25 December 2014

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas everyone! This is going to be my last post of 2014. I've been sucking at blogging for a while so I'm taking a break and will be back fresh in 2015! Also, I don't think I'm going to have any time to blog over Christmas/New Year anyways, I've got a very busy schedule! But I'll definitely be back at the beginning of next year. I've got a few posts lined up like the 2015 End of Year Book Survey and My Top 14 Books of 2014 which will be up at the very beginning of December.

So I hope you guys have a fantastic Christmas and New Year!

12 December 2014

The Art of Lainey by Paula Stokes

The Art of Lainey by Paula Stokes
Series: No
Publisher: HarperTeen
Publication Date: May 20th 2014
Source: HarperTeen [Edelweiss]



Soccer star Lainey Mitchell is gearing up to spend an epic summer with her amazing boyfriend, Jason, when he suddenly breaks up with her—no reasons, no warning, and in public no less! Lainey is more than crushed, but with help from her friend Bianca, she resolves to do whatever it takes to get Jason back.

And that’s when the girls stumble across a copy of The Art of War. With just one glance, they're sure they can use the book to lure Jason back into Lainey’s arms. So Lainey channels her inner warlord, recruiting spies to gather intel and persuading her coworker Micah to pose as her new boyfriend to make Jason jealous. After a few "dates", it looks like her plan is going to work! But now her relationship with Micah is starting to feel like more than just a game.

What's a girl to do when what she wants is totally different from what she needs? How do you figure out the person you're meant to be with if you're still figuring out the person you're meant to be?

Not many books over the past few months have kept me up late reading - mainly because I seem to be in a huge slump - but The Art of Lainey is one of those books. I started reading it about half 9/10-ish and the next thing I knew I was finished and it was 1am. I was so engrossed in the story that I didn't realise how late it was! 

The Art of Lainey follows our main character - Lainey - who has just been dumped by her boyfriend Jason in the middle of the coffee shop she works in. Lainey had no idea this was coming and she's in shock. Lainey decides she wants to win Jason back. Lainey and her awesome best friend, Biana, check the internet for tips and Bianca comes up with the idea to use The Art of War and adapt it. Lainey persuades her co-worker Micah to pretend to be her new boyfriend to make Jayson jealous. But the more they pretend, the more real Lainey's feelings for Micah become. Lainey has to figure out who she really is and what she truly wants.

Lainey was an extremely interesting character. To begin with, I didn't know if I was going to like her because she came across as shallow, self-centered and she really only cared about what other people would think of her as without Jason. So there were times when Lainey's personality grated on my nerves, but Lainey's character development was fantastic. The longer she is without Jason, the more she starts to realise she doesn't actually know herself very well. Lainey begins to discover who she is without Jason and really grows into herself. She becomes a much smarter, more likeable and stronger character. By the end of the book, I absolutely loved Lainey.

When I first met Jason in the book, I wanted to punch him for being such a dick. And my feelings towards him never changed one bit. Lainey revealed a bit of how Jason treated her when they were together, and even though she didn't seem to notice anything bad about his behaviour (to begin with), his attitude and the way he spoke to her kept building my hate for him. I couldn't believe Lainey wanted to win such an asshole back.

Bianca - Lainey's best friend - was such an amazing character. Bianca was such a supportive and devoted friend - she would do anything for Lainey. She's always there for Lainey offering her advice and helping her. I completely adored their friendship. Kendall (Jason's sister) is also one of Lainey's best friends, and in all honesty, I had absolutely no idea why Lainey was friends with her. All Kendall seemed to do was put down Lainey and Bianca, and was totally focused on image over everything else. She was a complete bitch.

And then we have Micah. Oh, Micah. The second I met Micah, I knew I was going to love him. He's a bad boy, but he loves to cook! Could he be anymore perfect? Micah has his own problems to deal with as well - he's mending his heart after his girlfriend broke up with him, and he's also still dealing with his guilt over his father's murder. Micah was such a kind, caring, hilarious and understanding character. He had so many layers and I loved discovering them all. He may look like a bad boy (a sexy bad boy at that), but he's really just the sweetest guy ever.

Lainey and Micah's relationship was the main thing I loved about this book. They've know each other since they were really young, but haven't spoken properly in years because they run in different circle. It warmed my heart to see them interacting and actually starting to become friends. It was lovely to see Lainey shed her shallow attitude when she with him and just be herself. The chemistry between these two characters was so strong that even I felt it! The scene in The Devil's Door? Holy hell. Even I wanted to jump Micah, or shove Lainey at him and make them get together because I needed them to get together!

The ending was perfect. Lainey had grown so much from the beginning of the book and she finally knew who she really was. The ending also just showed yet again how sweet Micah is and that he would also do anything for Lainey. Although everything wrapped up so nicely and there would be no need for another book, I can't help but want another! I just need more Micah and Lainey, but I know there isn't really anything left to explore with them. So I'll just have to re-read The Art of Lainey over and over again! 

Overall, The Art of Lainey is possibly the best contemporary I've read this year. It had everything: brilliant character development; a swoon-worthy guy; amazing relationships and a fantastic and hilarious storyline. I loved everything about this book and I can't wait to read more from Stokes now!

11 December 2014

Brittany vs Samantha 2015 Challenge

So in 2014 I completely sucked at every single official challenge I signed up for - and I'm still debating whether or not to sign up for 2015 challenges - but for 2015 Brittany and I have decided to do our own book challenge together! Brittany was watching some booktube videos and she came across a challenge on Ermahgerd Berks channel that she though would be fun for us to do.

So, in 2015, Brittany and I are challenging each other to read 12 of our favourite books that we think the other should read. It'll probably end up being more than 12 since that's our minimum recommendations, and we've both got a list with more than 12 on it. But for now, we've picked our top 12.

So, without further ado, here are the 12 books:
1. Elsewhere by Gabrielle Zevin
Such a strange, but beautiful story. It's stuck with me for about 10 years.
2. Glass Houses by Rachel Caine
Pretty sure you've heard me go on and on about how much I love this series, and I'm sure you will too!
3. My Soul to Take by Rachel Vincent
An emotional roller-coaster of a series. You're going to love the Hudson boys!! 
4. Stolen Songbird by Danielle L. Jensen
PLEASE LOVE THIS.
5. You're the One That I Want by Giovanna Fletcher
I know you don't cry a lot, but this book will probably make you sob. I apologise in advance for the pain you'll experience, but the book is fantastic!
6. The Summoning by Kelley Armstrong
Magic, witches, werewolves, necromancers and LOTS OF TWISTS. I know you're going to love this one!
7. Tomorrow, When the War Began by John Marsden
I'm not entirely sure whether you'll enjoy this or not, but it's a series I came across accidentally in high school and even though it's not my usual kind of book, I loved it! Keeping my fingers crossed you do too!
8. Unravelling by Elizabeth Norris
I'm sure I've mentioned this one to you more than once and it's amazing! But I mainly just want you to read this one so you can read Unbreakable! :D
9. The Jewel by Amy Ewing
Kind of like The Selection (which I know you didn't like!) but the main character is more awesome and the storyline is so twist-y and amaaaaaaaaaaazing!
10. Forsaken by Jana Oliver
BECK is the only reason I need. You'll understand. Also, Riley is a badass!
11. The Art of Lainey by Paula Stokes
I honestly just finished this one early on this morning, but YOU HAVE TO READ IT. REALLY HOT BAD BOY WITH MOHAWK, TATTOO'S AND PIERCINGS!  But he's also not really bad. And also, lots of sexy chemistry scenes!!!!
12. Raven's Gate by Anthony Horowitz
One of the best YA paranormal horror series ever!

I'm keeping my fingers crossed that you love them all so we can fangirl together!

10 December 2014

Waiting on Wednesday #100

Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by breaking the spine, that spotlights upcoming
releases that we're eagerly anticipating.
This week's pre-publication "can't-wait-to-read" selection is:


Ignite by Sara B. Larson
Series: Defy #2
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Publication Date: December 30th 2014


Murder, kidnapping, and forbidden romance abound in this thrilling sequel to Sara B. Larson's acclaimed YA debut, DEFY.

Alexa continues to harbor a secret love for the newly crowned King Damian, yet she remains by his side as his guard and ever committed to helping him rebuild Antion and reclaim the hope of Antion's people. However, when a new threat to Damian and his kingdom emerges, and blame is cast on the once friendly nation of Blevon, Alexa knows things are not what they seem. Once again the fate of her country hangs in the balance. Will Alexa be able to protect her king and uncover the true enemy -- before it's too late?


I read Defy at the end of last year and I really, really enjoyed it! It was a fantastic debut novel and the ending left me slightly heartbroken and desperate for the next book. And it's almost it's release date now and I'm super excited! I can't wait to see Alexa being kick-ass and I will definitely be keeping my fingers crossed for Alexa and Damian!


What are you waiting on this week?

9 December 2014

Top Ten New-To-Me Authors I Read In 2014

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish
This weeks topic is:

Top Ten New-To-Me Authors I Read In 2014

So in 2014, I apparently didn't read that many new authors that I hadn't discovered until this year. My Goodreads seems to be full of authors I've already read before this year and debut authors. So getting a list of 10 was pretty hard, but I managed it - just.

1. Colleen Hoover
Yes. 2014 was the year I discovered Colleen Hoover - which has made it a fantastic year. I picked up Hopeless in February of this year and now I've read nearly every single book she's published.

2. Jay Crownover
Jay Crownover has been one of my favourite discoveries of 2014. Her 'Marked Men' series is one of my all time favourite New Adult series.

3. Jenny Han
Burn for Burn was my first Jenny Han book this year, and I absolutely loved it! I then moved onto starting the Summer series and most recently read To All the Boys I've Loved Before - which is my favourite of hers.

4. Diana Gabaldon
While I've only read Outlander, I have every intention of reading the rest of the series when I have the time. Outlander was Brittany's recommendation - she even sent me it! - and I completely fell in love with it.


5. Brigid Kemmerer
Brigid Kemmerer was one I'd seen a lot of bloggers going on and on about how amazing her books are, so this year I finally decided to start reading her books. I've only read the first two books in her Elemental series, and I really enjoyed them! 

6. Samantha Young
Samantha Young was recommended to me by quite a few people this year - because I said I hadn't read a lot of books set in Scotland - and I'm so glad I decided to start reading her books this year. I fell in love with her Dublin Street series and I'll probably read anything by her now.

7. Kody Keplinger
I only read The DUFF very recently, but I'm kicking myself for not picking it up sooner! I absolutely loved it, and Keplingers writing. I can't wait to read more of her books.

8. Gayle Forman
I meant to pick up Gayle Forman's books last year, but never got around to it. So this year was the year I finally read If I Stay. I don't think I loved it as much as everyone else, but I still really enjoyed it. I've got a couple of her books sitting on my bookcase, so I'll definitely be reading more for her next year.

9. Cat Clarke
Cat Clarke is another author I've been meaning to get around to for quite some time, and finally did this year. I read A Kiss in the Dark and completely fell in love with Clarke's writing. She's such a fantastic author.

10. Ann Aguirre
I picked up Ann Aguirre's New Adult series this year and I enjoyed it. I really like her writing, and I've been meaning to start her books for a while so I'm definitely looking forward to reading more from her - especially her Razorland series!

What authors did you discover in 2014?

8 December 2014

DEBUTATHON: TBR & PROGRESS

Week long readathon hosted by Amber @ Books of Amber
So the debutathon has kicked off! I planned on staying up and starting at midnight, but I was waaaaay too tired, so I'm up early to get started before I go out! This post is going to be my main post throughout the whole of the debutathon. 

First of all, lets start with my TBR for the debutathon! I'm aiming for about 4 - 5 books which I'll hopefully be able to do. 
These are the main 3 that I definitely want to read:
The Murder Complex (The Murder Complex #1) by Lindsay Cummings
The Queen of the Tearling (The Queen of the Tearling #1) by Erika Johansen
Blackfin Sky by Kat Ellis

I've got a huge list of 26 debut books to choose from on my Goodreads so I've got quite a big selection to choose from this year!

PROGRESS

Monday
No. of books read: 1 (The Queen of the Tearling)
No. of pages read: 25 pages
Busy, busy day on Monday so it's a miracle I actually got any reading done at all!

Tuesday
No. of books read: 1 (The Queen of the Tearling)
No. of pages read: 16 pages
Major slump alert. I can't get into anything right now. I can see myself failing at this readathon.

Wednesday:
No. of books read: 1 (The Art of Lainey - finished!)
No. of pages read: 384 pages
The Art of Lainey counts right? Since it's the first book Stokes has published under her real name? Yes? I'm counting it.

Thursday:
No. of books read: 1 (17 First Kisses - finished!)
No. of pages read: 304 pages
Today I got off to a good start and managed to get through my second book quite quickly! And then I got tired of reading and started watching TV Shows. The downward spiral has begun.

Friday:
No. of books read: 0
No. of pages read: 0
Busy day, no time to read.

Saturday:
No. of books read: 1 (The Murder Complex)
No. of pages read: 38%

Sunday:
No. of books read: 1 (The Murder Complex)
No. of pages read: 6%
Read a lot less than I thought I would. But then again, I was a lot busier than I expected.

Wrap Up
Total no. of books read: 3 (The Art of Lainey, 17 Kisses & The Murder Complex)
Total no. of books finished: 2 (The Art of Lainey & 17 Kisses)
Total no. of pages read: 564 pages
So although I never finished the 3 books I wanted to read, and never reached my goal of 4 books, I'm pretty happy with my progress! Especially since I hadn't read a single book the week before!

Let me know in the comments how you got on with the Debutathon!

7 December 2014

Showcase Sunday #88

Showcase Sunday is a weekly meme hosted by Vicky at Books, Biscuits and Tea. This meme allows book bloggers to show off the books they collected over the last week.

Hello everyone! This week has been a pretty slow week for me. I felt like it dragged in, but it's also been a pretty busy week. I've hardly been in the house all week, my TBTBSanta present showed up - and I sent mine off - AND we put out Christmas tree up!

Bookwise, I bought a couple of kindle books this week because they were cheap and I wanted them.

Bought
kindle
Meet Me Under the Mistletoe by Abby Clements
Ignite (Ignite #1) by Lily Paradis
Maybe Not (Maybe Someday #1.5) by Colleen Hoover
Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

What books did you get this week?

4 December 2014

All-Time Favourite Christmas Movies


Hi everyone! Today I've decided to do something a little bit different. I'm really getting into the Christmas mood and I've decided to share some of my all-time favourite Christmas movies that I watch every single year without fail.

1. Elf
I'm a huge Will Ferrell fan and I just knew I was going to love this movie when it first came out. It's the one Christmas movie I watch more than 10 times in December because I adore it and it always gets me in a really Christmas-y mood. Definitely my favourite Christmas movie.

2. Home Alone (1 & 2)
Home Alone is just a classic Christmas movie. I watched the first two every year with my parents when I was younger, and we still sit down together and watch Home Alone.

3. Love Actually
I think I first saw Love Actually when I was about 12, which was a few years before I should have - since it's a 15 and has a bit of porn filming in it. But I completely fell in love with it. I love all the different story lines and Thomas Brodie Sangster was so adorable. I've had a massive crush on him since this movie.

4. The Santa Clause (1, 2 & 3)
Yet another classic. What would Christmas be without The Santa Clause? It may be slightly cheesy, but it never fails to bring a tear to my eye. Plus, I want one of those awesome snow globes.

5. Rise of the Guardians

Rise of the Guardians is a quite a new Christmas movie, but it's just so good that it has to be one of my favourites. I watched for a week straight when I first got the DVD because it's awesome and also because of Jack Frost.

6. Christmas with the Kranks
I adore Christmas with the Kranks. I've watched it every Christmas for the past 5 years without fail because it's just hilarious! And I tend to love any comedy with Tim Allen.

7. Four Christmases
Vince Vaughn & Reese Witherspoon were my main reasons for watching this movie, and they're my main reasons for why I love it so much. Every single one of their visits to their parents had some sort of hilarious disaster and it's just such a perfect Christmas comedy.

8. How the Grinch Stole Christmas
The Grinch is the only Christmas movie I have to watch myself. My family don't like it, and my fiancĂ© is terrified of the Whos. But I adore The Grinch.

9. The Holiday
The Holiday just has such a perfect Christmas/winter feel. Cameron Diaz, Jude Law, Kate Winslet & Jack Black are all fantastic, and I love curling up in bed with some hot chocolate to watch this one.

10. The Muppet Christmas Carol
I love The Muppets, so of course The Muppet Christmas Carol had to be included on my list. Also because it's a really good movie and I do love A Christmas Carol.

So there we go! Those are my all-time favourite Christmas movies. There are loads of other Christmas movies that I love watching, and quite a few I haven't watched yet - like It's a Wonderful Life... I know! I'm going to fix that this year!

Let me know in the comments what some of your favourite Christmas movies are.

3 December 2014

Waiting on Wednesday #99

Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by breaking the spine, that spotlights upcoming
releases that we're eagerly anticipating.
This week's pre-publication "can't-wait-to-read" selection is:


Ensnared by A. G. Howard
Series: Splintered #3
Publisher: Amulet Books
Publication Date: January 6th 2015


After surviving a disastrous battle at prom, Alyssa has embraced her madness and gained perspective. She’s determined to rescue her two worlds and the people and netherlings she loves. Even if it means challenging Queen Red to a final battle of wills and wiles . . . and even if the only way to Wonderland, now that the rabbit hole is closed, is through the looking-glass world—-a parallel dimension filled with mutated and sadistic netherling outcasts.

In the final installment of the Splintered trilogy, Alyssa and her dad journey into the heart of magic and mayhem in search of her mom and to set right all that’s gone wrong. Together with Jeb and Morpheus, they must salvage Wonderland from the decay and destruction that has ensnared it. But even if everyone succeeds and comes out alive, can they all truly have their happily ever after?

The final book in the Splintered series!! I got approved for a three chapter sample of Ensnared a couple of months ago and it was a major tease! I was dying for the full book after reading the first 3 chapters, and I still am! I can't wait to find out what's going to happened in the final book, it's bound to be amazing!


What are you waiting on this week?

2 December 2014

Top Ten Books I'm Looking Forward To In 2015

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish
This weeks topic is:

Top Ten Books I'm Looking Forward To In 2015

2015 is shaping up to be a fantastic year for books. I have about 150 books on my 2015 releases shelf on Goodreads, but obviously there are a select few that I'm dying to get my hands on. A couple of weeks ago I did 'Top Ten Sequels I Can't Wait to Get My Hands On' and that list includes all of the second books in series that are coming out next year that I need.

So, this list is going to include standalones, new series and 3rd, 4th, 5th, etc. books in a series that are coming out in 2015! And just like my Top Ten Sequels list, I'm cheating slightly. I have 16 books instead of 10!

1. Throne of Glass #4 by Sarah J. Maas
No name, no cover and no synopsis, but the 4th Throne of Glass book is my most anticipated book of 2015. I completely adore this series and I need this book.
2. Ensnared (Splintered #3) by A. G. Howard
The 3rd and final book in the Splintered trilogy! I can't wait to see what's going to happen! And I'll be keeping my fingers crossed for a specific couple to get together (please let it happen!).
3. The Heir (The Selection #4) by Kiera Cass
Yes. I love The Selection. And I was overjoyed when I heard there was going to be more from this world! I can't wait to get back into the world of Illea and see what's changed.
4. The Ruby Circle (Bloodlines #6) by Richelle Mead
The final Bloodlines book *cries*. I adore the Bloodlines series - may even prefer it to Vampire Academy - and Sydney and Adrian are two of my favourite characters <3. I'm eagerly anticipating this one, but I also don't want it to end.
5. The Sword of Summer (Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard #1) by Rick Riordan
A new Rick Riordan series! And it's a norse mythology book! I just need it.
6. Saint Anything by Sarah Dessen
Although I have a love/hate relationship with Sarah Dessen's books, I always eagerly await her new books.
7. The Darkest Part of the Forest by Holly Black
I've only read one Holly Black book, but I absolutely loved it and I've been meaning to pick up another of her books for a while. This one has been getting some great reviews already, so I think this is next on my list.
8. Frostfire (Kanin Chronicles #1) by Amanda Hocking
A new series set in the same world as her Trylle trilogy (which I loved!). As soon as I saw this one I started getting excited. January better hurry up!
9. The Start of Me and You by Emery Lord
I read Emery's debut Open Road Summer and I completely loved it. So of course her next book has to be on this list. I'm pretty sure it's going to be amazing.
10. The Orphan Queen (The Orphan Queen #1) by Jodi Meadows
I haven't read anything by Jodi Meadow's yet, but I've been hearing fantastic things about The Orphan Queen and I really want to read it. I think this will be my first Jodi Meadows book!
11. Fairest (The Lunar Chronicles #0.5) by Marissa Meyer
A book about Queen Levana? Yes, please. Even though I absolutely hate her, I'm curious about her background.
12. Winter (The Lunar Chronicles #4) by Marissa Meyer
The final Lunar Chronicles book! I'm dying to get into Winter's head. She definitely seems like she's going to be a very interesting character.
13. The Fill-In Boyfriend by Kasie West
It's Kasie West. This one needs no other explanation.
14. The Return (Titan #1) by Jennifer L. Armentrout
SETHHHHHHHHHH! <33333
15. Fall With Me (Wait For You #4) by Jennifer L. Armentrout
I will always be excited for the books in this series. I love it so much.
16. Every Last Breath (The Dark Elements #3) by Jennifer L. Armentrout
Layla better end up with Roth. It has to be Roth. Roth is the only choice. I'll die if it isn't Roth.

So there we go! That's my extremely long list of books I'm dying to get my hands on next year!
Let me know in the comments what your most anticipated book of 2015 is.
Happy reading!

1 December 2014

November Wrap Up/December TBR

Hello everyone! Can you believe it's December already? I can't believe it's only 24 days until Christmas and 31 days until 2015! It's mad!

November was a pretty great month for me - even though I hardly read anything. I went to see the Hunger Games triple bill and saw Mockingjay Part 1 at midnight - and it was so amazing! The atmosphere in the cinema was fantastic. I love midnight screenings. I also saw Interstellar - which was amazing and slightly confusing; Get On Up - the move about James Brown and it was actually pretty good and I also saw Horrible Bosses 2 - which was even more hilarious than the first one. I'm also doing a massive clear out of my room because I have so much stuff that I have no where to put half of it, so most of it has to go.

Bookwise, this month I only read 7 books. I kind of got into a slump after finishing The Retribution of Mara Dyer (possible book hangover) and I also just wasn't in the mood for reading. I spent most of the month catching up on TV Shows.
I actually read quite a few great books this month, but hands down my favourite HAD to be A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J Maas. There was no competition. It was such an enchanting and spellbinding read. I literally could not put it down as soon as I started reading. It was fantastic.

December TBR
So for December, I really only have 4 review books that I need to read (one carried over from last month). I'm taking part in Amber @ Books of Amber's Debutathon, so I have a huge list of debuts that I've got to choose from. I'm aiming for about 5-6 books for that I think. Other than that, I've got a big pile of Christmas books sitting on my bookcase that I'm planning to read this month as well. I don't think I'll read them all, but I like to have a variety.

So there we go! That's my wrap up & TBR. Let me know in the comments what your favourite book of November was and what you're most looking forward to reading this month.
Happy reading!