Tuesday, 30 December 2014

Top 14 Books of 2014

It is so hard to believe that 2014 is coming to a very quick close. This has been a very eventful, but also very fast year for me. So much has happened, but on the book end of things, I read some amazing books this year and I am going to share them with you.

14. Four by Veronica Roth
This book was so good! I definitely feel like it helped redeem the Divergent series for me, because I definitely had feelings about Allegiant. The book revolves around Tobias Eaton "Four" and three of the stories are set before Divergent and you get a major look into what makes him tick as a character and then you get to see his perspective on one scene with Tris in Divergent. I personally feel like Veronica Roth bonded with Tobias more than any other character and it is very evident when she writes as him that she knows him inside and out, it is really fantastic to see this, both as a reader and a writer. I am certainly looking forward to whatever she has coming next.

13. Just One Day by Gayle Forman
I had heard so many good things about this book before I actually read it and I have absolutely no idea how I waited so long! I read If I Stay and Where She Went quite a while ago and I loved the books and her writing style. I was not disappointed at all when it came to Just One Day. The story pulls at your heartstrings and all while being the epitome of contemporary, it is realistic! If I could have one thing in contemporary, it is realism, a character's problems won't just magically be solved, they require effort. I would recommend this book to anyone who is just beginning to venture into contemporary, it is a fast read, and an incredible story. The sequel on the other hand.... that's a completely different story.

12. One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest by Ken Kesey
For starters, I read this book for school. What? I actually thoroughly enjoyed it. Despite the fact that I love reading, the books that I had read for school up until this point were lackluster in writing style, the stories being great ideas that were poorly executed. The story revolves around patients in a psychiatric hospital and how their lives intertwine and a fight for freedom that is strongly surrounded by symbolism that is so jaw dropping and amazing. The story truly makes you think and despite the fact that the characters situations aren't something that you can directly relate to, the way that they are written make you feel for the characters and their situations.

11. City of Heavenly Fire by Cassandra Clare
Okay, just to preface this a little bit, if this book were purely based on it's contents, writing style, development, etc. alone it would not be on this list. I feel that this one requires a little bit of explaining. I love the Shadowhunter world. TMI and TID are two of my favourite series ever. This conclusion was certainly a happy and satisfying conclusion to the series and it is on my list purely because it is the end of my favourite series and I certainly felt very many feelings as I read it. Personally, I thought that the ending was a bit of a cop-out, the whole book felt a little bit underdeveloped to me. But, this book literally could have been thousands of pages of chicken scratch and it would be on here for sentimental reasons. I am so excited for Lady Midnight!

10. Silver Linings Playbook by Matthew Quick
I just grin like a crazy person when I think about this book. It was such an amazing read. It was also a great introduction to adult literature, it definitely gave me an idea of what adult books I might like to read. I've always read young adult and recently new adult (and will continue to for as long as I want) but I think that it is great to expand your reading horizons and this book did just that. Reading from the perspective of Pat's stories and the way that he thinks and looks at situations is so unique and his voice is so prominent in the novel and it leaves you craving more and more after you finish the last page. It tackles the touchy and challenging subject of mental illness without any flaw, highly enjoyed!

9. Opposition  by Jennifer L. Armentrout
Okay, I don't think I have ever read a more action packed conclusion to a series than this this book. It was such a fun read that constantly left me on the edge of my seat, desperately wanting to know what happens next. The character development in this series is so phenomenal, it is definitely one of Jennifer's strengths and it makes the read so enjoyable. I obviously won't spoil what happens, but this is a very powerful conclusion to the series and I could not be happier with how everything wrapped up, I'm not one for cheesy endings and this book delivered an end that is both happy, but also deep and emotional.

8. Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi
How have I only read this book? My logic is sometimes quite flawed I believe. I read this book back in October and I have yet to pick up the next book and I don't know why. This book was amazing! I love the writing style, first and foremost. The way that there is almost to parallel paths to the story with what is actually written and what is crossed out. The characters are believable and everything that they do will pull at your heartstrings and make you feel for them. The world is so intricate and I can't wait to delve more into it in future books. There is so much happens in one book but it never once feels rushed. Tahereh Mafi is a phenomenal author with a very bright future ahead of her.

7. Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell
This book was an emotional roller coaster. The story is so freaking phenomenal. I feel what really makes this book as amazing as it is, is the characters. They all feel so real, Rainbow Rowell is such a personal writer and you can tell that she deeply cares for every single one of her characters and she wants them to reach happiness. She takes realistic struggles and also some very touchy subjects for her characters and translates them to the page beautifully and tastefully. The story is a very hard hitting one and it is crazy that someone so young can write with such eloquence that could rival some of the oldest authors in the business.

6. Obsidian by Jennifer L. Armentrout
Aliens. Huh? Who would've thought. I don't think I have ever been hooked on an entire series as quickly as this one. Right from the first page, the writing style keeps you enticed and wanting to read on. Jennifer Armentrout knows exactly how to write to a young adult audience, her language and pace are fantastic. She also knows how to write and think as a teenager. Of course, teenage characters aren't always going to make the right decisions and they are usually quite emotional and this is portrayed very well in the book. I would recommend this book to anybody who enjoys paranormal and hot male characters... what?

5. White Hot Kiss by Jennifer L. Armentrout
Again, Jennifer L. Armentrout writes another phenomenal book. This story is definitely one of the most unexpected top books of the year. When you read the synopsis and see the word 'gargoyles' it kind of leaves an odd idea in your mind. The cheesy title and cover could easily turn you off, but don't let it. This story is so interesting, and also incredibly intense. I really enjoyed how society knows of some of the paranormal aspect of the story, but is in the dark about other things. It adds a very interesting political aspect to the story. The characters are so different and unique and you will fall in love with Layla, Roth, and Zayne incredibly quickly.

4. Wait for You by J. Lynn
This book is so swoon-worthy. It's also new adult. This book introduced me to a whole new genre that I had yet to explore and I am so glad that I delved in to this. This story is ridiculously sweet and makes you smile, laugh, and cry... sometimes all at the same time. Avery is such a believable character and her fears are portrayed so well, they are very prominent in the story and Jennifer stays true to what she says about Avery and doesn't change her personality to fit a scene. Watching Avery learn to trust and live her life is a wonderful experience as a reader and this book left me constantly thinking and evaluating how I look at life and the situations that I face.

3. Sweet Reckoning by Wendy Higgins
Another concluding book to a series has made the list! I fell in love with Anna and Kaiden's story the second that I started Sweet Evil and my love has only continued to grow as the series continued. Again, paranormal makes an appearance on this list, but this story is tackling the idea of the deadly sins embodied in people and how their job is to produce sin in people's lives. The story has grown and the idea that Anna is destined to a life of sin is challenged and I love seeing her come to realization with faith and life. She puts trust in those around her and the characters in this story are so believable and incredibly easy to become attached to. I can't wait for Sweet Temptation and more Kaiden Rowe!

2. Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
I am so glad that I read this book this year! As someone who has read a fair share of books about people going to university/college and the experiences that they have, I have noticed a ridiculous amount of inaccuracy in the idea that it is all puppies and rainbows and perfection. This book is realistic and as someone who is going to university next year, it makes me very happy. Cath is an incredibly well written character with flaws and quirks that make her so relate-able and believable. Levi is also probably the single most adorable male character in a book, ever. To anybody who has yet to pick up any of Rainbow Rowell's books, do it, you will not be disappointed.

1. The Program by Suzanne Young
While this book is one of the best books that I read this year, it is also one of the most terrifying. Suzanne Young has a mind that works in an incredibly interesting way and she had the ability to come up with the plot that suicide has become and epidemic and make it believable in this future universe. The idea that you can have your memories taken away to "cure" you from the disease is a terrifying concept that is translated so well to the page. The atmosphere in the story is so phenomenal and I could not put this book down when I was reading it and I just wanted to know what was going to happen with Sloane, James, and Realm. I can not wait to start reading The Treatment!

So, there it is, folks. My favourite books of 2014! I hope that you had an amazing year and that 2015 brings even more amazing books.

Check out my YouTube video on my Top 14 books and like, subscribe, and share!

Sunday, 7 September 2014

September To Be Read

I've been back to school for a week and I have read about 100 pages in total, in a week. Normally, I don't give myself "To Be Reads" for each month because I like to just read whatever I feel like. Unfortunately (but also fortunately), this school year is looking to be much busier and stressful with university applications, a co-op, producing a musical (and acting in it), looking for a job, plus school work from my other 2 classes.

Anyway, to keep myself on a good reading track I've decided to make a TBR each month to give me a loose idea of what to read! Here it is!

The first book I want to read this month is Glass by Ellen Hopkins. I just downloaded this on to my Kobo along with Fallout. I read that she has released a new book, Rumble, and I read Crank back in grade nine and thoroughly enjoyed it and I'm already a few pages into this book and I love the style of writing and the approach to such a twisted and controversial topic. It starts up just a few months after Crank leaves off and you learn more about Kristina/Bree spirals out of control again.

The next book I want to read this month is My Sister's Keeper by Jodi Picoult. I actually picked this book up a week ago at the flea market by my house and started flipping through and I'm about 100 pages in and really enjoying it. I've been wanting to read the book since I saw the movie and unlike most people, disliked quite a bit of it. I've heard that the book is quite different and the characters are so much more meaningful and easier to get attached to which makes me want to keep reading it, and finish it this month!

I also want to get through The Maze Runner by James Dashner this month. I actually bought this book a while back when there had been quite a lot of hype around it, and about a year before that I had attempted to read it for the first time. I found the book so boring when  first tried to read it, but there is indeed a movie coming out very soon for this book and it stars the one and only Dylan O'Brien and being the weird one I am, I must read it before I see it. So, wish me luck as I try to make it through this book.

Those are the three books that I HAVE to read this month and I will be very pleased if I finish them, now I've picked quite a few other books, some just from looking at my shelves and others from my TBR jar to take a swing at if I get the chance this month!

  • Beautiful Redemption by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl
  • The Wishing Spell (TLOS #1) by Chris Colfer
  • Spirit Bound by Richelle Mead
  • The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan 
I hope ya'll have a great month back at school this September! 

See you in the future!
~ Taya

Wednesday, 3 September 2014

Here's To Us: Why My Friends Are Awesome

Today has been a day where I am feeling all mushy and emotional. Both the good and the bad. Instead of focusing on things that are bothering me at the moment (that's a completely different rant) I decided to take a page from Caspar Lee's life and appreciate the amazing friends that I have in my life.

I was sitting here thinking about where I would be without the friends that I have, both the new and the old, and it's very hard to imagine them not in my life. I also lamented about them all over Twitter, which lead me here. So, just to embarrass said friends, I have decided to show my love for them on my blog today, so I hope ya'll enjoy, and that my friends aren't too mortified. 

First of all, I have to talk about the one girl who has made an a enormous impact on my life. That would be my best friend, Jessi (or Life of a Teenage Writer!!). I met Jessi in my grade nine vocals class and she was literally just the girl who always sang the wrong song and we didn't really talk all that much. Then grade ten rolled around and we shared a mutual friend who fortunately introduced us and over the summer between grade ten and eleven we bonded like crazy. Over the last two(ish) years we have been absolute best friends. Bonding over books, television, life, and more recently, blogging and YouTube. I have no idea what I would do without this girl in my life to share the good moments with and make the less than good much better. I am so proud of her for so many things, one thing specifically being her dedication to what she loves. Her YouTube channel and writing are like her children and it is obvious that she cares about it from all of the effort that she puts into it and she may not agree with me, but I am so proud of her. 

The next person I want to talk about is the one friend that I actually kept from elementary school and that is my friend of 14 years, Brianna! I remember being so little and coming up with the stupidest games (Shark anybody?) and her being the one true friend that I had for the oddly short feeling ten years of elementary school. Unfortunately, we decided to go to different high schools and instead of that opening a rift between us, it didn't change anything. Even though I don't see her very often, every time I see her it's like it's only been one day since we've talked. I guess I'll never really know what made our friendship stick, but whatever it is, I wouldn't change anything. I am so proud of her for not changing. It may sound silly, but despite becoming more mature and knowledgeable, she has always kept her giant heart and amazing sense of humor and I've always admired that about her.

Of course, I have to mention the Finn to my Rachel Berry, Joey. He was the one that lead me through the fear and nerves that I had in the thriving musical program at my school. Over my grade eleven and twelve year he became the one that was always there for me and was ALWAYS looking on the positive side of things and lifting my mood. His morning hugs are something that I already miss a ridiculous amount! He is so talented and determined, which will take him incredibly far in life and I can't wait to see his name up in lights. He made high school so much better and I can't wait to see him again! I am so proud of him for pursuing his musical theatre dreams and venturing off into the land of college!!! His work ethic and dedication too his craft is something that I am so proud of and aspire to gain in my own life. 

Then I have one of the more recent additions to my life, and that would be Milwaukee. He came in as this extraordinary dancer too our little arts program and I've always thought that we must have seemed so weird from his eyes on that first audition. Anyway, although we didn't become friends right off the bat, when we were coming to a close on the first semester of grade eleven, something seemed to click. I'm sure it had nothing to do with our shared love of country music, books, and movies, nothing at all. Over the past year he has become one of my closest friends and I can talk to him about anything, no matter how pointless or dramatic it is. I'm never going to forget tagging along to see Muppets: Most Wanted at ten o'clock and we had the theater all to ourselves (and lemurs...). I am proud of him for coming into the arts program at my school and blending with everyone so well, his personality seems to compliment everyone. I admire how talented and focused he is in all aspects of his life and I can not wait to see where his amazing talent takes him.

I didn't forget about this next person (I couldn't if I tried!) and that is my lovely little sister, Kyra. I wasn't quite sure where to put her, she isn't a school friend even though we technically went to school together, and I've known her longer than anybody I have mentioned. Despite the fact that we argue like 50% of the time, we can never stay mad at each other, it literally takes us about ten minutes to get over it and move on. She is my fangirl buddy who totally gets all the feels, all the time. We've bonded through pretty much everything and anything. Music, books, television, movies, video games, hot guys (what?). She is the one friend that literally has to be there for me, because sisters, hello. I couldn't have asked for a better little sister, and I'm not really sure what else to say because it's hard to describe the kind of bond that siblings share. I am so proud of her for recently tackling her first days of high school with such grace, that I bet she didn't even know she had! She is going to have so much fun in the next four years, despite how busy and hard it might get sometimes. You will kill it tot!!

Okay, there are so many more amazing friends that I need to talk about and they deserve all of the love and appreciation, but to be completely honest, my hands are starting to hurt and I really need to post this before I go to sleep. I'm just going to mention them: Sabrina, Patricia, Danielle, Amy, Elise, Ashley, and probably a bunch that I forgot (I'M SORRY IF I DIDN'T WRITE YOUR NAME! SCHOOL. BLAME SCHOOL.) If I haven't talked about you in this post, don't think I think any less of you, part two will come!!

Anyway, I also just wanted to mention that I am finally getting on a posting schedule for my blog and YouTube. Blog posts will be coming on Wednesdays and Sundays and YouTube videos on Tuesdays and Fridays.

So, to conclude this rambling mess of friend appreciation, I love my friends with all of my heart and I wouldn't trade you guys for anything. Thank you for putting up with me (I'm not quite sure how you do it...).

 Talk to you in the future!
- Taya

Monday, 14 July 2014

BookTube-A-Thon Day One

BookTubeAThon is here! I am so excited to be participating in my first BookTubeAThon ever! Through my YouTube channel and blog I am hoping to get the most out of this week long event as possible!

I have picked out my TBR for the week to fit the challenges and I am so excited to (hopefully) read 7 books this week!

Here it is!

A book with pictures:  Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs
Start and finish a series: Just One Day and Just One Year by Gayle Forman
A book with red on the cover: Wait for You by J. Lynn
A book someone else picks out for you: White Hot Kiss by Jennifer L. Armentrout
A book from the genre you’ve read the least this year: The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith
A book to movie adaptation: The Silver Linings Playbook by Matthew Quick

Get ready for daily updates here, and on my YouTube channel!

Wednesday, 2 July 2014

Obsidian Review

About the book:


(Lux #1)


Starting over sucks.
When we moved to West Virginia right before my senior year, I'd pretty much resigned myself to thick accents, dodgy internet access, and a whole lot of boring... until I spotted my hot neighbor, with his looming height and eerie green eyes. Things were looking up.

And then he opened his mouth.

Daemon is infuriating. Arrogant. Stab-worthy. We do not get along. At all. But when a stranger attacks me and Daemon literally freezes time with a wave of his hand, well, something... unexpected happens.

The hot alien living next door marks me.

You heard me. Alien. Turns out Daemon and his sister have a galaxy of enemies wanting to steal their abilities, and Daemon's touch has me lit up like the Vegas Strip. The only way I'm getting out of this alive is by sticking close to Daemon until my alien mojo fades.

If I don't kill him first, that is.

(From Goodreads)
Wow. Wow. Wow. That is most definitely the first thing that comes to mind when I think about this book. I read this book in just over 24 hours and I am completely absorbed in the world of the Luxen and Daemon Black. Jennifer L. Armentrout created a phenomenal work of fiction that is so enticing and addicting at the same time.

The writing style is amazing to say the very least. The tempo was upbeat and filled with action, never a dull moment in the novel. The tension was so believable and made it almost impossible to set the book down. I plowed through the book with my mind constantly reeling and trying to take in every line and idea that the book pursued and laid out. Jennifer's writing style is raw and real, offering a direct pass into the mind of a teenage girl that is accurate and believable. Katy is written as witty, but very realistic, and reading through her perspective was fresh and easy to relate to for a teenage girl, such as myself.

The setting of the novel was beautiful, set in a West Virginia in a small town filled with woods and hidden (romantic) lakes. Daemon and Katy take many adventures in the novel and they seem to end up in the woods a lot. Indeed it is a tad cliche, I mean, hot guy takes shy girl to the woods, but Jennifer takes such a different twist on the entire idea. The landscape is beautifully described without becoming overwhelming and consuming. It is awful when a book loses your interest with page upon page of descriptions of leaves.

Onto the paranormal aspect of the novel, it is so different to say the very least. I mean, aliens? The thought of it is so odd and like Katy says, she just pictures little green men, not gorgeous light controllers. The world of the Luxen is well thought out and developed which is wonderful for a reader. I love paranormal stories, but if the world is confusing and makes no sense, then what is the point? Of course, there are plenty of questions left to be answered, which is expected and appreciated.

The relationships in Obsidian are also very believable and filled with so much tension... yes, that kind of tension. I spent so much time on the edge of my seat waiting for the love interests to finally get together and then it would be torn away by a harsh or witty comment, instead of the relationship just magically happening. The friendship between Dee and Katy is so cute and you can't help but love them, they start to become so close and their sisterly bond is so beautiful to read.

There are so many twists, unexpected and shocking, throughout the whole novel and you must go out and get it now! I am so impressed with my first Jennifer L. Armentrout read! Onyx here I come!

Friday, 27 June 2014

Welcome to my blog!

Well hello there! Thank you so much for stumbling across this blog. Whether it was through my YouTube channel, strange coincidence, by accident, or I forced you; it doesn't matter, thank you!

On this blog I will be posting everything reading, writing, and media related!

  • Reviews of books, shows, movies, etc.
  • Writing tips/tricks
  • My favourites
  • Opinions on popular topics
  • What I've been up to
  • and really anything else!
I can't wait to get started on a new side of my fandom obsession!