Mundie Moms

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

2014 Top Ten Favorite Reads

Happy New Year's Eve! 
Wow! Where has this year gone? It flew by way too fast.
What an incredibly awesome year it's been. There are so many wonderful things I was able to do this year. Some of my highlights from this year include moderating various author signings, interviewing many amazing authors, being quoted / acknowledged in books, meeting new blogger friends, going to BEA, and being able to continue to do what I love, which is being cheerleader for books. 

This year was a huge year for books. 
There were a ton of awesome releases this year. A lot of my favorite series came to an end *sniffles*. Some of which I still haven't read the last book in, because if I don't read the last book in the series, that means the series doesn't end. At least in my mind it works that way.... With the end of some series, there were beginnings for others. Authors blew me away this year with their stories, and the characters I got to know. This year I also found myself falling in love with some incredibly written debut books. 

With all the books I loved reading, there are so many books I didn't get to read in 2014. I just need one more week this year so I can catch up. Out of all the years I've been blogging, (almost 6), this is first year I almost didn't hit my reading challenge. It's also the lowest amount of books I've read in long time. Just over 150. Life got crazy this year, which I won't go into details here with why or anything, but life got in the way of my reading. HAHA. It's embarrassing to look at the amount of books I didn't get to read. There are so many books I wanted to read this year, both YA and MG. That just means I've got a ton of books to read them in 2015. 

Speaking of 2015, have you seen all the awesome books scheduled to hit shelves in the new year? There are a ton. I can not wait for all the new releases. Before I get overly excited for those new books, I'd love to share which books made our top ten list this year. If you've followed Mundie Moms for awhile now, you know we do a top ten list at the end of each year, but I can't ever do a top ten list, so here's my top 14 list. 

These were the books that made us sigh, laugh, fall in love, fan our selves, took on us adventures, made us wish we were teens again (okay maybe for just a moment), and constantly reminded us why we love reading and promoting books. These books made us wish we could crawl inside of them, and that the characters we were reading about were real. Each author's book made us fall in love with reading all over again. 

My (Katie's) Top 14 Favorite Reads of 2014
I'm going to admit something I'm seriously embarrassed to admit. City of Heavenly Fire is not on my list, because I have failed as a TMI fan, and still have not finished it. I started it, but like I do with all my favorite series that come to an end, I wait to read the last book, because if I don't read the last book, then the series doesn't end. I didn't finish in time for the end of this year, but it will be read and featured on the blog within the next few days. 

1) Gathering Darkness by Morgan Rhodes
1) Heir of Fire by Sara J. Maas
I don't even know what to say about these two books, other than they are EPIC!!! I absolutely loved these two books, and it's no surprise they both tied for my all time favorite reads of 2014. I can not get enough of their of these series. 
I have a weakness, and it's Jennifer Armentrout's books. Who would have though gargoyles and demons could be so hot?! I know, silly me. Jennifer can make anything hot. Look at how hot she made aliens... just saying. She could write about anything, and I'd read it. Both White Hot Kiss and Stone Cold Touch tied for second place. 
This debut was so beautifully written. If you're fantasy reader, this one is one you'll want to pick up. I loved it.  I'm looking forward to reading it's sequel in 2015. 
I think this might be Kirsten's best book yet. It's definitely my favorite of hers. It was so well written. I want to frame the book's cover in my library. 

Hello Dragons! I loved Julie's Fae world, but I think when it comes to writing dragons, Julie and dragons are a match made in YA heaven. I can not wait to get my hands on this sequel in 2015. 
Two words - IGNITE. ME. Okay, wait, I need to add in one more word, WARNER. That's all I need to say about this book.

Stephanie Perkins made me love contemporary books. The word contemporary used to be a word that  I would run from, but not after reading Stephanie Perkins books. This one is one of my favorite Stephanie Perkins books. Who am I kidding, I love all her books.
I know, two contemps are on my list! It's shocking. I'm not a huge contempt fan, but I've started reading more contemps, and surprisingly I've liked a lot of them. But this is one I loved. Holy awesomeness, I devoured this book in one sitting. I loved it! Romance, sports, and the boy next door. This was my kind of book. I'm looking forward to reading more of Kasie's books in 2015. 
This book is such a beautiful debut! I could not get enough of it. Thankfully there is a sequel coming out in 2015 that I've already pre-ordered, because this book was that good! Yes, you have to read it!
This is another awesome debut book that left me in awe after reading it. I am going to be shocked if this book doesn't win some kind of award or nominee. If Martina Boone isn't already on your book radar, she needs to be. I can't wait for this sequel to hit shelves. 
This is one of the series that I'm sad had to come to an end. This is such a great series with some wonderful characters I've loved getting to know. I'm looking forward to reading Robin's next YA book. 

12) Defy by Sara B. Larson / Ignite by Sara B. Larson 
I think debut authors are taking over my list, as this is another awesome debut author, who's two books are ones I'd definitely recommend picking up. The third book will be released this next year. I can't wait to see how this series will end.
If you can't tell, Fantasy has ruled my list this year. This book is great. Leah was one of the first YA fantasy authors I read that really hooked me back when I first started blogging. I love her books. 

14) The Young Elites by Marie Lu
This dark, fabulously written book kicks off Marie's new series. It's so good! I was a little worried I wouldn't like it as much as her others books, but I did. It's sequel will be out in 2015.  

Sophie's Top 10

1) Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins 

Isla and Josh. Crush-worthy characters plus Paris. Oh, Paris.

2) Sublime by Christina Lauren

Such a perfectly bittersweet love story in a gorgeously written haunted world.

3) We Were Liars by E. Lockhart

Everything about this story -- pitch perfect, story-telling perfection.

4) To All the Boys I've Loved Before by Jenny Han

It answered the question what if all your past crushes realized you had a crush on them. And it answered it in lovely layers of sisterly responsibility and family love.

5) The Kiss of Deception by Mary E. Pearson

Such a gorgeously written high fantasy. For those of you who are like me and love a well written love triangle, boyohboy, wait until you read this one.

6) Rebel Belle by Rachel Hawkins

The tense paranormal plot, the humor and that over-achieving Harper Price. I loved it all!

7) Into the Still Blue by Veronica Rossi

The perfect ending for Aria, Perry and Roar.

8) Sweet Filthy Boy by Christina Lauren

 I have to throw in an NA story on this list. Mia and Ansel have one of the sweetest stories filled with misunderstandings and true laugh out loud moments.

9) Scintillate by Tracy Clark

The characters, setting and most of all the unexpected twist make it a perfect post-holiday read. It's a satisfying, page-turner of a story.

10) City of Heavenly Fire by Cassandra Clare

Cassie gave us everything we wanted and then some in this last TMI installment. There is no question left unanswered and for that, I am so grateful

What were some of your favorite reads from 2014? 

IGNITE by Sara B. Larson, Blog Tour: Guest Post & Enter To Win!

Hello and welcome to today's IGNITE blog tour stop. I am so thrilled to have author Sara B. Larson on Mundie Moms today, to talk about moments from her debut Defy. If you've not picked up Defy yet, I highly recommend that you do. You can read my review here. After you read it, I recommend you go pick up it's sequel, IGNITE, which was released yesterday. 

My Favorite Quotes/Moments from Defy

I have so many quotes and scenes from DEFY that I love, for different reasons. These are just a few of the quotes I love (and that readers have loved, too).
“Sometimes it seemed like those with the most rotten interiors were blessed with the most exquisite exteriors.”   (Isn’t this just the truth, though?? And this kind of becomes a theme throughout the book—what is true beauty? Something we see only with our eyes or something that shines through from within us?)
“Have you ever heard of the theory that it is better for one man to die than an entire nation to suffer? Do you believe that to be true? Is it ever okay to take a life in hopes of saving others?” (I feel like this was a powerful moment when you start to see the real Damian—to understand the weight he’s laboring under, and the terrible choices he’s trying to make to help his kingdom and his people.)
“You were attacked by a jaguar, and you didn’t think to tell me? Are you all right?”
“You knew I was a girl and you still came out to talk to me in the middle of the night without a shirt on?" I shot right back.
"You did what?" Rylan cut in, his eyes wide. (This conversation just always made me giggle a little bit!)
One of my favorite scenes to write was the tent scene with Alexa, Rylan, and Damian. Such delicious tension and such an awkward situation. I’ll admit I had a lot of fun with that one! I really enjoyed writing so many of the scenes with Damian, especially when he knew the truth about Alexa, but she didn’t know he knew yet. He’s such a tease sometimes!
And these are two of the most powerful quotes in the book that I just love:
“Because you understand. More than anyone. Because you know what it's like never to trust anyone - to be completely alone, lost in a disguise of your own making.” (Damian is being completely honest with Alexa, allowing her [and the reader] to see into his heart and what his life has been like. He recognizes the similarities of what they’ve endured. I love his vulnerability that he sometimes allowed her to see.)
“True beauty is what lies inside of us, not what the world sees. A beautiful shell that houses a vile soul becomes sullied over time. But an outer shell, imperfect as it may be, that houses a beautiful, shines with that beauty, radiating it for all who have eyes to see.”  (This is one of the most important moments in this book for me. These lines just flowed out. I really felt like it was something that was supposed to be said and could hold a lot of meaning for a lot of people. And it echoes Alexa’s earlier thoughts about the difference between external and internal beauty.)

By: Sara B. Larson
Published by: Scholastic
Released on: December 30, 2014
Series: Defy #2
Add it to: Goodreads 
Purchase it from: Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Murder, abductions, and forbidden romance abound in this thrilling sequel to Sara B. Larson's acclaimed YA debut, DEFY.

Alexa remains by the newly crowned King Damian’s side as his guard, ever committed to helping him rebuild Antion and reclaim the hope of Antion's people, despite continuing to harbor a secret love for him. However, when another threat to Damian and his kingdom emerges, and blame is cast on their newly forged allies from Blevon, Alexa knows things are not what they seem. With the fate of her nation hanging in the balance once again, will Alexa be able to protect her king and uncover the true enemy -- before it's too late?

About Sara:
Sara loves writing, reading, and dessert--but the order varies by the day. She wrote her first book in second grade about a woman who had a premature baby, complete with a "to scale" drawing of the baby's size--while her mom was pregnant. To say she was a bit precocious is putting it lightly. Now that she’s an adult, she writes books for teens that have magic and romance and kick-butt girls (and very few premature babies). She lives in Utah with her husband, two young sons and baby girl. She writes during naptime and the hours when most people are sleeping. Her husband claims that she should have a degree in "the art of multitasking." On occasion you will find her hiding in a bubble bath with a book and some Swedish Fish. she is represented by Josh Adams of Adams Literary.

Check out the trailer for DEFY:

Enter To Win
1 Finished Copy of IGNITE and a Dagger Charm. US Only.
9 Finished Copies of IGNITE. US Only.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tour Schedule:
Week One:
12/29/2014- Reading YA RocksInterview
12/30/2014- Crossroad ReviewsReview
12/31/2014- Mundie MomsGuest Post
1/1/2015- Fiction FareReview
1/2/2015- Dark Faerie TalesInterview                                                                                  
Week Two:
1/5/2015- A Backwards StoryReview
1/6/2015- Magical Urban Fantasy Reads - Guest Post
1/7/2015- The Book CellarReview
1/8/2015- Supernatural SnarkInterview
1/9/2015- Two Chicks on BooksGuest Post

The Boy Next Door by Katie Van Ark, Waiting on Wednesday #234

By: Katie Van Ark
Published by: Swoon Reads
To Be Released on: January 6th, 2014
Add it to Goodreads

Maddy Spier has been in love with the boy next door forever. As his figure skating partner she spends time in his arms every day. But she’s also seen his arms around other girls—lots of other girls.  

Gabe can't imagine skating with anyone but Maddy, and together they have a real chance at winning some serious gold medals. So, he’s determined to keep thinking of her like a sister. After all, he’s never had a romantic relationship that lasted for more than two weeks.

But when their coach assigns a new romantic skating program, everything changes. Will this be the big break that Maddy’s been hoping for or the big breakup that Gabe has always feared?

I can not wait to read this book! I can't help it, I have to say it, "Toe pick!" If you've seen the movie Cutting Edge, you'll know why. haha I totally love this cover. The premise of this book had me at boy next door and figure skating. This one sounds like it will be a great read, and I'm looking forward to kicking off 2015 reading it. 

What book are you waiting to get your hands on?