20141210_195244

Homemade Decadence Cookbook Review

I’m back! Been out for a while, between school getting crazy both spring 2014 and fall 2014 semesters and this past summer not exactly being the most stress-free and easy summer (my wonderful grandfather passed away), I haven’t had too much time to read books, much less post about them. In fact, looking at my Goodreads challenge status, in my push to read 75 books this year, I’ve only read 34. So there hasn’t been much to write about, since all I’ve really read are A&P, health information management, medical terminology, and nutrition textbooks, and those aren’t exactly books I want to review. Although if you follow me on twitter, you did see my rants about my terrible Medical Terminology textbook! But today, I have a small review for you! The lovely wonderful people at Birchbox/Birchbloggers had a giveaway in November for Joy the Baker’s cookbook Homemade Decadence, and lucky me, I won a copy! So the weekend after I received my copy, I went out, bought some ingredients, and made a recipe from the book, as well as read all the recipes, since finals were finally over. So let’s get to what I think about it.

20141210_195244

First of all, this book is gorgeous, and I love a gorgeous cookbook. I think gorgeous food photography is important in a cookbook, since it gives you an example of what your food should look like, and it makes you want to make and eat all the things in the book. This book accomplishes that on the cover. I want that cake in my life, please. Someone give me an excuse to make that cake.

And the pictures along with the recipes are all lovely too. The picture of the Brown Sugar-Rosemary Cheesecake with a pool of bourbon-burnt caramel sauce makes me want a slice. See:

20141223_114806

And just seeing the title “Blueberry-Goat Cheese Ice Cream” made me know I was in dire need of an ice cream maker so I could have this amazing creation in my life (confession: I have a weakness for goat cheese).

The recipe from this book that I picked to make was the Underbaked Chocolate Chip Cookie Skillet Cake. I picked this because it looked delicious and it also looked like a simple recipe, and while I want to make the more complex recipes in this book, the weekend after finals are over is not the time to do such a thing. this recipe looked like one that even my post-finals brain could handle. And it was. And when I took it out of the oven, it was perfectly gooey and chocolatey and wonderful. Full disclosure, the entire bag of chocolate chips may have fallen into the dough, but it called for a cup and when I measured out the cup, there weren’t too many left in the bag, so it worked just fine. Meera (you’ve seen her posts on the blog too) and I ate a few pieces of that cake ourselves, and I may have had a little bit for breakfast the next morning. It looked pretty and it tasted perfect. My version looked very similar to the cookbook version.

IMG_20141213_165415IMG_20141213_163359

One of the things I liked most about this cookbook is how it was laid out. You have five categories: brunch; cookies, brownies, and bars; pies, crumbles, and cobblers; layer cakes, cupcakes, and skillet cakes; and ice cream social. At the beginning of each section was a list of the recipes within that section. And I loved that scattered through the sections were different tips to help you with the food in each section. In the brunch section there were ideas for toast toppings, in the cookies, brownies, and bars section there were tips for how to best ship cookies to make sure they arrive at their destination intact, along with what type of cookies are best for shipping, in the pies, crumbles, and cobblers section there were a bunch of different pie crust recipes and tips for how to make a perfect pie crust, in the layer cakes, cupcakes, and skillet cakes section, there were tips for how to get a cake out of the pan without loosing chunks of it (also know as one of the saddest baking tragedies) and how to frost a cake, and in the ice cream social section there were treat and topping suggestions to make your ice cream as awesome as possible, complete with the best matches for the different ice cream recipes.

And if you’re wondering if it’s all sweet recipes, no it isn’t. It’s mostly sweets, but in the brunch section there are drinks and recipes for savory things like roasted-potato breakfast nachos, braised kale and egg breakfast sandwiches, and french onion quiche. So there is a small amount of savory things in here.

Basically, Joy Wilson made a wonderful cookbook for us all to use, and I can’t wait to try more of the fabulous recipes inside of it. Thank you so much to Birchbloggers and Birchbox for selecting me as a winner for this cookbook! It had been hanging out in my Amazon shopping cart for a while, but I hadn’t been sure. Now I’m so glad that I have it!

Disclaimer: This was provided to me by Birchbloggers/Birchbox as part of a contest that I won. But the opinions in this post are all mine, I really think the food in here looks flawless!

Update on Books to be Released in 2014

WE HAVE A RELEASE DATE FOR THE THIRD DARKEST MINDS BOOK!!!! While it may still not have a title or a cover, we have a release date: September 16. So we have The Infinite Sea and TDM 3 released on the same day. I think I might die from excitement. And I don’t even know which book I’ll start reading first. But I bet they’ll both be great!

We also have a little more information the release of This Shattered World, it will be released sometime in December. Not sure what exact day, but we know that much more now.

So there’s a little more for us to look forward to now. So excited about TDM 3. The wait is agony. And I basically know that as there are two books released that day that I’m super excited about, I’ll definitely have a test in some class the next day. Because that’s how life does for me.

January Wrap Up and February Wrap Up will probably be put together, as I haven’t had much time for reading since classes started up. And my March TBR will probably be long from that.

Book Post Title Picture

Most Anticipated Books of 2014

Book Post Title PictureNew books coming out in 2014! There are so many good ones that I can’t wait for, but I managed to narrow it down to 16 books. I tried for 14, but I couldn’t decide on a few. Some of these are follow-ups, some are first in series, some are stand-alones, and they all look great. So let’s get to it!

  • Written in My Own Heart’s Blood (Diana Gabaldon, Outlander book 8). It’s June of 1778 and the Revolutionary War is in full swing, and the hard winter at Valley Forge has ended. Also in the 20th century, Brianna has had her husband disappear into the past, her son kidnapped, and is facing up to a criminal. I’m not sure if this is the final book in this series or not, but I cannot wait to read it. Written in My Own Heart’s Blood is due to be released on June 10, 2014.
  • Lady Thief (A.C. Gaughen, Scarlet book 2). The second in this trio of books on the Robin Hood legend with Lady Marian disguised as Will Scarlet, a professional thief in Robin Hood’s gang. In this book, her secret that she is nobility is out in the open. She is being forced to marry Sir Guy, who was part of the reason she assumed the identity of Will in the first place, and the marriage threatens the love that she has found with Robin. Prince John is coming to Nottingham to announce the new sheriff, and he has plans that revolve around Scarlet. She has to now behave as a lady of the court, but she is doing so to help Robin. Lady Thief is due to be released February 11, 2014.
  • The Blood of Olympus (Rick Riordan, The Heroes of Olympus book 5). Our favorite heroes are racing to defeat Gaea before the Feast of Spes, before two demigods are sacrificed to wake her. In case that wasn’t enough, Camp Jupiter’s Legion is getting closer to Camp Half Blood, with Octavian leading the charge to attack the Greek demigod camp, and our heroes on the Argo II are having visions of a battle at Camp Half Blood. They hope the Athena Parthenos statue will reach the demigods in time to stop the war between the Romans and the Greeks. And the gods are still between their Roman and Greek personalities, and of no real help to the demigods. Just in case this doesn’t sound stressful enough, Riordan has all but said (at least I think he hasn’t fully said it) that one of the seven (Percy, Annabeth, Leo, Hazel, Frank, Piper, and Jason) won’t survive. And then this morning he tweeted “Everything is proceeding according to plan. *diabolical laughter*” when someone asked him how writing Blood of Olympus was going. So you know, no reason to worry about how the final book in the Heroes of Olympus series will devastate the fandom and all. The Blood of Olympus is due to be released October 7, 2014.
  • Cress (Marissa Meyer, Lunar Chronicles book 3). Cinder, Captain Thorne, Scarlet, and Wolf are all on the run and trying to stay ahead of Queen Levana, ruler of the Lunar people. Their best hope lies with Cress, a talented hacker in the service of Queen Levana, who has been locked on a satellite all her life, only with her netscreens for company. Cress is rescued from her satellite, but it is a rescue that comes with a cost, and now she along with Cinder and Scarlet may be the only ones who can save the world from Levana, who will do whatever she has to to see her marriage to Emperor Kai take place. This book I believe pulls the fairy tale of Rapunzel into the series, with Cinderella and Little Red Riding Hood being the first two books. Cress is due to be released February 4.
  • The Unbound (Victoria Schwab, The Archived book 2). Following the story of Mackenzie, who is trying to solve the mystery of people just disappearing and leaving no trace. She’s trying to find out who the culprit is before she loses her job as Keeper, her memories, and her life. Still have to read The Archived, so I’ll probably marathon through the two books at the same time. The Unbound is due to be released January 28.
  • The One (Kiera Cass, The Selection book 3). America is approaching the end of the competition to win Prince Maxon’s heart, and it is getting more vicious all the time. At the same time, the threats outside the palace grow more and more every day. America now realizes just what she may lose and how much she’ll have to fight for the future she wants to have. And while I’m not one to fall for the books just because of the cover art, the covers in this series are truly stunning, making it worth buying in physical form instead of digital form, just to have them on the shelf when not being read. The One is due to be released May 6.
  • The Infinite Sea (Rick Yancy, The 5th Wave book 2). The follow-up to Rick Yancy’s amazing start of The 5th Wave series, we rejoin Cassie, Ben, and Ringer on their mission to save the human race from The Other’s, who’s only mission is to cause the extinction of all the humans on earth. AND EVAN IS ALIVE, RIGHT?! Waiting to find out that alone is agony for me. I can’t wait to get back into this world, it’s so wonderful to read about all that Yancy has created. Although come on Rick, you missed the chance to name this book The 6th Wave. And I also can’t wait to see the cover for this book. I’m just excited for every part of it. The Infinite Sea is due to be released September 16. And watch, I’ll have some test the day after it’s released.
  • Into the Still Blue (Veronica Rossi, Under the Never Sky book 3). The conclusion to the Under the Never Sky trilogy, the Dwellers and the Outsiders must be united to save the world, and the race to the Still Blue has reached a stalemate. Perry and Aria team up to start a rescue mission to save Cinder, because he is their key to the Still Blue, and also their friend and they can’t just leave him. I haven’t read this series yet, but I have book one, so I’ll probably just marathon through the series when this one comes out. Into the Still Blue is due to be released January 28.
  • The Retribution of Mara Dyer (Michelle Hodkin, Mara Dyer series book 3). This is the “mind-blowing conclusion” of the Mara Dyer trilogy, and is another series I haven’t started yet, and plan to marathon through when it’s released. The Retribution of Mara Dyer is due to be released June 10.
  • Such Sweet Sorrow (Jenny Trout). Jenny Trout, who’s 50 Shades of Grey recaps are completely hilarious, and who’s The Boss series, written under the name Abigail Barnette, are some of my favorites, has taken the stories of Romeo and Juliet and Hamlet and combined them. Romeo and Hamlet must work together to take on the Underworld, that is filled with all sorts of monsters for Romeo to restore Juliet to life. Hamlet was left with the key to the Afterjord when his father died, and when Romeo asks to go through to find Juliet, he sees this as a chance to avenge his father’s death. Such Sweet Sorrow is due to be released February 4.
  • Mortal Heart (Robin LaFever, His Fair Assassins book 3). The third book in the awesome His Fair Assassins series, the first one focusing on Ismae, the second one focusing on Sybella, this one will be focusing on Annith! Having watched her sisters go into and out of the convent all her life to carry out their work for St. Mortain, who’s convent they are all in service to, Annith waits to be sent on her own mission. But she discovers she is being groomed by the Abbess to become the Seeress of the convent and spend the rest of her life in the stone womb of the convent, and she decides to strike out on her own. She wants to be an assassin and work out of the convent like Ismae and Sybella, not be trapped in the center of the convent forever. This series is a wonderful one, and I can’t wait to read a book about Annith. Mortal Heart is due to be released November 4.
  • Untitled Darkest Minds book (Alexandra Bracken, The Darkest Minds book 3). The exciting third book in The Darkest Minds series. What will happen to Ruby, Chubs, Liam, Vida, Cole, and ugh, Clancy? Did Jude somehow miraculously survive the explosion? (Can we really get lucky with another survival after Chubs survived being shot?) ARE WE GOING TO SEE ZU AGAIN?! Will they find what they need to about the disease that has taken over the children of America? How will it end? I love this series. Along with not having a title for this book, we still don’t have a release date. So stay tuned for the title, release date, and cover!
  • This Shattered World (Amie Kaufman, Starbound book 2). This book opens six months after the events that took place in These Broken Stars, and is a companion novel to the first book. This book “follows a new pair of star-crossed lovers”, a rebel fighting for all that is his home and a soldier who is on a mission to eradicate the rebellion. And they are both facing a darkness in the newly terraformed world. There is no cover and no release date as of yet for this book.
  • Dorothy Must Die (Danielle Page, Dorothy Must Die book 1). The first book in a new series! Oz is in trouble. You can’t trust the “good” witches. The yellow brick road is crumbling. All of his has happened because Dorothy came back to Oz and seized power. Amy Gumm, the “other girl from Kansas”, has been recruited by the Revolutionary Order of the Wicked; and she has four tasks to complete: remove the heart from the Tin Man, take the Scarecrow’s brain, steal the Lion’s courage, and after those three things, and only after those three things, kill Dorothy. This story looks awesome, and I cannot wait to read it! Dorothy Must Die is due to be released April 1.
  • Landline (Rainbow Rowell). Georgie and Neal’s marriage is in trouble, and when Georgie tells Neal that she can’t go with him to Omaha for Christmas because of work, Neal surprises her by packing up him and their kids and going to Omaha anyways. She wonders if all is lost for the two of them, but that night she discovers a way to communicate with Neal in the past. She thinks that this may be a way to save their marriage before it even has started, or it may be a way to never let their marriage happen at all. After reading Fangirl, I love Rainbow Rowell and can’t wait to read more of her books! Landline is due to be released July 8.
  • Uninvited (Sophie Jordan, Uninvited book 1). Described as “The Scarlet Letter meets Minority Report . . . about a teen girl who is ostracized when her genetic test proves she’s destined to become a murderer.” Davy Hamilton loses everything after her test, and she can only relate to Sean, who carries the same predisposition in his genes. But because he carries those genes, she isn’t sure she can trust him. And she’s also not sure she can trust herself. Uninvited is due to be released January 28.

So those are the books I’m most looking forward to this year. For the ones that have yet to have titles, release dates, or covers, I’ll probably post when those pieces of information are released. These books are listed in no particular order, and I’ll probably review them when I get to read them.

January TBR

Book Post Title PictureSo yesterday I did my December Wrap Up, and today I’m doing my January TBR! For the month of January I’m planning to read 8 books, so let’s get to it!

January TBRThe first book I plan to read in January is The Serpent’s Shadow by Rick Riordan. The final book in the Kane Chronicles, Carter and Sadie are in their final battle with Apophis, the Chaos snake. They have only three days to fight him and restore Ma’at or else all is lost. With this they only have a few trainees from the Brooklyn House to help them, and divided magicians among all the nomes, as well as gods who are disappearing, and the ones who have not yet disappeared are weak. Hopefully they’ll find a way to fix everything and destroy Apophis. Can’t wait to jump into this one.

The next book I’ll be reading is Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers. Yes, I know, this one has been on my list for a while, so hopefully I’ll get to the awesome assassin Ismae and her world. This book looks really awesome, and I need to get on it so I can get to Dark Triumph soon, and Mortal Heart when it’s released!

I’m also going to try to read Chelsea Chelsea Bang Bang by Chelsea Handler this month. Another book that has been on my list for a few months, I’ve gotta read this one. It looks like a quick, fun read so I really should get to it. Yeesh.

I plan to read Eona by Alison Goodman. After loving everything about Eon, I need to get to this one! Her secret is out and Eona is also now one of the only surviving Dragoneyes, as ten of the others were murdered in the last book. After the brother of the emperor who died in the first book staged a takeover of the title emperor, Eona is on the path to help Kygo, the son of the deceased emperor and rightful Pearl Emperor, to get his throne back. The only other surviving Dragoneye is Lord Ido, the Rat Dragoneye. This book promises to be at least as gripping as Eon was, and I can’t wait to see how everything plays out.

I’m going to read Scarlet by Marissa Meyer, the second book in the Lunar Chronicles. It looks like we get to rejoin Cinder about where the last book left off and see if she is able to escape from prison and get to Africa. Scarlet is “halfway around the world” from where Cinder is, and is hunting for her missing grandmother, making a deal with Wolf, who she doesn’t really trust to look for her. On the search, she runs into Cinder, and they all are running from the Lunar queen Levana, and trying to stay ahead of her to help Prince Kai.

While I’m still finishing Promises in Death by J.D. Robb (I started at the end of December and haven’t completed it yet), I’ll also be reading Kindred in Death. An NYPSD captain’s 16-year-old daughter has been horrifically murdered, and the captain has requested Eve to investigate the murder. Dallas investigates in her awesome, tough style to find who did it, looking for every clue and any bit of overconfidence that could lead the killer to make a mistake. It looks like it will be another awesome In Death book to read.

I want to read Sapphire Blue by Kerstin Gier, the second book in the Ruby Red trilogy. I’m not totally sure what’s going to happen in this book, but time traveling and mystery, I’m sure it will be awesome.

And finally I’ll be continuing on A Breath of Snow and Ashes by Diana Gabaldon. Written in My Own Heart’s Blood comes out June 10, and I still have to finish An Echo in the Bone, so I figure by the time my mom finishes WiMOHB, I’ll be just finishing Echo, and totally ready to read the last book.

I’m thinking of doing a post about my most anticipated books of 2014, so we’ll see if I can get my research done for that. I’d like to have those dates written down as well.

Book Post Title Picture

December Wrap Up

Book Post Title PictureAnd here we are at the start of another reading year. A year ago I began writing about what I read, and I’ve pretty much kept up with it. As I said in my last post, I had a goal of reading 100 books in 2013 and I only reached 94. This year, I’ve decided to go with a goal of 75 books in 2014. School is hectic, applying to nursing school will be hectic, and studying for my TEAS test will be time consuming, so I had to be realistic this time.

So, in the month of December I read 7 books. Not as much as I wanted, but between finals, finals exhaustion, family time for the holidays and my sister’s birthday, there went a ton of my time. But it was all good, and hey, I got a B in my human anatomy class! Be warned when reading the recap, major spoilers abound about the books, so if you see the title and haven’t read it, beware!

The first book I read was Eon by Alison Goodman, but as I read that before I published the November Wrap Up/December TBR, you can find my review for that amazing book there.

The next book I read during December was No Humans Involved by Kelley Armstrong. Book 7 in the Women of the Otherworld series, focusing on Jamie Vegas, the necromancer in this series. I picked this up almost immediately after I finished Eon, because I couldn’t wait to get back into Armstrong’s world. Jamie is taking part in a tv special where her and two other “necromancers” are going to talk with the spirit of Marilyn Monroe and she is being haunted in a way she isn’t used to. Throughout this book she tries to figure out exactly what is going on and how to stop the haunting that is happening to her. In this book we also get to see Eve, the awesome witch-turned-angel and Jeremy, everyone’s favorite alpha wolf, who Jamie has had a thing for since she met him in her first appearance in this series. It was great to FINALLY see Jamie and Jeremy get together. It’s only perfection. Loved this book and I can’t wait to read the next one!

I also read Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell in December. This book as been making its way around booktube and book blogs, and oh, the hype around this book was so true. I loved every moment I got to spend with Cath and see what happened in her world. Cath is a fan of Simon Snow, which is kind of the book’s equivalent of Harry Potter. And when you say she’s a fan, what that really means is she’s a complete superfan who has her room decorated in Simon Snow stuff, brings posters with her to her new dorm room at college, writes fanfic about Snow as “magicath”, wears clothes that sometimes are Snow themed, and goes to all the midnight releases. And she is just wonderful. She and her twin sister, Wren, go to university and everything changes for her, she no longer lives with her sister but with her new (completely AWESOME) roommate, Reagan. And Reagan’s friend Levi is always hanging around. Cath still tries to write installments in her Simon fanfic story while she’s in school, and she also writes for a fiction writing class, and does partner writing with a guy in her class, Nick. When Nick stole her story additions and told her he was turning the story in only under her name, I was so angry for her. Just hated that he did that to her. But when she got her vengeance by reminding him that he wanted it to be his story when he needed her to sign her name to get it published, haha oh I loved it! Go Cath! I cried a little at some of the stuff between Cath and Wren and their dad, it was a little sad but it ended pretty well. And I was glad when their dad stepped in to stop Wren from basically destroying her life. I was so glad Cath had so awesome a roommate as Reagan, who was just what her shy personality needed to help her out in adapting to life. And Levi was just the perfect guy to hang around Cath. If I had a criticism I’d have to say he was almost too perfect and dammit where are the guys who are really like him? But I loved that they got together halfway through the book instead of at the end, because we got to see their relationship bloom in the last half of the book. I’d have to say this book was just my favorite book of December. It was just so awesome. This has hooked me into her writing and I can’t wait to read Eleanor and Park now, and Landline when it comes out later this year. If you haven’t read this one yet, READ IT!!!! Seriously.

The next book I finished was Never Fade by Alexandra Bracken, after reading the short story In Time. I loved both of these stories, In Time focusing on everyone’s favorite adorable little girl in the story, Zu and Gabe, the adult who picked her up and was trying to earn his status as a skip tracer. It follows the two of them in their journey across the country, and it was a great in between story for between The Darkest Minds and Never Fade. And Never Fade was just great. I was so excited to read this and I just tore through it in a very short time period. Which might have been dumb to do because now I have to wait for the untitled third book in the series, really crossing my fingers for another novella in between Never Fade and the third one. The characters in this book were awesome, both the originals, Ruby, Liam, and CHUBS!!!! ( I KNEW HE COULDN’T BE DEAD!!!!), and the new characters like Vida, Cole, and Jude. And dammit Clancy came back. Ugh, I cannot stand him. When Ruby’s Children’s League team goes in for a rescue mission on one prisoner, and the description is so much like Liam, I was slightly terrified and slightly excited. AND THEN IT WAS COLE! And while he was awesome, I was slightly sad it wasn’t Liam. But since that happened later on, I was okay. I loved the different names people had for Ruby, honestly. Cole calling her Gem and Jude calling her Roo. I loved Jude. He was just a sweet kid and I cried serious tears when it turned out he was dead. I really hope that by some miracle he isn’t, but since I already got that with Chubs, I may not get it again with Jude. And Vida was just awesome. Girl had one foul vocabulary and I liked that she would actually use it, instead of just something like “Vida swore and ran at me…” or something. Yes, she was slightly bitchy, but she was a wonderful character and I can’t wait to see more of her. Cole was kind of a dick sometimes, but he was a very important part of the story, especially the big revelation about him, which was just an awesome one. He is definitely not the same as Liam, except for appearances. And yes, as I said, he was kind of a dick, but he interested me a lot, so I put up with it. Chubs in this book was slightly different from Chubs in the first book. After his father helped him recover, he went up north for a bit, then got falsified papers to make him a skip tracer. I hurt for him when it was revealed that he had to turn a kid in to get his status as a skip tracer. But I was so glad to see him okay that it was good. When Liam (FINALLY) made his appearance in the book, I was so scared for him. He was so sick and it was just not good. But I loved that you could tell he remembered something about Ruby many times. And when he finally remembered everything, I was so happy. And then so upset when Liam was mad and not talking. I mean, I understood, but still I wanted them back. This was another wonderful installment, and I really can’t wait for the third one, I know it’s gonna be amazing! I could say so much more about this book, but I’ve said so much I think I should stop!

The next book I finished was The Throne of Fire by Rick Riordan. The second installment in the Kane Chronicles trilogy and it was so great. I had some trouble getting through The Red Pyramid, not because I didn’t like it, but because there was so much to it. With The Throne of Fire I had no such problems. All of the things that happened to Carter and Sadie were interesting, from being chased by a goddess and a god through London to running through the Kremlin and the adventures in the Egyptian desert and the Duat, everything was great. Trying to figure out what was wrong with Walter, and the hopes that they’ll find a cure for him, made for a good side plot in this story. Bes was such a great character, and I was so sad when he lost his self and everything with that. It just made me hurt, and I hope they can find some way to give him something back in The Serpent’s Shadow. The battle against Apophis and Desjardins not only joining forces with Carter and Sadie during the battle, but giving his life to delay Apophis from rising for a little longer was great. As always, Riordan writes amazing tales. I cannot wait to read the finale in this trilogy.

And finally I read Cinder by Marissa Meyer. I am such a sucker for fairy tale retellings, and a story about Cinderella being a cyborg in a futuristic, slightly dystopian society was just awesome. I admit I did kind of guess the big reveal about the Lunar princess who everyone thought was dead, but that’s okay. I think it was probably written to make me guess that. Cinder was such an interesting character, and her relationship with Prince Kai was fun to read too. I loved Iko the android and her defective personality chip. Made her such a fun side character. And poor Peony. It made me so sad to see her die just after Cinder was able to get some of the antidote needed to heal her from the plague. The Lunar queen was such an interesting, horrible character that I couldn’t help but kind of love to hate her. This is one of the best fairy tale retellings I read all year, can’t wait to read Scarlet and Cress this year.

Since this post has gotten a little long with the book reviews, I’m going to split the wrap up and TBR into two posts, the TBR to come tomorrow. So till then!

Book Post Title Picture

2013 Wrap Up and Top 13 Books of ’13!

Book Post Title Picture

Oh my goodness, we have made it through another year! Happy 2014 everyone!

So for 2013 my goal was to read 100 books. And I… fell short. BY 6 BOOKS!!!! Ugh. All that studying got in my way. But I accomplished my goals of school, so I guess I’ll accept that I only read 94 books (haha, only).

I read some awesome books this year, and quite a few awesome series (serieses? I know that’s wrong but it’s kinda cool.) I also read some not so awesome books (City of Fallen Angels, I’m looking at you). And I even read some books that I had to put down repeatedly because I would feel rage coming on (Beautiful Disaster, I’m side-eyeing the shit out of you). And yes, there were some books I started and simply could never finish, such as The Magicians and Mrs. Quent, which I conveniently lost my place in 1/4 of the way through. I also couldn’t finish City of Lost Souls, even on an audiobook, because I just could not handle Clary and Jace for one more second. Sorry Ms. Clare.

I picked 13 books/series that were my top favorites of the year. Yes I combined stand-alones and series because I really couldn’t decide on the books in the series that I included. They are in no order, they are just the ones that I loved the most.

  •  The Percy Jackson and the Olympians series by Rick Riordan (The Lightning Thief, The Sea of Monsters, The Titan’s Curse, The Battle of the Labyrinth, and The Last Olympian). Oh I loved reading all about the life of Percy Jackson and his friends in this series. As I’ve said all year, Rick Riordan hooks me in from the beginning and when I finish I want more. And speaking of Rick Riordan series, the next title on my list is:
  • The Heroes of Olympus series by Rick Riordan (The Lost Hero, The Son of Neptune, The Mark of Athena, and The House of Hades). These ones were slightly darker than the PJO series, and the wait between The Mark of Athena and The House of Hades was terrible. This series is not yet complete, we still have The Blood of Olympus to read soon. Oh booooy… Love these books.
  • The Darkest Minds Series by Alexandra Bracken (The Darkest Minds, In Time, and Never Fade). This series was a wonderfully dark and addictive series that I can’t wait to read the final installment of and I hope that Ms. Bracken does another short story between Never Fade and the final (still untitled) book. Yes, I did think they were slightly creepy, but I did not mind it at all, I could not put the books down ever.
  • A Million Suns and Shades of Earth by Beth Revis. I started reading this trilogy in 2012, and loved the last two books in it so much. Yes, the cover change drove me nuts, but the content of the books, sci-fi fantasy, were perfect all the same.
  • The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger. Oh this book. This beautiful, painful book. The final bits of this book absolutely destroyed me and the whole thing was just so wonderful. If you’ve seen the movie with Eric Bana and Rachel McAdams, but haven’t read the book, please read the book. They left so much out in the movie and some of the parts they left out were so wonderful.
  • The Infernal Devices Trilogy by Cassandra Clare (Clockwork Angel, Clockwork Prince, Clockwork Princess). This series was everything The Mortal Instruments series wasn’t. It was much better written than TMI was, and the characters were so much more interesting. I loved reading about Will, Jem, Tess, Charlotte, and Henry and all the others. I also loved seeing the creations and backstories on many people, places, and things in TMI, and loved seeing ancestry of certain TMI characters. And while some may not have loved the ending, I really did.
  • Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell. Oh this book, this lovely, wonderful book. I read this in December, so look for more about it in the December Wrap Up post, but this book was just so wonderful. I loved Cath and Wren and Reagan and Levi. It was so great. Now I have to read Eleanor and Park because Rowell has me hooked on her writing.
  • The Divergent Trilogy by Veronica Roth (Divergent, Insurgent, and Allegiant). Yay dystopia! Tris was such a great character, and while the ending of this series may have been (SPOILER ALERT!!!!) painful, it was a great series and I sort of understand why Roth wrote the ending the way she did. READ THESE BOOKS BEFORE THE MOVIE COMES OUT! The movie will be great though, can’t wait to see it.
  • The 5th Wave by Rick Yancy. Alien invasion, dis-trust of everyone, and some awesome characters made this book so great. I had no clue who to believe and who not to believe and was hooked through every sentence. I cannot wait for The Infinite Sea to come out, pre-ordered and everything. Although I can say I’m only slightly disappointed the second book won’t be titled “The 6th Wave”.
  • Legend Trilogy by Marie Lu (Legend, Prodigy, Champion). Wow this series was great. Everything about it from the covers to the type-color in each book for Day to the plot was awesome. Although dammit that ending! June, you should have set Day straight!!! ARGH! But the world was so cool and the characters were awesome, I’m so glad I picked the series up. Hopefully Ms. Lu will write something new in the next few years.
  • The Women of the Underworld Series by Kelley Armstrong (Bitten, Stolen, Dime Store Magic, Industrial Magic, Haunted, Broken, and No Humans Involved). Meera started me on this series this past summer and it has been so fun so far. I love that they have Elena,  female werewolf, as one of the main characters. All the women in these books are awesome, and some of them started as kind of wimpy and really grew in the books. I still have six more to go in this series, and I’m sure they’re all gonna be awesome!
  • The Gemma Doyle Trilogy by Libba Bray (A Great and Terrible Beauty, Rebel Angels, and The Sweet Far Thing). This was a really cool trilogy to start me on Libba Bray books. Gemma was a great teen protagonist and this trilogy was dark and captivating and beautiful. I love historical fiction, so that excited me too. And the ending was really great for Anne, Gemma, and Felicity.
  • Cinder by Marissa Meyer. The first in the Lunar Chronicles, I read this in December, so again, I’ll get to review it more later. But it was a great read, I love fairy tale retellings. I also went straight to Books A Million and picked up Scarlet (on sale too!!!) after finishing this book. And I’ll be pre-ordering Cress and Winter too. It’s gonna be great.

So that’s my list of Top 13 of ’13. I’ll get to the December Wrap Up/January TBR post tomorrow. Hopefully.

November Wrap Up/December TBR

So classes are done until January. And I can finally read again! And I even passed my exams so everything is good. So let’s get straight to the wrap up!

Book Post Title Picture

So the first book I read in November was Broken by Kelley Armstrong. We went back to Elena the awesome werewolf’s point of view. Really, I love Elena. In this one she was pregnant, which had its own entertainment factor watching her and Jeremy and Clay all kind of struggle with their worry and over-protectiveness. They had to steal a letter and accidentally opened a portal from the underworld, letting a few zombies loose in modern-day Toronto. And possibly even Jack the Ripper, who the letter was supposedly written by. This book follows them trying to close the portal and we see return characters like Jamie as well as new characters. I love these books. They’re always so interesting to read.

I also read Champion by Marie Lu. Which was amazing and I couldn’t put it down. The final book in the Legend series, June and Day are working hard for the Republic and at first June still doesn’t know Day is dying. It was wonderful and frustrating and happy and sad all at the same time. And the ending… well, if you read it you know what I mean. And if you haven’t, I really don’t want to spoil it.

I read Salvation in Death by J.D. Robb. This one was a whole new level of interesting, bringing religion into it in a different way. A Catholic priest gets poisoned while in the midst of a funeral mass, and then a big-name preacher gets poisoned while in the middle of one of his televised services. Eve has to go through whole new levels to find the killer and some of it is hard for her to deal with. I always like visiting the world J.D. Robb creates, so many books in this series and it never gets old.

In preparation for the release of the Catching Fire movie (which was awesome and they stuck to the book much better than the first movie. They also had a bigger budget, which helps too.), I read Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins. Really don’t need to review this book at all, it’s been read so much. If you haven’t read the series, just read it. This is a wonderful second book in a trilogy.

And finally I read Eon by Alison Goodman. This book was addictive and I had trouble putting it down, even to study for finals. But I managed to. And would pick it up the second I could to read more. Then of course I got tricked by the book at the end thinking I still had a few chapters left, but it was the first chapter of the next book. Which luckily, I already bought. Because the ending… oh my that ending! The world Alison Goodman built in the first book alone was a wonderful one. As it was a book about dragons and dragoneyes, she had to build a fantasy world, basing it with origins from Japanese and Chinese cultures. I can’t wait to read the next book, Eona. I’m so glad I bought both of them at the same time!

December TBR

Okay, so for the month of December, I’m free from school and ten books away from reaching 100 books for the year of 2013! So the first book I’ll be reading is No Humans Involved by Kelley Armstrong. And this book is about Jamie, our lovely medium! She’s no longer a side character! Girlfriend gets her own book! I hope she and Jeremy finally get together, because oh yes, I ship them!

I’m also going to be reading The Throne of Fire and The Serpent’s Shadow by Rick Riordan. I was going to read The Throne of Fire in November, but finals happened. I’m sorry Mr. Riordan! I can’t wait to read the continuation of the Kane Chronicles. Sadie and Carter are awesome, along with all their friends! And some enemies too. I already read The Son of Sobek, I couldn’t help myself. IT WAS CARTER KANE AND PERCY JACKSON! What would you expect me to do?? Luckily it was pretty spoiler free on what happened in the last two books of the Kane Chronicles, so that’s cool. Love Riordan books.

I’m going to be reading Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers. The first book in the His Fair Assassin trilogy, I’ve had this one sitting on my unread shelf for a while after watching some reviews of it on YouTube. It sounds really good, and now I need to get around to reading it.

I’ll be reading Cinder by Marissa Meyer. Again, I’ve had this book on my shelf for a while, and this whole Lunar Chronicles series looks really amazing. I’m a sucker for fairy tales and retellings of fairy tales, so I can’t wait to catch up on this series!

I’m going to read Chelsea Chelsea Bang Bang by Chelsea Handler, one of her I guess memoir books. After loving Mindy Kalling’s book, I think this one will be entertaining too.

Thanks to Amazon’s Black Friday offer of 10% off any one book, I got Never Fade, the second book in The Darkest Minds series by Alexandra Bracken. I absolutely cannot wait to read this one, after the painful ending of The Darkest Minds. PLEASE LET RUBY FIND LIAM!!! AND LET CHUBS BE OKAY! I really love these books, and need to get a hard copy of The Darkest Minds so I can start getting other people to read it.

I’ll be reading Promises in Death by J.D. Robb, book number 28 of 38, I think it is now. One of these days I really will catch up on this whole series. But then I won’t know what to do with myself while I wait for the new one, so I’m not in too big of a hurry to do that. I love my visits with Eve and Roarke. And I just read the description for this one and I think I’ll be crying a little bit. Crap.

I’ll be reading Eona by Alison Goodman. Really, after all that happened in the first one, there’s no way I can make myself wait too long to read this book too. I want to finish it before I start classes again so I don’t have to separate myself from it to study like with Eon.

And finally, I’ll be continuing A Breath of Snow and Ashes by Diana Gabaldon. I have a three-week vacation coming up, maybe I’ll be able to finish this one. Could happen.

So that’s my ambition from the month of December! We’ll see how it all goes.Sorry I’ve been so infrequent about this, but school really took up all my world. I basically read when I was on the bus to and from school, and no other time. Glad I have some time now, and hey, maybe I’ll even get the next wrap up and TBR post up on time!

I may do a year wrap up, just to do a quick recap, if anyone’s interested. Not totally sure I will or not. Maybe a favorite books of 2013 thing. Not sure. If anyone has a request, let me know in the comments!