Bring it, 2013.

So obviously I've got a lot cookin in 2013 what with having a new life that I'm completely responsible for taking care of, but that doesn't mean my bookish loves will go away completely! Plus I've got like 5 good months of reading before bebe comes...that's something. Right? Right?!

Anyway. I'm scaling back on the challenges since I will be having the baby in May, but I'm still going to set some goals for myself! You all can lol forever at me when I fail miserably. That's okay. I can take it.

Obviously, I shall be doing the 2013 Debut Author Challenge again this year! Hey, I didn't do too bad last year. And since I'm helping with the DAC ARC Tours, it's a natural fit. The books I'm interested in trying to get to in 2013 are: 
+6 to be determined reads. Because I like to leave some things up in the air, okay?

Let's be real. I've read a lot of first books in a series but then never get around to the second (or third) books. SO. This Sequel Challenge sounds pretty dang perfect for me. Especially because I can set the goal as whatever I want it to be! For the record, any book after the 1st one counts so HOLLA. I'm going with 13 sequels. 
Bitterblue by Kristen Cashore. (Book#3) Lucky for me, I'm already doing a readalong. Sneaky, huh?
Frostbite, Shadow Kiss, Blood Promise, Spirit Bound , and Last Sacrifice by Richelle Mead. I plan on finishing VA in 2013! You heard it here first, folks.
The Titan's Curse, The Battle of the Labyrinth, and The Last Olympian in the Percy Jackson series by Rick Riordan. PERCY JACKSON, Y'ALL.

You guys, I have a box set of the first 7 books or something of this series and I still haven't read them all! I KNOW. I'm going to try and do the Level 1: Just A Drop challenge for this and read 1-4 of them. I've read through book #5, which just leaves two for me to read that are on my shelf. If I totally get smitten with them again, I may hit up le library for the rest. But, again, I need to pace myself!
Definitely Dead (#6) and All Together Dead (#7) by Charlaine Harris

Since I'll totally need to be saving money for baby, this is a good challenge for me. Read what I have! AND I still have the rest of 2012 to sneak in some more books to my bookshelf. Mwahaha! I'll be participating in this challenge at the A Sweet Kiss (21-30 Books) Level. 

I don't reread my books often enough. I just don't. I insist on buying them because I want to reread them and then new lovelies come into my life and...well. You know. This challenge is wide open with the expectations, which is wonderful because I'm feeling pretty specific about what I want to reread this coming year. 

I know. I'm probably really crazy. Even if I don't meet all of these challenges, I'm hoping to still read 50 books in 2013. Wish me luck! 

Are you doing any challenges? If so, please share! I'd love to see what else is out there and cheer you on! 

Happy New Year! 

Review: Unravel Me by Tahereh Mafi





Title: Unravel Me (Shatter Me #2)
Author: Tahereh Mafi 
Publisher: HarperCollins
Release Date: February 2013
Source: A particularly wonderful bookish friend.

Amazon | Goodreads | Author Blog | Twitter




Obviously I can’t (okay fine I WON’T) avoid spoilers for Shatter Me. So read that first and then come back to this piece. Thanks.

In a sentence or so: Juliette is now with the underground movement against the bad guys which is a lot more complicated than it seems because she’s so lethal no one really knows what to do with her.

So Juliette is revealed as the full form badass that she is and the underground leaders, which include Kenji, are like YES PLEASE because what a huge advantage to bringing down their oppressive government/rulers/dudes in charge, right? Well, Juliette doesn’t really know how to harness her badassery and is actually pretty whiney and withdrawn and makes things complicated for everyone. It’s frustrating.

We get more development of Juliette and Adam and their relationship is on the rocks. Mainly because of her crazy powers of destruction but also because she’s kinda maybe got feelings for WARNER and it’s about time quite frankly because he is everything.

In addition to learning more about the underground movement and what their plan is for Juliette, we discover more about Warner and Adam and the other players in the game. I’m really bummed to tell you that Juliette is pretty much the worst in this one so don’t get your hopes up that she’ll be all femme badass because despite having the power to do so, she mostly isn’t and is wishy washy and whiney and blurg.

For all my Team Warner fans out there, this one is for you. You find out more behind the broken man you learned about in Shatter Me and of course it makes you fan yourself and swoon and feel all the feels. So that’s exciting!

Without spoilers, know that lots of things happen, mainly towards the end of the book. We learn more about other characters than we do about Juliette which is just fine considering her aforementioned lameness in this installment. Mafi’s writing continues to be crazy addictive and her storyline is that wonderful blend of dystopian+supernatural that I cannot get enough of.

Basically if you thought Shatter Me was rad, you’ll be all about Unravel Me and jonesing for the next book which totally isn’t coming soon enough for my liking.

Fave quote: I know that he is a tortured soul who, like me, never grew up with the warmth of friendship or love or peaceful coexistence. I know that his father is the leader of The Reestablishment and applauds his son's murders instead of condemning them and I know that Warner has no idea what it's like to be normal. Neither do I. (110)

Pairs well with: Friends to fangirl over Warner with you because you will NEED IT. Don't worry. I got you.

Fix er up: Juliette was the WORST you guys. I need her to come back full force in book 3 and be the badass I know she is on the inside. Believe in yourself, J!


Ten New Faves


Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by the lovelies at The Broke and The Bookish.

This week, their question is:
Top 10 books you read in 2012. 

YOU GUYS.
Okay fine. I'll try.

Please note these are not in any particular order because I just can't.

The Iron King by Julie Kagawa. Honestly, when I read this book I preordered the box set. BASED ON THE FIRST BOOK. I regret nothing. Thank you forever to Yani from The Secret Life of an Avid Reader for starting my obsession!

The Monstrumologist by Rick Yancey. This book was legit creepy and so well written and could totally be a crossover to Adult Fiction. I loved it so. And it's a series so HOLLA.


Wanderlove by Kristen Hubbard. This book, courtesy of Tara at Hobbitsies, resonated so deeply with me that I felt as if Kristen were writing about ME. Which is really something because I'm not huge on traveling. But the self discovery and the the characters were just so REAL and FIT my teenage experience to a T. Amazing.

Seraphina by Rachel Hartman. Um hi yeah there were DRAGONS so you know.

The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith. It was a quick, heartfelt, and meaningful read. So much was packed into that story!


Blood Red Road by Moira Young. I read this book like a FIEND you guys. I couldn't stop! I never wanted the story to end! But when it did it was so satisfying and awesome and I loved it so. I'm anxiously awaiting book 2!

Unravel Me by Tahereh Mafi. WARNER FOREVER. Haters to the left.

Amy & Roger's Epic Detour by Morgan Matson. I listened to this on audio thanks to April at Good Books and Good Wine and as soon as it was over I felt like I was missing out on the lives of two friends. They've been my constant car companions and I MISS THEM. You know how I feel about self discovery, don't you?! Well this was packed with it and so many great developments. Solid.

Did you read any of these this year? What were some of your faves?

YAY BOOKS.



Thanks, 2012!

This recap of bookish goodness from 2012 is hosted by Jamie at The Perpetual Page Turner. The image is hers too, but it was too cute to pass up! Thanks for all of the things, Jamie!

best books read in 2012

First, The Books

1. Best Book You Read In 2012? (You can break it down by genre if you want)
OF COURSE I WANT.
Middle Grade: Percy Jackson by Rick Riordan! I’m so sorry I hadn’t met you before. I’m glad we’re friends now, though!
Contemporary YA: Wanderlove by Kristen Hubbard and The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith.
Fantasy YA: Blood Red Road by Moira Young
Adult: Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn (O_O) and A Dance with Dragons by George R. R. Martin

2. Book you were excited about and thought you were going to love more but didn’t?
Le sigh. It was Falling Kingdoms by Morgan Rhodes. So much potential!

3. Most surprising (in a good way!) book of 2012?
Glimmer by Phoebe Kitandis. Honestly that book threw me for a LOOP you guys.

4. Book you recommended to people most in 2012.
Gone Girl, The Knife of Never Letting Go (this year and all years for the rest of TIME) and Seraphina by Rachel Hartman.

5. Best series you discovered in 2012?
Middle Grade: Percy Jackson, y’all.
YA: The Iron Fey Seriesssssss by Julie Kagawa! I still get all the feels just thinking about this series. 





6. Favorite new authors you discovered in 2012?
Hmm. Well I did discover Gillian Flynn’s OMGWTFery this year which was pretty rad. But I also discovered and can totes understand why peeps are in lurve with Jennifer E. Smith and her beautiful yet simple and clean writing.

7. Best book that was out of your comfort zone or was a new genre for you?
I don’t read a ton of adult literature, so Before I Go To Sleep by S.J. Watson was a genre buster for me. I loved it! And a new trend was born.

8. Most thrilling, unputdownable book in 2012?
For those released in 2012 or older: Blood Red Road by Moira Young, The Lost Prince by Julie Kagawa, and Anna and The French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins.
For those coming up in 2013: Level 2 by Lenore Appelhans and Unravel Me by Tahereh Mafi.

9. Book you read in 2012 that you’re most likely to re-read next year?
Legend by Marie Lu. I like to reread before I move on to the next in a series! Helps me stay fresh and on my game.

10. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2012?
Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins. Honestly you guys. It’s adorbs.



11. Most memorable character in 2012?
The Monstrumologist from The Monstrumologist by Rick Yancey. That dude is into some dark stuff.

12. Most beautifully written book in 2012?
Wanderlove by Kristen Hubbard. It just SPOKE to me the way that some books just do.

13. Book that had the greatest impact on you in 2012?
Allow me to cheese out here for a minute and say all of the pregnancy books! :)

14. Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2012 to finally read?
The Iron Fey Series! IT IS MY FAVEEEE.

15. Favorite passage/quote from a book you read in 2012?
From Wanderlove: "I'll have won. This time, for always. But it's never going to happen unless I close my eyes and jump." (151)

From A Storm of Swords: "And now my oaf son is doing the same, only he's riding a lion instead of a palfrey. It is easy to mount a lion and not so easy to get off, I warned him, but he only chuckles. Should you ever have a son, Sansa, beat him frequently so he learns to mind you. I only had the one boy and I hardly beat him at all, so now he pays more heed to Butterbumps than he does to me. A lion is not a lap cat, I told him, and he gives me a 'tut-tut-Mother.' There is entirely too much tut-tutting in this realm, if you ask me. All these kings would do a deal better if they would put down their swords and listen to their mothers." (Queen of Thorns)

16. Shortest & longest book you read in 2012?
Longest FO SHO was A Dance with Dragons. That thing was a BEAST.
Shortest was Floors by Patrick Carman. Yay Middle Grade!

17. Book that had a scene in it that had you reeling and dying to talk to somebody about it?
WTF moment - GONE GIRL. Forever.
Love triangle - Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas and of course Unravel Me by Tahereh Mafi
The ending - Forever by Maggie Stievfater. I didn’t even review it on the blog. So there you have it.


18. Favorite relationship from a book you read in 2012?
Amy and Roger from Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour by Morgan Matson. I love how they support and help each other grow without being pushy. LOVE IT.

19. Favorite book you read in 2012 from an author you read previously?
Will Grayson, Will Grayson. JOHN GREEN FOR LIFE.

20. Best book you read that you read based solely on a recommendation from somebody else?
Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn based on recommendations from everyone who read it! Ha!

Blogging and Reading

1. New favorite book blog you discovered in 2012?
I’m embarrassed to admit it but I am just NOW in love with Sash & Em and Estelle and Magan at Rather Be Reading! They are lovely and their reviews are fantastic and quite frankly they are just the tops.

2. Favorite review that you wrote in 2012?
Hmmm. I’d have to say The Iron King by Julie Kagawa because I was just head over heels instantly so I was all jazzed to write the review and be like YES TO EVERYTHING.

3. Best discussion you had on your blog?
I’d say my departure and comeback post from the summer yielded some solid thoughts and discussion. You guys rule.

4. Most thought-provoking review or discussion you read on somebody else’s blog?
This was the first year I really got into Top Ten Tuesday hosted by The Broke and The Bookish so I’d have to say those posts always kept me interested in reading all sorts of new blogs!

5. Best event that you participated in?
You guys. I suck. I didn’t participate in any book event! I mean other than memes and things which I’m choosing not to count here. I live super rural and I had big plans to go to a thing in Chicago that fell through on my end and it was the pits. I am supremely lucky however that those of my blogging friends who DO go to these things always remember me and share the love. YOU ALL ROCK.

6. Best moment of book blogging in 2012?
The support I had from the community when I took a sabbatical and the encouragement I received when I came back. Have I mentioned y’all are the best?

7. Most popular post this year on your blog?
My departure post had the most views of the year.
The kickoff to my bloggoversary giveaway had the most comments.
8. Post you wished got a little more love?
My board game reviews! But what can I say? This is primarily a book blog so I don’t hate you for not reading reviews of nerdy board games.

9. Best bookish discovery? 
Sneak reading my kindle at work. Does that count?

10. Did you complete any reading challenges or goals that you had set for yourself at the beginning of the year?
Complete? NOT EVEN CLOSE. I did take a break after all, but I’m just not reading at the speed I once was. And I am okay with that! Truly, I am. But I did get a nice variety of books and got at least one from each challenge. That can be enough! IT CAN.

Moving forward.

1. That one book you didn’t get to in 2012 but will be your number 1 priority in 2013?
I’m going to REALLY try to get to it before 2013, but just in case I don’t, Alanna by Tamora Pierce.


2. Book you are most anticipating for 2013?
Um yeah so Patrick Ness is releasing a new YA in 2013 called More Than This and honestly it could be about the lives of socks and I would read it cover to cover in a sitting.

3. One thing you hope to accomplish or do in your reading/blogging in 2013?
I’m really hoping I can continue to find a balance, especially after baby is here! I don’t know what a newborn will mean for the blog, but I know that I can always count on the support and encouragement of this community no matter what! You guys really are the best. 

I'll be linking up over at the main post. Let me know if yours is over there and I'll check it out too! Thanks again to Jamie for hosting this! :)

In My Mailbox [49] / Stacking the Shelves [4]


In My Mailbox is hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren
Stacking the Shelves is hosted by Tynga's Reviews

Well you guys. It finally happened.
My Secret Santa gift came!
And it was a DOOZY.


My Secret Santa was Jessica of The Firefly Book Loft!
Honestly you guys. How great did she do?!
I got some sweet bookmarks and swag, a GOLDEN SNITCH ornament, a coffee mug with stir spoon, fuzzy socks, and of course - BOOKS.
Sloppy Firsts by Megan McCafferty

Thank you FOREVER to The Broke and The Bookish for hosting the Secret Santa again this year! 

Other bookish things I've gotten the past couple weeks:

A copy of Sloppy Firsts from my dear friend Anna who didn't want me to live in a world having not read it. What a gem, right?


Given by Rachel at Hello, Chelly
Two souls. One body. Great reviews. Yes!

Hope y'all are gearing up for the holidays!
oxo

Review: Level 2 by Lenore Applehans







Title: Level 2 (The Memory Chronicles #1)
Author: Lenore Applehans
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Release Date: January 2013
Source: DAC ARC Tours Blog/Tara at Hobbitsies

Amazon | Goodreads | Author Website | Blog | Twitter






In a sentence or so: Felicia is dead and trapped in some sort of afterlife where she’s stuck reliving her memories and wondering if there isn't something more to death than this.

Felicia wasn't perfect. She made bad decisions and was a bad friend and lied to her parents. Her checkered past led her to moving in with her Granny and meeting the most perfect good boy ever, Neil. Neil was too good for her, and she knew it. But he made her happy and she wanted to make him happy and wasn't that good enough?

We learn all about Felicia from her reliving her memories in the afterlife. She lives in a hive with other girls who have no hair, wear white shifts, and shuffle around re-watching their memories or the memories of others all day. Every once in awhile, Felicia feels a stirring for something more. She’s tried to bust out, but without any success. So she continues on and on and on until one day a boy from her past who once had her heart bursts through the door. But it’s not Neil. It’s Julian. The boy who is kinda at the root of all of her bad decisions and things about her past that she never ever wants to relive. Yep, that Julian.

I thought one of the most remarkable things about this book was the experiences after they escape from the hive, so I’ll leave that for you to discover on your own as well! Just know that the adventure is a blend of sci-fi and Big Life Questions and angels and technology and oh my gosh I loved it all so much.

I was floored by how Lenore Applehans (from blogging fame,y’all!) was able to weave past and present and future all into one narrative without it ever feeling clunky or awkward. We discover who Felicia is through her memories and her reflections on those, which kinda has a diary aspect to it but so much more vivid.

My favorite element of this whole story - despite being the huge sci-fi geek I am and adoring the futuristic awesomeness Lenore created - was the YA stereotype of good girl/bad boy turned on it’s head. Felicia is the bad girl! Neil is the good guy! It was amazing! I have to admit that as a church peep myself, I was all about the youth group memories as well. So fun.

I don’t care if you like contemporary or scifi or fantasy or whatever - this book is for YOU because it combines all of the things in a way that no matter what your flavor, you’ll devour it in no time. The creativity is astounding and your commitment to the characters as a reader is instant.

Fave quote: "...as if with its telling, each black spot unsticks itself from my soul and flutters away." (256, ARC)

Pairs well with: Not leaving the house, if you can help it. Once you start, you won’t want to stop!

Fix er up: Two things. She kept referring to her checkered past but it took a LONG time for us to get there, which was frustrating. Second, the book wraps up so nicely, I kinda don’t see the need for a second in the series? I’m not against reading more of Lenore’s writing, nor am I hating the lack of cliffhanger...just curious where we go from here.

Top Ten Tuesday [4]: HEY, SANTA!


Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by the lovelies over at The Broke and The Bookish.

This week, the list is:
Top Ten Books I wouldn't mind Santa bringing me.

Limit myself to ten? REALLY?! 
Okay fine. I'll try.
But with some adjustments, of course.

First, the top five books I've read and loved that I do not own. Le sob.







And now, for the top five books I want to read for the first time and fall in looooove with!






The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. Lockhart
Soulless by Gail Carriger
Touch by Jus Accardo
Shade Series by Jeri-Smith Ready
Sloppy Firsts Series by Meg McCafferty

Do you want Santa to bring you any of these books too? DO SHARE!

Review: Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead





Title: Vampire Academy (Vampire Academy #1)
Author: Richelle Mead
Publisher: Razorbill 2007
Source: I bought it!








In a sentence or so: So there’s this vampire boarding school bursting with angsty teenagers and shady things are happening there.

Rose and Lissa are besties and have been for a long time. This goes beyond their relationship of Rose as the Dhampir (protector) and Lissa as the Moroi (vampire royalty). They've got something special going on. And not like bow chicka bow wow special just like a really close bond that isn't quite explainable. As in Rose can feel Lissa’s feelings and experience what she’s experiencing, even when she’s far away and even when she doesn’t mean to. Crazy, right?

Anyway, Rose and Lissa had ran away from the Vampire Academy because weird stuff started to happen and Rose didn’t feel like she was safe. They get captured, come back, and stuff seems to be kinda normal again...until someone starts sending Lissa animals that are so near death that Lissa is tempted to heal them which is totally unknown and secret and drains her and makes her kind of scary.

I wanted to be head over heels for VA. I really did. But I honestly found the first half to ⅔ of the book being all about the mystery and not enough about the action. I stuck with it because I love Rose and thought her voice was hilarious and snarky and surely something good will come of that. And it did! I just had to be patient. Okay also I was in it for the swoon but can you BLAME ME? Hot older teacher man Dimitri? Brooding loner boy Christian? Honestly. But lucky for me, stuff gets REAL in the last ¼ of the book which was a great feeling...I just wish it had happened sooner, that’s all.

I’ll be checking out the next book in the next few months, probs. I hear the series gets better and better from here!

Fave quote: "Are you more psycho than usual? She's my best friend. And why are you still following me?" (Rose 266)

Pairs well with: Late night reading. Because they're always awake at night being vampires and vampire protectors and all. GET IN THE ZONE.

Fix er up: More action, please!

In My Mailbox [48] / Stacking the Shelves [3]


In My Mailbox is hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren
Stacking the Shelves is hosted by Tynga's Reviews


I was in the mood for a throwback this week, so I got:
Source: LE LIBRARY!
You guys. This was one of the only series elementary school Lisa would read and I LOVED THEM. So I'm going to see if the love is still there as an adult and mayyyybe try to push them on my unborn. You know. When they're ready...

--

Heidi at YA Bibliophile was getting rid of some of her old ARCs and since I am WAY behind on all of the things, I hadn't read any of these. I know. For shame! But Heidi's got my back so here we go!

Source: Heidi! (just like all of the rest of the ARCs)
The truth is I just haven't read enough historical fiction lately and I heard good things about this debut and I want to give it a whirl! 

This sounds like a blend of The Knife of Never Letting Go and Shipbreaker and how could I EVER say no to that?!

All of my blogger friends loved it. It's dystopian. The writing sounds amazing. Yes to all of those things, please!

Genetically altered teens and sci fi? YEAH. I'm in.

First of all, the book has three authors which is intriguing to me. Second, it sounds spooky and  mysterious. I mean the house comes alive and shows things that happened in the past so THAT sounds scary to me, anyway. 

Mean girls! Revenge! Great authors! 

I know. You all loved this one. And I've never read Hannah Harrington before so I'm in for a real treat, huh?

Share your thoughts on any of these books you've read! I'd love to know what you thought. Chances are you've read them (or want to read them) so holla at me!