Top Ten Tuesday: Best Books I Read In 2015

TTT Header

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, is: Top Ten Best Books I Read In 2015.

19486412

1. Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty. I loved pretty much everything about this book. The relationships, the humor, the drama.

23437156

2. Six of Crows (Six of Crows #1) by Leigh Bardugo. I looooved this book! The characters are amazing. Kaz Brekker FOREVER.

23746004

3. Black-Eyed Susans by Julia Heaberlin. Probably the best suspense I’ve read all year – or ever, really. Read this book!

23654535

4. The Wrath & the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh. This was probably my biggest surprise of the year. I really didn’t expect much from it and ended up really loving it!

18660447

5. The Fill-In Boyfriend by Kasie West. West continues to be my favorite YA Contemporary author. Her books are always so adorable and this was no exception.

22609352

6. A Good Killing (Anna Curtis #4) by Allison Leotta. Though this is the 4th book in the series, it introduced me to the wonderful writing of Allison Leotta and this series has quickly become one of my all time favorites.

23310751

7. First & Then by Emma Mills. Another book that surprised me by how much I enjoyed it. It was one of those books that I just wanted to keep reading forever.

7766027

8. I Hunt Killers (Jasper Dent #1) by Barry Lyga. Jasper Dent is such an interesting, compelling character and he really made this book.

25944732

9. Oblivion (Lux 1.5) by Jennifer Armentrout. I love the Lux series and I love Daemon Black and this is a wonderful addition to the series that I never expected, but always wanted.

13206900

10. Winter (The Lunar Chronicles #4) by Marissa Meyer. This was a fantastic end to the series and I just loved it so much!

Top Ten Tuesday: New-To-Me Favorite Authors

TTT Header

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, is: Top Ten New-To-Me Favorite Authors I Read For The First Time In 2015.

23310751

1) Emma Mills – First & Then

18798983

2) Renee Ahdieh – The Wrath & The Dawn

23746004

3) Julia Heaberlin – Black-Eyed Susans

22609352

4) Allison Leotta – The Anna Curtis series

22571781

5) Rebecca Sherm – Unbecoming

22609449

6) Nicole Baart – The Beautiful Daughters

23398806

7) M.J. Alridge – Eeny Meeny

23492661

8) Taylor Jenkins Reid – Maybe in Another Life

7766027

9) Barry Lyga – I Hunt Killers

23941351

10) Ashlee Mallory – Her Backup Boyfriend

What new authors have you discovered this year?

Review: First & Then by Emma Mills

Book Review Header

Synopsis from Good Reads:

Devon Tennyson wouldn’t change a thing. She’s happy watching Friday night games from the bleachers, silently crushing on best friend Cas, and blissfully ignoring the future after high school. But the universe has other plans. It delivers Devon’s cousin Foster, an unrepentant social outlier with a surprising talent for football, and the obnoxiously superior and maddeningly attractive star running back, Ezra, right where she doesn’t want them first into her P.E. class and then into every other aspect of her life.

Pride and Prejudice meets Friday Night Lights in this contemporary novel about falling in love with the unexpected boy, with a new brother, and with yourself.

23310751

I wasn’t planning on reading any books this month since I’m participating in NaNoWriMo, but then this came available at the library and I thought I’d give it a try in between writing. Because, really, I can’t just give up on reading for a whole month. Once I started First & Then I didn’t really want to put it back down.

At first, Devon is a very unlikable character. She was kind of snarky – in an obnoxious way instead of funny. I hated the way she treated her cousin Foster, who had come to live with her family. He seemed pretty obviously on the Spectrum and she was kind of mean to him. She was also kind of a jerk to a lot of people when she didn’t need to be. But her character really grew throughout the story. She started to take things more seriously and became nicer to people. Her relationship with Foster was slow building, but she really came to care for him and they formed a really tight siblingship. The one thing that I would’ve liked to see her get over, though, is that she literally ran away from conflict instead of dealing with it.

One of the things that really drew me to this novel was the Pride & Prejudice reference. Devon is a big Jane Austen fan and made a lot of comparisons between her life and what would have happened if she lived in Austen’s world. Her slow burn, dislike-to-love relationship with Ezra was very reminiscent of an Austen novel and I loved it. There weren’t a lot of Super Cute moments between them that you expect in YA Contemporary, but there were many subtle, heartwarming moments that led up to the Big moment.

The cast of supporting characters were a little uneven. Devon’s best friend, Cas, whom she’s crushed on forever, is funny and seems pretty solid, but there were a few moments where he came off jerky. While there wasn’t anything catastrophic in their relationship, I ended up not caring for him by the end. I LOVED Ezra’s best friend, Jordan. He was kind of everybody’s friend and though in some ways he was a typical teenage guy, a lot of the time he was like the voice of reason, and also the comic relief. There’s a couple of random girls thrown in that are basically just stereotypes used to create some sort of friction or drama, but I guess they served their purpose. There is one big question about Marabelle, though, that is never answered and that kind of annoyed me.

Overall, I really enjoyed First & Then. It was very character-driven and I really appreciated the overall arc of Devon’s character and her relationships with both Foster and Ezra. Even though there wasn’t a whole lot that happened, I wish the book was longer, because I didn’t want to stop reading it. I would definitely recommend it to fans of YA Contemporary and those that want to read a romance that’s reminiscent of the good old days of Jane Austen.

Overall Rating (out of 5): 4 Stars

4 stars