2016 Year in Review: Thank God Its Almost Over

2016 has been a mixed year in real life and book wise as well, come to think of it.  Obviously, not enough people in the US paid attention to Orwell’s Animal Farm and acted accordingly.  In my personal life, while I did  pass another bar exam and got a new job (yay!) I had some horrible things occur as well.  I lost two of my beloved dogs, Dolly and Skeeter, in addition to my grandmother passing away.   In all, I’m hoping 2017 will no be as drama filled or at the very least I hope things stabilize a bit.

Dolly and Skeeter.  BFFs, forever.  You to will always be loved and missed.

Dolly and Skeeter BFFs forever. You two will always be loved and missed.

As I usually do in December is write up a post of the more memorable books I’ve read-good and bad-for the year.    Here are the usual statistics.

Total Books Read:

When I started drafting this post (December 10th) I read 160 books.  That’s sixty books over my goal.  I had an extremely slow work summer which explains it.  I don’t think I’ll get as much reading done next year, which oddly I’m sort of glad about  in a weird way.  The funny thing is when I started this year, I was so far behind on my reading goal because of bar prep.  How things change.

Most Read Genre:

Probably historical romance.  I read pretty much of all of Lisa Kleypas back list this summer.  Like I said, my old job got extremely slow and I had lots and lots of time to read.

Reading Report:

Mixed.  Like the year, it’s been lots of ups and downs.  The good books have been really good.  The bad books not so good.   I would say though, that there hasn’t been one memorable kill it with fire book this year.  Which is good.  Oh, don’t get me wrong there were some bad ones but they weren’t like Halo bad.

Biggest Surprise:

I read so many Lisa Kleypas’s books this year its not even funny.  I think that’s why I put her stuff in the “biggest surprise” category.  I didn’t think this would be the year of Kleypas reading, but that’s how it ended up being.

Biggest Disappointment:

Oh, boy this one was a major suck zone for me.  It’s by Marissa Meyer.  Marissa Meyer who wrote the Lunar Chronicles.  This was her first non-Lunar chronicle book and it did not work for me at ALL.  The world building was haphazard at best and the story was so predictable I didn’t even bother finishing.  No, Ms. Meyer, this is not what I expected from you.

Best Contemporary:

Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know.  But here’s the thing, no one does contemporaries like Meg Cabot.  There’s always something quintessentially charming about her books.

Worst Contemporary (YA):

Oh my.  I just can’t.  There was potential with this one, but there were a lot of things that were gouge worthy about this book.  The love interest and MC had zero romantic chemistry whatsoever.  It could’ve been an interesting ship though, but the way it was it wasn’t.  The MC is way too judging, and there seemed to be very little character development in the book.  It was a fail.

Worst Contemporary (Adult)

This one got a special spot on the list!  Mainly because it was so downright awful.  I bought it thinking it would be a cute little romance that dealt with a baking competition, not realizing it was quasi Christian lit-insert groan.  Look, nothing against people who love Christian romance but the books always seem a little self righteous to me and no one, no one in real life unless they are a Duggar or a member of some religious cult quotes that many Bible versus.  I’m just saying.  Anyway, this book is sexist and it had one of the most creepy heroes that I’ve read in awhile.  Avoid.  Avoid.  Avoid.  Yeah, it was sort of a kill with fire book.

Best Fantasy:

Yeah this one.  I can’t help it.  I know it’s going to be on a lot of people’s list and some people are going to find it cliche, but I really did enjoy it.

 

Worst Fantasy:

Eh.   This one was just so choppy.  I could’ve put in the retelling category, but I feel like at least it sort of tried to be true to its source material.  Still, that doesn’t mean it didn’t suck.  And as a fantasy the world building was pretty horrible.

 

Best Paranormal:

An easiest enough one to put on here, I feel like I’m almost cheating.  It’s The Mediator so it’s going to end up on here.

Worst Paranormal:

Ugh.  Such a promising premises.  Such a big fat let down.

Best Retelling:

This was a very loose Persephone retelling that I loved.  It was so, so, so, good.

Worst Retelling:

I was more meh about this book than hating it.  But the reason it made the “worst” retelling spot is because it is nothing, nothing like its suspected source material.

Best Historical:

The ship was just perfect in this one.  Yeah, it sort of has shades of Pride and Prejudice to it, but you can’t deny that that one is a classic.

Worst Historical:

Cream does not equal consent.  Obviously.  But then again, a large sum of this country things that talking about grabbing a woman’s vagina without her permission is perfectly presidential conversation so….yeah.

Best Diverse Book:

What gives this one props over the other diverse books I read is it really felt like it’s audience was driven towards a diverse audience than trying to teach white straight people about diverse populations. I think that’s my problem with several diverse books, they seem to be pigeon holed with making the book more about for example trans issues than having a book featuring a trans character that is just living her life and that’s what Hold Me is and that’s why I really liked it.

Series Beginner:

I was so happy to find out that this one is getting a couple of companion sequels.  It is hilarious and one of my favorites of the year.

 

Middle Book Slump Avoider:

Dear author, if you need a pro tip how to do a middle book in a series read The Long Game.  I think it’s even better than the first book in the series which is saying something.

Series Ender:

Talk about an explosive ending to a dulogy this book ends on the perfect note with a cliffie that’s so evil I just had to vent to someone after reading it.  Still though, the perfect ending to an interesting little duology.

Best Cover:

This wasn’t my favorite book, but I love the cover.  It even has a neat texture thing going with it.  So, so, pretty.

Worst Cover:

This really looked like a placement cover that I was a little surprised when I got my book and found out it was the final version.  It didn’ t help the book, needless to say.

Worst Overall Book:

Ah, yes, The Return of Brody McDouche where the hero knocks up two woman at the same time and all the blame is placed on the woman that’s not the heroine because it doesn’t take two to tango.  And oh yeah, heroine is forced to raise both brats while Brody McDouche is getting his shit together

Best Overall Book:

It was a reread, but this is one of my all time favorite books this is the first time in several years I’ve done a full reread.  There is just so many feels in this one.  If you haven’t picked up a copy of Paradise, what are you waiting for?  Go.

 

 

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.

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.

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.

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.

 

Year in Review: 2014 Shipping

 

For this segment of Year in Review I’ll look at shipping.   I love shipping.  Ships often make or break a book for me.  And I thought today I’d look at the ships that worked for me, ships that were a bit of a disappointment, and ships that just were downright gross.

 

Whoa Baby:

1)

Sydrian:  I love these two together.  I think it might be in big part because of Adrian and I had to feel all his heart break in Vampire Academy.  But while I love Rose-she’s right up there with Suze Simon on the scale of awesomeness till that last book in her series-I sort of think I might like Sydney more.  She has a quiet strength about her that makes her in some ways a bigger bad ass than Rose.  I really like the way these two characters develop together.  Mead made sure that they developed as individuals before she threw them together and even though they get all lovey dovey once they’re together, you can still see that they’re still Sydney and Adrian.

2)

Ignifex and Nyx (Not even going to attempt to do a couple name for those two): Most of the time I hate Stockholm romances, but Beauty and the Beast themed stories are the one exception.  I like this particular version because Beauty is, well, sort of a bitch.  Her reactions seem a lot more realistic to someone who has to move in with a monster.  Grant it, I should know better than to get caught up in these sorts of ships.  But whatevs.

3)

Tess (Cress and Thorne): The dynamic between these two is fantastic.  I like the fact that while Cress starts off having almost an insta love Hollywood-ish crush on Thorne she grows up.  I like how Thorne develops as a character as well, yet still maintaing a smidgen of that swarmy personality that makes him, well, Thorne.

4)

Johnlock (okay, it needs a little altering but….): It’s essentially a Sherlock and Watson hook up, but both of them are teenagers and Watson is a girl.  But still I ship this so hard.  And hate the fact that the second book isn’t released in the US yet.

Eh:

1)

Daniel and Gretchen: I liked them, but at the same time I didn’t think they were developed as much as I like.  A little too much, insta love-you know.  To be fair to Blankman, I thought this relationship worked better than in another historical where forbidden romance was used.  At least Daniel wasn’t instantly gaga over Gretchen, and Gretchen wasn’t a jerk for about ninety percent of the novel.

2)

Isla and Josh: Yeah, a Stephanie Perkins couple that I didn’t down right love.  It wasn’t that I didn’t like these two.  They weren’t outright obnoxious, but I didn’t grow to love them like I did with Perkins’s other characters.  I think this couple might’ve suffered from the I expected more effect.

3)

 

 Hest (Haley and West):  I think this is another case of author did a fantastic job on earlier books in the series and this one just quite didn’t work for me.  I think mainly because it reminded me of a poorly crafted wannabe John Hughes 80’s movies where a sub standard Molly Ringwald stars and the guy’s no John Cusack.  To be fair to this one, it still had it’s moments.

4)

Tate (Tomo and Katie): I had lots of hope for this couple, but they are so vanilla and so boring I just feel like I’m reading another version of Bella and Edward.   It’s a shame because this series should have a lot going for it.  And since it’s relationship focused you’d think…..did I mention Edward Cullen is so 2008.

Ew:

1)

Neo (I laughed at that one-Natalya and Leo): Um, remember when I said I don’t usually go for Stockholm romance.  This is why.  The relationship in this book just seemed wrong on so many levels.  It probably didn’t help that the secondary love interest died like one minute before these two basically got together-or at least started making out.

2)

Clara and Statute (no, this doesn’t even get a name): Um, having sex with a statue?  Okay….I guess if that’s your prerogative….um, do you really have to go on and on about it though.

3)

Zoey Redbird and Anyone: Because obviously, she deserves to be very miserable and all alone.

Year in Review: Best and Worst Characters

Sorry, it’s a day off this week.  However, because of the Thanksgiving holiday the posting schedule got bogged down a bit.  Today, I decided to discuss the best and worst characters of the year.  This particular post will focus on main characters.  If I happen to read something to amend my list by the end of 2014 I’ll update it.

Best Characters:

10)

Essie: Though it is a bit of a Lunar Chronicles ripoff, I did like Essie quite a bit.  I like that she had hobbies that aren’t usually associated with female hobbies.  STEM programs are desperately looking for more girls so to see a character passionate about coding (yay!).

 

9)

Margo: I feel like this series is underrated.  I really love how complex the character, Margo, is and the evolution of her life post genie.  While the book is plot filled, in a lot of ways it’s character filled too.

8)

Watts: I think it’s hard to write a Watson character that’s not, well, boring and Marney did that.  Watts is just as complicated as her Sherlock counterpart and this makes her an engaging narrator.

7)

Dinah: I love a good villain’s backstory.  This story really is character driven, meaning there’s not much plot.  But it succeeded in what it set out to do.  Oakes really made feel for a character who I didn’t think I could feel for.

6)

Nyx: I just love that this character isn’t instantly lovable or maybe never truly lovable.  She is a spiny, bitchy, character and I love that.  Still, I was able to sympathize with her.  Not everyone is going to be a fan of Nyx though-just FYI.

5)

Kestrel: I like how pragmatic this character is.  There’s a lack of pragmatic MC’s especially pragmatic female protagonists, so I really think that was Kestrel’s strong suit.  I also liked the fact that she wasn’t a warrior.  That the character was surprisingly feminine yet a feminist.  Therefore, again shattering stereotypes.

4)

Wen: Wen is a bit softer than most YA characters, but she has her own quiet strength which really develops as the story progresses. Hmmm, I see a theme on this list (cough, development, cough).

3)

Cress: One of the things I love about Marissa Meyer’s books is how diverse her characters’ personalities are.  Each point of view has it’s distinct own voice to it.  And while it shouldn’t work.  It  does.  Cress is particularly engaging because of how her supposed naiveté develops throughout the novel.

2)

Gretchen: This is one character that grows a lot during her story and that’s why she’s on this list.  I like how Blankman took a character that shouldn’t be likable-a Hitler loyalist-and has her grow and realize just how stupid Hitler is.

1)

Sydney Sage: I really like Sydney on so many levels.  I can really identify with her on a personal level.  And I like the fact that she’s not instantly powerful and that she’s smart in a fight rather than rears her head straight in and gets dirty.  Of course, I really love Mead’s other Vampire Academy universe protagonist (Rose), but I like how Sydney is similar yet different from her.

Worst Characters:

10)

Clara: Dear lord. All I have to say is statue sex.  You can thank me for not bothering.

9)

Becca: I think one of my least favorite moments of this year were all these poor Meg Cabot knock offs and Royally Lost was one of these offenders.  I never had read about such a self involved ignorant character in my life.  I get teens usually aren’t e the most altruistic of people, but Becca was way over the top. I have real issues when the Americans love McDonalds cliche is exploited.  Jesus.

8)

 

Chloe: I think what bothered me so much about this one was that it was another blatant Cabot-this time of my favorite series The Mediator.  But Chloe ain’t no Suze.  I think everything that I loved about Suze as a character was completely removed when it came to Chloe.  She is not an active character.  She waits to be saved and does little to no thinking herself.

7)

The Diamond Sisters: Girls.  Please.  Grow up.  I’ve given you two books to make me like you.  And I only like one of you.  Maybe two if I’m pushing it.  I really put this book on the list because I think the poor characterization ruined what otherwise would be a relatively enjoyable series.

6)

Natalya: How to ruin a book about the Russian Revolution that has the Romanovs in it?  Include a bratty heroine and her stupid friend and  a controlling idiot.  Since this feature is mostly focusing on the main character, I will say that Natalya did nothing to make me sympathize with her.  She didn’t seem to grow as a character either.

5)

Ember: This was probably one of the most disappointing book on this list.  I always hear such lovely things about Julie Kagawa and while I’ve read some of her other work I’ve never totally loved those books.  Unfortunately, Talon was not an exception to this .  I could care less about Ember.  I thought she was poorly crafted and was just an impulsive twat.

4)

Vivian: This book suffers from having a TSTL character that primarily exists to cover up lame plot holes.  Really, nothing about this book makes sense.  And I think the fact that the main character is a complete idiot makes it worse.

3)

Millie: Dear lord, this character was probably the main reason I DNF’d this one.  And I think it’s a problem I find with a lot of YA mysteries.  The main character is just a trope.  The problem with Millie is she acts like she’s about twelve and her actions are…well…stupid.

2)

Zoey: Because this is probably the last year I’m going to get  to do this (fingers crossed) and Zoey Redbird has to go on this list.  I don’t think a more insipid character exists in YA.  I think I even like Bethany Church better if only because her own series was miraculously short.

1)

Colby: Yeah, real big surprise here (not).  It’s been almost a year since I’ve read this one and I couldn’t find a character that was worse than Colby since.  I think the worst thing about this character was that by all means I was meant to sympathize with her.  Her story was heartbreaking.  But despite all the what should be insta sympathy points for the character, I couldn’t like her or really anyone else in this book.

Year In Review: Best and Worst Covers

Last week, I looked at the so called best dressed covers of the year (those covers that had gorgeous gowns).  This week I’m looking at what were the best and overall worst covers of the year.  Some themes I noticed.

Best: A lot of the ones I featured aren’t that flashy.  Illustration is often used and texture was utilized.  And a lot of them are retellings or fantasies-surprie, surprise.

Worst: They usually went the photo route.  And for the most part there’s little to no originality there.

 

Best:

10)

A big improvement from the past two covers.  It might not be the flashiest cover, but I have to say I appreciate the improvement.  Though I would like to have matching covers.

9)

 

 

This is an non-offensive illustrated character that I love.  The art work is tasteful and I love how the characters are easily recognizable.

8)

Got to love the Sherlockian cover.  It really adds to the feel of the book-which is compared to Sherlock and Dr. Who.  I think the cover’s excellence made the books faults more pronounceable.

7)

While I usually don’t like photography on my covers, I love this one.  The dress-another one featured on last weeks list-was beautiful and I love the curtain effect.  Best of all, they actually featured someone of Asian descent on the cover.  Up until very recently, non WASP character would be WASP-ified on the cover and that just sucked.

6)

Yes, it won the best dress competition last week and it really is a beauty in covers in general.

5)

While not really that breathtaking on a computer screen, this cover is pretty amazing in real life.  It’s because texture.  Texture, texture, texture!  And I love it.

4)

Okay, it sometimes makes me dizzy but I really like how this staircase sort of looks like a rose which is appropriate because-hey, Beauty and the Beast retelling.

3)

This series in all its illustrated glory really works-especially when placed on a bookshelf next to each other.  I pray to the cover gods that the same theme is kept with the last book.  Otherwise, I’m going to be pissed.

2)

 

 

This one looks even better in real life.  I love the textured effect it has as well.  Even without the dust jacket it’s amazing.

1)

Yes, this one got number one.  I love the watercolor effect this one has and that there’s no big face or kissy kiss photo on it.  Plus, St. Basil’s.  That’s another big plus.

 

Worst:

10)

It looks like a bad Disney show.

9)

That is a sad looking cupcake. And what is the deal with the yarn friendship bracelets?  Those are so mid 90’s it’s not even funny. It would be one thing if the book took place in the past, but it doesn’t.

8)

This looks really cheap and like very effort was put towards putting it together.  Plus, she looks waay too meek to be a Taylor Swift wannabe.

7)

 

No.  I’m not even going to go into what that reminds me of.  You don’t want to know.

6)

 

There’s just something a little off with this one.  It’s almost there, but it’s like they gave up and that sort of sucks.

5)

Because I just keep a spare headshot of myself on my phone…um, no.

4)

Cliche.  Cliche.  Cliche.

3)

Over done.  I mean, I understand the concept.  I get they’re trying to do a Wicked Lovely thing, but it just doesn’t work.  It’s waay too much. Just let it go, cover.

2)

It’s like they didn’t even try with this one.  All they did was get the model to stand there shirtless next to the green screen and snapped the picture.  It doesn’t even look like he washed his hair with this one ew just ew.

1)

This series had really gotten hit with the ugly cover stick.  To be fair, I like this one a little bit better than book four’s cover.  But still.  Why?  Just why?  If I was Richelle Mead I’d be having a fit.  These books deserve so much better.

Year In Review: The Best Dressed

I decided that from now till the end of the year I’ll be doing post for 2014’s best.  I have a lot of different categories to cover and spreading this out (rather than just throwing all of it up during the last week of December) seems logical to me.  Also, by making this a regular feature between now and 2015 I’ll get to explore a lot more categories.  Like today, I’ll be looking at the best dressed in YA.  Meaning covers that feature the dress trope that really worked well this year.

 

10)

While my feelings for the book were overall mixed, this is such a pretty dress.  I love the angle that the photo is taken too.  While you don’t get to see the bodice of the dress, you get to see parts of the gown that are often not visible in YA novels.  Plus, the wreath of flowers adds to the overall look.

 

9)

Green dresses are always pretty on book covers because it adds a pop of color.  What really stuck out to me about the Dissonance gown is that at certain angels it almost appears to be a romper-which I don’t think it is.  Also, the various poses of the model add to overall look.

 

8)

I love how this dress looks deceptively simple and has almost an old fashion feel.  It’s also long sleeved.  More often than not on dress covers you get strapless gowns which while pretty are a little common, you know?

7)

Seriously that girl almost looks like Anastasia (from the animated movie) if she wasn’t animated.  I love how intricate the dress is.  How it flares out at the bottom and the pattern.  I’ve actually had this one in my to read pile for awhile.  Hopefully, I’ll pick it up soon.  But totally a purchase of cover lust.

 

6)

I actually started watching Downton Abbey for the dresses.  Much like I read this book for that dress.  It’s so pretty and the jewelry looks good too.  I really like the cover.  Jewel tones really do look good on books.

5)

There are actually lots and lots of pretty dresses in this book. So it would’ve been weird if it wouldn’t have made this list.  Honestly, the pose really does nothing for the dress but from what I can see it’s all glittery and tulle-ly.  I tulle-ly a word?  Never mind.  The thing is that it leaves and impression and I think that’s what you have to do when you do a dress cover or really any cover.

 

4)

Lady in red…yeah, that song pops in my head when I see this cover.  But I also like that this dress has a historical flare to it-though I’m assuming the main character has to be a member of the elite since dye was expensive back in the day.  But whatevs.  Oh, and there’s a cape.  Capes are a good thing.

3)

As exasperated as I am with this series, Harper Teen knows what they’re doing when picking out the dress-though not always on the pose or the hair.  The good thing with The One is that they finally fixed those problems (the pose and the hair, not the contents of the actual book).  And what a dress.  Love, love that bottom and love how the top starts out simple while later getting more and more elaborate.

2)

 

Once again, another green dress for the win.  I love the differing shades of green.  The slash adds extra flare.  And the silver jewelry gives it an Egyptian feel.

1)

This is my number one pick.  But honestly, this book probably shouldn’t have had a dress cover.  The book isn’t a froo froo book like you’d think. Regardless, I love this dress.  It gives you a feeling of stepping back in time.  And while The Winner’s Curse is not a historical novel (it’s a fantasy), the dress still works.  The opulence  suggested by the intricate dress shines through in the book. And it’s pink.  And pink just gives a pop of color that you don’t usually see.