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Top Ten Books I Read in 2013

Image from The Broke and The Bookish
The lovelies over at The Broke and The Bookish have asked a perfect question to wrap up the year!

In no particular order, here are my top ten reads of 2013:

Review: Insurgent by Veronica Roth

Insurgent (Divergent, #2)

Title: Insurgent (Divergent #2)
Author: Veronica Roth
Pub Deets: May 2012, HarperCollins
Genre: Dystopian
Series/Stand Alone: Series

Amazon | Goodreads | Veronica's Twitter | Veronica's Blog

Spoiler warning for Divergent! If you haven't read the first book in the series, you've been warned.

In a sentence or so: The fallout from the faction-wide simulation is pretty life altering for all of the factions. Tris and Four are trying to figure out what's truth, what's lies, and where they fit in how their rapidly changing society that's warring against each other. 

I took the advice of the internet and reread Divergent immediately before reading Insurgent, and I'm glad I did! You're plopped right into the action, which I love. They're on the run and don't know who to trust, where they're going or what will happen when they get there. So I was expecting a fast paced, nail biter of a book like Divergent.

But where Divergent had a completely Dauntless feel with the violence and dire circumstances and intensity, Insurgent is totally Erudite with the intellectual elements and moral questioning that Tris goes through with her inner monlogue. Are there action sequences? OBVIOUSLY. People die. Shit gets real. But ultimately we spend a lot of time inside Tris head as she wraps her brain around what created this divided society and what implications it has for her future.

Where Divergent felt more Dystopian, Insurgent felt more SFF with its government conspiracy theories and all the serum discussion and what not. Don't get me wrong, I dug it, but it certainly wasn't expected. The shining element of this read for me was seeing the inner workings of the other factions. World building forever!

While I wasn't crazy about the Tris/Four dynamic in Insurgent, I do have mad respect for Veronica for continuing to write about Four's past and history of child abuse. It wasn't something that Tris saw in his fear landscape and then disappears. It affects so many of his decisions without defining him as a character. Roth treats the subject respectfully without shying away from the damage it does to the individual.

I did feel like Insurgent had some middle book syndrome happening, but not enough to stop me from finishing the series. Bring it, Allegiant! Then I can finally go read all y'all's posts about the series ending and see what all the !!!! is about!

This book is for...
People who read the first one. Duh.
My review for Divergent. 

Secret Santa Super Feelings Post

I signed up for The Broke and The Bookish Secret Santa way back when I hadn't even decided I was coming back to blogging. I knew I'd keep reading and staying in touch with the blogging community, so hey, I'm doing this thing.


First, let me show you who was on the receiving end of my Secret Santa giving!

The Sea Of Pages

Not only was Nina super easy to shop for with a fantastic list of wonderful books, but her little extra things she loved were easy too! Throw in a dash of Christmas goodies and BAM. Done! 

But of course, Secret Santa doesn't end with buying the gift. Oh no. It is super duper fun to find out MORE about the person! So of course I stalked respectfully researched Nina's blog and discovered that she has a great variety of books in her TBR, is kind of awesome when it comes to her likes (EATING!) and is super cute to boot. Oh, and her design is GORGEOUS which I can admit without shame is one of the things I look for in new blogs to follow. I don't even care that it's shallow.  It's true.

So not only did I get to give some awesome books and swag, but I found a new blogger to adore! AWWWWW.

Now, let's move on to the happiest of happy dancing and pants peeing I have ever known. 

I was quite open with my impatience of receiving my Secret Santa gift. I knew it was coming because I trust the system but  YOU GUYS when there are books coming who among us can be patient? If you say you're patient then you are a liar. Or a robot. Either way, no. 

So I'm sitting at my desk at work and my husband calls me to tell me a FedEx package has arrived. I said WHO IS IT FROM TELL ME THE RETURN ADDRESS WHERE IS IT FROM. He said some name and company I'd never heard of. He opens it upon my request and said there were wrapped packages inside.

I stopped what I was doing and went home. Yes I did. Thankfully I have a job where I can do that now because I would have had to make a very difficult choice otherwise to get fired/pretend sick/deal with not having my Secret Santa package for 3 more hours.

LOOK AT THIS YOU GUYS. BATMAN. BOOKS. ONESIE FOR LUCY. My heart can scarcely contain it! 

But the best part was that the card didn't say who it was from! I HAD TO GUESS. I died. And I giggled. And I tried not to pee. I used the clever little clues provided and deduced it was the amazing, wonderful, talented and queen of the car dance herself JAMIE!

Now, lest you think this is a "Getting Stuff Is Super Cool" post, CHECK  YOSELF. This is so much more.

Because upon thanking Jamie 1000x for her amazing gift giving skills, I realized something even better. She was thoughtful about what she got for me. She took the time to drop little clues as to who she was. She was encouraging and uplifting in her card. She shared books she loves and knows I will love because she took the time to know me (okay, she already KNEW me but you get the point). She told me the struggles she had getting the package together because of different shipping addresses and special trips and fighting with the PO - ALL FOR ME - and I cried. Yeah, I know. Shut up. WHATEVER.

Jamie embodied the greatness of Secret Santa in that she was caring and thoughtful above all else. I can honestly say I could not have been happier with a box of 100 books than I was with this package that was custom picked for me with love.

And now I'm crying again. I can't help it! Just, MERRY CHRISTMAS OKAY?!

These are a thing and I need them yesterday.

For real!

Totally putting the 10k pounds a hear on my bicep because DARCY SWAG.

Thanks for the heads up, Fashionably Geek! 

Review: More Than This by Patrick Ness

More Than This

Title: More Than This
Author: Patrick Ness
Pub Deets: September 2013, Candlewick
Genre: Sci-Fi, Dystopian, Mystery, Coming-of-Age
Series/Stand Alone: Stand Alone

Amazon | Goodreads | Patrick on Twitter | Patrick's Blog

In a sentence or so: Seth drowns. He should be dead, but instead he wakes up in his childhood hometown and it's completely deserted, spooky, and just Not Right. Mystery ensues.

Do yourself a favor and do NOT read the summary for this book that's printed on the back or on Goodreads or wherever. Not knowing is like the best part of this whole experience. Seth doesn't really know what's going down when he wakes up in an improbably place - so neither should you!

What you should know is that Patrick Ness takes a fresh spin on the whole Unreliable Narrator idea (which I already LOVE) with Seth by alternating between his past and his present. We don't know what the what is going on with his present, so we learn more about who Seth is by his flashbacks.

Oh Patrick Ness. I love your writing and characters and plots so, so much. I would read your grocery lists if you published them. For real. You own at writing.

Ness is insightful, but not preachy. Creative, but not exhausting. Raw, but not abrasive. The balance is perfection, you guys.

This book is for you if...
You are looking for a heady read with well written characters and a big ol' dose of social commentary with a sci-fi twist, dashes of relationship development, the importance of self-worth and a whole lot of feels.

Am I crazy? I'm probably crazy.

Oh hey, just little ol' me making another crazy decision! My TBR is already through the virtual roof, but I can't say no to this amazing idea hosted by Judith at Paper Riot and Amber at Books of Amber!


When I was asking the dear Alexa what I'd missed since I'd stepped away from blogging, she had mentioned to me that this was a thing and I thought to myself "Yes, self. Let's keep an eye out for that situation because it sounds super cool!"

And BAM. There it was. Thanks, universe!

I'm stoked to see who I'll be paired up with to recommend books and try new things and all that fun stuff! Pretty spectacular way to start off 2014, don't you think? Even if it does mean that my TBR will continue to suffer. YOLO!

If you want to join in on this business, you can do so here! I have no doubt they'd love to have you. Who doesn't want more bookish love making this world go round, after all? 

Where have you been all my life?

I stumbled across this amazing X-Files lovefest Tumblr and my life will never ever be the same. Sorry not sorry for the massive influx of .gifs I'll be using for future posts from this discovery!

Oh and if you haven't watched The X-Files, you're missing out on some seriously fantastic stuff. In addition to the baddest ass-est Dana Scully.

Oh yeah, and also lots and lots of Fox Mulder deliciousness. But I swear, the plot is really great too. If you care. Maybe he's enough? 

[all these fabulous .gifs are from http://iheartthexfiles.com/]

Hey, have we met?

Since I've been gone from the YA blogosphere for SO LONG, I'm obviously out of touch with many of the fresh faces on the scene.

So, could you do me a solid and recommend to me your top 3 favorite blogs? They don't have to be exclusively YA or whatever. Just 3 blogs you ADORE reading on a regular basis.

If you're not sure if I already follow them or not, take a peek at my sidebar. Those are my tried and trues over there and I have kept up with them since I went away!

ALSO - would you mind sharing the top 3 YA books you've read in the last year? You know, since my TBR isn't already eating me out of house and home or anything.

Thanks for the help, yo! Sorry for being needy but I know you wanna help a girl out.

Hi, friends!

You guys! HELLO! I've missed your beautiful faces!

After much debate and swallowing of pride, I've decided to step back into blogging. For reals.

When I stepped away, I felt happy about it. Like, I knew in my heart of hearts it was the right decision and I still believe that. I don't regret stepping away at ALL. It allowed me to detox and shed any residual feelings of guilt or whatever that I was stupidly hanging on to.

But then I was like...am I missing blogging? (Yes)
Am I missing chatting with awesome people about books? (Yes)
Do I feel disconnected from the community and does that suck? (Yes)
But I said I was done. Will I feel stupid for coming back after that? (Yes)
Do I care about feeling stupid? (No)

So here I am! It's like a Christmas present to myself to get back into blogging. How dorky is that? Whatevs. You know me well enough by now to know I don't give any cares about my dork status.

I've established some new rules for myself to help keep things light and fresh and fun so I don't follow the same path to burn out. I also got a brand new and BEAUTIFUL design from the talented Lori at Imagination Designs to start myself on the right track! 

I'm so very excited to be back amongst the glorious ranks of book bloggers!

Can we do a little happy dance together, please? I'll get us started.