Bookish Highlights of the Year: Where I go Over a Year in Books

I’ve already listed my favorite and not so favorite books of the year, so now it’s time to actually reminisce about  the year for me and for the blog, and some book news.  The good, the ugly, and the just plain bizarre.  Let’s reminisce and hope that 2015 isn’t as crazy.

January:

The month I was in a heavy reading slump.  I remember almost crying because I was thinking that 2014 was truly the month of awful terrible books.  Plus, I was pretty sure the world was going to become frozen because polar vortex.  and

Best Book: Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge: Ship, ship, ship.  Yeah, I loved the ship in this one.  Honestly, Beauty and the Beast is sort of like my favorite fairytale ever and if you throw in a little Greek mythology there….

Worst Book: Big Fat Disaster by Beth Fehlbaum.  Really, not that surprising given that it got the worst overall book on my 2014 list.  It was ironically the book I was reading when the ball dropped.  I won’t be reading a bad book for the start of 2015 (I hope).

February: 

Another polar vortex-yay!  As awful and bleak as January was with books, February was full of fantastic books.  I gave out two five star books-which is rare for me.  I also got Netflixs that month (not really book related, but it allowed me to review more YA adaptations).

Best Book: Cress by Marissa Meyer.  Not that surprising since it’s the best book I read in 2014.  I really need to reread this series.  I keep saying that.  But they keep getting better and better with each installment.  I swear.

Worst Book: The Here and Now by Anne Brashares.  More a disappointment than anything else.  Time traveling should be exciting instead of blah worthy.

March:

The month where I was horrified by six foot tall leperchauns, got sick with the stomach flu (twice), and read my first-out of many-bad Peter Pan retellings.  I also binge watched Once Upon a Time.  In other words, it was a pretty uneventful month.

Best Book: Something Real by Heather Demetrios.  This is what I expect from a contemporary.  Completely refreshing and engaging.  Plus, I loved how the reality TV element was dealt with.

Worst Book: Second Star by Alyssa B. Sheinmel.  Wendy Darling is not a drug addict.  Enough said.

April:

Ugh.  Not a great month personally since I got sick and was on like heavy duty antibiotics and my dad had to get surgery.  On the plus side, I did get to go out of town and go book shopping and that’s always a plus in my book.

Best Book: Don’t Look Back by Jennifer Armentrout.  When Armentrout is on she’s on.  The plot is rather simple, but the pacing made it worth its while.  Plus, I sort of love amnesia tropes.  Blame it on General Hospital.

Worst Book: Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Page.  I was not a fan of this one, but I know lots of people liked it.  It just was a little meh for me and a little forced.

May:

It started getting hot outside.  And um….oh, BEA.  Didn’t go, but went on an honorary Book buying BEA trip (it was flooded near my office).  I did Twitter stalk everyone who went though to keep up on the BEA going ons and remember the whole Book Tuber controversy.  Which is sort of stupid, since book tubers and bloggers do the same thing.  Except Blogger’s don’t usually have annoying perky voices.  In other May news, Meg Cabot announced she was reviving her Princess Diaries and Mediator series.  Oh, and seems Prince Phillipe can’t keep his pants on since Mia’s half sister is getting a middle grade series of her own.

Best Book: Um, can I pass.  I did not enjoy any of my May reads.  I mean, I think the highest rating I gave was like a C+.

Worst Book: Royally Lost by Angie Stanton without a doubt.  Someone who really wants to travel, does not want to hear the whinings  of a little brat who wants to eat at McDonalds.

June:

It got hotter. I went to a concert.  Um, babysat interns-some were nice, some not so nice, and some just needed to learn to use a computer.  I also binge watched Doc Martin.  In the bookish world, I got so mad that I ended up returning a book to my local Barnes and Noble’s-somethign that never happened until now.  And I was told I could no longer drink coffee.  Well, normal coffee.  I can drink half  caf which is better known as crap.

Best Book: Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry.  I binge read this entire series in June and I enjoyed it (for the most part).  The first book I think was probably the best.

Worst Book:  Buzz Kill by Beth Fantansky: What is this?  I returned it.  Just saying that now.  This one was horrible.

July:

It got really, really, hot.  I went to a Fourth of July/Farewell Party for a coworker where I was given a rubberband gun-no one knows what a powerful weapon a rubberband gun can be.  For Fourth of July, I was forced to watch The Winds of War with my father Netflixs.  It wasn’t that bad, though I can’t stand the name Pug now.  I also binge watched Grimm.

Best Book: The Art of Wishing by Lindsay Ribar.  So underrated and under-appreciated.  I am so pimping this jinn duology.

Worst Book: Will the Real Abi Saunders Please Stand Up by Sara Hantz: I hate it when an author tries to make a teen sound like they’re four or five.  Please, don’t be insulting to your audience.

August:

It got even hotter.  To the point where I wanted the Polar Vortex to come back.  I got a rental car since my car got bashed in by the neighbor.   And I reread the Anna and the French Kiss series because Isla and the Happily Ever After was coming out and participated in a readalong.  A first for me.

Best Book: Isla and the Happily Ever After because duh…Stephanie Perkins.  And France.  And cute boys.

Worst Book: Ghost House by Alexandra Adornetto.  Don’t go ripping off The Mediator.  Especially when you’re the creator of that idiotic mess known as Halo.

September:

The Ellora’s Cave monstrosity went down with Dear Author.  And it was so horrifying no popcorn eating could be done-it wasn’t the worst thing done this year though. No, October had to top that.Also, I believe this was the month that Witches of East End was canceled (it might’ve been October).

Best Book: The Vampire Academy Series.  September and October were really all about Richelle Mead. Her writing is addictive.

Worst Book: Vampires of Manhattan by Melissa de la Cruz.  I used to love this author’s books, but I’m breaking up for good I think with most of her books (save for the tolerable The Ring and the Crown).  You can only contradict yourself so many times before your readers say enough.  This book really killed me though, because it killed whatever loved I originally had for the Blue Bloods series.  But you know what…I’m going to let it go and read better books by author’s that remember their universe.

October:

The month everyone’s head exploded over the fact that some author’s think it’s perfectly okay to come to your house if you write a bad review (it’s not).  It was also Halloween and my sister was already planning Thanksgiving dinner.

Best Book: The Bloodlines series.  Again.  All hail, Richelle Mead.

Worst Book: Winter Spell by Claire Legrand.  Or as I call it Winter Hell.  I try to forget this one’s existence.  It is truly a hideous thing.

November:

Thanksgiving!  I also, got a seasonal job (student loans) and had to experience Thanksgiving Hell.  Corporate America really needs to give that day off to families and consumers should realize they’re being ripped off via time with their family and their money (because really things are marked up a lot higher than they should be, before the supposed great sales) and eat turkey and watch the parade like people did five years ago.  And if they must, shop on Friday.  As for book news, November was v. non-eventful.

Best Book:  My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick.  Too cute.  To ship worthy.  And I read it out of season.

Worst Book: Redeemed by PC and Kristin Cast: Duh.

December:

The most wonderful time a year…wasn’t this year.  As you might’ve known, I lost a really good friend (my fifteen-year-old Beagle).  My mom has also been having severe health issues, so most of the month was trying to get her to send her a cardiologist so she could be on the right meds.

Best Book: The Princess Diaries series by Meg Cabot.  I started rereading this series and am loving it.

Worst Book: Suspicion by Alexandra Monir.  I don’t even know where to begin with this one.  Only that a sadist compared it to The Princess Diaries.  That and while I love Downton Abbey, it really doesn’t give an accurate depiction of class issues in modern England.

Better than the Movie Trailer: The DUFF (The Designated Ugly Fat Friend) by Kody Keplinger

Seventeen-year-old Bianca Piper is cynical and loyal, and she doesn’t think she’s the prettiest of her friends by a long shot. She’s also way too smart to fall for the charms of man-slut and slimy school hottie Wesley Rush. In fact, Bianca hates him. And when he nicknames her “the Duff,” she throws her Coke in his face.

But things aren’t so great at home right now, and Bianca is desperate for a distraction. She ends up kissing Wesley. Worse, she likes it. Eager for escape, Bianca throws herself into a closeted enemies-with-benefits relationship with him.

Until it all goes horribly awry. It turns out Wesley isn’t such a bad listener, and his life is pretty screwed up, too. Suddenly Bianca realizes with absolute horror that she’s falling for the guy she thought she hated more than anyone.

Source: GoodReads
I read this book awhile ago.  Due to events this month, I’m only now getting around to writing the review.
I liked The Duff, but it wasn’t what I was expecting by any means.
Let’s get this out of the way, my interest for this book was piqued when I saw the movie trailer.

Yeah, the trailer seemed a bit cliche and sort of reminded me of those teen movies in the late nineties-She’s All That, Ten Things I Hate About You, etc.  And you know what, I was absolutely fine with that.  So, yeah when I ordered the book I thought mindless fluff.  But you know what, the book actually had substance and I was surprised.
I don’t think the movie is going to have substance though.  And that’s okay too…but we’re not talking about the movie today, are we?

No.
As I said before, there was substance to the book that I wasn’t expecting.  In fact, I would dare say that this was a borderline gritty realistic YA novel-but without subsequent amounts of Lifetime drama.  Oh, there was some Lifetime drama, but it wasn’t roll your eyes worthy melodrama.  It was, okay this is a believable book type of drama.
One of the reasons I avoided this book for as long as I did, was that I suspected that the Duff aspect-i.e. the being called the designated ugly fat friend-was going to play a huge role in the novel.  Honestly, it really didn’t.  Oh, sure, it was mentioned.  But other than causing the main character to interact with her future love interest, it really didn’t serve that big of a role in the novel.
What was more of a role was Bianca’s issues with her family, and relationship issues.  I actually liked the no strings attached relationship that develops  between Wesley and Bianca.  It’s something that’s not seen typically in the genre, and it made for an interesting set up.
Also, I loved that Bianca had romantic baggage-but not the Lifetimey/New Adult type of baggage.  Watching a character work through issues that could very well effect anyone made for an interesting read.  Bianca’s reactions were for the most part pretty realistic, given her situation.
Grant it, this wasn’t a perfect book.  There was a bit of slut slamming-to Bianca’s own friends nevertheless-and I felt parts of the pacing were a bit rushed.   That aside, I do think I’ll probably read some of Keplinger’s books in the future.
What I liked about The Duff was that it was so realistic.  I might’ve thought I’d be getting a light, frothy, Meg Cabot-y book, but it was very different than what I expected and honestly I think it was for the best.
Overall Rating: A solid B.

The Yearly Report: The Best and Worst of 2014

Everyone is vegging out on the TV after opening gifts and eating lots and lots of Christmas ham and cheesecake.  Hence, why I was able to get this blog post out so quickly.

Overall, 2014 was sort of a mixed year at best for me personally.  Some good things happened.  A lot of bad things happened.  And I read a lot of good, bad, and meh books. And now it’s time to discuss the best of the best and the worst of the worst.  To look at how I rated more books, please check the quarterly report.

Biggest Surprise:

 

I checked this one out at the library, but after reading it I preordered its sequel.  That’s how much this book surprised me.  The problem with historicals is that they are in a lot of ways confined to the events of their time period.  However, Blankman gave the story layers and nuances that made it unpredictable.

Biggest Disappointment:

 

Uh, I’m done with this series and most of the author’s books.  I might continue reading The Ring and the Crown till it jumps the shark-which is fairly common given de la Cruz’s track record-but the lack of continuity and the OOC of the characters from the YA series to adult series (no it’s not New Adult because these characters are not in their early to mid twenties-they’re in their early thirties) has sort of made write a Dear John letter to this series.

Best Contemporary:

I merely picked this one up because a fellow blogger (Gillian from Writer of Wrongs) raved about this book.  She was right.  It’s fantastic.  I like the way the relationship is built, the mystery, and the elements of the original series that were used versus the elements of originality that Marney added.

Worst Contemporary:

There were lots of bad contemporaries-actually.  This one stood out though because it had so much potential and it just took what should’ve been a strong heroine and made her very, very, weak.

Best Paranormal:

As I mentioned in the quarterly report, this is the epitome of what YA PNR should be. The pacing is excellent.  The ship is just oh so wonderful.  And it really is just a piece of art-save for its horrible cover.

Worst Paranormal:

Snickers.  Six foot tall leprechauns.  You know, it could’ve worked if there was some explanation about it.  But there never was.  In fact, this book became a laughing joke amongst the office I used to work at.  One of my coworkers and I would read passages from it and it was…well, memorable if gag worthy.

Best Retelling:

This is one of those books you’ll either really love or not so love.  I fell into the camp that liked it.  I liked how flawed these characters were and that Beauty wasn’t a nice person.  Neither was the Beast, but man I think that’s what made them work so well together.  There was some flaws with the pacing, but I think Hodge is an author to watch.

Worst Retelling:

Oh, God.  I just hoped that no one bought this book for their ten-year-old for Christmas.  I can just imagine the angry parents if that’s the case.  I don’t know what Legrand was trying to do with this book, but I think maybe it dealt with themes that might’ve been a little too mature for YA.

Best Fantasy:

Yeah, this one is probably on a lot of people’s lists. But it is really one of the best fantasies if not the best fantasy I’ve read in 2014.  I like the Roman/Greco inspired world. I like that we have  a heroine that’s mentally a bad ass, while physically not strong.

Worst Fantasy:

Yeah, this one…it should’ve been a lot cooler than it actually was.  Gender bending is one of those tropes I feel that has never really gotten its just desserts in YA.

Worst Book:

Don’t get me started.  I’m afraid I’ll start raging even a year later.  It’s that bad.  The thing about Big Fat Disaster that truly bothers me is that it had lots of potential to be original and to discuss issues that were actually pertinent and the book sort of blew it.

Best Book:

This book hits all of its punches and that’s why it’s the best book I’ve read this year.  This is one series that I’ve really taken to and I didn’t think I would like it initially.  Meyer has a way with words and plotting and  ships and….I just want the next book now.

 

The Almost Quarterly Report: Final Quarter of 2014

Unfortunately, this quarterly report is going to be overflowed with books from late September,  October, and November and not so much from December-which has been a pretty horrible month for me since I’ve been in and out of hospitals with my mom and my beloved Beagle passed away.

Never fear though, the Almost Quarterly Report is still here (and it’s going to make my job for the Ultimate Best and Worst of 2014 a lot easier).

Anyway, hope everyone who celebrates it has a very merry Christmas since I am posting this on Christmas Eve and all.

Total Amount Read: Fifty-five.  I know huge amount.  The job I had then was extremely slow, so I was able to get a lot of reading done.

Biggest Surprise:

Claudia Gray is like a guilty pleasure.  I usually read her books for cheesy gooey romance.  A Thousand Pieces of You surprised me since 1) I couldn’t totally back the ship since I liked the other guy more and 2) It had a plot I was actually interested in.  I think the best way to describe this novel is creative.

Biggest Disappointment:

Sigh…Julie Kagawa, I hear so many good things about you.  Yet, with this book I just can’t get it.  TSTL should be tattooed on Ember’s neck.

Best Contemporary:

Johnlock.  Enough said.  Though on the TV show I’m actually a member of Team Sherlolly surprisingly enough.  But Molly isn’t a cannon character and in this version of Sherlock, Holmes and Watson sizzle.

Worst Contemporary:

A book about toddlers pretending they’re fifteen.  Enough said.

Best Paranormal:

 

This is how you do paranormal romance in YA.  The relationship between Sydney and Adrian has really been slow burn till this book and when things explode…..

Worst Paranormal:

I saw a movie adaptation of Rebecca a while back, it wasn’t this stupid.  I think the Princess Diaries comparison is more comparable to the second movie than the book series. Plus, the paranormal elements really play no role whatsoever in the book.

Best Retelling:

 

It might be somewhat of a Cinder ripoff, but it is a fun adaptation.  Not the best book in the world by any means, but anyone who wants a good fairytale retelling might want to give this one a whirl.

Worst Retelling:

 

Nutcracker retelling..ha, ha, ha. No.  Just no.  More like an exploration of fetishes involving statues.

Best Overall Book:

I love historical fiction when done right.  And Blankman offers an interesting take on the period with the perspective of a girl who views Hitler as her uncle.  The evolution of this character is beautiful and in addition to describing the historical conflicts of the period, Blankman also goes into family conflicts that exists in the modern era.

Worst Overall Book:

 

Um, no.  This book turned me into the Book Hulk.  I could not stand it because of the lack of research and horrible characterizations.  Plus, it’s very trigger inducing.

Books I’m Looking Forward to Next Quarter:

The summary makes it seem like there’s almost an Indian Jones-ish feel (an yeah, so doing a marathon of those movies after Christmas).  It’s compared to The Da Vinci code so I guess that does sort of make sense-the Indiana Jones feels.

 

 

 

I’ll read anything by this woman.  Plus, Evil Queen back story.  Me wants.

 

 

Sleeping Beauty after the happily ever after.  Enough said.

If TSTL Was a Super Power: Captive by Aimee Carter

 

For the past two months, Kitty Doe’s life has been a lie. Forced to impersonate the Prime Minister’s niece, her frustration grows as her trust in her fake fiancé cracks, her real boyfriend is forbidden and the Blackcoats keep her in the dark more than ever.

But in the midst of discovering that her role in the Hart family may not be as coincidental as she thought, she’s accused of treason and is forced to face her greatest fear: Elsewhere. A prison where no one can escape.

As one shocking revelation leads to the next, Kitty learns the hard way that she can trust no one, not even the people she thought were on her side. With her back against the wall, Kitty wants to believe she’ll do whatever it takes to support the rebellion she believes in—but is she prepared to pay the ultimate price? 

Source: GoodReads

If it wasn’t for Kitty and her stupid taste in ships, this book would get a fairly high rating.

The world building is more than a little interesting.  Though the caste set up is a little cliche for YA dystopias, I like the twists and little quirks that Carter gives it.

Okay, it’s true that some of the twists and turns of the plot go into soap opera territory, but for the most part it really works.  Well in fact.  I liked the fact that it was over the top.  I think this was in part because Carter embraced the soap opera-ness of the plot.

If it wasn’t embraced…well, that aspect of the book wouldn’t work.

Now, I have to go into what bothered me about this book.

Kitty.

Kitty.  Kitty.  Kitty.

It seems she lost her brain and then some in this installment.  To be honest, I was never terribly fond of this character, but rather than growing on me like I hoped she would, she did the opposite.

That’s sad on so many levels.

I think what bothered me the most about Kitty was that every stupid decision had absolutely no logic to back it up.  If anything, it just served as a plot point.  This character really had no sense of self preservation whatsoever.

I understand having a character make rash decisions to move the plot forward, but I do believe there should be some element of logic to it.  Here, I did not see the logic.  Kitty just was dumb and acted dumb, despite being warned.

In a lot of ways, this is similar  to Carter’s earlier series, The Goddess Test.  In that series, I felt that the character was a lot different in the later books of the series than in the beginning.  Some of the choices that the character made were so flabbergastingly stupid that it ruined the series for me.

The one good thing about Captive is that it had such a strong plot, that Kitty’s actions didn’t quite ruin the book for me.  But it was close.

I just had to keep reminding myself that she was just a plot device.

And after awhile, it just got a little eye roll worthy.

Kitty’s stupidity aside, the only one problem I had with this book was its ship.

It bores me.

I’m sorry.

Benjy-that name, I always think of that cute little terrier not a hunky ginger- is so dull, I can not really get a sense of what his character is other than a Kitty lusting object.

He’s a lot like Henry (the hero in Carter’s other series).

Isn’t it odd that I keep comparing these two series? But I do think their faults are so similar

It’s really sad that I want Kitty with the douche end of the supposed triangle-well, calling it a triangle might be a bit of a stretch.  The thing is, at least The Douche (Knox for those of you not up on the MJ lingo) is an actual character who has faults.  I think the best way to describe him is that he’s a bit like Batman.  In the fact, that he sometimes acts like an emotionless douche in the quest for justice.

That’s sort of how Knox is.

And like Batman, every decision he makes (even if it’s douchey and stupid, is for the common good).  And okay, it sort of makes him an intriguing character.  But even though I want Kox more than Bitty, well, I’ll admit it really wouldn’t work.

It would be like Harley Quinn getting together with Batman.

Though, come to think of it Harley is a lot smarter than Kitty.

The point is, I just don’t see it happening.  Even though he’s a far superior character than Hot Ginger.

Much like with Carter’s first series, the second installment of The Blackcoat rebellion, is a bit of a disappointment.  While the world building in this series might’ve been an improvement from her last series, the poor characterizations that made The Goddess Test series fail for me continue to exist here.

Overall Rating: C+

2015 Goals: Which I Might As Well Call Fail Now

It’s time to make those pesky New Year’s Resolutions for the blog again.  Here are some of them:

1) I want to read about seventy-five books next year.  A realistic goal, I think given the fact my work schedule can be unpredictable and sometimes I need a breather.  It’s a little bigger than last year’s goal which I finished ridiculously early.

2) Try to save more $.  Yeah, probably not going to happen.  I intend to continue my TBR pile feature, to sort of weed out preorders.  My library’s website now features a new release request tab and I’m exploiting it to the fullest. Oh, and I’ll continue to use Netgalley and Edelweiss too.  Though both those sites can be hit and miss-especially Edelweiss.

3) Go to a book signing.  My eyes are set on the Marissa Meyer signing this winter, since I have nothing signed by her and she’s supposed to do a signing that’s like thirty minutes from where I live-which is better than the hour I usually have to drive to signings.  Also, it’s sort of a retry of a failed goal of 2014.

4) Try to get into more YA adaptations.  Movies, TV shows, etc.  And try to find good ones-this might be harder than it looks.

5) Be more forgiving to myself.  If I hate a book or series, I shouldn’t guilt myself into reading x amount of pages before giving up.  If it doesn’t work, it doesn’t work.

6) Try to limit drunk reviews.  I’m sure they’re going to happen, but I really don’t want to do any drinking game series this year.  Rather, I want to binge read series I actually like.

7) Try not to get  sucked up by it’s like so and so.  Remember, it’s more than likely not going to be like so and so.  Don’t buy a book just because it’s like so and so.  If it does mention fandoms your obsessed with, but it has a lot of bad reviews……library it.

8) Princess Diaries Challenge. Since I’m going to be reading the adult princess diaries book this spring, I need to binge read on the series to catch up.  And that includes the half books.  I also plan on rereading the Mediator series later this year-early next year-since a sequel to that book is coming out as well.

9) Read for Fun. Sometimes I think I read too much to review than just to read.  I think I’m going to try to change.

10) Try to do more innovative reviews.  Yeah, it’s sort of a lame goal.  But still, I always want to make each review more and more creative and still informative.

In Loving Memory: PJ Beagle (1999-2014)

Penny Jeannine (PJ) Beagle II: Beloved friend, pet, and connoisseur of hats. May you rest in peace.

 

I lost one of my best friends this weekend, my fifteen-year-old Beagle, PJ.  I am comforted by the fact that PJ died peacefully and at home on her beloved bed.  I know that she is in a better place now, and is probably causing havoc to her namesake’s peaceful afterlife, but I still miss her.

I got PJ after the loss of my first Beagle, Penny,in April 1999.  She was six weeks old then.  I raised her from puppyhood.  She was my best friend at a time where I didn’t have a lot of friends.  At eleven, I was bullied tremendously, for being the weird girl who liked to read and could not catch a ball to save her life.

PJ could catch a ball though.

I trained her to fetch.  Catch a ball in her mouth (like a seal).  Throwing teats helped on that.  She even knew how to do Math problems-a large feat for a Beagle since apparently they’re one of the least trainable dogs (not in PJ’s case).

Despite being highly trainable, PJ was aloof.  I thought she was missing something and because of that I saved up my money to buy her a friend.

PJ always seemed more dog inclined than people inclined.  Unlike my other dogs that liked to cuddle, PJ liked to hunt.  Not that she was the best hunter, though she’d probably would’ve thought otherwise.  And to her credit, she did cause three or four opossums to commit suicide (if you heard PJ bark all day you’d probably jump off the fence and beg her to kill you too).

She was also a wonderful mother figure for my other dogs.  Even though she was spayed very early in life-I watch The Price is Right-she still had strong motherly instincts.  She would bathe my rescues.  Teach them how to hunt.  Of course, she wasn’t perfect she’d steal their food too.

PJ had quite the not so perfect streak.  When she was a young dog, she dug up trees.  She ate water hose and played havoc with the Christmas trees.

We often said that PJ really stood for Paganini Jeanie the Meanie when in reality it stood for Penny Junior.  To be honest though, I liked her wickedness.  It made her PJ.  And even though she was a destructo-dog she was still kind hearted.

Up until a few months ago, PJ was a very active dog.  Even in old age and half blind, she made sure she got what she wanted in life.  The past few weeks have been hard, watching her decline, but she wasn’t in pain.  Her passing was quite peaceful, still I will miss her greatly.

I probably won’t be posting much this week while I try to deal with her loss.  PJ was a friend.  I know that she wasn’t a person, but she played a large part in my life and helped me get over a lot of personal issues.

I do believe the sentiment that all dogs go to heaven.  And yes, I do believe that PJ is there and healthy again.

Year in Review: Unforgettable Books

There are some books that are just plain unforgettable.  They might be good, bad, or just plain weird. Whatever they might’ve been these are the books that left the biggest impression on me this year.  Be warned, I will be talking about spoilers because how else am I suppose to discuss the good, the bad, and the weird:

10)

I read this one fairly recently, but man…that ending.  The stupidity of it puts it on the list with very little effort.  Seriously, pulling a Parent Trap by just dyeing hair and growing up a little.  I think not.

9)

Prisoner of Night and Fog was one of those books that got me excited.  About historical YA fiction to be precise.  This book is one of the reasons I still read YA.  Where you can get gems amongst the muck.

8)

As hyped up as this one was, I didn’t expect to enjoy it as much as I did.  I really liked how logical the main character was.  And that ending….ugh.  Sequel.  Now.

7)

This one left such an impression because there was so much hype surrounding it, and when I read it can you say deflated ballon. The thing is I really did love Demetrios’s contemporary, but it’s not a book I remember as much as this one.

6)

I love Hodge’s writing.  Her imperfect characters.  Yeah, Cruel Beauty had some pacing issues, but it was one of those debuts that made me really excited about what this author will be publishing next.

5)

I binge read both the Vampire Academy series and Bloodlines this year.  And now I’m dying to get my hands on the last installment of this series. It’s amazing how eleven books can give you such a crush on a certain character (cough, Adrian, cough).  I guess it would technically be ten though since he didn’t appear in the first Vampire Academy novel…whatever.

4)

This duology made me extremely excited about jinn oriented books.  The sad thing about this particular series though is that I feel it is sorely underrated.

3)

One year later and I’m still offended…that’s not a good thing is it?  Really though, I wish I could remember one good thing about this book but I can’t.

2)

Probably one of the biggest fuckeries of the year.  I think this book meant to be in your face with its statue sex, random naked rituals, and villains who want to randomly make out with you.  And it’s a cohesive mess.

1)

 

This book has really made me excited about all things Lunar Chronicles.  I think it was probably by most anticipated Waiting For book last year and it didn’t disappoint.

 

I read that?

Just for fun, here are some books that I was surprised that I read this year.  Yeah, completely forgot about them:

1)

I read a ton of Hollywood inspired books a year.  I think only one of them that I read I remember details about-Behind the Scenes-the rest were pretty forgettable.  This one was no exception.

2)

It’s funny how what was once a must grab series sort of became an after thought.  I really feel that Opposition was released with not that much fanfare.  And the book sort of read like it too (unfortunately).

3)

Witches and magic and I fell asleep.

4)

How can you forget about something that is described as Wholock?  Well, I did.  It had a duck in it.  I remember the duck…

5)

I had to read my review to recall this one.  So an annoying boxer/stunt woman who has the maturity of a four year old.  It’s a good thing I repressed this one.  I think.

6)

I just remember it being written by the Master’s wife and gender bending.

7)

I just remember there being really bad slang.

8)

Love the dress.  But I can’t remember the book…is it about Lady Mary?

9)

The most memorable thing is that it involves a six foot leprechaun.  Okay, that’s pretty memorable.  But there was nothing else remotely interesting.

10)

Never good when you have to read the summary on GoodReads and are like oh-it’s about witches.

If You Get Your History From TV: Forbidden by Kimberley Griffiths Little

 

In the unforgiving Mesopotamian desert where Jayden’s tribe lives, betrothal celebrations abound, and tonight it is Jayden’s turn to be honored. But while this union with Horeb, the son of her tribe’s leader, will bring a life of riches and restore her family’s position within the tribe, it will come at the price of Jayden’s heart.

Then a shadowy boy from the Southern Lands appears. Handsome and mysterious, Kadesh fills Jayden’s heart with a passion she never knew possible. But with Horeb’s increasingly violent threats haunting Jayden’s every move, she knows she must find a way to escape—or die trying.

With a forbidden romance blossoming in her heart and her family’s survival on the line, Jayden must embark on a deadly journey to save the ones she loves—and find a true love for herself.

Set against the brilliant backdrop of the sprawling desert, the story of Jayden and Kadesh will leave readers absolutely breathless as they defy the odds and risk it all to be together. 

Source: GoodReads

Disclaimer: The above blogger watches and laughs at a lot of fringe history shows on H2 and related networks. Even though most of the things that come out of these hosts’ mouth is poppycock, the stuff they base their crazy theories on is fascinating.  And because she likes the concept of them and is reviewing a horrible (oops, spoilers) historical, well, she just had to get her inner Scott Wolter/Georgio Tsoukalos on.  Obviously, she does not have her own show on H2 or any other network that likes to air these sorts of shows.  Also, she received a free copy of this book from Book Chic.  It did not change her opinion of the book.  Though, she is glad she had the opportunity to read it. 

Welcome, to Real or Fiction.  Where I your host, the so called female Indiana Jones of bookology….dishonorary Dr. MJ will look at books and history.

Did you know everything that you read is true?

Don’t believe me?  Well, lots of people believe in giants even though there’s no hardcore evidence because they were mentioned in the Bible.  Same goes with aliens….though I don’t think there were any books about calling ET home.  That’s not the point.  My show is to find the truth behind fiction. That some things are, well, stranger than fiction…..

This is the part if I had any sort  of a budget for this blog you’d be getting flashy graphics with me reading and pointing out the “truth”.  Followed by a shot of the good old USA because these sort of shows love ‘merica fisting.

Okay, did you like the credits.  They’re probably the most interesting part of the show.  But keep on watching (errr…reading I forgot that this is a blog not a vlog, since I haven’t had near enough coffee to make me peppy enough to be a book-tuber).  Today we’re going to be discussing Forbidden which has a lot of belly dancing, slut slamming, and good old Mesopotamia in it.

Yes, we have history: slut slamming.

Oh, yeah, Ancient Mesopotamia is our history.

Let’s get boring here.  Because despite the network’s demand that I make this 99.9% bull shit, I can’t talk a lot of it but I’ll give you the particulars: cradle of civilization, the first form of writing, the first epic poem.  Lots of culture there.  Lots to talk about.

But rather than exploring this rich culture in book world we’re here to talk about love.  And that’s of course where things get interesting.

Yeah, I know this doesn’t involve the templars, aliens, the Holy Grail, or anything remotely interesting…but I’ll get to the juicy part at the end of the review.

I have to you know for ratings (err…views…I keep forgetting that this is a blog).

Ah, romance.  Now that according to all our shows is the real power in the world.  The power of love.  Now, while many have speculate that the power of love has no true monetary value, on this show we’ve got to thinking it has to be something.

What does it transcend to in Forbidden…a sequel.

Yep.

That’s right, a sequel.  To be fair, I was only able to translate about half of this one but then stopped…err… someone on the show made cookies and I thought it was better to analyze them (one word: tasty).

Though in the half of the book I read, I think having a sequel about a mopey heroine in the desert with a very obvious choice to make isn’t that fun to read about.

Who knows though maybe the Templars or some aliens get involved in the second half and make it worthy to discuss.

That being said, the first half of the book is very bare bones when it comes to plot.  All we have is dancing, lots and lots of dancing, to the point where it’s almost a fetish.   There are reviews that discuss the dancing fetish more in depth.  Though for those of you who want to here this show’s POV on it.  I’ll just leave you with this one little quote.

“Form a circle around around Rebekah,” Nalla said.  “We’re going to do the birthing dance to help her breathe through teh pains and to help the baby move more easily.”  (46)

According to most people with a brain,doing the cha cha isn’t going to make much of a difference for someone having labor.  Maybe they’ll throw their ice chips at you, but that’s about it.

But of course, if anything books have taught us….that we’re wrong.

And on this show I’m here to explore the truth.  That’s why I fictionally went the maternity wing and did the tango, the cha cha, the waltz, and a very bad version of the macarena while some random stranger’s were in labor.

Um, the results.

Security kicked me out.  But hey, the video went fictionally viral and that’s all that matters right?

So, thanks book.

See, that fictional advice paid off.

So, the dancing did help.

I’m sure that some pregnant lady is watching my Youtube video while trying to deliver her child and it’s helping with her labor.

Or maybe this happened instead.

Though the ice chips and drugs probably help a lot more.

Okay, so we can put a big fat check mark that dancing in front of a woman giving birth is so going to help her.

Dancing seems to be the answer to everyone’s problem in this book.  They do it all the time.  When they’re engaged, when they are slut slamming someone, when they bury their dead.

Who knew I needed to do the hokey pokey all the time?

Besides the dancing, the book seemed to focus a lot of time on the purity myth.  If this wasn’t a script for a fictional TV show the host right now would be a bitching about how that theme drove me to DNF-ing the book.  But since my fictional network forces me to have a smile on my face and give every point of view a fair chance even if it is archaic and offensive, I have to try to rationalize it.

Excuse me, for a  minute.

If you’re just wondering I lost my lunch.

Okay, so  how to frame slut slamming where it’s not offensive….

Um…

Um…

Aliens.

That’s it.

See, dancing in skimpy outfits and living a good life  means that the aliens aren’t going to like you when they come back.  Remember in Independence Day when Vivica Fox and her friend.  They were earning money for taking off their clothes and dancing and look what happened….the aliens destroyed their club and poor Vivica Fox barely survived with that dog of hers.

Man, I was glad that that dog lived.  That slow mo scene really freaked me out for a minute.

So, moral of the story is this book is trying to teach us that if you dress in skimpy clothes and like to dance for money the aliens are going to get mad.

I’m surprised that the alien apocalypse didn’t occur when the Ana Nicole Smith story got turned into  a Lifetime movie.  Or anytime the Kardashians are on TV.

I’m not going to dive into that much further because shows like this can’t dive into such complicated questions….

But the slut slamming, totally used to prevent alien invasions.  And the dancing really does help child birth.

Any other discoveries from this book….oh,yeah….love triangles.  Power of love.  Another clue to find the greatest treasure of all.

I know, we had to put a treasure part in here.

This is our on going hunt-obviously, you have to have one of these things to keep viewers interested-so let’s see what we discovered about the power of love in this book:

1) It happens instantaneously.

2) There doesn’t need to be an actual conversation.  Dancing is enough or blinking is enough to equal chemistry.

3) It makes people do crazy shit.

So, what does this tell me about the power of love it must be something technologically advance and extremely expensive.

What could it be: alien technology, Templar treasure, Barney the dinosaur, or something so awesome that the network can’t tell you to the next show.

Overall Thoughts: DNF.  While there were some intriguing things about Forbidden, I hate to say for this book fringe reality show it just didn’t have enough oomph to it to make me want to finish it.

 

 

2014 Goal Results

It’s almost the end of the year again, which means I need to see how much of a failure success I was at my 2014 reading/writing goals.  I do this in part because it helps me plan out my goals for next year and in part because it’s a good time to reflect.

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.

I actually went up and above this.  Currently, GoodReads shows that I’ve read 150 something books (this does not count rereads).  This year I’ve been going through spurts where I have lots of reading time and then I have not so much time.  Even though my target number was abysmally small, I still think it was a good goal.

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.

Sort of.  I have put an effort in commenting more.  I do participate in the Top Ten meme, but I haven’t really done any blog tours.  And since this is more of a review than a promotional blog I think that’s okay.

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.

Over achiever on this one.  I did two bad series (The Tiger Curse Series and the Fuentes Boys trilogy).  I really don’t know if I’m going to put myself through another one of these drinking games next year.

4) Complete my Nostalgia Book Challenge.

Um, I did a modified version of that.  That counts as something.  Right?  I was going to actually do this, but I couldn’t find all the books I wanted.  So instead, I’ve been periodically reading books with a pub date of pre 2010.

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

Utilized more, but not enough.  Didn’t invest in Oyster since I hear it’s not really Kindle compatible.  Thought about getting Kindle Unlimited but a lot of the titles screamed meh to me.  Therefore, I am still using the library as my most budget saver item.

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.

Well, I tried giving up my GR account but it’s not working.  I am posting reviews there, but I’m not as active on there as I once was.

7) Start using Leafmarks and Booklikes more.

I still need to use Leafmarks more.  I do post my reviews to Booklikes regularly.

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

Sort of.  Still editing that WIP.  But I did start another WIP during NaNo but with a very loose outline.

9) Go to a book signing this year.

 Didn’t happen.  I was going to go to a Stephanie Perkins and Kiersten White signing, but I got a sinus infection and was in bed that day.  I do plan on going to a signing next year (hopefully).

10) Try to read more new authors.

This one was actually accomplished.  Very, very, easily.