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.

This Overwhelming Feeling I’ve Been Getting

Back awhile ago I did a whole series on how I’ve changed as a reader before blogging and then after. It was a really eye-opening project to truly look at all the ways I’ve changed as a reader from habits to interests to becoming even more of a voracious reader. But recently I was thinking about one thing that changed a lot — the factors of which I touched on in a few of the posts from this series.

After I become a blogger (almost 5 years ago WHAT), the amount of books I owned SKYROCKETED and also I became so much more aware of new releases and just books in general — something that I never had done before. I got into blogging and my eyes were open to all these books I HAAAAAAD to have. My Goodreads account exploded. It was exhilarating and fun to discover all these new-to-me books. It still is.

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But recently I’ve had some sort of “what is my next read going to be?” anxiety. Sure, the SO MANY BOOKS, SO LITTLE TIME anxiety happens all the time because SO MANY BOOKS SOUND AMAZING AND I KNOW I WILL NEVER BE ABLE TO GET TO THEM ALL. But this is different than that.

I find myself standing in front of my bookshelves (or even at the bookstore or library) and I just feel overwhelmed. It’s so hard for me to decide what to pick next. I’m a mood reader so I can’t do a schedule and, sure, sometimes it’s easy because I have a book club book to make the decision for me…but a lot of the times I just stare and stare at my shelves. There are SO MANY BOOKS I WANT TO READ & so many books I’ve been anticipating and, if I could read them all the same time I would, but staring at my shelves trying to pick just overwhelms me.

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And I was thinking about how I never experienced this pre-blogging. How I had much fewer choices because I didn’t know about a lot of books and I didn’t own that many. When I went to the library or bookstore I didn’t have a million books I KNEW I wanted to pick up. I just picked up something on a whim and that was that.  Sure, there still WERE just as many books to choose from then….but I wasn’t aware of them. I hadn’t heard all these awesome things about them or know the other or have this already burning desire to read them. Does that make sense?

I started thinking a lot about how I’ve heard that too many choices isn’t always good for us — just in general in life. I’ve found it to be true for myself sometimes even though, in my head, I always think I want 100 ice cream flavor options in front of me rather than 15. I think this is why, as I’ve gotten older, minimalism has appealed to me even more. When I have too many choices I spend too much time trying to make the right decision. I agonize over it. It takes me far too long to make the choice. There’s a guy who talks about this, the paradox of choice, and I’m not sure whether or not it’s true for everything (maybe more IS more/better sometimes) but I absolutely see it to be true in some aspects of my life.

I’m extremely THANKFUL that I have freedom in choice. That I have access to and KNOWLEDGE of all these books. That I can hop out of bed and have access to SHELVES upon SHELVES of books. But I will say that sometimes being aware of and owning so many books is OVERWHELMING. I love being aware of all these books out there but it makes my decision of “what to read next??” even harder because I feel like all these books I so desperately want to read are just all vying for my attention. Just yesterday I was lamenting the fact that I have a bunch of unread books just sitting here from authors I SUPER love. All because I have so many competing for my attention.

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It’s a first world problem for sure because I’m lucky to be able to read and have access to books that I’m FREE to choose. I mean, there could be worse problems, right? I guess I could be wondering what to read next and genuinely have NO idea what is out there that I might be into (I know this because I get google searches to my blog about what to read next).

As much as I’m grateful to have a never-ending queue of books to read next, it truly does overwhelm me sometimes to make that choice — to pick that ONE book out of the hundreds that I own or the 1,000 books I have marked as “to read” on my Goodreads list. The book lover’s eternal dilemma, huh?

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What about you all? Do you ever feel this or do I just complicate things too much for myself? Do you believe that having too many options or choices is a bad thing? Tell me your thoughts and feelings!

Top Ten Books I Want To Read With My YA Book Club

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

This week’s topic: Top Ten Books I Want To Read With My YA Book Club

I have a book club and I love it! We are a bunch of adult ladies who read and love YA. Pretty much this list is helping me narrow down my picks when it is my turn to pick the book for the month! We always have a mix of every genre because we are all very eclectic readers but my picks always tend to be contemporary YA (mostly because I feel like we always have our best conversations when we pick contemporary)!

TTT1YA book club book ideasbooks for a YA book club

Roomies by Sara Zarr and Tara Altebrando

This just looks like a fun one about friendship and college! Plus since we are all quite a few years out of college it would be fun to reminisce about this time!

Free to Fall by Lauren Miller

My one non-contemporary pick. YAY. Looks like an interesting concept plus I have a feeling the technology aspect could be interesting to talk about!

Breakfast Served Anytime by Sarah Combs
Looks like a good coming of age story to read with people! Plus summer (geek) camp! Heard great stuff about this one!

All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven

I’ve heard AMAZING things about this one. It tackles mental illness, I do know that, and I’ve heard it’s very thought-provoking.

The Truth About Alice by Jennifer Mathieu

I’ve heard this one is super thought-provoking and deals with slut-shaming which is always an interesting topic to talk about.

Saving June by Hannah Harrington

Book club read Speechless by Hannah Harrington and enjoyed it so I’d LOVE to read this one because it’s been on my TBR for ages.

Hold Still by Nina LaCour

I really enjoyed Nina LaCour’s most recent book and I’ve heard this book is AMAZING (will make you sob shhh don’t tell book club that. I’m notorious for liking to pick books that will make me cry).

Harmonic Feedback by Tara Kelly

This one has been on my TBR for forever and I’ve only heard excellent things!

Torn Away by Jennifer Brown

I really like Jennifer Brown’s books and think they always have something to talk about! This one looks to be no exception!

Cracked Up To Be by Courtney Summers

I LOVED Courtney Summer’s Some Girls Are and I love how thought-provoking it was. Want to continue my Courtney Summers reading and it looks like a good book club pick!

 

 

So tell me…have you read any of these??? My pick for book club is coming up soooon so which one should be my pick??

Spreading Kindness

I’m a pretty genuinely positive person when it comes to this bookish community (because all the bloggers, authors, readers and publishers are MY PEOPLE and these 5 years have been incredibly) but lately, as I talked about here on my Tumblr, it’s felt different. I heard it from others close to me and I heard it very loudly as people reached out to me after I shared my thoughts. I don’t ever talk about the things I see or the various dramas/concerning things that I’ve seen take place publicly. I don’t want to add to the negativity. But it was bumming me out. REAL BAD.

Before I posted what I did, I had talked extensively with my girl Anna about it and we kept trying to build each other up and encourage each other because we LOVED what this community has been — this great interaction of bloggers, readers, authors and publishing. I had thrown around the idea of a challenge to do BEHIND the scenes to extend to others in the community to do along with us to spread some positivity but we never quite nailed it down and, honestly, the negativity was kind of demotivating us. But then, after I posted my feelings and talked to other people, I had this fire again to try. I had been trying on my own (and with Anna) to combat this but after sharing my feelings and hearing that SO many others were feeling the same way? It gave me a spark.

Then enter my pal Estelle. We started having a conversation about all this and what we could do to change it. We started talking about the times that the KINDNESS in this community has uplifted us and how genuine kindness can be so powerful — in blogging and in life. Just taking the time to encourage or let someone know you were thinking of them or that they had done a good job with something.

Estelle had this great idea, during Alexa’s annual blogging event Love-athon which I’ll talk about more below, that it would be fun to have everyone SHARE the random acts of kindness we’ve experienced in this community — but with NO names. Likely we’ve already thanked these people and we don’t want to make this a popularity contest but just a time to tell stories about the random acts of kindness people have shown us.

I’m going to be sharing more of mine during that week and adding my post to the linkup that Estelle is going to put up but I figured I’d give you an idea of what we are looking for with one story.

A year or two ago I got an email from a teacher, who isn’t a blogger or anyone that I knew, who wanted to share with me something that my blog inspired them to do with their classroom. If you read my blog, you know I started putting a “review on a post-it” on the bottom of my reviews — something I started doing in 2011 as a way to give an “at a glance” look and because I’ve always had this habit of doing it when I lend books to friends. This teacher loved the idea of it and started having her class do it after every book they read and they LOVED doing it. She sent me a picture and there along this big wall was SO MANY post-its. It moved me so much. More than anything else in my time of being part of this community. It made me feel really connected in a way I hadn’t and know that my reach wasn’t just to the community of bloggers that I love. It meant a lot that she reached out to me to TELL me. She could have not but the fact she DID made all the difference.

 

Check out Estelle’s great post HERE!

Another thing I decided to do, to combat some of what I was feeling just on a blogging level, was to create a little Random Acts of Kindness checklist to guide me each month. I don’t make myself do each one of them because I want this to be genuine but I try to do at least a couple in the hopes that this will just become a thing that just naturally flows out of me. And when I’m feeling negativity? I’m trying to whip this list out and DO IT to combat what I’m feeling. I’d love to share it with you guys. Feel free to use it, print it out, share it, add to it. WHATEVER. (I’d love to hear if you have any other fun suggestions for me to put on my list!!).

 

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On a community-wide scale, I’d love to let you know about this annual event that Alexa at Alexa Loves Books throws together which is just a super positive week for bloggers, authors and readers alike. It’s called Love-a-thon and it’s a great way to spread kindness and meet other readers! She has challenges and all sorts of fun activities involved on a community wide scale to uplift this wonderful community! So check out her post about the details of when it starts and how to sign up and what it is all about!

 

So, in the spirit of random acts of kindness online and beyond, tell me something really nice someone has done for you lately or something that inspired YOU to “pay it forward.” And, if you are a blogger, keep this story in mind and link up the week of February 16, in the spirit of Love-a-thon, and link up with Rather Be Reading and I!

A Roundup of YA Novels That Inspired Eric Smith While Writing INKED, Plus a Giveaway!

Hey guys! I’m super excited to have my pal Eric Smith, author & publishing rockstar at Quirk Books, here on the blog to celebrate his debut YA fantasy — which was out this past Tuesday and we’ll be celebrating TONIGHT here in Philly at Tattooed Mom!

I love hearing what books inspired authors so I’m excited that Eric is going to be dishing on what books inspired HIM while writing Inked!!

 

Like most kids, I grew up reading Young Adult novels. My parents regularly took me to the library to pick up whatever I wanted. However, most of my reading was focused on classic science fiction, adventure, and fantasy novels, and I’m lucky enough to have grown up with a family that really encouraged my ravenous reading habits. I read a ton of Jules Verne, H.G. Wells, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, and Robert Louis Stevenson as a kid. It wasn’t until a few years ago, that I revisited YA for the first time.

Why’d I come back? Well, here are the five books that made that happen, and inspired me to attempt writing in that genre.

Miss Peregrine's Home For Peculiar Children
MISS PEREGRINE’S HOME FOR PECULIAR CHILDREN (Ransom Riggs): By day, I work at Quirk Books, an awesome indie publisher in Philadelphia. And in the Fall of 2012, we published Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs. Now, as the marketing and social media guy, it’s important for me to be familiar with the communities I’m sending books to. So while Ransom’s debut was in the works, I started picking up other YA novels I saw bloggers talking about.
I read. And I read. And I read some more.

Suddenly, I found myself devouring two or more YA novels a week, taking advantage of Kindle deals, picking up novels I spotted on blogs, and catching up on a genre I hadn’t been a part of in years. It also introduced me to some of my now-favorite YA authors (some of whom I’ll list below), including Suzanne Collins, Beth Revis, and Kat Zhang.

Working on the marketing for Ransom’s book, gave me the kick-in-the-pants to start reading the genre again, and immediately made me want to start writing in it. I wanted to tell stories of magic and adventure, much like the books I’d read as a kid and the novels I was now reading as an adult.
I’m thrilled to see Ransom where he is now, and really glad I got to promote those books of his. He inadvertently gave me a big push in the right direction.

 

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SOMETHING STRANGE & DEADLY (Susan Dennard): Ah, this series. I talk about Susan Dennard’s amazing steampunk-zombie-fantasy series whenever I can, to the point that it likely annoys my friends and followers. But oh well. Deal With It Dot Gif. It’s a favorite of mine, and one of the books I picked up when I started doing some more “I wonder if I can write in this genre” research. I immediately devoured her awesome first book, and followed the series right after.

She also has a really great blog, where she dishes out advice and tips to writers. I highly recommend checking it out if you’re writing.

 

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BLACK HOLE SUN (David Macinnis Gill): Ah, this sci-fi series. It’s like a Young Adult version of Firefly on Mars, with pop culture references to World of Warcraft smattered in. Gill’s snarky characters and quick dialogue showed me that you could have that the sarcastic, snippy characters I wanted to write could totally work in an imagined world.

I also think his series is incredible underrated. If you haven’t checked these books out, please do. They are so hilarious and exciting. One of my favorite pieces of YA science fiction.

 

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HERO (Perry Moore): Originally, I was really interested in writing some kind of superhero story, and the choices in YA superhero tales were far and in between. Perry Moore’s amazing novel, Hero, broke my heart and caused plenty of ugly crying, but showed me the real power of what YA fiction could do. Stuff that, probably as a kid, I didn’t recognize right away. It could teach you the importance of being true to yourself, accepting others, etc.

It’s still one of my favorite Young Adult novels, and probably one of my favorite books ever, period.

 

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OF POSEIDON (Anna Banks): Anna’s YA romance series about mermaids was another one of the early YA books that I picked up. It was an eBook deal, and I read through it pretty quickly, and actually learned about a lot of authors thanks to her on Twitter.

She’s great at blending elements of fantasy and romance, something I really wanted to do in my own writing. Seriously check out her series, and keep an eye out for Joyride, her next book due out this year. As of this post, I’m about halfway through it, and it is just fantastic.
Thanks Jamie, for having me! And readers, go ahead and enter the lil’ giveaway below for a chance to win a bundle of the books I just mentioned! One lucky winner will get a copy of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, Something Strange and Deadly, Black Hole Sun, Hero, Of Poseidon, and of course, an eBook of INKED. Good luck!

 

GIVEAWAY

Thanks to Eric we have a nice giveaway bundle for you! One lucky winner will win a copy of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, Something Strange and Deadly, Black Hole Sun, Hero, Of Poseidon, and of course, an eBook of INKED!

*US only

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Book Talk: I’ll Meet You There by Heather Demetrios

Book Talk: I’ll Meet You There by Heather DemetriosI'll Meet You There by Heather Demetrios
Publisher/Year: Henry Holt & company- February 3, 2015
Genres: Contemporary YA
Format: ARC
Source: For Review
Other Books From Author: Something Real, Exquisite Captive
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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
Skylar has been planning her way out of her small town and the future that would await her if she stayed. She’s gotten into art school and has been working her minimum wage job as summer starts to ensure she gets there — until her mother loses her job and starts slipping back into some bad habits making her wonder if she’ll ever be able to leave her and head off to art school at all. At the beginning of her summer she’s reunited with Josh, a boy she used to work with who is back from Afghanistan after his leg gets blown off, and she encounters a different Josh than the one who has left and they find an unexpected friendship despite their differences.

a2I WANT TO TELL EVERYONE ABOUT THIS BOOK!!!

a4Here’s the thing, my little bookworms. When I like books, I have a varying degree of liking them. I can really like them and I can really love them but it is RARE that I add a new book to my favorites. I’ll Meet You There? When I finished it in November, I felt like it shook me to the core like that of a colossal earthquake to the heart — just rearranging and shifting my heart in the way a truly powerful book will. And as I sit here putting the final touches on this review in January, I feel like I’m still feeling the emotional aftershocks of I’ll Meet You There. I’m making room for this book on my FAVORITES shelf. (I feel like there should be a ceremony for this because I REALLY don’t do this often — no matter how many books I can REALLY love).

So let’s get down to it:

1. The whole book reading experience is what I hope for when I start a book: It was just that perfect storm of a great plot, dynamic & flawed characters (even the secondaries!!) whose pulses I could practically feel as I held the pages, an intense emotional connection, writing that makes me dog-ear a lot and this immediate “I need to read this book again real soon.” I’ll Meet You There just had it all. It’s as simple as that. Everything that I need to make a favorite book was in this. That formula might be different for everyone but I truly believe this is going to be a winner for a lot of people because it objectively has the makings of a great book. Everything Heather Demetrios DID she did it SO WELL.

2. I loved the diversity of the characters: I really loved that Skylar and Josh were just a different POV from what I typically read. Socioeconomically they come from a really poor background which is rare in the YA I’ve encountered. The town feels bleak and dead end and I believed it and their struggles just seemed so real. Before I moved in middle school I grew up in a town sort of like that and Heather just NAILED what it felt like in all its complexities from the charm of it to also the things that make you want to GET OUT. In addition to that, Josh lost his leg in Afghanistan and is now an amputee. Obviously I don’t know what it REALLY is like, so take what I say from that perspective, but it really did feel like Heather Demetrios went to great lengths to write Josh’s perspective with care. I felt his struggles and his insecurities as he gets used to not having his leg as well as PTSD.

3. THEIR ROMANCE: You know those slow-burn romances that builds the tension to the point your heart is just pounding and you are like just all “OMG YOU GUYS KISS ALREADY”….that was this experience. It was the perfectly unraveled relationship that I couldn’t get enough of! AND IT WAS SEXY.

4. EVERYTHING?: I just loved everything okay?? There is not one thing I didn’t love. I loved the setting (especially the quirky motel where they work), I loved their individual storylines. I loved the quotes I dog-eared. I loved how it made me feel and what it made me think about. I loved the dual POVs. I loved how Demetrios portrayed Josh’s PTSD and how raw it felt. I loved how that made me want to help all the veterans in the whole wide world. I loved how it destroyed me in the best possible way but then had me soaring with hope. SO MUCH HOPE. AND LOVE. And God, I just love everything. EVEN THE AUTHOR’S NOTE/ACKNOWLEDGMENTS ARE MOVING!!

 

a6RATING-beyondloved

factors+ EVERYTHING. The whole package. I don’t hand out “favorite book” ratings often so it’s EVERYTHING.
NOTHING. It’s perfection.

Re-readability: OH YOU BET.
Would I buy a copy for my collection? OH YES I AM!!

a5EVERYONE! Especially contemporary YA lovers!

a8I’ll Meet You There was just pure perfection. It’s rare that I find a book that I can call a new favorite and I’m just so moved by it. I love everything about it and highly recommend it. It broke my heart a million times, emotionally captivated me and was ultimately so uplifting. I love these characters. I love their stories. I love this book. I want YOU to meet them.

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I'll Meet You There by Heather Demetrios

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 it feel like something you’d be into?

 

 


The Perpetual Page-Turner

 

PS. Other great reads you might like: Something Like Normal by Trish Doller or The Impossible Knife of Memory by Laurie Halse Anderson

New To The Queue {10}

New To the Queue is 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!

 

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All The Bright Places

 

All The Bright Places by Jennifer Niven (Amazon // Goodreads)
Publication Date – January 6, 2015

Why I Added It To My To-Be-Read list: I hadn’t heard of this one (granted I’ve been bad about keeping up with new releases lately) and then at the beginning of the year EVERYONE was talking about how amazing this one is.

What It’s About:Theodore Finch is fascinated by death, and he constantly thinks of ways he might kill himself. But each time, something good, no matter how small, stops him. Violet Markey lives for the future, counting the days until graduation, when she can escape her Indiana town and her aching grief in the wake of her sister’s recent death. When Finch and Violet meet on the ledge of the bell tower at school, it’s unclear who saves whom. And when they pair up on a project to discover the “natural wonders” of their state, both Finch and Violet make more important discoveries: It’s only with Violet that Finch can be himself—a weird, funny, live-out-loud guy who’s not such a freak after all. And it’s only with Finch that Violet can forget to count away the days and start living them. But as Violet’s world grows, Finch’s begins to shrink.”

For Real Allison Cherry

 

For Real by Allison Cherry (Amazon // Goodreads)
Publication Date- December 9, 2014


Why I Added It To My To-Be-Read list:
Dahlia told me I’d like it!

What It’s About: Two sisters, Claire and Miranda, go on an Around the World reality show to compete to win money and also get revenge on a cheating ex-boyfriend. The show has a twist and Claire finds herself potentially in an on-screen romance for all the world to see.

Like It Never Happened

 

Like It Never Happened by Emily Adrian (Amazon // Goodreads)
Release Date: June 2, 2015


Why I Added It To My To-Be-Read list:
Well, in the summary on Goodreads it compared it to stuff written by Sara Zarr, Siobhan Vivian and E. Lockhart sooo I’m all about that. Plus I love that the plot has to do with a school production!

What It’s About: Rebecca gets a part in the school’s production of The Crucible and sheds her old reputation as she gets closer to the cast. As the group gets closer they vow they won’t date each other but an onstage kiss with one of the guys and her growing feelings for him make it hard. Soon on-stage and off-stage drama + a serious accusation threaten to ruin everything.

 

We'll Always Have Paris book

 

We’ll Always Have Paris by Jennifer Coburn (Amazon // Goodreads)
Release Date: April 2014

 


Why I Added It To My To-Be-Read list:
It was pitched to me and I accepted because I love travelogues plus I liked the idea of a mother/daughter memoir.

What It’s About:  “Jennifer Coburn has always been terrified of dying young. It’s the reason she drops everything during the summers on a quest to travel through Europe with her daughter, Katie, before it’s too late. Even though her husband can’t join them, even though she’s nervous about the journey, and even though she’s perfectly healthy, she spends three to four weeks per trip jamming Katie’s mental photo album with memories. In this heartwarming generational love story, Jennifer reveals how their adventures helped relinquish her fear of dying…for the sake of living.

netflix-to-watch

80000643Birdman

Why I Added It To My Netflix Queue:  With all the Golden Globe and Oscar talk, I had to save it to my queue.

What It Is About: “Michael Keaton delivers a winking performance in this dark comedy about a cinematic superhero trying to forge a comeback with a Broadway play. With none of the super-powers of his former character, the actor struggles to rebuild his career and life.”

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What If

Why I Added It To My Netflix Queue: It popped up in my “recommended for you” list and it sure does look like a me movie!

What It Is About: “Wallace meets Chantry an animator and form an instant connection, striking up a close friendship. There is no denying the chemistry between them, leading the pair to wonder, what if the love of your life is actually your best friend?”

 

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The Good Wife

Why I Added It To My Netflix Queue: It always seems to be nominated for something. It never piqued my interest when it first came out but it is now.

What It Is About: “Julianna Margulies stars as attorney Alicia Florrick, who finds herself forced to return to work after a corruption scandal lands her politician husband in prison. Though Alicia stood by him, she has a host of reasons to question their marriage.”

 

music-to-listen-to

 The Tragic Thrills – Self Titled

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Why I Added It To My Musical Rotation:  I digging their song Tears this past Fall and decided it was time to listen to the full album! So far my thoughts = catchy + fun

Joseph — Native Dreamer Kin

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Why I Added It To My Musical Rotation: I had added their songs Cloudline & Lifting Away to my November playlist and then wanted to listen to the full album because MY GOD THEIR VOICES. LIKE ANGELS.

Ruelle – Up In Flames

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Why I Added It To My Musical Rotation: I heard the song Big Guns and had to listen to the full album!

If you want to catch what I’m listening to…follow me on Spotify! Let me know who you are so I can follow back and check out 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!

Ten Series Starters In 2015 That Should Be On Your Radar

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

This week’s topic: FREEBIE! So I decided to talk about some 2015 series starters that should be on your radar!

*I tried link to Goodreads but it was down….sorry!! Will link to books later*

A Court Of Thorns & RosesYOU NEED IT. It’s Sarah J. Maas so NO BRAINER. Also, I read it and it’s AWESOME. Seriously, great new fantasy and who would have thought I’d be into fae. OH BUT I AM. This series is going to kill me probably.

TTT2DANGEROUS HEIST! A GROUP OF OUTCASTS THROWN TOGETHER! MAGIC! You can have my monies, Leigh!!

TTT10 YA Sherlock….and Moriarty is a girl!!!

TTT9High fantasy! The main character is in the upper class but longs for the freedom of those who are less privileged so she can pursue her dreams!

TTT8Parallel versions of London! Magic! Smuggling of people to visit the different Londons. This book sounds ridiculously good.

TTT7It’s like part Veronica Mars and part Scandal…so basically that means WHOLLY BADASS.

TTT6WOOO new Susan Dennard! This is all I know: ” The series is set in a world where three empires rule and every member of the population is born with a magical skill set, known as a witchery.
Now, as the Twenty Year Truce in a centuries-long war is about to end, the balance of power will fall on the shoulders of two young women, who must accept their fate, and themselves, to survive
.”

TTT5I’ve heard great things about this one and I’m itching to start it soon! A princess of a conquered kingdom trying to save her enslaved people! MAGIC! SO MUCH GOOD SOUNDING STUFF JUST GO READ THE SUMMARY…you’ll see!!

TTT4A modern girl caught up in an ancient war! I love when paranormal worlds exist right under the nose of humans and, in this case, under the streets of NYC!

TTT3It is the start of a series of crime family fairy tale retellings. 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.

 

 

So tell me…what first books in a series are coming out in 2015 that should be on MY radar? Are you excited about any of these? Is this the first time you are hearing of any of these?

Book Talk: I Was Here by Gayle Forman

Book Talk: I Was Here by Gayle FormanI Was Here by Gayle Forman
Publisher/Year: Viking Juvenile- January 27, 2015
Genres: Contemporary YA
Format: ARC
Source: For Review
Other Books From Author: If I Stay/ Where She Went, Just One Day/Just One Year/ Just One Night, Sisters in Sanity
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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
Cody’s best friend, who has been away at college, commits suicide. When she goes to clean out Meg’s room at college, she meets her roommates and realizes that there was a lot Meg hadn’t been telling her when she was away for college — a boy who broke her heart and an encrypted computer file that makes her question Meg’s suicide. As she tries to reconcile the Meg she’s learning about, she also pursues the things she finds in the file to find out what really happened to Meg.

a2*wipes away a tear*

a4If you know me, you know Gayle Forman is one of my favorite authors. If I Stay/Where She Went broke my feels and left me with characters I will NEVER forget. Just One Day changed my life, literally. (Loved Just One Year as well). So whenever Gayle has a new book out it’s kind of scary because there is always the potential NOT to love a favorite author’s book (I will need to a bottle of wine and cake to cope if the day ever comes I don’t love a Gayle book). Her books possess top spots in my heart and on my shelf so obviously going into I Was Here I had some MIGHTY high expectations.

But this right here is what I love about Gayle Forman’s books! They are all so different and yet emotionally they poke and prod into depths of the heart and the soul not always explored and always leave me thinking all these very life-examining thoughts and questions. I Was Here was this same experience. And to be completely honest, I Was Here was a book that kept having this residual affect on me the further and further away I got from reading it. I read it in the beginning of AUGUST of last year and I’m still finding new dimensions to it and having new epiphanies about it randomly that make me appreciate it more. That says a lot to me.

 The plot definitely was one that I knew emotionally was going to be hard as I lost a friend (not a best friend but still a friend) to suicide and it’s such an intense, confusing thing as a human to understand.

I think, by nature, suicide is one of those things that makes you examine someone you love. Cody was already feeling the strain of them living these separate lives after Meg left for college and then she begins to find out so many things about her when she talked to her roommates and cleaned out her room. This  added all these dimensions to Meg. Then there’s  the suicide and all those “WHYS” and “what could I have missed/did I not see” made Cody unsure of everything she thought she knew about Meg and the picture of her becomes so blurred.

I think Gayle wrote that raw confusion very well as Cody tried to reconcile her best friend Meg with the Meg she’s learning about. I could FEEL that as a reader, which in some ways made me feel like I didn’t understand Meg so much or connect to her, but I realized it’s because THAT is exactly how Cody is feeling. So many complicated THINGS are being added to the person of Meg that make her feel like she’s seeing her for the first time — she’s exploring all these nooks and crannies she never was aware of. Things that she’ll never be able to see for herself or hear from Meg’s mouth. You can feel the barest and most raw emotions in Cody — anger, numbness, resentment, guilt, confusion, sadness. I felt that gamete of emotions after my friend committed suicide and so I really understood the disorienting head space Cody was in. I think sometimes she feels a little detached from it all because it doesn’t feel real nor like the Meg she knows but at the same time her emotions are driving her in an intense way. I think we get an interesting picture of a friendship, maybe not the one I expected to see explored, but ultimately one that felt very real and raw after something like this.

The majority of the plot hinges on Cody pursuing the things she finds that makes her question everything about Meg’s suicide. It’s one of those DANGER DANGER DANGER moments as the reader because you know it’s not a good idea as she proceeds. But this is what I LOVED about this book!! There’s this deep drive as humans to UNDERSTAND when things like this happen. To find answers. To make sense of it. To know what could have helped. We like order and things that we can wrap our mind around.  Someone to blame. I grieved very closely with the mom and dad of my friend as they were family friends and I’ve seen this desire very intensely in them even years later. Cody wanted to make sense of things and she latched on to this uneasy feeling she had to pursue answers that maybe would make more sense to her. That could make this easier as she grieved and tried to make sense of the fact that her best friend was gone. I think for me, being able to slip in Cody’s head space so easily, made me understand this desire for closure no matter how reckless it seemed.

The romance in I Was Here takes a back seat to the plot and Cody’s grieving and I think it was better that way. When they do start to have a connection, there’s this “hmmm” feeling I had because it’s a little more challenging of a pairing than Mia/Adam and Allyson/Willem in her previous books. Ben had history with Meg so it’s this strange feeling and you can FEEL that Cody and Ben both feel that at first. I think Ben was pretty hot and intriguing in true Gayle Forman boy-writing fashion but their romance was different for me. I think that’s maybe because we only get to see the challenging start of it and both of them are in very confusing, grief-laden places. I think I wanted more to understand their connection in a deeper way but I think that’s where they are at in the story — a very confusing, trying-to-figure-it-all-out place and all they know is that there is this shared and messy connection between them that they would have never expected. I thought more about it weeks after I finished and started to understand it more though I tend to go for the more sweeping romances myself (ie. her other two) and I think even MORE of the romance would have been a disservice to the heart of this book.

 

a6RATING-loved-it

factors+ writing, the depth of Cody’s character, plot, emotional impact
- the romance wasn’t as strong (but I also think it was kind of perfect). I’m still challenged by it.

Re-readability: YES! I NEED to read it again. It’s impacted me so much more in the months since I’ve read it and I just NEED another read because there’s always so much to glean and think about in Gayle’s novels.
Would I buy a copy for my collection? Oh I plan on it!!

a5Gayle Forman fans, fans of books that tackle the intricacies of grief, contemporary YA fans that don’t mind something a little dark (but not overwhelmingly so)

a8This is why Gayle Forman is a favorite of mine. This was quintessential Gayle Forman in that she managed to do something so completely different than everything else she’s written but in that same signature Gayle Forman way — an overload of feels, incredibly layered characters, brilliant and compelling writing and an emotional story that just hits ya hard. This one was heavy but oh so good!! It was heartbreaking but made me think a lot about LIFE. Is this my favorite Gayle Forman novel? No, but how can you compete with a book that literally changed your life like Just One Day did for me?

review-on-post-itI was Here by gayle forman

 

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 it feel like something you’d be into?
* How did you feel about the romance in this one?

 


The Perpetual Page-Turner

 

An Ember In The Ashes – excerpt reveal + GIVEAWAY!

 

If you took a look at my MOST anticipated debut novels of 2015 post (you did right??) you will know An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir received a spot on that list. It’s a book I’m SO excited about reading soon especially given my new found love for fantasy….and this one sure does look to be pretty epic!

I’m excited to partner with Penguin to celebrate this series right up until the release date — starting with an exciting excerpt and a giveaway! I’ve read the excerpt and now I’m just not sure I can wait to read it much longer!

An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir

Set in a terrifyingly brutal Rome-like world, An Ember in the Ashes is an epic fantasy debut about an orphan fighting for her family and a soldier fighting for his freedom. It’s a story that’s literally burning to be told. LAIA is a Scholar living under the iron-fisted rule of the Martial Empire. When her brother is arrested for treason, Laia goes undercover as a slave at the empire’s greatest military academy in exchange for assistance from rebel Scholars who claim that they will help to save her brother from execution.ELIAS is the academy’s finest soldier—and secretly, its most unwilling. Elias is considering deserting the military, but before he can, he’s ordered to participate in a ruthless contest to choose the next Martial emperor. When Laia and Elias’s paths cross at the academy, they find that their destinies are more intertwined than either could have imagined and that their choices will change the future of the empire itself.

 

Check out the excerpt that was revealed exclusively on MTV News HERE!

And now for the giveaway!

Ember giveaway

Penguin is giving FIVE lucky winners the chance to win a signed galley of An Ember in the Ashes plus a t-shirt!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

Good luck!!

Book Talk: The Boy In The Black Suit by Jason Reynolds

Book Talk: The Boy In The Black Suit by Jason ReynoldsThe Boy In The Black Suit by Jason Reynolds
Publisher/Year: Atheneum Books For Young Readers- January 6, 2015
Genres: Contemporary YA
Format: ARC
Source: For Review
Other Books From Author: When I Was The Greatest
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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

Matt has just lost his mom and he and his dad are trying to grieve but his dad is really having a rough time and is hitting the bottle too hard. Matt knows he needs a job and winds up working for Mr. Ray at the funeral home where the pay is good and it helps him in his grieving. When he meets Lovey he finds someone who knows what he is going through and has been through even worse…but seems to have it all together and might just help him through his grief.

a2MUST READ WHEN I WAS THE GREATEST SOOON!

a4

I’m just saying this right now — Jason Reynolds is an extraordinary talent who needs WAY more recognition. I was so, so impressed with The Boy In The Black Suit. It’s smart, moving and

1. The Boy in the Black Suit was a book that I related to immensely: It’s no secret that I gravitate to books dealing with grief –especially that of a parent– and Jason Reynolds explored this with such finesse and beauty. Now, if you hear “grief” in the summary and normally go running, I’m begging you not to. It wasn’t the ugly sobbing sort of book about grief and it most definitely is NOT all about grief. Rather it was just so quietly profound and piercing in its emotion as Matt grieves his mom and tries to find normalcy in the after and tries to deal with that crushing loneliness that seems to separate you from everyone else because nobody seems to be able to truly understand — whether or not that’s true. I cannot even tell you how many pages I dog-eared because I just kept nodding my head like, “YES. Exactly this. I felt this.” I understood his need to watch someone else’s raw grief to know he wasn’t alone. I just connected with him so much and Jason Reynolds tapped into something REAL and raw that made my heart ache.

2. I loved the relationship between Matt & Lovey: I loved that Lovey doesn’t actually come into the picture right away because we really get to know Matt in a way I think we need to in order to show his loneliness but the downside to that is I WANTED MORE MATT AND LOVEY because they were just so smile inducing. Their connection is just so beautiful and honestly it reminds me a lot of how Will and I really connected for the first time in a real way. There’s something so isolating about grief and when you find someone who GETS it, it feels so intense. That’s how Will and I connected at first (I had just lost my mom and he had lost his mom when he was younger) and then it’s what brought us even closer together as a couple when he lost his dad a couple years into our relationship. What Matt and Lovey share is hard to describe but Jason Reynolds lets you FEEL it in such an honest way.

3. Matt’s POV is one of the best male POVs I’ve read in a while: Truly, his POV was just so refreshing and really captivated me. This book is definitely a character driven novel and Matt felt like a leap off the pages type character to me. God, Jason Reynolds is just a fantastic writer.

4. Mr Ray. That’s all I’m going to say: Look, you just need to meet Mr. Ray because he is one of my favorite secondary characters that I’ve met in a while.

 

a6RATING-reallyliked

factors+ writing, characters,
- ending was a little too neat & tidy for me/coincidental

Re-readability: I could see myself getting the urge to reread certain passages.
Would I buy a copy for my collection? I would like to. If not for myself, for a friend!

a5people looking for great male POVs, readers who like character-driven novels, fans of more quiet contemporary novels,

a8I really appreciated this quiet yet moving novel and really found a personal connection within it. It was well written and just tapped into something so emotionally honest. Matt is just a wonderful character and there’s so much strength in him and he’s just so easy to like. It’s not just a story about grief but about also community and connecting. I really do recommend it and think it deserves way more attention!

review-on-post-itThe Boy In The Black Suit by Jason Reynolds

 

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 it feel like something you’d be into?

 

 


The Perpetual Page-Turner

 

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