Monday, December 21, 2015

The Books of 2015

Since the year is almost over, it’s about time to look back on the year, specifically, the books. This post is going to focus on all of the books I liked and reviewed this year, give or take a few.

It’s always nice to discover a new book that ends up being a favorite. Last year, I more hesitant to step out of my comfort zone, and while I did find new authors, it wasn’t that many. But this year, I’ve tried to do better and give more books a try. On the other hand, it was also nice to keep up with series/trilogies by author’s I was already familiar with.

New favorites…

  • A.G. Howard: I enjoyed Howard’s take on Wonderland, and though I had a few issues with Splintered, I really enjoyed it.
  • Megan Shephard: I had the Madman’s Daughter on my shelf for a long time, and it was only during 2015 that I finally got around to reading it. The book was fantastic and Shephard’s writing style paired nicely with the story.
  • Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff: One word: Illuminae. That book was epic, awesome in so many ways, and I look forward to the next book.
  • Mari Mancusi: Scorched is by far one of my favorite books featuring dragons.
  • Angelica Banks: Finding Serendipity was a ridiculously cute story and I’m really looking forward to the sequel coming out next year.
  • Kim Karalious: Basically the story was cute for the most part and proposed the idea of love going seriously awry with some terrible consequences.
  • Ray Bradbury: His style of writing is absolutely fantastic. The Halloween Tree was a really great story.
  • Brian Selznick: The Invention of Hugo Cabret was just a really lovely book. The illustrations were also fantastic so obviously I will be reading more novels by Selznick.
  • Alexandra Bracken: The Darkest Mind’s trilogy was fantastic and it was kind of nice that I didn’t have to wait for the books to come out (the plus side to waiting so long to start the trilogy).
  • Jennifer Latham: I read Scarlett Undercover earlier in the year and I really liked it.
  • Ryan Graudin: Graudin’s style of writing is easy to get into, and I look forward to reading more of her novels.
  • James Dashner: I had the chance to read the entire trilogyand the last book earlyoverall it was a great series.
  • Sherry Thomas: The Elemental Trilogy is just one of my favorites. I'm glad that I finally got around to reading it.
  • Neil Gaiman: I read Coraline in October and I have to say that I really liked it. There were some differences between the book and the movie. And while I did enjoy the film, the ending to the book was an aspect of the story I liked better.
Review List…
Old favorites…
  • Victoria Schwab: I read the second book to The Archived series, and I liked it.
  • Madeleine L’Engle: For obvious reasons I finished reading A Wind in the Door and A Swiftly Tilting Planet this year. I had the omnibus edition with the first three books, and I liked A Wrinkle in Time. So I was curious to see the next part of the characters story.
  • Stephanie Thomas: I read the second book of her series, Lucidity, and I liked it better than the first.
  • Melissa West: Hover was a good book and I need to eventually read the last novel of the trilogy.
  • Amanda Sun: Rise was just a really good short story and If you have read the series then I recommend checking it out.
Review List…

Friday, December 18, 2015

Quick Announcement...

Because Christmas is just days away, I've decided to take the rest of the year off. There won't be anymore reviews until 2016, but I do have some posts already scheduled to go up, so those ones will be live on the blog. But overall, activity is just going to slow to a crawl. I look forward to just reading and getting back into the swing of things next year. I hope everyone has a great holiday!

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Review: The Immortal Heights by Sherry Thomas

The Immortal Heights (The Elemental Trilogy, #3)Title:The Immortal Heights
Author: Sherry Thomas
Source/Format: Won, Hardcover
More Details: Young Adult, Fantasy
Publisher/Publication Date: Balzer + Bray, October 13, 2015

Goodreads     Amazon     Barnes & Noble     Book Depository

Synopsis from Goodreads...

In a pursuit that has spanned continents, Iolanthe, Titus, and their friends have always managed to remain one step ahead of the forces of Atlantis. But now the Bane, the monstrous tyrant who bestrides the entire mage world, has issued his ultimatum: Titus must hand over Iolanthe, or watch as his entire realm is destroyed in a deadly rampage. Running out of time and options, Iolanthe and Titus must act decisively to deliver a final blow to the Bane, ending his reign of terror for good.

However, getting to the Bane means accomplishing the impossible—finding a way to infiltrate his crypt in the deepest recesses of the most ferociously guarded fortress in Atlantis. And everything is only made more difficult when new prophecies come to light, foretelling a doomed effort…

Iolanthe and Titus will put their love and their lives on the line. But will it be enough?

With The Immortal Heights, Sherry Thomas brings the acclaimed Elemental Trilogy to its breathtaking conclusion...
Going into The Immortal Heights I had high expectations—I really liked The Burning Sky and I absolutely loved The Perilous Sea. No worries, because The Immortal Heights was a fantastic end to this trilogy.

The Immortal Heights picked up right where the story left off, opening with a battle that was set up at the end of the previous book. It was an exciting right from the start and continued to be so till the very end. One of the things I enjoyed about this book was the use of prophesies as a major part of the concept. It does use the chosen one trope, but it also stresses the idea that what was seen maybe isn’t exactly what happened. As such, things that were considered fact in book one—things that couldn’t be changed—their meaning was subsequently called into question. Another aspect I enjoyed was the action, there was plenty of it.

All of my favorite characters from books 1 and 2 were back, especially Titus and Iolanthe. This book was the conclusion to their story. Both characters experienced some growth as more about Iolanthe was finally revealed. Basically, the truth about the situation was finally made clear, and I’m glad my questions were answered.

The Bane was just as terrible as the previous books made him out to be. He does finally make a direct appearance in The Immortal Heights, and he was a horrible mage who did things that were just not okay. The entire trilogy revolved around him and Atlantis, so it was nice to see that he got some backstory, even if it just made me despise him more. Besides the whole taking-over-the-world kind of thing, he had another reason for his actions—one I won’t reveal because of spoilers.

The setting was fantastic as always, beginning in the desert before jumping from place to place when the characters needed to move quickly. It was also nice to see some of Atlantis because it had remained as a looming shadow over Titus and Iolanthe. And while it seemed like an ideal place—albeit heavily fortified—there was evidence of persistent problems.

The ending is something I’m a fan of for many different reasons, but I won’t go into anything specifically. It was just really nice.

While I am sad that this series is over, I’m glad to have read it since all three books are now some of my favorites. In light of that, I’m just waiting to see what Sherry Thomas writes next.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

The Joy of Christmas Book Tag

It’s December so obviously I wanted to participate in The Joy of Christmas Book Tag, created by Novels and Nonsense. It seems like so much fun, plus its pretty festive. Before I get started,  check out the original video HERE. And, don't forget to check out Novels and Nonsense's channel.

Anticipation: The Christmas excitement is real, what book release(s) are you most anticipating?

Well, I’m looking forward to some sequels for books I read this year but a couple of release dates make me tear up—some of them are pretty far away. But I am looking forward to the sequel to Finding Serendipity, A Week Without Tuesday, which isn’t so far away. Also, I’m looking forward to Untamed by A.G. Howard.

Christmas Songs & Carols: What book or author can you not help but sing its praises?

Illuminae—that book was fantastic—but of course there are other ones too.

Gingerbread Houses: What book or series has wonderful world building?

Oh, this is an easy one—The Darkest Mind’s trilogy by Alexandra Bracken. I read the entire trilogy this year and it was fantastic. One of the things I really liked about it was the world building.

A Christmas Carol: Favorite classic or one that you want to read.

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland & Through the Looking-Glass are two of my favorites. Another good one is A Wrinkle in Time.

Christmas Sweets: What book would you love to receive for Christmas?

This question is harder than it looks because I honestly don’t know. But I guess if I had to pick, I would go with Rivals in the City by Y.S. Lee. I have the other three books in the series and I want to get it to see how the story ends.

Candles in the Window: What book gives you that warm fuzzy feeling?

This is What Happy Looks Like by Jennifer E. Smith. This story was just cute and it remains as one of my favorite novels.

Christmas Trees & Decorations: What are some of your favorite book covers?

Splintered series has some nice ones. The Archived & The Unbound are also nice. The Burning Sky, The Invention of Hugo Cabret, the entire Spiderwick Chronicles series, Daughter of Smoke and Bone and Days of Blood & Starlight, Gravity & Hover—I could go on forever. So, I’ll just leave it at that.

Christmas Joy: What are some of your favorite things about Christmas and or some of your favorite Christmas memories?

Would it be wrong to say cookies? Ok, I think I need a better answer than that. I enjoy spending time with my family as well as watching classic holiday movies. Decorating the tree is also fun.

As usual, I don’t tag anyone specifically. If you want to participate, go for it. Happy reading!
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