Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Eight Debut Novels I'm Excited About!


Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by
The Broke and the Bookish.


Okay, friends. Here's the thing. Last year, I read a total of 4 debut novels. 
Talk about shameful. I really need to up my game this year and double last year's disgraceful amount -- at the very least
Ideally, I'd LOVE to triple last year's number and read 1 debut per month, but the truth is, 
I don't know where to turn. What's getting attention or what DESERVES attention? 
I need help from my fellow bloggers.

WHAT ARE YOU MOST EXCITED FOR?
WHAT SHOULD I BE MOST EXCITED ABOUT?

So far, 8 debuts have caught my interest:


  

Shutter by Courtney Alameda: a young female descendant of Van Helsing + horror + ghost hunting + camaraderie + swoony romance? YES, PLEASE!

Monstrous by MarcyKate Connolly: a middle grade pitched as Frankenstein meets the Brothers Grimm. A heroine with bolts in her neck, wings, and a tail, who rescues girls from an evil wizard? SO COOL! 



An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir: From the blurb: Set in a terrifyingly brutal Rome-like world, An Ember in the Ashes is an epic fantasy debut about an orphan fighting for her family and a soldier fighting for his freedom. Ummm... SOLD!

The Girl at Midnight by Melissa Grey: magic + 2 warring races + a badass heroine + a quest to find a mythical firebird to end the war = ADVENTURE + EXCITEMENT


 

Magonia by Maria Dahvana Headley: Heather LOVED it, so naturally, that means I should give this one a go? Plus the thing about magic, family, love, and flying.

The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh: There's a lot of buzz surrounding this one. And I'm just... SO EFFING EXCITED. Read the blurb, because I just have no words. *flails*



The Night We Said Yes by Lauren Gibaldi: Reliving an epic night + friendship + first love + bravery... it says it all in the blurb. This just sounds like a fun and absorbing read. *happy sigh* 

Made You Up by Francesca Zappia: ONE WORD: DELUSION. And okay, schizophrenia. An unreliable narrator, unsure of what's real and what isn't... this just seems like the perfect story to get lost in, especially because it has humor in it. 


Well, that wraps up my list! So, tell me, which debut authors will you be
reading this year? Who should I be on the lookout for? Let me know!

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Monday, January 5, 2015

Bout of Books 12: Sign Up!

Bout of Books

The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda @ On a Book Bender and Kelly @ Reading the Paranormal. It is a week long read-a-thon that begins 12:01am Monday, January 5th and runs through Sunday, January 11th in whatever time zone you are in. Bout of Books is low-pressure. There are challenges, giveaways, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional. For all Bout of Books 12 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog. - From the Bout of Books team

Hi, everyone! The first Bout of Books read-a-thon of the year is here! I first participated in Bout of Books last year (in May), and it was a lot of fun. The event is now taking a more laid back approach by leaving out reading goals from their participation requirements --
which is PERFECT for me!

I want to kick off the year on a strong reading note, and this read-a-thon is just the thing to ensure I do so! I don't have to worry about how many pages I read or how many books I get through in the span of 7 days. NUMBERS are basically out of the picture, and that makes my effort this week much more worthwhile. I just want to connect with other readers, relax, and enjoy myself!


If you're curious about what I'll be reading, here are the options:


On Audio:


*SQUEE* 

This is my first audiobook, you guys! I'm 20% in, and I'm absolutely loving it! 
Not only am I listening, but I'm also following along with the e-book! 
This will be a re-read for me -- only this time, I'll be doing it in a different format.


On Kindle:


I've heard amazing things about Red Rising, and with Golden Son hitting shelves tomorrow,
I think this is the perfect opportunity to start the series! If I take on Graceling, it'll
be another re-read for me! It's a book I adore, so why not spend my week with another favorite?


On My Bookshelf:


I need to make time for Elizabeth Fama! Plus One is a book I've been dying to read, 
so I just NEED to make this happen already!


As you can clearly see, I'm craving books with plenty of fantastical elements in them!
Whether I get to read one or two or make a dent in all four, it'll be a great week of books.

Follow me on twitter for updates!


Are you participating in Bout of Books this time around? 
If so, what will you be reading? 

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Friday, January 2, 2015

The Gnarly Book Awards: Best of 2014 & Years Before



For me, the books I read in 2014 were a mixture of grand slams and disappointments.
Okay, okay, you caught me. I was happier more times than not!
And naturally, it's time to look back at ALL THE BOOKS that made my heart overflow with joy and love last year.
So, why not do this thing by handing out some awards, yo?
I promise you, these books deserve the honor!

So, welcome to The Gnarly Book Awards, where I personally highlight the best books I read in 2014,
no matter what the publication date says. This is where Epic Reads' Book Shimmy Awards
collides with Jamie's End of Year Book Survey.

So, sit back, relax, and enjoy!




LET'S GET REAL AWARD
(award for best contemporary novel)
This beautiful book about self-discovery resonated with me in a BIG way!
I was afraid. I doubted. I took a leap of faith. I laughed, cried, and swooned.
I saw myself in Allyson, our main character. She's just trying to find her place in the world, as am I.
Stories like these don't always speak to me, but this one left its mark.




SWEEP ME AWAY AWARD
(award for best fantasy novel)

(2014)


The Winner's Curse! It has everything a fantasy lover could ask for: lush world-building,
a brilliant cast of characters, and a slow-burn romance. Oh, this series has become an instant favorite.
Go forth and get swept away by its beauty!




THRILLS AND CHILLS AWARD
(award for best paranormal/horror novel)

(2014)


Hill's and Rodriguez's graphic novel series comes to a satisfying close with Alpha & Omega.
The imagination in this work astounds me! From the mythology, to its artwork, and THE HORROR,
this series packs it all! But it also has so much heart!




OUT OF THIS WORLD AWARD
(award for best dystopian/post-apocalyptic novel)

(2013)

Not a Drop to Drink by Mindy McGinnis:

I chose Not a Drop to Drink for this honor, because it leaves out politics and focuses on survival.
It's not only about surviving another day; it's about surviving it and being able to live
with yourself too. Does humanity have a place in a world that is barren and lost?
It's a quiet but thought-provoking story that left me thoroughly impressed!




WONDER BY WONDER AWARD
(award for best world-building in a novel)

(2013)


How is it even possible this series exists? Only Stiefvater's imagination can bring such a unique
paranormal/fantasy to life! I don't even know how to describe it without giving some of the mystery
away. The world is a multitude of layers; there are crazy, cool, and shocking surprises waiting
for you at every bend. Book two is where the world manifests into a terrifying and magical creature!
AND. IT. IS. AMAZING.




WORDS MATTER AWARD
(award for the most beautiful prose in a novel)

(2012)


Maggie Stiefvater is a master storyteller. Her words are a feast for the eyes.
If you've ever read her, you know I tell no lies.

She wasn't interested in telling other people's futures. 
She was interested in going out and finding her own.




BEAUTIFUL BEGINNINGS AWARD
(award for favorite series starter)
I had the BIGGEST BOOK HANGOVER after reading this. There's a land in political turmoil
and a heartbreaking love story within. This story destroys me, but it also makes me whole.
It's everything, people! EVERYTHING!




IN THE MIDDLE OF SUCCESS AWARD
(award for favorite sequel)

(2013)

The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater:

By now, it is no secret that I have fallen in love with The Raven Cycle.
And The Dream Thieves is held accountable. A quest. Rich mythology. Heartbreak. A vivid cast.
Also, Ronan. Always, Ronan. <3




CROSS THE FINISH LINE AWARD
(award for favorite series ender)

(2013)

This is the only series conclusion I gave a 5-star rating to last year and rightfully so!
"Elisa begins her journey as a naïve young girl lacking in confidence, but by the end, 
Elisa transforms into a [self-assured], mature, and balanced individual.... 
The world building is colorful, and the journey is both adventurous and action-driven. 
As a fantasy [series] in YA, this story is undeniably commanding." 
(This quote also appears in my review of The Girl of Fire and Thorns).




BEST INDIVIDUAL PERFORMANCE AWARD
(award for favorite standalone novel)

(2014)


Written in an easy and straightforward style, Joy N. Hensley’s debut about a girl fighting to earn her keep 
in an all-boys military academy is an effortless read. It’s also thoughtful and emotional. 
Sam’s relentless personality kept me turning pages. Though the plot is full of action, 
it was Sam McKenna who kept me reading. 




CHARACTER COUNTS AWARD
(an award for most memorable character)

(2014)

The Blue-Haired Boy by Courtney C. Stevens:

We need to slow-clap it out, people. The only novella I read in 2014 is being awarded!
Yes, it is THAT good! But to fully appreciate this novella, I'd recommend reading 
the novel that inspired its creation, Faking Normal first. Bodee Lennox is a gentle soul. 
He is quiet and thoughtful. But he's also just trying to survive. As victim of his father's
abuse, you wouldn't expect Bodee to be a strong character. But his courage and kind nature
make him a standout! To see how Bodee handles his situation is powerful and real.




OTP FEELS AWARD
(an award for my favorite couple or "one true pairing")

This was hands down, the most difficult award I had to give away. I did
so much swooning last year. I didn't know how I would make a final decision. 
In the end, I settled it with a tie:

Elisa and Hector of the Fire and Thorns trilogy 

&

Kestrel and Arin of The Winner's Trilogy 

My heart flutters every time I think about these pairings. 
I can't even.





THE WOLF-PACK AWARD
(an award for best in friendship)

(2014)


Cinder, Iko, Scarlet, Wolf, Thorne, Cress & Kai! Need I say more?
The relationships these characters have with each other is so fun and easy! Everyone is different
and complex, and their interactions are so full of life. I just love these characters!
Jacin and Winter will soon join the ranks in a much bigger way, and I can't wait to see how
the dynamics will change with two more members added to the group.
Winter is coming, folks!




COVER LOVE AWARD
(an award for my favorite book covers)

 
(2013, 2014)

JUST LOOK AT THE PRETTY! LOOK AT IT!




PASS THE TISSUES AWARD
(award for most emotional novel)

(2012)


Aristotle & Dante is a beautiful novel. It is quiet, delicate, and powerful. It is so special and so perfect.
To say the least, I was fully invested in this reading experience.
I cried tears of anger and tears of joy. I felt so much.
I just can't express what this story means to me. You'll just have to trust me.
READ THIS AND FOR HEAVEN'S SAKE, HAVE A BOX OF TISSUES AT THE READY!




THE HIDDEN TREASURE AWARD
(award for an unknown gem of a novel)

(2013)


Why aren't more people reading Stacey Jay? She's brilliant and underrated! 
"Of Beast and Beauty is tragic and romantic. It is compelling and lyrical. It is a novel firmly grounded 
in complex characters and a universe so rich, you’ll crave to see its beauty exist in front of
you. This fairy tale retelling of Beauty and the Beast offers a new and refreshing spin on the classic 
while remaining true to the magic of the original." (Full Review.)
Do yourself a favor and discover this gem for yourself!




THE LIFE-CHANGER AWARD
(award for most thought-provoking novel)


(2012)

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz:

I'll just leave you with this quote right here: "This story covers so much [ground]; 
it’s difficult to walk away from it unaffected...Sáenz’s simplistic but poetic prose 
will make it easy for you to fall into this story, but his grasp of people, their afflictions, 
and how they work to become better will resonate with you. 
After all, this is an authentic and heartfelt representation of life. " (Full Review.) 
In short, yes, this book lingers and will give you so much to think about.




THE STANDING OVATION AWARD
(an award for my favorite book of the year)

(2014)


Maggie Stiefvater, you continue to amaze me! The lore! The adventure! The mystery! The suspense!
The love between family and friends! THE ROMANCE! Everything about this series is tragic and wonderful. 
I just have to give it up to Maggie! She's given me so much to cheer for this year. 
Ahhh! Thank you for it all!




Well, that'll do it, folks! 

Do you agree with my selections? You can check out my year in reading via Goodreads. 
Let me know if there were any snubs or surprises at the awards! 
Is this something you'd like to see next year? 
Talk to me in the comments! :)


Marlene

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Top Ten New Series I Want To Start!


Top Ten Tuesday is a featured hosted by
The Broke and the Bookish.

This Week’s Topic: New Series I Want To Start


Oh, boy! Where do I even begin? I'm always a step behind where starting series are concerned. There are just too many out there! I strive to keep up with the ones readers are most excited about -- which means, I have to read the current stuff. But I'm not complaining! Some of the BEST material out there is new, fresh, and exciting! Still, I somehow manage to remain a straggler. On the one hand, I'll always have a story waiting for me to open, but on the other... umm... when will I be all caught up? Oh, that's right. Uhh, never. Ah, well. No use in stressing out about it. Instead, I'll use this list to help me focus on a few series I want to read soon-ish and then work my way down the ole TBR pile! Sounds like a good plan to me!

To make this list a little more organized, I've decided to break it down by genre:


Fantasy
  

Red Rising by Pierce Brown
The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon


The Burning Sky by Sherry Thomas



Dark/Urban Fantasy

 

Written in Red by Anne Bishop
Shadows by Paul Weston



Historical Fantasy

 

Of Metal and Wishes by Sarah Fine 
Sekret by Lindsay Smith 



Science Fiction:

 

Incarnate by Jodi Meadows
The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey



Dystopian


Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi



Okay, so I'd rather like having this problem, the "I HAVE TOO MUCH TO READ... FOR FUN" problem! 
It's a nice problem to have. Don't you agree? :)


Now, it's your turn. What are some of the new series you want to read?
I'm eager to know! 


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Monday, October 20, 2014

The TBR Tag!



SOOO, this was long overdue! I was tagged by Jen & April of The Starry-Eyed Revue about a month ago, and here I am, fulfilling my part in the tag much, much later. But you don't mind the delay, do you? ;) This tag was created by Rachel at A Perfection Called Books and Dana from Dana Square. I'll be answering a few questions about my TBR pile, and you'll see just how I manage it or uhh, try to. 

Let's do this!


How do you keep track of your TBR pile?

I rely on Goodreads to help me! I have several exclusive shelves on GR to help me stay somewhat organized. Here's a look at them:


I do my best to update my shelves. I'll remove books I'm no longer interested in and try to only add the ones I'm certain I'll read (at some point). Once 2015 rolls around, I might be getting rid of the "tbr-2014-releases" shelf. We'll see. For now, this system seems to be working for me. It's pretty manageable. 

Is your TBR mostly print or ebook?

Print. I don't own an e-reader, so I don't make many e-book purchases. Still, that hasn't kept me away from the one-click button on Amazon! I can't resist a good deal for a book I really want to read! I read e-books on my laptop and do the same for E-ARCs. 

According to my Goodreads shelves, I've made 24 e-book purchases, and as of now, I own 101 books in print.

How do you determine which book from your TBR to read next?

I'm a mood reader, and on top of that, I don't read as much as the next blogger. So, I'm very selective about what I pick up. If it isn't an ARC I have to read, and trust me, I don't make very many requests, I pick up a book I feel like reading. 

A book that's been on your TBR list the longest?

A classic:

 

For Whom the Bell Tolls has been on my TBR since April 10, 2012. After reading and enjoying A Farewell to Arms and The Garden of Eden in high school, I've been wanting to read more of his work ever since. I need to find out if his work is still for me, but I'm scared to find out it may not be.


A YA novel:


Marie Lu's Legend has been on my TBR since June 13, 2012. Since I bought the trilogy boxed set in December, I really have no excuse here. 
I need to take the plunge already!


A book that you recently added to your TBR pile?


I recently read The Raven Boys, and I've already started The Dream Thieves!
Blue Lily, Lily Blue comes out tomorrow, and I'm SO ready to catch up and agonize over the final installment with the rest of the world.
It's true what they say, this series is everything. 

A book on your TBR strictly because of its beautiful cover:


No one I trust has read or reviewed Earth Girl, so I have nothing to go on here. But with 88% of GR members liking it, there's a good chance I will too. So, I purchased it (like a year ago)! The cover is stunning, and the author is British, and that was all I needed to know. I hope I'm in for a treat when I get around to it. :)

A book on your TBR that you NEVER plan on actually reading:


This book is sitting on my "considering" shelf, but really, I don't see myself reading it. 
There are more pressing stories to get to, and I don't feel like investing my valuable time on something I'm feeling "meh" about.

An unpublished book on your TBR that you're excited for:


I can't stop thinking about The Winner's Curse
Kestrel and Arin, your story breaks me... but it also makes me whole. <3

A book on your TBR that basically everyone has read except you:


I have to be the last book blogger on earth who hasn't read this series yet, am I right?
I gotta get around to it, and the fall season is the best time to do it too!

A book on your TBR that everyone recommends to you:


I purchased Angelfall and World After in e-book format. Although I'm itching to get started on this series, I think it might be better to wait until the third installment releases. 
Binge-reading FTW!

A book on your TBR that you're dying to read:


THIS IS HAPPENING SOON!

I bought a signed and personalized copy, so you know this one is special to me!

The number of books on your Goodreads TBR shelf?

204 books altogether, but now that I've taken another glace at my shelves, I see I can downsize a little. Then again, there are books I haven't marked as to-read yet. I like to wait until books have their covers before I add them to my shelves. But either way, I think I'd stay within the 200+ range on this one!


This was fun! Thanks to Jen & April for tagging me!


I now tag:


Amanda @ Late Nights with Good Books
Cassi @ My Thoughts... Literally!
Keertana @ Ivy Book Bindings



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