Wednesday, December 31, 2014

The End of the Year Survey

Hello, all!

I'm finally participating in The Perpetual Page-Turner's End of the Year Survey! This was TOUGH to fill out but I think I did all right! Without further ado....

2014 Reading Stats
Number of Books Read: 89
Number of Re-Reads: 2
Genre You Read the Most From: I *think* paranormal

Best in Books:
1. Best Book You Read in 2014?
Falling Into Place by Amy Zhang
- This was a tough one, it really was. I read some amazing books this year, but none of them affected me the way this book did. It was, in one word, stunning.

2. Book I Was the Most Excited About & Thought You Were Going To Love More But Didn't?
Splintered by A. G. Howard
- I expected to LOVE this one (because Alice in Wonderland retelling, yo!) but it fell kind of flat for me. I enjoyed it, but didn't love it.

3. Most Surprising (in a good or bad way) book I read in 2014?
Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi
- This one was surprising because I read the description for it YEARS ago, and kind of forgot the plot. I also wasn't expected to ship Perry and Aria as much as I did. I totally understand what all the hype about this one was for!

4. Book You "Pushed" The Most People to Read (And They Did) in 2014?
The Beginning of Everything by Robyn Schneider
- I love pushing this book on everyone. I got a bunch of my friends to read it and sold even more copies at work. It's just such an amazing book.

5. Best Series You Started in 2014? Best Sequel of 2014? Best Series Ender of 2014?

Best Series Started: The Archived by Victoria Schwab. Holy amazing writing, Batman!
Best Sequel: Crash Into You by Katie McGarry. FEELS.
Best Series Ender: Infinite by Jodi Meadows. I couldn't have asked for a better ending.

6. Favourite New Author You Discovered in 2014?

Kasie West
- I LOVED bother her contemporary books, and I need to get my hands on the Pivot Point duology! 

7. Best Book From A Genre You Don't Typically Read/Was Out Of Your Comfort Zone?
The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
- I don't read a lot of classics, but I had to read this one for my American Lit class and ended up absolutely loving it.

8. Most Action-Packed/Thrilling/Unputdownable Book of the Year?
We Were Liars E. Lockhart
- I read this in a couple of hours and I don't think I put it down once.

10. Favourite Cover of Book You Read in 2014?
Infinite by Jodi Meadows

11. Most Memorable Character of 2014?

Thomas Mackee from The Piper's Son by Melina Marchetta
- Heart-breaking and utterly amazing.

12. Most Beautifully Written Book Read in 2014?
Sinner by Maggie Stiefvater
- Maggie always amazes me with her writing and Sinner was no exception. It was phenomenal in every way possible

13. Most Thought-Provoking/Life-Changing Book of 2014?
Falling Into Place by Amy Zhang
- Absolutely ruined me. 

14. Book You Can't Believe You Waited UNTIL 2014 to Finally Read?

Legend by Marie Lu 
- I heard about this book before it even came out and I can't believe I took this long to read it!

15. Favourite Passage/Quote From a Book You Read in 2014?

"If we make it through this alive, I'm going to tell you the truth of why. And this time you had better believe me. I came back for you, Isabel." - Sinner by Maggie Stiefvater
- Two pages into this book and I was crying. THANKS MAGGIE. My heart still hasn't recovered.

16. Shortest & Longest Book You Read in 2014?
Shortest: The Princess in Black by Shannon Hale & Dean Hale
Longest: Impulse by Ellen Hopkins (reread this one)

17. Book That Shocked You The Most

We Were Liars by E. Lockhart

18. OTP OF THE YEAR (you will go down with this ship!)
THIS IS NOT FAIR. Seriously, I can't just pick one. So. I
- Sydney & Adrian: Silver Shadows by Richelle Mead
- Isabel & Cole: Sinner by Maggie Stiefvater
- Sloane & James: The Treatment by Suzanne Young
- Isaiah & Rachel: Crash Into You by Katie McGarry
- Ana & Sam: Infinite by Jodi Meadows 

19. Favourite Non-Romantic Relationship of The Year
The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken
- That ragtag group in the van made my heart melt

20. Favourite Book You Read in 2014 From An Author You've Read Previously
Sinner by Maggie Stiefvater
- Can you see a theme developing? 

21. Best Book You Read in 2014 That You Read Based SOLELY On A Recommendation From Somebody Else/Peer Pressure

The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken
- I read this both for book club and cause my friend Katie loved it. And I'm very happy I did!

22. Newest Fictional Crush From A Book You Read in 2014?
Wesley from The Archived by Victoria Schwab

23. Best 2014 Debut You Read?

Falling Into Place by Amy Zhang
- I can't express how amazing this book was.

24. Best Worldbuilding/Most Vivid Setting You Read This Year?
Dangerous Girls by Abigail Haas
- I know this is an odd choice, but this book was so vivid. The tension was palpable and I could picture with clarity everything that was happening. She really made the story come to life!

25. Book That Put A Smile On Your Face/Was The Most FUN To Read?
On the Fence by Kasie West
- Just adorable.

26. Book That Made You Cry Or Nearly Cry in 2014?

Falling Into Place by Amy Zhang
- I cried for a solid half-hour after reading this book.

27. Hidden Gem Of The Year?
I have two! 
In the Shadows by Kiersten White and Jim Di Bartolo. This book needs way more buzz than it has gotten because it is MARVELOUS. The written story is beautiful and the pictures are extraordinary. CHECK THIS BOOK OUT!
Dr. Bird's Advice for Sad Poets by Evan Roskos
- THIS BOOK THOUGH. It has everything I love and more and it was so well-written. Y'all should go pick this one up. 

28. Book That Crushed Your Soul?

The Piper's Son by Melina Marchetta
- The bestie and I read only 20 pages at a time because it hurt so much to read. But it was so worth it. 
29. Most Unique Book You Read in 2014?
Dr. Bird's Advice for Sad Poets by Evan Roskos
- A depressed kid with a love of Whitman and tree-hugging who has an imaginary bird therapist? Yeah, really unique. And so so beautiful.
30. Book That Made You The Most Mad (doesn't necessarily mean you didn't like it)?

Ignite Me by Taherah Mafi
- I'm going to say a solid No Comment on this one.

Your Blogging/Bookish Life

1. New favourite book blog you discovered in 2014?
Hmm, I didn't get to do a lot of blog reading this year, so I don't really have one!

2. Favourite review you wrote in 2014?
Well, I didn't do a ton of reviews in 2014, but I did like my In the Shadows by Kiersten White & Jim Di Bartolo review!

3. Best discussion/non-review post you had on your blog?

4. Best event that you participated in (author signings, festivals, virtual events, memes, etc.)?
- Probably The Toronto International Book Fair because I got to meet incredible authors (Maggie Stiefvater, yo!) and hang out with my amazing Toronto peeps.

5. Best moment of bookish/blogging life in 2014?
 There were so so many. I think I have to say all the times I got to hang out with the Ottawa Bloggers though, cause I love those girls.

6. Most Popular Post This Year On Your Blog (whether it be by comments or views)?
 I'm not too sure, to be honest. Recently, my Waiting On Wednesday post for Please Remain Calm by Courtney Summers got some love.

7. Post You Wished Got A Little More Love?
Probably that Jodi Meadows interview cause she is SO GREAT at interviews!
8. Best bookish discovery (book related sites, book stores, etc.)?
- The Strand in NYC. Wasn't really a discovery, but I went to it the first time this year and UGH SO GREAT.
9. Did you complete any reading challenges or goals that you had set for yourself at the beginning of this year?
- Yeah, no. I didn't keep up with reading like I wanted to.

Looking Ahead

1. One Book You Didn't Get To In 2014 But Will Be Your Number 1 Priority in 2015?
Blue Lily, Lily Blue by Maggie Stiefvater
- I'm sure there will be a few gasps when people realize that I haven't read BLLB yet. I KNOW, GUYS. I KNOW. I'm scared. I'm excited. And I know I need a time where I can just sit down and not stop reading it, and I haven't had any days like that the last two months. January though!

2. Book You Are Most Anticipating For 2015 (non-debut)?
All The Rage by Courtney Summers
- I'm lucky enough to have an awesome friend who requested an ARC of this just for me (THANKS EM!) so I'll be reading this one VERY SOON. But, it is still my most anticipated read of the year (even though I get to read it a few months before it comes out)

3. 2015 Debut You Are Most Anticipating?
- There are a BUNCH but I'm going to go with My Heart and Other Black Holes by Jasmine Warga. Because it sounds phenomenal.

4. Series Ending/A Sequel You Are Most Anticipating in 2015?

Raven Boys #4 by Maggie Stiefvater
Basically, I'm going to be SO HEARTBROKEN when this comes to an end. I don't know how I'm going to handle it.

5. One Thing You Hope to Accomplish Or Do In Your Reading/Blogging Life in 2015?
- I want to actually reach my goal of 100 books read next year (and surpass it, if possible). I also really want to get back into blogging. I finally feel like reviewing isn't similar to pulling my teeth out and I'm dedicated to making time to making my blog the best it can be.

6. A 2015 Release You've Already Read & Recommend to Everyone 
- I actually haven't read a 2015 release yet! But I'm going to recommend All the Rage anyways, cause I know it'll be awesome. 

Phew, that was a tough one!

Goodbye, 2014! You've been interesting.

- Ciara (Lost at Midnight)


Thursday, December 25, 2014

Merry Christmas! *sings Christmas carols*

(That's me a couple Christmases ago!)


Christmas is my FAVOURITE holiday and I get so excited for it every year. I'll be spending the day with my family, lots of delicious food, and Christmas music. I simply cannot wait.

If you celebrate Christmas, I hope you have the very merriest one yet! (And if you don't, I hope your Thursday is awesome!)

- Ciara (Lost at Midnight) 

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Waiting On Wednesday (70): Polaris by Mindee Arnett

Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jill over at Breaking the Spine, in which bloggers talk about the books they are most eager for! 

Publisher: Harper Teen
Release Date: January 20th, 2015  

Following the events of Avalon, Jeth Seagrave and his crew are on the run. Jeth is desperate to find the resources and funding he needs to rescue his mother from an ITA’s research lab and leave this whole galaxy behind for a new life somewhere else. But the ITA is just as desperate, and soon Jeth finds himself pursued by a mysterious figure hell-bent on capturing Jeth and his crew—dead or alive. In a last-ditch effort to save everyone he holds dear, Jeth enters into a bargain with the last person he ever thought he'd see again: Dax Shepherd, the galaxy’s newest and most fearsome crime lord. And he’s not the only one: upon arriving back at Peltraz spaceport for the first time since he witnessed the death of his old employer, Jeth discovers Dax has a new partner: Jeth’s mother, Marian.

This shocking turn of events is only the first in another breathless, action-packed sci-fi adventure rife with danger, love, and betrayal, as Jeth has to once again ask himself how much he’s willing to invest in a morally bankrupt galaxy in the hopes of saving those he cares for. (Summary from Goodreads)
I was lucky enough to get an ARC of Avalon earlier this year and it quickly became one of my favourite reads of 2014. The characters were incredible, the plot-line fascinating and I basically just wanted more and more. I mean seriously, space hijinks, tight friendships, and intrigue? It was like everything I love wrapped up into one book. As soon as I turned the last page I started counting down the days until I would get the conclusion to this incredible story. And now, I don't have to wait very long at all!

I highly recommend you check out this series (if you want to know all the reasons why, here's my review of Avalon). It's perfect for sci-fi fans and non sci-fi fans alike! 

So, what are you waiting on this week?

- Ciara (Lost at Midnight)

P. S. MERRY CHRISTMAS EVE!! *bounces with excitement* 

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday (9): Top Ten Books I Hope Santa Brings Me This Christmas

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish in which bloggers post their "Top Ten" of whatever that week's theme is! This week's theme:


Now, these aren't in any particular order, except for number one. I asked for an insane amount of books for Christmas, because I wanted to be surprised when I opened my presents! Here are ten of the ones I asked for!

- I've been meaning to read this book for ages, but I just haven't gotten around to it. I can't wait to see what all the fuss is about!
- I read The Darkest Minds for book club this year and, although I had a few issues, I really enjoyed it. I'm looking forward to read the next two!

- Falling Into Place was probably my favourite read of the year and I NEED a hardcover copy of it!

- I have such a soft spot for Percy Jackson and I really want to finish this series up!

- I haven't read an A. S. King book and I've heard such amazing things about this one.

- Something not everyone knows about me is that I have a serious interest in the story of Christopher McCandless. When I heard that his sister was writing a memoir, I knew I needed to have it. 

- I still haven't read Throne of Glass but I know I'll want to sequel as soon as humanly possible!
- I SERIOUSLY can't believe I haven't bought this one yet. I waited until the Hex Hall series came out in paperback to buy it, and did the same for School Spirits. Problem is, I never actually picked this one up! 

- I'm not a memoir reader, but one written by Amy freakin Poehler? Yeah, I'll read that.

- This is the only book I prioritized on my list. The only book I wrote like ten stars beside and said in big letters "GET THIS ONE." I have not heard a single poor word about this book. In fact, I've only heard massive declarations of love. I've been so tempted to buy it since it's release, but have waited until now. I can't wait to open this one up on Christmas morning!

What are you hoping to find under your tree this year?

- Ciara (Lost at Midnight)

Monday, December 22, 2014

Review: My True Love Gave To Me: Twelve Holiday Stories edited by Stephanie Perkins

Title: My True Love Gave to Me: Twelve Holiday Stories
Edited by: Stephanie Perkins
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Release Date: October 14th, 2014
Source: Purchased

My Rating: 4/5  

If you love holiday stories, holiday movies, made-for-TV-holiday specials, holiday episodes of your favorite sitcoms and, especially, if you love holiday anthologies, you’re going to fall in love with MY TRUE LOVE GAVE TO ME: TWELVE HOLIDAY STORIES by twelve bestselling young adult writers, edited by international bestselling author Stephanie Perkins. (Summary from Goodreads)

When the announcement about this anthology first came out, I was over the moon. Some of my absolute FAVOURITE authors writing about my FAVOURITE holiday? I wanted to weep with joy. I was so excited to read it right before the holidays, and it sure didn't disappoint! I'll give my overall impressions at the end, but I've decided I'm to do mini-reviews about each of the stories! Check them out below.

Midnights by Rainbow Rowell
Rainbow Rowell, you know how to make me have FEELS. Her story may have only been twenty-two pages but I felt so connected with her characters. There was chemistry and hilarity and banter and emotions. Definitely the perfect way to start off the anthology.

The Lady and the Fox by Kelly Link
This one was kind of lost on me. The writing style wasn't my cup of tea, and the story confused me slightly. It came together in the end and I liked how different it was, but overall I was iffy about it.

Angels in the Snow by Matt de la Pena
I haven't read anything by Matt de la Pena but I really enjoyed his writing in this story. The characters were interesting, the story heart-warming and imperfect. And it had an awesome cat. Which is an A+ in my books.

Polaris Is Where You'll Find Me by Jenny Han
This was another odd one. I loved that it was set at the North Pole and about Santa's adopted daughter. But, I wasn't a huge fan of Natty (the narrator) so the story wasn't as captivating for me. It was cute though, and I enjoyed it overall.

It's a Yuletide Miracle, Charlie Brown by Stephanie Perkins
How Stephanie Perkins manages to make me feel so joyful and emotional in such a short amount of pages is astounding. This short story had her signature quirkiness and something more. Something special and moving and heart-warming. I loved this one something fierce. 

Your Temporary Santa by David Levithan
One of the things that surprised me (and probably shouldn't have) about the stories in this anthology is that a lot of them aren't light and fluffy. Yes, there are cutesy moments and adorable characters, but there are also some strong emotions and themes in them. Case in point, "Your Temporary Santa". This one had me giggling out loud, and smiling widely from the sweetness. But there were also a couple quietly heart-breaking moments. It was the perfect balance of sweet and serious that captures the ups and downs of Christmas.

Krampuslauf by Holly Black
I've been reading Holly Black since I was 14 and after all these years, she never fails to enchant me. I knew to expect something fantastical in this story and Holly Black delivered. The characters we're odd and heartwarming, the story eccentric, and the writing marvelous. I was definitely a fan of this one.

What the Hell Have You Done, Sophie Roth? by Gayle Forman
Oh, man. Gayle Forman. I've never read anything of yours I haven't loved, and "What the Hell Have You Done, Sophie Roth?" is no exception. It was a story about the holidays, about family, and about learning to embrace every situation you're in. As a girl in university (just like Sophie) I find myself becoming jaded about school pretty often. I love stories like this that reflect personal experiences I've had, and give me some perspective on it. Such a great short story.

Beer Buckets and Baby Jesus by Myra McEntire
I knew as soon as I read the title to this short story, I was going to love it. Myra McEntire didn't disappoint. What a fun, heart-warming Christmas story. This is exactly what I was looking for in this anthology. Fantastic characters, sweet moments, and lots of holiday goodness. Also hilarity and hijinks. I will most definitely be rereading this story!

Welcome to Christmas, CA by Kiersten White
TINY KIWI! I have been waiting to read this story the whole anthology! (Don't get me wrong, I'm a huge fan of the other authors but I have a soft spot for Kiersten White). And, this story has the honor of being the one to make me cry. Because ugh, my emotions. Kiersten White manages to write fully-fleshed out characters in just a few short pages and makes me care so much about them. Maria and Ben had my heart bursting from happiness, and their banter was spot on. It perfectly captured the hopefully and heartfelt spirit of Christmas. This was probably my favourite story of the bunch. I just want to read it over and over again.

Star of Bethlehem by Ally Carter
After finishing Kiersten White's story, I texted my best friend. "I think Kiersten White's story is going to be my favourite, unless Ally Carter has something to say about that." And boy, did she ever! I was laughing out loud at this one, and had a smile permanently plastered on my face. I couldn't help it! Ally Carter knows how to write such a fun and sweet story. I loved the chemistry and

The Girl Who Woke the Dreamer by Laini Taylor
As always, Laini Taylor brings talent and beauty to the stories she writes. Although I did find this one a bit too wordy, I loved the idea of it. I could picture the setting vividly, I could feel the desperation, the pain, and the enchantement woven into this story. It was intriguing, although a bit dense, and I definitely enjoyed it. A solid story to end off this anthology!

Overall, I adored this anthology. It was just like a hoped it would be: magical and wonderful and everything I love about the holidays. All of the authors are on their games, and they all deliver clever and interesting stories. It's definitely an anthology I'll be going back to and reading over and over. If you love the holidays (and you love AWESOME authors), pick up My True Love Gave to Me!

- Ciara (Lost at Midnight)

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Waiting On Wednesday (69): Please Remain Calm by Courtney Summers

Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jill over at Breaking the Spine, in which bloggers talk about the books they are most eager for! 

This Week's Pick: Please Remain Calm (This Is Not a Test #2)
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Release Date: January 20th, 2015

In this gripping sequel to THIS IS NOT A TEST, Rhys and Sloane are headed for a safe haven when they get separated along the way. Rhys is determined to reunite with Sloane until he discovers people who might need him more--people who offer him the closest he'll get to everything he's lost, if they can just hold on long enough.

Rhys thinks he has what it takes to survive and find the girl he lost, but in a world overrun by the dead, there are no guarantees and the next leg of his journey will test him in unimaginable ways... (Summary from Goodreads)

OH GOD, GUYS. I AM NOT READY. I AM NOT CALM. My bestie and I have been talking/theorizing/fan-girling/preemptively crying over this novella since it was announced. This is Not a Test is quite possibly my favourite book of all time, and I'm both so excited and so so scared to read Please Remain Calm. Courtney Summers does not pull any punches. She doesn't give you the ending you want, but one that is right for the story. And, let's be real, those endings can HURT. And this is a ZOMBIE BOOK. Nothing happy ever happens in a zombie book. So, I have reasons to be scared. But, I also know that this story will be incredible and gut-wrenching and powerful and just so dang good. It is a Courtney Summers book after all. I cannot wait to revisit these beautifully broken and fascinating characters once again. 

I know I've said this repeatedly, but I can't express it enough. You need to read Courtney Summers' books. They are some of the best out there in YA and absolutely impacting. Get yourself to a book store and grab a copy, or head to your bookshelf and put them at the top of your TBR. And then come join me and the bestie as we anxiously await one of our most anticipated books of the year.

Check out my review of This is Not a Test here!

What are you waiting on this week?

- Ciara (Lost at Midnight) 

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Mini-Reviews: Children's Book Edition!

Hey, everyone!

A couple of months back, I received an AH-MAZING package from the lovely Jackie at Penguin Random House which included a bunch of picture books. I have a soft spot for picture books of all kinds so I dived right into them. I normally stick to just YA books here, but I decided to do a bunch of mini-reviews to highlight these awesome picture books. Here are a couple of the ones I got! 

Sam & Dave Dig a Hole
Author: Mac Barnett
Illustrator: Jon Klassen
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Release Date: October 14th, 2014
Source: Received from publisher for honest review

When I pulled this book out of the package I immediately squealed "EEP JON KLASSEN!" I absolutely adore this work, and Sam & Dave Dig a Hole was no exception. He and Mac Barnett make a fantastic team in this cute and fun story. The artwork was gorgeous (as usual for Klassen) and the plot was funny and had me smiling all the way through. Also it has a clever and curious dog which is just great. My mom also loved this book (considering she is a hugely pick reader (and human) this is a big accomplishment)! She pulled it out, just to flip through it, and ended up reading the whole thing with a smile on her face. Sam & Dave Dig a Hole is the perfect edition to any book collection.

Find This Book: Chapters | Goodreads | Penguin Random House

Author & Illustrator: Aaron Becker
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Release Date: August 24th, 2014
Source: Received from publisher for honest review

I had never heard of this book before it appeared in my package but I'm always willing to check out a picture book. When I opened it up though, I was confused. There were no words! I flipped a couple pages ahead and still no words. So, I looked it up. And found out that Quest was, in fact, a wordless picture book. Once I started reading again, I took the time to appreciate all the illustrations and wow, they were marvelous. There was lots of detail and creativity, beautiful and fantastical worlds brought vividly to life. This story didn't need any words to be understood, the pictures were definitely enough. I'm really excited to see what Aaron Becker will do next. 

Find This Book: Chapters | Goodreads | Penguin Random House

Edie's Ensembles 
Author & Illustrator: Ashley Spires
Publisher: Tundra Books
Release Date: October 14th, 2014
Source: Received from publisher for honest review

I'd heard some buzz about this book before I received a copy and I understand why. The pictures in this book are so creative and beautiful. I loved all the crazy outfits Edie created, and I'm a sucker for stories with animal characters. The story itself tugged at my heartstrings. I was getting a little misty eyed, at points! I think this is a great book to give to kids about being who you are but also being a great friend. I cannot wait to give this book to my little cousin so she can enjoy it just like I did.

Find This Book: Chapters | Goodreads | Penguin Random House's Website

What are your favourite picture books? Any of these catch your eye? Let me know in the comments!

- Ciara (Lost at Midnight)