Thursday, December 31, 2015

2015 Wrap-Up!

Message from Mandy @The Romance Bookie

So it's that time again!!

2015 is officially almost over!

I just can't believe it!

It seems like just last month we were celebrating the beginning of 2015!

It's time to wrap-up this year, and to begin 2015!

Before I go into how I failed all of my reading goals this year, I would like to share some of the life events that happened to me in 2015...

-I went to my first early screening of a movie back in January, for The DUFF, and met some of the cast members.

-At the beginning of February I went on my second trip to Florida with the most amazing man in my life, my boyfriend, Vincent.  We spent a little over a week at Disney World (one of our favorite places), and for a second time to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Orlando, where we went to both Diagon Alley and Hogsmead.  Drank tons of Butterbeer, Pumpkin juice, pear cider, ate at the Leaky Cauldron, and did the new Gringott's Bank Ride!  It was incredible!

-In April I went with Vincent to the first day of the Festival of Books, and the second day with my little brother so he could meet Jeff Kinney (Diary of a Wimpy Kid).  There I met some incredible authors!  Sarah Dessen, who signed ALL of my copies of her books!!!, Jason Segel, Gayle Forman (Again!), Jenny Han, Morgan Matson, Jessica Kirby, and Elizabeth Eulberg!

-In May I met Kody Keplinger, Stephen Chbosky, and Jessica Brody at a super awesome event in Pasadena!

-During the months of May and June, I was panicking beyond belief about what I would be doing the following school year...would I transfer to the University I had been accepted to?  Or would I go the online route?  But when I found out my university had the most perfect program, that was not only my Bachelor's, but also a night program that worked unbelievably perfect with my work schedule, and would allow me to graduate in Spring 2017...I jumped at the opportunity!!!

-On July 7th, I moved in with Vincent.  It was both the most exciting and scariest moment of my life. But I can't even tell what an incredible journey it has been.  Two and a half year together with this amazing man, and I can't even tell you how unbelievably happy we are together!

-During this past summer, Meg Cabot, my absolute favorite author in the entire world sent me not only ONE but TWO advanced copies of her new books!! I got a copy of Royal Wedding, a book I had been waiting for since reading the tenth Princess Diaries book back in 2009 when it first came out, and I got a copy of her newest series, The Journal of a Middle School Princess!

-In August, I started my five class load of classes, but missed the first day of school to see the one and only Taylor Swift in concert for her 1989 tour!  Wow, was that a life experience, or what?!

-Beginning of September hit me super hard, when we found out some sad of my baby boys, B.J., my families seven year old German Shepherd, was diagnosed unexpectedly with stomach cancer.  A week later we lost our baby, but we know he's joined our big boy Bubba up in doggy heaven <3

-Mid September through Mid November, was spent was finding my way through my first semester of University.

-But by the end of November, I finally figured it out and was able to finished my first semester beginning of December with Straight A's!

-Thanksgiving and Christmas were spent with Vincent, juggling seeing both families.

But because school was over, I also found time to make and decorate cookies and cupcakes!!!!

So as you can tell a lot has happened this year...both wonderful and sad.  But all in all 2015 was an incredible year.

So as you might be able to tell, reading goals were put a bit on the back burner this year...and I don't know how I'll do next year, but we'll see.

So here's how I did on my reading goals...

I failed on ALL of them.

My 35 Reading Goal, Fail!
I read a total of 14 books this year.  I know pathetic, but better than nothing!

Ebook Challenge of reading 10...Fail!

I read ONE!

The Check List, which the goal had been to do 41 out of the 50...FAIL!

I completed 12!

From the To Be Read Shelf I had wanted to read 12....FAIL!

I read 3!

So yes, failed big time!  But while I am unbelievably grateful for everything the Romance Bookie has inspired in me, I have reached a turning point in my life.  So much going on, so much life to live!  I'm just taking it one step at a time, and enjoying every minute of it, with the love of my life by side.

I am so excited to see what 2016 has in store for me.  I really hope, of course, it will be a good year! :)

I hope everyone had a great Holiday season and 2015!!  I hope you all have a wonderful New Year! :)

Mandy @The Romance Bookie :)

Message from Erin @The Romance Bookie:

Gotta say, 2015 was a great year.  I met so many authors, read so many amazing books, and met tons of new book friends.  I had always looked forward to the year 2015 because of a little movie called Back to the Future and it kind of blows my mind that it was more wonderful than I thought it would be. 

There are many reasons why I had a wonderful year: I met some of my favorite authors -- Marissa Meyer (TWICE!), Sarah J. Maas, Leigh Bardugo, Samantha Shannon -- which was such an amazing experience.  They are authors I've admired for a long time and I loved that I got to meet with them, chat, and get my books signed by them.  While these were my favorite events of the year, I would have to put a special highlight on Leigh Bardugo.  This was the first time that I met her.  She was at the LA Times Festival of Books in 2014 (where I met Mandy!) and I got to hear her speak on a couple of panels, but I wasn't able to get my books signed and I didn't get a chance to meet with her personally.  I was so excited when I heard she was coming to my local bookstore -- as in, I jumped up and down and squealed.  After hearing her speak and meeting her at the event, I got to confirm what I already suspected -- Leigh is so charming, beautiful, hilarious, and smart.  I love her so much.  She has become one of my favorite people ever.  And it doesn't hurt that she's an amazing writer.  But to know that she's as wonderful in person as her stories, makes it that much better.  I'm so excited for Crooked Kingdoms (Six of Crows #2) and I can't wait until I can meet her again. 

Around February this year, I also made another book friend, who goes to all the events I attend.  She's  such a fun person and I love that I have someone to talk to in person about all my book thoughts.  She runs an absolutely amazing bookstagram and convinced me to start one as well and though I had initially thought that I wouldn't be able to keep up with daily posts, I now love it.  

Book-wise, I've had some fantastic, really awesome reads this year.  I can't even believe how I got to read so many amazing books.  I think my favorites have to be Uprooted by Naomi Novik and The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh.  I read them back to back and they were the rare books that I knew within the first few pages that I was going to love them.  And I did!  They are some of my all-time favorite books and have inspired me so much (particularly, The Wrath and the Dawn).  But my other favorite read have to be Six of Crows, Queen of Shadows, A Court of Thorns and Roses, The Bone Season, The Winner's Crime, and Dissonance.  Like I said, it was an amazing year for books and I'm so happy to have found these amazing books and authors. 

I didn't get to complete as many challenges as I had hoped, but I feel content with how my readings went.  I only read one classic (Persuasion by Jane Austen), which I loved, but railed to read another.  I made shamefully little progress on my TBR challenge, which is somewhat disappointing -- I mean, what did I read, if not the books on my shelves?  (The answer: apparently, library books, which isn't a bad thing!) However, I did make a lot of progress on my contemporary reads, surprisingly.  Though I did not get to officially review many of the contemporary books that I read, I got through a lot more than the paltry ten that I had set, my absolute favorite one being Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda.  (I highly, highly recommend this book! This is a contemporary that I actually LOVED and I truly can't see how anyone wouldn't!)  Not much in terms of challenges, but I read and found books that will forever be placed on my "favorites" shelf and I say that's a win!

Life wise, it's been pretty good as well.  I got the chance to go on a trip to Europe with my mom and it was beautiful.  We visited Scotland, England, Belgium, and France and I had an amazing time.  I switched jobs in the middle of October and while it was a hard decision to make at the time, I'm so grateful and so happy that I made the change.  I'm really enjoying my new work and the people I work with are great and I realize how stressed and dissatisfied I was at my other clinic.  In other news, I applied to physical therapy school early October as well.  It was probably one of the most stressful things that I've had to do in my life for several reasons, but now I know so much more and if I don't get in this year (which is most likely), I'll be better able to handle the situation next year.

Even with all the great stuff that I had in 2015, I can't wait for 2016.  I think each year is just going to get better and better.  It might be a bit optimistic of me to think so, but why not hope for the best?  I hope you all had a wonderful year and I wish you the best for the new year!

Erin @The Romance Bookie

Monday, December 28, 2015

Erin: Soundless by Richelle Mead (ARC)

Soundless has been on my watch list since I met Richelle Mead at the beginning of the year and she told us about her book.  It was such a unique premise in such an interesting world that I really wanted to read it!  So thank you so much to Miss Print  for giving me an ARC copy of Soundless!

From Goodreads:

In a village without sound...

For as long as Fei can remember, no one in her village has been able to hear.  Rocky terrain and frequent avalanches make it impossible to leave the village, so Fei and her people are at the mercy of a zipline that carries food up the treacherous cliffs from Beiguo, a mysterious faraway kingdom.

When villagers begin to lose their sight, deliveries from the zipline shrink.  Many go hungry.  Dei and all the people she loves are plunged into crisis, with nothing to look forward to but darkness and starvation.

One girl hears a call to action...

Until one night, Fei is awoken by a searing noise.  Sound becomes her weapon.  

She sets out to uncover what's happened to her and to fight the dangers threatening her village.  A handsome miner with a revolutionary spirit accompanies Fei on her quest, bringing with him new risks and the possibility of romance.  They embark on a majestic journey from the peak of their jagged mountain village to the valley of Beiguo, where a startling truth will change their lives forever...

And unlocks a power that will save her people.

Erin's Thoughts:

I'm having a hard time gathering up how I feel about this book.  I haven't really read any of Richelle Mead's other books (I think I did read the very first Vampire Academy book, but didn't really like it enough to continue), so I can't really compare it.

Overall, I think it was okay.  I didn't love it, but I didn't hate it either.  I love that Richelle Mead chose an Asian setting for her fantasy versus the typical Medieval/European setting (nothing wrong with those by the way, but there are an alarming number of them :)).  It was really refreshing that another part of the world being used for fantasy and I really loved it.  That said, I do think that the world building could have been stronger.  Because it was written in first person, everything was very limited to Fei's perspective.  I wanted to see more of this world and I almost wish it had been written in a different tense for this reason.  (Not that first-person can't convey good world building, but third-person does tend to be more expansive :)).

Soundless also has somewhat dystopian feel.  While definitely a fantasy, it did have enough elements to remind me of a dystopia.  Especially since it was written in first-person present, I couldn't help but be reminded of them.  And I'm not sure whether it was because of this specifically, (and I don't want to give anything away), but the twist was pretty predictable.

The end of the story (maybe about the last 60 pages) was also a little strange.  I understand that Richelle Mead was probably trying to incorporate some Chinese myths and legends into the book, but it was poorly executed.  It came somewhat out of the blue and seemed a little forced.

Richelle Mead really does have great writing though.  I found myself really drawn into her writing and noting how smoothly everything flowed.  She has great dialogue that kept very much in tone with the Chinese fantasy setting and I loved observing her writing (if that makes sense?).


I'm actually fluctuating between two and three bookies.  I'm not sure where I land on it exactly.  It was a fun read, but I'm not sure I would recommend it to others.  If you're curious, I would definitely give it a read to see what you think of it, but if not, I wouldn't say it's a book you have to read or anything.

Erin @The Romance Bookie :)

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Happy (Belated) FIVE YEAR Blog Anniversary to The Romance Bookie!!!


I can't believe it has been FIVE YEARS!!  I'm so sorry I missed it, but dang the holiday have been crazy!  Plus it was during my last week of school!!

But the stress, the inability to concentrate on any reading, and missing my blog anniversary has paid off...because...


Here's the proof...

Pretty cool right?

I'm pretty darn proud!

So yes it's a been a busy semester, of studying and running around, but it paid off!

So anyway, I just want to say thank you so much for these past five years of amazingness.  Once again, I have to mention how the opportunity of meeting so many fabulous writers, bloggers, and readers would have never been a possibility before starting The Romance Bookie, and I really can't thank anyone other than all the people involved!!  

While there are so many people I would like to thank, there is one person that I always have to mention by name on a blog anniversary...

Meg Cabot, the most inspiring person of all.  She is my absolute favorite writer in the entire world!!  Once again, she sent me an advanced copy of the upcoming Mediators, Remembrance!!!  And I can't even thank her enough for every thing she does for her readers!

Also thank you to everyone who has helped in some way with the Romance Bookie!!!  Erin (!!!) thank you for being such a great contribution to the Romance Bookie!!!!  Sorry I've been slow in posting your reviews!! I will do my best to get better!!! :)

FIVE YEARS!!! I still can't believe it!!! Five years!!!  

Thank you so much everyone!

The Romance Bookie :)