6

Epic Fantasy: Falling Kingdoms by Morgan Rhodes

Hi there!

In preparation for little Colin’s entrance into the world I scheduled a few blog posts ahead of time. Today we’ll be taking a look at my thoughts on Morgan Rhodes’ Falling Kingdoms.

Overview

In the three kingdoms of Mytica, magic has long been forgotten. And while hard-won peace has reignedFalling Kingdoms by Morgan Rhodes for centuries, a deadly unrest now simmers below the surface. As the rulers of each kingdom grapple for power, the lives of their subjects are brutally transformed… and four key players, royals and rebels alike, find their fates forever intertwined. Cleo, Jonas, Lucia, and Magnus are caught in a dizzying world of treacherous betrayals, shocking murders, secret alliances, and even unforeseen love. The only outcome that’s certain is that kingdoms will fall. Who will emerge triumphant when all they know has collapsed?

Princess: Raised in pampered luxury, Cleo must now embark on a rough and treacherous journey into enemy territory in search of magic long thought extinct. Rebel: Jonas, enraged at injustice, lashes out against the forces of oppression that have kept his country cruelly impoverished. To his shock, he finds himself the leader of a people’s revolution centuries in the making. Sorceress: Lucia, adopted at birth into the royal family, discovers the truth about her past—and the supernatural legacy she is destined to wield. Heir: Bred for aggression and trained to conquer, firstborn son Magnus begins to realize that the heart can be more lethal than the sword.

It’s the eve of war…. Choose your side.

My Thoughts

I feel like Morgan Rhodes wrote this book (and series) for me. But then again, I feel like most fantasy novels were written for me because I can almost always get completely lost in this genre! Falling Kingdoms has all the characteristics I love in a quality fantasy novel. There is secret magic waiting to be reawakened, political intrigue and murder, action, power struggles, romance, and a cast of intriguing characters. There is no doubt that this series is an epic YA fantasy!

With all of those things happening in one story at once, Falling Kingdoms could have been bulky with too many plot layers, especially when shifting between four main characters in a fantasy world as deeply created as Mytica is . However, I feel like Rhodes has really done a fabulous job with keeping the story accessible and just layered enough to be interesting and exciting without being overwhelming and confusing.

Often times when a book shifts between the different characters in each chapter, I can get confused as to who’s perspective I’m reading or I get bored and want to skip ahead to the more interesting characters. Not so with this book! Each character (Jonas, Cleo, Magnus and Lucia) is fascinating in their own way (although I do have my favorites) and their individual chapters all fit into the story in such a way that makes you feel like you can’t miss anything anyone says or does!

If you’re a fan of high fantasy then you should definitely pick up Falling Kingdoms by Morgan Rhodes (and the sequels) because I swear it’s so engrossing you won’t want to put it down!

Details

Author: Morgan Rhodes
Publisher: Razorbill (December 11, 2012)
Format: Audiobook (Penguin Audio)
Length: 11 hours and 35 minutes
Series: First in the Falling Kingdom series
YA/MG: YA

7

Reading Queue: March

The Reading QueueHi!

Happy March! Here at BookTasty we are officially on Baby Watch! My due date is tomorrow and I’ve been having contractions every hour or so, so things are definitely progressing and are about to real, really soon!

It’s also time for another Reading Queue! The Reading Queue is a monthly event hosted by myself and Jessica at Books a True Story where we reflect on our reading from the previous month and set our reading plans for the upcoming month. I find that having reading plans for the month (even loose ones) helps keep me relatively focused…most of the time! haha

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How I Did Last Month

Audiobooks are my friends! When I feel like I don’t have time to sit and read a print book, audiobooks keep my “reading” going! In February 3 of the four books I finished were on audio.

Madman's Daughter by Megan Shepherd Her Dark Curiosity by Megan Shepherd

The Madman’s Daughter by Megan Shepherd (audio)

Her Dark Curiosity (The Madman’s Daughter #2) by Megan Shepherd (audio)

Throne of Glass by Sarah J Maas Gathering Darkness by Morgan Rhodes

Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas (print)

Gathering Darkness (Falling Kingdoms #3) by Morgan Rhodes (audio)

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 My March Reading Queue

With Marshmallow coming soon, I have no idea how much reading I’ll actually get done in March, but it’s totally okay to bit off more than I can chew right?!

Ruby Red by Kertin Gier The Boy on the Bridge by Natalie Standiford

Ruby Red by Kerstin Geir (audio)

The Boy on the Bridge by Natalie Standiford (print)

Shadow Scale by Rachel Hartman Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo

Shadow Scale (Seraphina #2) by Rachel Hartman (e-galley)

Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard (print)

Siege and Storm (Grisha #2) by Leigh Bardugo (print)

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Okay, so there you have it! March’s plans are, let’s say…optimistic…with a newborn on the very near horizon, but we’ll just have to see how things work out. I already started both Ruby Red and The Boy on the Bridge yesterday, but which titles from my queue should I pick up next?

As always, please join up with us for this month’s Reading Queue! We love to checkout what everyone else’s reading plans are!

2

Immense Like: A Mad, Wicked Folly by Sharon Biggs Waller

Hello!

I just recently taught a lesson in my library to a digital arts class about book cover design. One of the things we discussed was the things that draw us individually to book covers and I shared with them about my love for covers with pretty gowns on the front.  It’s a sign of how girly I really am! I am almost always drawn to a cover that has a gorgeous dress on the cover whether it be fantasy, historical fiction, or another genre.

Knowing this, it’s no surprise why I first picked up A Mad, Wicked Folly by Sharon Biggs Waller.

Overview

Welcome to the world of the fabulously wealthy in London, 1909, where dresses and houses are A Mad Wicked Folly by Sharon Biggs Walleroverwhelmingly opulent, social class means everything, and women are taught to be nothing more than wives and mothers. Into this world comes seventeen-year-old Victoria Darling, who wants only to be an artist—a nearly impossible dream for a girl.

After Vicky poses nude for her illicit art class, she is expelled from her French finishing school. Shamed and scandalized, her parents try to marry her off to the wealthy Edmund Carrick-Humphrey. But Vicky has other things on her mind: her clandestine application to the Royal College of Art; her participation in the suffragette movement; and her growing attraction to a working-class boy who may be her muse—or may be the love of her life. As the world of debutante balls, corsets, and high society obligations closes in around her, Vicky must figure out: just how much is she willing to sacrifice to pursue her dreams?

My Thoughts

Historical fiction is a genre that I usually always enjoy, being the history nerd that I am and I was pretty much immediately a fan of A Mad, Wicked Folly when I began listening to the audiobook. The story introduces us to Vicky, a student in Paris taking secret art classes to further her love for drawing. Vicky makes a choice regarding her art which immediately sends her back to her enraged parents in England who swiftly engage her to a wealthy man still willing to have her. In the meantime we see the political atmosphere in England, specifically London getting more and more tense as the Women’s Suffrage Movement is gaining speed. What I love about this book is that you see Vicky’s small-scale revolution in her own private life set up against the backdrop of a much larger, although similar, social revolution.

As a main character Vicky is believable, if not naive. Throughout the whole book Vicky is struggling. She wants to please herself and pursue her own interests and talents, but is stuck in the mire of society’s constraints. Her actions are often incredibly naive, but who can really blame her when all she knows is the way in which is brought up which was in a world of black and whites. As Vicky begins to mature she starts to see that the world is full of grays as well and that decisions and right versus wrong is not always so cut-and-dry. I liked her immensely!

What I also liked immensely is the romance! Ohhhh the romance! There is a small love triangle in A Mad, Wicked Folly and it is pretty common with its rich guy versus poor guy theme, but that doesn’t alter how enjoyable it is. This romance was one of the sweetest I’d read in a while and was one of the best things about this book!

I also have to say that I learned so much from this book! After finishing it, I immediately went online to find more information regarding the Suffragist Movement in the United Kingdom! There were parts of the suffragette experience examined in this story that sickened and shocked me and I had to figure out what was fiction and what was fact. In my mind, if you’re lead to research more about a specific topic after finishing historical fiction, the author has done his/her job! Tidbit: the title of the book was inspired by a quote from Queen Victoria calling politicians to speak out against Woman’s Suffrage…interesting!

See?! There is more to A Mad, Wicked Folly book than a pretty gown on the cover! There is have romance, suffragettes, Victorian England, art, and self discovery! Due to the detailed and pretty disturbing accounts of specific suffragette experiences, I (highly) recommend this one to fans of YA historical fiction who are 8th grade and older. I just liked this whole book immensely!

Details

Author: Sharon Biggs Waller

Publisher: Viking Books for Young Readers (January 23, 2014)

Format: Audiobook (Listening Library Audio)

Length: 11 hours and 13 minutes

Series: Standalone

YA/MG: YA

 

 

 

1

Completely Captivating: The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski

Welcome Back!Twizzler Bites

I’m sitting here at my dining room table munching on Twizzler Bites (YUM) and enjoying the pretty sunlight coming in through the window while I work on this post. South Carolina winters are strange. One morning it’ll be a frigid 23F and five hours later it’ll be a comfortable 64F. I have the front door open (with the doggy gate up of course) and Miles the Pup is lounging on the rug. I’m pretty pleased with today overall!

Overview

The Winner's Curse by Marie Rutkoski

I adore this cover…le sigh…

As a general’s daughter in a vast empire that revels in war and enslaves those it conquers, seventeen-year-old Kestrel has two choices: she can join the military or get married. But Kestrel has other intentions. One day, she is startled to find a kindred spirit in a young slave up for auction. Arin’s eyes seem to defy everything and everyone. Following her instinct, Kestrel buys him—with unexpected consequences. It’s not long before she has to hide her growing love for Arin. But he, too, has a secret, and Kestrel quickly learns that the price she paid for a fellow human is much higher than she ever could have imagined.

My Thoughts

A new fantasy series?! Yes please! I tried to get my hands on The Winner’s Curse all summer and fall but the waiting list at my local library was seriously a mile long! Finally it popped up on Overdrive, so I was able to listen to the audiobook. Although this book is classified as fantasy, I’d say it has more of a political intrigue plot with some fantasy elements woven throughout. Whatever it is, The Winner’s Curse is completely captivating and I couldn’t help but lose myself in the setting, characters, and story!

The world Kestrel lives in is well thought out and seems to resemble the Roman Empire in a lot of ways. Kestrel is member of the ruling Valorians and her people are the ruthless conquerors who have enslaved the Herrani people and treat them as cattle sold at auction. Despite the similarities to the Roman Empire, however, Kestrel’s world has its own qualities that give it a unique presence on the page, not to mention the political intrigue that begins to unwind! It is a well set up world that I am excited to visit more in the following books!

The romance between Kestrel and Arin, her newly acquired slave is subtle at first. It is slow to build as every interaction between the two in wrought with cords of romantic and emotional tensions. I didn’t feel rushed with this forbidden romance like one sometimes does in popular YA fiction, but every scene did leave me wanting more.

Recommended For

Because The Winner’s Curse is a slower paced read, with not a lot of action until the later half, I’d recommend it for older middle school readers and above, especially those who love a good romantic fantasy. I question whether  younger readers would have the patience to appreciate the slowly growing heat that is The Winner’s Curse. If you are one who can appreciate the gradual building of a good story, however, then you’ll enjoy this one like I did!

Details

Author: Marie Rutkoski
Publisher: Farrar Straus Giroux (March 4, 2014)
Format: Audiobook
Length: 8 hours and 24 minutes
Narrator: Justine Eyre (one of my faves!)
Series: First in a trilogy
YA/MG: Both

9

Reading Queue: February

The Reading QueueWelcome to this month’s Reading Queue (hosted by myself and Books A True Story)!

Me last week (35 weeks)!

Me last week (35 weeks)!

Well, I’m officially about a month away from my due date and from meeting our little Marshmallow! Things are about to get crazy! Mentally, I need Marshmallow to come after the due date (March 2) because I just feel completely not ready for anything earlier! But of course, baby will come when baby wants to come!

On to more bookish things!

It’s time for my monthly Reading Queue, which means I’ll recap last month’s books read and preview what I plan to read this month. Notice I say “plan”! It’s a loose goal that I try to keep to stay organized, but I usually end up getting distracted by other books that come my way!

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How I Did Last Month

Okay so I didn’t stick to my queue for January. Oh well. I did read some good books though! I actually chose to put down two books this month because I just was struggling with them and decided that I’d rather be reading other titles instead.

Mortal Heart by Robin LaFevers Hattie Big Sky by Kirby Larson

Mortal Heart (His Fair Assassin #3) by Robin LaFevers (print)

Hattie Big Sky by Kirby Larson (print)

Waterfall by Lisa T Bergen The Young Elites by Marie Lu

Waterfall (River of Time #1) by Lisa T. Bergen (audiobook)

The Young Elites by Maire Lu (audiobook)

City of Heavenly Fire by Cassandra Clare The Iron King by Julie Kagawa

City of Heavenly Fire (The Mortal Instruments #6) by Cassandra Clare  DNF

The Iron King (The Iron Fey #1) by Julie Kagawa DNF

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My February Reading Queue

I’m really excited about these books this month!

Throne of Glass by Sarah J Maas Madman's Daughter by Megan Shepherd

Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas (print)

The Madman’s Daughter by Megan Shepherd (audiobook)

Firelight by Sophie Jordan The Boy on the Bridge by Natalie Standiford

Firelight by Sophie Jordan (print)

The Boy on the Bridge by Natalie Standiford (print)

Shadow Scale by Rachel Hartman

Shadow Scale (Seraphina #2) by Rachel Hartman (e-galley)

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Okay, so here we go February! Let’s get a ton of reading in before life gets nuts! haha

Do you have any suggestions for which ones I should make priority?  I’ve already started The Glass Throne and The Madman’s Daughter and I think I’m going to love them both!

If you’d like to join us this month, please add the link to your Reading Queue below!


 

0

It Stands Out: Gated by Amy Christine Parker

Hiya!

I hope your week is going well bookish friends! Today we’re going to talk about Gated by Amy Christine Parker, a book I read back in September. I’m doing a little bit of catch up (not with all of the books I’ve read, but a few that stand out to me).

Overview

In the Community, life seems perfect. After the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Pioneer invited Lyla’s family to join Gated by Amy Christine Parkerhis group and escape the evil in the world. They were happy to be chosen, happy to move away from New York and start over in such an idyllic gated community. Now seventeen, Lyla knows that Pioneer is more than just their charismatic leader, he is their prophet . . . but his visions have grown dark.
Lyla is a loyal member of the Community, but a chance encounter with an outsider boy has her questioning Pioneer, the Community—everything. And if there’s one thing not allowed in the Community, it’s doubt. Her family and friends are certain in their belief. Lyla wishes she could feel the same. As Pioneer begins to manipulate his flock toward disaster, the question remains: Will Lyla follow them over the edge? From the outside looking in, it’s hard to understand why anyone would join a cult. But Gated tells the story of the Community from the inside looking out, and from behind the gates things are not quite so simple.

My Thoughts

Let’s be honest here. What other dystopian novel out there today deals with the idea of religious cults? Not too many! Gated, although not most well written book out there is pretty unique and stands out amid the multitude of YA dystopian titles out there.

As I said, the writing had flaws. Lyla, our main character, was a little confusing at times. We see her struggling with and questioning the world she knows but don’t really understand why she is different from her friends in this. Our villain is pretty obvious from the beginning, so no real surprises there, although I am interested in knowing more about this character and the motivation behind it all. There is some major instalove and the plot doesn’t stray much from what we assume will happen.

Despite all of this I was riveted to Gated – completely unable to put it down! Most popular dystopian fiction worlds are very different to what we know in our real world today, but Parker places her story in the decade following 9/11 allowing us to imagine this sub culture within our contemporary world. Plus, cults and why people join/stay in them are inherently fascinating topics! Overall, the story moves quickly forcing you to keep reading “just one more chapter!”, and I’m pretty sure I read it in about two days.

Recommended For

Despite its flaws, those interested in a unique take to the dystopian fiction genre will enjoy Gated. I believe that it works for a wide range of readers because of its distinct plot, fast pace, and psychological thriller ambiance (so go ahead middle grades, high school and older readers!).

Details

Author: Amy Christine Parker
Publisher: Random House Book for Young Readers (August 6, 2013)
Format: Hardcover
Length: 352 pages
Series: First in a series
YA/MG: Both

2

When Will I Learn? Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld

Hello!

Okay, so I’ve been trying to figure out why I haven’t been reviewing books recently. and I came to the conclusion that I was feeling overwhelmed. Overwhelmed by the amount of books I had read and not yet written reviews for, but also by the time it takes to write a review.

I decided to try something new. Over the next few weeks you may see reviews pop up with different formats and lengths. I’m trying to figure out what is sustainable for me. I’ve also decided to forget about all of those unwritten book reviews piling up and start fresh. So bear with me!

Leviathan by Scott WesterfeldOverview

Prince Aleksander, would-be heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne, is on the run. His own people have turned on him. His title is worthless. All he has is a battletorn war machine and a loyal crew of men. Deryn Sharp is a commoner, disguised as a boy in the British Air Service. She’s a brilliant airman. But her secret is in constant danger of being discovered. With World War I brewing, Alek and Deryn’s paths cross in the most unexpected way…taking them on a fantastical, around-the-world adventure that will change both their lives forever.

My Thoughts

Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld

This was the cover that kept me from this book for so long.

To be fair, I held off on Leviathan for years. I was intrigued by the story, but the cover was killing me slowly every time I saw it at my local library. I know I shouldn’t let that stop me from reading a potentially enjoyable book, but alas, it did. Everything in me revolts at this cover…I think it’s that protruding forehead bone. But I digress…

In need of a new audiobook, I found this one available on my library’s Overdrive account (if you haven’t started using Overdrive you should!) and finally decided to give it a go. I am so glad I did because Leviathan was such an interesting mix of alternate history and steampunk adventure. It reminded me a lot of Kenneth Oppel’s Matt Cruse trilogy, which I loved. The characters are interesting and are found in unique situations (by choice and not) and both are forced to deal with their own prejudices and misconceptions of others.

The steampunk/alternate history setting had me scouring the internet for more information. Of course I know the basics of how World War I began (thank you Social Studies teachers and Jeopardy!) but I had to know more about the details, which I then compared to Westerfeld’s version. Weaving in the Clankers and Darwinists was a brilliant way to illustrate the clash between eastern vs. western ideals that played a part in the start of World War I. Scott Westerfeld, you get mucho points on the world building scene!

Recommended For

Leviathan is not the book for every reader. If you’re already a fan of the steampunk sub-genre, than this one would get your little steam engine going right away. That being said if you haven’t delved into this sub-genre I think Leviathan’s story is strong enough to be a quality introduction. If you enjoy audiobooks, this was the perfect book to listen to and it was narrated by the amazing Alan Cumming. I was surprised by how much I enjoyed this book and am embarrassed by how long it took me to actually read it…when will I learn?!

Details

Author: Scott Westerfeld
Publisher: Simon Pulse (October 6, 2009)
Format: Audiobook
Length: 8 hours and 20 minutes
Series: First in a series
YA/MG: Both
6

Reading Queue: January

The Reading QueueHappy 2015!

It’s a brand new year friends! There are going to be a lot of changes happening for me this year as we Hi Catwill welcome our first baby in early March. It’s really intimidating but really exciting all mixed together!

As usual, as the New Year arrives I can’t help but think about how my 2015 “Bookish Landscape” will look. I always get so excited to start the year of with a reading BANG!

Since today is January 1st I have decided that one easy way to start 2015 off right is to attempt to read more from the books I already own. Every good library contains a ton of books one hasn’t read yet, but I’d like to begin by finally giving some attention to these titles.

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How I Did Last Month

The month of December was a pretty good reading month for me. Having the start of my two-week Winter Break allowed me ample to time to read, relax, and repeat! In the end, I was able to read 8 books in December, which helped me finish my 2014 Reading Challenge Goal with 86 books read!

Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo Exquisite Captive by Heather Demetrios

Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo (print)

Exquisite Captive by Heather Demetrios (audiobook)

Blue Lily, Lily Blue by Maggie Stiefvater We Were Liars by E Lockhart

Blue Lily, Lily Blue by Maggie Stiefvater (audiobook)

We Were Liars by E. Lockhart (e-book)

The Winner's Curse by Marie Rutkoski  Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins

Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins (print)

The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski (audiobook)

Forest Born by Shannon Hale WaistcoatsAndWeaponry

Waistcoats & Weaponry by Gail Carriger (e-book)

Forest Born by Shannon Hale (audiobook)

Did Not Finish

Moxie and the Art of Rule Breaking by Erin Dionne

Moxie and the Art of Rule Breaking by Erin Dionne (print)

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My January Reading Queue

I always have high reading spirits in January and I know I tend to bite off a little more than I can chew in the first few months of a new year, but oh well! I will have more quiet evenings for reading time this month since my Husband will be in the UK for about 10 days. So here goes!

Real Mermaids Don’t Wear Toe Rings by HeleneJanuary Reading Queue Boudreau (print)

Hattie Big Sky by Kirby Larson (print)

The Iron King by Julie Kagawa (print)

The Boy on the Bridge by Natalie Standiford (print)

Firelight by Sophie Jordan (print)

Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas (print)

Afterworlds by Scott Westerfeld (print)

Not Pictured

Mortal Heart by Robin LaFevers (e-book)

Champion by Marie Lu (audiobook)

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I know I have a big goals for this month! How about you? What titles are on your Reading Queue? Feel free to link to your Reading Queue post below we love to see what everyone else is reading!

5

2014 End of the Year Book Survey

2014-end-of-year-book-survey

Well hello there and Happy New Year! It feels good to be back at my laptop working on a post for this blog! I couldn’t let 2014 slip by without reflecting on all the bookish things. In some ways this past year has been challenging and difficult, but overall it was a very good year and I have high hopes for 2015. Please enjoy my End of the Year Survey and feel free to leave a link to yours in the comments, so I can see what you’ve been up to this year!

 reading-stats-2014

Number Of Books You Read: 86
Number of Re-Reads: 0
Genre You Read The Most From: Fantasy

 best-YA-books-2014

1. Best Book You Read In 2014?

Contemporary: We Were Liars by E. Lockhart

Fantasy: Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge

Historical Fiction: A Mad Wicked Folly by Sharon Biggs Waller

We Were Liars by E Lockhart Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge A Mad Wicked Folly by Sharon Biggs Waller

2. Book You Were Excited About & Thought You Were Going To Love More But Didn’t?

The Moon and More by Sarah Dessen. I thought I’d be really into Dessen’s newest summery contemporary novel because I have loved the other books that I’ve read by her. In the end the storyline in this one just wasn’t up to par with her other novels so, in the end I was pretty disappointed.

 3. Most surprising (in a good way or bad way) book you read in 2014? 

The Boy on the Wooded Box by Leon Leyson. I normally don’t lean toward nonfiction reads and probably wouldn’t have picked this one up if it wasn’t required reading for a committee I’m a member of, but I’m so glad I did! This was such an enthralling true story of the Holocaust that I just couldn’t put it down.

 4. Book You “Pushed” The Most People To Read (And They Did) In 2014?
The Crossover by Kwame Alexander

 The Crossover by Kwame Alexander. This was by far my most recommended book in 2014. I pushed this book on almost every student I met, especially my reluctant readers because it’s different (written in verse), it’s realistic fiction, and it’s about basketball. A lot of students (mostly boys) took my advice, read it, and shared it with their friends. It is a middle school librarian’s dream! haha

 5. Best series you started in 2014? Best Sequel of 2014? Best Series Ender of 2014?

The Falling Kingdoms series by Morgan Rhodes was probably the best series I started in 2014. I love fantasy and this series has it all even though I’ve only read the first two books so far.

TIE: Waistcoats & Weaponry (Finishing School #3) by Gail Carriger was one of my favorite sequel of the year. Carriger’s steampunk/supernatural Victorian, England has yet to treat me wrong. Cress by Marissa Meyer is by far my favorite book in the Lunar Chronicles series and Cress is my favorite of all Meyer’s heroines so far!

The One by Kiera Cass was my favorite series ender of the year. Okay, so I know that the series is technically not over yet since the announcement of The Heir (which Goodreads has marked as #4), but it doesn’t count in my mind because it’s supposed to be about a different generation and a totally different Selection. It just doesn’t count okay?!

6. Favorite new author you discovered in 2014?

Airborn by Kenneth OppelKenneth Oppel. I was so pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed his Matt Cruse trilogy that I ripped through those audiobooks like no one’s business! The mix of adventure and steampunk/fantasy knocked me off my feet. I’ll definitely be looking for more of his books in 2015.

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

The Haunting of Gabriel Ashe by Dan Poblocki. Anything in the horror genre usually sticks in my mind and gets worse as my imagination mulls over it, which is why I tend to stay away from anything scary. This one was required reading for the previously mentioned committee I’m on, and I was surprised at how much I liked it, even though I did have to stop reading it when I was home alone!

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

The Diviners by Libba Bray. I was completely obsessed with this paranormal thriller set in the roaring twenties! My husband had to ask me on numerous occasions to take my earbuds out and press pause on the audiobook for a while! It was that intriguing!

 9. Book You Read In 2014 That You Are Most Likely To Re-Read Next Year?

Honestly, probably none. I don’t usually re-read books…unless they’re written by Jane Austen. There are just SO MANY new books to explore I can’t justify spending time on one I’ve already read.

10. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2014?

 Shadow and Bone by Leigh BardugoShadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo. I just love how gorgeously typographic this cover is. The illustration at the bottom and the use of only three colors just makes this cover stand out in my mind. It’s simple yet dramatic all at once and when you know the story better you see that there are symbols representing the different characters on the cover itself.  It helps that I completely loved this book too!

11. Most memorable character of 2014?

Alanna of Trebond. I started The Song of the Lioness series by Tamora Pierce because it was one of those “OMG You haven’t read that series yet and you call yourself a fantasy lover?!”.  So I finally read it and yes I adore Alanna in all of her stubborn, strong, fearful, brave confusion! She could be Katniss’ older sister!

12. Most beautifully written book read in 2014?

Forest Born (Books of Bayern #4) by Shannon Hale. Shannon Hale will always be one of my favorite authors because she creates these poetic and lush fairy tale retellings that just make her stand out among all the other authors out there. I always love her books.

13. Most Thought-Provoking/ Life-Changing Book of 2014?

Counting by 7′s by Holly Goldberg Sloan. I wouldn’t say that I enjoyed this story. I would say that it really got me thinking about relationships, community and the importance of being connected to people. It was too much of a crying book for me to actually like, but it did get my thoughts moving.

14. Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2014 to finally read? 

Sloppy Firsts by Megan McCaffertySloppy Firsts by Megan McCafferty. For years everyone has been talking about this book and how awesome Jessica Darling is. Now, since I’ve read the first two books, I finally know what the fuss is about!

15. Favorite Passage/Quote From A Book You Read In 2014?

“Gogo’s word make me feel taller. / People really are like plants – / kind words make them grow.”  -Serafina’s Promise by Ann E. Burg

This beautifully true quote comes when Serafina is working on a garden with the help of Gogo, her grandmother, who praises Serafina’s hard work with the plants. It’s one of those quotes that reminds me why being a middle school educator is so significant and the responsibility I have to speak kind words.

16.Shortest & Longest Book You Read In 2013?

March: Book One by John Robert Lewis. This graphic novel memoir of John Lewis experiences during the Southern Civil Rights movement was my shortest read in 2014 with just 128 pages.

Dreams of Gods & Monsters by Laini Taylor. This trilogy finisher was my longest read of the year at 613 pages. I did listen to it on audiobook which though, with translates to 18 hours and 11 minutes.

 17. Book That Shocked You The Most

We Were Liars by E. Lockhart. I’m completely sure that almost every other YA fan will also list this one for this category. I JUST read it about two days ago and my mind was pretty much blown. Not because what happened was that shocking, but because Lockhart’s writing was so excellent that I TOTALLY did NOT expect it to happen. I had no idea. THAT is great writing!

18. OTP OF THE YEAR (you will go down with this ship!)

Jessica Darling and Marcus Flutie.  I know I’m like over a decade behind with The Jessica Darling series by Megan McCafferty but COME ON! I’ve only read the first two books, and already I swoon thinking of their secret little coded messages and realistic friendship/relationship.

19. Favorite Non-Romantic Relationship Of The Year

Jack Baker and Early Auden. The friendship between these two boarding Navigating Early by Clare Vanderpoolschool outsiders in Clare Vanderpool’s Navigating Early is so sweet and tender. You have these two teenage boys who both feel abandoned in some way forging a friendship while at that important coming of age time in their lives. Its good.

20. Favorite Book You Read in 2014 From An Author You’ve Read Previously

Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld. I read Westerfeld’s Uglies series years ago (and LOVED them) and have known about this steampunk alternate history series for a while, but just never got around to giving it a try. I can’t wait to get my hands on book two, Behemoth!

 

21. Best Book You Read In 2014 That You Read Based SOLELY On A Recommendation From Somebody Else/Peer Pressure:

We Were Liars by E. Lockhart. I’ll be honest. I was not interested in this one when it first came out. I think it was mostly because of all the hype it got online. Everyone was talking about how amazing it was and I kind of thought…meh. But then I read it and yeah…I understand the hype! haha

22. Newest fictional crush from a book you read in 2014?

Falling Kingdoms by Morgan RhodesI apparently had a thing for “bad boys” in 2014 because this is normally not my type! Some of my most major book crushing has been on guys that aren’t stereotypically good and might even be bad when you get down to it! Here are the first four that come to mind. Prince Magnus and Jonas Agallon both from Falling Kingdoms by Morgan Rhodes. How is it possible that I would be happy if she ended up with either one?! Also, The Darkling from Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo.  I know he’s pretty evil and really like a hundred years old, but he’s also pretty sexy! And don’t forget Ignifex from Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge.

 23. Best 2014 debut you read?

A Mad Wicked Folly by Sharon Biggs Waller. I really like historical fiction and this debut had me hooked from the very beginning! It’s full of art, suffragettes, hot cops, romance, Victorian England…who wouldn’t love it?!

24. Best Worldbuilding/Most Vivid Setting You Read This Year?

The Diviners by Libba Bray. This book is a great paranormal thriller, but the roaring twenties setting was by far my favorite part of the book! From the clothing, to slang, to historical events, music and cultural trends Bray had me thinking I was living in 1920s New York City the entire time I listened to this audiobook!

25. Book That Put A Smile On Your Face/Was The Most FUN To Read?Better Off Friends by Elizabeth Eulberg

Better Off Friends by Elizabeth Eulberg. This was such a sweet story of friendship, romance and coming of age. I purely enjoyed every minute of this book! If you’re looking for a quality feel good contemporary novel, this one is sure to make you happy.

26. Book That Made You Cry Or Nearly Cry in 2014?

Counting by 7s by Holly Goldberg Sloan. I’ve already said it but I didn’t enjoy this book. I tend to stay away from crying books as a general rule, but if one book was going to make me cry this one gave it a good try. It almost did, I promise.

27. Hidden Gem Of The Year?

Under the Egg by Laura Marx Fitzgerald. This was such a clever and quirky middle grades mystery I can’t believe it didn’t get more press.

28. Book That Crushed Your Soul?

 Icons by Margaret Stohl. I thought “Margaret Stohl…she’s really popular it has to be good”. I was wrong. I read it all the way through though just to be sure. This book was so bad that my soul was crushed because I can never get back that time spent reading it.

29. Most Unique Book You Read In 2014?

Gated by Amy Christine Parker

Gated by Amy Christine Parker. Was it the best book I read this year? No. But there is no other YA dystopian title out there about a religious cult/commune. I read it as a part of that committee I’m on and I’m really glad I did because like, I said, although it had its faults Gated sticks out the most to me as the most unique book of 2014.

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

My Basmati Bat Mitzvah by Paula J. Freedman. I was just so disappointed in this one that it made me angry.

book-blogging

1. New favorite book blog you discovered in 2014? 

Honestly, I didn’t do much new blog shopping this year. I was barely able to keep up with my own and the blogs I already love.

2. Favorite review that you wrote in 2014? 

Probably my favorite review was the one I wrote for The Dream Thieves. It was not my favorite book in any way (Actually it was a major struggle for me to read) so the review was a difficult one for me to write. I feel like in the end I challenged myself and what I got was a very honest, sincere review.

3. Best discussion/non-review post you had on your blog?

I have been a little (okay A LOT) M.I.A. with reviews and the blog in general since school started. I’m currently in my third trimester of my first pregnancy and honestly all I could manage for many months was work, reading, resting. It’s normal, but when I realized that I had forgotten my monthly Reading Queue for November, I felt awful. So I had to be brave to come back for my December Reading Queue and confess that I forgot and just couldn’t handle anything extra. The response from followers was so kind and encouraging. This was by far my favorite post of the year for that reason. Thanks guys!

4. Best event that you participated in (author signings, festivals, virtual events, memes, etc.)?

I was pretty out of the loop for anything extra related to blogging this year (I didn’t even make it to YALL Fest boooo). But I have continued to love keeping up with my Reading Queue meme whom I co-host with the awesome Jessica at Books A True Story. The Reading Queue is still really small, but I like getting to know the others who participate regularly a little better!

5. Most Popular Post This Year On Your Blog (whether it be by comments or views)?

My most popular post was: YA Reads for Fans of Period Dramas.

 6. Post You Wished Got A Little More Love?

My review for Half a Chance by Cynthia Lord, which was such a great contemporary middle grades read. Give this review some love people! :)

7.  Did you complete any reading challenges or goals that you had set for yourself at the beginning of this year?completed

YES! After not meeting my Goodreads Reading Challenge goal for 2013 I am excited to announce that I surpassed my Reading Challenge goal for 2014! My goal was set at 70 books and I have finished with 86 books read this year! WHOOT!

Sadly though, I did not meet my 2014 YA Audiobook Challenge goal (hosted by Book and a Latte). I only listened to 34 audiobooks this year (instead of the planned 36) and because of my pregnant blogging slump I didn’t even come close to reviewing 24 of them. OOPS! Oh well, there is always 2015.

looking-ahead-books-2015

1. One Book You Didn’t Get To In 2014 But Will Be Your Number 1 Priority in 2015?

 Mortal Heart by Robin LaFevers and The Perilous Sea by Sherry Thomas were both on my December Reading Queue, but I didn’t make it to them before the end of the year. Both will be some of the first books I try to attack in January!

PerilousSeaMortal Heart by Robin LaFevers

2. Book You Are Most Anticipating For 2015 (non-debut)?

I can’t pick just one!!

Winter (Lunar Chronicles #4) by Marissa Meyer. (November 2015)Winners Crime by Marie Rutkoski

The Winner’s Crime (Winner’s Trilogy #2) by Marie Rutkoski (March 2015)

Manners & Mutiny (Finishing School #4) by Gail Carriger (November 2015)

3. 2015 Debut You Are Most Anticipating?

A Wicked Thing by Rhiannon Thomas (Feb. 2015).  A new fairy tale retelling!

4. Series Ending/A Sequel You Are Most Anticipating in 2015?

See #2! haha

5. One Thing You Hope To Accomplish Or Do In Your Reading/Blogging Life In 2015?

I hope to post more regularly. Even after the baby comes. That doesn’t have to be multiple times per week. Maybe only once a week…we’ll see. I’d like my posting to be more regular though.  I know a baby will be time consuming, but with staying home there might be some wiggle room! :)

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Thanks so much to everyone to reads/follows BookTasty! You’re all so encouraging and I appreciate you! I hope you have a fabulous New Year!

7

Reading Queue: December

The Reading QueueWell hello there!

Before I was pregnant I really doubted this whole “pregnancy brain” phenomenon. I actually thought it Forgetfulwas a cop out for women just dropping the ball. I completely admit it. Especially because now I know that it really is a thing! No joke. It wasn’t until about a week ago that I realized “Oh yeah. I didn’t post my November Reading Queue”! OOOPS!

So yeah.

But I’m really excited to say that I remembered December! But before we go through my plans for December, let’s take a look back at what I did read in November.

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How I Did Last Month

I may not have posted by Reading Queue for November, but I was reading!

Splendor by Anna Godbersen Curveball by Jordan Sonnenblick Zombie Baseball Beatdown by Paolo Pacigalupi

Splendor (Luxe #4) by Anna Godbersen

Curveball: The Year I Lost My Grip by Jordan Sonnenblick

Zombie Baseball Beatdown by Paolo Bacigalupi

Lawless by Jeffery Salane Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld Falcon in the Glass by Susan Fletcher

Lawless by Jeffery Salane

Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld

Falcon in the Glass by Susan Fletcher (DNF)

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My December Reading Queue

December means Winter Break, which is of course two glorious full weeks off from school. I get to relax and read all the books I want! So, I do have some big plans!

Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo Moxie and the Art of Rule Breaking by Erin Dionne ExquisiteCaptive

Shadow and Bone (The Grisha #1) by Leigh Bardugo

Moxie and the Art of Rule Breaking: A 14 Day Mystery by Erin Dionne

Exquisite Captive (Dark Caravan Cycle #1) by Heather Demetrios

 Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins WaistcoatsAndWeaponry The Iron King by Julie Kagawa

Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins

Waistcoats & Weaponry (Finishing School #3) by Gail Carriger

The Iron King (Iron Fey #1) by Julie Kagawa

Mortal Heart by Robin LaFevers PerilousSea WeWereLiars

Mortal Heart (His Fair Assassin #3) by Robin LaFevers

The Perilous Sea (The Elemental Trilogy #2) by Sherry Thomas

We Were Liars by E. Lockhart

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What titles are on your Reading Queue for December? In your opinion, which books on my list should I prioritize? Let me know!