Monday, January 5, 2015

Top 14 Books Read in 2014 & Wrap-Up!

Today is Monday, January 5 and I realized I'm a little late with this post!  2014 has been a great reading year for me!  My senior year of high school helped me and encouraged me to read more & as a continuation from last year's reading success, I felt confident.  This year, my goal was to read 80 books.  Last year I read 86 books, so this was a goal I felt I could reach pretty easily.  Then college happened, and I only read 5 books within the span of 4 months.  It hurt me to not read as much as I wanted to.

When I got home for break, I needed to read 16 more books if I wanted to finish my goal.  Unfortunately, I was a book short.  But I finished that book the first day of 2015!  So it wasn't all bad.  Altogether I read 79 books in 2014.  Without further ado, I will reveal my top 14 books read in 2014!

Open Road Summer

14.  Open Road Summer by Emery Lord

City of Heavenly Fire (The Mortal Instruments, #6)

13. City of Heavenly Fire by Cassandra Clare
A little bit too long for my taste, yet an amazing ending to an amazing series.

Thirteen Reasons Why

12. Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher
Heartbreakingly beautiful.  Definitely makes you think.

Every Day (Every Day #1)

11.  Every Day by David Levithan
Another thinker, but in a different, strange & absolutely great way.

Cress (The Lunar Chronicles, #3)

10.  Cress by Marissa Meyer

Christy and Todd: The College Years

9.  Christy and Todd:  the College Years by Robin Jones Gunn
Christy & Todd = OTP since 6th grade

Last Sacrifice (Vampire Academy, #6)

8.  Last Sacrifice by Richelle Mead
Plot twists and Romitri and I think my mouth is hanging open or something.

Better off Friends

7.  Better Off Friends by Elizabeth Eulberg
Best friends.  Just best friends?  HAHAHAHAHA.

Since You've Been Gone

6.  Since You've Been Gone by Morgan Matson
"You Send Me" is forever and always on repeat.

Second Chance Summer

5. Second Chance Summer by Morgan Matson
All the angst.  All the love.  All the tears.  Thanks a lot, Morgan.

Pride and Prejudice

4. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
I am actual Elizabeth Bennet.  And Jane Austen, thank you for being such an inspiration to me through your books, writing & words.  Most importantly, thank you for Mr. Darcy.

The One (The Selection, #3)

3.  The One by Kiera Cass
Maxon Schreave, once again.  My heart, once again.

To All the Boys I've Loved Before (To All the Boys I've Loved Before, #1)

2.  To All the Boys I've Loved Before by Jenny Han
There aren't enough letters to write to Jenny Han to express how much I loved this book.  Also, half Asian protagonist FTW

Throne of Glass (Throne of Glass, #1)

1.  Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas
Celaena Sardothien.  That's freaking what.

What were your favorite books from 2014?

Friday, December 26, 2014

Isla and the Happily Ever After: Book Review

Isla and the Happily Ever After (Anna and the French Kiss, #3)Title/ Author:  Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins
Publisher/ Year:  Dutton, 2014.
How I Read It:  Hardback 
Why I Read It:  Stephanie Perkins.  Obviously.
Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

This is the third and final companion novel of Anna, Lola, and here we have Isla.  This was a great ending to this world and Stephanie Perkins is fab.

Summary from Goodreads: Love ignites in the City That Never Sleeps, but can it last? 
Hopeless romantic Isla has had a crush on introspective cartoonist Josh since their first year at the School of America in Paris. And after a chance encounter in Manhattan over the summer, romance might be closer than Isla imagined. But as they begin their senior year back in France, Isla and Josh are forced to confront the challenges every young couple must face, including family drama, uncertainty about their college futures, and the very real possibility of being apart. 
Featuring cameos from fan-favorites Anna, Étienne, Lola, and Cricket, this sweet and sexy story of true love—set against the stunning backdrops of New York City, Paris, and Barcelona—is a swoonworthy conclusion to Stephanie Perkins’s beloved series.
All I can say is that Stephanie Perkins does it again, and again and again.  First, Étienne St. Clair & the beauty of Paris stole my heart, then the boy next door, and then the artist who finally saw what he had been missing all along.  The characters in these books set my expectations of men very high, though who knows, maybe one day I'll find my Étienne, Cricket, or Josh.  

Back to the book, Isla and Josh seem so perfect for each other.  Isla was in love with Josh since she could remember.  She had always been in love with Josh.  Reading about her character in Anna gave me a different impression of Isla.  It made it seem like she was incredibly shy.  She still is shy, but she's affectionate and has a lot of heart.  Above all, like every girl out there, she wants to be loved.  Josh broke out of his shell in this book too.  I saw a different, more vulnerable side to him.  He is an artist.  He is smart.  And he loves Isla.  Comparing his relationship to Rashmi compared to Isla, he fit more perfectly with Isla.  They understood each other and depended on each other.  

There was so much cuteness and angst in this story that had my heart flipping miles a minute.  The fact that Josh kept drawing Isla even after their chance encounter in Manhattan.  The fact that Josh did his best to include Kurt instead of brushing him aside.  The little things Josh did for Isla and things she did for him.  Josh's life story in a book was a nice part to the book, digging in a little bit deeper into his character.  The whole book was magical.  The characters were entertaining and had unique purposes.  Like all of Perkins's works, truly beautiful.  

Overall, I think it was a beautiful ending to the Anna, Lola, Isla saga. Stephanie Perkins took me on an amazing journey & I'm so thankful I had the pleasure of experiencing it. Isla wasn't as good as the other 2 in my opinion, meaning it's not like 5 stars or a part of my favorites list, but throughout the entire story, I couldn't stop reading & I deeply missed Steph's writing. So happy I read this. And I'm even happier that the entire time, Etienne St. Clair has been taller than me.

And the final ending.  PERFECTION.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Sarah's End of the Year Reading Challenge + Update!

Hello everyone!  I'm sorry I haven't been on in months!  College was more jam packed than I realized & I had so much going on that it would be too difficult to read and blog.  During my entire first semester, I only read 6 books, three of them being for school.  Obviously I did a good job here.

Thankfully, with finals being over and having 3 weeks of break before I head back to school, I have made it my mission to finish my Goodreads 2014 Reading Challenge.  Since I got home from school, I have read 9 books and am currently reading my tenth.  In addition to that, I still have 8 more books to read and 9 more days left before the year ends.  The question is...can I do it?

Here are the books I read since getting home:

1. The Blood of Olympus by Rick Riordan*
2. Double Crossed:  A Spies and Thieves Story by Ally Carter
3. Just One Night by Gayle Forman
4. Let it Snow:  Three Holiday Romances by Maureen Johnson, John Green and Lauren Myracle*
5. The Young Elites by Marie Lu*
6. Burn for Burn  by Jenny Han and Siobhan Vivian*
7.  Exile by Kevin Emerson
8.  Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs*
9. Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher*

*Hopefully, I'll be able to review some of these for you

Other books that I've been able to read during my first semester were Isla and the Happily Ever* After as well as Four.

I know I've been on a super hiatus, but I'm back for now.  And hopefully, I can finish my goal.  It's gonna take a lot of motivation and strength, and especially with Christmas coming up, it might slow me down a bit.  But, I'm not giving up.

8 books, 9 days.  Let's do this.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014


Heist Society (Heist Society, #1)Uncommon Criminals (Heist Society, #2)Perfect Scoundrels (Heist Society, #3)

Title/ Author: Heist Society by Ally Carter

Publisher/ Year: Disney-Hyperion, 2010.
How I Read It:  Hardcover 
Why I Read It:  I actually reread this, because I forgot a lot of what had happened in this book and I wanted to complete the rest of the series.
Rating:  3 stars out of 5

Title/ Author:  Uncommon Criminals by Ally Carter
Publisher/ Year:  Disney-Hyperion, 2011.
How I Read It:  Hardcover (library book)
Why I Read It:  It's the sequel to Heist Society
Rating:  3 stars out of 5 

Title/ Author: Perfect Scoundrels by Ally Carter
Publisher/ Year: Disney-Hyperion, 2013.
How I Read It:  Hardcover (library book)
Why I Read It:  I wanted to see how the series would end and *SPOILER SORTA* see Kat and Hale actually DTR LIKE SERIOUSLY
Rating:  4 stars out of 5

Summary from Goodreads of Heist Society: 
When Katarina Bishop was three, her parents took her on a trip to the Louvre…to case it. For her seventh birthday, Katarina and her Uncle Eddie traveled to Austria…to steal the crown jewels. When Kat turned fifteen, she planned a con of her own—scamming her way into the best boarding school in the country, determined to leave the family business behind. Unfortunately, leaving “the life” for a normal life proves harder than she’d expected.
Soon, Kat's friend and former co-conspirator, Hale, appears out of nowhere to bring Kat back into the world she tried so hard to escape. But he has a good reason: a powerful mobster has been robbed of his priceless art collection and wants to retrieve it. Only a master thief could have pulled this job, and Kat's father isn't just on the suspect list, he is the list. Caught between Interpol and a far more deadly enemy, Kat’s dad needs her help.
For Kat, there is only one solution: track down the paintings and steal them back. So what if it's a spectacularly impossible job? She's got two weeks, a teenage crew, and hopefully just enough talent to pull off the biggest heist in her family's history--and, with any luck, steal her life back along the way.
Overall, I enjoyed the series as a whole.  I love the concept and think the characters are awesome, but for the first 2 books I wasn't completely entertained, which is why I gave them each 3 stars.  The reason that I gave the last book 4 stars was due to the fact that the main conflict was surrounding Hale and his family (who we really didn't know very much about other than he was rich, spent all his time away from that family, and W.W. stands for something that we have no idea what it is).  Hale's story interested me.  Stolen paintings and emeralds?  Eh, it was cool but wasn't that cool to me.

The series is seriously well put together and everything is connected in one way or another.  A character shows up one book.  Don't think they'll come back again or show relevance?  HAHAHAHA.  Again, there's Hale's secret life, living the best of both worlds (Kat's world & his world).  All the conspiracies and dealings with Vasily Romani?  There's so much going on and it's literally so important to pay attention to the details because HELLO. THEY ARE A HEIST SOCIETY/ SPIES/ WHATEVER YOU WANT TO CALL THEM.

These characters are pretty awesome & yay for awesome female protagonists!  The only ones that really had character development though were Kat and Hale.  It kind of just felt like the other characters were there.  I mean, Nick and Uncle Eddie felt important, because they played pretty crucial roles, but Gabrielle, the twins, and Simon felt like fillers.  They were needed for something as a part of the Heist Society, but I wasn't really interested in their backstories as much as the other characters.

Now though I wasn't as a big a fan of the first 2 books, the last book makes it completely worth it.  Especially since the relationship between Kat and Hale is confusing to follow and you're not entirely sure if they're together.  It wasn't exactly established.  But I think learning much more about Hale & the fact that Kat may have something even bigger than herself to lose in the last book made it so much more enjoyable.  This series doesn't beat The Gallagher Girls series by far, but it's still pretty good.  The plots are awesome and unique & I do recommend it.  But read TGG series first.

Book Review: The Bridge from Me to You + UPDATE

The Bridge from Me to YouTitle/ Author:  The Bridge from Me to You by Lisa Schroeder
Publisher/ Year:  Point, 2014.
How I Read It:  E-book, courtesy of NetGalley
Why I Read It:  I love contemporary and this sounded interesting.
Rating: 3 stars out of 5

Summary from Goodreads:  
Lauren has a secret. Colby has a problem. But when they find each other, everything falls into place. 

Lauren is the new girl in town with a dark secret. Colby is the football hero with a dream of something more. In alternating chapters, they come together, fall apart, and build something stronger than either of them thought possible--something to truly believe in.


Hey everyone, sorry I haven't posted anything in a while.  There's been so much going on like well, I just moved into college last week and I've been settling in and figuring out my schedule and when I can read/ blog/ do everything else.  I promise when I am more settled, I will post a lot more.  But, for now, this transition is a pretty big one.  


This book was only just okay for me.  It had its high moments, but there were parts where all I wanted to do was put this book down.  I couldn't just sit down and read it.  When I was getting near the end, it was a lot easier to get through the book, because I was looking forward to what would happen with Lauren and with Colby.  Let me just make this absolutely clear: The Bridge from Me to You is a very well written book.  Schroeder delivered very well in that area.  The plot, while interesting and entertaining, wasn't as complex as I wished it could be.  Sure, the characters had depth that made their characters relatable and believable, but for some reason, I wasn't as invested as I wish I was.

What I like a lot about this book is the fact that the romance was not the main concept of the book.  Of course, romance was a very prevalent part, but it was well balanced with Lauren's and Colby's issues.  Also, little things like Lauren's love of Bugles and Colby's love for bridges played out nicely throughout the novel and brought something to their characters.  Throughout the entire novel, since the moment they first met, you knew they wanted to be together, but the struggles of Lauren's difficult family life, the pressure of sports and Benny's accident came between them and attempted to pull their growing relationship apart.  It's the truth of reality.  Happily ever afters aren't gonna happen the way you want it to happen, but all you can do is keep hoping for the best, like Lauren and Colby.  Overall, their moments were cute, and they really did get each other's situation, so they knew how to comfort/ help each other through friends, lovers, etc.  

The dual POV was interesting.  Lauren's POV was more poetic than Colby's.  It was confusing at first and honestly, I could have dealt without the dual POV.  Some books can pull it off, but frankly, I found it annoying.  Also, I thought it was weird how they both developed feelings for each other almost immediately.  Of course, they got to know each other, but just seeing both POVs alternating talking about how much they want to be with the other (and of course not even acting on it), it was pretty annoying at the beginning.  By the end, I was used to it.  But seriously, I did not like the dual POV.  Another thing I was sorta confused about was the fact that certain things are mentioned in the book but aren't brought up again until much later in the book, or not mentioned enough to a point where it felt unnecessary to have that aspect as a part of the book.

I was talking to my one friend about a quote I saw asking if it was accurate or just for her thoughts on it:
"Small-town life isloving the wide roads one day and wanting to leave and never look back the next.
But you accept that's how it is, because you're a part of something.  And's home."
This part is from Lauren's POV, and I just think it's beautiful.  Moving to a new town, a small town, she had to learn how to accept it and live a life there.  My friend lives in a small town and she told me that this quote hit home for her.  And this quote is especially really beautiful because the setting is super important in the book.

Overall, it was a good, heartwarming story.  It's no Stephanie Perkins or Jenny Han novel, where all you get is butterflies and swooning, but it definitely makes you feel good at the end, whereas everything seems to be resolved in a way.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday #9: Books People Have Been Telling Me That I MUST Read

Top Ten Tuesday is an weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.  Each week participants list their Top Ten choices for a weekly theme. This week's theme is: Top Ten Books People Have Been Telling Me That I MUST Read!

Luckily in my blogsphere and online book friend-o-sphere, I have friends who pretty much lay down the law and say, "SARAH. READ THIS."  Or in general someone will have finished up a book and say "READ THIS IT IS SO GOOD."  And anytime I ask for recommendations, they say the EXACT same book every single time.

Amy and Roger's Epic DetourThe Evolution of Mara Dyer (Mara Dyer, #2)Perfected

1.  Amy and Roger's Epic Detour by Morgan Matson:  My one friend who I feel is Morgan's biggest fan is absolutely in love with her books and just at the mention of her books she will start to go in all caps saying how much she loves her books or wants me and others to read them.  I've already read Second Chance Summer and Since You've Been Gone and LOVED them, so this would be next best.

2. The Evolution of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin:  I have read the first book, so this book would be next and my one friend is totally in love with this series and Noah Shaw & of course she has the highest recommendation for this book and for this series.

3. Perfected by Kate Jarvik Birch:  Another friend that I have won't stop talking about this book and how great it is.  Not to mention, she has a selfie of her and the book as her profile picture.  

Nil (Nil, #1)The Glass Castle

4.  Nil by Lynne Matson:  I'm pretty sure this was described to me as The Maze Runner meets Lost.  It sounds so interesting and I'm excited to read it, but my TBR list is so so long!

5. The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls:  My sophomore English teacher, who I have frequent conversations about books we've read, recommended me this book.  In fact she ordered me to read it.  We have different reading interests, but I won't let her down.  Even though I keep procrastinating reading it.  I'll get on that!

Obsidian (Lux, #1)Thirteen Reasons Why

6.  Obsidian by Jennifer L. Armentrout:  My friends have been bingeing this series and now these books are one of the main topics of conversation.  I really like the idea of the series, and I think I'll pick it up soon!

7.  Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher:  I've heard from so many people that this book is everything and I should read it.  That I need to read it.  It looks like something I would love and take to heart, so I'm excited to read it, when I get to it of course.

A Thousand Splendid SunsSomething Strange and Deadly (Something Strange and Deadly, #1)The Testing (The Testing, #1)

8.  A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Husseini:  Again, my sophomore English teacher, aka my fave teacher, recommended me this book & said it was her favorite.  And from what I've heard about it, I have no doubts about how good the book is, or will be to me.

9.  Something Strange and Deadly by Susan Dennard:  My librarian friend, who happens to be a blogger and booktuber, recommended me this book saying that if I loved The Infernal Devices series, I would love this.  I hope to read it in the near future!

10.  The Testing by Joelle Charbonneau:  Highly recommended by my one friend who loves the series & she loves talking to the author.  I'm not sure if I'll read the book yet, but because it's recommended by this one person, I might give it chance.  MIGHT.

What's your Top Ten?

Sunday, August 17, 2014

When You Just Need Some Motivation From Brilliant Books And Authors...

Today was my high school graduation party & it was nice seeing my school friends, church friends, and family all in one place celebrating my accomplishments and sending me off to college.  It's crazy thinking that I'm leaving for college in about 5 days.  THIS FRIDAY.  It seems like just yesterday I entered high school just looking for someone to be my friend.  

One of my very first friends in high school came to celebrate with me, and I'm so glad I got to see her before we both headed off to college.  Now, when you graduate high school, that's when the relative and friends give you loads of money to help you pay for your education cause college education is pretty darn expensive.  And I'm extremely thankful for all their help, love and support throughout the years.  But this one friend, she didn't give me money...she gave me something that I'll never forget, never misplace, and always love...something too meaningful that I'm just so happy she's my friend.  

She gave me a bunch of "College Pick-Me-Up Quotes".  The first card says that, and on the back, she wrote, "When You Just Need Some Motivation From Brilliant Books and Authors."  After reading through all of them, I felt like crying cause it was absolutely thoughtful and it's something I know I'll be taking with me to college.  Here they are, and I hope you find some motivation and inspiration in them too.

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"When you need to remind yourself why you're not sleeping and instead learning about the Fall of the Ottoman Empire."

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"When your bed is soft and warm but you know you have an 8 AM class to get to."

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"When there are many big fish in the sea."

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"When the professor is of no help and you need to hit the library instead."

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"When you get a college crush ;)"

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"When the campus library beckons." 

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"When finals cramming is done and/or when you turn 21."   

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"When haters gonna hate.


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