2014 End Of The Year Book Survey

Every year, Jamie at The Perpetual Page-Turner does an End Of The Year Book Survey, and I always look forward to doing it because it’s so much fun to think about the books I’ve read over the last year in a really cool way.  I’ve done it in 2012 and 2013, so it’ll be fun to do it again.  Just to let y’all know, this is going to be a long post.  Enjoy!

Book Stats

Number Of Books Read:

140 + 10 DNF’s

Number Of Re-Reads:

I have no idea, since I don’t keep track of my re-reads (but maybe I should).  I know I re-read a few books.

Genre You Read The Most From:

I read a lot of YA Paranormal, with 49 books, followed by YA Contemporary with 37.

Best In Books

1- Best Books I Read, by genre:

Paranormal: Sweet Reckoning by Wendy Higgins

Re-tellings: Cress by Marissa Meyer

Dystopic: Ignite Me by Tahereh Mafi

Contemporary: Isla And The Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins

2- Book You Were Excited About & Thought You Were Going To Love More, But Didn’t:

It’s a toss-up between Eleanor & Park and The Book Thief- the latter of which I didn’t finish.  Both books have a lot of rave reviews, and they seem right up my alley, but these 2 books just didn’t work for me.

3- Most Surprising, in a good or a bad way:

Stiff by Mary Roach- she made science really fun and interesting!

4- Book That I Pushed The Most People To Read (And They Did):

This is a hard one, because I don’t recommend books to people often, but I really think people should read Crow by Barbara Wright.  I had no idea the Wilmington Race Riots even happened, and now I want to learn more about it.  Also the Queen Of Hearts Saga by Colleen Oakes.

5- Best Series I Started/Best Sequel/Best Series Ender:

Best Series I Started: The Crown by Colleen Oakes.  I just love this Alice In Wonderland re-telling.

Best Sequel: Witchfall by Victoria Lamb.  I just love the combination of paranormal and magic and Tudor England. Everything is coming together so well, and this book wasn’t just filler, which is nice.

Best Series Ender: We’ll Always Have Summer by Jenny Han.  It’s such a perfect end to the series, and I couldn’t ask for a better, more perfect ending.

6- Favorite New Author I Discovered In 2014:

Laura Weiss.  I just LOVED Me Since You, and now I want to read everything she writes.

7- Best Book from a genre I don’t typically read or was out of my comfort zone:

it’s a tie between The Autobiographies Of Maya Angelou, who had quite the life, and Tampa by Alyssa Nutting, which was uncomfortably disturbing but hard to put down literary fiction.

8- Most action-packed/thrilling/unputdownable book I read this year:

Black Ice by Becca Fitzpatrick.  It was hard to put down, and I wanted to know what would happen next, because the book was pretty unpredictable.

9- Book I Read In 2014 That I Am Most Likely To Re-Read In 2015:

Five Ways To Fall by K.A. Tucker.  I’ve already re-read it a couple of times, and I’m looking forward to re-reading it again.

10- Favorite Cover Of A Book I’ve Read In 2014: 

Teardrop Cover

11- Most Memorable Character Of 2014:

Jed from Dead Jed by Scott Craven.  He’s a kid who just happens to have a heart condition that makes him a zombie.  I really like seeing him trying to navigate middle school.

12- Most Beautifully Written Book Read In 2014:

Me Since You by Laura Weiss.  It’s such a beautiful book, and Rowan’s story was one I related to so well.

13- Most Thought-Provoking/Life-Changing Book Of 2014:

Pandemic by Yvonne Ventresca.  It’s a flu pandemic told by a girl who collects supplies and worries about things like pandemics to deal with a really horrible thing that happened with one of her teachers.

14- Book I Can’t Believe I Waited Until 2014 To Read:

The Statistical Probability Of Love At First Sight by Jennifer Smith.  It’s such a cute story, and I don’t know why it took me so long to read it.

15- Favorite Passage/Quote From A Book I Read In 2014:

“I believe some people are inherently evil.
I believe guilt is a powerful motivator.
I believe redemption is something you can strive for but never fully achieve.
I believe second chances exist only in dreams, never in reality.
I believe you don’t have years, or months, or weeks to impact a person’s life.
You have seconds.
Seconds to win them over, And seconds to lose them.”

-From Four Seconds To Lose by K.A. Tucker

16- Shortest & Longest Book I Read In 2014:

Shortest: Beauty by Nancy Ohlin at 118 pages

Longest: The Collected Autobiographies Of Maya Angelou at 1,186 pages

17- Book That Shocked Me The Most:

Tampa by Alyssa Nutting.  I was not actually expecting to actually read a teacher have sex with one of her 14-year-old students.

18- One True Pairing Of The Year:

I love Isla And Josh from Isla And The Happily Ever After.

19- Favorite Non-Romantic Pairing Of The Year:

I love the relationship that Charlie has with her brothers in On The Fence by Kasie West.

20- Favorite Book From An Author I’ve Read Previously:

Moonglass by Jessi Kirby.  I just love all of her books.

21- Best Book I Read Based Solely On A Recommendation/Peer Pressure:

Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein.  I didn’t love it like I thought I would, but so many people loved it that I knew I had to read it.  Plus, of the ones I’ve read thar were recommended or I read because everyone else has, it really was one of the better ones.

22- Newest Fictional Crush From A Book I Read:

Raphael from Angels’ Blood by Nalini Singh.  He is one of my newest book boyfriends and I have no idea why.

23- Best 2014 Debut I Read:

Lies We Tell Ourselves by Robin Talley.  It’s such a realistic look at how schools went through de-segregation, and it’s still hard to believe that it wasn’t that long ago that it happened.

24- Book That Put A Smile On My Face/Was The Most Fun To Read:

Wallbanger by Alice Clayton.  This book was absolutely hysterical and I couldn’t stop laughing.

25- Best Worldbuilding/Most Vivid Setting:

Out Of The Easy by Ruta Sepetys.  1950’s New Orleans came to life in this book.

26- Book That Made Me Cry Or Nearly Cry In 2014:

A bunch of them!  I really should have that as a category on goodreads…anyway, of the ones that made me cry, I think I have to go with Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell, because I felt so connected to Cath and her story.

27- Hidden Gem Of The Year:

My Best Friend, Maybe by Caela Carter.  I was surprised by how much I liked this story of friendship.

28- Book That Crushed My Soul:

It’s Not Summer Without You by Jenny Han.  I cried so much during this book, and it broke my heart.  It really did.

29- Most Unique Book:

Conversion by Katherine Howe.  It’s all about the stress that teens have to deal with in high school, and how that turned into physical symptoms.

30- Book That Made Me Most Mad:

Some Boys by Patty Blount.  Because of how everyone thought she was lying about being raped by the town golden boy, and that she deserved it, because everyone thought that he wasn’t capable of it.

Blogging & Reading Life

1- New Favorite Blog I Discovered In 2014:

I really don’t pay attention to when I start following blogs, but one I REMEMBER discovering this year is Diversity In YA.  It’ll be really helpful since reading more diversely is one of my goals for this year.

2- Favorite Review That I Wrote In 2014:

I think my favorite review from this year is the one I wrote for Isla And The Happily Ever After.  I acted like a total fangirl, but I’m okay with that, because it was a fun review to write.

3- Best Discussion/Non-Review Post I Wrote This Year:

I really like the two posts I did on a reading slump I was in.  I don’t know if they were my best posts, but they were definitely my favorites.  One post is just talking about it, and the other is just a follow-up.  Talking about it really helped me feel better about it.

4- Best Event I Participated In This Year:

The L.A. Festival Of Books was really fun, and I also had a great time at a book signing for The Kiss Of Deception.

5- Best Moment Of Book/Blogging Life:

I don’t know that I had a best moment- or even one that really stood out- but if I had to pick one, I think I’d pick being okay with having reading slumps, since they do happen sometimes.

6- Most Popular Post:

Top Ten Books For People Who Like The Iron Fey is my most popular post- 2.5-ish years after posting it!

7- Post I Wish Got A Little More Love:

I wrote a post talking about cookbooks, and my love of them.

8- Best Bookish Discovery:

9- Did I Complete Any Reading Challenges/Goals:

I did reach my goal of reading 140 books!

Looking Ahead

1- One Book I Didn’t Get To In 2014, But Will Be My #1 Priority In 2015:

Rebel Belle by Rachel Hawkins.  I keep meaning to read but it never seems to happen.

2- A Non-Debut Book I Am Most Anticipating For 2015:

Prudence by Gail Carriger!  I am so glad she has a spin-off series about Prudence.

3- 2015 Debut I Am Most Excited About:

Skyscraping by Cordelia Jensen.  I’m really intrigued by a girl who has deal with a parent who has HIV.

4- Series Ending/Sequel I Am Looking Forward To The Most:

Winter by Marisssa Meyer.  I am so excited about seeing how it all ends.

5- One Thing I Hope To Accomplish Or Do In My Reading/Blogging Life In 2015:

I am going to read more diversely, and it’s my #1 priority for this year.

6- A 2015 Release I’ve Already Read & Recommend To Everyone

I have yet to read any 2015 releases.

That’s it for my take on the survey.  Have a very happy and completely amazing new year!

Mini Book Review: On The Fence

On The Fence CoverBook: On The Fence by Kasie West

Published July 2014 by Harper Teen|293 pages

Where I Got It: I own the paperback!

Series: None

Genre: YA Contemporary

You can find On The Fence on goodreads & Kasie West on twitter and her blog

Goodreads Summary: 

For sixteen-year-old Charlotte Reynolds, aka Charlie, being raised by a single dad and three older brothers has its perks. She can outrun, outscore, and outwit every boy she knows—including her longtime neighbor and honorary fourth brother, Braden. But when it comes to being a girl, Charlie doesn’t know the first thing about anything. So when she starts working at chichi boutique to pay off a speeding ticket, she finds herself in a strange new world of makeup, lacy skirts, and BeDazzlers. Even stranger, she’s spending time with a boy who has never seen her tear it up in a pickup game.

To cope with the stress of faking her way through this new reality, Charlie seeks late-night refuge in her backyard, talking out her problems with Braden by the fence that separates them. But their Fence Chats can’t solve Charlie’s biggest problem: she’s falling for Braden. Hard. She knows what it means to go for the win, but if spilling her secret means losing him for good, the stakes just got too high.

What I Thought:

On The Fence is such a cute book!  I really did love it!

I’ll admit, I wasn’t sure about it at first, but as I kept reading, I found that I really started to love it.  I really liked Charlie, and how she changed throughout the book- going from a tomboy who feels like she doesn’t know how to be a girl, to be a tomboy who’s still a tomboy, but a little less so.  I really could relate to that, because sometimes, the world of make-up and clothes seems so overwhelming and confusing.

I also really felt for Charlie, who lost her mom as a small child, especially since she was in the car when her mom committed suicide.  I don’t blame her brothers and dad for not telling her, because she didn’t take it well the one time she tried.  I also totally understand Charlie’s reaction too.

I LOVED the relationships that Charlie has with her brothers.  It’s so clear that they look out for each other, and I like that Charlie was included in so many things her brothers did.  While I’m not completely in love with Braden and Charlie, they are cute together, and I really liked their middle of the night talks by the fence.  I did like that Braden was part of their family. And the people that Charlie meets because of her new job!  I liked seeing her make some new friends, and that she decided she wanted to keep working at the boutique.

Let’s Rate It:

On The Fence was such such a cute, fun and heartwarming read.  On The Fence gets 5 stars.

Book Review: Teardrop

Teardrop CoverBook: Teardrop by Lauren Kate

Published October 2013 by Random House Children’s Books|304 pages

Where I Got It: Nook store

Series: Teardrop #1

Genre: YA Paranormal/Re-telling

You can find Teardrop on goodreads & Lauren Kate on twitter, facebook and her website

Goodreads Summary: 

An epic saga of heart-stopping romance, devastating secrets, and dark magic…a world where everything you love can be washed away. The first book in the new series from the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Fallen series

Never, ever cry…Eureka Boudreaux’s mother drilled that rule into her daughter years ago. But now her mother is gone, and everywhere Eureka goes he is there: Ander, the tall, pale blond boy who seems to know things he shouldn’t, who tells Eureka she is in grave danger, who comes closer to making her cry than anyone has before.

But Ander doesn’t know Eureka’s darkest secret: ever since her mother drowned in a freak accident, Eureka wishes she were dead, too. She has little left that she cares about, just her oldest friend, Brooks, and a strange inheritance—a locket, a letter, a mysterious stone, and an ancient book no one understands. The book contains a haunting tale about a girl who got her heart broken and cried an entire continent into the sea. Eureka is about to discover that the ancient tale is more than a story, that Ander might be telling the truth…and that her life has far darker undercurrents than she ever imagined.

What I Thought:

I was really intrigued with Teardrop, and I like that it’s a modern re-telling of Atlantis.  Raising Atlantis is pretty unique, and while I feel like it’s come up before in books I’ve read, I don’t think I’ve ever read anything where Atlantis comes back.

There’s a lot going on, and there were times when things didn’t make a lot of sense, but as the story unfolded, everything started to fall into place, and you begin to understand why people did the things they did, particularly Ander and Brooks. I really liked that Ander and Eureka were on opposite sides, but that he did everything he could to protect her and keep her safe.

There is a love triangle in Teardrop, and unlike most books that feature love triangles, there is no clear love interest yet.  I actually really like that it’s not clear who she’s going to end up with (since move LT’s are super-obvious) and that it could go either way.  Given the love story between Leander and Selene that caused Atlantis to be banished, and that it very much connects to Ander and Eureka…and even Brooks connection to everything…I honestly don’t know which way I want it to go.

While we don’t get too much on Atlantis in this book- only why Atlantis disappeared, and the people it left behind- I really hope we see more of Atlantis and what kind of place it was in the coming books.  And I want to know more about the Sandbearers and Selene’s line!  I have so many things I want to know.

I really was surprised by so many things that happened, and Kate did a great job at revealing things at the right time.  It kept me guessing, and I liked that I wasn’t completely sure what was going to happen next.

Let’s Rate It:

I really liked Teardrop, and I can’t wait to see what happens next!  Teardrop gets 4 stars.

Book Review: Curtsies And Conspiracies

Curtsies & Conspiracies CoverBook: Curtsies & Conspiracies by Gail Carriger

Published November 2013 by Little Brown Books For Young Readers|223 pages

Where I Got It: the Nook store

Series: Finishing School #2

Genre: YA Steampunk

You can find Curtsies & Conspiracies on goodreads & Gail Carriger on twitter and her website

Goodreads Summary: 

Does one need four fully grown foxgloves for decorating a dinner table for six guests? Or is it six foxgloves to kill four fully grown guests?

Sophronia’s first year at Mademoiselle Geraldine’s Finishing Academy for Young Ladies of Quality has certainly been rousing! For one thing, finishing school is training her to be a spy (won’t Mumsy be surprised?). Furthermore, Sophronia got mixed up in an intrigue over a stolen device and had a cheese pie thrown at her in a most horrid display of poor manners.

Now, as she sneaks around the dirigible school, eavesdropping on the teachers’ quarters and making clandestine climbs to the ship’s boiler room, she learns that there may be more to a field trip to London than is apparent at first. A conspiracy is afoot–one with dire implications for both supernaturals and humans. Sophronia must rely on her training to discover who is behind the dangerous plot-and survive the London Season with a full dance card.

In this bestselling sequel to New York Times bestselling Etiquette & Espionage, class is back in session with more petticoats and poison, tea trays and treason. Gail’s distinctive voice, signature humor, and lush steampunk setting are sure to be the height of fashion this season.

What I Thought:

I really liked Curtsies & Conspiracies!  It really is a Gail Carriger book, and it was a fun book to read!

Sophronia has quite a few adventures in this book, mostly because the school goes to London!  We see quite a few characters from her Parasol Protectorate series, and I really liked seeing them well before the start of that series.  I really do like Sophronia, who is such a great, adventurous person.  She has a lot to deal with, like being ignored by her friends, and realizing that she really does need them around her in order to do well as an intelligencer.

I have to say that I loved seeing an appearance from Lord Akeldama- he is the Lord Akeldama that I know and love from the Parasol Protectorate, and I’m glad he (so far) hasn’t changed much.  I really hope we start to see more of a connection to that series in some way.

I’m not completely in love with the characters, even though I really like them, especially the relationships that Sophronia has with Vieve and with Soap.  I already know where Vieve’s story is headed, but I still like seeing her before she becomes the Vieve that we see in the Parasol Protectorate.  And I really want to see where Soap’s story is headed, because I find him so interesting!

I really do love the combination of steampunk and paranormal, and Carriger does it so well.  Especially in this book, where we get more about this world- all of the inventions, and things that all of these different groups want.  I also love that we see fashion and etiquette, and it gives the book a very historical feel.

Let’s Rate It:

I really liked Curtsies & Conspiracies!  I have no idea where this series is going, but I am glad to be along for the ride, because this is such a fun series to read.  Curtsies & Conspiracies gets 4 stars.

Mini Book Review: Beauty

Beauty CoverBook: Beauty by Nancy Ohlin

Published May 2010 by Simon Pulse|118 pages

Where I Got It: Nook store

Series: None

Genre: YA Fantasy/Re-telling

You can find Beauty on goodreads & Nancy Ohlin on twitter, facebook and her website

Goodreads Summary: 

Ana is nothing like her glamorous mother, Queen Veda, whose hair is black as ravens and whose lips are red as roses. Alas, Queen Veda loathes anyone whose beauty dares to rival her own, including her only daughter. And despite Ana’s attempts to be plain and earn her mother’s affection, she’s sent away to the kingdom’s exclusive boarding school.

At the Academy, Ana is devastated when her only friend abandons her for the popular girls. Isolated and alone, Ana resolves to look like a true princess to earn the acceptance she desires. But when she uncovers the dangerous secret that makes all of the girls at the Academy so gorgeous, just how far will Ana go to fit in?

What I Thought:

I liked Beauty!  It’s such an interesting take on Snow White, and it makes me want to read more re-tellings featuring Snow White.

I was struck by what Ana did to stay plain in order to earn her mother’s love, and what her mother did to stay beautiful, including sending away her own daughter to an Academy and giving out orders to have Ana killed. It definitely makes you think about how obsessed with beauty and youth some people are, and what people will do to retain that beauty and youth. Potions and pills and sending away girls to the Academy, only to give them pills that make them beautiful before making them sick.  Queen Veda really will do anything she feels she needs to, even it means taking the beauty and youth from the girls at the Academy.

I also liked the Academy, which wasn’t what it seemed- the Academy was interesting but I didn’t like it as much as I thought I would.

The one thing about Beauty that made it hard to love (or even really like) was the length.  It’s not much over 100 pages, and I felt like the idea, the world and the characters weren’t as fleshed out or as detailed as I would have liked.  It seemed like nothing really got the attention it deserved, which is sad, because the story itself is really intriguing and different.

Let’s Rate It:

I liked Beauty, and while it does make you think, I also wish it were a little longer, because not a lot was explained.  Beauty gets 3 stars.

Audio Book Review: Crow

Crow CoverBook: Crow by Barbara Wright, narrated by J.D. Jackson

Published July 2013 by Listening Library|Run Time: 7 hours, 28 minutes

Where I Got It: from audible.com

Series: None

Genre: Middle Grade Historical Fiction

You can find Crow on goodreads & Barbara Wright on twitter and her website

Goodreads Summary: 

The summer of 1898 is filled with ups and downs for 11-year-old Moses. He’s growing apart from his best friend, his superstitious Boo-Nanny butts heads constantly with his pragmatic, educated father, and his mother is reeling from the discovery of a family secret. Yet there are good times, too. He’s teaching his grandmother how to read. For the first time she’s sharing stories about her life as a slave. And his father and his friends are finally getting the respect and positions of power they’ve earned in the Wilmington, North Carolina, community. But not everyone is happy with the political changes at play and some will do anything, including a violent plot against the government, to maintain the status quo.

One generation away from slavery, a thriving African American community—enfranchised and emancipated—suddenly and violently loses its freedom in turn of the century North Carolina when a group of local politicians stages the only successful coup d’etat in US history.

What I Thought:

I am so glad I listened to Crow!  I didn’t even know that there were race riots in Wilmington in 1898, or that it was the only successful coup d’etat in U.S. history, and I really want to know more!

What I really like about this book is that it takes place a generation after the Civil War.  As far as civil rights and politics go, it’s definitely an unusual time period- at least, in my experience with middle grade/YA historical fiction.  I really love it when historical fiction focuses on something I’ve never heard about, because I also want to learn more, and this book is no exception to that.

I don’t know much about the South during that time period, but I really liked seeing how Moses dealt with his family, friends, and people in Wilmington, and how aware he was of what had happened, and what was going on.  It really is a good look at what someone’s life might have been like during that time.  I could picture everything so well, and there is a lot of detail.

It did start off slow, and it took awhile to get to the actual riots and events of what happened that year.  It made it hard to get into at first, because I wasn’t sure where things were going, but I did like that we saw what things were like before this happened.  I also LOVED that there was an author’s note at the end of the book, explaining what happened and where the author got her inspiration for the book.  It doesn’t seem too common in middle grade/YA historical fiction, so it was nice to hear it.

I thought it was fine as an audio book, and the narrator…he fit, and yet he didn’t.  I did feel like there wasn’t much variation in his tone- there was something sort of monotone about his voice, and I couldn’t listen to it in the car, because something about  his voice was very soothing, and kind of made me want to sleep, which isn’t good when you’re trying to drive.  Yet I could picture him as a 12-year-old boy.

Let’s Rate It: 

Overall, I really liked Crow, and I feel inspired to learn more about what happened in Wilmington in 1898.  I have mixed feelings about the narrator but overall, I liked the narration too.  Crow gets 4 stars.

Book Review: Dirty Little Secret

Dirty Little Secret CoverBook: Dirty Little Secret by Jennifer Echols

Published July 2013 by Gallery Books|225 pages

Where I Got It: from the Nook store

Series: None

Genre: YA Contemporary

You can find Dirty Little Secret on goodreads & Jennifer Echols on twitter, facebook & her website

Goodreads Summary: 

From the author of the “real page-turner” (Seventeen) Such a Rush comes an unforgettable new drama that follows friends-turned-lovers as they navigate the passions, heartbreaks, and intrigue of country music fame.

Bailey wasn’t always a wild child and the black sheep of her family. She used to play fiddle and tour the music circuit with her sister, Julie, who sang and played guitar. That ended when country music execs swooped in and signed Julie to a solo deal. Never mind that Julie and Bailey were a duet, or that Bailey was their songwriter. The music scouts wanted only Julie, and their parents were content to sit by and let her fulfill her dreams while Bailey’s were hushed away.

Bailey has tried to numb the pain and disappointment over what could have been. And as Julie’s debut album is set to hit the charts, her parents get fed up with Bailey’s antics and ship her off to granddad’s house in Nashville. Playing fiddle in washed-up tribute groups at the mall, Bailey meets Sam, a handsome and oh-so-persuasive guitarist with his own band. He knows Bailey’s fiddle playing is just the thing his band needs to break into the industry. But this life has broken Bailey’s heart once before. She isn’t sure she’s ready to let Sam take her there again…

What I Thought:

After reading (and loving) Such A Rush last year, I knew I had to start reading Jennifer Echols’ other books, so I started off with Dirty Little Secret.  I did like it, but I didn’t completely fall in love with it.

On paper, it seems like the kind of book I would love.  It’s set in Nashville and focuses on country music, and is about a girl trying to deal with being pushed to the background while her sister’s music career takes off.  I totally understand why Bailey acted the way she did, given her sister got a record deal, and all of a sudden, it was like she never existed.

There is a certain simplicity in this story, and there’s something very quiet about it too, which I really like. But there’s also a part of me that wishes it were a little bit louder.  I love that Bailey and Sam are following their dreams, and that Bailey decides that she is going to follow hers, no matter what, and even when it something that the people around you don’t want for you.

I did like that it’s set in Nashville and focuses on country music, because I love country music.  I was actually reminded of the t.v. show Nashville, and there’s something about going for your musical dreams in both shows that are really similar.

Back to Bailey and Sam: they are interesting on their own, but I didn’t really like them together- I just felt no spark or chemistry between them.

I love the relationship that Bailey seems to have with her grandpa, but I really wish we got to see a little of what her life was like before Julie got her record deal.  I felt like I didn’t have enough context for how bad things were between Bailey and her parents, and even Julie and Bailey before they seemed to work it out.  I think things would have made a lot more sense if I had that history.

Let’s Rate It:

I liked Dirty Little Secret, mostly because it’s set in Nashville and is about country music!  It didn’t have the emotional impact that Such A Rush did, but it was still a fun and slightly dramatic read.  Dirty Little Secret gets 3 stars.

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Thirteen Books I’ve Read In 2014

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by the lovely folks over at The Broke And The Bookish.  Every week, bloggers from all over share their own top ten list based on the topic of the week.  You can find all Top Ten Tuesdays here.

Top Thirteen Books I’ve Read In 2014

I’ve read so many great books this year!  Even with a several month long reading slump, I found that I couldn’t just limit myself to just 10 books this week.  That’s how many awesome books I read this year!  Here my 13 favorite books from this year!

  1. Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell.  I LOVE this book so, so much!  It really reminded me of that time in my life, and I related to Cath so much.
  2. Cress by Marissa Meyer.  Cress is my favorite book in the series so far, and I just loved Cress and this re-telling of Rapunzel.
  3. The Impossible Knife Of Memory by Laurie Halse Anderson.  I just love Laurie Halse Anderson, and her most recent book is just as amazing as I thought it would be.
  4. Me Since You by Laura Weiss.  This was such an emotional book, but that didn’t stop me from loving it!
  5. We’ll Always Have Summer by Jenny Han.  I’m so glad things ended the way they did, and I just loved every single word of this book.
  6. Out Of The Easy by Ruta Sepetys.  I loved 1950’s New Orleans.  And the characters!  I loved them all.
  7. Ignite Me by Tahereh Mafi.  Juliette!   And Kenji!  They are an awesome pair of friends, they really are.
  8. The Crown/The Wonder by Colleen Oakes.  I couldn’t pick just one of the 2 books out in this series, but it’s a dark Wonderland in this series, and I love that it’s so dark.
  9. Moonglass by Jessi Kirby.  I heart Jessi Kirby, and I love the stories of moonglass and mermaid’s tears.  And I love Anna.
  10. Isla And The Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins.  It’s Isla, you can’t go wrong with Isla.  This book…it was the first time in a long time that I was so excited and in love with a book.
  11. The Collected Autobiographies Of Maya Angelou.  I really regret not reading her collected autobiographies sooner, but she really had quite the life!  She’s definitely an inspiration and a survivor.
  12. My Best Friend, Maybe by Caela Carter.  I liked seeing how their friendship went wrong, and how they put things back together, and realized that they could be friends, but not best friends.
  13. Lies We Tell Ourselves by Robin Talley.  It’s such a good look at both sides of the civil rights movement, and both sides of it!  It’s hard to believe that it took place not that long ago.

ARC Book Review: M.I.A.: Missing In Attman

MIA Missing In Atman CoverBook: M.I.A.: Missing In Atman by Michelle Reed

Expected Publication is December 16, 2014 by Month9Books|Expected Number Of Pages: 325

Where I Got It: I got a digital ARC directly from Month9, which hasn’t influenced my review in any way.  Promise!

Series: Atman City #2

Genre: YA Paranormal

You can find M.I.A.: Missing In Atman on goodreads & Michelle Reed on twitter and her website

Goodreads Summary: 

Dez is finally hitting her afterlife stride. She hasn’t missed a meeting or session in forty-two days, and she’s put the adventures and danger of her first days at Atman behind her. Life after death is becoming tolerable, yet nothing is quite what she’d hoped. Confusion over her feelings for Charlie, residual resentment over losing Hannah, and a continuous stream of unwanted assignments leave Dez restless and argumentative.

In a missed encounter with Crosby, her prying gaze lands upon a single entry in the datebook on his unoccupied desk. These few, hastily scribbled words reveal an enormous secret he’s keeping from her. Possessed by a painful sense of betrayal, she once again sneaks off to Atman City, determined to find answers to an unresolved piece of her life. 

It begins as all their adventures do, but as light falls into darkness, a stop in an unfamiliar neighborhood sets forth a chaotic series of events. Dez will have to fight for her very existence, and will face painful, irreparable loss in an afterlife teeming with demons wielding ancient powers.

In M.I.A.: Missing in Atman, the second book in the Atman City series, Michelle E. Reed continues the story of Dez Donnelly, pushing her to her limits and surprising readers at every twist and turn of the vast world that is Atman.

What I Thought:

I liked M.I.A.!  Not as much as the first book in the series, but I still liked it!

In the first book, I really liked seeing Dez deal with what happened to her (but also starting to accept what happened), and I feel like that wasn’t there as much.  She does have new things to deal with, like seeing an entry in Crosby’s calendar, which then leads to all sorts of craziness that happens.

I don’t get why Dez dealt with the secret the way she did, and I don’t know if it’s something that I didn’t remember from the first book, or if it’s something that Dez didn’t really think about or deal with before or if it’s going somewhere in the next book, because I felt like it was ignored once everything else started happening.

We did see more of Atman, and some of its inhabitants- some good, others, not so much.  I liked seeing more of Atman, and some of the people there, but for reasons I can’t figure out, they didn’t strike me as much as the characters we meet in the first book.

And with what happens at the end, I have no idea where things are headed, and how they’ll turn out.  They really could go in any direction, so I’m curious to see how everything comes together, and how it all will end.

Let’s Rate It:

I liked the story, even though how Dez dealt with one thing in particular didn’t make a lot of sense to me. Still, I liked seeing more of Atman itself and some of the people there, even if I didn’t like the story as much as the first book.  M.I.A.: Missing In Atman gets 3 stars.

ARC Book Review: Lifer

Lifer CoverBook: Lifer by Beck Nicholas

Expected Publication is November 16, 2014 by Month9Books|Expected Number Of Pages: 330

Where I Got It: I got an digital ARC directly from Month9Books, which hasn’t influenced my review in any way.  Promise!

Series: None

Genre: YA Sci-Fi/Post-Apocalyptic

You can find Lifer on goodreads

Goodreads Summary: 

Asher is a Lifer, a slave aboard the spaceship Pelican. A member of the lowest rung of society, she must serve the ship’s Officials and Astronauts as punishment for her grandparents’ crimes back on Earth. The one thing that made life bearable was her illicit relationship with Samuai, a Fishie boy, but he died alongside her brother in a freak training accident.

Still grieving for the loss of her loved ones, Asher is summoned to the upper levels to wait on Lady, the head Official’s wife and Samuai’s mother. It is the perfect opportunity to gather intel for the Lifer’s brewing rebellion. There’s just one problem—the last girl who went to the upper levels never came back.

On the other side of the universe, an alien attack has left Earth in shambles and a group called The Company has taken control. Blank wakes up in a pond completely naked and with no memory, not even his real name. So when a hot girl named Megs invites him to a black-market gaming warehouse where winning means information, he doesn’t think twice about playing. But sometimes the past is better left buried.

As Asher and Blank’s worlds collide, the truth comes out—everyone has been lied to. Bourne Identity meets Under the Never Sky in this intergalactic tale of love and deception from debut novelist Beck Nicholas.

What I Thought:

Lifer…I have thoughts on Lifer!  I liked it, but not as much as I thought.  I really liked Asher’s story, and the structure of the people on the ship was interesting and different, but also familiar.  Generations being punished because of what their ancestors did- it’s something I can see happening (and probably has happened in the past), and I hope it doesn’t happen again (even though it probably will).

Blank’s story wasn’t as intriguing to me, and I get why his story is told the way it is, but it also made it hard for me to care about his story, and trying to figure out what happened and who he is.  Still, I liked seeing how it connected to Asher’s story.

This is one of those books where I wish it were a series, because I’m still not quite sure what the deal is with the alien attack or the Upheaval or The Company.  It’s possible I missed something, and the story did come together by the end of the book, but I really wanted to know more about what was going on. and how this world came to be.

The structure on the ship was really interesting- the Nauts are at the top, the Lifers are at the bottom, and the Fishies are in the middle.  I wish it were explored a little more, because while I got a sense of the divides between the groups, I also wish we saw more of it.

Let’s Rate It:

I like the idea of people trying to escape aliens by going to space, and the structure of the ship, and what earth is like after everything happened.  I liked seeing how Asher and Blank’s story connected, and Asher’s story was interesting, but I also wanted to know more about what this world was like and how it got to the way it was in the book.  Lifer gets 3 stars.