Top 10 Books I Read in 2014

bestofedit I don’t have as many books to choose from as some people do, but I did read 30 this year and I definitely have my favourites. This post isn’t just going to be books published in 2014, it is going to be a list of the top ten books I have read this year despite when it was originally published. Alright, no more rambling…let’s do this:

10. Never Have I Ever: My Life (So Far) Without a Date by Katie Heaney

As soon as I saw this book in the bookstore I knew I needed it in my life. I thought it was really funny and resonated with me as someone who is in the same shoes (more or less) as the author. While the book does deal with boys and dating life – or lack thereof – it really brings home the value of having great friends who you can trust and love. It is a great book to pass around with your girlfriends.
Favourite quote:
“In fact, I think that’s probably what the Bermuda Triangle is up to. It doesn’t mean to do any harm, and it’s actually pretty nice once you get to know it. It’s just that Bermuda doesn’t know how to handle itself when somebody sails into its territory, because that hardly ever happens.”

9)  American Gods by Neil Gaiman 

When I started this book I didn’t think it was going to make it on my list of favourite books of the year, but here we are. My love for this book was a slow build from beginning to end; I didn’t realize how much I was enjoying it until it was suddenly over. The book was just so good and different from anything I have read and I feel like, if you haven’t already done so, you should read it too. Be sure to check out my review of American Gods!
Favourite Quotes:
“All your questions can be answered, if that is what you want. But once you learn your answers, you can never unlearn them.”
“What I say is, a town isn’t a town without a bookstore. It may call itself a town, but unless it’s got a bookstore it knows it’s not fooling a soul.”

8) The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan

It has certainly been a long time coming with this book. I’m ashamed to say how long it even took my to realize this series of books existed – I’m pretty sure when it was starting off I was in my Harry Potter bubble that no one could even think of entering. Well, now that I’ve started the series I’m definitely going to enjoy slowly making my way through it. I’m excited to see what other adventures the sassy Percy and his gang get up to in future books!
Favourite quotes:
“It’s funny how humans can wrap their mind around things and fit them into their version of reality.”
“Deadlines just aren’t real to me until I’m staring one in the face.”
“Even strength must bow to wisdom sometimes.”
“Humans see what they want to see.”

7) Attachments by Rainbow Rowell 

This is the first, but certainly not the last Rainbow Rowell book you will be seeing on this list. Attachments was the first of Rowell’s adult books that I read and I really, really enjoyed it. It was adorable, funny, and had – as per usual – fantastic characters that you can’t help but love. Seriously though, this guy is clearly one of the earliest cyber-creepers but you can’t help but love him. It was a super fast read and I just can’t wait to finally pick up Landline this year so I can say I’ve read all Rowell’s books to date.
Favourite quotes:
“Every woman wants a man who’ll fall in love with her soul as well as her body.”
“I believe that worrying about a bad thing prepares you for it when it comes. If you worry, the bad thing doesn’t hit you as hard. You can roll with the punch if you see it coming.”

6) Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell

I told you Attachments wouldn’t be the last Rowell novel you will see (spoiler: this isn’t either). Rowell definitely became an instant buy author for me this year. This untraditional love story was so good all the way through. The characters and their stories were so great that you can’t help but feel for and with them. One of Rowell’s strengths is her characters and that is why I love her writing so much. I wrote a review of Eleanor & Park so feel free to check that out!
Favourite quotes:
“I just want to break that song into pieces and love them all to death.”
“You saved me life, she tried to tell him. Not forever, not for good. Probably just temporarily. But you saved my life, and now I’m yours. The me that’s me right now is yours. Always.”

5) Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns) by Mindy Kaling

2014 was also the year I became obsessed with Mindy Kaling. Not in a weird way, but in the way where I’m pretty certain if we ever met we would be instant best friends (with Jennifer Lawrence too). After binge watching The Mindy Project in less than a week and watching as many interviews with Kaling on Youtube I could find the next obvious step would be to read her memoir…and I wasn’t disappointed. I found my self laughing out loud while reading this book – as expected. This series of essays about Kaling’s life has me impatiently waiting for her next book which I believe will be coming out later this year!
Favourite Quotes: 
“There is no sunrise so beautiful that it is worth waking me up to see it.”
“There Has Ceased to Be a Difference Between My Awake Clothes and My Asleep Clothes”

4) Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

I told you there was more Rowell to come; Fangirl was definitely my favourite of her books I read this year. I just found the main character to be so relatable and, I mean, who wouldn’t love to find their own Levi. It’s a great read for all fangirl’s alike and even though I didn’t think the fanfiction aspect was super strong, the actual plot and characters brought Fangirl to my number four spot. I wrote a review on Fangirl which you can take a look at!
Favourite quotes:
“There Has Ceased to Be a Difference Between My Awake Clothes and My Asleep Clothes”
“You’re never going to find a guy who’s exactly like you—first of all, because that guy never leaves his dorm room.”

3) The Book Thief by Markus Zusak 

This. Book. I think my top three books of the year are pretty interchangeable so this book could easily fill the second or first spot. I honestly didn’t think this books was going to make it so high on my list of favourites when I first started reading it. I found I was having a really difficult time getting into the story…but then, all of a sudden, I was hooked and the rest is history. I cried for a solid 20 minutes after finishing this book. It was so beautiful and utterly heartbreaking. If anyone ever says anything bad to me about young adult fiction ever again I’m going to throw this book (and the next book on the list) at their face and just watch their minds change as they read this story. SO GOOD.
Favourite Quotes:
“I have hated words and I have loved them, and I hope I have made them right.”

2) More Than This by Patrick Ness

Patrick Ness was also added to my list of instant buy authors – and that was only after one book! I mean, I already own two more of his books, I just haven’t gotten around to reading them yet. I have a feeling they will probably be on my 2015 favourite list though if this book is any indication. I flew through More Than This and I really, really loved it. I went into the story not knowing a single thing about the plot and I can honestly say I was not expecting this book to be the way it was, which made it so much better. I love being taken aback by a story. I think that everyone should read this book because a) I say so and b) it’s awesome. You can’t argue against that. Check out my review of More Than This here.
Favourite Quote:
“A book… it’s a world all on its own too. A world made of words, where you live for a while.”
“Know yourself and go in swinging.”

1) The Throne of Glass series by Sarah J. Maas

I couldn’t just pick one. It wasn’t happening. I am SO happy I read this series this year (in 10 glorious days if we are going to be exact). It is everything you could possibly want in a (older) YA fantasy series: a super badass lead female character who is still super feminine, a plethora of good looking men to read about and argue over, great action sequences, and AMAZING world building. I simply can not wait any longer for the next book in the series; I need it now. If you are interested in seeing my review of the first book – Throne of Glass – click here and I promise I will try and get the reviews for the rest of the series up ASAP! I’m not going to include a favourite quotes section here because it will take FOREVER to pick.

And those are the top ten books I read in 2014! Ok, so I cheated a little by including a series but we can just overlook that little detail.

Let me know what your favourite books of 2014 were or send me a link to your list because I (clearly) need to add to my TBR list! Here’s to another year of great books!

I’m Back! 2015 Reading and Writing Resolutions

 

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I profusely apologize for my sudden disappearance in the middle of November. I was really enjoying participating in BookBlogWriMo but not preparing and attempting to write and post all on the same day failed miserably for me.

My failed attempt at BookBlogWriMo has taught me that if I want to succeed at this blogging thing I really do need to be more organized and on top of things (aka having posts ready in advance, knowing what I want to say, etc).

Do you want to know what’s funny and totally hypocritical about what I just typed – this is entire post is being written on a whim. You know what they say…old habits die hard and all that jazz.

I think the best thing about a post reintroducing me into the blogging sphere in the new year is to post some resolutions I have for myself when it comes to reading and blogging. Let’s start with reading resolutions, shall we?

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I was really slumpy when it came to reading last year – meaning I didn’t read for months on end sometimes. I ended up completing my reading challenge of 30 books, but I personally found that number pitiful for myself. This year I am going to try my best to read 50 books in 2015. In order to complete this challenge I need to learn how to put down a book if I am not enjoying it. I’m stubborn when it comes to reading; I push myself to read things I’m not enjoying just so I can say that I’ve finished something and proved myself wrong. This is what usually leads to a reading slump (well, this and Netflix). This is one thing I 100% want to try and avoid this year.

Another reading resolution I have is to read more new releases. My attempts at reading new literature last year were pitiful as I only read two books published in 2014. I am going to try my best to read books that aren’t just on my bookshelf TBR, but new releases as well. Ideally I would love to do this every month, but knowing me that isn’t going to happen – though considering I now work in a bookshop this could very easily be done.

The next thing I want to do is read more classics. I’ve read my fair share of modern day classics, but for some reason I am horrified of old school classics. I own so many of them that this will be relatively easy to do, I just need to do it. I’m going to try and read one classic novel (modern or older) a month.

Put a dent in the ‘1001 Books You Should Read Before You Die’ list. I’m doing something similar with movies this year. I want to be able to say ‘yeah I’ve seen this’ or ‘yeah, I read this’ and actually have an opinion on it. I love pop-culture – and discussions surrounding it – and there are some movies and books I feel like I haven’t seen or read that I know I need to rectify. I will be using this list so if anyone wants to join I’ll probably be doing a post a month about my progress with that.

Read more graphic novels. I feel as though this is on my list every year. There isn’t much else to say on the matter, just that it needs to happen.

I don’t know if this belongs in my blogging resolutions or reading resolutions but I want to organize my Goodreads TBR shelves. My single want to read shelf at the moment is a mess of things I have just added for shits and giggles. I want to go through the list and add more categories to create a more plausible and organized TBR. This will probably include going through my bookshelf and finding all the books I own that I haven’t read yet and using that as one list because we all know that will be pretty long.

Okay, that seems to be enough for my reading resolutions for 2015. Some things will be expanded on in stand alone posts, but they will come later.

Now on to the blogging resolutions!

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I think the first resolution I have is pretty simple: be more organized. Make a schedule and follow it, utilize a calendar, plan ahead, make notes. I have never been an organized person – I prefer to do things last minute – but if I really want this to keep moving forward I need to get my shit together and be on top of things. This is going to be a struggle, but I think I can do it!

Utilize my multimedia skills to include more pictures, videos, and audio clips. I have the programs, I have the tools, I have the skills, I just need to actually do something with them now! This takes a bit more time, but I need to be able to make time for stuff that will only enhance the blogging experience.

Be more active in the blogging community. I started this last year but I want it to do even more next year. Making friends in the community is something I would love to do because y’all seem so awesome!

Work on finalizing a review format. I struggle with reviews, of this I am sure. I try to say knowledgable and informative things but I think they all come out in one giant ramble. I want to work on coming up with a good, concise way of sharing my thoughts on books with everyone.

And finally I want to come up with more original post and/or do more fun things like tags. Journalism taught me that content is key; if you give your audience quality content people are going to come back and seek out what you write. I want to make sure that all my posts are fun, informative, and interactive. I want to come up with original stuff and participate in things already going around. I want to make sure that my content is at a level I am happy with!

Well, that’s it for my reading and blogging resolutions for 2015! Let me know if you have anything similar, different, something I should add. If you have written your own resolutions feel free to share the link to your blog as I would love to see what you want to complete in 2015!

#BookBlogWriMo Day 12: Advice for Newbie Bloggers

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Day 12! Almost late, but I made it. For this twelfth day of #BookBlogWriMo, hosted by Book Bumblings, I am supposed to give newbie bloggers advice…

I’m probably the worst person to give advice if I’m being honest.

Considering my newbie status and my horrible organizational skills the only advice I can give anyone is look at what I do and do the total opposite.
Plan posts, take notes, don’t do reviews by memory, and stick to a posting schedule.

One piece of advice I’ll give that I actually DO do is be yourself, have fun, be honest, and don’t be afraid to let the world know how passionate you are about a book or a character. Those are the things that are going to get people to come back and read what you write.

And yeah, that’s my quick heartfelt (slightly self deprecating) advice for newer newbies than me!

Until next time
*insert salute gif here*

#BookBlogWriMo Day 11: #Top10Tuesday – Most Popular Posts

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Finally on the post that is actually right for today! Day 11 of #BookBlogWriMo (hosted by Book Bumblings) is your top ten most popular posts! I’ve never actually looked at this stat, so it may be interesting (or sad, depending on the numbers I see…).

Here we go:

1) Review: The Maze Runner Trilogy 

Well there you go. I think this one really buckles down to good timing. I wrote this giant review just before the movie was released to people were looking at getting the low-down on the book and the trilogy. If you are interesting in my thoughts on all three books in the trilogy then give it a read!

2) Let’s get crawling: The Independent Bookshop Week Bookshop Crawl

I was lucky enough to be living in the UK when it was Independent Bookshop Week so I made sure to participate in the Bookshop Crawl while I could. This is the introduction post if you are interested about it for next year maybe!

3) I came, I crawled, I conquered: IBW Bookshop Crawl & Haul

Naturally the next most popular would be my participation in the Bookshop Crawl. I wrote about my experience and what I got over the course of that day.

4) I think I can, I think I can…I can’t: five books left unfinished

Well the title is self explanatory – these are five books I hadn’t (at the time) finished. The only one that can be taken off that list now is City of Bones (which I reviewed here). Give it a look if you want to see what books I haven’t finished and why!

5) Most Anticipated Hunger Games Scenes!

Well this is a blast to the past. I started this blog back when The Hunger Games was about to be released in theatres so I came up with this post and it has definitely held strong in views! I guess I’m going to have to do a post on the most anticipated scenes for Mockingjay!

6) Review: Gone Girl

Once again, I think this review came out at the perfect time as it was right before the movie so everyone was looking into finding more about the story. I actually wrote my Adaptation Report of the movie here so you can check that out.

#BookBlogWriMo Day 10: Memes you Meme

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It’s all about memes for Day 10 of #BookBlogWriMo hosted by Book Bumblings.

I don’t think I’ve ever done a meme thing for my blog, but I do occasionally partake in ‘meme-ing’ over on instagram. The two most used memes being #ManCrushMonday and #ThrowbackThursday

For example, a couple of weeks ago Chris Messina (aka Danny Castellano on The Mindy Project) was my #MCM:

Binge watching #TheMindyProject has highly influenced my #mcm choice.

A post shared by Melissa LoParco (@mloparco) on

And of course a #MCM dedicated to Benedict Cumberbatch because no #MCM is complete without an homage to the Batch:

#mancrushmonday? #mancrushalways

A post shared by Melissa LoParco (@mloparco) on

My last #TBT was actually from J.K. Rowling’s birthday so I thought it would be fitting to throwback to this particular photo:

A #tbt dedicated to J.K. Rowling and Harry Potter's birthday @morgainecraven

A post shared by Melissa LoParco (@mloparco) on

But most of the time I just throw back to pictures of myself as a wee child:

#tbt cooler than you

A post shared by Melissa LoParco (@mloparco) on

I think I should also step up my memes game; I’ll add that to the ever growing list of things I should be doing…

Next up, Day 11!

#BookBlogWriMo Day 9: Your Blogging Workflow

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How fitting that day nine of Book Bumblings‘ #BookBlogWriMo is about blogging workflow as I write this blog three days late.

I honestly don’t think I have a workflow when it comes to blogging…which is horrible.

Here is what generally happens when I write a post:

1) Open wordpress

2) Get document set up

3) Start writing

4) Procrastinate for an hour on either YouTube, Tumblr or both

5) Realise an hour has gone by, watch one more video

6) Write

7) Edit

8) Post

So there is it, my much sought after blogging workflow.

Day 10 and 11 will be up pretty quickly following this, so stay tuned for more!

 

#BookBlogWriMo Day 7 & 8: #FlashbackFriday Blog’s First Design & Your Blogging Toolkit

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I missed a day again…oops. I really am trying to have a strict posting schedule, but it was Friday…so..

Any who I will be doing day 7 and 8 of Book Bumblings BookBlogWriMo: blog’s first design and my blogging toolkit.

Blog’s First Design:

So, funny story…the WayBackMachine website doesn’t work for this website. YAY.

The good news though: my blog looks almost exactly the same – the only difference is the header photo. That used to be this photo:

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Maybe it is time for me to look for a new layout…

Blogging Toolkit:

I’m sorry to say this isn’t going to be the most interesting post either…I don’t think I have much of a ‘toolkit’ when it comes to blogging – I just do the thing.

All I really need is my laptop, Goodreads, and a cup of tea or coffee…..and YouTube for ample procrastination.

Wow that sounds boring. Reading all the posts from today is really going to help me out when it comes to upping my blogging game.

Until tomorrow!