Top Ten Tuesday: Books I Read in 2014

Tuesday, December 16, 2014
Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Each week there is a new topic. I'm a huge fan of lists, so this meme is right up my alley! 

This week's topic is Top Ten Books I Read in 2014.

I actually didn't end up reading very many books this year (Sad! But morning sickness isn't really conducive to reading...), so this list isn't any certain genre or anything, it's just my favorite books I read this year.  And for once, I'm actually going to have them in a kind of ranking order, with #1, of course, being my favorite read of the year.  But this was a very hard list to make, because I LOVED all of these!

10.  A Hero for WondLa (WondLa #2) by Tony DiTerlizzi
9.  Pivot Point (Pivot Point #1) by Kasie West
8.  Scarlet (Scarlet #1) by A.C. Gaughen

6.  Vicious by V.E. Schwab

5.  Cress (The Lunar Chronicles #3) by Marissa Meyer
4.  The Battle for WondLa (WondLa #3) by Tony DiTerlizzi
3.  Landline by Rainbow Rowell

2.  I'll Give You The Sun by Jandy Nelson
1.  The Search for WondLa (WondLa #1) by Tony DiTerlizzi

So my favorites this year are a pretty diverse group.  Two Contemporaries, and the rest were either straight Fantasy, straight Science Fiction, or kind of a mix between Science Fiction and Fantasy.  Two are considered Adult books, three are considered Middle Grade, and five are considered YA.  I read lots of other books that I really enjoyed this year, so this was definitely a hard list to make!

What were your favorite books you read this year?  Let me know, or leave a link to your TTT in the comments, and I'll try to stop by your blog!

Sundays in Bed With... Zodiac

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Sundays in Bed With... is a meme/feature started by my friend Kate at Midnight Book Girl, where we can highlight the book that we're spending the day in bed reading (or the one we wish we could be reading all day in bed!).

I'm hoping to spend the day in bed with...

Zodiac by Romina Russell

I started Zodiac three weeks ago, and for some reason I just haven't had that much reading time, or have just not made enough reading time.  I'm over 2/3 of the way through now, and I'm definitely enjoying it, but it's just taking a lot longer than I would have liked.  But I hope to finish it very very soon!

Also, I just have to say that I love that picture because my cats hardly ever lay on my bed at the same time, and NEVER that close to each other!  And I totally didn't put them there, I just added the book and took the photo!

What are you spending this Sunday in bed with?  Let me know in the comments, or leave a link to your post if you're participating in this meme and I'll try to stop by your blog!

DNF: Compulsion by Martina Boone

Friday, December 12, 2014
Title:  Compulsion
Author:  Martina Boone
Series:  The Heirs of Watson Island #1
Publisher:  Simon Pulse
Publication Date:  October 28, 2014
Pages:  433
Format/Source:  ARC/From Publisher

Age Group/Genre:  Young Adult/Fantasy, Paranormal
Three plantations. Two wishes. One ancient curse.

All her life, Barrie Watson has been a virtual prisoner in the house where she lives with her shut-in mother. When her mother dies, Barrie promises to put some mileage on her stiletto heels. But she finds a new kind of prison at her aunt’s South Carolina plantation instead--a prison guarded by an ancient spirit who long ago cursed one of the three founding families of Watson Island and gave the others magical gifts that became compulsions.

Stuck with the ghosts of a generations-old feud and hunted by forces she cannot see, Barrie must find a way to break free of the family legacy. With the help of sun-kissed Eight Beaufort, who knows what Barrie wants before she knows herself, the last Watson heir starts to unravel her family's twisted secrets. What she finds is dangerous: a love she never expected, a river that turns to fire at midnight, a gorgeous cousin who isn’t what she seems, and very real enemies who want both Eight and Barrie dead. (Cover and synopsis from Goodreads.)

A Bit of Confusion...

At some point after I first heard about this book, I began confusing it with the book Conversion, by Katherine Howe, which has to do with the Salem Witch Trials.  I LOVE anything to do with the Salem Witch Trials and so when Simon Pulse sent me Compulsion I was all excited to read this book that had to deal with the Salem Witch Trials.  But then I quickly realized that this was not the book I thought it to be, and that made me sad.  But I saw on Goodreads that a few of my blogger friends had loved Compulsion, and I was excited to read it anyway, even though it had nothing to do with the Salem Witch Trials.

But It Just Never Quite Worked For Me...

I just ended up having a lot of issues with Compulsion and all of those things piled up on top of one another caused me to stop reading at the 1/4 mark (108 pages).  Some of the little things that bothered me were: extra, unnecessary details and narration; several inconsistencies; the fact that we met the love interest on page 18 (this just seemed very quick to me and made me worried that the majority of this book was going to be about the romance and that's not my kind of book); the fact that Barrie and Eight got really friendly really quickly (he's hugging and comforting her on THE DAY HE MET HER. That's just weird.); and Barrie being a really inconsistent character.  For example, she was actually quite rude to Eight at one point when he doesn't answer her question, and she gets very defensive and says, "You don't get to ignore me when I ask a question."  I understand why she got upset, but she could have said it in a much nicer way, plus, Eight was doing her a favor at the time, and they barely knew each other, and he really didn't owe her anything.  And then later, when they go to a restaurant, Eight orders for her (WHICH IS A HUGE NO-NO FOR ME. I CAN PICK OUT MY OWN MEAL, THANK YOU) and she thinks to herself that it bothers her, but she lets it slide.  I just don't understand that kind of inconsistency.

There were also a lot of random sentences in the narration that seemed to come from nowhere.  At one point she says that the house must be out to get her, but she's simply tripped on the stairs a couple times.  Sorry, tripping twice is not going to make me think a house is out to get me. It's going to make me think the stairs suck or that I'm really being clumsy, but not that the house is out to get me.  And Barrie thinks about how Eight must be too good to be true, yet she spends most of her time before that talking about how irritating he was.  I also really didn't understand their attraction, either.  Sure, he was good looking and they had some kind of spark when they touched, and he was kind of nice to her,  but I wouldn't think those things = too good to be true.

Anyway, all these little things added up to me just not being able to continue on with the story.  I wasn't connecting with the characters, I didn't understand the romance, and all those inconsistencies were really annoying.  But if this kind of story sounds like something you'd enjoy, be sure to check out the other reviews I've listed below.  They all loved Compulsion!
Find it:  Goodreads │ Amazon │ Simon & Schuster

Other Reviews:  Midnight Book Girl Pivot Book Reviews Her Reviews of Books, Movies, and Everything 

Disclaimer:  I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest review. I was not compensated in any other way for this review.

Waiting on Wednesday (45): Fairest by Marissa Meyer

Wednesday, December 10, 2014
Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

My pick this week:
by Marissa Meyer
Release Date:  January 27, 2015
Published by Feiwel & Friends, an imprint of Macmillan
In this stunning bridge book between Cress and Winter in the bestselling Lunar Chronicles, Queen Levana’s story is finally told.

Mirror, mirror on the wall,
Who is the fairest of them all?

Fans of the Lunar Chronicles know Queen Levana as a ruler who uses her “glamour” to gain power. But long before she crossed paths with Cinder, Scarlet, and Cress, Levana lived a very different story – a story that has never been told . . . until now.

Marissa Meyer spins yet another unforgettable tale about love and war, deceit and death. This extraordinary book includes full-color art and an excerpt from Winter, the next book in the Lunar Chronicles series. (Cover and synopsis from Goodreads.)

When I first heard of Fairest, I was excited, but then I thought, "Oh, it's just a novella." I'll read novellas but I'm more interested in the main books of a series. But Fairest is not a novella!  It's a bridge book, and it's 256 pages, according to Goodreads.  I'm really super excited for this book because I LOVE The Lunar Chronicles and I think Levana is a fantastic character, and I'm interested to get some more background on her!

What book are you waiting on?  Let me know, or leave a link to your WoW post in the comments, and I'll try to stop by your blog! 

Mini Review: The Battle For WondLa (WondLa #3) by Tony DiTerlizzi

Monday, December 8, 2014
Title:  The Battle For WondLa
Author:  Tony DiTerlizzi
Series:  WondLa #3
Publisher:  Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers
Publication Date:  May 6, 2014
Pages:  462
Format/Source:  Hardback/Purchased  
Age Group/Genre:  Middle Grade/Science Fiction, Fantasy
All hope for a peaceful coexistence between humankind and aliens seems lost in the third installment of the WondLa trilogy. Eva Nine has gone into hiding for fear of luring the wicked Loroc to her companions. However, news of the city Solas being captured by the human leader, Cadmus Pryde, forces Eva into action once again. With help from an unlikely ally, Eva tries to thwart Loroc’s ultimate plan for both mankind and the alien life on Orbona. (Cover and synopsis from Goodreads.)

*Warning:  This is the third book in a series.  While I really don't like spoilers, you might find some slight Book 1 and Book 2 spoilers in this review.*

I LOVE this series and I want to gush about it all day, but since this is the final book in the series, I won't go into too much detail because I don't want to spoil anyone.  So I'm just going to write a mini review where I share some of my notes.  But please beware, there are a few spoilers in this review. I tried to stay as vague as possible, and they have been marked accordingly, but proceed at your own risk.

  • Once again, Tony DiTerlizzi gets some of my Bonus Points for the beautiful illustrations by the author himself (50,000 points) and the map in the back (50,000 points).
  • I like the epigraph at the beginning.
  • Some very creepy illustrations, and I love them!
  • The one thing that's bugging me about the illustrations is that Eva Nine looks so old now.  *Spoilers, Sweetie* In the end of A Hero for WondLa, some things happen and her appearance does change, but she doesn't look older.  And this book is set not long after the end of that book.  So I just don't get why in the first two books she looks like her age (12 or 13) and in this book she looks 16 or even older in a lot of the illustrations.  Hailey and Gen also look older. but the way the plot is set up, this is not very long after the events of Book 2.  Maybe a few weeks later, but not enough time for them all to have aged 4 years or more. *End Spoilers*
  • Some parts remind me of The Wizard of Oz, or, more accurately, the movie Return to Oz (which I LOVE).
  • Where's Otto??? I NEED Otto!
  • I love the pacing of information about this world in these books. Each book we learn a little more about the past, and it's great to see the evolution of these revelations.
  • *More Spoilers, Sweetie* I wasn't happy with one character miraculously being alive in this book.  I wasn't happy when that character died BUT I felt like it was a justifiable death and bringing him/her back in this book was weird and just not very realistic. *End Spoilers*
  • Otto!! YAY!!
  • I love the complexity of this world.  All the different creatures have their traditions, their values, and each individual has their own, differing opinions.  Such a smart series!
  • If my favorite character dies, DiTerlizzi... *shakes fist*
  • The ending kinda confused me.  Like the end of the battle part.  It was pretty vague and anti-climactic.
  • I LOVE that there not only is an epilogue showing what happened later, but the epilogue is broken up into 4 parts, with the first part being several years after the end of the story, the second part being 100 years later, the third part being 200 years later, and then the final part being 300 years later.  So awesome!  And I absolutely LOVE the very end!

My rating for The Battle For WondLa, by Tony DiTerlizzi, if you couldn't already tell:

5 HUGE stars!  The Search for WondLa (book 1) will always be my favorite of the series, but this one is definitely very close!  This is such a great series and I can't recommend it enough.  If you love Sci-Fi stuff, you should definitely give this series a try!

You may also enjoy:  LeviathanUglies: Shay's Story

Disclaimer:  I purchased this book myself.  I was not compensated in any way for this review.
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