Top 5 Wednesday #18 | Books of 2015

Hello, book lovers!

It is the last Wednesday of 2015. My, how the time flies. It feels like only a few days have passed since I was freaking out about the year being half gone…now it is gone.

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As always, Top 5 Wednesday was created by Lainey at gingerreadslainey. For a complete list of Wednesday-ers and topics, please visit the Goodreads group!


This week’s topic is Top 5 Books of 2015. I’ve read a lot of posts lately consisting of “best of 2015” lists and a lot of people struggled in narrowing down favorites.

I’m the opposite. I had trouble coming up with 5 books that I felt deserved a top spot.

Without further ado, here are the top 5 books that Kacie read in 2015.

#5 – Mr. Mercedes – Stephen King

Mr. Mercedes is a mystery/thriller novel by Stephen King. It follows a detective who was unable to catch The Mercedes Killer before retiring. The mass murderer contacts the retired detective and gets him back on the case…with disastrous consequences. It is the first novel in a trilogy that will be completed in 2016.

#4 – You’re Never Weird on the Internet (Almost) – Felicia Day

I absolutely adore Felicia Day and this memoir was no different.  It was hysterical and provided a great insight into the creation of one of my favorite internet creations, The Guild. I flew through this book and I wish I hadn’t borrowed my sister’s copy and had bought a copy of my own.

#3 – Gone Girl – Gillian Flynn

Unless you are completely new to my blog, you should know that I highly enjoyed this novel. And if you are completely new to my blog, hello! It was the first Gillian Flynn novel that I read and it turned me on to her other works. This novel kept me guessing and I was honestly surprised at my external response to Amy’s character. I’ve never been angrier at a fictional character than when I was reading this novel.

#2 – The Martian – Andy Weir

This book has been everywhere and with good reason. I haven’t seen the movie, but I’m sure it is as amazing as the book. I was seriously invested in the story and was laughing out loud while reading. The copy I had bought turned out to be damaged and I was sent a fresh copy (complete with signed bookplate!) from the publisher. It was one of the highlights of my year.

#1 – Ready Player One – Ernest Cline

You saw this coming. I flew through this book in a matter of hours and I’m honestly surprised I haven’t re-read this book yet. I made my mom read it and she told me that she wanted to immediately re-read it upon finishing. I loved this book to pieces. I love video games and all things 80’s. It was the perfect book for me. I cannot wait for the movie!


There you have it, my favorite books of 2015. I cannot wait to see what 2016 has in store for me.

See you soon and happy reading!

kacie

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2015 End of the Year Survey

Hey, bookworms!

It’s the end of the year, so it’s time for an 2015 year end themed post!

Every year, Jamie from The Perpetual Page-Turner hosts a survey for readers to complete about their reading activities for the year. I’ve seen this one a few blogs the past few days and thought this was an excellent format for an end of year post. Here we go!

Reading Stats

Number Of Books You Read: 53
Number of Re-Reads: 15! (7 of these are from my Harry Potter re-read!)
Genre You Read The Most From: Young Adult

 Best In Books

  1. Best Book You Read In 2015?
    Ready Player One by Ernest Cline – hands down, without a doubt, my favorite read of the year.
  2. Book You Were Excited About & Thought You Were Going To Love More But Didn’t?
    Heir of Fire by Sarah J. Maas – I was sooo excited for this one coming off of Crown of Midnight but was very disappointed.
  3. Most surprising (in a good way or bad way) book you read?
    Cinder by Marissa Meyer – I did not think I would be down for a cyborg retelling of Cinderella, but I’m glad I picked this one up.
  4. Book You “Pushed” The Most People To Read (And They Did)?
    Ready Player One by Ernest Cline – I told everyone and their mothers to read this book and about half of them listened to me!
  5. Best series you started in 2015? Best Sequel of 2015? Best Series Ender of 2015?
    Series started: Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas – I haven’t given up on this series yet. It’s still the most influential series of my reading year.
    Sequel: Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas – I really enjoyed the first book, but I loved this one even more.
    Series ender: N/A (unless you count my re-reads of Harry Potter and His Dark Materials, but I’m not)
  6. Favorite new author you discovered in 2015?
    Ernest Cline – I also enjoyed Armada quite a bit and I enjoy his writing style.
  7. Best book from a genre you don’t typically read/was out of your comfort zone?
    Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon – I usually do not read YA Contemporary, but I received an ARC of this novel. I was pleasantly surprised by this one.
  8. Most action-packed/thrilling/unputdownable book of the year?
    The Martian by Andy Weir – I read for hours on end.
  9. Book You Read In 2015 That You Are Most Likely To Re-Read Next Year?
    Ready Player One by Ernest Cline – Here it is again…but YES. Mom and I have already talked about re-reading it soon!
  10. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2015?
    Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon – This cover is just plain gorgeous and the ARC paperback I have has a lovely texture as well.
  11. Most memorable character of 2015?
    Amy Dunne from Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn. I felt so many emotions towards her and I’d never before reacted to a fictional character in such a way.
  12. Most beautifully written book read in 2015?
    Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli – Even though I wasn’t pleased with this book, I thought it had beautiful writing.
  13. Most Thought-Provoking/ Life-Changing Book of 2015?
    Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher – It’s pretty obvious why this one is thought-provoking.
  14. Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2015 to finally read?
    Cinder by Marissa Meyer – Why, oh why did I wait so long to start The Lunar Chronicles?
  15. Favorite Passage/Quote From A Book You Read In 2015?
    I don’t have an answer for this question. :/
  16. Shortest & Longest Book You Read In 2015?
    Shortest: Oedipus Rex by Sophocles (54 pages)
    Longest: Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J.K. Rowling (870 pages)
  17. Book That Shocked You The Most
    Dark Places by Gillian Flynn – It was one surprising turn after another.
  18. OTP OF THE YEAR (you will go down with this ship!)
    I don’t really “ship” characters, but my favorite romantic relationship I’ve read this year would be Celaena/Chaol.
  19. Favorite Non-Romantic Relationship Of The Year
    I would have to say the relationships between the gamers (gunters) in Ready Player One by Ernest Cline.
  20. Favorite Book You Read in 2015 From An Author You’ve Read Previously
    Mr. Mercedes by Stephen King – I am a huge Stephen King fan.
  21. Best Book You Read In 2015That You Read Based SOLELY On A Recommendation From Somebody Else/Peer Pressure:
    Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs – Mom read this book awhile ago and told me to read it, but I didn’t until I started watching BookTube videos.
  22. Newest fictional crush from a book you read in 2015?
    Chaol Westfall – No shame.
  23. Best 2015 debut you read?
    Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon
  24. Best Worldbuilding/Most Vivid Setting You Read This Year?
    Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo – I loved the idea and the building of Ravka. I’m really excited to finish the trilogy and read Six of Crows.
  25. Book That Put A Smile On Your Face/Was The Most FUN To Read?
    The Martian by Andy Weir – I was seriously grinning the entire time.
  26. Book That Made You Cry Or Nearly Cry in 2015?
    Say What You Will by Cammie McGovern – I didn’t cry, but I was surprised at my emotional reaction.
  27. Hidden Gem Of The Year?
    From a Distant Star by Karen McQuestion – A YA contemporary, romance, sci-fi…not what I usually read, but I enjoyed it and haven’t heard much about it from others.
  28. Book That Crushed Your Soul?
    I actually didn’t read anything that crushed me or induced a major book hangover this year….well, at least not that is memorable.
  29. Most Unique Book You Read In 2015?
    Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher – As told by the cassette tapes of a person who has committed suicide.
  30. Book That Made You The Most Mad (doesn’t necessarily mean you didn’t like it)?
    Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn – Oh Amy, I wanted to throw the book out the window because of you.

 

Your Blogging/Bookish Life

  1. New favorite book blog you discovered in 2015?
    I don’t have one. Since I’ve only begun in June, I think all the blogs I follow are new favorites!
  2. Favorite review that you wrote in 2015?
    You’re Never Weird on the Internet (Almost) by Felicia Day
  3. Best discussion/non-review post you had on your blog?
    The Reading Habits Book Tag
  4. Best event that you participated in (author signings, festivals, virtual events, memes, etc.)?
    I really need to attend a book convention/festival.
  5. Best moment of bookish/blogging life in 2015?
    Starting the blog!
  6. Most challenging thing about blogging or your reading life this year?
    Keeping active on the blog while in a reading slump.
  7. Most Popular Post This Year On Your Blog (whether it be by comments or views)?
    My book review for Placid Girl by Brenna Erlich received the most views.
  8. Post You Wished Got A Little More Love?
    I can’t pick one…I’ll go with my reviews in general.
  9. Best bookish discover (book related sites, book stores, etc.)?
    BookTube and book blogging
  10. Did you complete any reading challenges or goals that you had set for yourself at the beginning of this year?
    I set a goal for 50 books via the Goodreads challenge. I read 53 books this year!

Looking Ahead

  1. One Book You Didn’t Get To In 2015 But Will Be Your Number 1 Priority in 2016?
    A Dance With Dragons by George R.R. Martin – I said about 6 months ago that I wanted to read this book by the end of the year, but didn’t make it.
  2. Book You Are Most Anticipating For 2016 (non-debut)?
    End of Watch by Stephen King – This is the third book in the Bill Hodges Trilogy (started by Mr. Mercedes).
  3. 2016 Debut You Are Most Anticipating?
    This Is Where It Ends by Marieke Nijkamp
  4. Series Ending/A Sequel You Are Most Anticipating in 2016?
    I HOPE THE NEXT BOOK IN THE “A SONG OF ICE AND FIRE” SERIES IS RELEASED THIS YEAR.
  5. One Thing You Hope To Accomplish Or Do In Your Reading/Blogging Life In 2016?
    Follow through with any reading challenges and set for myself.
  6. A 2016 Release You’ve Already Read & Recommend To Everyone:
    I haven’t read anything that hasn’t been released yet.

See you soon and happy reading!

kacie

 

 

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2016 Reading Challenge

Hello, everyone!

As the 2015 draws to a close, it’s time for everyone to post their favorites for the year and start planning the upcoming months. I’m not here to post my favorites of 2015 (yet), but I am planning for my literary future.

For the past week or so, I’ve been looking up reading challenges and pre-made TBR lists for 2016. I wasn’t satisfied by any that I saw…until I saw Amber’s post the other day, #SIXSQUAREDCHALLENGE.

She created her own 2016 TBR challenge and I’m absolutely in love. There is so much variety which will allow me to pick a book based on my mood. The topics are vague enough that I can still read what interests me. I’m down with that.

6squared

In the 6 Squared Challenge, the idea is to read 6 books from each category, making a grand total of 36 books.

The topics are:

  • New Releases (Debut Authors) – I’m assuming this means a debut book released by an author in 2016, but in the spirit of a flexible challenge, I’m going to choose 2016 releases by new-to-me authors. (I hope that’s okay, Amber!)
  • New Releases (Loved Authors) – I’m choosing 2016 releases by authors I’ve already read
  • Books to start a series
  • Books to finish a series
  • Goodreads Choice Winners/Nominees
  • Book to Movie Adaptations

I am really excited about participating in this challenge. I’ve already created myself a “tracker” or sorts to keep track of the challenge. I’ll try to keep you all updated of my progress.

Check out Amber’s introduction to the challenge HERE.

See you soon and happy reading!

kacie

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Mini Book Review: Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli

Hello everyone. Here I am again, saying that it’s been awhile since I’ve been active. The holiday season really sneaked up on me and my family! I haven’t done much reading since my last post, which was about wondering which book I should read.

As you can see from the above title, I chose Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli. I read all but about 80 pages in one sitting, finishing it yesterday. However, I don’t have a lot to say about it, so here’s my first ever miniature book review.

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Title: Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda
Author: Becky Albertalli
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, LGBT Fiction

I had some issues with Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda, but they were completely personal issues. The protagonist, Simon reminded me way too much of a former friend of mine. A former friend of mine that over-dramatically flounced out of my life, complete with passive-aggressive e-mails and immature cold shoulders. The entire time I was reading this book, I almost wondered if he was actually the author but under a pen name. I know this wasn’t true, but the similarities between the two of them (families, personality, the tendency to read too far into things) were freaky.

I didn’t like how dramatic Simon was, even though he was supposed to be. I found myself saying, “…what?” at half of the things that he thought about things or how much he read into things. I didn’t understand where any of it was coming from. An example of this that really sticks out in my mind is when Simon asks a fellow male classmate, “Are we supposed to be doing something right now?” because he wasn’t paying attention. Simon is then worried about the implications of that question as if it suggested something sexual but was surprised when the boy he asked didn’t notice.

…what? I just don’t understand Simon’s reading so much into some really mundane things.

Other than the strong connection to that former friend, I enjoyed the plot of the book. I thought it was clever and written really well. I just wasn’t able to connect with Simon.

Overall, I say it was “okay,” giving it 3/5 stars on Goodreads. I’m not rating it any lower because I’m sure I would have loved it if it weren’t for the personal issues ruining it for me.

3 starsWhat did you think of Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda?

Want to purchase a copy of Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli for yourself? Check it out on The Book Depository by clicking HERE.

See you soon!

kacie

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Book Review: A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas

16096824A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas is Young Adult Fantasy/Romance novel with loose ties to “Beauty and the Beast.” A young woman named Feyre gets pulled into the faerie world against her will, being held captive by Tamlin, a dangerous and immortal Fae. As she survives in this new world, her relationship with her captor changes…and she will do anything to save him and the faeries she grew up hating.

Title: A Court of Thorns and Roses
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance

Premise: 5/5

The premise is what inspired me to read this novel after my disappointment with Maas’s Heir of Fire. I am finding that I love fairy tale retellings and “Beauty and the Beast” is one of my favorite fairy tales. I was so excited for this because I haven’t read a retelling for this particular tale.

Plot Development: 3/5

I wasn’t all that thrilled with the plot development of this one. It was somewhat fast-paced, but it read so slowly at times. So much happened in this novel before I even hit 50% completion. It’s almost as if there was enough content in here for multiple books, but it all happened in one.

I had a lot of believability issues with this novel. It had its fair share of problems for our main cast of characters to get through, but they were all solved so quickly! From the beginning, we are showed that Feyre is at a huge disadvantage because she is human, yet she is able to not only keep up with the fairies, but outshine them. Yes, I know some of the magic had been depleted, but still. I think this is why I felt there was too much content for just one book…If I were to draw the plot of this book with the typical “plot mountain” I was taught in eighth grade English, it would have so many ups and downs rather than just one climax, the peak of the novel. It was too much.

plot_diagram
Remember this graphic organizer? Imagine a lot more spikes.

Characterization: 3/5

Yeesh. I did not like Feyre…from the beginning. I couldn’t empathize with her. She complained about everything. She constantly put her own and others’ safety at risk because she felt like it. She did that whole “I’m not beautiful and dresses make me feel inferior to these gorgeous men” thing that I can’t stand in books. *sigh*

Then there was the romance plot to the story. It was basically Insta-love. They were making eyes at each other much too early. Some of it was understandable because of spoilery plot points I won’t go into, but it was still too much for me to believe.

Writing Style: 4/5

Maas does know how to write; I’ll give her that. Even through the slow, dry parts, I was able to keep reading. I just wish I liked the content more than I did. These less than desirable chunks of the book were better for me than in Heir of Fire.

Readability: 3/5

I do not like that this book is classified as Young Adult. If anything other than adult fiction, it should be New Adult. Heck, I’ve read novels aimed towards adults that skipped over the steamy parts more than this book did. The steamy moments in this novel were far too graphic for the intended audience, 12 – 18 years old.

Call me old fashioned, but I don’t like the idea of a twelve-year-old reading about desiring a man’s mouth between her legs (an actual line in the story), let alone the graphic sex scenes in this novel.

Total Score: 17/25, avg. 3.4/5

Overall, it was okay. I really wanted to like this book but found myself laughing at it instead. Just like Throne of Glass, I’m not sure if I will continue this series. 3 stars.

3 stars

Goodreads Status Updates:

12/05 page 94 22.0% “What.”
12/05 page 182 43.0% “This is a lot slower than I thought it was going to be.”
12/05 page 198 47.0% “Well this just got crazy sexual for a YA book…”
12/05 page 242 58.0% “Rhys is a pleasant one, isn’t he? Yeesh.”
12/05 page 248 59.0% “Yeah…that was WAY too smutty for YA in my opinion.”
12/05 page 329 79.0% “So much is happening in this book…too quickly, too easily.”

I will see you soon!

kacie

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Friday Reads! December 4th

Hello, everyone!

If you are reading this, it is Friday. Hooray!

I’m by myself this weekend so I plan on doing some heavy reading. I pretty much have nothing else to do this weekend except read. I LOVE IT. I have missed these days!

Friday Reads

Here’s what I’m reading:

#1 – A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas – I’m only about 30 pages into this one, but I hope to finish it pretty quickly.

#2 – Finders Keepers by Stephen King – Once I got into the first book of the series, I BLEW through it and I’m highly anticipating picking this one up. My mom is currently reading our copy from the library…I’m hoping she doesn’t take it with her when she goes out of town tonight…

#3 – Outlander by Diana Gabaldon – If she does take Finders Keepers or I somehow finish that one as well, I’ll pick Outlander back up…I read 80 pages of it back in August but then got caught up in something. I have the entire series on my Kindle and I really want to read them!


Day is also the fourth day of my Billy Murray movie marathon. Last night, I watched Caddyshack, one of my favorite movies. Tonight, I’m watching A Very Murray Christmas on Netflix! I’m super excited about it. Here’s my Bill Murray schedule for this weekend:

Friday: A Very Murray Christmas
Saturday: Stripes
Sunday: Ghostbusters


See you next week!

kacie

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