December 31, 2014

2014 End-of-the-Year Survey: Blogging and Looking Ahead

2014 End Of Year Book Survey
Hosted by Jamie at The Perpetual Page-Turner.

Here's part two of the survey. Dividing it up was a great idea this year.


1. New Favorite Book Blog
It's hard to keep track of the ones I found last year and those I started following in 2014, so while I have lots of favorites, one that I know for certain is a recent follow and favorite is...

2. Favorite Review I Wrote in 2014
Heir of Fire by Sarah J. Maas

3. Best Discussion on My Blog

4. Most Thought-Provoking Discussion/Review on Another Blog
Discussion- I Got the Message Loud & Clear: Reading Isn't Cool on The Perpetual Page-Turner
Review- Like No Other by Una LaMarche on Queen Ella Bee Reads

5. Best Event I Participated In
The Mighty Mississippi Book Blast was great fun, and I loved participating in #RBWL again - not once but twice.

6. Best Moment of My Blogging Life in 2014
My very shallow answer is when Awkwordly Emma won the award from YA Highway for Best Established YA Reviews.

7. Most Popular Post This Year on Awkwordly Emma

8. Post I Wish Got a Little More Love
All in the Fifteen 2015 Reads series:

9. Best Bookish Discovery
This is probably stretching the topic, but I'm going to say the amount of books I've been able to store in my dorm room.

10. Completed Reading Goals/Challenges
Summer of Rereads (My own personal challenge) and Goodreads 2014 Challenge (I read 200 new or new-to-me books by the end of October).


1. Book I Didn't Get to in 2014 That I'm Prioritizing for 2015
I'll say either The Archived by Victoria Schwab or Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor.

2. Book I'm Most Anticipating in 2015 (non-debut)
Right now, All Fall Down by Ally Carter, but also Wrong About the Guy by Claire LaZebnik, The Fill-In Boyfriend by Kasie West, and The Road to You by Alecia Whitaker.

3. Most Anticipated 2015 Debut
Hello, I Love You by Katie M. Stout

4. Most Anticipated Series Ender
Ensnared by A.G. Howard
Lion Heart by A.C. Gaughen
Winter by Marissa Meyer

5. One Thing I Hope to Accomplish in Blogging in 2015
I really want to make it to a book convention, whether it be BEA, ALA, YALLfest, or one here in Kentucky.

6. A 2015 Release I've Already Read and Am Recommending
The Start of Me and You by Emery Lord, without a doubt. Also This Side of Home by Renee Watson.

So that's it for the end-of-the-year survey! If you only check out my blog for this post, I guess I'll see you next year? 
Thanks to all readers, followers, fellow bloggers, authors, and publishers for making 2014 great!

December 29, 2014

Review: Emeralds & Ashes

For funsies (and if you're interested), here are my reviews of Cinders & Sapphires and Diamonds & Deceit. I was still a bit of a newbie reviewer when I wrote these, so bear that in mind - it's probably not some of my best reviewing.

**SPOILERS AHEAD - proceed with caution**

Emeralds & Ashes by Leila Rasheed
Grade: A
Release date: Goodreads says February 19th; however, in the email from the publicist, she told me January 6th.
This e-galley was provided by Disney-Hyperion in exchange for an honest review.
Summary: The murmurs of war have turned into a bloody conflict that will touch the lives of every member of the Somerton household.
Despite the pleas of his family, Lord Averley steps forward as soon as the call is made for men to fight the Western front. Mere weeks later, the news arrives: Lord Averley has been killed in the Battle of Marne. Without an obvious heir, Somerton falls into chaos. Half of the staff has already left for the war or industrial work.
Sebastian Templeton can no longer show his face in public. Ever since the publication of a now infamous photo of him and his former valet embracing, an unspeakable word has followed Sebastian everywhere--a word with the power to destroy a man's reputation forever. Knowing charges and a trial will soon follow, Sebastian does the only thing he can think of to escape: he volunteers for a war he feels is senseless and despicable, leaving behind the boy he loves, but knows can never have.
Meanwhile, after a whirlwind romance with the Duke of Huntley, Rose Averley finds herself trapped in Egypt when war breaks out during their honeymoon. Alexander vows to return Rose to home and safety, but with no end in sight, Rose knows she cannot sit idle as those around her suffer.
In the final installment of the At Somerton series, the war to end all wars will take an unbearable toll on the household and leave each member forever changed.

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly: That synopsis is awfully misleading and spoiler-filled, considering the Earl of Westlake doesn't pass away until the end of act one. Additionally, it led me to believe we'd see Rose's POV and we never do. But that's me nitpicking a bit. My real criticisms entail the POV jumps and some of the romantic relationships. The POV changed nearly every chapter and there were a lot of characters who were seen. I would've liked to stick with one of them for longer than a chapter. Also, I wasn't happy with how all the relationships ended. I won't spoil too much but there are three things I want to address.
1. There are two characters who use the word love awfully fast; I did sense them developing feelings for each other, but I'm not sure love is the word I would've used so soon.
2. Georgiana has had a crush on Michael since book 1 and it's a bit weird to me, seeing as how they're step-siblings.
3. There was a character who was set up as Ada's love interest and I seriously thought there would've been a hint of a happily ever after with them (considering this is the final book in the series). I'm okay with Ada being independent and unmarried, but if you set up a relationship...don't leave your readers hanging!
I did enjoy, however, the perspectives of World War I that were in Emeralds & Ashes. There aren't too many books that feature the first world war, and I liked that we saw nurses, soldiers, and families affected. Also, one of my favorite parts of the entire series, and especially this book, has been Charlotte's character development. She used to be selfish and horrid and now she's loving, giving, and brave. Her happiness was a bright spot in the tragedy that was most of the Averley/Templeton family's existence in Emeralds & Ashes. Ada and Georgiana were great, as always. Those girls have lost both their parents, and they're still strong and great characters.
Language and romance are mild. Violence and injuries are perhaps the worst (descriptions of some of the things Charlotte sees in a hospital, what Sebastian faces in the war, etc.).

The Verdict: Such a great conclusion, although I wish the series wasn't ending here! I want more At Somerton adventures.

December 28, 2014

Rewind & Review #28

Rewind & Review

It's been so good to be home. I've done so much reading, and I've baked twice and even cooked dinner one night. I haven't written as much as I would've liked to, but that's because the ideas haven't been coming for this story. I hope they will soon, though! I also got to see two of my friends (one of whom I didn't see over Thanksgiving). Additionally, I am now addicted to this jigsaw puzzle app which tells you what an old lady I am.
Our Christmas was supposed to be quiet, as it has been for the last few years. We went to the Christmas Eve service at our church, but were only there for part of it. My mom started feeling really unwell halfway through so we had to go to the emergency room and spent part of Christmas Eve there. Christmas Day was more uneventful; we did stockings, had breakfast, and then opened the rest of our gifts. Then we mostly relaxed. I read a LOT, and that night we watched Saving Mr. Banks.
P.S. I'm adding something new to my reviews in 2015. It'll be below the buy links. ;)

Books I Received
Paper or Plastic by Vivi Barnes (via NetGalley/Entangled Teen)
Kissing Ted Callahan (and Other Guys) by Amy Spalding
Scarlett Undercover by Jennifer Latham
Deceptive by Emily Lloyd-Jones (via Edelweiss/Little, Brown for Young Readers)
Wild Hearts by Jessica Burkhart (via Bloomsbury)
Ensnared by A.G. Howard
Solitaire by Alice Oseman
99 Days by Katie Cotugno (via Read Between the Lynes)

All Four Stars by Tara Dairman
The Secrets of Lily Graves by Sarah Strohmeyer
The Things You Kiss Goodbye by Leslie Connor (All from my Secret Santa, Nicole from The Quiet Concert; she also gave me candy, slipper socks, and a Taylor Swift mix CD. Thank you so much, Nicole!)
Cinderella's Dress by Shonna Slayton (Thank you to Kate!)
The Selection Stories by Kiera Cass
Mortal Heart by Robin LaFevers (Thank you to my grandparents!)
Home of Our Hearts by Robin Jones Gunn
Margot by Jillian Cantor
Thursdays with the Crown by Jessica Day George (Thank you to my parents!)

Books I Bought
Whatever Life Throws at You by Julie Cross (e-book)
The Fine Art of Pretending by Rachel Harris (e-book)
North of Beautiful by Justina Chen
Lies We Tell Ourselves by Robin Talley

Books I Read
Bright Before Sunrise by Tiffany Schmidt (3.5 stars)
Home for the Holidays by Heather Vogel Frederick (reread)
The Secret of the Key by Marianne Malone (3.5 stars)
Snow Like Ashes by Sara Raasch (reread)
Falls the Shadow by Stefanie Gaither (DNF)
This Side of Home by Renee Watson
Emeralds & Ashes by Leila Rasheed
The Break-Up Artist by Philip Siegel (reread)
Breathe, Annie, Breathe by Miranda Kenneally (3 stars)
Captive by Aimee Carter (4 stars)
My Heart and Other Black Holes by Jasmine Warga
The Merchant's Daughter by Melanie Dickerson (reread)
The Madman's Daughter by Megan Shepherd (3.5 stars)
Seeker by Arwen Elys Dayton (DNF)
The Only Thing to Fear by Caroline Tung Richmond (4 stars)
Home of Our Hearts by Robin Jones Gunn (4.5 stars)
Welcome, Caller, This Is Chloe by Shelley Coriell (4 stars)
All Four Stars by Tara Dairman (reread)

Blog Posts You Might've Missed
   (From 12/15-12/20)
   (From 12/21-12/27)
  • Review: Emeralds & Ashes by Leila Rasheed
  • 2014 End-of-the-Year Survey: Blogging and Looking Ahead
  • Happy New Year Giveaway
  • Random Friday: Favorite Pieces of Art
  • Awkwordly Emma's 2014 Book Awards Finalists
  • Rewind to 2014: Best Debut Authors
  • Review: When by Victoria Laurie
  • TTT: 2015 Debuts
  • From the Bookshelf to the Kitchen: Malenchki Dumplings
  • A Bookish Swiftie's Recommendations Part 3

December 27, 2014

Mini Reviews: Autumn Falls and Escape Theory

Autumn Falls by Bella Thorne with Elise Allen
Grade: C-
This ARC was provided by Read Between the Lynes in exchange for an honest review.
Summary: With her fiery red hair, new-girl outsider status, and tendency to be a total klutz, Autumn Falls definitely isn’t flying below the radar at Aventura High. Luckily, she makes some genuine friends who take her under their wing. But she also manages to get on the wrong side of the school’s queen bee, and then finds out the guy she’s started to like, funny and sweet Sean, hangs with the mean crowd. Now her rep and her potential love life are at stake. 

When Autumn vents her feelings in a journal that belonged to her late father, suddenly her wildest wishes start coming true. Is it coincidence? Or can writing in the journal solve all her problems? And if the journal doesn’t work that way,  is there a bigger purpose for it—and for her?

The Review: This whole book was like a Disney Channel movie, and not in a good way. It seemed wholly unoriginal. I'm also uneasy about the whole potential ghostwriter idea. How much of this did Bella actually write? Did she come up with the basic plot ideas and Ms. Allen developed them and turned them into this book? But anyways, back to the story. Too many of the plot points were much too unrealistic. The whole journal thing needed more explanation, and I didn't appreciate that Autumn used it for revenge. Many characters were caricatures.
There was fairly mild language and some romance.

The Verdict: Meh, I wasn't a big fan. It's not worth your time.

Escape Theory by Margaux Froley
Grade: C-
This ARC was provided by Read Between the Lynes in exchange for an honest review.
Summary: Sixteen-year-old Devon Mackintosh has always felt like an outsider at Keaton, the prestigious California boarding school perched above the Pacific. As long as she’s not fitting in, Devon figures she might as well pad her application to Stanford’s psych program. So junior year, she decides to become a peer counselor, a de facto therapist for students in crisis. At first, it seems like it will be an easy fly-on-the-wall gig, but her expectations are turned upside down when Jason Hutchins (a.k.a. “Hutch”), one of the Keaton’s most popular students, commits suicide. 

 Devon dives into her new role providing support for Hutch’s friends, but she’s haunted by her own attachment to him. The two shared an extraordinary night during their first week freshman year; it was the only time at Keaton when she felt like someone else really understood her.  As the secrets and confessions pile up in her sessions, Devon comes to a startling conclusion: Hutch couldn't have taken his own life. Bound by her oath of confidentialityand tortured by her unrequited love—Devon embarks on a solitary mission to get to the bottom of Hutch's death, and the stakes are higher than she ever could have imagined.

The Review: I'm not sure what I was entirely expecting from this book. It certainly wasn't a story filled with drug usage. The protagonist, Devon, never misuses prescription drugs but pretty much every other character worth mentioning does. I swear, various pharmaceuticals were mentioned on quite possibly every page. Also, I found the mystery to be a bit predictable. I had a few guesses as to who the murderer was, and I gradually narrowed it down and was right. So that was disappointing. Additionally, Devon and her "best friend," Presley, are constantly calling each other slut, whore, and variations of the two words and I wasn't okay with that. Finally, Devon had this thing for Hutch (and he apparently had one for her) but they never acted on it. Spoiler alert: they said they'd go to their senior prom together, but if they really wanted to be together before then, than they should've become a couple.

The Verdict: Wasn't a big fan. Wish I could've liked it more.

December 26, 2014

If You Take Me to a Bookstore

If you take me to a bookstore...

...I'll make a beeline for the YA section as soon as we're in the door.

...I'll methodically look at each shelf and smile to myself and sometimes do a book shimmy if I see a book I like or want to read.

...I may start to gather a large stack of books in my arms.'d better stick by my side because I'll want to show you certain books and fangirl over them.'ll want to play along by at least pretending to be excited about the book. Bonus points if you smell it.

...I will often find a spot to plop down and read.

...sometimes I might work up the courage to talk to others browsing the shelves. Perhaps they'll mention a book and I'll show them where it is, or I'll comment on the book they're looking at (only if I really liked it), or I'll recommend a book. But I'll only do any of those things if I know I won't bother them.

...and then I'll look over the shelves again.

...if I'm lucky and not completely broke, I'll be able to buy a few books after a few hours in the store.'re going to have a lot of trouble getting me to leave.

So if you're looking to make me happy or get on my good side, take me to a bookstore. I guarantee it can make any bad day I'm having better.

December 25, 2014

Merry Christmas to the Book Characters: the Sequel

Last Christmas, I had so much fun gifting books to some of my favorite characters. I knew I needed to do it again this year, so without further ado here is the sequel to last year's Merry Christmas to the Book Characters.

To Cress from Cress...
Cress loves romance and adventure, so I decided she needed...
17453983 18601430

To Gretchen Muller from Prisoner of Night and Fog...
I think Gretchen is highly interested in psychopaths and sociopaths and what makes them tick. Therefore...
13597723 20409231

To Celaena Sardothien from the Throne of Glass series...
I decided Celaena would appreciate some epic fantasies. Plus she can never get enough to read, so she's getting three books.
10194157 17399160 10429092

To Gemma from Broken Hearts, Fences, and Other Things to Mend...
I think Gemma is the type of girl who would enjoy cute, fluffy romances, so she's receiving...
23269775 17375024

To Lara Jean Covey from To All the Boys I've Loved Before...
I thought she might need a couple books about fake-dating.
18527496 16068910

For Pippa from Wish You Were Italian...
Pippa seems to love to travel and discover new places, so I got the feeling she needed...
18812437 17623975

For Bird Barrett from Wildflower...
Obviously, this girl needs a book about another teen musician. Plus, I think she'd appreciate this classic...
17978160 18051146

For Kestrel from The Winner's Curse...
Kestrel appreciates strong, clever women.
13260426 9565548

Bonus book:

For Emily from Since You've Been Gone...
Heaven knows dear Emily needs books about lasting friendships.
6609714 852470

And finally, for Paige Hancock from The Start of Me and You...
Paige is a grammar geek, a bookworm, and a kindred spirit. So I'm going to spoil her and give her four books instead of two or even three.
16034235 11870085
21911416 16068905

So what characters would you gift books to this year, and what books would you give them?
Merry Christmas, everyone!

December 24, 2014

2014 End-of-the-Year Survey: the Books

2014 End Of Year Book Survey
Hosted by Jamie at The Perpetual Page Turner.

Welcome to this year's book survey! I did this for the first time last December, and I was very excited to do it again.


1. Number of Books I Read: As of typing up this post on November 30th, 220.
2. Number of Rereads: No idea. I'm an avid re-reader, and I kind of kept track on my spreadsheet, but it doesn't include 2014 releases that I read and then reread. 
3. Genre I Read the Most From: It's easily contemporary, so I'm not going to count.


1. Best Book I Read in 2014
Just like last year, I'm breaking this down by genre.

Contemporary - The Start of Me and You by Emery Lord, Don't Touch by Rachel M. Wilson, Since You've Been Gone by Morgan Matson, Top Ten Clues You're Clueless by Liz Czukas, Like No Other by Una LaMarche, Second Chance Summer by Morgan Matson, and To All the Boys I've Loved Before by Jenny Han. If you couldn't tell, I still adore contemporary.
Dystopian/Post-Apocalyptic - Illusive by Emily Lloyd-Jones
Historical Fiction - Lady Thief by A.C. Gaughen, Prisoner of Night and Fog by Anne Blankman, and Emeralds & Ashes by Leila Rasheed
Science Fiction - Cress by Marissa Meyer and Free to Fall by Lauren Miller
Mystery/Thriller - Killer Instinct by Jennifer Lynn Barnes
Fantasy - The Winner's Curse by Marie Rutkoski, Throne of Glass series by Sarah J. Maas, and Snow Like Ashes by Sara Raasch
Middle Grade - Tuesdays at the Castle by Jessica Day George

2. Book I Thought I Was Going to Love But Didn't
Dangerous by Shannon Hale and The Chapel Wars by Lindsey Leavitt

3. Most Surprising (in a good way) Book of 2014
One Past Midnight by Jessica Shirvington and All Four Stars by Tara Dairman

4. Book I Recommended the Most
Prisoner of Night and Fog by Anne Blankman or Open Road Summer by Emery Lord

5. Best Series I Discovered in 2014, Best Sequel, Best Series Ender
Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas
Killer Instinct by Jennifer Lynn Barnes
Mortal Heart by Robin LaFevers

6. Favorite Author I Discovered in 2014
Sara Raasch or A.G. Howard

7. Best Book Out of My Comfort Zone
Across a Star-Swept Sea by Diana Peterfreund

8. Most Thrilling, Unputdownable Read
Killer Instinct by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

9. Book That I'm Most Likely to Reread
Everything I liked. I love to reread books. That's why I own so many books.

10. Favorite Cover of 2014
17617617 17334538 17756559
Stray by Elissa Sussman
Dissonance by Erica O'Rourke
The Winner's Curse by Marie Rutkoski

11. Most Memorable Character of 2014
(fan art found here)
Celaena Sardothien

12. Most Beautifully Written Book
Mortal Heart by Robin LaFevers

13. Book That Had the Greatest Impact
Don't Touch by Rachel M. Wilson and The Start of Me and You by Emery Lord

14. Book I Can't Believe I Waited Until 2014 to Read

15. Favorite Passage or Quote
“When one has made as many mistakes as I have, one becomes very familiar with the fullness of God’s grace and mercy.” ~ Mortal Heart by Robin LaFevers

16. Shortest and Longest Books I Read in 2014
Shortest (not counting e-novellas) - The Hidden Gold by Sarah Masters Buckey (150 pages)
Longest - Heir of Fire by Sarah J. Maas (565 pages)

17. Book That Had a Scene in It That Had Me Reeling and Dying to Talk to Someone
Lady Thief by A.C. Gaughen and Heir of Fire by Sarah J. Maas

18. Favorite OTP
Paige Hancock and Max Watson (The Start of Me and You) and Levi and Macallan (Better off Friends)

19. Favorite Non-Romantic Relationships
Friendship - Reagan and Dee (Open Road Summer)
Family - the Edwards family (Second Chance Summer)

20. Favorite Book From an Author I've Previously Read
On the Fence by Kasie West

21. Best Book Read Solely on Someone Else's Recommendation

22. Newest Fictional Crush
Max Watson from The Start of Me and You, without a doubt. Frank Porter from Since You've Been Gone is a close second.

23. Best 2014 Debut
Open Road Summer by Emery Lord, Illusive by Emily Lloyd-Jones, Don't Touch by Rachel M. Wilson, and Snow Like Ashes by Sara Raasch

24. Most Vivid World/Imagery
Throne of Glass series by Sarah J. Maas or Splintered by A.G. Howard

25. Book That Was the Most Fun to Read
Either Wish You Were Italian by Kristin Rae or Top Ten Clues You're Clueless by Liz Czukas.

26. Book That Made Me Cry
Second Chance Summer by Morgan Matson

27. Book That Got Overlooked This Year
Landry Park by Bethany Hagen

28. Book That Crushed My Soul
Heir of Fire by Sarah J. Maas (Celaena, Chaol, and Dorian all need to be wrapped in blankets, given hot cocoa, and kept away from Sarah J. Maas.)

29. Most Unique Read of 2014
My True Love Gave to Me by various authors (I don't really ever read short story anthologies; plus this one was all holiday stories!)

30. Book That Made Me the Most Mad
Cress by Marissa Meyer (In a good way; I gave it 5 stars!)

This year, I'm splitting the survey into two posts, so look for the next in about a week!

December 23, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I Want Santa to Bring

I no longer believe in Santa, but the books listed below are ones on the wishlist I gave my mom. Honestly, I think I'll be happy with any that she gets me (especially considering there are only 2 days until the holiday), but these are the ones I decided I wanted most - at least from Santa. ;) They're listed in no particular order, though.

1. One Past Midnight by Jessica Shirvington
I keep almost buying this book every time I go to Joseph-Beth, but there's always another book I want more.

2. A Blind Spot for Boys by Justina Chen
I have this as an iBook, but since I enjoyed it so much, I need a physical copy!

3. The Crown of Embers by Rae Carson
In hardback to match my pretty hardcover of The Girl of Fire and Thorns.

4. Blonde Ops by Charlotte Bennardo and Natalie Zaman
I love spy stories!

5. The Comeback Season by Jennifer E. Smith
It's about time I add this book to my collection.

6. Deception's Princess by Esther Friesner
My shelf hungers for all the historical fiction.

7. The Selection Stories by Kiera Cass
Since the next set of Selection Stories and The Heir are coming next spring, I'd kind of like to complete my collection for at least the rest of 2014.

8. Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge
I need this book in hardback because of its pretty hidden cover.

9. Dark Triumph by Robin LaFevers
I really need Dark Triumph so I don't feel as bad about not owning Mortal Heart yet.

10. The Grass Is Always Greener by Jen Calonita
I own the first two books, and I think it's high time I acquire this one, as well.

So what books are you hoping you get for Christmas?