End of the Year Book Survey!

2015 end of the year book survey

Hello and welcome to the first tag-ish thing I’m doing on a Friday! This is more of a survey (comprised of about half a million questions) than a tag, but I saw it on Joey’s blog at Thoughts and Afterthoughts and it looked really fun so here I am. The survey was started on The Perpetual Page-Turner’s blog if you’re also interested in participating. Let’s get right into this.
(P.S.: You can click on the title of any of these books and be taken to either my review of it or the Goodreads page. It’s a surprise)

2015 Reading Stats

How many books did you read?
I honestly have no idea. I started using Goodreads when I started my blog (July), and for a while I don’t think I was using it correctly. So, keeping track incorrectly since July, 38?

Number of re-reads?
I re-read Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone in the illustrated edition… and maybe The Fault in Our StarsThat could’ve been 2014. I’m a mess.

Genre you read from the most?
Contemporary, without a doubt. They’re just so cute.

Best in Books

Best book you read in 2015?
What kind of question is this? I have no idea, especially considering that I don’t remember half the books I actually read during this year. Can I just cheat and say Harry Potter? Harry Potter.

Book you were excited about and thought you would love but you didn’t?
ME AND EARL AND THE DYING GIRL *sigh* I was so disappointed with this one. Even in my review I was trying to convince myself that I liked it more than I did. It was more of a two star book for me honestly.
Also, 100 Sideways Miles by Andrew Smith. I read those two books back-to-back and I was incredibly underwhelmed.

Book that you pushed most people to read (and they did) in 2015?
Definitely The Lunar Chronicles. They’re just fantastic books. Why wouldn’t you want to read them?

Best series you started in 2015? Best sequel of 2015? Best series ender of 2015?
Woah, rapid-fire! Okay… Best series starter of the year has to go to Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff because that book absolutely destroyed me. Best sequel goes to The Heir by Kiera Cass and series ender… you should know this by now.
Winter by Marissa Meyer.

Favorite new author you discovered in 2015?
Definitely Sophie Kinsella with Finding Audrey. That was such a good book. Or Jenny Han with her To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before duology. Like, how had I not read Jenny Han before?

Best book from a genre you don’t typically read/was out of your comfort zone?
Illuminaeagain. It’s a 600 page science fiction book… AH.

Most action-packed/thrilling/unputdownable book of 2015?
Illuminae. I’m sensing a theme.

Book you read in 2015 that you’re most likely to re-read next year?
Throne of GlassI read it early 2015 (or maybe late 2014, but who knows) and I would like to continue on with the series but don’t remember anything.

Favorite cover of a book you read in 2015?
I really like the cover for Match Point by Erynn Mangum. It’s really cute and colorful and goes with the story well.

Most memorable character of 2015? 
Iko from The Lunar Chronicles. Gotta love her.

Most beautifully written book you read in 2015? 
The Storyteller by Jodi Picoult. Maybe not in terms of the actual writing and words used, but all of the different perspectives and side-stories made it an incredibly powerful story.

Most thought-provoking/life-changing book of 2015?
Neil Gaiman’s Make Good Art speech. This was such a great message that I really enjoyed reading.

Book you can’t believe you waited until 2015 to read?
Paper Towns by John Green. I bought it immediately after I finished The Fault in Our Stars like, two years ago, and I never got around to reading it until a very long car ride this summer when I discovered that IT IS A FANTASTIC BOOK.

Favorite passage/quote of 2015? 

“Did you see any rice in there? Maybe we could fill Cinder’s head with it.”
Everyone stared at him.
“You know, to…absorb the moisture, or something. Isn’t that a thing?”
“We’re not putting rice in my head.”

-Marissa Meyer, Winter

Shortest and longest book you read in 2015?
Shortest – Make Good Art by Neil Gaiman (at approximately 80 pages)
Longest – Winter by Marissa Meyer (at approximately 800 pages)

Book that shocked you the most?
The Shadow Hero by Gene Luen Yang and Sonny Liew. I picked it up on a complete whim and I ended up really enjoying it.

OTP of the year?
Thorne and Cress from Winter, Kady and Ezra from Illuminae, Ron and Hermione from Harry Potter (LOL).

Favorite non-romantic relationship of the year?
Nimona and Ballister Blackheart from Nimona by Noelle Stevenson. Their sidekick/super-villain relationship was hilarious.

Favorite book you read in 2015 from an author you’ve read previously?
Since You’ve Been Gone by Morgan Matson. Gotta love Morgan Matson.

Best book you read in 2015 based solely on someone’s recommendation/peer pressure?
I don’t think I really read any books like that this year… but maybe next year. I did ask for a lot of books for Christmas based on recommendations, and I’ll be reading those soon. 🙂

Newest fictional crush from a book you read in 2015?
Ezra from Illuminae is pretty cool. Although, if life as we know it has to end and I have to be cooped up on a sketchy spaceship to meet him, I’ll pass.

Best 2015 debut you read?
I know that as soon as I post this I’m going to remember some, but I honestly can’t think of any debuts that I really loved this year. Be sure to leave any good recommendations below!

Best world building/vivid setting you read this year?
This is kind of a weird answer, but Landline by Rainbow Rowell. Thinking back on that book, I can still vividly picture all of the scenes and I read it months ago.

Book that put a smile on your face/was the most FUN to read?
Finding Audrey by Sophie Kinsella. It was such a cute and fun story.

Book that made you cry or nearly cry in 2015?
For some reason, Kiersten White’s story in My True Love Gave to Me made me cry. It wasn’t even that sad, it was just a really cute story. I don’t know.

Hidden gem of the year? 
The Lauren Holbrook series by Erynn Mangum were such fun reads.
WAIT I READ THOSE SOLELY OFF OF ONE RECOMMENDATION.
Okay guys, I don’t want to go back and change my answer because the laziness has gotten to that point. But that’s my answer for that other question, too.

Book that crushed your soul? 
Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff.

Most unique book you read in 2015?
Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff.
Seriously y’all, have you added that book to your TBR yet?

Book that made you mad? 
Maximum Ride Forever by James Patterson, simply because it really shouldn’t exist. But it does and I read it and I loved it, so who am I to complain?

Your Blogging/Bookish Life

New favorite blog you discovered in 2015?
I started my blog in 2015, so every blog I discovered was new. Due to that fact, I’m given the right to cheat. EVERYONE. Seriously. You all are the bomb-diggity.

Favorite review that you wrote in 2015?
Winter by Marissa Meyer because it was also a discussion and I really want to start writing more posts like that.

Best discussion/non-review post you had on your blog?
Back in the early days of my blogging (circa July) I parodied the first chapter or so of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone and made it about my dog. I also dressed up my dog for the occasion. It’s always going to be one of my favorite posts.
Also, my Thanksgiving book cover edits. Those were so fun to make.

Best event that you participated in? 
I didn’t really participate in any… but I’m hoping to change that in 2016! I’m kind of terrified to be a part of blog tours or author interviews because I’m worried that I completely misunderstand what they’re all about and I’m going to do them incorrectly.

Best moment of bookish/blogging life in 2015?
I was terrified to ask publishers for ARCs because I’m still such a new blog and I was worried that they would completely reject me and then laugh about the tiny little blog that wants books while sipping coffee in some gold-plated conference room. However, publishers are actually really nice and I was added to three blogger lists this year which was amazing and completely unexpected.

Most popular post this year on your blog?
My predictions post for what will happen in The Crown by Kiera Cass. At least once a day someone who is searching trying to find out who is going to die in that book is directed to my (most likely) completely inaccurate ramblings. Sorry.

Post you wished got a little more love?
Maybe… this one?
It did get quite a bit of love for the amount of followers I had at the time. Honestly, any posts that were read by literally anyone is more love than I thought any of my writing would get when I was first starting out, so thank you.

Best bookish discovery? 
Book Outlet (although that was more late 2014… we’re counting it!). Although, whether or not this was a good discovery based on how much money it’s eaten up is debatable…

Did you complete any bookish challenges/goals you set for yourself this year?
I didn’t set any! But I am this year, so hopefully I’ll complete all of those.

Looking Ahead

What’s one book you didn’t get to in 2015 that will be your number one priority in 2016?
I don’t know if it’ll be my number one priority because I’m not really in the mood to pick it up right now, but THE THRONE OF GLASS SERIES AHHHHHHH. I just want to know what everyone’s always talking about and join the bandwagon and get all excited about the new releases… sigh.

Book you are most anticipating for 2016?
The Crown by Kiera Cass. I’m so ready.

2016 debut you’re most anticipating in 2016?
Kill the Boy Band by Goldy Moldavsky. I just know that it’s going to be fantastic and hilarious and I’m. So. Excited.

Series ending/sequel you’re most anticipating in 2016?
See the aforementioned Kiera Cass book.

One thing you hope to accomplish in your blogging during 2016?
Higher quality posts all the time, and just to keep blogging. Hopefully I’ll make it to another end of the year survey!

A 2016 release you’ve already read and recommend to everyone?
None… but hopefully I’ll be reading some good ones soon!


If you actually read my answers to all of those crazy questions, thank you for your dedication! I’m not going to tag anyone to do this because I feel like there’s a big difference between tagging people to do a typical ten question tag and tagging someone to do a fifty question survey… that’s a lot of pressure. However, feel free to answer the questions yourself if you’re interested and link it below so I can be sure to see your answers.
I hope you all have a wonderful 2016. Thanks for reading! 🙂

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December Wrap-Up of All the Things!

wrap-up-tbr-bookhaul

Happy Friday Eve, and New Year’s Eve! I cannot believe that 2015 is coming to an end, which seems to be what everyone is saying, but seriously. Last month I said that my November Wrap-Up of All the Things was going to be my last wrap-up post of 2015 because I was assuming that I was going to be a mess as usual and not get this post out until a couple days into 2016.
HAHA past Audrey. I actually have my stuff together. Kind of.
Let’s get into this!

blogging accomplishments

Today marks my sixth month of blogging, which is absolutely bonkers. Who actually thought I would make it this long? “Not I,” said the pig.*
This month marked the milestone of reaching 450 readers, which is 448 readers than I ever thought I’d have. Thank you all for reading my ramblings, I hope you’ve enjoyed them.
I also started doing “What’s Up Wednesdays” this month, which is literally the only new posts that I said I would start doing last month that I actually did (more on that later). I’m really, really enjoying making those posts, and I plan to continue on with them if you guys are liking them as well.
I continued to make my Match Made in Mondays posts this month, which is really fun. As of right now I’m going to continue doing that, but I don’t have anymore topics lined up, so I definitely need to remedy that beforehand (if you have any ideas, feel free to leave them below).

*In case you didn’t get that reference:
not i said the pig.jpg
You should probably read The Little Red Hen at your earliest convenience. It’s a fantastic piece of literature.

wrap-up

This month wasn’t too amazing of a reading month for me, but that’s okay. I feel like I could’ve read a lot more, but I started the month off a little rough trying to finish a book that I wasn’t really enjoying. Ah, well. Also, I still didn’t read Throne of Glass or Crown of Midnight. But is anyone really surprised by that? I read two graphic novels and four regular books this month.

The Shadow Hero by Gene Luen Yang and Sonny Liew
Nimona by Noelle Stevenson
Maximum Ride Forever by James Patterson
The Geography of You and Me by Jennifer E. Smith
My True Love Gave to Me by Stephanie Perkins (and lots of other people)
Instructions for the End of the World by Jamie Kain

I’m also about 200 pages into To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, which I’m reading for school. This morning I started reading Made You Up by Francesca Zappia and I’m about 20 pages into that, and at some point I’ll probably finish reading The Final Empire by Brandon Sanderson, which I started this month and I’m about 100 pages into that. Can we round all of that up and pretend it counts as another book? No? Fine.

happy (haul)idays!

Welcome to another embarrassingly large book haul. You’ve got to understand that 1) my Black Friday BookOutlet books arrived to my house this month and 2) pretty much all I expressed interest in receiving for Christmas were books. So… let’s just get into this.

The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater
The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater
Blue Lily, Lily Blue by Maggie Stiefvater
The Rose Society by Marie Lu
Made You Up by Francesca Zappia
Carry On by Rainbow Rowell
All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven
The Geography of You and Me by Jennifer E. Smith
Revenge, Ice Cream, and Other Things Best Served Cold by Katie Finn
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee
Alice in Wonderland/Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll
Nimona by Noelle Stevenson
Maximum Ride Forever by James Patterson
A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness
Bad Magic by Pseudonymous Bosch
The Hero of Ages by Brandon Sanderson
Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson

BOOKS.

january tbr

In the ideal world, these are all the books I would read in January. But, you know. Finals.

Made You Up by Francesca Zappia (finishing)
The Final Empire by Brandon Sanderson (continuing… this one’s going to take me a while)
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee (I better finish this one in January or I’m going to be horribly behind in English class)
The Rose Society by Marie Lu
Bad Magic by Pseudonymous Bosch
This is Where it Ends by Marieke Nijkamp
The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling (I don’t know, I just really want to reread it)

You’ll notice that I didn’t include Throne of Glass this month because who am I kidding? I NEVER GET TO IT. 

future plans

So I’ve been this for, what, three months? But I’m actually doing these things this time. I’m going to plan it out better, and if they don’t happen during January, they are happening within the early months of 2016. I pinky swear. Those are legally binding.
First of all, I’m not really loving Feature Fridays anymore. Usually I don’t have ideas for them and then I just end up not posting on Fridays, which I hate doing. They might come back occasionally, but from now on (starting tomorrow if all goes well) I’m going to be doing tags every Friday, because I’ve been hardcore slacking on tags (like, I haven’t done one since September) and I really like doing them. So that’s one thing.
I don’t know if the middle grade Sundays are going to be very consistent right away, but I’m trying my best. I really want to start rereading the Harry Potter books, so that could be a thing that happened.
Baby Book Babble is a-go. It’s gonna happen. Eventually. I want to make sure that it’s really well put together, so it might take a while. But it’s going to happen.
There will be more giveaways in 2016, which will be fun. I’m starting to make my reviews a little longer, and I’m still kind of experimenting with that but I’m also going to try and include more quotes (once I stop reading graphic novels). Woot.
As always, I’m going to keep blogging! I hit a rough patch in December and if anything January will probably be a little worse because of my semester ending and finals and STRESS AHHHHHHHHHHHHH.
But we’ll see.

Thanks for reading! 🙂
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Review #38: The Shadow Hero by Gene Luen Yang and Sonny Liew

a forwardsandbookwords review

Cover Reviethe shadow herow: It’s a solid cover. It gives you a good sense of the art style and the subject of the book (superheroes, obviously).
Book: The Shadow Hero
Author(s): Gene Luen Yang and Sonny Liew
Description: Graphic novel YA compilation of 6 comic issues (did that make any sense? I’m new to the comic/graphic novel world. I don’t know what I’m talking about)
Publishing Information: Released July 15, 2014 by First Second
Pages: 169
First Line: In 1911, the Chi’ing Dynasty collapsed, ending two millennia of imperial rule over China.
Synopsis (from Goodreads):
A VIBRANT HOMAGE TO A CLASSIC COMIC FROM TWO MASTERS OF THE MODERN GRAPHIC NOVEL.
The Shadow Hero is based on golden-age comic series The Green Turtle, whose hero solved crimes and fought injustice just like any other comics hero. But this mysterious masked crusader was hiding more than your run-of-the-mill secret identity…The Green Turtle was the first Asian American superhero.
Now, exactly seventy years later, New York Times-bestselling author Gene Luen Yang has revived this nearly forgotten, pioneering character in a new graphic novel that creates an origin story for the golden-age Green Turtle.
With artwork by the unmatched Sonny Liew, this hilarious and insightful graphic novel about heroism and heritage is also a loving tribute to the long, rich tradition of American superhero comics.

pros and cons

Overall:
I picked up this book completely on a whim. I was just sitting on my couch, thinking about how daunting my current read (a Brandon Sanderson book – ahhh) is, and that maybe I should pick up another little book on the side. The Shadow Hero was sitting on the couch next to me because my sister was planning on reading it soon, and I just picked it up.
I’m not going to lie and pretend like I know anything about superhero comics or the history behind this one, but it was fascinating. If you read the synopsis, you’ll know that this was a re-vamped version of an unsuccessful comic from “The Golden Age”, and reading about the history behind this story in the back of the book after finishing the actual story made me enjoy it even more.
I don’t typically read superhero story or watch any of the big superhero movies, but this story did seem to have a few of the typical superhero tropes (that I can’t get too into without spoiling things). Still, the culture and that was included was refreshing and helped to make this such a fast read.
The Plot: 
The plot really took me by surprise. It was a lot funnier and more (for lack of a better word) ridiculous than I thought it would be. It follows a boy named Hank whose mother is unsatisfied with her life in America. Of course, this is before her life is saved by a superhero and she decides that her son’s destiny must be to become a superhero. The only issue is, he doesn’t have any powers, and in his attempt to prove himself to his mother, Hank makes some very powerful enemies.
The story was incredibly fast-paced, as graphic novels tend to be. I love that it was able to combine a kick-butt story with culture and also a ton of humor. The ending wasn’t anything unexpected, but it was satisfying and I enjoyed it.
The Characters:
I really liked the family dynamic in this book. Sure, the mom was a little crazy and the dad was sad all of the time, but going into this with the knowledge that it was about superheroes, I expected our main character to be either an orphan or the child of mad scientists.
Hank’s mom was hilarious. She was crazy, but the scenes that included her were absolutely crazy and ridiculous and my absolute favorites. She also had some pretty admirable character development throughout the story.
I also really loved Hank’s relationship with his dad. While his mother thought that his grocer father was nothing to be proud of, Hank loved working with his father and someday dreamed of taking over the family business. It was a really cute element of the book.
All of the side characters were pretty well developed, although I sometimes had a hard time keeping track of all of Hank’s enemies (which either gives you a taste for my horrible memory or what a horrible situation Hank is suddenly thrust into). Hank’s love interest was fantastic. It seemed like the type of thing that would be insta-love, but it really surprised me. She was maybe even more kick-butt than Hank, which was really nice because in the time period that the book takes place in (and even still today *sigh*) calling people a girl, or saying they fought like a girl, was used as an insult.
Favorites: 
Like I said before, Hank’s mom was fantastic. I think my absolute favorite moment was pretty close to the beginning of the book when she decided that Hank was destined to be a superhero. She was eavesdropping on some ladies who were talking about how a famous superhero become a superhero, and one of the ways was exposure to acid. In the next scene, she and Hank are walking by an accident involving a truck carrying toxic waste, and she literally kicks her son into it. It was so unexpected and hilarious and I did a horrible job of describing it, so I apologize.
I also loved reading all of the history and explanation behind the graphic novel at the end of the book. It was honestly fascinating and really added a lot to the story.
Meh:
The wasn’t really anything in particular that I didn’t like about this book, but it just wasn’t my favorite. It wasn’t mind-blowing by any means, but it was a solid story. There were a ton of fight scenes, which just aren’t my favorite, but that’s a personal preference.

final thoughts

This was a really enjoyable, quick read. I’m not huge on superhero stories, but it was entertaining and exceeded my expectations. If you like reading the classic superheroes or watching the superhero movies, you’ll probably enjoy this story. It was definitely nice to read such a unique story while also learning about the history behind it.
4/5 stars
Goodreads         Barnes and Noble        Amazon       IndieBound

Thanks for reading! 🙂
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What’s Up Wednesday – 12/30/15

what's up wednesdays

Hello and happy hump day! I wasn’t able to get a What’s Up Wednesday post up last week (I don’t remember my excuse, and it probably wasn’t good anyway), but I’m back!
I can’t believe tomorrow is the last day of 2016! I hope everyone has fun and is safe during all their New Year’s Eve celebrations. Also – sidenote – if you’ve looked at and shared your Goodreads “Year in Reading” summary, feel free to leave the link below. I’ve discovered that they’re, like, my favorite thing to look through.
Anyway, you’re not here to hear me ramble for two paragraphs (whoops, too late). Let’s get on to the bookish news, brought to you by the least-qualified news source… like, ever.

like, ever.gif

The BFG Trailer Release

So I don’t know if you knew that Disney was making a non-animated version of The BFG by Roald Dahl, but they are! The BFG was one of the first chapter books that I read by myself, and though it is second to Matilda as my favorite Roald Dahl book it is fantastic and completely worth the read, especially now that you have the movie to look forward to!
From what I could tell from the two minute trailer, it’s going to remain pretty accurate to the original story, so I’m so excited. Hopefully this will encourage a whole new generation to pick up one of my favorites.
You can watch the trailer here, and if it looks good to you read the book. You’ll love it.

NEW MORGAN MATSON BOOK TO BE RELEASED IN 2016

So I found out about this book yesterday literally seconds after posting my Top Ten Tuesday post on my most anticipated releases for the first half of 2016, and I FREAKED OUT. And yes, the fact that Morgan Matson is writing a new book being released in early May 2016 is pretty old news, so I’m sorry if you already knew this. But, if you did already know this and now you’re annoyed that you’re hearing about it again, WHY DIDN’T YOU TELL ME THAT MORGAN MATSON WAS WRITING A NEW BOOK?!
Morgan Matson is one of my favorite contemporary authors of all time. Her books are hilarious and so easy to absolutely fly through. I’m so excited to read this book, especially since it’s almost 500 pages long. 500 pages! Long contemporaries are my favorite contemporaries.
Also, it has a gorgeous cover (although that’s no surprise, because Simon and Schuster is killing the cover game lately). And… the premise. Oh my goodness guys.
You can hit that “Want to Read” button for this book on Goodreads here. And speaking of Goodreads, here’s the synopsis that I stole from that very site to spread the excitement:

Andie had it all planned out.
When you are a politician’s daughter who’s pretty much raised yourself, you learn everything can be planned or spun, or both. Especially your future.
Important internship? Check.
Amazing friends? Check.
Guys? Check (as long as we’re talking no more than three weeks)
But that was before the scandal. Before having to be in the same house with her dad. Before walking an insane number of dogs. That was before Clark and those few months that might change her whole life.
Because here’s the thing – if everything’s planned out, you can never find the unexpected.
And where’s the fun in that?

Have I even said the name of this book yet? The Unexpected Everything. Isn’t that beautiful? I’m so excited. SO EXCITED.

The Illuminae Files Book #2 Title Reveal and Jay Kristoff Info Release

It’s been a while since I freaked out about one of my favorite books of the year, Illuminae. I guess it’s time we change that, huh?
We don’t know a ton about the book yet in terms of a cover or synopsis, but we did get the title: Gemina. I’M SO EXCITED. (I’ve said that way too many times in this post)
Also, because Jay Kristoff is fantastic, he answered all of the questions that you might possibly have about the sequel with no spoilers, so you can read it if you really want to even if you haven’t read Illuminae (although I don’t really know why you’d want to).
Read it here. It’s hilarious, and it’s guaranteed to make you way too excited for this book considering it’s not coming out until late 2016.

Featured Release: This is Where it Ends by Marieke Nijkamp

this is where it ends

This cover is as gorgeous in real life as it is in the picture. I was fortunately enough to win an ARC of this book in a giveaway, and I’m hoping to power through the relatively short book before its release on January 5. It’s gotten mixed reviews, but the premise is so intense that I have to see for myself. I’m sure you’ll feel the same way:

10:00 a.m.
The principal of Opportunity, Alabama’s high school finishes her speech, welcoming the entire student body to a new semester and encouraging them to excel and achieve.
10:02 a.m.
The students get up to leave the auditorium for their next class.
10:03
The auditorium doors won’t open.
10:05
Someone starts shooting.
Told over the span of 54 harrowing minutes from four different perspectives, terror reigns as one student’s calculated revenge turns into the ultimate game of survival.

AHHH WHAT? It sounds so intense and important, and I’m super excited to dive in.
Check out this week’s feature release for yourself:
Goodreads         Barnes and Noble         IndieBound         Amazon


That’s this week’s news! Be sure to let me know in the comments what you think of all of these announcements, and if I missed anything big.
Happy New Year and thanks for reading! 🙂

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Top Ten Tuesday: Most Anticipated Releases of the First Half of 2016

top ten tuesday

Hello and happy Tuesday! I was all prepared to be writing a “What’s Up Wednesday” post today before realizing that it wasn’t actually Wednesday. I honestly have no sense of time or date when I’m  not in school, and it’s kind of concerning.
We are quickly approaching the end of 2015, and with that comes lots of posts about 2016. Fittingly, today’s topic for Top Ten Tuesday (hosted by The Broke and the Bookish) is…

Top Ten Most Anticipated Releases of 2016

We’ll see if I’m actually able to follow the directions this time.

1. Ththe love that split the worlde Love that Split the World by Emily Henry
Release Date:
January 26, 2016
If you want all of the reasoning behind why I picked this book as one of my most anticipated releases, you can read my full Waiting on Wednesday post here. Basically, it just sounds like the perfect combination of a gorgeous cover, romance, and magical realism. Yes, please.

2. The Crown by Kiera Cass the crown ew.jpg
Release Date: May 3, 2016
Unpopular opinion: I don’t hate this series. I actually love it with a large part of my heart and I’m so excited for this concluding novel, even if the cover is hideous. Yet again, if you want to hear my full excited thoughts and predictions for this book, I made another post about it a while back that you can read here.

the siren.jpg

3. The Siren by Kiera Cass
Release Date: January 26, 2016
Ah, yet another book by Kiera Cass featuring a girl in a dress and yet another book released on January 26 that’s likely to be an instant bestseller.
I’m not excited for this one so much as I’m intrigued by it. It’s a revamped version of the same story that she self-published in 2009. The storyline sounds pretty solid and she said in a promotional video that it kind of took place in the same world as The Selection, but not completely. Hopefully this new protagonist isn’t as aggravating as America.

4. Stars Above by Marissa Meyerstars above.jpg
Release Date: February 2, 2016
I know y’all were waiting for this one to show up. Honestly, I’m not usually the hugest fans of short story collection because normally they’re just reselling things that you used to be able to read online for free in order to make more money. Still, it’s the Lunar Chronicles. I can’t not read this. Also, it’s beautiful. Also, it apparently has an epilogue to Winter that has a wedding scene, and we all know I’m a sucker for epilogues.

5. Ththe girl from everywheree Girl from Everywhere by Heidi Heilig
Release Date: February 16, 2016
I’m honestly so excited for this book. It’s the author’s debut novel, and I definitely think it has the potential to be the next big thing, especially with such a gorgeous cover. It follows a girl whose father has a time-traveling ship and requires the map necessary to go back in time to save her mother’s life. The cost? Her mother died in childbirth, and saving her would likely bring our main character Nix’s death. LIKE WHAT? That sounds so fantastic.

every exquisite thing.jpg6. Every Exquisite Thing by Matthew Quick
Release Date: May 10, 2016
I honestly know nothing about this book, but the cover is gorgeous and the advanced reviews have been fantastic. Matthew Quick is the bestselling author of Silver Linings Playbook and I’ve been meaning to pick up some of his work for the longest time. So why not pick up his newest one that has a beautiful cover?

7. Salt salt to the sea.jpgto the Sea by Ruta Sepetys
Release Date: February 2, 2016
I’ve heard amazing things about Between Shades of Gray, so I’m super excited that Ruta Sepetys is writing yet another book that takes place in World War II. I’ll probably try and pick up her first book before reading this one because Ruta Sepetys said that one of the main characters in this book is the cousin of a character in her first book, so I’d just prefer to read them in publication order and feel like I’m getting the full effect. Still, I’m definitely excited that this book is going to be out there, and I look forward to getting to it at some point. (Also, the early reviews on Goodreads are fantastic. Like, 99% of people enjoyed it, fantastic).

8. Where Fwhere futures end.jpgutures End by Parker Peevyhouse
Release Date: February 9, 2016
This book sounds so weird and amazing. It is comprised of five intertwining novellas, featuring social media, sixth senses, and alternate universes. What? The synopsis on Goodreads doesn’t share too much, but I’m okay with that. It seems like the type of book that you’d just like to dive into, and I look forward to doing just that. And, again with the early reviews, 100% of people have enjoyed this book as of right now. Which I’d say is a pretty good percentage, am I right?

this savage song.jpg9. This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab
Release Date: June 7, 2016
I haven’t read anything by Victoria Schwab, but I’m hoping to change that really soon. This Savage Song is going to be the first book in a new series, and it sounds right up my alley. Monster hunting? Yes please. Also, the last line of the synopsis (A unique, fast-paced adventure that looks at the monsters we face every day—including the monster within.) suggests that this book might have a deeper message/metaphors, which I’m all for.

summer days10. Summer Days & Summer Nights: Twelve Love Stories by Stephanie Perkins and Other Various Authors
Release Date: June 14, 2016
I recently read My True Love Gave to Me and I absolutely loved reading the collection of themed short stories from so many talented authors. I’m thrilled that Stephanie Perkins is putting together another collection. It features twelve new authors who are super talented and I can’t wait to read from, like Veronica Roth, Jennifer E. Smith, Cassandra Clare, and many more. This has immediately earned a spot on my summer TBR.


So those are my top ten books that I’m going to be spending all of my money on in the first half of 2016. Were any of my book also on yours? Be sure to link me to your TTT post in the comments below if you made one this week, or just give me any of your other thoughts.
I hope you had a good day today (I know that this post came out later than it normally does)! Thanks for reading! 🙂

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Review #37: Nimona by Noelle Stevenson

a forwardsandbookwords review

Cover Review: nimonaI love this cover so much. It’s adorable, and gives you a good sense of the adventure and beautiful art style within the book. I mean, this is only the second graphic novel I’ve read, so what do I know about art style? But I really enjoyed the art. Also (you can’t really tell in the picture), there’s so much detail in the background of this cover that’s so cute and goes along with the story so well.
Book: Nimona
Author: Noelle Stevenson
Description: Stand-alone(?) YA graphic novel
Publishing Information: Released May 12, 2015 by HarperCollins Publishers
Pages: 272
First Line: “What? Who are you? How did you get in here?” (Kind of out-of-context and unhelpful considering this is a graphic novel…)
Synopsis (from Goodreads)
Nemeses! Dragons! Science! Symbolism! All these and more await in this brilliantly subversive, sharply irreverent epic from Noelle Stevenson. Featuring an exclusive epilogue not seen in the web comic, along with bonus conceptual sketches and revised pages throughout, this gorgeous full-color graphic novel is perfect for the legions of fans of the web comic and is sure to win Noelle many new ones.
Nimona is an impulsive young shapeshifter with a knack for villainy. Lord Ballister Blackheart is a villain with a vendetta. As sidekick and supervillain, Nimona and Lord Blackheart are about to wreak some serious havoc. Their mission: prove to the kingdom that Sir Ambrosius Goldenloin and his buddies at the Institution of Law Enforcement and Heroics aren’t the heroes everyone thinks they are.
But as small acts of mischief escalate into a vicious battle, Lord Blackheart realizes that Nimona’s powers are as murky and mysterious as her past. And her unpredictable wild side might be more dangerous than he is willing to admit.

pros and cons

Overall: 
This is the first graphic novel I’ve ever reviewed, mainly because (with the exception of Smile in fifth grade) it’s the first graphic novel I’ve ever read! I typically avoid graphic novels because 1) I like to buy/own all of the books I read but 2) graphic novels are really expensive, especially considering 3) they don’t last me very long.
However, of all the graphic novels I’ve read – which, admittedly, isn’t that many – this one was my absolutely favorite. Though best book out of two books isn’t that impressive, I’m confident that in comparison to other graphic novels out there, this is one of the best.
It was just so good. The plot wasn’t anything too extraordinarily new (villain with goofy sidekick do villainous things while annoyingly wonderful superhero stops them), but it was executed very, very well. Because I haven’t read very many graphic novels, I guess I’m not that great of a judge of art styles yet, but this one was adorable. All of the pictures seemed very nice and coordinated side-by-side, but the color uses changed from scene to scene.
I think it’s fitting that Rainbow Rowell blurbed this book. If Rainbow Rowell wrote a good vs. evil adventure story and had it turned into a graphic novel, it would be this book. The characters are so lovable and remain hilarious even in “dastardly” situations.
The Plot: 
What separates this book from other good vs. evil stories is that it’s become clearer that the “good” organization might not be as good as everyone is led to believe. The “evil” side, in the form of Ballister Blackheart and his new assistant Nimona, has a main goal to return justice and, if things go according to Blackheart’s “rules”, kill as few people as possible.
I didn’t plan to read this book in one sitting, but I honestly don’t know how it would be possible not to. It’s incredibly fast-paced, beyond what you can normally expect from a story that’s mainly comprised of pictures. It wasn’t just that I could read this book in one sitting, I wanted to.
The Characters: 
Though a surprising amount of characters are introduced in a pretty short book, we follow three main people: Nimona, Lord Ballister Blackheart, and Sir Ambrosius Goldenloin.
Nimona was nothing like what I expected her to be. There was a lot more to her character than the typical qualities of goofy sidekicks that we’ve come to know in many different stories. Her backstory is slowly revealed throughout the book and it’s fascinating. Usually in graphic novels, they kind of have to say everything flat-out, because it’s hard to make assumptions when you’re not getting that constant stream of narrative. This book wasn’t like that, and it was fantastic.
Ballister Blackheart was easily the most lovable “villain” in the history of books. He wasn’t much of a villain; I’d sooner regard him as a hero fighting the rogue heroes in the most peaceful way possible. He slowly warms up to Nimona but doesn’t allow this new friendship make him reckless or abandon what he believes in, which I appreciate because that seems to be rare in YA literature.
Sir Ambrosius Goldenloin was the epitome of a pathetic hero, because that’s what he’s supposed to be. Even his name screams that he is going to be frustrating. His rise to power as a “hero” and character development throughout the story was almost as beautiful as his hair.
Favorites: 
It’s kind of hard to quote a graphic novel, but I had so many favorite moments within this book. Though it was a story in and of itself, there also seemed to be moments when it was mocking other heroic stories a little bit. For example (and I’ll try to recreate this as best as possible)…
Nimona: Boss, he’s going to sound the alarm!
Alarm: (sounds)
Nimona: Boss, he sounded the alarm!
All of the dialogue was adorable. Also the epilogue. Epilogues get me every time.
Meh:
I’m not going to lie, the ending confused me a little bit. The epilogue was great, but I didn’t quite understand the last twenty pages or so leading up to it. Everything is going so crazy, and then it calms down and everyone is dead but then no one is or are they but… wait? What? I don’t know. I wish that the ending had been a bit more flushed out and explained before we get into the adorable epilogue.
We also didn’t get much reasoning behind the magic system in this world (or if there even is one), the government, and the reasoning behind the bad guys going evil. It’s hard to provide a long-winded backstory like you normally get in a fantasy story when said fantasy story is a graphic novel, but it would’ve helped make it slightly less confusing.

final thoughts

I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who is a fan of graphic novels and really fun stories in general. It’s a quick read, but you’re going to want to read it all at once so be sure to clear your schedule beforehand. I’ll definitely be picking up more of Noelle Stevenson’s work in the future. The ending wasn’t completely clear, but I wouldn’t say that it was disappointing. It was still definitely worth the read.
4.5/5 stars
Goodreads         Barnes and Noble         Amazon          IndieBound

Thanks for reading!
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Match Made in Mondays: New Year, New Slightly Less Annoying Characters

match mondays

Hello and happy Monday! I’m trying to get this post up – along with a review – before we potentially lose power and WiFi connection because of the snow storms we’re having. It’s pretty crazy, but kind of exciting. At least if the power goes out I’ll have an even better excuse to stay inside and just read all day.
If you’re not aware what Match Made in Mondays is, it’s a weekly book meme that I created here on Forwards and Bookwords. Each week you fill in an equation to create the perfect match. It’ll make more sense as we go on, but you can read all of the rules, learn more about participating, and future topics here.
The new year is quickly approaching (which is absolutely insane) and it seems that on January 1 you can’t casually peruse Twitter without seeing floods of tweets about “A New Year, A New Me” with weight loss plans and habit breaking, which is fantastic. It’s always great to try and become healthier and better versions of ourselves. Still, it was only fitting that this New Years’ cliche would inspire this week’s topic:

New Year, New Me: THIS CHARACTER + a better personality = A Match Made in Mondays

Like last week, it’s hard to think of just one example for this pairing. There are so many books that could’ve been great, had they not been ruined by annoying characters. Keep in mind while I help some characters with what should be their New Years’ resolution this year that these are just my opinions. Different personalities clash with different people and totally work with others. I personally didn’t like the way these people acted, but I don’t hate you if they’re your favorite character.
End disclaimer.

Wolf from the Lunar ChroniclesEven if you’ve just accidentally glanced at my blog before, you know that I love the Lunar Chronicles. Wolf’s personality wasn’t bad enough to take away from my overall enjoyment of the series, but he did frustrate me at times. He seemed so determined to be angry all the time. In Scarlet, he’s her only source for information about where her grandmother – her only real family left – could possibly be, and yet he feels like he has the right to be all annoyed and mysterious. Knock it off, bud.

Bella from TwilightEveryone saw this one coming. Look, I found the Twilight books really entertaining, but you can’t make an argument that Bella was a good character. She was weak, and when her boyfriend of, what, a few months? left her, she collapsed to the ground in the middle of the woods and remained in a state of complete nothingness for three months or so. The guy just ditched you! You could be spending that time egging his house or something (not that I encourage this behavior, but it would’ve been a lot more interesting). I feel like Bella wasn’t fit to be a protagonist. She didn’t really want to do anything extraordinary, she just wanted a boyfriend. I mean, to each their own, but if Bella suddenly had a kick-butt mentality like Alice, I would love the books 100% more.

Snape from Harry Potter: *spoiler-y warning for Deathly Hallows* Look, I know that Snape came back and had some wonderfully redeeming qualities, which made everyone want to love him. Honestly, I kind of do love him, but I also hate him. Sure, you’ve got a long history with Harry’s parents, and having Harry suddenly be one of your students has to be pretty painful to say the least. You can argue that Snape did a lot to protect Harry during his time at Hogwarts, which he did. But he could’ve done a lot more. If he cared so much about Harry, why couldn’t he have just acted like it? Instead, he made Harry feel like he was going to be murdered by his teacher during his first year at school and put Harry in many more dangerous situations due to his investigations of Snape’s antics. Harry literally had no one. No family, and no older role models besides Dumbledore who – let’s be real – was a little too mysterious for comfort at sometimes. Why couldn’t Snape have been that role model that Harry needed? Why couldn’t Snape have befriended Harry and united Slytherin and Gryffindor once and for all?
I mean, Harry Potter is a pretty perfect series, and everything in the earlier books happens for a reason. If Snape was all of a sudden a cuddly little guy with clean hair and a friendly smile the series would be completely changed. Still, it’s very aggravating to go back and read those first books and know that every mean thing Snape does is just going to make the last book even more heartbreaking. Sometimes, he just needed to take his own advice.

control your emotions

So what do you think of my match-ups? Do you agree that some of these characters need personality adjustments, or are there other characters out there that you think are in even more need? Be sure to leave all of your thoughts in the comments; I love discussing with you!
I hope you’re having a good start to your week, and that you stay safe if it’s as stormy where you are as it is here!
Thanks for reading! 🙂

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