2014 Goals

On Sunday I reviewed my goals for 2013 and how successful I was.  Today, I list my goals for next year that are blog reading/writing related.

 

1) I want to read at least fifty books.  I know that I’m downsizing from last year, but life has been extremely hectic as of late.  I really would like to read at least as many books (if not more) than I read last year, but I have to be realistic about these things.

 

2) I want to participate more in the blogger community-via commenting, doing blog tours, participating in memes, etc.  Probably going to be a difficult one for me to accomplish because of time restraints.  But I am going to make an effort.

 

3) Torment myself by reading another horrible series.  Hey, I survived House of Night.  Obviously, that means I’m a bad ass or that I’m glutton for punishment.

 

4) Complete my Nostalgia Book Challenge.

 

5) Look into more cost effective strategies for reading-using the library more, think about investing in Oyster, check Netgalley and Edelweiss more often.

 

6) Slowly but surely start removing old content from my GoodReads account since I don’t want that site having access to my content for obvious reasons.

 

7) Start using Leafmarks and Booklikes more.

 

8) Actually finish my WIP and start another WIP AFTER I finish writing a detailed outline, so that I won’t get stuck.

 

9) Go to a book signing this year.

 

10) Try to read more new authors.

Reflection on 2013 and Its Reading Goals

Well, it’s the end of the year.  Where I look back at my 2013 goals and see just how successful I am.  Here is a link to the original article:

10) I will try to read and review a hundred books next year.  Even though I don’t know that possible considering the fact I have to get through another semester of law school, MPRE, and the bar exam.  And, oh yeah, find a job.  So this one might be sort of difficult to achieve, but we’ll see.

I actually completed this one.  Amazingly enough.  Somehow reading was a stress relief for me.  I actually ended up reading 122 books.

9) I will try to read all my Netgalley ARCs.

Didn’t happen.  However, I’ve been better about choosing books that I’m actually likely to read when hitting the request button.  Progress.  So, I’m marking success there.

8) I will utilize the library more.

Well, I didn’t buy one House of Night book and I challenged myself to read that series.  I still should use the library more than I do.  Or at the very least sign up to Oyster, so that I don’t feel like I’m giving all my money that doesn’t go to paying bills to Amazon.

7) I will give series that I hate a second chance because who knows maybe the sequel is actually better. Then again maybe I should be more stringent about this one.  After all, wasting money on a second book that you don’t like is sort of stupid.  So maybe, this one will apply only to books I find at the library (see resolution number eight).

This is where House of Night came in.  So, I can sort of mark this one off too.

6) I will try to read what’s actually in my bookshelf more and actually read what I check out at the library.

Sort of a success.  Something I still should work on since there are so many books that are just sitting there on my shelves as decoration than anything else.

5) I will try to read at least two-thirds of a book before giving up on it.  Though once again, why should I waste my time on a book that I can not stand.  It puts me in a bad mood and I’m not a nice person when I’m in a bad mood.  Rethink number five.

Actually, stuck with the halfway mark on this one.  I couldn’t stomach it.

4)  I will try to be more positive about YA tropes or at least try to be less snarky about them (is that even possible?).  And honestly, is reading fun without the snark?

Um, epic fail.

3) I will try to limit myself to one lemon read a month.  What is a lemon read-you ask?  It’s like a use car that might look perfect on the outside but in reality is shit. Like the Halo series by Alexandra Adornetto.   That series is shitty beyond belief, despite the fact that most of the covers are gorgeous and state that Adornetto is some literary prodigy (prodigy, my ass).

Once again, I failed.  But I’m not blaming myself (much) for this one.  A lot of the books I tried that failed were by complete accident.  I totally went blind into them. And for what it is worth, I checked out the majority of them from the library.

2) I will try to read outside my comfort zone.  I always claim that I can’t find anything “different” in the world of YA.  Maybe it’s me.  I tend shy away from dystopias and other big trends in YA, so maybe I should try to embrace them instead of shunning them. Yes, a good chunk of them might be cliche and horrible but I should still give them a chance, right?

I did try to do this.  Though I am still gun shy for the most part towards dystopia and I don’t see it changing anytime soon.

1) I will try to be frugal and not buy a book because a) the cover is stunning, b) the plot looks interesting, or c) there’s been lots of hype for the book.  I will read more reviews and make smarter decisions in what ends up permanently on my bookshelf.

I did this, but I need to be even more frugal next year. 

 

 

I’m Not Easy to Please: Easy by Tammara Webber

Easy is one of those new adult books that has received hype filled reviews that I just had to review it, even though NA is a genre that annoys the heck out of me.

Did it live up to it’s hype?

Once again, the answer is yes and no.

If we’re just comparing it to the rest of the substandard genre that in New Adult, it was fantastic.  Unlike most of these romances, there is actually a relationship built between Jacqueline and Lucas.  And Lucas, for the most part, didn’t act like a dickwad (I know, truly amazing for a NA book).  That being said, if you just look at the book as a book it hardly stands out at all.  And I found a few points to bitch at.

Yeah, I know.  I almost always bitch at something.  I’m sorry.  I over analyze things.  It’s one of the many reasons I went to law school besides the fact I like to complain, yell at people, and be viewed as an evil person by the majority of Americans.  Oh, and I’m a Slytherin.

Babbling aside, this book really did have some problems.

The biggest being that Shreveport, Louisiana was described as a romantic getaway.  Um, no.  I went to Shreveport last weekend since my sister was playing a gig there and it sucked.  Save for the fact I won eighty bucks in one of the casinos with a friend.  But that still sucked because we lost eighty bucks as well.  And the only place to halfway eat there is a Krispy Cream Donuts.  And while I like donuts, they don’t make a balance diet and if I don’t eat something with sustenance I get a headache.

Man, I am really off topic in this review.

The point is, it was little fact checking things like this that made me go postal when reading this book.  Another example, Jacqueline was a music major.  Yet she hardly seems to be taking music major classes. And she seems to have a ton of free time.  I know she wasn’t at a conservatory, but even state music programs are grueling programs.  Especially music ed.  The fact that she has time to take an Economics and Art History course during her junior year has me raising my eyebrows.  Though I did love how Webber did mention the fact that you have to sign up for practice times.  That’s true in a lot of schools these days (though most people just end up practicing in their dorm).  I also had to roll my eyes at her transferring so late in the game.  Most people would’ve just waited till they went to grad school to go to a conservatory if they were in her position-it’s cheaper that way too since you don’t have to repeat every course.  Plus, with a state school you’re actually forced to take cores so you get a legitimate degree if you ever decide you hate playing your instrument.

Once again, I’m digressing.  Probably because I could relate to this part and Webber got some facts wrong.

You know, if it were only these two things that bothered me about the book I would’ve given it a higher rating.  I really would’ve.  I’ll be the first to admit that I like to nit pick.  But it wasn’t just minute details about sucky Shreveport and a music education degree that seemed more like a Mrs. degree that had me fuming, it was how the whole rape plot was handled.

Parts of it were handled quite well.  I liked the fact that Webber kept reminding the audience that it was not Jacqueline’s fault what happened to her and anyone else.  But, and it’s a big but, I thought everything was a bit over dramatic.  Take Buck’s character.  Yes, I get he’s a rapist.  But he just seemed to be characterized as a rapist.  There was nothing else behind his motivations-other than he wanted to screw Kennedy one over by screwing Jacqueline.  I honestly would’ve liked to see him more fleshed out.  As much as I hate to say it, rapists  aren’t one dimensional monsters.  And that’s what I think what makes them truly scary, that they have sides of them that you’d think oh this person isn’t the scum of the earth.  Some of the most disgusting people can be charming, but Buck was characterized as being a sex fiend.  Only his fellow frat boys said he was a good old boy.  I just wish Webber would’ve showed that side a little more.

I also thought that Lucas’s whole backstory with the rape was a little too much.  While I get how it tied up everything it just seemed a little too neat-in a grisly type way.  And way too convenient.  But once again, new adult and convenient are synonymous with each other so I can’t complain about that that much.

Though the eyes were rolling, people.

I think the best thing about this book was the relationship between Jacqueline and Lucas.  It wasn’t insta love.  And they didn’t screw each other like bunnies before Christmas and break up like in typical NA fashion.  It seemed realistic enough.  Though it was sort of creepy that Lucas didn’t outright admit he was Landon from the start, but when you’re dealing with the likes of Travis Maddox the guy gets a break.

If your fans of the New Adult genre, by all means give this one a try.  I didn’t find it to be as spectacular as some people described it, but I didn’t outright hate it.  For what it is, it’s pretty decent.

Overall Rating: Six out of ten stars (B-).

Do Judge a Book By Its Cover: New Beginnings

Well, it’s almost 2014.  And I thought for January’s edition of Do Judge a Book by Its Cover I’d look at some covers for new releases in 2014.

What the Cover Says: Mara is so not going to this royal wedding.  Seriously.  She was the one supposed to be marrying the prince getting the ring and the crown, not her stuck up sister Eleanor.  And what was Eleanor thinking making her wear a hat that rivals Beatrice and Eugenia’s in stupidity.  Oh, well, at least the prince’s hot older half brother is giving her the eye.  Too bad he was born out of wedlock and is a bastard.  Because Mara would look fantastic with a crown on her head.  Unlike the hat she’s currently wearing.
What the Book is Really About: An alternative future where the British monarchy still rules and it appears like there’s some sort of magic in society.  It actually looks like it could be pretty cool.  But to be honest, after my last few rounds with de la Cruz I’m a little more than skeptical.
Verdict: Definitely over the top.  Seriously, what’s the deal with this hat?  I get that this book wants to stand out.  But maybe it’s standing out a little too much.  That hat is just…well, wow. Really, WTF??!??!?!?!?!

 

What the Cover Says: Most people don’t realize that Rapunzel was a giant.  But if you think about it, it’s the only logical explanation for that ridiculously long hair of hers.  There’s been a cover up concerning her true height and this book explores it and Rapunzel’s relationship with Jack.  Yes, Jack from Jack and the Beanstalk was Rapunzel’s one true love.
What the Book is Really About: It’s the third book in the Lunar Chronicles series.  This one is a Rapunzel retelling (duh).
Verdict: I love it.  But it’s a lot more literal than the other covers.  Still though, it works quite well.

What the Cover Says: Forget that brat pack, they’re the bitch pack.  Ashley, Aster, and Ashlyn.  Yes, their names all start with the letter A, they’re all A list, and they’re fabulous.  And of course this book is about them and them being all perfect, rich, and popular.  And since this book is going to fall in the tradition of YA books of popular girls some loser named, Kiki, is going to move to their Rodeo Drive high school  and try to invade their turf.  The faux fur, obviously, is going to fly.
What the Book is Really About: A homeroom class gets a flu shot and suddenly has the ability to read minds.  Ouch!

Verdict: It honestly reminds me of the cover you’d see of a really bad teen movie.  It’s really sort of forgettable looking which is bad for a book.

What the Cover Says: Have you ever wondered about the board game character, Ms. Scarlet.  Well, this is a tell all.  Did she have that wrench or that candlestick in her hands when Mr. Body died?  Find out in this retelling of the classic board game that sadly does not have Tim Curry in it.
What the Book is Really About:  It’s the sequel to Born of Illusion (which I have in my TBR pile and have been meaning to read) and is set in London.
Verdict: It’s okay.  I think the first book was a little more flashy and show stopper than this one.

 

What the Cover Says: The belle of the ball that’s what Irene is.  Well, to be more precise the dead belle of the ball.  And no one knows her name.  They know her only as the lady in red.  The girl who haunts the Moon and Stars Inn.  Legends surround her death, but only Irene knows the truth.  And when she sees her killer again a hundred and fifty years later….well, things are about to get interesting.

What the Book is Really About: It’s another Beauty and the Beast retelling, but with an added twist of Greek mythology.
Verdict: I can’t tell if I love it or I hate it.  At fist sight it’s pretty gorgeous with the rose effect and pretty dress.  But the longer I look at it, I start getting dizzy.

Spy Life for Morons: Two LIes and a Spy by Kat Carlton

I have a friend who thinks this cover looks like the cover of some sort of porno. At first I just rolled my eyes at her remarks, now looking at it she did have a point…

 

My name is not Michael Westen and I never have been a spy, but I have had the experience of watching Michael, Annie Walker, James Bond, and any other shoot blanks on some over priced action show.  And even though a lot of that crap is fake, I still can tell you without a doubt that those shows are a lot more real than Two Lies and a Spy.

Spy books are probably an Achilles heal of mine in the YA genre.  I just can’t help it.  Anytime I see a book that involves teenagers and espionage, I usually pick it up.  Of course, more often than not I regret it.  This book I thought could be okay.  I had a feeling that it was going to be on the cheesy side, but I was hoping that it would have a tone that was similar to Meg Cabot’s earlier novels.

But nope.  No sarcastic teen dealign with some messed up problems.  Just a forty year old trying to act like a sixteen year old in a teenage body, who is so sanctimonious you want to smack her half a dozen times throughout the book.  Oh, and yeah, she likes playing dress up and her mom’s like Black Widow.

Yeah, that pretty much summarizes Kari.

And I hate to be so blunt about it, but what am I supposed to do tell you that Kari is a nice wonderful person who is never annoying, obnoxious, or makes horrible life choices, while beating up seemingly everyone in the book without breaking a sweat.

It’s giving me flashbacks to Scarlet and I finished that book almost a week ago.

So, thank you Two Lies and a Spy for making me relive that horrible book.  You know, screw you.

And like that book this book had a pretty good set up.  It could’ve been entertaining.  But it was never fleshed out.  Which was a shame.  I mean there are lots of ways you could go here.  Rather, I felt like this book was almost a novella to its very obvious series since nothing, nothing at all was fleshed out.  Save for the outfits that Kari and her brother wear throughout the book.

And I’m sorry, I really don’t want to read about how many times her brother is forced to go drag.

That’s really not the way to make a story.  Maybe if he was forced to dress as a duck all day, I’d be a little bit more interested.  But as it stands.  Nope.  Nope.

The actual main plot, the parents being double agents, really wasn’t fleshed out and I thought the ending really was unrealistic and harsh.  Once again, it was obviously set up for a sequel, but it wasn’t so much a lack of resolution that bothered me.  Instead, rather a lack of plotting in the first place.   That shocking ending, really wasn’t that shocking because there was never any development there in the first place.

The same thing could be said about the relationship between Kari and her love interest, Luke.  I actually thought the British wannabe Cody Banks, Evan, would’ve been a better match for Kari.  After al, Ken Wannabe (Luke) was hardly in the book while there was actually some interaction between Kari and Evan.  But at the end, who does Kari kiss?  A guy she barely interacted with.

And for that matter, I don’t understand these characters motivations to help Kari.  They barely know her.  Luke and his sister should’ve resisted helping what appeared to be the daughter of two traitors.

It just didn’t make sense.  Much like six teenagers breaking into Langley.  Look, there are enough conspiracy theorists  on the H2 station trying to break into some Podunk government facility with little to no success, that makes me honestly believe that half a dozen moronic teens and an eight year-old aren’t going to have that much success either.  Even if they do dress as a “gross” person.

Oh God.  That was something else.  Kari is extremely shallow in one scene she has to dress as a heavier person with bad skin and hair and freaks out.  To be honest, it sort of disturbed me thinking that a kid as young as eleven or twelve might be reading this and I just wanted to smack her a few times.  But given everything else that was going on in this book at the time I just took a sip of spiced eggnog and it was  all good.

Well, tolerable.

If your a neophyte when it comes to the spy genre, this might be an okay book to read.  You won’t notice as many problems as you would if say you watched Burn Notice religiously during it’s run.  Also, a younger audience might like this book more too.  I don’t know though.  Sometimes I think I label things middle grade to cut a  book slack.  It’s true that for the most part it’s a pretty appropriate read for younger readers (though a little heavy on the violence), but at the same time I want to just outright state that that’s a lame excuse.  I read some great middle grade books.  Case in point, the early Harry Potters.  I didn’t feel like I was being talked down to when I read about Harry’s adventures like I did here.  And Harry definitely wasn’t a forty-year-old in a kids body.  So, that just leads me to wonder how exactly I should rate this book even more.

In the end I decided to give it three out of ten (D).  I just didn’t like it.  And I don’t think it would’ve worked even if I changed that label  was changed to middle grade.  Quite frankly this one was just sloppy.  A little time and effort could’ve given this book what it needed to shine.  Instead, it sucked.

When You Listened to Too Much Taylor Swift: Remembrance by Michelle Madow

Sigh…I was excited about reading Remembrance.  This series is one of the few Cinderella stories you get in the Indy and I wanted to love it because of that.  However, I just couldn’t help but grown at how cliche the whole book ended up being.

Remember that Taylor Swift Song, “Love Story“?

If you hadn’t heard it basically the gist is that you get to see Taylor Swift’s idea of Romeo and Juliet.  If you guessed that Taylor Swift is one of the many people that thinks the story has a happy ending because she didn’t actually take time to read the play or watch the movie that you’re right.  Michelle Madow was so impressed with this music video (probably because it has pretty dresses) that she decided to write a book about it.

Only Romeo and Juliet is replaced with freaking Pride and Prejudice and the conflict between our characters is equally lame.

Obviously, Madow hasn’t read Pride and Prejudice if she thinks that Darcy and Elizabeth’s love story is remotely similar to that of Romeo and Juliet.  Unless Mr. Darcy suddenly turned into an idiot.  Which last time I read, I don’t think he did.  But anyway…that’s the general gist of this story.  And I think it should give you an idea of why it’s so stupid.

I’ll be frank, I really don’t like ripping into books.  I know that sounds shocking since it seems like every review I do is a rant.  But let me tell you a dirty little secret, I am a rooter for underdogs.  Books that shouldn’t be good, I like giving them a try.  But usually I have fair notice what I’m getting into.  With this one not so much.  It had gotten good buzz which is why Im sort of shocked I feel so meh about it.

While it wasn’t exactly one of the worst books I’ve ever read, it wasn’t exactly a pleasurable let alone memorable experience.  The book suffered from a plethora of YA cliches.  The main character, Liz, sort of reminded me of Hillary Duff’s character in A Cinderella Storynice enough, but boring as hell.  She was really as generic as they come.

Then there’s the love interests.  Her current boyfriend, Jeremy, is obviously going to get dumped that it’s not even funny that the reader has to suffer through Liz idiotically realizing he treats her like shit.  And the other guy, Drew, isn’t that much better.  Even though Madow tries to use every YA cliche in the book to make you think otherwise.

I really get annoyed with that.  The over use of cliches.  I understand that Madow wanted the audience to like Drew and Liz together, but the way Madow took towards this was just a bunch of cheap shots.  I just couldn’t like them.  Maybe if I hadn’t read several of these books where the situation played out the way it did here, I could get into it.  But because it was something that I read several times before I just couldn’t help but groan.

Groaning probably could’ve summed up my experiences with this book perfectly.  There really wasn’t anything about this book that I hadn’t seen before.  And there was nothing special about the characterization or anything to make me swoon over the romance that was going on.  It was just blah.

And honestly, it borderline made me angry with the various character assassinations that were done so that Liz and Drew could get together.

The sad thing about this particular book is that I don’t have a lot to talk about.  I’m just ranting about the typical tropes about YA and that the book is boring.  I really can’t discuss anything else because there’s nothing to talk about.  The plot was scant at best and was more or less a teenage fantasy written down in paper.  Which is really a shame because with a cover like that and a book that is about reincarnation, you’d think it would have an exciting.  But nope, someone listened to way too much Taylor Swift.

Overall Rating: Two out of ten.  Not horrible but boring as heck.

 

A Robin Hood that Speaks with a Douchey Accent: Scarlet by AC Gaughen

It’s Kristen Stewart with a knife. Heaven help us.

Robin Hood is one of those poor figures that keeps getting ripped into shreds in various forms of multi-media.  Personally, I blame the fact he looks good in tights.  Guys who looked good in tights are basically destined to have themselves torn up in remakes and spinoffs.  Plus, he was considered to be hot in animated form-as a fox.  If people are finding his animal form hot then obviously that’s something to cash out on, right?

I’ll admit, I have fallen under Robin’s charm-that fox has it going on.  And when I found out that AC Gaugher had a Robin Hood retelling where Robin’s love interest is actually kick ass than chastity belt wearing, I had to give it a try.  However, I was not impressed.

Scarlet wasn’t completely odious though.  Bad it was.  But I didn’t outright hate this book.  I appreciated what it was trying to do.  I liked the idea behind it.  Having Robin’s love interest really be a girl in the disguise as Will Scarlet was pretty awesome.  However, Scarlet herself….

Oh God.  She’s one of those characters.

You know Kick!Ass girl which really means Lame Ass.

Yes, occasionally Scarlet can do something useful, but more often than not she needs saving.  And you’d think after being hit by an arrow or cut up that would make you immobile for a few days.  But nope, Scarlet heals faster than Superman.

And I could get over that because it’s Robin Hood, but it’s not Robin Hood that’s talking, it’s Scarlet and she has to have one of the most annoying mouths ever.

Before I start this rant, I’ll mention that I’m actually being nice here.  I haven’t gone into details about the historical inaccurcies about this book.  I sort of took it in with History Channel mentality.  I didn’t expect anything really to be remotely educational or historically accurate, but I did expect a good story.  However,  the way Scarlet was characterized just made me want to vomit.

The I’m a tough girl act got old fast.  Add her thoughts on romance in this book and the bad fake “poor” accent and I wanted to deck her.  Multiple times.  I get what Gaugher was trying to do with this character, modernize and update upon the traditional leading lady in Robin Hood.  Which should’ve been done, but the way this was executed just made the book flop.  Scarlet was just intolerable.  I kept hearing about how she could throw  knives one minute, and the next Robin would be protecting her from her own stupidity.

Speaking of Robin and Little John, and for that matter any other character with a penis in this book seemed to have it bad for our special moon eyed herorine-oh yeah, the unusual eye cliche was used (seriously, I thought that was something only fan fic writers used).  Even the bad guy has the hots for her, or at least wants to mary her even though he says he’s repulsed by her.

And the sad thing is, I didn’t like not one of those guys that were throwing themselves at her.  Little John was an ass.  Robin seemed okay till he saw Scarlet kiss Little John then called her a ho.  And the bad guy was just…well, disgusting.

Really, how can you make Robin Hood not sexy?  That is like the ultimate sin.  I mean, even Disney made him sexy and he was a talking animal.  People shouldn’t like talking animated animals, but there was just something about that damn fox that made him…well, a fox.

This Robin Hood though….well, let’s say that he has the personality of a wet noodle.

That’s right a wet noodle.  All I know about him besides his soft wheat color hair (and yes, that’s taken out of the actual book) and storm/cloud colored eyes that he found Scarlet and that she has feelings for him.  He doesn’t really do anything until Scarlet starts to get it on with John and then he’s like you whore.

I almost laughed when Robin said this.  When I wasn’t disgusted.  I mean, really?  Really?  Who says that.  Well, assholes that’s who but….

This is our leading man and Robin Hood at that.

I somehow was able to get passed all of this though and continue the rest of the book, but I found it to be lackluster and disappointing.  Conveniently Scarlet’s asshole Robin gets captured and she has to make a sacrifice that is similar to something you’d see on General Hospital.  It really was lame.

However, I hate to admit this, but I might read the sequel.  I sort of am interested in what is going to happen next, even though I don’t have high expectations.  But I don’t think it’s because of Gaughen’s story I think it’s because of the legend itself and the potential this series has.  Do I think it’s going to live up to it’s potential, no.  But I can always hope, can’t I?

Overall rating, three out of ten.  Potential, but god it needs help.

Top Ten Books of 2013

While I might rant a lot about some of the books I read, I often find that there are some books to swoon about.  Here are ten books that I swooned over in 2013.

 

10)

While it didn’t exactly live up to its hype, These Broken Stars, was an enjoyable read.  Kaufman and Spooner’s writing is how cowriting should be.  The flow of the writing worked beautifully while it was easy enough to distinguish Kaufman and Spooner’s individaul voice, but the book didn’t feel disjointed.

9)

The cliffhanger at the end of this particular installment made the series and that’s why this book is on the list.

8)

This is a fun romp for fans of Indiana Jones and Night at the Museum  throw in a supernatural mob and wow what a fun book.  To be honest though, this isn’t going to be everyone’s kind of book.  But for the people that do enjoy this sort of thing.  Wow just wow.

7)

A Beauty and the Beast retelling that actually works in a strange sort of way.  Though it does have its faults, the writing  is pretty darn amazing.  The language Jay uses to convey the way the blind Isra views the world is just fantastic.

6)

I feel like Meg Cabot finally got her groove back with this book.  To be fair, I enjoyed Awaken a lot too.  But this reminded me of the Meg I grew up with and believe me when I say that there’s nothing wrong with that.

5)

The main character reminds me of Suze Simon.  That right there is enough to get on this list.

4)

Yes, I know everyone and their mother has read this book series, but I only started it this year.  And I loved it.  And I really need to finish it.  What I think I liked about it he most was the main character.  The romance, to me at least, still borderlines on icky.

3)

Another sequel that blew my mind.  This is probably the best Persephone retelling I’ve read to date.  Ashton’s writing really draws you in.  And I like both Cole and Jack for completely different reasons.  And I should hate Cole, he’s usually the type of YA male lead that I hate.  But thew ay Ashton uses him in this role, works just perfectly.

2)

I think anyone who ever wrote fan fiction will enjoy this book. Plus, it’s probably the best NA book I’ve read this year.  Rowell really does know how to write for characters.

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I know the first book only came out in 2012, but I didn’t get to it this year.  And boy do I regret it.  I freaking love this series.  For being a series based on fairytale retellings, it’s surprisingly original.  While I didn’t like the sequel to Cinder as much as I liked the original, it was still a strong effort and I’m really looking forward to Cress.

Little Life Lessons from Christmas Movies

After watching my fair share of Christmas movies, I have come to these conclusions:

1) If you let everyone push you around you’re a success.  It also helps if there’s a particularly mean old miser around so that everyone else looks a bit less jerkish (see It’s a Wonderful Life).

2) If someone says your Santa Claus because you put on a suit with a supposed contract in it, call a lawyer those elves will back down fast (see The Santa Clause).  Also, if they keep adding causes after the fact, you probably have a good case for an unconscionable  contract-note, this makes an excellent bar prep problem.

3) Trust the creepy adult next door.  He might be rumored to be a murderer, but he’ll probably save your life at some point.  So will the crazy homeless bird lady in the park.  All those stranger danger PSAs ignore them because in the end the creepy stranger will save the day ( see Home Alone)

4) Worried that Grandpa is going to get sent to the loony bin for saying he’s Santa, just get the post office to deliver a letter addressing him as Saint Nick to the County Jail.  Note, this defense only works if he thinks he’s Santa.  It is unknown if it would work if he was claiming he was Hanukah Harry, The Tooth Fairy, or the Easter Bunny (see Miracle of 34th Street).

5) Stealing someone’s hat is perfectly legal if you’re a snowman that comes to life (see Frosty the Snowman).  Also, snowmen can reproduce (see subsequent sequels).  Hence, why snowman erotica is all the rage.

6)  Getting a crappy Christmas tree means something profound.  Also, Beagles are really great at decorating their houses for the holidays (see a A Charlie Brown Christmas).

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Of course, some Beagles live in beds and since their owners refuse to sleep with tinsel they have to be a bit of a Debby Downer.

7)  If your neighbors hate you it’s probably because you didn’t put out the inflatable snowman in your yard (see Christmas with the Cranks)

8) Only vegans can apply to be Santa since they don’t smell like beef and cheese (see Elf).

9) There actually should be a warning label on candy canes since there’s a chance they could be radioactive (see Santa Clause the Movie).

10) After you watch so many versions of The Christmas Carol, you start having all these weird conspiracy theories about how a certain member of the Crochet family was connected with those ghosts that haunted poor Scrooge.  Another plausible theory is that Tiny Tim is a demon (alas, that is only speculation at this time).

2014 Nostalgia Challenge

I’ve decided that next year I’m going to challenge myself to read a nostalgia themed book each month.  If anyone wants to join in this challenge they’re more than welcomed to.  Each month has a specific theme which I’ve listed below.  I’ve chosen some books that I read in childhood, while some books I’ve read in the distant past.

1) January: A book that was new to you in that it changed your mind about reading.

Probably the first book I read that made reading cool and in a way made it okay for me to embrace my inner book nerd.

2) February: A book that you love.

Probably the first book I loved being assigned. Pride and Prejudice is still relevant and is still getting a dozen remakes later, despite being two centuries old.

3) Your first mystery.

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Okay, technically not my first mystery. But it was the first mystery that left a lasting impression on me and made me ship Francy (the ultimate mystery couple).

4) A book that taught you something.

I loved the American Girl books growing up. The Samantha and Molly books hold a particular special place to my heart. The only reason I chose Sam over Molly was mainly because the Edwardian era is a tad bit less depressing that World War II. However, I might do both.

5) A book that you utterly despised. 

Ugh. Just ugh. I reviewed this series and that’s all I have to say about it. But barf ugh.

6) A book that you were forced to read and loved.

My mom forced me to check this one at the library, at the time I just sort of rolled my eyes. Until I read it and then I checked it out three times.

7) A book that made you feel heat.

Oh man, Suze and Jesse. Even though he’s technically dead you can definitely feel the heat between those two.

8) An animal book that you loved.

I don’t know if I love this one or if it freaks me out. Either way it’s probably the most bizarre animal story I ever read. And it truly makes me think twice about buying an Australian Shepherd.

9) A book that you were assigned in school and hated.

Ugh. I think what I hated the most about this book is it showed just how low humanity could go (via kids).

10) A book that scares you.

Having a girl fall in love with a psycho and spawning five million other YA and NA books like it. Yeah, that’s enough to make a book scary.

11) A guilty pleasure book or series.

I raked up so many ARC (Accelerated Reader Club) points with this series. The sad thing is I remember them not being good. But they are like bad candy: addictive.

12) A book that makes you feel the season.

Probably my favorite holiday novel of all times. I truly wish we’d find out what happened to the Herdmans. I guess that’s what Cops is for.