The Perpetual Page Turner Annual End of the Year Book Survey

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There are few things I love more than end of the year lists. Seriously. I’ve been looking forward to this survey all year and I am so glad that Jamie is once again hosting it! (See her post for more info.) If you did a survey leave me the link, I would love to check it out!

reading-stats-2014

Number Of Books You Read: 193 (so far!)
Number of Re-Reads: I don’t really keep track of re-reads, probably 10-15.
Genre You Read The Most From: Young adult contemporary (obviously!)

 best-YA-books-2014

1. Best Book You Read In 2014?

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Favorite 2014 release: After I Do by Taylor Jenkins Reid

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Favorite backlist book: The Piper’s Son by Melina Marchetta

2. Book You Were Excited About & Thought You Were Going To Love More But Didn’t?

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Pointe by Brandy Colbert, I didn’t even finish it! Don’t know what happens and I don’t care.

 3. Most surprising (in a good way or bad way) book you read in 2014?

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The Good Sister by Jamie Kain, in a very good way! I wish more people would read this book!

 4. Book You “Pushed” The Most People To Read (And They Did) In 2014?

After I Do

 5. Best series you started in 2014? Best Sequel of 2014? Best Series Ender of 2014?

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The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkowski / Flat-Out Celeste by Jessica Park / Into the Still Blue by Veronica Rossi

 6. Favorite new author you discovered in 2014?

Melina Marchetta (just like Columbus “discovered” America…)

7. Best book from a genre you don’t typically read/was out of your comfort zone?

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Graceling by Kristin Cashore

 8. Most action-packed/thrilling/unputdownable book of the year?

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A Girl Called Fearless by Catherine Linka

 9. Book You Read In 2014 That You Are Most Likely To Re-Read Next Year?

 After I Do

10. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2014?

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Everything Leads to You by Nina LaCour

11. Most memorable character of 2014?

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Travis from Noggin by John Corey Whaley

 12. Most beautifully written book read in 2014?

 The Winner’s Curse

13. Most Thought-Provoking/ Life-Changing Book of 2014?

 The Piper’s Son

 14. Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2014 to finally read?

Anything by Melina Marchetta

 15. Favorite Passage/Quote From A Book You Read In 2014?

“He’s wrong–high school isn’t a pyramid with all the power clustered in a chosen few at the top–it’s more of a movie theater with twenty-two screens showing simultaneously. The love story in theater three doesn’t care what happens on the football field in theater twelve. Actors and audiences overlap on the screen in the hallways, but there’s a place for everyone.” – Tiffany Schmidt, Bright Before Sunrise

“I’m not sure where it will lead, but this time I understand that it’s not where I end up that matters, but how I get there.” – Len Vlahos, The Scar Boys

16.Shortest & Longest Book You Read In 2013?

Shortest: Falling For Her Finance by Cindi Marsden (153 pages)

Longest: Take Me On by Katie McGarry (544 pages)

 17. Book That Shocked You The Most

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Maybe Someday by Colleen Hoover (not the twist I was expecting at all, but I loved it)

18. OTP OF THE YEAR (you will go down with this ship!)

Tom and Tara Finke from The Piper’s Son

19. Favorite Non-Romantic Relationship Of The Year

The relationship between the sisters in The Good Sister

20. Favorite Book You Read in 2014 From An Author You’ve Read Previously

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Breathe, Annie, Breathe by Miranda Kenneally

21. Best Book You Read In 2014 That You Read Based SOLELY On A Recommendation From Somebody Else/Peer Pressure:

After I Do

22. Newest fictional crush from a book you read in 2014?

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Finn from Dirty Rowdy Thing by Christina Lauren

23. Best 2014 debut you read?

This might be the most difficult question on this survey! I don’t know. Side Effects May Vary by Julie Murphy. The Good Sister. Open Road Summer by Emery Lord. Far From You by Tess Sharpe. Rites of Passage by Joy N. Hensley, A Death-Struck Year by Makiia Lucier, Tease by Amanda Maciel, The Tyrant’s Daughter by J.C. Carleson.

24. Best Worldbuilding/Most Vivid Setting You Read This Year?

The Winner’s Curse

25. Book That Put A Smile On Your Face/Was The Most FUN To Read?

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The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion

26. Book That Made You Cry Or Nearly Cry in 2014?

 Noggin

27. Hidden Gem Of The Year?

The Good Sister 

28. Book That Crushed Your Soul?

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I feel like I’ve stayed away from the soul-crushing books this year, but I guess Me Since You by Laura Wiess

29. Most Unique Book You Read In 2014?

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I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson

30. Book That Made You The Most Mad (doesn’t necessarily mean you didn’t like it)?

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The Secret Side of Empty by Maria E. Andreu (at society, not at the book)

book-blogging

1. New favorite book blog you discovered in 2014?

I am so embarrassed to say that I don’t think I discovered any new blogs in 2014. I had a hard enough time keeping up with my old blogs! I would love to discover new bloggers though so if you’re reading this and think we’re into the same types of books or even if you think we’re not leave me a comment and I’l check out your blog :)

2. Favorite review that you wrote in 2014?

Looking for Alibrandi by Melina Marchetta

Breathe, Annie, Breathe by Miranda Kenneally

One Past Midnight by Jessica Shirvington

What I Thought Was True by Huntley Fitzpatrick

Don’t Call Me Baby by Gwen Heasley

Open Road Summer by Emery Lord

And We Stay by Jenny Hubbard

Broken Hearts, Fences, and Other Things to Mend by Katie Finn

3. Best discussion/non-review post you had on your blog?

Honesty, Criticism, and Blogging

4. Best event that you participated in (author signings, festivals, virtual events, memes, etc.)?

New York City Teen Author Festival!

5. Best moment of bookish/blogging life in 2014?

It was cool and completely unexpected to be blurbed for Emery Lord’s new book.

7. Most Popular Post This Year On Your Blog (whether it be by comments or views)?

 Why Buying Books Terrifies Me

8. Post You Wished Got A Little More Love?

Where Are All the Good Independent Bookstores? I wish this one had some more discussion.

9. Best bookish discover (book related sites, book stores, etc.)?

I don’t know! Based on my last answer it’s not a store. I love that the Kindle now tells me how much longer I have to read a book. It’s like I race to finish faster than the Kindle thinks I will. Kind of like trying to beat the time my GPS says it will take me to get somewhere. (Neither of these behaviors are healthy.)

10.  Did you complete any reading challenges or goals that you had set for yourself at the beginning of this year?

I wanted to read fewer books in 2014 than I did in 2013 and I did that so YAY! I also wanted to read a book by Lauren Oliver and I didn’t so BOO!

looking-ahead-books-2015

1. One Book You Didn’t Get To In 2014 But Will Be Your Number 1 Priority in 2015?

The only two books I have left on my “Eagerly Anticipated 2014″ shelf on Goodreads are Guy in Real Life and Wild, neither of which I’m particularly excited for any more. So that Lauren Oliver book I’ve been meaning to get to?

2. Book You Are Most Anticipating For 2015 (non-debut)?

 Emmy and Oliver by Robin Benway (I’ve also read a bunch of 2015 books.)

3. 2015 Debut You Are Most Anticipating?

The Right Side of Wrong by Jenn Marie Thorne

 4. Series Ending/A Sequel You Are Most Anticipating in 2015?

 P.S. I Still Love You by Jenny Han

5. One Thing You Hope To Accomplish Or Do In Your Reading/Blogging Life In 2015?

Find a better balance. I feel like I go on reading binges and then don’t read at all. Or I blog a lot or don’t blog at all. I want the elusive balance.

6. A 2015 Release You’ve Already Read & Recommend To Everyone:

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The Winner’s Crime by Marie Rutkowski. When Joss Met Matt by Ellie Cahill. 99 Days by Katie Cotugno. (Initial thoughts about them here.)

One Year Ago: My Worst Books of 2013


Top 10 Tuesday: Books I Read In 2014 (2014 Releases)

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Top 10 Tuesday is a meme created by The Broke and the Bookish. You can see all the topics here.

Nothing like the pressure of picking  the 10 beset books from the 190+ books I’ve read this year. Like last year I decided to make this my list of the 10 best books I’ve read that were published in 2014. Next Monday I’ll be doing my 10 favorite backlist books I read so come back then to check that out. Last week I also did My Most Disappointing Reads of 2014, if you’re interested in checking that out.

afterido

1. After I Do by Taylor Jenkins Reid: “The highest compliment I can pay this book is saying I finished it and immediately needed to own it. Which is true. I can actually top that though by saying I needed to own it and I had friends that I knew needed to own it so I went out an bought three copies.”

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2. Rites of Passage by Joy N. Hensley: “If you’re looking for a different kind of YA story with a strong female protagonist you must pick up Rites of Passage, you won’t be disappointed.”

illgiveyouthesun

3. I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson: “I’ll Give You the Sun is smart, unique, interesting, heartbreaking, and by the end I came to completely love and admire it.”

breatheanniebreathe

4. Breathe, Annie, Breathe by Miranda Kenneally: “Everything about it, from the way the death of Annie’s boyfriend is handled, to Annie training for the marathon, to what it’s like to go away to college, to sex, to love was absolutely pitch perfect. I highly recommend the entire Hundred Oaks series, but even if you’ve never read any of them do yourself a favor and pick up Breathe, Annie, Breathe because it is absolutely wonderful.”

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5. Everything Leads to You by Nina LaCour: “It’s a subtle, beautiful, funny, entertaining story that I cannot recommend enough.”

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6. Sweet Filthy Boy by Christina Lauren: “It has its crazy moments, but at the heart of the story it’s genuine and it’s a really shining example of everything that new adult books, or just books about recent college graduates, should be.”

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7. The Good Sister by Jamie Kain: “The Good Sister is one of my favorite books of 2014 and certainly one of the most impressive debuts I’ve read. The characters are flawed and the situations are complicated, but Jamie Kain handles both of those beautifully.”

noggin

8. Noggin by John Corey Whaley: “Noggin is nearly everything I could want in a book. It’s emotional, it’s funny, it’s creative, it’s well written, it’s creepy, and it’s just damn good.”

deathstruck

9. A Death-Struck Year by Makiia Lucier: “A Death-Struck Year is a fantastic historical fiction book, but even if you aren’t drawn to historical fiction it’s a great coming of age story, a wonderful story of friendship and family, and it even has a romance thrown in.”

tease

10. Tease by Amanda Maciel: “Rather than making everyone fit into neat little boxes Amanda Maciel shows that there are good and bad sides to everyone and no situation is black and white.”

One-Year Ago: Top 10 Tuesday: New-to-Me Authors I Read in 2013


Book Review: Hold Still

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holdstill

Title: Hold Still
Author: Nina LaCour
Release Date: 10/20/09
Genre: New Adult Contemporary
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Over the summer I gushed about Nina LaCour’s Everything Leads to You, but I am so mad at myself for waiting several months before I gave another one of her books a try. I don’t want to say I loved Hold Still even more than I loved Everything Leads to You; they are both fantastic books and I love them both very much, but I love them in different ways. Even though it’s a contemporary story Everything Leads to You is kind of magic and fantastic, but Hold Still, also a contemporary story, is raw and honest and kind of terribly real in the way you want a book about moving on from a friend’s suicide to be.

People who read this blog probably know that I lost a good friend to suicide this year and since then I’ve kind of stayed away from more serious books. Life is cruel enough and I’d rather spend my time reading maybe not happy books, but at least not devastating books. Maybe that’s why I held off on reading Hold Still for so long, but I am so happy I picked it up. Hold Still is a heartbreaking story, not only because Caitlin, the main character, has just lost her best friend Ingrid to suicide, but also because of the views we get of Ingrid’s despair while she was alive through the journal she left Caitlin.

The story starts with Caitlin being absolutely despondent and pretty much a shell of a person. She doesn’t even finish out her sophomore year of high school, she’s so devastated. Her parents take her away for the summer, but even being away from her suburban California town doesn’t help and when it’s time to start school again in the fall she isn’t really in a better place than she was in the spring. When Caitlin goes back to school she is shocked and saddened by how nothing seems to have changed for everyone else. They all treat her as the girl who lost her best friend, but their lives have gone on as normal.

One of my favorite things about the book was how the adults are portrayed. Caitlin has amazing parents who, although they don’t always succeed, try to help Caitlin the best that they can. They take here away when they think that will help, they encourage her to see a therapist, they try to get her to partake in different hobbies, and they let her miss school when she needs it. They’re loving, but they’re also not push-overs. They also make her go to school when she doesn’t want to and punish her for cutting class. They are the perfect YA parents because they are not perfect. When Caitlin goes back to school she expects to be able to rely on her photography teacher, who she and Ingrid were close to, but she’s disappointed when the teacher pretty much completely ignores her. As a reader it was difficult to see that, but it’s a lesson in realizing that sometimes things can’t be fixed and that adults are often just as lost and clueless as kids when tragedy strikes.

As Caitlin makes her way through her junior year things slowly start to improve. Shortly after her school year starts she finds Ingrid’s journal under her bed and through Ingrid’s journal entries, which are funny, sweet, heartbreaking, and disturbing, Caitlin starts to realize how desperate Ingrid really was. There were times when she was reading that I wanted her to keep going and times where I wanted her to rip the journal into pieces and I think that’s the way Caitlin felt as well. Going into the book I expected Ingrid’s journal to figure more prominently, but although it loomed large it wasn’t a huge part of the story. Caitlin limits herself to one entry per day and honestly I think that’s all anyone could take. The entries are pretty short and, as Caitlin starts to figure out a way to move on, there are days she doesn’t even read Ingrid’s journal at all.

The thing about Caitlin is that her pain is so real and so huge, but the way LaCour portrayed it was just so brilliant. One of the things I enjoyed (maybe not enjoyed…) was watching Caitlin make friends and form connections with people again. The main people she had to connect with again were her parents, and we already established that I loved that relationship, but she also has to interact with her peers. She has to navigate a friendship with the new girl at school, being careful not to just use the new girl to replace Ingrid and she even grows closer to a guy she goes to school with and who, it turns out, has had a crush on Caitlin forever. Through both of these new relationships Caitlin has to deal with the fact that she often just doesn’t want to be around people and doesn’t want to be close to anyone. There are lots of impressive things about this book, but watching Caitlin build and rebuild relationships with those around her was probably my favorite aspect of the story.

Bottom Line: I know for a lot of people, myself included, sometime forget about backlist books, but do not miss out on Hold Still. This is easily one of my favorite books I read in 2014 and of all-time. The portrayal of Caitlin’s grief and difficulty moving on was brilliant and real and Ingrid’s desperation was practically tangible in her journal entries. Do yourself a favor and read this now.

One Year Ago: Book Review: Someone Else’s Life


My Week in Books

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Make it Count by Megan Erickson: I ended up loving the main character in this one, but just thinking the rest of it was ok. I reviewed it on Friday.

Hold Still by Nina LaCour: Just amazing. I loved everything about this book. Review to come next week!

I’ll Meet You There by Heather Demetrios: So, so good. I’m a little bit worried I’m going to end up reading all of the 2015 books I’m excited about before 2014 is over, but whatever, this was so worth it.

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Finding Mr. Brightside by Jay Clark: I’m only a little into this one and it’s ok. Another 2015 book I’m super excited about, but so far it’s a little weird and maybe trying to be too coy. Fingers crossed it improves.

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Young God by Katherine Faw Morris

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My True Love Gave to Me by Stephanie Perkins

I hope everyone is having a fantastic weekend!


Book Review: Make it Count

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Title: Make it Count
Author: Megan Erickson
Release Date: 6/3/14
Genre: New Adult Contemporary
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

I tried to read Make it Count this past summer, but even though I liked it, I just couldn’t get into it. Fast forward to the end of the year and me trying to wrap up loose ends for 2014 and I thought I’d finish it up. To be honest there is one reason that I came back to the book, one reason I finished it, and one reason I can recommend considering it and that’s Kat.

Let’s start off on a high note and discuss Kat. She’s a bubbly, engaging, interesting college student who’s struggling academically. She goes through statistics tutors that someone with a cold goes through tissues and she pretty much thinks there’s no hope for herself. Her parents want her to come home and work for them, but Kat is determined to show that she can work hard enough to graduate college and have a life of her own. Enter Alec, her boyfriend’s nerdy, but hot, roommate who turns out to be Kat’s latest tutor.

To make up for what she thinks of as her lack of intelligence Kat often plays the park of the sex kitten and dumb blonde, but Alex sees beyond that and really likes Kat for Kat. This makes things awkward with Kat’s boyfriend, who, frankly, doesn’t really treat her that well to begin with. The more Kat and Alec get to know each other the more they like each other and they each have to figure out how important their relationship is with Max and if it’s worth giving him up to try to be together.

The thing about Kat that I loved was that she’s such a nuanced character. If you didn’t know her she’d totally be that kind of dumb party girl, but she’s so much more than that, even though she doesn’t always see it (and her not always seeing it wasn’t annoying in the least). She’s really funny in a sarcastic, witty way that still fit with her personality. She’s also super sweet and kind. It was nice to read about a character with a learning disability and also a new adult heroine who doesn’t have any terrible, evil skeletons lurking in her closet.

Kat’s relationship with Alec was also fun to read about. They’re not my favorite couple and I don’t think the romance will stay with me forever, but it was still a fun relationship and Megan Erickson did a great job of bringing together two people who don’t necessarily seem like they belong together, but actually end up fitting together really well.

Sadly, beyond that a lot of the book didn’t work for me. While I think Megan Erickson did a good job with the secondary characters and the other relationships in the book (between Max and Alex, Kat and her roommates, and Alec and one of his classmates) there was just a lack of finesse to the writing and a whole lot of work choice issues and typos (it was like I was reading an ARC at times when I was really reading a library book) that drove me up the wall.

Plus, I really disliked how sex was portrayed at certain points in the book. There’s a passing reference to Kat possibly being date raped and while I sadly what Kat experienced isn’t uncommon on college campuses I couldn’t figure out why it was mentioned in the story. It came out of no where and it completely distracted from the actual story. And I never bought the fact that Kat and Max never actually had sex. They were together for half the school year, he was pretty much with her because she was hot, and she slept over all the time. Call me jaded but I don’t get how they’re not getting it on.

Bottom Line: I loved this book for it’s amazing, engaging main character and the relationships between the characters, but I struggled with the rest of the book as a whole. The writing was subpar and the library ebook I read was riddled with typos. If you look fairly realistic NA and strong, interesting heroines give this a try, but keep your expectations in check.

One Year Ago: Book Review: Lovestruck Summer 


My Most Disappointing Books of 2014

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Last year I did this list and called it My Worst Books of 2013. This year I was going to call it my “least favorite” books of 2014, but ultimately, as I made the list, I decided that “Most disappointing” was probably the best way to describe these books. I expect every book I read to be good, maybe not 5-star good, but at least entertaining and readable. I didn’t read any of these books because I thought they would be bad, in fact I was excited to read all of them, but sadly they fell short and ended up really disappointing me.

Links take you to my review of the book and the quotes come directly from my review.

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1. Dear Killer by Katherine Ewell: “Ultimately this is a book that tries to be nuanced, different, and smart but lacks the finesse to actually be those things.”

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2. Now and Forever by Susane Colasanti: “The writing here was so atrocious that I am embarrassed for everyone involved with this book.”

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3. After the Rain by Renee Carlino: “As someone who for some reason read all the way to the end I’m here to tell you it’s not worth it. Stay far away from this one.”

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4. After the End by Amy Plum: “But, by the end, the magical elements, the spotty writing, and the pacing of the story wore me down and I don’t see myself necessarily wanting to pick up the sequel.”

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5. Broken Hearts, Fences, and Other Things to Mend by Katie Finn: “To recap: writing good and it had its funny moments (throughout, not just at the beginning), but the main character is a future serial killer and I had to suspend disbelief a lot.”

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6. Hungry by H.A. Swain: “Hungry is a great idea for a story, but the character development, pacing, and convenient situations made it not a great book.”

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7. The Break-Up Artist by Philip Siegel: “Maybe I’m taking it too seriously, but the extreme stereotypes and caricatures and the ridiculous nature of the story just didn’t work.”

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8. Nearly Gone by Ellie Cosimano: “The actual writing was fine, but the characterizations and situations rarely rang true or made for a compelling story.”

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9. Since Last Summer by Joann Philbin: While I still enjoyed reading about Rory and Isabel, the fun of their romances, the interesting setting, and the intrigue of last summer were all fairly nonexistent in Since Last Summer.

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10. Free to Fall by Lauren Miller: “I didn’t buy the setting, the characters, the relationships, or the concept of the story.”

One Year Ago: Book Review: Send Me a Sign


Book Review: My True Love Gave To Me

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mytruelovegaveme

Title: My True Love Gave to Me
Author: Stephanie Perkins (Editor)
Release Date: 10/14/14
Genre: Young Adult Holiday/Short Stories
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

I started reading this book way back in October, when it actually came out, and I have to say I’m glad I waited until December, when I felt way more in the holiday spirit, to finish it. It’s a whole book of romances so obviously I expected to like it, but in the end I was totally blown away by nearly all the stories and I can totally picture myself coming back to the book year after year.

While I had at least heard of all the authors in the anthology before I had only read books by a few of them previously. Besides the amazing stories and the holiday spirit, the best thing about the anthology was all of the new authors I discovered. Thanks to My True Love Gave to Me I now have a few new authors I know I’m going to be exploring in 2015. Let’s recap each of the stories, shall we…

The One That’s My Hands Down FavoriteIt’s a Yuletide Miracle, Charlie Brown by Stephanie Perkins: When I lived in New York City I always loved the people who magically appear after Thanksgiving and sell Christmas Trees on the sidewalk until Christmas. So the fact that the love interest in this story sold Christmas trees (in Asheville…from his family’s farm…but whatever…) immediately made me love the story. But then learning the main characters family history and watching her and North get to know each other was just adorable and so sweet. I loved everything about this story.

The One With a Ghost That Took Me By SurpriseThe Lady and the Fox by Kelly Link: The main character’s mom being in a Thai prison and the fact that I was never quite settled in the story, when did it take place? Who was the love interest supposed to be? What was the main character’s relationship to the wealthy family she spent Christmas with? made me unsure about this story, but ultimately I ended up really liking it. Even after a ghost appeared, a ghost who turns out to be the love interest, I still ended up being really taken in by this one.

The One That Made Me Want to Move Back to Brooklyn….Angels in the Snow Matt de la Pena: After Stephanie Perkins’ story this one is probably my favorite. The poor boy spending Christmas in his boss’s apartment in Park Slope and the girl upstairs who’s hiding out from her friends and family were so adorable together. Even without the romance I think I would have fallen for the guy, who’s the one telling the story, but the romance just made it even better.

The Best One Set at the North PolePolaris is Where You’ll Find Me by Jenny Han: This story about a human girl who lives at the North Pole was kind of odd, but I still enjoyed it. I liked the main character’s determination to find the human boy she met one time and I always think there’s something interesting and people’s interpretation of the North Pole.

The One That Confused Me, But Ultimately I LikedKrampuslauf by Holly Black: I had no clue that a Krampus was a real thing and that made for a weird ecperience because I finally Googled it and realized they are an actual thing. The story still threw me off a little, not knowing the main character’s name until towards the end was weird for me, but I still ended up enjoying the story, wacky confusingness and all.

The One With the Best Opposites Attract RomanceBeer Buckets and Baby Jesus by Myra McEntire: Even though I’m not religious there’s something about a good old nativity play that I love. This one, which takes place in a Medieval Times-like place after the main character burns down the Church barn, was especially fun. I also loved how the criminal main character convinced the good, but not pure, preacher’s daughter to fall for him.

The One That Made Me CryWelcome to Christmas, CA by Kiersten White: The tears! I loved this story, not for the romance, although that was great, but for the family dynamics. The main character’s single mother works all the time and she feels like her mother’s boyfriend resents having her around, but then the reveal! It was amazing. Plus it’s about a cool, little small town.

The One That (Repeatedly) Made Me Laugh Out LoudStar of Bethlehem by Ally Carter: I’ve never read any of Ally Carter’s books so at first I wasn’t sure if these were characters that had been in other books, but after reading the description of her other books I don’t think so. Regardless, when the main character switched places with an Icelandic exchange student and then pretended to be from Iceland I was cracking up nonstop. I would love to read the continuation of this story.

The One That Made Me Want to Read the Books Everyone’s Been Telling Me to ReadThe Girl Who Woke the Dreamer by Laini Taylor: Ok, people, you win, I will read Laini Taylor’s books. Angels are not my thing. I don’t even know what a chimaera is (apparently they’re in her books), but everyone (ok, Brittany and Sarah) have raved to me about her books and after reading this short story (with a CREEPY PREACHER (don’t ask me why I find that to be a selling point)) I am intrigued. You win!

The One I’m Totally Indifferent About….Your Temporary Santa by David Levithan: I’ve never read anything by David Levithan and as much as I didn’t dislike it, I also didn’t really like it. It was a sweet story and I loved the diversity it added to the book, but otherwise it didn’t really do anything for me.

The One Where I Just Didn’t Get the Romance….What the Hell Have You Done, Sophie Roth? by Gayle Forman: Sorry, Gayle, but I liked the idea of the story and the fish out of water situation of the main character, but other than that I was disappointed. The romance didn’t quite click, it seemed kind of contrived and lacking in chemistry. Although, again, yay diversity!

The One by One of My Favorite Authors I Just Didn’t LoveMidnights by Rainbow Rowell: It pains me to say it, not only because it’s Rainbow Rowell, but also because the main character’s name is Maggie, but this is probably my least favorite story in the book. I like how there’s a New Year’s story throw in, but I actually tried to read it two or three times and gave up before I finally forced myself to finish. For a short story the several years it covered felt awkward and I didn’t care for the characters or the romance.

One Year Ago: The Perpetual Page Turner Annual End of the Year Book Survey


Top 10 Tuesday: New-To-Me Authors I Read In 2014

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Top 10 Tuesday is a meme created by The Broke and the Bookish. You can see all the topics here.

I love this topic partly because it’s a great preview of my favorite books of 2014, but also because it allows me to shout out to authors that I really love who did creative, interesting things this year (and in some cases past years). Even though some of these books won’t end up on my best of 2014 list I still really admire these authors and can’t wait to read more from them (soon, please!).

Click on the book image to go to my review and the authors’ names to go to their Goodreads page.

winnerscurse winnerscrime

1. Marie Rutkoski: The writing in these books just blows me away. Not to mention the way Rutkoski unfolds the story and the amazing characters she created. Her previous books so aren’t my thing, but I still might have to take a chance on them.

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2. Jamie KainThe Good Sister was one of my most pleasant surprises of 2014 and I can’t wait to see what Jamie Kain does next. I loved the story of these three sisters, how she told a complicated story in a unique way, and how she made stereotypes and cliche situations seem new, fresh, and different.

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3. Joy N. Hensley: Rites of Passage was such a unique book. I loved that Joy N. Hensley tackled the topic of a girl in a military academy and found a way to make that girl totally real and relatable despite the terrible, menacing situation she was in. There’s also really interesting family dynamics here and a great romance.

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4. Nina LaCour: The fact that I loved Everything Leads to You so much, but I still haven’t read any of LaCour’s other books is terrible. Must. Be. Corrected. (Which I’m doing by reading Hold Still right now!) Everything Leads to You was such a beautiful book that had a magical feeling to it, but also felt totally rooted in reality.

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5. Tess Sharpe: Tess Sharpe wrote the YA thriller/mystery I was waiting for and I couldn’t be happier. And not only was this a brilliant mystery and a suspenseful thriller, but it also had a great story, was told in a unique way, and had amazing characters. Why is there no future books listed for her on Goodreads?!

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6. Amanda Maciel: I love an antihero and Maciel wrote one of the best ones I’ve come across in YA in Tease. Bullying is such a tough topic and I really admire Maciel for not only tackling it from the perspective of the bully, but for hitting this one out of the park. It’s a polarizing book, but I adored it and everything Maciel did in it.

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7. Makiia Lucier: I love historical fiction and Makiia Lucier blew me away with the way she wrote about a less-known period of American history. I love historical fiction for the history, but when someone does what Lucier did and brings that history to life in a way that makes it feel so real it’s incredibly admirable.

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8. Taylor Jenkins Reid: I feel like Taylor Jenkins Reid is the voice of my generation. More so with After I Do than Forever, Interrupted, but still, I just adore her writing and the way I feel like I know her characters in the book, but also in parts of myself and my friends.

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9. Melina Marchetta: I feel like the world’s biggest ass for not discovering Melina Marchetta earlier, but man, what a great 2014 discovery for me. She is a master storyteller and I don’t think I’ll ever forget The Piper’s Son, it’s just a remarkable book about family and love.

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10. M. Molly Backes: What an amazing contemporary book. If I could dream up the perfect YA contemporary it would probably be very similiar to The Princesses of Iowa. I loved that Backes took on the popular girl who’s fallen from grace and small-town America.

One Year Ago: Top 10 Tuesday: Books On My Winter TBR List


Book Review: No Place to Fall

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Title: No Place to Fall
Author: Jaye Robin Brown
Release Date: 12/09/14
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

I can’t really tell you why I was excited to read No Place to Fall, but I can tell you why I wasn’t excited to read it. I realize I’m in the minority with lots of my friends (especially, it seems, blogging friends), but musical theater just isn’t for me and generally performing arts students kind of annoy me. Like I watch Glee and I plot all of their deaths. Which is weird because I had lots of friends in high school who did performing arts stuff and lots of adult friends who did it in high school, all of whom I loved/love. I think my dislike of it in books and TV has to do with the characters earnestness. I hate earnestness.

Anyway, I’m babbling because I read this book months ago and I don’t really remember it. BUT, I remember it enough to say that I really liked it! And I was surprised that I really liked it. Yes, it’s about a girl who wants to go to a performing arts high school and there are lots of artist types in the book, but, more importantly, the book is about a girl coming of age, her screwed up, but loving family, and her small, rural town.

With expecting to dislike Amber I was pleasantly surprised to find myself really liking and respecting her. Amber is very much a small town girl, and she’s definitely still trying to figure out who she is, but she also has a really amazing sense of self. While her family is pretty traditional and her town is pretty religious she still, although not without guilt, leads her own life. With her friend Devon she goes hangs out in an old barn on the Appalachian Trail, which runs adjacent to their town, meeting hikers from all over the country and world. Not only does Amber meet them, she also dreams about traveling the way that they do, drinks and eats special brownies, and makes out with hikers. All of that could have easily been a cliche, but in Jaye Robin Brown’s capable hands it wasn’t at all.

Amber dreams of getting out of her small town and this seems to be the year to make that happen. Two new students move to her town from Atlanta and she befriends both of them and they help to open her eyes out the outside world. She also grows closer to Devon’s older brother, Will, who she’s always had a crush on. Her relationship with Will was a nice mix of forbidden and sweet love. Finally, she has a supportive teacher who encourages her to try to get into an elite state performing arts high school for her senior year of high school.

All of this is complicated by Amber’s poor family, who are all kinds of screwed up, confusing, and loving. Amber loves her parents, but she hates that her mom has let herself go and barely leaves the house and she’s generally embarrassed by her. Amber’s father works for the railroad, but Amber also sees him cheating on her mother and she obviously resents him for that, but then also resents her mother again for letting herself go and also for staying with her father. Amber’s older sister isn’t doing much better. She lives in a trailer in Amber’s parents’ yard with her former drug-dealer boyfriend and her child with that boyfriend. Amber loves her nephew, who her mother mostly takes care of, but she worries about her sister, nephew, and the rest of her family and is conflicted about leaving them if she gets into the performing arts school.

As much as I loved Amber and her relationship with her family I really loved this look at small-town America. I don’t completely want to compare what Brown did with Amber’s small town to what Ron Rash does with Appalachian life, because Rash is a master, but she did an excellent job at capturing small town, poor American life and the people that live there. So many YA books deal with the wealthy or people living in cities or suburbia and it was nice to have the chance to read about a small town where people are uneducated and/or unemployed and, in many cases, have no tangible future.

I really wish I could talk about the end of this book because I really loved how it ended. I’m going to say that I found the end to be very real and completely believable and I really appreciated both of those things. I also enjoyed how for so much of the book Amber things she knows best or better than friends and/or family and in the end I loved the Brown showed that Amber is a smart, mature person, but, like all of us, she still has a lot of learning and growing to do.

Bottom LineNo Place to Fall is a book that fought its way into my heart and that I have so much respect for. Amber’s personality sucked me in immediately, but her growth over the course of the book made me really respect her and Jaye Robin Brown. It’s also an amazing story of family and rural America. This is one of those books that’s left me so excited to see what the author does next.

I received an electronic review copy of this book from the publisher via Edelweiss (thank you!). All opinions are my own.

One Year Ago: Book Review: Loud Awake and Lost


My Week in Books

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After neglecting this weekly post for three months I had the urge this week to bring it back. How long it will be until I do another one I don’t know, but I’m going with it.

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Things We Know By Heart by Jessi Kirby: I absolutely love this book. Another 2015 read that I can’t wait for more people to read. The whole thing was kind of like watching a train wreck and the main character made some terrible decisions, but it was just brilliant. My full review will be up in 2015.

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My True Love Gave To Me by Stephanie Perkins: I started reading this back in October, but I’m so glad I held off on finishing it until we got to the holiday season. Nearly all of these stories were perfect and I think I’ll be coming back to this one year after year. My review will be up on Wednesday.

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Everly After by Rebecca Paula: This new adult book was on the better end of new adult books, but I still couldn’t fully get behind it. I liked the story and characters, but too much of the book was spent in the characters’ heads and I wish there had been more action. You can read my review on Goodreads.

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Frenched by Melanie Harlow: I’m 24% of the way through this one and I was really into it until the main character met the love interest. When she was sulking in bed and hanging out with her friends I loved her and the story, but there’s something about her and the story now that she’s met the guy that just seems very forced. We shall see if I finish.

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A Little Too Much by Lisa Desrochers: I read the first book in this series, A Little Too Far, last year and I had always planned to read the second book, but since I didn’t love the first it wasn’t on the top of my list. When I was trying to find something to read the other day this popped into my mind so I took the ebook out of the library. I’m 21% of the way in and I don’t love it, but I am curious to see what will happen.

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Make it Count by Megan Erickson: I actually started this one back in August (I think?), but never finished it. I thought I’d revisit it this week and while I’m not totally into it, I think I will finish it this time.

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The Sweetheart by Angelina Mirabella
Every Last Word by Tamara Ireland Stone
Swimming to Tokyo by Brenda St. John Brown
How to Start a Fire by Lisa Lutz

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Try Not to Breathe by Jennifer R. Hubbard
The Game of Love and Death by Martha Brockenbrough
What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty
Shaming the Devil by Melina Marchetta (no cover yet)
Loud is How I Love You by Mercy Brown (no cover yet)

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The Secrets We Keep by Trisha Leaver

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These are all from my amazing Broke and Bookish Secret Santa, Tammy. I was so overwhelmed in the best way when I opened the package with all of the goodies she gave me. And she wrote amazing notes to get along with everything!

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Roomies by Sara Zarr and Tara Altebrando
How to Kill a Rockstar by Tiffanie Debartolo
The Piper’s Son by Melina Marchetta

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Attachments by Rainbow Rowell
Love, Lucy by April Lindner

Plus, CHRISTMAS SOCKS!!!! (Which I liked so much that when I came across them in Target on Friday I bought some for my Secret Santa person!)

I hope everyone is having a fantastic weekend!