Tuesday, December 23, 2014

{Top 10 of 2014} Best Book Covers of 2014

Tuesday, December 23, 2014 with 3 comments

It's day 2 of Top 10 of 2014, and today I'll be sharing my picks for the best book covers of 2014! Keep in mind that I haven't read most of these yet, since I spent too much time reading old TBR books this year instead of new releases or debuts, but I'm sure I'll get to them all eventually....

*Click on the cover to check out the synopsis on Goodreads*





The covers above aren't in any particular order, but if I had to pick a fave, I would probably go with the cover for Nobody Is Ever Missing by Catherine Lacey, which features cover art designed by Patrick Leger. I haven't read it yet, but that cover is amazing!

Feel free to comment with your favorite covers of 2014 - I'm sure there are some really good ones I haven't seen yet! And if you'd like to join in on the link-up, you may do so HERE.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Top 10 of 2014 is a week long end-of-the-year blogging event, hosted by Rachel @ Reading YA Rocks, Jaime @ Two Chicks On Books, and Mindy @ Magical Urban Fantasy Reads. This is my third year participating in this event, and what I love most is that not all categories are focused on books published in 2014 - some can include books from any year, as long as they were read in 2014. This is good for me in particular, since it seems that I didn't read that many books this year that were actually published in 2014. Last year, I participated in a debut author challenge, and read a lot of books that were published in 2013, but I didn't have much time to read any old TBR books, so I figured I'd do the opposite this year. It seems I can never win...

Anywho, we're starting off the week with my list of the Best Books I've Read In 2014, no matter their publishing year, so let's take a look at my picks:

// The Golem and the Jinni //
If I had to pick one book for my best read of 2014, I would choose The Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wecker - it was the first book I read this year, and it was utterly amazing! I was enthralled by the world building and enchanted with the characters from the very beginning - I've never read anything like it, and I am really looking forward to seeing what Ms. Wecker comes out with next! You can check out my review HERE.

// Ship Breaker //
Definitely a very gripping story - this is the first novel I've read from this author, and I will definitely be checking out the rest of his bibliography (including the Ship Breaker sequel!)

// Isla and the Happily Ever After //
I didn't think it was possible to beat the cuteness that was Lola and the Boy Next Door, but I was oh-so-very-wrong! I love Isla and Josh together, and read this in one sitting!

I think I really have a thing for pirate & assassin stories - I really enjoyed reading this book, as well as its sequel.
// Shadow Kiss //
I enjoyed the whole series, but this particular book actually made me cry! I like it when I get emotionally invested in a novel - I feel that it's a mark of the author's storytelling ability when I get so sucked into their world that I actually grow attached to the characters.

// Silver Shadows //
This entire series is amazing, even more-so than Vampire Academy, in my opinion. I love Adrian, and was glad to see that he wasn't just thrown to the curb. I already pre-ordered the next book, which comes out in February, and even though I just finished the series recently, I may re-read it the week leading up to its release, just for the hell of it!

// Onyx //
Yet another series I couldn't put down once I started it - I don't know why, but for some reason Onyx was my fave of the lot. I just wish they'd do a re-release with better covers - the male model is hot, but the title fonts look ugly, and the chick on the cover does not look cheerful or dorky/nerdy like Katy should be (plus, she kind of looks like she has a bitchy attitude).

// Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe //
I picked this up to read as part of a challenge that required me to read a book by a local author, and Benjamin Alire Sáenz is from Doña Ana County, New Mexico, which is close enough. It helps that he's now a professor at UTEP, and that the book is set in El Paso. It's about growing up Mexican-American on the border, and trying to find a sense of identity.

// Choosing You //
This book was incredibly cute, and made for such a sweet NA romance! I'll warn you, though, the series gets pretty crazy in later books, but by then you'll already be hooked, so it doesn't matter.

// Lola and the Boy Next Door //
 How could I not love a book whose lead guy is named Cricket?! This was my fave of the series until Isla came out, but I still love it dearly. In fact, this may be one of the few series I know in which I truly loved each book better than its predecessor, rather than having favorites that fall in a random order (my favorite HP novel was book 3, my favorite VA novel was book 5, etc.). Huh.

So, have you made a "Best of 2014" list yet? If so, leave a link in the comments so I can check it out - I'm working on my 2015 TBR list right now, and could always use a few more additions!

Monday, November 03, 2014

The TBR Tag

Monday, November 03, 2014 with No comments
This tag was created by Dana @ Dana Square and Rachel @ A Perfection Called Books.

How do you keep track of your TBR pile?
I use the Goodreads "to read" tag, but otherwise, that's it. Not that exciting, I know, but periodically I peruse through the tag to find out what I should buy next or check out from the library. 

Is your TBR mostly print or ebook?
Ummm....neither? My TBR is a Goodreads list of what I want to read, so it doesn't matter if I end up reading a book in its print or ebook form, if I want to read it, I mark it "to read,' and that's that.

How do you determine which book from your TBR to read next?
It's totally random - anytime I read something, I have to feel like reading it at that particular moment. It's completely based on impulse, whether the book happens to be on my TBR or not.

A book that's been on your TBR list the longest:

They say opposites attract. And in the case of werewolves Anna Latham and Charles Cornick, they mate. The son-and enforcer-of the leader of the North American werewolves, Charles is a dominant alpha. While Anna, an omega, has the rare ability to calm others of her kind.

Now that the werewolves have revealed themselves to humans, they can't afford any bad publicity. Infractions that could have been overlooked in the past must now be punished, and the strain of doing his father's dirty work is taking a toll on Charles.

Nevertheless, Charles and Anna are sent to Boston, when the FBI requests the pack's help on a local serial killer case. They quickly realize that not only the last two victims were werewolves-all of them were. Someone is targeting their kind. And now Anna and Charles have put themselves right in the killer's sights...
The moment that I started utilizing Goodreads (I had an account for a long time, but only started using it these past few years), this was the first book I added to my TBR. I love this series, but sadly, haven't gotten around to reading it because I know I'll have to re-read the first books, and I've been too busy reading "new-to-me" books. Next year, I plan on joining a re-reading challenge, that way I'll have an excuse to not only finish this series, but to finish many other series that involve re-reading (such as The Morganville Vampires).

A book you recently added to your TBR:
Fifteen top voices in speculative fiction explore the intersection of fear and love in a haunting, at times hilarious, darkly imaginative volume.

Predatory kraken that sing with - and for - their kin; band members and betrayed friends who happen to be demonic; harpies as likely to attract as to repel. Welcome to a world where humans live side-by-side with monsters, from vampires both nostalgic and bumbling, to an eight-legged alien who makes tea. Here you'll find mercurial forms that burrow into warm fat, spectral boy toys, a Maori force of nature, a landform that claims lives, and an architect of hell on earth. Through these, and a few monsters that defy categorization, some of today's top young-adult authors explore ambition and sacrifice, loneliness and rage, love requited and avenged, and the boundless potential for connection, even across extreme borders.
This is the latest book to make it to my TBR list on Goodreads. Frankly, it just sounds cool. I used to love anthologies as a kid, and while there are plenty of them on my TBR, I just haven't gotten around to reading any of them, which sucks, because they'd make great reads for when I'm in a reading slump, or for reading right after finishing a really great novel (which is usually when I take a break from reading, because I'm reluctant to leave the world I was previously in).

A book on your TBR strictly because of its beautiful cover:

Since the night of the crash, Wren Wells has been running away. Though she lived through the accident that killed her boyfriend Patrick, the girl she used to be didn’t survive. Instead of heading off to college as planned, Wren retreats to her father’s studio in the far-north woods of Maine. Somewhere she can be alone.

Then she meets Cal Owen. Dealing with his own troubles, Cal’s hiding out too. When the chemistry between them threatens to pull Wren from her hard-won isolation, Wren has to choose: risk opening her broken heart to the world again, or join the ghosts who haunt her.
Honestly, I loved this cover from the moment I laid eyes on it. Once I read the synopsis, I wasn't too excited to read it, since it didn't sound particularly enthralling, but it didn't sound that bad. I still don't know if I'll get around to it, but I sure do love that cover!

A book on your TBR that you never plan on reading:

Imagine her shock when Violet Colby discovers she has an identical twin sister she never knew existed. Why her family was torn apart remains a secret no one can answer—yet. Hoping to develop a sisterly bond, Violet invites her sophisticated city twin to the Colby Ranch in tiny Grasslands, Texas.

But when her sister’s former fiancé arrives with questions of his own, country girl Violet finds herself drawn to handsome businessman Landon Derringer. And learns that true love requires faith—and a heart as big as Texas.

Texas Twins: Two sets of twins, torn apart by family secrets, find their way home.
Honestly I don't really read anything Harlequin, unless it's Harlequin Teen, which puts out some pretty good paranormal romances. I don't even know why this is on my TBR to begin with, but I think I read a good review by a fellow blogger and decided to add it. I don't know if I'll actually ever read it, but I'll keep it on my TBR just in case. It's always good to read books out my comfort zone, and I do have a thing for love stories, but I tend to show a bit of prejudice towards Harlequin or anything with half-naked guys on the cover. Usually, it's because the writing ends up being way too bad for my liking, but who knows - maybe I should still give this a try. Eventually...

An unpublished book on your TBR that you're excited for:

Grieving, shaken, and feeling very much alone, Rory's life as a member of the Shades of London has changed irrevocably. It's only been a matter of hours since Stephen was taken from her, possibly for ever. Her classmate Charlotte is still missing, kidnapped by the same people who tried to take Rory. Rory is no longer a schoolgirl haplessly involved in the dealings of a secret government unit. She is their weapon in a matter of life and death.

With hardly a moment to think for herself, Rory is back to work. Charlotte must be found -- as must Stephen, if he is even out there. Lines must be drawn and forces rallied. Something is brewing under London, something bigger and much more dangerous than what has come before. The Shadow Cabinet holds the key to everything, and it is up to Rory to unravel its mysteries before time runs out...
This is the third book in Maureen Johnson's Shades of London series, and is set to be released on February 5th 2015. I enjoyed the first two books immensely, as they reminded me of the books I loved most during my childhood (ghost-mysteries). These books are the only thing I've read by Maureen Johnson so far, but she is such a great person, and hilarious to follow on twitter, so I hope to read more from her soon. I love supporting my fellow Nerdfighters! 

A book on your TBR that basically everyone's read but you:

In Beatrice Prior's dystopian Chicago world, society is divided into five factions, each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue--Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). On an appointed day of every year, all sixteen-year-olds must select the faction to which they will devote the rest of their lives. For Beatrice, the decision is between staying with her family and being who she really is--she can't have both. So she makes a choice that surprises everyone, including herself.

During the highly competitive initiation that follows, Beatrice renames herself Tris and struggles alongside her fellow initiates to live out the choice they have made. Together they must undergo extreme physical tests of endurance and intense psychological simulations, some with devastating consequences. As initiation transforms them all, Tris must determine who her friends really are--and where, exactly, a romance with a sometimes fascinating, sometimes exasperating boy fits into the life she's chosen. But Tris also has a secret, one she's kept hidden from everyone because she's been warned it can mean death. And as she discovers unrest and growing conflict that threaten to unravel her seemingly perfect society, Tris also learns that her secret might help her save the ones she loves . . . or it might destroy her.
I promise to get to this before ever seeing the movie, but there's just too much out there to read! This sounds great, but there are just a lot of books out there that sound more appealing to me. Honestly, this sounds like any other dystopian novel out there, though maybe I'm wrong, since there's such a large fan-base out there. But The Mortal Instruments has a large fan-base, also, and I really don't care for that series at all. I will get to this eventually - a lot of people I work with have already read and loved it, and they keep recommending it to me, so it's on my radar.

A book on your TBR that everyone recommends to you:
Please see above response.

A book on your TBR that you're dying to read:

The epic conclusion to Richelle Mead's New York Times bestselling Bloodlines series is finally here...

Sydney Sage is an Alchemist, one of a group of humans who dabble in magic and serve to bridge the worlds of humans and vampires. They protect vampire secrets—and human lives.

After their secret romance is exposed, Sydney and Adrian find themselves facing the wrath of both the Alchemists and the Moroi in this electrifying conclusion to Richelle Mead’s New York Times bestselling Bloodlines series. When the life of someone they both love is put on the line, Sydney risks everything to hunt down a deadly former nemesis. Meanwhile, Adrian becomes enmeshed in a puzzle that could hold the key to a shocking secret about spirit magic, a secret that could shake the entire Moroi world.
I truly CANNOT WAIT much longer to read this one...I read all of the prior novels one after another, and absolutely LOVED them! I even pre-ordered this one an Amazon so that I could read it the day it comes out. I'm so excited!!!

How many books are on your Goodreads TBR shelf?

As of right now there are 404, but new ones are always being added. I don't think I'll ever see the day when I've read them all...

I tag everyone reading this that hasn't participated yet, but wants to!

Saturday, November 01, 2014

Blog Ahead

Saturday, November 01, 2014 with 2 comments

I haven't really devoted as much time to blogging lately as I would have liked - it just seems like lately there's been so much going on in my life that blogging and reading have taken the back burner. That being said, I would never want blogging to become a chore in my life. I just love reading, plain and simple, and I enjoy sharing about the books I love, and feeling like I'm part of a community, which is what the book blogosphere has become.

Once I discovered this challenge that Herding Cats & Burning Soup created (which I found through Cindy's Love of Books), I knew I wanted to participate, and while I'm not going to aim for the full 30 posts (though it would be great if I could create that many!), I'd like to try for writing as many as I can. I just want to see how many posts I can come up with while I'm consciously focused on doing so.

Here's a description of the event, as written by the creator:

A bloggery version of NaNoWriMo!
November 1-30th, 2014

The Goal

The basic goal is to get "ahead" in your blog posts.

At the end of the month of Nov you'll have 30 additional pre-schedules than when you started the month.

ex--If you Start with 5 pre schedules--End with 35 pre schedules
Start with 10 pre schedules-- End with 40 pre schedules

Who Can Join

Any blogger. New, seasoned, Blogger, Wordpress
Any heat level, genre or theme, etc

Types of Posts

Anything you want :)
meme, review, guest post, interview, discussion, etc.
It doesn't have to be book related

Think you'd like to give it a go? Sign up HERE
Books Read
Movies Seen
Songs I Had On Repeat
Most Viewed Posts

Thoughts On October
I really didn't read much this month - especially compared to the previous month. I mean, c'mon - TWO books?!  If it counts, I've been reading Stephen King's It, which is super good but super long. Also, because it was the Halloween season, I spent my excess free time watching Halloween specials and movies, as well as playing creepy hidden object games on Steam for the spooky atmosphere (they're quite addicting). Besides, I read enough books in September to tide me over for a little, lol.

At any rate, I hope to jump back into reading with Megan's Semi-Charmed Winter 2014 Reading Challenge. I already have some books in mind, I just hope I don't allow television to continue being a distraction. All Halloween night, I watched Treehouse of Horror episodes, waiting for the non-existant trick-or-treaters to show up.

That's right - I bought a giant back of chocolate, and NO ONE showed up. In fact, no one went down our street, and I didn't see any trick-or-treaters in our neighborhood at all when I left give my mom a ride to work. Do kids just not do that anymore? If this were the 90's, my neighborhood would have been swarming with children. This is incredibly sad...

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Semi-Charmed Winter 2014 Book Challenge

Thursday, October 23, 2014 with 4 comments

Hola, dear readers! It's time for another one of Megan's seasonal book challenges. If you're not familiar with her challenges, I highly encourage you to check them out - I always describe them as bookish scavenger hunts, which is basically what they are, since the point is to read books that fit into each of the given categories (and not your average categories like "romance" "drama" or "YA," but imaginative categories like "read a book that features mentions a type of weather in the title; i.e. rainy, windy, etc." or "read a book that depicts a famous landmark on the cover; i.e. London Bridge, Eiffel Tower, etc.").

I always have fun with these challenges, and recommend that if you haven't done one yet, you should give it a go. Here are the categories for this season's challenge, and some of the books I hope to read (which are subject to change at my whim):

*This Challenge Will Run From November 1, 2014 to February 28, 2015*

5 points: Freebie! Read any book that fits the general rules.
Fair Game by Patricia Briggs
10 points: Read a book written by an author who has published at least 10 books.
Frost Burned by Patricia Briggs
10 points: Read a book of short stories.
Shifting Shadows: Stories from the World of Mercy Thompson by Patricia Briggs
10 points: Read a book with a food in the title.
State of the Onion by Julie Hyzy

15 points: Read the first book in a series that is new to you.
Storykiller by Kelly Thompson
15 points: Read a book originally written in a language that is not your native language.
The Glassblower by Petra Durst-Benning (German)
15 points: Read a book written by a local author.
Aristotle & Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz (El Paso)

20 points: Read a "bookish book" (in which books play an important role).
S. by Doug Dorst & J.J. Abrams
20 points: Read a book with a direction in the title.
Witches of East End by Melissa de la Cruz
25 points: Read a book from a genre you don't usually read.
Outlander by Diana Gabaldon(Historical Romance)

25 points: Read a book with a song lyric in the title.
Ain't No Sunshine by Leslie DuBois (Ain't No Sunshine by Bill Withers)
30 points: Read two books with a different meal in each title.
Breakfast at Darcy's by Ali McNamara
The Girls' Guide to Love and Supper Clubs by Dana Bate


If you'd like to join in on the fun, please create your own preliminary reading list, and join the link up.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Top 10 New Series I Want To Start

Tuesday, October 21, 2014 with 3 comments
I am a series addict. Lately, it seems like I read more series' novels than I do stand-alone ones. Nothing's wrong with that, of course - it's just that if I find a world that I love, I want to stay in it for as long as possible (I definitely view reading as an escape, lol). Anywho, if it weren't for the fact that this week's category, the Top 10 New Series I Want To Start, is limited to series that started in the past year or two, I probably wouldn't know where to start (as there are so many of them!) And to make things even easier, I'm only including series that already have at least one book out, not those that will be released soon. Here are some of the newer ones that are a part of my TBR list:

The Dark Elements by Jennifer L. Armentrout
I loved the Lux series so much that now I'm eager to read everything else Armentrout's written, especially this one!

Finishing School by Gail Carriger
I've actually never read anything by this author yet, but she's been on my radar for a long time now, and this seems as good a place as any to start.

The Winner's Trilogy by Marie Rutkoski
The synopsis for book one sounds sooo good!

The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey
I love post-apocalyptic fiction, and this series has so many good reviews that there's no way I could ignore it for much longer - I know I'll enjoy reading it.

The Kricket Series by Amy A. Bartol
It was actually the beautiful cover that drew me in, but the synopsis sounds so cute! Plus, its high ratings are in its favor.

Blythewood by Carol Goodman
I think I have a thing for supernatural/magical boarding schools....first there was Harry Potter, then a minor Winx obsession, and then a major Vampire Academy one. They just make such great settings!

Ghost Stories by Seanan McGuire
I like the idea of a ghost for a protagonist - ghost stories were always my favorite as a kid.

Night Owls by Lauren M. Roy
This series takes place in a book store which serves a supernatural clientele. 'Nuff said.

The Network Series by Katie Cross
See, what did I tell ya? Another magical boarding school series has made the list.

Cormoran Strike by Robert Galbraith (JK Rowling)
I can't believe I haven't read these yet - what's wrong with me?!

So, as I love to torture myself by constantly adding new series to my endless TBR list, please do let me know what new series' you're looking forward to reading next in the comments below! I will definitely check them out, and probably add a few of them to my Goodreads list.