Favorite Reads of 2014 & An Update

It’s 2015 and I’m sitting here typing this up, wondering where the time went. I realize that I’ve had this blog for a while and that I always say I’m going to update more and I never really do. I’ve always loved books but as a sophomore in college, I’ve turned my love into a career goal.

For those who have stuck with me and still read this, gold stars and much thanks to you. To everyone who has recently found me (surprisingly, people still do since I get emails about subscribers): welcome! I forever apologize for updating infrequently, but I’ve come to terms with the fact that it will always be that way.

A little update on my life: Last fall, I interned with the literary agency McIntosh & Otis, Inc. (they’re known for John Steinbeck’s titles). This semester, I’m interning at Bloomsbury USA. Hence, why I never update  (plus college and classes and all that).

Anyways, I’m here to share my favorites of 2014. I read a whopping 42 titles in 2014 (not really, since some of those titles are mangas, but let me believe I read 42 books). As always, my goal for 2015 is to read 100 titles and we’ll see how that goes…Here are my picks for 2014:

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Favorite YA book released in 2014:

Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge

Why: What can I even say? I love fairy tales, and I love re-makes of fairy tales even more. Hodge’s book is seductively beautiful. She is a wonderful world and character builder and I was hooked from page one. If you wanna know a little bit more of my love for this book, it’s up on YA Interrobang; all of us posted our fave reads of 2014 there.

Favorite NA book released in 2014:

London Falling (International School #2) by Chanel Cleeton

Why: I loved the first book, I See London and was excited for the sequel. Cleeton is my favorite NA author because she writes characters that I can connect with and understand completely. Not only that, but there are passages where I find thoughts and feelings I’ve felt forever put into words and that means everything.

Favorite YA book that wasn’t released in 2014:

The Selection by Kiera Cass

Why: I’m sad that I didn’t read this book when it was released a few years back. Everyone talks about this series and I finally got around to it. To me, the idea isn’t 100% brand new to hear about, the way Cass writes America’s story is very addicting. I’m hooked on the relationships in this series and America’s indecisiveness. Not only that, but I also love the idea of having a prince.

Honorable Mentions:

Branded by Abi Ketner and Missy Kalicicki

Why: Not going to lie, I was captivated with the Stockholm syndrome theme. While the action and destruction in this book is interesting, I really enjoyed this book because the romance is written well.

Let’s Get Lost by Adi Alsaid

Why: Alsaid’s story beautifully captures moments and that’s all I’m going to say.

Now, since I have some time to read before the semester starts I would love to hear your favorites; I need reading material. In addition, what books are you looking forward to in 2015?

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My Very Late Announcement About Joining YA Interrobang?!

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This is going to be a very late announcement (I’ve been swamped with college essays and exams), but I am very happy to have joined the YA Interrobang?! Team! Ever since its beginning a little less than a year ago, I have been an avid reader. As you can see, I am very happy to actually be a part of YA Interrobang!

Now, what is YA Interrobang? YA Interrobang is an online magazine that “[celebrates] YA literature.” Every other Sunday, YA Interrobang releases a new issue (issue = updates with a bunch of new articles) that revolve around anything and everything that is happening within the YA book community. Essentially, it is a roundup of all current YA news. What YA Interrobang doesn’t do though, is review books. It presents news and opinions on other topics, hence why it is called a magazine.

I have joined the Team as a columnist. My column is called “Once Upon a Tweet” and in it, I round up the best of YA author tweets in the past two weeks. This last Sunday, my third post came out (hence why this is a really late announcement).

If you’re an avid YA follower, or you just want to know what’s going on, I suggest checking out YA Interrobang?! While you’re there, you might as well browse through my column too (;

YA Interrobang
(some awesome links you should click on)
Home –  Team Once Upon a Tweet DragonRagePlays With WordsAuthor News & More!

My Roomie Story (& Giveaway)

In honor of the release of the novel Roomies by Sara Zarr and Tara Altebrando, Little, Brown has asked us reviewers to post our own story of having a roommate. Not only that, but I’m including a giveaway for a copy of Roomies at the end of this post!

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Here’s my Roomie story:

I’ve had to share a room with my younger sister, Melissa, my whole life. Some info about my sis: she’s two years younger than me and we look nothing alike. Other than that, our personalities are different and we listen to different kind of music.

When I was younger, I used to get very upset when my sister used my things. Since we shared a room, there was nowhere else for me to put my possessions, except in my room (which we shared). My sister knew I would get upset if she even touched my things, so she decided to wait when I was out with friends to use my things. I would come back to find my toys scattered around the room and my sister pretending she hadn’t touched anything.

As we got older, we stopped caring about using each other’s things. Instead, we focused on how little room we actually had. At first, we had bunk beds. Then we asked our dad to take the beds a part, but then that took up too much space. Finally, we went back to bunk beds. Not only that, but for a good three years, my sister and I would rearrange our room two times a year because we got bored of the layout. And each time, our mom would get mad because we shoved all of our items into the hallway when we moved things around. We even moved our bed and bookshelves around, even when our parents told us not to move the heavy stuff around. Our motto: if you want something done, do it yourself.

Looking back, it’s not bad sharing a room with my sister. There were the bad times, like when my mom told me to read in the hallway since my sister didn’t want the light in the room on. There were the good times, like I had someone else to feed and help clean the tanks of the goldfish and hermit crabs.

In the end, sharing a room has taught me a lot: to share, to cooperate and to learn to work together. This is my roomie story; even though I’m in college, it still hasn’t ended…

Alright, I wanna hear your roomie stories now! Tell me yours in the comments (:

Also, Sara & Tara are going on a tour for the release of their book! Here are the tour dates:

Also, thanks to Little, Brown, I’m giving away a copy of Roomies! This giveaway is U.S. only (no P.O. boxes!), and will end on January 13 at 11:59 EST. You will get an extra entry if you leave me a roomie story to read!

To enter, fill out the Google form here.

What I Realized in 2013

What I realized in 2013:

-That it’s hard to find time to read in college.
-That I’m starting to become kinda picky about the books I want to read.
-That although I’ve had the goal of reading 100 books in a year since 2009, I do not see it ever happening in the near future.

Here’s the thing: I’m not upset or confused about any of these three things. And if you find yourself agreeing with any of the things above, you shouldn’t be upset either.

I mean, yes, I would’ve love to have more reading time. But between classes, clubs, and commenting, it really isn’t possible. This past semester, I managed to read about two books a month. Since I had so little time, finding the time to read was nice. It felt special to get captured by a good story. I also know what it feels like to miss reading; which makes reading better when I actually do (that makes sense, right).

Second, I’m obviously getting older. I’m in a new place with new experiences. My taste in books is changing because I’m changing. I noticed that I’m not that interested in a lot of YA books anymore and am more interested in NA and now even a little bit of non-fiction. At first, I was a little upset about this, since YA books are all ever read and that my blog is a YA book blog; but I finally realized there is nothing to be upset about. So what if I like different kind of books? They’re still books; I’m still reading.

I also haven’t stopped reading YA books; actually they’re still a majority of what I read. I’m just not as interested in certain types of plots. This though, gives me the chance to read other story lines.

Last, reading 100 books is still possible, even though I don’t think it will happen. Back in 2009 when I first made that goal, I sometimes read a book really quickly because I just wanted to finish it. I didn’t read into all of the details of the book and didn’t enjoy the story it was telling. When reading a book, you’re supposed to read it for yourself; for your own enjoyment and at your own pace.

Since I have never accomplished this goal, I still have hope of doing so. One day. (:

What I also realized in 2013:

-I feel accomplished every time I write a blog post. I also realized the fact that my blog is small.
-The reason why I am going into my major.
-That some required reading in college is really interesting.

To begin, I know I rarely post. I know that I manage to put out about 2 or 3 posts a month. Honestly, I don’t mind that I post only a little. Blogging is fun, but it isn’t my life. I love to read and I love book blogging, and I have found a way to still incorporate it into my life even with my busy schedule.

Thank you to all of my blog followers. I’ve said this many times and I’m saying it again: I appreciate and I am thankful for your support ❤

Second, I am hoping to be a Marketing major (well really, a Marketing & Advertising Communications major). Going into college, all I knew was that I wanted to work in book publishing. This semester I realized that the reason I want to go into book publishing is to make a change to the way books are marketed. I want promote diversity in books. As of right now the marketing for diverse books is slowly changing and becoming more prominent, but it isn't yet. I hope to find a job one day that will allow me to to make it prominent.

Lastly, reading is a wonderful thing. It lets your mind wander and opens you up to a completely different world. I didn't think required readings in college would be that interesting; but some books were very interesting. I enjoyed the readings from some of my classes, and I hope you did too. I know that a reading from class makes the book less desirable, but keep an open mind; it's required for a reason.

All in all, 2013 was a decent year for me. I read about 40something books and started to blog about the New Adult genre. What are some of the things you guys noticed about yourself in 2013?

I wish you all a wonderful new year! Here's a toast to all the memories of 2013, and the ones to come in 2014 (:

Religion in YA & NA– Or well, Lack Thereof

I have actually had this topic on my mind for quite awhile. Okay, really I thought about it almost a year ago but never decided to write down my thoughts until recently. After finishing Lisa Desrochers’s  A Little Too Far, I decided to sit down and put my thoughts on paper. In the book, Alessandro Moretti has given his life to God…He’s also one of the few book characters that I’ve noticed that is influenced heavily by religion.

Think about it. Can you name five novels off the top of your head that mention religion? Or well, religion in a serious matter? While I typed this post, I can think of two – the book mentioned above and When We Wake by Karen Healy. I’ve read hundreds of books and yet, I can only mention two when it comes to the topic of religion…interesting, isn’t it?

This is what makes me think. Why do books generally stray away from religion? Now, I’m mainly only going to be talking about young adult [and sorta kinda New Adult since A Little too Far is NA] books; I’m sure that there are more adult novels that deal with religion than there are in the YA genre. Why is this?

Religion is part of human culture. No matter where you are from, the people from your country have beliefs of higher beings, or higher meanings of life. No matter where you go, a majority of the population identifies with a certain religion. Clearly, most of the United States is Christian. Not only that, but there are many other prominent religions in the US that grow every day.

Almost every YA book I read barely mentions religion. This confuses me. No matter where I go, I meet someone who identifies with a certain religion. I know people who live very religiously; I also know people who laugh at religion, and other people that are atheist. If, as one person, I am encountering all of this diversity, shouldn’t characters in books be the same?

Over time, I have decided that authors do not write religion into books because they want to connect with as many readers as they can. [I know that in most cases, the character writes the story, not the author, but I’m gonna disregard that for the moment.] It’s true; I know more teens/young adults that are not religious. I come to the conclusion that people that are not religious do not want to read about religion, especially if it’s something he or she doesn’t believe in. By having a book stay neutral, the book has a better chance of becoming more popular.

As much as I understand this, I do not think that should be the reason [if that is the reason] why religion isn’t put into books. I loved reading When We Wake because a few prominent characters are Muslim. I’m not Muslim, but I found it really cool to be reading about a different religion. Personally, I love reading about other cultures and learning about the way other people live.

So to all writers: if your faith is calling to be put onto paper, do not hesitate to do so. Religion is very important in human lives, whether it is a part of your life or not. Fiction, although unrealistic, still portrays real aspects of the human life; religion is one of the main aspects. When I talk about wanting more diversity in books, I’m not just talking about characters of color; I want all the aspects of life that make it beautiful.

Now my questions to you: Why do you think religion isn’t prominent in YA? And have you read any books where religion stands out?

Movie Thoughts: City of Bones

[WARNING – There are spoilers if you have not yet read the book.]

If you are an avid YA book reader, I’m sure you have heard of The Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare. If not, then I do not consider you an avid YA book reader. Still, I’m sure you’ve heard that The City of Bones was just released in movie form on Wednesday. (And yes, City of Bones is originally a book.)

I became a fan of the series back in 2008, back when I was an 8th grader. Five years later, I’m heading into college and this novel is finally a movie. My first reaction: YEAHHH; my second reaction: I really hope they don’t screw it up.

Well, I went to see City of Bones Wednesday night with two of my friends – one of which happens to love that series to death, and the other one who enjoys it, but not as much as I do. Three different girls – who like the series on different levels – all went to see the movie, and had similar reactions.

Here are my thoughts:

On the Actors:

Honestly, I wasn’t too sure about Jamie Campbell Bower as Jace. I never pictured him as Jace; I still didn’t see him as Jace walking into that movie theater. But, I’m glad to say that I thought wrong. Not only does his voice scream JACEWAYLAND to me, the way he moves is pretty Jace-ish (he has the Jace swagger).

To continue, I love Lily Collins as Clary. Lily is absolutely gorgeous, and even though she is older, I think she can play the part of a 17 year old well. I was very happy with her performance as Clary.

I also think the actors for Simon and Isabelle portrayed the characters well. The one character that I couldn’t get intp was Alec, played by Kevin Zegers. Alec is supposed to be 18, and I just think Kevin Zegers looks way too old to play Alec…

On the book-to-movie adaptation:

I haven’t read the book in a while, therefore I wasn’t too critical about the way the movie turned out. The movie includes important scenes and memorable quotes from the book, which I was very happy about. But the way the scenes appear in the movie are not in the order that they appear in the book.

There are many parts of the storyline that are changed to fit the ‘movie appeal.’ Some of the changes annoyed me, and some of them didn’t. For example, the whole plot twist of the book (when Jace and Clary find out that they are supposedly siblings) is introduced in a way that is creative for a movie, but nowhere near how it is done the book. Also, some of the movie has awkward pacing and flow. There’s a scene in the movie where Clary goes to see Magnus Bane for information, and it is paced really weirdly and rushed.

The way Valentine looks also really bothered my friends and I. Yes, he’s attractive, but he has the sleezybadguy look going on. They give him braids and dark hair…just no. (Valentine is supposed to have white-blonde hair, by the way.) We all agree that Valentine was given the typical villain look, and the fact that they did that is disappointing, since he isn’t supposed to physically appear that way.

Also, I think the action scenes are done well. They’re exciting and really bring all of the detail from the book to life.

And the CGI for the demons are also pretty scary. They freaked me out! Which is good, since they’re supposed to do that.

Other comments:

What really confused me is the accents that some of the characters have. When is Jace supposed to have an accent? Or Isabelle, or Jocelyn? And why does Isabelle have an accent, when her brother Alec, does not? It wasn’t a major concern for me while watching the movie; I’m just curious to know why the directors decided on accents.

In the end…

I thought the movie was decent. No, it does not match up with the book 100%. And yes, I still think the book is a lot better. But would I go see it again? Yeah. I think it’s worth seeing if you’re a fan of the books. If you haven’t yet read the books, I think watching this movie is going to be really confusing, but enticing since it leaves you on a cliff hanger.

Last but not least, THE GREEN HOUSE SCENE. IT WAS AMAZING. And Jace & Clary’s kiss? Absolutely perfect.

Have you guys seen City of Bones? Thoughts?

Transition from YA

Ever since my blog has been born, I have been a book blog. And since this blog has been a book blog, I have primarily focused on books/novels that fell under the Young Adult category (aka ‘teen books’). Therefore, Lost in Believing has been known as a YA book blog.

This fall, I am going to be attending Baruch College in Manhattan – which makes me a freshman  in college. In a month, I will be turning 18; thus beginning my slow transition from young adult books to adult books. But wait, getting older does not necessarily mean I will be transitioning from one genre to the next, just more likely.

I am writing this post to let you know that this blog will not just be a young adult blog anymore. From this point on, I will be blogging about books that fall under the ‘New Adult’ category, and yes, also books that fall under the plain old ‘Adult’ category. Honestly, this blog will probably remain mostly a YA book blog, but I wanted to let you guys know that those books will not be the only books I will be talking about.

What is New Adult?

Here is a wonderful answer from NA Alley:

We view New Adult fiction (NA) as a category of literature—meaning, it gives readers content expectations, but it does not dictate genre-based criteria. Typically, a novel is considered NA if it encompasses the transition between adolescence—a life stage often depicted in Young Adult (YA) fiction—and true adulthood.

Protagonists generally fall between the ages of eighteen and twenty-six, though exceptions may apply. NA characters are often portrayed experiencing: college, living away from home for the first time, military deployment, apprenticeships, a first steady job, a first serious relationship, etc.

Other terms for NA include: Upper YA, Crossover Fiction, and Mature YA.

If you want to learn more about the new genre, head over to NA Alley; they know their stuff.

As of right now, I’ve only read one book that is classified as NA, but I have a list of NA books on my TBR list AND I’m on the e-mail list for a bunch of NA book tours and news. This fall begins a whole new part of my life, and I’m excited to introduce a new part to my blog.

I know a lot of you have been with me from the start, and I know that I’m not the only one that’s getting older. If you aren’t already familiar with NA, I hope I’m able to introduce you to it!

Leave me any thoughts or comments below. And here’s to the future (: