Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Top Ten Tuesday: Recent Favorite Picture Books

Happy Tuesday and welcome back to Top Ten Tuesday, a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish!  This week's topic is a freebie all about the visuals, so this week I'm sharing ten of my Recent Favorite Picture Books that have been released within the last five years.  Here we go, in alphabetical order by title:

The Day the Crayons Quit by Drew Daywalt & Oliver Jeffers (Illustrator)

Dragons Love Tacos by Adam Rubin & Daniel Salmieri (Illustrator)

Goldilocks and the Three Dinosaurs by Mo Willems

I'm a Dirty Dinosaur by Janeen Brian, Ann James (Illustrator)

I Want My House Back by Jon Klassen

Magritte's Marvelous Hat by D.B. Johnson

Mr. Wuffles! by David Wiesner

Pete the Cat and His Magic Sunglasses by Kimberly Dean, James Dean (Illustrator)

Those Darn Squirrels and the Cat Next Door by Adam Rubin & Daniel Salmieri (Illustrator)

Waiting by Kevin Henkes

So, what do you think of my list this week?  Have you explored any of these picture books?  Do you have any good recommendations of picture books for me?  Thanks, as always, for visiting my blog and, perhaps even, leaving a comment!

Monday, January 30, 2017

Music Monday: Welcome to Night Vale, Year 2 - The Weather, Pt. 1

Happy Monday everyone and welcome back to Music Monday! Let's share some songs we've been enjoying lately!  If you would like to play and I really hope you do, please see the rules and link up below.


Every Monday share one or two of songs you've been enjoying lately.  It doesn't have to be a specific genre, new, or one of your favorites - just something you'd like to share with others.  If possible, share a music or lyric video of the song and your thoughts on the song(s), artist(s), and/or music video(s).

If you would like to participate in Music Monday, please join the link up by sharing your post's url.

I've recently finished up Year 2 of Welcome to Night Vale, which is one of my favorite podcasts to listen to.  I started in on it last year, so I'm a little late to the party, but I'm trying to catch up.  Anyway, for the next few weeks I'll be sharing with you some of my favorite segments from "The Weather" from Year 2.  Without further ado, here we go in episode order:

"Long Gone" by Mary Epworth from Episode 26, "Faceless Old Woman" - I love her voice, the simplicity of the video, and the brassy sound.

"The Lethal Temptress" by The Mendoza Line from Episode 30, "Dana" - Just listen to the story of this song, totally reminds me of some of my favorite traditional and bluegrass songs.

"Never Be Famous" by Hussalonia from Episode 31, "A Blinking Light Up On The Mountain" - Be sure to keep your eyes on the Hussalonia "facts" in the video.  Also, this song makes me think of The Eels music, which is a good thing.

"Peanuts" by Sam 'n' Ash from Episode 36, "Missing" - I'm not sure why the video is like this, but I just love the instrumental combination of accordion and mandolin - never would have expected to say that, but the blend just make me feel happy.

Friday, January 27, 2017

2016 End of Year Book Survey

I know this is coming a bit late, but I'm taking part in Jamie @ The Perpetual Page-Turner's 2016 End of Year Book Survey.  You can go here if you'd like to see my 2015 survey.  Without further ado, let's go through my year in books!

Number Of Books You Read: 237 - I beat my Goodreads goal by a whopping 37 books!

Number of Re-Reads: 0 - At least that I can remember...

Genre You Read The Most From: Fantasy - No surprise there!

1. Best Book You Read In 2016? 

I read so many great books this year, but these are fourteen of my favorite reads in alphabetical order.  Each title is linked to my review, if you'd like to see what I had to say about it.

The Female of the Species by Mindy McGinnis

Ink and Ashes by Valynne E. Maetani

Ink and Bone by Rachel Caine

The Last Days of Jack Sparks by Jason Arnopp

The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch

Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke

Only the Dead Know Burbank by Bradford Tatum

The Raven King by Marissa Meyer

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

Vicious by V.E. Schwab

Winter by Marissa Meyer

Written in Red by Anne Bishop

You by Caroline Kepnes

2. Book You Were Excited About & Thought You Were Going To Love More But Didn’t?

Falling Kingdoms by Morgan Rhodes - I really, really tried with this audiobook, but unfortunately I ended up DNFing it.

Firstlife by Gena Showalter - This looked and sounded pretty awesome, but I couldn't make it through this one either.

Thief of Lies by Brenda Drake - Personally, I was looking forward to more library hopping and less kissing.  And, a story that relied a little less on Cassandra Clare's City of Bones to be honest.

3. Most surprising (in a good way or bad way) book you read?

The Female of the Species by Mindy McGinnis - In the best way.

4. Book You “Pushed” The Most People To Read (And They Did)?

The Female of the Species by Mindy McGinnis, The Girl From Everywhere by Heidi Heilig, The Last Days of Jack Sparks by Jason Arnopp, Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare, and Written in Red by Anne Bishop - That's as a librarian and to friends!

5. Best series you started in 2016? Best Sequel of 2016? Best Series Ender of 2016?

First: The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch

Sequel: Gemina by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

Ender: Tied between The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater and Winter by Marissa Meyer

6. Favorite new author you discovered in 2016?

Caroline Kepnes - I listened to both You and it's sequel Hidden Bodies which were excellent thrillers.  On that note, Santino Fontana is also one of my new favorite audiobook narrators.

7. Best book from a genre you don’t typically read/was out of your comfort zone?

The Female of the Species by Mindy McGinnis - It was one of my favorite reads of 2016 and it's a brutal contemporary that doesn't pull any punches.  It features difficult subject matter, but it's well worth reading.

8. Most action-packed/thrilling/unputdownable book of the year?

Gemina by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff - If I could have read all 659 pages in one sitting, I totally would have done it!  It lived up to the hype after Illuminae!

9. Book You Read In 2016 That You Are Most Likely To Re-Read Next Year?

I don't usually reread, but I would like to listen to Ready Player One by Ernest Cline on audiobook, after hearing so many great things about the production and Wil Wheaton's narration.

10. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2016?

Ghostly Echoes by William Ritter - Just look at that wonderful cover!  If you haven't read the Jackaby series, I can't recommend it enough!

11. Most memorable character of 2016?

I've met so many great characters this year, but I'm going to have to say that the chilling psycho (yet charming and funny) Joe Goldberg of You and Hidden Bodies by Carolyn Kepnes is one of the most memorable.

12. Most beautifully written book read in 2016?

The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater was such a beautiful read - I wouldn't expect any less of Stiefvater, though.

13. Most Thought-Provoking/ Life-Changing Book of 2016?

Johnny and Jamaal by K.M. Breakey - This was a read for review that's outside my go-to genres, but it was well worth reading.  It's extremely timely.

14. Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2016 to finally read?

The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch - Seriously what was I waiting for!  Now I just need to start in on the sequel!

15. Favorite Passage/Quote From A Book You Read In 2016?

“If you're reading this, then maybe you know you ought to read everything. And maybe you know you ought to read deeply. Because there's witchery in these words and spellwork in the spine.” ―  From The Reader by Traci Chee - Overall, I was underwhelmed by this novel, but I really appreciated this quote.

16.Shortest & Longest Book You Read In 2016?
Shortest: That's Not My Cow by Fiona Watt - 10 pages - Super cute touchy feely board books - well, actually all of the books in this series are the same length I believe.

Longest: Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke - 1,006 pages - I listened to the amazingly narrated audiobook.

17. Book That Shocked You The Most

You by Caroline Kepnes - Joe Goldberg, everything he does really...

18. OTP OF THE YEAR (you will go down with this ship!)
(OTP = one true pairing if you aren’t familiar)

Ronan and Adam from The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater

19. Favorite Non-Romantic Relationship Of The Year

The Will and Lying Cat from Saga by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples

20. Favorite Book You Read in 2016 From An Author You’ve Read Previously

I'd say it's a toss up between The Female of the Species by Mindy McGinnis, The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater, and Winter by Marissa Meyer!

21. Best Book You Read In 2016 That You Read Based SOLELY On A Recommendation From Somebody Else/Peer Pressure:

Chasing the Last Laugh: Mark Twain's Raucous and Redemptive Round-The World Comedy Tour by Richard Zacks - A friend of mine let me borrow her copy and while not my normal reading material, it was absolutely fascinating.

22. Newest fictional crush from a book you read in 2016?

Locke Lamora from The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch

23. Best 2016 debut you read?

The Girl from Everywhere by Heidi Heilig -  No doubt about it!

24. Best Worldbuilding/Most Vivid Setting You Read This Year?

Written in Red by Anne Bishop - So unique and creative!

25. Book That Put A Smile On Your Face/Was The Most FUN To Read?

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline - Hands down!

26. Book That Made You Cry Or Nearly Cry in 2016?

The Female of the Species by Mindy McGinnis - Brutal but 100% worth it.

27. Hidden Gem Of The Year?

This was actually a recent Top Ten Tuesday post - you can check it out here!  There have been so many great books I read in 2016 that deserve more attention.

28. Book That Crushed Your Soul?

The Female of the Species by Mindy McGinnis - Like I said, brutal.

29. Most Unique Book You Read In 2016?

I'm going to have to go with my answer for question 24 on this: Written in Red by Anne Bishop.

30. Book That Made You The Most Mad (doesn’t necessarily mean you didn’t like it)?

Reawakend by Colleen Houck - I really tried with this one, but I was beyond irritated by it.

1. New favorite book blog you discovered in 2016?

I'm terrible at remembering things like this, but I want to give a shout out to my current Winter 2017 Comment Challenge partner, Lia @ Lost In A Story.  We were paired up in December, so that counts.

2. Favorite review that you wrote in 2016?

I have two favorites: Ghostly Echoes by William Ritter

and Vicious by V.E. Schwab!

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

I really liked putting together this Top Ten Tuesday list about books every noir fan should read!  I just love having the excuse to talk about this genre...

4. Best event that you participated in (author signings, festivals, virtual events, memes, etc.)?

Sci-Fi Month, hosted by Rinn Reads and Over the Effing Rainbow this past November was so awesome to take part in after watching from the sidelines last year.

5. Best moment of bookish/blogging life in 2016?

Meeting and chatting with Mindy McGinnis!

6. Most challenging thing about blogging or your reading life this year?

Honestly, I have to say it's finding the time to keep up on everything.  Let's just say I'm glad I can schedule posts and things like that!

7. Most Popular Post This Year On Your Blog (whether it be by comments or views)?

The Friday 56 (With Book Beginnings): Ink and Bone (The Great Library #1) by Rachel Caine - 950 views

8. Post You Wished Got A Little More Love?

Review: The Girl from Everywhere by Heidi Heilig - 34 views

9. Best bookish discover (book related sites, book stores, etc.)?

The Melting Library - Technically, I knew about this before 2016, but I actually won a candle from them in December via Sam @ Tsundoku!  I picked the scent the Trees Speak Latin from The Raven Cycle series.  I love the scent!

10. Did you complete any reading challenges or goals that you had set for yourself at the beginning of this year?

Yes, I completed my 2016 Goodreads Challenge of reading 200 books - I'm still surprised I managed to surpass it by 37 books!

1. One Book You Didn’t Get To In 2016 But Will Be Your Number 1 Priority in 2017?

A Gathering of Shadows by V.E. Schwab - I just finished it!  That ending!!

2. Book You Are Most Anticipating For 2017 (non-debut)?

A Conjuring of Light by V.E. Schwab - At least, I won't have to wait so long before the release of book three!

3. 2017 Debut You Are Most Anticipating?

I've got this whole list - check it out!

4. Series Ending/A Sequel You Are Most Anticipating in 2017?

See answer to question 2, please.

5. One Thing You Hope To Accomplish Or Do In Your Reading/Blogging Life In 2017?

I definitely want to read more of my own books... yeah.  You know, ones that I've owned copies of for quite a while rather than being distracted by newer prettier things.  We'll see how well that goes.

6. A 2017 Release You’ve Already Read & Recommend To Everyone:

The Alchemists of Loom by Elise Kova - I got to read an ARC for a Rockstar Book Tour featuring it!  It came out January 10th - what are you waiting for!

If you've made it this far congratulations and thanks for reading!