We’re so excited to be part of this tour today! We’re big fans of THE WINNER’S CURSE here at Gone with the Words, so we each had something to say about what we’d pay too much for. Here’s what we had to say!
There are certain things in my personal life that have been on hold because money needs to be saved for them. These are also the things that if I had a lot of money, I’d probably pay too much to get them done NOW. Those things are…
Wedding – Tom and I looked at a venue that was essentially a ranch, with outdoor space for the ceremony and a beautiful barn for the reception. It had cabins and houses for guests on the property… all at a cost of only $9,000.00. No biggie. But probably not going to happen for us. (At this point I’m all for eloping, lol VEGAS!)
House Remodel – New floors, new indoor and outdoor paint, a landscaper! ALL OF IT! My poor house… I love it, but I want to do so much to it.
Interior Designer – I’d also pay a lot for someone to come in and just make it beautiful in there.
Housekeeper – LOL Ain’t nobody got time for that!
If we’re talking mainly material or comfort goods (not curing diseases, etc), these are the few things that I would definitely pay too much for:
A Personal Chef – I like to cook, I love to bake, but I’m often too lazy/tired/whatever to cook every day. And 3 meals a day is exhausting! Plus finding new recipes so we’re not constantly eating hot dogs or BBQ chicken. If I had a personal chef, he/she could make sure my husband and I eat well while making our favorite foods. It would be the best! And I’d have amazing lunches to take to work everyday :)
Interior Designer/Home Decorator – I watch a lot of HGTV and know what I like, but it’s hard to implement it myself! I can’t visualize all the individual pieces into a cohesive project. Once I get to Ikea or Target I get overwhelmed. It’d be awesome to have someone come in and decorate my apt!
Front Row Wrestlemania Tickets – I feel like this is the definition of Winner’s Curse! I’ve become a huge WWE wrestling fan the past two years and Wrestlemania is their version of the Super Bowl. It’s the biggest, craziest, BEST show of the year. Plus it’s in the Bay Area this year! But there’s this small problem of front row tickets being $10,000 each. YIKES. It’d be totally worth it though.
There have been times in my life where I’ve felt like I paid too much for something, literally and figuratively. I’ve learned that lesson, but not without some hardship. About eight years ago I decided I was tired of paying rent and that it made more economical sense to get my own house. After a few years of owning the house and paying unforeseen costs like maintenance, and high property taxes, I was wayyy in over my head. I eventually had to admit to myself that I bit off more than I could chew financially, and let the house go and move back home. In retrospect, it was the best decision I could’ve made, but at the time I felt like I was incompetent and giving up (I am not a quitter dammit!). I have also felt like I’ve paid too much emotionally when it comes to past relationships. I always tend to invest so much of myself into the person I’m with that I start to forego things that have made me happy. Around the same time that I moved back home, I decided no more! I won’t emotionally pay too much and sacrifice myself to make someone else happy. They should want me to be happy too, right?
As far as what I would pay too much for now, that’s a good question. Probably a trainer and a dietitian, I feel like I would pay a lot to get myself in shape and get my health on track. I’d also be willing to pay a small fortune to go on a date with Benedict Cumberbatch but alas, he is taken *sigh*. Also, I would pay an obscene amount of money to become a world traveler. There is just so much of the world I haven’t seen! I need wings so I can fly!!
This year I decided to go back to school, which has taken up all of my money so a lot of things have been put on hold. There are so many things I would pay too much for, on the top of that list is pretty much anything my parents want or need. I’m an only child and my parents are everything to me. If I had all the money in the world I would give it to them because they’re awesome and they deserve it. The second thing is a house, I have been renting forever and I really, really want a house. Right now it’s not going to happen, but honestly I would probably pay too much for the perfect house. Lastly, my dog, yup I’m one of those crazy dog people that treats their dog like their kid. I already spend way too much on her and I would probably spend more if I could :)
What’s Your Winner’s Curse?
About Marie Rutkoski
Marie Rutkoski is the author of the YA novel The Shadow Society, about a girl who discovers that she’s not human and that her kind are terrorists in an alternate world where the Great Chicago Fire never happened. The Shadow Society will be published October 30, 2012. Marie has also written the children’s fantasy series The Kronos Chronicles, including The Cabinet of Wonders, The Celestial Globeand The Jewel of the Kalderash. The Cabinet of Wonders, her debut novel, was named an Indie Next Kids’ List Great Read and a Bank Street Best Children’s Book of the Year, among other honors.
Every Word by Ellie Marney – 5 stars. One of my most anticipated reads and it did not disappoint! I ordered it from Australia back in November but saved it for the new year. I read it in a DAY and gave it 5 glowing stars.
Illusions of Fate by Kiersten White – 3 stars. I was very excited for this book! Unfortunately I didn’t love it as much as I hoped but it was entertaining alternate historical fantasy all the same and a quick read to boot. This also counted for the 365 Days of YA challenge I signed up for at the last minute.
Flights of Fantasy
I read 2 books, one of which was a reread. Lots of fantasy books coming up in February!
The Witch Hunter by Virginia Boecker – 5 stars. You guys, I LOVED this book! It’s fantastic historical fantasy for fans of both genres with a surprising amount of humor mixed in with the darkness and magic, and of course a bit of romance! It’s a fast paced, atmospheric story with awesome characters that I was easily sucked into. Can’t wait to post my review closer to the pub date in June.
The Re-Read Challenge
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowling – 5 stars. I originally read this book way back in June 1999 when it was published! I remember having my mom take me to Crown Books to buy it. And I’ve read it at least 5-10 times since then I’d say. But it’s been a few years since I properly re-read the series. I read Sorcerer’s Stone last October so I started my re-read challenge with book 2. A lot of people consider it their least favorite Harry Potter book but I’ve always enjoyed it! I LOVE how it relates to the later books, especially Half-Blood Prince, I love how ridiculous Lockhart is, I love the mystery, and Ginny, and the confrontation with Riddle in the Chamber of Secrets. It was so awesome to dive back into Hogwarts and Harry’s world. Made me really happy :)
Fairytale Retelling Reading Challenge
The only category I didn’t finish a book :( BUT I’m 100 pages into Fairest by Marissa Meyer and I’m starting Daughter of the Forest by Juliet Marillier this weekend. They’ll have to be part of my February wrap up.
All in all, I was hoping to read more than 5 books this month; I started so strong! 4 books in 10 days. I’ll have to pick up my pace for February, which I don’t think will be a problem :)
Besides YA books, I’d say my most read category would have to be Adult Historical Fiction- dual timeline novels specifically. So, these are the books I’d recommend most for an adult book club! I’m only including books I’ve read and that I think lend themselves to discussion.
Kate Morton is my FAVORITE author and you really can’t go wrong with any of her four books! But The Secret Keeper is a great place to start; Laurel witnesses a shocking crime on her 16th birthday involving her mother that haunts her through adulthood. The past story focuses on her mother Dorothy in WWII era England and it’s a doozy. Twists, tragedy, consequences, family secrets. All ripe for gasps and discussion!
Set in Australia, this is the story of a young woman whose dreams are shattered; she inherits a sheep farm from her late grandmother and ends up delving into her grandmother’s past. It’s another juicy, thought-provoking, romantic, and tragic dual timeline novel with issues of race, money, and love. Lots to puzzle over.
I didn’t love this book but I was fascinated by it. It is told in 5 parts, by 5 different characters, which I enjoyed. The writing was beautiful and descriptive in a way that made you feel what everyone were experiencing, which wasn’t always pleasant. The characters were layered with many secrets, but the book filled me with anxiety and dread! It’s great for discussion and debate though, especially the ending.
Just a straight up fantastic historical debut! Set in 11th century England, Emma of Normandy is a queen that is not terribly well-known but should be. The book is described as “A rich tale of power and forbidden love revolving around a young medieval queen” and it lives up to every word. Emma is strong and interesting and I really enjoyed learning about this period of English history. It’s volatile and treacherous, and very exciting. The secondary characters and setting shine as well.
It should be obvious by now that I am drawn to any story “for fans of Kate Morton”. This is a book that I still think about; it made me sad and felt melancholy but I liked the characters and didn’t find the mystery obvious at all. I preferred the storyline with Erica and Beth’s great-grandmother but the present day storyline had its intrigues too. It will make you think about the power of your choices, family, and what you would do for love.
I read a lot of books like Morning Glory- present day heroine with some guilty or tragic backstory who stumbles upon a parallel woman’s story from years past. It’s a great formula and I’m always sucked in. I’d definitely recommend this book if you HAVEN’T read as many of them as I have. It felt formulaic to me but I enjoyed the unique Seattle houseboat setting and again, lots of great topics for discussion- infidelity, grief, second families, etc.
I imagine a lot of people have read this, especially recently, but this would be a really FUN book club choice! Especially if you could watch episode 1 of the tv series afterwards :) I adore the historical setting and Claire Fraser’s place in it. And just think of the questions you could ask: Frank or Jamie? Is Claire an adulterer? Could you survive as a modern woman in a time where women did not have roles or power? Plus there are all those steamy scenes to dissect too ;) I loooove this series.
This would make the most excellent miniseries or tv show; it is the story of Thea, a Jewish slave in 1st century Rome and it’s fantastic! Very readable even if you don’t read a lot of historical fiction. The opening scene captivated me immediately and the characters pulled me in faster than I would have thought possible. They were complex and interesting, and loving and vicious- they were real people. I also adored the setting- it was rich and vivid in detail yet pleasing to read. It’s also extremely cinematic! I could picture it all so easily. Would be fun to “cast” the movie and discuss life in ancient Rome.
I also love contemporary romance, books I like to describe as romantic comedies: if they were a movie, I’d watch them all the time! So these two choices from Sophie Kinsella, one of my favorite authors, would be fun too!
Ironically this movie isn’t very good but the book is! Becky Bloomwood is like a modern-day British I Love Lucy. The capers and hijinks she gets herself into because of her shopping addiction are hilarious and oh-so-embarrassing. She’s charming, easy to relate to, and a lot of fun. Plus her love interest is dreamy and the secondary characters are great! A really fun choice and great series.
This is my favorite standalone Kinsella book! Again, it’s cringeworthy but hilarious and has a goofy but fun premise: Poppy loses her engagement ring and cell phone but finds a lost phone in the trash. Well, the owner of said phone would like it back and they begin a madcap texting relationship until everything can be sorted out. She did a great job of evolving the characters and their relationships in a believable way as well… I adored Sam :) There is definitely more substance to Kinsella’s novels than you might think at first, even if they do end in satisfying ways. It’d be fun to discuss what YOU would do in Poppy’s situation!
When James Mycroft drags Rachel Watts off on a night mission to the Melbourne Zoo, the last thing she expects to find is the mutilated body of Homeless Dave, one of Mycroft's numerous eccentric friends. But Mycroft's passion for forensics leads him to realize that something about the scene isn't right--and he wants Watts to help him investigate the murder.
While Watts battles her attraction to bad-boy Mycroft, he's busy getting himself expelled and clashing with the police, becoming murder suspect number one. When Watts and Mycroft unknowingly reveal too much to the cold-blooded killer, they find themselves in the lion's den--literally. A trip to the zoo will never have quite the same meaning to Rachel Watts again...
To start off, I loved Every Breath (5 stars) and read the sequel Every Word IN A DAY. I ordered it from the Australian publisher because there was no way I could wait for the September US release date! My immediate reaction? “Heart wrenching and LONDON and duuuude some fiery hot scenes like whoa.” So yes. Read this immensely clever Aussie series with complex characters, an excellent mystery, tension, great friends, and a ship the size of the Titanic. WATTSCROFT. Seriously, their chemistry is electric. Which brings me to this song:
Shut Up and Dance by Walk the Moon
I heard it on the radio. I liked it. I Shazaamed it. I bought it. I now listen to it 10 times a day because I’m OBSESSED. It’s so dancy and fun and upbeat, and I love the 80s vibe and the lyrics and just how happy this song makes me feel!!
And somehow, all I could picture in my head while driving home one day was an awards event where Mycroft was being honored. A crowded room with an open dance floor, with Rachel in a black dress not caring for once and just enjoying herself. Maybe dancing with her friend Alicia. And Mycroft on the other side of the room with his curly black hair, in a white button down shirt and slacks, a giant grin slowly spreading across his face as he stares at Rachel dancing. She catches his eye and beckons him to come over, Mycroft shaking his head with a smile, and Rachel runs over to grab him by the arm and drag him to her. They jump around and spin to the music, grinning, as Mycroft slides his hands around her waist and pulls her close. And then they share a mind meltingly hot kiss. Oh look at that, I just wrote Wattscroft fanfic in my head BECAUSE OF THIS SONG. You’re welcome.
Sophronia continues her second year at finishing school in style--with a steel-bladed fan secreted in the folds of her ball gown, of course. Such a fashionable choice of weapon comes in handy when Sophronia, her best friend Dimity, sweet sootie Soap, and the charming Lord Felix Mersey stowaway on a train to return their classmate Sidheag to her werewolf pack in Scotland. No one suspected what--or who--they would find aboard that suspiciously empty train. Sophronia uncovers a plot that threatens to throw all of London into chaos and she must decide where her loyalties lie, once and for all.
Gather your poison, steel tipped quill, and the rest of your school supplies and join Mademoiselle Geraldine's proper young killing machines in the third rousing installment in the New York Times bestselling Finishing School Series by steampunk author, Gail Carriger.
This was my favorite Finishing School book yet! If you’re not familiar, Gail Carriger’s Finishing School series is YA that is set 25 years before her adult series the Parasol Protectorate. Both series can be best described as an Austenesque comedy of manners with supernatural creatures, alternate Victorian history and steampunk elements. They are all wickedly funny, entertaining, charmingly clever books. There will be 4 books in the Finishing School series, Etiquette & Espionage and Curtsies & Conspiracies being the first two. It’s not a requirement to read the adult series, which starts with Soulless, but it’s also excellent and adds a lot of fun easter eggs to Sophronia’s story.
Sophronia continues to be a delight in the third installment- she is extremely smart, pragmatic, and a lot of fun. I loooved the adventure in Waistcoats & Weaponry (half of the book is not at school!) and I love the friendships and banter between Sophronia and her band of friends. And Soap! He gets more shippable with every book. I also love how vampires and werewolves fit into the story because it’s very unique compared to most paranormal books. Plus the historical element is really excellent- it’s set in an alternate 1850’s Victorian England.
I always get a little confused by the particulars of the steampunk technology, the dirigibles and valves and whatnot, but it never takes away from my enjoyment. I just skim the technical bits a little ;) But I really like how each book is connecting and I can see more than ever how it will link up with the Parasol Protectorate. There is a HUGE connection I didn’t make until this book! I did miss Lord Akeldama and Vieve but hopefully they’ll be in the next one. The ending was so exciting and tense, I almost cried!
This is such a great series, I love Gail Carriger’s writing so much. It’s humorous and silly and heartfelt and proper and irreverant all at once. Plus the mixture of Victorian with humorous paranormal elements is such an unusual yet perfect match. I’m dying for Manners & Mutiny now, can’t believe we have to wait until November! At least her new adult series starts in March :D
SO! Between four of us here at Gone with the Words, we somehow managed to pick a lot of the same books, lol. That’s why we get along so well around here. Here’s what we picked!
The Girl at Midnight by Melissa Grey – It’s time for another great Urban Fantasy in YA. I hope The Girl at Midnight delivers because I loved City of Bones. Plus! They’re talking about people with powers and FEATHERS FOR HAIR. It sounds awesome.
An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir – This sounds pretty damn intense. I like the “Rome-like world” description. I don’t think I’ve read something else like it, so I’m pretty excite.
Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard – This series sounds like it’s going to be pretty amazing. It looks to be a high fantasy dystopian series with lots of power struggles and romance. I hear there is a love triangle, and though some days I am completely over them, if they are done well, they sometimes make the story more interesting. I read a few early reviews of praise for Victoria Aveyard so I am excited to read her work. This book releases on February 10, 2015.
My Heart and Other Black Holes by Jasmine Warga – Get the tissues out folks, we’re going on a feels trip with this one! This book puts an unthinkable subject right at the forefront: suicide pacts. That isn’t a topic I normally want to read about but the way the book summary reads it sounds like it might also be full of hope. I did say I wanted to branch outside of my normal reading comfort zone and this might be the one to do it. Jasmine Warga has already captured my attention by what she chose to write about and this is definitely one of the first books I’d like to read in 2015. This book releases February 10, 2015.
The Girl at Midnight by Melissa Grey – This new debut series is about an ancient race hidden among the humans and a girl who seems to be a part of both worlds that gets caught up in an ancient war. There are fantasy elements and mythical creatures, and lots of spunk I hear, and well color me intrigued folks! This plot may remind you of other notable series, and it has had some pretty great reviews so far. I am very interested in reading this novel and seeing what kind of fantastical world Melissa Grey has cooked up for us! This book is expected to release April 28, 2015.
Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard – The blurb says Graceling meets The Selection, yes please! Red Queen sounds like exactly what I’m looking for in a new series.
The Girl at Midnight by Melissa Grey – This book sounds like a wonderful modern day fantasy with an ancient war and magic. The synopsis reminds me of Daughter of Smoke and Bone which makes me really excited because I love that series.
The Witch Hunter by Virginia Boecker – I’m a lucky duck with an ARC on page 13 and basically you should ALL be anticipating this debut novel! It is super awesome already and it sounded amazing before. Witches, witch hunters, ghosts, pirates, blood, kings, kickass ladies, hot guys, alternate history, and history jokes. What’s not to love?
An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir – “Terrifyingly brutal Rome-like world” is all I needed to hear. Gladiator is my favorite movie and I love ancient history so what could be better than a fantasy world inspired by those things? Plus the cover is amazing and so are the early reviews. I’m very excited to meet Laia and Elias!
Hello, I Love You by Katie M. Stout – A teen in boarding school, a Korean pop star, and a novel “in the vein of Anna and the French Kiss.” Plus the author agreed with one reader’s description of it as “the country, Asian, YA pop version of Pride and Prejudice.” OH MY GOD GIVE IT TO ME NOW. I’m also interested to read a book set in Korea! And that cover is too darn cute.
I’ve never taken part in a blogging book challenge before but this year there are too many good ones to pass up and I really need to start scaling that TBR mountain of mine! I’m going to participate in 4 challenges this year (lofty goals) and see how I do. December was a rough reading month so hopefully January will wipe the slate clean!
The Glass Sentence by S.E. Grove
Illusions of Fate by Kiersten White
Waistcoats & Weaponry by Gail Carriger
The Perilous Sea by Sherry Thomas
The Kiss of Deception by Mary Pearson
Snow Like Ashes by Sarah Raasch
Every Word by Ellie Marney
Second, the Fairytale Retelling Reading Challenge hosted by Mel @ The Daily Prophecy where you can choose different levels based upon how many books you will try to read. I’m really excited about this one because I LOVE fairy tale retellings! I’m going to try for Magic Mirror, 5-9 books! Maybe Big Bad Wolf, which is 10-15 books.
The Crystal Heart by Sophie Masson (Rapunzel)
The Crown by Colleen Oakes (Alice in Wonderland)
Alias Hook by Lisa Jensen (Peter Pan)
While Beauty Slept by Elizabeth Blackwell (Sleeping Beauty)
Bitter Greens by Kate Forsythe (Rapunzel)
Winterspell by Claire LeGrand (The Nutcracker)
Princess of Thorns by Stacey Jay (Sleeping Beauty)
Fairest by Marissa Meyer (Wicked Queen)
Winter by Marissa Meyer (Snow White)
Crimson Bound by Rosamund Hodge (Red Riding Hood)
Third, the Flights of Fantasy Reading Challenge 2015 hosted by Alexa @ Alexa Loves Books and Rachel @ Hello, Chelly. It’s another create your own level challenge- read as many fantasy books as you want! Well almost half of my TBR next year is fantasy books so this should be a good one! I do like to space out my reads because the world building (and emotions) can be intense, plus I am less likely to get annoyed by similarities between books that way :) I’ll aim for 20 fantasy books!
Daughter of the Forest by Juliet Marillier
The Witch Hunter by Virginia Boecker
The Kiss of Deception by Mary Pearson
Snow Like Ashes by Sarah Raasch
Alanna: The First Adventure by Tamora Pierce
Gates of Thread and Stone by Lori Lee
The Perilous Sea by Sherry Thomas
Grave Mercy by Robin LeFevers
Merlin: The Lost Years by T.A. Barron
Storm Siren by Mary Weber
Queen of the Tearling by Erika Johansen
Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard
The Winner’s Crime by Marie Rutkoski
The Storyspinner by Becky Wallace
A Court of Thorn and Roses by Sarah J. Maas
Throne of Glass #4 by Sarah J. Maas
Hidden Huntress by Danielle L. Jensen
Mark of the Thief by Jennifer A. Nielsen
The Orphan Queen by Jodi Meadows
In The Time of Dragon Moon by Janet Lee Carey
An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir
Crimson Bound by Rosamund Hodge
Court of Fives by Kate Elliott
The Vanishing Throne by Elizabeth May
Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo
Last but CERTAINLY not least, the 2015 Re-Read Challenge hosted by Hannah @ So Obsessed With and Kelly @ Belle of the Literati. I love rereading books but always feel so guilty about it and now I have the perfect excuse to indulge! It’s a mixture of childhood favorites, recent contemporaries, and some fantasy novels I want to delve deeper into. Subject to change
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowling (possibly the whole series [who am I kidding, totally the whole series]; I read SS really recently so I’ll start with Book 2!)
Angus, Thongs, and Full Frontal Snogging by Louise Rennison (possibly the whole series- the fabulosity of these fabbity fab books cannot be overstated. I read the first 5 in high school, the last 5 college and I need the Ace Gang in my life again laughing like a loon on loon tablets.)
Emily and the Scot by Kathryn Smith (ohhh I loved the Avon True Romance series)
Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine (my FAVORITE childhood book before HP)
The Farthest Away Mountain by Lynne Reid Banks (my first fantasy book)
The Thief by Megan Whalen Turner (read it when it first came out and remember nothing!)
Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins (my 3rd Anna reread!)
The Art of Lainey by Paula Stokes (Micahhhhhh!)
The Distance Between Us by Kasie West (CUTENESS)
Meant to Be by Lauren Morrill (the book that started my recent love of bantery YA contemp)
Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell (CARRY ON SIMON)
Since You’ve Been Gone by Morgan Matson (my favorite of the summer)
The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton (my favorite author so I want to fall in love again with my favorite (and first) book of hers!)
Blue Lily, Lily Blue by Maggie Stiefvater (possibly the whole series [again. Duh. Whole series] I need to prepare for the last book.)
The Dark Unwinding by Sharon Cameron (more Uncle Tully!)
The Treachery of Beautiful Things by Ruth Frances Long (lovely, fairy tale feeling book. And a standalone fantasy to boot!)
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins (didn’t like it much until the movie)
Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas (possibly the whole series- I need to dive deep into this mythology and see if I like the first book more the 2nd time around)
A Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin (but only if the book 6 date is released this year. I desperately want to reread the series but it’s such a commitment that I want a goal to work towards.)
Are you participating in any 2015 challenges? Planning to read any of the same books as I am? Let me know!
Oh, hey, look! It’s the last Top Ten of the year. *everyone* AWWWWW! We have plans for 2015, y’all. So check them out! And tell us about yours. We’re coming for you 2015!!
Tackle My TBR – Riiiiiiight. This one again. Every. Damn. Year. SIIIIIGH. But seriously though. More books from my TBR will be read.
Eat Healthier & Lose Weight – I got a new treadmill for Christmaaaaas! Thanks, (Tom)!! There’s already plans in the works for 2015 and I will look good doing them.
Get Married! – Why not?! Tom and I have been engaged for some years now and I’m thinking we should just elope. hehe
Review More – I am by far the least review contributor to this blog and I must change that immediately! This past year has been a rollercoaster for me and it was hard for me to focus and put down my thoughts on paper. I just had too many distractions, though I cannot foretell if I will have distractions in 2015, I am hoping to get my focus back and get back on a review schedule.
Read More – I definitely read way more books in 2013 than I did in 2014 and I attribute it to the same distractions I mentioned before, but I guess 2014 just wasn’t a good reading year for me. I plan to change that in 2015 and I hope to beat my high score. I also want to step outside of my normal reading comfort zone and even delve into some classics!
Focus On Me – On a personal level, 2014 was not-so-bueno and I think in 2015 I will focus on myself and learn to let go of those things in 2014 that have made me sad. I have always been a big fan of me and I just need to focus my energy on bringing myself back to a good spiritual place. I feel like my emotions have been all over the place and a little focusing will do me a lot of good.
To be nicer to myself in general – That might sound silly but I’m hard on myself for a lot of reasons. It’s stupid to stress and feel guilty about hobbies, but I do! All those unread books…and I keep buying more… and going to the library… and not wanting to read… not being caught up on tv shows… etc etc etc. Resolution: to cut myself some slack and enjoy the little things when I want to enjoy them.
To whittle down the TBR pile! – Read those books I’ve been meaning to get to! Keep supporting authors but take even more advantage of the library as well. And on a related note, get reviews written right away so I can have them ready to post :) I need to continue all that delightful book pushing in 2015. And continue commenting on other posts too!
To cook more consistently (maybe even try new recipes!) and to stay on top of the laundry. – Ugh. I don’t mind doing laundry itself, it’s the folding and the putting away that I hate :P Need to be better about that in the new year!
Read more of my physical books – I read more ebooks or library books and let all my other books pile up. I have to stop doing that or stop buying books, but I know that’s not going to happen.
Review more books – I tend to only review books I really loved or really hated. I have to start reviewing the books I’m not that crazy about.
Stop buying books without reading the synopsis – I do this all the time. I’m a sucker for a pretty cover, and I’ll just buy the book without a clue what it’s about. Sometimes this works out well, but most of the time it doesn’t.
Oh gosh, where to start! Since You’ve Been Gone by Morgan Matson, Heir of Fire by Sarah J. Maas, Untold by Sarah Rees Brennan. So many others.
Book You Were Excited About & Thought You Were Going To Love More But Didn’t?
Landry Park or Wrapped. Both should have been Morgan Bait. Neither was very good.
Most surprising (in a good way or bad way) book you read in 2014?
Something Real – I didn’t enjoy it as much as I expected because it was much darker and serious than I realized.
Book You “Pushed” The Most People To Read (And They Did) In 2014?
The Art of Lainey, Stolen Songbird, Throne of Glass, Outlander. I was a good book pusher this year!
Best series you started in 2014? Best Sequel of 2014? Best Series Ender of 2014?
The Winner’s Curse. Heir of Fire. Unmade. All SO GOOD!
Favorite new author you discovered in 2014?
Morgan Matson. I adored Since You’ve Been Gone and really enjoyed Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour.
Best book from a genre you don’t typically read/was out of your comfort zone?
The Spellman Files by Lisa Lutz. I rarely read adult contemporary mysteries. It was so funny and quirky!
Most action-packed/thrilling/unputdownable book of the year?
All Our Yesterdaysby Cristin Terrill – I sped through it in a day like an adrenaline junkie! So much tension.
Book You Read In 2014 That You Are Most Likely To Re-Read Next Year?
Blue Lily, Lily Blue by Maggie Stiefvater because there can never be enough of these characters and this world. Plus there is usually a lot of nuance that I miss the first time around! Also Pynch
Favorite cover of a book you read in 2014?
Across A Star Swept Sea (PRETTY DRESS AND SPARKLES), The Falconer (BADASS LADY, DAGGER, VIBRANT COLORS), and Since You’ve Been Gone. The photo itself is cute but I really love that the entire jacket, including the inside, reflects the book so perfectly.
Most memorable character of 2014?
Ronan Lynch. That onion of a boy, layers for dayssss. Plus I enjoy his defiant attitude, his penchant for cussing, and his secrets.
Most beautifully written book read in 2014?
The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski – lyrical, romantic, intense.
Most Thought-Provoking/ Life-Changing Book of 2014?
Thought Provoking: Something Real. I watch a lot of reality tv and it really made me consider the people I see on tv, what their lives are actually like.
Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2014 to finally read?
Crown of Embers by Rae Carson! I finally understood what HECTORRRR meant.
Favorite Passage/Quote From A Book You Read In 2014?
This is the first one that came to mind, from The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater.
“A secret is a strange thing.
There are three kinds of secrets. One is the sort everyone knows about, the sort you need at least two people for. One to keep it. One to never know.
The second is a harder kind of secret: one you keep from yourself. Every day, thousands of confessions are kept from their would-be confessors, none of these people knowing that their never-admitted secrets all boil down to the same three words: I am afraid.
And then there is the third kind of secret, the most hidden kind. A secret no one knows about. Perhaps it was known once, but was taken to the grave. Or maybe it is a useless mystery, arcane and lonely, unfound because no one ever looked for it.
All of us have secrets in our lives. We’re keepers or kept from, players or played. Secrets and cockroaches — that’s what will be left at the end of it all.”
Shortest & Longest Book You Read In 2014?
Longest: Heir of Fire by Sarah J. Maas (562 pages)
Shortest: Gilded Ashes by Rosamund Hodge (80 pages)
Book That Shocked You The Most
The Glass Casket (so dark, much murder! Plus a big twist). Heir of Fire (TWISTS. THE END. My godddd). Blue Lily, Lily Blue (character death but also two very delightful character introductions! One of which was supremely shocking).
OTP OF THE YEAR (you will go down with this ship!)
Don’t make me choose. For now I’ll go with James Mycroft and Rachel Watts from Every Breath, and Ronan Lynch and Adam Parrish from The Raven Cycle. One ship is sailing and the other better cast off soon.
Favorite Book You Read in 2014 From An Author You’ve Read Previously
Cress by Marissa Meyer! The Lunar Chronicles gets better and better and I really loved Cress. Plus Thorne was less Gilderoy Lockhart and more Han Solo. Love him.
Best Book You Read In 2014 That You Read Based SOLELY On A Recommendation From Somebody Else/Peer Pressure:
Every Breath by Ellie Marney- I saw this Early Cuddles post from Meg @ Cuddlebuggery back in June, which piqued my interest. And then Meg and Gillian from Writer of Wrongs both gave it 5 stars. And then the mega flailing on twitter started, which always means good things. They were not wrong because IT WAS AMAZING AND I ALREADY ORDERED THE SEQUEL FROM AUSTRALIA. Mycroffffft.
Newest fictional crush from a book you read in 2014?
Micah from The Art of Lainey by Paula Stokes. Yummmm. Baked good and sexy kisses, I’m all for it.
Best 2014 debut you read?
Stolen Songbird by Danielle Jensen – a very original fantasy with amazing world building, political intrigue, and romance!
Best Worldbuilding/Most Vivid Setting You Read This Year?
Heir of Fire by Sarah J. Maas or Empress of the Seven Hills by Kate Quinn. Celaena’s world continues to seriously impress me. The mythology and history is extremely deep, and the various locales and cultures pop off the page. And Kate Quinn brings 1st century Rome to life in the most brilliantly descriptive way. I feel like I’m there, immersed in Roman culture.
Book That Put A Smile On Your Face/Was The Most FUN To Read?
The Art of Lainey – so much banter and romantic tension and butterflies in my stomach! The part with the actor was super cute too. I kept thinking of Chris Evans!
Book That Made You Cry Or Nearly Cry in 2014?
I was good this year! No crying that I can recall.
Hidden Gem Of The Year?
Dark Star by Bethany Frenette – funny, original urban fantasy.
Book That Crushed Your Soul?
The soul crushing was light this year. I think I braced myself after other people’s tweets and so I was prepared! Mostly likely candidates were Untold, Unmade, and Ruin and Rising.
Most Unique Book You Read In 2014?
The Mark of Cain by Lindsey Barraclough – it’s slow but I can’t turn the pages fast enough. The tension drips off the page in one of the most terrifying books I’ve ever read. It’s an excellent sequel as well.
Book That Made You The Most Mad (doesn’t necessarily mean you didn’t like it)?
Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo – I wasn’t a fan of where a lot of the story ended up.
New favorite book blog you discovered in 2014?
Bookish Broads– I swear I comment on every post Gaby and Lisa write! They are fantastic!
Favorite review that you wrote in 2014?
The Lynburn Legacy – I reviewed all three books in one post and want everyone to read this amazing series!!
Best discussion/non-review post you had on your blog?
Today, some of us had more to say than others, lol. Are you guys wishing and/or hoping for any of these titles?? Let us know!
To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han – The last time I read anything by Jenny Han was the Summer series and I think it’s time I read another one! Jenny has this incredible way of story-telling that is both sweet, charming and pretty breath-taking. The premise to this book sounds pretty disastrous… and embarrassing… and sweet, and I think it would definitely be worth my time to read. So Santa, I think I’ve been a good girl this year… bring me some Jenny Han!!
Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo – I’ve seen this book mentioned on a few TTT lists this year and decided to look into it recently. The premise of the first book sounds pretty intriguing and right up my alley! It seems to be filled with adventure, fantasy, romance, magic and the paranormal which are all the things I love in books! Santa must know how this book would be just perfect for me to read, right? I’m hoping it shows up under my tree!
Bitten by Kelley Armstrong – I recently binge-watched the Canadian television series, Bitten, that was created from this book series that Jess recommended to me, and the show was fantastic! I am curious to know what happens next and I must start reading this book series immediately. I’ll have my hands full for a while since this book series has 13 books!! But it will be worth it to find out what Elena Michaels is up to these days. Also, all those sexy werewolves! Dear Santa, I would like Bitten to magically show up on my Kindle Christmas morning. Love, Lety.
The Winner’s Crime by Marie Rutkoski – I know this won’t be out by Christmas but a girl can dream. The Winner’s Curse was one of my favorite books this year. I read it in one sitting, and I can’t wait for the sequel.
Unleashed by Sophie Jordan – Another book that won’t be out but again I can dream. Uninvited was so amazing, I got really absorbed in that world and I need to know what happens next.
This Shattered World by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner – Epic space action opera for the win! I got These Broken Stars last year and still haven’t read it. I know, I know! But this way, I can read the companion novels back to back if Santa/the Hanukkah Fairy* brings the shiny to me.
Jewel of the Thames: A Portia Adams Adventure by Angela Misri – I can’t remember where I found this book but I need it! The cover is so charming, it’s set in London, and it’s about a teenage girl detective who inherits 221 Baker Street aka the former offices of Sherlock Holmes! I love mysteries and banter, and this seems like it would have both.
Loop by Karen Akins – I’ve heard this book is super fun! I also love time travel, plus who wouldn’t want to take actual field trips into history? And find super cute boys? And travel to the future? And solve mysteries? Sign me up!
*The Hanukkah Fairy isn’t actually real but I couldn’t think of a Santa equivalent! My family I guess? The Holiday Armadillo? Happy Hanukkah ;)
Cress by Marissa Meyer – THIS SERIES! It gets better with every book. Cress herself I loved! I thought she was so believable. It was also soooo cool to see the characters all together! Eeee like the Lunar Avengers or something :D Pretty much everything about this book was wonderful: the pacing, the action, the close-calls, the romance, the revelations. Secrets upon layers of secrets. And the glimpse of Winter!
The Art of Lainey by Paula Stokes – I loved the premise, which was clever. I loved Lainey’s character arc, which was completely believable. I loved her spacey family. I loved her chemistry and banter with Micah. I LOVED MICAH. Oh my god. I tend to judge contemporary romances on whether it’d be a good romantic comedy movie, and how many swoopy, butterfly feelings I get in my stomach. How much I smile and swoooon. And um yeah, this book had a lot.
Between The Devil and the Deep Blue Sea by April Genevieve Tucholke – A terrifying, sensual, disturbing, and pretty damn great book. I loved her crisp but dreamy writing; it was visceral and perfectly detailed. I could smell the salty sea air and taste the iced tea. And damn if River wasn’t one of the most confusing, wonderful, terrible characters I’ve ever read about. This book was super creepy and I loved it!
The Diviners by Libba Bray – I’ll admit the size of this book scared me for a long time, but I’m glad I finally gave in and read it. It was so amazing that once I started reading the pages just flew by. Just the right amount of creepiness and intrigue.
Cress by Marissa Meyer – I just love this series. Every new character brings something special to the mix. Even though these stories are fairy tale retellings every book feels completely fresh and unique, and they have a little bit of everything, from sci fi to romance.
Attachments by Rainbow Rowell – This is by far my favorite Rainbow Rowell book. I thought nothing could top Fangirl, but Attachments was just perfect in every way. I loved all the emails and how we really got to know the characters through them. This is basically the book version of a romantic comedy but ten times better.
Ignite Me by Tahereh Mafi – I could NOT wait to get my hands on this book this year! I was so excited to read the finale to this great trilogy and it did not disappoint. I know, I know, the ending did not live up to everyone’s expectations but I was totally on board with it. I also can’t believe this series is over *sad face* :( This whole series was fantastic and I am so in love with the writing. This series is hands down one of my favorites… EVER!
A Dance with Dragons by George R.R. Martin – I put off reading this fifth installment in this series because I knew that there were no more published novels after this one. I couldn’t wait any longer, and after the season 4 finale I jumped right into this book and was hoping to get a lot of my questions answered. I didn’t get all the answers, but it was an exciting read and has me jumping out of my skin to read the next. I might be waiting a while though. :/ I am also happy I can browse the ASOIF forums without the fear of reading spoilers. YAY!
If I Stay by Gayle Forman – I knew going into this book that it was going to be emotional, but ohemgee it was like my eyes turned into faucets and I couldn’t stop the water flow!! I cried so much reading this book and I loved this series! This first one was my favorite of the series and I pretty much read it in one sitting.
For those who have loved Seraphina and Graceling comes another truly fabulous fantasy...
For five centuries, a witch’s curse has bound the trolls to their city beneath the ruins of Forsaken Mountain. Time enough for their dark and nefarious magic to fade from human memory and into myth. But a prophesy has been spoken of a union with the power to set the trolls free, and when Cécile de Troyes is kidnapped and taken beneath the mountain, she learns there is far more to the myth of the trolls than she could have imagined.
Cécile has only one thing on her mind after she is brought to Trollus: escape. Only the trolls are clever, fast, and inhumanly strong. She will have to bide her time, wait for the perfect opportunity.
But something unexpected happens while she’s waiting – she begins to fall for the enigmatic troll prince to whom she has been bonded and married. She begins to make friends. And she begins to see that she may be the only hope for the half-bloods – part troll, part human creatures who are slaves to the full-blooded trolls. There is a rebellion brewing. And her prince, Tristan, the future king, is its secret leader.
As Cécile becomes involved in the intricate political games of Trollus, she becomes more than a farmer’s daughter. She becomes a princess, the hope of a people, and a witch with magic powerful enough to change Trollus forever.
Let’s start with a confession: I was totally drawn to Stolen Songbird because of the gorgeous cover. Look at that glass rose! I’m happy to report that the inside is just as lovely. I loved every second of this book, can’t say I expected that! I’ve never read about trolls before but thought they could be a refreshing and intriguing concept. The world building and intricate mythology of Stolen Songbird was fantastic and I really loved the characters. Cecile and Tristan’s alternating POV chapters worked well; they each had a distinct voice and it helped paint a full picture of Trollus, as well as their prejudices, their motives, and their feelings. The romance was awesome, total bickering and getting-to-know each other, forced together, etc. The friendships that Cecile makes were wonderful too, especially with Vincent and Victoria, and even though the evil characters were less three dimensional I’m desperate to know what they’re up to.
You’re thrown immediately into the action from page 1 and even though it was a hefty book (close to 500 pages!) there was never a dull moment. There was, however, political intrigue, treachery, romance, and secrets. I’m really really eager to read the sequel Hidden Huntress (next June! Boo…) and thought the last line was wicked. Plus there are still so many secrets to unravel! Highly recommend for fantasy fans, even if you don’t think trolls sound like your cup of tea. Trust me, they are!
1S. If you could choose one book to re-read once a year for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Harry Potter, the unabridged 3,000 page one volume version of course ;) Totally one book…
1A. What is one book or series that you would make everyone read if you could?
The Lynburn Legacy (http://gonewiththewords.com/2014/10/series-review-the-lynburn-legacy-sarah-rees-brennan.html). It has so much to offer in every way, and it is very hilarious, very swoony, full of action, and full of heartbreak. Plus Kami Glass is the best ever.
1J. What is your ultimate ship, your #1 “this is my OTP!”-level ship?
Rhaegar Targaryen and Lyanna Stark from A Song of Ice and Fire. For REASONS. Lots of reasons. Not just because Jessie asked this question.
2S. What book character have you identified with the most while reading?
Julia from Meant to Be. I never went on a class trip to London, but I was always a rule follower and unamused by nonsense from teenage boys. I needed help loosening up haha. I love England, museums, books, having everything in its place, trading sarcastic comments with guys like Jason. And I always had a crush on some unattainable guy in high school.
2A. Who is your favorite book boyfriend/girlfriend?
Oh god…. I think it’s still Etienne St. Clair from Anna and the French Kiss! Sah-woooon. I love Micah from Art of Lainey but he is def not my type in real life haha!
2J. If you could change the ending to any one book, what would it be and why?
Allegiant because I thought the spoilery thing that happened could have been done in a more emotionally effective way. I don’t hate what happened but I hate how it happened because I think there were better options for the story.
3S. If you could choose a whirlwind tour of 5 locations from any of the books you’ve ever read, which would you choose. They can be real or fantasy!
Pemberley (the Chatsworth House version!), Hogwarts, the Department of Mysteries, Winterfell, BookWorld (from the Thursday Next series).
3A. What are your favorite book covers?
I love the original American Harry Potter covers so much; they’re whimsical, colorful, and hold so much nostalgia. I also love Fangirl, the Mistress of Rome series (so gorgeous!), The Glass Sentence (vellum!!!), and Cruel Beauty. Plus let’s be real, I’m a sucker for pretty dress covers.
3J. Is there a book that everyone hates and you love?
Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte. I’ve read it 6 times and own multiple copies, it’s one of my favorites. I feel like most people I know hate it though.
4S. Recommend a book for someone who normally doesn’t enjoy reading. What book would you pick to change their mind?
I think I would give them Throne of Glass, The Hunger Games, or The Da Vinci Code. Exciting, fast paced books with strong characters. I know so many people who aren’t readers who loved The Hunger Games.
4A. Name 3 fictional places you would move to in a heartbeat.
Hogsmeade, Hobbiton, some fictional version of London because LONDON.
4J. Which book does the blogosphere go crazy for and you just don’t understand?
The Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare. I read City of Bones and thought it was entertaining but cliché. Too many cookie cutter scenarios and I didn’t care about the characters enough to find out what happens to them in the sequels.
5S. What is your favorite movie or television adaptation of a book you’ve read?
Oh god, favorite EVER? I’ll go with the Lord of the Rings trilogy. It’s the rare adaptation that’s better than the books. Plus I love it :) HARD CHOICE THOUGH!
5A. What books are you looking forward to most in 2015?
So many!!!! The short list: Red Queen, Raven Cycle 4, Throne of Glass 4, The Witch Hunter, Lion Heart, Hidden Huntress, The Winner’s Crime, Prudence, Rook, P.S. I Love You, Winter, untitled Kate Morton, The Winds of Winter (HERE’S HOPING).
5J. What is the worst book you have ever read? THE WORST. Why?
Breaking Dawn (Twilight #4) by Stephenie Meyer. I really liked, maybe even loved, the first three books and Breaking Dawn ruined the entire series for me. It’s completely nonsensical; Stephenie Meyer flouts her own rules and mythology whenever she feels like it, characters treat emotions like they have on/off switches, and there are hardly any lasting consequences for anything or anyone. Completely maddening and not worth the midnight launch.
6S. What is your most anticipated book of 2015?
The 4th Raven Cycle book. I wants the precioussss.
6A. Name your favorite and least favorite books of 2014.
I’m assuming this means published in 2014… Favorites: Cress, The Assassin’s Blade, The Nethergrim, The Art of Lainey, Since You’ve Been Gone, The Winner’s Curse, Curses and Smoke, Heir of Fire, Blue Lily, Lily Blue. Least favorites: Landry Park (DNF), Glimpse.
6J. Your top three recommendations for someone who “doesn’t read YA.”
His Dark Materials. Modern fantasy classic, thought provoking, exciting, emotional.
The Winner’s Curse. Beautiful writing, engaging characters, feels like historical fiction.
The Raven Boys. Unusual, genre bending, lyrical writing, layered characters.
7S. What is the longest book you have ever read?
A Breath of Snow and Ashes, 6th in the Outlander series. It’s the longest of the series so far, a whopping 1488 mass market pages. That’s a lot of small type!
7A. Who is your most owned author?
J.K. Rowling. I have 3 complete sets of the American Harry Potter books (HC, PB, new PB), plus a variety of foreign editions in 10 languages. I think it’s 37 HP books total.
7J. What if there was only one book-to-movie production in 2015. You get to decide which book — so which one do you pick?
I’d pick Throne of Glass. I think it could be an amazingly cinematic series with obvious potential for sequel movies, which Hollywood loves ;)
8S. What’s your best blogging tip?
To be friendly and connect with other bloggers and readers, either on your own blog, on someone else’s blog, or on social media. Especially with !!!!!!! and ALL CAPS in regards to books. It makes the experience really fun :D
8A. When and why did you start blogging?
I started blogging this past September; I didn’t have the time to commit to a blog of my own but I was looking for somewhere to contribute reviews and bookish discussions- I still had a lot to say, I love books! Luckily Jess at Gone with the Word was looking for reviewers and the rest is history! It’s been a great experience so far contributing with my co-bloggers.
8J. Would you rather have a new Harry Potter series about Harry in his later years or a a Marauders-era book series?
Ahhhh! HOW TO CHOOSE! If we’re being honest, I’d almost rather some Wizarding hist fic. Founders era and all. I think I’d pick Marauders because I’m super curious how James and Lily got together. Plus, the rise of Voldemort.
9S. Tell us about your favorite blogging experience you’ve had. Was it meeting a fellow blogger? Attending a conference or book signing?
I haven’t been blogging as long as I’ve been on Twitter and Goodreads, but I loved getting to attend Sarah J. Maas’ signing this past September in Glendale! I’ve missed her other tours and I was in the LA area for the One Direction concert so I couldn’t pass up the chance! She was hilarious, and real, and super cool. And SHE KNEW WHO I WAS. I will never get over that! “Oh, Morgan Manning from Twitter?” I also got to meet Gillian from Writer of Wrongs (http://gillianeberry.blogspot.com/) in person, which was SO fun! It was brief but awesome to meet one of my favorite bloggers. Plus she did a fab job moderating the panel :)
9A. What is your favorite thing about blogging?
Meeting other bookish friends to freak out about books with! Finding books I’ve never heard of. Also coming up with creative posts and hopefully connecting with others that feel the same way.
9J. How do you pick your next read?
I stare at my bookshelf for a long time until something jumps out at me; usually it’s a book I’ve heard good things about via friend reviews. Or I pick a few books and stare at them, read a couple pages until I pick one. There’s not much of a system. If I have library books out, I try to read those first. Otherwise it’s total mood reading mixed with recs I see on twitter/blogs that make me run out and get that book.
10S. When and why did you start blogging?
See the answer to 8A :)
10A. What hobbies do you have besides reading?
I love to write, go to the movies, watch movies/tv at home, watch sports (NBA/NFL/WWE), play fantasy football, play with my beagle, drink tea, and bake!
10J. What book have you owned the longest that is still unread on your shelf?
It might be Daughters of the Forest by Juliet Marillier and Taliesin by Stephen Lawhead. I think I bought them at the same time back in high school (11 years ago omg).
This is basically a no brainer and definitely one of my very top anticipated books next year! I liked The Raven Boys, loved The Dream Thieves and Blue Lily, Lily Blue, and somewhere along the way because obsessed enough that I’m ready to reread all three books again. I’ve even written FANFICTION. Needless to say, I’m terrified and super excited about the end of the series. Give me Pynch or give me death! (But not Gansey’s, please. PLEEEEASE.)
Fun fact/disclaimer: I’ve been good twitter friends with Victoria Aveyard for almost 2 years now. Who else can I tweet with about Game of Thrones, Seinfeld, the Patriots, and Prince George? I followed Victoria after her agent Suzie Townsend tweeted about this amazing book she signed, a YA fantasy for fans of Game of Thrones. Sold. So basically, I’ve wanted to read Red Queen before I even knew much about it and now that I do, I WANT TO READ IT EVEN MORE. It sounds like a unique, badass epic fantasy. Plus that cover: a crown dripping blood? Yes. Please. Forever. Early reviews have been great and I’m truly excited to dive into another amazing YA fantasy world. (I’M GOING TO NEED A SIGNED COPY IN PERSON, VICTORIA!)
I will read anything this woman writes, which is the reason an untitled book with no description makes my list of my most anticipated books. Kate Morton is my favorite author and I got to meet her a few years ago at a signing for The Distant Hours. She’s lovely and so interesting to hear in person! Her books all fall within similar parameters: adult dual timeline novels set in England or Australia, filled with lush description, vibrant characters, gothic old houses, and lots of tragic family secrets. That’s why I know I’ll love her fifth book just as much as I loved her first four.
Another debut by another author I’m friends with on Twitter (I swear, this isn’t a Morgan’s Friends List!). And again, the reason I followed Virignia Boecker was because I was blown away by her book concept. An alternate 16th century Tudor England with witches and female witch hunters? Be still my heart! I’m dyinggg to read this alternate historical fantasy, it sounds like a mash up of everything I love. Plus if you’re looking for someone to live tweet and sah-woooon about Outlander with, Virginia’s got you covered :)
All you need to know about the book is this: it’s a modern day retelling of A Tale of Two Cities WITH MAGIC. AND MAGIC RINGS. AND DOPPLEGANGERS. And I’m sure the hallmark humor, heartbreak, and swoon of Sarah Rees Brennan’s other books. The Lyburn Legacy is a favorite and I’m hoping Lucie will be as amazing a main character as Kami Glass!
I was blown away by The Winner’s Curse and I need the sequel desperately. That last chapter was a doozy! I love love love that it’s a fantasy book that feels more like historical fiction with Greco/Roman influences, I really enjoy the political tension, I love the gorgeous writing, and the chemistry between Kestrel and Arin? Titanic-sized ship.
That. Last. Line! Stolen Songbird was one of my favorite books of 2014. It was such an absorbing fantasy with a unique troll mythology and lots of action and romance. There’s a hint of mystery surrounding the magic too and it ends in such a badass way. I’m so excited to follow Cecile and Tristan’s adventures in the next book.
The Parasol Protectorate is a fantastic series best described as irreverent steampunk meets Jane Austen with vampires and werewolves. That doesn’t even do it justice, but suffice to say it is a hilarious, wonderful, inventive series with lots of action and tea! Prudence is the first book in a new series set 20 years later in the same alternate Victorian world. I won’t spoil anything but both old and new characters will appear and I can’t wait to read about more werewolf protocols, vampire dandies, and madcap hijinks in dirigibles!
Give me Rowan. Give me Aedion. Give me Aelin Ashryver Galathynius!!!! Seriously though, this series gets more complex, more epic, more brutal, more magical with every book. I LOVED Heir of Fire and I can’t wait to see where things are headed! This is the midpoint of the series so I know more mysteries will arise but I can’t wait to see how Manon and the Blackbeaks figure in. I want Chaol and Rowan and Aedion in a room together!!! I want to see how Celaena evolves. I’m also DYING to know if we’ll meet Ansel from The Assassin and the Desert again! I want to know more about the magic and the wyrd keys and that damn evil king… and Dorian. God. I just want this book so badly!!!!!!
I can’t wait to see the cover! Each installment of the Lunar Chronicles has been better than the previous one. It’s amazing how Marissa Meyer is able to weave so many fantastic characters and storylines together and I’m so ready for the explosive final volume! I need my ships to sail, I can’t wait for more of Iko’s hilarious commentary, and I’m excited to finally explore Luna!
HAHAHAHA I wish. Don’t have a heart attack, ASOIAF fans, I don’t know anything you don’t know. I do have a theory. I think that George R.R. Martin is further along than he admits publicly and might just troll us all and drop the book when we least expect it. Wouldn’t you? I’m thinking they could announce the release date right around the time Season 5 premieres in April and have the book out 3 months later in July, like A Dance with Dragons. Or they announce the date and cover at Comic Con, just in time for the holiday season. I’m telling you, winter is coming sooner than we think. (I HOPE.) And this damn book better open with Chapter 1 at The Wall. IT. BETTER.
Honorable Mentions: Illusionarium, Rook, Lion Heart, Court of Fives, Fire Fall, P.S. I Love You, A Court of Thorns and Roses, Passenger, The Price of Blood, Lady of the Eternal City.
If there’s anything I love as much as books, it’s movies, so instead of doing either/or for my list this week I decided to match books with Halloween movies to create the perfect atmospheric pair. Some were because of subject matter, some simply because of the feel of the story. All imbued with Halloween spirit!
The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield/The Others
I’ve read The Thirteenth Tale only once and seen The Others only once but it each case, the story has haunted me ever since. They are both Gothic ghost stories about creepy houses and dark family secrets with unreliable narrators and enough twists to make you gasp. They find a way to get underneath your skin and make it crawl. Brilliantly told but not for the faint of heart!
Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea by April Genevieve Tucholke/Casper
On the surface they might not seem to have much in common but the ruined mansion on the edge of a Maine sea cliff coupled with supernatural secrets and a melancholy air lurking beneath the surface made me realize that Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea would be perfect for older readers that had been fans of Casper as kids. Casper is funny, heartbreaking, spooky, and has a twinge of romance while Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea is crisply written, seductive, scary, and gothic to the core.
Unspoken by Sarah Rees Brennan/Hocus Pocus
I wrote about both Unspoken and Hocus Pocus last week and it made me realize how well they go together! Small sleepy towns, witches returned after generations, and resourceful snarky teen characters trying to stop them. They also have so much humor mixed with the spooky fall atmosphere.
Beautiful Creatures by Margaret Stohl and Kami Garcia/Practical Magic
Witches, magic, family curses, doomed romances- that could describe Practical Magic or Beautiful Creatures. They are both supernatural romances tinged with darkness and possession that are ultimately about love. Plus you always need witches around Halloween!
Long Lankin by Lindsey Barraclough/The Ring
Long Lankin is still the creepiest book I’ve ever read (one that I champion every chance I get) and The Ring has haunted my nightmares since the first time I saw it over ten years ago. Both are so sinister, so unsettling, so undeniably terrifying as the story builds that my skin crawls at the mere thought of them. I loved both but in that way where I don’t think I can ever watch or read either one again. Horror of the first order that frightened me completely and in the case of Long Lankin, left me in awe of the atmospheric writing and characterization, and the vernacular that added a lot to the mid-20th century English setting. I can’t think of either villain without a chill of revulsion and terror and dread in the pit of my stomach. The storytelling is less action and more slow building tension but by the time the climax arrives your eyes will be wide in enthralled fear. Excellently creepy.
The Mark of Cain by Lindsey Barraclough/Coraline
The Mark of Cain is the sequel to Long Lankin; without spoilers, it has some of the same characters and setting, but focuses more on witchcraft including the creation and use of poppets. A poppet is a doll made to represent a specific person and was used to cast evil spells on the that person. It is as atmospherically sinister and creepy as Long Lankin, even more so in parts- the creeping sort of chill that someone is watching over your shoulder in the shadows, waiting to steal a strand of hair to make a doll of your likeness and stick pins in it. Coraline is a dark fantasy 3D film filled with other worlds, ghost children, button eyes, mouths sewn shut, and creepy witch dolls. It is unsettling and chilling, even though it’s an animated movie for children. The creep factor is high!
The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater/Corpse Bride
This might be the most tenuous connection but something about The Raven Boys and Corpse Bride makes me feel like they are a good fit. The Raven Boys is a slow, strange, simmering tale of friendship, true love, and supernatural occurrences, including ghosts, sleeping Welsh kings, and tightly twisting strands of fate in small town Virginia. Corpse Bride is an animated stop-motion film about a 19th century British man whisked away to the Land of the Dead when he accidentally marries a girl called the Corpse Bride, although Victor soon discovers that nothing in this world or the next can keep him from his true love. It’s dark and humorous like only Tim Burton can be, with a cast of colorful characters and a spooky tragic atmosphere.
A Curse Dark As Gold by Elizabeth C. Bunce/Sleepy Hollow (FOX)
There are many modern versions of Sleepy Hollow, including the Disney cartoon and the Johnny Depp movie but my favorite is the show loosely based on the Washington Irving story. The present mixes with the past, and monsters, witches, demons and all sorts of supernatural creatures haunt the small modern day town of Sleepy Hollow, like they did hundreds of years before. There are creepy woods, witch curses, and a pervasive gothic atmosphere, which are the main reasons I think it would pair well with A Curse Dark As Gold- a magical, haunting, suspenseful historical fairy tale. At its core the book is a Rumplestiltskin retelling but it is also about strong, resourceful Charlotte and the tragic curse that hangs over her family’s haunted mill in small town England.
The Screaming Staircase by Jonathan Stroud/The Haunted Mansion
I started The Screaming Staircase recently and really love the comedic tone juxtaposed with frightening ghost encounters so far, which is what The Haunted Mansion is all about. It is based on the Disney ride and follows a family that gets drawn into the supernatural mystery hanging over the crumbling mansion. I laughed and jumped in equal measure- misty graveyards and ghostly curses are always perfect for the month of October.
Ruined by Paula Morris/The Skeleton Key
I haven’t read Ruined yet but it’s been on my list for awhile and I can tell how well it would pair with The Skeleton Key, one of the most spine tingling movies I’ve ever seen. Ruined is set in New Orleans about a girl named Rebecca who lives in a creepy house with her aunt and befriends a ghost named Lisette. The Skeleton Key is about a young hospice nurse from New Orleans who takes a job at an isolated bayou plantation and becomes entangled in an evil supernatural mystery. It has a disturbing ending that I think about to this day.
A few bonus movies/books in the Halloween spirit that I love but couldn’t quite find great matches for: Paranorman, Monster House, It’s The Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown, The Nightmare Before Christmas, The Glass Casket by McCormick Templeman, A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness, The Distant Hours by Kate Morton.
And one bonus book that might be the most perfect fall read ever: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone! There’s a great Halloween scene but mostly it’s the feeling of starting the journey to Hogwarts and being whisked away to a world of magic.