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2014 Reading Wrap-Up

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I can't believe it's time for the 2014 Reading Wrap-Up! So many books this year! And so many of them good! It was so difficult to choose; to narrow it down! But I did, and here are the best and worst reads of 2014! As usual, they are ordered alphabetically by author's last name, because I can't choose which one is better (or worse) than the other. In total, I read 130 books this year. Woot! Woot! I read 5 1-strawberry books, 14 2-strawberry books, 42 3-strawberry books, 52 4-strawberry books, and 17 5-strawberry books. It was a good year.

Best Reads of 2014
Sea of Shadows
(Age of Legends #1)
by Kelley Armstrong
YA: fantasy
Rating: 4 out of 5 strawberries







Thief's War
(Knight & Rogue #4)
by Hilari Bell
YA: fantasy, adventure
Rating: 5 out of 5 strawberries







All the Light We Cannot See
by Anthony Doerr
Adult: historical fiction
Rating: 4 out of 5 strawberries








172 Hours on the Moon
by Johan Harstad
YA: suspense, horror
Rating: 4 out of 5 strawberries








Cruel Beauty
by Rosa…

December 2014 Book Haul

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It's time to show off the books I got in December! Given previous months, I'm very proud of myself. I didn't go overboard. I treated myself to a few unplanned buys, but not many and mostly stuck to what I had listed in my budget.


Review: Anna Dressed in Blood - Kendare Blake

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Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake
Series: Anna #1
Genre: YA, supernatural, horror
Published on October 17, 2011
Published by Tor Teen
Pages: 316













SYNOPSIS
Cas Lowood has inherited an unusual vocation: he kills the dead.So did his father before him, until his gruesome murder by a ghost he sought to kill. Now, armed with his father's mysterious and deadly athame, Cas travels the country with his kitchen-witch mother and their spirit-sniffing cat. Together they follow legends and local lore, trying to keep up with the murderous dead - keeping pesky things life the future and friends at bay.When they arrive in a new town in search of a ghost the locals call Anna Dressed in Blood, Cas doesn't expect anything outside of the ordinary: move, hunt, kill. What he finds instead of a girl entangled in curses and rage, a ghost like he's never faced before. She still wears the dress she wore on the day of her brutal murder in 1958: once white, but now stained red and dripping blood. Since …

Stacking the Shelves #71

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BOUGHT
Uglies by Scott Westerfeld Tally is about to turn sixteen, and she can't wait. In just a few weeks she'll have the operation that will turn her from a repellent ugly into a stunningly attractive pretty. And as a pretty, she'll be catapulted into a high-tech paradise where her only job is to have fun.
But Tally's new friend Shay isn't sure she wants to become pretty. When Shay runs away, Tally learns about a whole new side of the pretty world - and it isn't very pretty. The authorities offer Tally a choice: find her friend and turn her in, or never turn pretty at all. Tally's choice will change her world forever. . . .
The Only Thing to Fear by Caroline Tung Richmond It's been nearly eighty years since the Allies lost World War II in a crushing defeat against Hitler's genetically engineered super soldiers. America has been carved up by the victors, and sixteen-year-old Zara lives a life of oppression in the Eastern American Territories. Under the i…

Guest Post: Best Reads of 2014

Time for a guest post, and this time through I asked my friends to talk a little about their top five favorite reads of 2014! Because yes, we're getting that time of the year! Can't believe it!
Cayla's Top 5 of 2014
To be honest, I didn't read as many books this year as I was hoping (my unfinished 2014 challenge on Goodreads mocks me). Nevertheless, I did read a couple of great, memorable books this year. I should note this list doesn't include books that were re-reads (North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell would have made it, otherwise).
Ripper by Stephan Petrucha: This is one of the few books in recent years that has thrown me totally for a look (minus Agatha Christie). I'd almost forgotten what it was like to be completely surprised by an ending and I enjoyed every minute of it. Even if the rest of the book sounds boring (and it isn't), you ought to try it just for the ending. ;) Still, there was much more to enjoy in Ripper, from the characters (Hawking i…

Review: The Crown of Embers - Rae Carson

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The Crown of Embers by Rae Carson
Series: Bitter Kingdom Trilogy #2
Genre: YA, fantasy
Published on September 18, 2012
Published by Greenwillow Books
Pages: 410
Read From: 12.13.14 - 12.19.14












SYNOPSIS
Elisa is a hero.She led her people to victory over a terrifying, sorcerous army. Her place as the country's ruler should be secure. But it isn't.Her enemies come at her like ghosts in a dream, from foreign realms and even from within her own court. And her destiny as the chosen one has not yet been fulfilled.To conquer the power she bears, once and for all, Elisa must follow a trail of long-forgotten - and forbidden - clues, from the deep, hidden catacombs of her own city to the treacherous seas. With her go a one-eyed spy, a traitor, and the man whom - despite everything - she is falling in love with.If she's lucky, she will return from this journey. But there will be a cost.
Review
Cover Blurb:Yes or No? I do like the cover. I like the color scheme and the gem in the middle. I don…

Merry Christmas!!

Merry Christmas to all!
I'm keeping this brief, but I hope you are all having a wonderful holiday! Mine has been awesome. It was an insane few days before Christmas. Last-minute gift shopping (got everyone covered, though! Yay me!), and then tons of baking. Stayed up into the wee hours baking snickerdoodles for the cookie potluck at swing class - that was a blast. Sugar highs and a live jazz band! And then of course craziness at work, more sugar highs just to get through the day, and insanity all around!
Had a wonderful Christmas Eve after I got home from the craziness. Slipped on cuddly socks and unwrapped presents. I received a beautiful blue Venetian mask, hedgehog stencils, snuggly pajamas (holiday tradition), hedgehog earrings, and best of all - my very own video camera! I can do longer, crisper, better Book Hauls now! It's the worlds most adorable camera, too - so tiny and cute and perfect. It seriously is no bigger than my hand. Smaller, even. It's perfect!
Then we…

Waiting on Wednesday #72 + WWW Wednesday #42

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Firefight by Brandon Sanderson (Reckoners #2) Publication Date: January 6, 2015
From Goodreads:
They told David it was impossible - that even the Reckoners had never killed a High Epic. Yet, Steelheart - invincible, immortal, unconquerable - is dead. And he died by David's hand.
Eliminating Steelheart was supposed to make life more simple. Instead, it only made David realize he has questions. Big ones. And there's no one in Newcago who can give him the answers he needs.
Babylon Restored, the old borough of Manhattan, has possibilities, though. Ruled by the mysterious High Epic, Regalia, David is sure Babylon Restored will lead him to what he needs to find. And while entering another city oppressed by a High Epic despot is a gamble, David's willing to risk it. Because killing Steelheart left a hole in David's heart. A hole where his thirst for vengeance once lived. Somehow, he filled that hole with another Epic - Firefight. And he's willing to go on a quest darker, a…

Top Ten Tuesday #70 + Teaser Tuesday #31

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This week's Top Ten Tuesday topic: Top 10 Books I Wouldn't Mind Santa Bringing Me.





He flicked his dark eyebrows, and then he was gone. A smile crept across her face as she watched him go. If Maggie really was mistaken, if he hadn't actually killed a dragon. . . .well. . . . Pennyroyal Academy by M.A. Larson (pg. 142)

Review: Emma and the Blue Genie - Cornelia Funke

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Emma and the Blue Genie by Cornelia Funke
Genre: Beginning Reader, fantasy
Published on October 14, 2014
Published by Random House
Pages: 96
Read From: 12.19.14 - 12.19.14













SYNOPSIS
One dark night, Emma finds a mysterious green bottle floating in the ocean. When she pulls out the stopper, she sets a blue genie free!Most genies grant three wishes, but Karim can't grant even one anymore. A yellow genie stole his magic nose ring, leaving him small, powerless, and trapped in that bottle. Emma and her noodle-tailed dog have to help Karim get his nose ring - and his magic - back!
Review

A thoroughly charming tale of bravery, magic, and loyalty that only Cornelia Funke could write. With full-color illustrations, Emma and the Blue Genie invites readers to go on a whimsical Arabian Nights-like adventure with Emma and her dog, as they journey to a distant land to help Karim the Blue Genie reclaim his stolen magic nose ring from the evil Yellow Genie. He makes impossible demands on Karim's caliph…

Stacking the Shelves #70

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BOUGHT
Moriarty by Anthony Horowitz Days after Holmes and Moriarty disappear into the waterfall's churning depths, Frederick Chase, a senior investigator at New York's infamous Pinkerton Detective Agency, arrives in Switzerland. Chase brings with him a dire warning: Moriarty's death has left a convenient vacancy in London's criminal underworld. There is no shortage of candidates to take his place - including one particularly fiendish criminal mastermind.
Chase is assisted by Inspector Athelney Jones, a Scotland Yard detective and devoted student of Holmes's methods of deduction, whom Conan Doyle introduced in The Sign of Four. The two men join forces and fight their way through the sinuous streets of Victorian London - from the elegant squares of Mayfair to the shadowy wharfs and alleyways of the Docks - in pursuit of this sinister figure, a man much feared but seldom seen, who is determined to stake his claim as Moriarty's successor.
Gathering Darkness by Morgan R…

Hedgehog Life: December 2014

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Merry Christmas!
Well, almost. It's just a few short days away! I hope you have all had a wonderful December - and continue to do so! I don't know about you guys, but it's been crazy busy for me. Between work, Christmas shopping, Christmas baking, Christmas decorating, and going to holiday parties and events, it's just been nonstop come-and-go.
Of course, I got sick earlier this month, so that cut into my schedule rather rudely. Gave me a few days off to recuperate, but I'll tell you: getting sick isn't how I want time off. And I was so sick that I didn't get any reading or blogging done. It just kind of threw things off just enough to be annoying. But I recovered quickly! There was no way I was going to miss a night of swing class, so I told that bug who was boss. . . .And paid for it the next day. ;-) Worth it, though!
Despite running here and there, it's actually been a pretty quiet December. Oddly enough, it feels like I got a lot of things done ea…