Rating System:

For those of you who don't know, I rate books based on their ability to hold my attention. I don't really like to rip apart someone's hard work. If I don't finish a book, then I don't feel comfortable rating it. So you might see a lot of 4 and 5 star ratings. However, if I do have issues with a book, I will always tell you. Enjoy! (:

Thursday, December 31, 2015

2015 Reading Survey

Number Of Books You Read: 52
Number of Re-Reads: 1
Genre You Read The Most From: I believe it was contemporary.

1. Best Book You Read In 2015? I think the best book for me was A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas. I couldn't put it down and I still find myself thinking about it almost a month later. I'm also tempted to reread it, which is typically not something that I do. 

2. Book You Were Excited About & Thought You Were Going To Love More But Didn’t? I would either have to say Trust Me, I'm Lying by Mary Elizabeth Summers or The F-It List by Julie Halpern. I actually loved them both in the end, but I expected something completely different than what I got from both of those novels. Going into The F-It List I was kind of hoping it would be more about her friend having cancer and how they're dealing with it together. Instead, I got a novel with a cancer ridden friend kind of in the background. Trust Me, I'm Lying on the other hand dealt with situations that just didn't seem realistic for a teenager and I would've liked it if the characters were just a tad older.
3. Most surprising (in a good way or bad way) book you read? The Promise of Stardust by Priscille Sibley really took me by surprise. I bought my best friend and myself a copy on a whim and, although she isn't much of a reader, we both fell completely in love with it. Our hearts got broken, we were angry, ugly tears were shed as well as happy tears. It was an all around fantastic read and I'm pretty sure it was a debut novel as well. Highly recommend if you're looking for a book that will really make you feel.
4. Book You “Pushed” The Most People To Read (And They Did)? I would say I spent most of my time pushing people to read Liars, Inc. by Paula Stokes. I'm not quite sure how many people actually read it because of me, but I was told by a few people that they really enjoyed it and that made me happy.
5. Best series you started in 2015? Best Sequel of 2015? Best Series Ender of 2015? Mmm, I'm trying not to repeat myself so I guess I'll choose Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard for best series I started. Rick Riordan could write a book about practically anything godly or magical and I'd buy it. I'd just buy anything he writes. For Best sequel, I'm going to go with either Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban or Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, both by J.K. Rowling. I'm actually reading the series for the first time and those were the only two I finished this year. Both were amazing and I'm currently reading Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. Ignite me by Tahereh Mafi, hands down, best series ender. I want more. I fell absolutely in love with Warner and I just want to know how things are holding up.
6. Favorite new author you discovered in 2015? I've read from so many new authors this year, but I'm going to pick one that I haven't seen anyone pick yet, Elle Kennedy. Her new adult Off Campus series just gets me. I'm beyond hooked. They're great, but if you're not cool with graphic scenes, I wouldn't pick it up.
7. Best book from a genre you don’t typically read/was out of your comfort zone? A Work in Progress by Connor Franta. I don't read a lot of nonfiction and memoirs. However, this one was great. The photography was beautiful and the words Connor wrote really made me think about my life. Frantastic! ;)
 8. Most action-packed/thrilling/unputdownable book of the year? Never Never Parts 1 & 2 by Colleen Hoover and Tarryn Fisher. I wouldn't call these action-packed, but they were certainly thrilling. I NEED part 3!
9. Book You Read In 2015 That You Are Most Likely To Re-Read Next Year? I don't reread, but if I were to pick up a book that I read this year it would definitely be A Court of Thorns and Roses! Need I say more?
10. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2015? Unravel Me by Tahereh Mafi, the US Cover. I find it to be absolutely mesmerizing. It's my favorite out of all of her covers.
11. Most memorable character of 2015? Rhysand from A Court of Thorns and Roses left quite the impression on me. I'm really hoping to see a lot more of him in A Court of Mist and Fury.
12. Most beautifully written book read in 2015? I can't really say, but for some reason The Beginning of Everything by Robyn Schneider keeps popping into my head. I just remember really loving that one for the meaning.
13. Most Thought-Provoking/ Life-Changing Book of 2015? Maybe it was Riding in Cars with Boys by Beverly Donofrio. While reading that autobiography I was really thinking about the choices we make and how they change our path, but also how we can get ourselves back on course. Even what seems to be the worst thing to ever happen can be a blessing, it just might take us a while to realize it.
 14. Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2015 to finally read? The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants by Ann Brashares for sure. It was so cute and while I had seen both of the movies, I had never read the books. I finally picked up book one towards the end of the year and I really enjoyed it.
15. Favorite Passage/Quote From A Book You Read In 2015? “Loneliness is a strange sort of thing.
It creeps on you, quiet and still, sits by your side in the dark, strokes by your hair as you sleep. It wraps itself around your bones, squeezing so tight you almost can't breathe. It leaves lies in your heart, lies next to you at night, leaches the light out of every corner. It's a constant companion, clasping your hand only to yank you down when you're struggling to stand up. 
You wake up in the morning and wonder who you are. You fail to fall asleep at night and tremble in your skin. You doubt you doubt you doubt. 
do I
don't I
should I
why won't I
And even when you're ready to let go. When you're ready to break free. When you're ready to be brand-new. Loneliness is an old friend stand beside you in the mirror, looking you in the eye, challenging you to live your life without it. You can't find the words to fight yourself, to fight the words screaming that you're not enough never enough never ever enough. 
Loneliness is a bitter, wretched companion. 
Sometimes it just won't let go.” Tahereh Mafi, Unravel Me
16.Shortest & Longest Book You Read In 2015? Shortest book was Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer by Thea Feldman and the longest book was Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling.
17. Book That Shocked You The Most? Dark Places by Gillian Flynn. I didn't think that person was the murderer at all. I probably should have figured it out, but I didn't.
18. OTP OF THE YEAR (you will go down with this ship!)? Is it too boring to say Hermione and Ron? I guess I could throw in Feyre and Rhysand. I definitely ship them. Argue with me all you want about how her and Tamlin are perfect for each other, I don't really care.
19. Favorite Non-Romantic Relationship Of The Year? Feyre and Lucien, I love their banter throughout A Court of Thorns and Roses.
20. Favorite Book You Read in 2015 From An Author You’ve Read Previously? Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard: The Sword of Summer by Rick Riordan. I know it started slow and there was a lot of world building, but I enjoyed every bit of it. Rick is so good at making you laugh even through the dire situations.
21. Best Book You Read In 2015 That You Read Based SOLELY On A Recommendation From Somebody Else/Peer Pressure: The Promise of Stardust by Priscille Sibley. Although, I did buy this, my best friend started it without me and finished it before me. I kept getting messages telling me to hurry up and finish so I guess you could say she pressured me.
22. Newest fictional crush from a book you read in 2015? Dean DiLaurentis from The Score by Elle Kennedy. He's pretty great and those green eyes? To die for.
23. Best 2015 debut you read? The Night We Said Yes by Lauren Gibaldi. I found this to be so realistic and relatable. I missed my friends the whole time I was reading it and the novella that goes with it was great as well.
24. Best World building/Most Vivid Setting You Read This Year? A Court of Thorns and Roses I suppose. I can see that world perfectly in my mind, but that may also be because of Sarah J. Maas' pinterest board for the book.
25. Book That Put A Smile On Your Face/Was The Most FUN To Read? Ignite by Lily Paradis. It was the very first book that I read this year and I finished it the day I got it. The romance was cute, the kids were adorable, and the struggle was real. And by struggle, I mean the struggle to make a decision. Although I will say that I could kind of tell where she was leaning most of the time even if she couldn't.

26. Book That Made You Cry Or Nearly Cry in 2015? The Promise of Stardust, again. This book brought out the ugly tears. I'm talking Kim Kardashian ugly crying. Not to poke fun because I look like that when I cry too. Priscille Sibley just really knew how to tug on my heart strings and the meaning of the word "stardust" in this novel... OH MAN. I bawled my eyes out for a while over that one.

27. Hidden Gem Of The Year? I wouldn't really say it was hidden, but Eye Candy by R.L. Stine. This book really messed with me. It was my first book by him, I know, shame on me. I picked it up after the television show was cancelled to compare the story and they weren't really all that alike. They were both wonderful in their own right.

28. Book That Crushed Your Soul? For fear of being super repetitive, I'm going to say The Beginning of Everything by Robyn Schneider. The whole book didn't crush me. It was just one chapter towards the end involving, I believe it was a coyote? Something along those lines. Ugh, that killed me to read. I was about ready to throw the book across the room.

29. Most Unique Book You Read In 2015? Inked by Eric Smith. I loved the premise of this book. Tattoos deciding your fate? Amazing. I'm really looking forward to book two.

30. Book That Made You The Most Mad (doesn’t necessarily mean you didn’t like it)? Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton. I wasn't mad at the book. All my anger was aimed at one particular person, John Hammond. In the movies, they make him out to be this sweet, albeit crazy, old man with a dream. However, the book shows his true colors and he blames everyone around him. So frustrating, I really wanted to scream at him. Despite my anger, I loved the book. It was everything I expected it to be and so much more.

1. New favorite book blog you discovered in 2015? I don't read as many blogs as I should. I prefer to watch Booktube videos just because I can get other things done while I listen, but I really enjoy my friend Grace's blog. Her reviews are so well thought out and they've convinced me to read a few books. You can find Grace at The Grace Lucy Review or her twitter @gracelucyreads.

2. Favorite review that you wrote in 2015? My favorite review of mine has been my review of A Court of Thorns and Roses. I personally think it's my best review. If you look back at all the reviews I've written and compare them to that one, you can just tell I had so many thoughts. I thought so highly of the book and I needed to get everything I could out there without spoiling anything. I hope more books do that to me in the future.

3. Best discussion/non-review post you had on your blog? I didn't really post much other than reviews, but I did have fun writing about my experience at the Tucson Festival of Books earlier this year. I also loved being able to help promote a sale going on for Liars, Inc by Paula Stokes later in the year. I really believed in that book and it was great to draw people in and get them to pick up something I enjoyed so much.

4. Best event that you participated in (author signings, festivals, virtual events, memes, etc.)? The Tucson Festival of Books was my first bookish event and it was amazing! I am seriously looking forward to going again in 2016! To be surrounded by so many people who love reading just as much as I do was truly mind blowing for me.

5. Best moment of bookish/blogging life in 2015? My best moment was getting my first follower. It was around six months after I began blogging and it took me by complete surprise. I still only have two followers that I know of and I am very grateful for them. It's not so much about the numbers, but knowing that someone out there cares about what I have to say.

6. Most challenging thing about blogging or your reading life this year? Reviewing every book I read. I can tell you right now that I didn't get to every book. Mostly, for the ones I missed, it was simply because I had waited so long after reading the book that I had forgotten what I wanted to say. Therefore, I ended up just not saying anything. There are at least 4 books that I read and didn't review after starting my blog. 

7. Most Popular Post This Year On Your Blog (whether it be by comments or views)? My most popular review was of Liars, Inc. by Paula Stokes. I attribute this to her being kind enough to tweet out the link so people would see it.

8. Post You Wished Got A Little More Love? I wish my post on A Court of Thorns and Roses got a little more love. I can honestly say that I worked the hardest on that particular review and even had Grace proofread it for me.

9. Best bookish discover (book related sites, book stores, etc.)? Book Outlet for sure. I haven't gotten my first order in yet, but I did finally give in and participate in their Boxing Day sale. You'll hear more about that when the package gets here. (:

10.  Did you complete any reading challenges or goals that you had set for yourself at the beginning of this year? YES! I set out to read 24 books in 2015 and I ended up being able to finish 52 of them! I'm actually quite proud of myself. I also planned to purchase a boxed set, which I did. I haven't read them yet, but the entire Heroes of Olympus series by Rick Riordan sure does look good on my shelf. I managed to fail a few goals as well, but we won't get into that.

1. One Book You Didn’t Get To In 2015 But Will Be Your Number 1 Priority in 2016? It's not that I didn't get to it, I just was't able to finish it. I'd like to finally finish Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. I've been slowly reading this one for almost 3 months now. I'd have to say it's my least favorite so far because I just really want to slap Harry a good portion of the time. However, his attitude is improving a tad and I think my pace might pick up if I don't get too distracted.

2. Book You Are Most Anticipating For 2016 (non-debut)? I have a few books I'm really looking forward to in 2016. I won't go into depth, but they are A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas, Girl Against the Universe by Paula Stokes, Vicarious by Paula Stokes, and The Hammer of Thor by Rick Riordan.

3. 2016 Debut You Are Most Anticipating? Mmm, I'm going to have to say Firsts by Laurie Elizabeth Flynn. There are definitely a lot, but I'm drawing a blank. The premise of this one intrigues me. "Seventeen-year-old Mercedes provides a unique service to her virgin classmates: the opportunity to get their awkward first time over with, judgment-free. But what was meant to be temporary spirals out of control, and Mercedes begins to question where her heart really belongs." How can that not draw you in?

 4. Series Ending/A Sequel You Are Most Anticipating in 2016? My absolute most anticipated sequel is A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas. I need to know what happens and I just want to be back in that world and be able to explore it more.

5. One Thing You Hope To Accomplish Or Do In Your Reading/Blogging Life In 2016? I want to review every book I read. I was close this year, but some books I just waited way too long and couldn't remember anything. So I guess I just want to be more efficient. I think it'd also be cool to get more comments/followers. It's not the numbers, it'd just be cool to be able to discuss things with my readers. If y'all didn't know, not a lot of my friends read so my opportunity to actually talk about books is quite limited. So whether it's one comment or fifty comments, I'll be just as excited. However, that's not my main focus. I want to improve my writing and my efficiency because I just love blogging!

6. A 2016 Release You’ve Already Read & Recommend To Everyone: I've only read one 2016 release so far and that was The Score by Elle Kennedy. I recommend it to anyone who loves a really good, steamy read.

Now, I'd like to thank Jamie for creating this survey as I've had loads of fun filling it out! Feel free to tell me a few of your answers in the comments. See y'all in 2016!

The Beast Within Review

The Beast Within by Serena Valentino
5 Stars
Sometime last year I was walking through my local Barnes and Noble when I spotted Beast's face on a book. I squealed and told my mother I had to get, but went home empty handed. I finally got it for Christmas this year and I finished it so fast! The Beast within is all about the Beast before and during his curse. In all honesty he was a jerk and I kind of thought he deserved the curse. However, I was not a fan of the three witches and all of their meddling. The most shocking thing was who was the Beast's best friend growing up. Seriously, WHAT?! If you're a fan of Beauty and the Beast, I truly believe you'll love this one. It's only 215 pages and it's so worth it. If you've read it, let's discuss. If not, go and get it now.

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Riding in Cars with Boys Review

Riding in Cars with Boys by Beverly Donofrio
5 Stars
I don't know if any of y'all have seen this movie, it came out in 2001 when I was around 6 years old and I fell in love with it. So naturally when the adult me found out that it was actually based on an autobiography, I had to buy it despite my struggles reading non-fiction. Let me tell you, I finished this book in a matter of hours. I just couldn't put it down! I did have my problems, but they weren't with the book itself. Instead they were with the decisions being made by Beverly most of the time. Don't get me wrong, it was a fantastic read, hence the rating, but it was so hard for me not to be judgmental. If you don't know, Beverly finds herself pregnant in high school during the late 60's if memory serves. It's all about her parenting journey, but mostly how she finds herself along the way. I definitely recommend this one and it's also very short, barely over 200 pages so it goes by so fast! If any of y'all have read it, I'm dying to hear your thoughts! Even if you've only seen the movie, it stays pretty true, let's discuss.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

The Score ARC Review

The Score by Elle Kennedy
5 Stars
Holy shit. I swear these books keep getting better and better. In this one we focus on Allie, a serial monogamist fresh from a breakup, and Dean, an unbelievable ladies man. Kennedy does her thing and creates a very steamy read that you won't be able to put down. I found myself wishing I was Allie the whole time out of complete jealousy and love for the leading man. Dean is just mesmerizing and it's honestly not hard to see why no one can resist his charms. He's kind of a cocky bastard, but it works for him. I devoured this novel in one sitting and I still wanted more! I seriously hope this isn't the last book in the series because holy cow, that bomb dropped at the end?! You can't do that to me! I'd love to be able to say so much more, but you honestly just need to read it for yourself. The Score comes out on January 11, 2016 and while it is the 3rd book, it's a companion series so you don't have to read the other two first. However, you might get minor spoilers, so if that's an issue I would go in order. They're all amazing books and like I said, they just keep getting better. I can't wait for y'all to get your hands on this one so we can discuss it!

The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants Review

The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants by Ann Brashares
5 Stars
I still cannot believe that it took me until I was 21 years old to actually read this book! I found it quite enjoyable and in one way or another I could relate to each of the four girls wearing "the pants". Although, I did find myself getting more and more annoyed with Carmen as the story progressed. I seriously hope her attitude changes in the next book because I just cannot handle her! I personally loved how these girls are all so different from one another and yet their friendship remains strong. While reading, I really missed my own friends and longed for a good adventure. I also liked how the book didn't really focus on making grand adventures happen. Instead the focus was on these girls and how their Summer changed them and how they felt about everything going on around them. We see Bridget make a bold choice and instead of being completely over the moon, she's quite down on herself. If you know the decision I'm talking about, then you also probably know how realistic it is. Just perfect. I can't wait to buy book two and continue to grow with these characters. Let's talk about it.

Monday, December 14, 2015

The Geek's Guide to Dating Review

The Geek's Guide to Dating by Eric Smith
5 Stars
First off, I want to thank Eric Smith for so kindly sending me a copy of his book to review. Secondly, I just want to say that despite the absurd amount of time it took me to finish this book, I really loved it. I just struggle when there isn't something making me go, "OH MY GOD, I need to know what happens next!" Moving on, this is a literal guide to dating. It's completely relevant and full of pop culture references that will help you understand what is being said. Example: "If you're an autobot and she's an aerialbot, you can't expect her to suddenly transform into a ground-based vehicle. But you can still bond over your mutual love of administering beat downs to Decepticons. Be respectful, be patient, be open to learning about her passions." Smith also adds the right amount of humor to his work. I personally found myself laughing at several points and I know you will too. I've seen a few complaints about how this is aimed at males and yes, it is. However, Smith makes it a point to say that these tips apply to females just as much as they do to males. He even includes "A Note for the Gal Geek" on page 18. I really appreciated that even though I had no problem with the focus being on men. Lastly, I want to throw in a quote that made me really happy; "Here's the thing, Player One. As much as this concept has been romanticized, it neglects the fact that women are human beings with their own issues--they don't exist just for you." Overall, I found Geek's Guide to be quite helpful and entertaining. I honestly recommend this to anyone who needs help dating or even just needs a good laugh. I'd love to discuss it with anyone who has read it or even wants to.

Monday, December 7, 2015

A Court of Thorns and Roses Review

A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J Maas
5 Stars
When I first heard about this book it was on Booktube and everyone was saying it was going to be a Beauty and the Beast retelling. Being that Beauty and the Beast has always been my favorite, I was so going to make sure that I read it. Despite having preordered it, I hyped myself up too much and didn’t end up reading it until now. Which worked out since I made it the Better Read Than Dead pick for December.

Now this may be kind of irrelevant, but I use an Android app called “Read Tracker” that tells me how long it takes me to read. When I found out that it took me 17 minutes to read just 12 pages, I immediately snapchatted my friend Grace about how this book was going to take me absolutely forever to read. Boy was I wrong, I had read all 416 pages by the following evening. Sarah J Maas blew my mind! At first I was prepared for things to go slow considering the first couple of chapters hadn’t grabbed me yet, but once Feyre was taken away I couldn’t put it down.

Now to take a better look at things. Feyre, our main character, is not someone I found myself focusing on too much. Maybe it’s because in some odd way, I wanted to be her or maybe it was just because she was surrounded by cooler characters. I’m not saying that I didn’t like her because I did, I just enjoyed the men in this novel a whole lot more. I loved Tamlin’s awkwardness despite his strength and “celebrity”. I definitely found myself being drawn in by his charm. However, Lucien might be my favorite. Throughout this novel he is so sassy and he is unafraid to express himself. I often found myself giggling at his remarks, they’re just gold. Rhysand though, I couldn’t trust him one bit. This didn’t stop me from falling in love with him though. The way he was first described really drew me in, but his personality and the way he presented himself kept me around. I am looking forward to seeing more of him in A Court of Mist and Fury.

Lastly, I didn’t really care for Feyre’s family. They seemed quite ungrateful to me. They may have shown another side, but I’m still not quite sold. A few things that I absolutely loved were that our main character wasn’t portrayed as some fragile, innocent virgin like so many YA novels have the tendency to do. In fact, her virginity wasn’t discussed because it was long gone. I appreciated that the sex scenes weren’t fluffy. While not graphic, Maas did not beat around the bush. We all knew what was happening and it was damn good. Now I’ve seen a few reviews talking about a particular moment being kind of “rapey” or having been an assault. Now I am not encouraging this behavior in the real world whatsoever, but, and this is a big but, this is a YA fantasy novel where one of the characters in question is quite literally animalistic in several aspects. The man has claws for christ’s sake. However, I do see why those things are being said and I actually would love to hear what Maas has to say about it.

Overall, I enjoyed ACOTAR. I honestly would have given it more than 5 stars had that been possible. If any of you have read this, please leave a comment. I am dying to talk about it! Meanwhile, I will be not so patiently waiting for the sequel to come out in May 2016. Also a reminder that anyone is welcome to join our bookclub (https://www.goodreads.com/group/show/157333-better-read-than-dead-bookclub), we’d love to have you.

The Sword of Summer Review

Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard: The Sword of Summer by Rick Riordan
5 Stars
I absolutely love the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series so when I saw that Rick Riordan had another book coming out, I had to read it. This was the Better Read Than Dead book for November and I loved it. I will say that at some points it was a little slow, but things always picked back up again. I found that Norse mythology is actually a tad complicated and was grateful for the glossary in the back of the book, but you'll be fine not knowing anything so don't feel the need to shy away because of that. Our main character Magnus Chase is actually 16 years old and homeless which was quite different, but he is every bit as sassy as Percy is. I tried not to compare the books as I read, however, I just couldn't help myself. I fell in love with these characters. If you haven't heard, we have a deaf character and also a character of Middle Eastern descent and they're both wonderful in their own ways. I felt the need to mention these characters because I personally haven't read enough books with that kind of diversity. You can expect a lot of humor throughout The Sword of Summer as well as pop culture relevance with mentions of Taylor Swift, Arrow, Breaking Bad and more. I must say that Thor and his goats crack me up. If you've read it, then you know exactly why I had to mention them. I honestly have so much to say, but everything is so spoilery! Ugh! I recommend you give this book a try whether you've read Rick's previous works or not, but especially if you have. As always, feel free to join us over on Goodreads (https://www.goodreads.com/group/show/157333-better-read-than-dead-bookclub).