2015 recap and suggestions

First things first…

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME!!!

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Yep, I’m a NYE baby, so I’m kind of partially biased to New Year’s Eve being the best holiday. It’s neat having a birthday on NYE since the next year of life starts with a brand new year completely.

In 2015 I plan to make more time for reading. I did a LOT of slacking this year- especially on my blog- but I’m hoping to be a lot more consistent this year.

But on to the books…I want to talk about my favorite reads from 2015!

Top Reads from 2015:

These aren’t necessarily in any particular order…I tried and it was too hard to do.

So…

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I can’t tell you how many times I’ve recommended Wrath and the Dawn. I got it at work and have several kids hooked on it. We’re all anxiously awaiting Rose and the Dagger.

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This. Book.

It is hard to explain how I feel about this book. It made me happy, furious, confused, shocked…pretty much every emotion. I’m SO excited for the next installment and can’t wait for the movie to get started.

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2015 is the year that I fully embraced how much I adore contemporary romance in YA. I’ve always been a sci-fi/fantasy fan, and still am, but this year I read so many contemporary and romance books that I decided it must be my thing too.

I loved Every Last Word. LOVED. I bragged on it so much that a friend was dying to read it and in turn was ecstatic to get an ARC from Tamara at RT back in May. (FYI, Tamara is the sweetest ever. If you get the chance to meet her then don’t miss out!)

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I know that I just recently reviewed this, but here’s your reminder….Everything Everything is EVERYTHING. Wrath and the Dawn was my favorite book of the year from June all the way to last week and then this book happened. SO GOOD. Get it.

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MY FAVORITE SUPERHERO FINALLY GETS RECOGNITION!

That’s my thoughts on this one. Actually it’s more like “alsdkjfioea yasssss, Natasha!!” LOVE. HER. Marvel still won’t make a Black Widow movie, but this book would make a perfect movie. Get on it, Marvel.

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This was my first Emery Lord book and I’m now hooked. Plus, the guy in the book is a nerd who is obsessed with Firefly? Yes, please!

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A review is coming on this soon since it doesn’t release until March, but…MAN. So fun. I can’t wait for this to come out so that I can shout it’s praises even more!

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I’m a major Colleen Hoover fan. I don’t try to hide it. I read November 9 in one day and got completely sucked in. This might be my favorite book from her, but it definitely was among my favorite reads of the year.

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A western. I never thought I’d love a Western, but I was hooked. Plus, this definitely wins my vote for best book cover of 2015- hands down- it is GORGEOUS.


I feel like I should add one more just for the sake of having a top 10, but I can’t necessarily keep this in the same league.

HOWEVER….

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You can’t read it without having read the rest of the series, but WINTER was one of my favorite reads of the year and a perfect finale to the Lunar Chronicles!


So there you have it…my top 10 favorite books I read in 2015. There were several more that were close to being added that just barely missed out, but these were my favorites by far.

Here’s to 2016 being just as strong of a year for book releases!

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Release day: F U Cancer by Hilaria Alexander

Cover

Summary:

Lucy has always been a good girl. The most hardcore thing she’s done in her life was falling for a divorced man ten years her senior.
But he was the love of her life and she married him. When her Peter Pan of a husband decided to divorce her, she thought it was her chance to start anew. That was until she was diagnosed with breast cancer. Besides looking like Britney circa 2007, she is taking it well, real well. You might see her walk around the hospital during chemo sessions with bright colored wigs and outrageous t-shirts that seem to shock the most conservative employees. One of them reads F U CANCER.

My Thoughts:

As I’ve said before, I really enjoy Hilaria’s writing. However, I didn’t know what to think when I heard about this one. A romance where the main character has breast cancer? I wasn’t sure how it would work, but I ended up really enjoying it. Lucy seemed realistic and I loved how she faced her problems face first instead of wallowing in pain. This is entirely different from her first two romances, but I still liked it just the same.

Now in case that doesn’t tempt you, here’s an Excerpt from it 🙂

Excerpt:

I should have suspected something. Instead, when the doorbell rang, I opened the door without the slightest idea of what was waiting for me.

 

Beverly showed up on my doorstep along with the man I had tried to keep away all week.

 

“Shit,” I said. “What now?”

 

Brandon smiled, but looked sheepish, which made me worry. He was holding a bouquet of roses, and handed it to me without saying a word. I took it and thanked him, and when I locked eyes with his, I felt a million different feelings unleash inside of me.

 

He was giving me that hooded, cautious look. His eyes looked a deeper blue than usual. My eyes fell on his mouth and I realized how much I had missed his touch.

 

I wanted to jump into his arms, but there was still doubt in my heart and it was weighing the happy-go-lucky part of me down.

 

“Okay, so…as you might have guessed by now, you and I aren’t going anywhere,” Beverly spoke. “But you and Brandon are going on a little adventure–”

 

“What?” I turned to her snapping out of my Brandon-induced daydream.

 

“Yes! And you have to leave, like…right now. So, chop-chop!”

 

I looked at Brandon quizzically. “What do you have to say? Cat got your tongue?” I joked.

 

“I want you to come with me. I don’t want to have to persuade you. I’m also afraid I’m going to spill the beans and ruin the whole thing,” he said.

 

“You seem pretty good at keeping things to yourself,” I sneered.

 

“Alright! Easy, woman! Come on, time to go!” She came behind me and started pushing me towards Brandon’s car.

 

“Okay, okay!” I took my purse, locked the house and unwillingly walked to the car, all with the flowers in my arms. “Crap! I forgot about the flowers. I turned to Beverly. “You have the keys to my house, right? Would you mind putting them in a vase?”

 

“I’ll do it,” she replied.

 

“Thanks.”

 

“But first, there’s something else I have to do.” She exchanged a look with Brandon and I stared confused at the two of them.

 

She got a strip of black fabric out of her purse. What the hell was that?

 

“Turn around,” she commanded.

 

“What?”

 

“Turn around. I have to put this blindfold on you.”

 

“Seriously?” I gasped. How could these two people be those I used to think I trusted? “Am I not coming willingly?” I asked Brandon.

 

“This is her idea,” he replied, tilting his head in Beverly’s direction.

 

Of course. I should have known. Miss lover of kinky steamy romance novels.

 

“Well, it’s not necessary,” I argued.

 

“It totally is,” Beverly rebuffed. “It’s going to ruin the whole surprise. Wear the motherfucking blindfold or so help me God, Lucy.”

 

“Okay, okay.” Jeez. Who knew she could be such a Bossypants? “You’re making me reconsider our friendship, you know,” I told her.

 

“Lies,” she said, tying the knot behind my head. “All done!” she exclaimed and then pinched my butt.

 

“Ouch!”

 

“Awww, stop it, you sissy. Give me these.” She took the flowers from my arms. Brandon took my hand and just the feeling of his warm fingers around mine, made my heart jump a little. I exhaled.

 

“I promise you, this is going to be good,” he whispered in my ear. God, his voice sounded even sexier than I remembered.

 

He helped me in the car and put the seatbelt around me. His lips brushed against mine just for a second, and I gasped.

 

“I have to admit, I do like this blindfold,” he teased.

 

“Of course you do.”

 

“I almost forgot,” Beverly said. She took my hand and placed some lightweight object in my hand. It was shaped like a square and it was made of paper.

 

“What is it?”

 

“A CD mix. A little ‘sorry for blindfolding you, friend, have a great time on your mystery road trip’ playlist.”

 

“Road trip?” I asked.

 

“Oops, I said too much. Anyway, I’m sure you’re going to hate me a little less after you listen to it.”

 

“If you say so.”

 

“Have a fabulous night and don’t forget to tell your best friend she’s the best when you end up having a great time.”

 

“We’ll see about that,” I joked and smiled, but I wondered if she knew I was joking. I couldn’t see her and wasn’t sure if she was smiling.

 

“Bye, Lucy. I wuv you!”

 

“Wuv you too!”

 

She closed the door, and a moment later I heard Brandon’s door open and he sat in the passenger seat. He closed his door and started the car.

 

“Where are we going?” I asked him.

 

“You’ll see.”

 

“Well, at the moment, I can’t see anything.” He laughed. It was a warm, rich sound that eased up the nervousness and made me smile.

 

“I missed your smile,” he said. “I can’t believe you had the strength to stay away from me a whole week.”

 

“Eight days,” I corrected him.

 

“Were you going to keep giving me the cold shoulder if I hadn’t showed up at your door?”

 

“I don’t know.” I heard him exhale a deep breath and wondered if that hurt his feelings. It was easier to be indifferent to him when he wasn’t around. Now, in the small space of the car, my head swam in his scent, his words made my heartbeat speed up, and a warm and fuzzy feeling spread into my chest. The knots in my stomach dissolved and the words almost come rushing out of my mouth.

 

“I missed you too.”

 

“Good,” he said.

Monday Musings: Surprisingly good!

Have you ever read a book outside of your normal style and ended up like this:

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That’s me getting sucked in by awesome.

…or maybe it got you like this?

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My point here is that I absolutely LOVE when I go into a book that is outside of something that I would typically read and, yet, I end up completely addicted to the story.

In fact, my favorite thing is when I go into a book blindly (shout out to Wrath and the Dawn back in June!) and then end up shouting the book’s praises even though “I wouldn’t normally read something like this.”

At one point in my life, I would have been all in when it came to Fantasy, but that’s not necessarily the case these days, so I’m always surprised when a story pulls me in and won’t let me go. Those tend to be my favorite reads because I can’t even explain what my addiction is. (in the case of Fantasy- I’m a sucker for a well structured world. If your world building is on point then you’ve GOT ME!)

Either way, this is me when I finish some books outside of my normal style or just one that completely blew away my expectations.

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What’s the last book that you read that completely took you by surprise?

-Melanie

End of Year reading goals!

Y’all!! January 1 is NEXT WEEK!!!

Also, my BIRTHDAY is NYE, so happy birthday to ME!

Anyways, I’m hear to talk about the end of the year.

I set my GR goal for the year at 45 books and am TWO books away from meeting that, so I’d like to finish THREE books by next Thursday in order to both meet and EXCEED my goal.

Without further delay, here’s the tree books I plan to read to finish out the year:

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I’m actually about 1/3 into Rebel of the Sands right now and…WOW. You’re going to want this one when it drops in 2016!

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I’ve been dying to read Dumplin’ and I’ve had it for almost a month, so it’s time.

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 Just in time for the second one to release in February!

I hope everyone had a great Christmas and a great week finishing out 2015!

Review: The Trouble with Destiny

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Summary:



With her trusty baton and six insanely organized clipboards, drum major Liza Sanders is about to take Destiny by storm—the boat, that is. When Liza discovered that her beloved band was losing funding, she found Destiny, a luxury cruise ship complete with pools, midnight chocolate buffets, and a $25,000 spring break talent show prize.

Liza can’t imagine senior year without the band, and nothing will distract her from achieving victory. She’s therefore not interested when her old camp crush, Lenny, shows up on board, looking shockingly hipster-hot. And she’s especially not interested in Russ, the probably-as-dumb-as-he-is-cute prankster jock whose ex, Demi, happens be Liza’s ex–best friend and leader of the Athenas, a show choir that’s the band’s greatest competition.

But it’s not going to be smooth sailing. After the Destiny breaks down, all of Liza’s best-laid plans start to go awry. Liza likes to think of herself as an expert at almost everything, but when it comes to love, she’s about to find herself lost at sea.

My Thoughts:

I just really like Lauren Morrill’s books. They’re always adorable and have such SWEET romances!

Trouble with Destiny was even more of a good choice for me because of the band competition. Former band nerd, right here! (okay, who am I kidding…I’m still a band nerd at heart.)

The story was fun and the idea was definitely different. There was a part in the middle that kind of lagged a bit for me, but I enjoyed it over all and would suggest it to anyone looking for a cute, quick read!

-Melanie

And also….MERRY CHRISTMAS! I pray that your day is wonderfully blessed!

Dear Santa!

Merry Christmas Eve!

With Christmas approaching TOMORROW, I thought that I’d share my top most wished for books. I try hard NOT to buy books for myself because I have so many already, but I’ve really been eyeing these.

harrypotter

Okay, so this one is NOT a surprise by any means, I’m sure. I was given a Barnes and Noble gift card last week and will most likely be using it to buy this. The artwork is BEAUTIFUL and I’ve longingly flipped through it SO many times since it was released.

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I’ve heard amazing things about Mosquitoland AND it is set in Mississippi! There aren’t many releases set here unless it is an older title or one dealing with civil rights, so I’m always excited to find one.

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A friend told me about Me Before You probably close to a year ago and I’ve been wanting to read it ever since. The movie is due out next year, so I’m hoping to get it soon and read it before then!


 

So, again, I say MERRY CHRISTMAS!

Those are my top 3 most wished for books, but I’m of course open to any bookish gifts! I hope everyone has a great holiday filled with great memories!

-Melanie

Holiday Read: My True Love Gave to Me

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Still hunting for a gift idea?

This would be the perfect gift for your favorite reader! HUGE thanks to the folks at Griffin Teen for sending me a copy a copy weeks ago! I’ve enjoyed reading short holiday stories from some of my favorite YA authors. Your favorite reader is bound to get excited over the inclusion of one of his or her favorite writers- I know several of my favorites are here. Even better- My True Love isn’t exclusive to Christmas and can be read all winter long.

Pick up a copy for your hard-to-shop-for reader!

Summary:

If you love holiday stories, holiday movies, made-for-TV-holiday specials, holiday episodes of your favorite sitcoms and, especially, if you love holiday anthologies, you’re going to fall in love with My True Love Gave to Me: Twelve Holiday Stories by twelve bestselling young adult writers (Holly Black, Ally Carter, Matt de La Peña, Gayle Forman, Jenny Han, David Levithan, Kelly Link, Myra McEntire, Rainbow Rowell, Stephanie Perkins, Laini Tayler and Kiersten White), edited by the international bestselling Stephanie Perkins. Whether you celebrate Christmas or Hanukkah, Winter Solstice or Kwanzaa, there’s something here for everyone. So curl up by the fireplace and get cozy. You have twelve reasons this season to stay indoors and fall in love.


-Melanie