LIFE UPDATE: Finishing My First Year of University! (& the Aftermath)

Hey, guys! So I have finished my first year of University, and I figured its about time that I talk about that because I have just been dragging my feet about actually writing this post. I completed my first year on May 12, and it has been a few weeks, so I think I can finally broach the subject. This post is going to have some personal things that have been going on in my life right now, so please hold back on any negative comments you may have. But let’s just go ahead and jump right into this!

First Semester:

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Far Left: Ally Rellinger; Middle: Tori Wigal; Far Right: Me

This first semester was so much fun. I made so many friends, I was doing well in all of my classes, and I just was having fun on campus. I went to almost all of the 9:09s and 7:17s (those are the events on my campus where they have like comedians, vocalists, magicians and various other acts brought in), and I dragged my best friend Emily along to most of those. I voted for the first time in the presidential election, which was exciting, and it was just a really great semester for me. I participated in Make a Difference Day 2017, which is the first thing I’ve ever done in regards to volunteer work and it just made me want to volunteer so much more. I loved helping people. It just made me really happy. I also managed to get a 3.6 GPA, and I even made Dean’s List! I got straight A’s aside from my math course, so I just had a really good semester.

Second Semester:

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Left: Me; Right: Emily

Now this is where everything kind of went south for me. This last semester, I was hit by depression. But not like a slap from a human hand. It was more like I was hit by a bus, it came back for seconds and thirds and ran me over a couple of times for good measure. This analogy summed up: Depression kicked my ass. Because my depression hit me so hard (I was off my meds and had been for a few years), I kind of completely lost motivation (which is the exact opposite of what you need to happen in University).

I mean, I literally lost motivation for everything. I stopped reading pretty much completely (excluding February when I read everything I could get my hands on). I skipped class. A lot. Like I almost failed my English Composition class because of the amount of times I had skipped. Sometimes I just forgot to turn in assignments. A lot of times I forgot to do basic things, such as eat or sometimes take a shower. I wanted to live in my room and never leave it. I slept past my alarms a lot, so I was always late to class when I did go. And the reason I slept past my alarms is I couldn’t sleep. I literally stayed up till 5 and 6 am and tried to wake up at 9 for class. That was not working, so I just ended up skipping a lot. I felt very alone, especially when everyone else was celebrating Easter with their families, and for the first time in my life, I had to miss it. That day was one of the worst for me. I was very emotional and cried almost the entire day because I missed my family so much.

And because of all of this, my grades suffered. I did pass all of my classes, but that was it. I did enough to get by all semester. And it bit me in the ass in the end. I got a pretty low GPA, lost my scholarships (they weren’t a ton of money, but they helped a little bit with tuition), and even worse, I disappointed my parents. I don’t know if they think its because I just didn’t care or because I was very depressed. Either way, I did get yelled at by my mother for losing my scholarships…

The Aftermath:

But as soon as I got home, my mom scheduled me for a doctor’s appointment. So I went, thinking I was just going to get antidepressants, but turns out my body is actually falling apart. In addition to the antidepressants I have to take, I also have to take insomnia meds to make me fall asleep, iron pills because (Surprise, bitch!) I was diagnosed with anemia, and I have to start taking a multivitamin because I am not getting the vitamins I am needing to get due to me being a vegetarian. But that’s pretty much where I am at now.

How I’ve Changed:

I actually did change a lot over the course of this year. I definitely gained a lot more self confidence, I learned how to do my makeup 10x better than what I was doing, and my fashion sense improved a lot. But aside from that, my stance on certain things definitely changed. I do not consider myself to be a Conservative Republican. I don’t even consider myself to be a Republican. I now consider myself an Independent because I am in the middle on a lot of issues. I fluctuate between Republican and Democrat on a lot of issues.

Prior to this year, I would have been just like my parents, I think. I would have been anti-gay (because there is no denying it; they are 100% anti-gay, and my mother admitted this to me. She also thought there was something wrong with me because I wasn’t anti-gay as well…). However, now, I’ve definitely changed in regards to the LGBTQIA+ community. While I don’t consider myself a complete ally to the community, I don’t full out say that I think they are abominations set on this earth. I’m more in this stage where I’m like, “You two like each other? Cool. Love who you love. Doesn’t make a difference to me.” And apparently thinking like that is akin to Satan in my parents’ eyes…

I also no longer consider myself to be Pro-Life. I know! The horror. What is wrong with you that you are no longer Pro-Life? Do you want to kill babies? Pretty much the reaction I received from my family. But its not like I am Pro-Abortion, either. I personally identify as Pro-Choice. I personally think it should be up to the mother whether she wants to have the baby or not. I’m not saying its okay for knocked up sixteen year olds to have abortions because they don’t want to have a baby. But I don’t think a rape or incest victim should have to have the baby. And of course there are other cases where it would be a viable choice as well, like when a mother’s life or the child’s life would be in serious jeopardy if this woman were to have the baby. But that’s just my opinion. (And apparently its the wrong one in my family’s eyes).

And guess what? I voted Hilary Clinton for President. Not because I think a woman should be president or because I really like Hilary (to be honest, I am not the biggest fan of the woman), but I had two options. I either voted for a murderer or a rapist. I chose the murderer. With the way Trump treated women, and the way he thought about them, I just could not support him, no matter what Hilary did. I am 100% a feminist, and as a woman, I could not support him. I picked, in my opinion, the lesser of two evils. But Trump won anyway. My dad keeps saying, “We finally got a great President in the White House!” and it takes every ounce of my willpower to bite my tongue and not start an argument with him. My brother feels the exact same way. And he gives me shit because I voted Hilary and not Trump. And I kind of want to let him know that he shouldn’t give me crap because he didn’t vote. He shouldn’t even have an opinion to shove down my throat. But I digress…

And there you have it! That was my Life Update in regards to the fact that I finished my first year of University! I had some ups, had quite a few downs, and I changed quite a bit, too. Overall, I can’t say this was a bad first year, and I am super excited for the upcoming year! I think it will be great! (Because I am getting an apartment with my best friend, and it is going to be EPIC.) But that is going to be it for this post today. Thank you all so much for sticking with me and reading this entire thing. I love you all. I hope you enjoyed this little insight into my first year of University, and I will see you in my next post!

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Popular Books I DNF’d

Hey, guys! Today I thought we could discuss the books I did not finish, particularly the more popular ones. Most of the time, it isn’t because I didn’t enjoy the book. More often than not, I DNF a book when I am in a reading slump or I just get distracted by shiny, new books, and I just put it down, and I forget to pick it back up. I am not saying it is out of the question for me to finish these novels. I am sure I will pick these up again sometime in the future, but let’s just go ahead and get into the five books I did not finish!

The first book is one I may receive backlash for, and that is Queen of Shadows by Sarah J. Maas.

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This is the fourth book in the Throne of Glass series, and I know that I will enjoy this book if I get pretty deep into it, but when I started it, I was trying to get out of a reading slump, and no matter how hard I tried, I could not get through this. I don’t even think I made it a hundred pages into this before I ended up giving up. I have tried on multiple occasions to get through this, even to start it, but I simply can’t do it. The size of this novel is also a contributing factor because it intimidates the hell out of me. I even bought the following book, Empire of Storms, because I thought that might convince me to actually read this massive book, but that did not happen. I know this is a well loved book, but I am just not at a time in my life where I think I can read this. I am going to read it sometime in the future, hopefully. I am not completely giving up on it, but I just don’t think I can sit down and read this cover to cover, which is what I need to do if I am going to read it. I just think I need to get through the first two hundred pages, honestly. But right now, I am DNFing it.

The second book I did not finish, and please do not shoot me for saying this, is This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab.

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This is the first book in the Monsters of Verity duology, and I have been trying to make my way through this thing since this past Christmas, but I just cannot read it for some reason. I know its a book that I will love because I have loved everything that’s happened from the part that I have read, which is like the first seventy or eighty pages of it. However, I just can’t get into it, and I don’t know what’s wrong with me because I know I am going to love it. I don’t know if its the fact that its high fantasy or the hype or what. But I cannot seem to get through this. So I am DNFing this for now, but I am hoping that over the summer I can get back into this and finish it. Because that is something that I will do. I am committing to this. I will finish this one of these days.

The third book I have DNF’d is Magnus Chase and the Hammer of Thor by Rick Riordan.

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This is the second book in the Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard series, and this is another book that I know I will love, and I realize it will probably be on my all time favorites list for this year, but I have tried a couple of times to read this, and I have only managed to read the first fifty or sixty pages of this. I got this when it released last October, and I can positively tell you I will love this because I have been laughing to the point of tears just from the first fifty pages of it! The humor is on point, but I just think this is going to be a summer read for me because it is very lighthearted and humorous, so I actually might try to read this over the summer or possibly during Finals Week because Lord knows I need to relieve stress, and something that makes me laugh might help with that. But right now I just don’t think I can read this. I am just not in the right place or mindset to read it.

And the last book on the list of Popular Books I Have DNF’d (and please hold back on the judgment) is none other than Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo.

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Please let me explain why I DNF’d this. I understand that this book is absolutely amazing, and that everyone loves it. I am sure I will love this because I love this series. Six of Crows is one of my all time favorite books. With that said, I am just not in the right mood right now to devour this book. Not to mention it is so not the right time to just devour a book. I have finals in literally like two weeks. I do not have time to just sit down and read. I have tried to read this. I think I tried to read it on Christmas break, but it just was not happening. I think I got around fifty pages in. Also, I was kind of in a reading slump when I tried to read this, so it just was not happening. I think this is a book that I am going to absolutely love when I can just sit down and not stress out about the assignments I am not completing whilst I am reading. I want to sit down and just enjoy reading it, so this is another book I am DNFing, at least until this summer.

And there you have it! Those were the top four popular books I did not finish. Again, all of these books are ones I definitely plan on attempting to read again, most likely over the summer, so this is a list of books I am DNFing for right now. What are some popular books you have DNF’d? Comment down below! I would love to know. And that is going to be it for this post today. Thank you so much for reading this, I hope you enjoyed it, and I will see you next time!

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Story Time: Beauty and the Beast Movie Experience feat. Discussion on LGBTQIA+ Rep.

Hey, guys! Today we will be discussing a somewhat controversial topic, and that is LGBTQIA+ rep in movies and TV shows and even books. Many religious affiliations, namely certain denominations of Christianity among others, have problems with this, and I thought it would be interesting to give my two cents on the subject, but I also really want to know what your overall thoughts are on this topic. I have experience related to Christianity, but I am curious what your experiences with other religions on this topic are. But let’s just go ahead and get into it!

As I am sure many of you are aware, the Beauty and the Beast movie released, and it proved to be pretty controversial in the Christian community because someone affiliated with the movie said something about some sort of gay element being incorporated into the movie. Obviously, this meant to the Christian community that the movie was going to be nothing but gay scenes, its poisoning the minds of young children, and blah, blah, blah. (I am practically quoting my own mother here, guys.)

I had a hard time being able to go see the movie, which was one of my most anticipated movie releases of the year, and this was because my mother was boycotting it on what was hearsay because she didn’t go see the movie herself. She was not going to give me a way to go see the movie since she is boycotting it on an alleged gay scene. I had been planning on seeing this movie for months. I was going to see this with my sister, but my mother would not let us go, which really upset both me and my sister. I mean it was kind of ridiculous.

Naturally, I saw it the second I had a chance to when I got back to University with my best friend who had already seen it twice and was so ready to see it again. It was fantastic and everything I wanted (I did a review, if you’re interested; its spoiler-free, so you can definitely read it regardless of you seeing the movie or not!), and because I saw it myself, I realized how absolutely ridiculous it was to be boycotting this movie because there was an alleged gay scene in it.

It was a little bit ridiculous anyway, to be boycotting something because there is a potential gay scene in it, but that’s how my mother still feels about it. Anyway, so I watched it, saw what “gay scene” the majority of the Christian community was so heated about, and realized that if they had actually seen the movie, they would realize their ignorance towards this scene. Now I realize not all Christians were like this, but many of them were, and I am a Christian who knew there is no possible way they could have seen the movie and say that was a gay scene.

I am obviously not going to tell you what scene it was because spoilers, but many arguments that the community had was that this was a kids movie and it was spoiling the minds of the children by including that type of content in it. First of all, it is not a children’s movie. Until I told my dad otherwise, he had no idea it wasn’t animated. So that argument is out. Its a movie that anyone can enjoy. It is not specific to one age group. It is for all ages, people.

And regarding the scene, it was maybe two or three seconds long, it was accidental, and there was no men kissing or anything like that. I almost don’t even think you could call it a gay scene. I mean, it is absolutely ridiculous. But this brings me to my next point. It isn’t just this movie that many people have a problem with. Many people think it is wrong to have any sort of LGBTQIA+ representation in TV shows, movies, and books.

I can honestly tell you that until about eight months ago, I wouldn’t even think about reading books featuring a gay major character. So it isn’t like I have always been super into advocating for gay rights for my entire life. I am still very uneducated regarding representation. Like Alec and Magnus from The Mortal Instruments series were the only gay characters I had ever read about in my life. You have to understand that I came from a fiercely conservative Christian home. My parents are super conservative (I am not), and now we differ on a lot of our views. But they 100% are against any sort of LGBTQIA+ rep. in anything.

I definitely watched TV shows and movies (mostly tv shows, to be honest) with this kind of rep in it. I watched Chasing Life until it was cancelled, and I think a good part of that show was the fact that the main character’s sister ended up identifying herself as bisexual. You saw her kiss girls, and at the time, I couldn’t hardly watch those scenes. My mother called it trash, despite the show having many other major themes going on like the topic of cancer and depression and sexuality in general, but my mother is most comfortable watching shows and movies and reading books with strictly straight characters.

My view has dramatically changed since I watched that show. And its not because I suddenly have different views. It is the fact that I actually started thinking for myself. It was not a good enough or even acceptable response to say that I believed something because my parents did. I can’t say I believe something because my parents told me to believe something. But I am getting very off topic…

I am now actively reading books featuring these themes. I am looking for books with this kind of rep because those stories need to be heard. I am very interested in reading a bigger variety of books. I would love to read books featuring a love story with two girls falling in love (I have a book on my TBR Pile with this, and I am hoping I can get my hands on it soon!), books featuring questioning your sexuality, bisexual characters, just a lot of variety of different representations of LGBTQIA+. (Also, if you have recommendations, feel free to drop them in the comments section below!)

I feel like it is severely limiting my world view to not even consider the side of those who are these different sexualities, of those who don’t identify as male or female, just a variety of different and diverse representations. Bottom line is I want to read more diverse books. I want to read books about a person of color, books with difficult themes like child abuse and police brutality. These stories need to be heard and just choosing to ignore these really important topics and themes just really makes you ignorant, in my opinion.

Regarding TV shows, if you are looking for a really diverse cast of characters, I highly recommend you check out Dead of Summer. It was a Freeform show that premiered last summer, I believe, and it was absolutely fantastic. I know there was a gay character, a transgender character, there was a person of color on the cast, and it really dealt with deep, important topics while also being scary as hell. This show was terrifying because it is a horror show, but I highly recommend it.

It was a very short first season, but it was totally worth it. I think this show is what originally had me questioning whether I agreed with my parents or not. I really enjoyed it, and it just really opened my eyes to a lot of topics and themes. Until I watched this show, I didn’t really have an opinion on transgender people. I don’t even think I was 100% sure what being trans meant, and this show actually let me see their side of things, how they felt. It just really opened my eyes and helped me understand not only what being trans means, but also the type of shit that they go through, and I absolutely loved that. I also did spoiler reviews of every episode of the first season, so if you watch the first episode, you can check out my first review. Also, it just got better and better with each episode, and I just loved that show so much. It was one of the best shows I have seen in a long time.

But I think I said pretty much everything I wanted to say. I am really sorry if I somehow offended you (if you’re a Christian, I might have. I am also a Christian, so hopefully I didn’t), but these are my opinions. And I figured this could potentially open up a discussion in the comments.

But there you have it! That was my experience getting to see Beauty and the Beast and a mini discussion on LGBTQIA+ rep. What are some books/movies/tv shows that you recommend with diverse themes in them? Comment down below! I would love to know. And that is going to be it for this post today. Thank you all so much for reading this, I hope you enjoyed it, and I will see you next time!

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The Blogger Aesthetic Award!

Hey, guys! This is an award created by Liam @ Hey Ashers and I was nominated by Rachel @ Life of a Female Bibliophile, so thank you, Rachel, for nominating me! You all should totally check out her blog. Its beautiful and the content is very original, and I just love her blog so much. She is one of my favorite book bloggers here on the net, so definitely check her out. This award is just really sharing your aesthetic as a blogger and as a person through pictures. These pictures really are the heart and soul of myself, and they really reflect on who I am, so I am very excited to share them with you!

THE RULES:

  • Collect any number of images that you feel represent you as a person—your personality, aspirations, favorite things, anything at all that makes you you.
  • Put your chosen images together into a collage of whatever size and shape you find pleasing.
  • Share your masterpiece with everyone, in all the places.
  • Maybe nominate other bloggers as a way to tell them, “hey, you, I think you’re awesome, and we should celebrate that awesomeness.”
  • Share these rules.

My Aesthetic:

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I Tag:

Madeline @ The SFF Bookshelf

Jenna @ Reading With Jenna

Rebecca @ Intrepid Pages

And there you have it! That was my post for the Blogger Aesthetic Award! If you are interested in participating in this and have not been tagged, then consider yourself tagged! This was a lot of fun to do, and I think it was nice to share a little bit of my personality with you! But that is going to be it for this post today. Thank you all so much for reading this, I hope you enjoyed it, and I will see you next time!

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Five Popular Books I Had Issues With

Hey, guys! So this is a post I am somewhat reluctant to make because these are all books that a lot of you really liked, but I just didn’t like them, and I will explain why, but my goal is not to offend any of you. These are just my opinions. If you like these, I am happy that you did. If you didn’t, great. We can discuss them together. Just because I didn’t like these, doesn’t mean its wrong for you to enjoy them. You are entitled to your own opinion. But let’s go ahead and get into the discussion!

One: This first one I am talking about is actually an entire series, and its one that you may or may not have heard about: The Immortals series by Alyson Noel.

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This is a series that is loved by so much of the book community, but I had a lot of problems with it. Now the first book wasn’t that bad. The first book tricks you into thinking its going to be a good series when it just isn’t. What also reels people in (it reeled me in) was the breathtakingly beautiful writing style of Alyson Noel. She has one of the best writing styles I have ever read about, but with that being said, what really turned me away from the series was a couple of things. One of those was the similarity to a few other series I have read. But the main thing that turned me off from the series was this annoying thing that happens at the end of Blue Moon, the second book in the series. Because that annoying thing just drags on and on for the next million books. And to me, it just is not worth it. This series wasted a lot of my time because I read five of those six books, which I continue to regret to this day.

Two: The second book that I was not a fan of was The Maze Runner by James Dashner.

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This is a series that I don’t really hate, but I still would never choose to read it because I think its a little bit of a waste of time. One thing I had major problems with was James’ writing style. I couldn’t stand it. It was a chore to try to read through that writing style. But also, I just didn’t like the characters, at all, especially Thomas. Thomas annoyed the hell out of me in that book. Also, I just didn’t like the weird ass language used in the book (shank, crank, etc), and I really did not like how Thomas came up with everything. He saw what was coming. The other characters just seemed like side characters because they didn’t come up with any of the plans. With that said, I do actually really love the movies. I definitely think the movies are better than the books…

Three: The third book I had problems with was Allegiant by Veronica Roth.

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This is the third and final book in the Divergent trilogy, and it was by far the worst in the series. I had a lot of problems with it, and I actually am not in the minority with this one. A lot of people didn’t like this one. One big issue I had was how Veronica just suddenly changed the perspective of the book and made it dual perspective when the rest of the series was only Tris’s perspective. I think that really hurt the book because you couldn’t differentiate between the POVs. You never could tell whose head you were in. I always had to go back a few pages and see whose head I was really in. I also just did not like the direction the story went and what Veronica did to the characters. I really liked Four, but she turned him into an angsty, annoying character, and I grew to not like him throughout the series. There were a lot of other problems I had with this book, too, but those are a couple of the main ones. I just choose to believe that this isn’t a trilogy, but a standalone because the rest of the series definitely falls short next to Divergent.

Four: The fourth book I just did not like was Me Before You by Jojo Moyes.

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This is a book that I’ve talked about a few times, and I am one of the only people in the world who apparently did not like this book. I really wanted to like this. I really did, but I just didn’t. I had problems with the love story, for starters. I felt no chemistry between the two of them. No romantic, chemistry anyway. I could see them as friends, but never as more than that. I also really hated the concept presented in this novel because I am against it, personally, which is Assisted Suicide. I was not a fan of that, and I just felt that the story line was a bit too predictable for my tastes. I could see the end coming from a million miles away. I also just didn’t really connect with any of the characters, and I just really was not a fan of this novel. With that said, I did really enjoy the movie adaptation. I think it fixed a lot of the problems I had with it. But yeah, I just was not a fan of this novel.

Five: And the last book on this list of popular books I did not enjoy is actually another series, and that is the The Caster Chronicles series by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl.

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This is a series that I think had a lot of potential. I think it had the potential to be a really great series, but what it came down to was it was severely underdeveloped. The magic wasn’t very developed as well as the characters and the world. I thought they could have been better. This could have been improved in the editing process, and it wasn’t. I also think the love story was underdeveloped, and that is something that could have been fixed. Also, if you have seen these books, they are literally so unnecessarily long, which ended up making the story drag a lot. The story could be adequately told in half the length that the books are. Normally I do not mind big books, but it was just so unnecessary with this series. I also was not a fan of the writing style. I think Kami on her own is fantastic, and I am sure Margaret on her own is great, but the two of them together just made the books that much harder to read. I just didn’t like the writing style at all. I think almost all of the problems I had with this series could have been fixed in the editing process, but they were not, and that ended up really hindering my enjoyment of the series.

And there you have it! Those were five of the more popular books/series that I had issues with. What is a popular book you didn’t like? Comment down below! And that is going to be it for this post today. Thank you so much for reading this, I hope you enjoyed it, and I will see you next time!

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Series I Will Finish in 2017

Hey, guys! Today I thought it would be fun to discuss the series I will be finishing this year. I have to finished these. I’ve just been putting them off for so long, so its high time I just make the commitment to finish off these series. They are all fantastic series; I just lack the motivation to complete them. Most of these I am sure you will not be surprised about, but without further ado, let’s get into it!

The first series I will finish is the Percy Jackson & The Olympians series by Rick Riordan.

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This is a series that I read the majority of last year, but for some reason, I just never finished it. I think I was just distracted by new books or I honestly just didn’t feel like taking notes (this happens a lot; I abhor taking notes by hand, which is why I recently decided I would start taking notes on my phone, and I definitely prefer it more). But this is a series that I am sure you have heard of, but if you haven’t, it follows a boy named Percy Jackson who is the son of the Greek sea god named Poseidon, which makes him a demigod, and he goes to a summer camp called Camp Half-Blood, which keeps him safe because as a demigod, he is hunted. The series is full of saving the world, sass, and general badassery, so I definitely recommend it! But I only have one book to go, so hopefully I will get to it!

The next series I would love to get to this year is the Six of Crows duology by Leigh Bardugo.

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The last book in the duology came out last September and it was actually one of my most anticipated releases of the year, and I haven’t read it yet. It makes absolutely no sense that I haven’t read it yet. This has been getting nothing but fantastic reviews, and I know it is going to be amazing because Six of Crows was amazing. But I just haven’t read it. But this series follows five kickass characters who embark on an impossible heist. Its full of action, love, badassery, complex characters and backstories, and magic, and how could you not want to read this series. Its amazing, one of my favorites of all time! But anyway, this series is one that I absolutely have to finish this year!

The next series I hope to finish this year is the Tales From the Shadowhunter Academy series by Cassandra Clare, Sarah Rees Brennan, Maureen Johnson, and Robin Wasserman.

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This is a series I feel like I have been talking about nonstop, and its a series I started last year, but just never finished. I actually have the physical bind up of the series now, so I have no excuse for not reading it. Its a novella series that occurs after the events of City of Heavenly Fire and prior to the events of Lady Midnight. This follows a character I can’t talk about because hello, spoilers. But we follow them as they navigate the Shadow World and become a Shadowhunter. Its really great so far, and I am expecting it to get even better. I definitely think I will finish it this year, hopefully before May because that is when Lord of Shadows comes out, which is the sequel to Lady Midnight. But I am really excited to finally read the rest of this series!

The next series I will hopefully finish off is The 5th Wave trilogy by Rick Yancey.

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The final book in this series came out last year, and for some reason, I just haven’t read it. I own it. I’ve had it since it was released, but I just keep putting it off because I am afraid of being disappointed. I think that is the real problem because I have heard literally no buzz at all about this book, which is pretty surprising. This is a series that follows Cassie Sullivan, a teen girl whose world is turned upside down when aliens invade earth, and they come in waves. Wave One: Lights Out. Wave Two: Catastrophe. Wave Three: Disease. Wave Four: Silencers. And I guess you’ll have to read it to figure out what the Fifth Wave is. Its very gripping, very intense, badass, funny, and such an amazing series, but its very emotional and really just makes you think about what could happen. The first one was absolutely amazing, the second one was more of a filler book, but it still was really good, and the third one has me terrified. But I will read it. I will finish this series!

The last series I want to read in 2017 is The Winner’s Trilogy by Marie Rutkoski.

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This is a series that I started last year, but just never finished. I read the first book and got the next two, but I just haven’t read them. This is a dystopian series with a focus on politics, and it actually is unlike any other dystopian I had ever read about. We follow Kestrel who is the daughter of the general in an empire that has gone to war with a lot of countries, won, and enslaved their people. Kestrel ends up buying a slave named Arin who she quickly finds herself falling in love with, but as a revolt starts brewing, she finds herself torn between her love for her father and her love for Arin. That sounds like totally  cheesy, but its actually really good. The focus is actually on the politics of an actual war, which we don’t typically see in YA dystopians, and because of that, I am super intrigued to see how the rest of the series pans out.

But there you have it! Those were all of the series that I plan on reading this year. What is one series you would like to see finished? Comment down below! And that is going to be it for this post today. Thank you all so much for reading this, I hope you enjoyed it, and I will see you next time!

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5 Books I Want to Read in 2017

Hey, guys! I am very excited about the new year. With a new year, comes a new plan in regards to reading. I don’t really want to make goals because I want to make it a pretty laid back year. My only goals are to read more diverse books, read at least 70 books this year, and to read the five books shown below. I don’t really want to stress myself out about reaching my reading goals (even if I am already running behind this year), so no big long post of goals. But enough with the babble. Let’s get into the five books I want to read in 2017!

The first book I need to read this year is The Last Olympian by Rick Riordan.

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This is the last book in the Percy Jackson series, and I can’t believe I haven’t read this yet. Last year, I marathoned the second, third, and fourth books in the series, but for some reason, I just stopped reading it. Maybe I got distracted by another book (this happens a lot), or maybe I just lost interest. Whatever the reason, I need to finish off this series so I can just say I finished it! This was a series that I originally DNF’d actually, but last year I gave it another try, and I ended up really enjoying it the second time around. But this is a series that follows Percy Jackson, a young boy who discovers he is the son of a Greek god, making him a demigod. This is a series about friendship, Greek mythology, and so much sass. I love this series now, so I am excited to finally finish it off!

The second book I want to try to read is Tales From the Shadowhunter Academy by Cassandra Clare, Maureen Johnson, Sarah Rees Brennan, and Robin Wasserman.

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This is the bind up of the all ten novellas in the series, and I have been meaning to read these for forever. I have heard nothing but fantastic things about this series, and I am so excited to read all of them. I have read the first two, and both were great! This series takes place after the events of City of Heavenly Fire and before the events of Lady Midnight (I read Lady Midnight without reading this series and I still really enjoyed it). It follows a character who I can’t name because that is a huge spoiler for City of Heavenly Fire, but we follow this character as they attend the Academy and train and learn about the Shadow World and their role as a Shadowhunter in it. Its great so far, and I am very excited to read the rest of the novellas, so hopefully I can get to this one this year.

The third book I want to try to get to is Yellow Brick War by Danielle Paige.

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This is the final book in the fabulous Dorothy Must Die series. I haven’t heard really anything about what people have been thinking about the finale, so I am interested in what I will think of it. This was released early last year, and I have just been putting off reading it for some reason. I think I am terrified of what will happen in this book. A few weeks ago, I tried to read it, but I started it and I felt the tears coming on, so I stopped, and was like, “Nope, nope. I do not need emotional trauma right now.” I am fairly certain this book will wreck me, which will be a feat because its a tiny book. This series if a retelling of sorts of The Wizard of Oz, but in this tale, Dorothy came back to Oz and got power-hungry and became this really evil dictator. A girl from Kansas named Amy Gumm travels to Oz and is tasked to kill Dorothy by the Revolutionary Order of the Wicked. This is an amazing, action-packed series with fantastic writing and a really interesting plot line. I am very excited to get back into this story and am excited to see how Danielle finished off the series!

The fourth book I hope to read is Queen of Shadows by Sarah J. Maas.

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This is the fourth book in the Throne of Glass series, and I have consciously put this book off for nearly a year. It was consciously because I am super intimidated by the size of this book, and I am very scared as to what will happen because one of Sarah’s very favorite things to do is to emotionally scar her readers. And kill off our favorite characters. I have heard pretty good things about this one, so I know it will be great, but I am still terrified to read it. I need to get back into this series because I don’t think I will read the rest of this series until I read this one. And if I don’t read it this year, I probably never will. But this series follows a kickass teen assassin named Celaena Sardothien. It has love, loss, and freaking gorgeous writing, so I do highly recommend it! Fingers crossed I read this one.

And the last book I want to read in 2017 is The Book Thief by Markus Zusak.

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This is a book that everyone loves, and I have started it, but have never finished it. I have been audiobooking this intermittently over the past year. I haven’t made it super far into the novel, and I think I might make faster progress if I were to own a physical copy of the book, which I don’t. And that’s because I want the Special Anniversary Edition with the white cover and I know it looks like a book that is dropped in water, which is significant to the novel. Also, its beautiful. But this is a historical fiction novel set in World War II Germany and it follows a little girl named Liesel Meminger who is a book thief. She steals books when she can and shares them with her neighbors during bombing raids and with the Jewish man hidden in her basement. This sounds like such a powerful story, and I hope I can read it this year because it definitely sounds like something that is up my alley.

And there you have it! Those were the books I plan on reading in 2017. Whats one book you have to read this year? Comment down below! And that is going to be it for this post today. Thank you all so much for reading this, I hope you enjoyed it, and I will see you next time.

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Year In Review | Reflection of 2016

Hey, guys! I am so glad to tell you all that I am happy with what I accomplished last year. While I was anxiously waiting for the year to finally be over, it wasn’t a terrible year for me. I actually got a lot more done than I thought I did. I am very happy with what I did accomplish, even if I didn’t get everything done that I would have liked to. But let’s just go ahead and get into this Year In Review!

What Happened In 2016?

13315445_1080936211972088_7699277442026894199_n-2I graduated high school! How insane is that? I had a decent senior year, I grew closer with some of my teachers, and I graduated with a 3.8 GPA. The graduation was interesting (I won’t go into detail, but just know that Valedictorian speeches have now been banned at that high school), but more importantly, I got to spend the summer with my friends, mostly my best friend Emily (her mom practically adopted me for most of the summer). I did not read as much, but that’s okay because I got out and did things. I tried new things, and I even went to Warped Tour this summer! (Sorry, no pictures).

It was a ton of fun and I went with Emily, naturally. I got to see two of my all time favorite bands perform (Falling in Reverse and Mayday Parade), which was epic, and I got introduced to new bands (I am now completely obsessed with Against the Current). It was so cool and electrifying and I was really just loving the experience of going to a concert with non-Christian bands! (I was one of those people who has only gone to Christian concerts). I expanded my horizons and I am so happy that I did get to go.

And then I started college! I met a lot of amazing people, especially since I am in this program called the “Emerging Leaders” program. 14034763_1134740116591697_7394499697434795390_n

This is actually a picture of a lot of the Emerging Leaders during Training Week. In this program, we are basically trying to get the campus involved in a lot of events, trying to help them feel welcome to the campus, and just trying to make people love the University of Akron. It is tons of fun, and it is creating the leaders of tomorrow, so that’s a plus. Because of this program, I have mostly cured my social anxiety, I have gained a lot of friendships I wouldn’t have otherwise had, and it really helped me to be not so nervous about being on campus and being around so many people. I definitely think it grounded me and I really appreciate that.

I even did the one thing that I said I was going to do and basically everyone called my bluff on it. I became a vegetarian. This was something I had been thinking about for a while. I hate the taste of meat and it honestly makes me sick when I eat it, so I finally decided the best way for me to be healthy and happy is to cut out what is making me unhealthy and feel pretty miserable: meat. And I have never felt better. I also cut out pop, so I mainly drink water now, which has also done so much to help me not feel miserable because pop made me sick, too. Since I have cut these two things out, I rarely get stomach aches, I feel better, I have more energy, I don’t have my head aches as often anymore, and I just feel good, honestly. Becoming a vegetarian was one of the smartest things I have ever done.

But onto matters of reading, I did manage to beat my goal of reading 60 books this year by reading 67 books, which I am very pleased with.

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I started my bookstagram account as well! Its something I had been thinking about for a while and I am so happy I decided to do it because I have talked to so many amazing people on there and discovered so many amazing accounts! Also, my bookstagram has improved tremendously from the start of the account to where I am now, which I am insanely proud of, and I hope to make it even better in 2017!

Last year, I set a goal to do more book reviews, make my own tags, and do more diverse posts on my blog, and I think I did a really good job in improving the types of posts I make. I did a whole shit ton of book reviews, I did make my own book tags, and I do think I did some different posts on here. I am really pleased with the direction my blog has been going in, and I am very excited to see where it can go in 2017.

Last year, I also said that I wanted to do at least one readathon in 2016 because I had never participated in one before. I am very pleased to say that I participated in five readathons in 2016! I ended up really enjoying readathons, and I am so excited to do more in the future. They are so much fun and I got a whole lot of reading done. I am so glad I pushed myself and participated in one because they are something I know I will continue to do in the future.

There were also a few books I wanted to finish in 2016, and while I didn’t get to all of them, I read some of them, and I read some books I thought I never would, so I count that as win. I finally finished reading the entire Harry Potter series! This was a huge milestone for me, and I am so happy I can say that I have read all of these amazing books. They were so good, and I am so happy I finally just finished off the series. And I read almost the entirety of the Percy Jackson series, which is a huge win because I didn’t even think I would continue on with the series after the first book. I read all of the books except for the last one, so fingers crossed I finish that one in 2017!

A goal that was more of a personal one for me, that I unfortunately did not complete was to read all of Sarah J. Maas’s books. But even though I didn’t read all of her books that she’s published, I am really pleased with the amount of books by her that I have read. I started off the year with not having read any of her books and this year, I managed to read the first three books in the Throne of Glass series, A Court of Thorns and Roses, A Court of Mist and Fury, and all of the novellas that make up The Assassin’s Blade. The only books by her that I haven’t read are Queen of Shadows and Empire of Storms, and I own both of them, so I hope to read them in 2017, and I am still very pleased with the amount of books I did read by her.

But yeah, that was everything I accomplished in 2016! What are some things you accomplished in 2016? Comment down below! And that is going to be it for this post today. Thank you all so much for reading this, I hope you enjoyed it, and I will see you next time!

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Worst Books of 2016

Hey, guys! So I originally was not going to do this because I am quite terrified of backlash. But there are some books I definitely was not satisfied with this year, and I think it helps to talk it out, to talk through these books. Now these are just going to be my opinions. Just because I don’t like these books, doesn’t mean you can’t like these books. You are entitled to your own opinion, and I am happy for you that you enjoyed these books! I just didn’t enjoy them myself. But let’s just go ahead and get into the worst books that I read in 2016!

The first book to immediately come to mind is Half-Blood by Jennifer L. Armentrout.

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I love Jennifer’s books. The Lux series is one of my favorite series of all time and I have read a lot of her other books and I really enjoyed them a whole lot. They seemed very original, very captivating and they were so great. But I hated this book. It was pretty much like a carbon copy of the Vampire Academy series by Richelle Mead, but with Demons and of course, Demon Hunters. I didn’t finish this book. I DNF’d it. The more I thought about the similarities between this book and Vampire Academy, the more frustrated and angry I got at this knockoff version of that fantastic series. Alexandria (its so tragic I didn’t like this series; her name is the same as mine) had a similar backstory to Rose Hathaway, the story line was similar (and too much like it), the situations Alex was put in were extremely similar to a lot of the situations that Rose was put it in and finally I just stopped reading it. 10/10 do not recommend.

The next book I really had problems with was P. S. I Still Love You by Jenny Han.

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Please don’t hate me for not liking this book. Okay, I really enjoyed To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before. It was fun, quick, and humorous and I really enjoyed it. But this book just seemed to take a lot of the things I enjoyed in the last book and twisted them. The problem was not Lara Jean. I still love her, but Peter was just a jerk in this book. A lot of the things he said and did in this book just made me uneasy and rubbed me the wrong way. I, however, was 500% Team John Ambrose McLaren, and I liked him so much more than Peter. I thought there was a lot of really petty high school drama that did not need to be at the front of this book or the main conflict. That’s what contributed the most to me not liking this book. And its not because I am not in high school anymore. I was in high school when I read this, and I just found it hard to get through this book because of the story line and the conflicts. The combination of the two of them just made it a really unenjoyable read for me, and I didn’t like it at all. I ended up giving it 3/5 stars.

Another book I was not a huge fan of, and apparently many people didn’t like it either, was A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas.

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I know what you’re thinking. “But you used to rave about this, Allie! And you rave about A Court of Mist and Fury all the time!” I did originally like this book, but upon further contemplation and after reading ACOMAF, I have a different opinion. I don’t like how Tamlin treats his people. I had problems with him in general, but really what makes me really not like this book is the stark contrast between the first half of the book and the second half of the book. The first half of the book is all about Tamlin courting Feyre and earning her trust and whatever. Which is fine, but then its suddenly all action with Feyre and Tamlin held captive and this threat is suddenly introduced and it just seems to come out of nowhere. I did partly enjoy this part of the book, mostly because of Rhys, but what infuriates me is that when Tamlin had the time to help Feyre, all he cared about was his libido and that was it. That was the last straw with the book. Like we still had Rhys, but that wasn’t enough for me to like the book in the end. And the closet scene (if you’ve read it, you know what I am talking about) really said something about Tamlin, I think, as a person and as a character. I just had a ton of problems with the second half of the book. My original rating was 5/5 stars, but I am lowering it to 3.5/5 stars.

The next book that makes this list is The Hidden Oracle by Rick Riordan.

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I didn’t hate this book. I didn’t love it. It was pretty “meh” to be honest. I heard about the premise of this novel, and I was so excited because I loved Apollo so much in the Percy Jackson series, but this book did not live up to my expectations. I actually thought Apollo was pretty annoying in this novel. He wasn’t as funny as he was in Percy Jackson, and the story just dragged. I felt like nothing happened the entirety of the novel. It just seemed like a lot of it was filler. The only reason I made it through the novel was because we got to revisit characters from Percy Jackson and they made it bearable. I just did not enjoy this book and I originally had it at 4/5 stars, but I am now bumping it down to 3.5/5 stars.

This next book I haven’t seen on anyone’s list for worst books, and maybe I am alone, but I really did not like Me Before You by Jojo Moyes.

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Before I get into this one, let me just say I freaking loved the movie, but the book was not something I was a fan of. I liked the movie more than I liked the book. This book was severely overhyped in my opinion. Everyone was saying how devastating this book was and how I will cry when I read it. My friends loved it, and the movie was coming out, so I decided to read it, and I didn’t like it. I loved Louisa and how quirky she was. I loved her fashion sense and I loved most of her family (her sister I did not like at all). But I did not like the writing style, first of all, and I found the story line to be very predictable. I thought it was cliched that Louisa would have a trauma (like we couldn’t have a character that didn’t have a trauma) and it wasn’t addressed hardly at all in the novel, just thrown out there. And I did not ship her and Will. I liked them as friends, but felt there was no chemistry at all there. Because of that, while I did expect the ending, I didn’t cry. I didn’t even tear up. I just expected it. I really didn’t have an emotional attachment to any of the characters and I didn’t relate to them, and for that reason, it was difficult for me to get through the novel. I did originally give it 4/5 stars, but have since lowered it to 3/5 stars.

And the last book on my list of Worst Books Read in 2016 is none other than Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by J. K. Rowling, John Tiffany, and Jack Thorne.

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You all should not be surprised. I have been pretty vocal about my dislike for this book. I hated the format, and I especially hated the writing. Because it wasn’t solely written by J. K. Rowling, there were several things I didn’t like about the writing. It didn’t give me that magical feeling that all of her books always give me when I read them. It was missing that spark and honestly the play seemed far fetched and should never be seen as the eighth addition to the Harry Potter series. Throughout most of the book, the characters did not act like themselves at all. I had problems with the predictable story line, with some of the new characters that were introduced (like how Rose wasn’t there in the play like at all, except for the very beginning), and I think the play missed the opportunity to introduce a LGBTQ+ relationship into the world of Harry Potter. I think that Scorpius and Albus together would have been a fantastic example of LGBTQ+ in this world, and it upset me that a possible relationship between the two of them other than friendship was never even presented or brought up. Overall, I did like a few things, but there were many more things I had problems with than things I thought worked. I ended up giving it 3/5 stars.

And there you have it! These were the Worst Books that I Read in 2016. What was your least favorite book that you read this year? Mine was definitely Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. But that is going to be it for this post today! Thank you all so much for reading this, I hope you enjoyed it, and I will see you next time!

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Favorite Books | 2016 Edition

Hey, guys! I can’t believe its coming to the end of the year. 2016 is coming to an end and 2017 is just upon us (with a whole new president…I am very nervous about the chaos that will erupt once Trump takes office…) and with that, its time for me to finally reveal my favorite reads of this year. I did so much better in my reading habits this year than last year (I read nearly fifteen more books than I did last year!) and with that, I did read a lot of good books, but oddly enough, I have a slightly smaller favorites list, only about seven books. I guess I am more picky about my favorites list this year. Also, if you read through this list and are wondering why your favorite book isn’t on this list, it might already be on my other list because I did make a post about my favorite books of 2016, so you can look at that here. But let’s just go ahead and get into these amazing books.

7: First up on my list is Truthwitch by Susan Dennard.

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This is the book this year that really got me into High Fantasy. For years, I’ve been saying that I strictly read urban fantasy and that high fantasy just really isn’t my thing. And then I read this and my world opened up. I saw for the first time how magical high fantasy is. What I really didn’t like about high fantasy was its complicated world and I honestly was too lazy to try to learn the world, but this book just clicked for me. I fell in love with the characters, the world, and the unbelievably kickass story line from the start. I just loved every second of reading this book and I actually need to rebuy this because my friend borrowed it and I never got it back, unfortunately. But the second book, Windwitch, is coming out in January and I am so buying it and I am so excited for it (which I will talk about in my 2017 Most Anticipated Releases). So I am just so thankful I read this book because it was epic and I highly recommend you check it out! If you are interested in my spoilery thoughts, opinions, and feels, I did do a full spoiler book review, which I will link here.

6: Next up we have Faking Normal by Courtney C. Stevens.

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This book was so emotional and such a powerful and impacting story. It has a trigger warning for rape and self-harm, if that gives you an idea and its just about actually letting people know what happened to you, speaking out, dealing with trauma, and just not letting this person get away with it. This book also brought to light that rapists aren’t just on the street. They’re in your homes, in your life. Sometimes they aren’t even completely terrible people. But that doesn’t make what they did any less wrong. This book just shed a light on a very difficult topic and Courtney did it so well, so I commend her on that. I did do a spoiler-free review of this, so if you are interested in reading that, it is linked here.

5: Coming at number five is Carry On by Rainbow Rowell.

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This is a book that really took me by surprise in how freaking epic it was and so freaking good. I had heard all of the raving, especially from Katytastic on YouTube, but I just bought it because it was another Rainbow Rowell novel that I hadn’t read yet. And then I started reading it and I couldn’t stop. I stayed up all night to read it, and it was so freaking good. I immediately was enthralled by Rainbow’s writing (as always) and then I really loved the characters and the romance (I will go down with that ship) and the story line, and just…gah, it was so good. And the magic system was really interesting. It dealt with the power of words and it wasn’t like any other magic system I had read about. It was so, so good, and I highly recommend it! I did a full spoiler-free review of it where I discussed all of my thoughts, opinions, and feels, so I will link that right here. Just know that it was insanely good and incredibly epic.

4: The next book on my list is none other than Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo.

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This is the first book in Leigh’s Six of Crows Duology and it was fabulous. The conclusion to this duology came out and I still have not gotten to it, much to my chagrin, but the beginning to this series just completely blew my mind. First off, it was worlds better than the Grisha trilogy. Secondly, all of the characters are unique and complex and I love every single one of these bastards. The thing about this book is none of these characters are really reliable. They are all bad characters trying to escape from even worse characters. And you will ship these characters with each other until your last dying breath. And you won’t even be aware of it until like 3/4 of the way through, and you’re like, “Oh my fucking God. I will die just so they can have a happy ending.” Its so good. I love all of the characters, the kickass story line, the amazing and complex world, and the fantastical writing. It was just so damn good. I also have a review up for this one, so you should check that out, and I highly recommend you give this series a go because it is fantabulous.

3: Coming at Number Three is the Illuminae Files series by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff.

This series is one of the best series I have ever read in my entire life. Its unlike anything I have ever read about. Its told through IM’s and emails and journal entries and files and it is just so good. If you love scifi and/or fantasy (yes, both), you will love this series. Its so kickass and so suspenseful and thrilling and fast-paced. Its just so freaking epic. For each of these books, I read them in one sitting. They are that good. They are around the same length and they are pretty chunky books. I literally could not put them down. I did spoiler-free reviews of both of these if you want to know more, which I will link here and here. Just know they were epic and you should read them even if their different format seems daunting. The format makes the story more compelling, in my opinion. They’re so fantastic! I could just go on and on…

2: Coming at Number Two is Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare.

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This is the first book in The Dark Artifices series set in the Shadowhunter World, like her other series (The Mortal Instruments and The Infernal Devices). So I sort of broke the rules when I read this. I did not read the Tales From Shadowhunter Academy before I read this (I now own it thanks to my grandma, so thank you for that!) I realize I missed out on some background stories, but I will be reading them soon and they didn’t really at all hinder my reading experience in reading this fabulous book. I loved all of the characters we get to know. Emma is now my new favorite heroine that Cassie has written. She has all the elements of the previous characters that I loved with some bad mixed in to make her intersting. I freaking love this badass bitch. She’s hilarious, she’s kickass and I just love her. I was so on board with the romance because I am all about that forbidden romance. And this book did shock me and break my heart and crush it into little pieces, but I just love the parts of the Shadowhunter World that we go to explore in this novel, I loved the antagonist, and the humor was so on point. I just really loved it. It was a huge toss up between this and my number one book of this year, but the other book won. I could not deny it. But before I get into that, I did do a spoiler-free review of Lady Midnight as well, so you should check that out.

1: And my Number One Favorite Book of 2016 is none other than A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas.

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I am sure some of you are not very surprised. I have been raving about this book for months, ever since I finished it. Let me just say that if you read A Court of Thorns and Roses and stopped because you didn’t like it, you will love this book. I have talked to people who read ACOTAR and hated it, but read ACOMAF and freaking loved it. It is so much better than ACOTAR (and I actually liked ACOTAR at the time but am now questioning why I was so in love with it) and I actually switched ships (Yes, I was one of those unfortunate readers who at first shipped her with Tamlin. We don’t speak of that time in my life.)

It was such a kickass story, the writing was fantastic, and oh my God the characters. I wasn’t totally sold on Feyre in the last book, but I love her now after reading ACOMAF. She really came into her own and became a stronger, better version of herself. She basically told Tamlin to kiss her ass and I admire the shit out of that. Also Rhys. Just Rhys. *fans self* He is now my all time favorite book boyfriend, guys. He beats Damon Salvatore. HE BEATS DAMON FUCKING SALVATORE. THIS IS LEGIT, GUYS. But I just loved all of the characters we were introduced to and this book did break me. I didn’t think I would recover, but I am so freaking ready for the next book. Because this is going to be a tough one to beat. I also did a review of this book. If you want to know all of my feels in spoilery detail, then I highly recommend you check it out. My God, this book was fanfuckingtastic…

And there you have it! Those are my all time favorite books of this year. What was your favorite book you read in 2016? Comment down below! And that is going to be it for this post today. Thank you so much for reading this and for giving me such a fantastic year in blogging and reading. I hope you had a very Merry Christmas, and I will see you next time!

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