Tuesday Top Ten-Books to Look Forward to in 2014!

My loves! I am so sorry, sildenafil I apologize over and over for my lack of effort on my blog. I truly do. I would like to blame something legitimate like school or NaNoWriMo or something but truly…I just didn’t have the inspiration to work on it.

But I’m back! I promise! Today I’m stealing the topic of the Broke and Bookish’s Top Ten Tuesday post and doing Books to Look Forward to in 2014.

Unfortunately thats kind of hard to narrow down to ten. Really hard. Like, website like this impossibly hard. I read so many authors and so many books that I just look forward to SO many releases.

Even narrowing it down to January to May wasn’t totally helpful. Sigh.

So there are …fourteen books on the list. Sorry :( But hopefully that will get you excited for SO many awesome releases coming in the new year!

Honorable Mentions:

These are honorable mentions because I’ve already read one of them, and I have ARCs of the other! So I want to draw attention to them, since they’ll be releasing in early 2014 BUT I’ll have already read them!

Clicking on the author’s name will take you to their website, and clicking on the book title will take you to the Amazon Page AND clicking the book cover will take you to the GoodReads page! I’m nothing, if not completely thorough ;)

Afterparty by Ann Stampler 

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Expected Release: January 7th

Ann’s Where It Began blew me away, and I’m eager to dive into this book and be blown away again. She has a way of capturing the teen outlook but also writes an intelligent and compelling novel. Good girl Emma decides that she wants to break free, and gets involved with Siobhan, whose friendship is fun at first, until it takes a turn, and things become intoxicating and dangerous. I can’t wait for it. Afterparty is going to be a blast!

Going Rogue by Robin Benway

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Expected Release: January 14th

The first book of this series, Also Known As, was SUPER funny, and addicting to read. Maggie is part of a spy network with her parents, and her specialty is breaking locks, whether on doors or to safes, etc. Then she gets her own assignment, to go undercover at an upscale high school, and hilarity ensues. Its full of action and fun spy stuff BUT it just makes you laugh so hard, and Maggie is a fun character, AND there’s cute boys. Win!

Panic by Lauren Oliver

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Expected Release: March 4th

This one I’ve already read :) I can’t wait to share my review with you all. A departure from her dystopian series, Delirium, Lauren Oliver takes us into the contemporary world again, with a twist. Heather lives in Carp, where nothing ever happens, except for the game Panic every summer. The kids spend the entire year raising money for a ridiculous prize amount (think in the THOUSANDS) and compete in dangerous, scary and, often times, illegal tasks in order to win the game. Heather didn’t expect to play when it came her turn, but that money could be a way out. Dodge, a fellow classmate, has been looking forward to Panic, and he’s determined to get the right outcome. I think you’ll like this one. If you were disappointed with the end of the Delirium series like I was, I think this will help with Lauren Oliver a bit :)

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Now the actual list of ten, erm, eleven books I’m looking forward to in 2014…up until May, at least!

11. Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins

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Expected Release: May 13th

I just discovered Stephanie this year! Anna and the French Kiss and especially Lola and the Boy Next Door are GREAT YA contemporary novels that I totally recommend, a thousand times. I am full of SO much excitement for this one because of all great the others have been. In this novel, we are going to meet Isla and Josh and I think come to find a new meaning of the phrase “happily ever after”. And of course, we will see Anna, Etienne, Lola and Cricket again, which makes me very happy. I think that Stephanie will tell a great story, as usual with twists and turns and surprises and enough heart pounding and sigh-worthy scenes to keep us all SO happy!

10. Don’t Look Back by Jennifer L. Armentrout 

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Expected Release: April 15th

I am So excited about this one because honestly, I just discovered JLA in May and she has yet to disappoint me. Her storytelling is fantastic; she makes me laugh, and feel all swooning but she throws in these kickass action scenes, and then she has the most sarcastic and hilarious characters. So I’m really anxious to dive into a new series with her. Don’t Look Back follows Samantha who has it all, until she disappears, and then reappears with no memory of who she is or how she got lost. When she figures out that she was the  “mean girl”, she’s determined to have this second chance. Unfortunately her best friend is still missing…Sounds awesome right? She never disappoints and I can’t wait to read it.

 9. Hollow City by Ransom Riggs 

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Expected Release: January 14th

Okay, I’m totally reading the first book right now, and maybe I won’t like and maybe I’ll have no desire to read this …but I honestly doubt it. So many people I know really liked this book and I just love Ransom as a person. His instagram, tumblr and twitter posts keep me laughing, and he’s super interactive with his fans. And he’s handsome. Not that this has anything to do with his book, it was just a notable fact about him. Moving on, I am looking forward to this release because I’m already enjoying Miss Peregrine’s a lot AND he’ll be touring for this book and will, of course, be signing in Los Angeles so yay! I keep missing him, and I want formally meet him finally!

8. Cress by Marissa Meyer 

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Expected Release: February 4th

I just finished Scarlet, the second book, about a week ago, and I love this series already. I put off reading it FOR so long and I have no idea why. I think it was the cover to be honest. I get turned off on books because of the covers quite often, and I’m often times proven wrong. But I still do it. Anyway, I read Cinder and Scarlet and now I’m very excited for Cress. Marissa Meyer takes the whole science fiction, fairy tale retellings to an incredible level, and her stories and characters are awesome. One minute they’re super badass and sci-fi-ish (that’s a word now) and then the next, they’re totally reminding you of Cinderella and Red Riding Hood. Its awesome. This isn’t the final book, its the climax to the final book, Winter (2015), so you know its going to be SO GOOD.

7. Summer State of Mind by Jen Calonita

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Expected Release: April 22nd  

I absolutely adore Jen Calonita. Her books are quick and easy reads, with laughter, cute boys, but often times, serious teen problems as well. Her standalone novel, Sleepaway Girls, was super cute, about a girl going to camp as a CIT and learning to be independent of her dominant best friend. Of course, rivalries happen, cute boys make the summer interesting and hilarity and disaster ensues. I absolutely LOVED it. Now there’s a sequel, called Summer State of Mind, where they’re returning to Camp Whispering Pines and I’m SO excited. She writes such fun novels and I don’t think I’m alone in that desire to go to camp. I always want to go to camp as a kid and was never able to so I like to live vicariously through this. Definitely one to look forward to.

6. Ignite Me by Tahereh Mafi

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Expected Release: February 4th

When I picked up Shatter Me, I had done so because Tahereh Mafi kept popping up everywhere, at all these events (though I haven’t met her officially either!) and her name just kept popping up to me, and so I decided to check out Shatter Me, even though I was getting kind of tired of dystopian. I’m glad I gave this one a chance because Juliette is an awesome character and we’ve really seen her grow so much in this series, and I hope we continue to see that in Ignite Me. I also think Tahereh Mafi has a way of telling a brand new story in that familiar dystopian archetype that we’ve grown to know so well. She has surprises and twists that keep you hooked til the end.

5. The Last Forever by Deb Caletti 

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Expected Release: April 1st

I adore Deb Caletti and while I absolutely loved He’s Gone, which was her dive into adult fiction, I am glad to see she’s back in YA. All of her books are just so incredibly good. She hits SO many issues of teens, but she never makes her books seem like “issue books”. Her stories are flawless and genuine and each one has captivated me and made me fall in love. She’s gotten so much recognition for her books and its totally deserved. The book is sure to be another emotion wrecker. The main character’s mom has died, and her dad is having a hard time recovering and so is she. Enter a road trip, a new place, and a new boy, and it just spells awesome. Deb Caletti tells beautiful stories and I’m sure this one will be as well.

4. City of Heavenly Fire by Cassandra Clare 

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Expected Release: May 27th

I think most people would be surprised to see this as #4 and now #1 or 2 or 3. And its true, I love Cassandra Clare and adore her books. I definitely can’t wait to read City of Heavenly Fire and see how the TMI series wraps up. My only thing is…I thought the series was wrapped up perfectly in City of Glass and I didn’t feel like it needed to be continued. I am not a fan of Fallen Angels and I kind of like Lost Souls. So while I do want to read the end and find out who lives and who dies, and where everyone sort of ends up, I also am just not DYING to read it, like I was with the other novels. I still think City of Glass was a great ending. But I digress. I’m a TMI fan, and I will read it because I love Jace and Clary and Alec and Simon and Magnus and Isabelle and all of them.

3. Unforgotten by Jessica Brody 

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Expected Release: February 25th

Another discovery of this year, Jessica Brody has become one of my favorite authors. I read her book, Unremembered, first, and then dove into her contemporary books which seriously make me laugh. They’re fantastic. Definitely check them out. But we’re focusing on Unremembered. Unremembered is about Seraphina, who wakes up in the middle of the ocean, the only survivor of a deadly plane crash. She doesn’t remember who she is, nor does she remember much in general. No one comes forward to claim her, so she’s taken in by foster parents. While Sera remembers the world, she also realizes that she’s different than others, faster, stronger, smarter. Then a boy named Zen comes into the picture, claiming that he knows her, and that they’re in love. Its like Bourne Identity, but with a badass girl instead of Matt Damon. Its seriously awesome, and I can’t say much more because Unforgotten is the sequel, and you just need to read this. This comes out TWO days before my birthday so happy birthday to me!

2. Since You’ve Been Gone by Morgan Matson

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Expected Release: May 6th 2014

Morgan Matson is one of my absolute favorite authors of all time. She made me fall in love with her, as an author, so fast with Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour. Then she released Second Chance Summer, and its just as good. I’ve met Morgan several times this year, but it’ll be two years since her last novel came out when this third novel hits the stands. That’s a LONG time to wait haha, or at least it is to me. The main character Emily meets Sloane, who introduces her to a world of fun, who helps pull her out of her shell. Then Sloane disappears and leaves behind a list of things for Emily to accomplish like “apple picking at night” or “dancing until dawn” or “kiss a stranger”. It sounds like another unique and fun Morgan Matson novel, and I honestly just can’t wait for it.

1. Grasshopper Jungle by Andrew Smith

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Expected Release: February 11th

Another discovery of this year (I seriously dove into books and blogging in 2013), Andrew Smith’s Winger literally knocked my socks off, blew me away, had my jaw hanging open down to the ground. It seriously just…it was so amazing. Now Andrew has a new book releasing in February (on mine and Jon’s 6 year anniversary!), and I’m DYING to read it. I keep trying to get my hands on an ARC but have been thus far unsuccessful. I may have to wait til February but it’ll be worth the wait. Andrew has a natural humor to his books, I have laughed out loud, uncontrollably with tears, because of his books. In this novel, Andrew is combining his hilarity with his out of this world story telling (giant insects? really? I’m shuddering already), and I’m sure he’s going to get that teen boy spirit, hilarity and coming of age-ness like he has done before. I am DYING to get my hands on this book, especially when everyone is loving it! It WILL happen!

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I hope you enjoyed this Tuesday Top ….Eleven…or something…some number close to Ten. You should definitely add ALL of these books to your “to-read” list, and if you haven’t read their prequels, then get on it! These books and authors are all great, and you’ll definitely enjoy them!

Don’t forget that you can check out previous Tuesday Top Ten lists here!

What are some books that you are looking forward to in the New Year? Share in the comments! 

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Book of the Week-Shatter Me

Today, check I’m posting two book reviews. First off will be the Book of the Week which is the post that you are reading right now. I will post later today the second episode of Sara’s Quick Picks. I have been reading like crazy and have been overloaded with so many books.

And the best part is, dosage I keep getting books recommended to me, which is amazing. Keep that coming. I love to hear what you all are reading. It keeps me all excited and happy to feel like I have a never ending “to-read” list.

And I am SO excited because I received my first ever ARC (advance reading copy). Since I’m a blogger, and I blog mostly about books, I’ve been trying to get my hands on some ARCs for awhile now, with some limited success. By limited success, I mean that I’ve gotten my name out there, sent my address to some publishers but that’s about it.

So I was so excited to receive, by surprise, an advanced copy of The Bitter Kingdom by Rae Carson today. I hope to read that VERY soon and have a review up. Just keep in mind that this book isn’t actually released until August 27th so maybe reading the review is a bad idea :)

But in the meantime, here is this week’s Book of the Week!

Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi 

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Genre:
young adult, dystopian, romance, science fiction

Part of a Series:
Yes, it is followed by Unravel Me (published this year), and an untitled third book releasing in 2014. There is also an e-novella entitled Destroy Me available.

You May Like if You Liked:
Divergent by Veronica Roth and Legend by Marie Lu

Plot Summary: 

The world has changed. We abused the earth too much and she’s feeling the pain. The climate has changed, the animals are gone, food is nearly impossible to grow. There is a new boss in town, the Reestablishment, and the way of life as we know it is flipped upside down in this heavily regulated, militaristic world.

Juliette is the main character of this novel and you first meet her in her prison room. She hasn’t spoken to anyone in years, hasn’t touched anymore and her own comfort is a makeshift notebook and her one leaky pen in which she writes. She can’t touch anyone. Anyone she touches loses strength extremely quickly, experiences terrible pain and dies. Her touch equals death. Her parents despise and society practically mobs against her very existence. She is teased, bullied, ridiculed, told that she’s better off killing herself. She’s poked and prodded, sent to hospitals and put under a million tests. When it just seems like too much, her parents send her away, to an “establishment” (read: prison), wiping their hands clean of her.

Suddenly, after hundreds of days of solitude, Juliette gets a roommate in the form of a very handsome boy who doesn’t seem crazy in the slightest and is someone she recognizes from her past on the outside. His name is Adam and he wants to be her friend, even in the deep and dismal place that they both inhabit. But Juliette’s never had a friend before and has never been able to get close to anyone before, due to her deadly power, especially after the mistake she made, the secret she keeps. But there is more to Adam that she knows and soon she is recruited as a weapon, to use the power that binds her and frightens her.

The Bad:

It’s another young adult dystopian romance. I know, this is the kind of books that I generally tend to gravitate toward, along with fantasy and science fiction. But there is a lot of it out there, especially in this golden age of YA literature. I think this is something that could really hold Tahereh back. I know quite a few of my book buddies that are like “oh god, please no more dystopian” when I try to recommend them books. Not exactly a good sign for those hoping to get their dystopian novels out there, and noticed. People are getting tired of them. I’m not, really, but I will admit, I don’t go out of my way to find them. I usually read dystopian books when they are recommended to me by people whose opinion I trust.

I only took notice of “Shatter Me” because Tahereh was popping up everywhere. She was at the Festival of Books and she’s been Ransom Riggs (who, by the way, is an absolutely beautiful man), Marie Lu, Kami Garcia, Alyson Noel and Margaret Stohl. She’s been EVERYWHERE. I was basically like, who is this author anyway? So I bought Shatter Me. I don’t know if I would have picked it up otherwise.

The Good: 

That all being said, I absolutely loved this book. I told myself that I would try and reach a goal of 200 books read this year and I am so behind because I am SO busy. I picked this book up and everything else flew out of my head. Finals? Pssh. Writing for the blog? Psssh. Life in general? Pssh. I read this book in about four or five hours because it was SO good. It was so impressively good. I hope more people are talking about this book than just me because I really enjoyed it. I had to know what happened next and she just released the sequel, Unravel Me, earlier this year which means its only out in hardback, which means its going to be fairly expensive. But you know what? I enjoyed the book so much that I caved in and bought the hardback yesterday.

I loved Juliette. Juliette is wary of all people, wary of the world, but she’s such a good person and still cares about the world. She has this power, this crazy, intense power that is frightening. All she has to do is simply touch someone to cause the pain, the suffering, the death. That is absolutely frightening and I’m sure incredibly difficult to understand. And Juliette didn’t have anyone there to help her, to explain, to do anything. Her parents immediately tried to fix her, and when that didn’t work, they gave on her. There was no affection, no love, no warmth. She hasn’t known anything but hate and despise and ignorance, wherever she goes. But despite that, she’s still an inherently good person. She doesn’t trust people, she doesn’t trust Adam, or Warner, the man who wants to use her as a weapon, she doesn’t trust most people, but she still doesn’t want to fight people, doesn’t want to kill people, no matter what they’ve done to her.

I also like the dynamic between Adam and Juliette, especially the relationship that starts building between them. Everything like this is new to Juliette, she literally has never had a relationship of any kind: not a parental, friendship, anything. She doesn’t know what its like to hold someone’s hand. She doesn’t know what its like to have someone smile at her, genuinely smile. She doesn’t know what a hug feels like, the warmth and happiness and comfort it can provide. So when she finds someone who is able to share that with her, its beautiful, and the way Mafi writes it is beautiful. She really creates the newness of the feelings and sensations so well. I’ve been in a relationship for five years, I’ve been in relationships before. I’ve been hugged my whole life from family and friends. I love the touch of affection and I can only imagine how it would feel, experiencing it for the first time.

I also like that the world that Tahereh creates. It is familiar to us, not only because it is a world not entirely different from our own but also because we’ve all read various different dystopian books before. We have a society that broke down, and had to be reestablished, and in being reestablished, a group of people come into power, and come up with militaristic ways, and heavy rules and regulations. This is not new to us. However, the way that they got us there is a lot different than I have seen before. So many of the dystopian novels are post-apocalyptic or after war, especially of the nuclear variety. Its a society that has emerged from the aftermath of war. In “Shatter Me”, its an entirely different source of trouble. The Reestablishment comes out of a global warming crisis, a breakdown of the actual planet, not the society and its structure. I really liked that. People don’t tend to explore that kind of thing and I really admired it.

Plus the whole  powers thing, it felt very X-Men to me. I mean, sure Juliette’s power is seriously deadly and easy to misunderstand be absolutely scared of, but I do think that a lot of it comes from just ignorance and the inability to accept and try to understand something that is new and foreign to them. But I like that we eventually see more acceptance, and its really awesome. Its interesting to watch Juliette’s progress through the book, and watching her as she deals with her power.

I also liked the actual way she formatted the book. I liked that we are so in Juliette’s head, so much that its almost like she’s writing the book herself. I like that some phrases and words are crossed out. We get to see what she’s really thinking, or what she really wants to say before we get the amended version. Its really hard to describe so I took a picture of a page toward the beginning of the book so you could see.

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I really get a kick out of this. We get all of Juliette, both her thoughts, her words, and her amended words. And you can also see her own self doubting in such a real, raw way. I really loved this technique.

Rating:

4.5 out of 5 Stars

Recommended or Not: 

Yes, definitely. It was an absolutely brilliant book and I seriously blew through it. It was a very fast paced and emotional book, lots of really deep and emotional turmoil and all of that. Plus the relationship between Juliette and Adam is really really fun and super juicy.

Now I’m off to go read Unravel Me, because I’m just dying to find out what happens next!

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And check out previous Book of the Week reviews here!