Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Falling into Place by Amy Zhang

Falling into Place by Amy Zhang
Published by Greenwillow Books on September 9, 2014

Summary: "Why? Why did Liz Emerson decide that the world would be better off without her? Why did she give up? Vividly told by an unexpected and surprising narrator, this heartbreaking and nonlinear novel pieces together the short and devastating life of Meridian High’s most popular junior girl. Mass, acceleration, momentum, force—Liz didn’t understand it in physics, and even as her Mercedes hurtles toward the tree, she doesn’t understand it now. How do we impact one another? How do our actions reverberate? What does it mean to be a friend? To love someone? To be a daughter? Or a mother? Is life truly more than cause and effect?"  --From Goodreads

My Thoughts:

I liked this book so much that I read it in one whole day.  I appreciated Zhang's character development, especially in regards to Liz.  The story was told in alternating POVs.  Liz's POVs were from before her crash, and Liz's friends were from after Liz crashed her car.  Liz had a lot of problems, but I liked how Liz felt remorseful for her actions.  I also liked the introduction of an elusive narrator (imaginary friend, perhaps?).  Overall, this was a good book.  If you liked Gayle Forman's If I Stay, you'll like this book.

Disclosure: I borrowed this book from my library.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday: 2015 Resolutions

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.  This week's theme is my Resolutions for 2015.  Here we go!

1. Cut back on the picture books.  I read an insane amount of picture books in 2014.  Some were for school, others were for work.  I need to remind myself that I really don't need to read all of the starred reviews.  

2. Read more middle grade novels.  After trying to come up with some 2014 middle grade releases, I realized I had only read a handful the entire year.  I would like to read more of a variety of age ranges to keep up with readers advisory.

3. Read all of my book club books this year.  I was pretty bad in 2014 with school, but I will do better!

4. I will not let my Goodreads To-Read shelf exceed 300 books.  It's close right now, but I really need to start reading a lot more now that school has ended.

5. Listen to at least two classics this year.  I really want to listen to Little Women and maybe Persuasion.  

6. Make and stick to a schedule when it comes to posting.  I would love to have a MWF schedule with Tuesdays open for Top Ten Tuesday and Thursdays being a freebie.  

7. I'd like to create my own feature.  For example, Jamie at The Perpetual Page-Turner has New to the Queue.  I'd love to do something unique, but I feel like everything has been done.  Any suggestions?

8. Keep up with my 2015 reading challenges.  This means scheduling update posts, etc.  

9. Work out at least 3x a week.  It could be anything, but at least 20 minutes of getting my heart pumping!

10. Try at least one new recipe a month.  This was a semi-resolution last year.  I just need to be more consistent when it comes to finding recipes, trying them out, and saving them if I enjoy them.

Monday, December 29, 2014

Kiss Kill Vanish by Jessica Martinez

Kiss Kill Vanish by Jessica Martinez
Published by Katherine Tegen Books on October 7, 2014

Summary: "Valentina Cruz no longer exists.

One moment, she was wrapped in Emilio’s arms, melting into his kiss. The next, she was witnessing the unthinkable: a murder in cold blood, ordered by her father and carried out by her boyfriend. When Emilio pulled the trigger, Valentina disappeared. She made a split-second decision to shed her identity and flee her life of privilege, leaving the glittering parties and sultry nightlife of Miami far behind.

She doesn’t know how to explain to herself what she saw. All she knows now is that nothing she believed about her family, her heart, or Emilio’s love, was real.

She can change her name and deny her past, but Valentina can’t run from the truth. The lines between right and wrong, and trust and betrayal, will be blurred beyond recognition as she untangles the deceptions of the two men she once loved and races to find her own truth." --From Goodreads

My Thoughts:

I had a hard time suspending my disbeliefs for this book.  Valentina runs away from her family to Montreal and manages to survive by playing her mandolin on the street corner.  That sounds semi-plausible.  Next, a guy hires her to be a model for him while he paints her for three hundred dollars a sitting. That does NOT sound semi-plausible.  And don't get me started on her "boyfriend" Emilio.  I do have to admit that Valentina's character does grow throughout the novel.  She started off being fairly naive, but does become more mature and confident by the end.  Overall, I would have to say that this is a fairly entertaining story, but nothing more than that.  I would have liked more interaction between Valentina and her father at the end of story.  Something along the lines of how he came to be what he became to be.

Disclosure: I borrowed a copy from my library.

Friday, December 26, 2014

Being Sloane Jacobs by Lauren Morrill

Being Sloane Jacobs by Lauren Morrill
Published by Delacorte on January 7, 2014

Summary: Sloane Emily Jacobs is an ice skater who crashed during junior nationals, and isn't ready for her big comeback.

Sloane Devon Jacobs is an ice hockey player who has been suspended from her team for one too many fights on the ice.

The two Sloanes meet by chance and decide to trade places for the summer. Each girl thinks she's the lucky one, not fully realizing what they are getting into.

My Thoughts:

This book is the contemporary take on the Parent Trap or It Takes Two. I loved the dynamics behind the switch, and the fact that the girls got to see a different side of themselves; without the pressure from their parents.

Overall, I was really glad that I had picked up this book. I also liked that I accidentally read it during the Olympics. It was a great, light entertaining read.

Disclosure: I borrowed this book from my library.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Seraphina by Rachel Hartman

Seraphina by Rachel Hartman
Published by Random House Books for Young Readers on July 10, 2012

Summary: "Four decades of peace have done little to ease the mistrust between humans and dragons in the kingdom of Goredd. Folding themselves into human shape, dragons attend court as ambassadors, and lend their rational, mathematical minds to universities as scholars and teachers. As the treaty's anniversary draws near, however, tensions are high.

Seraphina Dombegh has reason to fear both sides. An unusually gifted musician, she joins the court just as a member of the royal family is murdered—in suspiciously draconian fashion. Seraphina is drawn into the investigation, partnering with the captain of the Queen's Guard, the dangerously perceptive Prince Lucian Kiggs. While they begin to uncover hints of a sinister plot to destroy the peace, Seraphina struggles to protect her own secret, the secret behind her musical gift, one so terrible that its discovery could mean her very life."  --From Goodreads

My Thoughts:

How do you put into words a book so wonderful?  This book was a re-read after first reading it in 2012.  With the sequel, Shadow Scale, out in March 2015, I figured I had better reacquaint myself with the world.  I'm so glad I did!  Seraphina's world is so lush and complex, that I did not remember what happened in the book!  I also love the characters.  Even the characters with more minor roles like Viridus (court composer) and Prince Rufus (whose funeral begins the book) are exquisitely crafted.

I can't say enough of this book.  If you like fantasy, strong female characters, or just a good book, you need to read this!

Disclosure: I first read it from the library, but then I bought my own copy.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday: Books From Santa

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.  This week's theme is the top ten books I want to get from Santa.
Here we go!

I already own Heir of Fire, but I wouldn't mind getting The Assassin's Blade, Throne of Glass, or Crown of Midnight all by Sarah J. Maas.

The same goes for this series as well.  I already own Isla and the Happily Ever After, but I don't own Anna and the French Kiss or Lola and the Boy Next Door all by Stephanie Perkins.

The Inventor's Secret by Andrea Cremer
The Jewel by Amy Ewing
Rebel Belle by Rachel Hawkins


The Winner's Curse by Marie Rutkoski
Atlantia by Ally Condie
Wild Things: Acts of Mischief in Children's Literature by Betsy Bird, Julie Danielson, and Peter Sieruta

Centaur Rising by Jane Yolen
Rain Reign by Ann M. Martin

What are the books you most want to get from Santa?
Leave a list or link in the comments!

Monday, December 22, 2014

2014 Book Survey

The End of Year Book Survey is hosted by Jamie at The Perpetual Page-Turner.

Number Of Books You Read: 773 (but the majority of those are picture books)
Number of Re-Reads: I'd say under 10.  When I read, I try to read something new.
Genre You Read The Most From:  Can picture books be a genre?  Probably young adult then.

1. Best Book You Read In 2014?
(If you have to cheat — you can break it down by genre if you want or 2013 release vs. backlist)

Adult Fiction: I read The Heist by Janet Evanovich and Lee Goldberg.
Short Stories: My True Love Gave to Me edited by Stephanie Perkins
Dystopian: The Darkest Minds series by Alexandra Bracken
Fantasy: Throne of Glass series by Sarah J. Maas
Contemporary: Anna and the French Kiss series by Stephanie Perkins
Non-fiction: The Family Romanovs by Candice Fleming

2. Book You Were Excited About & Thought You Were Going To Love More But Didn’t?

Pointe by Brandy Colbert.  I remembered being underwhelmed by the plot.  The synopsis was more exciting than the actual book.

3. Most surprising (in a good way or bad way) book you read in 2014?

Throne of Glass series by Sarah J. Maas.  I really didn't think I'd like it as much as I did.  I fell in love with Calaena.

4. Book You “Pushed” The Most People To Read (And They Did) In 2014?

It probably ended up being the Throne of Glass series.  I also recommended The Selection series by Keira Cass a lot as well.

5. Best series you started in 2014? Best Sequel of 2014? Best Series Ender of 2014?

Best series started: Throne of Glass
Best sequel: Cress by Marissa Meyer
Best series ender: Blood of Olympus by Rick Riordan

6. Favorite new author you discovered in 2014?

I wrote a whole post on this topic: New to Me Authors in 2014.

7. Best book from a genre you don’t typically read/was out of your comfort zone?

I don't read a lot of non-fiction, but I'm really glad I decided to read The Family Romanov by Candice Fleming.

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

I loved Cress by Marissa Meyer.  There was definitely a lot of action with Captain Thorne.

9. Book You Read In 2014 That You Are Most Likely To Re-Read Next Year?

I will probably end up re-reading the entire Lunar Chronicles series in anticipation of the last book, Winter.

10. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2014?

Rebel Belle by Rachel Hawkins

11. Most memorable character of 2014?

Calaena Sardothien in the Throne of Glass series

12. Most beautifully written book read in 2014?

Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein

13. Most Thought-Provoking/ Life-Changing Book of 2014?

Where the Stars Still Shine by Trish Doller

14. Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2014 to finally read?

Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

15. Favorite Passage/Quote From A Book You Read In 2014?

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

16.Shortest & Longest Book You Read In 2013?

Longest: City of Heavenly Fire by Cassandra Clare (725 pages)
Shortest: Hansel and Gretel by Neil Gaiman (52 pages)

17. Book That Shocked You The Most?
(Because of a plot twist, character death, left you hanging with your mouth wide open, etc.)

The ENTIRE Burn for Burn series by Jenny Han and Siobhan Vivian.  Did NOT see that ending coming!!

18. OTP OF THE YEAR (you will go down with this ship!)
(OTP = one true pairing if you aren’t familiar)

Percy and Annabeth from Rick Riordan's books.  I LOVE THEM.

19. Favorite Non-Romantic Relationship Of The Year

Reagan and Lilah from Open Road Summer by Emery Lord.  Girl Power!!

20. Favorite Book You Read in 2014 From An Author You’ve Read Previously

Cress by Marissa Meyer

21. Best Book You Read In 2014 That You Read Based SOLELY On A Recommendation From Somebody Else/Peer Pressure:

I'm usually the one doing the peer pressure.  It's one of the perks of being a librarian.

22. Newest fictional crush from a book you read in 2014?

Captain Thorne from the Lunar Chronicles.

23. Best 2014 debut you read?

I would have to say Open Road Summer by Emery Lord.  I loved the friendship between Lilah and Reagan.

24. Best Worldbuilding/Most Vivid Setting You Read This Year?

Definitely has to be the Throne of Glass series by Sarah J. Maas.  Love the fae.

25. Book That Put A Smile On Your Face/Was The Most FUN To Read?

I thought Geography of You and Me was a fun book to read.

26. Book That Made You Cry Or Nearly Cry in 2014?

I had to read Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson again for class this year.  I always shed a few tears when I read that.

27. Hidden Gem Of The Year?

Since You've Been Gone by Morgan Matson.

28. Book That Crushed Your Soul?

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz.

29. Most Unique Book You Read In 2014?

Throne of Glass series by Sarah J. Maas.  I've never read anything quite like it.

30. Book That Made You The Most Mad (doesn’t necessarily mean you didn’t like it)?

Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein.  THAT ENDING.

1. New favorite book blog you discovered in 2014?

The Perpetual Page Turner

2. Favorite review that you wrote in 2014?

Princess in Black by Shannon and Dean Hale

3. Best discussion/non-review post you had on your blog?

Top Ten Tuesday: Sequels I Can't Wait For

4. Best event that you participated in (author signings, festivals, virtual events, memes, etc.)?

My blog is still fairly new, but I'd say Top Ten Tuesday.

5. Best moment of bookish/blogging life in 2014?

Getting a reply from E. Lockhart!

7. Most Popular Post This Year On Your Blog (whether it be by comments or views)?

Sequels I Can't Wait For

8. Post You Wished Got A Little More Love?

My November wrap-up post.  Do people even care about what I read each month?

9. Best bookish discover (book related sites, book stores, etc.)?

Book Riot's Twitter.  I love them.

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

Unfortunately, because of school I had a hard time doing anything other than homework.  I plan to change that next year!

1. One Book You Didn’t Get To In 2014 But Will Be Your Number 1 Priority in 2015?

Anything on my TBR is fair game, but my first priority will be Raging Heat by Richard Castle or Of Neptune by Anna Banks.

2. Book You Are Most Anticipating For 2015 (non-debut)?

Fairest and Winter both by Marissa Meyer.

3. 2015 Debut You Are Most Anticipating?

I don't usually find out about debuts until they debut.

4. Series Ending/A Sequel You Are Most Anticipating in 2015?

The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer.  I think I'm going to cry.

5. One Thing You Hope To Accomplish Or Do In Your Reading/Blogging Life In 2015?

Read more debuts.  Finish the reading challenges I signed up for.

6. A 2015 Release You’ve Already Read & Recommend To Everyone:

No 2015 releases here yet.  My reading has been slow lately because of school.  School is almost done now, so let the reading begin!

Tell me if you loved any of the books I loved this year!  Leave a link or comment to your own 2014 book survey!

Friday, December 19, 2014

Roomies by Sara Zarr and Tara Altebrando

Roomies by Sara Zarr and Tara Altebrando
Published by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers on November 19, 2013

"It’s time to meet your new roomie.

When East Coast native Elizabeth receives her freshman-year roommate assignment, she shoots off an e-mail to coordinate the basics: television, microwave, mini-fridge. That first note to San Franciscan Lauren sparks a series of e-mails that alters the landscape of each girl’s summer — and raises questions about how two girls who are so different will ever share a dorm room.” — From Goodreads

My Thoughts:

I really enjoyed this book.  It brought back memories of when I first went to college and when I first met my roommate.  The emotions that the girls go through seem very real.  How does someone transition to living with another person that they haven't met yet?  Even though the girls have never met, they seem to click right away.  They start telling each other everything, and eventually their relationship becomes a sticky mess.

Disclosure: I borrowed this book from my library.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Rebel Belle by Rachel Hawkins

Rebel Belle by Rachel Hawkins
Published by Putnam Juvenile on April 8, 2014

Summary: "Harper Price, peerless Southern belle, was born ready for a Homecoming tiara. But after a strange run-in at the dance imbues her with incredible abilities, Harper's destiny takes a turn for the seriously weird. She becomes a Paladin, one of an ancient line of guardians with agility, super strength and lethal fighting instincts.

Just when life can't get any more disastrously crazy, Harper finds out who she's charged to protect: David Stark, school reporter, subject of a mysterious prophecy and possibly Harper's least favorite person. But things get complicated when Harper starts falling for him—and discovers that David's own fate could very well be to destroy Earth."  --From Goodreads

My Thoughts:

I loved this book!  It was such a cute story, and I loved that it was action packed.  Not something I expected when the main character is a Southern Belle.  Harper, the main character, is a spunky, type-A, overachiever.  She becomes the perfect blend of girly and action superstar.  This book is the first in a new series, and I can't wait to get my hands on it!

Disclosure: I borrowed a copy from my library.

Rebel Belle series
Miss Mayhem

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

To All The Boys I've Loved Before by Jenny Han

To All The Boys I've Loved Before by Jenny Han
Published by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers on April 15, 2014

Summary: "Lara Jean Song keeps her love letters in a hatbox her mother gave her. They aren't love letters that anyone else wrote for her; these are ones she's written. One for every boy she's ever loved—five in all. When she writes, she pours out her heart and soul and says all the things she would never say in real life, because her letters are for her eyes only. Until the day her secret letters are mailed, and suddenly, Lara Jean's love life goes from imaginary to out of control." -- From Goodreads

My Thoughts:

This book was so cute!  I loved the love-triangle between Lara Jean, Josh, and Peter.  With the risk of giving too much away, Lara sends love letters to Josh, Peter, and a few other boys.  Josh and Peter were total opposites, and it was interesting to see how Lara interacted with both of them.

I'm jealous of the relationship between Margot, Lara, and Kitty.  I've always wanted a sister, and they are so close.  Margot goes to Scotland for college, so Lara and Kitty must learn what it's like to be without Margot.

There is a sequel planned for release in 2015.  I'm glad, because only a few strings were tied up at the end of this novel.  I can't wait to see where this storyline is going to go.

Disclosure: I borrowed a copy from my library.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I've Read in 2014

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.  This week's theme is top ten books I've read in 2014.
This list was hard to compile (and I also cheated by listing series as one book).  Here we go!

Throne of Glass series by Sarah J. Maas
Hands-down the best series I read in 2014.  It has a kickass heroine, a little bit of romance, and a lot of fantasy elements.  I am eagerly awaiting the fourth book in 2015.


Open Road Summer by Emery Lord
I picked up this book because a lot of people were raving about it, and I am so glad that I did!  Regan and Lilah's friendship felt so real.  It was a great contemporary read.

We Were Liars by E. Lockhart
This was probably the most talked about book of the summer.  Just the description alone made me want to read it.  I loved that the ending was a complete surprise to me.  This book is definitely a must-read for those who like YA fiction.

The Darkest Minds series by Alexandra Bracken
This year was all about bingeing on series that had already ended.  I bought The Darkest Minds on a whim, and I was hooked from the first page.  This series reminds me so much of X-Men.  This series is has a different twist on the dystopian novel.

The Geography of You and Me by Jennifer E. Smith
I've loved all of her books so far, and this one did not disappoint.  

Anna and the French Kiss series by Stephanie Perkins
This was a series that I had been seeing all over the web, and I finally decided to take the plunge a couple of weeks before the last book was published.  I'm so glad I did!  I can't wait to see what else Stephanie Perkins has up her sleeves.

The Family Romanov by Candace Fleming
This was a book club pick, otherwise I probably would not have picked it up by myself.  I'm so glad I did! The writing was excellent, and the story read beautifully.  

The Blood of Olympus by Rick Riordan
I think no list would be complete without the newest Rick Riordan novel.  I'm going to miss Percy, but I hope he makes an appearance in Riordan's new series next year.

Shatter Me series by Tahereh Mafi
I really liked this series.  It was a great series to bring me back into the world of the dystopians.

My True Love Gave to Me: Twelve Holiday Stories
This book has stories from authors I really like (Jenny Han! Ally Carter!) and I was so happy to pick up this book to bolster my holiday spirits.  I know I'll be reading stories from it next Christmas as well.

What about your top books in 2014?  Leave a list or link in the comments!

Monday, December 15, 2014

The Heist by Janet Evanovich and Lee Goldberg

The Heist by Janet Evanovich and Lee Goldberg
Published by Bantam on June 18, 2013.

Summary: "FBI Special Agent Kate O’Hare is known for her fierce dedication and discipline on the job, chasing down the world’s most wanted criminals and putting them behind bars. And while Kate has made quite a name for herself for the past five years, the only name she’s cared about is Nicolas Fox—an international crook she wants in more ways than one.

Audacious, handsome, and dangerously charming, Nicolas Fox is a natural con man, notorious for running elaborate scams on very high-profile people. At first he did it for the money. Now he does it for the thrill. He knows that the FBI has been hot on his trail—particularly Kate O’Hare, who has been watching his every move. For Nick, there’s no greater rush than being pursued by a beautiful woman. . . even one who aims to lock him up. But just when it seems that Nicolas Fox has been captured for good, he pulls off his greatest con of all: he convinces the FBI to offer him a job, working side by side with Special Agent Kate O’Hare.

Problem is, teaming up to stop a corrupt investment banker who’s hiding on a private island in Indonesia is going to test O’Hare’s patience and Fox’s skill. Not to mention the skills of their ragtag team made up of flamboyant actors, wanted wheelmen, and Kate’s dad. High-speed chases, pirates, and Toblerone bars are all in a day’s work... if O’Hare and Fox don’t kill each other first." --From Goodreads.

My Thoughts:

I sincerely enjoyed this book.  I listened to the audiobook, narrated by Scott Brick.  It was so funny that I laughed out loud in my car a couple of times.  This series is completely fluff, just like Evanovich's Stephanie Plum series.  But if you need something that will take you away from the stressors of your life, look to this series.

Disclosure: I borrowed the audiobook from my local library.

Fox and O'Hare series
The Chase
The Job

Friday, December 12, 2014

We Were Liars by E. Lockhart

We Were Liars by E. Lockhart
Published by Delacorte Press on May 13, 2014

Summary: "A beautiful and distinguished family.
A private island.
A brilliant, damaged girl; a passionate, political boy.
A group of four friends—the Liars—whose friendship turns destructive.
A revolution. An accident. A secret.
Lies upon lies.
True love.
The truth."
--From Goodreads

My Thoughts:

We Were Liars was one of my most anticipated novels of 2014, and it did not disappoint me!  I'm not going to go into much detail because to talk about anything would spoil the plot.  The setting was gorgeously detailed (the family owns their own summer island) and it's easy to picture the understated opulence.

I had a few "holy crap" moments, and my heart broke a little at the very end.  If you like suspense and intrigue, I would suggest checking out this book!

Disclosure: I borrowed a copy from my library.