I understood what was happening, I loved the ride. If you have any invested interest in the Brontes or you just want to read something where fact and fiction feel obscured, this is a book you may want to put on your radar.

ARC Review – Paper Wishes by Lois Sepahban

25667444Title:  Paper Wishes

Author: Lois Sepahban

Rating: ★★★★★

Synopsis: A moving debut novel about a girl whose family is relocated to a Japanese internment camp during World War II–and the dog she has to leave behind.

Ten-year-old Manami did not realize how peaceful her family’s life on Bainbridge Island was until the day it all changed. It’s 1942, after the attack on Pearl Harbor, and Manami and her family are Japanese American, which means that the government says they must leave their home by the sea and join other Japanese Americans at a prison camp in the desert. Manami is sad to go, but even worse is that they are going to have to give her dog, Yujiin, to a neighbor to take care of. Manami decides to sneak Yujiin under her coat, but she is caught and forced to abandon him. She is devastated but clings to the hope that somehow Yujiin will find his way to the camp and make her family whole again. It isn’t until she finds a way to let go of her guilt that Manami can accept all that has happened to her family.

Huge thank you to Raincoast for this ARC!

Sam’s Review:

I seem to be a magnet for books about young girls and their dogs. Authors who write these kinds of books and I always seem to connect instantly, and Lois Sepahban’s book is not exception. Mind you, this book also focuses on the Japanese internment camps, something I admit, I knew about, but didn’t entirely understand the lengths of.

This book is simple, if beautiful written. It looks at the story of a girl who is whisked away from her normal life and thrown into an internment camp due to the bombing of Pearl Harbor. Many Japanese families are forced into these camps under levels of suspicion, but when our heroine Manami is torn away from Yujiin her dog, let’s just say I bawled.

Then when other dogs started to hang about the camp, yet Manami was still dreaming of Yujiin, I bawled again.

Manami’s simple narrative carries the reader through this rough historical period in a way that is very honest and quite blunt. You get a sense that her innocence has been completely lost, and all she has now to gain is experience. She’s so young to have her innocence taken from her due to the threats of war, but you understand (as she does) that there is more than meets the eye in her current situation.

This book beautifully illustrates family, companionship between a girl and her dog, friendship, and it does it all in a way that is both easy, yet powerful to read. This book is so short, yet it packs such a large, hard hitting punch. It makes you come to terms with how history has a way of displacing people and making them feel like even if they are innocent of a crime, the world doesn’t necessarily see it that way. I felt for Manami and her family, but mostly I spent a lot of the book just wishing and hoping that Manami and Yujiin would be reunited.

Paper Wishes is a beautiful and melancholy novel. It doesn’t ask a lot of the reader, but it wants to paint the picture of displacement in a way that many can understand. I highly recommend this book if you love learning about Japanese history or you want a touching middle grade tale.

Book Review – The Secret Loves of Geek Girls, edited by Hope Nicholson

26094420Title:  The Secret Loves of Geek Girls

Edited by: Hope Nicholson

Rating: ★★★★★

Synopsis: Secret Loves of Geek Girls is an exciting new nonfiction anthology of comic and prose stories from women in fandom. All the stories in this collection revolve around personal experiences and thoughts on romance, sex, and dating.

Sam’s Review:

Truthfully, I don’t read a lot of non-fiction. This is probably due to the fact that I haven’t found a lot of non-fiction that interests me. When I saw the pitch for The Secret Loves of Geek Girls on Kickstarter, I knew I had to have it. After reading it, I’m glad with how it all turned out in the end.

This book features short essays and comics focusing on love, dating, fandom, sexuality, feminism, etc. It provides tons of unique perspectives, especially with how fandoms play a larger role in women’s lives and why it is a part of who they are. Fandom is something everyone is a part of, and there is no one true fandom! Plus we get various points of view from women of color, bisexuals, older women, younger women, and it’s fantastic! It’s such a great variety, and each story evokes its own tone of voice.

I can only hope more people check this book out now that it has released to a larger public. It’s sweet, earnest, crass and you won’t find uniquer voices than what’s in this collection. Every story offers something to learn, a perspective that may be you the reader hasn’t thought of, and I loved how it kept my curiosity busy. Definitely check this out if you want to read some wonderfully realistic and thoughtful stories.