Wednesday, December 31, 2014

The Hardcover Lover's Year in Review

Wow! I cannot fathom that 2014 is already over! I know it seems like a cliche, but it really seems like 2014 only started yesterday. Well maybe not yesterday, but it doesn't really feel like a year has already gone by.

This year was a really great reading year for me, and I read all sorts of different books!

When I worked at the preschool, I read a lot of children's books to the kiddos, and that was a blast just to see their faces light up because they enjoy a story so much. Also... I'm pretty awesome at doing voices for them. I also had a lot of time on weekends and over the summer to just relax and read. I read a bunch of different and new-to-me authors this year, giving me more variety to my reading tastes and establishing a new favorite genre.

I know my blog hasn't been around for a while, but that doesn't mean that I wasn't reading and reviewing books before I created it. In 2014, I read over 130 books! Before I start things for the new year, I thought I'd share my favorite 2014 releases and other books that I read this year.

Favorite 2014 Releases

  • Zodiac by Romina Russell*  
  • Damsel Distressed by Kelsy Macke*
  • Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins*
  • Cress by Marissa Meyer *
  • Panic by Lauren Oliver
  • My True Love Gave to Me edited by Stephanie Perkins
  • We Were Liars by E. Lockhart*
  • The One by Kiera Cass (May 2014)
  • The Queen of the Tearling by Erika Johansen*
  • Landline by Rainbow Rowell* 
  • To All the Boys I've Loved Before by Jenny Han*
  • Love Letters to the Dead by Ava Dellaira*

    *Denotes a new-to-me author this year.

My Favorite Book of 2014

So... it all comes down to this. I have to pick one favorite for the year, and for me, there is really no questioning my choice because my favorite book of the year is a stunning debut.

My favorite book of the year definitely has to be Zodiac by Romina Russell. It was released on December 9. 

I was lucky enough to be chosen as a Goodreads giveaway winner for this book, and I absolutely loved it. I loved the concept of space travel in a galaxy based on the signs of the Zodiac, and the world building was spectacular.

Seriously... if you haven't read this book yet, I urge you to go to your local bookstore and grab a copy! It's amazing! You can check out my full review here.

Favorite Back Listed Books I Read This Year

  • Cinder by Marissa Meyer
  • Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell
  • Burn for Burn by Jenny Han and Siobhan Vivan
  • The Silver Linings Playbook by Matthew Quick
  • Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins
  • Me and Earl and the Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews
  • The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey
  • How to Love by Katie Cutugno
  • Wonder by R.J. Palacio

Book Review: Ashes to Ashes

Title: Ashes to Ashes
Series: Burn for Burn
Authors: Jenny Han and Siobhan Vivian
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: September 16, 2014

New Year's Eve ended with a bang and Mary, Kat and Lillia may not be prepared for what is to come.

After Rennie's death, Kat and Lillia try to put the pieces together of what happened to her. They both blame themselves. If Lillia hadn't left with Reeve... If Kat had only stayed with Rennie... Things could have been different. Now they will never be the same.

Only Mary knows the truth about that night. About what she is. She also knows the truth about Lillia and Reeve falling in love, about Reeve being happy when all he deserves is misery, just like the misery he caused her.

Now their childish attempts at revenge are a thing of the past and Mary is out for blood. Will she leave anything in her wake or will all that remain be ashes?

My Review

I wanted to like Ashes for Ashes just as much as I liked Burn for Burn and Fire with Fire, but unfortunately, I did not enjoy this one as much as the other books in the trilogy. It's a pretty solid book, but one thing - the epilogue - basically ruined a lot of the plot for me.

A lot of things in this book really work well. It starts off with a very somber feel, and rightfully so given what happened at the end of Fire with Fire. Even though it took me a little longer to get into it, I really enjoyed that part because it made that sad aspect of the plot so much more realistic. After that, things start to heat up quickly, and it keeps going until the end of the book. Most of the second half is pretty intense with wild things going on and the girls trying to finish up senior year. 

The paranormal aspect comes into play a lot more in this book with Mary, and you know what... I actually liked it! It might be a first for me to enjoy something like this, but I'm crediting it to the very contemporary feel of the books. I thought that it was unique as far as paranormal concepts go, and I had to stay up all night just to see how everything would eventually pan out. I was definitely very wrong with my thoughts on what the paranormal aspect would end up being.

There are also a few things that didn't work well in this book. All of a sudden, it seems like it's okay for Lillia and Kat to be seen in public together, like at the lunch table and in the hallways. I get that the whole school is mourning and people are trying to make ammends, but for them to all of a sudden seem so buddy-buddy in school is a bit strange. Don't get me wrong because I liked it, but they were too chummy in public too fast. 

Now... I stated that the epilogue pretty much ruined a lot of the book for me, and this is true. I only say this because I felt like it was so out of place. The epilogue is told from Lillia's perspective. I'm okay with this because I felt like much of the series was about telling and figuring out Lillia's story, but it flashes forward to the future and feels too rushed and incomplete. I didn't really like it, and not because of how things end. It brought the book to a strange halt that I didn't understand or like. 

Ashes to Ashes is an okay ending to the Burn for Burn trilogy. Unfortunately, I do think some things could have been thought out better to make it a more enjoyable read, but the suspense and crazy happenings in this book kept me interested enough to read up until that epilogue.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday (14)

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created and hosted by the bloggers at The Broke and the Bookish. The meme was created because they love making and sharing lists. That's good news for me because I also love making lists as a way to organize things going on my life.

Every week, there is a new topic for Top Ten Tuesday, and all you have to do is create your top ten list (or somewhere around ten) based on it. Oh, and be sure to link back to The Broke and the Bookish! Then you can add your name to the link up tool that they include in their post!

Top Ten Goals/Resolutions for 2015—Bookish, Blogging, or Otherwise:

  1. Finish reading The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer - I started reading these this past summer (2014), and I loved them. I was upset with myself for waiting so long to read them. Now I just need to read Fairest and Winter before 2015 is over.
  2. Start re-reading some books - I have a ton of books that I want to re-read, but I have never actually attempted it.
  3. Work on my novels - I have a bunch of ideas, and it would be nice to get one organized and started the way I'd like to see it in print. All my drafts are a mess right now, and it bothers me.
  4. Make contact with more publishers - I'm just starting this, and I feel like I'm failing miserably when I see newer blogs getting ARCs before I do. I'd like to start emailing a few more publishers and getting to know them.
  5. Get a new blog theme - I want a custom theme for my blog, but I don't like the price tags that come along with them. I might try to see if I can get Photoshop and start working on a theme of my own. Oh, and I need to make a matching signature for my posts, too.
  6. Get some more people to post Soundtrack Saturdays - I started my meme back in August, and so far, it's not very popular. I'd like to see more people participate because I think it's a pretty fun meme.
  7. Read more adult fiction books - I used to read adult fiction pretty heavily, but then I got really into YA. I want to read a few more adult books in 2015 than I did in 2014, especially because I own quite a few.
  8. Read Pretty Little Liars - I now own all sixteen books in hardcover, and I want to read them.
  9. Find a paranormal/supernatural book that I enjoy - It's no secret that I haven't had luck in this genre. I'd like to find at least one that I like.
  10. Get more ARCs - I've got a few 2015 ARCs, but I'd like to acquire more. I have a fun time reading and reviewing them, plus it's nice to be able to talk to school librarians about upcoming books.

What are your goals for 2015? As always, feel free to let me know in the comments.

Monday, December 29, 2014

2014 Statistics Survey: A Bunch of Randomness


2014 is almost over, so it's time to reflect on this past year. There are a lot of end of the year posts and surveys going around, and believe me, I have wanted to do them all. It's just not possible because there isn't enough time left. This survey really stuck out to me because of its uniqueness and how easy it is to fill out. 

This survey is brought to you by Andi of Andi's ABCs and Brittany of The Book Addict's Guide. So what is this exactly? The survey is a list of all of the random things about your reading habits this year. You know... the fun stuff about reading... the stuff you don't normally think about like page numbers and colors.

Now I know I only started blogging in July, so anything related to blogging will be pulled from that short span of time between then and now. Anything else about reading in general will come from my Goodreads profile and reading challenge.

1. Book with the highest rating on Goodreads: I gave 39 books a five star rating on Goodreads this year, but a lot of them were children's books from when I worked at the preschool.
2. Book with the lowest rating on Goodreads: I gave 11 books a one star rating on Goodreads this year. I'll be honest... a few of them were books that I didn't finish.
3. Book read furthest away from home (vacation reads?): I read The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey when I went to camp.
4. Book that took you the longest to read: Atlantia by Ally Condie. It took me almost a month to get through it.
5. Book that you personally connected with the most: Damsel Distressed by Kelsy Macke.
6. Book that made you love the villain: Cress by Marissa Meyer. I really want to know more about Queen Levana.
7. Book you said you’d come back to but still haven’t picked up again: The American Heiress by Daisy Goodwin. I started it last year, and promised myself to give it another chance this year, but I ended up selling it. It was too boring to want to read again.
8. Book you read waaaay before its publication date: Positively Beautiful by Wendy Mills. I read it in November 2014, and it won't be published until March 2015.
9. Book you read on your birthday: Mister Teacher Person by J.M. Varner
10. Book with a character who shares your name: Erin Bailey from Positively Beautiful and I share a first name. Come to think of it, I think she's the only Erin I've ever come across while reading. If you know of any others, let me know. Erins aren't very common.
11. Book you weren’t entirely truthful about when rating (Fluff up any ratings? Rated even though you didn’t finish?: I rate all my DNFs as a one star book if I get through about a quarter of the book just because I did take the time to read that much. I did give Perfectly Good White Boy two stars and I still don't know why.
12. Book you read in 2014 but already want to re-read: Zodiac by Romina Russell. It's so good!
13. Book you borrowed from a friend a long time ago and still have?: Forever by Judy Bloom. I think my friend forgot I borrowed it, but it's okay because she sold a copy of The Last Song that she borrowed from me.
14. Book by a foreign author/originally published in another country: Vivian Apple at the End of the World by Katie Coyle. It was originally published in the UK, but will be released on January 6 in the States.
15. Book you which you could go back and read for the first time again: A 2014 read of mine that I'd want to read for the first time again would be Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins. If it could be from any other year, it would have to be the Harry Potter books.
16. Most books read by one author this year: Well I read a bunch of Eric Carle books at the preschool, but I read four by both Ally Condie and Stephanie Perkins. 

1. Happiest & saddest: The happiest book I read is The One by Kiera Cass. The saddest book would have to be Positively Beautiful by Wendy Mills because I balled my eyes out.
2. Longest & shortest: The longest book I read this year is Cress by Marissa Meyer. I did read a bunch of children's books this year, but the shortest non-children's book I read is Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them by J.K. Rowling.
3. Best & worst: The best book I read this year is Zodiac by Romina Russell. The worst book I read this year is Mortal Danger by Ann Aguirre.
4. First & last reads of 2014: The first book I read in 2014 was The Catcher in the Rye (fitting, right?) and the last book I read (am reading) in 2014 is Ashes to Ashes by Jenny Han and Siobhan Vivian.
5. First & last books on your bookcase (1st book on the top left and last book on the bottom right): Yeah... I don't even know. My bookcases are a mess right now because I don't have enough room. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows is the last one on my shelf next to my bed so it's always near me.
6. The most disappointing & the biggest pleasant surprise: Can this be about book shopping? My most pleasant surprise was finding Book Outlet, but the most disappointing surprise was how bad their customer service has been to me this year. I won't be ordering from them again.
7. Bandwagon/fandom you joined & one you abandoned: I jumped on quite a few bandwagons this year - The Lunar Chronicles, Anna and the French Kiss, and The 5th Wave. I also jumped on the Rainbow Rowell fandom. I didn't really jump off any, but I was close to abandoning The 5th Wave's fandom after I read The Infinite Sea.
8. Most lenient & harshest ratings: My harshest rating was probably Mortal Danger by Ann Aguirre. I ripped that book to shreds. My most lenient rating was Atlantia by Ally Condie. I gave it three stars and I really feel like I should have given it like one and a half stars.
9. Most hyped & furthest under the radar that you read: The most hyped books I read this year were We Were Liars by E. Lockhart, The One by Kiera Cass, and Cress by Marissa Meyer. The most under the radar book I read this year would be Mister Teacher Person by J.M. Varner.

1. Book you read that is red:
The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
2. Book you read that starts with M: My True Love Gave to Me: Twelve Holiday Stories
3. Book you read that you may have hugged when you finished it:
Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins
4. Book you read that you may have wanted to throw across a room: Mortal Danger by Ann Aguirre, and the whole Matched trilogy by Ally Condie. Ummmm... I may have actually thrown all of these books across the room. Shhhh!
5. Book that has the letters Q, X, or Z in the title (bonus for one of the words in the title beginning with those!):
Zodiac by Romina Russell
6. Book that suffered some damage this year (food? water? ripped pages/cover? Ouch!): So my cuticles get really dry, and The Selection Stories by Kiera Cass now has some blood on a few of the pages.
7. Food you craved while/after reading a certain book: I craved Buffalo chicken salad while reading quite a few books this year. Oh, and I had the strange urge to try a macaroon after reading Anna and the French Kiss and Isla and the Happily Ever After.
8. First book you read in 2015:

9. Number of books read that end with a 6 in the page count: 10

  1. Number of posts in 2014: 170, but I might post a few more before 2014 officially ends.
  2. Number of reviews posted this year: I've posted 60 reviews on my blog.
  3. First post of 2014: This one also goes down as my first post ever, and it was a book review for If I Stay by Gayle Forman.
  4. First review of 2014: My review for If I Stay is my first review for the blog, but I did review on Goodreads before I even made a book blog.
  5. Last post of 2014: I have a wrap-up post that is about my favorite books of the year.
  6. Last review of 2014: It might be for Ashes to Ashes by Jenny Han and Siobhan Vivian. I plan on finishing it before the year ends.
  7. Least coherent review: I think all of my reviews are pretty coherent, so that one would be Fire with Fire by Jenny Han and Siobhan Vivian.
  8. Review with the most views (regardless of post date): Panic by Lauren Oliver
  9. Post with the most comments: It's a post I made to apologize for being sick. I feel silly now. :(
  10. Post you wish you could re-write: I wish I could re-write, or at least reformat, all of my earlier posts.
  11. Most popular post this year (that was posted in 2014): My review for Panic by Lauren Oliver

Book Review: Fire with Fire


Title: Fire with Fire (Burn for Burn #2)
Authors: Jenny Han and Siobhan Vivian
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers 
Publication Date: August 13, 2013
Format: Hardcover, 517 pages
Rating: ☆☆☆☆

When sweet revenge turns sour… Book two of a trilogy from New York Times bestselling author Jenny Han and Siobhan Vivian.
Lillia, Kat, and Mary had the perfect plan. Work together in secret to take down the people who wronged them. But things didn’t exactly go the way they’d hoped at the Homecoming Dance.
Not even close.

For now, it looks like they got away with it. All they have to do is move on and pick up the pieces, forget there ever was a pact. But it’s not easy, not when Reeve is still a total jerk and Rennie’s meaner than she ever was before.
And then there’s sweet little Mary…she knows there’s something seriously wrong with her. If she can’t control her anger, she’s sure that someone will get hurt even worse than Reeve was. Mary understands now that it’s not just that Reeve bullied her—it’s that he made her love him.
Eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth, burn for a burn. A broken heart for a broken heart. The girls are up to the task. They’ll make Reeve fall in love with Lillia and then they will crush him. It’s the only way he’ll learn.
It seems once a fire is lit, the only thing you can do is let it burn...

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Stacking the Shelves (7)

Stacking the Shelves is a weekly bookish meme hosted by Tynga at Tynga's Reviews. The meme is normally posted on Saturdays, but it can be posted by other bloggers on other days of the week. I already have a Saturday meme, so I post my Stacking the Shelves posts whenever I get the chance (or whenever I buy books). My Stacking the Shelves posts are also sporadic because I try not to buy books until I've finished quite a few. 

The meme is all about sharing the books you've added to your shelves throughout the week with your readers. The books you're adding to your shelves can be either physical books or digital books for your e-reader.

After my last book haul, I kind of promised myself not to buy any more books until I read at least half of what I own but haven't read. I kind of broke that promise.

  • F in Exams: The Funniest Test Paper Blunders by Richard Benson
  • F for Effort: More of the Very Best Totally Wrong Test Answers by Richard Benson
  • F this Test: Even More of the Very Best Totally Wrong Test Answers by Richard Benson

In case you didn't know, I am a certified English teacher. I don't have a full-time teaching job yet, but I'm hoping to find one soon because I absolutely love teaching. Because of my background in education, I love reading books like these and seeing some of the hilarious things that students come up with when they have no idea what the answer is. 

I already read a copy of F in Exams, but it was my sister's and I wanted a copy of my own for when I finally get my own classroom. I was lucky enough to find these three at TJ Maxx on clearance. I only need to get a few more to complete my collection, but I'm really looking for the English/ELA one.

So what did you recently add to your shelves this week? As always, feel free to tell me in the comments. Also, leave the links to your Stacking the Shelves posts so I can check them out!

Soundtrack Saturday (15)

Wow! It's hard to believe that this is my fifteenth Soundtrack Saturday post.

In case you're a new follower or just noticing the meme, here's what it's all about:

Soundtrack Saturday is a book meme that I created so I can share my love of music with my readers. There is a catch, though... The soundtracks are book soundtracks! As with all bookish memes, there are a few steps to follow to help you create your own Soundtrack Saturday post:

  • Choose a book that you've read
  • Create a mini or full soundtrack for that book based on characters and plot details
    • For more detailed instructions, visit the meme's homepage.
  • Please credit me somewhere in your post
    • It can be as simple as "Soundtrack Saturday was created by Erin at The Hardcover Lover.
  • Please comment on my post, so I can be sure to check out your post
  • Add your name to the link-up tool
This week's book for Soundtrack Saturday is Burn for Burn by Jenny Han and Siobhan Vivian. If you missed my review, check it out here.

  1. "Summer Love" by Justin Timberlake
  2. "Happy" by Pharrell Williams
  3. "All About You" by Hilary Duff
  4. "One More Night" by Maroon 5
  5. "Lips are Movin'" by Meghan Trainor
  6. "Roar" by Katy Perry
  7. "I'm Not the Only One" by Sam Smith
  8. "I Love It" by Icona Pop
  9. "Done" by The Band Perry
  10. "Tiptoe" by Imagine Dragons
  11. "Chandelier" by Sia
  12. "Dark Side" by Kelly Clarkson
  13. "Bad Blood" by Taylor Swift

As always, feel free to participate in the meme! I'd love to see some of the songs that you think of while you're reading or what songs remind you of certain books. Feel free to leave a comment to let me know what you think of this week's soundtrack.

Happy reading!

Friday, December 26, 2014

Book Review: Burn for Burn


Title: Burn for Burn
Series: Burn for Burn
Authors: Jenny Han and Siobhan Vivian
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: September 18, 2012
Postcard-perfect Jar Island is the kind of place where nobody locks their doors at night, where parents can sleep easy, knowing their daughters are tucked away safe and sound in their beds.

But bad things can happen, even to good girls, and sometimes the only way to make things right is do something wrong.

Lillia used to trust boys, but not anymore. Not after what happened this summer. And she'll be damned if she lets the same thing happen to her little sister.

Kat is through with being called a freak. She's over the rumors, the insults, the cruel jokes made at her expense. It all goes back to one person - her ex-best friend - and Kat's ready to make her pay.

Four years ago, Mary left Jar Island because of a boy. But she's not the same girl anymore. Now that she's back, he's gonna be in trouble . . . 'cause she's coming for him.

Three very different girls who want the same thing: sweet revenge. And they won't stop until they've each had a taste.

My Review

Burn for Burn is the opening book by Jenny Han and Siobhan Vivian's Burn for Burn trilogy. (The series also includes Fire with Fire and Ashes to Ashes.) This novel definitely isn't the greatest YA novel out there, but it's not the worst. It is a pretty quick and entertaining read about vengeance. I enjoyed this book, but my rating is somewhere in between three and four stars just because I didn't find it to be spectacular.

When I first started reading it, I thought the three girls, Kat, Mary, and Lillia, were all seeking revenge for dumb and immature reasons, but I was very wrong! I really liked how Han and Vivian revealed little bits of their past and the reasons why they are seeking revenge throughout the book instead of all at once because it kept me interested in the book.

I like the three main characters, Kat, Lillia, and Mary. They each bring something unique and interesting to the book. I'd have to say that I am more interested in Mary and Lillia because their stories are a little more complicated, and I like how they are characterized. I could take or leave Kat.

Just a little warning... There is some heavy content matter in this book. I wasn't really surprised about this, but it's definitely a book for older teenagers. I really think the issues that Han and Vivian use in the plot are things that teens should be reading about, even if they don't know anyone who may have dealt or is dealing with them. I'm glad these two authors acknowledged and mentioned them in this book.

I really liked the writing style of the book. The paragraphs are short and easy to read, but they are still interesting enough to entertain a reader. There were some minor narration issues, and I will admit that I sometimes had to flip back to the beginning of each chapter to remember who the narrator of that chapter was. I didn't have to do look back a lot, but it was enough to annoy me a bit.

The end of the book is an abrupt cliffhanger, so I'm glad that I waited to read all three around the same time, instead of waiting a year for the next book. The ending of the book is also so intense and piqued my curiosity about books two and three.

Jenny Han and Siobhan Vivian met in graduate school in New York City and have been inseparable ever since. The idea for the Burn for Burn series began over cupcakes, as the best ideas usually do. 

Jenny Han is the New York Times bestselling author of The Summer I Turned Pretty series and the Burn for Burn trilogy. 

Siobhan Vivian is the author of The List, Not that Kind of Girl, Same Difference, A Little Friendly Advice, and the Burn for Burn trilogy.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday (10)


Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly book meme hosted by Breaking the Spine. Each week, meme participants create a post about a book that they cannot wait to get their hands on. It could be one that is being released soon or a book that is still months away from publication - as long as it's not published and you're waiting on it, you're good!

For this week's Waiting on Wednesday, I am featuring a book that I am desperately trying to find through either giveaways or ARC tours. I've had no such luck with those or NetGalley and Edelweiss requests, but I am extremely excited for this one, and I think many of you are too.

Title: Red Queen
Author: Victoria Aveyard
Publisher: HarperTeen
Publication Date: February 10, 2015
Graceling meets The Selection in debut novelist Victoria Aveyard's sweeping tale of seventeen-year-old Mare, a common girl whose once-latent magical power draws her into the dangerous intrigue of the king's palace. Will her power save her or condemn her?

Mare Barrow's world is divided by blood--those with common, Red blood serve the Silver- blooded elite, who are gifted with superhuman abilities. Mare is a Red, scraping by as a thief in a poor, rural village, until a twist of fate throws her in front of the Silver court. Before the king, princes, and all the nobles, she discovers she has an ability of her own.

To cover up this impossibility, the king forces her to play the role of a lost Silver princess and betroths her to one of his own sons. As Mare is drawn further into the Silver world, she risks everything and uses her new position to help the Scarlet Guard--a growing Red rebellion--even as her heart tugs her in an impossible direction. One wrong move can lead to her death, but in the dangerous game she plays, the only certainty is betrayal.

What's everyone waiting on this week? As always, feel free to let me know in the comments or leave a link to your post! Happy reading!

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday (13)


Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created and hosted by the bloggers at The Broke and the Bookish. The meme was created because they love making and sharing lists. Every week, there is a new topic, and all you have to do is create your top ten list based on it. Oh, and be sure to link back to The Broke and the Bookish! Then you can add your name to the link up tool that they include in their post!

Top Ten Books I Wouldn't Mind Santa Bringing This Christmas

  1. A Thousand Pieces of You by Claudia Gray
  2. Damsel Distressed by Kelsey Macke
  3. Rooms by Lauren Oliver
  4. The Absolutely True Story of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie
  5. The Program by Suzanne Young
  6. The Cuckoo's Calling by Robert Galbraith
  7. The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith
  8. Since You've Been Gone by Morgan Matson
  9. Everything Leads to You by Nina LeCour
  10. Compulsion by Martina Boone

Some of these are older releases, and some of them are relatively newer, but I definitely would not mind Santa bringing them this year if I still got gifts for Christmas.

What's on your Top Ten list this week? Feel free to let me know in the comments or leave a link to your post so I can check them out! Happy reading!

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Book Review: The Selection Stories: The Prince & The Guard (The Selection 0.5, 2.5) by Kiera Cass

Title: The Selection Stories: The Prince & The Guard
Series: The Selection
Author: Kiera Cass
Format: Paperback
Publisher: HarperTeen
Publication Date: February 4, 2014

Two novellas set in the world of Kiera Cass's #1 New York Times bestselling Selection series are now available in print for the first time. The Prince and The Guard both offer captivating views into the hearts and minds of the two men fighting to win America Singer's love. This collection also features exclusive bonus content, including a sneak peek at The One, the eagerly anticipated third novel in the Selection series.

Before America arrived at the palace to compete in the Selection, there was another girl in Prince Maxon's life. The Prince opens the week before the Selection begins and follows Maxon through the first day of the competition.

Raised as a Six, Aspen Leger never dreamed that he would find himself living in the palace as a member of the royal guard. In The Guard, readers get an inside look at Aspen's life within the palace walls—and the truth about a guard's world that America will never know.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Soundtrack Saturday (14)

Hey, there everyone! It's Saturday, and that means it's time for another Soundtrack Saturday! In case you're new to The Hardcover Lover or haven't seen this before, Soundtrack Saturday is a book meme that I created so I can share my love of music with my readers. There is a catch, though... The soundtracks are book soundtracks!

As with all bookish memes, there are a few steps to follow to help you create your own Soundtrack Saturday post:

  • Choose a book that you've read
  • Create a mini or full soundtrack for that book based on characters and plot details
    • For more detailed instructions, visit the meme's homepage.
  • Please credit me somewhere in your post
    • It can be as simple as "Soundtrack Saturday was created by Erin at The Hardcover Lover.
  • Please comment on my post, so I can be sure to check out your post
  • Add your name to the link-up tool
This week's soundtrack is on an ARC I recently read called Vivian Apple at the End of the World. It is set to release in the U.S. on January 6, but readers in the UK might know it as Vivian Versus the Apocalypse. I will be posting a review closer to the release date, but I'm hoping that this soundtrack will get a few more people interested in this awesome book.

  1. "1999" by Prince
  2. "Spark the Fire" by Gwen Stefani
  3. "Anything Could Happen" by Ellie Goulding
  4. "State of Grace" by Taylor Swift
  5. "Preacher" by OneRepublic
  6. "Follow Your Arrow" by Kacey Musgraves
  7. "A Dustland Fairytale" by The Killers
  8. "Temporary Home" by Carrie Underwood
  9. "Turn My World Around" by Gloriana
  10. "If You're Gone" by Matchbox Twenty
  11. "San Francisco" by The Mowgli's
  12. "America" by Imagine Dragons

As always, feel free to participate. I'd love to see what songs you think of when you're reading a book. And if you participate, don't forget to add your name to the link up!

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Book Review: Summer and the City by Candace Bushnell


Title: Summer in the City (The Carrie Diaries #2)
Series: The Carrie Diaries
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Publication Date: April 26, 2011
Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Summer is a magical time in New York City and Carrie is in love with all of it—the crazy characters in her neighborhood, the vintage-clothing boutiques, the wild parties, and the glamorous man who has swept her off her feet. Best of all, she's finally in a real writing class, taking her first steps toward fulfilling her dream.

This sequel to
The Carrie Diaries brings surprising revelations as Carrie learns to navigate her way around the Big Apple, going from being a country "sparrow"—as Samantha Jones dubs her—to the person she always wanted to be. But as it becomes increasingly difficult to reconcile her past with her future, Carrie realizes that making it in New York is much more complicated than she ever imagined.

With her signature wit and sparkling humor, Candace Bushnell reveals the irresistible story of how Carrie met Samantha and Miranda, and what turned a small-town girl into one of New York City's most unforgettable icons, Carrie Bradshaw.

My Review 

Summer and the City picks up right where The Carrie Diaries ended; Carrie is in New York for her summer writing seminar. If you read The Carrie Diaries, you know that Carrie stupidly left her Carrie bag on top of her suitcase, only to turn around and see that it's been stolen! And who does she go to for help? None other than thee Samantha Jones.

It's fun to see Carrie grow up over the summer. She makes a lot of mistakes. She is a tad whiny (being generous here), and I know that people hated this book for that reason, but I really didn't mind it at all. To me, it makes sense that she's a whiny brat; she's away from home for the first time, and all sorts of bad things happen to her. I'd be a little bitchy and whiny too. 

What I liked about this book is that it shows Carrie coming of age. She keeps some old friends from her small town in Connecticut, and she loses some of those friends. But most importantly, she becomes friends with the iconic Samantha and Miranda during her New York adventures. I liked that it really showed her growing up and starting to become the fabulous woman that we now all know her to be.

I really enjoyed reading this book. To be honest, I was kind of expecting a let-down sequel, but this one really impressed me. I thought it was just cute enough to still be something that a teenager would want to read, but still mature enough for adults in their twenties to enjoy. I'd definitely recommend this to teens who enjoy reading contemporary novels.

Book Blitz: Swoon Romance Winter Reads + GIVEAWAY


Love and Other Games series by Ana Blaze, Melinda Dozier, Aria Kane, and Kara Leigh Miller:

Title: Worth More than Gold 

Author: Ana Blaze

Amy Pierce, the klutzy sister and manager of America’s Skating Sweetheart, is used to being invisible. But when a friend drags her to a party near the Olympic Village, Amy catches the eye of a sexy Norwegian ski jumper. It’s a magical night, but an awkward next morning has her running.

Everyone knows Erik Andresen’s best shot at an individual medal was back in 2010, before an injury pulled him from the competition. He’s there for his team, but a hot night and a remarkable final training session have him wondering if a gorgeous good-luck charm could give him another chance at the podium.

With a little bit of luck, these two might have a shot at something worth more than gold.

Title: Trouble With Gold

Author: Melinda Dozier
US snowboarder and notorious prankster, Ty (Trouble) Madsen is only getting a taste of his own medicine when his Olympic teammates shackle him to a fence wearing nothing but his boxers.

Reception and protocol volunteer, Nadia Hoffman, gets up close and personal with the sexy snowboarder to rescue him, but she’s not the kind of girl who lets her hormones get in her way. A professional performance could help her land her dream job at Olympics Committee Headquarters, but her new assignment supervising the rambunctious US Snowboarding Team is making that difficult. Can she see behind the snowman in the community center bathroom and into the warm heart of the man everyone calls Trouble?

Title: The Girl Behind the Gold

Author: Aria Kane
Greek aerial skier Lia Milonas’s parents are about to lose the family farm. Saving it means medaling and landing a huge sponsor. While her no-nonsense attitude has her well on her way to a medal, it hasn’t won her a place in fans’ hearts.

“Come back with a story that will make readers cry, or don’t come back.” This is what Brandon James’ boss told him before he left New York to cover the Winter Games for Moment Magazine. With a wink and a smile, he can charm his way into any invite-only party, but that career-making story is nowhere to be found – until he meets Lia.

The two strike a deal that should get them both what they want – but neither would have guessed they’d also find what they need.

Title: Ice Gold

Author: Kara Leigh Miller
Colton Campbell thrives on the fast paced, adrenaline rushed lifestyle of being an Olympic hockey player.

Despite Brenna Jessup’s abhorrence for the games and the athletes, she’s hand-picked as the official photographer for the U.S. Olympic Hockey Team.

When a faux pas by Brenna almost costs Colton his career, she owes him. Too bad for her, Colton doesn’t want apologies — he wants retribution! And he knows just how to get it — and her — in the process.

Check Out Some of the Other Romance Titles On this Tour:


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Wednesday, December 17, 2014

The Christmas Carol Book Tag


It's that time of the year again! It's getting cold. It's starting to snow, and everywhere you go, there's a Christmas song on the radio.

I was tagged to do The Christmas Carol Book Tag by Connie at The YA Book Thief. All you need to do to participate in this tag is match up a book or book character to a Christmas carol. I had a lot of fun going through all the books I've read, and I hope that if you do this tag, you do too.

"You're a Mean One, Mr. Grinch"

A Character that You Love to Hate

For this one, I'm going with Bellatrix Lestrange from the Harry Potter series. Even though she's a villainous character, I absolutely love her. I love the way that Rowling characterized her, and she's one of my favorite literary characters.

"All I Want for Christmas is You" 

What Book You Most Want to See Under Your Christmas Tree

Oh man... this is a tough one because right now I have a lot of books that I still need to read in my house, so I can't see getting any more books for a while. If I had to choose, I'd go with A Thousand Pieces of You by Claudia Gray. I've been wanting to read it, but I haven't been able to find it in stores.

"Rudolf the Red Nosed Reindeer"

Favorite Character Who Had to Overcome an Obstacle

My favorite character who had to overcome an obstacle would have to be Katniss Everdeen because she has so many obstacles that she has to overcome. Yes, it was her choice to volunteer for her sister in The Hunger Games, and that itself is an obstacle because she has to learn how to survive and win the games, but she also has to do by pretending to be in love with Peeta. There are many other obstacles that she faces in the rest of the trilogy, and I think that she turns out alright in the end. 

"Santa Claus is Coming to Town"

A Character at the Top of Santa's Nice List and a Character at the Top of Santa's Naughty List

There are probably quite a few characters who I think could top Santa's Nice List, but I think the one that deserves to be at the top the most is Isla from Isla and the Happily Ever After. Yes, she did a few things that got her into some trouble, but she's ultimately a really nice person. 

As for the character who I think deserves to be at the top of Santa's Naughty List... Well I'm giving that spot to Alice from Side Effects May Vary. She's a girl on a mission for revenge, and she tries her hardest to make sure that she lives out her final days making everyone else miserable.

"Frosty the Snowman"

A Book that Melts Your Heart

There are a lot of heart-warming books out there that I've read, but I think the one that melts my heart the most is Anna and the French Kiss. I really enjoyed reading about Anna and St. Clair, and their romance is one that I'm quite jealous of because they seem to fall truly and deeply in love with one another. Oh... and how can a book that's set in Paris not warm your heart? I loved exploring the city of Paris in this book, and I hope to get there one day so I can see all the wonderful places that Perkins includes in this romantic novel.

"Feliz Navidad"

A Book or Series that Takes Place in a Country Other Than Your Own

So I live in the United States, and there are a lot of books that take place here, but more specifically, there are quite a few novels that take place in my hometown. It's nice, but it's always nice to find a book or series that takes place in another country. For this one, I'm going with the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling. 

"It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year"

A Book You Read to Get in the Christmas Spirit

So I'm never really one for picking a particular book during this time of the year. I usually just try to find a Christmas book to read. This year's book that got me in the spirit was My True Love Gave to Me. It's an adorable collection of Christmas and holiday stories that I could see myself reading again. 

"Sleigh Ride"

A Character You Most Want to Spend Christmas With

There are many characters who I'd love to spend Christmas with, so this is not an easy choice for me to make. For this one, I'm cheating a bit and choosing a few characters. I think it would be awesome to spend Christmas with the Weasley family because they are just so outgoing and hilarious. They are also really loving, and I kind of want one of Molly's sweaters. Oh, and Harry and Hermione would most likely be there, so I'd be celebrating with some of the best.

"Baby, It's Cold Outside"

A Book You Hate So Much that You'd Burn it to Stay Warm

I don't even have to think about this one, and I know it may make some of you cringe. But that's the thing about opinions - we're all entitled to our own. The book I'd burn to stay warm would be The Fault in Our Stars by John Green. I just didn't buy it. It was overly unrealistic, and I couldn't stand it. I'd feel no guilt about burning it.

"Do You Hear What I Hear?"

A Book You'd Recommend to Everyone

I've read a lot of books in all of years on the planet, and there are a lot that I think everyone should read because of how amazing they are or because of certain subjects that they include within the pages of the book. If there is one book that I think everyone should read, it's The Book Thief by Markus Zusak because of how important this time in history is. I laughed, and I cried. I also enjoyed reading about the Holocaust through the lens in which this book is written. It's a book I think people of all ages should read.

Bloggers I'm Tagging:

  1. Angie @ The Paperback Reader
  2. Tika @ Fangirl Confessions
  3. Anna @ Enchanted by YA
If you've already done this tag, feel free to leave the link to your post in the comments. I'd love to compare and contrast books!

Happy Holidays, everyone!