Sunday, December 28, 2014

Top Ten Goals for 2015

In just four days (whaaaat?!?), my 2014 goal list will come down from it's designated spot above my desk. It'll be replaced with my 2015 goals! I still have to review what I accomplished in 2014, but I know I achieved some of my goals, didn’t achieve others and even set a couple aside. (The year I accomplish everything I set out to do will be one for the books!) Here’s the goals that will be hanging above my desk this coming year!


1. Edit my WIP, Aspen!

I wrote Aspen in NaNoWriMo 2014 and have a whole draft that’s just over 55000 words. It needs a lot of editing though, and some more meat! (Fifty thousand words is a little short for YA fantasy.) I also hope to give it to beta readers this year.
            Stretch goal: Query agents!

2. Participate in and win my fourth NaNoWriMo.
3. Write a short story and submit it for publication.

I’ve written a few short stories in my time, and I’ve entered a few contests but trying to get one published would be another way to work on my writing skills and gain experience in the submission and publication process.

4. Read 60 books

            Stretch goal: 70 books
5. Read the Princess Diaries series by Meg Cabot

Last year I re-read the Harry Potter series and this year I decided to continue the tradition of re-reading a series. I’ll make sure to include Royal Wedding which comes out on June 2!
6. Read 7 diverse books.

Last May I decided to support the #WeNeedDiverseBooks campaign by reading more diverse books. I pledged to read eight books, but only managed to read four by the end of the year. I'm setting the goal a little lower for 2015 in hopes I'll get to all seven books!
7. Read 7 books from my own bookshelf that I have yet to read.

I started this in 2014 and read four books from my own shelf. I own plenty of books that I haven't read (unfortunately!), so I'm picking seven to read in 2015. 

8. Keep posting weekly on my blog, which will turn three in May!
9. Comment on five other blogs each month in an effort to connect with other readers and writers.
10. Continue being active on Twitter, Tumblr and Instagram.

Happy 2015!

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Most Anticipated Teen Releases: Winter 2015

It's winter. Again. It's cold and snowy and UGH. Why does this season have to happen every year? If you can't tell, winter isn't my favorite. Though I am looking forward to these awesome upcoming YA releases! They'll surely keep me cozy in the dark months ahead!

December 23

This Shattered World—Amie Kaufman & Meagan Spooner
What it’s about: Jubilee Chase and Flynn Cormac should never have met. Lee is captain of the forces sent to Avon to crush the terraformed planet's rebellious colonists and Flynn is the rebellion’s leader. Desperate for any advantage against the military occupying his home, Flynn does the only thing that makes sense when he and Lee cross paths: he returns to base with her as prisoner. But as his fellow rebels prepare to execute this tough-talking girl with nerves of steel, Flynn makes another choice that will change him forever. He and Lee escape base together, caught between two sides in a senseless war.

Why I’m excited: Because These Broken Stars is a brilliant, epic science fiction tale, and I’m expecting the same from this companion! I’m a little heartbroken that Lilac and Tarver aren’t the main characters of this book, but I have high hopes for Lee and Flynn!


January 13

The Darkest Part of the Forest—Holly Black
What it’s about: Hazel lives with her brother, Ben, in the strange town of Fairfold where humans and fae exist side by side. The faeries' seemingly harmless magic attracts tourists, but Hazel knows how dangerous they can be, and she knows how to stop them. Or she did, once. At the center of it all, there is a glass coffin in the woods. It rests right on the ground and in it sleeps a boy with horns on his head and ears as pointy as knives. Hazel and Ben were both in love with him as children. The boy has slept there for generations, never waking. Until one day, he does...

Why I’m excited: Because this book sounds like a fairy tale. But it doesn’t sound like one I’ve heard before, and if anyone could write a new fairy tale, it’d be Holly Black!


January 20

All Fall Down—Ally Carter
What it’s about: Grace Blakely is absolutely certain of three things: She is not crazy, her mother was murdered and someday she is going to find the killer and make him pay. As certain as Grace is about these facts, nobody else believes her -- so there's no one she can trust. Not her grandfather, a powerful ambassador. Not her new friends, who all live on Embassy Row. Not Alexei, the Russian boy next door, who is keeping his eye on Grace for reasons she neither likes nor understands. Everybody wants Grace to put on a pretty dress and a pretty smile, blocking out all her unpretty thoughts. But they can't control Grace -- no more than Grace can control what she knows or what she needs to do. Her past has come back to hunt her . . . and if she doesn't stop it, Grace isn't the only one who will get hurt. Because on Embassy Row, the countries of the world stand like dominoes, and one wrong move can make them all fall down.

Why I’m excited: BECAUSE A NEW ALLY CARTER SERIES! Squeeee!!! Ally Carter's other series, Gallagher Girls and Heist Society are two of my all-time favorites. They have an easy, elegant greatness that I adore!


February 10

Red Queen—Victoria Aveyard
What it’s about: Mare Barrow's world is divided by blood—those with common, Red blood serve the Silver- blooded elite, who are gifted with superhuman abilities. Mare is a Red, scraping by as a thief in a poor, rural village, until a twist of fate throws her in front of the Silver court. Before the king, princes, and all the nobles, she discovers she has an ability of her own. To cover up this impossibility, the king forces her to play the role of a lost Silver princess and betroths her to one of his own sons. As Mare is drawn further into the Silver world, she risks everything and uses her new position to help the Scarlet Guard—a growing Red rebellion—even as her heart tugs her in an impossible direction. One wrong move can lead to her death, but in the dangerous game she plays, the only certainty is betrayal.

Why I’m excited: Because this debut fantasy is being billed as similar to Graceling by Kristin Cashore, which is one of my favorites! Plus, it promises betrayal, which almost always makes for a good read. 


The Shadow Cabinet—Maureen Johnson
What it’s about: Rory and her friends are reeling from a series of sudden and tragic events. While racked with grief, Rory tries to determine if she acted in time to save a member of the squad. If she did, how do you find a ghost? Also, Rory’s classmate Charlotte has been kidnapped by Jane and her nefarious organization. Evidence is uncovered of a forty-year-old cult, ten missing teenagers, and a likely mass murder. Everything indicates that Charlotte’s in danger, and it seems that something much bigger and much more terrible is coming. Time is running out as Rory fights to find her friends and the ghost squad struggles to stop Jane from unleashing her spectral nightmare on the entire city. In the process, they’ll discover the existence of an organization that underpins London itself—and Rory will learn that someone she trusts has been keeping a tremendous secret.

Why I’m excited: Because Maureen Johnson is one of my favorite YA personalities, and this third book in the series promises to be a thrilling read! I've really grown to love the Shades of London series for it's solid writing and general Londonness, so I can't wait to dive into this one!


March 3

The Winner’s Crime—Marie Rutkoski
What it’s about: A royal wedding is what most girls dream about. It means one celebration after another: balls, fireworks, and revelry until dawn. But to Kestrel it means living in a cage of her own making. As the wedding approaches, she aches to tell Arin the truth about her engagement: that she agreed to marry the crown prince in exchange for Arin’s freedom. But can Kestrel trust Arin? Can she even trust herself? For Kestrel is becoming very good at deception. She’s working as a spy in the court. If caught, she’ll be exposed as a traitor to her country. Yet she can’t help searching for a way to change her ruthless world . . . and she is close to uncovering a shocking secret. 

Why I’m excited: Because I already know it’s awesome! I got ahold of the DRC and flew through this second book in the series. There’s one scene with Kestral and Arin that tore my heart to pieces in the best and worst imaginable way. Also, the cliffhanger! I can’t wait to see this jewel on the shelves.


March 10

Orphan Queen—Jodi Meadows
What it’s about: When Princess Wilhelmina was a child, the Indigo Kingdom invaded her homeland. Ten years later, Wil and the other noble children who escaped are ready to fight back and reclaim Wil's throne. To do so, Wil and her best friend, Melanie, infiltrate the Indigo Kingdom palace with hopes of gathering information that will help them succeed. But Wil has a secret—one that could change everything. Although magic has been illegal for a century, she knows her ability could help her save her kingdom. But magic creates wraith, and the deadly stuff is moving closer and destroying the land. And if the vigilante Black Knife catches her using magic, she may disappear like all the others. . . .

Why I’m excited: Because I have this DRC waiting in my queue of books and I’m eager to dive into my first Meadows novel. Invasions, illegal magic, vigilantes… YUM.


What books are you looking forward to in the new year?
Stay warm! Happy Holidays!

*Book descriptions were adapted from those on

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Top Ten Books I Read in 2014

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish! Check out their blog—it’s awesome!

This year was full of great YA! The books I read were fantastical, suspenseful, mysterious and unputdownable. I struggled ranking these gems-- it was tearing my book-loving soul to pieces! So, here are my top picks for 2014, listed by author's last name, four of which I reviewed in my Six Star Reviews blog series.
Ruin and Rising: This book (actually, the whole series) is engrossing, well-written and unique. I cringed, cried and questioned the status of soulmates (because a certain character was so amazing).

Prisoner of Night and Fog: This novel reached into my chest and wrapped its pages around my heart and tightened. I flew through it, somehow both appalled and intrigued. An outstanding debut of 2014!

A Thousand Pieces of You: High concept. Layered mystery. Big reveals. Marguerite’s story is intriguing, intelligent, and so unputdownable that I engulfed it in just one day!

Heir of Fire: This is the third book in one of my favorite YA fantasy series! I was happy to take my time with this tale (it's a tome!) and really dive into Celeana’s newest adventure (on a new continent with new characters)!

Cress: I mean, who can say no to fairy tale retellings? I know I can’t! The stories of futuristic versions of Cinderalla, Red Riding Hood and Rapunzel intertwine and the tales only get better as the series progresses!

Panic: This tale is crazy, daring and risky. If you’re looking for a read in these winter months that will remind you of the humid summer, pick up this book about bravery, fear and freedom.

Kiss of Deception: This book is the very definition of unputdownable! Top-notch romance, an intricate world and the play of characters kept me reading, and the unbearable cliffhanger left me dying for more.

Isla and the Happily Ever After: This book has spine-tingling, heart-wrenching romance and some of the best cameos I’ve ever read in YA. I wanted to savor this tale of suspenseful romance, but instead I devoured it in just one day!

Winner’s Curse: This is a story that shouldn’t be missed, about a love that pulls at the heart and soul in all the right places. It’s an expertly plotted tale of masters and puppets, imperfections and strengths and bonds that are forged and cast aside in the time of war.

Afterworlds: Clever, well-woven tales of two girls and their stories. Darcy’s path toward publication in NYC and the whirlwind after the terrorist attack Lizzie lived through could be stand-alone tales, but they are so much better together.

Honorable Mentions:
Narrowing the list down to ten books was hard, so I just had to include Mortal Heart and Dreams of Gods and Monsters as honorable mentions! They were so close to the top ten! I actually reviewed these two (as well as The One by Kiera Cass) in this blog post from late spring!
What are your favorite books of 2014? What are your thoughts on my list? Are there any books from my list you'd include on yours? Are there any notable ones you wouldn't include? Let me know in the comments!

Sunday, December 7, 2014

A Short List of Bookish Gifts

Need something for a bookish friend? Check out some of the awesome things I've found while perusing the internets!

For the Tea Drinker… who loves Alice in Wonderland
Drink me! Check it out here.

For the Christmas fanatic… who loves Harry Potter
This can be printed on a pillow! Check it out here.
How can I say no to this Harry Potter and Home Alone mash-up sweatshirt? Check it out here.

For those who accessorize… and love TFIOS
Actually, I have one rather similar to this. It's pretty and subtle! Check it out here
Okay? Definitely. Check it out here.
For the big kid at heart... who loves Peter Pan
Gorgeous! Check it out here.
For the love of YA
Ooooh yes. Big books are the best! Check it out here.
Wishing everyone a happy, safe, festive, adventurous, fantastical holiday season!