Review: Renegades (Renegades #1) by Marissa Meyer

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Synopsis from Good Reads:

From #1 New York Times-bestselling author Marissa Meyer, comes a high-stakes world of adventure, passion, danger, and betrayal.

Secret Identities.
Extraordinary Powers.
She wants vengeance. He wants justice.

The Renegades are a syndicate of prodigies—humans with extraordinary abilities—who emerged from the ruins of a crumbled society and established peace and order where chaos reigned. As champions of justice, they remain a symbol of hope and courage to everyone…except the villains they once overthrew.

Nova has a reason to hate the Renegades, and she is on a mission for vengeance. As she gets closer to her target, she meets Adrian, a Renegade boy who believes in justice—and in Nova. But Nova’s allegiance is to a villain who has the power to end them both.

I received a copy of this title via a giveaway from the publisher. It does not impact my review.

I am a big fan of Marissa Meyer’s Lunar Chronicles series and despite not being a big superhero fan have been really looking forward to Renegades. I was very excited to win an advanced copy through a giveaway from the publisher.

Renegades tells the story of a world where prodigies exist. Prodigies are people with special abilities. They had been persecuted for a long time until a very powerful prodigy, Ace Anarchy, staged a rebellion against the powers that be. During this Age of Anarchy when crime was running rampant, a small group of prodigies formed to try and restore justice, calling themselves the Renegades. Now the Renegades rule the land. Nova, one of the few anarchists left and one with a very personal grudge, wants to take the Renegades down and plans to “become” a Renegade to take them down from the inside.

Renegades appears to be very heavily inspired by X-Men. Most of the plot and characters reminded me of the movies (I’ve never read the comics). The story was pretty predictable, but it was still fun and I enjoyed it. I did think the book was far too long for what little happened, though. There was a lot of world building and an over-the-top amount of description (for me, anyways). This book really just seemed like it was more concerned with setting up the series then anything else. I remember not loving Cinder (the first book in the Lunar Chronicles series), but thought all the rest of the series was fantastic, so I have high hopes for the following books.

I liked Nova and the morally gray ground she walked. She is smart and funny. She’s on a mission for vengeance, but she also thinks that society would be better off without the renegades. She feels like people rely too heavily on them instead of providing for themselves and non-prodigies should be able to form their own government again. Adrian is part of a superhero dynasty and leader of the team that Nova joins when she becomes a Renegade. He believes in the renegade’s mission, but also thinks there is some room for improvement. Adrian is a very lovable character and I enjoyed all of his POV chapters. The romance between Nova and Adrian is very slow burn and is still in very early stages by the end of the book. There wasn’t a whole lot of development on the other characters and I hope they all become a little easier to keep straight in the coming books.

Overall, I enjoyed Renegades. It was a fun story with likable characters. I did feel like it was a little too long, though, and the pace was pretty slow for most of it. Not a whole lot really happened and because of this I can’t quite give this 4 stars. I do have very high hopes for the rest of the series, though.

Overall Rating (out of 5): 3.5 Stars

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Top 5 Wednesday: Second Book is Best

This week’s Top 5 Wednesday (check out the Good Reads group) is: Second Book is BestWe’ve talked about series that went downhill, and series that are worth it, but which series were best in the middle?

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1. Golden Son (Red Rising #2) by Pierce Brown. The first book was great, but this second book in the Red Rising series just blew me away. One of my all time favorite books.

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2. Scarlet & Cress (The Lunar Chronicles #2 & #3) by Marissa Meyer. (Since there are 4 books in this series I’m counting the middle two books as one.) I remember not being all that impressed with Cinder, but the books just kept getting better after that.

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3. Red Glove (Curse Workers #2) by Holly Black. With all the 5 star reviews I saw of the first book I ended up being a little disappointed. But then I read Red Glove and it was everything I expected the first book to be. I loved it.

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4. For Better or Worse (The Wedding Belles #2) by Lauren Layne. Even though I ended up reading this series in reverse order, it was still the second book I read and my favorite of the whole series.

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5. New Uses for Old Boyfriends (Black Dog Bay #2) by Beth Kendrick. This was actually the first book in the series I read, but I thought it (and the following books in the series) was a big improvement over the first book.

What are some of your picks for Second Book is Best?

A Long Time Ago, in a Land Far, Far Away Book Tag

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I was tagged by Deanna over at A Novel Glimpse (check out her blog, she’s awesome!). Feel free to tag yourself if you would like to participate.

ONCE UPON A TIME

At least in western fairy-tales, once upon a time is the most common and well-known opening for a traditional fairytale. What book opening makes you feel nostalgic?

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I don’t think I entirely understand this question. So, I’m going with a book opening that has “once upon a time” with a twist. The Rose Society by Marie Lu.

“Once upon a time, a girl had a father, a prince, a society of friends. Then they betrayed her, and she destroyed them all.”

IN A LAND FAR, FAR AWAY

Another common opening which speaks of far off places. What is a book set in a country completely unlike your own?

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Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo is set in Ketterdam. Yes, it’s fictional. But it’s kind of Russian inspired, right?

FROM MOUTH TO MOUTH

Our oldest fairy tales were told time and time again with no written record, told only in the spoken form. Everyone had their own version of the fairy tales. What is your favorite retelling?

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All of The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer are really well done, but I think Cress (Rapunzel re-telling) is my favorite book of the series.

THROUGH THE GENERATIONS

Fairy tales are told to us as children and so are passed on through the years. What is a book that someone beloved passed on to you?

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I am usually the one that forces people to read books. The Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins is one that I read and then bugged and bugged my sister to read. When she finally did she loved it,  so much she started working for one of the major HG fansites, and so then my parents and brother all decided to read it too.

A SPECIAL STORY

Fairy tales are a big part of our culture and say a lot about who we are as people. What is your favorite fairytale and what does it say about you?

My favorite Disney fairy tale movie is beauty and the beast because it's one of the rare times a prince gets saved:

Beauty and the Beast, like all good bookworms. Of course there is the relatable factor of Belle being a book lover. But I guess I also like the idea that physical attraction doesn’t play a role in them falling in love. And I never really realized it until I was searching for a picture to use and found the above one, but Belle is one of the most feminist characters which is cool.

AND THEY ALL LIVED HAPPILY EVER AFTER

Fairy tales tend to have happy endings. What is a book you’ll love forever?

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The Hating Game by Sally Thorne is one of my new favorites.

Birthstone as Books Book Tag

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I saw this tag over at Bookish Things and Tea and thought it looked like a fun one. Feel free to tag yourself if you’d like.

GARNET (JANUARY)- Associated with warding off negative forces and dark energies, name a book with the darkest/evilest character you can think of.

Most of the books I think of are YA fantasy/paranormal books, but the villains almost always have some type of redeeming quality/tragic backstory that makes us feel sorry for them. I can’t think of one that’s just straight up evil. So instead I’m going to go with adult mystery and go with about any killer/bad guy in a Karin Slaughter book. Her books usually have some really dark material and the things the bad guy does often makes me sick to my stomach.

AMETHYST (FEBRUARY)- Purple is associated with royalty, name a book with regal qualities…You can base your choice on characters or choose the king (or queen) of all books.

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I think I’ll take this one literally and go with The Royal We.

AQUAMARINE (MARCH)- Washed out, name a ‘wishy washy’ character, a character who is not strong or is a follower.

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Shay from An Accidental Bride by Denise Hunter. When it came to the relationship with Travis she is always one step forward, three steps back. It drove me crazy.

DIAMOND (APRIL)- A diamond in the rough, name a book that you loved but is not well known.

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I’m going to go with the whole Anna Curtis series by Allison Leotta. I do not see nearly enough of her and she is amazing!

EMERALD (MAY)- Said to balance energy, name two characters who balance each other well.

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I’m going to go with McKenzie’s answer and go with Shazi and Khalid from The Wrath and the Dawn series. The strongest thing for me in the series was their relationship and I felt like they’re one of the few YA couples that really are a pretty evenly matched team.

PEARL (JUNE)- Associated with loyalty, name a character who is loyal to the end.

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Kai from The Lunar Chronicles. Even when things looked really bad for Cinder, he was always trying to look out for her.

RUBY (JULY)- Blood red, name a book that made your blood boil, one that made you angry.

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The Goodbye Bride by Denise Hunter. Lucy was selfish and hypocritical and it took until the very end of the book for her to admit to any blame whatsoever.

PERIDOT (AUGUST)- It pales in comparison to other gems, name a supporting character who you like better than the main character.

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Bianca and Leo from The Art of Lainey. I would have much rather read a book about them than about Lainey and Micah.

SAPPHIRE (SEPTEMBER)- Blue like the ocean which is calming, name a book that had a calming affect on you.

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P.S. I Like You by Kasie West. Her books just make me so happy,

OPAL (OCTOBER)- Iridescent, name an iridescent book; this can be with a beautiful cover (shiny, colorful) or you can base it off a character (quirky? unique?).

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This Adventure Ends by Emma Mills. I will never stop hyping this book.

TOPAZ (NOVEMBER)- Associated with resilience, name a book with a character who rises to the top in a time of adversity.

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Emma from One True Loves by Taylor Jenkins Reid. She has so much to deal with and she works her way through it.

BLUE ZIRCON (DECEMBER)- Associated with friendship, name a book with a friendship you want to be a part of.

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The crew from Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo. I want to pull off a heist with these guys.

Reviewing the Unreviewed: May 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 Mirror and the Maze (The Wrath and the Dawn 1.5) by Renee Ahdieh. Read May 1. 2.5 stars.

Nothing special. Glad it was free.      

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Stars Above (The Lunar Chronicles 4.5) by Marissa Meyer. Read April 30-May 3. 3 stars.

I think I probably would have enjoyed this more if I read it sooner after finishing Winter. I’m not a big fan of short stories, generally. As soon as I get into one, it’s over. The last story, which works as the epilogue to Winter, was my favorite and is enough reason to read this book, even if you don’t care much about the other stories, though most of the others were enjoyable, too.

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The Serpent King by Jeff Zentner. Read May 3-5. 3.5 Stars.

A good deal of this book felt like a slightly less pretentious John Green novel.

Travis was my favorite character. At first he just kind of made me laugh because he’s a huge fantasy nerd that goes to renaissance fairs and carries a staff around and he reminded me SO MUCH of some people I knew in my youth. Then his huge, sweet heart and resiliency to the awful things in his life made me just love him. ***SPOILER*** I felt like something was going to happen to him, but I really didn’t think he was going to die and when he did I cried my eyes out. That and the several chapters of Dill and Lydia’s grief after that made me cry continuously. ***END OF SPOILER***
I liked Lydia about half the time. Sometimes she came across as kind of a bully, which I didn’t appreciate. I absolutely LOVED her father, though. He was smart, funny, insightful, caring…he was basically perfect.

Dill. You know that phrase, “I love you, but I don’t like you right now”? That’s how I felt about Dill for many parts of the book. I didn’t always like his behavior, but I did love his character. I felt bad for him and his situation and I understood why he was feeling the way he felt about a lot of things. His character development throughout the novel was pretty great.

The religious aspects in this story…I’m not sure what to think. Just once I would like to see Christianity in fiction portrayed in a normal way. But it wasn’t exactly Christianity portrayed here. It shows how you can take something and twist it and pervert it into something unrecognizable.

Overall, I thought this was a pretty solid debut. The character development was superb and the emotional impact was pretty strong, but only for the middle-ish of the book. Before and for several chapter After the Big Event, I felt for the characters, but wasn’t really invested in them that much. And at times I think it tried too hard to be meaningful and came off a bit pretentious to me. However, I did enjoy it (even when I was ugly crying) and think it’s worth the read. And this was long enough I totally should have made it it’s own regular review…

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The Perfect Neighbors by SarahPekkanen. Read May 22-25. 3.5 Stars.

Overall, The Perfect Neighbors was an enjoyable read. Though it lacked a little in terms of plot for me, the character development really makes up for it. I definitely wouldn’t mind reading more about these characters, who feel like friends. I would recommend this to fans of really character-driven novels. Full review to come closer to release date.

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A Court of Mist and Fury (A Court of Thorns and Roses #2) by Sarah J. Maas. Read May 25-28. 3.5 Stars.

I liked this better than the first one, but I still don’t think it quite deserves all the 5 star ratings I see. My biggest problem with it is that the book could have been about half the length. There was an abundance of needless description about EVERY THING. There were also numerous stretches where nothing was really happening. Even though I did quite often enjoy the banter between Rhys and Feyre and I enjoyed spending time with Rhys’s inner circle, I was also kind of bored a lot of the time.

What I did really like about this book was how much more Rhys we got. He was by far my favorite character in the first novel and I liked getting to know him better. While I shipped Tamlin and Feyre in ACOTAR it took awhile and then once they got Under The Mountain I didn’t like it as much. I’m glad that the love triangle I was expecting to follow wasn’t quite as angsty as I anticipated. And now I totally ship Rhys and Feyre. I will say, though, that there are quite a few graphic sex scenes that I could have done without. It makes me cringe to think this is basically marketed as YA.

The ending wasn’t what I expected, but I liked it. I look forward to seeing what will happen next (in hopefully a few hundred less pages).

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Wink Poppy Midnight by April Genevieve Tucholke . Read May 28-29. 3 stars.

What an odd little book! The writing was really interesting – definitely a unique style and for the most part I liked it. The chapters were really short which made this book easy to breeze right through. The characters were intriguing, but only one was that likable.  I was disappointed that the story wasn’t as twisty and shocking as I was expecting. I had my suspicions and expected them to be wrong, but they weren’t. The ending was pretty lame, to be honest. I’m giving this 3 stars instead of 2 just because the writing was so unique and the story kept my attention throughout.

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The Accidental Bride (A Big Sky Romance #2) by Denise Hunter. Read May 29-30. 3 stars.

A pretty cute read. I liked both the main characters, though Shay did annoy me with her stubbornness sometimes. I thought that it took a little too long for the relationship to grow, though. They’d have a small “moment” and then before the scene was even over Shay would take 3 steps back. Overall, though, it was quick, cute read and I’ll probably read some of the other books in this series.

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RE-READS

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Until there was You by Kristan Higgins. I had a pretty big reading slump this month and Kristan Higgins always helps me out.

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My One and Only by Kristan Higgins. As you all know by know, I have read basically all of her books MULTIPLE times, but I had only read this one once and I didn’t think it was one of her best. I decided to give it another a go and this time I just loved it! I don’t know what my problem with it before was, honestly. I love Harper and Nick. I love the story and how the whole plot plays out. I upgraded my original rating from 3 stars to 4!

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One Plus One by Jojo Moyes. I count this as one of my favorite books, but I’ve only read it once. When I had a coupon I decided to buy the paperback. While I still enjoyed it and recommend it, I didn’t love it quite as much as I did the first time around. But it was also during my book slump, so that could have effected my enjoyment?

OTP Book Tag

I saw this over on Books for Thought  (go check her out!) and thought it looked fun. OTP, for those that don’t know = One True Pair.

1. An a unpopular OTP that you ship

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Clary & Simon from The Mortal Instruments series. I felt bad for Simon that Clary led him on for so long. At the end of the day, though, I think Simon is too good for Clary, so I guess I don’t ship it all that much. But I couldn’t think of anything else.

2. An OTP that you didn’t ship but now you do

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Warner and Juliette from the Shatter Me series. The first book was obviously Adam Forever, but book two totally changed that.

3. Your most hated OTP

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Hayley and Bryce from Blackmail Boyfriend. Hayley is a complete psycho and needs therapy, not a boyfriend.

4. An OTP that took way too long to get together

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Jennifer and Anthony from The Last Letter from your Lover. It took decades.

5. Your favourite non-canon OTP

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Cricket and Anna from the Anna and the French Kiss series. Cricket is my favorite and he deserves much better than Lola. And while I do like Anna and St. Claire together (once he finally dumped his girlfriend), I always thought she and Cricket would work.

6. Your favourite BROTP

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The Raven Boys, hands down.

7. An OTP you adored in the books but not as much in the movies or tv adaptation

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Sookie and Eric from the Sookie Stackhouse Series/True Blood. They were a major thing for many of the books, but barely a thing in the show (though I never saw the last two or three seasons of the show).

8. A popular OTP that no matter how hard you tried you just can’t ship it

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Cole and Ali from The White Rabbit Chronicles. I just can’t even. I’m on the third book right now and every part I read that’s about their relationship makes me want to throw my Nook. I don’t think I’m going to be able to finish this series (so if anyone wants to give me a spoiler on how it all ends, I’m all ears!)

9. Your favourite LGBT + OTP

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Simon and Baz from Carry On.

10. Your all time favourite OTP

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Kami and Jared from The Lynbun Legacy series

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Cinder and Kai from The Lunar Chronicles

I tag anyone who would like to participate.

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.