Tuesday Top Ten – Favorite Books Read in 2015

Happy New Year everyone! I hope you had an absolutely FABULOUSLY nerdy 2015, see full of books and all kinds of awesome. I know I did. 2015 was a GREAT year to be me and I’m stoked to see what 2016 brings me.

For now, information pills let’s count down the top ten (technically 12) books that I read this year. Keep in mind…I read 126 books this year so this was HARD

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Both of the Honorable Mention books are actually being published in 2016. I read both of them in 2015 as ARCs and absolutely loved them both, page so they make my list of best books I read this year :)

Click the book title for its GoodReads page, the author name for their website and the book cover for my review!

Flamecaster by Cinda Williams Chima 

I was so excited when I got this ARC both digitally and in the mail. I absolutely adore Cinda Chima and I honestly think she’s one of the best fantasy authors I’ve ever read. She’s just so damn good. She’s going to be visiting in April, about two hours away, but I’m going. Hands down. This is the first in a new series, a spin off of my favorite series by her, the Seven Realms. It was great to be back in that realm, though I miss Raisa and Han, and it was just…ugh, so damn good. I can’t wait to read more!

Passenger by Alexandra Bracken

Confession Time: I’ve never read an Alex Bracken book before. I’ve heard The Darkest Minds series is good but I just haven’t had a chance to read it yet. I got this book in the mail as an ARC and I loved the cover and concept and immediately dove in. I can’t even begin to explain how much I ADORE this book. I’m a huge fan of Alex’s now and I can’t wait to make The Darkest Minds a priority in 2016.

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Unchanged by Jessica Brody

Its hard to believe that I read this book nearly a year ago! How insane is that! So weird. But god, what an amazing end to the trilogy. I had all these theories and expectations and this literally blew my mind. It is just…its not at all what I expected at all. She surprised me and shocked me and its really hard to genuinely surprise me and I was like like OMG. Jessica Brody got progressively better and better with this series and I just absolutely loved this series ender.

The Shameless Hour by Sarina Bowen

In all truthfulness, I read the entirety of this series this year, and I loved every single minute of it. I was hooked from book one and devoured the entire series and anxiously awaited the new releases. But by far, easily, my favorite is The Shameless Hour. I love both of the main characters and I love the story. I love Bella so much, I love that she’s not your typical virgin, which we see most of the time in NA series. I love that she owns who she is until things happen and she questions herself, but still ultimately comes out as confident in the person she is. I don’t know if that sentence made sense AT all but that’s how I felt. SUCH a good book.

All Played Out by Cora Carmack

Even though Carson is my favorite and will always have the special spot in my heart, I just loved loved loved All Played Out. Like I said about with Jessica, Cora just got better and better with these books as the series continued and I devoured APO in a matter of hours. Just blew me away. I adore Nell, her personality, her directness, everything and Torres is just…the kind of guy that would drive me absolutely insane in real life but causes me to swoon when I read. I am INSANELY excited about the release of the fourth book :)

Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard

I had been hearing about this book for ages and I had actually bought it when I met Victoria at YALLWest back in April. Everyone said it was SO good, but I just wasn’t feeling it for awhile. But when I finally sat down to read it…it just blew my mind. The world building is incredible, absolutely incredible…it flows so well and is so believable. And the twists and turns in this book…I was incredibly shocked at the ending of this book, jaw dropping, for sure. That cliffhanger…is it time for book two yet?!

Stand Off by Andrew Smith

I love Winger. Its one of my favorite books of all time and when I heard there was going to be a sequel, I nearly peed my pants with excitement. Because I was going to get my Ryan Dean back and the antics that follow him, always. And yes, that is what happened in Stand Off. I laughed so hard, because Ryan Dean is hilarious and Andrew is hilarious and the brand new character of Sam Abernathy is so freakin’ hilarious. But the book surprised me and became so much more, just like Winger. It had a lot to say about post traumatic stress disorder, and panic attacks and was written so beautifully. Always a win with an Andrew Smith book.

What We Saw by Aaron Hartzler

I had high anticipation for this book because I absolutely adore Aaron Hartzler. He’s a great writer and just an all around great person and I was so excited when I was able to get an ARC of this book. And my expectations were blown away. I loved his first book. I absolutely am obsessed with this one. Aaron Hartzler writes a compelling and incredibly emotional read and its beautiful and poignant and relevant and permanent. I read this months ago, and the story still is stuck with me, still sends chills through me. Its a must read for sure.

Carry On by Rainbow Rowell

The first book I ever read by Rainbow Rowell was her novel, Fangirl, which I’ve now read several times. One of my favorite books that I’ve ever read and one of the few characters that I’ve been able to identify with as much as I have with Cath…Cath is me. So when I heard Rainbow was putting out Carry On, a story of the fictional characters created in Fangirl…I had to. And its amazing how invested in these doubly fictional characters I was! I loved the story from beginning to end and I laughed so hard, so many times, and I will ship Simon and Baz until the end of time. One of the best Harry Potter fan fictions I’ve ever read in my life, and I’m so glad this became a real book.

Winter by Marissa Meyer

I honestly felt like this book was NEVER going to be released. It had been nearly TWO years since Cress and I was DYING to find out what happened next. I’ve been in a perpetual slump with reading the past few months but I knew I had to sit down and read this one and I’m so glad I made myself do it because I blew through it. Marissa Meyer has an EPIC end to the series, with so many throwbacks to the original fairytales but also keeping me hooked to the action and the surprise and the romance and all of it. I LOVED this book and this series, and I can’t get it out of my head.

Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

I don’t think I’ve ever met an author as talented at writing this beautifully and creating these kind of worlds so intricately than Leigh Bardugo. Seriously. The kind of fantasy she creates, the characters, the worlds, the way they all weave together to create the story…it just completely hooks me. Its emotional and real and its gripping because you can feel everything in the story as if you stepped through the pages. Leigh takes the world she created in the Grisha trilogy and opens it up wider, further, and pulls us into a new story, and its not hard to fall into it. I loved each and every character, I loved the story and I feel like I’m never going to fail to be impressed by this lady.

Scorched by Jennifer L Armentrout

I didn’t expect for this book to be on this list. I didn’t expect to love this book as much as I did. I love Jennifer Armentrout and I’ve learned this year to love love love her new adult books. I loved Frigid but I took it as what it was and was excited for Scorched. I was so unprepared for what that book would do to me. Scorched’s main character, Andrea, suffers through mental illness, mental illness that is very very similar to my own and it felt…so real, so raw, so emotional to read the point of view of someone who felt so much like I do. I cried a lot because I felt like JLA had given me a voice, when it felt too hard to describe how I felt…especially when she described a panic attack. I kept thinking, YES, that’s how it feels. So yes, I loved the story and the romance and all of that but I also loved Andrea, and her struggle and JLA’s ability to put my feelings into words.

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What were some of YOUR favorite reads of 2015? Don’t forget to sound off in the comments!

Tuesday Top Ten: 2015 Movies I Can’t Wait to See!

I figured it would be really great for me to do a Tuesday Top Ten that didn’t revolve around books! One of my bookish resolutions this year was to focus on some more nerd, dosage other than books, information pills even though books are my LIFE. But its time to bring more nerd into this and there are SO many amazing movies hitting the theaters this year, so let’s count the top ten that I can’t wait to see!

10. Cinderella

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I love Disney. I work for Disney. I love princesses and I love princess stories. And I think Cinderella is a fun story, not only the Disney version but the original versions as well. So I’m interested in where this version is going to go. I haven’t seen Malificent (I know, I know) but I heard it was actually pretty good and an interesting story so I’m sure Cinderella is going to be quite fun.

9. Jurassic World

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YES. There are so many things about this that just make me want to squeal with excitement. Chris Pratt, my god, yum. Dinosaurs. Yes. Weird new hybrid invented dinosaur. WHAT. There’s just so much awesome. I love the entire trilogy. I know most people won’t agree with me but I love every Jurassic Park movie so I’m dying for this new one. I grew up with this and I’m glad to have a new one coming SO soon.

8. Pitch Perfect 2

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Uh duh. I think everyone is ready for the Bellas to sing again. I love music. I love musicals. I love Glee and High School Musical and pretty much anything where there is singing and dancing and I absolutely adore Anna Kendrick and Brittany Snow and Rebel Wilson so I’m really excited for this movie. Plus, I think my dad is even more excited about it and it might make a kind of cool daddy-daughter date haha.

7. Love, Rosie 

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Okay, I gotta be honest. I wasn’t a massive fan of the book. I liked the story, the concept but I had to kind of push myself through the book. But the story had a great concept to it so I’m really excited to see it done in the movie, especially since I heard the changes done might make me happier than the book did. Plus I absolutely adore both Lily Collins AND Sam Claflin SO much, so so much so I’m anxious to FINALLY see this movie!

6. The Avengers: Age of Ultron

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Um. Thor. Captain America. The Incredible Hulk. Hawkeye. And number one: Ironman. Oh god that Robert Downey Jr. Plus it will have Cobie Smulders as Agent Maria Hill which makes me super happy as well, so I’m just excited. The first Avengers was fantastic and I’m eager to see another installment. I’ve been anxiously waiting for it, and I’m just so sure its going to be amazing!

5. The Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials

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I was really super impressed by The Maze Runner when it released this past summer/fall. I liked the book well enough but it was kind of bizarre and I thought it translated SO much better on screen. Its a very visual concept so it was great to see on screen. Now, The Scorch Trials…I never even finished the book, so I’m determined to do so and I’m eager to see if what turned me off about the book is fantastic on the screen. Plus its more Dylan O’Brien and you can NEVER go wrong with that.

4. The Divergent Trilogy: Insurgent 

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YES. Tris and Four. And Theo James, and god, I love this book. I really like Insurgent. I know its not as good as Divergent and its sloppy but I love it. I love that we see Amity and Candor (especially Amity) and I love the struggle that Tris goes through. There’s so much that goes on this book. Of course that means we’ll be leading into the disaster that is Allegiant but I still am excited for this movie. And after The Maze Runner, I have hope that movies can take the flaws that I don’t like in a book and make it beautiful in a movie.

3. The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 

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I mean, duh. I am SO excited. Its the END. SHIT is going to go down. My favorite character in the entire series is going to die and I’m going to crumble into a tiny little depressed version of Sara. Sigh. Plus it means the very last red carpet premiere and I’ll be so bittersweet about it. It’ll be fun to see the end of the series and to see how it all plays out, what is the same as the book and what isn’t and all that sort of thing. I’m SO SO very ready for it.

2. Inside Out

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I’ve always always always been excited for every single Pixar movie that comes out but I’m really excited for this because the trailer for it is FANTASTIC and HILARIOUS. I literally can’t handle it. I’ve seen it a couple times now and I giggle every time. I’m excited to see a truly original Pixar movie again, and to just have my mind blown. I’m totally ready to for it. Pixar is known for being original and new and fun and exciting and its been awhile since I really felt like they delivered on that but I have lots of hope for Inside Out.

1. Star Wars: The Force Awakens

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O.M.G. I literally….can’t even handle this. I can’t. Its SO long away and we’ve only gotten one small trailer with barely any information but its STAR WARS. Literally my favorite movies in the entire world, and my first ever fandom and I can’t handle it because its going to have Princess Leia and Han Solo again and the Millennium Falcon in the trailer legitimately made me cry. I can’t HANDLE it. Every time I think of it, I go through such conflicting feelings: excitement and despair…because its SO far away. Sigh.

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What movies are YOU excited for this year? Share in the comments!

Disney and Lucasfilms: Good or Bad?

Now if you paid even the slightest bit of attention to your Facebook feed or your Twitter feed yesterday, online you probably would’ve noticed a little bit of news in the nerd and film world.

Disney, stuff probably one of the biggest companies in the world, order has made the move to acquire Lucasfilm Ltd. in a transaction estimated at over 4 billion dollars.

George Lucas is ready to hand the reins over, saying that he knows he won’t be around forever and that he has built this up to where he wants it and now its time to put it in the hands of someone he trusts, namely Kathleen Kennedy, formerly the co-chairman of Lucasfilms and soon to be President of Lucasfilm, working under the Disney company.

This means that Disney will have control over anything to do with Star Wars, past or present.

I love Star Wars.

I wanted to be Princess Leia when I was growing up. I still kind of do.

I have the Rebel Alliance symbol tattooed on the back of my neck.

This is crazy, huge news for me.

The cherry on top of the cake of crazy news is that there is to be an episode 7, slated for release in the year 2015.

OHMYROWLING.

I seriously don’t know whether to be excited or upset about this.
So let’s talk about this for a moment.

The Good:

The good is this: Disney has already made some integrations with the Star Wars franchise (and the Indiana Jones franchise) to begin with. They have the uberly popular rides at Disneyland with Star Tours and the Indiana Jones ride. They have integrated them into their other parks around the world. They sell really cool Star Wars merchandise and I get a kick out of the crossover Disney-Star Wars merch. Come on, Minnie Mouse as Princess Leia? Pretty cool.

Disney acquired Pixar many years ago and look, that place is rocking it. The only movie I’ll leave out is Cars 2 (ugh) but they have given me some of my absolute favorite movies like Up and Wall.E and all three Toy Story films. Obviously a Disney buy-out didn’t ruin this company, though I don’t know how that could be possible whenever John Lasseter is involved.

Disney also acquired Marvel a few years back. I was prettttty wary about that one too. I just wasn’t sure how two iconic franchises/companies could suddenly come together. Obviously this hasn’t hurt Marvel at all, at least in my opinion. Since then, they’ve released Ironman 2, Captain America, Thor and the extremely awesome and popular Avengers movie. There is an Ironman 3 coming out soon, and sequels for Captain America and Thor in the works and the talk of a sequel for the Avengers. I have enjoyed all of these movies and they’ve all done extremely well.

Let’s face it, George has lost his touch a bit. The original trilogy is amazing, the first movie is my favorite movie of all time (No, my favorite movie of all time is not Harry Potter. My favorite books of all time are Harry Potter). They are fantastic and a true epic. He nailed it so well. He has the unlikely hero and the old wise man and the princess and the scoundrel and the evil figure and the battle versus good and evil. Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill and Carrie Fisher rock those movies. But come on, those prequels were just…horrible. Little Anakin annoys the heck out of me. Jar Jar Binks annoys the hell out of me. Come to think of it, Adult Anakin annoys me too. I never thought Star Wars could be butchered so badly but there you go.

So many somebody does need to take the reins from George Lucas. Maybe he needs to go home and bathe in his money and leave Star Wars (oh god, and Indiana Jones, lets not even get into that horrible Kingdom of the Crystal Skull movie) alone. Just leave it alone, George. Maybe in the hands of Disney and Kathleen Kennedy, we can have a revamp of the Star Wars franchise that is actually GOOD. Don’t misunderstand me, I said revamp, not reboot. If they ever reboot the original trilogy, there will be some hell to pay and definitely some suicides in the nerd world. But maybe this episode 7 won’t be so bad with George out of the captain’s seat. They’d have to cast all new actors; let’s face it, Carrie, Harrison and Mark are way too old to play their characters ever again.

The Bad:

I tend to like things to end as they should end. I like the original trilogy. They introduce a story, there’s conflict, there’s a resolution, there’s an ending. Now, don’t get me wrong. I do like the idea of Han and Leia marrying and have little twin Jedis, and Leia being trained as a Jedi. Don’t get me wrong. That’s awesome. If they would’ve thought of doing that when the actors were still young enough to play the characters, sure, maybe. But when a story is great, leave it alone please.

I don’t want any Harry Potter sequels. Those seven books are amazing and perfect the way they are. Leave them alone.

I hated that the Mortal Instruments went past City of Glass, especially since I loathed City of Fallen Angels. If it weren’t for the fact that City of Lost Souls was pretty decent, I would’ve never felt excitement for the last and sixth book. But the first three were perfect.

So I don’t like the idea of an episode 7. Maybe it’ll be good. Maybe. But it worries me. I just feel like, what if I get my Star Wars nerdy fangirlness alllll excited and I count down the days til the release and wait in line for the midnight premiere and what if it sucks? What if after all the waiting it disappoints me like the prequels did? I just don’t know if I can handle that!

What if they reboot the original Star Wars? I mean, I don’t think they’d do it any time soon but what if they did? OH HEAVENS NO! That would be the biggest sort of blasphemy possible. I mean, its bad enough that George went back and changed stuff and its so hard to find the original versions anymore. But it could happen, couldn’t it?

I also don’t want to see Star Wars get Disney-ized, with the twinkles and the sparkles. I love Disney, don’t get me wrong. I practically live at Disneyland. However, Disney stays Disney. One of the reasons  that the first two Harry Potter movies aren’t my favorites are because of how sparkly and twinkly and Disney they feel. Ugh. Star Wars is Star Wars and kids love Star Wars the way it is so just leave it alone.

I’m nervous about Indiana Jones. So far in all the things I’ve read, no one has mentioned Indiana Jones. I don’t know what the deal with that is, maybe because Steven Spielberg is involved and whatnot and its in a deal with Paramount Studios. It most likely doesn’t factor into this deal at all, actually, I’m sure it doesn’t so we’ll see.

Right now, I’m super mixed feelings about all of this. I feel like it has the chances to be both good or bad. Sometimes things need to be left alone; they were great and they can stay great. Sometimes you can take something great and make even better. I guess the only thing that we can do now is wait to see what happens.

What do you think of this guys? Do you like that George is handing the reins over? Do you like/dislike the idea of an Episode 7? As always, let me know in the comments.

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