Best of 2015

January has been unbelievably hectic, so I’m still playing catch-up from the beginning of the month. My streak of lackluster blogging marches proudly into 2016! I wanted to do a post of the absolute best books I read in 2015. I’m sure they’ve been in plenty of GE posts, and will continue to make appearances, but I wanted a moment to celebrate how much I loved them. On we go!

Continue reading

Top Ten Tuesday: Gift Me These

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by the Broke and the Bookish. This week we’re discussing books we would like as gifts this holiday season. Usually when I ask for a specific book as a gift, it’s because I read it from the library and loved it, so now I need to own it. But for the sake of this TTT, I did five books I read and want to own, then five books I want but haven’t read.

1222.png

1. Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo: This book was great, but also it’s such a pretty book. Those black-edged pages slay me.

2.Saving Francesca by Melina Marchetta: Can you believe I don’t own this? Can you believe there are any Marchetta books I don’t own? (To be honest, I read them all from the library so I only own about half of them)

3. The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. Lockhart: One of my favorite reads of the year, and one I definitely need to own.

4. The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making by Catherynne M. Valente: Do you ever have books you go back to when you’re feeling uninspired? This would be one of those books for me.

5. The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern: Yeah, yeah. I’m always talking about the same books. Let’s move on.

1222-2

6. Ferragost by Melina Marchetta: Remember about seven months ago when I was like “Everybody loves Ferragost and I can buy the ebook for super cheap, so I’m just going to bite the bullet and buy it”? Yeah, I still haven’t done that.

7. Career of Evil by Robert Galbraith: My library doesn’t have this ebook yet. And seeing as I’ve basically stopped going there ever since I figured out how to borrow my library system’s ebooks from the comfort of my apartment, I’m not reading this unless they get the ebook or someone literally delivers it to my door.

8. Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor: People love this book and I’ve wanted to read it for ages, but my library database only carries this in audio-book form, which isn’t my style. My mind wanders too much for audio-books to be effective.

9. Radiance by Catherynne M. Valente: How great is this cover? How great is this woman?

10. Cress by Marissa Meyer: I’m on the wait-list to download this ebook, but I love this series so far and I would like to read this book now please.

 

Happy holidays, everyone!

Top Ten Tuesday: New-to-me Authors of 2015

Welcome back to Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by the Broke and the Bookish. I am, once again, doing an abridged version of a topic. Ten authors I read and loved for the first time this year is a lot, so I’m just doing five.

TTT

E. Lockhart: This is such a difficult pick. I loved The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks almost as much as I hated We Were Liars, both of which I read this year. But she still makes it onto this list because Frankie was so amazing.

Leigh Bardugo: None of her books got 5 stars from me (all the others on this list did), but she might be my favorite author for the year just because I want to be her. I want to be able to world-build like Leigh Bardugo. How can anyone resist the perfect details and richness of her books?

Erin  Morgenstern: I feel like I talk about these next 3 books/authors at least once a month, but they’re totally worth my constant praise (Although, who am I kidding? I talk about every author in this post at least once a week. No shame). The Night Circus was almost too good and how has Morgenstern not written another book yet?

BJ Novak: I never expected to love his book of short stories as much as I did. I’m sorry I underestimated you, Mr. Novak.

Catherynne M. Valente: Like Morgenstern, Valente was all about lush descriptions and I was really feeling it. I need to read more of her work. That whimsy, though.

 

Share your favorite authors of 2015 with me! I could use some suggestions for my favorites of 2016.

Top Ten Tuesday: Quotes from the Past Year

Welcome back to Top Ten Tuesday (hosted by The Broke and the Bookish). This week we’re listing our favorite quotes from books we’ve read in the past year. This was both easy (because I’ve read so many good books in 2015) and hard (because I’ve read so many good books in 2015 that I had too many quotes to choose from). In no particular order:

1117

1. “Once, last year, I started going through my sins and Father Stephen said, “Oh, it’s you, Josie.” Can you believe it? He recognized me by my sins. I’m so boring that I can’t even change my sins from term to term.”

-Melina Marchetta, Looking for Alibrandi [Josie is an absolute queen and this quote was too funny to pass over.]

2. “What Frankie did that was unusual was to imagine herself in control… She asked herself: If I were in charge, how could I have done it better?”

-E. Lockhart, The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks [This moment defined the book for me. I love how unapologetically ambitious Frankie is.]

3. “Stories have a way of changing faces. They are unruly things, undisciplined, given to delinquency and the throwing of erasers. This is why we must close them up into thick, solid books, so they cannot get out and cause trouble.”

-Catherynne M. Valente, The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making [Honestly, there’s not a single page in this book without an amazing quote on it.]

4. “I was sad that summer was over. But I was happy that it was over for my enemies, too.”

– B.J. Novak, One More Thing: Stories and Other Stories [None of us will ever be one-tenth as funny as B.J. Novak.]

5. “I could recognize him by touch alone, by smell; I would know him blind, by the way his breaths came and his feet struck the earth. I would know him in death, at the end of the world.”

-Madeline Miller, The Song of Achilles [Had to include this because I’ve been in a relationship for a few years and being in love makes you soft.]

6. “The summer sun was not meant for boys like me. Boys like me belonged to the rain.”

-Benjamin Alire Saenz, Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe [I’m a girl, but I definitely belong to the rain. I was gleeful when it rained on my birthday this year.]

7. “I wish you the best that can be hoped for, and no worse than can be expected.”

-Catherynne M. Valente, The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making [This. Book. Though.]

8. “Good and evil are a great deal more complex than a princess and a dragon… Is not the dragon the hero of his own story?”

-Erin Morgenstern, The Night Circus [I loved this book but had a hard time finding good standalone quotes from it.]

9. “It is better to be alone, she figures, than to be with someone who can’t see who you are. It is better to lead than to follow. It is better to speak up than stay silent. It is better to open doors than to shut them on people. She will not be simple and sweet. She will not be what people tell her to be. That Bunny Rabbit is dead.”

-E. Lockhart, The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks [More Frankie. We all need more Frankie in our lives.]

10. “Blue was perfectly aware that it was possible to have a friendship that wasn’t all-encompassing, that wasn’t blinding, deafening, maddening, quickening. It was just that now that she’d had this kind, she didn’t want the other.”

-Maggie Stiefvater, Blue Lily, Lily Blue [I’m begrudgingly adding this quote because while I’m not a particular fan of Stiefvater or even this series, this was the quote that convinced me to read these books and I love love love it.]

A bonus quote from 2014 because it is probably my all-time favorite and I can’t help myself:

“It’s a weird smile, but it reaches his eyes and I bottle it. And I put it in my ammo pack that’s kept right next to my soul and Justine’s spirit and Siobhan’s hope and Tara’s passions. Because if I’m going to wake up one morning and not be able to get out of bed, I’m going to need everything I’ve got to fight this disease that could be sleeping inside of me.”

-Melina Marchetta, Saving Francesca [Sometimes I get this feeling like a moment is so happy and perfect that I need to squirrel the memory away, like when all of my best friends are in the same place at the same time, or when my parents are playing music and dancing around their kitchen. This quote reminds me of that.]


I love that two people can read the same book and have completely different bits speak to them. I’m so eager to see what quotes other people chose for their TTTs!

September 2015 Wrap-Up

I’ve been saying for a few months that my powers are at their peak in the fall. New York gets crisper, rainier, colder, cloudier. I joked to my friends that I feed off the gloom. But judging by my numbers from this month, that was no joke. I read nine whole books this month. I feel like I got my mojo back. There are three months left in this year and I’ve only got another nine books to read before I reach my goal. Read on to see my books from September.
1001-1

Title: Shadow and Bone
Author: Leigh Bardugo
Date finished: September 02, 2015
My rating: ☆☆☆☆ (Four stars)
Review: I want to review the series as a whole once I finish it.
Notes: Such a gorgeous fantasy setting. The Russian influence made it feel so rich and unique.

Title: The River of No Return
Author: Bee Ridgway
Date finished: September 08, 2015
My rating: ☆☆☆½ (Three and a half stars)
Review: I do not plan on reviewing.
Notes: Time travel, history, secret societies, and romance. What more could you want?

Title: Room
Author:  Emma Donoghue
Date finished: September 09, 2015
My rating: ☆☆☆ (Three stars)
Review: No review planned.
Notes: Hard to read at times due to the difficult subject matter, but still an amazing story.

1001-2

Title: The Girl on the Train
Author:  Paula Hawkins
Date finished: September 11, 2015
My rating: ☆☆☆ (Three stars)
Review: No review planned.
Notes: Despite some parts that were constructed well, I found it disappointing as a whole.

Title: Ink and Bone
Author:  Rachel Caine
Date finished: September 17, 2015
My rating: ☆☆☆½ (Three and a half stars)
Review: Undecided.
Notes: I enjoyed it and will read any subsequent books, but not my favorite read of the month.

Title: The Thief
Author:  Megan Whalen Turner
Date finished: September 17, 2015
My rating: ☆☆☆½ (Three stars)
Review: I would like to read the rest of this series and review it as a whole.
Notes: I found this book pretty disappointing until the twist at the end. It piqued my interest and I’m looking forward to rest of the series.

1001-3

Title: The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks
Author: E. Lockhart
Date finished: September 18, 2015
My rating: ☆☆☆☆☆ (Five stars)
Review: I would like to write a review. I loved it and want to talk about it!
Notes: Love. Love love love.

Title: Siege and Storm
Author: Leigh Bardugo
Date finished: September 27, 2015
My rating: ☆☆☆☆ (Four stars)
Review: I would like to review the entire series together.
Notes: I liked this as much as I liked the first book.

Title: We’ll Never Be Apart
Author: Emiko Jean
Date finished: September 30, 2015
My rating: ☆☆☆ (Three stars)
Review: I will be writing a review.
Notes: I finished this late last night and still haven’t pieced together my thoughts. I’ll form an opinion before reviewing.

As always, leave me recommendations in the comments. Help me read great books in October.

Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Characters I Didn’t Click With

This Top Ten Tuesday (from The Broke and the Bookish) is about characters I didn’t connect with. I’m the type of person who can always find something to criticize (I try to use my powers for good, but it is what it is), so I was born for this TTT. Read on to see my least favorite fictional characters.

9011. Celaena from the Throne of Glass series by Sarah J. Maas: I’ve talked about this before, but I find her characterization to be really weak. She’s too perfect.

2. Cath from Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell: I was hoping this book would be a better representation of what it’s like to be in the Internet/fandom generation, but Cath really annoyed me.

3. Cadence from We Were Liars by E. Lockhart: I couldn’t stand anyone in this book besides Gat, but I’m taking out my frustrations on Cadence.

4. Blue from The Raven Cycle Series by Maggie Stiefvater: It felt like we were supposed to like Blue because she’s “practical” and quirky, but she just felt really immature.

5. Ronan from The Raven Cycle series by Maggie Stiefvater: I just didn’t connect with this series in general, I guess (Like I could see that I should love Gansey because he’s so my type, but I barely even liked him). But anyways, Ronan has always bugged me. I can’t get over how badly he treats people.

6. Bridget Jones from Bridget Jones’s Diary by Helen Fielding: This is one of those books where the movie is 100% better. This book was so weird (the ending! So weird!) and Bridget was much less likable.

7. Catherine Morland from Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen: I said this, verbatim, last October: “It’s a truth universally acknowledged that no one likes Catherine Morland.”

8. Nick Dunne from Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn: I know Amy is a complete monster and that Nick is a victim, but I couldn’t bring myself to feel sorry for him. I like Amy, because at least she’s a smart and interesting character, but Nick was so mediocre and made such bad decisions. I couldn’t stand him.

9. Quintana of Charyn from the Lumatere Chronicles by Melina Marchetta: I went into the second Lumatere book all excited to meet Quintana’s character because my friend loves her. She wasn’t what I expected. Quite frankly, Quintana scares the bejeezus out of me. I’ve warmed up to her and she becomes an easier character to like about midway through the second book, but she’s still not my favorite. Still scares the bejeezus out of me.

10. Snape from the Harry Potter series by JK Rowling: Why did so many people become pro-Snape when they found out he loved Lily? He bullies kids and has been obsessed with the same woman his whole life. He’s the worst.

Did we have any in common? Do I dislike your favorite character? Leave me a comment and let me know!

Review: We Were Liars by E. Lockhart

We Were Liars, by E. Lockhart, is described as a “modern, sophisticated suspense novel” about a girl and her extended family who spend their summers on their own personal island. Cadence wasn’t allowed to return to the island last summer, and now she’s determined to find out what happened to her two years ago.

On the night of Thursday, April 23rd, still reeling from Grey’s Anatomy spoilers, I read We Were Liars in one sitting. This book has had a ton of buzz since it came out last year. I’ve been meaning to read it for a few months now, so I grabbed it when I happened to see it at the library. I don’t know how anyone could possibly discuss this book without spoilers, so spoilers behind the cut.

Continue reading