End of the Year Bookish Survey

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Number Of Books You Read: 48
Number of Re-Reads: 6
Genre You Read The Most From: Young Adult (26)best-YA-books-2014

1. Best Book You Read In 2015? Not including rereads (which rules out Harry Potter and Persuasion), I’d have to say The Martian.

2. Book You Were Excited About & Thought You Were Going To Love More But Didn’t? Legend by Marie Lu. I really didn’t connect with this book at all.

3. Most surprising (in a good way or bad way) book you read in 2015? I was very pleasantly surprised at how much I liked Hello, Goodbye, and Everything in Between by Jennifer E. Smith since her books tend to be hits or misses for me.

4. Book You “Pushed” The Most People To Read (And They Did) In 2015? Either The Martian or The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin.

5. Best series you started in 2015? I finally started The Lunar Chronicles (still waiting to read Winter)!

6. Favorite new author you discovered in 2015? Emery Lord!

7. Best book from a genre you don’t typically read/was out of your comfort zone? The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin. I don’t typically read those types of supernatural novels, so I was surprised at how quickly I got into this one.

8. Most action-packed/thrilling/unputdownable book of the year? It’s not action-packed, but the book I had the hardest time putting down was Me Before You.

9. Book You Read In 2015 That You Are Most Likely To Re-Read Next Year? Persuasion or Open Road Summer.

10. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2015? I really love this new edition of Anne of Avonlea.

11. Most memorable character of 2015? Mark Watney from The Martian.

12. Most beautifully written book read in 2015? Me Before You by Jojo Moyes.

13. Most Thought-Provoking/ Life-Changing Book of 2015? Again, Me Before You.

14. Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2015 to finally read? Cinder by Marissa Meyer or The Princess Diaries by Meg Cabot.

15. Favorite Passage/Quote From A Book You Read In 2015? “You’re stronger than you believe. Don’t let your fear own you. Own yourself.” – The Evolution of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin. I read this book early in the year and this quote stuck with me for a few months. I would recite it to myself whenever I was going through a scary or challenging situation.

16. Shortest & Longest Book You Read In 2015? Shortest: The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde; Longest: Wives and Daughters by Elizabeth Gaskell.

17. Book That Shocked You The Most: Me Before You.

18. OTP OF THE YEAR: Aidan and Clare from Hello, Goodbye, and Everything in Between ALTHOUGH Matt and Reagan from Open Road Summer are also up there!

19. Favorite Non-Romantic Relationship Of The Year: John Worthing and Algernon Montcrieff’s brotherly jests and rivalry in The Importance of Being Earnest was really fun to read.

20. Favorite Book You Read in 2015 From An Author You’ve Read Previously: Wives and Daughters by Elizabeth Gaskell (previously read North and South).

21. Best Book You Read In 2015 That You Read Based SOLELY On A Recommendation From Somebody Else/Peer Pressure: The Martian! I read so many good reviews last year and in 2014 that this quickly became a Must-Read for me.

22. Newest fictional crush from a book you read in 2015? Probably Thorne from Cress. He’s like a cross between Flynn Rider and Han Solo <3

23. Best 2015 debut you read? I didn’t read any 2015 debuts (I don’t usually read debuts until at least a year later, like Open Road Summer for example).

24. Best Worldbuilding/Most Vivid Setting You Read This Year? Probably the futuristic sci-fi world in The Lunar Chronicles.

25. Book That Put A Smile On Your Face/Was The Most FUN To Read? Open Road Summer by Emery Lord.

26. Book That Made You Cry Or Nearly Cry in 2014? I cried about three times during the last few chapters of Hello, Goodbye, and Everything in Between by Jennifer E. Smith.

27. Hidden Gem Of The Year? The Life Intended by Kristin Harmel.

28. Book That Crushed Your Soul? Me Before You by Jojo Moyes.

29. Most Unique Book You Read In 2014? The Peculiar Life of a Lonely Postman was pretty unique.

30. Book That Made You The Most Mad (doesn’t necessarily mean you didn’t like it)? Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card. I didn’t like this book, even though I know it’s a classic sci-fi novel that a lot of readers enjoy. I enjoyed the world building and some of the more action-packed chapters, but I felt like this book would never end and maybe it was the narrator (I listened to the audiobook version), but by the end I was so annoyed and ready to be done with Ender’s Game.

book-blogging

1. New favorite book blog you discovered in 2014? I made a new online friend this year whom I was actually able to meet a few months ago! I really enjoy reading Alise’s reviews on Read.Write.Repeat and I’m so happy to be friends with another NC blogger :)

2. Favorite review that you wrote in 2014? Probably my review for Wives and Daughters because it includes a clip of the ending to the miniseries :)

3. Best discussion/non-review post you had on your blog? Where I’ve Been, where I discussed depression and pregnancy. It was a post that took me months to contemplate and write, but it meant so much to receive support and encouragement from my friends and readers.

4. Best event that you participated in (author signings, festivals, virtual events, memes, etc.)? The Broke and the Bookish’s Annual Secret Santa event is one of my favorite bookish events!

5. Best moment of bookish/blogging life in 2014? Getting over my months-long reading slump. I went THREE MONTHS without reading a book or writing a review. It was one of the most depressing times of my life, and it’s mostly attributed to early pregnancy hormones.

7. Most Popular Post This Year On Your Blog (whether it be by comments or views)? Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Characters I’d Want With Me On a Desert Island

8. Post You Wished Got A Little More Love? This post about Classic Alice, a literary-inspired web series.

9. Best bookish discover (book related sites, book stores, etc.)? Fandom bookmarks and jewelry! This year I’m also contemplating signing up for an OwlCrate or Fandom of the Month Club subscription.

10.  Did you complete any reading challenges or goals that you had set for yourself at the beginning of this year? I didn’t set any reading challenges for 2015, but I was able to read almost 50 books, which is impressive considering I went through a 3-month reading drought.

looking-ahead-books-2015

1. One Book You Didn’t Get To In 2015 But Will Be Your Number 1 Priority in 2016? I just started reading Winter by Marissa Meyer so I can finally finish The Lunar Chronicles series.

2. Book You Are Most Anticipating For 2016 (non-debut)? The Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson.

3. 2016 Debut You Are Most Anticipating? I think Bookishly Ever After by Isabel Bandeira. It’s been on my To-Read list for a couple of months now.

4. Series Ending/A Sequel You Are Most Anticipating in 2016? Hearts, Fingers, and Other Things to Cross by Katie Finn.

5. One Thing You Hope To Accomplish Or Do In Your Reading/Blogging Life In 2016? Read and review all the ARCs that have been piling up on my Kindle. It’s a weight on my shoulders and I feel like I can’t enjoy books that I’ve purchased until I review the ones I needed to last year.

6. A 2016 Release You’ve Already Read & Recommend To Everyone: I haven’t read any 2016 releases yet! Any recommendations for me?

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November Highlights!

I cannot believe it’s already December. Back when I was pregnant I felt like the year was dragging on but now I’m feeling like I just wrote my post about October and now the year is a few short weeks from being over. Thinking back to where I was a year ago, I can’t believe so much has happened in just twelve months!

November was my first full month as a new mom. It’s been hard. Babies are a lot of work, in case no one has ever told you. Even if you have been told before, you won’t believe it until you actually have your own infant attached to you for what feels like every hour of the day. But that’s ok, babies still bring you so much joy even while they’re sucking out all your energy (the sleep deprivation has made me a  little sarcastic lately…).

Anyway: highlights!

I read 5 books (and DNF 1)

Trouble With Destiny openroadsummer Me Before You The Truth About Forever LifeIntended

Most Popular Post:

October Highlights
Ever After’s Château de Hautefort (I can’t wait to go back one day!)

What I Watched:

BrooklynNineNine

Yeah, we binged watch this whole show between the last week of October and the end of November. After all the stress from having a baby and Thanksgiving and family visiting, this was the perfect way to relax and have a few (actually, a lot of) laughs.

Favorite character? Probably Terry, although Boyle is hilarious and I really love Jake, too.

What I Listened To:

James Morrison.jpg

I started listening to a James Morrison station on iTunes Radio last month and it’s pretty much all I listen to nowadays. Probably because his songs are relaxing and they actually went really well with the books I was reading last month.

Highlights:

  • Killian’s 1 Monthiversary! – I can’t believe my little sweet cheeks is already a month old (technically he’s 6 weeks now).
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  • Thanksgiving – We had an interesting Thanksgiving week. Killian was sick and we ended up having to postpone our actual Thanksgiving meal until Saturday. But my parents and both of my siblings were here with us so it was fun having family time :)
  • Reading some quality books – I read some books that made me cry from laughing and others that made me cry so hard it was more like sobbing (I’m looking at you, Me Before You). But I only read one book that I didn’t like, and I didn’t finish it because I just don’t have time for books I’m not into!
  • Decorating for Christmas! – We have to take down our tree before we go to France for 2 weeks (fire hazard), so we were anxious to get it up as soon as we could after Thanksgiving. We finally got to break out the Christmas ornaments we used for our wedding decorations 4 years ago, but most of our ornaments ended up being Hallmark ones that my mom and sister gift us in bulk every year. We love them :)
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Looking Forward in December:

  • The Broke and Bookish’s Annual Secret Santa Event!! – I’ve purchased just about everything for my Secret Santa, I just need to run to Target and buy some chocolately goodies. I’m really excited to find out who my own Secret Santa is!
  • GOING TO FRANCE FOR CHRISTMAS! – It’s been about 16 months since we left France, and 3 years since we’ve had Christmas in France! Yeah, it’ll be hard flying with a newborn, but the fondue and raclette and family time will be totally worth it. Plus, my sister-in-law just had a baby this week so I have a new niece to meet!
  • Seeing Star Wars: The Force Awakens – 3 years ago we find out that the newest Star Wars movie is being released on our 4th wedding anniversary, so Matt decided a long time ago what we would be doing to celebrate. I’m nervous about having someone watch Killian for those few hours, though. It’s too soon to leave him!

Who else is excited about Star Wars?? I’ve already decided I like Kylo Ren, even though he’s on the Dark Side and we don’t know anything about him. The mystery makes him cooler :)

The Life Intended by Kristen Harmel

LifeIntended

After her husband’s sudden death over ten years ago, Kate Waithman never expected to be lucky enough to find another love of her life. But now she’s planning her second walk down the aisle to a perfectly nice man. So why isn’t she more excited?

At first, Kate blames her lack of sleep on stress. But when she starts seeing Patrick, her late husband, in her dreams, she begins to wonder if she’s really ready to move on. Is Patrick trying to tell her something? Attempting to navigate between dreams and reality, Kate must uncover her husband’s hidden message. Her quest leads her to a sign language class and into the New York City foster system, where she finds rewards greater than she could have imagined.

The Life Intended by Kristin Harmel
Published December 30th 2014 by Gallery Books
Fiction
Format: e-book from Netgalley for review; 368 pages
Also By This Author: The Sweetness of ForgettingThe Art of French Kissing
Goodreads | Amazon | Author’s Website

My Rating: ♥♥♥♥

Thoughts:

The Life Intended was such a refreshing read for me! It was deep and meaningful and it’s the type of book that makes you want to go out and do something good for someone. We need more books like that in the world, don’t you think?

Kate’s character was easy for me to relate to, despite the fact that I’m not a 40-year old therapist still mourning the death of a husband 10 years later. But, like Kate, sometimes I have a hard time of letting things go and moving on. In The Life Intended Kate’s late husband, Patrick, who was a really great guy and encouraging person, starts appearing to Kate in confusingly vivid dreams. At first she believes she’s experiencing an alternate reality of the life she was supposed to have with Patrick, and soon she begins distancing herself from the reality she is actually living.

But remember when I said Patrick was really encouraging? Seeing him again causes Kate to question the life she’s living–is she really happy? Is she doing anything meaningful? Why does she have the sudden desire to be a mother now that it’s too late?–and start focusing on the things that really make her happy. Suddenly she’s diving into the world of sign language and using her therapy skills to reach out to foster system kids and finally letting her past life coexist with her present and future instead of keeping them separate.

“So how did you do it?” I ask when she answers. “Move on. Get married to someone else. Have a child with someone else.”

“Oh,” she says sadly. “You just have to think of it as a different life,” she says after a minute. “Maybe not the life you were intended to have, or even the life you thought you were intended to have. But it’s still your life, just like the old one was.”

I really enjoyed reading about Kate’s experiences with the Deaf community. I know it’s just fiction, but it was very eye-opening and made me wish I knew how to sign language! (Now that I have a baby, I will actually be learning “baby sign language” in a few months) And the children Kate encounters during her music therapy sessions really touched my heart. I could sympathize with their situations: some were bullied, some abandoned, and others struggled with needing to belong. Hearing their stories, I wished I could jump into the book and hug them!

Read This Book If…

…you’re in the mood for a book that will make you feel something.
…you enjoy stories and movies like P.S. I Love You.
…you’re interested in sign language, the Deaf community, or music therapy.
…you’ve really enjoy books about orphans or foster children.

“The thing is,” she adds, “you have to listen hard to what your heart’s saying before you know what you’re supposed to do.”

Final Musings:

The Life Intended is a captivating story that will linger with you long after you’ve finished it. I’m really interested in reading Krisitin Harmel’s other books now, and I only wish I had gotten around to reading this one sooner!

Top Ten Tuesday: Winter Reads

toptentuesdayEven though winter is still a good month away, I’m glad this is the topic for TTT this week! It gives me a chance to get excited for winter vacation and catching up on my reading!! I feel like since I started working full-time, it now takes me a week or more to read 1 book when it used to take 2-3 days. But no complaining! I’m so thrilled and thankful to be employed again, I just wish I could read all night instead of having to sleep ;)

So, here you go!

Top Ten Books On My Winter TBR List:

FullSteamAhead MatchMadeInTexas MontanaChristmas LifeIntended Legend

Full Steam Ahead by Karen Witemeyer – For some reason I LOVE reading western historical romances during Christmastime. I think it’s the weirdest thing since most of them take place during the summer, but then again I think they’re the perfect reads since they instill that warm, family-time mood. Karen Witemeyer is one of my favorite authors, and I actually just checked out Full Steam Ahead from the library yesterday! I may read it BEFORE winter starts ;)
A Match Made in Texas – To continue on with the western historical romances theme, this book is a compilation of novellas by four different authors: Karen Witemeyer (Full Steam Ahead, The Short Straw Bride, To Win Her Heart), Mary Connealy (Kincaid Brides series, Lassoed in Texas series), Regina Jennings (Ladies of Caldwell County series, A Most Inconvenient Marriage–which I’m reading during Thanksgiving break!), and Carol Cox (Truth Be Told, Trouble in Store). I’m particularly excited about reading Witemeyer’s novella since it is a spin-off of The Short Straw Bride, my favorite book of hers.
A Sweet Montana Christmas by Roxanne Snopek – I don’t know much about this book or the author, but I saw it on Netgalley as a Read Now and decided I needed to read it during Christmas :) Like I said, I’m a sucker for western romances this time of year.
The Life Intended by Kristin Harmel – The Goodreads synopsis compares this book to P.S. I Love You only a bit darker. I requested this book to review and I’m excited to actually open it up!
Legend by Marie Lu – I just checked this out from the library yesterday as well! I’ve heard so many good things about it and picked it up on a whim.

LizzieBennet CantAlwaysGetWhatYouWant SoulPrint DressShopofDreams HusbandsSecret

The Secret Diary of Lizzie Bennet by Bernie Su and Kate Rorick – I was a HUGE fan of The Lizzie Bennet Diaries (and it’s what got me into watching YouTube series). This diary came out earlier this year but I never saw it anywhere because I was in France. But yesterday at the library I saw it on the “New Fiction” shelf and grabbed it up in a heartbeat. Can’t wait to dive back into the sarcastic and theatrical mind of Lizzie Bennet!
Can’t Always Get What You Want by Chelsey Krause – I know, this book cover does not fit the typical winter read, but it’s on my shelf for review and I think I’m going to enjoy it. It’s all about letting go of your past and healing broken hearts.
Soulprint by Megan Miranda – The book summary describes Soulprint as part Minority Report and part Looper, both of which are movies I really enjoyed. So that means I should love this one! Plus, the cover is pretty :)
The Dress Shop of Dreams by Menna Van Praac –
This book sounds like a warm and fuzzy read, and those are the types of books I love reading in the winter! Maybe it’s to help overcome the cold ;)
The Husband’s Secret by Liane Moriarty –
Ok, my Secret Santa sent me this book last December, but I never got around to reading it :( But now that Liane Moriarty’s other novel has been out for a while and it also looks like an interesting read, I actually want to read The Husband Secret and find out if this is the type of author I’m going to enjoy.

What books are on your winter TBR list? Is there a specific genre you find yourself turning to whenever it’s cold outside?