Music of the Month
1. Alexi Blue – Hold On, We’re Coming Home: I probably heard Drake’s original version before listening to this and countless other covers, but I didn’t recognize the song at all and immediately fell in love with this cover and many others like it. Now I can’t hear the real version without kind of wishing it were a cover instead.
2. Kina Grannis – Burn: Another cover – I love Ellie Goulding’s “Burn,” but I love this acoustic version with multiple singers (the main girl and her sisters) just as much. I also like Alexi Blue’s cover of it, which is yet another spin on the original, although a bit closer to the frantic energy of the original.
3. Gabrielle Aplin – Home: I really love a lot of stuff from this singer right now, but so few of her songs are out in the US! I can’t tell if the version of this song that is available on the US iTunes is the same used in her official music video of it, but it’s the only one I can legally get and support the artist, so hopefully it is. It’s hard to tell what’s the song and what might be added just for the music video.
4. Jasmine Tate – Believer: This song is not on YouTube! I am outraged, if you can’t tell, but luckily it is on iTunes, where I already bought it. One of my friends introduced me to her over winter break because the singer apparently goes to her college, and this is my favorite of hers. You should definitely check her out, since she’s obviously a pretty small singer (why is this song not on YouTube?!) who needs more recognition.
5. Foxes – Holding Onto Heaven: Sigh – another great British singer who has songs I love but just aren’t out in the US and I don’t know if there are plans for them to be anytime soon. This is the singer from Zedd’s song “Clarity,” so I feel like she should be getting more attention and have more music on iTunes!
Top Books Read
There are actually more books than this – there were already so many that I decided to cut the books I reread, but believe me, this was a great month for books. I loved rereading Impossible, Magic or Madness, Pivot Point, and Scarlet just as much as the great new books I found.
1. Dangerous Girls (Abigail Haas): This wasn’t a 4.5 stars rating like the rest of the books on this list, but it has stuck with me – mainly the ending that I desperately want to talk about with someone but I don’t know anyone who’s read this. So many thoughts and confusion and questions and emotions about this ending!
2. The Murder of Bindy Mackenzie (Jaclyn Moriarty): So far, this is by far my favorite of the series, mainly because the end is so insane (and I know that’s ablest language – I’m really trying to cut down on that, but I’m just having so much trouble thinking of a different word at the moment!) and I sped right through it to see what was going on.
3. Split Second (Kasie West): This was such a fun sequel! I was worried about the addition of Laila as a POV, but she was so entertaining that I sometimes got sad when it was Addie’s chapter and we were out of her head (although Addie remains awesome). Definitely the romances in this as well, if that’s what you’re here for!
4. Lady Thief (A.C. Gaughen): And another amazing sequel! This one left me with a lot more emotions, some of them painful. I mean, that ending! What if I have to wait another two years for the last book? And even though, I still don’t know if I can handle that ending!
5. Smart Girls Get What They Want (Sarah Strohmeyer): This was a huge surprise, but it was a great, fluffy read after the emotions-destroying Lady Thief. And the main character has my name! She tries to disguise it with Gigi (and she even has the nerve to say that “Thalia” is a sophisticated name – um, I think our name is pretty sophisticated as well!), but I don’t care! I loved her and her friends and the romance and pretty much everything about this book! Definitely what I needed after Lady Thief.
6. Racing Savannah (Miranda Kenneally): I didn’t like this one as much as the second book, Stealing Parker, but it was still a nice, quick read. And boy did it have some steamy scenes. And I suppose the horses were nice as well.
7. Cruel Beauty (Rosamund Hodge): Definitely an intriguing debut, and I’m glad I kicked off the challenge with this book. I stayed up quite late to read it despite having class the next day, and although I think I may have rushed through the end a bit because I was tired and really just wanted to go to be, I definitely thought this was an enjoyable debut that has me hopeful for future books from Hodge.
8. Ignite Me (Tahereh Mafi): I know this series won’t be everyone and it wasn’t perfect, but gosh darn it, I enjoyed this last book. Especially certain scenes. I feel like that’s the main reason I read these books. And for Kenji. Gotta have Kenji. And Juliette is a lot less whiny and angsty in this book, so that’s definitely a plus.
Favorite (Non-Review) Posts
1. Flip That Page’s Bookish Survey: Greek Mythology Style!: Jasmine’s surveys are always fun (although very time-consuming!), and this Greek Mythology-themed one was no different!
2. Surveying Series – Ruby Oliver: This is the first new feature that I debuted this month. I decided I wanted another way to showcase books I love without repeating them over and over again in Top Ten Tuesday (although I’ll probably keep doing that – sorry!), so I thought this would be a cool way to look back at favorite, completed series of mine. Any advice on what you’d like to see in the future or didn’t work the first time would be great!
3. The Black Cat – The Lunar Chronicles: And this is the second new feature this month – this time, looking at books and series that I didn’t like that most people did. I went with The Lunar Chronicles for the first one because the latest book came out recently and it’s all anyone can talk about and I just wanted to figure out what went wrong with the series for me. You’re welcome to disagree – I’m not trying to say my opinion is right at all! – but I’d love to finally find someone who isn’t that big a fan of the series either. I’m pretty sure I can’t think of anyone, which is very, very rare.
Books I’m Excited About
I’ve got a few things on hold that’ll hopefully come in this month and I have plenty of other books to reread, so hopefully this’ll be another amazing month of books. Seriously – I’ve been having a great couple of weeks and I’m so worried it’s going to end.
Upcoming Releases I’m Excited About
Not a whole lot coming out in March that I’m excited about. This is the latest book that everyone’s raving about, and I read the first two chapters from an excerpt already, so I’m hoping that I don’t have to use this for a future The Black Cat post!
Challenges – Progress
I continue to do quite well with my reading progress. I’ve begun rereading and DNFing some books, but I’ve decided to count them for this particular challenge anyway, like I did last year. I know most people don’t include books they didn’t finish, but there are some people who include novellas (which I don’t), and ultimately it’s my personal challenge to myself, so I’m doing it anyway. Back to the point, though – I’ve currently read 33 books in just two months! I’m very happy with that, obviously – hopefully I keep up with the pace.
As I already mentioned, I’ve begun rereading books, and I’ve also decided to balance things out a bit by not including DNFs for this challenge, so the number of new books I’ve read is lower, but that doesn’t matter since the challenge itself is lower. Anyway, I’ve currently read 25 new books, which I still think is great!
In a bit of a shock (for me, anyway), I’m actually doing quite well with the Sophomore Author Challenge. I was worried since there were so few debuts I really liked last year, but some 2012 debut authors’ second books are just coming out, so I actually have about 14 books on my Goodreads shelf right now, so it’s definitely possible to complete this challenge. Anyway, I currently have 3 books, which is great for just one month! I’ve been so happy to get a hold of some of these new books so quickly.
I even managed to get started on the Debut Author Challenge as well! As I already said, I didn’t find a whole lot of amazing authors for this challenge last year, so I’m really hoping it’s better in 2014, and it’s definitely off to a good start, although a book or two isn’t always indicative of everything else, of course. Fingers crossed! Anyway, I’ve currently read 1 book for this challenge, so not a bad start since there aren’t many debut books I want to read that are already out.
Favorite Non-Book Things
1. Sherlock: Ah, the return of Sherlock. I’m not as obsessed with it as I used to be (and I kind of hate one of the creators, Steven Moffat – just Google some of his thoughts on women and such to see why), but I still enjoyed the latest season, and the very end of the last episode has me really, really excited for series 4 because a character I consider to be very entertaining made an interesting appearance – and that’s all I’m saying, so don’t worry about spoilers!
A Goal for March
Start commenting on other blogs more. I’m slowly getting better at leaving random comments on blogs I like, and I always reply to comments here, but I know I’d be more involved in the blogging community if I tried harder, and one way to do that is by leaving comments. And I don’t just want to leave comments that basically say “Come look at my blog! Oh, and yours is nice as well,” obviously, so I’m going to try and leave more comments that are heartfelt and actually have something to say. Not so sure how that’ll go, but hopefully well!