6

[REVIEW] The Otto Digmore Difference by Brent Hartinger

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Genre: Contemporary, LGBTQ+, Adult

Series: The Otto Digmore Difference #1

Rating: 4 STARS 

Description:

“Road trip!” 

Otto Digmore is a 26-year-old gay guy with dreams of being a successful actor, and he’s finally getting some attention as a result of his supporting role on a struggling sitcom. But he’s also a burn survivor with scars on half his face, and all indications are that he’s just too different to ever find real Hollywood success. 

Now he’s up for an amazing new role that could change everything. Problem is, he and his best friend Russel Middlebrook have to drive all the way across the country in order to get to the audition on time. 

It’s hard to say which is worse: the fact that so many things go wrong, or that Russel, an aspiring screenwriter, keeps comparing their experiences to some kind of road trip movie. 

There’s also the fact that Otto and Russel were once boyfriends, and Otto is starting to realize that he still might have romantic feelings for his best friend. 

Just how far will Otto go to get the role, and maybe the guy, of his dreams? 

My Thoughts:

“People are staring at me, and I’m in the moment, and I want it to go on forever.”

First off, oh my God, this is my first author request book! I was so happy to read this one because LGBTQ+ novels are my some of my favorite novels, as I’m sure you guys know. Plus, I actually have two of Hartinger’s books on my TBR – Three Truths and a Lie and Grand and Humble, to be exact – so, why not start with this one! And, yes, I’m so glad that we’re getting a sequel because this was oh so good.

I absolutely loved Otto so much! He has burn scars on one side of his face because of an incident when he was seven years old, and continually has to overcome prejudice regarding Hollywood because he can’t get the parts he wants, and the parts he’s offered are extremely offensive. He’s such a nice guy that just wants a chance to make it as an actor, and you’ll definitely feel for him. He’s such a real character that it’ll basically be impossible to not care about him even a little, especially because of the situations he’s constantly caught up in and the way he feels because of what he looks like. Do people think of him as sexless because he’s not conventionally attractive? Are the only parts he’s going to be able to act as are monsters or small parts?  It’s one of those things where you’ll feel frustrated and sympathetic because of his thoughts and what’s going on around him, and that’s always a good thing.

Also, the road trip aspect of this was so much fun. Believe it or not, I’ve had yet to read a book centered around a road trip and not become completely bored by it – I’m looking at you Retribution of Mara Dyer and The Darkest Minds – but I read this one so quickly because it was easily captivating, and because I cared so much about Otto, I just wanted to see what was going to happen regarding his story. Of course, we had some out-of-the-blue events going on, but it really didn’t bother me too much because it was just all so enjoyable.

And good news – this book had little to no romance! I truly thought there was something that was going to happen between the two main characters because I’m so used to watching shows or reading books where everything works out happily ever after for the main character romance-wise, but I was pleasantly surprised that this book featured absolutely no cheating and a really adorable bromance (and bromances are always some of my favorite friendships out there). There is a little bit of a fluffy romance near the end, but not too much that it’ll detract from the story, and I thought it was just so, so cute. I don’t think I’ve ever read a contemporary that doesn’t center completely around a romance, so it was nice to see a contemporary that had more of a focus on the importance of friendship and recognizing other people’s sacrifices.

Also, points for all the super modern references! Since it’s a book that takes place in Hollywood, we get to see all these references to modern TV shows – shows that came out just in this fall season of last year, which I adored – and actors – if you actually keep up with that type of stuff. This book reminded me that I was watching The Exorcist, and I never got back to that (like I do most shows I start watching oops). Also, Speechless is A+; I highly recommend it.

Overall, a really fun road trip contemporary that has a larger focus on friendship than anything. I highly recommend.

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I received this book for free from the author via an author request. Thanks so much to Brent Hartinger for allowing me to read this book!

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56

Unpopular Books I Like

So, as bookworms, we all have different opinions on books. Three people could read one book, and come out of learning different things, liking different things, and hating different things, which is what’s so cool about art. But, sometimes, there are books out there that we enjoy, but it seems like people shame us for liking said books and can sometimes act a bit “high and mighty” about it. So, I thought it’d be nice to talk about some of the books that seem to unpopular, in my opinion, that I really enjoy.

Also, I apologize for this being so late. My family overslept and decided not to go to church, and that’s, like, the only way I manage to post at 8 in the morning, so yeah. But let’s get on with the list!

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Queen of Shadows

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So, it seems like the entirety of the TOG fandom ended up splitting up because of this book, because some people literally can’t handle when two fictional characters don’t get together, even though when there are about 24374 hints that it ain’t happening. So, lots of fans hated this book because their ship didn’t happen or because all the characters acted differently (which, in my opinion, didn’t happen at all). This is probably one of my favorite books in the entire series (but all the books are so good, I can never choose a favorite)!

The Maze Runner Trilogy

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So, I’ve seen a lot of people hate on this series and saying the books get worse and worse each book and that Thomas is bland, but I actually love this series. Okay, I haven’t read The Death Cure yet, but I though the first two books were so addicting and wonderful and action-packed, and I absolutely love the entire cast of characters. Especially Minho, because he’s my boyfriend.

(I haven’t watched the movies yet, though? I’m so weird.)

Paper Towns

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Okay, so everyone seems to hate this book (or just John Green in general), but I loved this one. I see everyone say they really hate Margo, even though she is literally in the book for about max 40-50 pages (I mean, really? She’s MISSING pretty much the entire book) and they just found it boring, but I read this book in about two days when I was younger. I thought it was really hilarious and heartfelt). And, again, I failed to watch the movie, for some reason.

End of Days

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Everyone on Goodreads seemed to hate this finale with a passion, but I loved it. People thought it was utterly ridiculous and didn’t make sense and made them super angry, but I actually almost cried while reading this book. I really loved the romantic moments between Penryn and Raffe and the family relationships, not to mention how tense it was. I absolutely love lore about angels and devils, and I loved learning more about Uriel.

Insurgent

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I actually really hated Allegiant, but re-reading the series last year, I actually really enjoyed this sequel. I’m a fan of war politics in books and don’t mind ones that are slower-paced, not to mention that Tris had some really great and realistic character development, especially when she suffers from PTSD. This book was actually really clever, in my opinion, and not at all boring.

The Raven King

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Okay, some people might say this isn’t unpopular, but I know I saw some really negative reviews about this book and how disappointing it was, but I devoured it. Pynch was absolutely adorable in this, the writing was as magical as always, and, to avoid spoilers, I actually really enjoyed the ending and how everything unfolded. Also, apologies, but I didn’t really care much about Noah, so everything revolving around him didn’t bother me. Maybe it’s just the fact that ambiguous endings don’t bother me too much, plus we’re getting a new trilogy in the world anyway.

City of Bones

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And, again, some people might say this isn’t unpopular, but most Goodreads users seem to snark on this book a lot for being similar to Harry Potter (even though, honestly, to do that, most people are reaching like crazy), and I actually avoided it for that reason. In the end, I caved it and read it for myself, and I’m glad I did, because now I’m a Cassandra Clare fangirl.

Mrs. Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children

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Some also might say this isn’t unpopular, but I’ve seen a lot of negative reviews when I was around Goodreads about this book, and I found it really enjoyable. I definitely didn’t enjoy the rest of this series, but this one was really quirky and funny, and I loved it.

Red Queen

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Yep, I love Red Queen. Everyone seems to hate this one for being unoriginal – which isn’t a crime in my book; nothing can truly be free of cliches – and saying that it was made to become a movie just because it got a movie deal even before it came out, which is apparently an evil motive, even though books like The Hate U Give and Moxie have had movie deals months before their releases. I found this one to just be a really fun read, and, yeah, it may be predictable, but I didn’t think it was too bad, and I really liked Mare.

The Cursed Child

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And I enjoyed this one, too. I’ll wait before someone says I’m not a true Harry Potter fan. But, really, I loved getting back into this world and I smiled and laughed and teared up reading this, and all the Albus and Scorpius (who I shipped years before this book released). Pretty much everyone hates it and says how disappointing it is, but I don’t agree. Guess I’m not a real Harry Potter fan anymore!

All the Missing Girls

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I saw a lot of my favorite crime book reviewers saying they found this book boring and that the format wasn’t good, but I thought this book was pretty amazing. I thought the way this book was told – which was backwards – was what made it really addicting, and I found it really easy to piece all the clues together and keep track of everything. It made the book tense, and though the chapters were long as all hell, I still found myself glued to the pages.

All is Not Forgotten

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Again, another book that had a lot of negative reviews for this book once it come out, and I was going to not read this, but I’m glad I did. It’s more of a contemporary thriller about a small town and its secrets told from the view of a twisted therapist, and it was brilliant. I read this in one whole day, and I loved Dr. Forrester’s POV. Some said he was too clinical, but he’s a therapist. That was sort of the point. I just really enjoyed this one, and now I feel like I’m in a party of one.

Order of the Phoenix

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Not really an unpopular book, but I’ve seen so many people say this is their least favorite book in the series, which shocks me. This is definitely one of my favorites, and it seems that some people hate it because Harry is depressing and the beginning was boring, but again, I’m a fan of slower-paced books, and I thought Harry’s behavior was justified, since, you know, literally saw someone die, saw someone get his hand cut off, and watched Voldemort come back to life, and no one believed him, but, I guess we all have our opinions.

The Widow

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I don’t know if I can really classify this as unpopular, but I saw really average reviews for this one, and I really loved it. It’s a thriller, and I could tell from some of the reviews that people expected some sort of amazing twist, but it’s just a linear storyline where everything you think it is, it is, which is sort of interesting, since it feels like so many people expect thrillers to have a giant twist these days to be considered good. It was such an interesting way of telling the story, and a great way to showcase domestic abuse.

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And that’s it for all the unpopular books that I like! I hope you enjoyed it and it made some of you guys feel less ashamed to like books that everyone seems to constantly belittle!

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What are some unpopular reads that you like? Do we share any of the same ones?

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3

[REVIEW] At the Edge of the Universe by Shaun David Hutchinson

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Genre: Sci-fi, Contemporary, YA

 Series: None

 Rating: 5 STARS

 Description:

Tommy and Ozzie have been best friends since second grade, and boyfriends since eighth. They spent countless days dreaming of escaping their small town—and then Tommy vanished.

 More accurately, he ceased to exist, erased from the minds and memories of everyone who knew him. Everyone except Ozzie.

 Ozzie doesn’t know how to navigate life without Tommy, and soon suspects that something else is going on: that the universe is shrinking.

 When Ozzie is paired up with new student Calvin on a physics project, he begins to wonder if Calvin could somehow be involved. But the more time they spend together, the harder it is for him to deny the feelings developing between them, even if he still loves Tommy.

 But Ozzie knows there isn’t much time left to find Tommy–that once the door closes, it can’t be opened again. And he’s determined to keep it open as long as possible.

 My Thoughts:

“I sat beside the window pretending to read Plato’s Republic as the rest of the passengers boarding Flight 1184 zombie-walked to their seats.”

 Oh my God, you guys; I did it! I finally read my first ever Shaun David Hutchinson book after people on Goodreads recommended me to read We Are the Ants! And now that I’ve read one of his books, I need to read them all. Like, right now, damn it.

 First of all, this book was so unexpectedly angst-y??? I mean, I absolutely loved how depressing and realistic this was, but what is with all these angst-y gay books? Why are all these authors duly set on breaking my damn heart? But, seriously, I loved this, and I could relate to it so well. Ozzie is in his senior year of high school, his boyfriend and best friend have vanished, and it seems like everyone in his life is moving forward except him. I’m only in my sophomore year of high school, as you guys might know, but, God, the fear of the unknown feels so realistic. Personally, I’m excited to get the hell out of high school, and I’m ready to go to college and travel and do something with my life that I care about, but do you know how terrified I am to adult? What in the world I’ll do once I’m out of college, especially since I’m a socially anxious mess? Will I make new friends? Will the ones I have now be left behind as memories? Will I still be blogging? Will I still be in love with the books I am now? Clearly, I have a lot of worries about “after college,” so I understood how Ozzie felt about being unsure of the future. I feel like everyone is, just a little.

 And, ugh, the characters! I love Ozzie. He’s a sarcastic asshole who’s crude and might piss you off with the things he won’t do and things he actually DOES do, but I loved him so much. He deserves all the hugs, and he continuously made me laugh throughout the book, especially since I’m a negative, sarcastic person as well. We also get to meet Calvin, who reminded me of Adam from the Raven Cycle, and I LOVE Adam, so you can guess how much I’m in love with him. And we also have Ozzie’s friends, Dustin, who’s a stoner type, but is also a genuinely nice guy, and Lua, who’s gender-fluid (which was awesome, because I’ve never seen a gender-fluid character before in a book, and, I personally thought was handled so well and wasn’t treated like some big deal) and is a rocker type and every word out of their mouth gives me life, honestly, especially that whole rant about how girls don’t get some sort of “free pass” to experiment. I LOVE THEM, OKAY? And we also have Warren, Ozzie’s brother, who goes through some problems that I’m not going to talk about because that would be SPOILERS, but I definitely loved him.

 THE ROMANCE BETWEEN OZZIE AND CALVIN THOUGH. It honestly slayed my life. At first, I didn’t even ship them, but as the book went on, I just couldn’t help myself. It was just so wonderfully realistic and angst-y (this book was angst) because they’re both so awkward and Ozzie still loves Tommy and Calvin cares about him so much, but he also has baggage and Ozzie wants to help him but doesn’t want Calvin to hate him and they’re both total science nerds and just aljflajflajflaj. AND THE ENDING KILLED ME, but again, not talking about spoilers. I just ship them so freaking hard.

 I also loved the concept of this book. I’d say it’s a mix of magical realism and sci-fi, and it was so interesting. I really want to get into sci-fi this year, and it’s like books like this that push me forward. The universe is literally shrinking, and I loved how the chapters showed how it was happening, and then the last few chapters kicked in and it was just so intense. I didn’t think the science was too complicated for people to not understand, and it definitely kept me reading. There’s just something about this book that has an addictive quality that I completely fell in love with.

 Overall, READ THIS BOOK DAMN IT. I literally cannot wait to read We Are the Ants. And, since we’re talking about that book, I see what you did here, Hutchinson.

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Have you read this book yet? Have you read Shaun David Hutchinson’s books yet?

(Also, brief note: I’m going to take a break this whole entire day! I’m not going to be responding to comments, but I’ll probably be around looking at people’s posts who I follow, on occasion! I’m just trying to get everything together because I’ve decided to start a chill bookstagram account – I’m already really happy with the pics I took – and I’ve been trying to make my Goodreads look nice and I’m hoping to plan some stuff out. It’s not a hiatus or anything and I’ll be back tomorrow morning, but I just wanted to let you guys know!)

40

My All-Time Favorite Ships

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So, this week just happens to have Valentine’s Day, and what better to celebrate than to talk about some of my favorite ships? Don’t worry, I’ll be talking about my book boyfriends later this week, but right now, let’s talk about some romance.

NOTE: THERE WILL BE SPOILERS! If you don’t want to read anything about the ACOTAR, TOG, Legend, Angelfall, Unwind, Young Elites, and Mortal Instruments series, then don’t read on! I’m not responsible for your suffering.

And even more NOTES: none of the fanart is mine! I credit the artists below the picture; feel free to check them out.

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Feysand

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(Image from Cocotingo)

But of course, Feyre and Rhysand are on this list! They’re on pretty much everyone’s list. I wasn’t a huge shipper of them in ACOTAR (I wasn’t a shipper of Tamlin and Feyre either), but I found their relationship so interesting since he continued to help her even though she was his supposed “enemy.” Obviously, I should’ve gotten the romance vibes, but I was horrible to catch on. Then I read ACOMAF, and everything changed. Tamlin was revealed to be a jerk (well, he was always a jerk; he was just more ~subtle~) and Rhysand swept in and captured not only Feyre’s heart, but 99.9% of ours.

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Rowaelin

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(Image from taratjah)

Yep, I love Rowaelin. Yes, I used to ship Chaolaena. But, Chaol definitely isn’t right for Aelin (cue flashback to when he outright lied to her “to protect her”) and has a girlfriend he clearly loves and cares for. Besides loving Rowan already, I just love how he treats Aelin as his equal and how happy he is around her and how they rely on each other to talk about the hard stuff and they’re just SO CUTE.

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Laurent and Damen

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(Image from Cocotingo)

Well, besides absolutely devouring the Captive Prince trilogy, I just love Laurent and Damen together! They have a hate-to-love romance, and there’s zero ~feels~ in the first book, but the sequel comes, and then you read the last chapter and it’s just lfjalfaljflajfla. I just love all their moments together and how happy they make each other. The chemistry is unreal, guys.

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Adelina and Magiano

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(There is no fanart for this ship. #why)

So, I never shipped Enzo and Adelina in the first novel, and was surprised when he died at the end. The Rose Society was everything I wanted in a sequel, and we were unexpectedly introduced to a new love interest: Magiano. And then they started flirting, and I found myself shipping them??? And now they’re one of my all time favorite ships.

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Percabeth and Solangelo

(Images from Viria and cookiecreation)

Okay, but who doesn’t ship Percy and Annabeth together? It’s such aV classic ship, especially since, much like Romione, it took several books for them to get together (which doesn’t happen much in books anymore). I remember being so happy when they finally kissed in The Battle of the Labyrinth, and then we got the Heroes of Olympus, which gave us the blessing of even more Percabeth.

And with the Heroes of Olympus came the development of Nico’s character, which helped us learn that he was gay. And then he met Will, and The Trials of Apollo happened, and THE SHIP IS SO PURE. Okay, I haven’t read The Blood of Olympus or The Trials of Apollo but that doesn’t mean I can’t ship them.

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Drarry and Romione

(Images from noodlerface and ElenaGiorgi)

I know what you’re thinking. “Drarry isn’t canon. Harry and Draco aren’t gay.” But, one, Harry and Ginny are probably the worst developed couple in the books, and two, does anyone really care if Draco and Astoria arent’ together? I’ve been shipping these two since middle school, and nothing has changed. They’re just such an interesting ship since their characters are pretty much polar opposites, and it’s just cute, okay? And the fanfiction is awesome. (If you want recs, hit me up; I have too many.)

Romione is a canon ship, and before I even read the books, I knew they were going to get together. But reading the books just made it so much better. Their little fights and the way that they pretended not to be in love with each other was so cute. I just love the character development that Ron went through to go from jerk to sweetheart, all for Hermione.

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Malec

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(Image from taratjah)

I’ve mentioned before that this was basically my first ever gay ship that started all the others, but let me tell you, this was probably one of the first few ships that I really cared about. I mean, you should’ve seen me when Magnus and Alec broke up. I was utterly destroyed. And you also should’ve seen me reading Born to Endless Night. I had a permanent smile on my face.

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Jesper and Wylan, Nina and Matthias, and Kaz and Inej

(Images from taratjah)

Okay, so my obvious favorite out of all of these ships is Jesper and Wylan because they are SO CUTE, but Kaz and Inej just had some of their beautiful moments, especially Kaz being totally swoon-worthy and the way they always have each other’s backs, and Nina and Matthias’s slightly forbidden relationship that knows no boundaries. They’re all just so absolutely perfect (and I also love it when everyone is paired up in books because it’s CUTE DAMN IT!).

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Cresswell and Winter Soldier

(Images from taratjah – here and here)

All the ships in the Lunar Chronicles are cute and adorable and perfect, but Cresswell guys. I just love the slow-burn between the two of them and that kiss at the end of Cress? Not to mention the fact that Thorne turns into such a dork concerning his feelings for Cress. Also, I like to think of myself as Cress, so there’s that.

And Winter and Jacin, who are just so cute! I love how Jacin treats her no more differently than anyone else just because she’s mentally ill and I absolutely love their pure friendship even before their eventual romance. I LOVE ALL THE SHIPS!

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Bluesey and Pynch

(Images from Azeher – here and here)

Okay, so, I definitely, without a doubt, love Pynch way more than Bluesy by a mile, because they’re absolutely adorable and I love how much they care about each other and I love how weak Ronan is for Adam, but I also love Bluesy’s slow-burn, forbidden relationship and their stupid phone calls and their almost-kisses. But Pynch is the clear winner because lotion and horrible dubstep, obviously.

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Day and June

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(Image from mree – which is Marie Lu!)

I don’t see this ship being loved enough, and I’m going to give it some more appreciation. I just love how this one is absolutely realistic. Just because the two of them are crushing on each other, and eventually get together, doesn’t mean that things are all sunshine and rainbows. It’s such a breath of fresh air. And, yes, I loved it when they met each other at the end of Champion and he remembered her. 

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Albius/Scorbus

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(Image from rosketch)

Before The Cursed Child, I already loved this ship. Yeah, that’s right, I’m the original shipper. It all happened in the seventh grade…(okay, I’m done). But, seriously, this was basically Albus and Scorpius canonized. Anyone coming out of this book thinking that Scorpius and Rose are still destined to be together is either ignoring the obvious or living in a fantasy. 

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Connor and Risa

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(Image from burdge)

Again, probably a ship on literally no one’s list, but I love their relationship. Yeah, it might have been eye-roll worthy and stereotypical in the first book, but as more of the events unfold in the three sequels, it’s just so sweet to see the two of them rely on each other for everything and see each other as equals, not to mention how Connor was always around for Risa when she was in a wheelchair and how Risa was there for Connor after being completely unwound.

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Penryn and Raffe

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(Image from bellelune16)

And last but not least, an angel and a human. Their relationship is forbidden, but it’s just so worth it for the slow-build up throughout all three books, especially that moment in the first book when he sees her in a dress and can’t stop staring. Or that moment where he flies her in the air. These two just give me life.

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And those are just some of my favorite ships! I’m most likely going to have to make a second part to this one because there’s still a couple more ships that I’ve left out because this was already long enough, not to mention that there’s always going to be more ships because I (hopefully) won’t stop reading all the books!

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What are some of your favorite ships? Do we share any?

26

Why Have I Not Read You Yet?

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So, anyone who knows me knows that I have the most intense book shame. So many books that I want to read but have yet to because my priorities are not straight in any way whatsoever. So I decided to share my shame with all of you just in case I’m not alone in an out-of-control TBR that is basically drowning you. We can be shameful together.

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The Martian

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Okay, so I’m super excited to read this one, and I don’t even know why I haven’t read it yet. I’ve heard literally nothing but good things, and the movie got great reviews as well! I promised myself that I wouldn’t watch the movie until I read the book, and I’m going to!

(Soon enough.)

Ready Player One

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Apparently, Steven Spielberg is adapting this into a movie by the end of this year, so I’ll read it before then. I promise.

The Girl with All the Gifts

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This is about zombies!!! I love zombies!!! And I still haven’t read it!!! Literally what is wrong with me???

Room

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The concept for this one also interests me, especially since it’s told from the POV of a child. Again, I heard the movie was great (and that Jacob Tremblay was fantastic in it, and he’s absolutely ADORABLE), and this has been out for way too long for me to have not read it.

All the Light We Cannot See

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I swear on God’s green earth I’m the only one who hasn’t read this book, and I feel so bad! The cover is eye-catching, and the concept sounds brilliant, and I can already feel myself giving it five stars, but I just need to read it!

The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly

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Once this came out, I saw nothing but fantastic reviews for it, and the fact that it centers around a cult and a girl who has no hands because they were cut off (!!!) immediately pulls me in – I’ve always been interested in cults and such – so I’m actually hoping to get to this one this year!

Fangirl

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Listen, I’ve had this book for SO LONG. I borrowed it off my friend once it first came out, but I had to return it before I could finish it. I actually bought the book, and started reading it again, but got distracted by other books. Again, a year later, I attempted to read it, got further than I did the first time, but I got distracted YET AGAIN. So, this is actually ridiculous; I love it every time I read it, but I’m a failure at finishing it.

I’ll Give You the Sun

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I’ve literally owned this book since a couple weeks after the release date, but I’ve yet to, you know, actually read it. It has a cute gay romance, which I know I’ll love, and, again, hoping to finally get to it this year!

On the Jellicoe Road

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Literally every single review I’ve seen for this book has given it a glowing five stars, and I’ve also heard brilliant things about Melina Marchetta and her books as a whole, so I know I must read this, even though I’m still confused as to what this book is actually about from the synopsis. But who cares, I love weird books.

The Perks of Being a Wallflower

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Again, I’ve owned this book for so long, and, again, I’ve actually read halfway through it (and was really enjoying it), but life probably got in the way, and I left it unfinished. Younger me was not good at completing books, is what I’m learning.

It’s Kind of a Funny Story

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Yeah, I’ve owned this book for a long time and read halfway through it and yep, I think we’ve all heard this story before.

Poison Study

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I heard this was a really good recommendation for those who are fans of the Throne of Glass series, which I’m a super-fan of, so I know I have to get to this one! I actually read a sample of this on iBooks and I found it to be entertaining and well-written, so I’m excited to continue!

The Name of the Wind

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I don’t think I need to explain myself with this one.

American Gods

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This book is actually going to be adapted into an HBO TV series by Bryan Singer, who did Hannibal, one of my favorite TV shows ever (so upset it was cancelled), so I feel like I need to educate myself before I watch it. Even though it’s super long. I’ll attempt to read this.

Nimona

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Last year, I dived into the world of comics/graphic novels, and I failed to get to this one, which, again, nothing but good reviews had popped up in my Goodreads feed. I consider this one to be even MORE shameful because it’s so short and I could get it done so quickly, but, again, failure.

Carry On

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I actually read a little over 100 pages of this on iBooks last year, but I wasn’t exactly in the mood for a fantasy novel, so I neglected it, but I’m actually part of the 1% that really enjoyed the fanfiction parts of Fangirl, and Simon and Baz’s relationship is basically Drarry, one of my top ships, so, I’m pumped. Plus, I loved what little I had read, so yep.

Fairest and Stars Above

I jumped on the Lunar Chronicles bandwagon in late 2015, so I missed out on Fairest, and Stars Above, but I love this series, so I should really love these too! I just haven’t gotten to them because whenever I have book money, I rarely ever want to buy prequels or extra books in series, if that makes sense, but I would love nothing more than to return to this world again.

The Host

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I didn’t like Stephanie Meyer’s Twilight or New Moon, but I’ve heard that The Host is much better than the Twilight quartet as a whole, so I definitely want to get to this one. I actually watched the movie once it came out (in an empty theatre with only my mom as company), and thought it wasn’t that good, but that was the general consensus, so I can’t wait to read the source material!

(This sort of makes me want to watch the movie again, just for kicks.)

The Lies of Locke Lamora

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I’ve heard this is like an adult version of Six of Crows, and I am intrigued.

The Secret History and The Goldfinch

I borrowed both of these books off Overdrive but quickly returned them because the real pages on Kindle were driving me absolutely crazy and making the reading experience extremely slow, and I knew there was no way in hell I was reading these tomes in two weeks. I purchased the ebook versions instead because I prefer the stretched out pages. I’m probably going to take both of these super slow, but I will definitely get back to them. I was enjoying them while I was reading them, so I can’t wait to finish them!

The Death Cure

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Of course, we weren’t going to make it through this list without a finale being on here, and this one is shameful. I’ve already read and completed the first two books in the trilogy and absolutely loved them, and I was in the midst of reading this one, but, again, middle school me was distracted and abandoned it. I really just need to reread this series and check it off my list!

Game of Thrones

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I’ve only really watched about three episodes of the show, so this actually counts as double shame. I just really need to read this no matter how big this book is, because, again, nothing but good reviews from most of my old Goodreads friends, but, I’m weak.

Me Before You

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Okay, so this one hasn’t been on my list for TOO long, but after the flurry with it becoming a movie and everyone jumping on board the hype train, I was sadly left behind. But I will read this! I promise!

The Assassin’s Blade

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Anyone who knows me knows that I’m the biggest Throne of Glass nerd/fangirl ever, and I JUST NEED TO READ THIS. Seriously, the further I read, the more I realize I need to read these books, and, honestly, this is ridiculous; I should have read this about two years ago.

Made You Up

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First of all, gorgeous cover! Second, the idea of a book where the main character has schizophrenia, and you can’t tell what is real and what isn’t sounds absolutely brilliant, and the reviews are clearly reflecting that!

The Scorpio Races

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Clearly, I’m a huge fan of Maggie Stiefvater. I absolutely love the Raven Cycle, and I know that I’m going to like this once I read it, but I. Just. Haven’t. And it’s even worse because I could easily borrow this on Overdrive, but I’m weak.

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And that’s it for my extremely shameful list of “Why Have I Not Read You Yet?” I have no idea if I’ll complete any of these before the end of the year, but if I do, cheers to future me for doing better than past me!

Also, completely unrelated note, but it snowed this past weekend, and I’m praying that we have no school tomorrow because I’m a lazy bum.

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What are some of the most shameful books on your TBR? Do we share any of the same ones?

9

Bookish Goals for 2017

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Happy New Year’s Day! I thought it’d be fitting to post my 2017 Bookish Goals today since most of us are caught up in our New Year’s Resolutions and praying that we’ll actually maybe keep them this year (even though we know we’ll probably break them a little).

Also, yes, I am coming at you guys with a new time! School is starting again tomorrow (boo!), so I won’t be able to post early in the morning. I’m trying to find a new time, and I thought 4 in the afternoon would be good (at least, that’s what time it is in my timezone), so here it is!

Onto my (ambitious) 2017 goals!

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I. Read 200 Books

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So, as you guys know, I ended up reading a whopping total of 163 books this year (this is excluding comics – which I read a lot of, but don’t count personally because they’re pretty short – and DNFs – since I didn’t actually read them)! My goal was 75, and I actually ended up reaching it in June or early July. And since I’m so close to 200, I thought, “Why not? I’m crazy enough!” So I’m hoping to make it to 200 next year! Wish me luck!

Also, I’ve seen a lot of people say that they hate the Goodreads challenge because it pressures them too much and they feel like they’re not reading big books, etc., but keeping tracks of books is hard. I felt that struggle, and I decided to look into apps for that, and lo and behold, I found this great one called BookBuddy!

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Basically, it’s almost like Goodreads without reviews and the pressure of having to read. You can create your own categories, as seen in a screenshot of my own personal profile:

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Basically, all you have to do is click to the category that you want to add a book to. Press the “+” at the top right of the screen, search your book (I actually tested this out by searching for a book that had come out just a couple of days ago, so this is legit), add it, and that’s it! The category will keep the number of books you’ve read and placed in said category as seen here:

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If you want to save a book to multiple categories and/or include re-reads and have them count, all you have to do is repeat the above steps for a different category, and there your book will show up! You can also give the book a star rating if you want to keep track of that as well!

And that’s pretty much it! Just wanted to include a pretty neat app for those who hate the Goodreads Challenge but have trouble keeping track of their books themselves!

II. Catch Up on 2016 + 2015 YA Releases

 

I totally failed to read 2016 releases this year, especially the ones on my most anticipated list! I was originally going to just set aside a month to catch up, but then I compiled all of them together, and I have SO MANY, that I decided I’m just going to be doing this for the entire year. For every thriller/crime/mystery I read, I’m going to read a YA 2016 release of any genre of my choosing. Hopefully, that’ll get me back on track.

III. Finish Those Damn Series

 

If you know me, you know that I suck at completing series. I left a lot of series unfinished this year, whether I read the first two and have been putting off the finale, or I’ve only read the first of six books. I’m hoping to finally complete some of these series – at least 20 – of the ones I started in 2016. Hopefully, I’ll enter 2018 less stressed out!

IV. Keep Up with Blogging and Bookstagram

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I’ve said this several times, but I’m usually one to get into things, lose motivation, and then quit on them, and I really don’t want to do that with either of these things. So far, blogging has proven to be fun, and I’m hoping to work a bit more on taking pictures and getting props and setting things up before really starting my bookstagram (I probably won’t officially start it until the summer, when I have more free time). Hopefully, this won’t be something I get bored of by my first blogiversary, but I’m planning to go on a hiatus if I ever get blogger burnout.

V. Write Better Reviews

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I used to write tons of reviews on my old Goodreads, but, sometimes, I found them to be of “meh” quality at times. When I hate a book, I do find it much easier to review it than when I love a book, mainly because there’s only so many positive reviews you can write before they sort of start to sound the same. So, I’m going to try to work at sounding less vague in my reviews and explaining myself much better.

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And those are my 2017 Bookish Goals! I’m hoping that I’ll look back on December 31 and be proud of myself because I achieved all the things (and then some)!

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What are some of your 2017 Bookish Goals? Do you share any of the same ones as mine?

3

Worst of 2016

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(Yes, hi, still Mikaela here under a new name – and better-looking blog, I think! Hopefully you guys weren’t confused!)

Ah, yes, it’s that time of the year for sharing unpopular opinions. I’m not one to really hate books that I don’t end up liking. Only a couple of books have led me to rage-quit, and I rarely give out one stars to books I’ve completely read; most of them are awarded to DNFs. But, this year, I read some pretty bad books, because four of them were one-star reads, and I read through the entire thing. But, compared to the overall books I read this year, it really wasn’t too bad.

So, if any of your favorite books are on this list, all I have to say is…

sorry

But enough of that! Let’s get into the books!

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With Malice

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So, my biggest issue with this book was the fact that this was pretty much almost a copy of Dangerous Girls by Abigail Haas. Even certain details that was unique to Haas’s book were included. For example, in Dangerous Girls, Anna and Elise take a photo on Halloween night in which Anna is holding a knife to her throat as a joke. This also happens in With Malice, with Jill holding a knife to Simone’s throat on Halloween night. I probably would’ve appreciated this more if Dangerous Girls had come later, but this just seemed like a poor man’s version.

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The Winner’s Crime

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I’m not going to include the summary of this since it’s a sequel to The Winner’s Curse and it’s chock-filled with spoilers, but this was extremely disappointing. The Winner’s Trilogy is probably one of these most-loved series on Goodreads, and I honestly thought I was going to join in on the appreciation. I mean, it’s a fantasy novel with war and politics where the main character is smart and uses her brain. What’s not to like? But, it fell flat for me when I realized that a horrible forbidden romance was going to be the main focus. And it was an extremely angst-y, overdramatic forbidden romance that makes you roll your eyes. Arin, the guy she’s pining for, is supremely annoying and whiny and immature, and I’m confused as to why he’s so popular? I gave the first book two stars, but, this one was SO MUCH WORSE, and I ended up giving it two stars. The covers are gorgeous though.

(Not to mention I read the first two books twice just in case I missed something. I really hadn’t.)

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The Bird Tribunal

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For all the great thrillers I discovered this year and quickly became my favorites, there are always the hyped ones you expect more from. A couple of them are on this list. This one is SUPER popular and well-liked, but this time, I just don’t get it. Is the atmosphere chilling? Yes. Is the romance creepy and unsettling? Yes. But…I guessed the ending to this novel about ten or so pages in. And, nothing can word my disappointment when I reached the end, and realized there wasn’t some huge plot twist to throw me off. And that I sort of wasted two days of my time. And that I’ve seen elements of this book before, except I’ve seen them handled better. So, this was a fail in my book, but I’m a party of one.

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The Last Star

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Again, no summary for this since, as you can see from the cover, it’s a finale for a trilogy, but I was super disappointed by this one. I loved The 5th Wave, and still enjoyed The Infinite Sea, even though others found it mediocre. This one just completely ruined the trilogy for me personally. The writing was off – not saying there weren’t beautiful quotes, because they were, but it wasn’t as polished and sophisticated – the romance was awful – especially that cheesy sex scene which can be summed up as whut? – and the ending led up to the stupidest decision regarding a character I’ve seen yet. Pretty much no questions were answered, and there were too many loose ends. It sucks, because I used to consider this one of my favorite series, but it’s sort of hard to say that now.

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The Kind Worth Killing

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Oh hyped thrillers, why must you let me down? This one just wasn’t for me. I felt that it was way too gimmick-y with the plot twists happening pretty much every couple other chapters. It really ruined my enjoyment of the novel. And there’s the fact that the blurb made this book much better than it was. I’m going to be reading Her Every Fear once I actually have money in my pocket, and hopefully that’s better, but I just think that a different author could have done better with the concept. I will say, the ending made me laugh a little.

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The Couple Next Door

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This book and B.A. Paris’s Behind Closed Doors were probably the most hyped debut thrillers from new authors over the summer. I ended up enjoying Paris’s novel, but this one fell flat. First off, I really hate Marco, and I’m not going to say why because ~spoilers~, but he irritated the hell out of me. Second, I felt “meh” after realizing the whodunit. Never do you want to figure out the mystery person and be disappointed by it. The very last chapter was pretty awesome, but, awesome endings do not a better book make.

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Nerve

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I was originally going to avoid this one at all costs after seeing the movie trailer, since it basically gives away the whole plot, but I caved. Bad idea. This was just a really shallow dystopian novel that didn’t provide anything new, much like most books published in the genre after the success of The Hunger Games. It really bothered me that it seemed like no one had common sense in this game, and just went along with everything told to them. I mean, obviously this game is off its rocker, but, hey, Vee’s getting new shoes!!! Also, the romance – or shall I say, insta-love? – between Ian and Vee was cheesy and unnecessary and just *sigh*. And the ending really didn’t make that much sense to me at all, and is left quite open-ended. I haven’t watched the movie adaptation, and probably won’t, if this was the material they had to work with.

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Return to the Dark House

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Oh, look, another finale/sequel! I think I’m seeing a pattern here. Anyway, I read the Dark House duology (or trilogy? There may be a third book in the works, but I ain’t touching it) for October because I was reading ~spooky~ books, and the first one wasn’t too bad. It was like a cheesy, teen horror B-movie in book form, but I enjoyed myself despite the insta-love. But this one managed to just expand on what made it suck so much in the first one. Ivy, the main character, is a total reckless idiot, the type of protagonist  that authors assume you’ll cheer for as they make the stupidest decisions. The thing that annoyed me the most was that Riley (excuse me if that’s not her name; I’m 90% sure it is), the other protagonist, was smart and was shoved to the side. Also, Ivy’s doing all this to rescue a boy she “fell in love with” over a three-day period and can’t survive without. Whatever.

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The Perfect Girl

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And another disappointing thriller! What makes this doubly disappointing is that I’ve read Macmillan’s first novel What She Knew and I devoured it. It was a really nice take on the “missing child” subgenre of thrillers. I read The Perfect Girl first, and definitely didn’t like it. Not only was the writing completely unspectacular and seemed really detached – much like the one-dimensional characters – but the book really seemed to drag. I read both of Macmillan’s novels on iBooks, so they were both over 700 pages, since the app drags out page numbers. Compared to What She Knew, which took me two days to read, I read The Perfect Girl in about five or so days, which is super long for me to be reading a book.

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Station Eleven

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*

This started out so well, but tapered off towards the end. Listen, I love pretentious adult fiction. I love gorgeous prose that basically borders onto purple. I can enjoy a slow book. But this one just wasn’t for me. Objectively, I’d say this was a good book, but for me, I was basically skimming the last few chapters. It may have been because long chapters are a pet peeve for me, but I was getting impatient and bored, and I realized that I just really didn’t care. This might be the book for another reader, but that reader isn’t me.

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And that’s it for all the negativity! There are definitely some super hyped and popular books on this list, but I’ve learned that when I dislike a book, I sort of expect it to be well-loved among other bookworms, so I’m not really surprised.

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What were some of your disappointments or least favorites of 2016?