Wednesday, December 31, 2014

2014 Reading Challenge Progress: September - December

Hi everyone! As you may know, throughout 2014 I was a part of three separate Reading Challenges that lasted all year long. Here is my progress for September, October and December.

This year my goal was to finish 60 books within the year. Before the month of September, I read a total of 51 books.

Books Read in December:
Endless Knight by Kresley Cole
Emerald Destiny by Allie Burke
Until Midnight by Melissa Landers
Stolen Songbird by Danielle L. Jensen 
The Last Changeling by Chelsea Pitcher
Splintered by A.G. Howard
Shattered Secrets by Krystal Wade

Total of 60/60 books read. This challenge is COMPLETE!

Series Challenge 
This is a reading challenge that focuses on finishing series. This challenge is hosted by Octavia from Read. Sleep. Repeat. My goal is to complete 12 series this year. You can check out my original post for this challenge here.
Before the month of September I managed to finish 7 series. Some of these series aren't complete yet, but since the rest of the books don't come out in 2014, they can count as complete for the challenge as long as theres more than one book already out in the series.

Series Finished in December:

Throne of Glass Series:

The Arcana Chronicles:
- Endless Knight

Total of 9/12 series finished. This challenge is a HALF FAIL!

Edelweiss & Netgalley Challenge 
This challenge is hosted by Emily from Falling For Ya, my goad is to read 25 books. Check out my main post about this challenge here. Before September, I managed to read a total of 7 books towards this challenge.

Books Read:
The Winter People by Rebekah L. Purdy
Stolen Songbird by Danielle L. Jensen
The Last Changeling by Chelsea Pitcher

Total of 10/25 books finished. This challenge is a COMPLETE FAIL!

Good luck to everyone on their new year, and their new resolutions and challenges for the year.
Happy New Year!!

Waiting on Wednesday: Angel In Training by C.L. Coffey

Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we’re eagerly anticipating.
Angel In Training by C.L. Coffey 
Series: Louisiangel #1
Publication Date: February 17, 2015
Genre: YA, Paranormal 
Amazon ~ Goodreads ~ B&N

Synopsis: After a night out turns fatal, a misunderstanding with the Archangel Michael presents Angel with a chance at Eternal Life: the opportunity to earn her wings and one day become an archangel herself. 

Angel is given the task of protecting her charge, trainee detective, Joshua Walsh. There's no denying the attraction between Angel and Joshua, only Michael has pretty strict rules: no drinking, no drugs, and certainly no relationships with humans. Thankfully, she's got other things to deal with, like trying to convince Joshua New Orleans has a serial killer who is preying on other angel potentials like herself.

Angel must quickly learn that when keeping someone safe, doing the right thing is not always the easiest, especially when you've got an archangel looking over your shoulder.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Emerald Destiny by Allie Burke

Series: The Enchanters #2
Publication Date: May 30, 2011
Genre: YA, Fantasy, Romance
Amazon ~ Goodreads ~ B&N

Synopsis: What happens when the girl you’ve loved since you were six years old runs away from you, effectively breaking your heart again? Evan is about to find out.

Nineteen-year-old Evan spends his time in the woods of Dare Forest where the trees have personality, as close to Abby as he can be. But love has a cruel master and everyone around him has forbidden he contact her.

Abby’s nights are stressed with her Enchanter life, her dreaded nightmares, and her enduring will to save her brother from his own inner darkness. But when Evan speaks to her for the first time in fourteen years, she finds his voice too painful to bear.
Countless times before them, the union between their opposing families has failed and caused unfathomable destruction. The love in their hearts strives to be together forever, but will their destinies break them apart?

Allie Burke’s second novel in The Enchanters Series breaks through the Paranormal Romance genre to not just entertain her readers but to empower and inspire them to embrace the momentous question: What would you do when faced with an impossible love?

My Rating: 4/5 stars

My Review: At six years old, Abby and Evan have been forbidden to see one another, but nothing can stand in the way of true love. Thirteen years later, Abby and Evan battle their fate and try to be together, yet the life of an Enchanter is always dangerous.
Emerald Destiny is set around 20 years after Violet Midnight and focuses on Elias and Jane's children, as well as Christian and his son. 
With new characters, young love, old relationships revisited and action around every corner, Emerald Destiny is the perfect sequel.

If you loved Jane and Elias, and the romance they shared together, you will love reading about Abby and Evan even more. The characters are more complex, and their romance is so much more realistic. They have secretly loved each other for so long, that when they finally get the chance to be together it turns into a beautiful moment, this building relationship is so much better to read about than instant love. I couldn't be happier with the romance.

The new characters in this book are all so unique and diverse, its honestly a pleasure reading about them all. While Abby is the cute and funny young woman who has such a fun and carefree attitude, her twin brother Daniel is almost the exact opposite, he has an inner darkness which sometimes makes him angry and volatile, but we also get to see the sweet and insecure side to him as he talks about the girl he loves. 
The relationship that the twins have is one that every brother and sister should have. When one of them needs the other, they are always there for each other, even though they might not show how much they care for each other on the outside, you can definitely tell how much they love one another through the small things they do. Their relationship has honestly made me wish that I wasn't an only child. 

We also get to read the book from Christian's point of view as he reflects on his past with Jane, and their relationship before Elias was around. We get to see Christian go through major character development as he realizes what he did wrong in his past, and tries to make a better future for Evan. While I am not so keen on Elias and Jane's parenting style, I found Christian to be the perfect father figure in the end, which made me admire him so much more.

This book isn't perfect, there were definitely some small things I would have changed like adding more of the backstory when Abby and Evan were little. But the small imperfections are so easy to look through because the characters, the romance, and the amount of action this book has are all so wonderful that you forget the small details.
While this book is a very fast read, its also a book that you can't put down once you start. The action and crazy romance make you want to keep reading until you're done.

If you've read the first book in the series, you definitely have to read Emerald Destiny, no matter what you opinion was on the first book, the sequel is much better and has lots of new characters to enjoy. I highly recommend this whole series, the writing and characters are so easy to fall in love with, everyone could find something that they love in these books.

Happy Reading,

Friday, December 26, 2014

The Winter People by Rebekah L. Purdy

Series: The Winter People #1
Publication Date: September 3, 2014
Genre: YA, Fantasy, Romance
Amazon ~ Goodreads ~ B&N

SynopsisAn engrossing, complex, romantic fantasy perfect for fans of Kristin Cashore or Maggie Stiefvater, set in a wholly unique world.

Salome Montgomery fears winter—the cold, the snow, the ice, but most of all, the frozen pond she fell through as a child. Haunted by the voices and images of the strange beings that pulled her to safety, she hasn't forgotten their warning to "stay away." For eleven years, she has avoided the winter woods, the pond, and the darkness that lurks nearby. But when failing health takes her grandparents to Arizona, she is left in charge of maintaining their estate. This includes the "special gifts" that must be left at the back of the property.

Salome discovers she’s a key player in a world she’s tried for years to avoid. At the center of this world is the strange and beautiful Nevin, who she finds trespassing on her family’s property. Cursed with dark secrets and knowledge of the creatures in the woods, his interactions with Salome take her life in a new direction. A direction where she'll have to decide between her longtime crush Colton, who could cure her fear of winter. Or Nevin who, along with an appointed bodyguard, Gareth, protects her from the darkness that swirls in the snowy backdrop. An evil that, given the chance, will kill her.

My Rating: 3/5 stars

My Review: After almost downing in a frozen pond as a child, Salome has always been afraid of winter. Not just of the cold or the ice, but of the strange voices she heard that lead her to the pond, but these voices haven't gone away. As Salome's grandparents leave the country, the seventeen year old must take care of the house, which includes her grandmother's weird ritual of leaving shoes and jewellery in the woods.

There were so many amazing things I loved about this book, some of the characters, the setting, and the action in the later half of the book were fantastic. Yet for the first half of the book I found it to be very boring and very stretched out, and while it got the story moving forward I feel like most of it could have been skipped or edited out.

In the first 70% of the book, we follow Salome as she explains her past, we see her meet three very interesting guys, and begin to solve the mystery of the "curse." This is the part I had some problems with. While the story itself was beautiful, I feel like the first part with Colton could have been skipped, this is why most authors just have a love triangle, rather than having three boys because writing about all the dates that your character goes in just takes a lot of unnecessary time. 
Another point that left me a little confused is the mystery aspect of the "curse." Salome's family members aren't allowed to talk of the curse so she has to do the research herself. That seems pretty reasonable, except the fact that we didn't exactly learn anything about he curse until the last 15% of the book when Salome has everything explained to her. This just causes the readers to be confused about who the characters really are and whats going on, it would have definitely helped if this part was explained a tad earlier in the novel.

I really fell in love with the last part of the book. It was honestly so adorable and cute it just made my day. The sad part is that even though this part was really good, it only lasted the last 30% of the book, and it had me wishing that the whole book was like this.

Overall, I fell in love with the characters (other than Salome really) especially Gareth. I really do think that the ending of this book is so fantastic that I would recommend people to just go through the painful beginning just to read the ending of this amazing book.

I wasn't expecting there to be a sequel to this book, but I am definitely looking forward to reading it once it comes out.

Happy Reading,

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday: A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas

Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we’re eagerly anticipating.
A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas
Series: A Court of Thorns and Roses #1
Publication Date: May 5, 2014
Publisher: Bloomsbury Children's
Genre: YA, Fantasy, Retelling 
Amazon ~ Goodreads ~ B&N

Synopsis: A thrilling, seductive new series from New York Timesbestselling author Sarah J. Maas, blending Beauty and the Beast with faerie lore.

When nineteen-year-old huntress Feyre kills a wolf in the woods, a beast-like creature arrives to demand retribution for it. Dragged to a treacherous magical land she only knows about from legends, Feyre discovers that her captor is not an animal, but Tamlin—one of the lethal, immortal faeries who once ruled their world.

As she dwells on his estate, her feelings for Tamlin transform from icy hostility into a fiery passion that burns through every lie and warning she's been told about the beautiful, dangerous world of the Fae. But an ancient, wicked shadow grows over the faerie lands, and Feyre must find a way to stop it . . . or doom Tamlin—and his world—forever.

Perfect for fans of Kristin Cashore and George R. R. Martin, this first book in a sexy and action-packed new series is impossible to put down!

Monday, December 22, 2014

2015 Goals and Reading Challenges

It's finally that time of the year where everyone is getting ready for the Holidays and making goals for the new year.

First, I would like to wish you all a Merry Christmas, and Happy Holidays :) 
I wish you all the best this holiday season! 

My Plans for 2015

Well as some of you may know, I've started my first year of university this September, and as wonderful as my first semester was, it was incredibly challenging, which means I didn't have any time for my books.
This year, my goal is to be able to better manage school so that I still have time to finish at least two books a month during both semesters. 

Another goal of mine, is to buy less books. Last year I went a little crazy and ended up buying too many books for me to read. This year I'm hoping to stop buying as many books so that I can finally read the ones I bought so long ago. (Lets hope I can do this one).

2015 Reading Challenges

Goodreads - This year my goal is to read 50 books. Last year it was 60, but because of school I'm dropping it to 50.

2015 Netgalley/Edelweiss Reading Challenge - hosted by Emily @ Falling for YA. This year I plan to complete the bronze level, which is a total of 10 books.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Heir of Fire by Sarah J. Maas

Series: Throne of Glass #3
Publication Date: September 2, 2014
Genre: YA, Fantasy
Amazon ~ Goodreads ~ B&N

Synopsis: Lost and broken, Celaena Sardothien’s only thought is to avenge the savage death of her dearest friend: as the King of Adarlan’s Assassin, she is bound to serve this tyrant, but he will pay for what he did. Any hope Celaena has of destroying the king lies in answers to be found in Wendlyn. Sacrificing his future, Chaol, the Captain of the King’s Guard, has sent Celaena there to protect her, but her darkest demons lay in that same place. If she can overcome them, she will be Adarlan’s biggest threat – and his own toughest enemy. 

While Celaena learns of her true destiny, and the eyes of Erilea are on Wendlyn, a brutal and beastly force is preparing to take to the skies. Will Celaena find the strength not only to win her own battles, but to fight a war that could pit her loyalties to her own people against those she has grown to love?

My Rating: 5/5 stars

My Review: Sent away to the land of Wendlyn, Celaena is all alone in a strange new world. When she is tracked down buy a fairy prince named Rowan, she goes on a new mission to train with the prince until she is ready to fave her aunt Maeve in order to seek out answers that could possibly help her in the battle against the King of Adarlan. Yet things aren't always what they seem, theres new enemies, new friendships and new love interests, with a touch of the classic kick-ass characters and surprise twists! The third book to the throne of glass series is probably the best one yet. 

The character development in this series always gets to me! Honestly, it is probably the most character development I've ever seen over a set of three books, and the best part is were only half way through the series. In the first book we just knew of Celaena the assassin, during the second book we learned more about her past and how she truly feels inside. Then finally in this book its like we got a huge wave of character development and it is so beautiful. We see Celaena completely broken down, he heart shattered into pieces so small you couldn't even see them with the naked eye. But then we learn of her past as Aelin and we see her rebuild herself by pulling in her old life as Aelin and her new life as Celaena mixed together and she truly becomes the most amazing character I have ever read about.

It is so easy to sympathize Celaena's life. There have been points in all our lives where we feel like you are honestly nothing, you have no one, and everything is your fault. Reading about Celaena going through this feel like you're going through the pain and heartbreak with her. The author has written the book so well that you feel like you could be Celaena, when she cries, you cry and when she laughs, you laugh. 

The amount of emotion in this book is unreal! I was honestly sitting on the bus reading this book during a sad part of the story, and I couldn't hold in the tears. So there I was, sitting on the public bus with like 50 other people, crying my eyes out. Thats how real this story is.

On the other side of the world, we follow Chaol and Dorian's story. As the Captain of the Guard makes plans to go back to Anielle, a new visitor comes to the castle. Aedion is the fierce young general under the control of the king, but what Chaol finds out about Aedion is that they have more in common than it seems. As the pair work together to solve the puzzle of the King's power, Dorian tries to control the unpredictable magic he has with the help of new friend.

My favourite character (other than Celaena of course) is Rowan, hands down. Name me one person who isn't attracted to smart and mysterious older guys that can rock tattoos and kick some ass. He is literal perfection. As soon as he came into the picture i was like "Chaol who?" Rowan is cold, cruel and distant, but then you get to know him and you see his relationship with Celaena and its like "Let me love you.. please"

Surprisingly, there is a third plot going on during this book. We get to follow the story of Manon and the witches. After "someone" killed Baba Yellowlegs, the witches decide to team up with the King. In doing so, they are granted to be his new army, and as a gift they are each given a wyvern beast. They must all train their wyverns and learn how to fly on them in order to compete in the games that decide who will be the leader of this new army and which clan is truly the best. 
I always found Manon interesting and different than the other witches, which isn't necessarily a good thing. Her whole plot revolves around her choosing her wyvern and then becoming friends with it and teaching it to fly. If you've ever seen the movie "How to Train Your Dragon" the plot is basically the same, just with witches and wyverns instead of humans and dragons. As the story progressed I started to respect Manon a lot more as a character, but theres nothing special about her.

This whole book is just unforgettable and brings a whole new level to Celaena Sardothien. If you've loved the book and Celaena so far, this is a must read. Even if you were iffy about Celaena before you still need to give this book a chance because I can guarantee you will have a new love for her. I definitely recommend this book to everyone! I feel like everyone can relate to some aspect of this book, even if you usually don't read fantasy.

Happy Reading,
- Aneta
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