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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Blog Tour: Branded by Abi Ketner and Missy Kalicicki [Book Thoughts]

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Branded-Cover

Summary:

Fifty years ago the Commander came into power and murdered all who opposed him. In his warped mind, the seven deadly sins were the downfall of society. He created the Hole where sinners are branded according to their sins and might survive a few years. At best.

Now LUST wraps around my neck like blue fingers strangling me. I’ve been accused of a crime I didn’t commit and now the Hole is my new home.
Darkness. Death. Violence. Pain.

Now every day is a fight for survival. But I won’t die. I won’t let them win.

The Hole can’t keep me. The Hole can’t break me.

I am more than my brand. I’m a fighter.
My name is Lexi Hamilton, and this is my story.

My Thoughts:

It’s always hard writing a review about a book you love because all you want to do is praise it – Branded is a seductively thrilling read that takes the seven deadly sins to a whole new level.

I’m going to begin by telling you that I started and finished this book within forty-eight hours. Lexi’s story starts in media res, like many other novels do. Unlike many other novels though, I was immediately hooked. Even though I’m familiar with the seven deadly sins, I have never read a story completely based off of them. Because of that, I found the plot to be extremely exciting and very original.

Even so, the book does have its fair share of clichés. The protagonist Lexi is not the girl everyone thinks she is. Cole is your stoic warrior. Two people, who aren’t supposed to become friends, break the rules and become more than friends. To be truthful, their relationship was obvious to me the second Cole was introduced to the story. With all this said, I didn’t mind the clichés one bit. Why? Because everything came together to make Branded a wonderful read.

Although I love a lot of things about Branded, my favorite would have to be the relationship between Lexi and Cole. Ketner and Kalicicki are able to artfully construct a true developing relationship; they added enough confusion, unspoken words and sexual tension to make any reader want to punch a wall with all the emotion running through the pages. It is not only beautifully written, but also evenly developed throughout the story.

This book is filled with terror and bloodshed. Never once, did anything Lexi experienced get tiring. Even though bullets were fired or another person was after Lexi, it was written in enough detail in such a thrilling way that similar experiences kept me reading instead of sounded redundant.

Overall, Branded is fast paced read that had my heart racing from beginning to end. It is the best self-published book I’ve read and I know I’ll be looking out for the authors’ other works! Check this book out!