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!

November Book Wrap Up!

Books Pledged to Read in 2015:

150

Am I On Track: 

16 books behind

Books Read So Far: 

121

Total Books For November:

6

Leveled 

Winter

How I Found You

Body Check

Pride and Prejudice (Re-Read)

Pure (Re-Read)

Elixir (Re-Read)

Deity (Re-Read)

Magnus Chase: The Sword of Summer 

Apollyon (Re-Read)

A Great and Terrible Beauty (Re-Read)

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Top Anticipated November Releases!

Dear November…Thank you for having not so many releases. My wallet really really really thanks you ;) 

Hotel Ruby by Suzanne Young

When Audrey Casella arrives for an unplanned stay at the grand Hotel Ruby, health she’s grateful for the detour. Just months after their mother’s death, medicine Audrey and her brother, information pills Daniel, are on their way to live with their grandmother, dumped on the doorstep of a DNA-matched stranger because their father is drowning in his grief.

Audrey and her family only plan to stay the night, but life in the Ruby can be intoxicating, extending their stay as it provides endless distractions—including handsome guest Elias Lange, who sends Audrey’s pulse racing. However, the hotel proves to be as strange as it is beautiful. Nightly fancy affairs in the ballroom are invitation only, and Audrey seems to be the one guest who doesn’t have an invite. Instead, she joins the hotel staff on the rooftop, catching whispers about the hotel’s dark past.

The more Audrey learns about the new people she’s met, the more her curiosity grows. She’s torn in different directions—the pull of her past with its overwhelming loss, the promise of a future that holds little joy, and an in-between life in a place that is so much more than it seems…

Welcome to the Ruby

Release Date: November 3rd 2015

My Thoughts: I think Suzanne Young is just an absolutely fabulous writer and this book sounds AMAZING. It sounds dark and romantic and just absolutely fabulous. Suzanne has been talking about this book for months and I’ve been keeping my eye out for it. There’s something about a hotel with secrets and mysteries that just screams READ ME. I must get my hands on this.

Winter by Marissa Meyer

The Lunar Chronicles #4

Princess Winter is admired by the Lunar people for her grace and kindness, and despite the scars that mar her face, her beauty is said to be even more breathtaking than that of her stepmother, Queen Levana.

Winter despises her stepmother, and knows Levana won’t approve of her feelings for her childhood friend–the handsome palace guard, Jacin. But Winter isn’t as weak as Levana believes her to be and she’s been undermining her stepmother’s wishes for years. Together with the cyborg mechanic, Cinder, and her allies, Winter might even have the power to launch a revolution and win a war that’s been raging for far too long.

Can Cinder, Scarlet, Cress, and Winter defeat Levana and find their happily ever afters?

Release Date: November 10, 2015

My Thoughts: If I don’t get my hands on this book right now, I just might die. Do you know how long its been since I read Cress? I read Cress the day it came out and I’m dying to read Winter, especially since we get more of her story in Fairest (which was such a creeptastic book) and I just need my hands on this so badly. Marissa Meyer has written just an incredible series and I need my hands on Winter. Now. We’re almost there.

Soundless by Richelle Mead

For as long as Fei can remember, there has been no sound in her village, where rocky terrain and frequent avalanches prevent residents from self-sustaining. Fei and her people are at the mercy of a zipline that carries food up the treacherous cliffs from Beiguo, a mysterious faraway kingdom.

When villagers begin to lose their sight, deliveries from the zipline shrink and many go hungry. Fei’s home, the people she loves, and her entire existence is plunged into crisis, under threat of darkness and starvation.

But soon Fei is awoken in the night by a searing noise, and sound becomes her weapon.

Richelle Mead takes readers on a triumphant journey from the peak of Fei’s jagged mountain village to the valley of Beiugo, where a startling truth and an unlikely romance will change her life forever…

Release Date: November 10, 2015

My Thoughts: One, I love that this is a sort of different mythology and heritage that we are approaching in YA. We don’t enough Chinese or Japanese or any Asian stuff as much as we could so I’m excited to dive into that because those mythologies and cultures are just so deep and rich and compelling. Two, this is Richelle Mead, who is one of my absolute favorites and I love her style of writing and I love her storytelling. I have such high hopes for this book :)

Leveled by Jay Crownover 

Saints of Denver 0.5

Orlando Frederick knows what it is to be leveled by pain. Instead of focusing on his own, he’s made it his mission to help others: sports stars, wounded war vets, survivors of all kinds. But when Dom, a rugged, damaged, sinfully attractive cop, makes his way into Lando’s physical therapy practice, he might be the biggest challenge yet. Lando loved one stubborn man before and barely survived the fallout. He’s not sure he can do it again.

Dominic Voss is a protector. The police badge he wears is not only his job, it’s his identity, so when he’s sidelined because of an injury, the only thing he cares about is getting back on the force. He expects Lando to mend his body, he just doesn’t realize the trainer will also have him working toward a hell of a lot more. As attraction simmers and flares, Dom sees that Lando needs repair of his own…if only the man will let him close enough to mend what’s broken.

Release Date: November 2nd, 2015

My Thoughts: I am so excited for the Saints of Denver series so when Jay announced that the first one would be this novella about Orlando and Dominic, I died. I love both of those characters SO damn much AND I love me a really good M/M story. I have a feeling that Jay’s M/M is just going to absolutely BLOW my mind and I can’t wait to get my hands on this…in hopefully a few hours when it downloads onto my Kindle app!

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What are your most anticipated releases for November? 

Book Review: Fairest by Marissa Meyer

22489107Genre: 

Young Adult, recipe  Science Fiction

Pages: 

222

Part of a Series?:

Companion Novel in the Lunar Chronicles

Release Date: 

January 27th, buy 2015

You Can Find the Book At:

GoodReads

Amazon

Barnes and Noble

Book Depository

Author’s Website

GoodReads Summary: 

In this stunning bridge book between Cress and Winter in the bestselling Lunar Chronicles, Queen Levana’s story is finally told.

Mirror, mirror on the wall,
Who is the fairest of them all?

Fans of the Lunar Chronicles know Queen Levana as a ruler who uses her “glamour” to gain power. But long before she crossed paths with Cinder, Scarlet, and Cress, Levana lived a very different story – a story that has never been told . . . until now.

Marissa Meyer spins yet another unforgettable tale about love and war, deceit and death. This extraordinary book includes full-color art and an excerpt from Winter, the next book in the Lunar Chronicles series.

My Review:

While there will be no spoilers for Fairest in this review, there will be spoilers for Cinder, Scarlet and Cress. Please be aware of that when continuing. 

I LOVE Marissa Meyer and the Lunar Chronicles, so when I discovered I would have to wait nearly two years for the conclusion after reading the beautiful book that is Cress, I was heartbroken. However, we had this book in between and I’m so glad it exists.

The thing about Levana is that she is the bad guy. She is the villain. She’s the one we’re spending all these books fighting. Its hard to ever think that we could get behind her point of view. But that’s kind of what this book is for. Not necessarily to get you on Levana’s side, but to give you the background on how she began the queen that she is.

When the book first starts, I actually felt really bad for her. Her sister, the way she’s treated by others, the accident that left her…well, desperate to use a disguise all the time…you actually feel sorry for her. For a moment, I felt confused that I wouldn’t know how to feel about her, especially with Winter releasing this fall.

But it didn’t take long for the things to go opposite of how Levana plans them and the character that we’ve grown to know in the books surfaces. But so much worse than we could have imagined. She is sick in the head, the ideas that she has and the measures she takes in order to fulfill her own desires and to quench her own insecurities….its insane! This book is short, chronicling Levana’s life until what we know now and it just blows my mind. You wonder how this little girl that you felt so sorry for just became so misguided and cruel. Her cruelty comes mostly from her insecurities and its sickening. Marissa has created an incredible villain in that even when you’re reading her side of the story, you’re still blown away at what she is capable of.

I think it was a great story, and it really added to what we already know in the series. I think seeing Winter and Selene (aka Cinder) was incredible as well, because we see them under Levana, and what she really truly thinks of them, and its just…ugh. Its gross. Its hard to imagine someone so insecure, so unsure, that they go to the lengths that Levana does.

But it also made me even more excited for Winter. Seeing Winter as a child, seeing what she and her father went through, and her poor mother…its just heartbreaking and I can’t wait to see how this series ends. Marissa Meyer creates the most compelling characters and this is only further proved in Levana’s story.

Rating: 

5 out of 5 Stars

Fierce Reads Blockbuster Event!

Can you guys believe that its been about three weeks since I’ve done a book event? Yeah! Three weeks! Insanity! Ever since I got back home from ALA in Las Vegas, link I’ve been overwhelmed with work, abortion and my novel, that I just haven’t had much time for blogging or going to book events.

Luckily, that is about to change VERY soon. I had an awesome time tonight at the Fierce Reads event at The Grove in Los Angeles, and will be attending a James Dashner and a Maggie Stiefvater event in the next few days and I’m very excited for those. Things are picking up guys.

Tonight I headed down to one of my favorite bookstores for what was sure to be an awesome event. I love Barnes and Noble in general, but I love going to the one at The Grove because they always have such great events and the event coordinator, Lita, is just a doll. I got there early, grabbed my wristband, and had lunch at Veggie Grill (yum yum!) before heading back to the store for the event.

The authors attending this event were four total YA all stars:

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Marissa Meyer, author of the Lunar Chronicles series, including Cinder, Scarlet, Cress and soon to be, Winter. Winter hits bookstores next year, but before that, a prequel story about Queen Levana will hit bookstores. Yay!

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Leigh Bardugo, author of the Grisha Trilogy, including Shadow and Bone, Siege and Storm and Ruin and Rising. She’s currently working on another series, which takes place in the same Grisha world, not long after the end of Ruin and Rising.

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Anna Banks, author of the Syrena Legacy, including Of Poseidon, Of Triton and Of Neptune. She also has a new book called Joyride heading to bookstores next June!

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and

Ann Aguirre, author of the Razorland trilogy, including Enclave, Outpost, and Horde. And soon to be a TON of other books! This includes a new adult trilogy whose titles are Backstreet Boy’s songs. I call that a win.

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I was SO excited because I love all of these authors so much, and I always have a good time going to these events.

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We took our seats, and Lita talked up the event and the authors, and even talked about the moderator, Anthony Breznican and his debut novel, Brutal Youth. She talked it up so much that I immediately went downstairs to pick myself a copy of it. He was so awesome, a great moderator and was fun to talk to after the panel. He seemed happy that some of us grabbed copies of his book; it must be SO nerve wracking to have your debut novel out there!

Then Lita and the fantastic people of Macmillan Teens had a surprise for us early arrivals: ARCs! You know me, I can NEVER get enough of books :) I immediately went forward to check out what they had. I had most of them, from ALA, but they had a copy of Caragh O’Brien’s Vault of Dreamers, which I hadn’t managed to score at ALA. That was exciting. I also had my sister with me, and she was kind of my assistant for the event, so she grabbed a copy of Josephine Angelini’s Trial by Fire. Now, if you guys pay attention at all, you’ll know that I already have a copy of Trial by Fire so this one is going to be up for grabs very soon!

Then the event! Yay!

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All four ladies were so much fun in the panel. I honestly haven’t laughed so hard in so long. Leigh was her usual hilarious self and Marissa had a quirky little sense of humor. Ann Aguirre had a sort of awkward sense of humor, which remind me so much of myself that I just couldn’t stop laughing. And ohmygod, Anna Banks’ dry sense of humor was KILLING me. I could NOT stop laughing. It was too much.

They talked about their books, their inspirations for them, how they tackled them. They talked about books they loved, and what books inspired them. What I really loved is how they dove into the appeal of YA to adults and the growing diversity in YA books. Those are two very important topics and I was eager to hear what they had to say about it!

Then was the signing, of course. I got books signed by all of them, because I’m spoiled that way ;) I got Mortal Danger signed by Ann Aguirre, Of Poseidon by Anna Banks, and my extra copies of Siege and Storm and Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo.

Because I already have my entire Lunar Chronicles signed (so far), I bought an extra copy of Cinder (and also Shadow and Bone) and those will be up for grabs soon as well!

I think I cleaned up pretty nicely after this event!

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Not a bad haul from the event!

I also managed to get my hands on some extra stuff! Check it out!

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I bought extra copies of Cinder and Shadow and Bone and those are both signed by the author. I got my hands on that extra copy of Trial by Fire, which doesn’t hit bookstores until September! I also got an Of Poseidon sneak peek booklet signed by Anna Banks and a bookmark signed by Ann Aguirre, and ton of other cool bookmarks and pins. Keep an eye out because a giveaway is coming VERY VERY soon!

Leigh’s mom was there, and I’ve met her twice before, at the Siege and Storm release party and the Ruin and Rising release part, and she’s such a doll. She remembered me and gave me a big ol hug and sat next to me during the event. She’s such a sweetheart :)

I also met a “fan” of What A Nerd Girl Says today, named Laura! She was SO cool, and I always love meeting you guys so NEVER be nervous to say hi. I’m kind of a weirdo so please do! Also, she read my excerpt that I posted the other day of The Awakened, and loved it, and that gave me SUCH a boost! Thanks for that, Laura :)

All in all, a super great night and I’m always so glad to go to the Barnes and Noble at the Grove and to go to Fierce Reads events. I ADORE Macteen and they put out so many amazing books and I will go to every Fierce Reads event that I can!

Until next time, folks! And keep an eye out for that giveaway!