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Sunday, January 31, 2016

Missing Winter Reading List

Sure, we had a blizzard last week, but today it hit 60 degrees and, as a winter lover, I can't deal with that. When I was watching The Revenant (go Leo!) in the theatre I started to feel cold just from watching Leo's character deal with the cold on screen. So I started thinking, what better way to pretend like it's proper winter again than to read some books that will give me the same chilly feeling. So grab your scarves, and let's dig in!

OF SCARS AND STARDUST by Andrea Hannah. This was a sensational book about Claire, who heads home when her younger sister goes missing and she battles demons, both real and fake, to try to figure out what happened to her. The book takes place in the cold of Ohio and a lot of the plot occurs in the snowy fields in the town. 


SNOW LIKE ASHES by Sara Raasch. As a true winter lover, this book was filled with perfect imagery and lines about snow and the cold. Great adventure and love triangle, too. Bonus!


LIFE AS WE KNEW IT by Susan Beth Pfeffer. To be honest, this one might be a bit too cold, but I enjoyed the story so much that I just advise you to make some tea, grab a blanket scarf, and read read read! In this one, an asteroid knocks the moon closer to earth, which messes up everything and ends up (among many other things) causing a very long and intense winter.



SHIVER by Maggie Stiefvater. Soo much of the plot in this book relies on the temperature and, since it takes place in the very cold midwest, there are a lot of cold days. I love how Stiefvater included the temperatures at the beginning of each chapter. 

GAME OF THRONES by George R. R. Martin. Winter is coming! 

All right, get reading and let's bring winter back!

XO,
SVR

Monday, January 25, 2016

Book Boos: Best of 2015

Technically I'm 25 dates late on this post, but really, I think I'm good until 2017. So, without further adieu, my favorite books I read in 2015! Please look through all of the 101 books I read last year if you'd like.


Before I dive into last year's books, I have to mention two that I read at the very end of 2014 that had publication dates in 2015. They are incredible and I never want to waste a chance to talk about them.

A DARKER SHADE OF MAGIC by V.E. Schwab.

ALL THE BRIGHT PLACES by Jennifer Niven
Both of these books are completely special in very different ways. ADSOM is an adult fantasy book about a traveler, a thief, and four Londons. It is not to be missed and was one of the most original and non-cliched books I've ever read. ATBP is a YA fiction about two very different people who end up in a beautiful, but troubling relationship. I cried so many times reading this book and it is so so special.

Now, on to the 'real' contenders for 2015!

I had originally planned to rank these, as I do each month, but do you know how difficult it is to rank your top book from each month!? It's honestly near impossible. I think I have a favorite, but after that, it's basically a tie for the second spot. Man, I read some great books last year!


A COURT OF THORNS AND ROSES by Sarah J. Maas. This is the book memes are made of. You know the ones,
“That moment when you finish a book, look around, and realize that everyone is just carrying on with their lives as though you didn't just experience emotional trauma at the hands of a paperback.” That is exactly how I felt when I finished this incredible book. I never thought I'd like a book about fairies, but Maas' world building and character development had me completely obsessed while plowing through the pages and now I am such a fan. I loved this book because I cheered for so many characters, not just the main one (who is awesome, by the way) and because so many of them were important to me, it made the entire reading experience that much more enjoyable. I can't properly express how much I loved this book, but in my literary world, it was life-changing.





AN EMBER IN THE ASHES by Sabaa Tahir. I first wanted to read this book because of its incredible title and I was so lucky to get an ARC that I devoured while on vacation in California. I read a lot of YA books so when one feels fresh and new and truly excites me, I'm a happy camper. I was a big fan of the plot of this book as well as the characters and can't wait to see where the sequels take them. One thing (out of many) that I liked about this book is that the stakes felt so high and real.


GIRL ON THE TRAIN by Paula Hawkins. Another book I was lucky enough to get an ARC of, which was great for this one because I read it before any of the hype had started. I do think I'd have loved it regardless, but it's fun to read these unreliable narrator books before you've heard anything about them. I am becoming a bit of an anglophile so the setting was perfect and it was such a cool lot. I can't wait for the movie!


HAUSFRAU by Jill Alexander Essbaum. This book was devastating. And beautiful. Written by a poet, the story of Anna starts off very salaciously, but it quickly turns into a story of such despair that I wished I could just reach into my book and give her a hug. Some of the lines, especially the last one, are haunting.(One note: I also reread SHATTER ME by Taherah Mafi this month and, while SHATTER ME is one of my favorite YA books, I just had to include HAUSFRAU. So, I made up my own rule and didn't include rereads.)


IN A DARK, DARK WOOD by Ruth Ware. Hmm, another unreliable narrator, eh? I do love those. Ah, and another I read before it was published. (Very few bookseller perks, but ARCs are a great one!) Like GIRL ON THE TRAIN, this book takes place in the UK partly after the main character has awoken in the hospital, and mostly in flashback to being at her old friend's mess of a hen party. The big reveal wasn't as huge as in some other similar books, but the rest of it was so enjoyable that I felt like that wasn't the point.
THE MARTIAN by Andy Weir. I picked this up (well, I had the eARC) because I saw the trailer for the movie and it gave me such anxiety that I knew I had to read it first. (I'm not always a fan of that, I think it's often a great idea to see the movie first, then read the book!). But space is scary and I wanted to know what to expect. I AM SO GLAD I READ THE BOOK FIRST! The genius of this book is that the first part is so science/math heavy that I was having flashbacks of organic chemistry and starting to think I might have to give up...but that's when Weir changes things up and he had me 100% again. I was so invested with the Mark Watney character that I cried while reading the book and then cried for the entirety of the movie because I had such anticipation for the emotions I knew I would feel. Incredible. INCREDIBLE! 


THE QUEEN OF THE TEARLING by Erika Johansen. I'm still trying to figure this book out, to be honest, and as I make my way through the very different sequel, I'm having even more questions about the world Johansen has created. What brought this book to the top of my reading list in 2015 was the main character, Kelsea. I liked reading about her becoming queen and the choices she made and then how she deals with the consequences. (Side note: Isn't Emma Watson tied to the upcoming movie? That's going to be awesome!)


THE ROYAL WE by Heather Cocks & Jessica Morgan. This book was one of the most enjoyable reads of the entire year. It was very "ripped from the headlines", but it was also so well researched and the differences in the story from Wills and Kate kept it incredibly fresh. The story also had a lot of emotional depth, which also elevated it to the top of my list. (Now, I beg of you to buy this book because I really really really need a sequel!)


THRONES OF GLASS by Sarah J. Maas. Wow, two Maas books, but she writes such wonderful characters and stories that I had so far loved everything she has written. This is a great start to a series and Celaena is a spitfire of a main character.

VICIOUS by V.E. Schwab. I really liked how this book was written, with the present interwoven with the past from different times. The story felt so original to me and it was cool to read a story where I truly didn't know for whom to cheer. 


THE WITCH OF DUVA by Leigh Bardugo. This was just a short story, but I really really enjoyed it and its folk tale feel. It reminded me of The Tale of the Three Brothers in Harry Potter, not because its a similar story, but because it had that same magical feeling to it.


WOLF BY WOLF by Ryan Graudin. When your favorite authors all get excited for a book, just immediately put it on your to be read list. I read the ARC of this and almost couldn't believe it had been published only because it was like nothing I had ever read in the YA genre. An alternate history book where a teenage girl impersonates another girl in a motorcycle race to try to kill Hitler? Not a common type of plot, but I am so so so glad this book exists. It is beyond cool. 

So, there you have it! My top 12 books from 2015! Oh, and you might be wondering what my favorite book of the year was? Why, it was A COURT OF THORNS AND ROSES! <3 p="">

XO,
SVR