Looking Back on 2015

2015 marks my first full year of blogging! 

So many things happened this year, and wow it's been awesome.

Stats Achievements:

-APCB surpassing 200,000 blog views!
-Compiling over 1,000 Blog followers
-Completing my GR challenge of 80 books with 88! :)

2015 End of the Year Survey

It's that time of year of again, the 2015 End of the Year Book Survey hosted by Jamie @ The Perpetual Page-Turner.

Number Of Books You Read: 86
Number of Re-Reads: Too many to count!
Genre You Read The Most From: Surprisingly Contemporary

Your Guide To 2016

Are you ready for 2016? I know I am. There are so many things to look forward to in the new year, and many of them are the 2016 book releases! I thought I'd break down all that's coming your way (bookishly of course) in 2016.

Review: My Heart and Other Black Holes

Author: Jasmine Warga
Genre: YA, Contemporary, Romance, Realistic Fiction
Page Length: 320 pages
Publication Date: February 10th 2015
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Source: Bought
A stunning novel about the transformative power of love, perfect for fans of Jay Asher and Laurie Halse Anderson.

Sixteen-year-old physics nerd Aysel is obsessed with plotting her own death. With a mother who can barely look at her without wincing, classmates who whisper behind her back, and a father whose violent crime rocked her small town, Aysel is ready to turn her potential energy into nothingness.

There's only one problem: she's not sure she has the courage to do it alone. But once she discovers a website with a section called Suicide Partners, Aysel's convinced she's found her solution—Roman, a teenage boy who's haunted by a family tragedy, is looking for a partner. Even though Aysel and Roman have nothing in common, they slowly start to fill in each other's broken lives. But as their suicide pact becomes more concrete, Aysel begins to question whether she really wants to go through with it. Ultimately, she must choose between wanting to die or trying to convince Roman to live so they can discover the potential of their energy together.

Blog Tour: Wandering Star

Author: Romina Russell
Genre: YA Sci-Fi
Page Length: 352
Publication Date: December 8th, 2015
Publisher: Razorbill
Source: ARC via Publisher
Goodreads | Amazon
Orphaned, disgraced, and stripped of her title, Rho is ready to live life quietly, as an aid worker in the Cancrian refugee camp on House Capricorn.

But news has spread that the Marad--an unbalanced terrorist group determined to overturn harmony in the Galaxy--could strike any House at any moment.

Then, unwelcome nightmare that he is, Ochus appears to Rho, bearing a cryptic message that leaves her with no choice but to fight.

Now Rho must embark on a high-stakes journey through an all-new set of Houses, where she discovers that there's much more to her Galaxy--and to herself--than she could have ever imagined.

ARC Review: What's Broken Between Us

Author: Alexis Bass
Genre: YA Contemporary
Page Length: 304
Publication Date: December 29th, 2015
Publisher: Harper Teen
Source: eARC via Edelweiss
Goodreads | Amazon
Alexis Bass’s heartbreakingly beautiful second novel is a tale of love, loss, and learning to forgive, perfect for fans of Gayle Forman and of Robyn Schneider's The Beginning of Everything.

A year and a half ago, Amanda Tart's brother got behind the wheel drunk and killed his best friend. Today, he's coming home from prison.

Amanda's been the one living with the fallout, made worse by her brother's recent unapologetic TV interview. People think he's a monster. Still, she loves him. It's her dark secret, until she starts getting close to Henry again--whose sister is paralyzed from the accident.

A year and a half ago, her brother destroyed his life. Now Amanda has to decide if she'll let his choice destroy hers.

Mockingjay Part 2 Movie Review!

Over the long Thanksgiving weekend, I went out to see the Hunger Games finale, Mockingjay Part 2, with my fellow book-loving, movie-going friend.  Here are all of my thoughts + review!

Blog Tour: Frozen Tides

Today I'm pleased to join the Frozen Tides Blog Tour hosted by Penguin Teen!
I binged the Fallen Kingdoms series by Morgan Rhodes a while back, and I was so excited to be part of the tour. Warning** This series is epic, proceed with caution.

Day 6 ~ 25 Days of Book Boyfriends

Thank you so much to Jessica and Teresa for planning this blog event where each day one blogger spotlights a book boyfriend! There will be giveaways and swoonage, so make sure to follow the event.

Last year I featured Captain Chaol Westfall. You can read that post here.

This year I'm featuring the oh-so swoony Tucker Avery from the Unearthly series by Cynthia Hand. Haven't read the series? I highly recommend you do! Why? Because TUCKER AVERY, that's why. ;)

Debut Author Bash ~ Interview with Stacey Lee + A Giveaway

I'm so pleased to join the 2015 Debut Authors Bash hosted by YA Reads. I had the privilege of interviewing the remarkable and incomparable Stacey Lee! Her debut, Under a Painted Sky, was exceptional, (you can read my thoughts here) and I'm so excited to read her next book, Outrun the Moon.

Review: My Life Next Door

Author: Huntley Fitzapatrick
Genre: YA, Contemporary Romance
Page Length: 394
Publication Date: June 14th 2012
Publisher: Dial Books
Source: #Booksfortrade
"One thing my mother never knew, and would disapprove of most of all, was that I watched the Garretts. All the time."

The Garretts are everything the Reeds are not. Loud, messy, affectionate. And every day from her rooftop perch, Samantha Reed wishes she was one of them . . . until one summer evening, Jase Garrett climbs up next to her and changes everything.

As the two fall fiercely for each other, stumbling through the awkwardness and awesomeness of first love, Jase's family embraces Samantha - even as she keeps him a secret from her own. Then something unthinkable happens, and the bottom drops out of Samantha's world. She's suddenly faced with an impossible decision. Which perfect family will save her? Or is it time she saved herself?

A transporting debut about family, friendship, first romance, and how to be true to one person you love without betraying another.

Magic and Mayhem Tour: Leigh Bardugo Came to PA!

Leigh Bardugo came to Pennsylvania last wednesday, and I'm so happy I got to meet her! Thanks so much to Macmillan for planning a tour stop in PA. I was going to record the Q&A session, but I was just in awe of Leigh and seeing her in real life, so sadly I forgot...

I'm Thankful For...

Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays, and it's such a great time to think about all that we're thankful for.

1. My Family - I am so thankful to have two wonderful parents who push me to be independent and strong yet are always there for me when I stumble. Thank you to the little sister who, although infuriating at times, still manages to make me laugh and calm me down when I'm stressed. Thanks to my older brother who gives such helpful advice and is always there for me.

Top Ten 2015 YA Debuts That Haven’t Been on Enough Top Ten 2015 Lists

As I'm sure you all know by now, I'm a huge advocate for debuts. I've read so many amazing ones this year and sadly some of those books haven't gotten all the attention they deserve. Jenn Marie Thorne (debut author of the AMAZING novel The Wrong Side of Right) felt similarly, so today Jenn's sharing her Top Ten 2015 YA Debuts That Haven’t Been on Enough Top Ten 2015 Lists

Guest Post - Jenn Marie Thorne

As a member of the Fearless Fifteeners, I was lucky enough to get an early read of many of my fellow debuts’ books this year—and I was absolutely blown away.  I remember flipping to the last page of quite a few of these ARCs, thinking, “This is going to be on all the ‘Best of’ lists this fall.”

My Zodiac: Aries

Series: Zodiac #1
Author: Romina Russell
Genre: YA Science Fiction 
Page Length: 336 Pages
Publication Date: December 9th, 2014
Publisher: Razorbill

At the dawn of time, there were 13 Houses in the Zodiac Galaxy. Now only 12 remain….

Rhoma Grace is a 16-year-old student from House Cancer with an unusual way of reading the stars. While her classmates use measurements to make accurate astrological predictions, Rho can’t solve for ‘x’ to save her life—so instead, she looks up at the night sky and makes up stories.

When a violent blast strikes the moons of Cancer, sending its ocean planet off-kilter and killing thousands of citizens—including its beloved Guardian—Rho is more surprised than anyone when she is named the House’s new leader. But, a true Cancerian who loves her home fiercely and will protect her people no matter what, Rho accepts.

Then, when more Houses fall victim to freak weather catastrophes, Rho starts seeing a pattern in the stars. She suspects Ophiuchus—the exiled 13th Guardian of Zodiac legend—has returned to exact his revenge across the Galaxy. Now Rho—along with Hysan Dax, a young envoy from House Libra, and Mathias, her guide and a member of her Royal Guard—must travel through the Zodiac to warn the other Guardians.

But who will believe anything this young novice says? Whom can Rho trust in a universe defined by differences? And how can she convince twelve worlds to unite as one Zodiac?

Embark on a dazzling journey with ZODIAC, the first novel in an epic sci-fi-meets-high-fantasy series set in a galaxy inspired by the astrological signs.

Review Round-Up

Author: Jennifer Jenkins
Genre: YA Fantasy/Sci-Fi
Page Length: 336
Publication Date: October 6th, 2015
Publisher: Month9Books
Source: eARC via Publisher
Goodreads | Amazon
Four clans have been at war for centuries: the Kodiak, the Raven, the Wolf and the Ram. Through brutal war tactics, the Ram have dominated the region, inflicting death and destruction on their neighbors.

Seventeen-year-old Zo is a Wolf and a Healer who volunteers to infiltrate the Ram as a spy on behalf of the allied clans. She offers herself as a Ram slave, joining the people who are called the “nameless.” Hers is a suicide mission – Zo’s despair after losing her parents in a Ram raid has left her seeking both revenge and an end to her own misery. But after her younger sister follows her into Rams Gate, Zo must find a way to survive her dangerous mission and keep her sister safe.

What she doesn’t expect to find is the friendship of a young Ram whose life she saves, the confusing feelings she develops for a Ram soldier, and an underground nameless insurrection. Zo learns that revenge, loyalty and love are more complicated than she ever imagined in the first installment of this two-book series.

WoW + Guest Post (Chandler Baker) + a giveaway

Hi everyone! I'm pleased to host the lovely author Chandler Baker to APCB for the day to share some facts about her latest book, Teen Frankenstein coming out from Feiwel & Friends/Macmillan this winter. I absolutely loved her debut novel Alive, and you can read my review here!

Now about the book...
Author: Chandler Baker
Genre: YA Horror
Page Length: 336 Pages
Publication Date: January 12th, 2016
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends

High school meets classic horror in this groundbreaking new series.

It was a dark and stormy night when Tor Frankenstein accidentally hit someone with her car. And killed him. But all is not lost--Tor, being the scientific genius she is, brings him back to life...

Thus begins a twisty, turn-y take on a familiar tale, set in the town of Hollow Pines, Texas, where high school is truly horrifying.

Blog Tour (Review): The Lies About Truth

I've heard such wonderful things about Courtney C. Stevens worm, so I was especially thrilled when Hannah of Irish Banana Book Tours allowed me to join the tour! 

The Book:

Title: The Lies About Truth
Author: Courtney C. Stevens
Publication Date: November 3rd, 2015
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Page Length: 336 pages
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | IndieBound | The Book Depository | Goodreads
Sadie Kingston, is a girl living in the aftermath. A year after surviving a car accident that killed her friend Trent and left her body and face scarred, she can’t move forward. The only person who seems to understand her is Trent’s brother, Max.

As Sadie begins to fall for Max, she's unsure if she is truly healed enough to be with him — even if Max is able to look at her scars and not shy away. But when the truth about the accident and subsequent events comes to light, Sadie has to decide if she can embrace the future or if she'll always be trapped in the past.

Review: Between Us and the Moon

Author: Rebecca Maizel
Genre: YA Contemporary
Page Length: 384 pages
Publication Date: June 30, 2015
Publisher: HarperTeen
Source: Borrowed via library

A luminous young adult novel that evokes Judy Blume's Forever for a new generation.
Ever since Sarah was born, she's lived in the shadow of her beautiful older sister, Scarlett.  But this summer on Cape Cod, she's determined to finally grow up.  Then she meets gorgeous college boy Andrew.  He sees her as the girl she wants to be.  A girl who's older than she is.  A girl like Scarlett.

Before she knows what's happened, one little lie has transformed into something real.  And by the end of August, she might have to choose between falling in love, and finding herself.

Fans of Jenny Han and Stephanie Perkins and destined to fall for this story about how life and love are impossible to predict.

Cover Reveal: Unhooked by Lisa Maxwell

Today Lisa Maxwell and a few Blogger friends are revealing the cover for UNHOOKED a YA Fantasy releasing in February 2016! Check out the gorgeous cover and enter to win an awesome book pack and an ARC of UNHOOKED!

On to the reveal! 

A Fictional World I'd Love To Rule

In preparation for the release of Frozen Tides by Morgan Rhodes, book 4 in the Fallen Kingdoms series, a series strife with political intrigue and warring kingdoms, I was asked what fictional world I'd want to rule.

If I could rule or conquer any fictional world, I'd definitely want to rule the fictional world of Bethany Hagen's Landry Park.  You can read my review here.

Stop Bashing YA

At school more and more people have learned that I love to read. When adults (and even some students) find out I love reading, I get so uncomfortable and nervous telling them I read YA. Society and the stigma behind YA being silly and stupid really makes it hard for me to open up. Too often I've heard "Oh you read those books" or "You mean like Twilight?" I want to unabashedly and proudly say I read YA, but society's bashing of my favorite genre makes me so self-conscious. It shouldn't be that way. Stop. Bashing. My. Books.

Food & Books

 I love books. But I also love food. My parents are huge foodies and since we travel a lot, I've had the chance to try and experience new cuisines and authentic foods. The diverse tastes are extraordinary and indescribable, and I still remember some of the best foods I've tried.

Some books also incorporate food culture into their books. The descriptions are mouth-watering, and I wish I could reach into the books and sample some of the delicious foods.

Blog Tour: Gabriel

Author: Nikki Kelly
Genre: YA Paranormal
Page Length: 384 Pages
Publication Date: October 27th, 2015
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends

Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | Kobo | iTunes
The handsome Angel from Lailah gets center stage in this continuation of Wattpad sensation Nikki Kelly’s romantic and action-packed series about mortals, vampires, and angels.

Gabriel is an Angel Descendant. He's also an ally to a generation of vampires who want to break away from the demon who controls them. His faith in the power of good over evil wavers, however, when he discovers that Lailah, the woman he considers his only true love, may be both angel and demon. Is their love enough to overcome the dark forces who are ready to go to war with Gabriel, the vampire Jonah, and the angel and vampire forces? And can Gabriel compete with Jonah, who is also in love with Lailah?

Once again, Nikki Kelly looks deeply into the heart and soul of good and evil to create a romantic, action-packed reading adventure.

Horror Movie Tropes & Clichés

Nori @ Read Write Love started this wonderful Book Blogger Creativity Project where bloggers are put in groups and tasked with creating a feature or event. It also doubles as a blogger-mentoring service. Team Teal's project is a Halloween special!

Blog Tour: Underneath Everything

Author: Marcy Beller Paul
Genre: YA Contemporary
Page Length: 384 Pages
Publication Date: October 27th, 2015
Publisher: Balzer+Bray

Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | Kobo
Mattie shouldn’t be at the bonfire. She should be finding new maps for her collection, hanging out with Kris, and steering clear of almost everyone else, especially Jolene. After all, Mattie and Kris dropped off the social scene the summer after sophomore year for a reason.

But now Mattie is a senior, and she’s sick of missing things. So here she is.

And there’s Jolene: Beautiful. Captivating. Just like the stories she wove. Mattie would know; she used to star in them. She and Jolene were best friends. Mattie has the scar on her palm to prove it, and Jolene has everything else, including Hudson.

But when Mattie runs into Hudson and gets a glimpse of what could have been, she decides to take it all back: the boyfriend, the friends, the life she was supposed to live. Problem is, Mattie can’t figure out where Jolene ends and she begins.  Because there’s something Mattie hasn’t told anyone—she walked away from Jolene over a year ago, but she never really left.

Poignant and provocative, Marcy Beller Paul’s debut novel tells the story of an intoxicating—and toxic—relationship that blurs the boundary between reality and fantasy, love and loyalty, friendship and obsession.

ARC Envy ~ Why It's Okay

ARC Envy is a very real thing in the bookish community. We want this book. We want that ARC. We NEED all the books. Well not really, we kinda just want to own and obtain all the books ;)

A Letter To My Newbie Blogger Self

Dear Rachel of February 28th, 2014,

Welcome to blogging! I know this is a total spur-of-the-moment decision, as you had to create a blog for Biology about cells and that prompted you to make a book blog. As I am you 1.667 years later, I think I should share some blogging wisdom with you that will make your first forays into blogging much smoother.

Ratings, Reviews, and How They Affect You

I'm sure other bloggers have written about this topic, but I wanted to contribute my two cents and join in on the conversation.

I've often noticed while reading, I have the unyielding desire to boot up my computer, log into my Goodreads account, and see what other members of the book community are saying about whatever it is I'm currently reading.  This doesn't seem bad or wrong, it doesn't seem unusual or unnatural, yet it sparked some internal conflict with myself.  I realized, (at some ghastly hour late last evening), I wanted to be . . . reassured, . . . comforted, that whatever thoughts, feelings, or opinions I had on a particular book were also shared by others.

Creativity and Ideas

I've always known this, but it's become clearer in the past few months to me that the bookish community is a highly creative and involved group. We have great features such as On the Same Page Secret Sisters (by Brittany, Amy, and Alyssa), Nori's #RQWN, Andi's ABCs, Alexa & Rachel's Friends With ARCs, Brittany's Books and a Beverage, Sarah's Fangirl Friday, Danielle's Love At First Page, Brittany & Andi's Have You Seen This? and more. There are also elements that are uniquely others such as Kris' Lego art, Sarah's book trailers, Jess' water color covers for YA books, the list is endless! I love how innovative and inspiring these bloggers are. They manage to personalize their blogging and implement ideas that they enjoy and/or ones that benefit the community. It's these types of acts and ideas that I cherish and adore. It's just another reason why I love the blogging community.

Blog Tour: A Madness So Discreet

I've been so intrigued by A Madness So Discreet since I first heard about it, so I was especially thrilled when Hannah of Irish Banana Book Tours allowed me to join the tour!

The Book:

Title: A Madness So Discreet
Author: Mindy McGinnis
Publication Date: October 6th, 2025
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Page Length: 384 pages
Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iBook | The Book Depository
Grace Mae knows madness.

She keeps it locked away, along with her voice, trapped deep inside a brilliant mind that cannot forget horrific family secrets. Those secrets, along with the bulge in her belly, land her in a Boston insane asylum.

When her voice returns in a burst of violence, Grace is banished to the dark cellars, where her mind is discovered by a visiting doctor who dabbles in the new study of criminal psychology. With her keen eyes and sharp memory, Grace will make the perfect assistant at crime scenes. Escaping from Boston to the safety of an ethical Ohio asylum, Grace finds friendship and hope, hints of a life she should have had. But gruesome nights bring Grace and the doctor into the circle of a killer who stalks young women. Grace, continuing to operate under the cloak of madness, must hunt a murderer while she confronts the demons in her own past.

Why Velvet Undercover Didn't Work For Me

Author: Teri Brown 
Genre: YA Historical Fiction
Page Length: 272 Pages
Publication Date: October 20th, 2015
Publisher: Balzer+Bray
Source: eARC via EW (Thanks Harper!)

Perfect for fans of Jennifer Donnelly and Libba Bray comes this page-turning historical spy thriller from Teri Brown, author of the Born of Illusion series.
Samantha Donaldson's family has always done its duty for the British Crown. In the midst of World War I, seventeen-year-old Sam follows in their footsteps, serving her country from the homefront as a messenger for the intelligence organization MI5. After her father disappears on a diplomatic mission, she continues their studies of languages, mathematics, and complex puzzles, hoping to make him proud.

When Sam is asked to join the famed women's spy group La Dame Blanche, she's torn—while this could be an unbelievable adventure, how can she abandon her mother, who has already lost a husband? But when her handlers reveal shocking news, Sam realizes she can't refuse the exciting and dangerous opportunity.

Her acceptance leads her straight into the heart of enemy territory on a mission to extract the most valuable British spy embedded in Germany, known only as Velvet. Deep undercover in the court of Kaiser Wilhelm II, Sam must navigate the labyrinthine palace and its many glamorous—and secretive—residents to complete her assignment. To make matters worse she must fight a forbidden attraction to the enemy—a dangerously handsome German guard. In a place where personal politics are treacherously entangled in wartime policy, can Sam find Velvet before it's too late . . . for them both?

A thrilling story of one girl's journey into a deadly world of spy craft and betrayal—with unforgettable consequences.