Reviewing the Unreviewed: December

I read a lot of books that I don’t end up reviewing for whatever reason. Some because I wasn’t impressed. Some because I didn’t have the time. Some I just wasn’t feeling it on whatever particular day I finished. I thought I’d start doing a post once a month  with just the couple thoughts I shared on Good Reads.

Wild (The Ivy Chronicles, #3)

Wild (The Ivy Chronicles #3) by Sophie Jordan. Read November 30 – December 1. 2 (generous) stars.

One of those books that I read only because I had started the series and wanted to finish it. There were a couple sweet moments between Georgia and Logan, but overall it just wasn’t my cup of tea. I liked this book better than book 2, but nowhere near as much as #1. Despite how ridiculous the plot was of the first book, I thought the relationship between the characters were really well done and the rest of the series just didn’t live up to it for me. Another great example of why I shouldn’t be reading NA.

 

The Darkest Minds (The Darkest Minds, #1)

The Darkest Minds (The Darkest Minds #1) by Alexandra Bracken. Read December 3-7. 2.5 – 3 stars? I can’t decide.

This book probably could’ve been 100 pages shorter. The characters were pretty well developed, though. It was overall pretty depressing.

 

The Evolution of Mara Dyer (Mara Dyer, #2)

The Evolution of Mara Dyer (Mara Dyer #2) by Mara Hodkin. Read December 9-14. 2 stars.

I liked the ending of this one and that there were some answers, while still making me want to read the next book to find out everything – though I’m in no hurry to do so…

However, I found most of the book to be pretty boring and it took me about twice as long to finish as it normally would for a book of this size. I don’t like how dependent Mara is on Noah and how possessive Noah is of her. I don’t get how people who hate Twilight love Mara and Noah because Noah’s attitude towards Mara is very Edward Cullen-esque.

Dissonance (Dissonance, #1)

Dissonance (Dissonance #1) by Erica O’Rourke. Read December 21-27. 2 stars.

This book might have been better if it was about 100 pages shorter. I found the world building confusing. The main character often annoyed me and any time when she wasn’t with Elliot or Simon was pretty boring. It took about half way through before I really got into the story at all and the ending was interesting enough that I’ll probably give the second book a try, but I’m not in any hurry for it.

 

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BACK ON THE TBR SHELF

The Taking (The Taking, #1)

The Taking (The Taking #1) by Kimberly Derting.

I really wanted to like this book. It was ok, but I was just having trouble getting into it. I also realized that this is the beginning of a series and not a standalone like I thought, so I decided to stop reading it for now and maybe I’ll pick it up again once the rest of the series is published.

 

Made to Last (Where Love Begins, #1)

Made to Last (Where Love Begins #1) by Melissa Tagg.

This book sounded like something I would really enjoy, but I only got a few chapters in before I gave up on it. The writing wasn’t quite as up to par as I was expecting and the main characters were both a little annoying. However, I still might give it a try at a later date.

 

Outlander (Outlander, #1)

Outlander (Outlander #1) by Diana Gabaldon.

I’ve heard lots of conflicting reports of this series, but mostly it’s been good. I blame my reading rut for not making it past the first chapter of this one. I’ll give it another try some day!

 

Wicked (A Wicked Saga, #1)

Wicked (A Wicked Saga #1) by Jennifer L. Armentrout.

I got several chapters in, but just couldn’t get into it. It was very typical JLA, which don’t get me wrong, I enjoy, I just wasn’t feeling it right now. But, because this is JLA, I’ll eventually read it.

2014 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 8,300 times in 2014. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 3 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

Top Ten Tuesday: Goals/Resolutions For 2015

2824d-toptentuesday2

Today’s Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, is: Top Ten Goals/Resolutions For 2015 — bookish, blogging or otherwise!

Real books never die!

1. Read one hard-cover book a month. I read almost exclusively on my Nook. I bought several books awhile back from a library sale that I was really excited about, but haven’t read yet. I’ve also won a few in giveaways. My biggest reason for not reading them were always that it’s just so much easier to carry around my Nook and I did most of my reading at lunch at work. But now that I’ve switched jobs and also have a shorter lunch time, the majority of my reading will now be at home.

2. Read one book I discover from other blogs a month. I discover lots of great books from other blogs, but most of them just go on my TBR list and stay there. I want to actually read these books and give credit to the bloggers that discovered them before me.

3. Read Harry Potter. I’ve honestly never really been interested in reading this series, but I feel like I need to give it a try since everyone loves it so much.

4. Revise my rating system. Since I started blogging about a year and a half ago I have not given any books 5 stars. In 2014 I started a new rating system that I think made me less harsh, but I think it could still be better.

5. Re-read and review old favorites. This was one of my 2014 resolutions that I didn’t do. I really want to write reviews for books that I love, but read before I started blogging – books like Attachments by Rainbow Rowell, The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, and Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen.

6. Use more gifs, graphics. I always enjoy posts that employ gifs and pictures or homemade graphics. My posts seem so boring in comparison.

That’s all I have for now. I’m sure I’ll add some more as I read other’s resolutions. What are your resolutions for 2015?

 

 

Review: Garden Spells (Waverly Family #1) by Sarah Addison Allen

Garden Spells

Synopsis from Good Reads:

The women of the Waverley family — whether they like it or not — are heirs to an unusual legacy, one that grows in a fenced plot behind their Queen Anne home on Pendland Street in Bascom, North Carolina. There, an apple tree bearing fruit of magical properties looms over a garden filled with herbs and edible flowers that possess the power to affect in curious ways anyone who eats them.

For nearly a decade, 34-year-old Claire Waverley, at peace with her family inheritance, has lived in the house alone, embracing the spirit of the grandmother who raised her, ruing her mother’s unfortunate destiny and seemingly unconcerned about the fate of her rebellious sister, Sydney, who freed herself long ago from their small town’s constraints. Using her grandmother’s mystical culinary traditions, Claire has built a successful catering business — and a carefully controlled, utterly predictable life — upon the family’s peculiar gift for making life-altering delicacies: lilac jelly to engender humility, for instance, or rose geranium wine to call up fond memories. Garden Spells reveals what happens when Sydney returns to Bascom with her young daughter, turning Claire’s routine existence upside down. With Sydney’s homecoming, the magic that the quiet caterer has measured into recipes to shape the thoughts and moods of others begins to influence Claire’s own emotions in terrifying and delightful ways.

As the sisters reconnect and learn to support one another, each finds romance where she least expects it, while Sydney’s child, Bay, discovers both the safe home she has longed for and her own surprising gifts. With the help of their elderly cousin Evanelle, endowed with her own uncanny skills, the Waverley women redeem the past, embrace the present, and take a joyful leap into the future.

I got an e-mail telling me I won my first ever giveaway from Good Reads for the second book in this series, First Frost, so I thought I’d read the first book before it got here. I had never heard of the Waverly Family series before and based on the synopsis I wasn’t really expecting much. I’m happy to report that Garden Spells very pleasantly surprised me!

The town of Bascom is full of magical superstitions. The Waverly family owns an apple tree that has a mind of it’s own and if you eat one of it’s apples, it will show you the most important moment of your life, whether it’s good or bad. Claire Waverly uses edible flowers from her garden that can influence the eater’s emotions in a specific way. Sydney Waverly gives haircuts that can change lives. Her daughter Bay knows the perfect place for everything. Their cousin Evanelle gives random gifts to random people that they will need, without ever knowing why. The Hopkins men always marry older women. The Clark women are exceptionally good in bed. While this all sounds  a little silly, it worked.

This is my first book by Allen and I really liked her writing style. Her description was very beautifully done and she has a perfect mix of heart and humor. This is definitely a character driven novel and it was very well done. All of the characters, even the minor ones, were very well developed. Often times I don’t like when the focus shifts off the main characters, but I still really enjoyed all the passages with Emma Clark and her family, Henry and his grandfather, and Evanelle and Fred.

I really liked Claire Waverly and her relationship with new next door neighbor, Tyler. I felt like both her character and the relationship really grew throughout the story in a natural, relatable way.

Overall, I really enjoyed Garden Spells. It was a fast, easy read with well written, likable characters and multiple, interwoven sweet storylines. I’m really looking forward to seeing what happens next in First Frost.

Rating (out of 5):
Plot: 4
Characters: 4
Readability: 4
Enjoyability: 4
Overall Rating: 4 Stars

All I Want for Christmas Book Tag

I will for real be your best friend if you get me this for Christmas. All I Want For Christmas Is Food

Ok, I promise I’ll post book reviews again someday. I just started a new book and am not really into it yet, but hopefully it will pick up. In the meantime, enjoy the All I Want for Christmas Book Tag that I saw over on Reading, reading, READING. Feel free to tag yourself if you’d like to do it!

1) What fictional character do you want Santa to leave under your Christmas tree?

A grown up Kami Glass. I want us to be best friends.

2) What character do you want to kiss under the mistletoe?

Warner from the Shatter Me series

3) You write your Christmas list for Santa, what are the top 5 books on it?

I’m picking books that aren’t out yet since Santa is magic and all that.

1. Fairest by Marissa Meyer
2. Winter by Marissa Meyer
3. The next book in the Kate Burkholder series
4. The final Raven Cycle book
5. An extra, bonus book of The Elemental series by Brigid Kemmerer – because there HAS to be more, right!?

4) It’s secret santa at Hogwarts, what do you most want to receive?

I still haven’t read Harry Potter, so I have no answer to this question.

5) You get to the spend the day with the characters and movie adaptation actors from one fandom, what do you pick?

The Hunger Games!

6) What fictional animal would you like to replace Rudolph and be able to meet on your roof?

Annie’s Boobs from Community

7) You invite 10 fictional characters to your new years eve party, who do you pick?

1. Daemon Black
2. Katy Swartz
3. Kami Glass
4. Jared Lynburn
5. Kate Burkholder
6. John Tomasetti
7. Cinder
8. Captain Thorne
9. Richard Campbell Gansey III
10. Ronan Lynch

8) What character would make a good santa (Doesn’t have to be appearance, personality counts too)?

Gansey from The Raven Cycle. He’s benevolent and good natured.

 

 

2014 End of Year Book Survey

 

2014 End Of Year Book Survey

So between starting a new job and being miserably sick, I haven’t gotten a lot of reading done this week. So since there are no reviews coming anytime soon, I thought I’d go ahead and fill out the end of the year survey. It’s hosted by The Perpetual Page Turner

2014 Reading Stats:

Number Of Books You Read: 126 as of today
Number of Re-Reads: 15 that I kept track of, but I’m sure there were more
Genre You Read The Most From: When breaking it down into basic genres of YA, NA, and Adult, the winner is YA. But since I did the break down, here it is:

YA= 74

NA = 12

Adult = 40

Best In Books

1. Best Book You Read In 2014?

Though they didn’t score my highest star rated reviews, the two I’m picking are: One Plus One by Jojo Moyes and Illusions of Fate by Kiersten White

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

 Opposition by Jennifer Armentrout. I really loved this series starting out, but the last couple books just didn’t live up to my expectations.

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

Dangerous Girls by Abigail Haas. In a good way!

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

 I only really push books on my sister and she usually holds out for a long time, but eventually realizes that I have excellent taste in books 🙂  I’ve been bugging her for years to read Attachments by Rainbow Rowell and she finally did – and loved it.

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

Started: The Lynburn Legacy by Sarah Rees Brennan

Sequel: Cress by Marissa Meyer

Ender: Ignite Me by Tahereh Mafi

 6. Favorite new author you discovered in 2014?

Jojo Moyes!!!

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

 I don’t read a lot of non-fiction, so I’ll go with the only non-fiction book I’ve read all year, Yes Please by Amy Poehler

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

Dangerous Girls by Abigail Haas

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

Illusions of Fate by Kiersten White – loved it so much I bought the hardcover

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

Ignite Me (Shatter Me, #3)

Ignite Me by Tahereh Mafi

11. Most memorable character of 2014?

The Raven Boys and Blue

 12. Most beautifully written book read in 2014?

The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater

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

 Truth, Lies, and the Single Woman: Dispelling Ten Common Myths by Allison K. Flexer

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

The Last Letter from your Lover by Jojo Moyes. It’s been on my TBR for awhile and it became my first Jojo Moyes book.

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

I’m not really sure. I’m not good with remembering quotes.

16.Shortest & Longest Book You Read In 2014?

Shortest- Busted by Karin Slaughter – 68 pages

Longest- City of Heavenly Fire by Cassandra Clare – 725 pages

(How I did this: Went to my read books on Goodreads and sorted by page number and just looked for what I knew I read this year that was the shortest and longest).

17. Book That Shocked You The Most

I don’t know. I didn’t read anything that I found overly shocking.

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

(OTP = one true pairing if you aren’t familiar)

Juliette and Warner from the Shatter Me series

19. Favourite Non-Romantic Relationship Of The Year

Kami and Angela from the Lynburn Legacy

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

Just to be different than the first question, Cress by Marissa Meyer

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

Me Before You by Jojo Moyes

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

Sean Kendrick from The Scorpio Races

23. Best 2014 debut you read?

The Girl who Never Was by Skylar Dorset

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

Ravka- The Grisha Trilogy

25. Book That Put A Smile On Your Face/Was The Most FUN To Read?

Illusions of Fate by Kiersten White

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

Me Before You by Jojo Moyes

27. Hidden Gem Of The Year?

Definitely, Maybe in Love by Ophelia London

28. Book That Crushed Your Soul?

Forbidden by Tabitha Suzuma

29. Most Unique Book You Read In 2014?

Oblivion by Sasha Dawn

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

After Dead: What Came Next in the World of Sookie Stackhouse by Charlaine Harris. This book was a “coda” after the final book in the series that served as a bit of an epilogue for each character in the series. Nice idea, but poorly executed. Especially when one major character’s chapter was only this: “John Quinn had many more adventures.”  Really?

Your Blogging/Bookish Life

1. New favourite book blog you discovered in 2014? 

I enjoy lots of different blogs.

2. Favourite review that you wrote in 2014? 

The Dancing Master by Julie Klassen. It’s currently the most liked review of the book on Good Reads 🙂

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

It’s Not Me, It’s You: Breaking up with the New Adult Genre

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

I went to a release day event for Linda Castillo’s The Dead will Tell and got to meet her!

5. Best moment of bookish/blogging life in 2014?

I’ve surpassed 200 followers

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

Review: Look Behind You by Sibel Hodge

7. Post You Wished Got A Little More Love?

Hmm, I don’t know.

8. Best bookish discovery (book related sites, book stores, etc.)?

NaNoWriMo

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

The only challenge I did was the Good Reads Challenge and I surpassed it

 

 Looking ahead

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

I don’t know if I would say it’s my number one priority, but I still haven’t read The Harry Potter series

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

Winter by Marissa Meyer

3. 2015 Debut You Are Most Anticipating?

Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard

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

Winter by Marissa Meyer

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

Create a new review format or rating system

6. A 2015 Release You’ve Already Read & Recommend To Everyone:

The Mime Order by Samantha Shannon