Top Ten Tuesday: Time Passes and so does my Love

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Welcome to my first Top Ten Tuesday of the year! This week’s topic, hosted by The Broke and the Bookish is: Ten Books I Feel Differently About After Time Has Passed (less love, more love, complicated feelings, indifference, thought it was great in a genre until you became more well read in that genre etc.).  This is a topic that I’ve actually been thinking about writing a post about on my own, so it seemed like the perfect time to jump back in to TTT.

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1. The Twilight series by Stephenie Meyer

I think that a lot of people identify with this one. After hearing so much about this I decided to give it a try and I ended up reading the whole series in a week. It was also the first time in a very long time that I had read for pleasure. The series reminded me what it was like to have fun reading, to fall in love with characters, to HAVE TO KNOW what happens next. It also had a super romantic lead and cute romance. I loved it. Then…I started reading a lot more. When I went back much later to re-read Twilight, I found myself not being able to get through it. I realized that the super cute romance wasn’t exactly a healthy relationship and the plot and writing left a lot to be desired. This series will always hold a special place in my heart, but it’s one that I no longer love or highly recommend.

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2. The Raven Cycle series by Maggie Stiefvater

Ok, this is probably the most controversial one on the list. I remember being a little confused by the story, but loving the characters so much that I didn’t care. I raved about this series all the time. Then I decided to re-read it before the last book came out and I was a little underwhelmed by it. While I still adore the characters, I’ve found the confusing plot makes it unbearable at times. And the further away from The Raven King I get, the more dissatisfied I am with it as a series ender.

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3. The Shatter Me series by Tahereh Mafi

Another series I absolutely loved the first time around and didn’t quite enjoy as much the second time around. My biggest issue is on the last book. Adam’s complete change in personality was such an easy way out of the love triangle and I think it did a great injustice to the character. It bothered me a little when I first read it, but after going back later it really bothered me a lot.

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4. The Lux series by Jennifer Armentrout

Ok, probably another unpopular opinion. I recommend this series ALL. THE TIME. I’ve said again and again it’s one of the best YA series around. But the last time I re-read it…I didn’t enjoy it nearly as much. I mean, I still like it and I’ll still recommend it, but with a little less fervor than before.

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5. The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh

This book really surprised me when I first read it by how much I loved it. However, when I went back to re-read it before the sequel came out, there were many parts of it that I wanted to skip through. It’s still a good book, but I think going from no expectations to really high expectations kind of ruined it for me. And I was pretty underwhelmed with The Rose and the Dagger which has soured me just a bit on the series as a whole.

Ok, so just 5 books this time. I need to work my way back into it. What books have you had a change in heart about over time? Do you agree with any of my choices?

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Review: The Rose and the Dagger (The Wrath and the Dawn #2) by Renee Ahdieh

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Synopsis from Good Reads:

The much anticipated sequel to the breathtaking The Wrath and the Dawn, lauded by Publishers Weekly as “a potent page-turner of intrigue and romance.”

I am surrounded on all sides by a desert. A guest, in a prison of sand and sun. My family is here. And I do not know whom I can trust.

In a land on the brink of war, Shahrzad has been torn from the love of her husband Khalid, the Caliph of Khorasan. She once believed him a monster, but his secrets revealed a man tormented by guilt and a powerful curse—one that might keep them apart forever. Reunited with her family, who have taken refuge with enemies of Khalid, and Tariq, her childhood sweetheart, she should be happy. But Tariq now commands forces set on destroying Khalid’s empire. Shahrzad is almost a prisoner caught between loyalties to people she loves. But she refuses to be a pawn and devises a plan.

While her father, Jahandar, continues to play with magical forces he doesn’t yet understand, Shahrzad tries to uncover powers that may lie dormant within her. With the help of a tattered old carpet and a tempestuous but sage young man, Shahrzad will attempt to break the curse and reunite with her one true love.

I was quite pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed The Wrath and the Dawn. Unfortunately, The Rose and the Dagger surprised me by how underwhelming I found it.

For a long time it felt like NOTHING was happening. There was really nothing going on that was advancing the plot in any way. This wouldn’t be so bad if we were diving into deep character development, but there wasn’t much of that either. We kept jumping perspectives between Shahrzad, Khalid, Irsa, Tariq, Jahander, and Omar and we never spent a lot of time with any of them at any given time.

Things finally began to pick up when Shahrzad figured out how to use her magic carpet and met a new character, Artan, who knows about magic and curses. I did like Artan, but we did not get enough of him for me to really grow to love him. There was much hinted at in regards to his family and his aunt’s abilities, but barely anything is really done with it. We don’t find out any more of Artan’s history or why his aunt want’s Jahander’s book destroyed so badly. It feels like a big loose end that was never tied up and thus a little pointless?

Where the book shines is when Khalid and Shahrzad are together. They are a great example of a romantic pairing being a real team. I enjoy their banter and I enjoy their romance and I can’t say there was really a scene that I didn’t like when it involved both of them. While there is more to this book than a romance story, I felt like it floundered just a bit when the romance wasn’t involved.

While I felt like nothing was happening for much of the beginning of the book, the plot did really pick up towards the end. The talk of war becomes a little more than talk and there’s kidnapping and double-crossing, and a few deaths – one of which was pretty emotionally impactful (**VERY MINOR POTENTIAL SPOILER** and I think it was a real missed opportunity that none of the children mentioned in the epilogue was named after this person).

Overall, The Rose and the Dagger was just ok. After how much I enjoyed the first book in the series, I was disappointed that the follow up did not live up to my expectations. However, I really enjoy the relationship between Khalid and Shahrzad and that enough is reason for me recommend this series.

Overall Rating (out of 5): 3 Stars

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Reviewing the Unreviewed: March 2016

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.

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The Crown and the Arrow (The Wrath and the Dawn 0.5) by Renee Ahdieh. Read March 3. 3 Stars.

This works as a nice deleted scene to The Wrath and the Dawn. I wish it was a little longer, though.

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Epic Fail by Claire LaZebnik. Read March 6. 3.5 Stars

A pretty decent Pride and Prejudice re-telling with likable main characters. Super cute and a quick read.

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Chasing Jane by Noelle Adams. Read March 5-6. 3 Stars.

A cute, fast, romantic read. I liked the premise of the Jane Austen/Jane Eyre tour of England and wish the book would’ve been long enough to really explore that, though.

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Hidden Bodies (You #2) by Caroline Kepnes. Read March 3-6. 4 stars.

It’s probably wrong how much I love Joe. He is one crazy, messed up, scary guy. But I couldn’t stop rooting for him. Kepnes writes him in such a way that I am SO in his head that his craziness almost makes sense. I thought the book was a little too drawn out and the ending was left a little too open to be completely satisfying, but it was overall a compulsively readable, enjoyable book.

Last First Kiss (Brightwater, #1)

Last First Kiss (Brightwater #1) by Lila Riley. Read March 9-11. 3 Stars.

This was a pretty average romance, but mostly enjoyable. I liked Sawyer. He was very sweet. Occasionally I thought he was a little TOO into Annie too fast (a couple times I almost found him creepy), but overall he was likable.

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The Heir and the Spare by Emily Albright. Read March 17-19. 3 Stars.

A solid mix of adorable and cheesy. It’s a shame the synopsis basically gives everything away, though (not the author’s fault, though). We know Edmund is a prince so it’s not as fun as it should’ve been waiting for Evie to figure it out. We know who Evie’s mother was well before the 100+ pages it took for Evie to confirm it.

It’s also a bit of a mix of Princess Diaries and Anna and the French Kiss, but doesn’t quite live up to either. (Evie even says once, “I’d felt like I was in a bad remake of The Princess Diaries.”) The “quest” letters from her mother didn’t play as big a role as I thought it would.

Overall, though, it was pretty cute. I liked Evie, though she did have some moments where she “stuck up for herself” which just made her sound bratty and immature. And Edmund was SO SWEET. I just loved him. He did a few dumb things, of course, but he’s definitely book boyfriend material.

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Married ’til Monday (Chapel Springs #4) by Denise Hunter. Read March 20-21. 4 Stars.

I really enjoyed this book. My hold came in at the library and I wasn’t sure if I was in the mood to read it, but decided to give it a try and couldn’t put it down. I really liked the characters, Ryan especially. I liked that it involved two of my favorite romance tropes: The Fake Relationship and The Second-Chance Romance. I liked that Abby finally realized she had some issues and worked on them instead of just jumping back into a relationship and let a guy “fix” her. I thought it did run just a tad long, though. Overall, I really liked it and I’ll be going back to read the first books in the series.

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Barefoot Summer (Chapel Springs #1) by Denise Hunter. Read March 26-27. 3 stars.

This book brought me out of a book slump, but it ended up being just ok for me. I liked it to start with, but I thought it just dragged on a little too long. A lot of repetition. And this is the first book in a series and I’ve already read the last book in the series and there are some continuity issues with the character who the last book focuses on which annoyed me a little.
Overall, though, it was a sweet romance with likable characters and a good message woven in.

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RE-READS

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The Lynburn Legacy: Unspoken, Untold, and Unmade by Sarah Rees Brennan. I completely adore this series and I love it just as much every time I read it. I really thought I was finally going to get a review written for Unmade, but it still didn’t happen. Maybe next time.

The Wrath and the Dawn (The Wrath and the Dawn #1) by Renee Ahdieh. I wanted to re-read this before the next book comes out. I enjoyed it, but I found myself skimming parts of it, too.

2015 End of Year Book Survey

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This survey is created by The Perpetual Page-Turner.

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Number Of Books You Read: 123 (as of 12/27/15 – this will probably go up a book or two by year end)
Number of Re-Reads: 24 (not counted in the above answer)
Genre You Read The Most From: YA

 

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1. Best Book You Read In 2015?

I don’t think I can pick one book, but I have narrowed it down to my three favorite (which were also the ones I got for Christmas):

  1. Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty
  2. Black-Eyed Susans by Julia Heaberlin
  3. Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo (This book will be referenced a lot from here on out, BTW)

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

Emmy & Oliver by Robin Benway, Pretending to be Erica by Michelle Painchaud, and The Magician’s Lie by Greer Macallister

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

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The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh – in a Good way!

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

The Fill-in Boyfriend by Kasie West. I’ve had a few different people tell me they read it because I kept talking about it.

 5. Best series you started in 2015? Best Sequel of 2015? Best Series Ender of 2015?

Started – Six of Crows (Six of Crows) by Leigh Bardugo

Sequel – First Frost (Waverly Family) by Sarah Addison Allen

Ender – Winter (The Lunar Chronicles) by Marissa Meyer

 6. Favorite new author you discovered in 2015?

Allison Leotta – The Anna Curtis series

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

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Carry On by Rainbow Rowell – I don’t read a lot of books that have LGBT romance.

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

Six of Crows!

 9. Book You Read In 2015 That You Are Most Likely To Re-Read Next Year?

Big Little Lies

10. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2015?

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The book only got 2 stars from me, but I adore the cover of A Thousand Pieces of You by Claudia Gray.

11. Most memorable character of 2015?

Kaz Brekker from Six of Crows. He’s everything.

 12. Most beautifully written book read in 2015?

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First Frost by Sarah Addison Allen

13. Most Thought-Provoking/ Life-Changing Book of 2015?

This year I read for pure enjoyment purposes. I can’t say I read anything that was life-changing.

 14. Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2015 to finally read? 

Missing You by Harlan Coben. Not necessarily that book, but the author. I have never read him before and I know I’ll definitely be reading more of him.

 15. Favorite Passage/Quote From A Book You Read In 2015?

I don’t keep track of quotes. It’s not my thing.

16.Shortest & Longest Book You Read In 2015?

Shortest – Ten Rules for a Call Girl by Allison Leotta

Longest – Winter by Marissa Meyer

 17. Book That Shocked You The Most

You know, there were several books that had some small twists or surprises, but there is not anything that stands out to me as being really shocking.

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

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

Cinder & Kai from Winter

Kaz & Inej from Six of Crows

19. Favorite Non-Romantic Relationship Of The Year

The Six of Crows gang as a whole, Cinder & Thorne

20. Favorite Book You Read in 2015 From An Author You’ve Read Previously

Six of Crows – previously read The Grisha series by Leigh Bardugo

21. Best Book You Read In 2015 That You Read Based SOLELY On A Recommendation From Somebody Else/Peer Pressure:

A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas – because ALL THE HYPE

22. Newest fictional crush from a book you read in 2015?

Kaz Brekker. Obviously.

23. Best 2015 debut you read?

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Unbecoming by Rebecca Scherm

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

The Wrath and the Dawn

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

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The Start of Me and You by Emery Lord

26. Book That Made You Cry Or Nearly Cry in 2015?

While it definitely wasn’t the sob fest that was Me Before You, After You by Jojo Moyes had me a little teary at the beginning.

27. Hidden Gem Of The Year?

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Aimee and the Heartthrob by Ophelia London was pretty cute.

28. Book That Crushed Your Soul?

I didn’t read a lot of heavy hitting reads this year. I’m not actually upset by this.

29. Most Unique Book You Read In 2015?

You by Caroline Kepnes. This book was just Messed Up.

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

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Vendetta by Catherine Doyle because it was RIDICULOUS!

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1. New favorite book blog you discovered in 2015?

I’m not entirely sure if it was this year or last year, but I’m pretty sure it was this year that I discovered Brandie is a Book Junkie. We don’t share the same tastes in everything, but we both love Suspense novels and if she gives a Suspense a favorable rating, it’s automatically going on my TBR. She is also the reason I read my first Harlan Coben book this year. And we also figured out that we live in the same county, which is pretty cool!

2. Favorite review that you wrote in 2015?

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Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty

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

If My Life were Like Chick Lit…The Wedding Date and All the Ways in which I am not a Proper Book Nerd/Blogger.

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

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I went to a book signing/talk by Linda Castillo (of the Kate Burkholder series).

5. Best moment of bookish/blogging life in 2015?

I had my first publisher provided giveaway – for a copy of Black-Eyed Susans.

6. Most challenging thing about blogging or your reading life this year?

I’ve had several book slumps throughout the year and that bled over into not having anything to post on the blog. I’ve also had lots of Low-Blog-Self-Esteem moments where I kind of hate everything about my blog/blogging.

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

My review of The Ice Twins by S.K. Tremayne has the most views of the year. I don’t have any idea how to search by comments or likes.

8. Post You Wished Got A Little More Love?

I don’t really know. I wish every post got more likes/comments/views. But what can you do?

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

Many new blogs

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

For the Good Reads Reading Challenge I wanted to read 115 books and I surpassed it.

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1. One Book You Didn’t Get To In 2015 But Will Be Your Number 1 Priority in 2016?

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Every Last Word by Tamara Ireland Stone. I bought it when it was on sale, but haven’t read it yet. It’s first up after I get some library books and ARCs out of the way.

2. Book You Are Most Anticipating For 2016 (non-debut)?

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The Raven King!!!! How many times has this been pushed back?!?

3. 2016 Debut You Are Most Anticipating?

I can’t think of anything at the moment. I’m not super attuned to those yet, I guess.

 4. Series Ending/A Sequel You Are Most Anticipating in 2016?

The Raven King, obviously, and Crooked Kingdom (Six of Crows #2)

5. One Thing You Hope To Accomplish Or Do In Your Reading/Blogging Life In 2016?

Request less ARCs unless it’s a book that I know I REALLY want to read. I hate DNF-ing ARCs, but I also hate forcing myself to finish books I don’t like and then try to write coherent reviews about them.

6. A 2016 Release You’ve Already Read & Recommend To Everyone:

So far I’ve only read one and a half 2016 books and I wouldn’t necessarily recommend them to everyone.

 

12 Days of Christmas Book Tag 2015

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The 12 Days of Christmas Book Tag was created last year by Ashley @ Falling Down The Book Hole  and it’s quite possible I did this last year (but I don’t feel like looking it up). But this year I was tagged by Deanna @ A Novel Glimpse. Thanks Deanna! So just in case I did this before, I’ll try to make these answers come from books I only read this year.


On the first day of Christmas, my true love sent to me: a partridge in a pear tree.

The partridge stood alone in the pear tree. What is your favorite stand alone?

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There are several excellent stand alones that I read this year, but I think I’ll go with Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty.

 


On the second day of Christmas, my true love sent to me: two turtle doves.

Love is in the air! Who is your one true pairing?

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I really love Cinder and Kai. I loved every single thing about their relationship in Winter.

 


On the third day of Christmas, my true love sent to me: Three French Hens.

In the spirit of threes, what is the best trilogy you have read?

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There is only one trilogy that I completed this year and that was the Paper Gods trilogy by Amanda Sun.

 


On the fourth day of Christmas, my true love sent to me: four calling birds.

Since series usually consist of four or more books, what is your favourite series?

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I’m going to have to go with The Lunar Chronicles. Again, Winter was a great end to the series!

 


On the fifth day of Christmas, my true love sent to me: five golden rings.

One ring to rule them all! Who is your Favorite Villain/Antagonist?

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The Dane Twins from A Darker Shade of Magic. They were deliciously creepy and crazy.


On the sixth day of Christmas, my true love sent to me: six geese a laying.

Creation is a beautiful thing. What is your favourite world/world-building?

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I’m going to go with The Wrath & The Dawn by Renee Ahdieh

 


On the seventh day of Christmas, my true love sent to me: seven swans a swimming.

Who needs seven swans when all it takes is one good animal sidekick? Who’s your favourite animal sidekick?

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I don’t remember it’s name, but there was one particular dragon in The Great Zoo of China that was pretty awesome.

 


On the eighth day of Christmas, my true love sent to me: eight maids a milking.

Milk is so 18th century. Which book or series takes beverages/food to a whole new level? 

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First Frost by Sarah Addison Allen. A magical apple tree.


On the ninth day of Christmas my true love sent to me: nine ladies dancing.

Dancing is just one skill of a Lady! Who is your favourite kickass female lead?

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Inej from Six of Crows.


On the tenth day of Christmas my true love sent to me: ten lords a leaping.

How about your favourite leading lad?

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Kaz Brekker from Six of Crows. Of course.

 


On the eleventh day of Christmas my true love sent to me: eleven pipes piping. 

What is your favourite book or bookish thing with musical influence? (It can be about music, reference music a lot etc.)

Missing You by Harlan Coben. The title is a reference to a song which is also mentioned in the book.

 


On the twelfth day of Christmas my true love sent to me: 12 drummers drumming. 

Drum roll please…what is your favourite read of this year?

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I’ve narrowed it down to three. Big Little Lies by Liane Morirarty, Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo, and Black-Eyed Susans by Julia Heaberlin.

Feel free to tag yourself if you’d like to participate!

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!

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?