2016: A Year for Reading

2016: A Year for Reading

22 books this year shooting for 40 in the next!
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Since 4th grade I have considered myself to be an avid reader. In fact one summer I ended up reading up to 10 books in the span of a couple weeks. However, as years have passed I had found my love of reading to grow from a hobby to something that was only done from time to time on a rare basis. Which makes sense because the more you grow the more things start to get in the way and you find yourself distracted by other ordeals. Another obstacle that definitely stopped me from reading so much though, was that I started to get embarrassed of the books I liked to read. I really enjoy indulging in good YA (Young Adult) fiction, it's just more interesting and there seems to be more intense drama going on in them then there are in novels for adults. For quite awhile I had felt as if the older I got the more I should start reading books with character's of my own age group, with the exceptions of already popular and well loved series by people of every age, such as The Hunger Games and Harry Potter.

However, then I came across the booktube community of youtube and found I was not alone in my love of YA fiction. Through this community I found funny and creative individuals who I could find myself actually being friends with, if we ever met, as they gave suggestions and talked about new books that they loved and wanted to share with others. I'll mention my favorite ones for anyone who wants to check them out, at the end of the article.

After taking notes of the books they suggested I went on to rekindle my new love of reading back at the end of 2015. Along with the discovery of the fun website called Goodreads, I set a goal for myself to at least have read/listened to 20 books for the year of 2016. As 2016 came to a close I actually read/listened to 2 more books than I had planned to read and finish, which makes me very proud of myself. Throughout this year I read books from different genres that I wasn't used to reading about and even strayed outside to realm of YA fiction.

Below are the list of the books I read this year from least liked to loved, and my general thoughts about them:

22. Armada by Ernest Cline

It was full of some very fun 80's references but had a very rushed pace to it while still seeming to go on and on at a couple parts that made me want to say "Oh my god we are still talking about this?". I don't even want to go on about how "Manic Pixie Dream Girl"/eye roll worthy the love interest was. Not to mention it had all of this almost sugar high hype going on throughout the book, only for it to lead up to a really anticlimactic ending.

21. A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas

It went a very different route then I thought it was going to go after falling in love with the first book and I was not a fan of it. I know I'm the one with the unpopular opinion here but I just didn't like how different it was from the cutesy Beauty and the Beast-ness story line the first book had. Plus it had a kind of forgettable plot at some points, where I would set the book down for a couple days and then come back to the book and completely not remember what was really going on. Although the ending was interesting?

20. The 100 by Kass Morgan

Do not go in basing this book off of the very popular and well done TV show that it is adapted from. It is completely different from it's counterpart. The adaptation kind of went for the "How to Train Your Dragon" route where a lot of the characters in it's adaptation have the same names as the ones in the book and there's some plot points they stick too but other than that the two are completely different. Also maybe it's just me, but if they excluded one of the characters from the book nothing about the plot would have changed.

19.Book of a Thousand Days by Shannon Hale

Not much to say about this book except that it was just kind of "meh" for me. The only thing I really didn't like about it was the voice acting for the audiobook. The voices can just sometimes make or break a book for you.

18. Carry On by Rainbow Rowell

Fun fact this was the first novel I have ever read where a gay couple are the front and running main characters in it. I had never read it's companion novel "Fangirl" before checking it out but maybe I feel like I might have enjoyed it more if I had. It was cute but just went to slow for me at a couple parts, where it almost seemed like nothing was really going on. This is another one of those novels where I know I'm one of the few here with the unpopular opinion.

17. The Selection by Kiera Cass

A book with a plot relatable to "The Bachelor" in a dystopian future. I probably am not the right age group for this series because I rolled my eyes at a couple parts where I know 15 year old me would've gone "oh that's so romantic". The funnest part about it though is just for the fact that it is definitely like the show it's grabbing inspiration from with the way it gave me that "I can't look away, this is junk food for my brain" reality TV show feeling.

16. Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins

A cute book that's great to read around Halloween time, I think it's definitely geared towards younger tween readers. You can check out my review on this book here.

15. Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard

What would happen if Katniss, from the Hunger Games found out she was an elite super hero? This book pretty much! You can check out my review on this book here.

14. The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

A very nice and slightly spooky fall read to put you in the Halloween spirit, even though the book takes place during the summer.

13. After You by JoJo Moyes

I wasn't really sure how a sequel to "Me Before You" was going to play out but I like the way it did with this book. It had a nice story about just growing up, finding what makes you happy, and realizing how the people in your life can affect who you are as a person.

12. I've Got Your Number by Sophie Kinsella

If you've read Kinsella's "Confessions of a Shopaholic" then you will really enjoy this book. It has a cute and quirky plot that will actually have you guessing where it's going with each new turn.

11. Ms. Peregrine's Home For Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

An interesting new addition to the YA Fantasy genre with it's inclusion of time travel and Burton-esque characters. The movie sadly didn't do it as much justice as I think it deserved but it was still an enjoyable read that made me want to check out the sequel next year.

10.Passenger by Alexandra Bracken

Would've been a bit higher on my list if it weren't for the book's slightly rushed and out of nowhere ending. Thank goodness we are getting a sequel!

9. The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater

I talked about why I really enjoyed this book earlier this year and you can check it out here (hey that rhymed).

8. Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

If I'm correct this was actually Sarah J. Maas's first book that ever got published. It was a really exciting story about a kick butt female protagonist and is actually getting its own series soon on Hulu.

7. Illuminae by Jae Kristoff and Amie Kaufman

Another awesome book that I already talked about earlier this year and you can check it out here.

6. Lost Stars by Claudia Gray

I had never showed any interest in an extended universe Star Wars book but after hearing such good reviews about this one I decided to see what the hype was all about. It was such a fun audiobook experience with it's sound effects and John Williams music that came along with the story. The awesome part was seeing how these two random characters get incorporated into the beloved Star War's plots we all know from the films. It even kind of incorporates itself into some unanswered questions you may have had about the state of Jakku at the beginning of "The Force Awakens".

5. Return of the Jedi-Beware the Power of the Dark Side by Tom Angleberger

It's basically a word for word book adaptation of the film for kiddies. However as an audiobook it is still so much fun and the narrator does a great Harrison Ford impression.

4. Me Before You by JoJo Moyes

Now usually when I hear about a book that has a very sad sounding premise that I know is going to have a bad ending I stay away from something like that. However, something about this book intrigued me and I'm so glad I read it. It's not so much going to be about the romance between Louisa and Will like you think it's going to be but it's more about stepping out of your comfort zone to learn who you really are. It was just such a good book and I loved the main character Louisa.

3. Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by John Tiffany, Jack Thorne, JK Rowling

Another one where I'm probably on the unpopular opinion side but I actually really enjoyed this book. Now were there a couple things wrong with it? Yes! Still I just really enjoyed it and had fun with it. I would love to see it on the stage!

2. A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas

Yet another book that I actually wrote about earlier this year and if you want to hear my thoughts about it you can check it out here.

1. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them: The Original Screenplay by JK Rowling

Ok this one was a pretty obvious one if you really know me! I just loved it, I loved the film and this screenplay is just amazing and does such a good job of actually detailing what you see in the film!

Favorite Book Tubers (in no particular order):

PolandBananasBooks

Tashapolis

Katytastic

PeruseProject

Abookutopia

Itswaypastmybedtime: Her channel is not geared necessarily towards books but she does make great suggestions in the videos where she does talk about them. Stick around though to check out her amazing and heartwarming vlogs. Plus she's an author herself and I can't wait to check out her latest book "On the Other Side" in the new year.

Cover Image Credit: Wallpaper Gallery

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To the guy that shot my brother...

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To the guy that shot my brother,

On January 9, 2019 my families entire life changed with one phone call. The phone call that my little brother had been shot in the face, no other details. We didn't need any other details. The woman on the phone who called us in full panic told us where he was so we went, as soon as possible. I don't think it helped that not even 10 min prior I talked to Zach on the phone.. kind of irritated with him, and the ONE TIME I didn't say 'I love you' as we hung up. Could've been the last time we ever spoke.. I remember pulling up to the hospital thinking 'this can't be real' 'it's not our Zach' 'this is just a dream Sarah, WAKE UP' I'd close my eyes really tight just to open them, I was still in the hospital emergency parking lot. I could still hear the ambulance sirens coming. It was all real.

The day our life's changed was definitely a test of faith. A test of how strong we were, as a family. I sat in that waiting room ready to see the damage that has been done to my sweet baby brother. Because at that point we had no idea how lucky he got. That glimpse of seeing Zach will haunt me forever. How helpless I felt in that exact moment frequently wakes me up from these horrific dreams I've been having ever since that day. That is a moment burned into my me and families brain forever.

You always hear about these things in the movies or on the news, a house being shot up, someone shooting another innocent person, not to care if they died on your watch. But we found ourselves on the news.. We have been confined to the hospital since that day. Running on barely any sleep, taking shifts of sleep so we don't make ourselves sick taking care of Zach. Watching him suffer. Undergoing surgeries, to repair the damage you did.

Before I proceed let me tell you a little something about the man you shot.

Zachary Keith Wright. A blonde hair blue eyed boy. Who could potentially be the most annoying human on the planet (possibly coming from his sister). A man who loves his God first, loves his family second. Perfect by no means, but almost perfect to me. A 19 year old who was to graduate high school this month. After graduation he was prepping to leave for Marine boot camp in the summer.. being in the military has been Zach's dream since he could talk. Literally. Running around, playing war with underwear on our heads, and finger guns. Some would say we looked like natural born assassins.. growing up he has been a country boy. Let me tell ya country to the core. He loves this country like he loves his family. He believes in helping people, taking charge in what's right, and never leaving a brother behind. He's lived by that his whole life. Until now....

The day you shot him. The day not only did you change my brothers life, you changed his families life too. The day you almost ripped my brother out of this world... for what? A misunderstanding? Because you've let something take ahold of your life that you can't let go you're willing to kill someone innocent over? Luckily for him, his guardian angels were protecting him in your time of cowardice. There were 3 times that day he should've died, the time you shot him, the time you tried to shoot him again as he stared you directly in the face, (even tho he couldn't talk I know you could read his eyes, and he still intimidated you. That's why you tried to pull the trigger again) and the time he was running out of the house. But he lived. A man who was shot in the face, didn't lay there helpless, didn't scream in agony. That MAN walked to the neighbors to get help. Why? Because he's a MAN, and because he's on this earth for a reason.

It's gonna sound a little strange not only to you, but the audience who is reading this. I must say thank you. Even in this situation, this was the best outcome we could get. He gets to live. He will make a full recovery. He will graduate. And he will go off into the Marines. You united my family together. Closer than ever. Thank you. You tested our faith and brought us closer to our God. Thank you. Because of your moment of weakness, you showed us what prayer could do. Heal anything. Thank you. This was a bump in the road, and a helluva way to kick off our year of 2019. But here we are.. all laying in the hospital. I'm looking around as mom is sleeping in her recliner chair exhasted but still here, Zach his awake playing his xbox all hooked up to machines, fighting to heal and get better. And of course I'm writing this letter to you.

See you in trial,

From the girl whose brother you shot.

'Fight the good fight' - 1 Tim 6:12 🤟🏼💙

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