2016 Reading Wrap-Up

With 2016 (finally) coming to an end, I wanted to look back at some of my favorite books of the year. I chose the categories randomly so that I could feature some of my favorite books. There is no distinction between books released in 2016 or from before. Reviews are linked to in the ratings.

Favorite Fantasy

Elantris by Brandon Sanderson

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5/5 stars

Favorite Historical Fiction

Out of Darkness by Ashley Hope Perez

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4.5/5 stars

Honorable Mentions: The Walled City by Ryan Graudin, Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys

Favorite Contemporary

The Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson

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5/5 stars

Favorite Book From A Genre I Don’t Usually Read

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

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4/5 stars

Favorite Reread

Uprooted by Naomi Novik

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5/5 stars

Honorable Mention: The Wrath and the Dawn by Rene Ahdieh, The Sweet Far Thing (Gemma Doyle #3) by Libba Bray

Favorite Standalone

The Walled City by Ryan Graudin

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4.5/5 stars

Favorite Series

The Starbound Trilogy by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner

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4/5 stars

Book I Can’t Believe I Didn’t Read Sooner

His Majesty’s Dragon (Temeraire #1) by Naomi Novik

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4.5/5 stars

 Favorite Book That Opened My Eyes

Symptoms of Being Human by Jeff Garvin

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3/5 stars

Favorite Book That Made Me Cry

The Raven King (TRC #4) by Maggie Stiefvater

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5/5 stars

Honorable Mention: Empire of Storms (TOG #5) by Sarah J. Maas, A Court of Mist and Fury (ACO #2) by Sarah J. Maas

Favorite Book That Surprised Me

The Darkest Part of the Forest by Holly Black

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5/5 stars


What were your favorite books in 2016? Do we share any favorites? Do you have any recommendations for 2017?

Discussion Post: Ten Random Bookish Confessions

I’ve seen some posts like this floating around (sorry I don’t remember specific bloggers’ names!) and thought, what the heck, it’s an easy (and hopefully interesting) post. I’m in the middle of a blogging slump, which is driving me crazy, but with finals and college apps, I don’t really have the time or energy to get out of it.

1. I can’t skim books.

I see bloggers saying all the time “I just skimmed it”—and I don’t get it. This isn’t a snotty “how could you dare skim a boring book” thing; I don’t care if other people skim. I just can’t get my brain to skim fiction books. (Textbooks, though…)

2. I reread ALL THE TIME.

Probably a quarter (or a third) of the books I read this year were rereads. I LOVE rereading books. Sometimes I just reread a favorite, but other times, I reread because of a series. I can’t just read the second/third/etc book in a series, I have to read every book that came before. It’s ridiculous, but it means that I get to appreciate every series as a whole (every, single, freaking time a new book in the series comes out).

3. I’ve used the same bookmark for almost three years now. (But if I’m not using it, I use a random scrap of paper.)

One of my best friends made me a bookmark at the end of freshman year, and I’ve been using it ever since. It was “laminated” in packing tape, but even so, it’s starting to show its wear. Up until that point, I was a “random scrap of paper” person, using folded-in-half post-its mostly.

4. I read in class (but not while the teacher is talking).

Most of my reading these days happens at school…which is one of the reasons I don’t read very much. Up until this year, I had a ton of free time in class, which meant I could read about a book a week. Nowadays, I read a lot less.

5. I can read for hours, but it’s not always a good thing.

If I’m on break, I can spend half a day reading one book, not even really moving. I’ll have fun while I’m doing it, but when I look back, I realize that I didn’t get as much out of the book as I would have if I had read it more slowly.

6. I take good care of my books…but I have no idea how to keep spines from breaking.

I don’t dog-ear pages; I have mostly stopped getting crumbs or food stains in my books. But I can’t keep spines from breaking. I just can’t.

7. I love sharing books (but I keep getting burned).

I love owning books, so I like to share them with other people to validate owning literally every book I read. Through middle school, I never had a problem with lending books to people, but recently, I have stopped getting books back.

8. I can only read one book at once.

If you’re one of those people that can be in the middle of three books at once, props. I can’t. I tried when I was younger, but I always ended up reading one book and ignoring the other.

9. Fan art freaks me out.

This is nothing against fan art artists! I love you guys. But I take my own mental images of characters really seriously and am terrified of losing them, so I never risk looking at fan art.

10. I don’t read hardcovers with their dusk jackets on.

I love hardcover books! I love how dusk jackets look! But when I’m reading a hardcover, I take the dusk jacket off. This keeps the jacket from being destroyed and makes it easier for me to hold the book itself.

Top Ten Books to Give Friends to Turn Them Into Bookworms

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

This week’s theme is a Holiday Gift Guide freebie, so I’m talking about books to give people to turn them into bookworms. I think a lot of people want to be readers, and know what they’d want to read about, but do not know which books to read.

For the person who wants magic

1. Graceling by Kristin Cashore

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One of the first YA books I ever read, Graceling has stuck with me because of its unique world-building, fierce characters, and slow-burn romance.

2. The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

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Nothing says “magic” like The Night Circus. Told in an interesting voice, this book creates a vivid and wonderful magical world and throws the reader into the middle of a heartwrenching romance.

For the person who loves social change

3. Beauty Queens by Libba Bray

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I will shout about this book until the end of time. I thought it would be a frivilous, trope-filled story about beauty pagents, but it ended up being one of the most unabashedly feminist stories I’ve ever read.

4. Going Underground by Susan Vaught

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This is another book that has profoundly shaped the way I see the world. With complex characters, a subtle romance, and a hilarious parrot, this book is perfect for anyone looking to see teenage relationships in a different way.

For the person who needs A Dramatic Story

5. Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein

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This is the kind of book that grabs you on the first page and steadily breaks your heart for the next 300 pages. Perfect for anyone who needs to be 110% invested in a story to finish it.

6. Illuminae by Jay Kristoff and Amie Kaufman

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Hilarious and terrifying in equal measure, Illuminae is another book that will force even the most half-hearted reader to devour the story.

For the person who wants fluffy feels

7. The Fill-In Boyfriend by Kasie West

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This book is perfectly fluffy, with surprisingly emotional scenes and low-key Doctor Who references.

8. The Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson

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Though this book is long for a contemporary romance, you will savor every single page. More than just a fluffy romance, The Unexpected Everything talks about friendship, self-discovery, the perils of dog walking, and writers block.

For the Person who just doesn’t have time

9. I’d Tell You I Love You, but Then I’d Have to Kill You by Ally Carter

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This is the kind of book that you can read in one sitting. Light-hearted and slightly ridiculous, the first Gallagher Girls book is perfect for someone who wants to read, but does not have time to commit to a longer story.

10. A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness

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Short but profound, A Monster Calls is the kind of story that breaks and heals your heart simultaneously. For the full experience, read the illustrated version!


What are your go-to books for gifts? Have you read any of these books?

Happy Tuesday!

Top Ten Authors I’m Thankful For

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

This week’s theme is a Thanksgiving freebie, so I’m talking about the top ten authors I’m thankful for.

1. Libba Bray

Libba Bray is important to me for a lot of reasons. Her stories are complex and imaginative, never staying in the same genre. Her female characters ooze Girl Power. And her writing is hilarious.

2. Maggie Stiefvater

Maggie Stiefvater is the author who convinced me that lyrical writing does not have to get in the way of storytelling. Her stories have amazing world building with sutble fantasy elements and slow burn romances that give me all the feels.

3. Brandon Sanderson

Brandon Sanderson is the author who convinced me that incredibly complex world building can make a series more dramatic, instead of weighing it down, and that plot twists can be genuinely shocking.

4. JK Rowling

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Though I am not the biggest Harry Potter nerd out there, I am thankful for those books. They inspired my love of reading and were the basis of some of my closest friendships.

5. Stephanie Perkins

Anna and the French Kiss was one of the first contemporary romance books that I read that genuinely impressed me. Up until then, I had enjoyed the genre without expecting much from it, but Stephanie Perkins convinced me that the stories could have substance and emotional impact in ways that I hadn’t expected.

6. Morgan Matson

If Stephanie Perkins convinced me to expect a lot from contemporary romance, it was Morgan Matson that met those expectations. SYBG was one of the first books I read where I deeply empathized with the main character, and TUE has a hilariously unique love interest.

7. Elizabeth Wein

Elizabeth Wein is the author who convinced me of the heartbreaking qualities of historical fiction. Code Name Verity blew me away in a way that no other book has since, and Black Dove White Raven put my soul back together with an adorable story about friendship (and then shattered it again). If you are looking for deeply moving historical fiction with amazing friendship (and no romance!), you need to read her books.

8. Kristin Cashore

Graceling was one of the first YA books that I ever read. It sucked me into the YA fantasy genre, and I’ve never looked back. Even now, her stories are some of my favorites to reread, with their gorgeous world building and heart-wrenching romances.

9. Susan Vaught

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Going Underground was one of the first books that ever changed the way I saw the world. When I read it, I hadn’t even heard of the problem the book addressed (I’m purposefully being vague so I won’t ruin the surprise), but its message has stayed with me to today.

10. Megan Whalen Turner

Finally, Megan Whalen Turner is the author that convinced me that slow, carefully written books with hidden meanings are my favorite. Her stories do not race from start to finish, but if you give them a chance, they will blow you away.


Which authors are you thankful for? Have you read any of these books? Do you have any recommendations?

Discussion Post: Blogging for Likes

I’ve been mulling over this topic in my mind for a while now, and I’ve finally decided to get over myself and just write it. This was partially inspired by Victoria’s post @ Doodles and Scraps in which she talked about how she feels about getting likes versus getting subscribers, and the difference in her follower and like counts:

Like I said, my follower count is going up, and it’s amazing! My likes seem to be going down a bit, though? Not hugely, just by a couple, so I’m averaging around 15 likes per post. For someone with nearly 700 subscribers, that seems awfully low.

I think a lot of WordPress bloggers can relate to this sentiment. Unlike a platform like Instagram, where hitting 100 likes is relatively simple, WordPress is not a “like heavy” platform. I have almost 600 followers, but if one of my posts gets 20 likes, I basically die of happiness.

Now, I love WordPress. It is easy to use and looks fairly professional. It is the home of hundreds of amazing book bloggers. The WordPress Reader app on my phone is my main method of blog-hopping. I’m not going to abandon WordPress because it’s hard to get likes…I’m not that shallow.

I am kind of shallow, though.

That’s what this post is about. I’m going to lay out my feelings on blogging for likes, and I’m honestly curious to see if you guys feel the same way.

So…do I want likes?

Umm, yes. Likes and comments are awesome. They make me feel like people actually care about what I’m saying and they help me take pride in my posts. Getting WordPress notifications is sometimes the best part of my day.

Of course, I like comments more than likes, especially on a review or a discussion post when someone is really responding to my content. I think we all crave the personal nature of a comment…but I also enjoy the little rush of a like.

So…do I blog for likes?

Yes? No? Sometimes?

Yes: I take part in Top Ten Tuesday because it is a fairly reliable way to get traffic to my blog and the posts generally do well in terms of likes.

No: I don’t tailor the books I read to match with current hype. I pretty much just read what I’m in the mood for when I’m in the mood for it and then write a review.

Yes: Sometimes I choose not to write a review for a second book in a series if the review for the first book totally flopped.

No: I throw out some poetry on my blog every once and a while. I know the poems won’t attract a ton of likes, mainly because this is a bookish blog more than it is a writing blog, but I still do it because I enjoy it.

So here’s what it comes down to:

I have a blog because I love talking about books. Blogging helps me revisit the books I’ve read, learn about new ones, and celebrate my favorites. I didn’t start my blog to get likes or followers—I honestly didn’t think it would happen. And overall, I don’t blog for the likes, I blog for the act of blogging and to be a part of the community.

But still, it would be dishonest to act like I don’t care about likes. I choose which posts to put energy into based on how well I think they will do. I’m a high school student with a limited amount of time to blog and a desperate need for good news, so it is impossible for me to separate the act of blogging from people’s reactions to my posts.


What about you? Do you think about likes when you’re writing a post? Do you care about likes/comments/followers? Was this post relatable or foreign to you?

Top Ten Books I Want to Read Before the Year Ends

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

Happy Tuesday! This week’s topic is supposed to be Books I’ve Added to my TBR Recently, but my TBR is a disaster right now, so I’m taking my own spin on the topic. Here are some books that I hope to read before the year ends.

1. Six of Crows and Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo

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I read the Grisha trilogy over summer and didn’t love it, but I’ve heard amazing things about the sequel series. My friend just read it and DIED over it, so I know I have to read it soon.

2. Firsts by Laurie Elizabeth Flynn

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I have literally been meaning to read this book all year…and yet I never got around to it. I can’t let 2016 end without reading this book finally,

3. Furthermore by Tahereh Mafi

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I am fascinated by this book—I mean, when I think Tahereh Mafi, I definitely do not think MG. I know that she will do an incredible job with the genre and the story.

4. Calamity (The Reckoners #3) by Brandon Sanderson

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Another book that I have been meaning to read since it came out! I love everything Brandon Sanderson writes, and I am ready to finish the Reckoners’ story.

5. Falling Kingdoms by Morgan Rhodes

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I’ve had this book forever. My sister read it and didn’t love it, but there is a lot of love for the series, so I want to give it a shot.

6. Gemina (Illuminae Files #2) by Jay Kristoff and Amie Kaufman

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BECAUSE OF COURSE. Just looking at this book makes my heart race, though, so I’ll probably wait to read it until a break from school and its stress, lol.

7. The Sweetheart by Angelina Mirabella

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My sister has been bugging me to read this book for months. I should read it before 2016 ends, just so that she won’t nag me in two different years 😉

8. His Majesty’s Dragon (Temeraire #1) by Naomi Novik

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I LOVED Uprooted (if you haven’t read it, GO READ IT) so I am excited to see what else Naomi Novik has created. The series is nine books long and the last one finally came out, so I think it’s time to binge-read it. I just started this book, and so far it’s good—but I’m only 10 pages in.

9. Blood for Blood (Wolf by Wolf #2) by Ryan Graudin

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Another OF COURSE on my TBR. Wolf by Wolf was incredible, so I HAVE to know how the story ends.

10. milk and honey by Rupi Kaur

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I’ve seen this book everywhere and I’m excited for it. I don’t read a lot of poetry, but I took some poetry classes earlier this year and it reminded me just how much I like poems when I read them.


What books do you want to read before the year is over? What books are on your TBR and what books should I add to my own?

The Halloween Book Tag

Thank you so much to Kirstie @ Upside-Down Books for tagging me! If you guys don’t know her blog, you should check it out! She is an incredibly lovely blogger 🙂

Carving Pumpkins: What book would you carve up and light on fire?

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Okay, so I’d never actually burn a book…but I really didn’t like It’s a Wonderful Death. I had really high hopes, and it ended up being cliche and boring. Bummer.

Trick or Treat? Which character is a treat and which character is a trick?

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Trick: Gen

Not because he’s a villain of anything, but because he is the dictionary definition of a trickster.

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Treat: Sean Kendrick

Because Sean Kendrick is freaking dreamy.

Candy Corn: What book is always sweet?

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The Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson

This book is one of the sweetest, cutest stories ever. I laughed, I cried, I smiled. It was awesome.

Ghost: What character would you like to visit you as a ghost?
[no spoilers]

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Noah from The Raven Cycle by Maggie Stiefvater

Because…well…I love him. (Among other reasons)

Dressing Up in Costume: What character would you want to be for a day?

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Shazi from The Wrath and the Dawn by Rene Ahdieh

Because HER CLOTHES. And her personality. And Khalid. Okay, so everything.

Wizards and Witches: What’s your favorite Harry Potter moment?

I absolutely loved the moment after Harry takes his Defense Against the Dark Arts OWL when the examiner asks Harry to show his Patronous. It was a really badass moment.

Blood and Gore: What was a book that was so creepy that you had to take a break from it?

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The Dead House by Dawn Kurtagich

I have a very conflicted relationship with this book, but the one thing I can say for sure is that it was RIDICULOUSLY CREEPY. So. Freaking. Creepy. If you want to know more, you can read my very conflicted review.

My tags


Happy Halloween! Have you read any of the books I mentioned? Do you have any book recommendations?