Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Top Ten Goals/Resolutions For 2015

This week on Top Ten Tuesday we are declaring some resolution for 2015. I cannot believe it is time to make resolutions again. I'm changing a few things because I did accomplish a lot of my goals for 2014. However, some of them I failed so I'm trying some new things and also doing some of the same. I hope next year goes as well as this one. Happy Reading

1) Read 75 Books - Normally my goal is to read 100 books each year, but I've felt the pressure this year like never before to keep reading and stay on track. I really want to have less pressure, but still read as many books as possible. Maybe this will help with my slumping problem as well?

2) Reduce my TBR pile by at least one book - I have way too many books on my shelves that remain unread. Either by donating or reading I need to reduce that number. Even if it is only one book less at the end of the year, I need to reduce this number. (I'll let you know what that number is soon, but I still need to add my Christmas presents to my total)

3) Keep a better blog/vlog schedule - This year things have been on and off with the schedule. I disappear and reappear so in the upcoming year I would really like to be more consistent with my posts and videos.

4) Make more time for reading - I really want to make more time for reading and spend less time mindlessly perusing the internet. As fun as that is, it isn't very productive.

5) Finish/Catch up on Series - Same goal as last year because I barely accomplished it this time.

6) Watch 25 movies and 25 TV Seasons - This is a yearly goal for my because I struggle to keep up with TV and film references. Maybe I'll learn a few more this year.

7) Do fitness stuff more often - I think this is the standard new year's resolution.

8) Be more adventurous - I'm a bit of a homebody and an introvert so in the upcoming year I'd like to go out more and do new things. I don't know what or with who, but I want to put myself out there a little bit more!

9) Rate/Review every book I read - Even if I just write two lines on Goodreads, I want to record my thoughts on what I read more thoroughly for future reference.

10) Book/Quote Jar - In the upcoming year I want to read cord my initial thoughts or favorite quote from a book immediately after finishing it to add to my book jar. Then at the end of the year I'll be able to look back on my initial thoughts on the books I read in 2015. I talked about this a little more in my Repurposing My TBR Jar video.

My Last Top Ten Tuesday -----> Top Ten (Plus) Anticipated Books of 2015

Monday, December 29, 2014

Top Ten Books of 2014

Check out which books were my favorites of this past year!


Everything Leads to You: http://goo.gl/pH692q 
Ignite Me: http://goo.gl/JvYq4H 
Scarlet: http://goo.gl/2AOP3p
Mortal Heart: http://goo.gl/fzWfbk
Sabriel: http://goo.gl/Ao8fM3
Throne of Glass: http://goo.gl/iIm0xB
Blue Lily Lily Blue: http://goo.gl/Ok7PQ8
The Dream Thieves: http://goo.gl/nefnyK
The Winner's Curse: http://goo.gl/Nzqhdj

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Review - Blue Lily, Lily Blue by Maggie Stiefvater

   Blue Lily, Lily Blue (The Raven Cycle, #3)
**This is the third book in the Raven Cycle Series and there may be spoilers ahead.**

Genre: Paranormal/Urban Fantasy YA
Series: Raven Cycle #3
Hardcover - 391 pgs
Published by Scholastic Press 
Source: My Purchase
Add it // Buy it
Rating: 5/5

There is danger in dreaming. But there is even more danger in waking up.

Blue Sargent has found things. For the first time in her life, she has friends she can trust, a group to which she can belong. The Raven Boys have taken her in as one of their own. Their problems have become hers, and her problems have become theirs.

The trick with found things though, is how easily they can be lost.

Friends can betray.
Mothers can disappear.
Visions can mislead.
Certainties can unravel.

Where can I  possibly start with this book? As I've mentioned so many times, I love this series and this book was one of my most anticipated releases of the year. It did not disappoint either. After this book, I’m beginning to realize how heartbroken I’m going to be when the final book comes out.

In this installment we get more answers and more questions. Finally I felt like we were moving toward more resolution and  Even though I love The Dream Thieves I didn't think we got any closer to finding Glendower. This book changed all that. It seems like the hunt is finally on!

Throughout this series the characters have been my favorite part and nothing changes that in this book. There is a great balance between all the perspectives and I love how you can see them all changing. The hunt for Glendower is no longer a fun activity. There are higher stakes, especially with Maura underground and Adam’s sacrifice, and the characters’ development reflects it.

My heart can’t take too much more of these little romances Stiefvater sets up though. My heart breaks and soars throughout these books and I am dying to know how this is all going to play out. The final book needs to hurry up and be released!

This series is one I’ve read over and over because I enjoy it even more the second time around. The prose is lovely, the characters complex and interesting, and the story is mysterious and unique. I just cannot wait for the last book! I just need it right now!

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Christmas Booktube Readathon Wrap Up

 Just a quick vlog style update and wrap up from the Christmas Booktube-a-thon. It includes all my progress and what I read. It's a bit late, but I wanted to share since I had such a good reading weekend and a lot of fun. 

Series Review- Infernal Devices Manga Adaptation

by Cassandra Clare  & Art by HyeKyung Baek

Clockwork Angel (The Infernal Devices: Manga, #1) Clockwork Prince (The Infernal Devices: Manga, #2) Clockwork Princess (The Infernal Devices: Manga, #3)

A manga-adaption to the prequel of Cassandra Clare's Mortal Instruments series, The Infernal Devices is the story of Tessa Gray, a sixteen-year-old American girl traveling alone to Victorian London who runs afoul of the city's sordid supernatural underworld. Rescued by the Shadowhunters of the London Institute, Tessa quickly finds herself caught up in an intrigue that may very well destroy her new friends - including the two enigmatic young men, Jem and Will, who have taken her under their wing...

Genre: Paranormal Manga Adaptation 
Published by Yen Press
Add it// Buy it
Series Rating: 4.5/ 5 

If you like the Infernal Devices or manga series or both, I imagine you'll love this. I did. I haven't felt like reading recently, but I really wanted to read this as soon as I bought it. It hasn't solved my lack of reading desire, but it really helped.  These are just fantastic adaptations of the original series. It gave me all the same conflicted feelings as the original series. It made me laugh and cry just like the novels did as well! The entire series is adapted and the whole plot is included. Even if you haven't read the original novels, you can enjoy these without any problems and they are fun to read after reading the entire series as well!!

Part of the fun in this adaptation, for me at least, was since it is a manga adaptation, the art made the story a bit dramaticized. If you've read manga, you probably know what I mean. Every exclamation is more surprising and every declaration of love is more heart-wrenching. I loved every single panel. Actually I was more conflicted about the love triangle in this adaptation than I was during the original series.

The art is delightful as well. I think it is fantastic they kept the same characters on the covers as the originals. Its just a nice detail. Overall the art is simple with the right amount of dialogue and detail without being overwhelming or confusing. Actually, the only problem I had with the entire series was the format of the books is opposite of normal manga. That is to say, the books read front to back which took a little getting used too since all the other manga I've read go back to front.

I gave the first two book four stars and the final book five stars. I wish the Mortal Instruments were adapted in this same way. Right now, they are not, but maybe in the future. Here's hoping!

Monday, December 22, 2014

Pre-Christmas Book Haul

I'm so sorry to have been gone so long! What better way to come back though, than a book haul! I've been exhausted since Thanksgiving while trying to get ready for the holidays and it is the busiest time of year at work. So I've just been collecting books rather than talking about them and reading them. 

Somehow, without meaning to, I've picked up so many books in the first two weeks of December. There were so many Black Friday deals and other sales going on right after December started. Check them all out! 

Books Mentioned: 

From Quirk: 

Book Outlet:

Better World Books

Happy Reading! 

Friday, December 19, 2014

Booktube-a-Thon TBR (Christmas Version)

It is that time of year again! It is time to read read read books over three days. This is my TBR for this weekend which I may or may not stick to! Enjoy. 

Books Mentioned: 
Persuasion by Jane Austen 
The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater 
The Curiosities by Various 
The Assassins Blade by Sarah J. Maas

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Review - Scarlet by Marissa Meyer

Scarlet (The Lunar Chronicles, #2)
Genre: Sci-Fi Retellings
Series: Lunar Chronicles 2
Hardcover - 452pgs
Published by MacMillan 
Source: My Purchase
Add it // Buy it
Rating: 5/5

Cinder, the cyborg mechanic, returns in the second thrilling installment of the bestselling Lunar Chronicles. She's trying to break out of prison--even though if she succeeds, she'll be the Commonwealth's most wanted fugitive. Halfway around the world, Scarlet Benoit's grandmother is missing. It turns out there are many things Scarlet doesn't know about her grandmother or the grave danger she has lived in her whole life. When Scarlet encounters Wolf, a street fighter who may have information as to her grandmother's whereabouts, she is loath to trust this stranger, but is inexplicably drawn to him, and he to her. As Scarlet and Wolf unravel one mystery, they encounter another when they meet Cinder. Now, all of them must stay one step ahead of the vicious Lunar Queen Levana, who will do anything for the handsome Prince Kai to become her husband, her king, her prisoner.

Let me set a little scene up for this review. You may remember I gave Cinder a rather wishy-washy review a few weeks ago after I finished it. I wanted to love the book, but overall I had mixed feelings. It didn't stand up to the expectations I had going in because of hype, even though I knew I shouldn't let that taint the experience for me. The predictability of Cinder also really bugged me even though I knew it was a retelling.

So I had a few problems with Cinder but still wanted to move forward with the series. I started Scarlet with lower expectations a few days later. Let me tell you book two was a revelation for me!

I no longer have reservations about this series. Almost immediately I was sucked into this book. The beginning caught my attention much faster and Scarlet’s story reinvested me in the series. The mystery surrounding the Lunars becomes even more suspenseful and has even higher stakes in this book. I loved the new characters we added to the story in this book and cannot wait to see where they go in the future.

Overall, I was much more impressed with this book. Meyers melds the two main story lines together so well and all of the character’s voices are distinct. There are a lot of character point of views to cover and they all feel complete and necessary. Overall I enjoyed this book even more than Cinder and now I’m thrilled to move forward with the series!

I’m planning on starting Cress with a glass of wine in the tub tonight and I’m super excited.

Friday, December 5, 2014

#FridayReads and Reading Challenge

Wondering what I'll be reading this weekend? Curious to see what challenge I'll be using to kick start my reading this week? You are in luck! I've made a video all about it!

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Unfinished Book Series

There are so many series to read! I have started a lot already, but I have so many on my shelves I need to finish. It is a big problem. This is just a quick compilation of the series I've already started and cannot wait to finish. 

Series Mentioned: 

Let me know what series you need to finish! I know there are plenty more on my TBR shelf I need to work on. It's tough and I hope I can finish even more in the new year. 

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Top Ten (Plus a Few) Books I'm Looking Forward To In 2015

Once again it is time to make a Top Ten Tuesday about the books you are thrilled to get your hands on in the coming year. Thank you to the Broke and the Bookish for hosting this meme because I spent an evening getting overexcited to discover new releases and anticipate sequels to some of my favorites.

There are so many exciting books coming out in 2015!! In fact, there are so many books being released in 2015 I couldn't pick just 10. Since I was going to pick more than 10 anyway, I decided to just list them all. Go big or go home! I went way over this week, but I hope you'll forgive me since I also included lots of beautiful covers in this post.

Monday, December 1, 2014

November Wrap Up (2014)

This month has been a great reading month in terms of content, but a bit dismal in terms of numbers. I only read five books this month. They were all rather large books and I loved all the books I read. However, everything I read was finished in the first half of the month. Since then I've been slumpy and haven't been reading anything. I'm rolling with the slump for now, but I'm hoping I'll get over it soon. I love to read this time of year, but right now I am just not feeling it. Wish me luck in December! I hope you have had a lovely start to your holiday season.

Books Mentioned: 

Review- Jane Austen Cover to Cover by Margaret C. Sullivan

Genre: Non-fiction
Hardcover - 224 pgs
Published by Quirk Books
Source: Review Copy from Quirk 
Add it // Buy it 
Rating: 5/5

Jane Austen’s six novels are true classics, still immensely popular some 200 years after their first publication. But although the celebrated stories never change, the covers are always different. Jane Austen Cover to Cover compiles two centuries of design, from elegant Victorian hardcovers and the famed 1894 “Peacock” edition to 1950s pulp, movie tie-in editions, graphic novels, foreign-language translations, and many, many others. Filled with beautiful artwork and insightful commentary, this fascinating and visually intriguing collection is a must for Janeites, design geeks, and book lovers of every stripe.

In true Janeite fashion I cannot fix upon the page or the cover that made me fall in love with this book. It may have been the moment I opened it! When I stumbled onto a twitter post that gave me the chance to review this book, I jumped on it. It is appealing to the Jane Austen fan that I am and my bibliophile side simply because it is a book about beautiful books.

First of all, the physical copy is so delightful to read and look through. The interior and pages are bright and colorful with so many quotes and interesting facts about Austen, her characters, and her books thrown in between the covers. Within the collection of Austen's book covers, there is a history of publishing and readership of her books as well. The stories of the covers and pictures are so interesting. I loved to see the cover trends based on time periods and popularity of the works. The pictures are beautiful and I found so many beautiful covers I wish were on my shelves! My favorite is probably the Peacock edition like so many others, but I also loved some of the more modern sets like the Penguin Limited Editions.

Another wonderful thing about this book is I know I'll be able to read it and look through a lot and learn something new every time. I started out trying to read the whole book, but I kept stalling after a few pages. Instead a few days later I flipped through it reading pages that interested me and skipping the ones that didn't. A few days after that I did the same thing again. After several peruses through the book, I feel like I've gotten a lot of knowledge and enjoyment out of the book without sitting down to read it straight through. It was so much fun to find my copies of Austen's novels as well.

This would make an excellent Christmas gift for any Austen fan in your life. The book is fun and interesting plus it can be enjoyed again and again. I would highly recommend it!

*The publisher sent me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed are my own.