Jamie is a 28 year old married lady who is in denial that she's actually that old. When she's not reading you can find her doing Pilates followed by eating gelato, listening to music with oversized headphones and teaching her niece how to be as awesome as she is.

Carla’s Corner: Blue Lily, Blue Lily by Maggie Stiefvater (NO SPOILERS)

So so back when I was a wee newbie blogger in 2010 there was this blog I fell in love with immediately. It was called The Crooked Shelf and it was run by a sassy Brit who had fantastic taste in books and wrote some of the best reviews ever. We became friends and even got to hang out at BEA 2011…and had the best time ever. Seriously.

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And then she stopped blogging…which was the saddest thing ever for so many of us because her voice was one of the best and early on I aspired to BE like Carla in the way that I just wanted to have my own distinct voice — whatever that was. It was definitely a hit to the blogosphere for many of us oldies when she left.

And now, through a Twitter conversation about missing her as a blogger, I introduce you to Carla’s Corner where Carla will take over my blog sporadically whenever she feels like it and talk about what’s she’s reading and HAS to talk about! I’m excited to have her voice back in the blogosphere and for people who didn’t get to know her back in the day to get the chance to!!

So first up?? It is only fitting that Carla reviews a Maggie Stiefvater book. Fun story: The one and only time I saw Carla lose her shit and become a 12 year old little girl was when she met Maggie Stiefvater at BEA. It was the cutest moment EVER and her and Maggie hugging and talking made me all teary because it was one of Carla’s all time FAVORITE authors!!

So take it away Carla…

 Blue Lily, Blue Lily review no spoilersBlue Lily, Blue Lily by Maggie Stiefvater
Book #3 of The Raven Cycle series (I’ve read, loved and reviewed book 1)
Release Date: October 21st – Scholastic Press
* This book was downloaded from Netgalley for review consideration.

 Carla’s Thoughts:

Blue Lily, Lily Blue is simultaneously the best book I have ever read and also the worst.

Let’s start with the best.

Trying to explain or describe how much I love Stiefvater’s writing is like trying to count all of the stars in the sky; impossible, incredibly brain aching and needing calculations and equations that my mind just isn’t capable of fathoming. I’ve never really been that good at math.

Her words are a dream come to life, like Ronan himself has plucked them out of his dreams and handed them over. The characters, they come to life, never once drifting off into slumber like those cows in the barns.  The words don’t sleep like dream things do when they’re not dream things anymore, they roar like the pigs engine. They pull handbrakes turns and skid right into your heart, then come to a juddering stop and stay there.

The character development is soft and sure and strong.  Ronan is still as sharp, shiny and cutting as the edge of a knife but everyone knows that sharp things don’t always stay so sharp. Gansy is still full of wonder and hope and light but everyone knows lights eventually dim until they sputter out completely. Blue is still small and full of yoghurt and truth. Adam is still rustling leaves and springy moss. And Noah is as still as grey and smudgy as a charcoal drawing dropped into a puddle. And yet they are so completely different, as wondrous as the legend of Glendower himself. We’ll never really know them, this little quartet of strange teenagers and I’m glad of it because things that hold that much magic should never really be knowable.

I won’t say anything about the plot because I don’t want to spoil but know this; you can dream of welsh kings and girls with spiky hair and boys with peppermint leaves in their mouths but you can’t ever dream a story so full of magic and suspense and heart guttering mind numbing terror.  It’s a dream that only Stiefvater can create for us and I can’t wait stop slip into what’s bound to be a momentous conclusion to the story of blue and her boys and their sleeping welsh king.

You will be so full of dreadful glee that you’ll laugh as manically as Ronan. You’ll worry and fret just like Adam and you will stride forward towards the end just like Gansey (walking ~is~ only for normal people after all). But most of all you hope beyond hope that their story doesn’t end how it started; with a young boy in his Aglionby uniform, his shoulders soaked with rain and the words “that’s all there is” just like Blue.

And the reason why it was the worst? Because it ended and I wasn’t quite ready to let go.
Have you guys read this one? Started this series?? Let us know what you think! Also, say hi to Carla!! :)

In Which Summer Clings On For Dear Life (AND I LIKE IT) — September Rewind

Image From This Month

Fall readingFollow me on Instagram to see more images from my month

SEPTEMBER In One Word

SUMMER-LIKE
I’m so happy Summer weather decided to stick around a bit!!

 

5 Things About My Life In September:

1. Will and I went to the last Radio 104.5 Block party & saw some amazing bands: Our alternative rock station puts on these free concerts in the summer! It has been on our bucket list of sorts to go and we FINALLY snagged the free tickets for the last one! We got to see Grouplove, Wolf Gang, Sir Sly, Vance Joy and Bricks + Mortar — all music I LOVE. It was raining and kind of cold but we stuck it out and had a good time — minus the moments where I felt like an old grumpy lady because THE YOUTH were acting a fool.

2. I saw Stephanie Perkins TWICE — She came to TWO local indies and so obviously I went to both events. OBVIOUSLY.

3. I went to two other amazing book events: Sarah J. Maas, Susan Dennard, Tiff Schmidt and Liz Norris came to town and it was SUCH a fun event. And then the Fierce Reads tour came to me! You can check out my Fierce Reads interview here!

Sarah J. Maas Heir of Fire selfie

4. Lots of park days & outside reading: - Seriously, it was SO nice out this month that I didn’t have to give up my outside reading!! SUNSHINE AND WARMTH I LOVE YOU.

5. I enjoyed some Fall food: I have NOT had a pumpkin spice latte this year and I’m only planning on having ONE every Fall for a few different reasons. HOWEVER, I had pumpkin gingersnap ice cream (tasted like PUMPKIN PIE) and a pumpkin cream cheese donut. SO THERE’S THAT.

 

 

6 Songs That Were Most Popular On My Ipod This Month:

I put all my Monthly Rewinds In a Spotify playlist so you can listen to them here now ! I also have my September playlist which honestly I’m kind of obsessed with so you should check out the rest of the songs I was listening to! WAS SO HARD TO NARROW DOWN.

 

 

1. Stolen Dance — Milky Chance ( I really like the song Down By The River too) I know this song was on my radar earlier this year but I have no idea HOW and WHERE but it was one of those experiences where I was like OMG THIS WAS THE SONG I HAD HEARD BUT DIDN’T KNOW WHAT IT WAS until I came across one of the new singles.

2. Night Window — Young Liars

3. You and Me — You+Me — Okay okay so I’m really excited about this collab. So it’s Alecia Moore (PINK) and Dallas from City and Colour. Alecia is from my hometown (literally she went to my same middle school & her childhood house is on my road) so I’m SO stoked for this  because I’ve always loved her voice and enjoyed her music because I ROOT FOR MY HOMETOWN GIRL but this just showcases her voice so much and is much more my style of music than what she does as PINK.

4. All I Want — Dawn Golden

5. Celeste — Ezra Vine

6. Out of My Mind — The Madden Brothers

Honorable Mentions: Wild Love by GosslingThe Lake by Fences, Sailing by The Strumbellas, The Wild Life by Vacationer, Io & I by Impala Ray, Been There Before by Ghost Beach, Beatings by Cove

Follow my September playlist

 

 

Top 3 Books I Read This Month:

I read 9 books this month!

1. The Young Elites by Marie Lu — AHHH I raced through this one. It’s going to be a great series. I know it.
2. Girl Defective by Simmone Howell – Another Aussie win for me!
3. 17 First Kisses by Rachael Allen — I was really glad I gave this one a chance!

 

Most Popular Review This Month

A Little Something Different by Sandy Hall

My review of A Little Something Different by Sandy Hall

 

 

Most Popular 5 Blog Posts Overall This Month

1. I’m a Distracted Reader…Like the Worst!!– I’m glad I’m not the only one!! Although I wish none of us had this problem??
2. SEEKING THE PERFECT BOOK– STILL SEEKING.
3. My Halloween reading plan: Thanks for all the recs in the comments!!
4. Life Is Too Short For That It didn’t get many comments but view-wise it was popular! I’m glad so many of you were with me on this! It felt good to write it to be honest.
5. New To The Queue {7} : I love doing these posts!

 

 

What I’ve Been Up To On The Youtubes This Month:

I did a September TBR video and a book haul!

3 New Obsessions In September

1. Pumpkin cream cheese donut – This donut place is DANGEROUS. Will and I had 2 Saturday donut dates in a row and I’m OBSESSED. We also got maple bacon donuts and peanut butter fluff ones.

2. Polish Dark Chocolate: OMG OMG I am savoring my last piece. The people I work for went to Poland and brought me back this dark chocolate and it was PHENOMENAL. Will doesn’t even eat chocolate really and he was obsessed.

3. The Killing: Will and I started watching this show and are HOOKED!

 

3 Things I’m Looking Forward To In October

1. Can I say my birthday?: I can’t decide if I’m excited for it or not. I mean, I’m going to be 29 and that scares me because it’s my last full year being a twenty something. WHAT EVEN??? Like how am I that old?? Do you ever think…how did I get here??
2. Epic Reads in Princeton: WOOOO the Epic Reads tour is coming to town!!
3. Fall festivals: ALL OF THEM!

 


Favorite Quote From A Book I Read In September

Two books I read this month had a lot of really quote-worthy passages.

This one was really simple but it really resonated with me:

” We can’t be afraid of change,” she tells us. “Or else we’ll miss out on everything.”  – Belzhar by Meg Wolitzer

This book was freaking beautiful with every page:

“Our relationship still has too many blank spaces, and I’m sick of people I love being defined by stories I haven’t heard first hand” Words & Their Meanings by Kate Bassett (which I’ll talk about more on the blog later)


5 Posts I Starred In My Reader That You Should Check Out

1. On Trusting Your GutI had a similar post scheduled (but a more specific thing) when I read this and well the way Hannah put it all just was SO MUCH BETTER than my post haha.

2. That Awkward In-Between Place: So relevant to my life right now. Going from point A to point B (place you’re unhappy with to place you long to be in) gets weird and awkward and frizzy for a while. But you have to go through the icky transitional phase in order to realize any real change. You have to learn to sit with the discomfort and antsy-ness if you ever want to emerge on the other side.”

3. Sorry But Your Problems Are Not As Complicated As You Think: Real talk! This chronic over-complicator needed this.

4. Making space – holding the container open, empty and ready: Really great post about change and cleaning out — people, things, thoughts, that which isn’t US anymore. making space is about removing what’s dead in your life so new growth can flourish

5. Social Media + Living the Present As A Memory: Food for thought. I’ve been thinking A LOT about social media and my consumption of it and how I live because of it. More conscious. (Obviously because a couple posts on this list LAST month were related).

 

 

 

Pick a category (or 5… or all of them) and tell me what went on in YOUR life this month!! What sort of things were noteworthy for you this month? New obsessions? Any new song recs?? Best books you read this month? Great posts I missed on your blog?

 

Life Is Too Short For That!

I was having a conversation with the wife of one of Will’s friends about what I read and she said something along the lines of “Ah yeah..I read some YA…gotta have those guilty pleasures.”  I know she meant it harmlessly, knowing her, but it still made me rage-y under the surface FOR SO MANY REASONS. I made a little comment about how my reading life has gotten BETTER since I started reading young adult and then changed the subject because I REALLY didn’t want to get into it.

Here’s the thing. I’ve been totally guilty of using the term “guilty pleasures”  back in the day. I used it when I read Twilight and when I first started reading YA in general. I used it when I liked watching certain reality tv shows. I think when I used the word I was trying to play it off like, “I don’t REALLY like this but it entertains me/is so addictive.” I think that when I used to say it, it implied that I should be embarrassed about it. That my tastes are beyond it. BUT I AM ADMITTING THAT SO IT’S LESS EMBARRASSING.

Sidenote: The thing is, in my head, I still THINK of certain things in that same box that I deemed “guilty pleasures” but I don’t feel GUILTY about them anymore…but don’t have a better phrase for it? There’s an array of tv shows/movies/books that fall in that category for ME. (I mean, really, some of the reality shows I’ve been known to watch??). What I mean, in some cases, I know it’s like JUNK FOOD but I still ENJOY IT. And that’s OKAY. (Also, I keep those things to myself so that I don’t make people feel bad if it is THEIR favorite and it’s my fun thing that I’m not being critical about though I could).

Back then I think I personally wasn’t confident enough to own what I was reading or watching so I felt like I HAD to offer up that “guilty pleasure” to justify it. Because I couldn’t just like it because I DID. I had some sort of image I wanted to put out there, I guess, and those “guilty pleasures” would somehow tarnish that.

But here’s the thing I realized after college….life is too short for me to pretend to like things I don’t like or denying myself things that I DO like. It’s too short not to let myself be 100% passionate about things I feel so deeply just because someone else might scoff at it or deem it not as worthy as something else.

I spent a lot of years in college doing just that. I pretended to like things I didn’t like just to fit in with the group of people I hung out with. I pushed aside a lot of the things I truly LOVED because I felt ashamed about them. I tucked away the true passions of my heart and snuffed out some of those fundamental things that made me ME. Because I didn’t feel confident to own them like YEAH I LIKE THIS SO WHAT? I cared too much what people thought and I let it dictate what I did/liked. And honestly? I kind of felt a little lost. I was happy but below the surface sometimes I felt like I wasn’t being the truest ME. Eventually I got to a really miserable point a year or two after graduating college where I was SO sick of living like that. Denying myself things I liked. Forcing myself to be interested in things I wasn’t.

So I just stopped one day.

I embraced all that I loved no matter what anyone thought about it. I stopped pretending to be into those things I wasn’t which was the biggest relief in the world — seriously NO MORE PRETENDING TO LIKE FOOTBALL. And I can honestly say I’ve felt more like myself than I ever have before and I LOVE IT. I can’t make up for the missed time when I wasn’t doing that but I will never ever let anyone, or my bouts of feeling self conscious, EVER let me feel guilty for the things I like.

So own your reading choices and all the other things you love. OWN THEM. Wear your love for it like a badge. Drop any guilt anyone makes you feel because I guarantee, when you are on your death bed, you won’t be regretting the fact you were confident with your choices and the things that made you YOU. You won’t wish that you hid them more and were less your self.

I could think of a million words that describe my reading choices — smart, fun, pleasurable, life-changing, evocative, etc- and let me tell you…no form of the word guilt is in there anywhere.

3 Books I Read & Enjoyed In September

I’ve been having a bit of a restless spirit recently and no motivation to write some longer reviews. Also? I’ve been a reading machine lately (for ME) and the books to talk about have been piling up. So (non-spoilery) mini book talk time!! YAYS?

 

Girl Defective by Simmone Howell

Genre: Contemporary YA, Date Published: September 2, 2014
Goodreads// Amazon
* I received for review consideration from the publisher.

Girl Defective Simmone Howell
I LOVED this novel. There was just something so magical about it even though it was an “ordinary life” kind of story…if that makes sense? Another win for the Aussie YA authors for me! SO MUCH HEART in this book and I loved the quirkiness of the characters and just how CHARMING it was. My heart ached for Skylark’s broken little family and seriously loved that storyline so much — her dad who is a functioning alcoholic, her mom who abandoned them and her little brother who I’m pretty sure is supposed to have Asperger’s (I say this as someone who used to work with kids with it). And Skylark…her voice is endearing and I loved her so much. I loved her growth in the span of this novel! One thing I really loved is how ALIVE everything in this book felt — the record shop that her dad owned even when it was always half deserted, the music, the adventures Skylark and Gully had through the streets of her town as they chased their mystery they wanted to uncover. Girl Defective was a quiet gem about a girl trying to find her place in the world that tugged at my heart and made me smile right until the moment I closed its pages.

RATING: RATING-loved-it

 

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

Genre: Adult Fiction Thriller Release Date: 2012
Goodreads // Amazon

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

So I FINALLY read this one! FINALLY. I got scared of the hype, man! But I had been lucky enough to stay spoiler free so THAT was great. I only knew that it was twisted and crazy and lots of opinions of love AND hate for the end. And WELL it was definitely as twisty and messed up as everyone said. It took me a little bit to get completely absorbed in this crazy story but once I was it was just this maddening, furious reading experience. I loved how it all unraveled. I’ll say I completely guessed the big THING but it didn’t put a damper on the reading experience at ALL because I never knew what kind of shenanigans were going to be thrown out after that. I hated almost every character (except Go and the one police officer)…and I’m certain that was intended. I did NOT expect the ending. I’ll say that. I totally pictured it ending different but I will say I thought the ending was very fitting and I liked it. *shivers* MAN, this book was all sorts of messed up but I enjoyed this thrilling ride. Time to read or watch super happy and uncomplicated things next!!

RATING: RATING-reallyliked

 

Illusions of Fate by Kiersten White

Genre: YA Fantasy Release Date: September 9, 2014
Goodreads // Amazon
* I received this for review consideration.

Illusions of Fate Kierstan White

 

I was so pleasantly surprised by this one. It hadn’t stood out to me when I got it for review but Stephanie Perkins recommended it at her event that was near me so I picked it up. It’s a standalone fantasy novel and, even though I am SO series weary, I was honestly wishing it was a series because I genuinely enjoyed the characters and would love to see more of this world because the magic element and the royal blood line is something I’m sure could be explored more. The world-building was sparse but well set up– it’s a fictional land but it’s very much like our world and honestly the setting reminded me of London in a way and there is magic amongst the “real” world. I loved Jessamin — she’s so smart, sassy and easy to root for as she’s away from the underprivileged island she grew up on and is trying to go to school here where she’s an outcast basically. The romance between Jessamin and Finn is so cute and I LOVED their banter. Their predicament and taking down the baddie made me tear through this book!  If you are looking for a standalone YA fantasy that isn’t too terribly long, I absolutely recommend!

RATING: RATING-reallyliked

 

 Have you read any of these books? Whatta think if you have? I’d love to hear your perspective! If you haven’t, do they look like something you would be into?

Fierce Reads INTERVIEW & GIVEAWAY

The Fierce Reads tour stop came here to the Philadelphia area and did a great event at Towne Book Center with Marie Rutkoski, Ann Aguirre and Caragh O’Brien. These 3 ladies were HILARIOUS together and I had the privilege of being able to sit down and chat with them before the event started and it was so lovely and inspiring! I recorded the interview so I could better transcribe it later at home and, I have to say, I was laughing out loud A LOT while playing back the whole conversation.

The event itself was entertaining and lively and it was recorded if you want to check it out! They talked about favorite childhood books, if they were plotters or pantsers, how they balance romance & story, which Harry Potter House they would be sorted into, if they could see their books as tv shows or movies (Ann said movie and she’s actually turned down 2 options because they weren’t right; Caragh & Marie think tv show for theirs). It was a lot of fun and very good conversation. I’d definitely recommend watching the recording!

 

Fierce reads tourAnn, myself, Marie and Caragh

 

1. I ask this to every author I interview — describe your book in 6 words or less!

Marie: I’m going to use Ann’s description of my book: Young girl buys hot boy.
Ann: Marie’s answer for Ann’s since she did hers — Suicidal girl makes bad bargain.
Caragh: Dreams and danger collide.

 

2. How do you plan for your series? Do you know the end game when you start?

Marie: I didn’t intend for The Winner’s Curse to be a part of a series. I was about 1/3 through and I realized the ending I was trying to write toward I couldn’t visualize in the way that I usually visualize my endings. I usually see them from fairly far away and in fairly good detail. So I was having problems progressing — I was actually blocked. I asked myself some careful questions — Am I going towards the wrong ending? What would the right ending look like? What would the ending that is true to my book and true to my characters be? Once I realized that, I wrote the ending that now exists in the book and I realized what THAT ending would be that, “I’m good if I stop there. It feels to me like a story but I thought probably my readers would want a little bit more than that.” So I wondered whether I would want to continue that story and I did. I wanted to continue the story of Kestral and Arin so I plotted out how it would be in the next two books. I couldn’t have done it in only two; it had to be done in 3. Once I was 2/3 through Winner’s Curse I plotted out loose details of the following 2 books.

Caragh: I knew from the beginning it was a 3 book arc and I had a general idea of what was going to be happening in all 3 books. Once I finished the first book and started writing the second book I realized that my plan for the 2nd book does not work at all so I threw that out the window and now that I’m writing book 2 I had to start back at the beginning. Fortunately I left myself enough room from the first book and the world is big enough that I have some unsolved threads to play with. But now that I’m coming up with a totally new plan for book 2, my plan for book 3 has to be different.

Ann: YES. I do know my end game when I started.

3. Let’s say you were writing a spinoff series. Which minor/non-main character would it be about?

Marie: I would write about a character named Roshar that you will meet in book 2 but I’m not going to say why because you haven’t met her yet!

Caragh: I would write about Otis! I love Otis! (Ann interjects: but he’s an adult!) I know but he still really intrigues me! He’s got this interesting family and he’s an interesting person and I wonder why he’s there. (Marie wants her to write about Burnam!)

Ann: I would write about the Harbinger from book 2. He’s mentioned in book 1 but you don’t actually know that you’ve met him! But in fact you HAVE met him, you just didn’t know it was the Harbinger. I planted one fairly significant clue toward the end of the book. I’ll be curious if any readers actually figure it out. The reason I want to write about the Harbinger is because he is essentially Loki. So, if you like Loki from the Avengers it may be relevant to your interests.

 

Jaime-350x262Photo credit: Caragh O’Brien

4. What’s one or two skills or things that you possess that would help you to survive in your character’s world or predicament?

Caragh: I would have a camera. A filming camera.

Ann: I would say money and common sense.

Marie: Once I took a fencing class and I thought I would discover I was naturally gifted and I would be able to fight so gracefully. I was terrible awkward and really bad at it. So I like Kestral I would not be able to survive this world with any physical skills so I guess I would have to fall back on strategical skills. I think that maybe like Arin I can bide my time in order to execute my plans. Although Arin is sometimes not good at keeping his mouth shut while he is biding his time. Maybe I AM like Arin because I can’t keep my mouth shut.

5. What’s the coolest/most interesting/funniest/most memorable thing that’s happened on this tour?

Caragh (and this was also Ann’s answer but Caragh stole it first): They are SECRETS. We can’t tell the stories. But there was this taxi driver. He was telling us supernatural stories about celebrities and houses in the area. And he had so many details. He would NOT stop.  We’d try to say, “okay that’s really cool” and turn the conversation to something else unrelated  but before we could talk about it he’d be like, “well let’s talk about the munchkins some more.”  Then he added in these spooky weird stories. He was all, ” did you know Regis Philbin had a haunting? And that Christopher McDonald had an out of body experience?” And I think if we wouldn’t have been so tired it would had been fine.

Marie: A reader (@born_bookish) made a Winner’s Curse game — a Bite & Sting game from the book. It was really beautifully done and thoughtfully presented. She even made a box that had quotes on the outside from when they were playing and bits of dialogue that had while playing. It was really special. (Ann interjects — it was REALLY cool…very polished). Another special moment was the Downer’s Grove stop because that’s near where I grew up and lots of friends from high school came. And I got to spend time with my dad.

Bite & Sting gamePhoto credit: @fiercereads

6. In the spirit of Mortal Danger, if you were given 3 wishes what would you wish for (no strings attached!)

Marie: That all of my family members have a long and happy life. That sounds cheesy but it’s true. More hours in the day for ME (nobody else)…even 4 to 6 hours just for me. I want a painting — one of my favorite paintings and would be millions and millions of dollars. I’d have to choose one and that would be hard but I could do it.

Ann: I want to learn to teleport.  Then time travel. For my 3rd wish I want a Tardis.

Caragh: Peace on earth, wish that I could fly and wish that they would stop standardized testings in high school.  (Marie interjects and says “mine were so selfish. Ann says peace on earth is actually a really bad idea. Didn’t you see the Simpsons episode..they wish for it and then the aliens come and subjugate us. Marie — but if there were peace on earth the aliens shouldn’t be able to come.)

 

Check out the other Fierce Reads bloggers for more recaps, interviews and giveaways!

Downers Grove, IL: YA Bibliophile | @HMZ1505

Exeter, NH: Love is Not a Triangle | @LaurayJames

Cambridge, MA: Ticket to Anywhere | @Irisheyz77

New York, NY: Queen Ella Bee Reads | @GabySalpeter

Charleston, SC: Reading Underground | @andriaamaral

 

GIVEAWAY

fierce-reads-titles

One lucky winner will receive a copy of The Winner’s Curse, The Vault of Dreamers & Mortal Danger!

Rules & Other Things:
* US only.
* You must be 13 years or older to enter (for legal-y) reasons. Have a parent or guardian or sister or brother do it for you if not!
* Prize will be fulfilled by Macmillan.
* Giveaway ends October 4th 11:59 EST

a Rafflecopter giveaway

This leg of the tour is over but leg 2 is starting up soon with all new authors and more shenanigans! Selfishly I wish another tour stop was coming to meeee!

Fierce reads tour stops

Book Talk: The Vault of Dreamers by Caragh M. O’Brien

Book Talk: The Vault of Dreamers by Caragh M. O’BrienThe Vault of Dreamers by Caragh O'Brien
Publisher/Year: Roaring Brook Press- September 16, 2014
Genres: YA Science Fiction
Format: ARC
Source: For Review
Other Books From Author: Birthmarked series
AmazonGoodreadsTwitter

I received this from the publisher in exchange for review consideration. This in no way swayed my opinion. Pinky swear!

 

 

 

Want an “at a glance” look at what I thought? Check out my Review On A Post-It or my “Final Thought”

 

A1
Rosie’s whole life has been photography and when she gets the chance to attend the prestigious Forge School there’s no way she’ll turn that down — even if that means being part of the Big Brother-esque reality show based on the school called The Forge Show. Part of the curriculum is that the students sleep for 12 hours to enhance their creativity by way of a sleeping pill. Rosie, feeling overwhelmed by the reality show and the fact she’s at the bottom of the popularity charts that could send her home, decides to skip out on her sleeping pill and discovers things aren’t as they seem behind the cameras — things that seem sinister and just really off.
.

a2WHAT.THE.FUQ.

a4The Vault of Dreamers was one I almost put down because I was feeling impatient even though the premise was KICKASS, became glad that I kept reading in the middle but the ending kind of made me twitchy and the jury will still be out on whether I’m glad I persevered until the sequel (YEA..I thought it was a standalone).  So let’s break it down because it was up and down.

The beginning: I was SO confused because I felt like I was just dropped into this story because it started a couple days into the reality show rather than day 1 or before she arrived at this school. Also we were never told if this was the future or present (but a randomly dropped sentence later on clears that up). I just felt SO confused and really struggled to care about Rosie or really what was going on. I need to care about SOMETHING and the allure of this kickass premise and general intrigue was fading with all the trying to catch up via flashbacks to why Rosie was there and what the deal with the Forge School was.

The middle until the end: HOLY CRAP. HOLY CRAP. I was racing through it. The suspense and mystery, the whole Big Brother element (I am a BIG fan of that show), the craziness of the Forge School, the way it SO COMPLETELY MESSES WITH YOUR MIND. I seriously was like OMGOMGOMG I need to know what is happening at this creepy ass school. I was tense every time Rosie was sleuthing around and audible gasps could be heard. As we get closer to the end I DID NOT EVEN KNOW WHAT WAS GOING ON. Was Rosie dreaming? Is she going crazy? Is there something sinister? WHO CAN SHE TRUST? WHAT IS GOING ONNNNN? The way that the author was able to make ME so unbelievably unsure of what was going on and the whole elaborate THING happening at the Forge School was so incredibly fascinating.

The ending: I just don’t even know what happened. I just don’t.  It was a confusing blur to me in a way but at least we got a pretty big nod to the WHAT IS REALLY GOING ON HERE question.  My brain was spinning. I’m not sure I even quite understand the ending (CAN SOMEBODY EXPLAIN THE ENDING TO ME TO MAKE SURE I AM ON THE SAME PAGE??). I THOUGHT it was a standalone so it was puzzling and then I was like IT HAS TO BE A SERIES because WHAT EVEN. So then I found out it IS a series or at least a duology. It’s weird because it actually totally COULD be an ending and no need for a sequel but then the other part of me is like WHAT?!?

 

a6RATING-LIKED

factors+ Plot, how I flew through it and couldn’t put it down after the slow beginning
- beginning struggles, the ending, some confusing bits, a little bit of indifference to characters

Re-readability: Probably not but I might need a little refresher before the sequel.
Would I buy a copy for my collection? Probably not honestly. Most of the books staying on my shelf I have a really deep connection with.

a5people who like interesting science fiction concepts that mix with a psychological thriller type read.

a8The Vault of Dreamers was quite the ride — honestly a bit like a rollercoaster. The beginning was that slow and painful ascent to where THE GOOD STUFF HAPPENS (aka the adrenaline and the stomach dropping panicky-glee thing) and then from there was this exhilarating ride that seemed to be over before I knew it — complete with that neck-breaking stop at the end of the ride. Such an interesting concept complete with psychological chaos. Was definitely a plot driven read for me because once it got good it was GOOD.

 

review-on-post-itThe Vault of Dreamers by Caragh O'Brien

 

a8j* Have you read this one? What did you think? Similar or different from me? I would LOVE to hear regardless!
*If you haven’t read it, does this series feel like something you’d be into?
* What did you think about the ending?? (pls mark spoilers!)

 


The Perpetual Page-Turner

 

My Plan To Scare My Socks Right Off In October

In addition to watching all my favorite scary/Halloween-ish movies (Hocus Pocus anyone??), I like to try and plan some themed reads around Halloween — either something scary/creepy,  atmospheric, or just something, to me, that screams HALLOWEEN or FALL!!

So here’s what I plan on reading to get in the Halloween spirit and I love for you to tell me which ones you think should be my TOP PRIORITY. I would LIKE to get through all of them but I’m just not sure that will happen. And I’ll leave you a link if you want to know some Jamie-approved Halloween reads. If you want to know what I plan to read IN GENERAL this Fall, check out my top ten books I want to read this Fall!

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1. Rooms by Lauren Oliver — GHOST STORY! It doesn’t sound super scary but I kind of feel like you can’t get more Halloween than ghosts?? Also really excited to see what LO can do in the adult fiction realm!

2. Welcome To The Dark House by Laurie Faria Stolarz: This looks like uber-scary horror! Creepy things happening as seven teens have to stay in a house to get a sneak peek at a famous horror director’s new project — people start missing. And I hear there is an element of having to face your deepest darkest fears. I hope it’s as scary as it sounds!

3. The Fall by Bethany Griffin: This book is a re-imagining of Edgar Allan Poe’s, The Fall of The House of Usher. Anything POE related automatically gets an add to my list. Especially since it’s described as a “literary psychological thriller”…SO up my alley!

4. Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs: I’ve heard nothing about AMAZING things about this book! I’m intrigued by the mixed media but AH THE CREEPY KID ON THE COVER GET ME EVERY TIME. A teen finds the ruins of an old orphanage and finds that there may have been a good reason why the island was abandoned and there was somethings seriously peculiar about these children that were there.

5. Heart Shaped Box by Joe Hill: I read this a long time ago..well when it came out…but that was a lot of books ago. To be honest, I don’t remember much about it because I read it while still in college and I was always very distracted if I DID try to read a non-school book. It’s Stephen King’s son! It’s about a rock star who is totally into weird, macabre things and he has a collection of those things. He finds out about a ghost for sale and bids on it. The ghost is a vengeful spirit and wants to destroy the rock star for personal reasons.

6. The Glass Casket by McCormick Templeman: All I know about this one is it is a creepy fairytale retelling!!

 

I’d LOVE for you to drop some Halloween reading recs for me in the comments! Also, let me know which ones should be my TOP priority in the event I don’t get through all of them. If you plan on doing any Halloween-themed reading, let me know what you are reading!

 

Top Ten Books I Plan To Read This Fall

Top Ten Tuesday, as  always, is hosted at my other blog — The Broke & the Bookish

This week’s topic: Top Ten Books On My Fall 2014 To-Be-Read List

TOPTEN1

1. Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver: I KNOW I KNOW. I can’t believe I haven’t read this either. More embarrassingly  I bought this when it first came out.

2. The Miseducation of Cameron Post by Emily M. Danforth: I’ve had this book on my shelf for a while but I’ve seen some talk about this book being challenged or something and so I want to give my support and read it.

3. Vision In White by Nora Roberts: My lovely friend Jen sent this to me and it’s time to get to it! This cover is BEAUTIFUL.

top ten fall ya bookstoptenv

4. Snow Like Ashes by Sara Raasch: Been really digging fantasy so we’ll try a new release! A kingdom is conquered, its people are enslaved and magic is taken away. Until there is talk of a way to get the magic back!

5. Glory O’Brien’s History of the Future by AS King: A.S King is a brilliant writer and this one sounds so goooood. The main character develops the ability to see the infinite past and future — and the future looks AWFUL for the world. She doesn’t want this future to come true so she tries to figure out HOW to make sure it doesn’t.

6. Even In Paradise by Chelsey Philpot: This books just screams a Jamie book amirite? A girl becomes friends with the former senator’s daughter when she shows up as the new girl in school. She’s thrown into Julia’s world and sparks fly with Julia’s brother. Also, A SECRET TRAGEDY.

7. Forbidden by Kimberley Griffiths Little: LOVE STORY IN ANCIENT MESOPOTAMIA. THAT IS ALL.

8. The Walled City by Ryan Graudin: A lawless labyrinth run by crime lords and overrun by street gangs and the main characters try to escape it!

Toptenwinter

9. Playlist For The Dead by Michelle Falkoff: A boy tries to figure out why his best friend committed suicide by listening to a playlist that he left for him.

10. Twisted Fate by Norah Olson: The new boy next door brings very differing feelings to these two sisters — one crushes on him and one thinks his mysterious ways screams psychopath and tries to protect her sister. She finds herself drawn to him too and simultaneously right and wrong about the things she thinks about him.  Says for fans of We Were Liars & Mara Dyer soooo YAY.

 

 

So tell me…what books are at the TOP of your list to read for the Fall? What book do you think should be my priority??

That Time I Almost Didn’t Read A Book Because Of The Ratings

Back in May I talked a bit about how social media/the internet can affect me as a reader & one of those things was how seeing ratings and opinions can affect the books I’m considering picking up or starting to read. It’s a struggle for me to pick up books without consulting the internet to check what ratings say. On one hand it’s helpful in weeding out books that probably wouldn’t work for me and finding the books that probably WILL work better for me. But on the other hand? Sometimes I’m not picking up books SOLELY because of poor ratings. I’ve had a book in my hand at the bookstore before and then saw it ONLY had like a 3.4 average rating on Goodreads and put it back. Books that SOUNDED good but I’m like NOPE look at those ratings, look at all the hate.

And that was the case for this book – 17 First Kisses by Rachael Allen

 17 First Kisses by Rachael Allen

 

I had gotten it for review and was excited about it. And then the reviews started coming in….super negative and the average rating was much lower than it is now (it was like a 3.4 or something I think at one point). Some of the reviews made the book sound AWFUL and ridiculous and I was like NOPE and took it off my shelf and put it into a box to deal with later with my other castoffs. I was so sad about it. But then it caught my attention later because a few people I really trust LOVED it and gave it 4 & 5 star reviews so I was like WHAT EVEN I NEED TO KNOW. So I decided to read it. AND I REALLY LIKED IT.

In this case the SUPER jarring difference in ratings really intrigued me to pick it up. And the things that people who were loving it were saying about it made me realize OH MAN…these are things I WOULD LOVE ABOUT IT and not things that would bother me.

What 17 First Kisses Is About:

So it’s about a girl who has kissed quite a few guys but nothing STICKS really into boyfriend material and guys that she is interested in ALWAYS seem to end up liking her bff. And then in walks Luke. And both girls have their eyes set on him but Claire feels so much differently about him than the other guys…like there’s something real there. So the story goes back through Claire & Megan’s history as friends, all of Claire’s kisses & Claire’s family life but also is at the present where Claire has to choose what to do with her feelings for Luke and her friendship with Megan.

While I felt like sometimes it was a BIT dramatic and the high school hierarchy was exaggerated a bit IMO, I really REALLY liked this book. And the things that made so many people give it 1 stars? Those were things that didn’t bother me personally.

Things That Made Me Enjoy This Book:

+ It was actually a lot “deeper” & emotional than I thought it would be — the summary makes it seem a little more frivolous and fun than it is. Claire’s family is going through some tough stuff and I just thought this book really opened up some interesting dialogue about serious and emotional topics.

+ Family & friendship focuses: Okay so there’s the whole Luke thing but really at the heart of this book is about family and friendships. The friendships painted could have easily been the cliche popular mean girls story but I actually really thought they were well done and the girls were very real to me. I loved watching the friendship between Claire and Megan start and evolve and learn all the inner-workings of the group and those two. There were some not cool things they did to each other but it was realistic struggle and I loved watching them try to sort it out because their friendship really DID matter.

+ the storytelling: It just really worked how everything was revealed and how we learned more and more about Claire.

+ the slut-shaming dialogue: This is where a lot of people HATED this book — all the slut-shaming. BUT MAN did I find it super realistic and reminiscent of myself as a high schooler back in the day. I learned how unhealthy and wrong it was but it took me becoming an adult to realize that. For me, just because I HATE things that are happening in a book does not mean I hate the book. It was hard to read but the thing is IT HAPPENS A LOT and the slut shaming in this book had a point. There are a lot of reasons why I think people slut shame (I think a lot of it is a defense mechanism & insecurity — at least it was for me) and I think that this book really explored those in such an authentic and honest way.

+ the flawed, round characters: Yeah, you aren’t going to like all the things they do and say. The girl hate. The slut-shaming. The mean girl antics at time. The friendship no-nos. But if we laid out the book of MY teenage life (especially my inner monologue)….I guarantee none of you would like ME on paper when you focus on my flaws and ignore the growth (however miniscule) and the GOOD things. I totally dated a boy my sister liked, I backstabbed, I slut-shamed and I did things that 28 year old Jamie is NOT proud of. Sometimes I knew they were wrong and sometimes I didn’t. These characters reminded me of the beauty of this age because of how much you are finding yourself through mistakes and experience (lots of firsts) and how there is SO much room for growing and learning. So that was an aspect that, while I get why others didn’t like these characters, I totally did.

*I had to edit this post, because after I scheduled it, Hannah wrote this AMAZING post and a Twitter convo between myself, Hannah and Rachel prompted another paragraph*

Hannah’s whole point of her post is being true to yourself and reading the books YOU want to read. Obviously we rely on recommendations and blogs  to help us but we shouldn’t forget why WE want to read something despite what ratings and reviews say. One of the things I mentioned while talking to these ladies is how I’ve gone back and looked at ratings for books I LOVED but read before blogging and before I checked ratings obsessively and some of them, if it were NOW, I probably wouldn’t have picked up due to ratings or GR friend’s reviews. I’ve started dipping my toes in the waters of NOT CHECKING GOODREADS when I’m browsing at the library and it’s freeing. And I mean, so what if I read it and the ratings/reviews were right? It was FREE.

I think my experience with 17 First Kisses is one of those things where I learned exactly what Hannah is talking about…to trust my gut because in my heart I knew I didn’t always get bugged about the things that the people giving this 1 stars were bugged about. This experience made me realize I rely too heavily on opinions. I’m not saying I’m not going to stop reading reviews/looking at ratings because it so SO helpful to me but I need to let myself pick up a book I want to even if everyone else says it sucks and not give into all the opinions that are out there.

What about you guys? Have you ever almost not read a book because of ratings/reviews but then read it and were so glad you did? How do you balance reviews/ratings with what YOU want to read? Also, did you read 17 First Kisses….what did you think?

 

New To The Queue {7}

New To the Queue is going to be a sporadic thing around here wherein I tell you some of the books, movies, tv shows and bands I’ve recently added to my never ending queue of things to read/watch/listen to. For past posts, go here!

 

books-to-read

Hold Me Like A Breath

 

Hold Me Like A Breath by Tiffany Schmidt (Amazon // Goodreads)
Publication Date – May 19, 2015

Why I Added It To My To-Be-Read list: When Tiff started talking about it at an event recently I swear the whole room was like OH MY GOD GIVE THIS TO ME NOW.

What It’s About: It is the start of a series of crime family fairy tale retellings. OMG RIGHT? This one is a retelling of Princess & the Pea and the main character’s family is one of 3 families who control the black market of organ transplants.

More Than This

More Than This by Patrick Ness (Amazon // Goodreads)
Publication Date- 2013


Why I Added It To My To-Be-Read list:
I’ve been meaning to read his books and it seems like a book I would like based on things people have said. PLUS Lisa is a major fangirl.

What It’s About: I don’t REALLY know but I’ve been told to go in kind of blind so I’m listening and not really looking.

Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel

 

 Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel (Amazon // Goodreads)
Release Date: September 1, 2014


Why I Added It To My To-Be-Read list:
I saw it pop up on Goodreads one day and I like apocalypse-y kinds of books.

What It’s About: I don’t really know. I know we see the apocalypse and there’s an actor who dies on the night that everything goes to shit and it flips from past to present. IDK the summary sounded REALLY good soooo I don’t care if I don’t really know.

 

The Warrior Heir

The Warrior Heir by Cinda Williams Chima (Amazon – As I write this is 99 cents for Kindle // Goodreads)
Release Date: 2006

 


Why I Added It To My To-Be-Read list:
Because ever since I binge read the Throne of Glass series and got hooked on fantasy EVERYONE has been hounding me to read this series!!

What It’s About:  A boy founds out he is actually part of a magical peoples that live among the normal humans. There are feuding houses and a magical tournament and warriors!!

netflix-to-watch

haven

Haven

Why I Added It To My Netflix Queue:  I saw it when I was scrolling Netflix and I was like WHY YES I WOULD LIKE A PARANORMALY SHOW TO WATCH WITHOUT WILL BECAUSE HE HATES THAT STUFF.

What It Is About: “Sent to a seaside enclave to look into a suspicious death, FBI agent Audrey Parker discovers the town is a haven for people with paranormal abilities”

 

Tracks

Tracks

Why I Added It To My Netflix Queue: I was looking something up on Fandango and I saw this in the coming soon section.

What It Is About: “Mia Wasikowska is affecting as adventurer Robyn Davidson, who crossed the Australian desert alone — and on foot — in 1977. Drawn from Davidson’s memoir, this drama depicts her arduous journey and explores her reasons for undertaking it..”

Maidentrip

Maidentrip

Why I Added It To My Netflix Queue: It keeps popping up under documentary suggestions for me and I always do love an interesting documentary and Netflix knows that.

What It Is About: “Critics called her delusional. Child welfare agents tried to intervene. But Laura Dekker would not be denied her shot at sailing round the world. This documentary captures the 14-year-old’s solo feat through footage she shot on her two-year voyage.”

 

music-to-listen-to

Sir Sly- You Haunt Me

Sir Sly new album

Why I Added It To My Musical Rotation:  I had listened to a couple of their singles and was waiting with anticipation for the whole album to come out and IT DID on the 16th. BEST PART is that I saw them live last weekend with Grouplove, Wolf Gang, Brick + Mortar and Vance Joy and fell even MORE in love!! Favorite songs thus far: You Haunt Me, Gold, Ghost, Too Far Gone

Brick + Mortar – Bangs

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Why I Added It To My Musical Rotation: Back in August 2013 I heard one of their singles and added it to my playlist for that month but kind of forgot to check back when there album was out. THEN this year I heard a 2014 single from them and THEN I found out they were playing at the show I mentioned above with Grouplove/Vance Joy/Sir Sly/Wolf Gang and so I added their 2013 album to my queue in preparation. Favorite songs: Honestly I started to list them and it was all of them except Terrible Things.

Banks – Goddess

51+RU86c5rL

Why I Added It To My Musical Rotation: OMG I HAVE BEEN WAITING FOR THIS ALBUM!!  I was obsessed with Change & Waiting Game when I heard them & added them to my October 2013 playlist. Then I devoured every single.  FINALLY FINALLY FINALLY.  Fave songs: Change, Waiting Game, You Should Know Where I’m Coming From, Beggin For Thread

If you want to stalk what I’m listening to…follow me on Spotify! Let me know who you are so I can follow back and stalk youuur music!

lets-talk

YOUR TURN! Tell me one book you added to your TBR list recently! Tell me a movie/tv show you added to your must watch list! Tell me a new band/singer you just added to your musical rotation! Also, have you read/watched/listened to anything on my recently added list? Or did I make you add something to YOUR queue? Tell me, tell me!

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