Top 7 Books to Look For in 2015!

5 Jan

It’s a new year, and you know what that means–no, not new resolutions. Nope, I’m not hitting the gym or starting a diet. I’m looking forward to more books! There are SO many great ones that will be coming out this year and I’m absolutely excited to finally get the chance to put my hands on them! Of course, some are still months away . . . we’ll see if I’ll be able to contain my enthusiasm for that long. Here (in no particular order) are the top seven books I think you should also be crazy about reading!

1. The Sword of Summer

No, I don’t really know what this is about, apart from it being Norse mythology and Rick Riordan! I didn’t enjoy the Kane Chronicles, but Percy Jackson is one of my all-time favorite series so I need to give this one a try when the first book comes out in October!

2. Fairest by Marissa Meyer

I LOVE LOVE LOVE the Lunar Chronicles so of course I want any installment in the series–even if it’s a prequel! I’m so excited to learn more about Levana and the back story to the entire series. I’m absolutely sure that I’ll love this!

3. The Shadow Cabinet by Maureen Johnson

I absolutely love the Shades of London series by Maureen Johnson and book three is coming out in February! I need to read it now . . but suppose I can wait another month.

4. The Winner’s Crime

The Winner’s Curse was one of those books that really intrigued me from the cover and then surprised me with how well-done it was. I loved it, and the sequel is coming out in March!

5. Shadow Scale

Most books have their sequel come out a year or two after the first is released. Seraphina was released in 2012 and only this year are we getting its sequel! I need to reread the first, after so long, to remind me of why I loved it so much, but I’m sure I’ll like the sequel. After waiting so long… it better be perfect!

6. The Queen and the Courtesan

I LOVED The Ring and the Crown by Melissa de la Cruz and I’m super excited that it’s getting a sequel, even though the first book put me through so many different emotions I’m not sure I’ll be able to survive this one.

7. The Darkest Part of the Forest

Basically, I’ve been meaning to read more Holly Black, this book looks awesome, and the cover is gorgeous!

What are the books you’re most looking forward to in 2015?

Favorite Book of 2014!

3 Jan

I can’t believe that this year is over! And it was a great one. One full of fantastic books and great news as well–I found out that next semester, I’ll be doing the Disney College Program! That means my posts may slow down a little, but I’ll be having the time of my life living and working (and reading!) in Disney!

Here are my top favorites of 2014 and why I think that you should read them!

favorite short story collection:

This is one that I read at the end of the year but still made it to my favorites list! I love short stories and honestly I don’t feel like there was a single bad one in this collection, which is just awesome. My True Love Gave to Me features some of my favorite authors (Laini Taylor!!!!!) and shows off their writing at its best!

favorite end to a series:

Percy Jackson has been a big part of my life for years so I was both excited and devastated when books featuring him came to an end this year. I loved The Blood of Olympus and can’t recommend it enough!

favorite stand-alone :

I fell in love with Rainbow Rowell’s books and I’m so glad that I read Fangirl this year! It’s perfect and I didn’t expect to love it so much. It’s one novel I think everyone should read!

favorite graphic novel :

I read this book when I needed to read through a stack of graphic novels to see if I could use them for a research paper I was working on and this is the one that absolutely stood out. Adventures of Superhero Girl is like a parody on everything you’d expect in a superhero book and then some!

favorite start to a series :

This is one of this year’s books that I was looking forward to and was still happily surprised by. This book is big but worth getting through; all of the information builds up into a plot and setting that are deliciously complicated and have me wanting to read more! I can’t wait to get to book two of The Queen of the Tearling.

favorite children’s book :

When I heard that this book was coming out, I just had to get it! The illustrations are gorgeous and the story is so sweet. It’s a worthy read to people of any age. A Sister More Like Me will make any Frozen fan happy, just like it did with me!

favorite adult novel :

I absolutely love Neil Gaiman and need to read more of his work. I’m so glad that I had the chance to read The Ocean at the End of the Lane. I can’t even really describe how magical, wonderful, and yet heart-wrenching this story was for me.

favorite continuation of a series :

One of my absolute favorite series is The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer. Cress is the third installment and honestly it only makes the series that much better! I love the story of Rapunzel and love how it was adapted into this action-packed, futuristic, twisted set of fairy tales.

What were your favorite reads in 2014? Comment below so I can add them to my list to read in 2015! This year is going to be a great one!

Just One Year by Gayle Forman

2 Jan

Just One Year

companion to: Just One Day

author : gayle forman

pages : 336

memorable quote There’s a difference between losing something you knew you had and losing something you discovered you had. One is a disappointment. The other feels like losing a piece of yourself.

favorite character :

summary :

Just One Day. Just One Year. Just One Read.

Before you find out how their story ends, remember how it began….

When he opens his eyes, Willem doesn’t know where in the world he is—Prague or Dubrovnik or back in Amsterdam. All he knows is that he is once again alone, and that he needs to find a girl named Lulu. They shared one magical day in Paris, and something about that day—that girl—makes Willem wonder if they aren’t fated to be together. He travels all over the world, from Mexico to India, hoping to reconnect with her. But as months go by and Lulu remains elusive, Willem starts to question if the hand of fate is as strong as he’d thought. . . .

The romantic, emotional companion to Just One Day, this is a story of the choices we make and the accidents that happen—and the happiness we can find when the two intersect.

review :

I was very excited to read this companion novel to Just One Day because I love Gayle Forman’s books and wanted to hear more about these characters, particularly Willem because now we get to hear a little from his point of view. Unfortunately, this book just wasn’t up to par for me.

I know that many people will be disappointed because this is a companion novel, not a sequel. It’s Willem’s story about what goes on with his life while “Lulu’s” story in Just One Day takes place. Same timeline, different details. I knew this going in, so I wasn’t disappointed, but I’ve seen so many reviews that were negative just because people were expecting something different from Gayle Forman. I don’t fault her for writing the book she wanted to, rather than one she might feel pressured into. Besides, I kind of feel like it’s her ‘thing’ to write ambiguous endings that are somehow simultaneously perfect and frustrating.

While I did like some portions of this book, overall Willem’s narration just wasn’t very interesting and this did nothing to make me like him more as a character. I wasn’t very intrigued by any of the adventures he went on, the travel he was able to experience. I did manage to finish the book but it was very dull and boring to me. Although I didn’t like him any less for all that I was learning about him, none of the supporting characters were captivating. I kept getting them mixed up with one another or I’d want to skip to another chapter in the hopes that he’d meet other people to speak with.

I don’t think I’ll recommend this book to anyone, though I will recommend Just One Day. I absolutely loved that book, though I could have done without the companion novel.

2/5 star

S by J. J. Abrams & Doug Dorst

30 Dec

S

author : doug dorst, j.j. abrams

pages : [hardcover] 457

memorable quote It’s not a bad way to live once you let go of the idea that you deserve more.

favorite characters : jen & eric

summary :

One book. Two readers. A world of mystery, menace, and desire.

A young woman picks up a book left behind by a stranger. Inside it are his margin notes, which reveal a reader entranced by the story and by its mysterious author. She responds with notes of her own, leaving the book for the stranger, and so begins an unlikely conversation that plunges them both into the unknown.

THE BOOK: Ship of Theseus, the final novel by a prolific but enigmatic writer named V. M. Straka, in which a man with no past is shanghaied onto a strange ship with a monstrous crew and launched onto a disorienting and perilous journey.

THE WRITER: Straka, the incendiary and secretive subject of one of the world’s greatest mysteries, a revolutionary about whom the world knows nothing apart from the words he wrote and the rumours that swirl around him.

THE READERS: Jennifer and Eric, a college senior and a disgraced grad student, both facing crucial decisions about who they are, who they might become, and how much they’re willing to trust another person with their passions, hurts, and fears.

S. , conceived by filmmaker J. J. Abrams and written by award-winning novelist Doug Dorst, is the chronicle of two readers finding each other in the margins of a book and enmeshing themselves in a deadly struggle between forces they don’t understand. It is also Abrams and Dorst’s love letter to the written word.

review :

I was really excited to read this book because it’s really like two novels in one. Ship of Theseus is printed in full, but the really interesting story to me was the one told in its margins. Everyone teaches you not to write in books, but I think this is the book that has me convinced that writing in them can only make them more interesting. Jennifer and Eric communicate with each other as they each analyze the book (which was really cool to see, maybe because I’m an English major myself and need to do these things on a regular basis), get to know one another, and also try to solve the mystery of who Straka truly was.

I rented this book from the library so I’m not sure if all of the supplementary materials–postcards, little notes, and maps–that are shoved between the pages of the book were there. I guess I’ll never know, but with what I had I was able to follow along with the story pretty well.

After a while, I honestly began to get bored with the Ship of Theseus part of the book. It read like a classic, true, and I can really respect how the writer had the style mimic an older book. But that isn’t the kind of thing I’m anxious to read during my free time–not when I have action, suspense, and a love story all packed into the margins of the book, written in brightly colored inks so my eyes are drawn there before the actual text.

I’d recommend this book to anyone who has the time to sit with it for a while. It’s fairly dense, but shouldn’t be intimidating. Once you’re interested, you’ll definitely want to keep reading. I feel like there are so many clues and codes that weren’t pointed out by Jennifer and Eric but that the reader could find. Unfortunately, the book needs to go back to the library before I can spend that much time trying to figure out all of its mysteries. I’d say try to solve them for yourself and see what you might find.

3.5/5 stars

Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

29 Dec

 

Throne of Glass

author : sarah j. maas

pages : [hardcover] 404

memorable quote Libraries were full of ideas–perhaps the most dangerous and powerful of all weapons.

favorite characters :

summary :

After serving out a year of hard labor in the salt mines of Endovier for her crimes, 18-year-old assassin Celaena Sardothien is dragged before the Crown Prince. Prince Dorian offers her her freedom on one condition: she must act as his champion in a competition to find a new royal assassin. Her opponents are men-thieves and assassins and warriors from across the empire, each sponsored by a member of the king’s council. If she beats her opponents in a series of eliminations, she’ll serve the kingdom for three years and then be granted her freedom.

Celaena finds her training sessions with the captain of the guard, Westfall, challenging and exhilarating. But she’s bored stiff by court life. Things get a little more interesting when the prince starts to show interest in her… but it’s the gruff Captain Westfall who seems to understand her best.

Then one of the other contestants turns up dead… quickly followed by another.

Can Celaena figure out who the killer is before she becomes a victim? As the young assassin investigates, her search leads her to discover a greater destiny than she could possibly have imagined.

review :

I really liked Throne of Glass and can’t wait to read book two in this series!

I would like to point out that some people will be very annoyed by the love triangle in this book. Thankfully I was able to look past it at the moments when it was most frustrating to me, so that I could think about Celaena being a bad-ass assassin or the mysterious murders instead of the really ridiculous moments when the characters would contemplate their passion (or lack of) toward one another. I really feel like the entire book could have been told from Celaena’s point of view; it seemed like the only reason the novel would randomly switch over to Captain Westfall or Prince Dorian would be so that either man could closely consider his intimate feelings toward her. Not so we could see further investigations into the murders, or the intricacies of governing the country that I’m assuming Dorian is supposed to be learning.

Speaking of the murders, one small fact that really irritated me was how long it took the captain of the guard to realize that the deaths of two contestants both killed in the same way were related. Um, what? Wouldn’t that be the immediate assumption, when the victims are related and killed in the same violently unusual way? Captain Westfall is absurdly young for his position (I was able to overlook that because I liked his personality, but I was waiting for some explanation as to how he was promoted so early in his career…) and yet he doesn’t seem to be very good at this job.

Celeana was awesome. I loved how she could be considering three ways to easily kill someone one moment and worried about her dress and hair the next. It was refreshing to see a heroine who is entirely capable of fending for herself (or ruling the world, really) but still does stereotypical ‘girlish’ things like looking after her appearance and flirting with men. She isn’t a woman who claims not to be pretty when everyone surrounding her speaks about how beautiful she is; Celeana knows that she looks good and she owns it.

Honestly, I really enjoyed how much banter there was in this book. It really showed a fun dynamic between the characters, breaking up the more serious parts of the book. While I think that the ending would have been less jarring if some of it were hinted at earlier in the novel, perhaps in replacement of one of these bantering conversations, it worked well enough to have me eager to read book two!

I’d recommend this book to anyone who enjoys action, fantasy, and good characters.

4/5 stars

The King of Attolia by Megan Whalen Turner

23 Dec

 

The King of Attolia

The Queen’s Thief #3

Book 1: The Thief
Book 4: A Conspiracy of Kings

author : megan whalen turner

pages : [hardcover] 387

memorable quote Sometimes, if you want to change a man’s mind, you have to change the mind of the man next to him first.

favorite character : gen

summary :

By scheming and theft, the Thief of Eddis has become King of Attolia. Eugenides wanted the queen, not the crown, but he finds himself trapped in a web of his own making.

Then he drags a naive young guard into the center of the political maelstrom. Poor Costis knows he is the victim of the king’s caprice, but his contempt for Eugenides slowly turns to grudging respect. Though struggling against his fate, the newly crowned king is much more than he appears. Soon the corrupt Attolian court will learn that its subtle and dangerous intrigue is no match for Eugenides.

review :

These books are some of my absolute favorites in the world. I read the first book in this series, The Thief, back when I was in middle school, and in the years since discovered that the book was actually the beginning of a series. Most of the books are really more like companions to one another, but of course when I recommend to someone one of the books I need to recommend them all because they’re just that wonderful. I can’t remember how many times I’ve read The King of Attolia before but this is the first time I’ve finished and thought to review it!

Many of the characters from the previous books of the series make an appearance. Eugenides and the Queen of Attolia feature most prominently, as well as a new main character, Costis. I remember that I didn’t like him so much at first; I think it was because I wanted more of Gen in the book and so much is told from Costis’ perspective. But I’ve grown to love him and his stubborn soldier personality. If anyone else was getting so much attention in this book, I’m glad that it was him. In previous books we haven’t heard much from people who grew up and live in Attolia; it was time to learn more about the country and its people, rather than focusing on Sounis or Eddis.

Of course, Gen is still up to his old tricks even though he now has an immense responsibility as king. I never imagined that I’d ever see him in such a position–and he never thought that he would, either. It was entertaining to see how he acted with the court and flounced all of the rules that everyone else took so seriously!

The edition that I have includes a bonus short story at the end that tells a tale from Eddis’ childhood. If you have the chance, you absolutely must read this as well because it’s so fascinating and gives a new perspective of the gods and their interference within this world.

These are books I’d recommend to anyone, throughout my life. Everyone needs to read them!

5/5 stars

Did Not Finish: Sublime by Christina Lauren

22 Dec

Sublime

author : christina lauren

pages : [ebook] 336

summary :

True love may mean certain death in a ghostly affair of risk and passion from New York Times bestselling duo Christina Lauren, authors ofBeautiful Bastard. Tahereh Mafi, New York Times bestselling author of Shatter Me calls Sublime “a beautiful, haunting read”.

When Lucy walks out of a frozen forest, wearing only a silk dress and sandals, she isn’t sure how she got there. But when she sees Colin, she knows for sure that she’s here for him.

Colin has never been captivated by a girl the way he is by Lucy. With each passing day their lives intertwine, and even as Lucy begins to remember more of her life—and her death—neither of them is willing to give up what they have, no matter how impossible it is. And when Colin finds a way to physically be with Lucy, taking himself to the brink of death where his reality and Lucy’s overlap, the joy of being together for those brief stolen moments drowns out everything in the outside world. But some lines weren’t meant to be crossed…

review :

I think that there’s a good chance I was tricked by the lovely cover, when I came to Sublime. I read about half of this book, wasn’t hooked, and needed to call it quits so that I could move onto other books that I might like more. Unfortunately, I do feel like other people may like this book more than I did. It simply wasn’t for me.

The characters were rather dry and felt like ones that I’d read about a bunch of times before, in young adult books. There was ultimately nothing unique or powerful about them; honestly, I forgot a lot about them until I went back to read the summary of the book. I think it was their instant love that really killed it for me, especially because she’s this mysterious girl/creature and he doesn’t even wonder about that so much as he’s fascinated with the idea of being with her. When they don’t even really know each other.

The writing wasn’t that great, either. It was pretty bland. There was no special oomph–because sometimes I’ll read books that aren’t so interesting just because they have fantastic writing. Sublime had no great plot and no real writing style to distract me from that fact. When it was losing on all corners, I had to let it go.

Maybe someone will come out loving this novel; I’d honestly like to hear another perspective on it. But I won’t be recommending it to anyone I know.

1/5 stars

 

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