Top Ten Tuesday: Favorite Books of 2015 So Far

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Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by Broke and Bookish. This week’s topic is our top ten FAVORITE books we have read in 2015 so far. I haven’t had a great reading year (it’s been pretty so-so) and I’m hoping the second half will treat me much better. These ten are the only ones I’ve given 5 stars this year, so this list wasn’t hard to assemble:

Hex Hall (Hex Hall, #1)The Truth About Forever17 First Kisses

Things Fall Apart (The African Trilogy, #1)AtlantiaPaper TownsWhere She Went (If I Stay, #2)

The Distance Between UsBeautiful Creatures (Caster Chronicles, #1)Rebel Belle (Rebel Belle, #1)

  1. Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins
  2. The Truth About Forever by Sarah Dessen
  3. 17 First Kisses by Rachael Allen
  4. Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe
  5. Atlantia by Ally Condie
  6. Paper Towns by John Green
  7. Where She Went by Gayle Forman
  8. The Distance Between Us by Kasie West
  9. Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl
  10. Rebel Belle by Rachel Hawkins

What are some of your favorites this year?

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Discussion: My Perfect Fantasy Book

discussionRecently, I was thinking about some of the aspects that make up my favorite books. What common themes or tropes do I love in various genres? Over the next few weeks, I’ll be talking about some different genres I read (like romance, contemporary, dystopian, sci fi) and what my favorite books in that genre have. It’ll be a little like assembling the perfect book for that genre! Today, I’ll be talking about my perfect fantasy book.

Some of my favorite YA fantasies include:

Shadow and Bone (The Grisha, #1)The Lightning Thief (Percy Jackson and the Olympians, #1)Clockwork Angel (The Infernal Devices, #1)The Immortal Rules (Blood of Eden, #1)Beautiful Creatures (Caster Chronicles, #1)

Things I’m Looking For in a PERFECT YA Fantasy:

  1. A well developed world system. Logically, I want everything to make sense, but I also want it to be revealed to the reader in a slow manner. I hate info-dumping with pages and pages of world building. Most of the time, fantasies feature a character entering into a brand new world, but I also like it when they are already involved in the world (i.e. Vampire Academy).
  2. Strong characters. Fantasies need that perfect blend of a character that is well suited to showcase the world and vice versa. I love it when they compliment each other, seeming like both gain something from each other. I always am on the lookout for why that particular character was chosen to tell this story.
  3. Concise, clear action scenes. I hate when these are a jumbled mess with characters and fighting everywhere. I want to be able to see everything just like a movie scene. Keeping the characters straight is important.
  4. And on that note, having a clear and distinct villain. Villains are essential to a good fantasy. I want them to have good motivation, a strong appeal, and to be well developed. Just like the main character must be of the world, so must the villain.
  5. A beautiful writing style. Some of my favorites are so atmospheric that they draw me right in – like Camp Halfblood or the London Shadowhunter Institute. I want to be completely involved with the world.
  6. A captivating story. This is something that makes me put the whole real world aside and want to keep jumping back with these characters. It is totally involved and immersive. I want to never put the book down.

What qualities are you looking for in a YA fantasy?

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Waiting on Wednesday: Their Fractured Light

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Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly feature hosted by Breaking the Spine, where bloggers feature unreleased books that we are excited for. This week, I decided to feature:

Their Fractured Light (Starbound, #3)

Their Fractured Light by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner (Starbound #3)

To be published December 1 2015

A year ago, Flynn Cormac and Jubilee Chase made the now infamous Avon Broadcast, calling on the galaxy to witness for their planet, and protect them from destruction. Some say Flynn’s a madman, others whisper about conspiracies. Nobody knows the truth. A year before that, Tarver Merendsen and Lilac LaRoux were rescued from a terrible shipwreck—now, they live a public life in front of the cameras, and a secret life away from the world’s gaze.

Now, in the center of the universe on the planet of Corinth, all four are about to collide with two new players, who will bring the fight against LaRoux Industries to a head. Gideon Marchant is an eighteen-year-old computer hacker—a whiz kid and an urban warrior. He’ll climb, abseil and worm his way past the best security measures to pull off onsite hacks that others don’t dare touch.

Sofia Quinn has a killer smile, and by the time you’re done noticing it, she’s got you offering up your wallet, your car, and anything else she desires. She holds LaRoux Industries responsible for the mysterious death of her father and is out for revenge at any cost.

When a LaRoux Industries security breach interrupts Gideon and Sofia’s separate attempts to infiltrate their headquarters, they’re forced to work together to escape. Each of them has their own reason for wanting to take down LaRoux Industries, and neither trusts the other. But working together might be the best chance they have to expose the secrets LRI is so desperate to hide.

I chose this book because the cover just released and I LOVE it. I’ve also been a huge fan of both books in this companion series so far and I’m both excited and sad to see what happens in this final book.

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Top Ten Tuesday: My Favorite TTTs!

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Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by Broke and Bookish. In celebration of this being the fifth year of Top Ten Tuesday, this week’s theme is our favorite TTTs from over the years that we have participated in! I started participating in TTT February of last year, and even though that isn’t nearly as long as some people, I’ve enjoyed posting these so far!

  1. Books in the Fantasy Genre (feat. Something Strange and Deadly, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children) – I liked this one because since blogging more, I’ve been reading more contemporary. This reminds me of some of the great fantasy I read and need to get back into!
  2. Book Covers I’d Frame as Works of Art (feat. The Selection, Bunheads) – I could look at beautiful book covers all day. And I still stand by all of my picks.
  3. TV Shows (feat. Scandal, New Girl) – Taking a little shift away from books was fun for a week, plus I had lots of fun conversations about some of my favorites!
  4. Places Books Have Made Me Want to Visit (feat. Divergent, Meant to Be) – I loved researching places for these pictures.
  5. Characters I Wish Would Get Their Own Book (feat. Catching Fire, The Great Gatsby) – I used GIFs for this TTT, which always makes it more fun, and I still need some of these.
  6. Most Anticipated Debuts of 2015 (feat. Red Queen, An Ember in the Ashes) – This edition helped me find some debuts I’m really excited about and I’m glad this put them on my radar.
  7. Things I Like when it comes to Romances (feat. To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before, Rebel Belle) – Another one that was fun to write and inspired a great conversation.
  8. Book Related Problems (feat. What to read next?, Where do I put all the books I bought?) – This one was funny and all too realistic.
  9. Heroines (feat. The Help, The Immortal Rules) – More GIFs. Plus some love for the ladies of fiction.
  10. Books I’d Like to See as Movies (feat. 172 Hours on the Moon, Dash and Lily’s Book of Dares) – I didn’t know I needed them, but now I do.

What are your favorites?

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Emoji Book Tag (2)

Today, I’ll be doing the emoji book tag! I was tagged by Stefani @ Caught Read Handed and this tag was created by Sanaa @ Ink Bones Books. The idea here is to pick 5 of your most used emojis and match up books to them. I already did this tag once, about this time last year, but I figured I would do it again because my emoji usage has changed somewhat!

  Hex Hall (Hex Hall, #1)

Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins – This book is so funny! Sophie has a great outlook on life and her experiences with the new paranormal world she found herself in. I love her humor and sarcasm.

  Prisoner of Night and Fog (Prisoner of Night and Fog, #1)

Prisoner of Night and Fog by Anne Blankman – When I think about this emoji, I think about a book so intense that I couldn’t put it down! Both of the books in this duology are really intense with such high stakes. It’s so much fun and you won’t be able to put it down.

Sweet Evil (The Sweet Trilogy, #1)

Sweet Evil by Wendy Higgins – This emoji to me is sarcastic and a little flirty. This PERFECTLY describes Kaidan who is a great book boyfriend and essentially this emoji in character form.

     Anna and the French Kiss (Anna and the French Kiss, #1)

Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins – This one was hard for me, but I ended up choosing this book because it is so good, plus this emoji could represent St. Clair!

     The Distance Between Us

The Distance Between Us by Kasie West – This emoji is like a totally shipable couple! I really liked this romance.

I’m not sure who has and who hasn’t done this tag, so if you want to do it, go ahead!

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The Revenge Playbook by Rachael Allen Review and Giveaway!

The Revenge Playbook

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The Revenge Playbook by Rachael Allen

Published HarperTeen June 16 2015

Genre: Young Adult Contemporary

Format: I received an eARC copy of this book from the publisher and the Fantastic Flying Book Club in exchange for review consideration and participation in this blog tour. This did not affect my opinion of this book or the content of this review in any way. The giveaway is being sponsored by the publisher.

Links: Goodreads – Amazon Paperback – Barnes and NobleBook DepositoryiTunesKobo

b38bc-coollogo_com-221351400Don’t get mad, get even! In this poignant and hilarious novel, Rachael Allen brilliantly explores the nuances of high school hierarchies, the traumas sustained on the path to finding true love, and the joy of discovering a friend where you least expect.

In the small town of Ranburne, high school football rules and the players are treated like kings. How they treat the girls they go to school with? That’s a completely different story. Liv, Peyton, Melanie Jane, and Ana each have their own reason for wanting to teach the team a lesson—but it’s only when circumstances bring them together that they come up with the plan to steal the one thing the boys hold sacred. All they have to do is beat them at their own game.

Brimming with sharp observations and pitch-perfect teen voices, fans of Jenny Han and Sarah Mlynowski are sure to fall head-over-heels for this sharp tale—by the author of 17 First Kisses—about the unexpected roads that can lead you to finding yourself.

029c6-coollogo_com-9181998I recently read and LOVED 17 First Kisses, so I knew I had to pick up Rachael Allen’s first novel and I had really big expectations. Thankfully, this book followed through!

I love the scavenger hunt aspect of this book as they travel around Nashville and the surrouding area completing the challenges. These little chapters dispersed throughout the book made it so exciting and fun! The narration switches between the perspective of the girls together, in the present, as they complete the scavenger hunt, and the past as they come together to form their plan in all their different times of hurt.

If you love female friendships and feminist heavy books, this is a winner for you! It has so many smart, well done feminist topics as each of the girls are empowered within themselves to be whoever they want to be. They all have been the victims of the favoritism given to the football team and their coaches. For example, one of the girls is assaulted and when she reports this to her school, she is told not to do anything so the boy won’t get his football scholarship taken away. There is also a list of girls claimed ‘not good enough’ to date a football player, so the boys must break up with them. And a girl who has trouble in math class can’t get help, but the football players get homework extensions for games. It is not fun to read about some of these darker topics that are faced. I was so mad at the guys that had done these terrible things. However, I also liked how not every football player were bad. Some of them were really nice to the girls and did not succumb to what they were being told.

The only problem that I had with this book was that the different perspectives blended together. It was hard to differ between all the girls, each with their own sections and boyfriends and friends and family. There were many different names, story lines, and backgrounds that I needed to keep checking whose chapter I was reading so far. The ending was also a little iffy, but I did like how it was all wrapped up.

Overall, this book was really good! It was a great look at some contemporary issues, without being dark the entire time. I would recommend this to fans of 17 First Kisses and this would definitely be worth a try.

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#BFFdraft (Twitter) 

On June 16, 2015, use the hashtag #BFFdraft to talk about who you’d want in your ultimate BFF group. You can pick YA characters, celebrities, girls who are doing cool stuff to make the world a better place, girls who are already your besties. For more information, you can go here or here.

Excerpt

About the Author:

Displaying Rachael.jpgRachael Allen lives in Atlanta, GA where she’s working furiously on her PhD in neuroscience. When she’s not doing science or writing YA, you can find her chasing after her toddler and her two sled dogs. Her debut YA novel 17 FIRST KISSES, is forthcoming from Harper Teen. Rachael may or may not have had 17 first kisses…luckily she doesn’t kiss and tell.

Follow Rachael on her Website, Goodreads, Twitter, and Facebook!

Giveaway Time!

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Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins Review

Hex Hall (Hex Hall, #1)

Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins (Hex Hall #1)

Published Hyperion 2010

Genre: Young Adult Fantasy

Format: Paperback

b38bc-coollogo_com-221351400Three years ago, Sophie Mercer discovered that she was a witch. It’s gotten her into a few scrapes. Her non-gifted mother has been as supportive as possible, consulting Sophie’s estranged father—an elusive European warlock—only when necessary. But when Sophie attracts too much human attention for a prom-night spell gone horribly wrong, it’s her dad who decides her punishment: exile to Hex Hall, an isolated reform school for wayward Prodigium, a.k.a. witches, faeries, and shapeshifters.

By the end of her first day among fellow freak-teens, Sophie has quite a scorecard: three powerful enemies who look like supermodels, a futile crush on a gorgeous warlock, a creepy tag-along ghost, and a new roommate who happens to be the most hated person and only vampire student on campus. Worse, Sophie soon learns that a mysterious predator has been attacking students, and her only friend is the number-one suspect.

As a series of blood-curdling mysteries starts to converge, Sophie prepares for the biggest threat of all: an ancient secret society determined to destroy all Prodigium, especially her.

029c6-coollogo_com-9181998After reading Rebel Belle, I really wanted to see what Rachel Hawkins’ first book was like. I had heard good things about this series, so I decided to try it out.

AND I LOVED IT.

This book was everything that Rebel Belle is – funny, witty, and a brand new twist on the same paranormal concepts we all know. The magic system and the boarding school are two of my favorite tropes. Seeing them together was so much fun. There are two types of witches in the school as well as shape shifters, faeries, and a vampire. I did want to see some more of the other types, but I liked learning more about the light and dark witches. Sophie is a dark witch, meaning she has the ability to do more powerful spells. There are a few other dark witches who are all being attacked, which adds a layer of suspense and mystery.

Sophie is a great main character. She is funny and witty. I enjoyed reading from her perspective because she gave a great lens in order to look more into this world. Her sense of loyalty to her friends also make everything more exciting. Plus, there is a really cute romance and a new book boyfriend! I ship it.

This book is so exciting! There is so much tension and mystery that leads everything along. I can’t wait to continue on with this series more!

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