Tuesday, December 31, 2013

2013 Challenge Wrap-Up

Oh my gosh! It's almost 2014! Where the heck did 2013 go? Another year of books have come and gone. I've read some not so great books and some pretty fantastic books. This year, I think I definitely tried out many more genres and read more books than I've ever read before. While I read more than last year, I still completed the same amount of challenges as last year. At least I didn't do worse! I guess my goal for next year is to finish at least one more challenge than I did this year! We'll see how I do! Here's how I did on all of my challenges this year…

I finished this one! The goal was to read 21-30 books on my TBR list and I actually read 38 books from my TBR list. I'm trying this one again next year, so hopefully I can do just as well!

Haha, I failed miserably at this one. I was hoping this would help me read more sports romances. I love them, but rarely find the time to read them. My goal was to read 12 in a year, but I ended up reading only 4. I didn't even make it halfway :( Oh well! You can't win them all…

Andddd another failed challenge. My goal was to read 12 and I only read 6. I feel so bad, because this one was a challenge that helps debut authors get out there and I only read 6 books from debut authors. The problem was that I never actively sought out new authors to read, but rather realized it was a debut author after I read the book. Maybe some better planning next year will help me finally complete this challenge. 

I completely blew this one out of the water. Every year I have a goal to read more classics. My goal was to just read one, and I ended up reading 16! Woo hoo! I'm so excited with how well I did with this challenge and can't wait to try again next year! I've got a ton of classics on my TBR challenge that I'm just dying to read. 

I was TWO BOOKS AWAY from finishing this one. TWO! I read a book that started with every single letter of the alphabet except for X and Z. There are pretty much no YA books that start with those letters. And I didn't have the time to go out of my way to read a book that wasn't on my TBR list or review list that started with one of those letters. Oh well, a second year of failing this one! We'll see if the third time really is a charm…

My goal for this year was to read 132 books. I ended up reading 177. I read 45 more books than my goal! That means that I read 31 more books than last year. I just couldn't stop reading! I'm so, so happy with how I did on this challenge this year. Next year, I'm making my goal 170 books, and I hope I can keep up my reading! 

Completed: 3/6

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I Read in 2013

This is a meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish where each week bloggers share a list of books for the prompt given. So hopefully I'll have a new list to share with you all each week!

This Week's Topic: Top Ten Books I Read in 2013

Wow, I have to narrow it down to only ten? This year was an absolutely fantastic year in regards to reading for me. I exceeded my Goodreads reading goal by over 40 books and I read so many good novels. Seriously, SO MANY good books that were all...

But I will try my hardest to narrow them down to my top ten favorites!

1. Crash Into You by Katie McGarry
2. Before Jamaica Lane by Samantha Young
3. Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson

4. Wallbanger by Alice Clayton
5. Hopeless by Colleen Hoover
6. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

7. Just One Day by Gayle Forman
8. Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell
9. My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick

10. Lord of Darkness by Elizabeth Hoyt

Monday, December 30, 2013

Book Review: Come to Me Quietly by AL Jackson

Come to Me Quietly
By AL Jackson
Release Date: January 7, 2013
Source: Publisher
Summary: Aleena Moore is content with her life. She has goals and dreams and an easy smile. She also has a secret she holds locked inside.

Jared Holt believes he doesn’t deserve to love or be loved. He destroys everything he touches. Haunted by the mistake that shattered his life, he’s fled from the memory of that pain.

Jared doesn’t know why he’s compelled to return, but finds himself drawn back to the place where it all began. The exact place where it ended. When he runs into his childhood best friend, Aleena’s older brother Christopher, he agrees to share Christopher and Aleena’s apartment while he looks for a place of his own.

Aleena is no longer the little girl Jared remembers from his past and evokes feelings in him he never wanted to feel again. Terrified of destroying her, he fights to keep her away. But her touch is something he can’t resist—the touch that sealed his fate.

Their pasts are intertwined and their futures uncertain. The only truths they know are the secrets they whisper in the night.

Review: All of the reviews I've read so far have absolutely raved about this book. It has an average of a 4.58 rating on Goodreads, so I couldn't wait for the chance to dive into this new adult romance. 

As a college student, Aly is content with her life sharing an apartment with her job working at a cafe to pass the summer. But when she walks into her apartment one day to find Jared, her first love and childhood best friend, sleeping on her couch, everything changes. Aly had never thought she'd see Jared again, and now that they're older, their relationship isn't as innocent as it was when they were kids. The only problem is that Jared's changed and can't overcome his past mistakes. Now that he's back and sees how perfect Aly still is, he knows he can never be good enough for her heart. 

It's obvious from the beginning that Aly is completely crazy for Jared, but I felt like there just wasn't enough chemistry for the passion they're both obsessed with. Both Jared and Aly pour out their feelings to the reader of this book (we get alternating viewpoints, so we see into both of their heads) and constantly talk about how much their pulled to the other one. The only problem, though, is that I didn't really get that intense chemistry as I was reading the book other than from when they talked about it. I think that had a lot to do with the fact that this book was a lot of talk about their emotions and no real plot/dialogue going on. Not a whole lot happened in this book except for Jared and Aly spending time in their apartment together, going to one party, and going to a bar. That's about it. 

Don't get me wrong, this was a really sweet romance that dealt with some real emotions. Jared did something right before he left town six years ago, but they don't reveal exactly what that was until about 250 pages in the book. I thought hiding the thing that scarred Jared so much from the reader, while every single other character in the book knows what is it, was kind of annoying. I think we should have been told sooner so that the not knowing didn't overpower the pain he was feeling. 

Overall, this was an enjoyable enough read, but left me wanting more substance and action than I got. There's a ton of emotion and romance to get you through the story, and I really enjoyed Aly as a main character. Her brothers and best friends were pretty great characters too. I'd recommend this one to those of you who like simple new adult romances, but be aware that not a whole lot will happen aside from the romance. 

Weekly Roundup [12-24-12/30]

Hello, everyone! I hope you all had a fantastic Christmas because I sure did! Between working nights at the zoo and spending time with my family, there really hasn't been much time for anything else! Well, expect for reading of course :) This time of year is always so much fun because not only does this week include Christmas, but my dad and brother's birthdays as well. And New Year's! So it's a very busy time, but I get to spend pretty much all of it with my family, which is definitely a treat after spending months away at school. I've been doing a lot of shopping lately, and I'm heading out again today for even more! Who doesn't love shopping at this time of year? Well, I hope you guys have a good New Year's and great start to 2014! 

Book Reviews
Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare
Bitter Spirits by Jenn  Bennett
The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin 



Sunday, December 29, 2013

Book Review: The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin

The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer
By Michelle Hodkin
Release Date: September 27, 2011
Source: Library
Summary: Mara Dyer doesn’t think life can get any stranger than waking up in a hospital with no memory of how she got there.
It can.

She believes there must be more to the accident she can’t remember that killed her friends and left her mysteriously unharmed.
There is.

She doesn’t believe that after everything she’s been through, she can fall in love.
She’s wrong.

Review: This book has been on my TBR list for the longest time. After seeing so many people give it a five star rating, I was dying to read it to see what all of the hype was about. It may have taken two years, but I finally got myself a copy and read the entire thing in one day. 

Mara Dyer had a normal life. Until she wakes up in the hospital to figure out three of her friends are dead and that she was there, but has no recollection of what happened. Mara convinces her family to move to Florida as she tries to deal with understanding what exactly happened that night. Strange things keep on happening, though, and Mara doesn't know if they're real or if she's just crazy. Throw in an insanely gorgeous British classmate who just won't leave her alone and Mara is a goner. 

Hmm I'm not sure what to think about this one. I flew through the story, but there were moments where I had to reread and say, "What just happened!?" The story was so mind boggling, but I think there were points that were a little too vague and out there. Things happened (sorry for the vagueness, but I don't want to spoil anything) that had no explanation whatsoever and the story continued with absolutely no explanation or second glance. Maybe I just wasn't smart enough to put the pieces together (I can be pretty oblivious at hints in books at times), but it happened a bit too much for my taste. 

Other than the unexplained points of confusion, this book was good. And I mean really good. I haven't read anything like it, and that ending had me begging for more. What exactly was going on with Mara? What really happened that night and what the heck was going on with all of the characters now? You don't know! You're heart will be racing with every turn of the page with this one. It's that intense!

And, of course, I loved the romance between Mara and Noah. He may seem like a self-involved player, but he is SO much more than that. I loved how he was British and really knew how to show Mara that she was the real deal for him. He is definitely swoon worthy and I'm not going to forget about him anytime soon. 

In the end, this was a great book if you don't mind a bit confusion for the sake of a thrilling, creepy story. I can't wait to pick up the next book! If you're like me and are way behind on the bandwagon, you have to check out this book. It's definitely unlike anything you'll ever read!

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Stacking the Shelves (81)

Stacking the Shelves is a meme hosted by Tynga's Reviews where bloggers share what they got throughout the week!

For Review

These three showed up on my doorstep last Saturday and they look great! While I haven't read the first books of James Dashner's and Lissa Price's series, I've heard fantastic things about them. So we'll see how reading these ones go!

From Santa

This year, I had an absolutely fantastic Christmas (well, don't I every year?). Santa brought me the bottom three books, which I was super excited about! I have been dying to read How to Love and Time Between Us, and now I own copies of the beautiful books! Santa also got me a Nook Simple Touch! I have a Nook Color that's almost 4 years old and the battery barely lasts one book. I love how the Nook Simple Touch is so much lighter and lasts A LOT longer. I can't wait to start using it! Then, my sister got me The Jane Austen Handbook and I love it! The book is literally a manual on understanding the lifestyle in Jane Austen's books. Perfect for a Janeite like me :)

From Barnes & Noble (ebooks)

With my nook, I got a complimentary $5 to use in the Nook store online, so I got these three nook books for only $5! Yes, they're all new adult, but can you blame me? I love that genre! They all also have rave reviews on Goodreads, so I'm very excited to find the time to read them!

From Secret Santa

Last, but certainly not least, are the two books I got from my Secret Santa (I shared the post right here). I ended up getting another copy of Time Between Us, but I just gave it to my sister who also loves to read. I've heard it's fantastic, so I can't wait to read it. I've been dying to read Looking for Alaska for SO LONG and never got around to it. Thanks to my Secret Santa, I now own a copy! Hopefully now I can get to it sooner and finally see why everyone loves this book.  

Friday, December 27, 2013

Giveaway: Before Jamaica Lane by Samantha Young

Hey, guys! It's been way too long since I've hosted a giveaway. And boy do I have a good one to share with you today! Today, I'm giving away a copy of Before Jamaica Lane by Samantha Young. This book is SO GOOD (you can check out my review right here) and the publishers accidentally sent me an extra copy. So I thought, why not give it to my awesome followers? Here's a bit more about the book…

Before Jamaica Lane
By Samantha Young
Release Date: January 7, 2014
Summary: One simple lesson in seduction between two friends can turn into so much more… 

Despite her outgoing demeanor, Olivia is painfully insecure around the opposite sex—usually, she can’t get up the nerve to approach guys she’s interested in. But moving to Edinburgh has given her a new start, and, after she develops a crush on a sexy postgrad, she decides it’s time to push past her fears and go after what she wants.

Nate Sawyer is a gorgeous player who never commits, but to his close friends, he’s as loyal as they come. So when Olivia turns to him with her relationship woes, he offers to instruct her in the art of flirting and to help her become more sexually confident.

The friendly education in seduction soon grows into an intense and hot romance. But then Nate’s past and commitment issues rear their ugly heads, and Olivia is left broken-hearted. When Nate realizes he’s made the biggest mistake of his life, he will have to work harder than he ever has before to entice his best friend into falling back in love with him—or he may lose her forever…

Giveaway Details
One lucky follower will receive a paperback copy of Before Jamaica Lane by Samantha Young. All you have to do is fill out the rafflecopter below! US residents only. Giveaway ends 1/2

Follow My Book Blog Friday (116)

This is a meme hosted every Friday by Parajunkee, where book bloggers answer a question each week and check out how others answered it. It's a cool way for bloggers and viewers to connect and learn more about each other!

Question: Merry Christmas! Happy holidays! What books did Santa stuff your stocking with this holiday season? Do a holiday book haul for us!


I must have been a very good girl this year because Santa was so good to me! He (aka my most amazing mother ever) got me a book of frostings, How to Love, Time Between Us, and a simple nook touch! Then, my fabulous sister who knows me so well got me The Jane Austen Handbook! Gahhhh I was so happy to see these bookish gifts under the tree for me! I've heard awesome things about How to Love and Time Between Us, so I can't wait to read those. And I'm obsessed with Jane Austen, so I'm excited to learn about life during that time and Jane's books from The Jane Austen Handbook. Not to mention I can read ANYTHING with my new nook! My sister and mom already have the simple nook touch and the battery lasts super long, which was a huge problem with my nook color that's almost four years old. Now that I have the simple nook touch, I can read for as long as I want before it even comes close to dying. So it was a pretty great Christmas for me! What books did you all find under your tree this year?

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