Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Review: Hyperbole and a Half by Allie Brosh

Hyperbole and a Half by Allie Brosh
Published: October 29th, 2013 (Touchstone)
Pages: 369
Source: bought
Series: NA
Buy the book: Bookdepository
Rating: ★★★★☆

This is a book I wrote. Because I wrote it, I had to figure out what to put on the back cover to explain what it is. I tried to write a long, third-person summary that would imply how great the book is and also sound vaguely authoritative--like maybe someone who isn’t me wrote it--but I soon discovered that I’m not sneaky enough to pull it off convincingly. So I decided to just make a list of things that are in the book:

Stories about things that happened to me
Stories about things that happened to other people because of me
Eight billion dollars*
Stories about dogs
The secret to eternal happiness*

*These are lies. Perhaps I have underestimated my sneakiness!

I don't read a lot of blogs, but Hyperbole and a Half is one of the precious few I check regularly. So when I heard this book was coming out.. Of course I had to have it. Allie has this amazing talent of being able to tell real, often deep and emotionally complex, stories with the help of the Paint-like program she uses to draw her illustrations. She always manages to be spot-on in her tales; whether it's funny or sad, somehow it always resonates with me.

It's hard to pick a favourite from the old favourites and new stories in this book, but there's one set of stories that really hit me while I was reading them: Adventures in Depression and Depression Part 2. She is able to put into words and images something I have been unable to describe for years now, that dark place called depression. It's such a difficult thing to explain and every time I attempt telling people about it, it somehow fails. I can't find the words to adequately describe that. Now I know I can just shove this in their face and say "READ THIS -- THIS IS ME" and it will be spot-on. Reading it in this book again once again confirmed how familiar this all is and how much I identify with it.

The book features both new and old stories, some better than others, but always with the same heart. Sometimes I feel like I'm reading Allie's diary because some of the pieces are so personal.

Long story short: Thoroughly enjoyable and often spot-on and hilarious, this is the book you grab off your shelf for a pick me up.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

On My Wishlist (60)

Back from hiatus! In On My Wishlist I spotlight books that I'm really looking forward to. I know there's a meme Waiting on Wednesday and there even are others, but I'm going to rebel and do it how I want it (hehe). I'll feature the synopsis as posted on Goodreads and put a linkie to the Goodreads page of the book. This week: Split Second by Kasie West.

Split Second by Kasie West
Expected publication date: February 11th, 2014

Life can change in a split second.

Addie hardly recognizes her life since her parents divorced. Her boyfriend used her. Her best friend betrayed her. She can’t believe this is the future she chose. On top of that, her ability is acting up. She’s always been able to Search the future when presented with a choice. Now she can manipulate and slow down time, too... but not without a price.

When Addie’s dad invites her to spend her winter break with him, she jumps at the chance to escape into the Norm world of Dallas, Texas. There she meets the handsome and achingly familiar Trevor. He’s a virtual stranger to her, so why does her heart do a funny flip every time she sees him? But after witnessing secrets that were supposed to stay hidden, Trevor quickly seems more suspicious of Addie than interested in her. And she has an inexplicable desire to change that.

Meanwhile, her best friend, Laila, has a secret of her own: she can restore Addie’s memories... once she learns how. But there are powerful people who don’t want to see this happen. Desperate, Laila tries to manipulate Connor, a brooding bad boy from school—but he seems to be the only boy in the Compound immune to her charms. And the only one who can help her.

As Addie and Laila frantically attempt to retrieve the lost memories, Addie must piece together a world she thought she knew before she loses the love she nearly forgot... and a future that could change everything.

Goodreads page

SPLIT SECOND! SPLIT FREAKING SECOND! *muppet arms* Guys, I feel like I've been waiting FOREVER for this book to be published. People with ARCs gave me serious book envy.. And now it's almost here! IT'S ALMOST HERE I CAN'T EVEN!!! Now that I'm typing this I'm wondering if I did end up preordering it.. Did I? I'm pretty sure I did. Better make sure, though, so I can spend my time posting by the intercom in the hope my mailman brings me my copy.

(If you haven't read Pivot Point yet, I recommend you do. It's full of alternate reality stuff and swoony boys. Trust me on this.)

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Review: This Is What Happy Looks Like by Jennifer E. Smith

This Is What Happy Looks Like by Jennifer E. Smith
Published: April 2nd, 2013 (Headline)
Pages: 416
Source: gift from Daisy
Series: NA
Buy the book: Bookdepository
Rating: ★★★★☆

If fate sent you an email, would you answer?

When teenage movie star Graham Larkin accidentally sends small town girl Ellie O'Neill an email about his pet pig, the two seventeen-year-olds strike up a witty and unforgettable correspondence, discussing everything under the sun, except for their names or backgrounds.

Then Graham finds out that Ellie's Maine hometown is the perfect location for his latest film, and he decides to take their relationship from online to in-person. But can a star as famous as Graham really start a relationship with an ordinary girl like Ellie? And why does Ellie want to avoid the media's spotlight at all costs?

I must admit that when I started reading this, I was a bit nervous. I hadn't seen many good reviews beforehand, instead seeing a lot of low ratings and less than favourable reviews. Eek. But every time I went into a Dutch bookstore, I somehow ended up with the Dutch edition of this book in my hands. It starts off with a random email conversation about someone asking someone else to walk their pet pig, except they send it to the wrong person. Everything takes from there, because even though it was sent to the wrong person, they strike up conversation. It just looked so adorable! So when Daisy gave me this book for our book club's Secret Santa, I couldn't wait to dig in. I started and finished it in the first week I had it, which is a rarity for me. Especially when you consider that I was already in the middle of four books.. I regret nothing.

So. This book. It's fluffy. It's all kinds of cute and adorable and the story isn't original or groundbreaking but Graham and Ellie are just so ADORABLE together that nothing else matters. If you're looking for a contemporary with a lot of depth, this is not the book for you. However, if you are looking for a cute book, something that will make you smile, and most of all something fluffy, this is the book for you. It's a must read. It made me smile and go "AWWWW!" several times and overall I pretty much adored this book.

Yes, this is a gushfest. Deal with it. I'm not sorry.

I loved the idea of two people striking up a conversation when one accidentally emails the other. It leads to fun conversations even though they don't even know eachothers names. And that's fine. You are thrown right into the story and the romance, but it doesn't feel like instalove at all, even though you didn't see the months of conversation they had before this actually takes place. You get the feeling they've known eachother for a very long time and I loved that. They had a connection and built from there.

The story arc isn't revolutionary but I loved seeing the dual narrative and seeing their relationship blossom even though they have some eh, bumps in the road along the way. Their chemistry was awesome and I adored their conversations.

Jennifer E. Smith is quickly becoming one of my favourite contemporary authors. I'm glad I decided not to listen to all the negative things that went around for this book, otherwise I would never have read this story that's bound to cheer you up and put a smile on your face as you read it.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Review: Stormdancer by Jay Kristoff

Stormdancer by Jay Kristoff
Published: September 1st, 2012 (TOR UK)
Pages: 451
Age group: adult with crossover appeal
Source: bought
Series: The Lotus War, #1
Buy the book: Bookdepository
Rating: ★★★☆☆ ½

Griffins are supposed to be extinct. So when Yukiko and her warrior father Masaru are sent to capture one for the Shogun, they fear that their lives are over. Everyone knows what happens to those who fail him, no matter how hopeless the task.

But the mission proves far less impossible, and far more deadly, than anyone expects – and soon Yukiko finds herself stranded: a young woman alone in her country's last wilderness, with only a furious, crippled griffin for company. But trapped together in the forest, Yukiko and Buruu soon discover a friendship that neither of them expected.

Meanwhile, the country around them verges on the brink of collapse. A toxic fuel is slowly choking the land; the omnipotent, machine-powered Lotus Guild is publicly burning those they deem Impure; and the Shogun cares about nothing but his own dominion. Yukiko has always been uneasy in the shadow of power, when she learns the awful truth of what the Shogun has done, both to her country and to her own family she's determined to do something about it.

Returning to the city, Yukiko and Buruu plan to make the Shogun pay for his crimes – but what can one girl and a flightless griffin do against the might of an empire?

To fall with the door in the house like we would say in The Netherlands (it's a proverb): with its elaborate world building, Stormdancer has a very, very slow start. It takes a good 100 pages for the story to finally start getting interesting. Most people, including me in normal cases, would have given up at that point. However, because Debby convinced me it was worth it to continue reading (she was the one who eh, made me aware of the book's existence in the first place), I kept going. And while Stormdancer was definitely worth my time, I can understand anyone who'd decide to DNF this book before the 25% mark. I'm glad I was stubborn enough to plough through and discover the wonder that is Buruu.

The story takes place in a sort of alternate universe of Japan, stuffed with both fantasy and steampunk elements. My OCD brain is going nuts trying to fit this book into a box when it comes to genre, but it's not possible.. The storytelling feels most similar to that of fantasy novels I've read, but I have to say that Jay Kristoff really took this to another level.

I want to point out that this is by no means a young adult novel. Sure, it features a teenage heroine, but the storyline is clearly aimed at an adult audience. It does definitely have crossover appeal though, so don't let that scare you away.

For me, the biggest drawback of this book is also one of its biggest appeals: the world building. It's rich and cinematic and lush and also a lot to take in all at once. When you start reading the book, it's a terrible amount of information to take in which makes it a sad case of infodump. It immediately puts you into this fantastic world, but it's hard to try and take in all at once. It's overwhelming and that makes the story hard to read. While the story unfolds, you're still thinking about a description of what the scenery looks like where this event takes place, and I don't think that's what you're supposed to do.. BUT when you get through that, you practically dive into the story and you are very well rewarded as this story is absolutely glorious.

The second biggest appeal comes from Buruu. This character is so wonderfully written. He comes alive on the pages and the interaction between him and Yukiko is off the charts. I absolutely loved reading all these parts. And the fighting scenes. And the conspiracy theories. And..

I have to say that I'm very curious about what's going to happen in Kinslayer. I hope the sequel will be just as rewarding as a reading experience as this one was for me. The whole lotus business that Kristoff created rules the character's lives and it really added to the story, giving it another dimension. With the series being called The Lotus War, I'm assuming this will only become more important as the series progresses and create even more exciting events. Personally, I cannot wait.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

On My Wishlist (59)

Back from hiatus! In On My Wishlist I spotlight books that I'm really looking forward to. I know there's a meme Waiting on Wednesday and there even are others, but I'm going to rebel and do it how I want it (hehe). I'll feature the synopsis as posted on Goodreads and put a linkie to the Goodreads page of the book. This week: Red Rising by Pierce Brown.

Red Rising by Pierce Brown
Publication date: January 16th, 2014

Darrow is a Helldiver, one of a thousand men and women who live in the vast caves beneath the surface of Mars, generations of people who spend their lives toiling to mine the precious elements that will allow the planet to be terraformed. Just knowing that, one day, people will be able to walk the surface of the planet is enough to justify their sacrifice. The Earth is dying, and Darrow and his people are the only hope humanity has left.

Until the day Darrow learns that it is all a lie. That Mars has been habitable - and inhabited - for generations, by a class of people calling themselves the Golds. A class of people who look down at Darrow and his fellows as slave labour, to be exploited and worked to death without a second thought.

Until the day Darrow, with the help of a mysterious group of rebels, disguises himself as a Gold and infiltrates their command school, intent on taking down his oppressors from the inside.

But the command school is a battlefield - and Darrow isn't the only student with an agenda.

Goodreads page

Can we just take a moment and let that synopsis sink in? *waits* Yes, that's what I thought. This sounds beyond amazing. It sounds like an actionpacked Sci-Fi that I need in my life. I was under the impression that it wasn't being published for a few weeks, so I only just realised it's already published so.. Excuse me while I wander off to order my copy.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

2013 End of Year Book Survey

Since 2013 really is over, I decided to go ahead an fill in the End of Year Book Survey hosted by Jamie at The Perpetual Pageturner. I'm kind of OCD about best of posts and the like and don't want to fill those in in December, because who knows if I read that One Special Book on December 31st and am unable to put it on the list? Zeh horror!

1. Best Book You Read In 2013? (If you have to cheat — you can break it down by genre if you want or 2013 release vs. backlist)

I did a post on my best books of 2013, which included Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell (best contemporary), Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo (best fantasy), All Our Yesterdays by Cristin Terrill (best sci-fi), A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin (best adult fiction) and Meant to Be by Lauren Morrill(best fluffy read). Also an honourable mention for More Than This by Patrick Ness, for being the best WTF-ery book of 2013. 

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

We'll Always Have Summer by Jenny Han, the final book in the Summer Series. I loved the first two books, but this one sucked donkeyballs. The book lacked the magic of its prequels, and to top it all off, all three main characters seemed to have had personality transplants (and not in a good way). Needless to say, the Summer Series is not among my favourite series anymore. 

 3. Most surprising (in a good way!) book of 2013? 

All Our Yesterdays by Cristin Terrill really blew me away. It was fan-frigging-tastic and made me go all fangirly. Love. 

 4. Book you read in 2013 that you recommended to people most in 2013?

Probably Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell. My love for this book knows no boundaries. 

 5. Best series you discovered in 2013?

The Grisha series by Leigh Bardugo. I've read Shadow and Bone last year and it was amazing, so I went right ahead and ordered Siege and Storm even though I wasn't supposed to buy any books. I regret nothing. 

 6. Favorite new author you discovered in 2013?

I've read so many books from new to me authors! Leigh Bardugo, Rainbow Rowell, Samantha Shannon, Emily Murdoch, Kasie West, Cristin Terrill, George R.R. Martin.. 

7. Best book that was out of your comfort zone or was a new genre for you?

Not necessarily out of my comfort zone, just something I didn't read often: fantasy. Like high fantasy, and not the urban fantasy I'm used to. There were so many books I loved this year that fit into that category. My favourite is probably Shadow and Bone or Graceling

 8. Most thrilling, unputdownable book in 2013?

Definitely All Our Yesterdays by Cristin Terrill. Though I also read Shadow and Bone in one sitting, so I'd say that's a close second. 

 9. Book You Read In 2013 That You Are Most Likely To Re-Read Next Year?

Um.. I don't really reread books all that often anymore. There are just so many new to me books out there that look awesome so I really want to read those first.. But if I had to pick one, I'd say probably Meant to Be by Lauren Morrill. I listened to that one on audio and it was adorable. I'm planning to pick up a physical copy as well, that's how much I liked it. 

10. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2013?

11. Most memorable character in 2013? 

This is a really hard one. I'm thinking either Warden from The Bone Season, The Darkling from Shadow and Bone or Park from Eleanor & Park

 12. Most beautifully written book read in 2013?

Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell. These answers are starting to sound repetitive, I apologise. No actually, I do not. I regret nothing. 

13. Book that had the greatest impact on you in 2013? 

Eleanor & Park

 14. Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2013 to finally read? 

Either Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo, A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin or Graceling by Kristin Cashore. I spot a trend.

 15. Favorite Passage/Quote From A Book You Read In 2013?

"Holding Eleanor’s hand was like holding a butterfly. Or a heartbeat. Like holding something
complete, and completely alive.
As soon as he touched her, he wondered how he’d gone this long without doing it. He rubbed his thumb through her palm and up her fingers, and was aware of her every breath."
~Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell

 16. Shortest & Longest Book You Read In 2013?

Shortest: Neverfall by Brodi Ashton (96 pages) or if novellas don't count: Cracked Up to Be  by Courtney Summers (214 pages)
Longest: A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin (807 pages)

 17. Book That Had A Scene In It That Had You Reeling And Dying To Talk To Somebody About It? (a WTF moment, an epic revelation, a steamy kiss, etc. etc.) Be careful of spoilers!

I don't think I had that moment? xD Maybe the entire We'll Always Have Summer book, since that book had me so frustrated, I wanted to bang my head against the wall.

18. Favorite Relationship From A Book You Read In 2013 (be it romantic, friendship, etc).

Eleanor and Park in (surprise!) Eleanor & Park. Julia and Jason in Meant to Be. Page and Warden from The Bone Season. Em and Finn in All Our Yesterdays.

19. Favorite Book You Read in 2013 From An Author You’ve Read Previously

The Night Itself by Zoë Marriott and A Midsummer's Nightmare by Kody Keplinger.

20. Best Book You Read In 2013 That You Read Based SOLELY On A Recommendation From Somebody Else:

Um how about almost all the books I read? *snort* I am in the company of some of the best bookpushers of the blogosphere so almost all of my favourites were 'receommended' by bookish friends. My favourites of those are All Our Yesterdays by Cristin Terrill, Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo, Pivot Point by Kasie West and A Midsummer's Nightmare by Kody Keplinger. 

21. Genre You Read The Most From in 2013?

Either contemporary or fantasy (though I think the latter wins). 

22. Newest fictional crush from a book you read in 2013?

SO MANY! Warden, the Darkling, Finn, Trevor.. 

23. Best 2013 debut you read?

Why are these questions so impossible to answer with just one book? I'm going to go with Pivot Point by Kasie West. Or The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon. Or Meant to Be by Lauren Morrill. Or maybe All Our Yesterdays by Cristin Terrill. HOW AM I SUPPOSED TO PICK JUST ONE?!

24. Most vivid world/imagery in a book you read in 2013?

The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon and also More Than This by Patrick Ness. 

25. Book That Was The Most Fun To Read in 2013?

Percy Jackson and the Olympians by Rick Riordan, though I must admit that I listened to those in 2013 and didn't actually read them, but whatevs.

26. Book That Made You Cry Or Nearly Cry in 2013?

A Midsummer's Nightmare by Kody Keplinger. BAWLING.

27. Book You Read in 2013 That You Think Got Overlooked This Year Or When It Came Out?

The Night Itself by Zoë Marriott -- I think it's a book that deserves more attention :)

Looking ahead..

1. One Book You Didn’t Get To In 2013 But Will Be Your Number 1 Priority in 2014?

Um, I don't think I have any. Only thing I can think of is finishing Stormdancer by Jay Kristoff, but chances are that I've already finished this by the time this post goes live. There are some books on my shelves that seem to be high priority, if I go by my friends' suggestions, so I'll probably be reading  The Burning Sky by Sherry Thomas, The Distance Between Us by Kasie West, Insurgent by Veronica Roth(though I'm nervous about that one) and Requiem by Lauren Oliver. Oh, and I really really want (need!) to read House of Hades by Rick Riordan and Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo. And Blackout by Robison Wells. And Vortex by S.J. Kincaid. And... (turns out I have plenty. Heh)

2. Book You Are Most Anticipating For 2014 (non-debut)?

The last installment of the Heroes of Olympus series, even though I haven't even read House of Hades yet. Also Split Second by Kasie West, All Our Yesterdays #2 by Cristin Terrill, Evertrue by Brodi Ashton, The Bone Season #2 by Samantha Shannon, Being Sloane Jacobs by Lauren Morrill, all of Morgan Matson's new books, White Space by Ilsa J. Bick, The Winner's Curse by Marie Rutkoski, Oblivion by Kelly Creagh and Shattered by Teri Terry. I'm pretty sure I forgot some.

3. 2014 Debut You Are Most Anticipating?

The Murder Complex by Lindsay Cummings, Faking Normali by Courtney C. Stevens, Open Road Summer by Emery Lord, Red Rising by Pierce Brown and Learning Not to Drown by Anna Shinoda.

 4. Series Ending You Are Most Anticipating in 2014?

Heroes of Olympus by Rick Riordan, Slated by Teri Terry, Everneath by Brodi Ashton and Nevermore by Kelly Creagh. 

5. One Thing You Hope To Accomplish Or Do In Your Reading/Blogging In 2014?

Make this blog more of a personal outlet. This doesn't mean that I'm starting Dear Diary posts, it just means I don't want my posts to be, well, generic. My posts feel a bit void of emotion, or me, or something. I just want to make them stand out a bit more and do some other stuff besides reviews and some meme-like posts. It's something I struggle with, so it'll be a learning curve :) All these CAPSLOCK tweets and comments are part of that. I used to be afraid to be outspoken, whether my thoughts were positive or negative, but I've decided not to worry about that anymore. This means rants and FLAILING and gushing and incoherent posts. Sorrynotsorry.


Whew! That was quite the list! Thanks to everyone who recommended me any of the books on this list, you were successful in your bookpushing practices ;)

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Review: Meant To Be by Lauren Morrill [audio]

Meant To Be by Lauren Morrill
Published: January 1st, 2012 (Delacorte Books FYR)
Narrator: Shannon McManus
Pages: 304
Source: bought
Series: NA
Buy the book: Bookdepository
Rating: ★★★★☆

Meant to be or not meant to be... that is the question.

It's one thing to fall head over heels into a puddle of hazelnut coffee, and quite another to fall for the—gasp—wrong guy. Straight-A junior Julia may be accident prone, but she's queen of following rules and being prepared. That's why she keeps a pencil sharpener in her purse and a pocket Shakespeare in her, well, pocket. And that's also why she's chosen Mark Bixford, her childhood crush, as her MTB ("meant to be").

But this spring break, Julia's rules are about to get defenestrated (SAT word: to be thrown from a window) when she's partnered with her personal nemesis, class-clown Jason, on a school trip to London. After one wild party, Julia starts receiving romantic texts . . . from an unknown number! Jason promises to help discover the identity of her mysterious new suitor if she agrees to break a few rules along the way. And thus begins a wild goose chase through London, leading Julia closer and closer to the biggest surprise of all: true love.

Because sometimes the things you least expect are the most meant to be.

If you know me, even for the tiniest bit, you know I love London. When I saw this book up on Audible when I was looking for a way to spend my credits, I knew I *had* to have it. Like, grabby hands. I'm glad I decided to go ahead. While the narration wasn't perfect, the story was fantastic.

Julia finds herself without friends on a school trip to London. They all had something else to do, so her company is mostly gossipy girls and annoying boys. With one in particular: Jason. She gets paired up with the most annoying guy on the entire trip and told they are buddies. Which means Julia cannot do a thing without Jason being there, and vice versa. After a party Jason dragged her to, Julia starts receiving texts from someone she can't remember. Well, she was kinda tipsy at that party.. Jason teases her with it, but gradually starts helping Julia finding out who it is. Together, they try to figure out who this mysterious person is, even though Julia still hates being in Jason's company.

They wander around the city, sometimes along with the group, sometimes alone. Jason starts both charming Julia and you as a reader. Because hate him in the beginning, but he'll grow on you. The romantic development in this book is fantastic. I have a weak spot for bickering characters with obvious chemistry. Characters that grow into romantic feelings or relationships instead of diving in head-first. Julia fights against her feelings, because ew, falling for the class clown? Not done. But you can't help fall for him nontheless. The arc of the story is perfectly executed and garnered quite a few "awwww!"s from me while I listened to this book.

The only thing I didn't like in the story was the whole obsession with Mark (her meant-to-be). I didn't really understand it, but thankfully there isn't much about that in the book. I loved seeing Jason teasing Julia, loved how they interacted and their chemistry was amazing. The climax in the story.. Swoooooooon. Loved it!

If you're into fluffy stories, this is definitely a book for you. I know I'll be rereading it when I get my hands on a physical copy!

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Best Books of 2013

I feel like this is a post that's long overdue, but it's only the second week of January so I'm gonna go ahead and post this anyways. I didn't read as much as I would've like to in 2013, but I did read some pretty darn amazing books. I was pretty surprised to see these were all books I bought myself. I have great taste in books! *coughs* These are in no particular order. 

A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin
Medieval soap opera filled with plenty of murder and mystery. I like. It took me 5 weeks to read it, but it was worth it! 

A Midsummer's Nightmare by Kody Keplinger
Kody once again managed to break my heart. In all the right ways, of course. 

All Our Yesterdays by Cristin Terrill
This book caused me to freak out. Many feels were involved while I read this book. The sequel might actually kill me. 

Graceling by Kristin Cashore
Probably one of the most intimidating books I've read this year, purely because of its reputation. But Graceling delivered and Katsa is one badass motherfucker. 

If You Find Me by Emily Murdoch 
Oh, my poor heart.. The journey of Carey really had me on the edge of my seat. Again, many feels were involved.

Meant to Be by Lauren Morrill
The only audiobook on this list. Gods, this was amazing. It was like I was in London again, but now with two people in the best hate/love relationship you can imagine. Absolutely wonderful. 

Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell
If there is one book you take off this list to read, let it be Eleanor & Park. The development in this relationship is out of this world and Rainbow truly knows how to create massive chemistry. This book is a bundle of feels.

Pivot Point by Kasie West
Having never read a parallel universe kind of book, this kind of blew me away. There was just no way I could stop reading until I got to the very last page, causing me to wail in agony that I would have to wait for the sequel. 

Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo
Oh, Darkling, how you messed with my feelings.. I read this book in one sitting and it was all sorts of marvellous. 

The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon
With amazingly complicated worldbuilding, this book was hard to get into. But it was so worth it to struggle through those first few chapters, because otherwise I would never have met Warden. Sigh. 

The Night Itself by Zoë Marriott
When Zoë told me this book was completely different from her other books, I wasn't sure what she meant. But I see it now, and this book is even better than her other books I've read. I cannot wait to dive deeper into Mio's world. 

The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith
One of the two best fluffy contemporaries I've read in 2013, coincidentally also set (for the most part) in London. I regret nothing. 


What were your favorites of 2013? 

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Goals for 2014

2014 started a couple of days ago and of course I've formed some goals. Some are easier to achieve than others, but they are things I want to do anyway. Most goals are reading goals, but there are some personal ones as well.

Keep reading -- goal: 70 books
Last year, I challenged myself to read 90 books. With me moving and attempting to get into the flow of having my own house (and all the work that comes with it), this goal was a bit too enthousiastic. However, I've got some sort of routine now and not so much furniture to put together, so I'm hoping to be able to actually reach my goal instead of adjusting it.

Classics -- goal: 5 books
This will probably be the biggest fail of a challenge in the history of challenges, but since I really want to venture out more, I'll leave this on here. I don't expect much progress, though the book club plans a classics month. That'll be one down!

Read more sequels -- goal: finish 10 series
The amount of series I have not finished yet is ridiculous. I must be in the middle of about 15 series in which I only need to read the last book, but somehow haven't done that. I'm determined to change this in 2014.

Read more standalones -- goal: 15 books
There are so many series, it's easy to overlook the standalones! To make sure I don't get sucked into a tsunami of series, I intend to read at least 15 standalones this year. Preferably fluffy ones. Or exciting ones. As long as they are awesome, I'm game.

Read your own books -- goal: 20 books
I came up with this goal earlier when I was swimming in review books. I still have quite a lot, but I've also noticed that I tend to not read books I buy. So I've bought a ton of amazing books in 2013 that I haven't read yet, and I want to do something about it. So in 2014, I'm reading 20 books I own as of January 1st, 2014.

Support the debuts -- goal: 10 books
I haven't really done anything in terms of debut challenges last year, but I've missed it so I'm reintroducing this goal. I hope to discover at least 10 awesome book of debut authors that publish in 2014. Bring on the gems!

Do things that make me happy
Moving was stressful, but also made me happy. I now have my own place. A house filled with books, comfy hangouts and sparkly lights. And I LOVE it. But I have to say, I also missed going on vacation. So that's a Thing That Makes Me Happy that I'll be bringing back in 2014. London, here I come! Again! Whoop! I've already started planning my trip and I'm very excited. Hopefully I'll be there again in early June. Besides that, I'm thinking of movies, shopping, book club meetings, dinners, quite possibly getting a cat.. Oh yeah. I'm excited.

Get healthier
In 2013, I lost almost 14 kg by eating less junk and walking during my lunch breaks. In 2014, I want to lose another 16 kg so I'm back at a healthy weight. I want to go back to the gym, but the thought alone is slightly intimidating, so I think I need to trick myself into going. Or something. I love exercising at the gym, but those first 3 - 4 times.. *shudder*

And.. I think that's it! I'm very excited for this new year and I hope it will be a good one. If you've made goals, I hope you are successful in achieving them. And of course, happy new year everyone! Let's make it a good one :)

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