Our Monthly Wrap-Up (#10)

Hi Lovelies, 

For the month of December I read:
DUST TO DUST by Tami Hoag
THE HATE U GIVE by Angie Thomas
HARD HITTER by Sarina Bowen
SWEET LITTLE LIES by Jill Shalvis
I'm currently reading:
HUNTED by Meagan Spooner
I'D TELL I LOVE YOU, BUT THEN I'D HAVE TO KILL YOU by Ally Carter
EMPIRE OF STORMS by Sarah J. Maas

Reviews posted in December:
Features posted:
Queue up on my iPad/phone:
  • I'm still in season 6 of Supernatural. I've been busy doing some personal life stuff and have had to put my beloved brothers on hold.

That's it for this month! I feel like it's busy around these parts. How was your December? Anything good or interesting or even bad? Tell me what happened!

I hope you all have a wonderful holiday and I'll see you guys in the new year!

2016 End of the Year Book Survey

This survey was created by Jamie from The Perpetual Page-Turner

Number Of Books You Read: 69 but currently working on #70.
Number of Re-Reads: 12

best-YA-books-2014
1. Best Book You Read In 2016?
The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas. It's a 2017 debut so I'm going to also mention This Adventure Ends by Emma Mills.

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

3. Favorite new author you discovered in 2016?
I have two, Sarina Bowen and Laura Griffin. I read Sarina's Brooklyn Bruisers series, Rookie Move and Hard Hitter and I'm LOVE! As for Laura, she took me back to one of my old fave, romantic suspense with the Tracers series.

4. Most action-packed/thrilling/unputdownable book of the year?
Any books from the Tracer series by Laura Griffin. I could devour them within a few hours.

5. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2016?
This Adventure Ends by Emma Mills - SOOOO pretty.

6. Most Thought-Provoking/ Life-Changing Book of 2016?
The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas.

7. Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2016 to finally read?
Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo . Better late than never is what I'm going to say.

8.Shortest & Longest Book You Read In 2016?
Shortest: Our Love Unhinged by Brighton Walsh - 88 pages
Longest: A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas - 624 pages

9. Favorite Book You Read in 2016 From An Author You’ve Read Previously
This Adventure Ends by Emma Mills

10. Newest fictional crush from a book you read in 2016?
The Darkling from The Grisha trilogy by Leigh Bardugo.

11. Best Worldbuilding/Most Vivid Setting You Read This Year?
A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas.

12. Book That Made You Cry Or Nearly Cry in 2016?
The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas 

13. Hidden Gem Of The Year?
This Adventure Ends by Emma Mills

14. Book That Crushed Your Soul?
The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

15. Book That Made You The Most Mad (doesn’t necessarily mean you didn’t like it)?
Get a Clue by Jill Shalvis. Nope. I did not like it. Not one bit.

1. Favorite review that you wrote in 2016?
Walk the Edge by Katie McGarry. I don't know exactly why but I loved this review.

2. Best discussion/non-review post you had on your blog?
Let's Chat Non-Bookish Edition: In Which I Talk Gilmore Girls Revival
3. Most challenging thing about blogging or your reading life this year?
Trying to keep the content fresh but also to learn how to not burnout from blogging.

4. Most Popular Post This Year On Your Blog (whether it be by comments or views)?
Review + Giveaway: Beautiful by Christina Lauren

5. Post You Wished Got A Little More Love?
Bookish Girl in the Kitchen

6. Did you complete any reading challenges or goals that you had set for yourself at the beginning of this year?
I did! I wrote all about it here.

1. One Book You Didn’t Get To In 2016 But Will Be Your Number 1 Priority in 2017?
I'm totally cheating here but I'm counting them because they are all series sequels/enders. Days of Blood and Starlight by Laini Taylor and Crooked Kingdoms by Leigh Bardugo.

2. Book You Are Most Anticipating For 2017 (non-debut)?
I don't actually have one! I've been trying to get through my TBR pile that I've stopped looking ahead. Book blogger fail, I know.

3. 2017 Debut You Are Most Anticipating?
Same as above. Eeek!

5. One Thing You Hope To Accomplish Or Do In Your Reading/Blogging Life In 2017?
Get a better handle of scheduling my posts. I want to be better than typing it up the night or hour beforehand.

6. A 2017 Release You’ve Already Read & Recommend To Everyone?
Yes, The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas. When it comes out, Imma need everyone to GO READ THIS BOOK. ASAP.

Review: Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo



Siege and Storm (The Grisha #2)
Author: Leigh Bardugo
Release Date: June 4, 2013
Publisher: Henry Holt and Company
Format: Hardcover
Source: Personal Signed Copy
Review by: Jenn
Darkness never dies.

Hunted across the True Sea, haunted by the lives she took on the Fold, Alina must try to make a life with Mal in an unfamiliar land, all while keeping her identity as the Sun Summoner a secret. But she can’t outrun her past or her destiny for long.

The Darkling has emerged from the Shadow Fold with a terrifying new power and a dangerous plan that will test the very boundaries of the natural world. With the help of a notorious privateer, Alina returns to the country she abandoned, determined to fight the forces gathering against Ravka. But as her power grows, Alina slips deeper into the Darkling’s game of forbidden magic, and farther away from Mal. Somehow, she will have to choose between her country, her power, and the love she always thought would guide her–or risk losing everything to the oncoming storm.

4 stars out of 5 stars

I loved going back into this world and learning what happened after the showdown at the end of Shadow and Bone. I was curious to see how Alina and Mal were faring and even my beloved Darkling.
  • Leigh Bardugo and her world building, it's so captivating. I can easily picture the world of Ravka as she describes. 
  • Alina and Mal. I was curious to see what Alina and Mal had gotten up to up since Shadow and Bone. With this book, I still wasn’t a huge fan of Mal. There were certain parts where I liked how he spoke up what he and Alina were thinking and avoiding to talk about. It made him the honest and good person he is supposed to be. But how he then acted towards Alina, as if it's her fault that she was the Sun Summoner and he was just a soldier, continue to turn me off of him. That’s not to say I liked how Alina reacted to his decision. 
  • The new characters mentioned, the privateer and a certain prince, were some of my favorite part of the book. I’ll admit that I wasn’t sure we could trust them but I slowly turn to their side.
  • The Darkling! For a second, I was worried for his fate and hoped he would be okay. Of course, reading that he got even more powerful sort of made me feel bad for Alina. I’m sad that I didn’t get more time with him, to be honest. All the time he is mentioned and who appears, I was salivating and eagerly reading. I am hooked on his story and I wanted more time with him. That showdown he had with Alina, I NEED to know what really happened and what happens next.
I think this reviews kind of shows you how much I really care about The Darkling and his story. While I like our protagonist, Alina, the way that Leigh Bardugo wrote this trilogy, I am more curious about what The Darkling will do and what he is thinking than what happens with Mal. And even at times with Alina. I don’t know if that was what Leigh was trying to accomplish, but I can’t help it. Time for Ruin and Rising.

Let's Chat: Happy Holidays!


Morning Lovelies,

As the year draws to a close, I want to take the time to thank you for being our reader and for sticking by us. We're going to be taking a week off to enjoy the holidays with our families and friends so if you see the blog quiet, you're aware of the reasons why. 

I do have a few more posts for the year that will go up soon but after that, we'll be back in January. I'll be sharing some news that will affect the blog but hopefully, it won't be too bad. But I'll get into details in a couple of weeks.

But for now, I hope you all have a nice holiday and be safe!

Review: Snapped by Laura Griffin



Snapped (Tracers #4)
Author: Laura Griffin
Release Date: August 30, 2011
Publisher: Pocket Star Books
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Source: Personal Copy
Review by: Jenn
SOPHIE BARRETT THINKS SHE’S LUCKY TO BE ALIVE.

SHE MAY BE DEAD WRONG.

On a sweltering summer afternoon, Sophie Barrett walks into a nightmare. A sniper has opened fire on a college campus. When the carnage is over, three people—plus the shooter—are dead, and dozens more injured. Sophie escapes virtually unscathed. Yet as details emerge from the investigation, she becomes convinced that this wasn’t the random, senseless act it appeared. No one wants to believe her—not the cops, not her colleagues at the Delphi Center crime lab, and definitely not Jonah Macon, the homicide detective who’s already saved her life once.

Jonah has all kinds of reasons for hoping Sophie is mistaken. Involving himself with a key witness could derail an already messy investigation, not to mention jeopardize his career. But Sophie is as determined and fearless as she is sexy. If he can’t resist her, he can at least swear to protect her. Because if Sophie is right, she’s made herself the target of a killer without a conscience. And the real terror is only just beginning…

3.5 stars out of 5 stars

Snapped literally starts off with a bang. Sophie Barrett, whom we met in the previous books, is at the local college campus to register for classes when she gets caught in the middle of a nightmare. A shooter has open fire on campus and it's mayhem. Jonah Macon, also in the previous books, is on the scene to help. Once the shooting is over, the police tries to close the investigation quickly but Sophie has reasons to believe that the case is far from over.

I thoroughly enjoyed Snapped. Laura Griffin hooked me with the premise of the book, it hit a little too close to home considering all the school shooting that have happened. The suspense portion of the book hooked me as did the romance but only to an extent. I really enjoyed Sophie and Jonah's characters in the previous books but there were some moments that made me perplexed by Sophie's antics. Just like Mia in Unforgivable, Sophie reacted in a way that made me questioned her. She had survived an attack and here she was, acting irrationally. Also, I just couldn't love Jonah. I liked him but there was something about him that stopped me from loving him.

All in all, I am enjoying this series and I look forward to reading the next one, Twisted.

Review: Outlander by Diana Gabaldon



Outlander
Author: Diana Gabaldon
Release Date: July 26, 2005
Publisher: Dell Publishing Co.
Format: e-book
Source: Personal Copy
Review by: Nahomi
The year is 1945. Claire Randall, a former combat nurse, is just back from the war and reunited with her husband on a second honeymoon when she walks through a standing stone in one of the ancient circles that dot the British Isles. Suddenly she is a Sassenach—an “outlander”—in a Scotland torn by war and raiding border clans in the year of Our Lord...1743.

Hurled back in time by forces she cannot understand, Claire is catapulted into the intrigues of lairds and spies that may threaten her life, and shatter her heart. For here James Fraser, a gallant young Scots warrior, shows her a love so absolute that Claire becomes a woman torn between fidelity and desire—and between two vastly different men in two irreconcilable lives.

4.5 stars out of 5 stars

I absolutely loved Outlander! It’s the second time book I’ve read, and I became enamored with this world and its characters.  I have to say that although I really like the story and characters I found it hard into the story at the beginning. I would pick it up read a few pages and put it down and this pattern persisted for a few weeks before I really got into the story and I couldn’t put it down.

Diana Gabaldon’s writing is very descriptive. The plot and characters are wonderful but some of the passages are verbose and can on occasion slow down the pace of the story. All of the descriptiveness did give me a clear and vivid picture of Claire, Jamie and their surroundings. 

Claire is a head strong heroine, I love her character and how she does what she feels is right. Although, sometimes I wish she would wish she would just listen to Jamie. Jamie is handsome, manly and just a softy inside. I love his sense of honor and tenderness all the while being a big tough warrior. Together Claire and Jamie have a great friendship and even greater chemistry that keeps me coming back for more. 

Overall Outlander is a fantastic story! I can't wait to start on Dragon Fly in Amber

Quotes (#180)

Morning Swooners,
I had such fun but busy weekend that I need a vacation from my mini vacation. Holy Cow! I did a lot of driving, walking and having fun! Now it's time to get back to work and the hustle and bustle of the week before Christmas. Lets see get some Monday morning motivation going with our quotes.

“Do not find peace. Find passion.”
~Michelle Hodkin, The Retribution of Mara Dyer

I love you. Today. Tonight. Tomorrow. Forever. If I were to live a thousand years, I would belong to you for all of them. If I were to live a thousand lives, I would want to make you mine in each one.”
~Michelle Hodkin, The Retribution of Mara Dyer

“Everyone's a little crazy. Some people just hide it better than others.”
~Michelle Hodkin, The Retribution of Mara Dyer

“You are what happiness means to me. And I would rather have today with you than forever with anyone else.”
~ Michelle Hodkin, The Retribution of Mara Dyer

“Maybe sometimes we can only see the truth about ourselves if someone shows us where to look.”
~ Michelle Hodkin, The Retribution of Mara Dyer

“I'll love you to ruins.”
~ Michelle Hodkin, The Retribution of Mara Dyer

“Be careful what you wish for.”
~Michelle Hodkin, The Retribution of Mara Dyer

Have a fantastic week!

Reading Challenges Wrap Up

Morning Friends,

As the year get closer to its end, it's time to start wrapping up the year. So with that, I wanted to see how I did in the challenges I signed up for at the beginning of the year.

In the Goodreads Reading Challenge, I pledged myself to read 45 books. 
I actually read 68(!) books this year and I'm still counting. Whoo hoo!


In Falling For YA's NetGalley and Edelweiss Reading Challenge, I pledged to myself to read 10 books.
Falling For YA
The details for this challenge can be seen here.

These are the levels:
Bronze - 10 Books <----
Silver - 25 Books
Gold - 50 Books
Platinum - 75 Books
Diamond - 100 Books

I did 12 books. Just slightly surpassed the Bronze.

Lastly, in Bookish Lifestyle's TBR Pile Reading Challenge, I pledged to myself to read between 11-20 books off my TBR pile.
The details for this challenge can be seen here.
The levels are:
1-10 A Firm Handshake
11-20 A Friendly Hug <----
21-30 First Kiss
31-40 Sweet Summer Fling
41-50 Could This Be Love?
50+ Married with Children

I read 42 books from my TBR pile!

I am so proud of myself at how I did for this year challenges. I really tried to just read what I wanted and not let a reviewing schedule forced me into a rut. It also helped that I stopped requesting and downloading books from NetGalley and Edelweiss. Like, dramatically. I only request/download if I've read the author or it sounds AMAZING.

For the upcoming new year, I will probably only participate in the Goodreads challenge. I haven't seen any other challenges that really has captured my attention and I'm working on some stuff that I'll share with you guys later so I'll be a little busy. BUT, at least 2016 was a good reading year.

Did you participate in any (reading) challenges? How did you do?

On Our Nightstand (#9)

On Our Nightstand is where we show the state of disarray our nightstand look holding all the books we are currently reading.

Morning Friends,

My nightstand for this month looks like this:
I am currently reading Hard Hitter by Sarina Bowen, I got in the mail On Broken Wings by Chanel Cleeton (there's a giveaway currently going!), I borrowed from the library Prior Bad Acts by Tami Hoag, and I'm still reading I'd Tell You I Love You, But Then I'd Have To Kill You by Ally Carter and Empire of Storms by Sarah J. Maas.

I should really finish the Ally Carter and Sarah Maas books and I will! But not by the end of this year, unfortunately.

Nahomi's nightstand:
Nahomi is currently reading, as an audiobook, Mindy Kaling's Why Not Me?

What books are on your nightstand?

Cover Reveal + Giveaway: Throwing My Life Away by Liz Czukas

Hi there Lovelies!

Today, I have a special treat for you guys. As some of you may know, I am a fan of Liz Czukas' book. I loved her books Ask Again Later and Top Ten Clues You're Clueless. So when she asked if I was interested in reading and helping promote her newest title, Throwing My Life Away, I couldn't type fast enough to say yes. So, today we finally get to show you the COVER! Here's a few words from her first:
I am so excited to share this cover with you all! I am seriously in love with it. Sarah from Okay Creations did such an amazing job! I can't wait for you all to read the book so you can see exactly how perfect each one of the images she chose is. Seriously when I saw it, I was almost spooked by how utterly perfect they were.

It's completely surreal to be sharing this cover so close to the release! In only 5 days, Throwing My Life Away will be up on all digital platforms and also available in paperback. Such a change from the usual way, where we have to wait months just drooling over a gorgeous cover image before we get to see it in person.

And you guys, seriously, the paperback is possibly even more gorgeous. I'll post pics as soon as I can.

Thank you Sarah, for the bee-you-ti-ful cover! I'm proud to have it among my covers. And a huge huge thank you to all the awesome bloggers who have helped to spread this cover far and wide. The support of the book blogging community is one of my absolute favorite parts of being an author.

Now for the giveway! You could win one of three paperback copies of Throwing My Life Away! If the winner is in the US, I can send a signed copy, but that doesn't mean you international peeps can't enter! You'll get a paperback copy shipped to you, and I'd be happy to drop a signed bookplate in the mail to go with it! - Liz Czukas

Now, let's get to the reveal and synopsis.

Throwing My Life Away
Author: Liz Czukas
Release Date: December 20, 2016
Publisher: Liz Czukas
7 photographs, 2 weeks, an entire life to get back. No problem, right?

After her stepfather accidentally throws away her high school mementos, sentimental Mariska is pretty sure the world is over. That is, until she comes up with a plan. She's going to recreate her past, with a little help from her friends.

It's not easy to rally everyone into helping, especially Caine, who couldn't be less sentimental about anything if he were a park bench. But from a guerilla kite festival to convincing her ex-boyfriend to recreate her lost prom picture, Mariska is willing to do what it takes.

With a little nudging from Caine, Mariska starts to realize she can't actually get her past back. And maybe that's okay. Because while she's so focused on the past, she's missing out on the present, where her friends are busy having the summer of their lives. And where funny, quiet Caine might just be the future she never knew she wanted.

Isn't it gorgeous?! It's SO pretty and it goes with the book, COMPLETELY. My review will be up in two weeks but in the mean time, to prepare for the book's release, let's enter Liz's giveaway!

GIVEAWAY LINK

Giveaway is open until the December 29, 2016. Good luck!

Second Chance Read: Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins



Anna and the French Kiss
Author: Stephanie Perkins
Release Date: October 11, 2011
Publisher: Listening Library
Format: Audiobook
Source: Overdrive/Library
Review by: Jenn
Kim Mai Guest (Narrator)

Anna was looking forward to her senior year in Atlanta, where she has a great job, a loyal best friend, and a crush on the verge of becoming more. So she's less than thrilled about being shipped off to boarding school in Paris—until she meets √Čtienne St. Clair. Smart, charming, beautiful, perfect, √Čtienne has it all ... including a serious girlfriend.

But in the City of Light, wishes have a way of coming true. Will a year of romantic near-misses end with their long-awaited French kiss?

Stephanie Perkins keeps the romantic tension crackling and the attraction high in a debut guaranteed to make toes tingle and hearts melt.

4 stars out of 5 stars

Listening to the audiobook of one of my favorite YA contemporary novels was going back and falling in love with characters that I know so well. The narrator for this book bought the character alive and made me feel like I was reading Perkins' book was for the first time. I fell in love with the setting and characters and it gave me the wanderlust to visit Paris. Wonderful narration of an already beautiful story.

If you already read and loved this book in it's print version, you will love the audiobook. And if you haven't already read this book, go read/listen to it!



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