Happy Independence Day to all you U.S.A. peeps out there! I hope you’re enjoying celebrating with family, friends, hot dogs, burgers, chilling by the pool, and all that jazz.
To everyone else: I wish you the same!
So it’s already half way through 2015. Wow. I seriously can’t believe it’s already this far through the year.
So today I wanted to just take a look at half the year in review and reflect on some of my favorite books that I’ve read so far, some of my favorite discussion topics, and more.
My Favorite Books of the Year (So Far!)
- “This Shattered World” by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner. This is the second book in the Starbound trilogy and it was my favorite of the two that are out thus far. It had better world development, characters I fell in love with, and an atmospheric element that had me hooked. Read my review here!
- “City of Glass” by Cassandra Clare. This book was such a beautiful wrap-up to the first part of this series and was by far my favorite so far. The action, the plot, the characters, the feels. Read my review here! (3 book review)
- “Daughter of Smoke & Bone” by Laini Taylor. I wasn’t expecting to love this book as much as I did. It blew me away with the characters, the plot, the storytelling. It was gorgeous and I really need to continue on. Read my review here!
- “The One” by Kiera Cass. I really wasn’t expecting to enjoy this trilogy as much as I did, but I absolutely loved the third one. I felt that the main character grew throughout the trilogy and finally realized many things in the last book. Read my review here!
- “The Kiss of Deception” by Mary E. Pearson. My first delve into audiobooks was well worth it and this book was just phenomenal. The writing was wonderful, the characters were dynamic, the plot was driven. I need the sequel nowwww. Read my review here!
- “Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda” by Becky Albertalli. This book was SO CUTE. It had such wonderful friendships and family relationships and it was a diverse read. What more can I ask for? Read my review here!
- “Clockwork Angel” by Cassandra Clare. This prequel to The Mortal Instruments blew me away and I found myself growing attached to the characters very quickly. Read my review here!
- “An Ember in the Ashes” by Sabaa Tahir. Wow, this book lived up to the hype in my opinion. It was well thought out with magical elements, harsh living conditions, cruel antagonists, and two people who I can’t wait to see in the next book. Read my review here!
- “The Assassin’s Blade” by Sarah J. Maas. I loved being able to get a glimpse into Celaena’s background and how she got to where she was, plus just how badass she really is. Read my review here!
- “Ignite Me” by Tahereh Mafi. This was a great wrap up to a trilogy. The main character grew so much, the plot developed wonderfully, there were some pretty steamy scenes, and characters showed their true colors. Read my review here!
Wow, ten books. Didn’t expect that much! And it’s not that I didn’t enjoy some of the others I read, it’s just these were my top picks for the year thus far.
Favorite Discussion Topics
- Letting Reviews Affect What You Read. This topic was generated around the time a very hyped book was released and I was less than pleased because I had checked many reviews before reading the book, thus I let the reviews affect how I read the book.
- Auto-Buy Authors. I’m pretty sure we all have those authors whose works were just can’t resist, no matter how much we might want to. I have several of them.
- We Need Diverse Books. I believe bringing in more diversity into YA literature is a wonderful thing and that we should be celebrating it more.
- Giving Honest Reviews. I stand firmly by this in that you should always, always give your complete and 100% honest review, no matter what. But remember: there’s a difference between criticism and being mean.
- Cataloging Your Books. This seemed to be a popular one where a lot of people liked how I presented how I catalog my books. I think it’s a good system to know how many books you have and compare it to how many you’ve read, have yet to read, etc.
- Booktubers vs Book Bloggers | Let’s Discuss. Seriously, we’re all on the same team here, guys. I address some of the issues that sprang up.
I believe discussions can really bring a community together and get each other thinking deeper on some topics. Those were some of my favorite.
Other Things That Are Cool
- I started Rayna Recommends, a monthly – now becoming bi-monthly – feature where I discuss some of the books, movies, and TV shows that I recommend based on a certain genre or topic.
- I’m hosting my very first read-a-thon: Themeathon! It’s a month long read-a-thon that’s going through July and I think it’s going to be a lot of fun!
- Who needs to go to Book Expo America (BEA) when you can just participate in Armchair BEA!? This was a fun little thing where a lot of bloggers participated in answers questions and allowing their followers to get to know them better.
- I raised my Goodreads challenge from 30 books to 50 books for the year. I’m already more than halfway there and I believe that I’ll be able to reach my goal for the year.
So far this year has been a great one and I hope that that streak continues on throughout the rest of the year.
Let me know what your favorite book so far this year is. I’d love to know! Also, did you host any discussions on your blog? If so, which one was your favorite? Let me know!