December Monthly Recap

~*~On The Blog~*~

This month has been a hectic one. I had to pack to switch dorms on top of finals and closing out on 3 different jobs for 2014, all of which I will be continuing on in 2015. I had a lot of issues near the end of my semester and I needed the ability to come home and breathe. I've been enjoying being home and having the ability to read. Look at all those books and the fact that I only disliked one book I reviewed this month! However, I am ready to be back in the city again. I want to continue at Bloomsbury and spend time with my best friends and even hang out with Kelly and Dana, my real life blogging friends, one of which is also a fellow classmate of mine. Can't wait to own our online class together, Dana! ;)

Books Reviewed:
Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta - 5 stars
Princess of Thorns by Stacey Jay - 5 stars
Of Beast and Beauty by Stacey Jay - 4.5 stars - A Team Tynga's Transfer Review
When by Victoria Laurie - 4 stars 
Hellhole by Gina Damico - 3.5 stars
Half Lies by Sally Green - 3 stars
The Ghosts of Heaven by Marcus Sedgwick - 1 star

Books Read This Month:
The most solid reading month a girl could ask for if you ask me!
  1. Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta
  2. A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas
  3. Lady Thief by A.C. Gaughen 
  4. Lion Heart by A.C. Gaughen
  5. Play by Kylie Scott
  6. Hellhole by Gina Damico 
  7. Until Midnight by Melissa Landers 
  8. When by Victoria Laurie 
  9. The Ghosts of Heaven by Marcus Sedgwick 
  10. Seraphina by Rachel Hartman (re-read)
  11. Shadow Scale by Rachel Hartman 
  12. The Maze Runner by James Dashner 
  13. The Darkest Part of the Forest by Holly Black 
  14. This Night So Dark by Amie Kaufman & Meagan Spooner 

The Broadway Review:
  • I introduced this new feature here if you want to check it out! This feature is dependent upon audience interest, so please comment on any of the reviews if you still want me to keep it! 
  • I saw and reviewed ON THE TOWN this month! The show was hilarious and perfect and would have gotten a perfect score if the understudy didn't mess up so much. Check out my review here!
Giveaways:
  • Jenna Black was awesome enough to stop by the blog to answer a few questions and host a giveaway for her Replica trilogy. The winner has already been chosen, but check out the giveaway here!
Discussion Posts:
  • Bekka and I are still going strong and our Epic Recs December picks were chosen with the goal to emotionally eviscerate each other. I think we succeeded, yes?
  • I finished my third semester of college and I seriously cannot believe it. I needed an emotional pick me up near the end so I wrote an open letter to my future. In the long run, 2014 was great despite it ups and down and while it's looking like 2015 will not be off to the best start, I know by the summer I will be having the absolute time of my life. Bring it on 2015!
  • I may not celebrate Christmas, but that doesn't change the fact that I expect to find certain book boyfriends under the Christmas tree when I wake up
  • One of my personal goals for 2015 is to focus on reading challenges. Not only do I want to read 100 books, but I also joined some blogger hosted challenges that you can find here!
  • This isn't really a discussion, but I did my first ever unboxing style video and had an absolute blast. I cannot believe you guys spoiled me so much for Christmas. I love each and every one of you! <3

Guest Posts and Bonus Content: 
  • Jenna Black stopped by for a wonderful interview!
Favorite Articles of the Month: 
  • The Huffington post published this awesome article that I found through Rachel's twitter about introverts and I think it's worth a read because it's interesting and on point.
  • This isn't a new post, but Magan wrote a post about friendship on Rather Be Reading at the end of October that I just stumbled across and I really liked it. It's brutally honest and insightful and really helped me put things into perspective as I am struggling with a few friendships currently and do not know how to proceed.
~*~What I've Been Watching~*~

Broadway Shows:
  • I finished off the semester by seeing On The Town with my Honors College mentee and I absolutely adored it. You can find my Broadway Review here.
TV:
  • I have nine episodes of Breaking Bad left. I gave up finishing the final season in favor of guaranteeing the fact that I make my Goodreads goal because I thought it was necessary for my ego. This show is insane, but I am sensing a bit of negative foreshadowing and I am worried. Unfortunately the ending has been spoiled for me so I'm hesitant to continue because I know I'm going to die emotionally.
  • Once Upon A Time is still rocking my socks off, but I haven't been able to watch the mid-season finale yet! I will, though, in January. I had to finish that Goodreads goal, guys!
  • Survivor ended and I am happy to report that the only person who deserved to win did win! Thank God. I would have flipped out if Baylor or Missy won or even Keith. This was not a good season if you ask me, but I am very excited for the white collar vs blue collar vs no collar idea for the next season!
  • Giants Football has officially come to an end and we had a terrible season, but I'm happy we get to hold onto Coughlin for one more year and we did show a few glimpses of greatness near the end. Now it's time to cross my fingers in the off-season because we have a lot of free agents going up and I don't want to lose a lot of them, especially JPP.
Movies:
  • I was lucky enough to see an advanced screening of The Duff and I freaking adored it. Sure, it's different from the book, but it is absolutely hilarious and heartwarming. The main character speaks to my soul and Robbie Amell is so hot! Also giving props to the fact that the voice of Katara is in this because yes <3 It was slightly weird seeing Bella Thorne as the mean girl, though. You are 17 years old and you are kissing a 25 year old. *shudders* Anyway, YOU HAVE TO SEE THIS MOVIE WHEN IT COMES OUT FEBRUARY, 20TH!
  • I watched Reservoir Dogs for class for the first time and I still don't really know what to say about it aside from the fact that I can cross a major movie off of my to watch list.
  • I also watched Pulp Fiction for that same class to write my final essay and I will admit I like this one more despite its weirdness and violence. Hey, what else do you expect from film noir and Quentin Tarantino at this point? Love me some Vincent Vega!
  • I saw Into The Woods the day after Christmas and was severely underwhelmed. Meryl Streep and Johnny Depp were amazing but Johnny was only there for one scene and Meryl couldn't carry the entire movie on her shoulders. Little Red Riding Hood was decent, but everyone else kind of fell flat, though I will admit I love anything Anna Kendrick does just because I love her. The Baker was a huge focus of the movie and he was not well cast at all and I could barely understand Jack when he was speaking or singing. A lot of people died, the movie fell curse to Act two being nowhere nearly as strong as act one, and there was no depth whatsoever. Also, there was barely any speaking and mostly singing, but my favorite scene involved Prince Charming and Rapunzel's Prince singing AGONY on the rocky waterfall. I died of the perfection. All in all, wait until it's out on DVD or don't pay anything more than seven dollars to see it. NOT WORTH IT!
  • Before I went to college my Dad and I used to have movie nights all the time and I really missed them so he suggested we watch Dave when he saw it on TV. This is a movie about a doppelganger of the President taking over office and making the nation love him while they hide the fact that the real President had a stroke. It's hilarious and adorable and heartwarming and you should watch it if given the chance.
  • The Book Thief movie was on TV and since this is my favorite book I could not resist. It makes me cry every time.
  • I turned on the TV and the movie Admission was randomly starting. This stars Nat Wolff, Tina Fey, and Paul Rudd, so I figured I'd give it a shot because I love all of them. Is it amazing? No. Will I watch it if I see it on TV again? Sure. I love all three of them and they'll always entertain me though this movie was not as funny as most of Fey and Rudd's other works.
Youtube:
  • I love Imagine Dragons and I also love Dane Dehaan. Of course it's perfect when he's the actor in their new music video for the first single, I Bet My Life, off their new album. 
  • I'm kind of obsessed with Bruno Mars singing Uptown Funk. It's just such a great throwback vibe and he is talented, but people calling him the next Michael Jackson is a bit of a stretch. However, I have to say it's beyond entertaining to see how tiny he is in this video. He is dang short!
  • This was not a Youtube month for me! I spent 2/3 of the month dealing with school and packing to move into my new dorm (yuck, packing!) and then the last 1/3 desperately trying to meet my reading goal...WHICH I DID! Boo-yah! (Well, I haven't yet, but I am on track to do so if I time this last day right so *fingers crossed*)
    Do you have a monthly recap or thoughts on anything I'm reading/reviewing/watching? Share your thoughts below! Every comment is greatly appreciated! <3

    Top Ten Resolutions for 2015!

    Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and Bookish.

    Below are my top blogging goals and personal goals for 2015!

    ~*~8 Blogging Goals/Resolutions ~*~

    1. Stay on top of reviews. I am so far behind it is ridiculous! I could have an entire month of reviews if I just wrote them already, but it's hard to call up certain feelings for me if the review isn't written immediately upon finishing the book.

    2. At the end of the year have more posts total than the previous year. This is something I've been doing for myself each year and it has slowly worked, so let's keep that going! I like seeing my blog grow steadily, even if it's only by a few posts each year.

    3. Write more discussion posts. I love discussion posts and I kind of fell off the bandwagon with them near the end of this year. Let's change that!

    4. Shorten my reviews. I think that shorter reviews are great and there are always those books you can't help but talk about for forever, but I definitely want my reviews to be more condensed as I enter my third year of blogging.

    5. Read at least 100 books. This year I lost the reading mojo for a bit so I want to fix that. I used to be able to read so much more than this in a year, but I think that for an intern and a college student 100 books is just fine. I want to reach this goal again without struggling for it in the end of December.

    6. Comment more on other blogs. I have to say that I was successful with this resolution this year and I want to be even more successful with it next year. Unfortunately, Disqus currently thinks I am a robot and that both my emails are in use, so I have to figure out a way around that to comment on blogs with Disqus again, but aside from that I really do hope to continue to do this.

    7. Keep a blogging calendar for when ARCs come out and for reviews. I feel like I was all over the place this year and I think planning would help...a lot. haha  

    8. Finish more series. This is definitely something I succeeded with in 2014 because of my inability to let go of characters and I want to continue on with this! 

    ~*~6 Personal Goals/Resolutions~*~

    1. Be happy. I did not end the year happy despite how great of a year 2014 was, so I want to change that. One of the things I've recently started is a quote journal full of quotes that I love, that mean something to me, that can be inspiration when I'm upset, etc. I really like it so far. I'm going to cover my corner of my dorm room with quotes about success, having pride in yourself, and moving forward.

    2. Stay in New York City full-time. Of course I will visit home. Under current familial circumstances I will be needing to go home a great majority of my weekends this upcoming semester, but being primarily located in the city is something I love. I am so much more at peace with myself and my future here. I can actually think and be happy and get lost in a crowd, which I cannot do at home. Hello sublets in my future! <3

    3. Continue fostering friendships at my college. Carolyn, Max, Kayla, and Dana are among the best friends I have ever had and I want to find even more people that I love even half as much as them.

    4. Travel. I want to travel more this year, even if it's just out of state. I did not travel much in 2014 aside to Israel in the very beginning and then 5 days in Vermont this past Summer. Maybe I can change that and travel a little more, though going out of the country isn't a thing at this point until 2016 and my study abroad trip.

    5. Get another 4.0 GPA. This past semester was my first ever 4.0 in college. I have had very high GPAs prior, the lowest being around 3.77, I think, but I want to experience the pride and happiness I experienced when getting a 4.0. It shows that the craziness that is my life is paying off. Staying in to study sucks, but it's worth it to avoid stress and to continue getting proper sleep. I just keep having to remind myself this.

    6. Find an internship I love even half as much as I do Bloomsbury. No matter what, I see myself interning a lot in my future, but if I can find one that I love even half as much as I love Bloomsbury for this upcoming summer than I know there's nowhere to go but up because I'll be damn happy.

    7. Control my own life, take the bull by the horns, what doormat? etc. I think this is pretty self explanatory, but I am sick of putting my neck out for people who wouldn't do the same in return. 2014 has been a year of transformation for me and that will continue into 2015 because it is empowering to take control of my life and run with it.

    I wish everyone else good luck in achieving their resolutions for 2015! What do you think of mine? Don't hesitate to comment below with your thoughts!

    2015 Reading Challenges

    I have never really successfully kept track of challenges before...so I have a plan for 2015! I am going to include my challenge updates in my monthly recaps now so that I can't avoid them and forget about them! I definitely want to say that I have managed to complete something new with blogging and this is a solid goal!

    Here are the challenges that I really want to complete!

    The Daily Prophecy
    This challenged is hosted by The Daily Prophecy and I am choosing to extend it to retellings in general, though I will have a focus on fairytale retellings. So, with that in mind, I'm going for Big Bad Wolf ranking which is 10-15 books, though something tells me that I may trade up for The Wise Princess ranking.

    1. Fairest by Marissa Meyer
    2. Beastkeeper by Cat Hellisen
    3. Silver in the Blood by Jessica Day George
    4.
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    10.



    I am also participating in the Flights of Fantasy challenge hosted by Alexa Loves Books and Hello, Chelly. Fantasy is my favorite genre and I know that I am going to kick butt with this challenge! Since I plan on reading a lot of retellings (because they're my ultimate favorites alongside high fantasy) then this works out perfectly! There are no levels for this challenge, but I am going to challenge myself to 25 books for now.

    1. The Sin Eater's Daughter by Melinda Salisbury
    2. The Glass Arrows by Kristen Simmons
    3. A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab
    4. Fairest by Marissa Meyer
    5. Beastkeeper by Cat Hellisen
    6. Unspoken by Sarah Rees Brennan
    7. Of Dreams and Rust by Sarah Fine
    8. Silver in the Blood by Jessica Day George
    9. Walk on Earth a Stranger by Rae Carson
    10. A Curious Tale of the In-Between by Lauren DeStefano
    11.
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    25.

    I am also going to participate in the contemporary challenge because Montana at The Book Belles is hosting it and she is an amazing friend of mine! Because I want to read so much fantasy this year, I am going to go for Peony level, which is 11-15 books.

    1. The Last Good Day of the Year by Jessica Warman
    2. Mistletoe and Mr. Right: Two Stories of Holiday Romance by Lyla Payne
    3. Saving Francesca by Melina Marchetta
    4.
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    11.  



    2015TBR

    I've been knocking a lot of books of my TBR lately and I want to continue doing that! I like that this challenge focuses solely on books that I already own and not those borrowed from friends or library books. However, because of that, it does limit my knocking down of my TBR list itself, so I am going to go with A Firm Handshake level right now, which is 1 - 10 books, with the hope that I can actually take more then 10 off my shelf. If this was just off of our TBR list it would be so much easier!

    1. Unspoken by Sarah Rees Brennan
    2. Saving Francesca by Melina Marchetta
    3.
    4.
    5.

    I love how there's an entire challenge dedicated to reading diverse books run by Rather Be Reading, so I am going to participate! There are no levels, but I am daring myself to read at least 6 throughout this year.

    1. Of Dreams and Rust by Sarah Fine
    2. 5 to 1 by Holly Bodger
    3.
    4.
    5.
    6.

    That it's (for now!) Do you have any challenges you are participating in? Tell me about them below so that I can decide if I am interested!

    Review: When by Victoria Laurie

    Publication Date: January 13, 2015
    Publisher: Disney Hyperion
    Reading Level: Young Adult
    Pages: 336 (eARC)
    Source: Netgalley
    Maddie Fynn is a shy high school junior, cursed with an eerie intuitive ability: she sees a series of unique digits hovering above the foreheads of each person she encounters. Her earliest memories are marked by these numbers, but it takes her father’s premature death for Maddie and her family to realize that these mysterious digits are actually death dates, and just like birthdays, everyone has one.

    Forced by her alcoholic mother to use her ability to make extra money, Maddie identifies the quickly approaching death date of one client's young son, but because her ability only allows her to see the when and not the how, she’s unable to offer any more insight. When the boy goes missing on that exact date, law enforcement turns to Maddie.

    Soon, Maddie is entangled in a homicide investigation, and more young people disappear and are later found murdered. A suspect for the investigation, a target for the murderer, and attracting the attentions of a mysterious young admirer who may be connected to it all, Maddie's whole existence is about to be turned upside down. Can she right things before it's too late?
    ~*~Lili's Reflections~*~

    I didn't exactly know what to expect going into this book. Victoria Laurie has garnered much success as an adult author, but this is her first attempt at writing for young adults and such a shift in audience isn't always successful. But when a good friend at Disney brought this book to my attention, I couldn't help but give it a chance. And, boy, am I glad I did.

    Admittedly, this book gets off to a bit of a slow start. Laurie has to set up the fact that our main character sees floating numbers on everyone's heads that signifies when they die. She has to set up her life and introduce a lot of the people in it that will play important roles later. Because of her thoroughness in the beginning, the book was able to be read at an incredibly fast pace later on when things finally picked up. And let me tell you, this book gets intense, as any murder mystery would. 

    Maddie is definitely a great heroine. She is strong and independent as well as intelligent. She fights to keep her house despite her alcoholic mother and has aspirations to one day go to Cornell. She won't let herself be pushed around by macho FBI agents who think she committed a murder that she is not guilty of. Her best friend is referred to as Stubby because of a childhood nickname and he's pretty great, too. As is her neighbor, Mr. Duncan, and her player and hot-shot lawyer of an Uncle, Donny. This entire cast of characters was really well done, even the murderer. I have to say, I had a few ideas of who it would be and while this person was at the back of my mind as one of my suspects, this individual was the one I least expected. So kudos to Laurie for pulling this murder mystery off. It definitely makes me curious about what else she has in store for us.

    Another thing I loved about this book is the focus on the murder mystery and thriller aspect of it. There is a small crush-like thing going on that makes an appearance every now and then, but it's more of a cutesy sub-plot than anything else. As a romance lover, it's shocking to me that I was totally satisfied with the lack of romance in this, but there was just enough of it to whet my appetite while I remained riveted to the page and the adorable epilogue not only made me squeal in happiness, it made me happy for Maddie, too. The girl's been through the ringer and there's nothing more promising than hope.

    With all of this in mind, I did have a few issues with the book. Firstly, some people were just really unprofessional. The whole principal encouraging bullying and the way teacher's handled the situation seemed very unrealistic to me. Furthermore, why Maddie can see these numbers still remains a mystery. Yes, she openly admits she has no idea it's her, but if she's the only one on the planet that has this capability surely there is a reason. The author didn't even attempt to tie it to a weird chromosome thing at birth or anything, it's just there. As a stickler for detail, these two things really grated on my nerves, but in the end, they're super nit-picky.

    I can see fans of fast-paced stories and twisty mysteries falling head over heels for what this author has to offer. This is one of those stories that you really have to analyze everything because the most miniscule details end up playing the hugest part at the very end during the intense final showdown. All I can say is that this book is worth picking up! Laurie delivers a fast-paced and shocking murder mystery full of twists, turns, and some pretty cool "psychic" abilities that makes me eager to read what she writes next.


    4 stars

    ~*~Links~*~

    FTC Disclaimer: I received no compensation of any kind in exchange for my honest review.

    Review: The Ghosts of Heaven by Marcus Sedgwick

    Publication Date: January 6, 2015
    Publisher: Roaring Brook Press
    Reading Level: Young Adult
    Pages: 357 (ARC)
    Source: From Publisher For Review
    A bold, genre-bending epic that chronicles madness, obsession, and creation, from the Paleolithic era through the Witch Hunts and into the space-bound future.

    Four linked stories boldly chronicle madness, obsession, and creation through the ages. Beginning with the cave-drawings of a young girl on the brink of creating the earliest form of writing, Sedgwick traverses history, plunging into the seventeenth century witch hunts and a 1920s insane asylum where a mad poet's obsession with spirals seems to be about to unhinge the world of the doctor trying to save him. Sedgwick moves beyond the boundaries of historical fiction and into the future in the book's final section, set upon a spaceship voyaging to settle another world for the first time. Merging Sedgwick's gift for suspense with science- and historical-fiction, Ghosts of Heaven is a tale is worthy of intense obsession.
    ~*~Lili's Reflections~*~

    I picked this book up because the premise sounded interesting, because I fell in love with that gorgeous cover, and because I know how much Sedgwick is loved. However, if you're like me and have never read any of his other works before, this is most definitely not a good book to start with.

    While I am sure this book will be fascinating to some, I found it to be incredibly frustrating and bland. The fact that it is split into four quarters and the quarters can be read in any possible way is beyond interesting. Like the rather traditional reader I am, I read them in the order that they are presented and found myself almost DNFing this book after both the first, second, and third quarter. I literally only continued out of sheer curiosity about the fourth and final one in space because that had the coolest concept, in my opinion. Also because I didn't want one of my last reads of 2014 to be a DNF. All of these stories are connected by the spiral, a symbol that means something different to everyone who crosses it. But, if anything, this story made me hate spirals and fear coming across them ever again because of the mysteries and unknown now associated with them.

    The first story in this book is told in a unique writing style because it is about cave drawings. There's nothing really for me to say about it. Interesting? Yes. Captivating? No. I couldn't connect to the main character, I felt no emotions toward her, and I just found the story to be bland. I was happy it was the shortest one among the four.

    The second story in this book held my interest slightly better, but I hate damning women to Hell for witchcraft simply because they turned you down since you're a pig-headed idiot that wants her, but won't accommodate her family alongside her. So, yeah, this story frustrated me. A lot. Maybe even brought out some anger in me. Kudos to Sedgwick for being able to do that, but still, not really the emotion you would want to elicit from a reader.

    The third story was one that I skimmed. It was very boring to me, having to do with an insane asylum and its crazy owner. I just kind of glossed over it and rooted for Dexter the patient who did not deserve his fate. No emotional connection to this one either.

    The third and final story is the only reason that I gave this book one star. It was definitely interesting and I would read an entire book about this specific story. I'm sure that there was some set-up mistakes in the system since it did not seem entirely scientifically accurate, but it was more interesting than the rest. Even then, though, I felt separated from Bowman.

    For a book that begins talking about how the universe came into fruition and then ends with how all four stories somehow relate to each other, there was, unfortunately, nothing going on in-between. This book and I just were not meant to be. I am beyond confused and felt like I kind of wasted my time with this one, which is a very rare feeling for me to encounter as a reader. I'm unsure if I will read any of Sedgwick's other works.

    1 star

    ~*~Links~*~

    FTC Disclaimer: I received no compensation of any kind in exchange for my honest review.

    Stacking the Shelves #91

    Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga's Reviews.

     
    For Review From Harper's Edelweiss (Thank you!)
    Emmy & Oliver by Robin Benway

    Free
    Until Midnight novella by Melissa Landers

    From Christianna (Thank you!)

    From My Secret Santa (Thank you, Ashley!)

    a gorgeous Sorting Hat print (my favorite!)
    My True Love Gave to Me edited by Stephanie Perkins UK Edition
    Waistcoats and Weaponry by Gail Carriger
    my 2 favorite kinds of candy
    a cat bookmark
    A photo posted by Lili (@lilifeinberg) on

    Review: Hellhole by Gina Damico

    Publication Date: January 6, 2015
    Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers
    Reading Level: Young Adult (14+)
    Pages: 349 (ARC)
    Source: From Publisher For Review
    A devil is a bad influence . . .

    There was a time when geeky, squeaky-clean Max Kilgore would never lie or steal or even think about murder. Then he accidentally unearths a devil, and Max’s choices are no longer his own. The big red guy has a penchant for couch surfing and junk food—and you should never underestimate evil on a sugar high.

    With the help of Lore, a former goth girl who knows a thing or two about the dark side, Max is racing against the clock to get rid of the houseguest from hell before time, and all the Flamin’ Hot Cheetos this side of the fiery abyss, run out.
    ~*~Lili's Reflections~*~

    I am a very huge fan of Gina Damico. Her CROAK series is among my favorite books ever, mostly because if you want dark humor she is the woman to look for. Because of this, I was beyond excited to receive an ARC of Hellhole shortly after BEA. And while I enjoyed this book, it's with a heavy heart that I say I don't think it can truly rival her CROAK series. Still, if you like dark humor and hilarious out-of-this-world scenarios, this is a great book to pick up.

    Max Kilgore is a nerd obsessed with dinosaurs and crosswords that was accidentally blessed with the name of a heroic movie star. He's a good kid that sometimes does bad things to help out his mother who is dying of a terrible heart condition, even if that means stealing ugly cat bobble-heads because she hoards weird things. Because of this, he one day came home from school to realize that he got himself stuck with a devil named Burgundy Cluttermuck. Burg sits in his basement eating his snacks, drinking beer, and playing videogames while he forces Max to do his bidding after promising him that he will one day heal his mother. Max literally made a deal with a devil and this entire book is its aftermath. I suppose there's a lesson to be learned here...

    Max is an interesting character that is easy to support. He's constantly working at a gas station to help pay the bills and he always has Fridays open to ensure that his mother and him can have their date night making fun of movies and eating extra cheesy pizza that she really shouldn't eat. These scenes are the absolute best, guys. So funny! He likes his dinosaurs, his crosswords, and his hair is forever stuck in the shape of a helmet. With all of this in mind, you would think it would be easy to connect with him, but part of the reason I think this book can't rival Damico's CROAK series is because I cannot connect with him at all. It's like there's a wall between us and I can admire him from afar, but I can't bring myself to feel for him anything other than a general interest in his story. The same goes for all other characters, though I really liked how unique his best friend Audie was, and how her boyfriend, Wall, wasn't the stereotypical jock. Then there's Lore. Like Max, I couldn't really connect to her, but she certainly stands apart from all the rest. An interesting and weird love interest, but a perfect one for Max. I was rooting for them through it all, and that definitely counts for something.

    In order to read this book, one must be willing to suspend belief a lot of the time. I mean, it's a fantasy, so the whole devil thing is obviously not realistic, but one does have to be willing to forget about certain things, like how a seventeen year old girl can calmly dispose of a dead body without batting an eye. And how a boy can, you know, trust a devil and be shocked when he turns out not to be trustworthy because, well, he's a devil. Our main character is really intelligent and nerdy yet he tends to forget to use common sense a lot of the time. Yeah, this is one of those books.

    The last thing worth noting is the ending. I both loved it and disliked it. I feel like a lot of questions have been left unanswered and that really bugs me. This is a stand-alone after all, and the story didn't feel at all rushed, so I almost feel jipped because I wasn't informed about the fate of a character or two. However, the actual ending of the story put a smile on my face. This is one of those examples of making the best out of a crappy situation and if anyone knows how to handle themselves against devils, it's definitely Max and Lore. Have I mentioned I love Lore's name? Because I most definitely do.

    All in all, a fast-paced and hilarious read perfect for those looking for some dark humor and infinite laughs from a book that proves the fact that cats can save the world. Though it does not properly rival Damico's well loved and amazing CROAK series, this is still a satisfactory read that makes you look forward to what else the Queen of Dark Humor will produce next. As a loyal Damico fan, I am very happy to report that I enjoyed this one as I anxiously await her next work in progress.

    Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to go run to the story and buy some Flamin' Hot Cheetos. This book's given me a massive craving!


    3.5 stars

    ~*~Links~*~

    FTC Disclaimer: I received no compensation of any kind in exchange for my honest review.

    Book Boyfriends I Expect To Find Under the Christmas Tree for 2014

    I may not celebrate Christmas, but that doesn't change the fact that if I woke up on Christmas morning I would run full-tilt to my tree to see any of these 14 book boyfriends from 2014 waiting beneath it for me. I met all of these lovely men in 2014 because this is our year <3

    Warning: Do not read the small blurbs below their names if you have not read the book I am referring to. A few do contain spoilers.

    In no particular order....

    *1. Rowan from Heir of Fire by Sarah J. Maas

    Loyal to a fault and willing to follow me anywhere, including forsaking the person he worked for for nearly his entire life? I want one.


    *2. Max from The Start of Me and You by Emery Lord

    Nerdiness and hidden good looks and insane intelligence and a huge heart and all around absolute realistic perfection?!?!?! *I'm forgetting how to breathe*

     
    *3. Jonah Griggs from Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta

    I can't with you. I cannot even handle you. You can just never leave my life with your brilliant strategist mind and heart of gold and capacity to feel intense emotions and all around good person-ness even if you like to hide it, you big lug. Plus, you're into protecting things so ;)
     

    *4. Niklaas from Princess of Thorns by Stacey Jay

    My dear Sun God, you are absolutely hilarious once you realize that you're wrong a lot of the time. You own up to your faults, you have a good head on your shoulders, you are kind to animals, you can protect me with your beautiful muscles, and you can make a Princess. Plus, I mean, Stacey Jay has announced that you're my husband so there's that, too.

    *5. Oscar from I'll Give You The Sun by Jandy Nelson

    You are a naked model...and I am okay with that you sexy man, you. Put up with my and my weirdness, will you? I'll even develop an aversion to oranges since I'm sensing you like that in a woman.


    *6. Jesse from The Mediator series by Meg Cabot

    I have nothing to say about you aside from the fact that you are intense and perfect and I love it. I need book seven now! *sigh*

     
    *7. Beast from Dark Triumph by Robin LaFevers

    Beast is a man surrounded by boys with literally the biggest heart of gold ever. While Sybella is perfect for him, if she didn't exist he would be under my Christmas tree in a heartbeat. Too brilliant and kind and loyal for his own good, this one.

     
    *8. Lucian from A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas

    Tamlin is nice and so is Rhys, but I only have eyes for this fox. Hilarious, strong, perfect, and surprisingly deep, you are perfect for me and nobody else.


    *9. Robin Hood from the Scarlet trilogy by A.C. Gaughen

    Will you marry me in a tree and protect me from evil dudes with gross-sounding names? Yes, yes, I know you will.


    *10. Malachi from Chaos by Sarah Fine

    He's Jewish so father approves. Also, we've been together almost three years now, he knows how to handle my desire to constantly cheat on him with other men. But I always go back to the strong, silent ones.


    *11. Grady from Mistletoe and Mr. Right by Lyla Payne

    I need someone to constantly banter with that makes me laugh while he never stops talking so I can appreciate his sexy Irish accent. Yes.


    *12. Jeremiah from Breathe, Annie, Breathe by Miranda Kenneally

    An adrenaline junkie that pushes you to succeed in everything you do while also having a heart of gold? I NEEDZ ONE!

    *13. Rafe from Kiss of Deception by Mary E. Pearson

    A wild sense of adventure, a very nice body to look at, a huge sense of duty to his job, and a crazy big heart full of a lot of love. EVERYONE NEEDS ONE!


    *14. Micah from The Art of Lainey by Paula Stokes

    A man that will bake for me constantly...Need I say more?


    I NEED YOU ALL!

    I hope you guys enjoyed this post because I had a blast making it! Merry Christmas! If you ran downstairs Christmas morning, who would you want to see waiting for you under the Christmas tree?

    Epic Recs Review: Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta

    Publication Date: August 26, 2008
    Publisher: HarperTeen
    Reading Level: Young Adult
    Pages: 418 (Hardcover)
    Source: Bought
    I'm dreaming of the boy in the tree. I tell him stories. About the Jellicoe School and the Townies and the Cadets from a school in Sydney. I tell him about the war between us for territory. And I tell him about Hannah, who lives in the unfinished house by the river. Hannah, who is too young to be hiding away from the world. Hannah, who found me on the Jellicoe Road six years ago.

    Taylor is leader of the boarders at the Jellicoe School. She has to keep the upper hand in the territory wars and deal with Jonah Griggs - the enigmatic leader of the cadets, and someone she thought she would never see again.

    And now Hannah, the person Taylor had come to rely on, has disappeared. Taylor's only clue is a manuscript about five kids who lived in Jellicoe eighteen years ago. She needs to find out more, but this means confronting her own story, making sense of her strange, recurring dream, and finding her mother - who abandoned her on the Jellicoe Road.

    The moving, joyous and brilliantly compelling new novel from the best-selling, multi-award-winning author of Looking for Alibrandi and Saving Francesca.
    ~*~Lili's Reflections~*~

    I finished this book over two weeks ago and I have been sitting on this review for what feels like forever, mostly because I have absolutely no idea what to say here after experiencing so many emotions for a book that, honestly, deserves an infinite amount of stars that cannot be given on a scale that maxes out at five. This month was a tough one for both Bekka and I. We kind of went out of our way to eviscerate each others emotions with our recommendations and we definitely both succeeded, but I think she's taking home the W with this one.

    Often recommended to me, I ignored this book mainly because I thought it looked weird and the hype monster freaks me out. I could either love it or absolutely despise it and I know many people with differing emotions on this subject. I hate going into a book having no idea what to expect, but this is one of those stories where someone can attempt to describe the entire plot to you and you'll still be completely lost until you read it for yourself.  However, Bekka made it inescapable for me not to read this book, so I put on my big girl pants and got to work. I completely understand why Marchetta is such an adored author now.

    The first fifty pages of this book is going to make or break any reader's reading experience with this one. They are weird, to say the least, but instead of being turned off by them I found myself to be intrigued. We go from a flashback about five friends that is very hard to make sense of to Taylor Markham, our main character, getting woken up in the middle of the night to discover that she is now in charge of her school's section of the Territory Wars. Yeah, definitely a bit mind-boggling, but both of these things made me want to know more. Honestly, I would read an entire book on the Territory Wars because they sound so interesting...three factions of teenagers fighting over territory, some from school, some from the town, and some cadets who stay in the area for six weeks out of the year. They kidnap each other, try to invade, and try to compromise on land area and it is so entertaining. I would have totally played this as a kid. I almost wish there was more Territory Wars in the book, but I find myself satisfied with not having any because the Territory Wars serve as an undercurrent to discovering why, exactly, those five kids in the flashbacks are so important. But, really, if you give me a book about these kids fighting Territory Wars and nothing else I would totally be happy. Just saying. And that's saying something since the wars are definitely the weakest part of the novel, though absolutely necessary because they brought Taylor, Jonah, Santangelo, and Raffy together.

    All four of our main characters are damaged and unique in their own way. So, in other words, I love them all to pieces. There's nothing more enticing to me than watching characters who have been put through the wringer try to stand on their own again and Marchetta does it damn well. She explores the importance of friendship and how strong such bonds can be, but she also explores romance, too. And let me tell you, Jonah Griggs...whew, I am fanning myself. I need one of my own, guys! The night after I finished reading this book I fell asleep dreaming about Jonah as the tears from everything I just learned dried on my cheeks. This cadet is rather dreamy and perfect and I can say no more because I don't want to sully the experience of discovering him for yourself, but he is literally the only boy on the planet that can help piece Taylor and her chaotic life back together again. Literally, he is the only way to make her whole once more. From this review, I'm sure your sensing this is a slight issue book, but even the issues take a back seat to a journey of self-discovery and are, thankfully, handled in an extremely respectful manner.

    One thing worth noting is the identity of the mysterious five. I kind of figured a few things out from some foreshadowing here and there. It is slightly predictable for sure, but even that doesn't detract from the overall plot. My gut says remove half a star and my heart says WHO THE F**K CARES WHAT YOU THINK!?!?!?, so this amazing book continues to deserve all the stars because of all the feels.

    Jellicoe Road will grip you from page one and will not let you go, even after you're done. Upon completion you will want to read nothing else and instead return to Jellicoe alongside these children. I won't be able to get them out of my mind for a while. I know things said in this review have already been parroted ten times over, but what I will say is that this book takes you on a rocking roller-coaster that shreds your emotions and your heart to pieces only to slowly piece them back together again very, very slowly. If you need an emotional read and are looking for something powerful, I recommend no other book above this one.

    Marchetta is a literary force that cannot be reckoned with.


    5+ stars (really infinite stars!)

    ~*~Links~*~
    |Amazon|Goodreads|Book Depository|Author's Website

    Top Ten Books I Wouldn't Mind Santa Bringing This Year

    Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and Bookish.

    I was super fortunate to receive most of these for Hanukkah! Thank you, everyone for being awesome! <3 In no particular order...


    1. Every Breath by Ellie Marney- Thank you for sending this my way, Nikki! I've had my eye on it after seeing you talk it up to everyone!

    2. The Glass Arrow by Kristen Simmon- I didn't get an ARC of this one, but one can continue to dream! Santa has not officially come just yet!

    3. Princess of Thorns by Stacey Jay- I loved this book and I now have a signed finished copy! omg! Thank you so much, Stacey!


    4. Heroes of Olympus series by Rick Riordan- Thank you for sending this my way Cassie and Kelly! I cannot wait to binge this!

    5. Mortal Heart by Robin LaFevers- Thank you both Montana and Alyssa for sending this book my way! I am so happy to have a finished copy of my favorite book of the series!


    6. My True Love Gave To Me by Stephanie Perkins- My Secret Santa sent me the British edition of this and it is so pretty! Thank you so much, Ashley! I cannot wait to read it and get into the holiday spirit!

    7. Top Ten Clues You're Clueless by Liz Czukas- Nobody got me this, but my birthday is definitely coming up so there's that... ;)

    8. Shadow Scale by Rachel Hartman- Thank you, Hannah! I am not over the fact I have my hands on an ARC of this!


    9. All Broke Down by Cora Carmack- I cannot wait to catch the Silas Virus! I think my sister may be getting this for me for Christmas... ;)

    10. The Lynburn Legacy trilogy by Sarah Rees Brennan- Alexa was kind enough to send me the first two books in this series and I am so thankful to finally start it since she's told me it is so amazing!

    Santa has been very kind to me this year! Don't forget to link your TTT posts below! <3

    Stacking the Shelves #90...Epic Holiday Unboxing Edition!

    Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga's Reviews.

    Hanukkah started on the 16th and Christmas is a'coming, so I wanted to share the awesome presents I have gotten so far!!! Thank you to everyone for making this a wonderful holiday season! <3

    Below is an unboxing video of me opening my presents...even though I decapitated a chocolate snowman by accident. I do not know what I did to deserve such wonderful presents and people in my life (ya'll are present enough!), but I am so so so thankful. So thankful, in fact, I had to cut at least 15 minutes of fangirling to make this video a somewhat decent length.

    To whoever can survive it, I applaud you, but I had a damn fun time doing it and I definitely plan to do another unboxing in the future no matter how awkward I am on camera. Enjoy the flails! <3

    Also, super sorry for some of the subtitle mistakes. They're fine on my laptop but for some reason didn't transfer to Youtube D:


    Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson (Thank you, Dana!)
    The Year of Shadows by Claire LeGrand (Thank you, Dana!)
    The Lovely and the Lost by Page Morgan (Thank you, Jon!)
    The Son of Neptune by Rick Riordan (Thank you, Kelly!)
    The House of Hades by Rick Riordan (Thank you, Kelly!)
    Anastasia on DVD (Thank you, Carolyn!)
    Unspoken by Sarah Rees Brennan (Thank you, Alexa!)
    The Art of Lainey by Paula Stokes (Thank you, Alexa!)
    Hook's Revenge by Heidi Schulz (Thank you, Mom & Dad!)
    Song of the Lioness boxed set by Tamora Pierce (Thank you, Mom & Dad)
    The Book Thief by Markus Zusak B&N special edition (Thank you, Bekka!)
    The Sea of Tranquility by Katja Millay (Thank you, Kayla!)
    signed and personalized Princess of Thorns by Stacey Jay (Thank you, Stacey!)
    The Fill-In Boyfriend by Kasie West (Thank you, Hannah!)
    The Wondrous and the Wicked by Page Morgan (Thank you, Hannah!)
    The Winner's Crime by Marie Rutkoski (Thank you, Hannah!)
    The Girl at Midnight by Melissa Gray (Thank you, Hannah!)
    Shadow Scale by Rachel Hartman (Thank you, Hannah!)
    Mortal Heart by Robin LaFevers (Thank you, Alyssa!)
    The Lost Hero by Rick Riordan (Thank you, Cassie!)
    The Mark of Athena by Rick Riordan (Thank you, Cassie!)
    The Blood of Olympus by Rick Riordan (Thank you, Cassie!)
    signed and personalized I'll Give You The Sun by Jandy Nelson (Thank you, Mary!)
    signed Faking It by Cora Carmack (Thank you, Mary!)
    Play by Kylie Scott (Thank you, Mary!)
    Maid of Secrets by Jennifer McGowan (Thank you, Shae!)
    The Book of Ivy by Amy Engel (Thank you, Montana!)
    signed and personalized Mortal Heart by Robin LaFevers (Thank you, Montana!)
    Every Breath by Ellie Marney (Thank you, Nikki!)
    The Thousand Dollar Tan Line by Rob Thomas (Thank you, Angie!)
    Stolen Songbird by Danielle L. Jensen (Thank you, Nicole!)
    Waistcoats & Weaponry by Gail Carriger (Thank you, Ashley, my #TBTBSecretSanta!)
    The Piper's Son by Melina Marchetta (Thank you, Summer!)
    Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge (Thank you, Tabitha)
    Second Chance Summer by Morgan Matson (Thank you, Tabitha!)

    Again, I can't even begin to describe how shocking and awesome it was to receive all of these books! You all completely rocked my socks off. Have a Happy Hanukkah, a Merry Christmas, and a healthy New Year!

    Don't forget to link your TTT posts below and if you managed to watch the above video, I want to hear your thoughts on my spasticness! I'm trying to decide if I should make vlogging a thing again!

    Also, sorry for my lack of posting the past week. I was packing to return home for 5 weeks! <3