Saturday, December 31, 2016

Best Picture Books of 2016

Today I'm wrapping up 2016 with my favorite picture books from this past year.  Enjoy!

Finding Winnie by Lindsay Mattick
The true story of Winnie the Pooh

Here Comes Valentine Cat by Deborah Underwood
Cat is hilarious in his third story about Valentine's Day. 

Mother Bruce by Ryan T. Higgins
Bruce accidentally becomes a mother to some goslings.

Are We There Yet? by Dan Santat
On a road trip, time slows down so much it starts going backwards! 

Flora and the Peacocks by Molly Idle
Flora learns to dance with two peacocks.

1 Big Salad by Juana Medina
All of the ingredients for one tasty salad!

Max at Night by Ed Vere
Max needs to say good night to the moon.

They All Saw a Cat by Brendan Wenzel
Shows the different perspectives of a cat.

Return by Aaron Becker
Failing to get the attention of her busy father, a lonely girl turns back to a fantastic world for friendship and adventure.

Nanette's Baguette by Mo Willems
Nanette goes to the bakery, but will she come back with the baguette?

Friday, December 30, 2016

Debut Author Challenge: 2016 Wrap Up!

It's time to wrap up the one challenge I did (and completed!) in 2016.  The Debut Author Challenge is hosted by Jana from That Artsy Reader Girl.

My goal for 2016 was to read 12 debut books, and I read 12!  Here are the books that I've read since my last update in September:

The May Queen Murders by Sarah Jude
Nothing is as it seems in the old-fashioned town of Rowan's Glen.

This Is Where It Ends by Marieke Nijkamp
Told from four different perspectives over the span of fifty-four harrowing minutes, terror reigns as one student’s calculated revenge turns into the ultimate game of survival

Underwater by Marisa Reichardt
A girl struggles with her role in a school shooting.

I'm planning on doing the 2017 Debut Author Challenge as well.  Sign up here!

How did you do in your challenge?
Update me in the comments below!

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Underwater by Marisa Reichardt

Underwater by Marisa Reichardt
Published by Farrar, Straus, & Giroux in January 2016
Debut Challenge 2016

"Morgan didn’t mean to do anything wrong that day. Actually, she meant to do something right. But her kind act inadvertently played a role in a deadly tragedy. In order to move on, Morgan must learn to forgive—first someone who did something that might be unforgivable, and then herself.

But Morgan can’t move on. She can’t even move beyond the front door of the apartment she shares with her mother and little brother. Morgan feels like she’s underwater, unable to surface. Unable to see her friends. Unable to go to school.

When it seems Morgan can’t hold her breath any longer, a new boy moves in next door. Evan reminds her of the salty ocean air and the rush she used to get from swimming. He might be just what she needs to help her reconnect with the world outside."

Will you like it?
I loved the slow evolution of Morgan over the entire book.  She transitioned slowly from being total recluse to going back to a version of her old normal.  Morgan also struggled with father issues, and that also played a huge part in her wanting to become better.

I really liked Evan.  He understood what Morgan went through, but didn't take any of her crap.  I truly appreciated him standing up for himself.  Yes, Morgan was sick but that didn't mean that she needed to treat him like crap.  I loved their relationship.

Disclosure: I borrowed this book from my local library.

2016 Book Survey

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

Number Of Books You Read: 152
Number of Re-Reads: I'd say under 10.  When I read, I try to read something new.
Genre You Read The Most From:  Fantasy.

1. Best Book You Read In 2016?
(If you have to cheat — you can break it down by genre if you want or 2016 release vs. backlist)

Definitely a tie between A Court of Mist and Fury & Empire of Storms both by Sarah J. Maas.

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

The Leaving by Tara Altebrando.  The premise sounded amazing, but the execution not so much.

3. Most surprising (in a good way or bad way) book you read in 2016?

Illuminae & Gemina both by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff.  I loved the uniqueness of each read.

4. Book You “Pushed” The Most People To Read (And They Did) In 2016?

I pushed a lot of people to read Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo.

5. Best series you started in 2016? Best Sequel of 2016? Best Series Ender of 2016?

Best series started: Blackhearts by Nicole Castroman
Best sequel: A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas
Best series ender: Bad Blood by Jennifer Lynn Barnes.

6. Favorite new author you discovered in 2016?

Brittany Cavallaro (A Study in Charlotte) and Nicole Castroman (Blackhearts).

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

I am Princess X by Cherie Priest

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

A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas

9. Book You Read In 2016 That You Are Most Likely To Re-Read Next Year?

A Court of Thorns and Roses & A Court of Mist and Fury both by Sarah J. Maas

10. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2016?

11. Most memorable character of 2016?

Kaz Brekker from Six of Crows & Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo.

12. Most beautifully written book read in 2016?

The Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson

13. Most Thought-Provoking/ Life-Changing Book of 2016?

After the Woods by Kim Savage

14. Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2016 to finally read?

Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

15. Favorite Passage/Quote From A Book You Read In 2016?
“Home isn't a place. Home is the people who love you. Forever and ever, no matter what.”
- Jennifer Lynn Barnes, Bad Blood

16.Shortest & Longest Book You Read In 2016

Longest: 698 pages ; Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare
Shortest: 96 pages ; The Princess in Black Takes a Vacation by Shannon & Dean Hale

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

Empire of Storms by Sarah J. Maas

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

Feyre & Rhysand from A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas

19. Favorite Non-Romantic Relationship Of The Year

Safi & Iseult from Truthwitch by Susan Dennard

20. Favorite Book You Read in 2016 From An Author You’ve Read Previously

Bad Blood by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

21. Best Book You Read In 2016 That You Read Based SOLELY On A Recommendation From Somebody Else/Peer Pressure:

With Malice by Eileen Cook

22. Newest fictional crush from a book you read in 2016?

Rhysand in A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas

23. Best 2016 debut you read?

Tie between Blackhearts by Nicole Castroman & A Study in Charlotte by Brittany Cavallaro.

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

A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas

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

The Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson

26. Book That Made You Cry Or Nearly Cry in 2016?

The Winner's Kiss by Marie Rutkoski

27. Hidden Gem Of The Year?

The Magnolia Story by Chip and Joanna Gaines

28. Book That Crushed Your Soul?

Empire of Storms by Sarah J. Maas

29. Most Unique Book You Read In 2016?

Illuminae by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff

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

This is Where It Ends by Marieke Nijkamp

1. New favorite book blog you discovered in 2016?

I stumbled upon NovelKnight's 2017 Backlist challenge.  I've been reading her posts and I can't wait to start!

2. Favorite review that you wrote in 2016?

I did a series of Christmas movie reviews that I really enjoyed.

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

I really enjoyed writing about how I use Google Calendar to keep track of my blog posts.

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

Top Ten Tuesday is still my favorite!

5. Best moment(s) of bookish/blogging life in 2016?

I always love getting to interact with authors on Twitter.

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

The books I can't wait for in January - June 2017 got a lot of love.

8. Post You Wished Got A Little More Love?

I wish people read more reviews.

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

I love Book Outlet!

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

I finished That Artsy Reader Girl's Debut Author Challenge.

1. One Book You Didn’t Get To In 2016 But Will Be Your Number 1 Priority in 2017?

The Hammer of Thor by Rick Riordan

2. Book You Are Most Anticipating For 2017 (non-debut)?

A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J. Maas

3. 2017 Debut You Are Most Anticipating?

Daughter of the Pirate King by Tricia Levenseller

4. Series Ending/A Sequel You Are Most Anticipating in 2017?

Throne of Glass #6 is coming out in September!  :(

5. One Thing You Hope To Accomplish Or Do In Your Reading/Blogging Life In 2017?

Put more posts on Instagram.

6. A 2017 Release You’ve Already Read & Recommend To Everyone:

I try really hard to not read any 2017 new releases because then they won't count for my challenges.

Leave me a link to your book survey in the comments!

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Waiting on Wednesday: Wires and Nerve

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted at Breaking the Spine, which shines a light on eagerly anticipated upcoming releases.  This week, my pick is:

Wires and Nerve by Marissa Meyer
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Date: January 31, 2017

"In her first graphic novel, bestselling author Marissa Meyer extends the world of the Lunar Chronicles with a brand-new, action-packed story about Iko, the android with a heart of (mechanized) gold. When rogue packs of wolf-hybrid soldiers threaten the tenuous peace alliance between Earth and Luna, Iko takes it upon herself to hunt down the soldiers' leader. She is soon working with a handsome royal guard who forces her to question everything she knows about love, loyalty, and her own humanity." - From Goodreads

I can't even begin to tell you how excited I am to have more stories written in the Lunar Chronicles world.  I miss my characters so much, and I can't wait to reunite with old friends.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

TTT: Best YA in 2016

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.  This week's theme is features my favorite YA books in 2016.  Here we go!

Bad Blood by Jennifer Lynn Barnes
The last book in one of my favorite series!

Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare
A new story set in Clare's Shadowhunters world.

Illuminae & Gemina by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff
Set on a spaceship.  Need I say more?

Six of Crows & Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo 
Ocean's 11 meets fantasy.

Empire of Storms by Sarah J. Maas
There are no words to describe this book.  Read it.  Now.

Blackhearts by Nicole Castroman
Before Blackbeard was Blackbeard.

Truthwitch by Susan Dennard
People have magical powers, and one has a power people would kill for.

A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas
Another book by Sarah J. Maas.  Read it.  Now.

A Study in Charlotte by Brittany Cavallaro
A lovely retelling/ descendants of Sherlock and Holmes.  So awesome!

What are your favorites from 2016?
Leave me a list or link in the comments!

Monday, December 26, 2016

2016 Goals Recap

1. Read at least one book per week. There were some weeks I read none, and there were some weeks that I would read three.  I guess I can't control how much I read. 

2. Read more middle grade novels.  I read more middle grade in 2016 than I read in 2015, but I can always get better.

3. Read all of my book club books this year.  Ha!  This was super bad!  I still want to try to read these, but if I can't, I won't stress about it.

4. Listen to at least two classics this year.  Didn't do this either.  I think this next year I'm going to focus on rereading my favorite children's classics.

5. Make and stick to a schedule when it comes to posting.  I did stick to the schedule throughout most of 2016.  Mid-November and December I've been posting every day except Sunday.

6. Be better about scheduling posts. I think I've finally found a good routine when I'm scheduling posts.

7. Work out at least 3x a week.  Ugh no.  Why is this something I struggle with completely?

8. Write more.  I have done almost no writing in 2016.  I hope to change that in 2017.

9. Make healthier food when the boyfriend is gone.  This was better this year.  I made a lot of simple meals, or made big meals on Sundays with lots of leftovers.

10. Try at least one new recipe a month.  We still do this, but I want to be more intentional about it in 2017.

11. Keep up with my planner.  So... I switched planners mid-year.  I'm now using a Happy Planner and I'm loving it.  I'd also like to do more blog posts about planning, etc. in 2017.

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Favorite Christmas Movies: A Cookie Cutter Christmas

Summary: "Two schoolteachers take their rivalry to a new level, while they scramble to win a holiday baking contest."

Cheese Factor: 4/5
Making up entire recipes from scratch?  Good luck with that!

Overall: The point of this movie was a little lost on me.  It also wasn't entirely Christmasey either, but the movie was still entertaining.

Where can you find this movie? Check out the listings on the Hallmark channel!

Friday, December 23, 2016

Favorite Christmas Movies: Charming Christmas

Summary: "When a young businesswoman plays Mrs Claus at her family's department store over Christmas, her life begins to take some unexpected turns."

Cheese Factor: 3/5
Some things cannot be explained.  It seriously peeves me when that happens.

Overall: I think this movie is perfect for those movie nights with your girlfriends and a bottle of wine.  

Where can you find this movie? Check the listings on the Hallmark channel!

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Favorite Christmas Movies: Very Merry Mix-up

Summary: "Shop owner Alice Chapman is nervous about meeting her future in-laws at Christmas, especially because she is arriving ahead of her new fiancé, Will Mitchum. Alice's trip becomes more stressful when her luggage is lost and her phone is damaged, leaving her no way to find Will's family!"

Cheese Factor: 2/5
Sending your fiance home to meet your parents alone?  Such a jerk move.

Overall: This would be a movie to watch with your best girlfriends.  Such a cute story line.

Where can you find this movie? Check the listings on the Hallmark channel!

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Waiting on Wednesday: Carve the Mark

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted at Breaking the Spine, which shines a light on eagerly anticipated upcoming releases.  This week, my pick is:

Carve the Mark by Veronica Roth
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Date: January 17, 2017

"On a planet where violence and vengeance rule, in a galaxy where some are favored by fate, everyone develops a currentgift, a unique power meant to shape the future. While most benefit from their currentgifts, Akos and Cyra do not—their gifts make them vulnerable to others’ control. Can they reclaim their gifts, their fates, and their lives, and reset the balance of power in this world?

Cyra is the sister of the brutal tyrant who rules the Shotet people. Cyra’s currentgift gives her pain and power—something her brother exploits, using her to torture his enemies. But Cyra is much more than just a blade in her brother’s hand: she is resilient, quick on her feet, and smarter than he knows.

Akos is from the peace-loving nation of Thuvhe, and his loyalty to his family is limitless. Though protected by his unusual currentgift, once Akos and his brother are captured by enemy Shotet soldiers, Akos is desperate to get his brother out alive—no matter what the cost. When Akos is thrust into Cyra’s world, the enmity between their countries and families seems insurmountable. They must decide to help each other to survive—or to destroy one another."

This sounds so interesting!  I can't wait to dive in when I finally get my hands on this!

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

TTT: Books From Santa

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.  This week's theme features the books I want to find under the Christmas tree from Santa.  Here we go!

Heartless by Marissa Meyer
A retelling of  Alice in Wonderland's Queen of Hearts.

Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo
Ocean's 11 meets fantasy.

Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo
Need this one to complete the set!

What's on your list?
Leave me a list or link in the comments!