Thursday, December 31, 2015

Books Read in 2015

2015 was filled with review books, audiobooks, novellas, short stories, and quite a few rereads. One goal that I had was to read more books on my own shelves. To be honest, this is a goal that I have every year and it will be a goal for 2016 too. I read more graphic novels this year than ever before and discovered that I really love them! Below is a list of all of the books I read in 2015 - it was a great year of reading!

1: Kissing Ted Callahan by Amy Spalding #
1: I'll See You in the Morning by Mike Jolley
6: Embers by Karen Ann Hopkins  
8: The Opposite of Nothing by Shari Slade + 
9: The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton
18: One Last Song by S.K. Falls #
21: Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty +
24: Love & Profanity by Nick Healy and various authors #
30: Whispers from the Dead by Karen Ann Hopkins +

1: 12 Days of Forever by Heidi McLaughlin +
1: Never Never by Colleen Hoover and Tarryn Fisher
6: The Reality O by Lisa Burstein #
13: Three Brothers by Nicole Williams #
14: Captive Films 1.1 by Jillian Dodd (series installment) +
16: Poisoned Apples by Christine Heppermann *
17: Clear by Jessica Park +
17: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling (audiobook)*
19: Take by Ella Frank +
24: My Best Everything by Sarah Tomp #

1: The Reality O by Lisa Burstein +
1: Dare You To by Katie McGarry (audiobook)***
6: Rusty Nailed by Alice Clayton +
8: If I Am Missing or Dead by Janine Latus (audiobook)*
19: This Heart of Mine by Brenda Novak #

4: Choose Me by Heidi McLaughlin +
9: The Summer I Fell by Sonya Loveday #
15: Flat-Out Celeste by Jessica Park (audiobook)***
18: End Note by Sonya Loveday +
19: Sophomore Year is Greek to Me by Meredith Zeitlin
24: Aimee and the Heartthrob by Ophelia London +
25: Mia and the Bad Boy by Lisa Burstein +
27: Insurgent by Veronica Roth (audiobook) *
27: Six Months Later by Natalie D. Richards

2: The Promise of Amazing by Robin Constantine
2: Winter's Bone by Daniel Woodrell (audiobook) *
5: Sweet by Tammara Webber #
13: Lola Carlylse's 12-Step Romance by Danielle Younge-Ullman #
15: Crash Into You by Katie McGarry (audiobook) ***
17: Never Never (Part 2) by Colleen Hoover and Tarryn Fisher +
??: The Day Before by Lisa Schroeder ***
27: Rachel's Deception by Karen Ann Hopkins +

3: Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Paige +
5: Elevated by Elana Johnson + *** 
10: Out of Control by Sarah Alderson 
11: Temptation by Karen Ann Hopkins (audiobook) ***
16: We Were Liars by E. Lockhart (audiobook) */*** 
17: Daisy and the Front Man by Rebekah L. Purdy #
18: To All the Boys I've Loved Before by Jenny Han
21: Aspen by Rebekah Crane +
22: Sin by Casey L. Bond +
23: Is Everyone Hanging Out without Me by Mindy Kaling (audiobook) ***

1: More Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera #
4: Jesse's Girl by Miranda Kenneally #
6: Clear by Jessica Park + ***
8: Where She Went by Gayle Forman */***
9: Don't Ever Change by M. Beth Bloom #
11: This One Summer by Mariko Tamaki, Jillian Tamaki *
11: Friends with Boys by Faith Erin Hicks *
13: Invincible by Amy Reed
19: Anya and the Shy Guy by Suze Winegarden #
21: Love Lies Beneath by Ellen Hopkins #
25: Lying Out Loud by Kody Keplinger +
28: Confess by Colleen Hoover
30: All We Have Is Now by Lisa Schroeder #

5: The Secret Sister by Brenda Novak #
8: Those Girls by Lauren Saft #
10: Something About Love by Elana Johnson #
16: Catching Jordan by Miranda Kenneally (audiobook) ***
16: Placid Girl by Brenna Ehrlich #
22: Something Beautiful by Jamie McGuire +
25: Stealing Parker by Miranda Kenneally (audiobook) ***
26: My Kind of Forever by Heidi McLaughlin #
28: Restless Waters by Jessica Park +
31: Marrow by Tarryn Fisher +

2: The Wicked Will Rise by Danielle Paige (audiobook) *
6: Gaia by Karen Ann Hopkins +
9: Freshman Year and Other Unnatural Disasters by Meredith Zeitlin (audiobook) ***
18: Into the Dangerous World by Julie Chibbaro
21: Hollow City by Ransom Riggs
26: Vanishing Girls by Lauren Oliver
28: Heart-Shaped Hack by Tracey Garvis-Graves +

4: Dear Dylan by Siohban Curham +
9: This Ordinar Life by Jennifer Walkup #
9: Nimona by Noelle Stevenson *
12: Signs Point to Yes by Sandy Hall #
16: Honor Girl by Maggie Thrash *
17: Tricks by Ellen Hopkins ***
22: The Ghost Files by Apryl Baker (audiobook)
31: The Dead House by Dawn Kurtagich #

2: Traffick by Ellen Hopkins #
4: Third Base by Heidi McLaughlin +
9: Not After Everything by Michelle Levy #
17: The Help by Kathryn Stockett (audiobook) *
18: Take Me On by Katie McGarry
23: Hello? by Liza Wiemer
29: Abby and the Cute One by Erin Butler +

4: Love at First Book by Sarah Tregay (short story)
4: Wink Poppy Midnight by April Genevieve Tucholke #
5: Red at Night by Katie McGarry +
5: Come December by Holly Schindler + (short story)
12: What We Left Behind by Robin Talley #
14: Restless Waters by Jessica Park (audiobook) ***
16: Poet Anderson . . . Of Nightmares by Tom DeLonge and Suzanne Young
20: Freakboy by Kristin Elizabeth Clark
20: On the Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta (audiobook) ***
24: Breaking the Rules by Katie McGarry +
29: A Christmas Kerril by Denise Jaden +
30: Firsts by Laurie Elizabeth Flynn #

The date listed is when I finished the book.
*Library Book
**Borrowed from a friend
+ e-book
# Advanced Reader Copy (ARC)

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

WITH EVERY BREATH by Lia Riley - Q & A and Giveaway

This week is the Release Week for With Every Breath by Lia Riley. With Every Breath is part of the Wanderlust series. Today I am hosting Lia Riley with a short Q & A. Check it out then enter for a chance to win a copy of With Every Breath.

Welcome Lia!!!

What are some of the books that made you fall in love with reading and writing?
Wow, tough question when there are so many choices! A few romance favorites include books by: Laura Kinsale, Kristen Callihan, Victoria Dahl, Kristan Higgins, Jill Shalvis, Chanel Cleeton, Megan Erickson and Julie Ann Long.

What is the best piece of writing advice you ever received?
I love the line by Ernest Hemmingway, “Write hard and clear about what hurts.” Since I write romance, I like to keep going and add “…and then write how to make it better.”

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
First drafts don’t have to be perfect; they just have to be written.

Tell me 5 things about yourself.
1.     I’m a hopeless romantic who struggles to enjoy a book that doesn’t features some sort of love story
2.     I’m the oldest child so pretty bossy
3.     I can’t fall asleep at night without reading at least a chapter.
4.     I’d rather eat pie than cake.
5.     My biggest regret is not speaking a second language.

by Lia Riley 
December 29, 2015
Forever Trade Paperback; Wanderlust


At the ends of the earth, Patagonia is a land where ambition trumps reason and the savage summit of La Aguja lures the most determined climbers. It's also the last spot a "play-it-safe girl" like Auden Woods expects to find herself. But she'll lace up her brand-new hiking boots and do whatever it takes to secure a dream job at an adventure magazine . . . even if it kills her. And it just might. When disaster strikes, her only chance at survival comes in the form of the surliest, sexiest mountaineer ever to come out of Scotland.

After a climbing accident cost him his brother, professional mountaineer Rhys MacAskill is at the end of his rope. Redemption is not in his future. That is, until a terrifying storm blows a budding journalist into his tent and it's up to him to make sure they both survive until morning. Despite the demons weighing on him, Rhys can't resist the temptation of the charming American and one wild night just isn't enough.

Auden and Rhys soon learn there are no shortcuts as they navigate their way between life, death, and atonement, and discover something they never expectedlove.

Buy the book!
Amazon | B&N | iBooks | GooglePlay | Kobo | BAM

About the author:
After studying at the University of Montana-Missoula, Lia Riley scoured the world armed only with a backpack, overconfidence and a terrible sense of direction. When not torturing heroes (because c'mon, who doesn't love a good tortured hero?), Lia herds unruly chickens, camps, beach combs, daydreams about as-of-yet unwritten books, wades through a mile-high TBR pile and schemes yet another trip. She and her family live mostly in Northern California.

Connect with the author!

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I'd Like Santa to Leave under the Tree

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish. This meme was created because they are particularly fond of lists. I am too so that is why I am participating this week.

Top Ten Books I'd Like Santa to Leave under the Tree

Words and Their Meanings by Kate Bassett

I'll Give You The Sun by Jandy Nelson

The Summer of Chasing Mermaids by Sarah Ockler

Tonight the Streets are Ours by Leila Sales

When Reason Breaks by Cindy L. Rodriquez

Far from You by Tess Sharp

Until Friday Night by Abbi Glines

A Matter of Heart by Amy Fellner Dominey

Kiss of Broken Glass by Madeleine Kuderick

Trouble is a Friend of Mine by Stephanie Tromley

What books do you want to find under your tree?

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Review and Giveaway: POET ANDERSON . . . Of Nightmares by Tom DeLonge and Suzanne Young

POET ANDERSON . . . Of Nightmares
by Tom DeLonge and Suzanne Young
Publication Date: October 6, 2015
Published by To the Stars
Pages: 368
Source: Publisher / CBB Book Promotions


Poet Anderson...Of Nightmares follows the epic journey of two orphan brothers, Jonas and Alan, who are Lucid Dreamers. After a tragic car accident lands Alan in a coma, Jonas sets out into the Dream World in an attempt to find his brother and wake him up. What he discovers instead is an entire shared consciousness where fear comes to life as a snarling beast called a Night Terror, and a creature named REM is bent on destruction and misery, devouring the souls of the strongest dreamers to get closer to the Waking World. With the help of a Dream Walker—a guardian of the dreamscape, Jonas must face his fears, save his brother, and become who he was always meant to be: Poet Anderson.

My Thoughts

Poet Anderson  . . . Of Nightmares is a different kind of read for me. My tastes are geared more toward realistic and romantic fiction, but it was the contrast to my normal reading preferences that made this book so appealing. I stepped out of my comfort zone and took a chance on this fantastical story and enjoyed it immensely.

Poet Anderson . . . Of Nightmares is filled with action and danger. It is imaginative and intense. It's thrilling and scary, and even I got some of the romance that I enjoy so much in the books I read!

What I liked:

  • The descriptions of the dreamworld and the waking world - they were vivid and detailed that it was easy to visualize where everything was happening
  • The backstory of how the brothers came to the Eden hotel - there is a purpose to all of it 
  • The idea that you are braver in your dreams - you're more bold and read to take chances 
  • Samantha Birnam-Wood (see above - read it and you'll know what I mean) - she is brave and headstrong. She is forced to keep up appearances because of her father, but she knows who she is and makes her own path. She does what she wants.
  • The many lively characters - they all have strong personalities and while they may have small parts in the story, they are memorable. 
  • Jonas's love for his brother. Even with everything that Jonas learns about being a Poet and what happens to Alan he never gives up on him.
  • The amazing, yet creepy book cover

I would have loved to listened to an audiobook of Poet Anderson . . . Of Nightmares. The story lends itself well to being narrated with the huge cast of characters. I'm excited to know that there are graphic novels associated with this story and can't wait to check those out too. The edition of Poet Anderson that I read came with an audio CD and poster adding to the multi-media experience. So awesome!

Poet Anderson . . . Of Nightmares is interesting and compelling. It's an experience to read - a real page-turner. I think this book would appeal to fans of Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs as well as fans of Cynthia Hand's Unearthly series. Highly recommended!!

Disclaimer:  I received this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.  I was not compensated in any way other than the book provided. Thoughts and opinions are my own.

 For more information about the authors and a complete list of all of the tours stops,
go to the TOUR PAGE HERE.


Poet Anderson Complete Music and Book Gift Box 

Open Worldwide
Ends December 23, 2015

Prizing is provided by the publisher, hosts are not responsible. Must be 13 or older to enter and have parental permission if under 17. Void where prohibited by law. No purchase necessary to win.

Cover Reveal: TEMPEST by Karen Ann Hopkins



The Wings of War #3
by Karen Ann Hopkins
Expected publication: January 2016

The Angels of destruction have arrived, and only Ember stands in the way of their mission to carry out God’s wrath and annihilate His enemies.
When the barrier between celestial creatures and humans beings is broken and Angels descend to Earth, Ember soon learns there’s a fine line between good and evil. As she faces a world full of monsters and magic, a terrifying darkness rises and threatens to destroy everything she’s fighting for.
In the riveting third installment of The Wings of War series, Ember and her friends embark on an epic journey, where unlikely allies are forged and age-old beliefs crumble to dust. And just when Ember accepts love in her life, it’s ripped away from her in the most terrifying way possible.
Ember must stop the apocalypse from happening, but at what cost?

Book 1: EMBERS
Book 2: GAIA 

Find Karen Ann Hopkins Online

Monday, December 14, 2015

Review: WHAT WE LEFT BEHIND by Robin Talley

by Robin Talley
Publication Date: October 27, 2015
Published by Harlequin Teen
Pages: 416
Source: Publisher via Media Masters Publicity
Purchase Amazon / B&N / Indiebound

from Goodreads

What happens when love isn't enough to conquer all?

Toni and Gretchen are the couple everyone envied in high school. They've been together forever. They never fight. They're deeply, hopelessly in love. When they separate for their first year at college—Toni to Harvard and Gretchen to NYU—they're sure they'll be fine. Where other long-distance relationships have fallen apart, their relationship will surely thrive.

The reality of being apart, however, is a lot different than they expected. As Toni, who identifies as genderqueer, falls in with a group of transgender upperclassmen and immediately finds a sense of belonging that has always been missing, Gretchen struggles to remember who she is outside their relationship.

While Toni worries that Gretchen, who is not trans, just won't understand what is going on, Gretchen begins to wonder where she fits in Toni's life. As distance and Toni's shifting gender identity begins to wear on their relationship, the couple must decide—have they grown apart for good, or is love enough to keep them together?

My Thoughts

I wanted to read What We Left Behind from the minute I found out about it because I haven't read many books about gender identity, and I wanted to read a story about someone's life experience that was different from my own. Even though Toni's story is a fictional account of a person questioning their gender identity, I knew that the story would allow me to consider my own thoughts on how I relate and understand people. It's not that I needed this book to teach me something, but it felt like it was a book that I needed to read.

What I loved:

  • The depiction of college life - the new and exciting friendships and how people you've just met can suddenly become important to you
  • The depiction of college life - not everyone you meet is going to be your BFF and you still have to deal with them anyway
  • The depiction of college life - balancing social life with academic life
  • The flashbacks - the tell a lot about Toni and Gretchen's relationship when they were together since they were physically apart for most of the book. My favorite "before"/flashback is at the beginning of the book and we learn how Toni and Gretchen met at a Homecoming Dance
  • Toni's relationship with Audrey, Toni's younger sister. Audrey is the one person in the family who Toni can be most authentic with. Toni fears judgment and Audrey offers the support Toni needs.
  • The exploration of relationship dynamics. Can long distance relationships last? Can open relationships work? Can you be friends with an ex? 
  • The reality that there isn't a "perfect person" or a "perfect relationship" no matter how much we wish it to be.

What I found most significant about What We Left Behind is the idea that we are always trying to figure out who we are and we are always ever growing and ever changing and only we can determine who we are. Toni spends most of the book trying to find a label but discovers that any label is limiting and never quite accurate and that even the chosen label can change at any moment. 

As I read, I found myself wanting to know more about Gretchen and who she was outside of her relationship with Toni. From the beginning, it felt like What We Left Behind was Toni's story and not so much Gretchen's. And having finished the book, this imbalance makes complete sense because this is where most of the conflict between Gretchen and Toni. Gretchen doesn't know who she is without Toni.

I'm so glad to have read this book and hope that I can share it with other readers and discuss it with them. What We Left Behind opens the door for readers to engage each other in conversations about gender identity and gender questioning. It certainly doesn't capture all experiences as they are all individual, but it does capture an experience that is worth reading. I enjoyed the writing, the storytelling, and the characters. This is definitely a recommended read.

Disclaimer:  I received this ARC from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.  I was not compensated in any way other than the ARC provided. Thoughts and opinions are my own.

Friday, December 11, 2015

12 Days of Christmas Readathon - December 11-22

You know how much I love readathons. I just hosted the Holiday #Readathon and now I'm participating in the 2nd Annual 12 Days of Christmas Readathon (#12DaysofBookmas2 on Instagram) hosted by @BooksByBritt, @LizzieLovesBooks and others. They've proposed some fun challenges and I think I'm up for the task.

Here are the reading challenges:

Read a book with red or green on the cover 
Read about book that’s on your end of the year tbr 
Read a book that takes place during the holiday season 
Read a sequel 
Re-read a favorite book 
Read a book with a movie adaptation (and watch the movie) 

Read a total of 1,200 pages!

Here is my tentative TBR Pile. 

They also will have daily challenges on Instragram. I plan to participate and share those photos on Instagram. You can follow me there at actinupjoli 

Happy Reading!

Thursday, December 10, 2015

THIS IS WHERE IT ENDS: Pre-Order Campaign

THIS IS WHERE IT ENDS is one of my most anticipated reads for 2016. Today I am sharing the THIS IS WHERE IT ENDS pre-order campaign sponsored by Sourcebooks Fire where readers have a chance to get TIME WAS OURS lanyards and a one person will win a Polaroid Digital Instant Print Camera.

by Marieke Nijkamp
Published by Sourcebooks Fire
Available January 5, 2016

10:00 a.m.
The principal of Opportunity, Alabama's high school finishes her speech, welcoming the entire student body to a new semester and encouraging them to excel and achieve.

10:02 a.m.
The students get up to leave the auditorium for their next class.

The auditorium doors won't open.

Someone starts shooting.

Told over the span of 54 harrowing minutes from four different perspectives, terror reigns as one student's calculated revenge turns into the ultimate game of survival.

There are two ways to enter the giveaway:

1 - If you pre-order a copy of This Is Where It Ends by Marieke Nijkamp, submit your name, mailing address, email address, and order confirmation number via the Rafflecopter widget below.

2 - If you have not pre-ordered a copy of This Is Where It Ends by Marieke Nijkamp, you may enter the giveaway by printing your name, mailing address, email address and the phrase "This Is Where It Ends" on a standard-size postcard and send to: Publicity, c/o Sourcebooks, Inc., 1935 Brookdale Rd., #139, Naperville, IL 60563.

Good Luck!!

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

OUTSPOKEN by Lora Richardson: Author Interview and Giveaway

Today Lora Richardson is here to share her debut novel OUTSPOKEN which released earlier this year. I've asked Lora to share some thoughts on writing, her love of books, and a little bit about herself. After the interview, enter for a chance to win a paperback copy of OUTSPOKEN.

Welcome Lora!!

What are some of the books that made you fall in love with reading and writing?

I have always loved books that turn me into an emotional mess. The first book that made me cry was Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson, which I read when I was in third grade. In high school, I devoured a lot of Anne Tyler’s books. Though they aren’t the kind of books that make me cry, I definitely find her an inspiring and authentic story-teller who is wonderful at creating characters who feel real. A couple of recent books I love are Making Faces by Amy Harmon and The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson. When I want to read a passionate romance, I reach for anything by Mia Sheridan. I have also fallen in love with two historical fiction series: The Bronze Horseman series by Paullina Simons, and the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon. Both are highly emotional and full of adventure.

What is the best piece of writing advice you ever received?

There are two things I’ve been told that resonate with me, and I try to reflect on them both when I sit down to write. The first one is that a writer should write as though she is her only audience; that I should write what I would want to read. The second piece of advice I have found helpful, is that the real story emerges in later drafts. This quote from Shannon Hale describes vividly what I mean: “I'm writing a first draft and reminding myself that I'm simply shoveling sand into a box so that later I can build castles.” I’ve learned that I change so much from the first draft to the final product, that now I don’t worry so much when I am first putting words on the page. I can, and probably will, change it all later anyway. So as much as I can, I write freely and without fear.

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

I don’t know that I’m qualified to give any advice, as I am a very new writer myself. I did learn some things in the time it took me to write Outspoken that work for me personally. When creating a first draft, I find it very effective to commit to sitting down and writing at least 1,000 words per day until that draft is finished. I am more relaxed as I revise, but I do find it helpful to work on it at least a little bit every day. The biggest thing, I think, is not to give up!

Tell me 5 things about yourself.
1. Cake decorating is a hobby of mine. My children always have elaborate requests for their birthday cakes, and I enjoy figuring out how to make each one. I’ve made everything from Hagrid’s Hut to a combine harvester, to an elephant out of cake and buttercream.
2. I am married to my high school sweetheart. I wonder if that’s one reason why I still love reading YA books? When I think of falling in love, I think of been sixteen.
3. I grew up on a farm, and showed pigs, rabbits, and dairy cows at the county fair.

4. I love picnics. Any meal is better when eaten sitting on a blanket on the ground.
5. My favorite movie of all time is My Girl, starring Anna Chlumsky. Talk about a tear jerker!

Thanks, Joli, for interviewing me, and for your interest in my book!

by Lora Richardson
Publication date: August 18, 2015
252 Pages

Penny Beck is a girl who says yes when she means no. She keeps to herself, follows the rules, and does what she's told. After a disastrous experience with her boyfriend, she's determined to change from the spineless person she's always been into the strong woman she wants to become. All she needs is a little practice. 

On a cross-country trip to check on her grandpa, she strives to become bolder and more outspoken with the strangers she meets. Penny's plan is to practice saying and doing what she wants without worrying about what anyone else thinks. 

Then she meets Archer, an introspective loner to whom she finds herself drawn. She realizes she does care what he thinks, very much. Will Penny be able to stick to her plan, or will she revert back to her people-pleasing ways?


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