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A List of Children’s Books About Princesses

For one of my Children’s Lit assignments, we had to put together a thematic list of ten books. I chose princesses because of course I did. I figured I’d go ahead and share the list here.

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2015 End of Year Book Survey

This is a survey about books I read in 2015 that’s hosted by Jamie at The Perpetual Page Turner. It’s going to include all of the books I read in 2015, not just ones that were published in 2015.

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2015 Reading Stats

  • Number Of Books You Read: 50
  • Number Of Re-Reads: 1
  • Genre You Read The Most From: Contemporary (19 books)

Best In Books

  1. Best Book You Read In 2015: I’m going to cheat and link to my Top Ten Books I’ve Read In 2015.
  2. Book You Were Excited About & Thought You Were Going To Love More But Didn’t: STORM SIREN by Mary Weber. I enjoyed it, but the flap summary made me think I’d love it more than I did.
  3. Most surprising book you read: STOLEN SONGBIRD by Danielle L. Jensen. I didn’t expect to be so addicted to this one given that it revolves around trolls.
  4. Book You “Pushed” The Most People To Read: ALL THE RAGE by Courtney Summers and WHAT WE SAW by Aaron Hartzler. Also, I continued to push THE MOCKINGBIRDS by Daisy Whitney even though I read that one last year.
  5. Best series you started in 2015: The Winner’s Trilogy by Marie Rutkoski | Best Sequel of 2015: QUEEN OF SHADOWS by Sarah J. Maas | Best Series Ender of 2015: IGNITE ME by Tahereh Mafi
  6. Favorite new author you discovered in 2015: Victoria Aveyard
  7. Best book from a genre you don’t typically read: WOLF BY WOLF by Ryan Graudin (alternative history)
  8. Most unputdownable book of the year: Tie between THE WINNER’S CURSE by Marie Rutkoski and STOLEN SONGBIRD by Danielle L. Jensen
  9. Book You Read In 2015 That You Are Most Likely To Re-Read Next Year: WHAT WE SAW by Aaron Hartzler. I’m going to be thinking about this one for a very long time.
  10. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2015: THE WINNER’S CURSE by Marie Rutkoski. THE DRESS. THE SUBTLE MUSIC NOD.
  11. Most memorable character of 2015: Thorne from CRESS by Marissa Meyer. Who could ever forget about him?
  12. Most beautifully written book in 2015: THE SACRED LIES OF MINNOW BLY by Stephanie Oakes. Oakes got into Minnow’s head so effectively and the structure of the story made it have more impact.
  13. Most Thought-Provoking Book of 2015: WHAT WE SAW by Aaron Hartzler
  14. Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2015 to finally read: THE WINNER’S CURSE by Marie Rutkoski. How I managed to resist despite all the wonderful things my friends were saying about it last year is beyond me.
  15. Favorite Passage From A Book You Read In 2015: “Depression is like a heaviness that you can’t ever escape. It crushes down on you, making even the smallest things like tying your shoes or chewing on toast seem like a twenty-mile hike uphill. Depression is a part of you; it’s in your bones and your blood.” -MY HEART AND OTHER BLACK HOLES by Jasmine Warga
  16. Shortest Book You Read In 2015: FRACTURE ME by Tahereh Mafi (62 pages) | Longest Book: THE BRONZE HORSEMAN by Paullina Simons (912 pages)
  17. Book That Shocked You The Most: Tie between QUEEN OF SHADOWS by Sarah J. Maas and GOLDEN SON by Pierce Brown
  18. OTP OF THE YEAR: Juliette & Warner from the Shatter Me series by Tahereh Mafi
  19. Favorite Non-Romantic Relationship Of The Year: George & Kelly from GEORGE by Alex Gino
  20. Favorite Book You Read in 2015 From An Author You’ve Read Previously: Tied between QUEEN OF SHADOWS by Sarah J. Maas and ALL THE RAGE by Courtney Summers
  21. Best Book You Read In 2015 That You Read Based SOLELY On A Recommendation From Somebody Else: STOLEN SONGBIRD by Danielle L. Jensen. I read the Goodreads summary before I bought it, but I only read it because I’d seen a couple of glowing reviews from people whose judgement I trust.
  22. Newest fictional crush from a book you read in 2015: I crushed pretty hard on Arin when I was reading THE WINNER’S CURSE.
  23. Best 2015 debut you read: Tie between RED QUEEN by Victoria Aveyard and THE WRATH AND THE DAWN by Renée Ahdieh
  24. Best Worldbuilding You Read This Year: THE WRATH AND THE DAWN by Renée Ahdieh
  25. Book That Was The Most FUN To Read: KISSING MAX HOLDEN by Katy Upperman. It had cute boys and baked goods, so I was in.
  26. Book That Made You Nearly Cry in 2015: Tie between THE WINNER’S CURSE and STOLEN SONGBIRD because I was so frustrated and very much not okay at the end of both.
  27. Hidden Gem Of The Year: STOLEN SONGBIRD. I feel like I haven’t seen a lot of people talking about it. GIVE THE TROLLS A CHANCE.
  28. Book That Crushed Your Soul: I WILL GIVE YOU A LIST — THE WINNER’S CURSE, STOLEN SONGBIRD, QUEEN OF SHADOWS, RED QUEEN, THE WRATH AND THE DAWN, WHAT WE SAW, ALL THE RAGE. I had a lot of feelings this year.
  29. Most Unique Book You Read In 2015: GEORGE by Alex Gino. I label this one as “unique” because it’s literally the only MG book I’ve ever seen featuring a character who is trans. I hope that someday the label “unique” won’t apply to books about characters who are trans.
  30. Book That Made You The Most Mad: Tie between WHAT WE SAW and ALL THE RAGE. I had the hardest time putting either of them down and yet spent the entire time I wasn’t putting them down wanting to throw them at the wall because I was just so ANGRY.

Looking Ahead

  1. One Book You Didn’t Get To In 2015 But Will Be Your Number 1 Priority in 2016: SO MANY but I’ve got DUMPLIN’ by Julie Murphy in my TBR stack next to my bed so I’m going with that one.
  2. Book You Are Most Anticipating For 2016 (non-debut): TRUTHWITCH by Susan Dennard
  3. 2016 Debut You Are Most Anticipating: THE CROWN’S GAME by Evelyn Skye, SUMMER OF SLOANE by Erin L. Schneider, OF FIRE AND STARS by Audrey Coulthurst, and PLEASE DON’T TELL by Laura Tims
  4. A Sequel You Are Most Anticipating in 2016: Throne of Glass Book 5, of course.
  5. One Thing You Hope To Accomplish In Your Reading/Blogging Life In 2016: Read more diverse books!
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Class of 2014: YA Superlatives Blogfest, Day 4

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It’s the last day of the 2014 YA Superlatives Blogfest! See Monday’s post for details.

Day Four: Best in Show

Favorite Cover

WinnersCurse

Cutest Couple

PushGirls

Kara and Jack 5ever. (Nice boys are my winners on this year’s list, apparently.)

Most Likely to Succeed

EverythingLeadstoYou

Nina LaCour writes beautifully and her books are full of compelling characters.

Most Likely to Make You Miss Your Bedtime

KissofDeception

This was my other favorite fantasy read of the year. The twists and turns – especially regarding the love triangle – made it impossible for me to put this one down, but there is also fantastic world building, as well as a princess who ran away from home to figure out who she really is. I really did miss my bedtime to finish this and had absolutely zero regrets.

Best Repeat Performance

HoF

If Sarah J. Maas keeps up like this, she’s got a lock on this category for a couple more years.

Favorite Finale

StillBlue

Best Breakout Novel (aka debut)

AMWF

Best Old-Timer

Blackbirds

First of all, how many YA novels are there about the Spanish flu? This is the only one I can think of. So that immediately caught my attention. Ultimately, I stayed up past my bedtime to finish this one because of the suspense, as well as the fact that it was totally creepy so I couldn’t really sleep, anyway.

Most Likely to Make a Grown Man Cry

FiP

Most Pleasant Surprise

Blackbird

RedRising

Both of these are books I couldn’t get into at first but eventually ended up winning me over. Blackbird is written in second person, which put me off at first but ultimately was something that worked to highlight how the narrator feels like she’s outside herself. With Red Rising, I spent the first fifty pages rolling my eyes at the main character, at which point he loses everything and has to figure out how to deal with that.

Most Creative Use of a Love Triangle

KissofDeception

Lia finds herself torn between two men, one of whom is an assassin sent to kill her, and we spend most of the book not knowing who is who because both are equally compelling.

Sleeper Hit

TyrantsDaughter

It gets political thriller-y toward the end, but for the most part, this is a story about a teenage girl who just happens to be the daughter of a deposed Middle Eastern dictator. I liked this look at cultural differences between American culture and Laila’s culture, as well as how she tries to reconcile them. In all the important ways, she’s just another teenage girl, so I feel like this is an important book for people to read.

Favorite Books with LGBTQ Characters

I feel like there are a lot more books featuring LGBTQ characters than when I was a teenager, which is great. I read several this year, so I wanted to highlight some of them.

EverythingLeadstoYou

summer

This one is critical of religion, which was my only major issue since I know plenty of people who are religious and aren’t as judgmental as some of the characters in this book are portrayed. But at the same time, religion in this book is one of the sources of conflict since it drives the people trying to “cure” the kids at the camp, so there’s that.

SomethingReal

The main character’s brother is gay but still in the closet, until his parents out him on live national television. Which, by the way, is one of the most gut-wrenching scenes I’ve ever read in a book.

loveletters

My favorite part of this book was the subplot where two of Laurel’s female friends have feelings for each other and are trying to figure out what to do about it. Their confusion and fear were, unfortunately, realistic.

Book Reviews, Uncategorized

Review: Unearthly

UnearthlyTitle: Unearthly
Author: Cynthia Hand
Series: Unearthly, #1
Genre: Young Adult – Paranormal – Angels
Publication Information: HarperTeen, 2011

Clara Gardner has recently learned that she’s part angel. Having angel blood run through her veins not only makes her smarter, stronger, and faster than humans (a word, she realizes, that no longer applies to her), but it means she has a purpose, something she was put on this earth to do. Figuring out what that is, though, isn’t easy.

Her visions of a raging forest fire and an alluring stranger lead her to a new school in a new town. When she meets Christian, who turns out to be the boy of her dreams (literally), everything seems to fall into place and out of place at the same time. Because there’s another guy, Tucker, who appeals to Clara’s less angelic side.

As Clara tries to find her way in a world she no longer understands, she encounters unseen dangers and choices she never thought she’d have to make between honesty and deceit, love and duty, good and evil. When the fire from her vision finally ignites, will Clara be ready to face her destiny?

Unearthly is a moving tale of love and fate, and the struggle between following the rules and following your heart.

(Summary from Goodreads)

I loved Unearthly way more than I thought I would. Angels are never a thing I’ve been super into, but I love the cover on this one, so I gave into my shallow side and read it.

Clara’s struggle to come to terms with the disparity between her desires and her destiny was believable. This struggle is drawn in stark contrast between Tucker and Christian, two boys Clara finds herself caught between. From the beginning, we know that Clara’s destiny is tied closely with Christian’s, although the reason for this is a mystery to everyone involved. She also finds herself attracted to Christian, who, to be honest, I found to be boring, and there were a couple times when he didn’t treat Clara very well – so I found their relationship to be frustrating. I loved Tucker, on the other hand, the other boy Clara is drawn to. He has a very sarcastic exterior, but is very sweet, which makes Clara’s conflict that much more difficult since Tucker isn’t supposed to figure into her destiny at all.

My main complaint was the book’s length because, as much as I loved it, it felt like there wasn’t enough going on at some points toward the middle. I think I might’ve felt differently if there had been more focus on the Black Wings, who are introduced as an enemy to angel-bloods like Clara but never really explored much. This was especially disappointing since there were hints dropped that there might be some bigger conflict between Black Wings and angel-bloods. Had this been developed more, the book could’ve taken on a more epic scope; instead, all of Clara’s mom’s hints fell a little flat for me.

Despite my criticisms, I loved Unearthly, and I can’t wait to see if the next books in the series build on certain things that were hinted at in this first book.

Rating: 4/5 Stars

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Harlem Shake…with Vikings!

I’m not going to pretend to understand the whole Harlem Shake thing that’s going around – but maybe the point is that you don’t understand it. This week my alma mater, Western Washington University, decided to do their own take on it. Obviously, I had to share it, because it’s just another reason Western > Everyone Else. So if you’re not sick of this latest meme, enjoy and wish you as awesome as us 🙂

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A friendly reminder.

If you are in the United States and are able to vote, you really, really, absolutely should. Even if you don’t like either of the presidential candidates, there are a bajillion other races that will also have an impact on you – local, state, congressional, assorted ballot measures. (And if you really, really don’t want to vote for president, I know that in Washington, at least, you don’t have to vote the entire ballot. I’m sure we’re not alone in this.)

If you think not voting is “cool” or “ironic”, I’m here to tell you you’re an idiot. There are too many people like my dad, my uncles, my grandpa, and family friends we made in the nomadic journeys of my childhood who sacrificed – and continue to sacrifice – a lot so that we can have the freedom to decide who gets to lead our country. If you happen to not be white, there were many states in which you couldn’t vote as recently as the 1960s, and if you’re a woman, you’ve had the right to vote (nationally, at least) for less than 100 years.

You might not think the things you have to decide on won’t impact you. They will. Things like education, healthcare, reproductive rights – all of these things and more will be impacted by who you vote for, and these are all things that impact you, however indirectly. No longer in school or have kids who are in school right now? Education should still concern you, because the students in our schools now will probably be the people you’re voting for in the future. Don’t have lady parts? You should still pay attention, because the decisions your lady is allowed to make about her lady parts will ultimately impact you. Don’t need to worry about health insurance? You should, because your employees can’t come to work if they can’t afford to take care of themselves.

Maybe you don’t live in a swing state. My sister texted me just yesterday that voting for a Republican for president in Washington State is pretty much a lost cause. But that shouldn’t stop you. In Washington, we might not know who our next governor is for at least a week. We might be legalizing same sex marriage, charter schools, and marijuana today. In my parents’ district, they have a candidate running who used the phrase “that rape thing” in an interview, and he has a pretty good chance of winning because of redistricting. So, regardless of where your state falls on the electoral college spectrum, your vote still matters. There are too many other races that could be decided by a handful of votes that are too important for you to be an idiot and not vote. (Just for the record: “rape thing” guy almost won my district two years ago. He was edged out by a margin of literally hundreds of votes. And if you still think your vote doesn’t matter, Google the 2004 and 2008 Washington gubernatorial elections and the 2010 Senate race. YOUR VOTE MATTERS.)

I’m not here to be partisan and tell you who to vote for. Because that’s what my Twitter account is for. All I care about is that you vote. If you don’t vote, I’d better not hear you complaining tomorrow.

P.S.: If you’re registered in Washington State and haven’t turned in your ballot yet, you still have time! Your ballot only needs to be postmarked by today, so as long as you drop it in the mail and the post office picks it up today, your vote will still be counted even if they get your ballot a week from now. Go turn that thing in.

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In which I show you my shelves

Currently Listening To: NSync – “I Want You Back”
Currently Reading: Mastiff by Tamora Pierce

I was having a hard time coming up with a topic for a blog post that wasn’t a book review, seeing as how unexciting things are around here. (I believe this tells you all you need to know about my life right now. Or maybe this. Moving on.)

And then I saw my bookshelves. I mean, there are three of them in my bedroom currently, and that’s only because there isn’t room for another one. (See: multiple stacks of books hanging out under my window.) I mean, they’re not exactly hard to miss.

I thought back to discussions I’ve had with people – in real life and in the internets – about how they organize their books. While this isn’t quite as divisive a topic as writing in your books, it has generated quite a bit of discussion. My methods have also led my roommates to brand me a nerd, but it’s not like that was news to me, or anything.

As you may or may not have gleaned from the above photo – based on your level of observation and whether or not you were reading the titles – I alphabetize by author last name, first. Then, if I have multiple titles by the same author (e.g. Tamora Pierce…), I arrange the books in order by series. Or, if it’s not a series, I arrange the books by copyright date (e.g. Jane Austen, John Green, Nicholas Sparks [I AM NOT ASHAMED]). I used to arrange them by size, but I found this way made it way easier for me to find things when I want them, since I’m really big on rereading. Also, I have the books I still need to read laid across the top, both to save space and as a visual reminder that I still need to read them.

Another thing I’ve discussed is the subject of what else – if there is anything else – should go on your shelves.

I for one, am all for putting knickknacks on my shelves, as there’s usually some personal connection to them – just like to my books. I definitely have a Thing for snowmen. I don’t remember exactly when or why I started collecting them, but my aunt has given them to me for Christmas almost every year since I was in high school, including this one. So there are several of them hanging out in my room. I also have a couple pictures on my shelves, as well as a pot where I keep all of my bookmarks.

What about you? What do your bookshelves look like?