Tuesday, January 27, 2015

My Top 15 Stand-Alone Books [Jan. 2015]

Hey, y'all! So back in July, I did a post where I discussed my 15 favorite stand-alone books (which you can check out HERE, and said that I would probably make it a bi-annual series. SOMEHOW, it's already January, and time for an updated top 15 list!



As I've said in the past, this list is not limited just to Stand-Alone novels. It really just includes any book that is not part of a series. I find that series tend to sometimes muddle my lists up, because you can only put Harry Potter on your favorites list a few times before it becomes repetitive. Very repetitive. Also, for the recurring books, I'm going to leave the same description, only tweaking when necessary. 


#15: 172 Hours on the Moon
by Johan Harstad

This was one of the books that I read for my October Horror Marathon (Full discussion here). It was a really interesting novel. I did think that the pacing was a bit off-- the beginning was very slow, and then once it hit the action, it seemed like everything happened way too quickly. However, I really enjoyed it other than that. It really kept me guessing as to what was going on, and that suspense kept me intrigued and I got through it really quickly because of that.


#14: Carrie
by Stephen King

I discussed this book in my book discussions post #1 (Click here to check that out).The story and characters were interesting, but the way it was written was the star of the show. The main plot of the book is intertwined with articles, book excerpts, interviews, etc. about the "incident." I absolutely loved that. It made the book significantly more interesting and added anticipation for the scene at prom. This book was a very pleasant surprise. And I still haven't seen either of the movies based on this book. I haven't heard many good things about the new one, but I do really want to see the old one.


#13: Gone Girl
by Gillian Flynn

This one is very interesting. Although I definitely enjoyed this book, I think that my feelings lean more toward appreciation than enjoyment. I thought that this book was really well-crafted and interesting. The book kept me guessing all the way up until Gillian Flynn actually told us what was going on. I probably won't be re-reading this book, because for me most of the enjoyment came from wondering what was about to happen, but I do think that it's a really well-done book.


#12: The Princess Bride
by William Goldman

Generally, I'm of the mindset that the book is always better than the movie, but in this case, I have to say that I like the movie better. I grew up with the movie, and didn't pick up the book until high school. That being said, I do still really enjoy the book. This is one of my books that I really feel like I need to re-read. Maybe I'll like it even more when I re-read it!


#11: The Perks of Being a Wallflower
by Stephen Chbosky

Given my love for young adult books, you might be surprised that it's not higher on my list. Although I really liked this book, I feel like I didn't love it as much as everyone else seemed to. Its strengths are the characters. All of the characters are really interesting, unique, and multi-faceted. It's also written really well and I really like the letter format. I guess that the reason it's not a little higher is because while I liked the plot, it wasn't amazing. That being said, it's obviously in my top 10 stand-alone books, so I do really enjoy the book. For this one, it's just the difference between like and love that keeps it in the lower half of my top 10.


#10: 1984
by George Orwell

I also discussed this book in my stand-alone book discussions post #1 (Click here to check that out). I absolutely love the concept behind the world in this book. This one and the book at #9 tend to go back and forth as to which one I prefer because they're both classic dystopians, so they're pretty interchangeable.While the entire world isn't quite as fleshed out as the book at #9 (because 1984 is a little more character-based and we only really see the world surrounding that one character), I think that the concept behind the world is amazing and terrifying. A world where you can't even think freely, let alone speak or write freely is just terrifying, and I can see how it terrified people who read it before 1984. And the ending is so great but so terrible at the same time.


#9: Brave New World
by Aldous Huxley

This book is a combination of several things that I really love. I love almost anything that came out of the first half of the 20th century- books, music, art, etc. I love it all. I'm also a big fan of dystopian novels. What I love about dystopians is learning about the world that the book is set in. That's my favorite part about Brave New World. The plot is kinda meh for me. But the world is incredible. And I love that a lot of the focus is upon the world, and the commentary that Huxley is making using this dystopian world. The plot and characters really take a backseat, and I really appreciate that. Like I said, Brave New World and 1984 are mostly tied, but I had to put one above the other, so I gave the higher spot to Brave New World this time since 1984 got it last time.


#8: The Fault In Our Stars
by John Green

We have officially gotten to the books that I love, love, love. From this point onward, all of these books are super special to me. Also, as you might notice, this is a signed copy. I came across it in Target and thought it was a joke. NOPE. I hate that I can't get the red cloud off (it's not a sticker- it's part of the jacket) but my desire for a signed copy won out. We all know all about this beautiful book. You're probably just surprised it's not #1 or #2. While I do really love this book, there are books that I love even more. You'll also notice that I don't have any other John Green books on this list. I've only read 2, and I did NOT like the other one. Anyway, this book is great and I sobbed all the way through it. Also, I read both this and The Perks of Being a Wallflower for the first time in the same day. Bad decision. All the feels.


#7: This Is Your Brain on Music
by Daniel Levitin

If I were to name the one book that has had the most impact on my actual life/future, I'd have to say this one. I read it my freshman year of college for a class called "The Psychology of Music." The class is still my favorite class that I've ever taken. Ever. (It helps that my advisor/music theory prof./favorite prof. ever was teaching it). I need to go back and re-read this because I procrastinated and had to read this book in a very short time period. Regardless, I absolutely loved it. Levitin likes to focus on the mind/thoughts and music rather than the neuroscience aspects, and I really agree. This entire book was just a wonderful look at psychology and music and I absolutely love it. 


#6: Fangirl
by Rainbow Rowell

I typically don't read a lot of contemporary novels, but this one really caught my attention because I knew that the main character was a quiet girl in her first year of college who writes fan-fiction. It just reminded me a lot of myself and so I was really excited to read it. And it definitely didn't disappoint. It was super cute, and I absolutely giggled my way through this book. And I really don't giggle very much while reading books. It was just too adorable. If you want, you can check out my full discussion on this book here.


#5: All-American Girl
by Meg Cabot

I'm honestly not sure how well-known this book is. For the longest time during my childhood, this was my favorite book. You can probably tell how many times I've read it just because of how beat up the book is. It was brand new when I got it. I haven't always been so nice to my books. Anyway, I remember getting this at a book fair. My memory says that it was in 4th grade, but it doesn't seem to fit timeline-wise, because I feel like I read it before that. Maybe I got it in 2nd or 3rd grade? I dunno. It took me a while before I actually read it, but once I did, I fell in love. I recognize now that it's not actually an amazing book, but I've read it so many times and loved it for so long that I just can't help but continue to love it. This book is a heavier dose of nostalgia than even Harry Potter, because I read it before I read Harry Potter. And yes, this book technically has a sequel, but it's terrible and I pretend it doesn't exist.


#4: Unsaid Things... Our Story
by McFly

This may be obvious since it's at my #4 spot, but I. LOVE. THIS. BOOK. I've mentioned this several times on here, but McFly is my favorite band. And I don't mean it in a way where I'm just a casual fan and I just like their music. I love all four of these guys and I absolutely love reading the story of the band from their POV. I'll be the first one to say that this book isn't for everyone. This isn't one of those deep autobiographies that can be enjoyed even if you don't know much about the person. It's not an incredibly written piece of literature. It's for the fans. It gives fans an inside look into the entire history of the band. For me, it's the emotional connection I have to the band that causes me to love this book so much. I laughed, I cried, and I laughed some more. It's great. 


So, we're now getting down to the nitty-gritty. These top 3 are super special.


#3: Ready Player One
by Ernest Cline

I was just absolutely blown away by this book. I loved everything about it. I absolutely love dystopian novels, 80s culture, video games, and virtual reality. I loved how all of those elements combined, added with the adventure of the tasks and gates. Overall, I just cannot say enough good things about this book. After I read it, I was so obsessed with it that I wanted to read something else that was really similar to it, and since this is such a unique book, there wasn't really anything that was like this, so I went into a little bit of a reading slump. This book is just really wonderful and I've wanted to re-read it since the second that I finished it.


#2: Thirteen Reason Why
by Jay Asher

I remember seeing this book in Barnes & Noble right after it was released in 2009 and thinking that it was a really cool concept. But I hadn't ever heard of it, and didn't want to pay full-price for a brand-new hardcover. Fast-forward about a year, when I found it for $7 at Half-Price Books. I recognized it and remembered how awesome the concept had sounded, so I decided to get it. One of the best decisions I've ever made. Like I said, I thought this concept was really interesting, and I think it was really well executed (unlike Jay Asher's other book, The Future of Us). This book is just so emotional, and I love the back and forth between Hannah's story and Clay's story. Overall, it's just an amazing, tear-jerking book. I love it. So much.


#1: And Then There Were None
by Agatha Christie

I don't even know what all to say about this book. It's just... so perfect. There's a reason that this is the best-selling mystery book ever. This is the most intricately and brilliantly concocted mystery... ever. When I got to the final reveal, I was awe-struck and amazed. I've read this book countless times, and even though I know what happens I still love it every time. I don't know what else to say... it's incredibly written, an incredibly clever mystery, and just an amazing book. I love it so much.



Books That Will Hopefully Make My Next List!

Just like last time, I decided to give y'all a little glimpse at the stand-alones I hope to read before my next post. The following books are the stand-alones that I have up highest on my TBR. My last list didn't turn out so well (Read 2 and only 1 ended up on the list-- Ready Player One) so hopefully I do better this time. And even though I've dubbed this year the year of the series, there are definitely still stand-alones that I want to read.


The Book Thief
by Marcus Zusak

This was on my list last time as well, and I didn't get to it. I'm not totally sure that I'm going to get to it this time, but I definitely still plan to read it.


Vicious
by V.E. Schwab

This was on my list last time and even though I started it, I only got a few pages in. I plan to hopefully actually read it this time. Crossing my fingers!


The Hobbit
by J.R.R. Tolkien

I just really need to read this. It's time.


The Body Electric
by Beth Revis

I really loved her Across The Universe trilogy, and this has a really interesting premise, so I hope to get to it really soon.


Afterworlds
by Scott Westerfeld

This book is really intriguing to me. I love the book within a book idea, especially since one book is about an author trying to get her book published, and the other is the book that she wrote. I think it sounds really awesome, especially since her book is a fantasy. So excite.



So, there you go, those were my top 15 stand-alones, and the stand-alones that I hope make the list next time around! Have you read these books? How do you feel about them? What books are your favorite stand-alones?
Check out my links below!


Thanks for reading! If you like my posts, I'd really appreciate if you'd subscribe/follow so that I know you're enjoying what I'm posting! See y'all soon!

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Super-Late Update!

Hey, y'all! So I haven't really done an update in a long time, and I felt like it was time for one since there are probably going to be some schedule changes as far as when posts will go up. I'm also planning to change around what series are posted and when.

First-off, I figured I should discuss something I've been adding to the end of my posts lately-- for the last couple months, I've been making YouTube videos! My YouTube channel is almost solely about books (surprise, surprise). If you'd like to check it out, you can do so here: My Youtube Channel

I'm planning to suspend a couple series that have been regulars on my blog. The first is my One Day Tumblr Challenges. This one is being suspended for the simple reason that I've run out of Tumblr Challenges that actually interested me. If you look back, it's probably been 5-6 months since a challenge that I did was actually a Tumblr challenge. I've tried finding new ones that looked interesting, but I just haven't been able to find any. If I happen to come across another one that I really want to do, I will definitely do it. However, these will no longer be regularly scheduled posts on my blog.

The second series that I plan to bring to suspend is my Secret Lightning Scar Fan-Fiction. I started re-working this fan-fiction at the beginning of last year because I hadn't written in a while and wanted to get back into it by forcing myself to write every other week. The plan was to work on it throughout the two-week period so that it would be well-written and how I really wanted it. However, I just ended up writing it the night before it was posted and it completely destroyed my Friday nights (not like I had anything actually exciting going on, but I had to bail on dinner out with friends a couple times). I'm not happy with the way several of the chapters turned out, even though it did flesh the story out a little. Anyway, it did get me back into writing, so it did its job. It's a pain to write and post, and it's not an incredibly popular series on my blog. So plain and simple, I'm not going to be writing any more. If there's a high demand for more, I might possibly write more. But other than that, it's finished.

What is becoming a regular series, however, are my book posts. Which probably isn't a surprise, because that's what most of my posts have been about as of late. However, they've been kinda over-running my blog, and I realize that. So I plan on making it a regularly scheduled series, once a week.

 Speaking of schedules, I have created a tentative schedule:

Blog schedule:
1st/3rd Tuesday of the month-- CDs On My Shelf post
1st/3rd Thursday of the month-- Random post
2nd/4th Tuesday of the month-- Book post
2nd/4th Thursday of the month-- Random post
Every Saturday-- Project Runway designer rankings post

YouTube schedule:
Sunday or Monday-- Random video. Day of the week depends on whether or not I'm doing T5W that week.
Wednesday or Thursday-- Top 5 Wednesday video. Random video on Thursday if I don't do a Top 5 Wednesday.

I really like this schedule right now, and so I hope to keep to it going forward.

So, that's all I really had for today's post! Check out my links below!


Thanks for reading! If you like my posts, I'd really appreciate if you'd subscribe/follow so that I know you're enjoying what I'm posting! See y'all soon!

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Series I Want To Start in 2015!

Hey, y'all! So, I've started participating in Top 5 Wednesday on YouTube, which is basically a group of BookTubers who make videos each Wednesday listing their top 5 of whatever that week's topic is. This week's topic was "Top 5 series you want to start this year." As someone who really loves series, I got really excited about this topic. So I went to my Goodreads and found myself so completely swamped with series that I created a new shelf called Series To Start. I added the first book in each series that I have on my TBR shelf to this new shelf and was shocked to find that there were a whopping 52 SERIES on my TBR shelf. WHOA. Now, that doesn't mean that I own 52 unread series. Far from it. It just means that there are 52 series to which I have shown varying degrees of interest toward reading.

Because of this vast number of series that I want to read, and due to the fact that I want to read a lot of series this year and am dubbing it The Year of Series, I decided that just talking about 5 series isn't enough. And so, I came up with a list of the series that I'm most looking forward to reading. That doesn't necessarily mean that I'll get to every single one of these this year, but rather that right now, these are the ones I'm really excited about. And rather than ranking them, I just listed them in alphabetical order. Because that's a lot easier.


The Ascendance Trilogy
by Jennifer A Nielsen

I watched a video where a Booktuber talked about this trilogy, and since we don't typically have super-similar taste in books, I didn't really give it a second thought. However, about a month later, I watched the video that Jamie and Jeff from Ermahgerd Berks did, listing their top 14 books of 2014, and Jeff raved about this trilogy. Apparently, the first book has the best twist ever. Anyway, Jeff and I tend to like the same types of books, so that really pushed me to want to read this. I'm so excited about this trilogy that I've bumped it up to like next on my TBR... after The Mime Order, of course.



The Chaos Walking Trilogy
by Patrick Ness

I meant to read this trilogy before the end of 2014, but it didn't happen. I actually started The Knife of Never Letting Go while travelling back to school after Thanksgiving. I got almost halfway through! But then I got to school and got swamped with finals and by the end of it, I knew I wouldn't remember everything that had happened, and so I decided to start over the next time I picked it up and that decision caused me to push it back just a bit. I did, however, really enjoy what I read of the first book. It took a little while to get into it. I'm a huge grammar nazi, and Patrick Ness's writing in this trilogy is really unique and includes misspelling words and it frustrated me to no end at first. But once I got into a groove, it almost didn't bother me. I definitely intend to pick this up relatively soon.


The Checquy Files
by Daniel O'Malley

Once again, The Rook was on my list of books to read before the end of 2014, but that unfortunately didn't happen. Since the second book comes out at the end of June, I might just hold off on reading The Rook until Stiletto comes out... but I'm not sure I'm patient enough for that. From what I understand, this is an adult fantasy dystopian in which our main character, Myfanwy has supernatural powers and is part of a secret organization that battles supernatural forces in Britain. And apparently the book begins with her waking up and having no memory whatsoever of her life before that point. That just sounds absolutely fantastic.

Codex Alera
by Jim Butcher

Regan (PeruseProject) is one of my favorite BookTubers because we have a pretty similar taste in books. And she absolutely raves about this series. This is her favorite series aside from Harry Potter... though I'm not totally sure that she doesn't like this one better than Harry Potter. Either way, I've heard her say good things about this enough times that I just feel like it's time. I need to start this series soon. 

The Dark Artifices
by Cassandra Clare

As I've said many times, I absolutely love Cassandra Clare's books. I love The Mortal Instruments, and I love the Infernal Devices. Both of them are just so great. Cassie creates such great, interesting characters, and her Shadowhunter world is just such a fun world to read about. Even though I'm a little more excited about her other upcoming series, The Last Hours (which is set about 20 years after The Infernal Devices trilogy), I'm still really ready to get back into the Shadowhunter world and see what Cassie has in store next!


A Darker Shade of Magic
by V.E. Schwab

This is another new series that is being released this year, and I'm really excited to get into it because it just sounds so interesting. It's a fantasy with parallel Londons and a character who is a traveler and can go between these parallel Londons. Overall, this just sounds like a super interesting new series, and I cannot wait until the first book comes out in February.

Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy Series
by Douglas Adams

I'm not sure if I plan on reading the entire series, but I have heard that the sense of humor that this book has is very similar to my own sense of humor, so I feel the need to read at least the first one.


The Kingkiller Chronicle
by Patrick Rothfuss

I've actually already started this series. I'm not super far into the first book, but I can already tell that the writing is amazing. My plan is to read both of these this month. I should also probably pick up the novella at some point, but that's definitely not my first priority. I'm really excited to finally get to these.

The Lord of the Rings
by J.R.R. Tolkien

Honestly, at this point I'm just embarrassed that I haven't read this trilogy already. I just need to read it already. 

The Lunar Chronicles
by Marissa Meyer

This series has been on my TBR since I first started watching BookTube and got on Goodreads. It seems like something I'll really enjoy, and I've been slowly collecting these over the past year. I've pre-ordered the paperback copy of Cress, and I'll get it on January 27th, so once I've finished The Mime Order and the Ascendance Trilogy, I have a feeling that these will be the first books that I jump into. They just look so good. 

Pathfinder Series
by Orson Scott Card

I've heard great things about this series from BookTubers who share my taste in books and generally have the same opinions on books as I do. It sounds really cool, with some really interesting paranormal abilities involved. 

A Song of Ice and Fire
by George R.R. Martin

This is another one that I just need to get on. I'm so late to the game on this. It's exactly my type of book, and I really want to watch the TV show as well. I just need to read these. For real. 

Throne of Glass Series
by Sarah J. Maas

Once again, I've heard nothing but great things from BookTubers who share the same taste in books as me, and it just sounds so great. The main character seems like such an awesome, strong female lead and I definitely love seeing that in books. Plus, she's an assassin and it's a fantasy. Yes, please!



So, those are the series I want to start in 2015! I'm not sure I'll be able to finish all of these by the end of the year, but since a handful only have 1 or 2 books out, I'm hoping to be able to get through most of these before the end of the year! What series are you most looking forward to starting in 2015? Let me know down in the comments!

I've started doing Booktube a little as well, so if you want to check that out, you can click HEREI plan to post most of my videos to my blog, but just in case I miss one or decide not to post it on here, that will keep you up-to date. 

I've also created a Facebook page for my blog, so if you want to check that out and like it, you can click HERE. I'll try to keep that pretty up-to-date with new posts and such.

Thanks for reading! If you like my posts, I'd really appreciate if you'd subscribe/follow so that I know you're enjoying what I'm posting! See y'all soon!

Monday, January 12, 2015

The Hunger Games Trilogy [Discussion]

Hey, y'all! So, I finally jumped on the Hunger Games bandwagon, and as I like to do with any series once I finish it, I decided to do a discussion post on the series as a whole. But first, allow me to explain why it took so long for me to start the trilogy in the first place.

One of my non-reader friends recommended it to me back in like 2009. But since he wasn't really a big reader and had no idea what type of books I liked (besides Harry Potter), I basically ignored his suggestion because I assumed that he didn't really know what he was talking about. Good job, Kristen. Anyway, then it started getting a crap ton of hype, and being the hipster that I am (not), I avoided it like the plague. And then, by the time that it had died down a little, I started hearing not-so-great things about Mockingjay, and got spoiled for the love triangle, as well as the fate of an important character. So I thought, "why bother reading it at this point?" and ended up watching the movie for The Hunger Games without reading the book. Not my proudest moment. Anyway, I found it on TV again recently, and it sparked my interest to finally read the trilogy. And let's be honest, at this point it's just kinda embarrassing to not have read it. So I did. Let's talk about them, shall we?

For each book, I'll do a bit of a non-spoilery discussion (for the people like me who are SUPER late to the party), give my rating, and then talk about some spoilers. At the very end, I'm going to briefly talk about my feelings about the series as a whole, without any spoilers.


The Hunger Games

I cannot stress enough how much I regret the fact that I watched the movie before reading the book. It's one of the few times I've ever done that, and I never want to do it again. I think that if I'd read this book without knowing anything about what happened, I'd be sitting here giving it a full 10 out of 10 stars. But alas, I knew almost everything that was coming, so I anticipated most of the twists. And believe me, this book has plenty of twists. I think that the world Suzanne Collins created is really interesting and clever. The Hunger Games (the book, as well as the actual games) is/are so fast-paced and exciting. I quickly connected with Katniss because I felt like I connected with her more than I've connected with most other YA main characters. 

My favorite characters by far in this are Cinna and Haymitch. I love Katniss as well, but Cinna and Haymitch just take the cake. Cinna is absolutely brilliant, and when he says he's betting on the girl on fire, I melt. And if you took away the alcohol, Haymitch is just the male version of me. I love him. He's just so snarky and sarcastic. 

I ended up giving The Hunger Games 9.8 stars out of 10. I think that if I'd just gone into this blind, it would have been 10/10.


I think one of my favorite parts of The Hunger Games is the relationship between Katniss and Haymitch. They understand each other in such a unique way, and I loved that. I also really loved all of the political trickery that they came up with in the end. It sets up Catching Fire so beautifully. 

The one thing that I had totally forgotten about (or maybe they had changed it in the movie, I'm not sure. It's been a couple years since I've seen the end of the movie) was the way that they narrowed the final 3 down to the final 2. I just couldn't remember how Cato died. And so the mutants were a real surprise. 

At the end of this book, I remain firmly Team Gale. (I won't let you know yet where I stand now, but you'll learn more of that below.) I like Peeta, but I think he's a bit... slow. Gale and Katniss are so similar, and he can keep up with her and challenge her. Peeta is nice and all, but he just seems too simple for Katniss. Plus, I have a habit of falling for guy friends, so I like it when a book character does too. 



Catching Fire

Don't read any further if you haven't read The Hunger Games! I have to talk about events of The Hunger Games to discuss Catching Fire.

There were elements of this book that I liked better than The Hunger Games, and elements that I didn't like quite as much as The Hunger Games. The one part that I really enjoyed was the continuation of the political trickery. It just continues to get better and better, and I just couldn't get enough of it. The second half of the book was what I didn't love quite as much as the first book. It wasn't that I disliked it-- in fact, I really enjoyed it! But it just didn't quite live up to the bar that the first book set. 

Also, on top of the characters that I already loved, I just fell in love with Finnick. Whatta cutie. 

I gave Catching Fire 9.25 stars out of 10. I still really enjoyed it, but the second half made me like it just a touch less than The Hunger Games.


Getting more specific, when I said that the second half didn't live up to the standard that The Hunger Games set, I was speaking specifically about the Quarter Quell. I definitely thought that the 74th Hunger Games was more fast-paced and exciting than the Quarter Quell. I did think that the Quarter Quell was very cleverly crafted with the clock, and I thought that was really cool. But I just didn't think it was as exciting as the games from the first book.

The thing that I did really love was all of the stuff that Katniss had to do to keep herself from getting killed by President Snow. Even though I absolutely hate politics in real life, I always love reading about all of the crazy politics in dystopian novels. And this is possibly one of the best examples of crazy politics that I've seen in a dystopian book.

At the end of Catching Fire, I'm still team Gale, even though my resolve has been slightly shaken due to the fact that he seems to feel like he deserved Katniss. Peeta was at least upset that Katniss didn't love him because he had been under the impression that she did love him, and he was hurt. But Gale just felt like because he knew Katniss and was friends with her that he deserved to be with her. And that makes me upset.



Mockingjay

Don't read any further if you haven't read the previous books! I have to talk about events of the previous books to discuss Mockingjay.

I've found with trilogies that the third book can often take the trilogy in a very different direction from the first two books. Mockingjay had a very different tone and direction from the first two books, and it took a little while to actually adjust to that. And I didn't like it quite as much as the first two. 

That's not to say that I disliked this book, however. I actually really enjoyed it once I got past that initial change in tone and direction. I thought that there were several really clever aspects to the plot, and really liked how the line between right and wrong was a bit blurred.

Overall, I thought that the majority of the book was good. Not amazing, but good. I did, however, think that the end was really great. Not only was it the ending that made the most sense, but I also just really liked it.

I gave Mockingjay 8.5 stars out of 10. 


Honestly, to me, the best part of the book was when Katniss put an arrow through President Coin. I hated her almost more than I hated President Snow. Honestly, I hated the government of District 13 just as much as I hated the government in the Capitol. It was just such a huge shift from the Hunger Games and the strategic politics to life in District 13, the propos/acting, and the full-out rebellion. 

I was so insanely upset when Finnick died. I felt like his death was just kind of brushed over, even though he'd been a fairly important character and had helped Katniss through tough times. He deserved much more than the two sentence death scene that he received. 

The whole sub-plot of Peeta being brainwashed into thinking that Katniss was the enemy was really interesting and unexpected. I already knew that he and Katniss were going to end up together, so I was really curious as to how Suzanne Collins was going to resolve that. And I was really happy with the way that everything ended, even though it did include her and Gale not ending up together. After everything they went through, it just wouldn't seem right for Katniss to end up with anyone but Peeta. 



Series as a Whole

I definitely think that The Hunger Games is one of those trilogies that starts really strongly and goes downhill. HOWEVER, I don't think that it has as steep of a downhill slope as most other YA trilogies. I mean, obviously, I gave my least favorite book in the trilogy 8.5/10 stars, so it's not like I thought that any of the books were bad or disliked any of the books. That's very different from the Divergent trilogy, where I gave 10 stars to the first book, and dropped to an 8 & 7 for the last two. And the further removed I get from the series, the more I want to drop that 7 to a 6 or 5. While this trilogy wasn't quite as consistent as the Across The Universe trilogy, I did think that it was one of the most consistent trilogies that I've read. 

I'm not going to say where this ranks among my favorite series/trilogies, because I'm planning on making a post listing my favorite series (since I already have posts about my favorite stand-alone books). But be on the look-out for that post sometime soon... although it might not be until March. We'll see. 


So, that's it for my discussion on The Hunger Games Trilogy! What are your feelings on these books? Love them? Hate them? Haven't read them? Let me know down in the comments!

I've started doing Booktube a little as well, so if you want to check that out, you can click HEREI plan to post most of my videos to my blog, but just in case I miss one or decide not to post it on here, that will keep you up-to date. 

I've also created a Facebook page for my blog, so if you want to check that out and like it, you can click HERE. I'll try to keep that pretty up-to-date with new posts and such.

Thanks for reading! If you like my posts, I'd really appreciate if you'd subscribe/follow so that I know you're enjoying what I'm posting! See y'all soon!

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Most Anticipated Books of 2015!

Hey, y'all! So I originally was not going to do a post about my most anticipated books of 2015 because I didn't think I had enough to post about, but upon further investigation and after watching a couple "most anticipated books of 2015" videos, I remembered some books that I'd previously forgotten were being released. I also found out about a few books that I'm now incredibly excited about.

I'm going to be talking about these in chronological order by when they're going to be released. A couple don't have official release dates yet, but I have a general idea of what time of the year they're going to be released, so I'll just put them wherever I think they belong.


The Mime Order
by Samantha Shannon

Release Date: January 27th, 2015

The first book on this list is also my most anticipated book of the year. I want this book in my hands like right now. The Mime Order is the sequel to The Bone Season, and is the continuation of The Bone Season series, which is supposed to be 7 books long. I read The Bone Season at the end of November, and I fell completely in love with the world and characters. I can't wait to see what happens next, because I was a bit worried about how it ended.


Playlist for the Dead
by Michelle Falkoff

Release Date: January 27th, 2015

First of all, can we just look at this cover?! So gorgeous. Anyway, I'd actually forgotten about this one and saw a Booktuber talking about it and had to go ahead and add it on this list. The premise of this book reminds me a lot of 13 Reasons Why by Jay Asher, which is one of my all-time favorite books. Basically, the book centers around the suicide of the main character's best friend and a playlist that the best friend left, with the note "listen and you'll understand." Part of me feels like this is going to be a not-as-good 13 Reasons Why, but I'm still intrigued and want to pick it up.


A Darker Shade of Magic
by V.E. Schwab

Release Date: February 24th, 2015

First of all, can we just talk about how absolutely gorgeous this cover is? I just sat frozen, staring at it, the first time that I saw it. So prettay! Anyway, this book just sounds amazing. Parallel Londons, magicians, and worlds that sound like they have a dystopian feel? Sign. Me. Up. This book sounds absolutely incredible. 


Instinct
by Sherrilyn Kenyon

Release Date: March 31st, 2015

If I were to rank these books by my excitement, this one would probably be lower on the list, simply because I haven't read anything from the series yet. I've been collecting the books and obviously plan to read them at some point, but since I haven't read the other books, my excitement for this book is currently at "oh cool, new book!" and not "I MUST HAVE THIS BOOK NOW." That aside, this series does sound really interesting. It's pretty underrated, but anytime I see someone talking about it, they liked it. Plus, Sherrilyn Kenyon is one of the biggest fantasy writers right now. She knows how to write fantasy.


Stiletto
by Daniel O'Malley

Release Date: June 30th, 2015

This is the second book in The Checquy Files, and the sequel to The Rook. I'm really excited for this book, even though I haven't read The Rook yet. It's one of the first books I plan to read in 2015, so hopefully I get to that soon and can get really excited about this book. The series sounds really interesting, and right up my alley. So I'm really looking forward to getting into these books.



Lair of Dreams
by Libba Bray

Release Date: April 14th, 2015 July 7th, 2015

This one's pretty high on my excitement meter. I absolutely loved the first book in this series (trilogy? IDK) and I cannot wait to read this one. Especially since it's even longer than the first one. Yay, big books! Anyway, I wasn't super excited about how the romance left off at the end of the first book, so I hope that it gets fixed in this book. Also, up until recently, the release date was in April, and now it's been pushed back until July. I am not happy.


Armada
by Ernest Cline

Release Date: July 28th, 2015

Once again, I love this cover! It makes me think of book covers from back in the 70s/80s. Anyway, I absolutely loved Ernest Cline's first novel, Ready Player One, and it sounds like this one is going to have the same vibe. Sci-Fi, video games, dystopian worlds, what more could I ask for? So excited!


The Rest of Us Just Live Here
by Patrick Ness

(No Cover Yet)

Release Date: August 28th, 2015

Patrick Ness seems like such a unique writer. He has a really interesting writing style, and he seems to come up with so many incredibly interesting concepts. In The Rest of us Just Live Here, the main character is just a normal person who lives in a world with crazy paranormal creatures. But he/she (I haven't seen anything saying one way or the other) isn't one of the people fighting these creatures, but rather just a normal person who knows people who fight the creatures. That just sounds really unique and cool.


Lady Midnight
by Cassandra Clare

(No Cover Yet)

Release Date: September, 2015

I love Cassandra Clare. I love the Shadowhunter world. I really wish that she would release The Last Hours first because the characters seem more interesting to me, but I'll read absolutely anything that she releases that's in the Shadowhunter world. 



Untitled (Ms. Peregrine's Peculiar Children #3)
by Ransom Riggs

(No Cover Yet)

Release Date: September, 2015

Originally, this wasn't on my list because Goodreads said it wouldn't be released until 2016. But I checked back the other day and it said September 2015! Yay! I'm not sure if this will be the conclusion of a trilogy or the continuation of a series, because Ransom Riggs hasn't exactly made that clear, but whichever it is, I've enjoyed the series so far and can't wait to see what happens next!


Carry On
by Rainbow Rowell

(No Cover Yet)

Release Date: October 6th, 2015

When I heard that Rainbow Rowell was releasing this as its own book, I got so excited. I'm assuming that since it's actually titled Carry On, it will be Cath's fan-fiction, but I've also heard people saying that they thought it was going to be a "canon" Simon Snow novel. I'm just going to stick with the "Legit Carry On" theory, and hope that's what it is, because I would absolutely love to read that. So excite!


Winter
by Marissa Meyer

(No Cover Yet)

Release Date: November 24th, 2015

I haven't read The Lunar Chronicles yet, but it sounds like something I would absolutely love, and it's really high up on my TBR. I'm definitely going to be finished with the first three by the time this comes out, and maybe even with Fairest, the prequel. I'm just beyond ready to get into this series.


Passenger
by Alexandra Bracken

(No Cover Yet)

Release Date: 2015 (probably late fall)

This is the first book in a new duology about a teenage girl who accidentally discovers that she can time travel and goes on a treasure hunt across continents and time. And that just sounds really epic.



So, those are my most anticipated books of 2015! What books are you looking forward to in 2015?! Let me know down in the comments!

I've started doing Booktube a little as well, so if you want to check that out, you can click HEREI plan to post most of my videos to my blog, but just in case I miss one or decide not to post it on here, that will keep you up-to date. 

I've also created a Facebook page for my blog, so if you want to check that out and like it, you can click HERE. I'll try to keep that pretty up-to-date with new posts and such.

Thanks for reading! If you like my posts, I'd really appreciate if you'd subscribe/follow so that I know you're enjoying what I'm posting! See y'all soon!

Monday, January 5, 2015

A Few of My Favorite Things

Hey, y'all! So obviously, as a blogger, I blog because I enjoy it, but I also blog for the readers. What would be the point of me sharing my book hauls or challenges, if it was just for myself?

This post, however, is a little different. I'm a big list-maker, and I like making my top 10 favorites of different categories. And I realized I hadn't re-done my lists in a while, so I thought I should go ahead and do that now that we've reached the beginning of a new year. This, unlike most of my posts, is mostly for myself-- I want to keep up with how my favorites change from year-to-year, and posting it on here seemed to be the easiest way. I hope y'all enjoy this or find it interesting, but the main purpose for me is to keep track of how my favorites change over the years. 



Top 10 Bands/Musicians

#10: Busted

Busted has been broken up since 2005 (not including the recent creation of McBusted, the super-band consisting of Busted- minus Charlie Simpson- and McFly.). However, I still absolutely love their music. It's fun, clever, and cheeky, and I really enjoy it. 


#9: Sleeping With Sirens

I discovered Sleeping With Sirens in my freshman year of college, and I've been hooked ever since. Kellin Quinn's voice is just super unique, and it gives their music a really interesting sound. 


#8: Parachute

These guys used to be higher up on my list... like #3. Unfortunately, their 3rd album happened, and they wound up here. Their first CD is one of my all-time favorites (as you'll see later on this post), and their second CD was really great too. And then their third album went a bit too pop and I didn't like it much. I'm holding out hope that they'll have a better fourth CD, but until then, they get to chill at #8 and think about what they've done.


#7: Paramore

Paramore was the first alternative band that I listened to, and they've been a consistent favorite. For a little while, they were my all-time favorite. They fell a bit during the 4.5 year span between their 3rd and 4th albums, but since their self-titled CD came out last year, they've moved right back up. They're consistently great!


#6: The Academy Is...

For a really long time, The Academy Is... was my favorite band. I loved their podcast that they did (TAITV!), I loved all of the members, and I obviously loved their music. Their 3rd CD was slightly disappointing, but nowhere near as disappointing as when they announced their breakup in 2011. I'm still sad about that. 


#5: The Audition

I miss these guys. They're not broken up, but they haven't done anything in a while. There was something they posted this summer hinting at a new album, but I haven't heard anything else about that since then. The Audition is a fairly unknown band, but they're really great. Danny Stevens is a powerhouse vocalist and all of their CDs are really great. I really hope that new album happens, because I need more of The Audition in my life. 


#4: Marianas Trench

Marianas Trench is the most recent addition to this list. I've been listening to them casually for over a year, but I didn't really get into them until a few months ago. And I'm completely in love. Their last two albums have been concept albums, and they're super cool. Their music is really unique and actually really complex and layered. I can't wait to hear what they come up with next, because I'm sure it'll be amazing. 


#3: Pentatonix

These five are possibly the most talented musicians around right now. Each of them is so incredibly talented, from Avi's intense bass, to Kevin's beatboxing, to Mitch's 5 octave range. These five create the perfect combination of talent and vocal parts. They make amazing arrangements, and they just keep gaining momentum. They're perfection.

#2: All Time Low

These four... I love them. They were one of the first alternative bands that I discovered, and they've stuck around as a favorite ever since. They're just so consistently good. OK, Dirty Work wasn't amazing, but I won't hold that against them, because they released Don't Panic the next year. These four are just too great, and I'll be a fan 5EVER.


#1: McFly

These four are just perfect. I love my boys. Galaxy Defenders stay forever! They've made so much amazing music. I don't even know what all to say about them. I love them 5EVER and 5EVER. Perf.



Top 10 CDs

#10: The Black Parade by My Chemical Romance

I'm a big fan of concept albums, and this one is really great. Although there are a couple songs I'm not a huge fan of, the majority of them are really great, and overall it's just a really great and unique album.


#9: Hold on Tight by Hey Monday

Hey Monday's one and only full-length CD is most of the reason that I count it as one of my favorite bands-- they just barely missed out on my top 10. There are so many really great songs on this CD, and I just love Cassadee Pope's voice. I really wish the band had stayed together, because this is a really solid debut.


#8: Controversy Loves Company by The Audition

Another outstanding debut album! The Audition is another band with consistently good music, but this is the first and best of their CDs. Even my least favorite song on this CD is one of their better songs. This is just a really solid album, and I absolutely love it. 


#7: Almost Here by The Academy Is...

Oh, look! Another awesome debut! There are a couple songs I don't love on here, but I still really enjoy them and love the CD overall. Some of The Academy Is..'s strongest songs are on this CD, and it's especially impressive because this CD was released when most of the band were under 20. 


#6: American Idiot by Green Day

This one is kinda a given, right? It's a concept album, which is obviously a plus for me. It has some amazing songs on it, especially the full 10 minute long songs like Jesus of Suburbia. It has some of the strongest Green Day songs, and I could listen to it over and over and over and over. There's a reason why it's their most well-known album. 


#5: Ever After by Marianas Trench

Hey, look! Another concept album! This CD is based around a fantasy story that Josh Ramsay wrote. It's one long seamless song, divided into several tracks. And it's fantastic. Just like with their first concept album, Masterpiece Theatre, the last song is a mashup that samples all of the previous songs on the album, and it's amazing. This CD is just too great. 


#4: Losing Sleep by Parachute

Guess what? Another amazing debut! I love every single song on this CD. I used to fall asleep to this CD most nights (ironic, since it's called losing sleep) because it's just so chill. Parachute's whole vibe is just really awesome, and this CD is just the epitome of their vibe. It's so great.


#3: PTX, Vol. III by Pentatonix

This is the newest release on this list, as it was released only back in October. There are only 7 songs on this CD (technically EP, but whatever), but it's perfection. It's flawless. All of the songs are amazing, and there have been several times where I just listened to this EP over and over and over in one sitting and didn't get sick of it at all. Some of the songs on the EP are already among my top 25 most played. It's that good.


#2: Don't Panic by All Time Low

When this CD came out back in 2012, I don't think I stopped listening to it on repeat until halfway through 2013. This is one of the only albums I've ever listened to where I had to struggle to find a weak point. I'm usually really good at ranking songs from favorite to least favorite, but I found that impossible with this CD. It'll be a long-time fave for sure.


#1: Radio:ACTIVE by McFly

And, of course, my all-time favorite CD is by my all-time favorite band. This CD... it's just perfection. I've listened to it on repeat SO. MANY. TIMES. since its release in 2008, and I'm nowhere near tired of it. My list of favorite McFly songs is absolutely dominated by this CD. Up until I reset my iTunes, every single song on this CD was in my top 25 most played. That's 13/25. I love this CD. 



Top 10 Movies

#10: The Ring

I absolutely love The Ring, because not only does it shell out real scares and thrills, but it also has really amazing twists and turns and an incredible plot.


#9: The Truman Show

This is just such an awesome concept for a movie and Jim Carrey is just amazing in it. It's done so incredibly well and I just absolutely love it.


#8: Sweeney Todd

My favorite actor plays the lead role, it's set in London, it's a musical (with amazing music), it's got blood, guts, and horror, and almost half of the Harry Potter cast is in it. Need I say any more?


#7: Sydney White

Oh, Amanda Bynes, you were so amazing before you went crazy. It's so great and so hilarious, and I've loved it since the first time that I saw it.


#6: She's The Man

I love pre-crazy Amanda Bynes so much, and this is my favorite of her movies. This movie makes me laugh more than almost any movie, and it makes me cringe more than any movie, and it can even make me cry. It's so amazing.


#5: 10 Things I Hate About You

This is one of my newest favorites, but it's definitely going to be a long-standing favorite. This movie has so many amazing quotes, it's so funny, and I love the characters. Especially Kat and Patrick.


#4: Pitch Perfect

Pitch Perfect is so hilarious. The characters are so great (especially Beca. I love Beca.) and the music is absolutely spot-on. I'm way too excited for the sequel. Also, this and 10 Things I Hate About You are pretty much tied, so I just put them in random places.


#3: Clue

A lot of people that I know absolutely hate this movie, but I've seen it way too many times and absolutely love it. It's so hilariously campy and I love every second of it.


#2: The Princess Bride

Of all of the movies on this list, this is the one that's been among my favorites for the longest. I first saw this when I was 9, and even though I really liked it, I definitely wasn't fully aware of its perfection. But since then, I've realized how perfect it is, and fallen completely in love.

#1: Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure

What all can I even say about this perfect movie? It's so, so funny. The characters are so dumb, and I laugh the entire way through it. It's my absolute favorite movie. Perfection.



Top 10 TV Shows

#10: American Horror Story

I think that if I'd seen more of this show, I'd rank this a bit higher. I've seen all of Murder House (definitely my fave so far), half of Asylum, and all of Freak Show (so far). I need to finish the rest because it's on Netflix and it's a great show.


#9: Supernatural

This is another show that I would totally put higher, but I've only seen the first season and a half. I'm a terrible fan. It's just that so much stuff goes on in each episode that I feel like I can't multi-task because I'll miss something. And I really like to multi-task. But I will catch up, PROMISE!


#8: The Mole

This show deserves higher on this list, because it's genius and I've seen every single episode, but unfortunately, it's not on anymore and when it was on, it was super sporadic. It's a genius concept- a group of people are working together to win money for the group, which one of the players will ultimately win. BUT there's a twist. One of the players is working against the group to try to lose money, and no one knows who it is. And it's their job to figure it out. It's wonderful and awesome, but it's not still being made, which means I only have 5 seasons (of which only 2.5 are any good, and only 1 is AMAZING) to re-watch. 


#7: RuPaul's Drag Race

I've seen all of seasons 2-5, and half of season 6. And season 7 starts soon, YAY! I'm just a sucker for reality competitions (talent competitions, not the horror that is The Bachelor) and drama, and you best believe there's drama on this show. Some of my fave past contestants include Raja, Sharon Needles, Willam, and Alaska. 


#6: Community

Yet another show I'm behind on. But this one is for a slightly better reason-- it just hasn't been quite as good lately. In general, this show is genius. Seasons 2&3 are flawless. Season 4 was good, but I haven't gotten to season 5 yet. People are leaving the show and it's constantly on the verge of being gone forever. Not super deep, but it keeps me from catching up.

#5: The Taste

I love the format of this show. For those of you who don't know, it's literally The Voice for chefs. The judges build teams by tasting food blindly. And honestly, half the time I'm just rooting for my favorite mentor rather than contestants (OK, more like most of the time). My favorite mentors are definitely Ludo and Anthony. I tend to root for Ludo, but I'd definitely choose Anthony if I were on the show. 

#4: America's Next Top Model

Can you tell I really like reality competitions? I still watch this one even though it's getting worse and worse as the seasons go on. I really like that there are guys now, but the drama it brings is more annoying than entertaining. I kinda miss the girl drama. Anyway, I've seen almost every season of this show, some more than once, and I love it.

#3: Top Chef

I've done a pretty bad job of keeping up with this in college. The tv service that we have on campus doesn't get Bravo. The one in my apartment does, but I just haven't caught up. However, all of the seasons before I started college are really great, especially seasons 1-4. Season 2 is probably my favorite. Head-shaving incident FTW.


#2: The Office

This is the one and only show that I can say that I've seen every single episode of. Seasons 2-5 are definitely the best, but I really love the entire show. The characters are just so great, and the relationships that they form by the end are so beautiful. 


#1: Project Runway

THIS. SHOW. I love this show so much. Even though I haven't seen the second half of season 11 (Teams. Ugh.), I have seen every other season many, many times. I watch all of the spin-offs, I have DVDs of several seasons, and I even have the Project Runway book. Yep, superfan.  


Like I said, these lists are mostly for myself, but I do hope that if you got this far in the post, you at least enjoyed my lists or found them interesting!

I've started doing Booktube a little as well, so if you want to check that out, you can click HEREI plan to post most of my videos to my blog, but just in case I miss one or decide not to post it on here, that will keep you up-to date. 

I've also created a Facebook page for my blog, so if you want to check that out and like it, you can click HERE. I'll try to keep that pretty up-to-date with new posts and such.

Thanks for reading! If you like my posts, I'd really appreciate if you'd subscribe/follow so that I know you're enjoying what I'm posting! See y'all soon!