2016 Bookish Goals

Good afternoon book friends 🙂  I hope you all are having a happy Wednesday!  I just wanted to start out by saying thank you to everyone who has followed, commented, or reached out to me through email since I started this little blog a few weeks ago.  You all just make me so very happy!

Today, I though I would share with you a few of the book-related goals I have for myself and for this blog in the new year.  I have seen just how fast a new blog can grow in a very short amount of time – and I want to form a game plan, so that I can take full advantage of the incredible adventure this little blog will take me on in 2016 🙂  So here we go:

  1. Read (at least) 50 books (yay for my first ever Goodreads challenge!)
  2. Reach 500 bookstagram followers
  3. Review at least one self-published/indie book each month.  This is where you all come in!  If you are an author (or you know of one) with a newly released, independent book, I would love to support you!  To submit a book for review, email me at mylittlebluelibrary@gmail.com.
  4. Host my first ever bookish giveaway (either here on the blog, or my bookstagram)
  5. Make some fabulous new friends through my blogging journey who genuinely understand this passion for books 🙂
  6. Become a regular book reviewer for a small publishing company.
  7. Finish writing (and maybe even editing) my current WIP novel, Stealing Forever.  (This novel is a loose Peter Pan retelling – let me know if any of you would like to see creative writing related posts, because I would love to share!)
  8. Go to a book signing to meet one of my (many!) favorite authors
  9. Maintain a consistent blog, posting (at the very least) once per week – sharing all of my favorite bookish news with all of you.
  10. Fill up my all the shelves of my first ever bookshelf (you can keep up with my programs on my bookstagram @littlebluelibrary.  I love sharing pictures of lovely new books!)

I know that I am a bit late in the game with this list – January is already nearly over!  What?  This year is going to fly by, and I can’t wait to see what fun adventures it brings!  What are your goals for the new year?  Let me know in the comments or through my email – I love interacting with all of you.  I think that each of my goals for this year can really be wrapped up into one ultimate goal – to grow in this book loving community.  I love that this community exists, and I am so happy that my little blog can be a part of it. ❤

 

 

 

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2016: The Year of The Series

Hello all!  I hope you have had a fabulous start to your 2016.  I have personally spent the first full week of this year working 40 hours in a library.  Which was wonderful 🙂  Also, during those long hours in a library, I had lots of time to think about what books I want to spend my time reading this year.  I set my Goodreads goal at 50 books for this year, which may seem small, but this is the first year I have ever set a challenge like this for myself, and I have discovered that small goals are the best way to start.  Hopefully I will far surpass my little goal, but we shall see 🙂

When I was thinking about what fifty books I want to spend my year with, a lot of series kept popping into my mind.  So I thought I would share with you the top five series that are on my TBR list for this year, and why I am choosing to read (or reread) each one.

First up is the Harry Potter series by JK Rowling.  As I am writing this post, I have already been through the first three of these books since the beginning of 2016 (another reason why working in a library is awesome.  Lots of reading time).  I originally read this series my sophomore into my junior year of high school, which is kind of ironic, because I am going to finish my sophomore year and start my junior year of college in 2016.  Also, since I read the series the first time, I have seen all of the movies several times – but I have never done the thing where you watch each movie as you finish each book.  So that’s what I am doing, and after finishing these first three books and movies, I can just say that I forgot how incredibly amazing this series is – and I am so excited to experience Harry Potter’s adventures again this year.

The next series is The Selection Series by Kiera Cass.  I just have such fond memories of these books.  I read them all as they came out, and I just want to reread all of the in preparation for the release of The Crown in March.

Next, I have The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis.  I recently discovered that I have not actually read all of these books.  I have read the books that became movies – but as a child, my family had these fantastic audio-books of the Narnia series, so I was content to listen to those.  I got the collection of Narnia books for Christmas, and I am so excited to dive into that series.  Also, I think it would be so amazing to be able to pass that collection of books on to my children some day.  There is just something so special about reading the same copy of a book that someone close to you also read.

The forth series on my list is a brand new series for me, and one that I have heard such good things about from the booktube/bookblog community.  And that is the Throne of Glass series by Sarah J Maas.  I had never read any of her books until I discovered A Court of Thorns and Roses (which, unfortunately I was reading from my library back home – but I had to return it before I came back to school.  I ended up buying it for myself but I have not picked it up again because Harry Potter.  But, all that to say, it is fantastic so far).  I came to love Sarah’s writing through that book – and I have really been getting into high fantasy in the past few months, so I am very excited to dive into this new-to-me series.

The last series on my list is The Maze Runner by James Dashner.  I read the triology a very, very long time ago – before there was even talk of a movie.  I remember loving it, and I was so happy with the first movie – because so much of it was just how I pictured in the book (not so much in the second movie tho…).  I want to relive this series, mostly just so that I can picture Dylan O’Brien’s face as Thomas, but also just because it is so different from most of the books on my TBR list this year.

What book or series on your TBR are you most excited to read in 2016?  It is going to be a fabulous year for books!

 

Top Books of 2015

<3It is hard to believe that today is the last day of 2015.  This has been a fantastic year in so many ways – and of course, I have read lots of lovely books this year.  I thought I would share a few of the best books I read in 2015, and for each of them I want to feature one of my favorite quotes from the main character of the story.  To me, each of these quotes sums up, in a sentence or two, the purpose of each of these books.  I hope you enjoy ❤

Best Middle Grade Book:  Wonder by RJ Palacio

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 “I think there should be a rule that  everyone in the world should get a standing ovation, at least once in their lives…”  -Auggie Pullman, Wonder

Best YA Contemporary: Paper Towns by John Green

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“It’s easy to forget how full the world is of people, full to bursting, and each of them imaginable and consistently misimagined” -Quentin, Paper Towns

Best Historical Fiction: The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

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“I have hated words and I have loved them, and I hope I have made them right.” -Liesel Meminger, The Book Thief

 

Best Inspirational Book:  Let’s All Be Brave by Annie F. Downs

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“Say yes to the situations that stretch you and scare you and ask you to be better than you think you can be.”  -Annie F. Downs, Let’s All Be Brave

Best Overall: Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard

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“I’m finally learning my lesson.  Anyone can betray anyone.” -Mare Barrow, Red Queen

Overall, it has been a fabulous year for reading!  I can’t wait to see what 2016 has in store for us.   Happy New Year everyone!

Red Queen Review

Hello all!  I hope you had a very Merry Christmas!  I have loved scrolling through Instagram the last couple of days, seeing how all of you are diving into your Christmas books 🙂  I will have a Christmas book haul up hopefully in a week or so, once I make it to Barnes and Noble to use some of my lovely gift cards.

In the mean time, I would like to bring you my thoughts on my most recent read, Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard.  This book is just so many things in so many ways, and I’m not sure that I can do it put into words just how brilliant it is.  In fact, I have tried several times to sum up the plot in my own words, and I have been unsuccessful.  So, what I have decided to do is share the summary from the cover of the book, and then share a little tiny snippet of my thoughts while trying very hard to not include any spoilers.

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“Mare Barrow’s world is divided by blood – those with red and those with silver.  Mare and her family are lowly Reds, destined to serve the Silver elite whose supernatural abilities make them nearly gods.  Mare steals what she can to help her family survive, but when her best friend is conscripted into the army she gambles everything to win his freedom.  A twist of fate leads her to the royal palace itself, where, in front of the king and all his nobles, she discovers a power of her own – an ability she didn’t know she had.  Except… her blood is Red.

To hide this impossibility, the king forces her into the role of a lost Silver princess and betroths her to one of this own sons.  As Mare is drawn further into the Silver world, she risks her new position to aid the Scarlet Guard – the leaders of a Red rebellion.  Her actions put into motion a deadly and violent dance, putting prince against prince – and Mare against her own heart.”

The first thought that I have to share is something that greatly frustrated me about this book.  It was the fact that woven into this story are several very recognizable plotlines from endlessly popular YA books.  At the beginning of the story, a ‘Queenstrial’ is held to determine which Silver girl is most worthy to marry the crown prince.  The Selection, anyone?  But, this turned out to be somewhat of a minor plotline in the book, so I moved on.  But then there is a small snippet of the story where the Red rebels decide that Mare would make a wonderful symbol of the rebellion, using her Silver-given nickname (that she previously despised); ‘the little lightning girl’.  I’m sorry, but Mockingjay?  Familiar much?  But, that little rebellion plot line thing didn’t exactly pan out as planned, so I got over it.  But.  Then….  we have the whole thing about Mare being a Red but having abilities she shouldn’t have unless she was a Silver.  And there is a point about halfway through the book where she realizes that maybe this is an actual thing, and maybe she isn’t the only Red who should be a Silver.  But, no matter how many there are, this thing that she is is very dangerous and rebellious and bad.  “Tris, you’re Divergent…”.  I think that was the part that got to me the most.  But, the brilliant everything that followed it made up for all of that.

The world building and character development were stunning in this novel.  The world of Red Queen is so unique and it just comes to life through Victoria Aveyard’s writing.  The Stilts, the Kingdom, every location that we visited through the story was beautifully crafted.  And the world building was only topped by the character development.

Oh goodness, every character in this story was simply amazing.  Every connection that Mare formed to a character, I formed the same connection.  She felt the feels, and I felt the feels.  All the feels.  If Mare was attached to a character, I was attached to them.  If she hated someone, I hated them.  And I have to just say this now – you never realize how close a bond you have with a character until you realize that they aren’t who they claimed to be all along.

And on that note – if you need a reason at all to read this book, read it for the last 50 pages.  Until that point I was like “oh, yes, this is a good book.”  And then all at once I was just like “UM THIS IS world shattering and life changing AND WHY DO I HAVE TO WAIT FOR GLASS SWORD??”

So, read the book.  It is up there with the top two or three books I have read this year for sure.  I highly recommend it.  5/5 stars for sure.

 

Happily Ever After Review

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Happily Ever After by Kiera Cass ~ 5/5 stars.

This book is a companion book to The Selection series, and it contains a series of novellas, scenes, and other little tidbits to go along with The Selection.  I really enjoyed this book, as it gave a little glimpse into the heads of several of the main characters.  It gave some backstory and helped to create a new perspective on The Selection series as a whole.  I think that, rather than just talking about my feelings on the entire book, I am going to do a separate mini-review for each of the novellas and other sections of the book.

The Queen:  This is a novella written from Amberly’s perspective, set during her Selection.  I really enjoyed this story, because it gave more insight on why Amberly and Clarkson ended up together, despite the significant differences in their personalities that we see in The Selection.  We get to see some of the flaws of Amberly’s character, and also some of the more human side of Clarkson – both essential elements of their relationship that are more hidden in the series.  I also really enjoyed watching as Clarkson’s Selection shaped Amberly’s character.  Amberly experienced many of the same situations and emotions that America went through during her Selection.  Those situations, and the decisions that she was forced to make helped to mold Amberly into the strong and loving queen and mother that she becomes.  It is overall a beautiful story.

The Prince: This is a novella written from Maxon’s perspective, starting on his birthday and continuing through the first few weeks of the Selection.  There is so much in this story.  I really like it, because it shows a lot of the story we have already seen in the first few weeks of the Selection, but it has a completely different feeling as told through Maxon’s eyes.  From America’s perspective in The Selection, Maxon always seems calm and confident – but we see that he was actually terrified at the idea of bringing 35 strangers into his house, most of which were hand picked by his father.  Speaking of King Clarkson, we also see Maxon’s perspective of just how demanding his father is.  Every single action, move, and judgement Maxon makes is scrutinized and dictated by his father.  However, in contrast to this, we see the sweet, loving relationship between Maxon and Queen Amberly.  While Maxon receives love from his mother, he just feels pressure from his father – and there is not a loving relationship between his parents.  One of the small plotlines of this story is Maxon’s first encounter with a girl, before the Selection begins.  Daphne, a French princess, confesses that she loves and always has loved Maxon.  When she doesn’t get the response from him that she wants, she begins to analyze and make judgements about Maxon’s ability to love.  Her conclusion is this: “You have no idea how to express [love].  Your father can be as cold as ice, and your mother hides within yourself.  You’ve never seen people love freely, so you don’t know how…”.  While that is a rather harsh judgement, it is accurate in a way.  And it is with those words in his mind that Maxon enters the Selection.  It is a very engaging story, as we see Maxon’s perspective of several iconic scenes between him and America, and we are given a glimpse of the emotions Maxon experienced as he went through the process of choosing a wife

The Guard:  This is a novella written from Aspen’s perspective, starting the day after Officer Woodwork and Marlee are discovered.  One thing I enjoyed most about this story was the new perspective of the palace.  We get to see the staff – maids and guards and even a stable hand – through the eyes of Aspen, who is one of their equals.  The dynamic in the palace is so interesting, and Aspen discovers that he is much more comfortable in the company of the maids and servants than with the royals.  I was kind of disappointed while reading this, because I thought it would shed some light on Aspen’s relationship with Lucy.  We see the very beginning of something, but nothing is resolved and there really isn’t any completion.  It is a good perspective, but it is not my favorite of the novellas.

The Favorite:  This is a novella written from Marlee’s perspective.  It is such a sweet novella, chronicling the story of Marlee falling in love with Carter Woodwork.  It begins in a prison cell, after Marlee and Carter have been discovered.  Marlee thinks that they are waiting there for a death sentence, and she remembers back to the beginnings of their relationship.  The story stretches through until the very end of The One, describing Marlee and Carter’s struggles and happy memories.  This story is one of my favorite parts of anything Selection related – It was just beautiful seeing Marlee and Carter grown in their pure, simple love.

The Maid: This is not really a novella, but more like a collection of scenes.  And here is where I got the Aspen and Lucy love story that I was waiting for.  It picks up right after Aspen reveals to Lucy that America was his first love.  Lucy is devastated by this news, because she loves America like a sister, really.  And now that she knows about America and Aspen, and their hidden love she thinks that Aspen must still be in love with America.  This makes her very reluctant to be accepting towards him, even though she has fallen in love with him.  This story reveals more about the lives of Aspen and Lucy, and I enjoyed reading it because these have been two of my favorite characters throughout the series.  Yes, I have been and will always been loyal to Aspen, and I was so glad to see that he found a happy ending after all.

The rest of the book contains three scenes from the perspective of Celeste, which aren’t really any surprise.  We see her confidence from the beginning that it was really no contest – that she would be queen.  We see how lonely she became, fighting from the throne rather than for the prince, and there is a really incredible scene between her and Maxon right before she leaves the competition.  The book also includes a small collection of scenes called After The One, and I am pretty sure you can guess the subject of those little scenes.  The final section of the book is entitled Where are they now?, and sheds some light on where a few of the Selected girls ended up after they left the competition.

All in all, this was a fantastic read.  I loved getting into the heads of all of the Selection characters, and there was just such a personal touch from Kiera Cass on every part of the book.  I wish every author would do this, offer more backstory and insight on some of our favorite characters.  If you are a fan of The Selection series, you will love Happily Every After.

Most Anticipated Releases of 2016 {part 1}

The new year is right around the corner, and I thought I would put together a little list of the books I am most excited about that are releasing in the next couple of months.  Ah they are all just so close.  Yet so far away….

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-The Siren by Kiera Cass, released on January 26th.  This book makes the list simply because of my love for the writing of Kiera Cass.  She just has a way of making stories come to life.  And, as much as I love The Selection series, I am very excited for a new storyline from Kiera.  Also, I think it is just really amazing that Kiera Cass originally self-published this book, and now she is rereleasing it as a bestselling author.

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The Crown by Kiera Cass, released May 3rd.  Well, obviously this book has to make the list as well.  Honestly, I wasn’t as excited as I should have been to see that The Selection had been extended beyond a trilogy.  I liked it as it was, and if it had been extended at all, I wanted it to tell the story of America taking the throne and becoming queen.  But I have since accepted it, and I am very curious to see the outcome of Eadlyn’s Selection.  I’m not a huge fan of Eadlyn herself, but some of the boys in her Selection have won my heart, and I can’t wait to see where this series ends up.

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-Passenger by Alexandra Bracken, released January 5th.  I have never read anything by Alexandra Bracken, but the premise of this book looks really interesting.  It follows a girl named Etta who suddenly travels back in time and finds herself as a passenger on this ship.  She has no idea where she is, or how she ended up there.  Along with a boy named Nicholas who she meets on the ship, Etta travels through time trying to solve an incredible mystery.  The plot and the cover both draw me in and I’m just very excited about this particular release.

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-Glass Sword by Victoria Aveyard, released February 9th.  This is the second book in the Red Queen series.  I am halfway through the first book now, and it is fabulous.  The plot is so unique and I’m excited to see where this story ends up.  I think this series is setting up to be a trilogy, which means that I will have to wait even longer for the last book.  This thing with reading new releases is awful.  I hate waiting…

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-The Love that Split the World by Emily Henry, released January 26th.  I came across this author on Instagram, actually – and I was completely entranced by the cover and the title.  Basically, the main character Natalie receives a mysterious, supernatural message that simply says “you have three months to save him.”  And the story follows the discoveries and mysteries that come after that message.  It sounds just so enthralling and I can’t wait to get my hands on it.

So, yes – those are some of my top anticipated books for the beginning of the coming year.  I am so excited for all of these for so many different reasons.  I can’t wait to see what these books – and all the other new releases of 2016 – have to offer.

 

 

Winter Break TBR

That moment when you have taken your last final and turned in your last assignment and you can finally go home for Christmas!  I am just so very excited to have three weeks with no homework whatsoever and just read.  Read all the books.

Or, all these books at least.  SO here we go:

-Paper Towns by John Green

-Happily Ever After by Kiera Cass

-Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard

-A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas

-We Were Liars by E. Lockhart

-Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel

This list may possibly grow (or shrink.  sometimes I overestimate how long a book will actually take me to finish), but these are the actual books that I have available to read currently.  Also, I’m planning to review each of these books on the blog.  And I already finished and reviewed Paper Towns, so check out my review here!

I hope you all have a fantastic break and a very merry Christmas 🙂