December 2015 | Wrap-Up

DECSo its the end of 2015. I can’t believe the year is already done and over. I loved participating in #readwomen for december and loved seeing all the posts and updates from others. I would like to thank all of my followers and friends I have made this year in the book community. I love that even though I was disconnected from the book community I still felt the love and was welcomed back with open arms. I have learned so much and have gotten a greater passion and love for books and reading! So here is to an amazing 2016!

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Books I Read:

Under Different Stars by Amy A. Bartol

A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas

♠ All Played Out by Cora Carmack

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

Seven Ways We Lie by Riley Redgate

♠ Every Last Breath by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys

♠ We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

♠ Beautiful Broken Rules by Kimberly Lauren

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Things That Happened on Falling Down The Book Hole This Month:

#ReadWomen December TBR

Swag Inspired by A Court of Thorns and Roses

6th Annual Broke and Bookish Secret Santa

A Court of Thorns and Roses Fairy Tale Comparison

12 Days of Books Tag

How To… Prepare for 2016 Blogging

2016 LGBTQIA Reading Challenge  

Bout of Book 15 Announcement

2016 TBR Reading Challenge

‘Tis The Season| Quotes 

December Book Haul

2015 Series Wrap-Up

2015 Bookish Bucket List Wrap-Up

Rambling Down The Book Hole Book Club January Read

2016 Bookish Bucket List 

2015 End of the Year Survey

For Even More Posts and Bookish Things From December (Links to the threads of post)

Making Up For Monday 

Top Ten Tuesday 

Top 5 Wednesday 

Friday Reads

Upcoming Excitements!

♠ New Year, New Adventures

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2015 End Of Year Book Survey

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I felt like it was a good time to start wrapping up the year. I know there is still some time left in 2015 and I am hoping to read a few more books before the year is up, but it won’t cause my results to be that different. I saw this survey done by Jamie @Perpetual Page-Turner ! This is my second year partaking in the end of the year book survey (check out 2014 here!)! I had a pretty slow year in reading. I was on a hiatus of by my blog and reading. I was not able to get to have of the books I wanted to this year or complete my reading challenge, but there is always next year! I would love to see your posts if you decide to participate! (all the graphics were taken from Jamie’s post @Perpetual Page-Turner)
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Number Of Books You Read: 31
Number of Re-Reads: 1
Genre You Read The Most From:  New Adult 
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1. Best Book You Read In 2015?
(If you have to cheat — you can break it down by genre if you want or 2015 release vs. backlist)

This is a completely insane question to ask someone so instead you can check out my list of top books of 2015!

2. Book You Were Excited About & Thought You Were Going To Love More But Didn’t?

The Walls Around Us by Nova Ren Suma

3. Most surprising (in a good way or bad way) book you read in 2015?

Because You’ll Never Meet Me by Leah Thomas. I was not really sure what to expect with this book, but I absolutely loved it!

4. Book You “Pushed” The Most People To Read (And They Did) In 2015?

The Martian by Andy Weir
5. Best series you started in 2015?Best Sequel of 2015? Best Series Ender of 2015?

Best series I started would have to be A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas
Best sequel I read was As Long As You Love Me by Ann Aguirre the 2nd book in the 2B trilogy
Best Series Ender would have to be Ensnared by A.G Howard of the Splintered Trilogy!
6. Favorite new author you discovered in 2015?

Sarah J. Maas

7. Best book from a genre you don’t typically read/was out of your comfort zone?

Adulting: How To Become A Grownup in 468 Easy(ish) Steps by Kelly Williams Brown

8. Most action-packed/thrilling/unputdownable book of the year?

The Martian by Andy Weir

9. Book You Read In 2015 That You Are Most Likely To Re-Read Next Year?

I’ll Meet You There by Heather Demetrios

10. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2015?

Volition by Lily Paradis

11. Most memorable character of 2015?

This is definitely a hard one… I really identified with Tate from Volition by Lily Paradis, but thought Elisa from A Girl of Fire and Thorn by Rae Carson was unique and intelligent and overall one kickass female.  

12. Most beautifully written book read in 2015?

Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys

13. Most Thought-Provoking/ Life-Changing Book of 2015?

We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

14. Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2015 to finally read?

The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson

15. Favorite Passage/Quote From A Book You Read In 2015?

“We spend too much time teaching girls to worry about what boys think of them. But the reverse is not the case. We don’t teach boys to care about being likable. We spend too much time telling girls that they cannot be angry or aggressive or tough, which is bad enough, but then we turn around and either praise or excuse men for the same reasons. All over the world, there are so many magazine articles and books telling women what to do, how to be and not to be, in order to attract or please men. There are far fewer guides for men about pleasing women.”
― Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, We Should All Be Feminists

“Insanity is the most pristine clarity. Let the lunacy in. Let is be your guide.”
― A.G. Howard, Ensnared

“But all of the survivors had one thing in common, and that was love. They survived through love. Whether love of friend, love of country, love of God, or even love of enemy—love reveals to us the truly miraculous nature of the human spirit.”
Ruta Sepetys, Between Shades of Gray

“Don’t feel bad for one moment about doing what brings you joy.”
― Sarah J. Maas, A Court of Thorns and Roses

16.Shortest & Longest Book You Read In 2015?

We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (48pgs) Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell (445pg)

17. Book That Shocked You The Most
(Because of a plot twist, character death, left you hanging with your mouth wide open, etc.)

The Grownup by Gillian Flynn

Every Last Breath by Jennifer L. Armentrout

18. OTP OF THE YEAR (you will go down with this ship!)
(OTP = one true pairing if you aren’t familiar)

Tate and Hayden from Volition by Lily Paradis

or

Jeb and Morpheus from Splintered Trilogy by A.G Howard

19. Favorite Non-Romantic Relationship Of The Year

Because You’ll Never Meet Me by Leah Thomas

20. Favorite Book You Read in 2015 From An Author You’ve Read Previously

Ensnared by A.G Howard

21. Best Book You Read In 2015 That You Read Based SOLELY On A Recommendation From Somebody Else/Peer Pressure:

Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

22. Newest fictional crush from a book you read in 2015?

Again this year there were so many. That is the problem with reading New Adult! So many crush options! Rule from Marked Men Series by Jay Crownover, Silas from All Broke Down by Cora Carmack and Tamlin from A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas

23. Best 2015 debut you read?

Because You’ll Never Meet Me by Leah Thomas

24. Best Worldbuilding/Most Vivid Setting You Read This Year?

A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas

or

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

25. Book That Put A Smile On Your Face/Was The Most FUN To Read?

Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

26. Book That Made You Cry Or Nearly Cry in 2015?

I’ll Meet You There by Heather Demetrios

Volition by Lily Paradis

27. Hidden Gem Of The Year?

Under Different Stars by Amy. A Bartol

28. Book That Crushed Your Soul?

Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys

29. Most Unique Book You Read In 2015?

Because You’ll Never Meet Me by Leah Thomas

Under Different Stars by Amy A. Bartol

30. Book That Made You The Most Mad (doesn’t necessarily mean you didn’t like it)?

Significance by Shelly Crane (It was just such a let down)
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1. New favorite book blog you discovered in 2015?

There are too many. I am hoping to create a list sometime soon!

2. Favorite review that you wrote in 2015?

I am not a fan of my reviews. I do not think I write them well enough and really get across what I want to say. But this year I started a new blog feature. I love my How To... post! There are so much fun and hopefully helpful.

3. Best discussion/non-review post you had on your blog?

Creature of the Night Book Tag 

4. Best event that you participated in (author signings, festivals, virtual events, memes, etc.)?

I participated in a few read-a-thons. I did not get to do much this year. I did participate in TBTB Secret Santa and I love that!

5. Best moment of bookish/blogging life in 2015?

Coming back from my hiatus and getting to talk to all my blogging/bookish friends!

7. Most Popular Post This Year On Your Blog (whether it be by comments or views)?

Surprisingly Sanctum by Madeleine Roux Book Review… I am interested to know why but it definitely has had the most hits on my blog this year.

8. Post You Wished Got A Little More Love?

My How To… posts I have made three so far and worked really hard on them.

9. Best bookish discover (book related sites, book stores, etc.)?

Bullet Journals and the Book Spreadsheet!
10. Did you complete any reading challenges or goals that you had set for yourself at the beginning of this year?

Unfortunately no, but I have set a lot of goals for 2016!

 

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1. One Book You Didn’t Get To In 2015 But Will Be Your Number 1 Priority in 2016?

Republic of Thieves by Scott Lynch

2. Book You Are Most Anticipating For 2016 (non-debut)?

A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas

3. 2016 Debut You Are Most Anticipating?

The Crown’s Game by Evelyn Skye

Assassin’s Heart by Sarah Ahiers

Of Fire and Stars by Audrey Coulthurst

just to name a few!

4. Series Ending/A Sequel You Are Most Anticipating in 2016?

The Thorn of Emberlain by Scott Lynch

5. One Thing You Hope To Accomplish Or Do In Your Reading/Blogging Life In 2016?

Read tons of books!

6. A 2016 Release You’ve Already Read & Recommend To Everyone:

There haven’t been any.

Top 5 Wednesday | Top Books of the Year

TOP 5 WEDNESDAY

Top 5 Wednesday was created by Lainey from gingerreadslainey (YouTube, Goodreads) and if you would like to join, here is the link for the Goodreads group with all the information.

This week’s topic is Top 5 Books of the Year! This was really hard for me to narrow down my list to 5, so of course its more than 5. I did not read many books this year which made it even harder. I tried to pick the top book from certain categories I read from so in no particular order here we go…

1 2 3 4 5 6 7

What are the top books you read this year?

2016 Bookish Bucket List

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I have done this the past two years and have been decently successful with it.. This year I have set a lot of goals for myself and really want to throw myself back into the book community and blogging world. The past year off has left me wanting so much from books because I have missed the atmosphere and love of books.  

♠ Read at least 50 books. I have quite a few challenge I want to participate in and tons of unread books on my shelf. I am hoping to at least read 75 since my last year came up short. 

♠ Finish the Harry Potter series I know what you are thinking. I started this back in 2014 and got to the 4th book. I love these books and love this world and feel like a unworthy human because I haven’t read books 5-7 yet.

♠ Read at least three daunting books. I feel like I am always so intrigued and interested in the huge books, but never get around to reading them because they are intimidating. (I am counting this as over 500 pages.)

♠ Keep up with reviews and review copies. I have gotten pretty far behind on both of these things. I feel absolutely horrible that authors and publishers haven’t sent me books and I have yet to get to them. It is my number one priority at the beginning of the new year. 

♠ Keep my book purchasing to sequels. I need to cut down on my TBR pile as well as catch up and complete series that I have started and that are on my shelf. I  need to go to the library more and use kindle unlimited.

♠ Read More Diversely. I am going to participate in the LGBTQIA Reading Challenge this year, but I would also like to read more diverse in regards to the books I pick up and genres. I would like to read at least 5 Non-Fiction Books.

♠ Revisit My Past I use to love reading historical fiction. I seem to have fallen out of that and really miss those books. I would like to pick up some of the historical fiction books I have sitting on my shelves as well as some of the books I loved as a kid! With this includes trying to reread The Little House on the Prairie series!

♠ Start New Blog Series. I really want to work harder on developing my blog. There are many things I participate in that are created by other bloggers and I really want to come up with something that is completely my own and get others involved in!

♠ Complete My 2016 Challenges.  I have tried to gear my challenges this year to books I need to read, really want to read and those that I have been putting off for far too long. This includes completing 10 series, the 30 books of my TBR challenge, at least 5 LGBTQIA books and the 40 books of the Popsugar Reading Challenge!

♠ Make New Blogging Friends. Since I have been gone the past year I feel so disconnected from the blogging & book community. I want to participate in more twitter chats, buddy reads and read-a-thons and make new friends that I keep in touch with. There are a few people I talk to sometimes via twitter and through blog comments, but I want to make a deeper connection and know people better to the point where I could recommend them books or know things that are going on in their lives (if that is not too creepy)

What are some of your 2016 goals/resolutions?

Lights Out by Ted Koppel | Book Review

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LIGHTS OUT: A CYBERATTACK, A NATION UNPREPARED, SURVIVING THE AFTERMATH BY TED KOPPEL

Genre: Non-Fiction, Science, Politics

Source: Blogging For Books in return for an honest review

“To be dependent is to be vulnerable.”
-Ted Koppel, Lights Out

Synopsis:
Imagine a blackout lasting not days, but weeks or months. Tens of millions of people over several states are affected. For those without access to a generator, there is no running water, no sewage, no refrigeration or light. Food and medical supplies are dwindling. Devices we rely on have gone dark. Banks no longer function, looting is widespread, and law and order are being tested as never before.

It isn’t just a scenario. A well-designed attack on just one of the nation’s three electric power grids could cripple much of our infrastructure—and in the age of cyberwarfare, a laptop has become the only necessary weapon. Several nations hostile to the United States could launch such an assault at any time. In fact, as a former chief scientist of the NSA reveals, China and Russia have already penetrated the grid. And a cybersecurity advisor to President Obama believes that independent actors—from “hacktivists” to terrorists—have the capability as well. “It’s not a question of if,” says Centcom Commander General Lloyd Austin, “it’s a question of when.”

And yet, as Koppel makes clear, the federal government, while well prepared for natural disasters, has no plan for the aftermath of an attack on the power grid. The current Secretary of Homeland Security suggests keeping a battery-powered radio.

In the absence of a government plan, some individuals and communities have taken matters into their own hands. Among the nation’s estimated three million “preppers,” we meet one whose doomsday retreat includes a newly excavated three-acre lake, stocked with fish, and a Wyoming homesteader so self-sufficient that he crafted the thousands of adobe bricks in his house by hand. We also see the unrivaled disaster preparedness of the Mormon church, with its enormous storehouses, high-tech dairies, orchards, and proprietary trucking company – the fruits of a long tradition of anticipating the worst. But how, Koppel asks, will ordinary civilians survive?

With urgency and authority, one of our most renowned journalists examines a threat unique to our time and evaluates potential ways to prepare for a catastrophe that is all but inevitable.

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review
*I would like to thank Blogging For Books for the copy of this book in return for an honest review*

Koppel paints a vivid, intense and incredibly scary picture of a possible reality. In this day and age our society relies so heavily on electricity and the internet. Everything is digitalized and you never see anyone without an electronic device in front of their face 24/7. Even my three year old niece owns a tablet. Internet dependency of the current generation paves the way for new and unknown terrors. Koppel opens up this book setting the scene of what our lives and world would  look like if a cyber attack on the power grid took place. In our day with terrorist attacks happening all over the world it is just a matter of time until they start attacking other means of our living. It was not until I picked up this book that I realized the real possibility of such an attack happening.

Koppel has done his research and has tons of information from very high up and knowledgable people. He does a really good job of trying to get information from all sides and present a well thought out and unbiased picture of the near future possibilities of a cyber attack and what that would mean for the United States. There is a lot of science talk in this book and at times it gets dense and hard to follow along with. It is understandable with a book such as this, but at times the book was hard to get into and I had to read it in small chunks. Koppel does his best to try and evade this from happening by using real life metaphors. For example he was explaining the cyberspace world and how it works by comparing it to ebola and the way it spreads.

Overall this book was very eye opening to a extremely possible threat. It does seem like a plausible event that could take place and with the dependency that our society has on the internet it seems like such a smart move for someone who wants to attack and hinder the U.S. Whether it is totally possible anytime soon is the debate but I believe it is something to watch out for and to spread more money and time investigating. One of the more chilling parts of the book for me was the dedication written by Koppel:

“To our grandchildren: Jake and Dylan, Aidan, Alice and Annabelle, Cole and Grace Ann(e). Here’s hoping that Opi got it wrong.”

– Ted Koppel, Lights Out

I would recommend this to anyone who enjoys non-fiction and thought provoking topics. Also if you enjoy dystopian or apocalyptic worlds and want to try some non-fiction this would be a good one to pick up!  Also Koppel recommends a fiction book One Second After by William Forstchen which is a similar story of what would happen if there was an attack on the power grid!

RATING

Top Ten Tuesday| Most Anticipated Release For The First Half of 2016

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This weeks Top Ten Tuesday topic hosted by Broke and Bookish isTop Ten Most Anticipated Releases For The First Half of 2016! There are so many great books coming out and so many I am super stocked for!

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

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♣ Passanger by Alexandra Bracken 

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♣ Truthwitch by Susan Dennard 

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♣The Glittering Court by Richelle Mead 

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♣  City of Blades by Robert Jackson Bennet 

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♣ Tell the Wind and Fire by Sarah Rees Brennan 

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♣ Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys 

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Built by Jay Crownover 

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♣ The Great Hunt by Wendy Higgins

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♣ The Forbidden Wish by Jessica Khoury

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What 2016 releases are you most excited for?

Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys | Book Review

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BETWEEN SHADES OF GRAY BY RUTA SEPETYS

Genre: YA, Historical Fiction

“Have you ever wondered what a human life is worth? That morning, my brother’s was worth a pocket watch.”
― Ruta Sepetys, Between Shades of Gray

Synopsis:
It’s 1941 and fifteen-year-old artist Lina Vilkas is on Stalin’s extermination list. Deported to a prison camp in Siberia, Lina fights for her life, fearless, risking everything to save her family. It’s a long and harrowing journey and it is only their incredible strength, love, and hope that pull Lina and her family through each day. But will love be enough to keep them alive?

Goodreads| Amazon 

review

This book was absolutely beautiful and breathtaking in such a terribly sad way. It brought to life such a horrible and forgotten travesty in our humanities existence. How is it that this is really the first time I have heard of the genocide that occurred in the Balkans. I mean technically it is not the first time. For someone who studied International Studies in college and even took a class focused on genocide, I know it was brought up and discussed, but not nearly as much time or depth were put into the discussion. The atrocities that occurred to the people of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia are overshadowed by what was happening with Germany, Hitler and the Holocaust.

This book was more than just a story about the deportation of Lithuanians. Sepetys had beautifully incorporated the undying resilience found in these deportees just trying to survive. There was love, hope and even a bit of romance. Although they are facing such terrible and horrific circumstances, it was absolutely brilliant that Sepetys included those breathtaking and lovely moments of pure joy and love. The romance was filled with innocence and in the midst of all the evil was a heart warming element.

Sepetys added such great complexity to her characters. Lina was strong willed, opinionated and feisty despite the situation she finds herself in. She never stops questioning and trying to get answers regardless of the consequences. Much like her mother she learns that in order to survive and be able to go on without a guilty conscious she must help the others around her and I found that so heart warming. You become attached to more than just the main character as the group of characters stick together and endure together.

Overall I thought the book was absolutely stunning. It added light to a unknown situation that affected many. It did not shy away from the gruesome events that took place. It was so real and extremely emotional, but yet gripping and has you rooting for Lina and her family. It shows that even in moments of completely tragedy there is light to be found.

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2015 Bookish Bucket List | Wrap-Up

As I plan out my goals and bucket list for 2016, I figured it would be a good time to wrap up my bucket list from 2015.

♠ Read at least 45 books. I was not able to complete this goal this year. I read a total of 30 books. Which is more than I thought I would read this year. 

♠ Complete Anna Karenina. Maybe someday I will actually complete this books. I loved it when I started it like two years ago. I just have to pick it up and finish it. 

♠ Keep up with reviews. I still have some from last year I need to complete. Oops! 

♠ Read more classics. Quite the trend of not completing goals this year. This was a no too.

♠ Keep my book purchasing to sequels. For most of the year I did not buy any books. So this is a accomplishment. But the past two months I have bought so many so it takes away from all the work I did throughout the year. 

♠ Finish the Harry Potter series. *Hides in the corner and cowers in shame*

♠ Catch up on review book. This is one of my biggest goals for 2016. I refuse to let myself get behind on books authors/publishers have given me. 

♠ Figure out a new set-up/blog posts/features. This is still a work in progress and I am hoping for this to all come together in 2016! 

♠ Read at least three daunting books. Nope. I didn’t even read a book over 500 pages. 

♠ Read up all/or a majority of the works by one author.  I read a great deal of Cora Carmack’s work this year so I am going to count this as my only win of the bucket list.

So this year I didn’t complete my goals, but I am still happy. Here is to 2016 be better with the goals! 

Rambling Down The Book Hole Blogger Book Club | January Pick

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Samantha @ The Rambling Book Junkie and I have decided to start a blogger book club. Are theme for January is Bookish Bad Boys. We have some posts that we will be doing throughout the month as well as end reviews of the books. We would love for others to join us. We plan on doing the posts in a blog hop fashion. Our book for this month will be….

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For the posting this will be the tentative plan for both mine and Samantha’s blog.

♠ 1/3 Bad Boy Qualities (Down The Book Hole) Book Playlist (Rambling Book Junkie)
♠ 1/10 New Adult Recommendations ( Down The Book Hole & Rambling Book Junkie)
♠ 1/17 Book Review( Down The Book Hole & Rambling Book Junkie)
♠ 1/24 Feb. Book Pick( Down The Book Hole & Rambling Book Junkie)

In Case You Missed our posts from Decembers pick: A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas, check them out here. 

Swag Inspired by the Book (Down The Book Hole) Retelling Recommendations (Rambling Book Junkie)
Comparison to the Original Fairy Tale ( Down The Book Hole) Book Playlist (Rambling Book Junkie)
♠ Book Review ( Down The Book Hole & Rambling Book Junkie)

If you would like to join us contact me and make sure to follow along with us on twitter #RDBHBookClub

2015 Series Challenge | Wrap- Up

I have been trying really hard recently to complete and finish series that I have been working on. I am really proud of myself for how many series I was able to complete this year  (although few) and how many I have caught up to publishing, but I still have so many more that I have started/own. These are all the ones I was able to complete this year!I have decided that 2016 will be the year of series completion!

Splintered Trilogy by A.G Howard 

The Giver Quartet by Lois Lowry 

The Dark Elements Trilogy by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Rusk University Series by Cora Carmack (to publication)

What series/trilogies/duologies have you completed this year?