There are so many awesome books releasing this month.  You are definitely going to want to add them to your TBR (to-be-read pile) if you haven't already.  Originally, I just wanted to post about the awesome that will soon grace our bookshelves on February 9th (Red Queen's sequel, Glass Sword) but there are so many other books that people should know about too:

Glass Sword by Victoria Aveyard (2/9/16): This does not need a description. I am so pumped for next week's release!

The Shadow Queen by C.J. Redwine (2/16/16): I think this one is being marketed as a fairytale retelling which I am so for. However, reading the synopsis I am not sure which fairytale it would be based on. In which case, we are possibly looking at a relatively original fairytale which is super exciting!

Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys (2/2/16): Everyone is plugging this one recently so by popular demand, I put it on the list. Sepetys is back, this time with 1945 and four teens who have been hit with war. We are know Ruta Sepetys rocks the historical YA, she sure does it again with this one.

Blackhearts by Nicole Castroman (2/9/16): Yes, a pirates book! Plus, a retelling! Blackbeard in love.  I am definitely on board for this one!

The Forbidden Wish by Jessica Khoury (2/23/16): Aladdin retelling from Jinni's perspective.

Kill the Boy Band by Goldy Moldavsky (2/23/16): I just finished this one and as much as it is marketed as a hilarious fangirl narrative, I find it to be dark and beyond ridiculous. It is interesting to see what the ultimate fangirls do when their favorite boy band is involved. Crazy stuff.

Stars Above by Marissa Meyer (2/2/16): I've been on the fence on starting Winter because then, as you know, the Lunar Chronicles would be over. Now it doesn't have to be with Stars Above, I can still have a piece of Meyer's world. Winter, here we come.

What is on your TBR this month?

Kickin’ It is a feature at The Bucket List where I round-up the whole month in one post, bringing you reviews you may have missed, other awesome bookish things, and even what I’m currently obsessed with in other media besides books.  December's Kickin' It was in the form of a lengthy but awesome survey so I will be including book reviews from both this month and last. Can you believe that January is over? It only seemed like yesterday which we welcomed in the new year. For me, it started a bit rough but I'm working on getting into the swing of things. Here's the cool things that happened this month:

To All the Boys I've Loved Before by Jenny Han (4 stars): To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before takes you on a new type of romance, starting with goodbye and ending with hello.  Lara Jean will easily become your favorite protagonist.  Jenny Han has certainly begun a stunning new series.

Infinity Lost by S. Harrison (4 stars): I find I must finish the ride, no time for roller coaster breakdowns.  The next installment is already in my shopping cart.

Love, Lucy by April Lindner (4 stars): Love, Lucy is exactly what it is supposed to be: cute, predictable, and romantic.  It made me happy; it is definitely a book for the summer.  Love, Lucy will have readers falling for the beautiful setting and the even more beautiful boys.

Not If I See You First by Eric Lindstrom (4 stars): Not If I See You First is a wild, emotional ride which presents the life of a blind girl going through high school.  It wasn’t spectacular but it was amusing with some spunky characters.

The Heir and the Spare by Emily Albright (4 stars): Despite the story being too short, it was still a cute debut that would tickle any reader’s toes.  The Heir and the Spare is a fast read, a bit predictable but a whole lot of fun.

A World Without You by Beth Revis (July 19, 2016): A boy has delusions that he can, in fact, travel through time.  I've never read a Beth Revis book but this one sounds amazing!

Run by Kody Keplinger (June 28, 2016): I have a deep love for anything Keplinger comes up with so I'm sure that this one won't disappoint.

Kill the Boy Band by Goldy Moldavsky (February 23, 2016): I usually don't read books like this: you know, the ones that you can almost tell it's about mean girls or girls who try to be mean and come off immature but the ultimate fangirls have kidnapped their favorite boy band, what's up with that? I want to find out!

Stars Above by Marissa Meyer (February 2, 2016): No, I haven't cracked the spine on my copy of Winter yet but I intend to so I can read the short story collection that is released next month! Can't wait! (Side note: February must be the month of crowns.)

Glass Sword by Victoria Aveyard ( February 9, 2016): This needs no explanation.  It's the sequel to Red Queen which I read last summer. It will be awesome!

January wasn't that spectacular as far as other media discovered. I've been trying to broaden my horizons and read more textbooks.  I've been slowly learning a bit more about digital media. It's pretty cool. However, all my research doesn't leave me time for a lot else. I did get to see two movies this month though.

With everyone talking about the Oscars, I wanted to check out Joy with Jennifer Lawrence. And she definitely delivered. Most recently I saw The 5th Wave, based on Rick Yancey's 2013 hit novel by the same name. It was good and maybe not so good -- I wrote a blog post about my thoughts on it (which strangely features a lot of gifs of an attractive man).

How was your January?
When I read The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey, I was floored. I hate science fiction and to actually LOVE a book from the genre was simply mind blowing. Since that was way back in 2013, a reread definitely is in order.  Especially since the movie released and I went in remembering the main plot but not much else. This is the sort of post that I will likely revisit, after a reread.

However, The 5th Wave, the movie, certainly took the audience on a captivating ride.  The book will always be better but this movie had some stuff going for it (and maybe not).  If you haven't found out already (especially with 10 Reasons Why the Premiere of Shadowhunters Turned Out to be Incredibly Lame), I am a true believer in finding the laughs in something bad.  The 5th Wave was, by far, not bad but I couldn't help snorting out loud in many parts.

The 5th Wave killed it, in a sense.  The special effects were phenomenal, the acting was superb, but some of the writing --- I just can't.  Here's five reasons why the movie totally rocked and sometimes didn't:

Evan Walker puts Mr. Darcy to shame.

I'll wait while you unglue your jaw from the floor. Then I'll hit you with the rest of the scene. 

Move over, Mr. Darcy because Evan Walker is taking your spot in the lake.  (Source: Tumblr)  It's pretty terrible that I decided to put this scene first. I mean, there were plenty of awesome scenes (like every scene with a depiction of a Wave, but I don't even mention them in this list. Why?: I don't know many details about their budget for the movie, but I'm sure it was big to create those sort of special effects.) Before we move on, let's firmly push Mr. Darcy out and welcome Evan Walker.  Total hunk: part time sniper and full time Cassie's bodyguard. (I ship these two so hard.)

Liev Schreiber nails his role.

I'm not all about noticing pretty faces (and abs). Liev Schreiber rocks every role I've seen him in. This one, as Colonel Vosch, is no different.  The first role I saw him in was in Kate and Leopold, where he plays a dreamer who believes he found a loop in time. (It's a really good movie!) Schreiber has since been in countless other films and now best known for his lead role in the TV show, Ray Donovan.

"I choose you." A bad Pokemon pun or a shameless plug for the upcoming film, The Choice.

The choice. So dramatic. So cliche. My brother and I just started laughing in the pin-dropping quiet of the theater.  The full line, said by amazing Evan Walker, is:
"I was wrong, when I said I was both one of you and one of them.  You can't be both, you have to choose.  I choose you."
*Snort.* The way it is said, Evan starts out by implying the (SPOILERS, if you have't read the book or seen the movie) "you" as humans and the "them" as aliens. But by the end of his line, he clearly is talking about Cassie, alone. The whole scene is super serious and well-played.  The pickup line is clearly picked up. Cliches work.

A movie that targets both girls and boys.

There is a stream of new super-hero movies and shows on TV now, ever since the Avengers hit it big.  It is no question who those movies and shows are targeted to.  Marketing knows gender roles and what each one likes and dislikes.  The majority of the Avengers audience is probably male.  The 5th Wave is perfect for EVERYONE. That's right, isn't that awesome?  It's got aliens, action, attractive boys, an awesome female protagonist! Mentioning The 5th Wave's protagonist...

A strong, independent female protagonist who intends to save her brother all by herself.

You know how much I love strong female protagonists! They are all the rage, what with Katniss and Tris making headlines.  Move over, girls, Cassie is taking over! She is awesome!

After I reread the book, I'll have to watch the movie again and look at all the things I've looked over because I'm sure there is a lot.  Like Ben Parish. I remember there being quite a more Ben Parish in the book.  Until next time, then.

Have you seen The 5th Wave yet? What did you think of it?
The Heir and the Spare by Emily Albright

Publisher: Merit Press
Publication Date: 1/18/16
Pages: 288
Source: received from publisher in exchange for honest review
Buy It: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository
Family can be complicated. Especially when skeletons from the past pop up unexpectedly. For American Evie Gray, finding out her deceased mother had a secret identity, and not one of the caped crusader variety, was quite the surprise. Evie’s mom had a secret life before she was even born, one that involved tiaras.
In this modern day fairytale, Evie is on a path to figure out who her mom really was, while discovering for herself what the future will hold. Charged with her late mother’s letters, Evie embarks on a quest into her past. The first item on the list is to attend Oxford, her mom’s alma mater. There, Evie stumbles upon a real life prince charming, Edmund Stuart the second Prince of England, who is all too happy to be the counterpart to her damsel in distress.
Evie can’t resist her growing attraction to Edmund as they spend more time together trying to unravel the clues her mother left behind. But, when doubts arise as to whether or not Edmund could ever be with an untitled American, what really ends up unraveling is Evie’s heart. When Evie uncovers all the facts about her mom’s former life, she realizes her mom’s past can open doors she never dreamed possible, doors that can help her be with Edmund. But, with everything now unveiled, Evie starts to crack under the pressure of new family responsibilities and the realization that her perfect prince may want her for all the wrong reasons. --Goodreads
Evie follows her mother’s letters in a P.S. I Love You fashion, which lead her to Oxford to uncover secrets she never could have imagined.  At Oxford, she is immediately enveloped in a circle of friends that include Edmund, the prince.  Despite his royal status, he takes a fancy toward Evie and together they unravel the secrets Evie’s mother kept from her.

This was an adorable book which is sure to capture any romantic’s heart.  The romance kindled between Evie and Edmund began with a sweet, but sassy friendship.  The side characters are notable as well including the rude duchess and slimy girlfriend.  However, as much as Evie’s group of friends were extremely relatable, it was only because most of the girls were walking-clichés and underdeveloped.  The cliché of a mediocre girl who turns the heads of all the boys is also at play here which is both annoying but expected.

Evie, the protagonist, is a confident but quiet girl who could probably win in any wit battle if it didn’t require modern slang. Emily Albright wrote a smashing debut that will dazzle many readers.  However, especially in the beginning when Evie was building relationships with her new-found friends, the narrative lacked colloquial speech which a modern twenty-year-old would use.  Instead, Evie took to name-calling and less-mature narrative.  A lot of times, her narrative sounded off or unbalanced.  Edmund, as expected, was perfect in every way.  The guy is any girl’s dream guy, who also happens to be a prince.

The plot was incredibly fast-paced and would make for a fabulous vacation read.  However, Albright could have added so much more.  She could have expanded on a number of things.  It would have made the book more memorable and less predictable.

Despite the story being too short, it was still a cute debut that would tickle any reader’s toes.  The Heir and the Spare is a fast read, a bit predictable but a whole lot of fun.

This post was supposed to be live by New Year’s Day but I just couldn’t bring myself to write it. It's the obligatory post which bloggers everywhere are writing about their goals of the new year.  I still see posts peppering the blogosphere about 2016 and how it will be their year. Reading all these posts are usually inspiring but being in a slump lately, just really brought me down about thinking about my own goals.  And how it seemed that everyone had goals but myself.

2015 was a good year. It was a great reading year, one of the best ones since I’ve been in college.  It was the year I graduated college.  But it was also the year I became unemployed.  You know, everyone with jobs make getting jobs look so easy.  Countless job interviews later and still not having landed one, my slump has started to take over my reading life.

Ever since I graduated, this blog has been consistently updated, something I haven’t done since high school.  I was so proud that I was about to keep it up. And, of course, I will continue to keep it up.
However, currently in a reading—and life—slump, I will be posting less reviews in the coming weeks.  One of my goals for the new year is to actually make huge changes to The Bucket List.

I want to focus on quality rather than quantity.

Since having graduated, I have focused on reading more and finding a routine. And in doing so, I have lost some of the quality posts which I used to schedule annually—starting with my annual book discussion.  The Bucket List’s annual book discussion has always been awesome to put together and it is the one place where I believe a lot of you show up to.  It’s great having the community out and ready to party. So, as much as the annual book discussion will not be this year, I will plan awesome things for next year’s return.

I want to find a passion and stick to it.

I am the type of person who has countless hobbies and will say, in all truth, that I love them all.  When I started this blog, reading was certainly something I was passionate about. And maybe it is my slump talking but not having read regularly throughout college, I feel like I look at the act of reading differently than I did before.  It certainly is still a hobby and I love books to death. However, this year I want to do some searching and truly find my current passion.  

Learn something new.

I’m doing really well with this goal so far. I’ve been doing a lot of research on blogging, as of late. Since I started this blog way back in 2010, I find that I really haven’t changed with the times.  That is definitely something that needs to change.  I’m trying to teach myself coding and learn about some other neat tricks to make your stay at The Bucket List even more enjoyable.  If you have any neat links on blogging or super tips, all comments are welcome.

Despite not having a huge list of goals that can be easily checked off, I’m making myself work for these and hopefully by the end of 2016, I will have become better at what I love.  

What are your goals for the new year?