Monday, December 28, 2015

Top Ten Tuesday (44) ~ Double the Excitement For the First Half of 2016!

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 Twenty Most Anticipated Releases For the First Half of 2016
I'm not including debut or books I have ARCs of. I figured that would make it easier to make this list. :D I still ended up with 20 books, though!

Books By Authors I'm Familiar With
Ahhh!! THERE'S. SO. MANY. All of these authors are great. I've been waiting awhile for something new from Kiersten White and Alison Goodman especially. Kate Karyus Quinn and April Genevieve Tucholke write really weird, creative stories. Ruta Sepetys and Leah Raeder both have beautiful writing! I liked Susan Dennard's first series and am eager for the other one. I recently read The Darkest Minds, and was really happy with how exciting Alexandra Bracken made it. Richelle Mead is one of my absolute favorite authors! And last (from this group), but not least: I know I'm going to love Paula Stokes' next contemporary. I'll read anything by her.☺

Most of these are sequels to books I read in 2015 and absolutely loved! Except for Megan Erickson's companion series, most of the books that preceded these ones ended in ways that made me NEED TO KNOW WHAT HAPPENS NEXT. I'm so excited to continue all of these series!

No Covers Yet
This list wouldn't be complete without Right of First Refusal by Dahlia Adler and All Played Out by Cora Carmack! There's no definite date for All Played Out, but Cora has said it's set for early 2016. Both of these are part of NA contemporary companion series that I have really enjoyed reading.

Which of these are you excited to read? If you've read any of these, let me know what you thought of them!☺

Sunday, December 27, 2015

What a Rollercoaster | Loud is How I Love You

*I received an advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.*

When I discovered this NA on Netgalley, I thought it couldn't hurt to give it a try. Actually, it was available to wish for instead of request, so I was pleasantly surprised when I got an email saying my wish had been granted!

I was excited to dive into this one because it sounded like a really fun and sexy book. It sounded like something I would really enjoy!

About the Book:
One girl’s heart gets rocked to the core in the first novel in this sexy New Adult series.

Twenty-one-year-old front girl Emmylou knows that getting her band noticed in the ‘90s indie rock scene will be no easy task. She definitely knows better than to break the number one rule of the band: Don't sleep with your bandmates! But after she ends up having the best sex of her life with her guitarist, Travis, she finds following that rule is a lot harder than it sounds.

When the band gets the gig of their dreams, making it big seems just within reach. But Emmy’s inability to keep her hands off Travis threatens everything they’ve worked for. Can Emmy find a way to break the rules and not blow the chance of a lifetime?
Add to Goodreads

*Releasing January 19th, 2016 from InterMix*

My First Impression
I was impressed with how it started out! I don't know what I was expecting, but I was sure surprised by the first few paragraphs. It jumped right into the fact that Emmy slept with her bandmate and was in freak out mode because of it. I really liked how this set the tone for the rest of the book and how it gave me a great first impression of Emmy.
The Other Parts of the Book
Emmy is . . . oh man, how can I even describe her? She's loud. She's completely foul-mouthed. She freaks out. She acts selfish often. She focuses so much on the band and the future that she doesn't see how it makes things more--not LESS--complicated with Travis. She's random. She keeps changing her mind. She's definitely not ashamed of how much she enjoys sex. She's incredibly passionate. But most of all? Emmy is an AWESOME character. She got on my nerves sometimes when she freaked out over and over again, but I actually ended up loving that. Her story was a whirlwind and her POV was really fun.

Travis is mischievous and FUN. He's also very protective. I don't have as much to say about him, but trust me. He's great!

I wish I got to know Cole and Joey more. I don't know who they are. I mean, I know they're the other two members in the band and they're really close to Travis and Emmy, but I can't tell the two apart. There just isn't enough information about them. They seem kinda silly, though? 

There's a lot of small characters: people in other bands, a trucker, some friends, a couple family members, and quite a few more. There are sure some . . . interesting people in the mix. They would fit in on a cast of a comedy movie.

The romance is a rollercoaster. It goes back and forth over and over again. There's a ton of drama in this book and it can get a bit tiring, but it's worth it! It's an interesting romance, and Travis and Emmy have great chemistry. 

Like I said, there's So. Much. Drama. It's a sweet story, though. I cried. Yes, I did. The story feels like this long string of chaotic events and drama and love (okay, lust came first) and conflicted feelings and loud music. I didn't like that feeling at first, but I ended liking it because it seemed to suit the characters.

Final Thoughts?
If Loud is How I Love You were a movie, it would be one of those R-rated romantic comedies that are both so random, but so heartfelt at the same time. It's a fun, sexy rollercoaster of a book and I highly recommend it if that's your sort of thing!

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Hey, I Finished a Series! | Endure by Sara B. Larson

*I received an advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.*

This was a book that I was super excited for! I remember having a really good time reading Ignite and I know the ending left me excited for Endure. My memory is just . . . not very clear on what actually happened. :D (More on that in the review portion of this post.)

My review is spoiler free, as always. Well, except for the book's description.

About the Book:
Spoilers are in the description!! Pass on to the review if you haven't read Ignite.
The remarkable third novel in Sara B. Larson's bestselling Defy series!

At last, Alexa and King Damian are engaged to be married. But their lives are far from safe. The kingdom of Antion is under siege, and Rylan is a prisoner of the enemy. Even worse, Alexa remains at the mercy of the evil Dansiian Rafe, who controls her mind and can force Alexa to kill or harm Damian at any moment. Despite this, Alexa is determined to rescue Rylan, which soon leads her far from Damian and deep into enemy territory.

When she arrives, what awaits her is deadlier than anything she could have ever imagined: an army of black sorcerers, and a horrifying plot to destroy the world as Alexa knows it. Will she be able to gather the strength to free herself, protect the love of her life, and save the land? Will there ever be true peace?

Acclaimed author Sara B. Larson has woven a stunning, romantic, and evocative finale to the Defy trilogy, that is sure to leave readers breathless until the very last page. 

*Releasing December 29th, 2015 from Scholastic*

My First Impression
When I went into Endure, I have to admit I was totally lost. I remembered so little from the previous two books and was worried that it would effect my enjoyment of the book by a lot. I warmed up to the it as I got further into it, though. Some details (such as some past events and information about the war/conflict) are still blurry in my mind, but I was still able to enjoy reading the book.
Moving Onward . . .
Alexa was great. I loved seeing determination in heroines, as she sure had it! She was loyal and kindhearted. She did whatever it takes to save the people she cares about.

One word that summed up how Damian seemed in this book? Stressed. I felt bad for him because he was so afraid of losing Alexa! He was so worried about her!

As for Rylan...I've never had much to say about him. *shrugs*

The villain was a bit one dimensional. Maybe I'm just forgetting some details about him from the previous books, but he seemed to be evil just because he was. He was horrific and bloodthirsty, but not . . . very cunning. He reminded me of a petulant kid that throws a hissy fit when things don't go his way--except that hissy fit involves killing people. I wasn't impressed by him.

The Rest of the Book
I liked Endure more than Defy, but not quite as much as Ignite (even though I don't remember that one very well). The story unraveled nicely. There was a lot of tension and danger in this one. There was a lot of travel, so more of the world was explored. I really liked the magic! It was really cool to picture it when it was being used (especially in battle). The ending was okay, but I feel like it could have been stronger.

Final Thoughts?
Endure concluded this YA fantasy series enough for me to be happy with it. Though I did have a tough time remembering some details (which affected how much I connected to the story) and wasn't thrilled with the villain, this book turned out to be a nice one! If you love YA fantasies with strong heroines and interesting magic (but don't mind love triangles), then I recommend looking into the Defy series!

The First Two Books in the Defy Trilogy

Reading List For "Guns For Hands" (Twenty One Pilots)

Reading List is a reverse playlist. Instead of sharing a list of songs that can go with the book in some way, I'm going to share a list of books that go with one song in some way. 
Twenty One Pilots has become one of my favorite bands recently! They pack a lot of meaning into their songs and their lyrics can be interpreted in many different ways. For me, "Guns For Hands" is mainly about suicide, depression, and fear. I read a comment on YouTube saying that the song is about the singer's fear that many of his fans (or just people in general) might be hurting themselves (and others).
I know what you think in the morning,
When the sun shines on the ground,
And shows what you have done,
It shows where your mind has gone,
And you swear to your parents,
That it will never happen again,
I know, I know what that means, I know.

That you all have guns,
And you never put the safety on,
And you all have plans,
To take it, to take it,
Don't take it, take it, take it.
The Reading List
Suicide, depression, and fear exist in many books, but not all of them fit the song well. I'm going with books that fit the vibe of the song. I also picked some because they feature gun violence in some way (they go well with the lyrics) and can also connect to what the song is about.

Impulse focuses on suicide in a raw way. It's a powerful read! It's really sad, too. 

I'm including All the Bright Places not just because of its focus on mental illness, but also because it has a similar moment that the song has. There's a quiet moment (after the rap portion) that tends to leave me feeling stunned (especially when I'm watching the video). There's a part in the book that made me feel similarly, so it seemed like the perfect fit for this list.

Underwater has a looser tie to the song, but it still seems like a good fit. Morgan has to overcome an incredible amount of fear in her story. There's a small, but important focus on gun violence as well.

I hesitate to add Belzhar to this list because it's not that memorable to me, but there's a part in the song that made me think of the book: "But there's hope out the window/ So that's where we'll go / Let's go outside and all join hands / But until then you'll never understand." It reminds me of the group of characters and to the place that seemed happier and more hopeful. 

A Prediction
Despite having not read it yet, this is the first book that I think of when I hear "Guns For Hands." The cover is a strong one that seems to fit the song and its vibe. The gun violence is a clear connection to the song title and some of lyrics. I'm not sure if or how much this book focuses on depression and suicide, but I won't be surprised if one or both play a big role in the events. I know there will be a lot of fear in the story, though.

Do you think these books go well with the song? Are there any books you think should be added?

Monday, December 21, 2015

Top Ten Tuesday (42) ~ My Christmas Wishlist!

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 Books I Wouldn't Mind Santa Leaving Under My Tree This Year
The Christmas wishlist I gave my mom actually had 10* books on it this year, so this is easy! Four of them really will be under my tree this year because I convinced my mom to tell me how many she bought. :D

*I can't remember the 10th book, so I'm taking a guess at that one.

I think The Traitor Baru Cormorant was on my wishlist. I remember adding it, but it is possible that I switched it out for something else. Whether I did that or not, it still looks like a really good book!

The rest of the books is a mix of books that came highly recommended from some bloggers and authors and sequels to books I enjoyed reading. The What If? book is one that has piqued my interest for awhile.
Some Bonus Books
Here are some books I didn't add to my wishlist, but wouldn't mind getting if I had any gift cards (or if I decided to treat myself)!

Have you read any of these books? What did you put on your TTT this week?

2016 Reading Challenges and Goals

I love challenges! I've never been a super active participant in them (other than through reading), but they help a lot when deciding on what to read next. I can be pretty indecisive when it comes to that. :D

(I will be doing the Goodreads Challenge, but the list below are just challenges hosted by other bloggers.)
2016 Reading Challenges I'm Joining

Backlist Books Reading Challenge 
Hosted by Bekka @ Pretty Deadly Reviews

What to read: books released over a year prior

Goal:  I just want to read as many backlist titles as I can!

LGBTQUIA 2016 Reading Challenge
Hosted by Alexia @ Pretty Deadly Reviews

What to read: books with LGBTQIA main characters

Goal: I want to reach yellow, which is for 13-20 books!

Contemporary Romance Reading Challenge
Hosted by Jess @ Gone With the Words & Danielle @ Love at First Page

In short: read contemporary romance!

Goal: Grand Slam (21+ books)
(Update post coming soon)

Rock My TBR
Hosted by Sarah K @ The YA Book Traveler

In short: read at least one book you already own each month

Goal: I have no particular number in mind, but I would really like to participate in buddy reads for this!

Flights of Fantasy
Hosted by Alexa @ Alexa Loves Books & Rachel @ Hello, Chelly

In short: read fantasy!
Goal: 35 books ☺

Tamora Pierce Challenge
Hosted by Nori @ ReadWriteLove28

In short: read books by Tamora Pierce

Goal: Hmmm...I'm not sure. I would like to finish at least one of the series and I would like to see what the Emelan universe is like. I may up that to something bigger, though.

I think my biggest challenges with all these challenges isn't going to be the actual reading. It'll be the updates. I don't recall a time where I've kept up with updates for any challenge/readathon/event/etc. But I will update in 2016. It must happen! So, that's a little personal challenge for me.

My plan at the moment is to include challenge updates in my monthly recaps and update my sign up post for the contemporary romance challenge (the official one is being posted separately). The updates wouldn't be lengthy--I'll probably just include numbers in a list or color code books I read in a graphic.

Reading Goals
I don't want to join any other challenges for these, but I would like to read more of these books in 2016:
  • Sequels and series conclusions (I have a lot to finish!)
  • Independently published (There's a lot on my Kindle and I barely ever touch them.)
  • Books featuring PoC characters, especially main ones (This is pretty important.)
  • Books featuring disabled characters (I've read so few of these.)
  • MG (I read two this year, so I would like to read at least three.)
  • Adult books (I have a lot of them, but I've barely touched the pile.)
  • Books from Dahlia's Book Club (Dahlia has so many of great recs.)
I would also love to get my Netgalley ratio up past 90% sometime in 2016 and keep it there for awhie. It's currently at 79%, so it shouldn't be too difficult, right?

I think that's it for me! Are you joining any 2016 challenges? What are your reading goals for 2016?