Top Ten: 2016

This is my annual list of favorite books that I read and reviewed this year.

Break Me Like a Promise and This Raging Light were the two books that were most impactful to me and the two I most desperately needed to read this year. I haven’t stopped thinking about The Star-Touched Queen and In Some Other World, Maybe since I finished them. Passenger has become a defining book of key moments of this year and last (which is why I have three copies of it). Bookishly Ever After, Iron Cast, Tell Me Three Things, Three Dark Crowns, My Lady Jane, and The Museum of Heartbreak were all delightful surprises this year. Hands down, The Anatomy of Curiosity is one of the most inspiring books I have read. Ever.

You can click the cover photos to read my reviews. Since it’s 2016, I’m giving myself ten slots plus up to six honorable mentions. Alphabetical by author because picking favorites any more specifically is too hard.

Top Ten:

Bookishly Ever After by Isabel BandeiraPassenger by Alexandra BrackenTell Me Three Things by Julie BuxbaumThe Star-Touched Queen by Roshani ChokshiIn Some Other World, Maybe by Shari Goldhagen

  • Bookishly Ever After by Isabel Bandeira
  • Passenger by Alexandra Bracken
  • Tell Me Three Things by Julie Buxbaum
  • The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi
  • In Some Other World, Maybe by Shari Goldhagen

This Raging Light by Estelle LaureThe Square Root of Summer by Harriet Reuter HapgoodBreak Me Like a Promise by Tiffany SchmidtIron Cast by Destiny SoriaThe Anatomy of Curiosity by Maggie Stiefvater, Tessa Gratton, Brenna Yovanoff

  • This Raging Light by Estelle Laure
  • The Square Root of Summer by Harriet Reuter Hapgood
  • Break Me Like a Promise by Tiffany Schmidt
  • Iron Cast by Destiny Soria
  • The Anatomy of Curiosity by Maggie Stiefvater, Tessa Gratton, Brenna Yovanoff

Honorable Mentions:

Crooked Kingdom by Leigh BardugoThree Dark Crowns by Kendare BlakeMy Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, Jodi Meadows

  • Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo
  • Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake
  • My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, Jodi Meadows

The Girl from Everywhere by Heidi HeiligThe Museum of Heartbreak by Meg LederThis Savage Song by Victoria Schwab

  • The Girl from Everywhere by Heidi Heilig
  • The Museum of Heartbreak by Meg Leder
  • This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab

 

This list is also a Pinterest board.

Top Ten: 2015

Here’s my list of favorite books reviewed here on the blog in 2015. You can click the cover photos to read my reviews. Since it’s 2015, I’m giving myself 15 slots plus a few honorable mentions. Alphabetical by author because picking favorites any more specifically is too hard.

Top Ten:

The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee AhdiehThe Darkest Part of the Forest by Holly BlackThe Scorpion Rules by Erin BowLove and Other Perishable Items by Laura BuzoThe Truth Commission by Susan Juby

  • The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh
  • The Darkest Part of the Forest by Holly Black
  • The Scorpion Rules by Erin Bow
  • Love and Other Perishable Items by Laura Buzo
  • The Truth Commission by Susan Juby

Winterspell by Claire LegrandThe Start of Me and You by Emery LordLock & Mori by Heather W. PettyI am Princess X by Cherie PriestTonight the Streets Are Ours by Leila Sales

  • Winterspell by Claire Legrand
  • The Start of Me and You by Emery Lord
  • Lock & Mori by Heather W. Petty
  • I Am Princess X by Cherie Priest
  • Tonight the Streets Are Ours by Leila Sales

Hold Me Like a Breath by Tiffany SchmidtThe Ghosts of Heaven by Marcus SedgwickA Darker Shade of Magic by Victoria SchwabRebel Mechanics by Shanna SwendsonBlack Dove, White Raven by Elizabeth Wein

  • Hold Me Like a Breath by Tiffany Schmidt
  • The Ghosts of Heaven by Marcus Sedgwick
  • A Darker Shade of Magic by V. E. Schwab
  • Rebel Mechanics by Shanna Swendson
  • Black Dove, White Raven by Elizabeth Wein

Honorable Mentions:

The Game of Love and Death by Martha BrockenbroughWalk on Earth a Stranger by Rae CarsonBlackfin Sky by Kat EllisThe Accident Season by Moira Fowley-Doyle

  • The Game of Love and Death by Martha Brockenbrough
  • Walk on Earth a Stranger by Rae Carson
  • Blackfin Sky by Kat Ellis
  • The Accident Season by Moira Fowley-Doyle

This list is also a Pinterest board.

2014 Statistics Survey

Thanks for Andi from Andi’s ABCs and Brittany from The Book Addict’s Guide for coming up with this great idea. (Graphics and categories from their original post. If you want to link up and join the statistics fun, you can link up at the original post.)

 

1. Number of books under 250 pages (not including novellas) (also not including picture books!): 5
2. Number of books read between 400-449 pages: 7
3. Number of books read between 450-499 pages: 4
4. Number of books read over 500 pages: 4 which still amazes me.
5. Number of books read over 1000 pages: 0
6. Number of novellas read: 0
7. Number of books that made you cry: 3
8. Number of books from a female POV: all of them . . . 88
9. Number of books from a male POV: 16
10. Number of alternating or multiple POVs: 18
11. Number of DNFs (did not finish): I don’t track this and I try to finish everything either by skimming or by reading backwards
12. Number of five star reads: 38
13. Number of one/two star reads: 37
14. Number of authors met in 2014: a lot
15. Number of book events attended in 2014: a lot
16. Number of books you read in one day: I never read more than one book in a day and I average 2-3 days per book so this is too many to list
17. Number of audiobooks: 0
18. Number of 2015 books you have on pre-order: 1
19. Number of re-reads: 0

1. Book with the highest rating on Goodreads: In the Afterlight by Alexandra Bracken
2. Book with the lowest rating on Goodreads: Beau, Lee, the Bomb and Me by Mary McKinley
3. Book read furthest away from home (vacation reads?): N/A
4. Book that took you the longest to read: Shadow Scale by Rachel Hartman (one week to read)
5. Book that you personally connected with the most: Love and Other Perishable Items by Laura Buzo
6. Book that made you love the villain: Blue Lily, Lily Blue by Maggie Stiefvater
7. Book you said you’d come back to but still haven’t picked up again: Mortal Fire by Elizabeth Knox
8. Book you read waaaay before it’s publication date: Ha. Everything I read this month! The Winner’s Crime by Marie Rutkoski
9. Book you read on your birthday: Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge
10. Book with a character who shares your name: Blind by Rachel DeWoskin and the Lovegrove Legacy books by Alyxandra Harvey
11. Book you weren’t entirely truthful about when rating (Fluff up any ratings? Rated even though you didn’t finish?): I’ll never tell ;)
12. Book you read in 2014 but already want to re-read: I don’t re-read!
13. Book you borrowed from a friend a long time ago and still have? I don’t borrow books because I’m too paranoid about it.
14. Book by a foreign author/originally published in another country: Love and Other Perishable Items by Laura Buzo
15. Book you wish you could go back and read for the first time again: The Ghosts of Heaven by Marcus Sedgwick
16. Most books read by one author this year: I read so widely the answer here is 2 each for books by Sarah Beth Durst, Alyxandra Harvey, Amie Kaufman & Meagan Spooner, Emery Lord, Marcus Sedgwick, Rebecca Serle, Andrew Smith, Nova Ren Suma

1. Happiest & saddest: Happiest-The Geography of Me and You by Jennifer E. Smith. Saddest-Rose Under Fire by Elizabeth Wein
2. Longest & shortest: Longest-Shadowscale by Rachel Hartman or Afterworlds by Scott Westerfeld. Shortest-Poisoned Apples by Christine Hepperman
3. Best & worst: There is no way I can fairly answer this.
4. First & last reads of 2014: First-Belle Epoque by Elizabeth Ross. Last-All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven
5. First & last books on your bookcase (1st book on the top left and last book on the bottom right): I have too many bookcases. I wouldn’t know where to start.
6. The most disappointing & the biggest pleasant surprise: Best surprise-This Song Will Save Your Life by Leila Sales. Biggest Disappointment-A Thousand Pieces of You by Claudia Gray
7. Bandwagon/fandom you joined & one you abandoned: Joined-Starbound. Abandoned-I think I’ve outgrown the legions of Shadowhunter novels. Alas.
8. Most lenient & harshest ratings: Harshest-Struck by Lightning by Chris Colfer. Lenient-Shift by Jennifer Bradbury may have received a generous rating because I loved it so.
9. Most hyped & furthest under the radar that you read: Most hyped: The One by Kiera Cass or In the Afterlight by Alexandra Bracken. Most under the radar: Illusions of Fate by Kiersten White.

1. Book you read that is red: 17 & Gone by Nova Ren Suma
2. Book you read that starts with M: My True Love Gave to Me or Mortal Heart
3. Book you read that you may have hugged when you finished it: To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han or Better Off Friends by Elizabeth Eulberg.
4. Book you read that you may have wanted to throw across a room: Struck by Lightning by Chris Colver
5. Book that has the letters Q, X, or Z in the title (bonus for one of the words in the title beginning with those!): Quest by Aaron Becker, Tea Rex by Molly Idle,  My Three Best Friends and Me, Zulay by Cari Best (thank goodness for picture books!)
6. Book that suffered some damage this year (food? water? ripped pages/cover? Ouch!): That never happens. I don’t even crack spines.
7. Food you craved while/after reading a certain book: Cookies while reading To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han.
8. First book you read in 2015: Jackaby since I doubt I’ll finish it tomorrow.
9. Number of books read that end with a 6 in the page count:  16 (Many books are 336 or 256 pages–did you know?)

  1. Number of posts in 2014: 280
  2. Number of reviews posted this year: 50
  3. First post of 2014: Winter Break Book Blogger Challenge 12: New Year’s Day!
  4. First review of 2014: Champion: A Chick Lit Wednesday Review
  5. Last post of 2014: This one!
  6. Last review of 2014: Now That You’re Here by Amy K. Nichols
  7. Least coherent review: Maybe We Were Liars because I had to be so vague to avoid spoilers.
  8. Review with the most views (regardless of post date): Diary of a Wimpy Kid: A (book and movie) Review
  9. Post with the most comments: Top Ten Tuesday: 2014 Goals
  10. Post you wish you could re-write: My review of Sabriel–but I went ahead and did rewrite it this year.
  11. Most popular post this year (that was posted in 2014): What to read after or instead of: The Fault in Our Stars

14 for 2014

Here’s my list of favorite books from 2014.

(I’m limiting myself here to books that I’ve reviewed on the blog this year. For more favorites, check out this year’s End of Year Survey.)

Top Ten:

 

The Winner's Curse by Marie RutkoskiIn the Age of Love and Chocolate by Gabrielle ZevinTo All the Boys I've Loved Before by Jenny HanAll Our Yesterdays by Cristin TerrillAnd We Stay by Jenny Hubbard

  1. The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski
  2. In the Age of Love and Chocolate by Gabrielle Zevin
  3. To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han
  4. All Our Yesterdays by Cristin Terrill
  5. And We Stay by Jenny Hubbard
  6. The Unbound by Victoria Schwab
  7. The Strange Maid by Tessa Gratton
  8. The Screaming Staircase by Jonathan Stroud
  9. Illusions of Fate by Kiersten White
  10. The Vanishing Season by Jodi Lynn Anderson

The UnboundThe Strange Maid by Tessa GrattonThe Screaming Staircase by Jonathan StroudIllusions of Fate by Kiersten WhiteThe Vanishing Season

Honorable Mentions:

Bad Luck Girl by Sarah ZettelBlue Lily, Lily Blue by Maggie StiefvaterMortal Heart by Robin LaFeversThis Song Will Save Your Life by Leila Sales

  1. Bad Luck Girl by Sarah Zettel
  2. Blue Lily, Lily Blue by Maggie Stiefvater
  3. Mortal Heart by Robin LaFevers
  4. This Song Will Save Your Life by Leila Sales

Shout out to Afterworlds by Scott Westerfeld and Clariel by Garth Nix which were both very close to making the final cut! (And to Love and Other Perishable Items by Laura Buzo–I don’t think I’m getting my review of it written by the end of 2014 so watch for it on my 2015 list!)

This list is also a Pinterest board.

2014 End of Year Survey

2014 End Of Year Book Survey

This survey was put together by Jamie at The Perpetual Page Turner (as were the graphics). If you want to join the fun, you can join the link up on her blog.

reading-stats-2014

Number Of Books You Read: 153
Number of Re-Reads: N/A

Number of Picture Books: ~20
Genre You Read The Most From: toss up between mysteries and fantasy/sci-fi

best-YA-books-2014

1. Best Book You Read In 2014?

Backlist Contemporary: Love and Other Perishable Items by Laura Buzo

Love and Other Perishable Items by Laura Buzo

Backlist Fantasy: The Screaming Staircase by Jonathan Stroud

The Screaming Staircase by Jonathan Stroud

2014 Publication Fantasy: The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski, All Our Yesterdays by Cristin Terrill, The Vanishing Season by Jodi Lynn Anderson

The Winner's Curse by Marie RutkoskiAll Our Yesterdays by Cristin TerrillThe Vanishing Season

2014 Publication Contemporary: And We Stay by Jenny Hubbard,  To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han

And We Stay by Jenny HubbardTo All the Boys I've Loved Before by Jenny Han

You can also check out my 14 for 2014 list to see what else I loved!

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

A Thousand Pieces of You by Claudia Gray–A sci-fi, parallel universe story with some romance? I expected to love this one. Instead I was left cold by the lackluster romance and world building.

A Thousand Pieces of You by Claudia Gray

 3. Most surprising (in a good way or bad way) book you read in 2014? 

Illusions of Fate by Kiersten White–I didn’t even think I was a fan of White’s writing then I read this book and was completely blown away!

The Screaming Staircase by Jonathan Stroud–I was almost ready to give up on this book as unread. Then I did read it and found it was a favorite for the year!

These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner–another one I almost didn’t read!

Illusions of Fate by Kiersten WhiteThe Screaming Staircase by Jonathan Stroudthesebrokenstars

 4. Book You “Pushed” The Most People To Read (And They Did) In 2014?

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han, The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski, The Archived by Victoria Schwab, All These Things I’ve Done by Gabrielle Zevin, Afterworlds by Scott Westerfeld

To All the Boys I've Loved Before by Jenny HanThe Winner's Curse by Marie RutkoskiThe Archived by Victoria SchwabAll These Things I've Done by Gabrielle ZevinAfterworlds by Scott Westerfeld

 5. Best series you started in 2014? Best Sequel of 2014? Best Series Ender of 2014?

Series Starter: The Screaming Staircase by Jonathan Stroud (first book in the Lockwood & Co. series) or The Lost by Sarah Beth Durst (first book in The Lost trilogy), The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski (first book in The Winner’s Trilogy)

The Screaming Staircase by Jonathan StroudThe Lost by Sarah Beth DurstThe Winner's Curse by Marie Rutkoski

Sequel: The Unbound by Victoria Schwab (sequel to The Archived), Blue Lily, Lily Blue by Maggie Stiefvater (book 3 in The Raven Cycle0, The Strange Maid by Tessa Gratton (sequel to The Lost Sun)

The UnboundBlue Lily, Lily Blue by Maggie StiefvaterThe Strange Maid by Tessa Gratton

Series Ender: Mortal Heart by Robin LaFevers (final His Fair Assassin book) or In the Afterlight by Alexandra Bracken (final The Darkest Minds book) or Bad Luck Girl by Sarah Zettel, The One by Kiera Cass, In the Age of Love and Chocolate by Gabrielle Zevin, Champion by Marie Lu

Mortal Heart by Robin LaFeversIn the Afterlight by Alexandra BrackenBad Luck Girl by Sarah ZettelThe One by Kiera CassIn the Age of Love and Chocolate by Gabrielle ZevinChampion by Marie Lu

 6. Favorite new author you discovered in 2014?

This one was really hard but I think Marcus Sedgwick, Stacey Jay and Marie Rutkoski. I hadn’t read any of them previously but I adored Midwinterblood, Princess of Thorns and The Winner’s Curse.

Midwinterblood by Marcus SedgwickPrincess of Thorns by Stacey JayThe Winner's Curse by Marie Rutkoski

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

It’s not entirely out of my comfort zone since I do read sci-fi but I had a really hard time with The Summer Prince by Alaya Dawn Johnson

The Summer Prince by Alaya Dawn Johnson

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

The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski, Champion by Marie Lu, Clariel by Garth Nix

The Winner's Curse by Marie RutkoskiChampion by Marie LuClariel by Garth Nix

 9. Book You Read In 2014 That You Are Most Likely To Re-Read Next Year?

I don’t re-read books but if I did: My True Love Gave to Me edited by Stephanie Perkins

My True Love Gave to Me: Twelve Holiday Stories edited by Stephanie Perkins

10. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2014?

This Song Will Save Your Life by Leila SalesThe Geography of You and Me by Jennifer E. SmithClariel by Garth NixIllusions of Fate by Kiersten WhiteThe Winner's Curse by Marie Rutkoski

11. Most memorable character of 2014?

Signy from The Strange Maid, Kestrel from The Winner’s Curse, Em from All Our Yesterdays by Cristin Terrill

The Strange Maid by Tessa GrattonThe Winner's Curse by Marie RutkoskiAll Our Yesterdays by Cristin Terrill

 12. Most beautifully written book read in 2014?

In the Age of Love and Chocolate by Gabrielle Zevin

In the Age of Love and Chocolate by Gabrielle Zevin

13. Most Thought-Provoking/ Life-Changing Book of 2014?

For its optimism: This Song Will Save Your Life by Leila Sales

This Song Will Save Your Life by Leila Sales

For its plot: The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski

The Winner's Curse by Marie Rutkoski

For its world building: Afterworlds by Scott Westerfeld

Afterworlds by Scott Westerfeld

 14. Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2014 to finally read? 

There are a lot of ways I could answer this but probably the one most people would find surprising is The Fault in Our Stars by John Green.

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

Other surprises were A Spy in the House by Y. S. Lee which had been on my radar for a while but I somehow never read it until it was nominated for my committee work (I’m on YALSA’s Popular Paperbacks for Young Adults so I have been reading a lot of backlist!). Also Imaginary Girls by Nova Ren Suma which I had owned since 2011!

The Agency: A Spy in the House by Y. S. LeeImaginary Girls by Nova Ren Suma

 15. Favorite Passage/Quote From A Book You Read In 2014?

“We are where we are.”

In the Age of Love and Chocolate by Gabrielle Zevin

In the Age of Love and Chocolate by Gabrielle Zevin

“Besides, I did not require heroism–I had been the hero of my own life for some time.”

In the Age of Love and Chocolate by Gabrielle Zevin

In the Age of Love and Chocolate by Gabrielle Zevin

“You think it’s so easy to change yourself. You think it’s so easy, but it’s not. True, things don’t stay the same forever: couches are replaced, boys leave, you discover a song, your body becomes forever scarred. And with each of these moments you change and change again, your true self spinning, shifting positions–but always at last it returns to you, like a dancer on the floor. Because throughout it all, you are still, always, you: beautiful, bruised, known and unknowable. And isn’t that–just you–enough?”

This Song Will Save Your Life by Leila Sales

This Song Will Save Your Life by Leila Sales

16. Shortest & Longest Book You Read In 2014?

Longest: Afterworlds by Scott Westerfeld at 599 pages (Followed closely by The Book Thief by Markus Zusak at 55o pages and In the Afterlight by Alexandra Bracken as a close second at 535.)

Afterworlds by Scott WesterfeldThe Book Thief by Markus ZusakIn the Afterlight by Alexandra Bracken

Shortest: Poisoned Apples: Poems for You, My Pretty by Christine Hepperman at 128. (Not counting picture books or easy readers, of course.)

Poisoned Apples: Poems for You, My Pretty by Christine Hepperman

 17. Book That Shocked You The Most

We Were Liars by E. Lockhart, All Our Yesterdays by Cristin Terrill

We Were Liars by E. LockhartAll Our Yesterdays by Cristin Terrill

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

Mac and Wes obviously. Also Callie and Jack.

The UnboundBad Luck Girl by Sarah Zettel

Honorable Mentions:

Kestrel and Arin, America and Maxon, Em and Finn

The Winner's Curse by Marie RutkoskiThe One by Kiera CassAll Our Yesterdays by Cristin Terrill

19. Favorite Non-Romantic Relationship Of The Year

This doesn’t quite count but Chris and Amelia from Love and Other Perishable Items by Laura Buzo.

Love and Other Perishable Items by Laura Buzo

20. Favorite Book You Read in 2014 From An Author You’ve Read Previously

Clariel by Garth Nix, Afterworlds by Scott Westerfeld, Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins.

Clariel by Garth NixAfterworlds by Scott WesterfeldIsla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins

21. Best Book You Read In 2014 That You Read Based SOLELY On A Recommendation From Somebody Else/Peer Pressure:

These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner–thanks for the nudge Kayla!

thesebrokenstars

22. Newest fictional crush from a book you read in 2014?

Ned from The Strange Maid by Tessa Gratton, Arin from The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski, Finn from Illusions of Fate by Kiersten White

The Strange Maid by Tessa GrattonThe Winner's Curse by Marie RutkoskiIllusions of Fate by Kiersten White

23. Best 2014 debut you read?

Blackfin Sky by Kat Ellis–I didn’t read a lot of debuts this year because of my committee work but this one came to my attention thanks to Popular Paperbacks and I was completely blown away. It was a real delight.

blackfinsky

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

Princess of Thorns by Stacey Jay

Princess of Thorns by Stacey Jay

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

Since You’ve Been Gone by Morgan Matson, Open Road Summer by Emery Lord, To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han

Since You've Been Gone by Morgan MatsonOpen Road Summer by Emery LordTo All the Boys I've Loved Before by Jenny Han

26. Book That Made You Cry Or Nearly Cry in 2014?

Surprisingly it was My True Love Gave to Me edited by Stephanie Perkins. Several of the stories had me tearing up–especially “Welcome to Christmas, CA” by Kiersten White.

My True Love Gave to Me: Twelve Holiday Stories edited by Stephanie Perkins

27. Hidden Gem Of The Year?

Backlist: The Space Between Trees by Katie Williams

The Space Between Trees by Katie Williams

2014 release: The Vanishing Season by Jodi Lynn Anderson

The Vanishing Season

Series: The Lovegrove Legacy by Alyxandra Harvey

A Breath of Frost by Alyxandra HarveyWhisper the Dead by Alyxandra Harvey

28. Book That Crushed Your Soul?

Love and Other Perishable Items by Lauro Buzo or The Vanishing Season by Jodi Lynn Anderson–I was gutted when I finished both.

Love and Other Perishable Items by Laura BuzoThe Vanishing Season

29. Most Unique Book You Read In 2014?

Midwinterblood by Marcus Sedgwick. I loved the way the stories intersected to complete a longer narrative. The fact that the stories can be read in any order is also fascinating to me.

Midwinterblood by Marcus Sedgwick

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

There were a few frustrating reads but Cracked Up to Be by Courtney Summers definitely made me the maddest.

book-blogging

1. New favorite book blog you discovered in 2014? 

The Thousand Lives and The Talking (Blogging) Bookworm and Blogging Between the Lines

2. Favorite review that you wrote in 2014? 

Positive: The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski

The Winner's Curse by Marie Rutkoski

Critical: Salt & Storm by Kendall Kulper

Salt and Storm by Kendall Kulper

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

 Let’s talk about book baggage (figurative not literal)

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

 The launch party for In the Afterlight by Alexandra Bracken–of course!

5. Best moment of bookish/blogging life in 2014?

My Gilmore Girls read-a-likes post got a lot of great attention this year which was fun as a blogger.

But if I’m being really, really honest with myself the best moment was being invited to dinner by Rachel Hartman (author of Seraphina) where I got to spend a lovely meal with her and one of the first librarians I ever worked with (as an intern and page) Karyn.

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

The Fault in Our Stars Read-a-Likes

8. Post You Wished Got A Little More Love?

I’m pretty happy with the love my posts have been getting. I have been making a real effort to comment on more people’s posts so I wish I was able to have more conversations on my blog :)

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

Litographs!

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

I read more than 125 books which was my Goodreads Challenge target!

looking-ahead-books-2015

1. One Book You Didn’t Get To In 2014 But Will Be Your Number 1 Priority in 2015?

I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson

2. Book You Are Most Anticipating For 2015 (non-debut)?

P. S. I Still Love You by Jenny Han and A Darker Shade of Magic by Victoria Schwab

3. 2015 Debut You Are Most Anticipating?

Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard, Shutter by Courtney Alameda

 4. Series Ending/A Sequel You Are Most Anticipating in 2015?

I want to say the final book in the Winner’s Trilogy by Marie Rutkoski but that might not even come out in 2015 so I’ll also add Shadow Scale by Rachel Hartman.

5. One Thing You Hope To Accomplish Or Do In Your Reading/Blogging Life In 2015?

I really, really want to read more of the books on my shelves at home and also books that have been languishing on my “to read” list for years. I’ve been thinking of it as my “Put Up or Shut Up” challenge in my head.

6. A 2015 Release You’ve Already Read & Recommend To Everyone:

The Darkest Part of the Forest by Holly Black, The Ghosts of Heaven by Marcus Sedgwick, Dearest by Alethea Kontis, The Winner’s Crime by Marie Rutkoski

The Darkest Part of the Forest by Holly BlackThe Ghosts of Heaven by Marcus SedgwickDearest by Alethea KontisThe Winner's Crime by Marie Rutkoski

Gilmore Girls Read-a-Likes

You might have heard that the much loved TV series Gilmore Girls has made its way to Netflix. If, like me, you don’t have Netflix (or if you have already re-watched the entire series), these books might help you capture some of the happy feelings from the series. If you don’t feel like reading this whole list I’ve discovered that in my mind I consider fantasy titles great read-alikes for this series in general. (Thanks to my friend Kristin for suggesting this list idea!)

If you want books with a quirky ensemble of characters:

gilmorequirkyensem

  • Heist Society by Ally Carter: Time is short and the job is monumental but Kat has a crack crew and, hopefully, enough talent to pull off an impossible heist (and maybe right a few wrongs along the way).
  • Graffiti Moon by Cath Crowley: As Ed walks Lucy through Shadow’s art, the night that promised to be a disaster turns into something else. In a city filled with missed connections and opportunity, Ed and Lucy are right where they’re supposed to be
  • Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones: Sophie Hatter is the eldest of three sisters, which everyone knows means Sophie is doomed to failure should she ever set out to seek her fortunes. Sophie is resigned to her fate–living obscurely, and less than successfully, working in the family hat shop. Except that this is not a traditional fairy tale and events soon intervene to set Sophie on a very unexpected course indeed for an eldest daughter.
  • The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater: Only one rider can win on race day–if they can stay alive long enough to finish the course–and the stakes for both Sean and Puck couldn’t be higher but as this unlikely pair trains side-by-side they might find a greater prize than anything from the race purse.
  • Illusions of Fate by Kiersten White: Jessamin has been an outcast since she moved from her island home of Melei to the dreary country of Albion. Everything changes when she meets Finn, an enigmatic young lord. Armed with only her wits, Jessamin will have to navigate the murky waters of Alben politics and magic–not to mention the uncharted territory of her own heart.

If you want books with witty banter:

gilmorebanter

  • Better Off Friends by Elizabeth Eulberg: Both Macallan and Levi are pretty sure they’re better as friends than anything else. Except they can’t help wondering if the complications that come with being more than friends might just be worth it.
  • Saving Francesca by Melina Marchetta: Sixteen-year-old Francesca Spinelli has a lot of limitations on her life. The worst might be her forced transfer to St. Sebastian’s, a former boy’s school that’s trying to turn co-ed.
  • Unspoken by Sarah Rees Brennan: If every town has a story, so does every resident. Kami’s own story has caused her a fair bit of trouble over the years and not a few friends. That’s what happens when your best friend seems to be an imaginary boy you talk to in your head.
  • The Archived by Victoria Schwab: Someone wants to hide something about the Coronado. And perhaps about the Archive too. If Mac can’t solve the mystery that remains the entire Archive could collapse.
  • The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater: As Blue and these improbable raven boys find each other things start changing for them and their small town. Together they could unearth untold magic and power, as long as they can find it first–and control it.

If you want books with a sweet romance:

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  • To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han: No one was ever supposed to see Lara Jean’s love letters except for Lara Jean. They were never meant for anyone else. With all of her feelings laid bare for these five boys, Lara Jean isn’t sure how to go back to the girl she used to be before the letters were delivered.
  • Enchanted by Alethea Kontis: In a land as ripe with magic as Sunday’s, it isn’t particularly surprising to meet a talking frog. The real surprise comes when he shows an interest in Sunday’s stories and quickly becomes her dear friend. And maybe something else.
  • Open Road Summer by Emery Lord: It takes a cross-country tour but over the course of one unforgettable summer Reagan will learn that mistakes aren’t forever,  even if friends are, and home doesn’t always have to be somewhere to leave.
  • Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins: With uncertain plans for college and the future looming,  Josh and Isla will have to learn to be apart before they have any chance of staying together.
  • The Geography of You and Me by Jennifer E. Smith: Lucy and Owen don’t have a lot in common to start with. They don’t even know much about each other. Still their relationship plays out across the miles in the form of postcards and sporadic emails. Although both Lucy and Owen try to move on they soon realize an unfinished something keeps pulling them back to each other.

If you want books with an awesome family:

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  • Roomies by Tara Altebrando and Sara Zarr: What starts as an innocuous email about whether to buy a microwave or a mini-fridge turns into a series of emails that might lead to friendship and a few other insights during a summer filled with possibility.
  • Dash and Lily’s Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan: Dash and Lily don’t have much in common but somehow they connect on the papers bound in that red notebook. Will these two misfits make sense in person? Only time will tell if their fledgling relationship can survive Lily’s family, Dash’s friends, some comical disasters and, of course, the holiday season in New York City.
  • The Year My Sister Got Lucky by Aimee Friedman: The harder Katie clings to her memories of City life, the more Michaela adapts to life in Fir Lake, leaving Katie to wonder what happens when your home doesn’t feel like a home and your best friend starts to look like someone you don’t know.
  • Suite Scarlett by Maureen Johnson: Scarlett Martin and her family live in the Hopewell Hotel in the heart of New York City. That might sound like a dream come true but just ask Scarlett about her fifteenth birthday and it’s easy to see the sometimes harsh realities that owning and running a hotel can really entail.
  • Since You’ve Been Gone by Morgan Matson: With the help of some unlikely friends, Sloane starts working her way through the list her best friend left behind when she disappeared with no notice. Apple picking at night should be easy. Dancing until dawn might actually be fun. Kissing a stranger could go either way. Skinny dipping? Stealing something? Those might take a little more work

If you want books about smart characters:

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  • When It Happens by Susane Colasanti: At the beginning of the year Sara and Tobey don’t really know each other. By the end, Sara and Tobey might have a whole new beginning together.
  • Love and Other Foreign Words by Erin McCahan: Love is a word found in many languages. And with so many things around her changing, Josie is about to get a crash course in the true meaning of the word
  • The Shadow Society by Marie Rutkoski: Darcy always wanted to be part of something, to belong somewhere. But she may have more than she bargained for with a mysterious boy named Conn and infiltrating an even stranger group called the Shades.
  • This Song Will Save Your Life by Leila Sales: With a chance at real friends and something that makes her truly happy, Elise might be able to change herself after all.
  • Memoirs of a Teenage Amnesiac by Gabrielle Zevin: It starts with a coin toss. If Naomi had picked tails she never would have gone back for the camera. She wouldn’t have tripped on the stairs and hit her head. There would have been no ambulance and no amnesia. Naomi would remember her boyfriend and whatever it was they had in common. She’d remember the lives her parents have been living. She would remember her best friend Will and why he calls her Chief and keeps making her mix tapes. But Naomi picked heads.

What to read after or instead of: The Fault in Our Stars

Even if you have never read a YA book in your life, you have probably heard about The Fault in Our Stars by John Green (TFIOS for short). Whether you have seen the movie, are number 594 in the hold queue, or just want more tear-jerking reads, these books should have you covered (spoiler: bring some tisssues!):

If you want more books about sick characters who transcend their illness (and maybe some tears):

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  • Zac & Mia by A. J. Betts: Zac and Mia meet at the hospital. They would never be friends friends in the real world. But different rules apply in hospital.
  • Before I Die by Jenny Downham: Tessa knows she is dying. Instead of waiting to disappear without a trace, Tessa decides to complete her “before I die” list in the precious weeks she has left.
  • Cures for Heartbreak by Margo Rabb: After her mother’s sudden death, Mia isn’t sure how to go on. Or even if she wants to.
  • Somebody Up There Hates You by Hollis Seamon: Richard and Sylvie are the youngest people in the hospice. While everyone else tries to define them by their sickness or their treatments, Richard and Sylvie want to use the time they have left to live on their own terms.
  • Catch & Release by Blythe Woolston: Polly and Odd barely knew each other before they became the only survivors of a MRSA outbreak in their town. Dealing with the aftermath of the outbreak and the mental and physical scars they now carry, both Polly and Odd have to figure out who they are now that they’re supposedly recovered.

If you want to cry but in an achingly beautiful sort of way:

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  • The Vanishing Season by Jodi Lynn Anderson: A ghost is tethered to the house on Water Street. She can see the danger circling. But even the ghost isn’t sure why she is still here watching the season unfold to its final, disastrous conclusion
  • Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher: Hannah Baker killed herself a few weeks ago. Clay Jensen has no idea why until he receives a package of tapes in the mail detailing the thirteen reasons that led to Hannah’s suicide.
  • We Were Liars by E. Lockhart: A wealthy, respected family. Summers on a private island. Four friends, the Liars, who have the world at their fingertips. Until one accident–one mystery–changes all that and nothing can ever be the same
  • Me and Earl and the Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews: Greg is a master at blending in with his best friend Earl until his parents force him to rekindle his childhood friendship with neighbor Rachel who is dying of leukemia. When Rachel stops treatment, the obvious thing to do is make a film for her.
  • Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein: A plane has crashed in Nazi-occupied France. The passenger and the pilot are best friends. One girl might be able to save herself while the other never stood a chance.

If you want a book that’s all about grieving:

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  • If I Stay by Gayle Forman: Before the accident Mia had a lot of decisions to make about her future. Should she follow her first love–music–to Juilliard in New York? Should she stay on the West Coast to be with her boyfriend? But after the accident, Mia only has one choice. Should she stay?
  • Falling Through Darkness by Carolyn MacCullough: There was a crash. Something everyone else is calling an accident. Aidan is gone. But Ginny is left behind to piece together the shattered moments of her life with, and now without, him.
  • A Map of the Known World by Lisa Ann Sandell: Cora’s life fell apart with a sudden crash. The Bradley family had been falling apart for some time, but when Cora’s older brother Nate dies in a car crash, everything is irreparably and irrevocably broken.
  • The Edge of Falling by Rebecca A. Serle: Caggie should have everything she could want growing up as part of New York City society. She had everything until she lost the most important thing. Nothing seems to matter quite so much now that her younger sister is dead. Drowned.
  • In the Shadow of Blackbirds by Cat Winters: In 1918 the world is falling apart as the Spanish influenza runs rampant and the government sends young men to war. Mary Shelley Black watches others flock to seances and spirit photographers for comfort. Then her own boyfriend, dead in battle, appears to her as a spirit.

If you want a book with transformative friendships:

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  • And We Stay by Jenny Hubbard: Vacillating between guilt and anger, Emily Beam is sent to an all girls boarding school in Amherst, Massachusetts in the aftermath of her boyfriend’s death. Surrounded by history from Emily Dickinson’s life, Emily delves into poetry and her new life hoping to escape.
  • The Tragedy Paper by Elizabeth Laban: When Tim finishes school he leaves behind a stack of CDs for Duncah. The CDs chronicle his own downfall and explain Duncan’s actual or perceived role in the final moments. Tim hopes Duncan can appreciate the rarity of this treasure and its ultimate value not just as an explanation but as the substance of Duncan’s own tragedy paper.
  • Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta: Taylor Markham is used to having no one. But when the only person she can trust disappears Taylor discovers there is more to her own past, and the relationships she has with the other students at her school, as she becomes enmeshed in the annual territory wars between her school, the townies and a neighboring academy.
  • Fracture by Megan Miranda: Delaney was pulled out of the water by her best friend Decker after eleven minutes. That’s long enough to die. Long enough to change everything.
  • The Beginning of Everything by Robyn Schneider: During a year spent redefining himself in the wake of his own tragedy, Ezra has to decide what it means when some people can’t–or won’t–move past their personal tragedy .

If you want another story about a character falling in love with a grenade:

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  • The Impossible Knife of Memory by Laurie Halse Anderson: Hayley and her father Andy have been on the road for the past five years. Sometimes riding in Andy’s rig. Sometimes laying low while Andy tries to hold down a job and Hayley does her version of homeschooling. But then everything stopped and Hayley has been moved back into a life she doesn’t want in a childhood home she refuses to remember.
  • Salt & Storm by Kendall Kulper: You can beat a Roe Witch within an inch of her life, you can sicken her with strange magic and scar her, but you cannot kill a Roe Witch. If Avery Roe can unlock her magic in time with the help of a mysterious harpoon boy named Tane, she might be able to change her fate before she is murdered.
  • The Astonishing Adventures of Fanboy and Goth Girl by Barry Lyga: Fanboy knows exactly what he wants and he has a plan: a secret scheme that will get him out of his lame little town and prove his worth to everyone once and for all. When the mysterious and angry Goth Girl bursts into his life, he might even have an accomplice.
  • Damaged by Amy Reed: Kinsey Cole knows people can only bear so much bad fortune. That’s why everyone knows Kinsey’s best friend Camille died in a car accident when Kinsey was driving. It’s also why Kinsey hasn’t cried since the accident and is trying to avoid Camille’s boyfriend, Hunter, all while quietly falling apart.
  • Unspoken by Sarah Rees Brennan: Every town in England has a story and Kami Glass thinks she knows hers. All of that changes when the Lynburns come back to Sorry-in-the-Vale. Their return brings many questions, as well as something more sinister, forcing Kami to question everything she thought she knew about her town, her friends, and even herself.