Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Best of 2013

Well, the time has almost come. We are so close to saying goodbye to 2013 for good. It has been a fun year with its fair share of ups and downs as with any year. So to finish out the year and bid it a fond farewell here is a list of my top 13 reads of 2013. It counts down to the very best book I read this year. Buy the books through Liberty Bay Books by clicking the titles and add them on Goodreads by selecting the hyper-linked words in the cover captions.

13 Envy by Greg Olson
See me on Goodreads!

 It was masterfully plotted and kept the reader hooked and guessing throughout the entire story. Greg had a very detached, tell it like it is, writing style but it seemed to work well for the story and it still allowed for a vibrant and deep projection of emotions. The characters were not very deep or well developed but the story wrapped you up and pulled you in and you couldn't help but love every second of it. It was a good read and one of my favorites by years end but was far from the best thing I read. 

12 Touched by Corrine Jackson

See me on Goodreads!
Touched has an original story line and well executed plot and was extremely vivid. The characters and writing were sturdy. It was a simply enchanting read that was well worth my time. I am so excited to read the rest of the series to find out what happens next. 

11 The Near Witch by Victoria Schwab

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I struggled with where to place this one because I felt it was much better than 12 and 13 but I simply couldn't place it with the other books higher up on the list because on a technical level it was simple no match for the others. However, this tale was lovely and I highly recommend it for a wide variety of ages and personalities. It had a sturdy plot and strong enough writing with vivid characters. Victoria spins a vibrant whimsical and entrancing story that comes to life on the pages before you and grabs hold of you, not letting go until the very last word. 

10 The Crown of Embers by Rae Carson

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The first book in this series was my top book of 2012 and so I had high hopes for this book. Rae does a fabulous job with everything. She has beautiful technique. The story is wonderfully crafted and a brilliant fallow up to Girl of Fire and Thorns. However, The Crown of Embers fell short in comparison to the first book. It was entertaining and brilliant nonetheless. 

9 Sweet Peril by Wendy Higgins

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I am a huge fan of Wendy and her sweet trilogy. So naturally the second in the series made it onto my list of top books. She has reliable and good writing and plot structure. Additionally, she has nearly mastered the art of character development and growth. Her characters are deep, vivid, and above all human. They are some of the most realistic, human, well rounded/balanced characters I have read and they infuse life into the story giving it a vibrancy it wouldn't otherwise have . It has an intriguing and unique story line that will keep readers' minds churning as they read and even after its over or has been set aside. 

8  Through the Ever Night by Veronica Rossi

See me on Goodreads
This is yet another instance of the first book being breathtakingly awesomesauce and then the fallow up just not packing the same punch. It was fabulous but it just wasn't quite as good. It had a slippery plot (in a good way) that was complex but well executed and the writing had brilliant descriptions and conveyed surging and complicated emotions. The characters were complex as well and had dimension and depth. It was good but it had its fair share of flaws as with any book.

Girl of Nightmares by Kendare Blake

See me on Goodreads!

Wow! I'm starting to sound like a bit like a broken record here! Yet again this book was one of those that was striking but just shy of the level of the first one. Both were amazing nonetheless. Girl of nightmares is thrilling and chilling but will tug at your heartstrings on an entirely different emotional plane. The story is gripping and backed with strong research and the plot is masterfully executed with twists, turns, and plenty of suspense. The characters are a mix of personalities that are simply charming. 

6  Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi

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And of course at number 6 is the brilliant Under The Never Sky. Not exactly surprising since book two made it on. It was even better than the second book and Veronica did a wonderful job. I loved it for many of the same reasons I loved Through The Ever Night and I highly recommend it. (See my full review of Under The Never Sky here.)

Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake

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At number 5 we have Anna Dressed In Blood. It was to die for. (Sorry I simply couldn't resist!) Kendare handles every aspect of the story with vibrancy and fluidity. It has just the right amount of thrill and it grabs you from the very start. It is one of those books you can't seem to put down and finish in one sitting. The characters are charming and you can't help but feel apart of their lives and apart of the story. It is a must read. 

Allegiant by Veronica Roth

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It's probably not that surprising that Allegiant made the list and is not just on the list but in my top 5. I loved it and Veronica did an amazing job as usual. The ending was killer and nothing was as it seemed. However, I had some issues with loose ends and random additions throughout and for some reason I can't quite determine it was my least favorite of the trilogy. I still loved it though! I mean how could I not? And every needs to read the trilogy. Read my full reviews of Divergent and AllegiantOh, and Divergent is so close to coming out in theaters! (I have mixed feelings on this the previews haven't left me with high hopes but I'm crossing my fingers that it will be as awesomesauce as the book!)

3 Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea by April Genevive Tucholke

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I am still fangirling and spilling feels all over about this book. I would probably marry it if that was a thing. The writing style was so weird but it worked so well! I have honestly never read anything like April's writing, but she had amazing descriptions and the weird and old style fit the book amazingly. I am still in awe of April's work. The plot was amazing and had twists that I did not see coming. It kept you guessing and kept you wanting more even after it was all over. There is nothing else like this book out there. I can not emphasize enough how absolutely imperative it is that you read this book. For more fangirling and a slightly deeper review click here

Oblivion by Sasha Dawn

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If you haven't read my full review of Oblivion you can by clicking here. I just gushed, simply gushed, Sasha did a marvelous job and made Oblivion into one intense, feels packed ride. You could tell from the details that she had really done her research. The characters were stunningly human and the plot was killer.  I can not recommend this enough so remember it when it comes out in may! 

The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black

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Well congrats! You've made it to the best book that I read in 2013! Surprisingly, it is a vampire book. (I am nearly stunned speechless myself.) But it is so far from any vampire book I've ever come upon. This is a whole new world and Holly has done a masterful job of creating it and bringing it to life before her readers very eyes. The plot is stellar and the characters slippery,confused, and complicated, yet endearing none the less. Of course I highly recommend it. Read my full review here

So that is my list of the best things I've read this year. It was a tough job trying to decide where to place books and to cut it down to 13. The top four I struggled and flip flopped on for way longer than you can imagine and honestly the top 3 or 4 were pretty much tied, but I had to make some decisions. I hope you've enjoyed this. And keep a look out for a new years post of the 14 books I can't wait to lead as I plunge into 2014!

Comment below! What were some of your favorite reads this year? What bookish and exciting things do you look back on fondly from this past year? 

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Stacking The Shelves Make up

First off, I apologize for not posting Stacking The Shelves the past few weeks but I just haven't gotten anything new! I have such a large stack of books that I need to read and just haven't had time for lately that I have been focusing on catching up and finishing all of those before the new year and before I obtain any new ones. However, I made an exception...


Corrine Jackson

As a bit of an experiment, I used what was left from a birthday iTunes gift card to purchase this as an audio book. This surprised myself as well as my family because I regularly rant about my deep hatred for audio books because of the voices of the readers and how dialog is handled. In fact, I was ranting to a friend about that just a few hours before buying this. But, I decided that having an audio book would be convenient in many situations and work well for me since I am constantly multitasking. So I am keeping an open mind and giving it a go. I am very excited for this! I read the first one Touched and absolutely loved it and now I am finally getting around to the second one!
Buy it through Liberty Bay Books by clicking the hyper-linked title and add it on Goodreads!

How Great Women Lead: A Mother-Daughter Adventure into the Lives of Women Shaping the World

Bonnie St. John and Darcy Deane 

Now this book is a bit different and I probably won't be reviewing it or anything, but it looks to be an interesting read all the same. Big thank you shout out and bear hugs to my sister and my brother-in-law for giving this to me as part of my Christmas gift from them! It has my curiosity and interest piqued!

Buy it through Liberty Bay Books by clicking the hyper-linked title and add it on Goodreads

Friday, December 27, 2013



by Sasha Dawn

Coming May 27th, 2014
(Thank you Liberty Bay Books for the ARC!)

One year ago, Callie was found in an abandoned apartment, scrawling words on the wall: "I KILLED HIM. His blood is on my hands. His heart is in my soul. I KILLED HIM." But she remembers nothing of that night or of the previous thirty-six hours. All she knows is that her father, the reverend at the Church of the Holy Promise, is missing, as is Hannah, a young girl from the parish. Their disappearances have to be connected and Callie knows that her father was not a righteous man.

Since that fateful night, she's been plagued by graphomania -- an unending and debilitating compulsion to write. The words that flow from Callie's mind and through her pen don't seem to make sense -- until now. 
As the anniversary of Hannah's vanishing approaches, more words and memories bubble to the surface and a new guy in school might be the key to Callie putting together the puzzle. But digging up the secrets she's buried for so long might be her biggest mistake. 

I think this is probably the most excited I have been to write a review in a while! I finished My Life Next Door before I even started this book however my feelings were so mixed and neutral towards it I have decided not to review it because I really didn't feel one way or another towards it and I don't know what I would even write in a review for it. Oblivion however, dang. I have plenty to say and I have plenty of feels to express! So get ready for this folks it's going to be quite the review...

Can I just start off mentioning that this is a "psychological thriller." I think we need to pause for a moment to take note of the fact that this is two of the best things ever combined into one awesomesauce book. Ok that was a good moment, I just needed to establish that. Now here we go, story line. It was original and stunning. It hooked you and kept you hooked all the way through. The story line and the characters were surprisingly relateable despite the wholly unrelateable scenario. The emotions were strong, vivid, real and relateable. We all know what it's like to have inner family issues, to have issues with teachers and staff at school occasionally because of something we can't even control, or to have people not believe you, and treat you differently because of something that makes us different and is beyond out control. The viscous rumors, the complicated relationships and family/friend drama, all of these little things are the things that make such a horrid and surreal scenario feel real, realateable, and like it could happen to us or our loved ones someday. And that just adds to the thrill and creepiness of the story. The character development wasn't overwhelmingly strong or obvious, but it was enough, it worked for the story and played out nicely enough. Callie was lovable, in fact despite some major flaws and screw ups, almost all the characters made you just love them, from John/Jon and Callie to Elijah, Lindsay and Serena. They were well balanced between flaws and goodness and had real and strong emotions, connections, relationships and roles. And yes, there was a love triangle however for once I loved, LOVED, the love triangle! Crazy I know, but here is why: 1) It made sense it was logical that she was torn because of the sticky situation she was in. 2) It actually enhanced the story in my opinion and added vivid emotions that fit into the story that then enhanced and deepened your understanding of Callie, her thoughts and emotions, her situation, and what it everything was like for her. 3) It didn't distract or take away from the story at all and it didn't feel like it was just thrown in there to be thrown in. 4) It felt like if you took out the love triangle then the book just simply wouldn't be as good and the whole thing would just fall apart and make no sense with out it. Like you couldn't even have the same plot line or resolution if the love triangle hadn't been a factor. 5) It was wrapped up realistically, logically, and beautifully. 6) It enhanced each character that was involved and added to their depth and development. So yeah I approve this love triangle. The plot was killer! It was well paced and kept you guessing the entire time. Honestly, there was never a single point in the book where I felt like I knew what was going to happen let alone was actually right about how something was going to play out or how things were connected. Actually, I take that back there was one thing, but for the most part, like 99.9% of the time I had no idea. It was amazing. Oblivion was one of those books where the plot had you hooked and the characters had you in love and just everything was so vivid and crazy that you simply couldn't bear the thought of putting it down. I read it in one sitting. The writing was really good. It was clear and had great descriptions. Sasha is amazingly skilled, with the stunning and complex plot, beautifully handled and developed characters, and she handled the graphomania with amazing skill., depth, and detail, you could tell she had really, really done her research. And she managed to slip in amazing statements, messages, and themes about society, social life, life as a teen, and just life in general! Oblivion was fabulous, Sasha was awesomesauce and I admire her work and skills. This book is 5 out of 5 stars hands down with my highest recommendation and I can't wait to read more of Sasha's work. It is one of the best books I have read and a must, must read! Buy it through Liberty Bay Books by clicking the hyper-linked title under the cover and add it on Goodreads.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Teaser Tuesday

Man is today a fabulous day or what?! For those of us on my timezone or close to my timezone it is Christmas Eve...
AND it is Teaser Tuesday! That's like getting a little Christmas present early! Enjoy guys and don't forget to enter the giveaway! You only have until the 4th!

The Hit
"All around her, doors opened in the containers. The whole place was full of people hiding in them." -pg. 254 The Hit by Melvin Burgess.
Buy it through Liberty Bay Books by clicking on the hyper-linked title beneath the cover and add it on Goodreads!

*This quote was taken from an uncorrected proof and may be subject to change*

Monday, December 23, 2013

In The Spirit of Giving...

Well folks t'is the season, and in the spirit of giving...I am putting up my very first giveaway! I am very excited to be able to do for you guys! Please keep buying through my links to Liberty Bay Books so that I have the funds to do this again! Thank you for all the support you guys give! I love you all! And a big thanks to Liberty Bay Books for all they've done and just being awesomesauce!

-You must live in the US (sorry!)
-You have to pick between entering for Altered and a bookmark or Crewel and a bookmark

There will be two winners and therefore two prize options!
-Prize A: A hardcover copy of Altered by Jenifer Rush  and the puppy hologram bookmark! (See below pictures for the bookmarks. The ones with the tree.)

-Prize B: A paperback and autographed copy of Crewel by Gennifer Ablin  and the hologram bookmark that has a doggy reading! (Again, to see the bookmark look at the pictures with the trees.)

And more pictures:

Good luck folks and spread the word so all your friends get a chance to enter as well! Merry Christmas and happy holidays!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Teaser Tuesday

Happy Teaser Tuesday everyone! Sorry I didn't post Saturday I haven't gotten anything new since I have been stuck on my couch. Anyways, here goes, enjoy.

"'There's this one thing I was wondering about." I feel a shiver of apprehension." -pg.357 My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick

Add it on Goodreads and buy it through Liberty Bay Books by clicking the hyper-linked title underneath the book cover.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Crazy Creatures of The Blogging World!

I am so psyched to post this (no really, you don't even know. I can barely contain myself right now)!  when I got a reply to my e-mail this was pretty much my reaction:
Then I actually got Cait's answers back and I read them and realized that she is like my blogger soul mate (don't ask what that means exactly because I honestly don't even know) and I basically became like their number one fangirl in like 5-10 min and now I am going about this post and just life something like all the fallowing combined (I work in stages and phases people, plus I am just so awesome that one gif wouldn't even come close to scratching the surface of me in life):
Anyways! As I was saying, Crazy Creatures of The Blogging World is back and today Cait from The Notebook Sisters is here being all crazy and creature-y and blogger-y and stuff! Enjoy the interview! I know you will love her and the interview!

First off, tell us all a little bit about yourself and your blog!
My name is Cait and I’m one of the Notebook Sisters! (We’re collectively known as Cait and Mime. The myths are true! We are, in fact…sisters.) I’m rather obsessed with books, superheroes, and the glorious invention of mint milkshakes. I’m 19 and Mime is 15.

How did you get started blogging and why?
We started blogging (2 years ago) after our trip to China. We wanted to share our photos (who doesn’t want to pictures of cow-stomach-soup and Beijing?) with our friends. After we exhausted all things China, we started blogging about our favourite thing in this galactic universe: books.

How did you decide what your blog was going to be like? (What things you were going to post about, the name, the design ect.)
Like I said above, it was originally a travel blog! (I know, hilarious.) Mime came up with “Notebook Sisters” because we were sisters (wait, we still are sisters) and we were writers. Now we post a lot of book reviews, participate in bookly linkups, and write about our views on life in general. The design? I tweak it every year or so. This time, I’ve made it from scratch (!) with an owlish theme, because owls are cute.

What is your favorite thing about being a blogger?
Comparing thoughts with other bookworms! I love the support (and humour) of the blogosphere too.

What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced in your blogging, and how did you overcome it, or how are you currently working to overcome it?
Dang HTML. I don’t think I’ll ever figure out how to design layouts the way I want them to. Usually I pout and Google and follow tutorials, buuuut, let’s face it. HTML is another language.

What has been your favorite/craziest/most awesomesauce experience since you started blogging?
When real live authors have visited/commented on our blog! That is the best. Mime had an author comment on her writing and say it was awesome (eek!). I’ve chatted to authors and interviewed them (double eeek!).

What is your favorite type of post to write or feature to participate in?
Okay! I admit it! Writing about superheroes is ridiculously fun. (Fangirling, who doesn’t like it occasionally?)

What have been some of your favorite reads this year?
There are way too many to count. I’ll just throw a few at you. These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner (sci-fi with snarky dialogue…so awesome). Not a Drop to Drink by Mindy McGinnis (apocalyptic stuff, lots of guns and bristly narrators). This Song Could Save Your Life by Leila Sales (contemporary with a smoosh of music).

In your opinion, what is key to making a book great?
Characters! If the characters are awesome, realistic, and relatable, the book is half way to being awesome.

What are you reading right now?
I’m rereading Insurgent by Veronica Roth. I wanted to reread the series before I gobbled Allegiant…which has a feels-crushing ending I’ve heard. I desperately need to find out.

Who are your favorite characters male and female?
Ha! Impossible question! Buuut, I’ll go Peeta and Katniss from The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. Not only is the series my all-time favourite, those two are ridiculously awesome. Real or not real? I ask YOU.

If you were to make your favorite book into a movie, what book would it be and who would you cast yourself as?
I would never ever no way cast myself into a movie! Gosh, I’m extremely shy! I don’t talk to the postman if I can help it. But if I could pick any book to be made into the movie? At the moment, I’d go Red Rising by Pierce Brown. It has awesome potential to be an action-packed-thriller. It has the feels, the scenery, and snarky characters. What more could you want?

Any last wise words for other bloggers, readers and authors out there?
Don’t eat pasta while you’re reading. The tomato-sauce red fingerprints on the book pages look kind of like…blood. It’s awkward.

Is there anything else you want to share about yourself? How can others find you and your blog online?
I’m everywhere! (Just kidding.) But, no really, catch me on Twitter, I’d love to say hi! And, of course, stop by my blog Notebook Sisters and talk books with me. (You definitely want to meet Mime, anyway, so come read some of her posts!)

Thank you so much for doing this it has been SO much fun having you!
It’s been awesome, Briana! Thanks for asking.

Isn't she just fabulous?! I mean really, how can you not love that epic personality?! And like she said Mime is a jar of awesomesauce too so be sure to go to their blog, stalk them on twitter or whatever and "meet" her too! (Don't actually stalk them on twitter that is just creepy. Not a good way to make friends.) Also, below are the links to buy all the different books she mentioned through Liberty Bay Books and to find them on Goodreads simply click the hyperlinked titles in the interview! And, another big huge thank you SO much Cait!


Sunday, December 8, 2013


by Veronica Roth

The faction-based society that Tris Prior once believed in is shattered—fractured by violence and power struggles and scarred by loss and betrayal. So when offered a chance to explore the world past the limits she’s known, Tris is ready. Perhaps beyond the fence, she and Tobias will find a simple new life together, free from complicated lies, tangled loyalties, and painful memories. 

But Tris’s new reality is even more alarming than the one she left behind. Old discoveries are quickly rendered meaningless. Explosive new truths change the hearts of those she loves. And once again, Tris must battle to comprehend the complexities of human nature—and of herself—while facing impossible choices about courage, allegiance, sacrifice, and love. 
That gif pretty much sums my feelings up about this book. I pretty much have no words and I probably shouldn't be writing this right now because it definitely gave me one serious book hangover. For those of you unfamiliar with the term "book hangover..."
Personally, I think that picture pretty much explains how a book hangover feels perfectly but a lot of times it also includes "the inability to start a new book because you're still living in the last books world." Anyways, despite all this I find my self writing this review/rant. You may want to take a moment to prepare yourself before reading on. I suggest sitting down, perhaps a seat-belt or something, additionally I invite you to add your feelings about this book to the comments below, and I wish you luck in making it through this, may the odds be ever in your favor and all that. And here we go...
Crap. I don't know where to start now. I'm supposed to start reviewing this now I announced it and everything. I don't know what to start with. Crap. Well, I suppose I shall begin with Tris and Tobais and the characters. I really love them all and they all grow so much in this book. They all develop on a deeper level and grow so much more than even in the first two books. It is beautiful. They are beautiful. However, I grew to almost dislike Tris just a little bit, as well as Tobais. This book was strongly focused on the flaws and extremes and really brought those out and while I think that all characters should have flaws to make them realistic, I felt that their admirable qualities were too absent to the point where they almost became quite unlikable and realistic. They were unbalanced. Wow that all actually turned out to be coherent and an accurate thought filled analysis. I am proud of myself for not just fangirl ranting all over this...so far. Ok, writing. Well I don't have too much to say about the actual writing technique and voice because I felt that yet again Veronica did a good job and I have to admit I got so swept away by the story its self that I wasn't being too critical of that part and I really didn't care at the time. So I guess props for sweeping me away that much! Oh, and here is where it gets a little messy. The plot. I almost hated it. Almost. The pacing was good but then at the end the whole pace thing just kinda fell apart. Then throughout the rest of the story there was just way too much going on at once. I get it it was a chaotic time, there was a lot going on. But, there were so many thing that were just thrown in and then that didn't really effect anything or didn't really go anywhere or went somewhere and then were forgotten for the rest of the book. For example, Amar's sexual orientation, all of the sudden it was like he is gay and likes George but that was totally random and it didn't help the story or impact anything in the story and plot. Then you have David's relationship with Tris's mother. It kind of hints that there was something deeper going on there before Tris's mother went into the experiment but then it never really tells you exactly what was happening there and again it really didn't impact the story or plot line. It was a big deal for a little while then it was never really talked about ever again. I don't know. There were just so many little things happening at once it was a little distracting. Again, I get it the chaos that is logical for that situation but there were so many things that were unnecessary or just felt like they didn't go any where or do anything! However, MEGA points for the killer twist ending! I have a few gifs to express my feelings over the end and just how I felt in general after finishing the book. And yes I let exactly one tear fall...

For starters, initial thoughts directed at Veronica upon reading that killer part...
Then my general emotions upon finishing and reading that killer part:
and of course the gif that I opened with. Overall, it was total awesomesauce despite its flaws, and it is totally emotionally taxing (in the best of ways). I highly recommend reading it and the entire series and I think it appeals to a very wide and extensive audience. It might just be that perfect holiday gift for someone you know! *wink wink* You can buy it through Liberty Bay Books by clicking the hyper-linked title and make sure to add it on Goodreads! Oh yeah and I give it 5 out of 5 stars!