Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Top 5 Books of 2016


The end of 2016 is upon us! Therefore, I thought it appropriate to do a top 5 post, even if I might not quite be done reading for the month. I doubt this will change much, to be honest.

This year ,so far, I've read 200 books.

Out of those 200 books, I only rated 39 with 5-star ratings.

Out of those 39, only 13 were books 
(not graphic novels or comics, those are coming in a different post).

Needless to say, it's a lot easier this year to pin down some great 5-star reads. So be prepared for me to do some flailing and raving, while I explain to you why these books are a necessary addition to your TBR.



#1 - Magic Binds (Kate Daniels #9) by Ilona Andrews

If you've been reading my blog for any length of time, you know what's coming. Ilona Andrews is the MASTER of amazing characters. Kate Daniels is my favorite female character ever. Ever. I haven't disliked a single book in this series, as is obviously evidenced by my high ratings across the board. Magic Binds is an amazing addition to this series. It's full of growth from Kate, so much real life love that it makes you want to cry, and the kind of action that leaves you breathless. If you haven't jumped on the Kate Daniels train  yet, I don't know what else I can do to convince you. This series is worth your time. Get on that.



#2 - Low Town (Low Town #1) by Daniel Polansky

Looking for noir fiction, mixed with gritty Fantasy? Well, look no further. Daniel Polansky's Low Town is your jam. This book absolutely stole my heart, right from the first page. Warden is that type of character who lives in the gray area. He's not a "good guy" persay, but not a "bad guy" either. He lives in that ambiguous area that leaves you rooting for him, and also shaking your head at the same time. Everything from the writing, to the setting, to the characters, is absolutely perfect. You'll fly through this book, and then cry a little because (like me) you weren't aware of how much you were going to love it and didn't get the second book yet. Trust me. It'll happen.



#3 - Some Kind of Happiness by Claire Legrand

Every now and then I find a book that I fell so hard for, and was so invested in, that I'll likely never be able to read it again. That first experience, and all the raw feelings that came along with it, can never be duplicated. Some Kind of Happiness is one of those books. I have a soft spot in my heart for Middle Grade fiction. It's so important for kids in that age group to find books that understand them, and embrace them. This book did just that, in the most amazing way possible. See, Finley has depression and anxiety. At 10 years old. She battles the "blue days" and the demons, always feeling like she's slightly broken. My heart shattered into a million pieces as I read her story. I saw myself. I saw my mom. I saw all the people out there struggling and afraid to ask for help. This book undid me, and I didn't even mind. It's beautiful, poignant, and perfect.



#4 - Bone Gap by Laura Ruby

What to say about Bone Gap? First off, it's the first magical realism YA that I've experienced that really drew me in. I met Finn, he met Petey, and suddenly nothing else mattered. My whole world was this book for the 2 days that it took me to finish it. I read way too late into the night, and woke up too early to get through chapters. I shuddered at Roza's captivity, and cheered when she was too strong to be broken. Laura Ruby wove a story that I couldn't stop reading, and ended it in a way that made me really think about it. I'm honestly still thinking about it as I write this, because that's what this cover has the power to do to me.



#5 - Roses and Rot by Kat Howard

Ah, this book. Right when I was looking for an escape, Roses and Rot came flitting into my life. I'm a sucker for a good fairy tale. I love stories where the darkness tries to take over, and the light fights back just as hard. Imogen's story caught me up in its clutches, and wouldn't let me go. I followed her through her own doubts, through her deep love for her sister, and even into the very depths of the passion that she poured into her art. If you love fairy tales, of the actual fairy type, this is definitely one to add to your reading list. It's that perfect mix between tragic, and uplifting. It's, once again, completely addictive.








So there you have it. My top 5 books of 2016! I loved many more, but these were the ones that honestly stood out, and took their rightful place on my "favorites" shelf. It's not easy to do, which should make it all the more obvious that this books are well worth your time! Potential 2017 reads? I think, yes.


Thursday, December 15, 2016

Looking Forward & 2017 Reading Plans


You know what they say about the best laid plans...


It's officially the latter half of December, which means there are only a two more weeks standing between us, and 2017. I always take this time to reflect, to reassess and, my most favorite thing of all, think about what my reading is going to look like in the new year. I've been known to cackle delightedly over plots and plans regarding books.

2017 is going to be a lot different than 2016 was though, mostly because of what I've learned about myself this year. Which, to be completely honest, is a lot. I've had a year filled with introspection, not entirely by choice. More on that below.

See, I have anxiety. High functioning anxiety to be exact. I can look completely normal on the outside, going about my business, and be a raging mess on the inside. Books, and (now more than ever) music, have always been my escape from that. A way to get out of my own head, and be lost somewhere else. Unfortunately this also means that I plan obsessively, and then beat myself up when I don't stick to that plan. Reading plans included. This last year was a battle with my inner self to remember that reading is an escape, something fun, and not something to wring my hands over. This blog suffered a lot as I grappled with those facts.

Then, I just kind of let it all go a few months ago. I'm learning to sit quietly with my anxiety. To face up to it, and show it that I'm the one in charge. I've learned how to make short term goals, and stick to them. To break daunting tasks down into tinier ones, to sate my need for accomplishment. I've learned that it's okay to admit that things are overwhelming sometimes, and step away. I've learned that it's okay to share how I'm feeling, and ask for someone else's help.

How has that affected my reading? I'm not as obsessive about tracking it anymore. If I don't hit my "yearly reading goal" I'll be fine. If I don't read that newest release when it first comes out, that's okay. I've even stopped signing up for as many tours because I needed to reassess what I was reading and whether I was doing it for pleasure or because I wanted to push out content. I love blogging, but I love reading more and I don't want to lose that.

So what are 2017's reading goals? Just read. Just read, and enjoy it. Go back to writing more posts here that are fun, and impulsive. I'll still write reviews. I'll still participate in tours. They'll just take a backseat to what I feel like doing in any given month. I'm going back to the way this blog was when I first started it, almost 7 years ago. My haven. My safe space. My passion.

Thanks for sticking with me through all the madness, friends! Much love to my co-blogger Tina too who, despite being a very busy mom, has definitely kicked some blogging behind this year.

Here's to 2017! May it be everything you want it to be. 


Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Book Blitz + Giveaway: The Pawn by Skye Warren


Good morning, fabulous bookish people! It's time for another spotlight, and this time it's a story of revenge and seduction in the game of love. Are you intrigued yet? 


The Pawn Skye Warren 
Publication date: December 6th 2016
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance

The price of survival…Gabriel Miller swept into my life like a storm. He tore down my father with cold retribution, leaving him penniless in a hospital bed. I quit my private all-girl’s college to take care of the only family I have left.
There’s one way to save our house, one thing I have left of value.
My virginity.
A forbidden auction…Gabriel appears at every turn. He seems to take pleasure in watching me fall. Other times he’s the only kindness in a brutal underworld.
Except he’s playing a deeper game than I know. Every move brings us together, every secret rips us apart. And when the final piece is played, only one of us can be left standing.


A sense of familiarity fills the space between us even though I know we haven’t met. This man is a stranger, but he looks at me as if he wants to know me. He looks at me as if he already does. There’s an intensity to his eyes when they sweep over my face, as firm and as telling as a touch.

“I need…” A thud against my ribs as I think about all the things I need—a rewind button. One person in the city who doesn’t hate me by name alone. “I need a loan.”

He gives me a slow perusal, from the nervous slide of my tongue along my lips to the high neckline of my dress. I tried to dress professionally—a black cowl-necked sweater and pencil skirt. His strange amber gaze unbuttons my coat, pulls away the expensive cotton, tears off the cotton fabric of my bra and panties. He sees right through me, and I shiver as a ripple of awareness runs over my skin.

I’ve met a million men in my life. Shaken hands. Smiled. I’ve never felt as seen through as I do right now. Never felt like someone has turned me inside out, every dark secret exposed to the harsh light. He sees my weaknesses, and from the cruel set of his mouth, he likes them.

His lids lower. “And what do you have for collateral?”

Nothing except my word. That wouldn’t be worth anything if he knew my name. I swallow past the lump in my throat. “I don’t know.”

Nothing.

He takes a step forward, and suddenly I’m crowded against the brick wall beside the door, his large body blocking out the warm light from inside. He feels like a furnace in front me, the heat of him in sharp contrast to the cold brick at my back. “What’s your name, girl?”

The word girl is a slap in the face. I force myself not to flinch, but it’s hard. Everything about him overwhelms me—his size, his low voice. “I’ll tell Mr. Scott my name.”

In the shadowed space between us, his smile spreads, white and taunting. The pleasure that lights his strange yellow eyes is almost sensual, as if I caressed him. “You’ll have to get past me.”

My heart thuds. He likes that I’m challenging him, and God, that’s even worse. What if I’ve already failed? I’m free-falling, tumbling, turning over without a single hope to anchor me. Where will I go if he turns me away? What will happen to my father?

“Let me go,” I whisper, but my hope fades fast.

His eyes flash with warning. “Little Avery James, all grown up.”



A small gasp resounds in the space between us. He already knows my name. That means he knows who my father is. He knows what he’s done. Denials rush to my throat, pleas for understanding. The hard set of his eyes, the broad strength of his shoulders tells me I won’t find any



Skye Warren is the New York Times bestselling author of contemporary romance such as the Chicago Underground series. Her books have been featured in Jezebel, Buzzfeed, USA Today Happily Ever After, Glamour, and Elle Magazine. She makes her home in Texas with her loving family, two sweet dogs, and one evil cat.
Website / Facebook / Twitter





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Thursday, December 1, 2016

Happy December!


Is anyone else reeling over the fact that this is the last month of 2016?

No, just me?

It happens every year. December hits, and suddenly I'm remembering all the things I meant to do, but too caught up in the holiday season to really care whether or not I've accomplished them yet. Blogging slows down too, as you've probably noticed. It's a mad rush to finish projects at work, spend time with visiting friends and family, and catch up on all those last minute books you meant to read before the whole new Spring 2017 catalog hits.

Anyway I wanted to say a big HAPPY DECEMBER to all of you! Thanks for sticking with us through this whole year, and we can't wait to bring you more bookish goodness in 2017! I'm trying out a new organization/planner system for the new year, so we'll see how that affects this blog. I'm hoping it will keep us more on track but... you know how it goes. Best laid plans.

Enjoy your last month of 2016, and do some amazing reading! 
2017 will be upon us before you know it.


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