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.

Book Talk: Open Road Summer by Emery Lord

Book Talk: Open Road Summer by Emery LordOpen Road Summer by Emery Lord
Publisher/Year: Walker Childrens- April 15, 2014
Genres: Contemporary YA
Format: ARC
Source: For Review
Other Books From Author: None! Debut novel!
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I received this from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This in no way swayed my opinion. Pinky swear!

 

 

 

 

book synopsis Reagan’s best friend is Lilah Montgomery, famous country singer who she knows as Dee, and they’ve planned to spend their summer together as Reagan heads out with her on tour all across the country. Reagan has gotten into some trouble and things are a mess so she’s happy to leave home behind and spend some quality time with Dee who also has been hurting in addition to having a soaring career. When Matt Finch, former teen heartthrob, joins the tour as the opening act Reagan finds herself potentially in trouble with this boy who seems to disarm her with his good looks and charming personality.

 

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Welcome to part 2 of Jamie Gushes Entirely About Another Amazing Summer Read. (Part 1 was Monday with my review of Morgan Matson’s Since You’ve Been Gone). If you call the book blogging world your stomping grounds, you’ve probably heard of Open Road Summer and all the love for it pre-publication. I had my copy for many many months but decided to hold off until nicer weather because it just seemed like the kind of book to kick off the warm season with…but all the glowing praise made it hard. But I’m so glad I waited because reading this book outside in 70 & 80 degree weather with a beer in my hand was WORTH it. My happiness meter was overflowing with the nice weather and this absolutely charming as hell story!

Listen, I know the entire universe has probably told you to read this book and you are going to want to skip my thoughts because your whole entire feed is talking about it but THERE IS A GOOD REASON so get yourself a beverage and let’s talk for a bit.

1. Open Road Summer is a book that just feels like it encapsulates what summertime feel like to me and will make you feel exuberant and all sorts of happy. I just want to bottle it up and keep it for a gloomy day. It was just a very charming book that will quickly make you long for summer days and adventures and summer love. There’s friendship and romance and adventure and music and being on the open road and it all just comes together to make your heart explode from LOVE AND HAPPINESS AND FEELINGS. It was just really a FUN story (I mean, who wouldn’t want to go on tour with their famous singer of a BFF all summer). So if you are looking for a book that makes you feel absolutely light and happy and will make you smile lots…this book. At one point I was even cry laughing. (at the end — OMG. Major points if you’ve read it and can guess which part I’m talking about).

2. YAY FRIENDSHIP!! I loved the friendship in Open Road Summer and how solid it was. There wasn’t any jealousy or backstabbing or any things of that sort and it was just really refreshing to read. Reagan is genuinely happy and supportive of her bff’s success and I love the way the two of them interact and how they are always there for each other. The premise just added a lot to the dimension of their friendship because they remained the same with each other despite her success which was really fun to see. I mean, I ALWAYS wonder about the bffs of famous people — like the bffs before they were famous. So it was just a really fun, down-to-earth friendship story in that aspect and it seriously made me 1) super jealous of their fun bff-ship and 2) nostalgic for my high school bff.

3. Emery Lord went zero to sixty and raced ahead to be neck in neck with some of my ALL TIME FAVORITE ROMANCES. That’s a big deal  for me to say. I mean, we are talking on the level of some that have been longstanding faves (Stephanie Perkins Anna & St. Clair, Gayle Forman’s Mia & Adam, etc.). I rarely change my favorite romances so I’m telling you…BIG THINGS HERE. For Matt Finch, I’d overcome my fear of needles and get a finch tattoo. I would. He’s the dream boy in book form — ridiculously sweet and romantic (seriously heart palpitations), sensitive, HE SINGS AND PLAYS INSTRUMENTS, he doesn’t take Reagan’s crap and calls her out on stuff and hes A NICE GUY. Genuinely and not boring. But the best part is how they interact. The banter. How Reagan can be so prickly about stuff but Matt Finch just sasses right back and totally make her tough exterior falter. I mean, Reagan gets mad when Matt writes a song about her when most of us would be flinging our panties right on stage…amirite? But I LOVED that about it. I thought the whole “he’s the faux boyfriend of my bff” thing was going to be more of a problem, and it was a tiny roadblock, but it wasn’t the huge forbidden-y love I thought it would be with major scandal. It was more her resistance to him that made the romance what it was. (Listen, I really shipped Dee and Jimmy too..it wasn’t just the Reagan and Matt show — that’s how well Emery Lord does romance).

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4. Reagan..I loved her. She’s a character who maybe isn’t the easiest to click with right away and could rub you the wrong way but I instantly loved her and her attitude. I so thought that this was going to be a case where Reagan was the quiet ordinary one with this super famous bff who was the one who stole the show but it wasn’t the case. Reagan has this really tough exterior — she’s been in some trouble lately, she’s been hurt by a guy, she has major hurt from her mom who up and left when she was younger and she could be quite prickly and judgy. But I loved her so much. I instantly felt this kinship with her for some reason. In some ways, she reminded me of myself at that age though I wasn’t getting into trouble much. But she was stubborn, had some of the same defense mechanisms and the way she got about all Matt’s mushiness is SO how I would have reacted then. I thought she was a solid character and I just loved her perspective a whole lot — her flaws and all — and I loved watching her just let go of some of that anger she held so close.

5. My only thing I wish is that the travel-y/road trip aspect was more: I know that it was a tour so a lot of what was going on was whirlwind stops in cities and tour buses but I had hoped for some good travely bits. My favorite was a part involved a lake but I just wanted maybe a few more parts like that. But it really isn’t like a BAD thin because the story was perfect but just something I had hoped for.

 

book reviewsI’m not even sorry that all I did was talk excitedly about this one. I mean, you don’t come here for super analytical book talk anyways right? But seriously..Open Road Summer is one of two books I am hereby declaring as THE books you must have in your beach bag this summer if you love contemporary YA (the other is Since You’ve Been Gone by Morgan Matson). It’s fun romp across country in a tour bus with two best friends and one absolutely heart palpation inducing Matt Finch that is funny, romantic, happymaking and explores how we let people in & learn to trust when we’ve carefully constructed walls against that. But seriously if you are looking for a fun, feel good read about friendship, has a main character who is real & flawed and an absolutely adorable romance…this is it! I promise! All the hype is warranted.

 

 

 

short book reviewOpen Road Summer by Emery Lord

YOU MAY ALSO LIKE: Since You’ve Been Gone by Morgan Matson, Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour by Morgan Matson

Let’s Talk: Have you read this one? What did you think of it? Did you DIE laughing at that part that included a Say Anything reference?? That whole part. And can we talk about the awesome parents (minus her real mom) in this book??


The Perpetual Page-Turner

 

Self, DO NOT SUCCUMB TO IT!

I’ve never really been a blogger who has been stressed about reading. (Seriously, before blogging, it would have baffled me that a reading or a hobby based on reading could be so stressful). I have the normal waves of “AHHH SO MANY BOOKS TO READ!” or “AHHHH SO MANY NEW RELEASES HOW CAN I KEEP UP?!?” (I never knew about new releases really before blogging) or “OMG I AM DROWNING IN BOOKS.” But they are small waves that travel through my body and momentarily freak me out and then are gone quickly.

I don’t keep a schedule for reading ARCs or any books, I read quite a variety of things old and new and I just generally keep it low stress for myself — because that’s just how I personally have wanted to go about this for the past (almost) four years.

But these past couple days? I had a meltdown. A big melty meltdown of toddler sized proportions. My thoughts are conflicting and confusing and…annoying? Because I hate stressing about things.

Can I just talk it out with you guys, please?

1. I feel so overwhelmed. There are so many books I’m never going to get to in my entire life. Likely even on my shelves I’ll never get to some of them. I don’t read by release dates but I try to be conscious of what I’ve got but, months like this where EVERYTHING good seems to be coming out, I am slowly feeling anxious over all the books I WANT to get to in this month (and the next) but know that at the pace I read and the time I have available to read that I’ll never get to all the ones I want to + the ones I want to buy when they come out. I get envious of other’s ability to read more than I can.

I feel like keeping up is a fruitless endeavor. I completely stress over which book to read next because I realize that I need to be smart about which books I read because of my finite reading ability and every dud of a book is time I could have had for a better book for me. I get all frantic about my choices and the ones left on the shelves. I feel like I’m missing out (is there book FOMO..there has to be? MAJOR BOOK FEAR OF MISSING OUT). I’m staring at all my books for review & the ones I’ve bought and I feel overwhelmed. Too many choices. Too much pressure. Not enough time.  When I feel like this I just want to hole up and read ALL THE HOURS OF THE DAY I HAVE FREE — because I’m genuinely excited about all these books but because of the book FOMO or stress or whatever we want to label it.

2. But then I have these other thoughts where I just don’t WANT to read all day every day, despite the rabbit-esque multiplying my TBR does on the daily, as much as sometimes I feel the pressure to do that because of blogging. I’ve talked about how last year I was feeling really unbalanced in life because of book blogging but I really do like to maintain some sort of balance in my life in all areas. Blogging has always been a struggle because it is so easy to let it take up a lot of time without even realizing it. I’ve been intentional about setting low reading goals even though I know I COULD read more + setting boundaries with blogging.

Sometimes I feel like, as much as reading is one of my favorite things in LIFE, I just don’t want to read THAT much and becoming a devouring machine that constantly and only ever is reading. I also want to savor what I’m reading. To not just move on to the next thing and let that be that – like how I was before I started blogging. I don’t want to treat reading like a race.  And on top of that..I really don’t want reading to be this stressful thing. (I know I control that though blogging DOES add to that).

And really..what’s the end game in me reading that much or trying to frantically read that much? It’d be a combination of the desire to read ALL THE BOOKS because as a bookworm I want to know all the stories & worlds & characters  & also it’s the pressure… but to what end? For what purpose? This is what I have to keep asking myself. I can’t do it all. I need perspective.

Sigh I feel much better getting that out. I’m taking deep breathes and just trying to go back to my zen attitude about reading and blogging. I’m okay with my little bookworm freakouts that happen from time to time because such is the bookworm life but I’m not okay with the rattling meltdown I had (for no reason) in the past couple days wherein I just stressed myself out big time about something I love and that keeps me sane normally.

Does anyone else sometimes feel the weight of all the books they will never get to?? Bloggers, do you feel stressed about reading sometimes?? How do you manage? I’m not used to succumbing to the pressure that’s always there! Please can we talk this out because Will just doesn’t get it at all!

Top Ten Bookish Things I Need To Own!

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

This week’s topic: Top Ten (errr 11) Bookish Things I Need To Own!

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 This Etsy shop is closed at the moment but I’m DYING to get this plate and teacup!! So cute!!

 

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I NEED THIS NECKLACE.

 

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These socks from Modcloth are a must have, yeah? Bookish from head to toe!

 

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We don’t currently have any room for traditional bookcases so I have to get a little creative!

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THIS IS SO COOL. Decorative and I can store some books that I want to also show off!

 

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Love this spacesaver bookshelf!

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I have this awesome shelf that Will set up that spans the whole length of our couch and is directly behind it and I have books on there along with other things but I need some bookends SO BAD and I am obsessed with these. This shop had some real cute ones…hard to choose!

 

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Perks of Being A Wallflower is one of my favorite books ever (and movies honestly!) and I love these notecards and would love to send them to all my bookish friends!

 

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These are the cutest notecards! You can have them personalized with your name or have them plain with no name!

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I love washi tape and this bookish washi tape is very high on my NEEDS list!

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If you’ve ever read Looking For Alaska by John Green you know all about the final words obsession and this one is Francis Rabelais last words. From the book: “Francois Rabelais. He was a poet. And his last words were “I go to seek a Great Perhaps.” That’s why I’m going. So I don’t have to wait until I die to start seeking a Great Perhaps.”catalog    I already have a cute wall hook thing but one could always use another wall hook…especially if it looks like old catalog card drawers right??

 

So tell me…which ones would YOU want in your home?? What sorts of things are on your bookish wishlist??

Book Talk: Since You’ve Been Gone by Morgan Matson

Book Talk: Since You’ve Been Gone by Morgan MatsonSince You've Been Gone by Morgan Matson
Publisher/Year: Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers- May 6, 2014
Genres: Contemporary YA
Format: ARC
Source: From Author
Other Books From Author: Amy & Roger's Epic Detour, Second Chance Summer
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I received this from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This in no way swayed my opinion. Pinky swear!

 

 

 

 

book synopsis When Sloane came into Emily’s life, it’s like she became a new, more daring person and did things she wouldn’t normally do with Sloane by her side — though she still wasn’t quite up to Sloane’s speed. Just as the most perfect and epic summer is about to start for the two girls, Sloane just disappears. She doesn’t leave any explanation — not even when, a few days later, a Sloane-made list that Emily has experienced before shows up in the mail with 13 tasks for Emily to do — things Emily wouldn’t do on her own. Emily hopes that by doing the things on the list she’ll be reunited with Sloane or given some sort of clue as to where she went so she sets out to tackle the list full of firsts, scary things, embarrassing things, random things and more — things that lead her to meeting people along the way who end up helping her complete the list!

 

good books to read

Morgan Matson is one of my favorite authors ever. Her books always just strike the right chord within me and I connect emotionally and always just love the story, the writing and the characters. Since You’ve Been Gone, I’m happy to report, kept that trend alive…but in a different way for me. Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour and Second Chance Summer were really, really personal for me because they dealt a lot with grief and loss. There was that personal connection there for me. This one there wasn’t that same HUGELY personal element (though I connected quite a bit in ways) but it proved my love for Morgan Matson’s books even more fiercely because DAMN can she write a story that sucks me in, makes me love the characters, makes me swoon and gives me all sorts of emotions. Since You’ve Been Gone, like her other books, just does it all for me. That perfect feeling of getting lost in a great book.

So let’s talk:

1. I’m used to Morgan Matson’s books making me cry (okay SOB FEROCIOUSLY in the case of Second Chance Summer) but Since You’ve Been Gone just made me grin like a fool — allegedly…according to Will who apparently watches me while I read but I’m too absorbed to notice. Okay, he’s right though. My face hurt from grinning so much. This book gave me happy feels and I did some happy crying at times. I could produce for you a whole LIST of these moments that made my heart happy or made me giggle. This book is sweet, heartfelt and a wonderful story about friendship and really finding yourself. I just felt giddy the whole time I was reading it. And the relationship between Emily and Frank made my heart melt like an ice cream on a hot day…just a sticky sweet puddle of heart eyed feelings. Ooh the friendship and then the tension.

2. I love lists and I loved watching Emily deal with Sloane’s list: I was so pissed at Sloane for leaving Emily with no explanation..just this list. Like YOU HAVE SOME SPLAINING TO DO, Sloane. WHERE ARE YOU? I half wanted Emily to crumple the list up but obviously I was happy she was going to tackle the list because I was so interested in what some of them meant and HOW she would do some of them (skinny dipping, kiss a stranger, steal something). It was a super fun premise and I felt like each thing on the list helped me to get to know Emily AND Sloane even more. Obviously watching Emily go out of her comfort zone with this list was a given, which I’ll talk about below, but I felt like I got to know Sloane in learning where some of these list items came from and WHY she put them on her. I’m a bucket list enthusiast so I was excited about this premise.

3. I loved experiencing Emily figure out who she was apart from Sloane: I don’t know about you but I’ve had the experience of being in relationships (friendships/romantic/otherwise) where I don’t know who I am apart from the person and it’s only when I’m forced to confront that absence that I start to realize how strongly my identity was in those people. Doing these things on Sloane’s list helped her to start to figure out who she was without Sloane there. Sloane had been such an integral part in her past couple years and Sloane was the driving force of their fun and excitement. I loved watching Emily be brave, in the small and big moments, and start to figure out who she was while tackling this list. Even though at first she was doing this list in hopes it would help her find Sloane, she began to do it for herself. Her growth was wonderful to watch and she honestly kind of inspired me.

4. I loved the focus on friendship: Without Sloane, Emily really didn’t have any other friends so I loved watching her meet some new people like Dawn, Frank and Matthew. I just loved them so much and loved how they ended up helping her with the list and it really became less about this THING she was doing for Sloane but for herself and with these new friends. I also really loved how this experience really gave her perspective on her friendship with Sloane and really added even more depth to it when she eventually figured out what happened with Sloane. All these friendship feels made me miss that feeling of making new friends — those friends who end up being your partners in crime, the ones you tell all your secrets to, etc.

5. Morgan Matson gives me an experience: I could say this about her other books but I think maybe I felt like it with this one even more. She makes me feel like I am really involved in the story with the details she gives and how she takes her time in the best way possible to get you to feel it and to KNOW the characters. She just doesn’t paint me a picture of the scene and of the feelings but she makes me feel and experience everything. I feel like I’m there in the midst of it all. I feel the pain of missing Sloane, the fear of doing the things on the list, the thrill of the moment they skinny dipped,the awkwardness of making new friends and seeing Emily’s ex boyfriend. I couldn’t contain my reactions and feelings at times — the laughs escaped, the happy tears fell, the tension constricted my heart and the love just flowed.

6. FRANK FRANK FRANK. That’s all. Also, that boy has excellent taste in music. Okay, so maybe that’s not all. So often in YA I see these boys who are not in fact teenage boys but like supposed to be hot, hunky man candy with all the right moves and words. Frank made me swoon like a school girl in love but he was not perfect or mysterious or anything. He was a teenage boy who was smart and had so many facets to who he was. He felt like somebody I would have REALLY fallen for. And I loved the friendship that he and Emily built. MY HEART. I would like to guarantee a Frank for my nieces and if I ever have daughters (I mean, unless they aren’t into boys). WEAK IN THE KNEES FOR FRANK!

7. Be happy, fans of Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour…the music playlists are back!! And they are so, so good though Morgan said they are a little different in the final copy!

book reviewsI LOVED IT. Morgan Matson just keeps solidifying herself as one of my favorite authors. My heart wants to seize up with happiness over Since You’ve Been Gone. It was a most anticipated book for 2014 and it did NOT disappoint. If you love contemporary YA, read it and then go read her other books if you haven’t!

 

 

 

short book review

Since You've Been Gone by Morgan Matson

Let’s Talk: Have you read this one? What did you think of it?


The Perpetual Page-Turner

 

Series Send Off: Under The Never Sky series by Veronica Rossi

So I typically just review the individual books in a series and then I’m done but I had a reader email in my inbox this year asking if I did overviews of the series after I finished them. I hadn’t before but I was thinking about how maybe a little “overall thoughts on the series” when it came to the last book in a series might help some people decide to start the series if they had never heard of it before and are just catching my review of the last book. Also, my feelings on an overall series could grow or break down so maybe it’s important to see the whole picture. So let’s see how this goes? Let me know if you find it helpful. PLUS this helps me close the page on a series (which is exciting because I SUCK at finishing series). And thank you to my awesome reader Angie for sparking this!

 

Into The Still BlueInto The Still Blue
(I received this for review but this ABSOLUTELY did not sway my thoughts or feelings. Pinky promise!)

Upon finishing the series I say to all of you who haven’t started the series:

READ IT. It’s definitely one of my favorite series. It’s just all around great — the world, the characters, the relationships (friendships AND romance), action and more! Also, very satisfying ending!

 

Thoughts On Into The Still Blue (Skip below if you haven’t read the series yet!)

I was so devastated to say goodbye to this world and these characters. Through The Ever Night was so badass and ended in a way where I was sighing a sigh of relief while chewing my fingernails down to nothing KNOWING that things were going to get CAHRAZY in Into The Still Blue. And they did.

I’ve had some disappointing series finale books recently and I was just crossing my fingers and toes that I would not be disappointed. I’m happy to report it was a satisfying conclusion — it felt true to the story, there were some happily ever afters, some sad things, some crazy action and somehow even more dimensions to my favorite characters to make me love them even more. I felt fine with where it ended and I could picture life for them after — lots left to the imagination but ultimately very wrapped up!

I really, really loved watching some of these relationships and how they strengthened. Obvious Perry and Aria and it’s great because they actually get to spend more time together this time around and it’s so sweet. I LOVED Perry and Roar throughout the series (best bromance ever) and it was so hard to watch them have some tension but I felt like it just made that friendship have even more depth. And Aria and Roar. Yay platonic friendships! I love those two. There were so many swoonworthy moments. Some very tender and vulnerable moments in some combination between Aria/Perry/Roar and others. It was just really nice that these beloved characters were given even more life and didn’t fall flat in favor of action and twisty things…which there was plenty of THAT to keep your fingers in shape.

I also really loved watching the Dwellers and the Outsiders have to work together and get to know each other as they were now officially all roomies in the cave. The tension between the two sides was well written and I could feel their distrust for one another and their adversity to change but I so badly wanted them to just STOP BICKERING AND GET TO SOME SERIOUS ASS WHIPPING OF SOME MAJOR BAD GUYS. It was just really nice to see how realistically they worked together and got along.

I’m really sad it’s over but I’m so happy Veronica Rossi delivered — it wasn’t all sunshine and fa la la everyone lives happily ever after but every action and decision made sense for the story while also giving the characters what they deserve in the end. I never knew what was going to happen or what to expect and I was constantly on the edge of my seat for many reasons. I cried when I finished because I was just so damn happy and sad and feeling too many emotions.

What The Series Is About:

Okay so basically in this futuristic world things happened in the past that caused some craziness with the climate and such and these things called aether storms were becoming more and more frequent. They were obvious threats to the Outsiders but not so known to the average Dweller. The Dwellers lived in an enclosed city and they have some pretty awesome technologies and they are able to go to different realms (virtual reality). The Outsiders, well they live outside of this compound in the air that the Dwellers don’t breathe, and they rely on survival and don’t have all the luxuries that the Dwellers do in Reverie. Aria (Dweller) and Perry (Outsider) meet when they are both looking for something important to them and they begin to realize that they mutually need each other to survive/get what they want. And then there’s a whole lot of crazy and twisty stuff….but you should just read.

 

Rating Broken Down By Books (Links to individual reviews):

Under The Never Sky: LIKED IT. (3.5 stars)
Through The Ever Night: FREAKING AMAZING. I LOVED. (5 stars)
Into The Still Blue: LOVED! Such a good ending! (4.5 stars)

Recommended For People Who Love:

fantasy, dystopian/futuristic stories, awesome romance that doesn’t detract from plot, books with great friendships, survival-y stories, fantastic world building world building (I mean, she creates TWO kinds of worlds really that both were so vivid), just a damn well rounded story honestly…it’s got it all.

 

Farewell Under The Never Sky! I loved you so much and Aria/Perry/Roar will remain in the ranks of favorite characters for a long time (dare I say forever) and I can honestly declare you as one of my all time favorite series!

 

What did you think of the conclusion to this series if you’ve read it??

Reshelved {2}

So, you all know that I STINK at putting down books…and then I decided to make a feature to lay out all my potential books to put down for you all to decide if I should keep going or not but I’ve decided that, in reality, that was just perpetuating my indecision to put down books. Rather than being decisive about putting a book down and never looking back I was all, “Um I put this down but please convince me I should pick it back up??” Basically. So I’ve decided to quit that approach and be like my friend Anna and be confident in putting down books I am not into. I also decided that it would be a fun way to tell you what I got from the library but never got to…because seriously some books I renew 2 or 3 times and I STILL never get to them. So…basically all these book are reshelved either because I wasn’t into them or because I am the suckiest library patron in existence.

 

Put Down

 

The Signature of All Things Elizabeth Gilbert

 

The Signature of All Things by Elizabeth Gilbert: I really enjoyed Elizabeth Gilbert’s memoir Eat, Pray & Love, though I know that a lot of people didn’t, so I was really excited for this one! I will say the writing was amazing…just really, really impressive and, even though I liked EPL, the writing in this put THAT to shame. But I was BORED BORED BORED. I don’t mind slower paced novels but I just couldn’t get into it at all…couldn’t care about anything.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Half Bad by Sally Green
: GUYS this was one of my 2014 most anticipated debuts and I just hit a wall with it. I was really enjoying at first because it was different and interesting but then I just did not feel like picking it up at all. I can’t tell if it was just a bad timing sort of thing or not but it was just making me get into a slump. Sad because it was such a unique paranormal book! (I would love to hear from someone who read this if I should try it again later! I was on page 194…if that helps).

 

 

 

 

 

Went Back To The Library Unread

(not because I didn’t WANT to read them but I stink at reading things when I’m supposed to)

YOU GUYS. This last library trip I was SO grabby hands and did SUCH a bad job. I renewed and somehow time FLEW and then I had like 4 days to read a bajillion library books plus I was planning my sister’s bridal shower sooo sadly these got all returned! I plan on getting ALLLL of these back out. You should check out my review for one of the library books I DID get to because it was excellent!!

Someday, Someday Maybe

 

 

Someday, Someday, Maybe by Lauren Graham: I loooove Lauren Graham which is why I primarily picked this one up because I know she is talented as hell and I’ve heard good things to back that up. DAMN MY TIME MANAGEMENT SKILLS FOR HAVING TO RETURN THIS ONE!!

 

 

 

 

Harmonic Feedback

 

 

Harmonic Feedback by Tara Kelly: I picked this one up because I know Ginger loves it and MUSIC RELATED is always a draw for me! Plus I love me some misfits!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Aristotle & Dante Discover the Secrets of The Universe

 

 

 

Aristotle and Dante Discover The Secrets of The Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz: I’ve heard NOTHING but amazing things about this one! I was hoping to get to it soon when I return to the library. A few people are going to yell at me for not getting to it yet!

 

 

 

 

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Forgotten by Catherine McKenzie: I had randomly come across her book Arranged while browsing the library and I loved it (adult contemporary fiction about a girl who gives an arranged marriage service a chance) so I was browsing and saw this one was in as well and LOVED the concept of someone who goes missing in a foreign country during a massive natural disaster and is presumed dead and comes back into their life and everything has changed and people have moved on.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Did you feel differently about any of the books I put down? Or similarly? Which books should I make a priority to grab again from the library??

Top Ten Most Unique Books I’ve Read (For Various Reasons)

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

This week’s topic: Top Ten Most Unique Books I’ve Read (For Various Reasons)

 

 

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Another Little Piece by Kate Karyus Quinn: This book was just so strange and different and very unique from what I’ve read. It was quite the experience! Lots of WTFs all around but in a good way.
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak: I mean, this book was narrated by Death. Like Death is personified and a character. It was just such a unique approach.
Two Boys Kissing by David Levithan: There’s a reason David Levithan makes my list twice. He is just so inventive and always coming up with unique concepts. I loved that Two Boys Kissing used a Greek chorus style narration and if you haven’t read it you might think that sounds strange but I PROMISE you it works. David executes it perfectly and AH MY HEART. Also one of my favorite books from last year!
Wild Awake by Hilary T. Smith: Oh how I loved this book! I read a lot of contemporary YA and this didn’t feel like a lot of what I read. It was quite the experience and I know it didn’t work for some people but I could just FEEL the MC spiraling out of control and her frenetic energy was in my veins.
Liar by Justine Larbalestier: This book and I. I believe I said “I don’t know if I thought it was brilliant or if I fucking hated it.” I had STRONG feelings about this one but it was very unique and definitely took the unreliable narrator thing to the extreme. Stands out to me though! Definitely a unique read.
The Lover’s Dictionary by David Levithan: Seriously, I’m so in awe of David always. This book was beautiful and the concept SO unique. It was told in dictionary entries and it was just so poetic and sad and beautiful and haunting.
For Darkness Shows The Stars by Diana Peterfreund: This was another book I loved! It was a futuristic retelling of Persuasion and it was just SO unique. I was smitten because it didn’t feel like anything I’d read before. Everything about it.
Bumped by Megan McCafferty: I would never want to invalidate someone’s reading experience (and I’m TOTALLY not trying to by saying this..I don’t want it to come off wrong) but I feel like this book is a bit misunderstood. I liked it but lots of people didn’t have the same feelings. I loved that it was satire and so ridiculous. It just felt sooo different because I hadn’t really read anything like it ever. Yay satire!
Blindness by Jose Saramago: I’ve read quite a few post-apocalyptic type books and this was definitely different. The concept but mostly the way it is written. I thought it was told in a way that kind of makes you experience the blindness but I’ve heard that’s just how it writes? I don’t know. Either way it was a unique, standout read for me though I know the way it is told will drive some people NUTS.
A Corner of White by Jaclyn Moriarty: This could be one of the most unique books on my list here! Wow! I liked it (didn’t love because it took me SO long to get into) but I have NEVER EVER read anything quite like it. I have the second book in my possession and I’m excited to get back into it.

 

So tell me…what are some unique books YOU’VE read because I am all about reading those!! Have you read any of the ones I’ve listed??

Book Talk: The Geography of You and Me by Jennifer E. Smith

Book Talk: The Geography of You and Me by Jennifer E. SmithThe Geography Of You and Me by Jennifer E. Smith
Publisher/Year: Poppy- April 15, 2014
Genres: Contemporary YA
Format: ARC
Source: Borrowed
Other Books From Author: The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight, This Is What Happy Looks Like, You are Here The Comeback Season, The Stormmakers
AmazonGoodreadsTwitter

 

 

 

 

book synopsis “Lucy and Owen meet somewhere between the tenth and eleventh floors of a New York City apartment building, on an elevator rendered useless by a citywide blackout. After they’re rescued, they spend a single night together, wandering the darkened streets and marveling at the rare appearance of stars above Manhattan. But once the power is restored, so is reality. Lucy soon moves to Edinburgh with her parents, while Owen heads out west with his father.

Lucy and Owen’s relationship plays out across the globe as they stay in touch through postcards, occasional e-mails, and — finally — a reunion in the city where they first met.”

 

good books to read

I really enjoyed The Geography of You and Me by Jennifer E. Smith. It was absolutely different than I thought it would be and in such a good way. I think Jennifer E. Smith’s books are such feel good books and while this WAS that it was a whole lot more honestly. I still think The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight is still my favorite but this comes pretty darn close to rivaling it. It was really a beautiful story that really displayed what a talented author Jennifer E. Smith is. Let’s break it down:

1. I loved the idea of this book and, even though it didn’t go the way I thought it would, I loved it more how it DID go: I loved the idea of this chance meeting during the blackout and then the fact that circumstances would send them both away so they’d have this long distance relationship. First, I thought we’d see a lot more of their adventures through the blackout. Secondly, I thought it would be more of a long distance relationship where they were together and keeping the relationship alive through cutesy emails and texts and postcards and stuff. They did communicate through postcards and emails but they weren’t “together” and it wasn’t this constant communication. It was more of a story where these two people meet, feel this really strong spark but move to opposite sides of the world before anything can really happen between them and are left to deal with what to do with all those feelings plus what they were individually going through before they met. I LOVED watching this play out — them in their new environment moving on with their own lives but still having these lingering feelings for each other that nagged at them at certain point. That question of “what might have been” just dangling there because it was never able to really start! It was romantic but in a different way than her usual books — maybe not in such an obvious way.

2. As far as writing goes this is my favorite Jennifer E. Smith book: Another blogger, Heather, and I were talking on Twitter about just how BEAUTIFUL the writing was in this book. I thought her books were always well written but there was just something about this one where I really kept getting lost in the words and was just really impressed by the writing of this one.

3. I loved how the characters really learned what “home” meant in this novel: Both characters, when we meet them, have this really broken feeling of what home means. Owen’s mom passed away and him and his dad just can’t bear to be in their home without her so they just wander. Home for Lucy has been kind of lonely with her parents always traveling and her brothers away at college. I just really enjoyed watching both characters have to reconcile what HOME means for them and what and who it includes. It was just really beautiful to watch this happen though I think Owen’s story just really resonated with me more with losing his mom and watching him and his dad work through that.

4. LOVED all the travel going on in this novel: There were just these little moments that perfectly and quietly captured each location and I just loved seeing these new places through their eyes! At times I wish we could have gotten even more immersed in some places — especially New York during the blackout! I wanted to see more of Lucy’s New York!

5. I loved Owen and Lucy but I didn’t find them to be super REAL to me: I liked their stories and really connected with Owen’s but I never found them to be these super alive characters that I could picture and felt like I really KNEW them. They just fell a wee bit flat despite how much I enjoyed their stories and watched their growth.

6. I loved that this wasn’t necessarily all about the romance but the romance was still compelling: I so deeply felt that lingering of their one night in New York. There wasn’t an insta-love or anything like that but there was this SPARK that they had and they never got to examine that. I loved that they didn’t pine for each other when they parted but there was a very realistic feeling of wanting to know what COULD have been had they had more time together. Wanting to know more about the other person from the little bit you got. I loved watching them work through the other things going on in their life but could SO SO SO feel the pull of each other at times.

book reviews

The Geography of You and Me was just what I needed — sweet, romantic in a untypical way, reflective, beautiful, messy and just a really enjoyable read even if it didn’t go at all how I thought it would by the summary. I expected it to be a bit lighter and more of a long distance romance but I really, really enjoyed what I read instead.  I don’t think the characters were as full and real as I needed them to be to make this a favorite but I really enjoyed this nonetheless.  Really impressed with Jennifer E. Smith’s writing in this one and the refreshing plot!

 

 

short book reviewGeography of You and Me Jennifer E Smith

 

Let’s Talk: Have you read this one? What did you think of it? Did you think this one was going to be a bit lighter than it was or think certain elements were going to be different because of the summary..or was that just me? If you’ve read her books before where does this rank for you? I think I LOVED Stat a wee bit more but loved this WAY more than This Is What Happy Looks Like.


The Perpetual Page-Turner

 

Beyond the Pages: Since You’ve Been Gone by Morgan Matson

Beyond the Pages is my way of sharing the things books make me think about and interact with and want to talk about shared experiences with people. Some of my best conversations have happened because of something that came up in a book. I’m pretty personal in my reviews but I’d like a way to not bog down my review with a huge paragraph of personal experience so this is my way to be able to share it. Some times it will be serious and sometimes just random and fun but I hope we can connect! PAST Beyond the Pages here!

 

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 The book that inspired this conversation:

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Since You’ve Been Gone by Morgan Matson
(my thoughts to come closer to the release date)
(Goodreads | Amazon)

 

What It Is About:

The Pre-Sloane Emily didn’t go to parties, she barely talked to guys, she didn’t do anything crazy. Enter Sloane, social tornado and the best kind of best friend—the one who yanks you out of your shell.But right before what should have been an epic summer, Sloane just… disappears. No note. No calls. No texts. No Sloane. There’s just a random to-do list. On it, thirteen Sloane-selected-definitely-bizarre-tasks that Emily would never try… unless they could lead back to her best friend. Apple Picking at Night? Ok, easy enough.Dance until Dawn? Sure. Why not? Kiss a Stranger? Wait… what?

Getting through Sloane’s list would mean a lot of firsts. But Emily has this whole unexpected summer ahead of her, and the help of Frank Porter (totally unexpected) to check things off. Who knows what she’ll find?

Go Skinny Dipping? Um…”

What It Got Me Thinking About:

friendships & relationships, identity in relationships and how it gets so intertwined in them, finding your identity, being brave (even though I’m not going to talk about that in this post..maybe another?)

Image1fdsfIn Since You’ve Been Gone by Morgan Matson Emily’s best friend Sloane just takes off and leaves. To Emily, Sloane was the best part of her. They’d been BFFs for a couple years and they did everything together. When Sloane leaves, Emily is left feeling like a huge part of her is missing, rightly so, and she really has to find out who she is outside of Sloane. She finds herself struggling to do things like fill conversations because Sloane always was the outgoing one who knew what to say and she found it was hard to really so anything without Sloane by her side because Sloane gave her some of the bravery she seemed to lack. Especially since most people really only knew her as “that girl that’s always with Sloane.” She’s forgotten who she is outside of “Emily and Sloane” and has really let herself rely on Sloane’s presence for her identity.

It made me reflect on how EASY it is to get your identity so intertwined and entangled with people close to you and that you love. So much that you start to forget who you are apart from them. That happened to me with my old group of friends and I watched it happen to so many friends as they started dating and then getting married. While I don’t think Emily’s situation was necessarily unhealthy like maybe mine was, it still made me think a lot about defining who we are by who we are close with. It was enough that, when Sloane left, she realized she had no idea how to BE Emily anymore. Sloane had helped her find who she was and gotten her out of her shell but she struggled to exist apart from that.

I was friends with the same group of people from high school and then some of them even went to the same college as me and then the group came back together after we all were done college — adding in some new people that were part of our group in college who had stayed around the area. I’d say I was one of the “main” people in that group — a staple..not an outlier really if that makes sense. I loved that group of people and there was so many good times with them but I slowly started to realize I lost myself within that group. I was definitely the “different” one out of all of them and they seemed to be okay with that but I realized, in ways, they didn’t and slowly a lot of who I was slowly got snuffed out.

I remember making some new friends outside of the group and then they would say things about these new people that would make me feel like I was stupid for being friends with them yet I had FUN with these people, had great convo and had things in common. They made fun of my music. How I dressed. The guys I liked unless they were semi in the group. But it wasn’t outright mean or malicious, I’m sure it was mostly good-natured, but I kept toning things down to fit inside that group. I wanted to. I wanted to maintain being a part of that group because on campus it always seemed like our group, a group of mostly guys but a few girls, always had the most fun. I cared more about being part of that group at the time than I cared about some of those things that I gave up or pushed aside at that time — opinions, values, interests and hobbies.

I remember not knowing who to sit with if they weren’t there in the dining hall (most of them were on the men and women’s soccer team which is hilar because I’m like the least athletic person ever) and felt super timid. Or if they were all away for the weekend on a soccer trip I felt lost. I felt invincible in ways when I had the group with me. I had people. Most of my interests and plans were wrapped up in that group. I mean, I DID have other friends outside of that group and talked to A LOT of people but I never made these people a priority like I did this group. I let myself just get swallowed up by the group. Absorbed the way they thought, what they liked, how they acted, etc.

But then I started to miss those parts of me. I started to see behaviors that I didn’t actually enjoy anymore. I missed friends that I had given up for them. I was just frankly sick of a lot of things and had been hurt by some of the people and found some of it to be really unhealthy. There’s a lot more that went into it that could take me hours to tell you, and Gayle Forman’s Just One Day that honestly gave me the balls to do it, but I gave that group up slowly in 2012 but FOR REAL in January 2013. I decided to sever ties and be done. I had to…for myself. It was the right decision and I know that and I’ve even been able to be at peace about it and make amends with my bff from that group. But it was HARD.

It was like a limb had been cut off. All those instant plans…GONE. People to talk to. Years and years of memories just kind of faded. I was scared to have to make new friends because those people had known every single thing about me and knew all the things I had been through. It was easy in ways. But I was mostly scared because I knew I would have to get to know myself all over again. To remember who I was. To do the things I wanted to without group approval. Blogging, when I started in 2010, honestly was a huge catalyst in this because I found a community where I could be 100% unabashedly myself and it became the support I needed when I left the group. Made me believe in myself and help me to remember what I loved about ME and find who I was again. I had to be brave and take chances and sometimes even be uncomfortable but every time it got easier and I stopped caring about being anybody other than who I was. I let myself form my own opinions, enjoy the things I enjoyed before & now felt drawn to, become the person that was just struggling to come out in that time. It’s been scary and hard but I’ve enjoyed getting to really know myself all over again.

I saw so many friends do this in romantic relationships and regret it sometimes later and this is what I love about Will and I from day 1. We just have never done this. We are so strongly ourselves and have our own very unique identity but there is this beautiful way in which we ARE a unit. We love the things that make each other different from the other (okay I don’t LOVE the video games and he doesn’t LOVE the books but we love that we have THINGS to help us always be ourselves). I mean, sure, I would LOVE for Will to love more of the things I do and ditch a few of his interests in an ideal world but I would never want him to stop being him and lose himself. I stated this early on to Will, before we got married, that I never ever wanted to lose myself in a marriage because I saw it happen to people close to me. I never want to forget who I am.

And I think we’ve done a good job so far of encouraging each other to have our own things and to be our own people in this relationship. Never forgetting that yes we’ve become “one” in marriage but we are two hella different people with dreams and interests and opinions. And we deal with it just fine.

Will is definitely my other half  and a big part of my world but I feel absolutely a whole person whose identity isn’t just in being “Jamie and Will” but I stand strongly just as Jamie and he stands strongly as Will. And I think we make each other stronger and our marriage stronger because of that.

I just know that I don’t ever want to lose myself again in another person or group. Ever. I’d rather be alone than bend myself into something I’m not. To push away the things that make me ME. I never ever want to forget or ignore who I am. Because I rather like being me.

 

Have you ever experienced losing your identity in someone else? Witnessed a friend or family member do it? If so, how did you find yourself again? Any other thoughts on this?

Ten “Gateway” Books/Authors In My Reading Journey

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

This week’s topic: Top Ten Books/Authors That Were Crucial In My Reading Journey/Opened The “Gates”

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The most important gateway on this list is dedicated to the gateway where I discovered I love reading by myself as a child. The immersion gateaway. These books and authors (and I’m only naming 3 when there were SO many) are what hooked me to reading. I guess I should thank them for who I am today.

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Beverly Cleary really hooked me as a young’n. I would read them over and over again.
The Little House On The Prairie made me really see how books could take you some place else. I got lost in this series.
RL Stine. Oh man. His books just were the ultimate excited page-turning experience whether it was Goosebumps or Fear Street.

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If you read my My Reading History post you know that I went through what I’ve dubbed “the lost years” from high school until I finished college. I read very few books in that time period. The book I attribute to getting me back into reading fiction and voraciously so is:

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Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer: This is one of my all time favorite books. After completing college and not really having read much new fiction or any at all in the past few years…this book just made me fall in love with fiction and just reading all over again. This book + Goodreads that is.

 

 

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Here’s the thing you need to know about me. I ONLY read adult fiction once I got back into reading and I was a bit of a snob and would secret side eye YA lit. I just didn’t think it would be good (and only because I just had never read it). But I found out that YA lit was not only entertaining and well written but thought-provoking and powerful. I read these three before I started blogging but MAN I have to say…blogging is what REALLY got me into YA lit. Love this community of readers and authors! Changed my life.

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Twilight & The Hunger Games were DEFINITELY out of my reader comfort zone FOR SURE. I just fell in love with both series for very different reasons. I had never read these genres before and I enjoyed the entertainment value for both but MAN did The Hunger Games impress me with how complex it really was.
The Book Thief was just one of the best books I’ve ever read and I was SO taken aback with how brilliant it was. This YA skeptic was SOLD.

 

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It’s no secret that contemporary YA is my favorite genre and most read from genre and has been that way SINCE I got into the YA lit scene. I like light and fluffy and dark and serious and everything in between. I think it’s important to note the authors that really got me hooked on to my favorite genre!

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Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson was that hard hitting powerful read and Laurie Halse Anderson immediately impressed me. I read a lot of “serious” books before YA and I loved reading a tough topic handled so well. If I Stay just blew me away and reminded me how emotional reading could be when you really connect. Gayle has continued to blow me away. Anna and the French Kiss was a stretch for me at first. I was all about the more “serious” or “heavy” reads when I got into YA but Anna and the French Kiss is what sold me on the more light reads. I feel like these 3 books really showed me all that contemporary YA could be. It’s funny because these three books are STILL, even after all the books I’ve read, at the top of my faves list.

 

So tell me…what books or authors were your “gateway” reads to various things — genres, into reading in general, etc.

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