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Top Ten Goals for 2015

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by the wonderful people of Broke and Bookish
This week's topic: Top Ten Goals for 2015

Looking back at 2014, I realized I haven't participated in a TOP TEN TUESDAY since February. What better way to ease back into blogging than completing a Top Ten list?  


1. WRITING A REVIEW BEFORE READING A NEW BOOK
I've always said I'll write a review right after finishing a book, but clearly that's getting me no where. This year I'll be borrowing Jen's method (Jen from Books & Other Happy Ever Afters). Before Jen starts a new book, she reviews her most recent finished read. Hopefully I won't fall behind on reviewing next year. 

2. REVIEW PAST READS
My books read to books reviewed ratio is just sad.

3. STOP WRITING POSTS AT 1AM
Does anyone else cringe while reading their past blog posts? I have to stop writing posts late at night. I never realized the drastic difference between my writing skills at 1pm and 1am until recently.

4. DOCUMENT BOOK EVENTS
I am incredibly fortunate to live near a Powell's book store. I've had the chance to attend book events and meet with some of my favorite authors. Every time I attend I'm always careful to take pictures, but I never remember to jot down notes. Some of the best advice I've received were at these events, but rarely did I think to write them down. For 2015, I'll be adding a notebook and a pen with my camera bag.

5. CONTINUE VY’S BOOKS
A project I began this year was VY'S BOOKS, an instagram account in which I shared quick thoughts on books and attempt to use more camera more.




6. READ NON-YA BOOKS
I usually don't read outside of YA unless it's for a school assignment. I plan on making an effort to broaden my reading tastes. 

7. READ 100 BOOKS
For the past 3 years I've been reading a 100+ books a year, but this year I barely graced 40 books.

8. READ THE HARRY POTTER SERIES
I know, I know. I've been hounded by many about my failure. 

9. TAKING NOTES WHILE READING
There have been way too many instances in which have I sat down to write a review but then remember nothing about the book. 

10. COMPLETE A READING CHALLENGE 
For the past years, I've only been participating in the goodreads challenge and neglecting the other challenges. Annie from The Runaway Reader) made a great post, "The 2015 Challenge Masterlist", including a variety of reading challenges that I might consider. I've also found the popsugar 2015 challenge that seems interesting. Anyone care to join me?

(click to enlarge image)

What are YOUR goals for 2015? 
Share your links in the comments below!

Be sure to check out which books made my TOP 14 READS OF 2014 list!
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Top 14 Reads of 2014

Saturday, December 27, 2014

SERIES STARTERS

1. To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han
This story was not what I expected in the best way possible.

2. Snow Like Ashes by Sara Raasch
Warrior in training + Future King + Lost Magic = Fantastic Debut Novel

3. Nearly Gone by Elle Cosimano
A spot on thriller with captivating characters.

4. The Young Elites by Marie Lu [Mini Review]
I was not expecting such a dark and unpredictable fantasy.

SERIES FINALES
Looks like 2014 was the year of endings. No wonder I've been an emotional mess.

5. The Treatment by Suzanne Young
I finished both The Program and The Treatment in two days! I can always count on Suzanne for some angsty romance.

6. Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins
It has been a pleasure reading about these characters. Reading this on the plane was probably not the best idea as tears were streaming down my face.

7. The Retribution of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin
I still remember the day I received the ARC of The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer my freshman year. After 4 years, the story of Mara dyer has come to an end, and I couldn't be happier with how Hodkin finished the story.

8. Ignite Me by Tahareh Mafi
As always, Tahareh does not disappoint.

9. Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo
I am incredibly impressed by Leigh’s beautiful storytelling. I wanted to quote the entire book.

10. Take Me On by Katie McGarry
A champion kickboxer and West. That is all.

SERIES CONTINUATION

11. Heir of Fire by Sarah J Maas
I NEED the next book now.

STAND ALONE

12. Since You’ve Been Gone by Morgan Matson
I LOVE the concept of completing a bucket list! My friends and I actually made our own “Senior Year” bucket list inspired by this story. Also, FRANK PORTER. Read this and you will understand.

2015 RELEASES
I will go into more detail about these great books soon Check the blog for the upcoming reviews!

13. Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard [February 10, 2015]
You all NEED this book. Just trust me. Victoria really knows how to start a series.

14. The Winner’s Crime by Marie Rutkoski [March 3, 2015]
A fantastic follow up to The Winner’s Curse.


It's about time I created my Top 14 with only 5 days left before 2015. As usual, I made my way over to my goodreads to select my books. I noticed something surprising when I checked my account. As everyone is finishing up their goodreads challenges, I noticed I am only at 35 books this year. THIRTY FIVE. I guess it's still a good amount, but compared to my last few years of finishing 100+ books, 35 books is an incredibly sad number. 

Unfortunately, this number makes sense as the end of senior year is quickly approaching. (How are my fellow senior bloggers doing?) The blog will continue to be slow as I finish up the last of my college apps. Fortunately I still have a little over a week left to read and blog. I know I missed many great 2014 titles and planning on squeezing in few more reads before 2015. 

What are some of your favorite 2014 titles that I definitely need to read?
Leave links to YOUR top reads of 2014 below!

2 comments

The Young Elites by Marie Lu | Quick Thoughts

Tuesday, October 7, 2014
The Young Elites by Marie Lu
Website | Twitter | Facebook

Putnam Books for Young Readers, 336 pages
Expected Publication
: October 7, 2014
Source: Publisher via First To Read
Format: eARC
I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.

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I am tired of being used, hurt, and cast aside.

Adelina Amouteru is a survivor of the blood fever. A decade ago, the deadly illness swept through her nation. Most of the infected perished, while many of the children who survived were left with strange markings. Adelina’s black hair turned silver, her lashes went pale, and now she has only a jagged scar where her left eye once was. Her cruel father believes she is a malfetto, an abomination, ruining their family’s good name and standing in the way of their fortune. But some of the fever’s survivors are rumored to possess more than just scars—they are believed to have mysterious and powerful gifts, and though their identities remain secret, they have come to be called the Young Elites.

Teren Santoro works for the king. As Leader of the Inquisition Axis, it is his job to seek out the Young Elites, to destroy them before they destroy the nation. He believes the Young Elites to be dangerous and vengeful, but it’s Teren who may possess the darkest secret of all.

Enzo Valenciano is a member of the Dagger Society. This secret sect of Young Elites seeks out others like them before the Inquisition Axis can. But when the Daggers find Adelina, they discover someone with powers like they’ve never seen.
Adelina wants to believe Enzo is on her side, and that Teren is the true enemy. But the lives of these three will collide in unexpected ways, as each fights a very different and personal battle. But of one thing they are all certain: Adelina has abilities that shouldn’t belong in this world. A vengeful blackness in her heart. And a desire to destroy all who dare to cross her.

It is my turn to use. My turn to hurt.

QUICK THOUGHTS

1. Marie Lu + Fantasy = Magical

Marie Lu has officially made my "authors I'll read anything from" list. She is absolutely fantastic at creative world building.  

2. Dark Story

What I loved most about The Young Elites was the darkness of the story. This story gets DARK. The morals in this world were borderline terrifying after I thought about them. The Dagger Society, a branch of the Young Elites, would talk about murder in the most casual way. As they justified the "sacrifices" I would nod along and think, "yes, I completely understand." Which we can all agree is pretty crazy.

3. Characters 

I loved that the line between hero and villain blurred. Lu wrote characters who weren't easily placed in category A or B. Honestly, ALL the characters were a tad bit sketchy. Every character had a fleshed out back story that made it difficult to hate them even when their actions were questionable. It was refreshing reading about characters who are unpredictable.

4. Unpredictable... everything

I've prided myself on being able to predict stories, but I was stumped by The Young Elites. It's a nice change in pace to be reading a story that could go anywhere. 


FINAL THOUGHTS

It was refreshing to read an unpredictable fantasy with such a dark plot. My only problems was that I had a difficult time emotionally bonding with the characters. As much as I loved their stories, I have yet to feel anything for any of the characters. But The Young Elites is a strong start to this series, and I can't wait to see how the story continues. 

Overall Rating: 4 out of 5 

2 comments

Mini Instagram Reviews | Round Up #1

Friday, August 22, 2014
Recently (any by recent I mean a month ago) I posted about my new project, MINI REVIEWS ON INSTAGRAM. It was about time I tried something new. A recap for those who missed it, I started another instagram for the sole purpose of posting mini book reviews. About every two weeks or more I'll post a round up of my "reviews" on the blog. I might even expand upon a few into full reviews later.

When I said mini reviews and I really meant mini. I didn't realize how difficult it would be to write such short "reviews" which were more like my rambling thoughts than anything coherent. It'll get better people. I'm working on it. 

*click on the instagram logo above the image to see the original picture*


SINCE YOU'VE BEEN GONE by Morgan Matson

Summary: "You are your friends", but who're we without them? Emily faces the challenge when her best friend, Sloane, disappears with only a random to-do list as a goodbye. [goodreads]

What I Loved: 1) THE LIST- So creative! Tasks include ride a horse, steal something, kiss a stranger, and more! Such a fun story to read.
2) UNLIKELY FRIENDSHIPS - I live for these. They're the ones who make life interesting. Emily meets up with some unlikely people (LOVE THEM ALL) to help w/the list.
3) SUBTLE ROMANCE - Love that its not in your face.
4) FRANK PORTER- Everyone needs to read this just to meet Frank. Trust me.

RATING: 5 out of 5



THE PROGRAM & THE TREATMENT by Suzanne Young

Summary: "In Sloane's world, true feelings are forbidden, teen suicide is an epidemic, & the only solution is The Program" [goodreads]

Thoughts: This is the series that finally got me out of a weird reading slump. Fast paced and incredibly interesting, Young creates a frightening realistic world in the not-so distant future.

What I Loved: 1) SLOANE & JAMES - I love that their relationship began before the story.
2) ORIGINAL STORY.
3) ALL THE CHARACTERS- This was one of those books where I found  EVERYONE to be interesting.
4 )AMAZING SERIES CONCLUSION - It drives me nuts when I invest in a series and the ending is less than satisfying. But Young is fantastic with tying up every loose ends.

SERIES RATING: 5 out of 5



SPIRIT & DUST by Rosemary Clement-Moore

Summary: "Daisy Goodnight can speak to the dead. And she's really good at it. Good enough to help the police & FBI solve the occasional homicide"[goodreads]

Thoughts: Don't let that cover fool. This book is hilarious w/Daisy's witty & sarcastic remarks. Although the subject matter is dark, the author succeeds in keeping this is a light & enjoyable read.

What I loved: 1)WITTY CHARACTERS -wish I could think of comebacks that quick.
2)GOOD MYSTERY

RATING: 4 out of 5
*this ARC has a different cover than the finalized copies* 




TO ALL THE BOYS I'VE LOVED BEFORE by Jenny Han


Summary: "Lara Jean has never openly admitted her crushes, but instead wrote each boy a letter about how she felt, sealed it, & hid it in a box under her bed. But one day she discovers that her secret box of letters has been mailed" [goodreads]

What I loved: 1) LARA JEAN- Love her to pieces. Such a great narrator. Many moments when I realized we were one. Let's be awkward together, Lara Jean.
2) THE BOYS - Love the confrontations and reactions to the letters.
3) LETTERS - So creatively done. Simply amazing.
4) FAMILY- absolutely love how important they are in her life.
5) NOT WHAT I EXPECTED. In a good way.

RATING: 4.5 out of 5
So much love for this book! But a warning that THIS IS A SERIES. Learned this the hard way.



Check out VysBooks on instagram for more pictures!

4 comments

Trying Something New | Mini Reviews on Instagram

Wednesday, July 16, 2014
We all have those midnight ideas that sometimes lead us to question our sanity. Then there are those ideas that actually aren't that bad.

After I published the post about movies, I ended up thinking about my reluctance to finish those 50+ drafts. Jen (Books and Other Happy Ever Afters) and I later had a discussion about the weird lag in blogging. We both agreed that we want to keep on being bloggers, but we just want something new

Later that night, I started thinking of new ways to make blogging more interesting. Complete failures they are, but there was one idea that actually wasn't that bad. I thought, why not do something on instagram since I'm scrolling through there so often. I'm going to try posting mini reviews on instagram. Why mini reviews? I've read 400+ books and I've reviewed maybe 70 of those books. This allows a chance to briefly talk about all of those books I've neglected. 

I'm not 100% how this will all work out or if this will even be a good idea, but why not just let this run and see what happens. Although I'll be posting on instagram, I will also be incorporating it with the blog. I'll do a monthly round up, and also write full reviews for a few of the books along with the mini reviews.

If anyone is interested in seeing where this goes, please follow me on instagram (vysbooks).



Let me know if you're also on instagram! I have another account where I post personal and bookish pics, too. 




Many thanks to Jen (Books and Other Happy Ever Afters) for letting me talk through this idea, and even encouraging me to try. Also, I know this isn't an original idea, so let me know if you're also posting mini reviews. Would love to follow you!
1 comments

Instead of Blogging I've Been (1): Watching Movies

Wednesday, July 9, 2014
I honestly didn't plan on going on a long hiatus. I thought it'd be a short break to finish up school related things, but as usual, I ended up leaving for a couple months. I've been meaning to get back into blogging, but we all know how that usually works.There are about 50 drafted posts that I have yet to finish. For some strange reason I can't bring myself to finish a review. I was in a weird reading and blogging slump for a while. It wasn't until recently read The Program by Suzanne Young that I finally got over that weird slump.

Now I'm slowly getting myself back into the blogging rhythm with some new changes, like occasionally blogging about things other than books. I'm starting a new series unoriginally called "Instead of Blogging, I've Been" to fill in my breaks instead of just drifting off for a few months. This is also another way to be more personal. I love reading posts from bloggers about life outside of blogging and thought I'd do the same. 


I absolutely LOVE watching movies, but lately I've been using it to avoid responsibilities. Every time I open my laptop with the intention to blog, I always ended up watching a movie instead.  The past few months have been reserved for catching up on all the movies I've been missing out on in life. I usually watch movies with my dad and brother, so we can all see how this affected my summer movie marathon. 



I guess it's understandable why I haven't watched The Breakfast Club and The Princess Bride considering they released in the 1980s, but I feel as though EVERYONE has already seen them.  Enjoyed both of those movies! And I finally watched 500 Days of Summer after putting it off for so long. I can't tell if I loved or hated the movie yet because there are still a lot of angry emotions from watching this movie.


Does anyone else end up watching something because you see the movie gifs on tumblr? 

Say this one?


or this one?


As for the Sydney White movies, I just wanted to watch something with Amanda Bynes in her glory days. 



You can't go wrong with laughing at your laptop screen at 1am by yourself.


I LOVE watching romantic comedies. JUST LOVE THEM. I can watch them forever. Since the titles are a bit difficult to read, movies included He's Just Not That Into You, Something Borrowed, and How To Lose a Guy In 10 Days


 Flipped and Stuck In Love are actually re-watches (is that a word?), but they are two are my FAVORITE MOVIES. I've watched both at least three times. If you haven't watched either of them then I HIGHLY recommend you go watch both. 

Also I finally watched 10 Things I Hate About You. LOVE THIS MOVIE. I figured I should watch the movie after seeing this multiple times: 



And that concludes what I've watched so far. Have you watched any of these movies? Probably though since they're old releases. Now what should I watch next? What are some of your favorite movies?


3 comments

Recommend An: Underrated Book

Monday, March 3, 2014
Be sure to check out future prompts here as well as more info on this feature. Want to join in?
All you have to do is answer the week's prompt and leave a link to your post down below

This week's prompt:
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Recommend an Underrated Book
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(suggested by YA Book Lover & Lets Evaluate)

Graffiti Moon by Cath Crowley
Website | Facebook | Twitter

Random House Children's Book, 264 pages
Release Date: February 14, 2012
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Senior year is over, and Lucy has the perfect way to celebrate: tonight, she's going to find Shadow, the mysterious graffiti artist whose work appears all over the city. He's out there somewhere—spraying color, spraying birds and blue sky on the night—and Lucy knows a guy who paints like Shadow is someone she could fall for. Really fall for. Instead, Lucy's stuck at a party with Ed, the guy she's managed to avoid since the most awkward date of her life. But when Ed tells her he knows where to find Shadow, they're suddenly on an all-night search around the city. And what Lucy can't see is the one thing that's right before her eyes

I loved this book SO MUCH. I loved the colorful and descriptive writing. I loved the flawed characters with their smart mouths and fascinating histories. And most of all, I loved that the entire story occurred within 24 hours. Graffiti Moon is one of my all time favorite reads.

I know that Graffiti Moon has won many awards and has been praised by all, but I felt that not many people I personally knew have read this yet. If you haven't read Graffiti Moon yet then DO IT. I highly recommend this.


Don't forget to enter your link!





Which underrated book would you recommend? Join me next week for
Recommend a book with a character who plays a sport.

Have an idea for a prompt? Submit it here!
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Recommend A: Book You Weren't Expecting to Love

Monday, February 24, 2014
Be sure to check out future prompts here as well as more info on this feature. Want to join in?
All you have to do is answer the week's prompt and leave a link to your post down below

This week's prompt:
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Recommend a book you weren't expecting to love
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Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly
Website | Facebook

Random House, 472 pages
Release Date: October 12, 2010
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BROOKLYN: Andi Alpers is on the edge. She’s angry at her father for leaving, angry at her mother for not being able to cope, and heartbroken by the loss of her younger brother, Truman. Rage and grief are destroying her. And she’s about to be expelled from Brooklyn Heights’ most prestigious private school when her father intervenes. Now Andi must accompany him to Paris for winter break.

PARIS: Alexandrine Paradis lived over two centuries ago. She dreamed of making her mark on the Paris stage, but a fateful encounter with a doomed prince of France cast her in a tragic role she didn’t want—and couldn’t escape.

Two girls, two centuries apart. One never knowing the other. But when Andi finds Alexandrine’s diary, she recognizes something in her words and is moved to the point of obsession. There’s comfort and distraction for Andi in the journal’s antique pages—until, on a midnight journey through the catacombs of Paris, Alexandrine’s words transcend paper and time, and the past becomes suddenly, terrifyingly present.

I read this a few years ago, and I still remember my surprise as marking this as one of my favorites. It was New Year's Eve when I purchased Revolution. I had to attend a party I didn't want to go to, so I decided to sneak a book into my purse. I was hiding out in the kid's play room and just read the entire book. Revolution was only something to keep me busy, and I really didn't think much of the book or knew what it was about. I most definitely was not expecting to love the writing and characters as much as I do now.


Sorry this post is going up late! Please add your links down below if you participated.





Which book did you unexpectedly love? 
Join me next week for Recommend an "underrated" book 
(prompt suggested by YA Book Lover & Lets Evaluate)

Have an idea for a prompt? Submit it here!
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Epic Recs | February Intro

Monday, February 17, 2014
Epic Recs is hosted by Judith from Paper Riot and Amber from Books of Amber. Each month they recommend each other a book to read. Check out their February post and join in!

I'm a little late to the party, but better late than never. It is once again time for Jen (Books and Other Happy Ever Afters) Aneeqah (My Not So Real Life), and Willa (Willa's Ramblings / Lit Up Review) to do another Epic Recs.

 Each month will be a different combination of recommendations between Willa, Jen, Aneeqah, and I.  For February, Willa recommended me to read Vixen by Jillian Larkin, and I'm recommending Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers to Jen. I've been meaning to read Vixen for a while now. Willa and I have very similar tastes in books, so I'm excited to start reading.  


Be sure to check out which other books are being recommended:
Aneeqah's Post | Jen's Post | Willa's Post (coming soon)

Check out our past Epic Recs:
2 comments

Recommend An: Author Similar to an Author You Love

Be sure to check out future prompts here as well as more info on this feature. Want to join in?
All you have to do is answer the week's prompt and leave a link to your post down below.

This week's prompt:
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Recommend an author similar to an author you love
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   Divergent                                 The Darkest Minds                            Blood Red Road
     Insurgent                                        Never Fade                                     Rebel Heart
     Allegiant                                        Untitled #3 (9/14)                            Raging Star (5/14)
So I may have cheated just a bit and added an extra author. I had such a hard time picking authors for this week because there are so many who are fantastic. But then I remembered that many people have been asking for books to read after Divergent as many are preparing for the movie. (ARE YOU AS EXCITED AS I AM?!) How could I pick only ONE author who's writing I love just as much as Veronica Roth's?

Veronica Roth, Alexandra Bracken, and Moira Young all share a fantastic gift of story telling with unique female protagonists. Each leading lady are slowly learning their way around the new world around them, and each have a vulnerability about them that make them connectable. What they also have in common is all of these ladies are complete badasses. Not just physically, but also mentally as they fight to stay alive. The leading ladies are far from perfect, but that just makes them even more interesting.


Don't forget to add your link.





Which authors would you recommend? Join me next week for
Recommend a book you weren't expecting to love.

Have an idea for a prompt? Submit it here!
1 comments

Recommend A: Book with your Favorite Fictional Couple

Monday, February 10, 2014
Be sure to check out future prompts here as well as more info on this feature. Want to join in?
All you have to do is answer the week's prompt and leave a link to your post down below.

This week's prompt:
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Recommend a book with your favorite fictional couple
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Dare You To by Katie McGarry 
Blog | Twitter | Facebook

Harlequin Teen, 456 pages
Series
: Pushing the Limits #2
Release Date: May 28, 2013
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If anyone knew the truth about Beth Risk's home life, they'd send her mother to jail and seventeen-year-old Beth who knows where. So she protects her mom at all costs. Until the day her uncle swoops in and forces Beth to choose between her mom's freedom and her own happiness. That's how Beth finds herself living with an aunt who doesn't want her and going to a school that doesn't understand her. At all. Except for the one guy who shouldn't get her, but does....

Ryan Stone is the town golden boy, a popular baseball star jock-with secrets he can't tell anyone. Not even the friends he shares everything with, including the constant dares to do crazy things. The craziest? Asking out the Skater girl who couldn't be less interested in him.

But what begins as a dare becomes an intense attraction neither Ryan nor Beth expected. Suddenly, the boy with the flawless image risks his dreams-and his life-for the girl he loves, and the girl who won't let anyone get too close is daring herself to want it all...

The McGarry boys. I could have picked any of them, but so far, Ryan and Beth are my favorite. Does anyone else love romances that start with hate? You put "golden boy" with the "skater girl" and amusing sass and remarks will never end.

Don't forget to add your link.





Which book couple is your favorite? Join me next week for
Recommend an author similar to an author you love.

Have an idea for a prompt? Submit it here!
1 comments
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