Wednesday, December 30, 2015

End of the Year Book Survey 2015

I thought I'd participate In The Perpetual Page Turner's End Of the Year Survey! You should join me, Head on over an link up if you want to join too!

1. Best Book You Read In 2015?

I read the last three Ruby Oliver series this year and They. Were. Awesome. I love this series! I need to own it! I need to read it again and again! 

2. Book You Were Excited About And Thought You Were Going To Love More But Didn’t?
Girl Stolen by April Henry. I've been trying to get my hands on that on forever. It was a huge disappointment. Completely unbelievable and predictable.

3. Most surprising (in a good way or bad way) book you read?
Elevated by Elana Johnson. I thought it would be cute but I was very pleased with the message in this one.
4. Book You “Pushed” The Most People To Read (And They Did)?
I wish I could say the Ruby Oliver series but no one has read them....yet! I did push Bone Gap by Laura Ruby on my friend Suey and she read and loved it. Yay!

5. Best series you started in 2015? Best Sequel of 2015? Best Series Ender of 2015?

Starter: Throne of Glass Sequel: P.S. I Still Love You Ender: Real Life Boyfriends (Ruby Oliver 4)

6. Favorite new author you discovered in 2015?
Rainbow Rowell. I've only read one of her books so far and, actually, I wasn't fond of the story but the writing was amazing!

7. Best book from a genre you don’t typically read/was out of your comfort zone?

I don't read coffee table books but this one was a pleasant surprise. So cute!

8. Most action-packed/thrilling/unputdownable book of the year?

Poison by Lan Chan was very action packed and exciting!

9. Book You Read In 2015 That You Are Most Likely To Re-Read Next Year?
Uh, The Ruby Oliver series again. I'll be re-reading that one again and again.

10. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2015?

Didn't like the book but the cover is just lovely! 

11. Most memorable character of 2015?
Madeleine from Big Little Lies. She's hilarious and kind and I'll never forget her.

12. Most beautifully written book read in 2015?
Bone Gap by Laura Ruby.

13. Most Thought-Provoking/ Life-Changing Book of 2015?
Animal Farm by George Orwell. Whether you loved it or hated it you have to admit; this one makes you think.

14. Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2015 to finally read?

The Fetch by Laura Whitcomb. Sadly I didn't love it but I've been meaning to read it forever. I can't believe I didn't pick it up sooner.

15. Favorite Passage/Quote From A Book You Read In 2015?
I'm not a highlighter. I need to be better at that. As it is, I don't have a favorite quote. 

16.Shortest & Longest Book You Read In 2015?
Shortest was The Well Rested Mother the coffee table book I mentioned earlier. The Longest was Dune by Frank Herbert

17. Book That Shocked You The Most

I always spot the big twist or mystery a mile away but while I caught one thing in this one, something else shocked the crap out of me! 

18. OTP OF THE YEAR (you will go down with this ship!)
Anne Elliot and Captain Wentworth from my reread of Persuasion.

19. Favorite Non-Romantic Relationship Of The Year
Juliette and Kenji from the Shatter Me series.

20. Favorite Book You Read in 2015 From An Author You’ve Read Previously
Lost Lake by Sarah Addison Allen. I love her books.

21. Best Book You Read In 2015That You Read Based SOLELY On A Recommendation From Somebody Else/Peer Pressure:
Dune by Frank Herbert. Jenni pushed this one on our entire book club. I'm glad she did.

22. Newest fictional crush from a book you read in 2015?
Captain Thorne from Cress. My little girlish heart flutters at the mention of his name.

23. Best 2015 debut you read?
Throne of Glass...that was Maas' debut novel right?

24. Best World building/Most Vivid Setting You Read This Year?
Poison by Lan Chan. Very intricate world indeed!

5. Book That Put A Smile On Your Face/Was The Most FUN To Read?
I want to give another shout out to the Ruby Oliver series but I'll give another series some love. The Georgia Nicholson books. I read books 3 and 4 and liked them both. They're so funny.

26. Book That Made You Cry Or Nearly Cry in 2015?
Out of the Easy by Ruta Septey. 1:00 am and I was crying like a baby.

27. Hidden Gem Of The Year?
Bone Gap. Seriously people! More people should be reading and talking about this book!

28. Book That Crushed Your Soul?
We Were Liars. And not in a good way. It was the most depressing pointless book I've ever read.

29. Most Unique Book You Read In 2015?
Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Caroll. Um, yeah. Unique. Let's call it unique.

30. Book That Made You The Most Mad (doesn’t necessarily mean you didn’t like it)?
Scarlet by A.C. Gaughen

1. New favorite book blog you discovered in 2015?
Flowers of Quiet Happiness

2. Favorite review that you wrote in 2015?
Ugh, I don't know. I'm really tired of my review format so it felt like writing reviews was a chore. I plan on changing that this year, though.

3. Best discussion/non-review post you had on your blog?
Uh, it's a toss up between the perfect recipe post I wrote and a new feature I started with Suey called Book Banter.

4. Best event that you participated in (author signings, festivals, virtual events, memes, etc.)?
I didn't do much this year. I'd have to say I really enjoyed the Dewy's 24 Hour Readathons this year. I got to participate in both.

5. Best moment of bookish/blogging life in 2015?
Despite being a little light on money this year I still bought a ton of books this year. Now isn't buying books the best?!

6. Most challenging thing about blogging or your reading life this year?
Normal life getting in the way! It's tough being married. I love it and all but it really takes its toll on my reading.

7. Most Popular Post This Year On Your Blog (whether it be by comments or views)?
Most comments and a lot of views too goes, ironically, to my post Hello, is there Anybody out there?

8. Post You Wished Got A Little More Love?
My Rant & Rave posts are something new I started this year. I wish they got a little more love because they sure are fun to write.

9. Best bookish discover (book related sites, book stores, etc.)?
The Pioneer Book Store in Provo UT is awesome. It's the most clean, organized, beautiful used book store I've ever seen. Check out the post I did all about it.

10. Did you complete any reading challenges or goals that you had set for yourself at the beginning of this year?
I only did one reading challenge. The Goodreads Challenge and I set a goal of 50 books and read 50 books! Wahoo!!!

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Best and Worst of 2015

Another year has come and gone! It's time for my best and worst books read in 2015 post. Normally I would do two separate posts, one about the good books and one about the bad but I only read 50 books this year and well, that's not a lot to choose from. However, my Goodreads goal was 50 books and I made it! Barely, but I did it.  So without further ado...


Big Little Lies
Loved my first book by Liane Moriarty.

Bone Gap
Magic Realism at it's best. Loved this magical book.

Absolutely adored the message in this beautiful verse novel.

Lost Lake
Of course a Sarah Addison Allen book would make my top 5 favorites of the year.

Real Life Boyfriends, The Boy Book, and The Treasure Map of Boys
AKA, the rest of the Ruby Oliver series. This series rocks! Seriously, please, please, please read this series!


We Were Liars
This book was just so, so, SOOOOO sad. It depressed me for days!

Storm Siren
This one had all the right ingredients for me but the book fell flat. Big disappointment.

Not in the Script
Nothing happened! This book was sooooo boring. There needs to be more to a book than romance.

Girl Stolen
This was the biggest disappointment of the year. I've been looking forward to this book for a long time and it was just awful!

The Golem and the Jinni
Oh my hell! This one was the longest book to the worst ending ever. Not a good combination.

Did Not Finish

 Red Rising
I just didn't get it! You all raved but this book was so boring I couldn't finish it.

The Repossession Mamba
Just watch the movie. The book's not worth it.

And there you have it. What do you think of my favorites and least favorites? If I could push any of my favorites on you it would be The Ruby Oliver series. Just sayin'.

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Review: P.S. I Still Love You

Title P.S. I Still Love You (To All The Boys I've Loved Before)
By Jenny Han
Genre YA Contemporary
Pages 352

Lara Jean is in a real relationship for the first time in her life. She didn't expect to fall for Peter but she has. Things would be perfect but Genevieve, Peter's Ex, won't let him go. To complicate things even more, John, a boy from Laura Jean's past shows up. He's charming and sweet and completely enamored with Laura Jean. Will Peter stay true to her? Can she stay true to him? Will Laura Jean's first relationship be her last?

First Sentence
Dear Peter, I miss you.

What it has going for it
I enjoyed the first book in this series, To All The Boys I've Loved Before, so much that I couldn't wait to get to this one. It was fun seeing how Laura Jean and Peter get along in a real relationship. I supposed on some level I was supposed to feel sorry for Genevieve but she just drove be crazy! And just when I was rooting for Peter and Laura Jean to make it, John showed up. Argh! He was so sweet and kind and the things he said....Sigh! I just loved him. Jenny Han is the true queen of the love triangle. You say you hate love triangles? Well, read one of hers. You'll be so confused and torn between the love interests you'll be pulling out your hair. If you're going to put a love triangle in your book it better be a real one. Where the MC can't choose between her beau's and neither can you. That's what I say, anyway.

What's lacking
This one felt a bit too meandering, if that makes sense. It had a lot of little things going on rather than one big thing and it was OK but kind of made it hard to keep reading. I wasn't sure what the big conflict was. Also, please tell me that's not the end of the series! Goodreads doesn't have any info on a third book. There has to be a third book! There just has to!

Yea or Nay?
I'll always recommend Jenny Han's books. You have to read a book where the love triangle is done right!

Monday, December 21, 2015

Review: Throne of Glass

Title Throne of Glass (Throne of Glass #1)
By Sarah J Maas
Genre YA Fantasy
Pages 404

With a mysterious past, Celaena was raised to be an assassin. For years she was the greatest assassin the land ever knew but then she was thrown into the mining pits of Endovier. When the crown prince and the captain of the royal guard come to her they offer her freedom if she will fight in a competition. The prize: the king's champion. Celaena agrees but when she arrives at the castle and enters the competition things begin to get tricky. Her competitors are being murdered and though magic has been outlawed it looks like magic is behind the attacks. Can Celaena stay alive long enough to win her freedom?

First Sentence
After a year of slavery in the Salt Mines of Endovier, Celaena Sardothien was accustomed to being escorted everywhere in shackles and at sword point.

What it has going for it

I know I'm so behind the band wagon on this series it's pathetic. Because I'm so behind on it a lot of things have been spoiled for me. For example, I knew this first book of the series isn't supposed to be as good as the rest, and that a lot of people were mad about this one because Celaena is supposed to be this awesome assassin and she doesn't even kill anyone in this book. So I went into this one with a grain of salt, so to speak, and just enjoyed it for what it was: The beginning to an epic fantasy series. Mostly the book is set up for the rest of the series but it had an arc, conflict and resolution. I enjoyed the banter between Celaena and Choal and Prince Dorian. I was intrigued by the hint of magic and the set up for the rest of the series. I went into this book knowing I was going to read the second book too so I could see for myself if it's worth continuing the series and I plan on reading it and the rest of the series as of right now.

What's lacking
Even though I knew Celaena wasn't going to be as kick ass as one might expect from the land's most notorious assassin, it still was annoying. I wasn't even bothered that she didn't kill anyone so much as how clueless she seemed. People snuck up her and surprised her and that just didn't fit. The author would tell you how amazing she was and then show you that she wasn't. I knew it was going to do that but it still bugged me. Other than that I have no other complaints.

Yea or Nay?
If you haven't read this one, I'd recommend it. It had faults but I'm willing to overlook them for the fun characters and crazy story.

Friday, December 11, 2015

Rant & Rave #4

                                      Rant & Rave
Two Jacks Pizza. If you're from Utah you need to go eat here. Everyone has their favorite little pizza place, and this one in mine. I love pizza but this pizza....sooo good. I go here a couple times a week it's THAT good. Look at that puffy warm crust! Seriously, people. It's heavenly. Every time I go there and see that someone just ate the inside of the pizza and left their crusts...makes me die a little inside.  I honestly can't say much more than that. I'll just let the picture do the talking. 

These new seat belt laws. I'm telling you, people. We're two inches from living under marshal law. I get a lot of laws. I really do but not this one. The only person you're endangering when you're not wearing a seat belt is who????You! That's it. It's not like you're a ticking time bomb just because your stupid seat belt isn't on. And don't give me all that "safety" crap. What if I don't want to be safe? Maybe I enjoy living on the edge. Or maybe I'm just suicidal...or maybe I just want to be able to choose for myself whether wearing a seat belt is necessary each time I get in the car. Some times, not all the time, but sometimes they DON'T save lives. They take lives. Just sayin'. I'd like to make the choice myself. Guess that's not an option anymore. What's next? A law on how you can wear your hair or how many piercings you can have? It's coming, people. It's coming. 

So there you have it. Go to Two Jacks and try their pizza...but wear you seat belt. It's the DAMN law! 

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Review: Secrets & Lies

Title Secrets and Lies
By Kody Keplinger
Genre YA Contemporary
Pages 100

Two short stories tell the story of Casey, Bianca from The DUFF's friend and her Christmas vacation romance and Bailey, Nathan from A Midsummer's Nightmare's sister and her high school drama.

First Sentence
"I have a surprise for you!"

What it has going for it
I like Kody Keplinger's books. My favorite being The DUFF so I had to read these short stories from the world of The DUFF and A Midsummer's Nightmare. There was a good message in these stories about keeping secrets and lying and I liked that. Of course I was glad to see what happened to Casey and the best part was these short little novellas helped me get closer to my Goodread's goal!

What's lacking
Um, I felt like Kody didn't even write these books...or if she did they weren't edited very well. Truthfully, I just don't like novellas. They're too short and don't have enough substance. Personally I'll just stick to Kody's full length novels instead.

Yea or Nay?
Uh, honestly I think these short stories are completely unnecessary. They're a quick read though.

Monday, December 7, 2015

Review: Ignite Me

Title Ignite Me (Shatter Me 3)
By Tahereh Mafi
Genre YA Supernatural/paranormal
Pages 421

Juliette is back from the dead, and apparently back with a new attitude. She's ready to take over the Reestablishment and lead the world back to peace and prosperity. But first she has to make up her mind about her new feelings for Warner. Learn to control her power and deal with Adam's hostility.

First Sentence
I am an Hourglass.

                                                             Warning: Spoilers Ahead! 

What it has going for it
Yay! I did it! I finished this series! And I must say. I don't regret reading it. That isn't to say I loved it or anything but I was satisfied with the ending. I loved in this one that there were no more crossed out sentences and that Juliette finally was strong and in control and ready to take on the world. I loved that she was smart enough to see how wrong Adam was for her. I wasn't in love with Warner but he was definitely the better man and a better fit for Juliette. I liked that the over the top poetic writing was not so overwhelming anymore. It was kind of scary how much this book changes from the others. It's like Tahereh knew her wimpy MC and poetic writing was driving me nuts and changed it all just for me. I know the change wasn't for me, though. I saw how the writing progressed as Juliette progressed and I must say, I was impressed with the change. Shout out to Kenji for being so awesome. I loved this character and I loved him most in this installment. (besides the small lie he told Adam) And yes, those steamy scenes!!! Sigh! They were perfectly titillating without being too detailed and they trailed off in the right places. This is supposed to be a YA series, after all.

What's lacking
As much as I liked the changes for the better I would have liked to see a bit of a more smooth transition. It was a bit rough. This series has way too much drama and talking and "not a lot going on-ness" if you ask me. Which, you didn't but, hey. I like more plot. This one had about 20 pages of plot at the end and a whole lot of drama for the other 400 pages. It didn't bother me too much though and that's saying something.

Yea or Nay?
I would actually recommend this series. If you can drag yourself through the overly flowerly writing and wimpy Juliette in the first two books there's a tolerable series buried here.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Book Banter #6 THGs

This week for Book Banter, Suey and I will be discussing the ending of The Hunger Games. With the final installment of the movies being released recently it's been on people's minds again. I actually liked the ending of the series. I know, I'm weird. Anyway,  I'll rebuttal Suey's dislikes here and don't forget to check out why I liked this crazy sad ending on Suey's blog.


So, they say make your characters suffer. But really? THIS MUCH? Does it HAVE to be that bad? I think a lot of people are wondering if Prim really has to die (not just me)… because I’ve seen much about this lately floating around in the cyberspace. And yes, maybe she did. Maybe. I don’t know. But did Finnick? Did he really? And the others on the team? The mute guy? (I forget all their names now.) Really? This book, this series really, is all DIE DIE DIE. That can get to a nice innocent reader after a while!

I actually agree with you about Finnick! I loved him and the fact that he dies, and the way he dies, just broke my heart. Still, this series is a tragedy. Not a love story, not an adventure or a mystery. It's a tragedy. This book is about a revolution, an uprising. People are going to die. Lots of people. It's not fair. It hurts. But it's the sad truth of war. I for one am glad Collins didn't sugarcoat anything. She was being honest about war and the reality of the pain it causes.

I don’t know exactly why, but I felt so sad and depressed after reading this book. (DIE DIE DIE perhaps?) I had to look up my review of the book (sheesh, five years ago!) and this is what I said then “This book seriously left me feeling blah, sad, a little underwhelmed, confused. Which I guess is what bugs me about the ending.”I really hate it when an ending leaves you with this feeling. Even though I’m not at all scared of tragic sad endings, still. And so, yeah, I was a little worried about the movie and sure enough, it sent me into a bad mood for a good 24 hour period. I literally couldn’t concentrate on a thing the next day. Probably it was more than just the movie, but I blamed the movie! :) Maybe it’s just that we were (are) all so invested in these characters and it was over. Maybe it didn't end very satisfying, even though the bad guy was eliminated. Maybe it’s just the nature of the story, the “dystopia” of it all that finally got to me. Maybe it was Peeta being so broken and not really fixed by the time everything ends. BUT probably it was mostly (see next reason)....

I like to use the word: reflective. Depression should get you thinking about why you're so sad. And when you figure that out you can hopefully learn something from your depression. I really hope it never comes to something like this in our world but, sadly, it might. Maybe it's a bit ridiculous to try to learn how to deal in a situation as horrible as the one in THGs from books and movies but where else can we learn it? OK, getting a bit distracted. I just know that tragedies are supposed to make us think and I hope this one gets us thinking. I know it did for me. 

The biggest problem I have with the ending is how Gale is treated. So, okay fine, she picks Peeta. I’m good with that. I like Peeta. I like him a lot. He’s good for Katniss. They need each other. Yes, fine, blah blah blah. But, BUT… Gale. He does NOT deserve to be brushed off and thrown out like Katniss does to him. It KILLS me! It breaks my heart! It makes me want to curl up and cry. he has been there for her no matter what, even if she freaking loves another guy, he’s still there for her. Not once does he moan or stomp off or throw a fit. He only says, “you only kiss me when I’m hurting” or “it’s like kissing someone who’s drunk” so you know he feels bad and his heart is breaking too. But he is STILL there! And he’s been there from the beginning… way way before the events of the book even start. He’s is steady and strong and loyal. And so what if he decides to fight… fight the rebellion that KATNISS started! And she hates him for it? And all he gets is a “goodbye Gale” after ALL THAT? It kills me.

Technically, Katniss didn't start the rebellion. She was defiant and rebellious and that gave other people courage but she didn't declare war on the capitol, not really. Not with out guidance from District 13. I liked Gale too and it broke my heart that he got the short end of the stick. But everyone, no matter what circumstances are thrust upon them, can make their own decisions. Gale chose his path. Yes, he didn't have much choice but he had some and he chose to fight. That's why I loved him. Why he bothered me was because he blamed Katniss for his misery. That's not fair! No one is responsible for anyone else's happiness. We are responsible for our own happiness. It is tragic. If things hadn't happened they way they had Katniss and Gale most definitely would have ended up together. But....circumstances. It sucks!  

So what about you? Did you like or hate the ending to this series? And if you did hate it have I convinced you not to hate it quite so badly? Don't forget to check out Suey's blog to see why I liked the ending.