Best of 2013

I did it! I completed my reading goal for 2013. Last January I set the reading goal of 72 books, which would even out to 6 books a month.  Well I read a grand total of 79 books!  I did not read 6 books for 4 months out the year, but made up for it by reading 8-10 books for most of the remaining months. I made this goal on Good Reads but completely failed to log them in, instead I kept a book journal and wrote everything down.  I wrote down books on my TBR pile and its out of control, 3 pages and still going strong. I also felt like a failure when it came to keeping this blog alive.  For now, Im on Tumblr a lot more so if you’re reading this, also check my page out over there at

I read so many great books this year and discovered so many talented authors. I attribute this to the wonders of social media. Follow a few authors on Twitter and find that they interact on a daily basis with a dozen more. They talk about their books, the writing process, the books they’re reading etc. Its so awesome to see some of your fave authors talking to each other (Ransom Riggs and Taherah Mafi got married!!! and they tweet with Sarah Dessen!)

Here I pick a favorite book I read from each month of 2013. Also, check out my entire reading list for 2013.

January: Legend by Marie Lu

February: Madman’s Daughter by Megan Shepherd

March: Unearthly and Hallowed by Cynthia Hand.

April: Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell. 

May: 5th Wave by Rick Yancy

June: Book of Broken Hearts by Sarah Ockler 

July: Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo

August: Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

September: Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

October: Not A Drop to Drink by Mindy Mcginnis

November: The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson

December: Where the Stars Still Shine by Trish Doller


HAPPY 2014! For the new year I’ve upped my goal a little.  I will strive to read 84 books this year, which equals 7 books a month. I also hope to remember to add the books into Goodreads to track my progress. 

I’ve also set goals for my writing and hope to blog more.  Ill be back from time to time so come again soon!! 


Books A-Z

Jamie from The Perpetual Page Turner posted a fun A to Z survey that’s completely book related. I used to do these on MySpace and I love talking books so I thought I’d join in on the fun.
Here goes…

Author you’ve read the most books from:
Sarah Dessen. I’ve read all of her books at least once and own them all.

Best Sequel Ever:
Sometimes sequels just aren’t that great. But one that I thought of right away was Catching Fire. Hunger Games was amazing, Catching Fire kicked it up a notch. But Mockingjay was a little bit of a bore.

Currently Reading:
I just started Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas. I’m only on 14 but so far so good!

Drink of Choice While Reading:
I usually drink a glass of iced tea while reading. (And right now while writing this!)

E-reader or Physical Book?
Nothing beats the physical book. I do have a nook that I love, but prefer reading the actual book.

Fictional Character You Probably Would Have Actually Dated In High School:
Dex from This Lullaby. Swoon. Nerdy, sweet, musical. Again, swoon

Glad You Gave This Book A Chance:
Shadow and Bone. A lot of times when I pick up a fantasy book if there’s a lot of names place and other words that I can’t pronounce I’ll put it back down. It started off slow and unpronounceable but I stuck with it and devoured it and Siege and Storm shortly after.

Hidden Gem Book:
I don’t know that I have a hidden gem book. A lot of the books I’ve been reading lately are books that I’ve found recommended by lots of readers, so there not so much hidden.

Important Moment in your Reading Life:
Early on it was Harry Potter. Definitely was my I love reading moment. Then much later when I went away to school my reading slowed a lot I never had time and just couldn’t stick with a book. More recently my important moment was discovering Epic Reads. This opened me up to finding so many awesome books, authors and blogs. And giveaways too, I’ve won a lot a books lately.

Just Finished:
Siege and and Storm, by Leigh Bardugo. So good, 2014 is too far away to wait for the sequel!

Kinds of Books You Won’t Read:
Its not that I wont read any certain kind of books. I guess it just happens subconsciously. Like I mentioned before, I stay away from heavy books with crazy unpronounceable names and places. I also tend to stay away from historical fiction for some reason.

Longest Book You’ve Read:
Probably a Harry Potter book.

Major book hangover because of:
Hmm…5th Wave. It was so exciting and I didn’t know at the time that it was going to be a trilogy. I had a little bit left and I couldn’t imagine how he was going to wrap it up, when BAM! It ended and I just wanted more, more, more.

Number of Bookcases You Own:
I have one in my room, it’s actually the footboard of my bed. But it has all books from like middle school on it. So all my books now are scattered throughout the house.

One Book You Have Read Multiple Times:
This Lullaby, sarah Dessen. Definitely read it at least four times.

Preferred Place To Read:
Laying on the couch, or in the car.

Quote that inspires you/gives you all the feels from a book you’ve read:
Fate doesn’t punch a time clock — Sarah Dessen, The Moon and More

Reading Regret:
Putting down Code Name Verity. I know everyone who has read it RAVES about it. But I had a rough time starting it and put it down. But the author is coming to my Barnes and Noble in September, and I wish I stuck with it. Now I’ll have to start all over.

Series You Started And Need To Finish(all books are out in series):
Delirium trilogy. I read Delirium and Pandemonium but haven’t read Requiem when it came out I was afraid I’d forgotten everything and didn’t get around to retreading 1 & 2.

Three of your All-Time Favorite Books:
This Lullaby, Sarah Dessen
Fault in our Stars John Green
And…there’s too many to name!… Harry Potter series can that count as one?

Unapologetic Fangirl For:
Sarah Dessen. As mentioned before, I own them all, read most of them twice. She’s one of my auto buy authors. Those boys a just so swoonworthy!

Very Excited For This Release More Than All The Others:
Very excited for release of Champion (Marie Lu) and Taherah Mafi’s Ignite Me. I’m dying to see how these series end and the covers are gorgeous!

Worst Bookish Habit:
I have book OCD. I do not dog ear or write in my books. I hide them so my sister doesn’t take them. She bends them, gets them dirty, loses them etc. In my younger years I used to take the covers off hardbacks leave them lying around so I either lost them or completely ruined them so a lot of my favorites like sisterhood of the traveling pants are cover less. I’m much wiser now.

X Marks The Spot: Start at the top left of your shelf and pick the 27th book:
I don’t really have a bookcase so ill pick one of the closest books to me now… And it is Another Little Piece Kate Karyus Quinn, which I won on Mindy McGinnis’ blog, and then Kate sent awesome ALP swag.

Your latest book purchase:
Code Name Verity. I was so disappointed in myself that I put it down without reading it. So I bought vowing to myself that I would try again before she came to do a book signing at my Barnes and Nobles.

ZZZ-snatcher book (last book that kept you up WAY late):
Siege and Storm, I was dying to finish so I just kept reading and reading, even though I had to wake up early for work the next day.

This was so much fun! Don’t forget to check out Jamie’s blog too!

Androids, Cyborgs and Robots, Oh My!

I’ve been reading a lot of fantasy/adventure/paranormal YA lately. And I’m loving it. A lot of books centered around mechanical species like androids, robots or cyborgs. I found myself questioning the differences – A robot isn’t the same and android, right? And androids are different from a cyborgs.
Robots are machines that are able to replicate human functions, while an android is an automaton that resembles a human. Cyborgs are humans whose functioning depends of mechanical devices which may also give it superhuman abilities. (Thank you!)

Let’s Talk Androids
First up was a story about a girl who finds out she’s an android on the run from the military that created her.mila copy

I was dying for this book to come out and had to have it the day it finally did. Debra Driza’s MILA 2.0 came out and i devoured it as fast as I could. I enjoyed it so much I disappeared from blogging to read other books featuring androids, robots and cyborgs. Mila discovers she’s an android who has had her memories wiped. Her mother takes her on the run to escape her creators because she shows more emotions and human qualities than the normal android. I have to say i have been really intrigued with the story lines that authors have been creating. An android, or a automaton resembling a human, living as a normal girl expressing real teenage girl emotions takes a whole lot of creative thinking. I think to have come up with this one, Debra Driza has more creativity and imagination in her pinky nail then I do in my entire body. I need to do some brain exercises… Anywho… This book is full of kick-ass action. Who wouldn’t love to read a book about a girl who attacks the enemy by plugging him in the armpit with the electrical cord of a hair dryer. Yes, a hairdryer. If I wasn’t already hooked the hair dryer would have done it for sure.

Read this! Then, to get your literary fix of robots try Revolution 19, by Gregg Rosenblum. For some cyborg fun read Marissa Meyer’s Cinder, a fun mechanical spin on Cinderella.

Since I’ve Been Gone

Prior to my Gwendolyn Reads post, I hadn’t blogged in a while. I was definitely MIA. I’m working on it, I apologize. So here’s an update of what I’ve been up to since I’ve been gone…
In my regular life…
I got a haircut, new glasses,
a full time job and the puppy now SKATEBOARDS!

In my bookish life…

I’ve read some awesome books.
The Book of Broken Hearts. Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. The Selection. Wild Awake. The 5th Wave. Cinder. (Just to name a few)
Won some awesome books and swag.
I enter giveaways online all the time. I won a bunch of books, including a signed copy of Boundless by Cynthia Hand from Epic Reads!
From author Mindy McGinnis I won the book Another Little Piece by Kate Karyus Quinn. Then as a part of that same giveaway Kate sent some awesome book swag!
Here’s Gwen with the book…

And here’s the swag!


And THIS happened…

That’s me with Taherah Mafi and Ransom Riggs! I got to meet them at a book signing and discuss some awesome books we were all reading at the time, and also books I like to recommend to readers at the bookstore. I asked a question at the Q&A portion of the night and won a sweet “Peculiars” T-shirt from Ransom.

Top Ten Books I HAD To Buy…But Are Still Sitting On My Shelf

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by The Broke and Bookish. I’m sorry I haven’t posted since the last Top Ten Tuesday. But I’ve been reading slow and trying to get some posts written and lined up to post so any of my bog readers (or just mom, hi mom) didn’t have to wait so long just until I finish a book.

I work in a bookstore so a lot of times I get so excited about a book I see on the shelf and my employee discount that I buy a lot of books. Some of them end up sitting on my shelf for a while. So here is my round up of books for this week’s Top Ten Tuesday…

Top Ten Books I HAD to Buy … But Are still Sitting On My Shelf


1. Across the Universe – I picked this up because I heard a lot of good things. Shortly after purchasing I decided to put it aside and wait to read it until the third and final book in the series, Shades of Earth came out. Well the pub day of the third book has come and gone but its still on my shelf.

2. A Casual Vacancy – I had to buy JK Rowling’s Post-Potter debut! But I know its not going to win my heart like Harry Potter so I’m scared to start it.

3. Bossy Pants – Tina Fey is one of my favorite ladies so I feel guilty that this is still sitting on my bookshelf.

4. & 5. An Abundance of Katherines and Looking for Alaska – After reading and LOVING The Fault in Our Stars I bought the John Green boxed set. These two still sit in the box unread.

6. Grimm’s Fairytales – I am in love with ABC’s Once Upon a Time so I asked for this Christmas so I could read the original fairytales.  It’s a pretty leather-bound edition with a ribbon bookmark. But yet again, remains unopened.

7. Beautiful Creatures series – I bought all of these when Kami Garcia came to our store on a book tour. She wrote Jillian is a … then she crossed out the s in creatures so it read “Jillian is a Beautiful Creature.” I think I might be afraid to ruin such an awesome signed copy. I must read before I see the movie though.

8. Girl of Fire and Thorns – I have heard nothing but rave reviews about this book and the e-book was only $2, yet still unread.

9. Jellicoe Road – Again another unread e-book that was only like 2 dollars that I heard was an amazing read.

10. Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter – My brother-in-law read it and liked it. I bought it at a time that we were exchanging books and movie suggestions and I saw it on the bargain table and had to have it.  And like the rest, this remains unread.

I just want to add that this post gave me a crick in my neck because the dog did not approve of the attention I was giving my computer and not her. She jumped into my lap, pushed aside the computer and fell asleep. So the computer and my upper body are slanted to the right and half falling off the couch, but she’s too cute to move!

Calling All Bloggers!

Hello all. I started this blog in January and I’m off to a slow start. Do you have any advice for a beginning blogger? Any words of wisdom you can give me on how to make this a better blog people would like to read. Advice on working with WordPress would be greatly appreciated.

Is there a class you took to learn about blogging, a book, or did you just dive right in?

How can I make my blog my own? Right now I’m using a free theme.

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by The Broke and Bookish. I thought I’d join in on the Tuesday fun as I’m still getting the hang of blogging. (Check back again soon for my own post about a recently finished read) So here goes the list… The Top Ten Books at the Top of My Spring 2013 TBR List. TBR Titles 1. The Moon and More by Sarah Dessen – I’ve read all of Sarah’s books starting back in high school and buy them as soon as they come out. I’m super excited to read this and to see which characters from past books make an appearance.

2. Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl – I picked up the first three books in this series when Kami Garcia came to Barnes & Noble for a book tour and I got them signed. I heard good things and would like to read the books before I see the movie.

3. Cinder by Marissa Meyer – I keep hearing great things about this book and I love the idea of fairy tale retellings.

4. Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell – I read Rainbow’s adult novel, Attachments and really enjoyed it, so I’m anxious to read her new YA book.

5. Across the Universe by Beth Revis – I purchased this about a month ago and just haven’t gotten to it yet. That happens a lot, I buy a book because I’m dying to read it but I push it to the side because I have so many library books on hold. Also I was waiting for Shades of Earth to come out because I hate starting a series and then waiting a year for the next one to come out. Looks like with all three out I can get started!

6. Revolution 19 by Gregg Rosenblum – I don’t know why but lately I’ve been really intrigued by android and robots.

7. Unremembered by Jessica Brody – One teenage girl survives a plane crash and has no memories of the crash or anything before it. I’m interested.

8. Going Vintage by Lindsey Leavitt – I love a good fun contemporary read. I’ve seen this book on a lot of TTT’s so I think I’ll give it a try.

9. The Summer My Life When Up in Flames by Jennifer Salvato Doktorski – I love books with road trips!

10. Wild Awake by Hilary T. Smith – Another contemporary read that I am looking forward to.


What’s on your TBR Pile for Spring?

A Retelling

Hey guys, I just read this really awesome book. THEN, I found out that that it’s going to be a trilogy. AND THEN, I found out about a possible movie adaptation. I’m on a ROLLER COASTER OF BOOKISH EMOTIONS here (here is Starbucks, where two moms are having a very enthusiastic PTA meeting of sorts). Anywho, the book is…

The Madman’s Daughter

By Megan Shepherd


The Madman’s Daughter is a retelling of H.G. Wells’ The Island of Dr. Moreau, only this YA gothic thriller is told from the point of view of the Dr.’s 16-year-old daughter, Juliet Moreau. This is definitely a get-under-a-warm-blanket-by-the-fire-and-read-until-morning kind of book. Unfortunately I work in a hospital and have a four-month-old puppy so I wasn’t able to just READ. It took me quite a few days to finish but that is no fault of the book.  It was exciting, thrilling and refreshing.  I don’t think I’ve read another book quite like it. I love the concept of YA retellings of classics. Its almost like a really fun Spark Notes. You get a lot of the great story points from the original classics but adds even more and spins it into a version that is a much easier read and aimed towards a younger audience.  I have not read Mr. Well’s classic story of a Dr. who lives on a deserted island and experiments with vivisection.  Vivisection is by definition (courtesy of “the action of cutting into or dissecting a live body.” I think having read this retelling of the story makes me think I’d like to pick up the original.

So I was finishing up the book at a particularly slow hour at the hospital (don’t worry! I’m not a doctor, nurse or anything important, I just sit at a desk) and I decided to research a little more about the original story of Dr. Moreau and the author of this retelling Megan Shepherd.  I came upon THIS ARTICLE from EW’S Shelf Life column. Megan Shepherd reveals in the interview that the great characters of The Madman’s Daughter will return for TWO MORE BOOKS!! Not to drag out the story of Dr. Moreau and his creepy island, Megan will retell two more classic stories but keep some of the characters we loved from the first book! The second book will be a retelling of Jekyll and Hyde, and the third, Frankenstein!

Also, a MOVIE is in the works! And this is where a lot of those roller coaster emotions come in to play.  I loved the book and while I was reading I kept thinking, wow, this would make an awesome scene if it were ever made into a movie. Or I found myself trying to fan cast all the characters. Its so exciting!! But then I think of all the CGI techy stuff you see in movies these days. Books are always better than their movies. I don’t want to see this movie version crash with computer-generated monsters and a weak screenplay. At the same time, I’m excited to see it come to life.

There you have it, my book-to-screen fears. Now go read this book. 🙂


Happy Valentine’s Day

Happy Valentine’s Day everybody!


I am single again this VDay and would like to share a list of dream Valentines. These are the guys I’d love to spend this holiday with, whether they are real, fictional or totally out of my league …

  • George Weasley, maybe its the red hair or maybe its the goofyness. He lost an ear in the final book of the Harry Potter series so that gives him a hot badass vibe. We’d spend the day laughing and joking and he’d probably give me some trick bouquet of flowers and box of chocolates.
  • Seth Rogen, as seen by the above valentine I love a man with a sense of humor. Seth is funny, cute, goofy and has a laugh that I find highly infectious.
  • Peeta Mellark, come on who wouldn’t want to be Peeta’s special lady? He risked his life in the Hunger Games arena twice and would have done anything to keep Katniss alive even if it cost him his own life. That’s hot.
  • The guy from work with the glasses and tweed jacket. I have a thing for guys in glasses. He’s got a laptop case that looks like a vintage book. I like to think we’d get along.
  • Pacey Witter, my most recent TV crush after I binged on the complete series of Dawson’s Creek on Netflix. We would spend the day on the water sailing, eating seafood. He’d be sweet, funny and full of the Witter charm.
  • Ryan Gosling. ‘NUFF SAID. He’d be like “Hey Girl” all day. Swoon.
  • Dexter, from my favorite Sarah Dessen novel, This Lullaby. He’s a messy musician, so after hanging out with his dog, Monkey, he after pursuing with his nerdy charm he’d serenade me with his band, Truth Squad at Bendo. Hate Spinnerbait.
  • THOR! While Chris is my favorite Hemsworth brother I write Thor so I get more options. This way I get Chris, the hair and the hammer. The hammer is hot. Maybe he’d bring me roses and my own pink hammer.

Take all the best qualities of these guys and I’d have one swoon-worthy Valentine’s date.

Happy V-Day!