31 Dec 2013

Ely's Top 13 Books of 2013

The time has come again for Chami and I to declare our favourite books of the year. Of course, the only possible way to do this is to have the Top 13 for 2013. Firstly, these are not the top 13 books released in 2013, but rather the top 13 we read. If you'd like to see a (joint) list of our top books released in 2013, check back in a couple of days. Secondly, these are in order I read them. So without further ado, my top 13 of 2013.

1. The Mockingbirds (The Mockingbirds #1) by Daisy Whitney
 I picked this one up entirely on a whim. I honestly knew nothing about it when I started it, and it just completely blew me away. This book is incredibly powerful- sometimes it was a bit difficult to read because of the subject matter, but it was definitely one of my favourite books this year. I don't want to give away the plot, because I think it's definitely something you have to read for yourself. If you'd like to see my review (which does talk about the plot), you can read it here.

2. Stolen: A Letter to my Captor by Lucy Christopher
The premise of this book is entirely terrifying, but somehow the story is amazing. I ended up reading this book because of 'The Mockingbirds'- I'd heard they were both sort of controversial and a bit creepy. Let me tell you, creepy doesn't even begin to describe this book. But I like I said, it's absolutely brilliant, completely terrifying, but brilliant. You can also read my review of this, here.

3. Unravel Me (Shatter Me #2) by Tahereh Mafi
For Chami, this is one of those books that you have to read and then obsess over for the rest of your life before you can be considered her friend. For some reason, I decided I'd read this series for her. I regret it with every fibre of my being. This book is just so brilliant, and painful- it rips your heart out and then stomps on it repeatedly. You may think that this is an overreaction, but there is no way to be rational about a book that your best friend never stops re-reading/discussing with you. I didn't write a review for this, but Chami's sums up my feelings pretty well.

4. Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier

I don't even know how to begin to describe what this book means to me. This has quickly become one of my favourite books ever- right up there with Harry Potter, and The Fault in Our Stars and a few others. Despite how much I love classics, I don't read nearly as many as I would like, and usually I'm sort of a bit confused as to my feelings towards it. Rebecca was completely different in that aspect- from the first sentence (let's be honest, that's one of the best first sentences ever) I was completely hooked. This is definitely going to stick with me for a while, and I'm hoping to find myself at least a couple beautiful copies so that I can devour this book again and again. You find my review, here.

5. Beowulf by Seamus Heaney
This is a slightly weird one, I suppose. If I hadn't studied this for class this year, I probably never would have picked this up. It was something I was interested in, but it was never high up on my impossibly large TBR pile. I think one of the reasons that I loved this so much is because we read it in class- I was able to make connections all throughout the poem and also to Heaney's other works. In all honesty, if I could I'd just put Seamus Heaney as my top writer ever- because he is brilliant, I love him dearly and because I still get sad whenever someone mentions his death. (Still in the denial stage here).

6. The Body Finder (The Body Finder #1) by Kimberly Derting 
 This book was a bit of a surprise for me- I really didn't expect to like this as much as I did. I didn't have high hopes for this at all, but once I started reading it, I just fell completely in love with the story and the characters. It's a little bit creepy- we get to see into the mind of a serial killer as well as a girl with this 'gift' to sense dead people. You can probably imagine what this book could be- the cliches and etc, but it's completely not like that. I absolutely adore this story and I would definitely, definitely recommend it to everyone. You can find my review here.

7. The Diviners (The Diviners #1) by Libba Bray
There isn't anyone who creates a paranormal/mystery/historical YA series quite like Libba Bray. The Gemma Doyle Trilogy is one of my favourites ever, but The Diviners is definitely up there on the list. There is no possible way for me to avoid paranormal/mystery novels in the first place, but once I find out they're set in the 1920's...well, there's really no hope. I loved this book and the characters a lot- the main character, Evie, was just wonderful. The book itself is just beautiful and I can't wait to get my hands on this amazing hardback edition!

8. More Than This by Patrick Ness
This was perhaps one of the most surprising books for me this year. I was expecting a sort of heartbreaking contemporary like 'A Monster Calls' (my only experience with Mr Ness before this), but what I got was this incredibly deep sci-fi dystopia thing. It was crazy! It's not like any other dystopia I've ever read, or even like any book in any genre. It was brilliant, and beautiful and surprising. This book is also amazing. You can't tell in the picture, but in the hardback edition- that little yellow bit isn't actually part of the cover, meaning that it's actually like the little door is open. It's hard to explain, but it's very awesome. I'm not sure if this is actually a series or not- it doesn't say so on Goodreads but I feel like it should be.

9. The Darkest Minds (The Darkest Minds #1) by Alexandra Bracken
I have no idea why it took me so long to read this book, but I am so glad that I finally got to it this year. It was absolutely brilliant, definitely one of my favourite books of all time. I love Ruby and Liam and Chubs and Zu- just everyone, okay not everyone, but yes. For me, this book is like my equivalent to Shatter Me for Chami. We just can't possibly be friends unless you've read this book and you've loved it, otherwise this just isn't going to work. The ending is still not a thing that happened- I mean I've read the sequel, Never Fade, and I'm still in denial. You can see my review here.

 10. Kill the Music by Nansi Kunze

Nansi Kunze is one of my all-time favourite authors. Not only are her books ridiculously fun and amazing, she's also one of the sweetest authors on earth and she's Australian! I also read Nansi's second book, 'Dangerously Placed' this year which would have made the list had I never picked this one up. I love both of these books an insane amount, but Marius was what really sold me on this book. If you read this and you don't agree, I don't even think you're human. I read this book in about two hours without stopping, and even now (more than a month later) I'm still grieving over this book being finished. I really can't explain how wonderful this book is, but if you'd like to see me try you can see my review here.

11. Poison Study (Study #1) by Maria V. Snyder
I hadn't actually planned to read this book, but after I finished the Insider series by Maria V. Snyder, I decided I wanted to move onto the Glass trilogy only to discover that is sort of a continuation/spin-off of this series. And so, Poison Study was started and then devoured and then ranted about and recommended to several different friends. Needless to say, I adored this book way more than I thought I would. Yelena is now one of my favourite female characters ever written- I can't even describe how much I love her, I just do. The plot of this book was brilliant too- there are so many little twists and turns and surprises and little mysteries. Incredibly, incredibly well written. Now if you excuse me, I'm going to go cry about this again.

12. The Lightning Thief (Percy Jackson and the Olympians #1) by Rick Riordan
Yes, I was one of the very few people on Earth who hadn't actually read this book before this year. I'd been meaning to get to it for ages but I just kept putting it off for some reason. When I actually got around to reading it, I read it in about a day. I loved it- there is no other way to say it. Percy is just wonderful and brilliant and every other nice adjective you could use to describe a character. I loved Annabeth as well and Grover too! I think it's just impossible not to love them all. Though I'd spoiled the ending for myself by watching the movie a while back, I still really enjoyed the story. I'm also incredibly excited to read the rest of the series which I plan to do in 2014.

13. Cinder (The Lunar Chronicles #1) by Marissa Meyer
When I first started reading this book, I didn't know if it was going to be one that I'd actually enjoy. I'd heard good things about it, but the whole cyborg then sounded a bit weird to me. Oh, how very wrong I was. I read this book in a matter of hours on Christmas Eve because it was just so engaging that I couldn't stop once I'd started. I loved Cinder as a character, I thought she was brilliant despite my hesitance about the cyborg side of her originally. Let's not even get started on Kai, words cannot describe him. I know the next book in the series focuses on a new character, but I hope there's still more about Cinder because I don't know if I can survive without her!

 So those are my top 13 books that I read in 2013. If you'd like to see the books I'm planning on reading in 2014, then check back tomorrow for that list. I hope you all have a wonderful New Year, and I'd like to thank you all for supporting Chami and I this year through our first full year of blogging. We hope to see you all in 2014 for some more wonderful times! Thank you again.

26 Dec 2013

Bout of Books 9.0 Sign-Up

The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda @ On a Book Bender and Kelly @ Reading the Paranormal. It is a week long read-a-thon that begins 12:01am Monday, January 6th and runs through Sunday, January 12th in whatever time zone you are in. Bout of Books is low-pressure, and the only reading competition is between you and your usual number of books read in a week. There are challenges, giveaways, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional. For all Bout of Books 9.0 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog. - From the Bout of Books team.

I've decided to participate in the Bout of Books read-a-thon 9.0 in January! This'll be my third go at the read-a-thon, and I'm incredibly excited to be doing it again. As it gets closer to the starting date, I'll post my goals and the books I aim to read within the week. See you then!

25 Dec 2013

REVIEW: Heartbeat by Elizabeth Scott

Title: Heartbeat
Author: Elizabeth Scott
Genre: Young Adult. Contemporary. Romance.
Publication Date: February 1st 2014
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Format: E-Book
Pages: 240
Rating: 4/5

Does life go on when your heart is broken?

Since her mother's sudden death, Emma has existed in a fog of grief, unable to let go, unable to move forward--because her mother is, in a way, still there. She's being kept alive on machines for the sake of the baby growing inside her.

Estranged from her stepfather and letting go of things that no longer seem important--grades, crushes, college plans--Emma has only her best friend to remind her to breathe. Until she meets a boy with a bad reputation who sparks something in her--Caleb Harrison, whose anger and loss might just match Emma's own. Feeling her own heart beat again wakes Emma from the grief that has grayed her existence. Is there hope for life after death--and maybe, for love?

I received this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. 

Despite the fact that she has quite a few books out, ‘Heartbeat’ was my first experience with Elizabeth Scott. I’ve been meaning to read her other books for ages, but I’m glad that Heartbeat was the one I started with, because I loved it.

This story is incredibly unique- it’s not really something you read in books, and even in real life, it’s not something that gets discussed. I think that’s what makes this book so powerful. The story is about a teenage girl named Emma whose mother has passed away, but her body is being kept ‘alive’ to ensure the safety of her unborn child. Can you honestly say you’ve ever read a YA book like that? Of course, there’s the romance but most of the story revolves around Emma and her mother, and everything that comes along with that. It’s a book of serious rollercoaster-like emotions.

The main character, Emma, is wonderful. She’s completely heartbroken at the loss of her mother, and as the book goes on, I found myself wanting to support her. I can’t even imagine what that would feel like, but I wanted things to get better for Emma. One of my favourite things was Emma’s best friend, Olivia, who is honestly so supportive and caring. I really liked how their friendship was just as important as the romance. Admittedly, this book isn’t really about the romance at all- it’s about family. It was so beautiful to see the connection between Emma and her mother, especially as I feel like sometimes parents are just disregarded in YA.

Of course, I adored the romance. At first, I was worried that Caleb was going to be one of those bad-boys for no reason, but really- he wasn’t like that at all. He had so much depth to him that I didn’t expect to find- all of the characters did, it was really lovely to see such deep characters that worked perfectly in a story like this.

I really give props to Elizabeth Scott. I can’t imagine that writing a book like ‘Heartbeat’ would be easy to do, but I really think that it was handled incredibly well. I can’t wait for this book to actually be released so I can pick up a hard copy for myself.

23 Dec 2013


So it's that time of the year of gift giving and gift receiving and book loving and book breeding. Did i take it too far? Oh well. Anyway, here are a list of five book series I haven't read that I would want! So if you know or have any sixteen year old book freaks, you can buy them these as well!

The Darkest Minds/ Never Fade – Alexandra Bracken

Pretty much ever since Ely started screaming and saying that I would love this book because it is like shatter me by Tahereh Mafi I have wanted to devour it.
It is the book I most want to read right now and I am hoping to read it VERY VERY soon.

The Fifth Wave – Rick Yancy

Okay, Okay, Okay. I’ll have to read this one. That is what I have said for as long as I can remember. The Internet has been going nuts about this series and I’ve heard so many things about it that I can now assume that I would just love it!

Renegade by J.A. Souders

Once again, it is Ely’s fault for all the hype about this one. I remember being there while she was reading it and getting stabbed by her love for it. I am hoping to read this one this holidays and love it as much as she does.
Pawn by Aimee Carter

I have also heard good things about this book so I am looking forward to read it after my Dystopian detox book cleanse.

Of Poseidon by Anna Banks
I just recently got this book from the library and after hearing people screaming about it at school I have decided to give this one a try.  Hopefully, It is as good as I have heard it to be.

19 Dec 2013

Recommendations for Laura #1

I'm promised my lovely, currently new-book-deprived friend, Laura, that I'd give her a couple of book recommendations after she finished reading Divergent. I went a little nuts, to be honest and came up with thirty books in a few different genres for her to read. I've included a brief sort of summary/why they should be read. So here we go...


Across the Universe by Beth Revis: A dystopic world set on a spaceship. What more could you want?
The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken: The book of FEEEELS.
More Than This by Patrick Ness: Not what you'll expect.
Delirium by Lauren Oliver: A different take on dystopia.
Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi: JUST READ IT!
Mystic City by Theo Lawrence: Mind-blowing. Awesome. Feels.
Renegade by J.A. Souders: The same as above.
Genesis by Lara Morgan: Very interesting, little bit different.
Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder: FEEEEELS, plus lots of action and some mystery.
The Diviners by Libba Bray: 1920's paranormal mystery with some romance.
A Great and Terrible Beauty: Victorian boarding school witches with romance and friendship.
Venom by Fiona Paul: FEELS. Renaissance Venice. Mystery, Romance.


The Body Finder by Kimberly Derting: Slightly creepy paranormal, sweet romance.
Fury by Elizabeth Miles: Modern mythology. Mystery. Romance. So much pain.
The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson: Ripper, Mystery, Romance. Set in London ;)
Nightshade by Andrea Cremer: Werewolves, Romance.
The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater: Words do not describe.
Carrier of the Mark by Leigh Fallon: Witchcraft, Romance.


The Purgatorium by Eva Pohler: Haven't even finished this yet, but OMG.
13 Little Blue Envelopes by Maureen Johnson: So cute.
Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins: Cute romance, boarding school. Set in Paris.
Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins: Cute romance.
Stolen by Lucy Christopher: Possibly one of the creepiest 'romance' books in existence.
Dangerously Placed by Nansi Kunze: Mystery, Sci-Fi, Amazing.
Mishaps by Nansi Kunze: As above.
Kill the Music by Nansi Kunze: You will die for Marius. Mystery. Romance.
The Mockingbirds by Daisy Whitney: Incredibly powerful.
Forgotten by Cat Patrick: Cute, bit of a mystery.
Alice Bliss by Laura Harrington: SO MANY FEELS.
Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell: Just. Can't even.

Those are the ones I can think of at the moment. Who knows, in a few months, I might make another recommendations post for Laura. But then again, I can already feel her glare through my computer screen...I'M SORRY!!!