Wednesday, December 31, 2014

January 2015 Plans

Happy New Year! It's almost 2015!!!! I wanted to end 2014 with my plans for January. If you don't know I created a yearly challenge that will have it's first monthly link up tomorrow. You can check out the challenge and sign-up here if you want. So I'll be reading a few books for that challenge for the states of Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, and Arkansas. Yes, I'm trying to do the challenge in alphabetical order at least for now. I'll probably deviate right away... 

I'm planning on reading ninety-six books in total for 2015 - that's eight books a month. I'm going to try to read a series a month because I'm so behind with my series.

Personally, I want to exercise five times a week which I might be able to do hopefully with the help of #FitReaders. One last thing I want to do is eat more healthy so whether it's actually eating fruit and vegetables or creating a meal I want to do it this month. 

I'd love to know your plans and the books you are looking forward to reading next month and this year. What is your overall goal for 2015?

I'm only going to show what I plan to read for my first book in January because I know if I create a list I'll deviate from it so badly. My first book for the new year will be:

What book are you reading first in 2015?

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

2014 Favorites: Favorite Series and Favorite Book

I wasn't originally going to write about my favorite series but circumstances led to me having to explain my favorite book so I'm unveiling my favorite series here with my favorite book. My favorite series of 2014 was the Shatter Me series.

I've actually gone back to read Shatter Me and parts of the other books after I read the whole series. I love to reread but I haven't wanted to read a series this much and this quickly ever. Not even with Harry Potter - probably because I'd seen the movies fifty million times beforehand but still. I love the romance in this and I love Juliet's growth. It's a really fast and sometimes intense read that I'm sure I will love for years to come.

So I thought I was going to go with a completely different book then the one I chose. I was originally going to pick Shatter Me because I love the series as a whole but then I got to writing about the book below and I realized I loved it on its own. So I made a series category and I've picked my stand alone favorite book of 2014. My favorite book of 2014 was Life is but a Dream.

I wrote a lot about this couple and Alec in particular. The thing about this book is that it addresses mental health and a wonderful, supportive relationship. Alec explodes on people while Sabrina sees things she shouldn't. They are both in a mental health facility to get help but they both don't believe they need it. They fall impossibly in love with each other. Alec protects her and loves Sabrina for who she is. Sabrina feels safe and normal around Alec like what people are saying about her isn't true. Their love for each other is beautiful especially in the defining climax at the end of the story. This is such a wonderful book about realistic problems and realistic people.

Monday, December 29, 2014

2014 Favorites: Covers

I tried my hardest at narrowing down my selection of favorite covers but there are fourteen of them on here. I love them all in their own way. All these favorite covers are of the books I've read this year so they might not be the prettiest compared to what's out now but I love them so here they are:

What's your favorite cover of the year?

Sunday, December 28, 2014

2014 Favorites: Couples

And now we come to couples. Probably my favorite part of a book is the romance and couples in the stories - I love romanceWatch out because there are major spoilers for the books below. If you don't want to know then skip the book!

So I've only read the first book in this series so this couple might change but for now I'm shipping Yelena and Valek. This couple snuck up on me. I know that most people say that they saw it coming or it was predictable but for me it wasn't. It was a very slow romance which is always wonderful compared to insta-love (in most cases). I liked that this was a surprise. I really liked then how I saw the protective side of Valek towards Yelena even though she is a known criminal. It felt like a careful and sweet romance even with all the horrible situations that Yelena had to face. They truly ended up loving and trusting each other by the end of Poison Study and I can only hope that they stay together by the end of this series.

*sing-song voice* Forbidden love! I love me some forbidden love and Karou and Akiva are in the forefront in that category. I know that things went down with Karou and Akiva that made one of them sound like a horrible person but come on! All those flashbacks with their adorableness and trying their hardest to deny their love but they can't because it is basically fate with these two. I mean they even sort of remembered each other when they met once again when that should have been impossible. They are meant to be! I might change my mind in the books to come. I just hope a certain someone redeems themselves in order to make this couple a reality.

"She scowled. He liked it when she scowled. Maybe a little too much, because her nose scrunched up and the tops of her cheeks tinted pink. She clutched the handle of the feather duster so hard its feathers quivered. Her lips contorted. Whatever promises he'd made himself about avoiding her went unfulfilled. Something about her always pulled him in. Why fight it?"

Oh my goodness YEEESSS!!!! I need to read this again because I read Til' Death in the beginning of the year and a lot has been read by me since then. But, I remember absolutely loving this romance. Selena and Dillan basically were like "No, I will not like you!" Of course that didn't work out for them. Dillan was a bad boy but he wasn't heartless. He just had a lot to deal with so he came off like a jerk in the beginning. He had his reasons. Selena had her death to deal with too - she was a Seer. So they both had huge problems in the way but when they came together - adorableness everywhere!

This is probably the only book I can't possibly spoil unless you are a child. Even then you should know about Jane and Darcy. I finally read their story. It took a while to get used to everything. There was a certain moment where everything was amazing because I was reading about their growing attraction to one another. At that time I read everything else super fast in order to read the parts in which Jane and Darcy were talking to each other. The small gestures and their conversations together were simply wonderful. Darcy and Jane both had flaws like the one where they both misinterpreted each other - big time! Darcy is very proud but he's the kindest person ever. When he says that he did everything for Jane (her family was in some real trouble and he helped them out) I was in pure heaven. It took a while but their love for each other was real and it was wonderful.

Turn back now if you don't want to know who Juliet chooses..................................... Juliet is a broken person in the beginning of the story. She finds her strength within herself and with the help of Warner. I love Juliet and Warner together. They are completely perfect together. I know that Warner went about everything wrong but he does redeem himself immensely in my eyes. He builds Juliet up and loves her so much it hurts. I would love to have that kind of love minus all the craziness in the beginning. To love a person so completely like they love each other is all I could ever want in life. Because that's the main thing in my life I want - a guy who loves me completely and who I love completely as well. 

Alec and Sabrina *sigh* They are both at a mental health facility for separate reasons. Sabrina daydreams and sees colors everywhere. She just basically sees everything differently. Alec does something stupid and is known to explode. He is super protective over Sabrina but misinterprets her health. He thinks she is like him but really she has some serious issues. Even after all of that he sticks with her which makes me want to cry even thinking about them together at the end. There was a major moment where he realized that she needed help and he had to protect her from herself. I feel like this love is so important to know about. There are people who see the world differently, are depressed, and really just can't help who they are. For Alec to have Sabrina's back like that and to love her for who she is, is so beautiful. Sabrina is such a wonderful, kind person who doesn't understand that her differences make her unique as well as dangerous to herself. I just love this couple together. They are both broken but are so much better together. 

 Who is your favorite couple in a book?

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Top 5 Villains of 2014

This is probably going to be the only top 2014 books where I don't put favorite in the title because I'm not a fan of any of these characters. They are terrifying and if I met them in real life I would hightail it out of there. The books below aren't in any order because these villains are all mostly, equally horrible. Watch out because there are spoilers for the books below. If you don't want to know then skip the book!

I will be writing about the whole trilogy so you have been warned! The Fugleman is a political figure in the city of Jewel where children are chained up to Guardians or their parents whenever they are outside the comfort of their home so that they won't be kidnapped or killed. Let's say the Fugleman ensures that Jewel's children stay oppressed. He controls the city by fear and will do anything and kill anyone who gets in his way. He even goes as far as sending assassins to kill our two very young heroes - Goldie and Toadspit. He foolishly lets chaos out of the Museum of Dent in order to bring fear back to the people of Jewel. He also has a sword fight to the death with on of our heroes. He fights a child in order to kill him! He's a narcissistic, manipulator who is the prime example of how you are not supposed to act when you are a politician... or a person.

The Cavendish Home for Boys and Girls was surprisingly dark and violent. It's violent because of one person in particular: Mrs. Cavendish. Here is something I wrote in my review about this horrendous character:  "Mrs. Cavendish was pure evil! She would make people live their worst nightmares and get rid of their "problems" in a horrible way. She would whip their hands until they were bleeding..." I do remember this happening. When you think of Mrs. Cavendish think of the Other Mother in Coraline but even worse. Mrs. Cavendish is not even a real human I think. She's like the Other Mother because she feeds off the kids fear or something. I don't remember exactly. I do remember how messed up this book was. I assumed it was for middle school kids but I would never let a kid that age read this book. Mrs Cavendish made this book disturbing. She also had a weird collection... possibly of puppets she created (I wouldn't be surprised if I was right). I remember her putting the kids who didn't obey her in a box where they would live out their worst nightmares so basically they went crazy in there. She sort of controlled the house who would never let you  out. The house would even attack you... It's endless with Mrs. Cavendish and her evil ways.

Damselfly is a unique story where this girl named Lina (full name Thumbelina) who was created in order to solve the crisis of food shortage in the world. This girl who is the size of your thumb is supposed to be the first of her kind and is the first step in creating more people like her. Now let me talk about her creator or "mother" Dr. Christiansen. Dr. Chistiansen is cold hearted. She's very strict with Lina and Lina hates her for it. She keeps Lina trapped in a cage for most of the story when she starts to rebel, she forces her to choose between a few Toms in order for her to get married and have babies, and she experiments on people. What a lovely doctor right?  She has the trait that all villains seem to have - they don't let anything or anyone get in the way of what they want. It's all about them. She could care less about what Lina wants or what is morally and ethically right in the world because she is right and if you say something against her you are in for some real trouble.

I name all The Savages as villains except maybe the baby but, I'm sure he will become one too. There's also a crazy outsider who does the same things as The Savages so I would count that person in too. So The Savages are cannibals. That pretty much summons up their evilness. The parents - Titus and Angelica - are completely okay with eating people as they have done so for many years. Ivan - the middle child - is pretty much insane and even kills someone. He has like psycho killer mentalities so everybody should watch out. Sasha - the eldest child - is the only redeemable character. She wants to change her ways and things get interesting from there... This story is full of dark humor which I loved but at the end things got messed up with this family. They are the scariest family around. They are very sensible about who they eat but still everything gets insane and they are clearly villains. They might be my favorite villains out of this whole group because I hate everyone else but with this family especially with Sasha there are moments of sanity.

Now get ready for the worst villain that is making me shudder and get teary eyed as I write this down. Gavin is the most despicable character I've probably ever encountered. I've had only one other villain make me afraid and he was in a book called Kindred. I'm not necessarily afraid of this character; more like disgusted. He portrays all those stalkers and killers who prey on their victims in character form. I mean this book gets really messed up. I would only recommend you read it if you know what you are up against. It's this very realistic portrayal of how Gavin manipulates Val that makes him the evilest villain in 2014 for me. He wants to be like a lion and Val is his lioness and he wants to force her to do things like he is an animal. I don't want to say more because it's extremely disturbing to think about. This is a fantastic horror book but way too realistic and scary for me. I will never forget Gavin and that's terrifying to me.

Who was your worst/favorite villain in 2014?

Friday, December 26, 2014

2014 Favorites: Male Protagonists

Now on to the boys. *smirks* I don't have that many male protagonists on this list like with the female protagonists list. The girls really overshadowed the boys this year. However, there are some really great male characters that I've read about this year. Unfortunately they aren't all boys who are actual protagonists on this list. It's more like my favorite male characters in 2014. But, I already made the little picture and everything so I'm going to leave it like that. Watch out because there are spoilers for the books below. If you don't want to know then skip the book!

I have a tricky relationship with Jacob. I was so-so with him the first time I read about him. Then I read the graphic novel version of Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children and I started liking him more. It might have been the manga style he was drawn in but nevertheless he's better in my eyes. Jacob goes through the most craziest experience all because he wanted to know if what his grandfather was saying all along was true. He makes some poor decisions (Emma) but he is one of the only stand out male characters that I read about. He's loyal, caring, and a real leader to the peculiar children. I really hope everything turns out all right for him.

The third book in the Keepers Trilogy comes with one stand out character that has been being pretty awesome in all the books but really showed how amazing he was in this book the most. Toadspit is Goldie's loyal friend. He didn't always start out that way. He was pretty rude to her and acted like a "typical" boy when he found out that a girl might be a part of the Museum of Dent. In Path of Beasts he isn't around so much but I do see moments of sheer loyalty to his friend Goldie that I can't help love about him. His growth from each books is wonderful. He also is very protective of his younger sister which I love about him as well. The main event that really makes him shine in my eyes is when he battles the villain to the death in order to give Goldie some times to save the day. He knew he could have died before she got there on time. He knew this could have been it but he put his friends, family, the safety of the town and the museum in front of himself and for that Toadspit, I commend you.

This is another tricky book and relationship I have with the characters in this book. The setting is a facility to help people with mental health issues. Alec is in there for really dumb reasons compared to everyone else. Alec is angry. Angry at his dad- at the world. And then he finds Sabrina. This girl who sees colors surround her. Who daydreams constantly about things that her parents want to stop. Alec, oh sweet naive Alec, falls for Sabrina and Sabrina does the same. The thing with Sabrina is that there might be something truly wrong with her. Alec sees moments of that and he protects her from everyone else. He even has to protect her from herself. It's that sweet, gentleness and passion that he has for Sabrina that has brought him to be on this list. He's just the perfect guy for her and I'm completely in love with seeing them together.

I'll be writing about the whole Shatter Me series here so you have been warned twice! Destroy Me is a novella in the Shatter Me series. It's all about Warner. Warner is admittedly crazy in Shatter Me. He becomes obsessed with Juliet but.... he always tries to do things for Juliet's best interests. He lets her take the reins on the whole series situation. He wants to protect her but wants to show her, her potential. You see a lot of his motives in the last book. You see where he is coming from in Destroy Me. Warner has been abused by his father for years. He only wants to please his father but really he wants to destroy him (pun unintended). I learned to sympathize with Warner and later on you see things he has done that are completely selfless. He's actually a good guy! In some ways.... I just love how caring Warner turns out to be and how much he wants Juliet to see how strong she really is. He doesn't bring Juliet down. He makes her realize her true worth.

Who has been your favorite male protagonist/character in 2014?

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

2014 Favorites: Female Protagonists

So I'm doing a thing. I've reviewed all the books I've read in 2014 and put everyone into categories with my favorites in each one. I find it only appropriate to start out with my favorite female protagonists since I read so many books with girl POV's this year. Watch out because there are (minor) spoilers for the Museum of Thieves and All These Things I've Done below. If you don't want to know then skip the book!

Kyra is a poison maker. She throws darts full of poison at her victims well there is really only one person she wanted to make a victim of her former friend, the princess. Kyra is not only skilled at making poisons but being a Seer which is something she tries to deny but she couldn't deny the chaos that she sees in her world's future. So she becomes a fugitive when that fateful dart misses. Kyra is the type of girl that does not need saving. In most cases she's the one doing the saving. She battles off massive creatures to save her friend. She is skilled, stand offish, but must really care about the world if she is willing to be an outcast to save it. 

You'll see the Keepers Trilogy on these favorite lists a lot. Goldie is the center of those stories when she steal something very precious - herself. She lives in a town where kids are chained up in order to protect them from kidnappers or death. At a certain age you are no longer chained up to a parent or a Guardian but she is denied that right so she steals herself away. She goes to the Museum of Dent where a group of thieves guards the dangers within from leaking out and destroying the world. Goldie becomes an excellent thief. She saves her friends on multiple occasions. She always will do anything to help out a friend. She shows compassion, heart, and loyalty throughout her journey. At one point she's kind of taken over by a spirit so she has to find it within herself to stay off the killer spirit within her. She's the most fearless middle schooler you will ever meet.

Daughter of Smoke & Bone is incredibly mysterious. I could not figure out Karou's relationship with any of the "monsters" in the story as well as this one angel. There's things that go down here that show you how much spirit and courage Karou has. She's a normal girl with blue hair and a monster for a guardian. She draws her amazing friends like they were story book characters and everyone loves her art in class but what her classmates don't know is that they are all real. Karou really cares about her friends whether they are human or otherwise. Sure, she has to keep massive secrets from both sides but she does it ultimately for her happiness. Her whole story she cares about her friends but she doesn't let their views get in the way of her happiness. She's a girl who stands up for what she believes in and doesn't let anyone get in her way in the most courageous way possible. 

Yelena goes through a lot throughout her whole entire life. I won't mention what happened in her younger years. Let's just say it was probably worst than her time spent as a poison tester. Yelena is the person who eats meals before diplomats in order for her to warn them if it is poisoned. She doesn't exactly want the job but it is better than being locked up and too weak to save herself. Yelena trains to become a poison taster by drinking and learning about poisons. There's always an antidote on hand but still... that's got to suck. She doesn't really whine or complain. She actually becomes stronger in her new circumstance with the help of some friends. She also learns about her magical abilities and where they come from. Yelena overcomes so much and still becomes stronger by the end of it. She is a survivor.

Kat is amazing. She's completely rebellious to everyone around her and only does things if she knows that it's the right thing to do for herself and for others. She's super sassy in a time where girls were married off to the highest bidder. She's also very loyal which is a trait I love in a character. She single-handedly gets her sisters married to the loves of their life when they mess up their chances. She has an intense sense of wrong versus right and she always chooses to do the right thing even if it isn't the most popular decision. 

Celaena is the world's greatest assassin at only eighteen. She should be dead. She was sent to a life working at the salt mines where people don't usually survive past a couple of weeks. She's VERY narcissistic about her abilities but honestly why can't a girl be proud of her abilities and let everyone know about them? She has pride which can sometimes veer off to having a big ego. So Celaena has her flaws but everyone does so I like how real she really is. She has moments of kindness towards those around her that makes you wonder what she would be like if she wasn't made to be an assassin. She cares about the people around her even though she still doesn't trust people. Compassion, strength, and loyalty - the best traits a female protagonist can have.

The Program is an unbelievable fantastic story that you should really read if you haven't done so already. Sloane lives in a society where kids have a high rate of suicide. In order to combat this, the government will send a person to the program in order to make them... better. But when you come out of the program you are not the same person. You forget all the people who have "influenced" you to become depressed or made you suicidal. Sloane wasn't allowed to grieve for her brother so she leaned on his best friends James' shoulder. They fell in love and the program wants to take that away. There are so many intense feelings when it comes to love. Feelings that could lead you down the wrong path. Sloane is forced to be brainwashed while trying desperately to hang on to her memories of her brother, her friends, and her love. The amount of will power she maintains is astonishing. She also tries so hard to get back to James. She goes through great lengths to fight back the program in her own way. She fights for the person she loves and for that she has become one of my favorite female protagonists.

Loyalty. It's a theme here isn't it? Anya is one of the most loyal persons of them all. She is her siblings protector. She wants to make sure her brother doesn't get mixed up in the family business which is illegally selling chocolate. She's from a mafia family which has gotten both her parents killed and has left her older brother damaged. The lengths she goes to keep her family safe makes me very proud to have read her story. She also gets sent to jail for something she didn't do and even when it would benefit her not to - she stands up for the little guy or girl in this case. She always tries to do what is best for her family and others (sound familiar?). She is a leader and I can see her becoming very prominent in the black market with her families business in the future. There are two more books I have left to read in her story and I see so much potential in her. She's so going to rule New York.

Who has been your favorite female protagonist in 2014?