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!

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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.

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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.

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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: Top Book Recommendations of 2015

Do your blogs ever get cannibalized by Top Ten Tuesday? I love these weekly posts and reading other people’s takes on a theme, but sometimes I’m planning on writing a post only to see that it’s the TTT for next week.

So because I want to post a Top Ten Books of 2015 post later (once I’m done reading for the year), I thought I would tweak this topic. This week I’m doing my Top Book Recommendations of 2015 (which could also double as a gift-giving guide for your friends, you’re welcome).

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For your inner child: The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making by Catherynne M. Valente
I will never stop recommending this silly, clever book. I’ve always joked that I don’t have an inner child, but my love for this book may prove otherwise.

For when you’ve run out of Gaiman to read: A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness
This was so Gaiman-esque. It reminded me a lot of Coraline.

For the optimist: The Opposite of Loneliness by Marina Keegan
Sometimes we all need a life-affirming essay to get us feeling perked up again.

For the pessimist: The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly by Stephanie Oakes
It’s grim enough to appeal to any pessimist, but with a nice note of hope.

For the person complaining that Ocean’s Eleven needs more women/magic: Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo
I would like for this to have started a heist trend. That should be the next big thing in YA, if you ask me.

For people who read a book for the character development: Looking for Alibrandi by Melina Marchetta
Josephine Alibrandi goes through such drastic changes. Queen Marchetta always comes through.

For people who read a book for the action: An Ember in the Ashes by Sahaa Tahir
A book with a cutthroat competition is always a solid bet if you’re looking to read something tense and aggressive.

For people who read a book for the description: The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
Is there any other book I could possibly have suggested for this category? Sure. Was it reasonable to expect me to suggest a different book? No.

TTT is hosted as always by the Broke and the Bookish.

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.

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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: Three 2016 Releases

I do this thing during pilot season where I don’t really watch new shows until everybody else has, and then I check out the ones that have good buzz. I do the same thing when it comes to books. I’m never on top of new releases, so I usually pick the ones I want to read by seeing what other people are excited about.

So for this Top Ten Tuesday (which is supposed to be focusing on 2016 debut authors), I’m just going to cover the three books releasing in 2016 about which I am most excited.

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Glass Sword by Victoria Aveyard: I read Red Queen last month and I liked it. That is, until I discovered that the majority of the book took place in my (post-apocalyptic) hometown. After that I was super into it. Aveyard said in an interview that Mare would be returning to the Stilts some time during the next book, so I’m pretty excited about that.

Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo: There are some books that hit all your favorite tropes and Six of Crows was one of them. Heists, fantasy, moral ambiguity, found families, and teams with complementing skills. Yas, sounds amazing. I’ve grown really fond of Leigh Bardugo this year and I need her to write more books.

Shaming the Devil by Melina Marchetta: I would read anything of hers. Melina Marchetta could publish the most ridiculous book ever written and I would still respond like “Well I’ve never read a romance book about time-traveling ogres, but now seems like a good time to start!”

 

Let me know what books should be on my TBR for 2016. I’m sure you’re all much more knowledgeable about upcoming releases than I am!

October Wrap-Up

I have been MIA for a few weeks. I was super busy with work stuff (my job hosts several big events during the first week of November) and when I got back from my work trip, I had the flu for a week. So I’m just getting around to posting my October Wrap-Up now, in the middle of November. Whoops.

As a whole, October wasn’t my strongest reading month. I read only 4 books (none of which were from my TBR list), but I was so busy that I’m more than happy to have read any books at all.

Screen Shot 2015-11-15 at 2.34.14 PM Title: Ruin and Rising
Author: Leigh Bardugo
Date finished: October 10, 2015
My rating: ☆☆☆☆ (Four stars)
Notes: I loved this series already, but this was such an absurdly great ending. There was this feeling of loss, but just the perfect amount, if that makes any sense.

Title: Six of Crows
Author: Leigh Bardugo
Date finished: October 11, 2015
My rating: ☆☆☆☆ (Four stars)
Notes: I expected to love it. I did love it. I need to read more heist books. And Leigh Bardugo needs to write more books.

Title: Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe
Author: Benjamin Alire Sáenz
Date finished: October 13, 2015
My rating: ☆☆☆½ (Three and a half stars)
Notes: It was good, with some decent bits about being Hispanic and American. I couldn’t shake the feeling that I was missing out by not reading this by audiobook, where I could have had my idol Lin-Manuel Miranda reading it to me.

Title: Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda
Author: Becky Albertalli
Date finished: October 18, 2015
My rating: ☆☆☆☆ (Four stars)
Notes: So cute so cute! I thought this book was absolutely adorable.

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Debut Authors

Welcome back to Top Ten Tuesday, with our topic provided as always by the Broke and the Bookish. This week we’re discussing debut authors. The prompt said we could mention debut authors we loved whose sophomore novels we’re excited for or sophomore novels that were as good as the first. I did a mix of both.

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Erin Morgenstern: When I find out that a book I love is the author’s debut novel, I usually get mad. It’s a combination of “That book was so good, why don’t you have more stuff for me to read?” and “You’re too talented, how can I become you using science or magic?” This was my exact reaction after finishing The Night Circus.

Madeline Miller: The above scenario was also my reaction when I finished reading The Song of Achilles.

Stephanie Oakes: That was also my reaction to The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly. It would seem I’m rather predictable.

Marina Keegan: This is a sad entry to this list, but it fits. I read The Opposite of Loneliness on a plane yesterday and adored it, but this book of essays and stories was put together after Marina Keegan died in a car accident. She was an impressive writer at a young age, and I’m sure she would have gone on to write amazing things.

Leigh Bardugo: She’s not a new writer anymore, but I’m counting her because I kept expecting her stuff to get worse and it never did. I was surprised when the Grisha trilogy stayed so consistently good throughout. I don’t think Bardugo even knows what a sophomore slump is.

Do you get as mad as I do when you finish an amazing debut novel? Or is that a weird and unwarranted reaction?

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.
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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.

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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.

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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: Top Ten Books on my Fall TBR

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday topic from the Broke and the Bookish highlights Books on my Fall TBR. I was nervous about this post because I was worried it would be a complete repeat of my Top Ten Books on My Summer TBR post, but when I gave that post another look I realized I’ve actually read seven out of ten. What a productive summer! So my fall list is as follows:

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1. Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo: I have been entirely too excited about this book for months (it was on my summer TBR even though it wouldn’t even come out until September) and now I’m even more excited, if that’s possible. It’s finally September, thank goodness, plus I’ve started reading The Grisha Trilogy and been pretty impressed by Leigh Bardugo. Bring on the crows.

2. Ferragost by Melina Marchetta: How haven’t I read this? The digital version is super cheap and it’s my last Marchetta. I should have read this ages ago.

3. A Madness So Discreet by Mindy McGinnis: The cover is gorgeous and it involves an asylum. I can’t help myself.

4. Children’s Literature: A Reader’s History from Aesop to Harry Potter by Seth Lerer: Literary criticism is probably a boring choice for this list, but my boyfriend bought me this book for my birthday years ago (at my request) and I really just need to buckle down and read it.

5. The Rest of Us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness: I’ve always wondered what it would be like to be outside of the action during tumultuous events, so this book may have some things in common with a story I’m writing. I’m keen to see how the author approaches this concept.

6. The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood: I need more Margaret Atwood in my life. Enough said.

7. Daughter of Smoke & Bone by Laini Taylor: Yet another book people are always talking about.

8. Snow Like Ashes by Sara Raasch: The sequel’s coming out in October and that cover is giving me life.

9. All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr: Everyone in the world has read this book by now, except for me.

10. The Young Elites by Marie Lu: I’ve heard good things and the concept is right up my alley. Yes, please.

I’m not at all strict about when I read books. I get to them when the spirit moves me. I’m sure I’ll have read some of these by the winter, but not all. What books are on your TBR list? Let me know in the comments.

Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Series I Need to Finish

Welcome back to Top Ten Tuesday. This week’s topic from The Broke and the Bookish is Top Ten Finished Series I Have Yet to Finish. I usually complete a series as soon as humanly possible, so I was only able to scrounge six series that I haven’t finished. I didn’t include any like The Raven Boys or A Court of Thorns and Roses, where I’ve read all the released books but there are still unpublished sequels. Though they aren’t all completed, the series below all have books out that I still haven’t read.
Screen Shot 2015-09-07 at 4.26.36 PM1. The Grisha Trilogy by Leigh Bardugo: I just finished the first book in this series and I’m in love! Thank goodness it’s a complete trilogy so I don’t have to wait for any books to be released.

2. The Fairyland Series by Catherynne M. Valente: This is another book I recently read and loved. I can’t wait to read the next four books in this series.

3. The Throne of Glass Series by Sarah J. Maas: I’m not as big a fan of this series as I am of the first two on this list, but it’s still entertaining. I’m eager to read the next books, especially now that Queen of Shadows is out.

4. The Abarat series by Clive Barker: This series I’m a little scared to read. I read Abarat years ago and loved it, but there are supposed to be five books in the series. Only three have come out and the last book was released four whole years ago.

5. The Giver Quartet by Lois Lowry: I read two of these books in school, though I didn’t read them in the proper order.

6. The Leviathan series by Scott Westerfeld: I loved Leviathan, but since I read it soon after it came out, the other books hadn’t been released yet. I need to revisit this series.

Are any of these series not worth finishing? Do we have any unfinished series in common? Let me know in the comments!