Top Ten Tuesday: Best Books I Read In 2015

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

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

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

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

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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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.

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

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Top Ten Tuesday: New-To-Me Favorite Authors

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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.

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1) Emma Mills – First & Then

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2) Renee Ahdieh – The Wrath & The Dawn

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3) Julia Heaberlin – Black-Eyed Susans

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4) Allison Leotta – The Anna Curtis series

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5) Rebecca Sherm – Unbecoming

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6) Nicole Baart – The Beautiful Daughters

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7) M.J. Alridge – Eeny Meeny

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8) Taylor Jenkins Reid – Maybe in Another Life

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9) Barry Lyga – I Hunt Killers

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10) Ashlee Mallory – Her Backup Boyfriend

What new authors have you discovered this year?

Review: I Hunt Killers (Jasper Dent #1) by Barry Lyga

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Synopsis from Good Reads:

What if the world’s worst serial killer…was your dad?

Jasper “Jazz” Dent is a likable teenager. A charmer, one might say.

But he’s also the son of the world’s most infamous serial killer, and for Dear Old Dad, Take Your Son to Work Day was year-round. Jazz has witnessed crime scenes the way cops wish they could—from the criminal’s point of view.

And now bodies are piling up in Lobo’s Nod.

In an effort to clear his name, Jazz joins the police in a hunt for a new serial killer. But Jazz has a secret—could he be more like his father than anyone knows?

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I Hunt Killers has been on my radar for a while now, but it’s not an e-book at my library and I’m super stingy about buying books from authors I’m unfamiliar with so it’s just been sitting there patiently on my TBR shelf. I recently won a giveaway for a Nook Book of my choice and it seemed like the perfect opportunity to finally check this out.

I’m a fan of serial killer plotlines. The psychological impact on the characters always makes for some compelling characters, which I love. I Hunt Killers is a new twist on the genre that I haven’t read before. The main character is not the cop/law enforcement officer chasing him down or the serial killer, but his son. Billy Dent is the world’s most notorious serial killer and has over 120 kills to his name. He’s used several different personas, “The Artist”, “Green Jack”, “Hand-in-Glove”, and  has taught his son, Jasper (“Jazz”) everything he knows in hope that he will carry on “the family business.” Jasper has no intention of following in his father’s footsteps, but the brainwashing he received from Billy all those years has seriously messed with his head and he is constantly on alert for the stray thoughts or incident that could easily push him over the edge to becoming his father.

The character development in this book was phenomenal. I really felt like I got into Jasper’s head throughout the story and it was not always a pleasant place to be. I’m a fan of the tv show Dexter and this book has a bit of a Dexter vibe at times. Dexter’s struggle with his “dark passenger” is similar to how Jasper struggles with Billy’s voice constantly in his head – telling him how to kill and that he should.  Jasper tries to combat the increasingly alluring inner voice by repeating a mantra of, “People matter” to remind him that they aren’t the insignificant and disposable things to be used for his own purposes, as Billy taught him. He keeps pictures of all of Billy’s victims on his bedroom wall to be reminded of what he doesn’t want to be. When a new serial killer shows up in town he’s desperate to help – not just to prove to the town that it isn’t him, but to prove to himself that he’s on the right side.

While he tries to ignore the most gruesome of Billy’s teachings, he has become a master manipulator and often utilizes those skills to get him what he wants. He usually knows that it’s wrong, but he also justifies it to himself and this peek into the possible sociopathic mindset is part of what makes his character so interesting.

I really enjoyed Jazz’s best friend, Howie, as well. He was a great side-kick, comic relief, but also got in on some of the action. His hemophilia is also an interesting addition to his character. He’s physically extremely vulnerable and thus an easy target, which makes for a surprising choice of BFF for a could-be serial killer. I also liked the sheriff, G. William, and Jazz’s girlfriend, Connie.

Overall, I enjoyed I Hunt Killers and am glad I finally got to read it. I haven’t encountered many YA books that pull off suspense and creepiness the way that this one does. It’s dark and slightly gruesome, but it’s balanced out with a bit of humor. While there were a few predictable moments, I was often in suspense. I loved the characterization of Jasper. I’m looking forward to see what happens in the rest of the series.

I struggled a bit with what to rate this, but I think because of the unique plot idea and the great characterization, I’m going to bump up my original 3.5 to 4.

Overall Rating (out of 5): 4 Stars

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Top Ten Tuesday: Recently Acquired Books

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, is: Top Ten Recently Acquired Books.

A Court of Thorns and Roses (A Court of Thorns and Roses, #1)

1. A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas – From the library (finally!) – Haven’t read yet

The First Wife

2. The First Wife by Erica Spindler – From the library – Haven’t read yet.

My One and Only

3. My One and Only by Kristan Higgins – From the library – Haven’t read yet (this time – it will be a re-read)

Emmy & Oliver

4. Emmy & Oliver by Robin Benway – From the library – Read and Reviewed

The Fill-In Boyfriend

5.. The Fill-In Boyfriend by Kasie West – Won from Giveaway – Read and Reviewed

I Hunt Killers (Jasper Dent, #1)

6. I Hunt Killers by Barry Lyga – Won from Giveaway – 2 Chapters in

Law of Attraction

7. Law of Attraction by Allison Leotta – Won from Giveaway – Read and Reviewed

Discretion

8. Discretion by Allison Leotta – Won from Giveaway – Read.

Speak of the Devil (Anna Curtis, #3)

9. Speak of the Devil by Allison Leotta – Won from Giveaway – Read and Reviewed

A Good Killing (Anna Curtis, #4)

10. A Good Killing by Allison Leotta – Won from Giveaway – Read and Reviewed

What are some recent books you recently acquired?

Top Ten Tuesday: Series I Want To Start

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This week’s Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by The Broke and the Bookish is: Top New Series I Want To Start. They suggested “New” as in the last year or so, but I think I’m just going to go with series in general. There are some I’ve been meaning to start for awhile.

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (Harry Potter, #1)

1. Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling Yes everyone in the book blogging world has read this series except for me. I saw one of the movies…

Daughter of Smoke & Bone (Daughter of Smoke & Bone, #1)

2. Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor. I’ve heard great things about this series and I even own the first book, I just haven’t started it yet.

Clockwork Angel (The Infernal Devices, #1)

3. The Infernal Devices by Cassandra Clare. I complained in my review of the last book of the Mortal Instruments series that characters from the Infernal Devices made appearances and I didn’t understand the full impact of it. AND everyone says this series is way, way better than TMI.

Snow Like Ashes (Snow Like Ashes, #1)

4. Snow Like Ashes by Sara Raasch. Mostly because I like the cover!

I Hunt Killers (Jasper Dent, #1)

5. Jasper Dent by Barry Lyga. I think this book looks really interesting! AND I just realized there’s 3 books already published in the series!

Outlander (Outlander, #1)

6. Outlander by Diana Gabaldon. I haven’t seen the tv show, but everyone seems to be watching it. I read a review of one of the episodes that compared it to the  book and the book actually sounded better (though the show sounded good, too).

A Thousand Pieces of You (Firebird, #1)

7. Firebird by Claudia Gray. Again, the cover!

The Fine Art of Pretending (The Fine Art of Pretending, #1)

8. The Fine Art of Pretending by Rachel Harris. Because I love the fake relationship trope and this  book is taking forever to come off the waiting list at the  library!

Tomorrow, When the War Began (Tomorrow, #1)

9. Tomorrow, When the War Began by John Marsden. I’ve heard great things about this book and even hosted a guest review and a giveaway of the book and have STILL to read it!

The Return (Titan, #1)

10. Titan by Jennifer Armentrout. Despite the awful cover and my trepidation of it being NA, Seth was probably my favorite character in the Covenant series, so I need to see what happens to him!

WHAT SERIES ARE YOU LOOKING FORWARD TO STARTING?