Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Waiting on Wednesday (127)

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine that allows bloggers to share which books we are most anticipating.
This week I am waiting on The Replaced by Kimberly Derting (04/28/15):

Description on Goodreads:
Romantic and action-packed, The Replaced is the gripping second installment in the Taking trilogy.

Kyra hasn't been the same since she returned from her mysterious five-year disappearance. Now, on the run from the NSA, Kyra is forced to hide out with others who, like her, have been Returned. Yet she is determined to find Tyler, the boy she loves who was also abducted—all because of her. When her group intercepts a message that Tyler might still be alive but is in the hands of a shadowy government organization that experiments on the Returned, Kyra knows it's a risk to go after him. What if it's a trap? And worse, what if the returned Tyler isn't the same boy she lost?

Perfect for fans of The Fifth Wave and the Body Finder series, The Replaced is both chilling and explosive, with creepy, otherworldly elements and twisty, psychological thrills that will have you questioning what exactly it means to be human.
Why I’m Waiting:
I just can’t get enough of Kimberly Derting. Was The Taking my favorite book of hers? No. Was it still action packed, loaded with romance, and full of darkness? It so was. It’s a little more sci-fi than she’s gone before, and I’m more than okay with this. I also just have so many questions left over from book 1. This is a definite sci-fi cover now too, which I think I like a lot more than her first cover in the series (which had a lot of insects on it). Also, is it just me, or are a lot of books coming out in April?
What are you waiting on this week?

Monday, January 26, 2015

A Good Week in Books (98)

Yay for new books! I received a nice pile for review this week. And I purchased one at a book sale. I almost had a book every day every day I came home from work. And there’s nothing quite as good as coming home to new books waiting at your door. Thank you Hachette and Macmillan for such lovely books!

I’ll Meet You There
by Heather Demetrios
Fairest by Marissa Meyer (!!!)
Beastkeeper by Bat Hellisen
Finding Serendipity by Angelica Banks
The Zodiac Legacy: Convergence by Stan Lee
The Eternity Cure by Julie Kagawa
How was your week in books?

Thursday, January 22, 2015

The Bane Chronicles by Cassandra Clare, Sarah Rees Brennan, and Maureen Johnson

Summary (from Goodreads):
Fans of The Mortal Instruments and The Infernal Devices can get to know warlock Magnus Bane like never before in this collection of New York Times bestselling tales, in print for the first time with an exclusive new story and illustrated material.

This collection of eleven short stories illuminates the life of the enigmatic Magnus Bane, whose alluring personality, flamboyant style, and sharp wit populate the pages of the #1 New York Times bestselling series, The Mortal Instruments and The Infernal Devices.

Originally released one-by-one as e-only short stories by Cassandra Clare, Maureen Johnson, and Sarah Rees Brennan, this compilation presents all ten together in print for the first time and includes a never-before-seen eleventh tale, as well as new illustrated material.
This book was magical. Seriously, there are no better words. I have read and loved Cassandra Clare’s books. And while reading these books that I love, I often stopped to think about how wonderful it would be for Magnus to have his own book. For those of you who don’t know, Magnus is flamboyant, fashion-crazed, kind-hearted warlock who has been alive for centuries. He’s bisexual and has hinted at many different romances in Clare’s earlier series. Now, I finally got to see some of these romances. I got to see Magnus become the warlock that he is in the last of the Mortal Instruments books, and it is such a fun journey.
If you are a fan, you know that these stories about Magnus could be anything but dull. The man goes for hot air balloon rides around Paris, he rescues Marie Antoinette, and he falls in love with men, women, shadow hunters, and vampires. He has adventures on pirate ships, he’s on the forefront of wars, revolutions, and peace treaties, and he helps (much as he doesn’t think he does) so many people.
Not all the stories are equally good. I think I actually liked the first couple of stories and then the last couple of stories the best. I loved his role in the French Revolution, but I loved even more getting to see his first date with Alec. There’s moments with Alec, with Camile, with Tessa, with all the Herondales, and with so many other characters I know and love.
Also, I love that Sarah Rees Brennan and Maureen Johnson helped with the stories. These are three of my all time favorite YA authors, and how often do you get such a fantastic mixture in one? While I have always loved Magnus, since the first book, I finally feel as though I might understand him a little bit better. And I love him even more. He is just such a rich, interesting, deep, and hilarious character. I would read 11 more stories about him if more were to be written.
I do get that not everyone loves Cassandra Clare, and I have noticed quite a bit of anger toward her online recently. Most of it is in regards to her continuing to write books in this universe and “milking” it for as long as she can. There has only, so far, been one book out of the now 10 books in this universe that I didn’t absolutely love. So, I guess, if they continue to be good stories, I can’t complain about the same universe. She doesn’t always write about the same characters, and I think it’s characters that she most excels at writing. So, everything does read rather uniquely to me. Why not keep writing in a setting where supernatural creatures exist and shadow hunters are there to fight the demons?
I guess the main thing I wanted to say in regards to the hate I’ve been reading is this: everyone is entitled to their own opinion (I’m all for free speech), but I do think you should read a book before expressing so much anger toward it. Or at least, explain why you stopped reading it. I don’t always like the books everyone else likes. And vice versa, people don’t always agree with my tastes either. However, I don’t give my opinion/tastes/reviews on books I haven’t read. And also, I thought I’d throw in; there are some male authors out there who have written more than 10 books in the same universe, and I don’t see them receiving quite as much anger for it. Why can’t an author (male or female) keep writing in the same universe and maintain their success?
All in all, I loved this collection of short stories. Magnus Bane is just such an interesting character. His adventures were equally interesting. And I’m really glad these three authors decided to do this. I give it a 10/10.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Waiting on Wednesday (126)

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine that allows bloggers to share which books we are most anticipating.
This week I am waiting on Dream a Little Dream by Kirsten Gier (04/14/15):

Description on Goodreads:
Mysterious doors with lizard-head knobs. Talking stone statues. A crazy girl with a hatchet. Yep, Liv’s dreams have been pretty weird lately. Especially this one where she’s in a graveyard at night, watching four boys perform dark magic rituals.

The really weird thing is that Liv recognizes the boys in her dream. They’re classmates from her new school in London, the school where’s she’s starting over because her mom has moved them to a new country (again). But they seem to know things about her in real life that they couldn’t possibly know, which is mystifying. Then again, Liv could never resist a good mystery.
Why I’m Waiting:
There’s going to be another Kerstin Gier book! I absolutely loved her Ruby Red Trilogy. Her books are some of my all time favorite YA time travel books. Her suspense and mystery is always good. Her characters are excellent. Her romance is great. And her sense of humor is wonderful. While this new book (to be honest) sounds a lot like other YA paranormal romance storylines I’ve seen before, I know it will be great. There is no way her new book won’t hold on to all her amazingness. Also, that cover!

What are you waiting on this week?

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Challenge: Re-Read 2015

Re-read 2015
Every year, I participate in one reading challenge (besides my Goodreads one, which is just to read a certain amount of books total). In the past, I have participated in the challenges other bloggers have created and I have participated in my own.
This year, I’m following my own path again. I came to realize that last year, I only had the chance to re-read one book. I used to re-read books all the time. In fact, I factor in my likelihood of re-reading when purchasing books. It’s just so hard to justify re-reading books when there are so many new books I haven’t read yet.
That is why this year, I am challenging myself to re-read at least 15 books. They can be any books I want. And as you can probably gather from my picture, I plan on re-reading the whole Harry Potter series because I don’t believe I’ve re-read them in years –and that’s half of my challenge!
Now, you know why you will be seeing a bunch of re-read reviews. I’m so looking forward to this!

Monday, January 19, 2015

A Good Week in Books (97)

I had a nice, little book week thanks to Macmillan and Hachette. I received 3 new finished books for review. One is a new one I haven’t heard a lot about, but sounds amazing. One will be a re-read of a book I loved when I was a kid. And the last one is actually a compilation of comics.

When by Victoria Laurie
Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt (40th Anniversary Edition)
Dogs Are People, Too by Dave Coverly
How was your week in books?

Friday, January 16, 2015

Best of 2014 Giveaway

Last week, I posted my favorite books of 2014. This week, I’d like to give two of them away. This contest is open to all my followers, international and otherwise (as long as Amazon or The Book Depository can ship to you).
The winner has 48 hours to respond to my email with their 2 choices and their shipping address, or I’ll have to randomly select a different winner.
The Winner can choose any two of the following books:

by Scott Westerfeld
I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson
Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins
Sinner by Maggie Stiefvater
Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson
Breathe, Annie, Breathe by Miranda Kenneally
Dreams of Gods and Monsters by Laini Taylor
Cress by Marissa Meyer
Unmade by Sarah Rees Brennan
Falling into Place by Amy Zhang
The One by Kiera Cass
Glory O’Brien’s History of the Future by A.S. King
The Geography of You and Me by Jennifer E. Smith
To read more about the books, click here (and see my original post of the Best Books of 2014).

Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Waistcoats and Weaponry by Gail Carriger

Summary (from Goodreads):
Sophronia continues second year finishing school in style -- with a steel-bladed fan secreted in the folds of her ball gown. She, best friend Dimity, sweet sootie Soap, and charming Lord Felix Mersey stow away on train to return classmate Sidheag to her werewolf pack in Scotland. No one suspects what or who would be aboard the suspiciously empty train.
So few books have the ability to make me laugh out loud. These books do it to me every time. The adventure, the steam punk atmosphere, the characters, the romance, and the amazing humor really make this whole series stand out! This was a book I quickly deemed unreadable while in public. I literally found myself laughing hysterically at certain moments.
I love, love, love these books. There is so very little not to love in them. The characters are phenomenal! I wish I was as smart and cool as Sophronia. Her clever, loyal friends are all so real and fascinating. The boys are interesting too! I love the love triangle that had developed by the start of this book (and the three were stuck in one train car for so very long too), and I super loved the conclusion Sophronia had reached about where her love truly lies in this one too.
There was never a dull moment. Between the seduction lessons, the bladed fan battling, the werewolf politics, the covering for one’s friends, the parties, the dancing, the disguising, the problem solving, train-stealing, gun shots, steam punk science, and battles with Picklemen, there wasn’t ever really a good moment to put this down. I read it in one day (2 sittings). And reading it kind of felt like I was indulging myself in one giant box of chocolates that I didn’t have to share with anyone. That’s how good this book is; it’s chocolate you don’t have to share.
I found this installment to be a bit more suspenseful as well. The stakes were higher. Sophronia has to pick a side, pick a future. The injuries and sacrifices were more serious too. So, even though there was this delectable layer of hilariousness throughout everything, there was also a more serious –things must be decided layer, too.
I want to go back and re-read all of these books. They are that good and that entertaining. If you haven’t tried these yet, what are you waiting for? It gets a 10/10 from me.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Waiting on Wednesday (125)

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine that allows bloggers to share which books we are most anticipating.
This week I am waiting on Another Day by David Levithan (08/25/15):

Description on Goodreads:
"Nancy Hinkel at Knopf has acquired David Levithan's Rhiannon, the companion to Every Day, his recent novel about A, the character who changes bodies on a daily basis. The new book is told from the perspective of A's love interest, Rhiannon. Publication is set for spring 2015; Bill Clegg at WME brokered the deal for North American rights." -Publishers Weekly
Why I’m Waiting:
I absolutely adored Every Day by David Levithan. It was one of those books that had me thinking way past my completion of it. It’s a book that changed how I saw the world, changed my thinking about love and people. It was one powerful piece of fiction. The description for this new one doesn’t sound too concrete yet. I think it’s going to about Rhiannon, the girl the soul from Every Day fell in love with. And I think this sounds amazing. I’m not sure if it will read more like a sequel or a book that takes place at the same time as the first. Either way, I’m excited for more. I can’t wait to see how it goes.
What are you waiting on this week?

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

The Body Electric by Beth Revis

Summary from Goodreads:
The future world is at peace.

Ella Shepherd has dedicated her life to using her unique gift—the ability to enter people’s dreams and memories using technology developed by her mother—to help others relive their happy memories.

But not all is at it seems.

Ella starts seeing impossible things—images of her dead father, warnings of who she cannot trust. Her government recruits her to spy on a rebel group, using her ability to experience—and influence—the memories of traitors. But the leader of the rebels claims they used to be in love—even though Ella’s never met him before in her life. Which can only mean one thing…

Someone’s altered her memory.

Ella’s gift is enough to overthrow a corrupt government or crush a growing rebel group. She is the key to stopping a war she didn’t even know was happening. But if someone else has been inside Ella’s head, she cannot trust her own memories, thoughts, or feelings.

So who can she trust?
Sadly, I did not love this book. I am a huge Beth Revis fan. I loved her other YA Sci-fi series, and I was excited for something new from her. Unfortunately, this book just didn’t feel very new…I think one of the things I loved best about her other books were how unique they were. This one kind of just felt like a whole bunch of other YA books that already exist.
Maybe it’s also that I am beginning to get really tired of the whole unreliable main character thing, who may or may not be remembering things correctly. On the other hand, there are some classic YA storylines I don’t get bored with. I think my thing is if an author is going to write a story I have read many times before, he/she better not only write it well, but also write it with a unique take. Unfortunately, nothing really seemed that new to me. And I found some of the writing to actually be confusing.
There were at least 3 different times where it felt like the author accidentally put a sentence in too early (like she was referencing something that already happened –but it was still a few pages from actually happening). Normally, I don’t really mention editing mistakes on my blog. But I felt like this happened several times, and I’m not 100% sure if it was an editing mistake, or what. All I know is it took me away from the story and I was confused.
I also never really cared for any of the characters. The main character was very focused on figuring her life out and making sure she was on the right side of things. But, I never felt like there was any depth to her. I never knew her. What were her hobbies? What did she used to do for fun with her mom (before the illness)? What were some good memories of her with her father? And while I wanted to know the romantic interest because he seemed so interesting, I never really felt like I knew him either.
I did really enjoy the world-building in this one though. It was such a cool sounding world. The economic divide made the whole thing very believable. And the idea of higher classes being at the top of the island, and the lower classes on the bottom (literally on the water) was interesting. The whole scene with the main character trying to out-run the government in the lower section, by hopping from boat to boat was pretty epic. However, it did remind me a little of the hierarchy system from The Summer Prince by Alaya Dawn Johson. I did really feel like I was seeing this world and I found myself getting lost (in a good way) in its description.
The world-building in this book was excellent. However, I wasn’t impressed by much else. It took me over a week to read this (!) I didn’t really feel like I ever knew any of the characters very well. And, I also feel like I’ve seen it all before. I wanted more of the uniqueness I came to expect from this author. I give it a 4/10.

Monday, January 12, 2015

A Good Week in Books (96)

I had another nice, little book week. I received two books for review. Thank you, Macmillan for these adorable sounding romances.

The Boy Next Door
by Katie Van Ark
Save Me by Jenny Elliott
How was your week in books?

Thursday, January 8, 2015

We Were Liars by E. Lockhart

Summary (from Goodreads):
A beautiful and distinguished family.
A private island.
A brilliant, damaged girl; a passionate, political boy.
A group of four friends—the Liars—whose friendship turns destructive.
A revolution. An accident. A secret.
Lies upon lies.
True love.
The truth.

We Were Liars is a modern, sophisticated suspense novel from National Book Award finalist and Printz Award honoree E. Lockhart.

Read it.
And if anyone asks you how it ends, just LIE.
I love looking at Best Of Lists, and this book not only was pretty much on every YA list of 2014, but in many cases was the number one book for many of these lists. I figured I had no excuse not to read it. I also love the idea of a surprise twist ending.
My only problem with a surprise twist ending is that I knew something big was approaching. I kept waiting for it to happen. And I guess because of this, I kept coming up with different ideas for what it would be, as I went. And I so guessed it wrong. However, I wish I didn’t know how twisty the end was, so I could just get into the narrative more without so much outside guessing.
On the other hand, I did read it crazy fast, needing to know what the ending would bring. Did I mention that I had about 4 guesses for how it would end, and that none of my guesses were right? I was genuinely surprised by the twist, and I can see why so many others were too.
But, besides all that is the wonderful writing. There’s summer 15 (the summer when the big bad happens). A major event happens that the main character can’t remember. Her doctors say its post-traumatic stress and that eventually she’ll get her memories all back. It’s also the summer Cady falls in love. And the first summer without her father (who left her and her mother). And the summer Cady really realizes things about the world, about her family, and about how lucky she and her family have it.
After the big event, Cady has painful migraines that last for days and require her to stay in bed. She’s stopped going to regular school. She’s died her hair black. And while she doesn’t remember what happened, part of her feels the need to give away all her belongings. As a reader, you just have to know what made the girl from summer 15 the girl Cady becomes in summer 17. What was the major event? Why does she feel the need to give away all the things that are important to her? And why was everyone she cares about warned not talk to her about any of it?
Interwoven between summer 17 are memories Cady slowly recovers, and fairytales she creates to cope with everything. I loved connecting the fairytales to her life. And these stories definitely added in my whole “what could this twist be?” game I was playing. The fairy tales made everything slightly more askew than they already were. And I was always questioning how much I could rely on my main character.
The writing was beautiful. I loved the fairy tales, but I also loved the almost poetic way the words were laid out. The setting came to life for me. It probably helped that I’ve been to Martha’s Vineyard (and live on the Cape), but I felt like I was there. I felt like I could see and understand the beach houses, the summer vibes, and the isolation of it all.
I never super connected to the main character. I felt bad for her. And I guess it’s always been hard for me to like characters who are so na├»ve and ignorant of the world. She did learn about things and even try to change things. But, Cady just never seemed too concerned about anything outside of what happened that one summer and her close family/friends. She was lacking almost too much knowledge for me. And I never felt that pull towards her that I wanted to.
All in all, this book was beautiful. The writing makes you think you are on the beach on a private island. A lot of the family drama is super intense. The love story was adorable. The twist was huge. And it’s a remarkably fast read. I never really connected to the main character, and maybe there could have been a little more character development for the rest of the liars too. But, I loved it. I give it a 9/10.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Waiting on Wednesday (124)

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine that allows bloggers to share which books we are most anticipating.
This week I am waiting on Pip Bartlett’s Guide to Magical Creatures by Maggie Stiefvater and Jackson Pearce (04/28/15):

Description on Goodreasds:
From bestselling authors Maggie Stiefvater and Jackson Pearce comes an exciting new series full of magical creatures, whimsical adventures, and quirky illustrations.

Pip is a girl who can talk to magical creatures. Her aunt is a vet for magical creatures. And her new friend Tomas is allergic to most magical creatures. When things go amok—and they often go amok—Pip consults Jeffrey Higgleston’s Guide to Magical Creatures, a reference work that Pip finds herself constantly amending. Because dealing with magical creatures like unicorns, griffins, and fuzzles doesn’t just require book knowledge—it requires hands-on experience and thinking on your feet. For example, when fuzzles (which have an awful habit of bursting into flame when they’re agitated) invade your town, it’s not enough to know what the fuzzles are—Pip and Tomas also must trace the fuzzles’ agitation to its source, and in doing so, save the whole town.
Why I’m Waiting:
Do I need a reason to wait for anything by Maggie Stiefvater at this point? I’ve never read anything by Jackson Pearce, but I have read lots of good reviews for her books. Also, this book sounds adorable and kind of gives me warm/happy memories of Hagrid.
What are you waiting on this week?

Monday, January 5, 2015

Ms. Marvel, Vol. 1: No Normal by G. Willow Wilson

Summary (on Goodreads):
Kamala Khan is an ordinary girl from Jersey City — until she's suddenly empowered with extraordinary gifts. But who truly is the new Ms. Marvel? Teenager? Muslim? Inhuman? Find out as she takes the Marvel Universe by storm! When Kamala discovers the dangers of her newfound powers, she unlocks a secret behind them, as well. Is Kamala ready to wield these immense new gifts? Or will the weight of the legacy before her be too much to bear? Kamala has no idea, either. But she's comin' for you, New York!

It's history in the making from acclaimed writer G. Willow Wilson (Air, Cairo) and beloved artist Adrian Alphona (RUNAWAYS)! Collecting MS. MARVEL (2014) #1-5 and material from ALL-NEW MARVEL NOW!
I don’t normally read a ton of comic books. I do like a good graphic novel now and then (as you can tell from my reviews), but I haven’t read a comic book in a while. However, when I learned that the new Ms. Marvel was going to be a teen Muslim girl from Jersey, I knew I would have to read this one.
I know there has been a lot going this past year about race (in books, law, and life). And I was beyond excited to see a little diversity in a comic book, which lets’ face it tends to be pretty white. Also, I love that this was completely and utterly YA. Everything from the best friend with a crush, to the needing to explore the unknown, to getting angry at her parents, and to learning her abilities made this one so YA friendly that I couln’t help but love it.
I liked reading about Kamala’s family and culture. I liked that she wasn’t sure what she believed. And I loved her sarcasm! She was one snaky YA superhero that is for sure. I also loved how real the setting was. There was school, and parties at the park, and a convenient store. I particularly loved the message of the story about image. So much was said (very inconspicuously) about body image, self-consciousness, and beauty in general.
Add all of that to some fun action sequences, some crazy technology, and the rescuing of a friend, and well, you get the makings for something that comes off as rather special. Also, the artwork is pretty awesome. I’m curious to see where this all goes. I’m not sure if Kamala’s new superhero status is long lasting or not. And I can’t wait to see where things go with the best friend. And her abilities. I’ll definitely be looking out for Volume 2. I give this one a 9/10.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

A Good Week in Books (95)

I’m starting the year off right, with some new books for review! Thank you, Macmillan and Disney/Hyperion for the 3 lovely finished books for review. They all have such nice covers too, don’t they?

Alex as Well
by Alyssa Brugman
Rogue Wave by Jennifer Donnelly
Alistair Grim’s Odditorium by Gregory Funaro
How was your week in books?

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Best Books of 2014

I cannot believe today is the first day of 2015! Where has 2014 gone? Seriously, this was one crazy, busy year. I’m so glad I had so many great books to make my year that much better. Next week, I’m planning on a Best Books of 2014 Giveaway too, so come back soon.
There were a lot of great books this year. My rules for this list is how they have always been:
1) Each book listed has come out this past year
2) Each book is either YA or middle grade
3) I have read the book in 2014 (not later or earlier). And it doesn’t matter if other books in the series have come out earlier.
I am going to start at the top with number 1, and make my way down to my number 10 book of the year. And of course because I’m me and have so much trouble making up my mind, there will also be three honorable mentions at the bottom. Happy New year! I hope 2015 brings just as many, if not more, wonderful books to talk about.
1) Afterworlds by Scott Westerfeld (Review / Rating: 10/10)

This was one of the smartest books I have ever read. Really, it was pure genius. It was a book about the YA universe, and I’ve never read a book (YA or adult) that has dealt with this before. I only really see it blowing the minds of other people immersed in the YA world, but this is a list from me, and I’m in that world, and this blew my mind. I loved the interwoven stories. I loved the characters, the setting, and the coming of age feel. But, mostly the topic, the satire, and scope of its concept is what really won so many points from me. I’m so glad I have this one signed.
2) I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson (Review / Rating: 10/10)

This book was so good I was practically crying when it was over because there was nothing else to read. Seriously, I remember giving it a big book hug before I let it go. The writing was unique and loaded with beautiful metaphors. The concept of art in this book was so interesting and beautiful. The topics of family, grief, and first love just pulled all the pieces together in one amazing YA package.
3) Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins (Review / Rating: 10/10)

Reading a book by Stephanie Perkins is like becoming a teenager again. She just gets it. She gets what those crazy/long-lasting crushes are like. She gets the mystery, the drama, and the importance of it all. And her characters are so real that I feel like I know them. When characters from books past showed up, I was practically hyperventilating. And then there’s Isla, the introvert I connected to on so many levels. With the Parisian setting, the exquisite romance of it all, and the wonderful characters, you can just not go wrong. If you have not read this author’s books yet, what are you waiting for?
4) Sinner by Maggie Stiefvater (Review / Rating: 10/10)

Cole and Isabel! They were my two favorite characters from Stiefvater’s first series, and then they got their own book! Can all authors do this?  To quote myself, “I thought it would be hard remembering things because it has been so long since I’ve said goodbye to this werewolf series. But, I guess with excellent characters, it’s not hard to remember things. They speak, they live, they feel, and it’s like I was never apart from them. Maggie Stiefvater writes characters in a way that makes you feel like you are never really apart from them. I feel like I know them. I wish I knew them for real. And I certainly feel everything they feel.” What else can I say?
5) Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson (Review / Rating: 10/10)

I only just finished this book (the day I’m writing this post!). I already had my list planned and then this wonder of a book happened and changed my whole list. This is certainly the most unique book I’ve read this year. And it’s probably the most beautiful. I literally stopped to re-read passages out loud to myself because of how beautiful and powerful they were. It’s won the National Book Award. What other motivation do you need to read it? Go, read it now. Please.
6) Breathe, Annie, Breathe by Miranda Kenneally (Review / Rating: 10/10)
This was such a great contemporary! I remember feeling, “Finally, an author who really understands grief.” It’s the story of a girl learning to survive through her grief of her recently passed away boyfriend. Part of her recovery process is running in the marathon he would have run in. There was a lot about the running community the main character finds herself in. It’s about finding love again after you lost it. And it’s about living through and overcoming the bad. It’s the kind of book you finish with a huge smile on your face.
7) Dreams of Gods and Monsters by Laini Taylor (Review / Rating: 10/10)

To quote myself again (I’m so quotable…), “
Throughout the series is this metaphor of beginnings and I loved how it came to play here. Also, I love how Taylor combines darkness with light. There’s torture and pain, but there’s also violins and wish police, and so much humor. I was literally biting my nails in worry one moment, laughing out loud another, and then gasping in shock a few minutes after that. It’s truly only the best writers that can span all of a person’s emotions in one book (or in this case, even a few minutes).” This was definitely another huggable book. The whole series is really quite remarkable, and I’m so glad the ending was epic.
8) Cress by Marissa Meyer (Review / Rating: 10/10)

So, I think the whole world needs to take a moment right now just to bask in this author’s ability to write action/suspense. Also amazing is her ability to combine so many elements into one book and not only have it not be overwhelming, but have it be overly incredible. This one is a sci-fi Cinderella story with the sci-fi Red Riding Hood (of book 2), and now with the sci-fi version of Rapunzel of this book 3. Add royal weddings, kidnappings, crashing satellites, plenty of revenge, a subplot about the plague, and well, you get the idea that there is a lot of awesome going down. I cannot wait for the next installment. This is such an imaginative, action-packed series.
9) Unmade by Sarah Rees Brennan (Review / Rating: 10/10)

I don’t believe I’ve ever had another series make it to the Best Of Lists every year. Seriously, book 1 was my favorite book of 2012 (#1). Book 2 was technically an honorable mention of 2013 (but still, it was there!). And now the last book is on my 2014 list. What an amazing series. These are some of the snarkiest, wittiest, and, full of sarcasm books I’ve ever come across. I love them. This conclusion did not disappoint. Added bonus, the romance was sizzling. But seriously, if you like a little humor with your books (or a lot), and or fantastic dialog you must read these. Must.
10) Falling into Place by Amy Zhang (Review / Rating: 10/10)

I remember this book shocking me. I was not expecting to fall for it as hard as I did. It was different, interesting take on teen suicide. It’s in the perspective of a mystery character (who’s identity you don’t discover till the very end), and it tells the story of how one teen girl comes to be in a place where she doesn’t feel like she can continue. It was unique, gripping, and un-put-downable.
Honorable Mention 1: The One by Kiera Cass (Review / Rating: 10/10)

As far as dystopias go, these books tend to be a little fluffier and more on the romance side than I tend to like. But, in the case of this series (and in particular, this last book), I absolutely love it! This one has a lot of action too. There’s rebels and caste systems and giant economic divides. But it’s also kind of like an episode of the Bachelorette. Think it’s an interesting mixture? Go read them. This last one was a great finish to a truly fun series.
Honorable Mention 2: Glory O’Brien’s History of the Future by A.S. King (Review  / Rating: 10/10)

This was a feminist book at its core. And frankly, where are all the YA feminist books? I want more. I loved the contemporary style mixed with magical realism. The idea of developing the ability to see people’s futures and pasts was different. The terrible future that was being mapped out for women was terrifying. And I loved that the main character decided she needed to do something about it, prevent it from happening. This was unlike any story I’ve read before and this would definitely be a great book to show people who doubt that YA literature can as good as the adult stuff.
Honorable Mention 3:  The Geography of You and Me by Jennifer E. Smith (Review / Rating: 10/10)

Smith writes the quintessential teen romance. There was something magical about this one. How the whole story erupts from this one singular moment, during a blackout in NYC. The setting spans states and countries. Some of their story is told in postcards. And while the whole notion of meeting your soul mate in an elevator, during a blackout is romantic, the majority of the book takes place with the two main characters apart, growing up apart from each other. Yet, it still remained romantic. I loved this one.