Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Waiting on Wednesday (1): The Darkest Part of the Forest by Holly Black

The Darkest Part of the Forest by Holly Black
Stand Alone
Publication Date: 13th January 2015
Publisher: Little Brown Books for Young Readers
Length: 336 pages

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine and spotlights upcoming events that we're eagerly anticipating.

Official Blurb from Goodreads:

Children can have a cruel, absolute sense of justice. Children can kill a monster and feel quite proud of themselves. A girl can look at her brother and believe they’re destined to be a knight and a bard who battle evil. She can believe she’s found the thing she’s been made for.

Hazel lives with her brother, Ben, in the strange town of Fairfold where humans and fae exist side by side. The faeries’ seemingly harmless magic attracts tourists, but Hazel knows how dangerous they can be, and she knows how to stop them. Or she did, once.

At the center of it all, there is a glass coffin in the woods. It rests right on the ground and in it sleeps a boy with horns on his head and ears as pointed as knives. Hazel and Ben were both in love with him as children. The boy has slept there for generations, never waking.

Until one day, he does…

Why I'm looking forward to this book:

Holly Black is one of my authors whose books I instantly buy when they're released. To me she's the Queen of writing books about vicious faeries. I love the premise of humans and faeries living side by side. This is my first middle grade book of hers on my TBR; I plan to also read Doll Bones and The Iron Trial (co-authored with Cassandra Clare) sometime, but this book comes first!

Sunday, 28 December 2014

2015 Reading Goals and Challenges

I thought long and hard about what I wanted to read in 2015. In a nutshell, here's the reading goals I came up with:

1. Read a greater number of diverse books.
2. Continue exploring the wide realm of audiobooks.
3. Rekindle my love for fantasy books.
4. Whittle down my out of control TBR pile.
5. Broaden my tastes in comics and manga.
6. Catch up on some books series - even finish some!

Listing them was the easy part... It's all very well to have good intentions, but knowing me I'll get a third of the way through the year and give in to my reading muse.

This is why I've signed up for a few reading challenges to motivate me to achieve my reading goals. Over the next little while I'll be posting in greater detail why I signed up and my TBR for each one. Although I have the buttons and made progress bars for the Witches and Witchcraft, Official TBR Pile and Graphic Novels Challenges, I have not yet signed up on the hosts' websites as I need to post TBRs for each challenge first.

Now I know there's no way I'll complete all my reading challenges being a slowish reader. Hell, I might not even complete any! But that's not the point. I'd rather make progress on each of my reading challenges and thus reading goals than make no progress at all. 

So here's to a great year of reading in 2015!

Are you signing up for any reading challenges?

Friday, 26 December 2014

Yazzi's Best Books of 2014

It's the time of making Best of Year lists again! I thought I'd join in and show you a few books I really enjoyed reading this year.

Best Conclusion to a Trilogy: Champion by Marie Lu

The Legend Trilogy is a masterpiece with each installment surpassing the previous one. I read Champion in January and it's still with me at the year's end. With thrilling action, intriguing world-building and a heart-felt romance, the trilogy is easily one of my favourite dystopians.

Best Anthology: The Curiosities: A Collection of Stories by Maggie Stiefvater, Tessa Gratton and Brenna Yovanoff

I LOVED all of the stories in this collection as well as the authors' comments scattered in the margins. I hadn't read any of Gratton's or Yovanoff's writing before this, but am now eager to. Best of all, this book gave me the courage to start writing again.

Best Classic: Much Ado About Nothing by William Shakespeare

Oh, Much Ado About Nothing! I can't believe I still adore this play after spending so much time studying it this year. Beatrice and Benedick are one of my all time favourite couples. The combination of wittiness, sass and tender love is irresistible.

Best Sci-Fi Novel: Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie

I finally borrowed this from the library after feeling left out of all the hype and boy, am I glad I did! I'm not going to say anything about it as I think it's one of those books where it's better going in blind. Can't wait to read the next two books in the trilogy.

Best Comfort Read: Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

This book got me through my stressful end of year exams. It's the book equivalent of curling up in a snuggly blanket with a hot chocolate. With the cute swoon-worthy romance in an exotic location supporting Anna's coming to age I couldn't put it down.

Best Mystery: The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith J. K. Rowling

I'll straight-up admit I only read this because my Queen wrote, but with the interesting premise of a missing author there's a chance I could have picked it up if someone else had written it. I'm still proud I correctly guessed the culprit.

Best Contemporary: The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion

On the day I got this out of my school library I was told by five different teacher how good it was and knew I was in for a great read. Don's story is more than a romance, though this is definitely an aspect of the books which shines, along with the humour. I have the sequel on my Kindle right now, waiting to be read at the beach.

Best Fantasy Novel: The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

I can't believe I waited so long to read this! It's about a pair of magicians dueling non-traditionally at the most AMAZING circus - I really wish the place was real! I gave this to my mum for Christmas and think she'll enjoy it as much as I did.

Best Audiobook: The Outsiders by S. E. Hinton

My first ever audio book which I highly recommend to fellow audio book newbies.  It's the perfect 'gateway' as the running time is only around five hours and Jim Ffye is perfect voicing Ponyboy and his friends. I have to warn you though, it's addictive! I ended up listening to the last hour and screwed up my nails for my school ball as I was so overcome with emotions.... It was worth it!

Best Comic: Saga Volume One by Brian K. Vaughn and Fiona Staples

I feel like everyone has read Saga, but I'm still playing catch-up. The beautiful artwork and exciting plot depict Marko's and Alanna's flight as new parents trying to escape the constant war between their respected ethnicities.

So that's my list! What were your Best Books of 2014?