Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Top Ten Best Books Of 2016

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish.
Every once in a while I participate in this one when I either
1) Like the theme, and/or 2) Have the time!

This week's topic:
Top Ten Best Books of 2016

With 2016 rapidly approaching it's close, it is only fitting that we take a look back at the books that sparked our imaginations and tugged at our heartstrings the most this year. I've narrowed my list down to the top ten best books of 2016!!

In no particular order...

1) SOME KIND OF HAPPINESS by Claire Legrand

Some Kind of Happiness

I could say it a thousand times and I will have never said it enough. This book is for all ages and it is important. It opens up a dialogue about mental health in a way that is bittersweet and somehow whimsical all at once.


2) SUMMER OF LOST AND FOUND by Rebecca Behrens

Summer of Lost and Found

This book reminded me how wonderfully fascinating historical fiction can be. It's a great middle grade series, but with history snippets that keep an adult readers interested as well.


3) PILFER ACADEMY by Lauren Magaziner

Pilfer Academy: A School So Bad It's Criminal

I will never stop excitedly shoving this book into the hands of everyone and anyone. It's funny, and warm and has all the elements I love from Roald Dahl, J.K Rowling, and Lemony Snicket combined.


4) THE FORGETTING by Sharon Cameron

The Forgetting

I can't talk about this book without dissolving into half garbled sentences and a lot of hand gestures. Which is why I haven't done a review for it yet. GOTTA FIND A WAY TO COMPOSE MYSELF so I can communicate to you how wonderful the imagery is, how much I love the main character. If you like The Hunger Games or Divergent you'll love the Dystopian feel of this story.

5) SIGNS OF YOU by Emily France

Signs of You

Just hold me while I cry forever over Emily France. I have reread SIGNS OF YOU twice, and it makes me cry in the same places, gives me goosebumps in the same places. It is both raw emotion and intangible mystery all at once. If you don't like full on fantasy and adventure but you want something with a hint of maybe possibly supernatural influence, then this book is one you'll love.


6) MAGONIA by Maria Dahvana Headley

Magonia (Magonia, #1)

Lord help me find the words to describe this story. I mean, the summary is really the selling point because it's so interesting, and the imagery of ships in a world above the clouds is just ajdkfjdslf. If you like main characters that have to choose between their weak and strong selves then you'll love this.


7) IVORY AND BONE by Julie Eshbaugh

Ivory and Bone

It's set in prehistoric times, I mean, if that doesn't get your interest then I don't know what you want out of your books. What I love is how Julie Eshbaugh takes us back in time but gives us familiar human emotions that transcend any time period. There's action, mystery, romance. It just leaves me feeling content with my reading experience.


8) TITANS by Victoria Scott


I fell in love with the imagery of this story, metallic horses racing to a finish line. The bond of a human girl to a mechanical creature that represents hope for herself and her family. 


9) THE CALL by Peadar O'Guilin

The Call

I was so enraptured with this book. The storyline was dark and twisty, I fell in love with the characters, and the narrative style had me focused and engaged. It's been ages since I read a story about the fae that really sank under my skin and made me wonder what happened next.


10) QUEEN OF HEARTS by Colleen Oaks

Queen of Hearts (Queen of Hearts Saga #1)

This book was different, and at the time that I read it I was really craving something different. I liked exploring a Wonderland where we got more political intrigue, a setting that felt more grown up. I found Dinah so compelling as a main character and I looved being in her head.


What were your favorite books of 2016???

Thursday, December 22, 2016

The Amazing True Story Behind FINDING WINNIE by Lindsay Mattick

Love fairy tales and mythology?
Fans of mermaids, dragons, unicorns, and other mythical creatures?
Enjoy when a beloved classic tale is retold?
A Twist in the Tail Thursdays features all this and more!

O P E N I N G   L I N E:

"It's awfully late." It was long past dark, and time to be asleep.

"What kind of story?"
"You know. A true story. One about a Bear."
We cuddle up close.
"I'll do my best," I said.

(pgs. 1-2, US Hardcover Edition)

I started reviewing FINDING WINNIE: The True Story of the World's Most Famous Bear in January after it won the 2016 Caldecott Award. AND THEN I LEFT IT IN DRAFT MODE. I don't know why. Possibly because I just can't do justice to this amazing picture book, which deservedly won its award.

You guys, I TEARED UP reading this book. I had NO CLUE that the beloved character Winnie the Pooh was based on a real bear. I had no clue that his name was short for Winnipeg, Canada (A place where one of my dearest friends lives). I had no clue that this was a true tale of war. Even Christopher Robin is a real person! I just...

This book taught me so much history, and it was such a joy to read. I love the way there are real pictures at the end of the Winnie and of Harry Colebourn. I'm obsessed with the fact that this book was written by Harry Colebourn's great granddaughter...and she is telling the story to HER son, Cole, who was named after his great great grandfather. I LOVE THIS CONNECTION. I love it so much!!! That alone makes me tear up, tbh.

There's an amazing video on YouTube where Lindsay Mattick talks about her inspiration in writing this true story, as well as several gorgeous pictures of Winnie and Harry:

The story is complex enough that older kids aged 5-8 will still be intrigued by it, even though "it's a picture book." It's about a bear, which will intrigue younger children as well. Plus, it will excite anyone who has ever loved the tales of Winnie the Pooh, be it through the original by A.A. Milne or the Disney version. There is seriously something in this picture book for everyone, and it transcends age barriers in a way that very few picture books can do.

If you're still looking for a great gift for a child, or if you're a history buff, or if you're a huge Winnie the Pooh fan---or giving a child the original stories as a gift--please consider picking up FINDING WINNIE: The True Story of the World's Most Famous Bear. It's a precious story that will remain in your heart long after the last page is turned!

O F F I C I A L   I N F O:

Title:  FINDING WINNIE: The True Story of the World's Most Famous Bear
Author: Lindsay Mattick
Illustrator: Sophie Blackall
Release Date: October 20, 2015
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Received: Borrowed

Before Winnie-the-Pooh, there was a real bear named Winnie.

In 1914, Harry Colebourn, a veterinarian on his way to tend horses in World War I, followed his heart and rescued a baby bear. He named her Winnie, after his hometown of Winnipeg, and he took the bear to war.

Harry Colebourn's real-life great-granddaughter tells the true story of a remarkable friendship and an even more remarkable journey--from the fields of Canada to a convoy across the ocean to an army base in England...

And finally to the London Zoo, where Winnie made another new friend: a real boy named Christopher Robin.

Here is the remarkable true story of the bear who inspired Winnie-the-Pooh.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

{Review/Giveaway} EVER THE HUNTED by Erin Summerill

Tour Schedule:

Week One:
12/19/2016- Adventures of a Book Junkie- Interview
12/20/2016- A Backwards StoryReview
12/21/2016- Dani Reviews ThingsGuest Post
12/22/2016- Fiction FareReview
12/23/2016- Two Chicks on BooksInterview

Week Two:
12/26/2016- Seeing Double In NeverlandReview
12/27/2016- NerdophilesGuest Post
12/28/2016- Take Me Away To A Great ReadReview
12/29/2016- The YA Book TravelerInterview
12/30/2016- The Reading Nook ReviewsReview

O P E N I N G   H O O K:

    TO SURVIVE THESE WOODS, A man has to be strong as the trees, Papa had said. The memory is a whisper compared to the attention my cramping stomach demands. 
    I try not to think of him or my trembling legs as I dust my boot prints from the path with a broken branch. Every starved scrap of me begs to stop and hunt here on the foot trail in the Ever Woods. Only the danger of getting caught propels me onward, boots stumbling over rocks and dirt.

(Page 7, US e-book edition)

“You want to trade my life for Cohen's?

He smiles with a hint of pride, displaying a row of large teeth. Precisely."” 

~Britta and Lord Jamis, EVER THE HUNTED

EVER THE HUNTED has been on my radar for a REALLY long time. As in, back during BEA 2015, before there was a cover, or a summary, or ANY INFORMATION. A publicist I worked with was in the middle of reading (or had just finished reading?) this upcoming title she was going to work on and help publish, and she was telling me how much I was going to like the book. I put it on my TBR that moment.

When the cover came out earlier this year and everyone on the internet got really excited for the book, I just got extra excited. I was extremely lucky to receive an early copy for review, since this was one of my most anticipated titles of 2016!

The book centers around Britta, a girl who has recently become an orphan. Her mother died when she was young, and her father was recently murdered. Due to her realm's mourning requirements, Britta must mourn in isolation for two months, never leaving home. Because her mother was from and a shunned country and nobody ever really trusted Britta, nobody comes with condolences, or checks up on her, or brings her food. Britt is literally starving to death because she's run out of food and can't leave to get more. As her isolation comes to an end, she's forced to poach from the Ever Woods in order to survive. Unfortunately, she's caught red-handed and taken to the king's dungeons; poaching is a hanging offense. However, because her father had been the king's best bounty hunter, she's given a reprieve: Hunt down her father's killer and be pardoned. The only problem? The killer is Cohen McKay, her father's former apprentice and the one boy Britta has ever loved. Can she trade her life for his, even if he killed her father?

There are a lot of plots and schemes and twists introduced throughout the novel, so it's hard to talk about this book without being all spoilery, but I'll try! Some of the twists readers will see coming, while others aren't as easy to spot. I wouldn't say this novel has a crazy cliffhanger, especially since I can guess where it's going, but it's intriguing enough to make readers want to pick up the second book when it comes out! Plus, it's only a duology, so the wait for the series conclusion won't be too bad!

While the book starts off slowly, it picks up speed, especially once Britta is kidnapped. There's so much about herself that she doesn't know, and she discovers a lot about her heritage throughout the novel. She has both a past and a future that change her fundamentally, and a lot of that discovery will compile the second book. The magical elements in this world are interesting, and I can't wait to see them expanded upon in the next book.

While Britta has her weaknesses, she evolves a lot and becomes much stronger and more secure by the book's end, though she still has a lot of growing to do. She also has a lot of uncertainty remaining, and needs to trust her gut instincts a little more. It will be interesting to see the direction the second book takes and whether my predictions are on target or not.

And...I guess that's really all I can say about this book without blabbing all its secrets to you!

Content Ratings: highlight between ( ) for details

Romance: PG12  ( Kissing. Lots of kissing! And Cohen is often shirtless when Britta comes across him, which does weird things to her, but the innuendo is light)
Language: --
Violence:  PG ( There's a scene where Britta comes across a couple of hanging corpses. There is some death toward the end of the book. Britta is also hunting her father's murderer, and his death is lightly described. )
Other:  PG13 ( One of the guards mentions things such as wanting to "taste" Britta and wanting to be left alone with her, implying that he'd like to rape her, though he never does. )
C O V E R   D E S I G N:

Do you guys like coloring books????

I'm not really a coloring book person, but OMG, this cover makes me want to cover it. 

Preferably with metallic gel pens, actually. There's so much white space!! And the cover is made with that papery material that would actually LET you color it and have it look nice. It's not a shiny or matte finish at all!

Seriously, look at it in person. YOU WILL WANT TO COLOR IT:

Look at all that detail in the background!! There's even a bird! And antlers!!! So much to bring to life!!!

(It's a lot whiter in person, too. My photo came out dark. Sorry!!)

Plus that pop of gold for the title, and the forest green of the author's name and the blood red of the series name--with those gorgeous looping letters!

This is a really pretty cover...and you'll want to make it even prettier!
O F F I C I A   I N F O:

Author: Erin Summerill
Release Date: Dec. 27, 2016
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Books for Young Readers
Received: For Review
Purchase Links:

Amazon | B&N  


Seventeen year-old Britta Flannery is at ease only in the woods with her dagger and bow. She spends her days tracking criminals alongside her father, the legendary bounty hunter for the King of Malam—that is, until her father is murdered. Now outcast and alone and having no rights to her father’s land or inheritance, she seeks refuge where she feels most safe: the Ever Woods. When Britta is caught poaching by the royal guard, instead of facing the noose she is offered a deal: her freedom in exchange for her father’s killer.

However, it’s not so simple.

The alleged killer is none other than Cohen McKay, her father’s former apprentice. The only friend she’s ever known. The boy she once loved who broke her heart. She must go on a dangerous quest in a world of warring kingdoms, mad kings, and dark magic to find the real killer. But Britta wields more power than she knows. And soon she will learn what has always made her different will make her a daunting and dangerous force.   

About the Author

Erin Summerill was born in England. After spending years bouncing between Air Force bases in Hawaii, England, and California, her family settled in Utah, where Erin graduated with a B.A. in English from Brigham Young University. She had aspirations to write the next great American novel, but writing proved tougher than she first thought. So she grabbed a Nikon and became a professional photographer while crafting manuscript after manuscript. The scenic detour of shooting weddings across the United States, as well as internationally, provided world-building inspiration. It gave her the vision to draft her debut YA fantasy, EVER THE HUNTED. Now when she isn’t writing, or shooting a wedding, she’s chasing her four kids, two dogs, one cat, and five chickens. This could be why she downs massive amounts of Coke Zero and Hot tamales.

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Ten Things I Wouldn't Mind Santa Leaving Under My Tree

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish.
Every once in a while I participate in this one when I either
1) Like the theme, and/or 2) Have the time!

This week's topic:
 Ten Things I Wouldn't Mind Santa Leaving Under My Tree

I haven't asked for a LOT of books this year, but here are few that I requested from my dad. I'm weird and like to "remember" who gave me a present. So I don't ask for random books that I just want to read, and instead, ask my dad to buy various series for me. That way every book by that author is "from him" and I remember!!

I've also thrown the books I asked for back in August from my #OTSPSecretSister into the mix because who knows, maybe it's in this month's box--or next! Every time I get a box from my Sister, it's like Santa sent me a surprise anyway, right??

In no particular order...

1) CRYSTAL STORM by Morgan Rhodes

The penultimate book in the Falling Kingdoms series is here!!!! My dad gives me the new book in this series every year for Christmas--and I get the spin-off series in the summer from him for my birthday!!!


2) TOWER OF THORNS by Juliet Marillier

I discovered Juliet Marillier when a lot of her books were already out in paperback, so that's how I've been reading her all this time. So every time a new book of hers releases in paperback, I've been asking my dad for it as a Christmas present!



Another book I've asked my dad for! My dad has been kind enough to buy every book Marie Lu has ever written for me, and it's always a Christmas present from him. This year, Barnes and Noble had a Black Friday signed copy, and he got me a signed copy last year on Black Friday, too, so I'm hoping!!!

I've already read this and it's such a good series closure!!!!!


4) SACRIFICE by Cindy Pon

Last year, I asked my dad for SERPENTINE by Cindy Pon because I loved her previous duology and was so excited she was writing something new!!! THEN I decided to wait until both books were out in the duology and read them together. So I'm hoping my dad helps me conclude the series this year for Christmas!


5) FURTHERMORE by Tahereh Mafi

I've wanted to read this since I heard about it, and even more since hearing that it was influenced by Alice in Wonderland!

My co-blogger Mandy read and planned to review it last month during A Week of Wonderland, but decided it wasn't quite Alice enough, so she'll be reviewing it soon.

But she LOVED it, and I can't wait to pick up my copy in February and finally read it if my #OTSPSecretSister doesn't pick it up first! 


6) THIS SAVAGE SONG by Victoria Schwab

When I asked my Sister for this, I figured I could wait to get my hands on it. I had an e-ARC and my book club was reading it! Then...I had no time and I didn't read it and...the e-ARC expired. So now I'll probably wait until I have both books and read them together, but I can't wait to finally own a copy of this book because I have all of Victoria's amazing novels!


7) MARKED by Jenny Martin

I really liked the first book, TRACKED, and have been wanting to re-read it and first-read MARKED! I'm not a huge Nascar type of person, but this book mixed racing with fantasy so well, and I really loved it! I need to know more!! Another book I can't wait until February to buy!


8) FROST LIKE NIGHT by Sara Raasch

Yet another book I'll be rushing to buy in February!! I read the first book, SNOW LIKE ASHES, when it first came out, and decided to wait until all three were out to binge the series together in one gulp. I'm ready to read this series!!


9) FATE OF FLAMES by Sarah Raughley

If Buffy was a Senshi with Avatar the Last Airbender-style magic, this would be her story. The concept for this one is really exciting and I'm excited to pick it up in the new year if I don't receive it before then! 


10) THE SLEEPING PRINCE by Melinda Salisbury

I bought THE SIN EATER'S DAUGHTER on my nook when it was on sale, and now I need to buy the rest of these books digitally. Although aren't these covers gorgeous!? It's sad seeing them in black and white on my nook. BUT MY BOOKS MUST MATCH IN FORMAT!!!! I'm hoping my Sister might send an e-copy of THE SLEEPING PRINCE so I can continue this series! The third book is coming out soon, and I'd like to be ready to read it!  E-books are a lot harder to gift, though, especially when you own a nook and not a Kindle, because while you can do it on the website, it's probably not anonymous. You can buy an ebook anonymously in the store and get a redemption code, but not everyone has a store near them! So I'll likely be picking this one up on my own--and that's okay! ^_^ But it would be a nice surprise, lol!


What books are you hoping to receive this holiday season???