Month: December 2015

Reread Review: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

Posted December 18, 2015 / Book Reviews / 6 Comments
Reread Review: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

I remember getting this one in the mail as a preorder… and reading it right away! My parents were reading them after me, so they would always bug me to finish right away. Of course, that was never a problem. I usually raced through these! Ugh, the feels again. This book and the previous totally slayed me the first time around. I mean, honestly. I couldn’t believe that she KILLED THEM BOTH. So cruel. (It was so hard to keep this information to myself the first time I read them too… I kept being like MOM PLEASE FINISH I NEED TO DISCUSS THIS WITH SOMEONE!) I also remembered that this is the one where Harry finally gets an idea of what it will actually take to kill Voldemort. The quest for horcruxes kicks off. Can my answer still just be: Harry Potter + reread = DUH. I mean, really, who do you think I am? I’m pretty surprised I didn’t reread these sooner honestly. Jim Dale’s narrator voice is totally bae. SAD AS USUAL. Ugh. I have to say, it feels weird to finally be at this part of the reread! Only one book left. Unfortunately I remember not loving the 7th book much until about halfway through. That period of time where they’re literally walking around and setting up camp was so boring. ANYWAYS BACK TO THIS BOOK. So there were actually lots of things I forgot about! I didn’t remember that he and Ginny started dating in this book […]

Help Me Deal with HYPE!

Posted December 17, 2015 / Discussions, Features / 39 Comments
Help Me Deal with HYPE!

After reading yet another book I felt like a huge black sheep about, I decided to work through my feelings about hype and how much I often want to punch it. There have been lots of books that bloggers love and I feel the need to add to my TBR. I’m totally okay with this because GIMME THE BOOKS. But, sometimes the books are so effing hyped that my expectations skyrocket. I don’t mind hype it leads me to great books, but I hate when I have the highest of hopes that this book will be utter perfection. Anything less than than that leads to utter disappointment, regardless of how good the book actually is. I try not to get bogged down by the hype, but I can’t help it. Usually my expectations are too high and the books won’t meet them. Here’s my hype-o-meter to show seven levels of hype that I see surrounding some books. This is just my personal opinion and scale, so hop off me if you don’t agree. It’s just based on what I’ve observed and how I’ve perceived certain books. Let me explain my categories a bit more: Level One includes books that are very under the radar, underrated, or not widely buzzed about. Not a lot of people have read them or heard about them. Not many reviews = not a lot of expectations. You can set your own. Level Two are books that you personally hype up for yourself, even if others haven’t. (For me, this was […]

Holiday Review: Christmas at Lilac Cottage

Posted December 16, 2015 / Book Reviews / 2 Comments
Holiday Review: Christmas at Lilac Cottage

This month I’ll be highlighting different holiday or Christmas-oriented books on the blog. I love reading based on the season, so stay tuned for more wintery reviews. To learn more about what’s coming and my holiday book rating system, check here! This book started out really strong for me and then my feelings kind of dwindled towards the end. I can’t put my finger on it, but I feel like I’ve been reading a lot of instalove-like romances and I’m getting tired of it. I need a good hate-to-love romance to get back in the swing of things. I didn’t realize throughout most of my reading that this book basically only happens over the course of a week… meaning there was some EXTREME instalove. This bugs me more than love triangles do. I did feel some chemistry but the whole use of the L-word right away is a major deterrent. Here’s a breakdown of some good/bad things. Overall, I would definitely recommend this book if you don’t mind the instalove factor. I enjoyed it a lot aside from that. If the plot was just stretched out over a longer period of time, it would probably work okay for me. The story was cute in general and very atmospheric. I love the town of White Cliff Bay so I will definitely be reading the next story at some point!I definitely expected the book to be more Christmassy, especially because of the title. It took place in the week leading up to Christmas […]

Top Ten Tuesdays #68: Best of 2015

Posted December 15, 2015 / Top 10 Tuesdays, Weekly Memes / 26 Comments
Top Ten Tuesdays #68: Best of 2015

Top Books I Read This Year Top Ten Tuesdays are hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, where we make lists of our top ten books (or something else!) based on that week’s prompt. The topics are provided ahead of time and can be found here. Book links bring you to Goodreads or my review. EEEK THIS IS NOT AN EASY LIST. I’m going to include all of my five-star reads here (obviously) but will also throw in some 4-4.5 if I see fit. Because this is my list and I’ll do it however I want! So there. The topic this week is obviously the top ten books you’ve read this year. You can do it in just 2015 releases, overall, by genre, etc. You know me – I’m going to combine things. I decided to split this into a few categories but there are still waaaaay more than ten books here. Sorry, I don’t feel too bad. I have a non-YA and a YA category of 5 star reads. Then, there are some “honorable mention” books at the bottom, all coming in at 4.5 stars. I couldn’t bear to look at all the 4 star books because this list would be even longer. Without further ado, here are some of my favorites from this year! [I am not linking to my reviews or Goodreads because it would take foooorever to do and I’m lazy. Just use the search bar if you’re curious 😉 ]Pivot Point by Kasie West | Ruin […]

Inside & Out #20: Alexa from Alexa Loves Books

Posted December 14, 2015 / Features, Inside and Out / 5 Comments
Inside & Out #20: Alexa from Alexa Loves Books

Admiring book covers and bookmarks, shared by you! Welcome to INSIDE AND OUT. This feature includes two of my absolute favorite book-related things: bookmarks (inside) and book covers (out)! I’ve invited guest posters to share their favorite book covers and bookmarks here on the second and fourth Mondays of each month. Sign-ups are always open (see bottom of post)! Check out past posts here. Alexa from Alexa Loves Books Twitter: @alexalovesbooks| Instagram: @alexaysantiago| YouTube | Tumblr Tell me a little about yourself: I’m Alexa, 26, living in New York. I was born in the US, moved back to the Philippines and lived there for 12 years, and then finally returned to the US in 2010. I got married to my husband in 2013, and he was able to join me in the US in late 2014. I’m constantly have my nose stuck in a book, particularly because I spend so much time commuting! I love writing stories, organizing (my books, my house, my clothes, anything really), traveling (to places I’ve never been and places I’ve seen before) and blogging (because it’s so fun)! Talk about your blog (what you blog about/kinds of books, features, etc.):   I’m an obsessive reader, always in search of my next bookish adventure, and I like sharing my thoughts on what I’ve read on the blog! It is my safe place to share my opinions, concoct fun events and features and even get personal occasionally. I mostly talk about YA novels, but I do on occasion feature adult and MG novels too! I also […]

Review: Last Will and Testament

Posted December 13, 2015 / Book Reviews / 4 Comments
Review: Last Will and Testament

Oh, Dahlia. I don’t think you’ll ever disappoint me. *knocks on wood*  This was another fantastic story by her. It had all of the wonderful features of her young adult books with quite a bit more sexytimes added. I’m not a person who goes into books blind; I always refresh my memory on the synopsis before starting. I definitely did NOT do that with this book, so I was really caught off guard by the beginning of the book! Lizzie finds out that her parents have been killed in an accident and she becomes the legal guardian of her two younger brothers. They move back up to where she’s attending college and she tries to get her grades back on track. Meanwhile, she starts falling for her TA. I definitely haven’t read a book – especially not an NA book – with the whole parents/guardianship thing. I liked that the concept was unique overall, even though the student-teacher forbidden romance part was not. Speaking of that, I could really feel their chemistry. WHEW. I don’t generally like those books, but this one felt real and organic. And also, holy shit, those steamy scenes were… eeeeek. I LOOOOVED Lizzie as a character. She did what she wanted, she spoke her mind, she stuck up for herself, and owned her sexuality/sexual experiences. I loved that so much. She was really brazen, which I’m honestly not used to reading, so it was refreshing. (I feel like so many main characters are timid or […]

Holiday Review: Christmas Wishes and Mistletoe Kisses

Posted December 11, 2015 / Book Reviews / 2 Comments
Holiday Review: Christmas Wishes and Mistletoe Kisses

This month I’ll be highlighting different holiday or Christmas-oriented books on the blog. I love reading based on the season, so stay tuned for more wintery reviews. To learn more about what’s coming and my holiday book rating system, check here! My holidays would not be complete without a Jenny Hale Christmas story. I’ve read her two other Christmas books and loved them so much. This year I was provided an ARC from the publisher and had to resist digging in right away. These books are SO EFFING CHRISTMASSY that it would be best suited for the beginning of December, when I want to jolt my Christmas spirit for the month. Of course, it delivered in every way I hoped. I’ll be completely honest when I say that Hale’s holiday stories are formulaic. There’s a girl who starts to work for or help out a workaholic millionaire around the holidays – maybe she moves into his house for a ~reason~ – and they start to fall in love. So far, all three books have followed this general formula. However, in the same way that all AC/DC songs sound the same, I love them all equally and don’t even care if they’re a bit too similar. They’re all perfect. Plus, if you read one once a year, you’re not likely to get sick of a similar story. So, as usual, I loved this one. Abbey was a great protagonist, and her son Max was even better. I loved the family feels […]

Cover Love Part 2

Posted December 10, 2015 / Book Lists, Features / 9 Comments
Cover Love Part 2

I wrote a post back in the day about some of my favorite book covers. This was long before I invented Inside & Out and Cover Colors, two features that (even more so) show how obsessed I am with book covers. In that post, I featured a bunch of covers that appear on my Goodreads  “Cover Love” shelf… 64 covers, to be exact. Because apparently I’m crazy. But, anyways, I’m here being crazy again because I figured I would update! My cover tastes definitely haven’t changed and I still think you SHOULD judge a book by its cover, but my cover love shelf is now even larger. This post features a grand total of 66 covers. So apparently I just get crazier with time. Without further ado, here are the newest covers that are privileged enough to join the Cover Love shelf!

Review: The Isle of the Lost

Posted December 9, 2015 / Book Reviews / 2 Comments
Review: The Isle of the Lost

It feels kind of stupid to point out that this book feels very young, considering it skews towards Middle Grade. Goodreads does list both YA and MG as categories for it though. Be that as it may, this book feels very young. I borrowed the book from my 13 year old sister, so that should give you a solid indication of the best audience (she loved it). I couldn’t resist borrowing it from her though, because hello? Disney villains! The premise of this story is just so appealing to Disney lovers. It sat on my shelf for a number of months before I was compelled to read it. I started with the physical copy from her but realized it didn’t really hold my attention in that format. I got the audio from Scribd and decided to truck along, using both formats (until Winter was released and I switched to just audio). Speaking of the audio, the narrator was the worst. Sofia Carson is an actor in the Descendants movie (which is essentially the “second book” in this series, I guess). She narrated the book as if she was over-acting in a Disney movie. So. Yeah. Not fun. The plot was pretty slow as far as pacing is concerned. Most of the action was at the end, and even then… it was anticlimactic. It read like a prequel novella and not a story that was needed on its own. I did like it OVERALL even though I have more complaints than […]

Top Ten Tuesdays #67: New-to-Me Authors

Posted December 8, 2015 / Top 10 Tuesdays, Weekly Memes / 14 Comments
Top Ten Tuesdays #67: New-to-Me Authors

Top New-To-Me Favorite Authors I Read For The First Time In 2015 Top Ten Tuesdays are hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, where we make lists of our top ten books (or something else!) based on that week’s prompt. The topics are provided ahead of time and can be found here. Book links bring you to Goodreads or my review. I decided to go with nine here because I realized (a) my books are organized with three per graphic and I’m picky about keeping things even and (b) I realized my first Kody Keplinger book was in 2014 so I had to eliminate her. Regardless, these nine authors became auto-buys – lots even after just one book! There are a few other where I just BINGED series and/or entire published works by them. All of these authors will easily stay favorites for me (I hope!) into 2016 and beyond. The picture attached to the author name below reflects the first – sometimes only – book I’ve read by them. HERE YA GO FRIENDS: