Wednesday, December 31, 2014

2014 End of the Year Book Survey

Number Of Books You Read: 162
Number of Re-Reads: 5
Genre You Read The Most From: YA contemporary

1. Best Book You Read In 2014?

My favorite standalone was Faking Normal by Courtney C. Stevens and my favorite series was Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas.



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

Lailah by Nikki Kelly - I was so excited for it, but I ended up DNFing it. :(



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

I think that's The Art of Lainey by Paula Stokes. I think I was more excited to read it right around the time I got to it, but I remember most of my interest in the book stemmed from other people's excitement. I was curious about it, but didn't think it would become one of my favorites or that I would want to read all the author's other books.



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

I'm not sure . . . when I was a TA for my library last winter, I pushed Cinder to a lot of people when we got it in (I was even the one that convinced my librarian to order it). I don't know if those people actually read it, though. Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea could work as an answer here too. I lent my copy to a friend, then two others borrowed it after her before it finally got back to me.



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

Series started: Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas
Sequel: Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas
Conclusion: Sisters' Fate by Jessica Spotswood

6. Favorite new author you discovered in 2014?

Paula Stokes! :)

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

Les Misérables by Victor Hugo - I don't normally read classics, especially when they're over 1000 pages long! I also don't normally read them unless it's for school, and I only sorta read this one for AP Lit (it was my independent read--I picked this one out myself).

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

Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas
Mistborn: The Final Empire by Brandon Sanderson

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

Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins - I really like reading fantastic, romantic contemporaries!



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

Okay, I know I'm bringing up this series a lot, but the cover of The Assassin's Blade is so. Darn. GORGEOUS. The hardcover is amazing!



11. Most memorable character of 2014?

Celaena Sardothien, of course! She's my top favorite character from any book/series right now.

12. Most beautifully written book read in 2014?

I'll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson



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

Lies We Tell Ourselves by Robin Talley



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

Something Strange and Deadly by Susan Dennard - I was barely interested in this series until the third book went up on Edelweiss!



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

I honestly have no clue about that, so here's a random one that I liked:

"I'm over being a coward. I'm sick of being on pause, of being buried and hidden, of being petrified, in both senses of the word." ~ Jude (I'll Give You the Sun ARC 311)

16.Shortest & Longest Book You Read In 2014?


*Shortest: The Great Gatsby by Scott F. Fitzgerald
Longest: Les Misérables by Victor Hugo



(For the shortest, I picked a novel over a collection of poems and some novella length titles.)

17. Book That Shocked You The Most

Mistborn: The Final Empire is the one that first comes to my mind!



(Because of a plot twist, character death, left you hanging with your mouth wide open, etc.)

18. OTP OF THE YEAR (you will go down with this ship!)

Celaena and Chaol!!

(OTP = one true pairing if you aren’t familiar)

19. Favorite Non-Romantic Relationship Of The Year

Jude and Noah from I'll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson.

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

Torn Away by Jennifer Brown - I chose this one because I didn't love the other book I read by this author. I was a little surprised with Torn Away.



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

Mistborn: The Final Empire by Brandon Sanderson - I actually didn't read the description for this one before I read it. Nikki and a bunch of other bloggers were raving about it and told me to read it, so I (eventually) did. (Confession: I was worried that I wouldn't like it very much because.)

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

Mycroft from Every Breath by Ellie Marney



23. Best 2014 debut you read?

Faking Normal by Courtney C. Stevens

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

Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor (I went with the most vivid.)



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

The Art of Lainey by Paula Stokes

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

A lot made me cry. :D Ignite Me by Tahereh made me cry in fear. I read it right after The Assassin's Blade (which also made me cry) and I was so scared that something similar to events in the novellas would happen. So scared.



27. Hidden Gem Of The Year?

Of Scars and Stardust by Andrea Hannah



28. Book That Crushed Your Soul?

Ha! The Assassin's Blade just . . . oh, it was so painful.

29. Most Unique Book You Read In 2014?

Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut


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

Lies We Tell Ourselves by Robin Talley - So much racism! I hated how black characters were treated. Absolutely hated it.

1. New favorite book blog you discovered in 2014?

It Starts at Midnight

2. Favorite review that you wrote in 2014?

I really liked my review of Tease by Amanda Maciel! You can read it here.

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

My Review Process

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

Can I pick my own? I had a great time putting together my blogoversary event (Class of 2014) together!

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

I'm not sure on the best, but I'll give you the most recent great moment! Jessica L. Brooks sent me a little journal for Christmas. It was the first present I had ever gotten from someone offline (besides Secret Sister packages). It was totally unexpected and so sweet! It made me feel special.☺

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

My Birthday/Follower Appreciation Giveaway received the most views.

8. Post You Wished Got A Little More Love?

I wish my author features as a collection got more love. I can't pick one single post out of the rest.

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

BookOutlet! I think I discovered it this year. . . . I at least started shopping there.

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

Yes! I reached my goals in the Review Pile Reading Challenge and the 2014 Series Challenge (you can see my progress on both here). I exceeded my Goodreads goal of 140 books. I also had a goal to start requesting print ARCs and reading them, which I recently accomplished.

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

Silver Shadows by Richelle Mead (I decided to go with a non review copy)



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

The next book in the Throne of Glass series. Definitely!

3. 2015 Debut You Are Most Anticipating?

None of the Above by I. W. Gregorio

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

The Ruby Circle by Richelle Mead (since I already chose ToG #4 the the second question)



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

Read more books from my TBR shelf! I have so many.

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

The Start of You and Me by Emery Lord


Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday (41) ~ Parallel Londons

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

What am I waiting on?

A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab
February 24th, 2015 from Tor Books

Goodreads description:
From V.E. Schwab, the critically acclaimed author of Vicious, comes a new universe of daring adventure, thrilling power, and parallel Londons, beginning with A Darker Shade of Magic.

Kell is one of the last Travelers—magicians with a rare, coveted ability to travel between parallel universes—as such, he can choose where he lands.

There’s Grey London, dirty and boring, without any magic, ruled by a mad King George. Then there’s Red London, where life and magic are revered, and the Maresh Dynasty presides over a flourishing empire. White London, ruled by whoever has murdered their way to the throne—a place where people fight to control magic, and the magic fights back, draining the city to its very bones. And once upon a time, there was Black London...but no one speaks of that now.

Officially, Kell is the Red Traveler, personal ambassador and adopted Prince of Red London, carrying the monthly correspondences between the royals of each London. Unofficially, Kell is a smuggler, servicing people willing to pay for even the smallest glimpses of a world they’ll never see—a dangerous hobby, and one that has set him up for accidental treason. Fleeing into Grey London, Kell runs afoul of Delilah Bard, a cut-purse with lofty aspirations, who first robs him, then saves him from a dangerous enemy, and then forces him to spirit her to another world for a proper adventure.

But perilous magic is afoot, and treachery lurks at every turn. To save all of the worlds, Kell and Lila will first need to stay alive—and that is proving trickier than they hoped.
Why am I waiting on it?

I read the preview for this book and it was so GOOD. I get why so many people love this author's books.

That's my WoW this week! What's yours?

Monday, December 29, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday (17) ~ Goals/Resolutions for 2015

Top Ten Tuesdays is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, and a weekly meme where we simply make a top ten list for the week's topic.

Top Ten Goals/Resolutions For 2015

Reading

1. Read at least 144 books.

This is my Goodreads goal! It's kind of a random number because I had a tough time deciding on what it should be.
2. Read more books from my bookshelf than in 2014. 

As of today, I've read 159 books. Out of all of those, around 120 of them were review copies. That means I've read less than 39 of my own books, considering that some were library copies. And not all of the ones from my own shelf were ones that I bought (some were gifts). I've bought a lot of books, but I haven't been reading them. This needs to change!

3. Make an effort to request print ARCs more often and limit the number of  e-ARCs I request/download.

First of all, doing this should make the number of review copies I get smaller since I only just started reviewing print ARCs and won't be receiving them on a regular basis for awhile. Also, I like sharing books and I'm hoping to donate, trade, or give away the ones I review.

Blogging

4. Start featuring authors on a regular basis and stick with it.

Here's what has always happened: I get in a mood for features, find a bunch of authors to feature, post all of those features, forget to make an effort to find interested authors, get in the mood for featuring them again months later. It's a cycle that I really don't like and I want to finally break it, even if I don't end up featuring author regularly throughout most of the year.

5. Co-host a blog event with another blogger.

I co-hosted a contemporary event involving both authors and bloggers during this last summer, but it didn't go over as well as I had hoped. For this year, I want to co-host an author event or maybe a readathon. I also want to keep it more organized than the last one I did.

6. Post helpful tips and tricks about blogging, organization, etc.

I do have the occasional great idea, like these TBR boxes and this way to keep track of review copies, and I want to post my ideas here. They'll at least be something different from my usual reviews, memes, and author features.

7. Post more personal type posts.

I haven't written very many posts that allow you to get to know me, the girl behind the blog and reviews. 2015 seems like a great time to finally start telling you more about me.

8. Get more into discussion post writing.

I really want to post more discussions! I have a lot of ideas, but I don't get to posting them often. Getting my thoughts out of my head and into writing is always tough, but I'm hoping to practice and get better with it.

Life

9. Work out more often.

I'm terrible at this! But I tried out Blogilates recently and really liked it, so I'm starting with that.☺

10. Work on my social skills.

I just want to talk to people more often and get to know them better. I definitely don't do this enough. This applies to bloggers and authors as well as my friends and family offline!

What are your 2015 goals/resolutions?

19 Random Facts About Me

1. Right as I'm typing this sentence, I'm listening to "Uptown Funk" by Bruno Mars Mark Ronson (whoops). For the fourth time in a row.

2. I used to absolutely loathe the color brown when I was really young. I always put the brown crayons under the couch and I would never eat the meat in tacos. Why? *shrugs* I was a kid.

3. I'm terrible at remembering names, though I've recently discovered that I'll remember a name more if someone else tells me the name of another person.

4. My first cat was a stray that I found right by my house. I named him Tammy. No, I didn't realize he was a guy until much later. Again, I was a kid when this happened.


5. I put ranch dressing on my Spaghetti. Apparently this isn't not normal?


6. I just changed my song from "Uptown Funk" to "***Flawless" by Beyoncé (who has been one of my favorite singers for a really long time).




7. Speaking of music, one of my favorite songs of all time is "American Pie" by Don Henley. I first heard it on my first time on a merry-go-round and I've loved it ever since.  (This is another childhood memory.)

8. I grew up listening to a lot of Madonna, Celine Dion, Donna Summer, and Shania Twain. There were a lot more, but those are the ones that stick out to me in this moment.


9. My hair is brown, straight, and hip length. Not that you would guess if you saw me in a grocery store or elsewhere since I put it into a bun 98% of the time.


10. The only times I've ever been out of Oregon have been a couple trips to a swimming pool (which is just over the border) and a couple week trip to my California and Arizona.


11. I rarely ever play video, computer, or board games, though I love to play card games. Rummy is my favorite!



Bonus fact: I love shuffling cards. It can be relaxing.

12. My answer to that "what do you want to be when you grow up question?" when I was in elementary school was fashion designer. My answer to that question now is . . . if I knew, I would tell you bit less


13. I joined Girl Scouts in either second or third grade (I can't remember) and quit at the end of my junior year of high school.


14. My favorite TV show at the moment is Criminal Minds.



This is Dr. Reid and he's my favorite!

15. I hate the taste of coffee. A lot of people are surprised when I tell them that.

16. I'm always wearing glasses, except when I'm sleeping.


17. I love tropical and citrus scents.


18. I'm having a tough time coming up with random facts about myself right now. *thinks intently*




19. Most of the time, I wear socks that don't go together because I can't find matching pairs. But I rarely wear shoes that show my socks, so it doesn't matter anyway, right? *laughs nervously* Right?

Saturday, December 27, 2014

2015 Challenges

I'm going big next year! There's a lot I want to accomplish . . . and a lot of challenges to participate in.

Blogging Challenges
The Book Blogger Organization Challenge is running for six months and is focused exactly on what the title says! It's a challenge to get your blog organized! My main goals for this one are to stay up to date with the challenge, find a blog maintenance buddy or two, and post some organizational tips/tricks. I've been meaning to post some of my ideas for quite awhile, so this challenge should give me motivation to finally do it!

Go here to learn more about the challenge and to sign up.


Yay for a discussion challenge! This is going to be very helpful. I really want to post more discussions here, but I haven't gotten into the habit of doing so yet. My goal is to post 25-36 discussions (Chatty Kathy) throughout 2015. I'm hoping to do two each month and some extras during the summer!

Go here to learn more about the challenge and to sign up.

Reading Challenges


I posted about Nori @ ReadWriteLove28's 105 Challenge here, but I want to post my list here again! Below are my goals for the number of books I want to read in each category (so one reread, two adult books, etc.). 

14. Print books from my TBR shelf
13. E-ARCs from NG & EW
12. Sequels
11. Fantasy books
10. Buddy Reads
9. Books by new to me authors
8. LGBT books
7. 2015 releases
6. Adult books
5. Novellas
4. Print ARCs
3. Classics
2. A reread
1. Book over 600 pages

I picked the following reading challenges because they went with my goals for this challenge and for 2015 as a whole (my goals/resolutions will be posted this week).


2015TBR
The 2015 TBR Pile Reading Challenge is dedicated to getting those books that have been sitting on the shelf for awhile read! Only books that have been published in 2014 or earlier count. Most of the books I've read in 2014 have been review copies (digital, mainly), but I've bought a lot. My print TBR has exploded and I really need to get to reading from it! My goal is 21-30 books (First Kiss).

Go here to learn more about the challenge and to sign up.

Falling For YA
The Netgalley and Edelweiss Reading Challenge (NERC) is all about getting those e-arcs read and reviewed! I'm (still) behind in my review copies, so my main goal for this challenge is to get caught up in reading. My level goal is 50 books (Gold).


Go here to learn more about the challenge and to sign up.

The goals of the 2015 Debut Author Challenge (DAC 2015) are to read to "introduce readers to this year’s wonderful group of debut authors" and to "challenge readers to read 12 or more middle grade, young adult, and new adult debuts this year." I really like debut authors, so I thought this one would be great to participate in. Reading at least 12 debuts shouldn't be too tough (I have 6 as e-arcs already), so this should be one of the easiest challenges for me.

Go here to learn more about the challenge and to sign up.

Dive Into Diversity Reading Challenge
This challenge was inspired by #WeNeedDiverseBooks and the goal is simple: read diverse books. I don't have any particular number that I'm aiming for. I just want to see how diverse my reading in 2015 gets. It looks like a very laid back challenge.☺

Here are some diverse books I may read in 2015!


Go here to learn more about the challenge and to sign up.


This is the perfect challenge for me! I really want to read more fantasy because I've read many fantastic books from the genre, so I'm hoping this challenge motivates me to read more of them.☺ I have 8 fantasies listed as my goal in the 105 challenge, but I want to read at least 15 for this one. 

Go here to learn more about the challenge and to sign up.

~~~

And that's it! I'm participating in a total of eight 2015 challenges: two blogging and six reading ones. My most ambitious ones are the 105 and the blogging challenges, and the most challenging looks like the the TBR Pile Reading Challenge. However, my goals for the rest are pretty relaxed and the challenge can overlap in many ways (for example, None of the Above qualifies as a diverse book, a 2015 debut, an EW book, and a LGBT). I know it looks like a lot at first glace, but I know that if I stay organized, I can handle all the challenges!

Friday, December 26, 2014

Stacking the Shelves (48) ~ Christmas Haul!

This is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga's Reviews where we share what books we have recently added to our physical or virtual shelves. I like to use the meme to also give a recap of the week's posts.
(Click on the covers to go to Goodreads.)

This haul is from the last two weeks!


Amazon Ebooks

Digital Review Copies
I got Monstrous after the author mentioned a dragon on Twitter. Apparently Vanishing Girls has been available on EW for months! I'm always excited for a Lauren Oliver book, so I went ahead and downloaded it.☺

Thank you to HarperCollins and Edelweiss for these e-arcs!

Last Week's Mail
I got this from the NOVL newsletter.☺ Thank you, NOVL! 

Gifts in the Mail
I don't think I've ever gotten a surprise gift in the mail before this week, so finding the little pocket journal from Jessica L. Brooks was really exciting. Thank you, Jessica!

I got some presents from my #OTSPSecretSister! Besides the books, there's some hot chocolate, a mug, Sherlock buttons, hand sanitizer, a bunch of chocolate, and an owl ornament (which looks a lot like Harry Potter). The books are Memoirs of a Geisha, Graffiti Moon, and Zodiac (yay!!).

Thank you, Secret Sister!☺

Books and Bookish Mug
My mom bought me The Girl of Fire and Thorns, The Young Elites, Of Metal and Wishes, Four: A Divergent Story CollectionThe Impossible Knife of Memory, and a bookish mug. Also (though the package hasn't arrived yet) she got me a few buttons with blog name on it. She got the name from my brother, who apparently reads my blog (*waves to brother*). Those should be in my next haul!
Blog
Since this is a two-week haul, here are my posts from the past two weeks!

Reviews: One Song Away by Molli MoranLove, Lucy by April Lindner / The Darkest Part of the Forest by Holly Black / Ignite by Sara B. Larson / Lies We Tell Ourselves by Robin Talley / For Real, Beware the Wild, Veil of Anonymity, and Anomaly



Interviews: Sarah Sky (author of the Jessica Cole: Model Spy series) and Lynne (blogger at Words of Mystery

Top 10 of 2014: The Best Books I Read in 2014 / Prettiest Covers / Book with Dual POVs / Book Boyfriends / 2015 Releases I'm Looking Forward to Reading

Reading
I think . . . I'm in a reading slump (a small one). Last Tuesday, I was in this weird devour-all-the-books mood and read 700 pages. I barely did anything that day besides read, which I know I shouldn't have done. Whenever I read a lot in a short period of time, I fall into a slump. So . . . no more reading that many pages in one day for me!

In the past two weeks (well, mostly last week), I finished Love, Lucy, Beware the Wild, Last Will and Testament, Stay with Me (finally), The Distance Between Us, Another Little Piece, Salt & Stone, and Red Queen.

I'm currently in the beginning of Sweet Damage and A Thousand Pieces of You and halfway through Dark Triumph. DT is moving slow for me, though, and with the small blogging slump, I feel like I'm just slogging through pages right now.

Life
Let's see if I can keep this short . . . .

These past two weeks have consisted of Christmas, family (two visits to my grandparents' house!), relatives with selective or just plain bad hearing, gifts, wrapping, baking, sweets, blog organization attempts, BookOutlet shopping, too much time on Twitter, turkey, tea drinking, glitter (glittery wrapping paper shouldn't exist), and even more sweets. 

Oh! And creating a new section of my blog. Check out my new Helpful Links for Bloggers page (there's a few different ones, actually). It's there for any of you who have blogging questions! The ARC section is the most developed one right now, but I'm seeking links for the coding/design and advice/discussion page.

That's it for me this week! How about you? How has your week been?