The Summer I Fell Head Over Heels In Love With Fantasy Because of ONE Series

So, dear readers, you know me. I like to read a lot of variety but the main thing I read is contemporary YA. I read other genres too but fantasy is a genre I’ve only dabbled in a handful of times. I’ve really enjoyed some fantasy novels immensely but my love affair with a series I binge read this summer absolutely has me ADDICTED.

If you follow me on Twitter, you are probably knowing exactly what I’m talking about because I haven’t shut up. (But seriously, I try to reserve my CRAZY fangirling for these times so YOU KNOW I MEAN BUSINESS).

 

SARAH J. MAAS THRONE OF GLASS SERIES OH MY GOD YOU GUYS. OH MYYY GAWWWWD.

 

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I read Throne of Glass during Memorial Day weekend and then two weeks ago started my binge read of Crown of Midnight and Heir of Fire. I DO NOT KNOW WHAT WAY IS UP OR DOWN AND I AM JUST A VERY FRAGILE, EMOTIONAL MESS RIGHT NOW. (I am also having a toddler-esque meltdown because HOW DO I LIVE LIFE WITHOUT THE NEXT BOOK ON HAND??) Seriously, it’s just like this light switch just flipped on and I just really, really found myself immersed in this fantasy world.

Okay so if you’ve never read it or heard of it here’s my best spoiler-free lowdown of what this series is about.

OKAY there’s CELAENA. And she’s a badass assassin. LIKE THE QUEEN OF BADASSES because she’s been through A LOT + knows how to use a dagger or sword, isn’t afraid to make tough decisions and she has a BRAIN. And she’s snarky. SO SNARKY. I giggle snorted many a times because of her. And she lives in a kingdom (such a well written kingdom) ruled by an awful king who outlawed magic. BUT THERE IS SO MAGIC IN THIS SERIES. And guys you are going to DROOL over. And some really compelling friendships. And some crazy moments. Some epic battles and fights. Crazy reveals that will have you turning the pages. ACTION THAT ELEVATES YOUR HEART RATE. (That counts as exercise right?). JUST READ IT OKAY. It gets even better after book 1. I can’t even write you a proper summary because OH MY GOD. And there’s like going to be 6 books or something like that!! OH OH AND THERE ARE MAPS IN THE FRONT. I LOVE MAPS.

Will always can tell when I’m really obsessed with a book and he said I became SUPER obnoxious when I read these books (which is generally the biggest telltale sign to how much I love a book…the more obnoxious, the more love). Apparently I was saying a lot of “OH SHITS” and “OH NOES”, “YEAH GIRL”  and “OH MY GOD HOLD ME” and jumping up and down a lot. Okay, I half remember doing those things but they just come out because I’m so immersed. The biggest thing was how much I wanted to tell him what was happening because I couldn’t contain myself. (One thing on his list of things he’s sick of me saying). And then he said it was odd to hear me talk about swords, fae, assassins and magic so much and so excitedly (apparently I was VERY animated) because, well, I don’t read those things typically. But seriously, SWORD LIFE IS SO AWESOME.

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So needless to say my reading experience was something Will could NOT wait to be over because I was a nut..all hopped up on my fantasy high. Everyone told me to read these books since Throne of Glass came out and I always knew I would but I wasn’t expecting to become obsessed. I mean, I was just so excitable and immersed through this whole binge reading experience (AND I RARELY EVER BINGE READ) and it was just one of those experiences where I remembered that feeling in my gut of WHY I love reading and how it feels to be so totally consumed.

 

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So here’s a bit of a peek on my thoughts about the books individually. I’m going to be as spoiler-free and as vague as possible but reading my thoughts for Crown of Midnight and Heir of Fire COULD spoil you. That’s your warning.

 

THRONE OF GLASS

Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

I immediately loved Celaena. And Chaol. And Dorian. This book drew me in from the start and I was so into watching Celaena be a badass vs. all those other guys fighting to be the King’s Champion. I could feel her struggle between FREEDOM and having to work for someone who was so awful. I loved how twisty this book got towards the end and things were happening so fast I could barely hold on, man! But seriously let’s talk about Calaena…this girl has endured a lot and she prides herself on being a badass but there’s also this vulnerable side to her where she feels the weight of the things she’s done….but she doesn’t shy away from the fact that she does those things. That’s part of who she is. I also loved that, yeah she is badass, but she totally is a bit of a girly girl — she loves her clothes and cares about what she looks like. I think so often female main characters get pegged as one or the other but it’s okay to be a complete badass with your sword and also find your heart flutter because of a pretty dress. And as confident as she is with how badass she is..she is so relatable because she’s self conscious about other things. AND CAN WE TALK ABOUT THE BANTER?? I loved the Celaena/Chaol banter. But also the Celaena/Dorian banter. (In Crown of Midnight my favorite banter might even be with her and Mort..god I just love her banter with everyone). I finished Throne of Glass SO ready for more because there was so much that was set up in that book and I knew the rest of the series was about to get CAHRAZY.

Crown Of Midnight

Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas

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THIS BOOK GUYS. Crown of Midnight was my favorite of the series so far I think because it was just SO EPIC. Also, in general it was one of the best sequels I’ve ever read. This is where I became obsessed. I was in love with Throne of Glass but I became a full on crazy because of this book. SO MUCH WAS HAPPENING AND IT WAS NUTS….seriously my heart was racing as I devoured this book. It begins with Celaena a couple months after she wins the competition and we find out what she’s been up to now that’s she’s supposed to be doing the king’s bidding….and then shit just gets crazy. People die. People betray. Crazy things are revealed. There is so much sneaking around and Celaena is just generally even more of a badass and maybe even more ruthless. The sheer amount of emotions that I had during this book was a record level and the amount of times my jaw dropped became too many to count. Really seeing the rebellion start to form was exciting and scary. I came to love beloved characters EVEN MORE FIERCELY. Seriously Chaol and Dorian, not just even as fictional crushes, are just all around great characters and it was so hard for me to see some cracks in relationships in this one. Especially A BIG MOMENT where Celaena really doubts someone. My heart sunk! I just was thanking my lucky stars I had Heir of Fire by the time this book ended because I was flailing (for real) and the way it ENDS. OH MY HEART.  If I hadn’t had Heir of Fire I would have left with a crazy book high where I would have been jittery and inconsolable and it would have taken me a long time to come off this one.

Heir of Fire

Heir of Fire Sarah J. Maas

I was still reeling from Crown of Midnight when I started this one. The pace was a bit slower in Heir of Fire than it was in CoM but look at how long it is!! (seriously, trying to hold this book gave me issues). I was trying to explain to someone that Heir of Fire was a bit more slow but not in a BAD WAY. It was actually a bit welcomed because it couldn’t keep up that Crown of Midnight pace forever and we really get even MORE insight into Celaena (and other characters).

Heir of Fire peeled back the layers to Celaena and we learn even MORE of her backstory after what was revealed at the end of Crown of Midnight. It was fascinating and HEARTBREAKING (ow, seriously) and MAN did it make everything a whole lot more interesting and complicated and AWESOME. We see a whole new side of Celaena in Heir of Fire and I loved it — she’s always been such a badass but we see a Celaena who is really struggling to know what to do next or who she really WANTS to be. Celaena is easy for her. But the other identity we learn of her, the one she’s pushed back so far, really starts to be imposed on her and she can’t hide from it. I loved watching her wrestle with it all and it made me love her more.

The other really great thing about Heir of Fire is all the new characters we get to meet!! CAN WE TALK ABOUT ROWAN? I WANT A SHIP but I don’t know to what capacity. All I can say is I was very pleased we got to know Rowan very well. And Manon. I thought the witch POV was strangely placed at first and I wasn’t sure I liked it but I really did start to enjoy seeing things coming together on another side of the story. I also loved some of the demi-fae and the rebels too.  OH AND AEDION!

The other thing that made Heir of Fire so great was that everyone was really on their own journey…literally and mentally. At first, I was like NOOOO I want Celaena to be with Dorian and Chaol and I don’t like how split they are but I actually really ended up loving that about this book. I don’t think Dorian or Chaol could have challenged Celaena the way Rowan really did to get her to step up and do what she needed to. Celaena was so far away and on this really challenging journey mentally and physically and I LOVED THAT JOURNEY — all parts of it. But I also really loved watching Dorian and Chaol. I hated how they weren’t friends but I loved how much they still loved each other and had each other’s best interest in mind. Chaol really grew because he had to face his dad and decide where his loyalty was and how far he’d go now that he knows what he knows. I loved watching him work with Aedion as well! Dorian really has to come to terms with what he is and the magic he possesses but also what that means considering who his father his. I love this line that Chaol has at the end because it sums it up pretty well about how Dorian “was the one true king in the room” because I really felt like Dorian started to grow into someone who could lead.

Heir of Fire was emotionally intense and had some crazy heart-pounding moments along with the amazing character development. HOW AM I SUPPOSED TO LIVE LIFE WHILE MY FRIENDS ARE JUST LEFT HANGING THERE? I NEED TO KNOW WHAT HAPPENS. But I suppose now I am going to get my hands on the novellas even though I am like morally opposed to novellas (okay not morally but it sounded good but for serious I don’t ever read them) BECAUSE I NEED MORE OF THIS SERIES.

 

So have you read this series?? Thoughts?? (Even if you felt differently than me I am still interested in hearing you perspective!!). What should be my next fantasy series??

 

Operation Make Myself Suck Less At Series

I’ve talked a lot about how I suck at series and how I really feel like I have all these loose ends hanging about because of all the series I’ve never finished. At the time I wrote my Loose Ends post I had 49 series that I started and that number has ONLY grown and my ratio of FINISHED books is abysmal still. There’s a lot of reasons WHY I suck at series/am in the middle of so many but we aren’t going to talk about that today.

No, today what I want to do is get my crap together and list out ALL the series that I’m currently in the middle of and prioritize and make it a point to finish them. I’d also like to drop at least 5 series. I’d love to do this with YOUR help. I’m hoping this will help motivate me having them all listed out here and I can start tackling them in a methodical way!

 

All The Books Are Out & I Still Haven’t Finished But PLAN TO

 

Divergent series by Veronica Roth (read Divergent, own the other two)
Something Strange & Deadly by Susan Dennard (read & LOVED Something Strange & Deadly, own the other two)
Legend series by Marie Lu (read & loved Legend and Prodigy)
Harry Potter by JK Rowling (read book 1…shhhh I know)
Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead (read book 1)
The Grisha trilogy by Leigh Bardugo (read Shadow & Bone)
Jessica Darling series by Megan McCafferty (Read the first 3 books, own the last two)
The Summer I Turned Pretty series by Jenny Han (Read The Summer I Turned Pretty, just got book #2 from library)
The Girl Of Fire & Thorn series by Rae Carson (Read Girl of Fire Of Thorn, own the last 2)
The Fury trilogy by Elizabeth Miles (Read Fury and Envy, need to read last)
The Body Finder series by Kimberly Derting (Read all but the last book)
Shade series by Jeri Smith-Ready (read Shade, own Shift)
The Chemical Garden series by Lauren DeStefano (read Wither and Fever, need to read Sever)
Flappers series by Jillian Larkin (read Vixen and Ingenue, need to read last one)
The Millenium series by Stieg Larsson (read The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo)
Crank trilogy by Ellen Hopkins (read Crank, own Glass)
The Night Trilogy by Ellie Wiesel (read Night, didn’t know it was a trilogy so must read next two)

Not All Books Are Out Yet But I Plan To Finish

 

 

Throne of Glass series by Sarah J. Maas (all caught up)
The Winner’s Curse series by Marie Rutkoski (read The Winner’s Curse which is all that is out right now)
The Blackcoat Rebellion series by Aimee Carter (read Pawn which is all that is out right now)
Starbound series by Amie Kaufman & Megan Spooner (read These Broken Stars, coveting book 2)
The 5th Wave series by Rick Yancey (read The 5th Wave, drooled over book 2 ARCs on Rick’s Twitter)
The Colors of Madeleine series by Jaclyn Moriarty (Read A Corner of White, own second book)
The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer (only read Cinder, need to catch up on Scarlet and Cress)
Also Known As by Robin Benway (read Also Known As, have second)
The Madman’s Daughter by Megan Shephard (read The Madman’s Daughter, have second)
The Raven Cycle by Maggie Stiefvater (read The Raven Boys, have second)
The Mara Dyer series by Michelle Hodkin (read The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer, need to pick up second)
Seeds of America series by Laure Halse Anderson (read Chains, own second)

 

Series I Don’t Know If I Want To Finish Or Not

 

Gone series by Michael Grant
(if you read my review I explain my indecision after reading book 1)

The Mortal Instruments series by Cassie Clare
(I didn’t love the first book but I didn’t hate it…I kind of WANT to know but that’s a big investment into a long series that seems to never end)

So Close To You series by Rachel Carter
(I enjoyed book 1..and then I found out it was part of James Frey’s packaging company and I feel so conflicted now because I liked it and the author is lovely)

Eve trilogy by Anna Carey
(this was a page-turner of a first book but I didn’t LOVE it)

Darkness Rising series by Kelley Armstrong
( I liked the first book but just never got around to book 2..don’t remember what happened really)

Uglies series by Scott Westerfeld
(I read book 1 so long ago..well before I read YA..and I don’t know if it was my attitude toward YA or what. It was an interesting world!)

Find Me series by Romily Bernard
( I liked book 1 enough but I’m not like OH YEAH OMG NEED TO KNOW WHAT HAPPENS)

Series I’m Pretty Sure I Don’t Want To Finish…Seriously I Think We Are Done

 

 

Nightshade series by Andrea Cremer
(read it so long ago honestly…wasn’t ever compelled to move forward)

The Ward series by Jordanna Frankel
(So much potential but DID NOT LIKE)

Eve & Adam by Michael Grant and Katherine Applegate
( I don’t even know if there is more books but Goodreads makes it look like yes. Regardless I will NOT be reading them because I did not like this book at all).

The Innocents series by Lili Peloquin
(didn’t love book 1)

Starcrossed series by Josephine Angelini
( I read it so long ago and wasn’t IN LOVE.)

Percy Jackson series by Rick Riordan
(I KNOW YOU GUYS WILL HATE ME but I just didn’t care after two books?)

Sookie Stackhouse series by Charlaine Harris
( I read the first two books and they were fun but it’s been SO LONG)

Angel Star series by Jennifer Murgia
(Enjoyed book one but SO LONG AGO I have no idea and I don’t feel compelled to reread)

A Need So Beautiful series by Suzanne Young
(Super enjoyed book 1 but I heard the rest of series wasn’t worth it from a superfan friend and also it’s been YEARS since I read it.)

Duologies I Want To Finish

 

The Program by Suzanne Young
The Darlings Are Forever by Melissa Kantor
The Memory Chronicles by Lenore Applehans (sad this isn’t going to be a trilogy anymore!)
Kingdom of Xia by Cindy Pon (I totally don’t remember what happened though)
Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli (I never knew it was a duology until I started blogging!)
The Rosie Project by Graeme Simison (can’t wait for The Rosie Effect)
To All The Boys by Jenny Han (DYING FOR THE COMPANION)
Pivot Point by Kasie West (obsessed with this book, can’t wait to read Split Second)
Ashes by Melissa Walker
In The After by Demetria Lunetta (dying to know what happens!!)
Nantucket Blue by Leila Howland
Not A Drop To Drink by Mindy McGinnis
(this book was a GREAT standalone but I won’t deny myself more time with this world!)
The Rules For Disappearing by Ashley Elston

Duologies I’m Not Sure I Want To Finish

Little Blue Envelopes by Maureen Johnson (I just didn’t love it at all.)

Romance series

 

I put them in their own category since most of them don’t need to be read in order.

Bridgerton’s series by Julia Quinn (read The Duke and I)
Serendipity series by Carly Phillips (I didn’t LOVE Serendipity but I might try out another one)
Lucky Harbor series by Jill Shalvis (Really enjoyed Simply Irresistible and I plan to move forward!)
Rusk University series by Cora Carmack (All Lined Up was really enjoyable, can’t wait for more!)
Pushing The Limits series  by Katie McGarry (I LIKED Pushing The Limits but didn’t LOVE it the way others did..but I think I’d like to read on!)

<< Okay so what I need from YOU>>

*Out of the series I plan to finish, let me know which one you think I need to prioritize FIRST — whether it’s a series that’s complete now or one that I need to catch up even if they aren’t all out.
*Help me decide which ones I should drop out of my “not sure” and “pretty sure I can part with” list!

Also, let’s talk: do you struggle with keeping up with series? How many are you in the middle of?

Ten Books That Tackle Bullying

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

This week’s topic: Ten Books I’d Recommend To Readers Who Haven’t Read YA Dealing With Bullying

 

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This Song Will Save Your Life by Leila Sales: THIS BOOK. It’s one of my all time favorite books of last year and it’s pretty high up there in general for me. Elise is one of the most memorable characters I’ve encountered in a long time and her story just completely left a lasting mark on my heart.

Some Girls Are by Courtney Summers: Mean Girls has NOTHING on this book when it comes to real mean girl antics! I devoured this book in one afternoon!

Hate List by Jennifer Brown: What a tough read centered around a girl whose boyfriend shoots up their school and she is forced to go back and is completely ostracized because everyone thinks she was in on the plan.

Tease by Amanda Maciel: This was an interesting book because the POV was from the girl who WAS the bully. If you like a challenging read, THIS IS IT!
If I Lie by Corrine Jackson: This book is one of the most underrated books I’ve read in a while and it’s FANTASTIC. The main character is bullied and slut-shamed and she could SO EASILY MAKE IT STOP but that would mean telling a secret that wasn’t hers to tell. I highly recommend this one!

Speechless by Hannah Harrington: I don’t want to say much about WHY this bullying happens and why she decides to take a vow of silence which makes her a bigger target but I LOVED THIS BOOK SO MUCH!

Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell: This book is one of my all time favorite books and my heart still aches for Eleanor long after I finished this book. The bullying she endures makes me sick.

By The Time You Read This I’ll Be Dead by Julie Ann Peters: MY HEART. This teeny tiny book was lethal. The main character deals with bullying and more and she has made plans to kill herself.

Thousand Words by Jennifer Brown: A sexting scandal + the aftermath for the main character!

#scandal by Sarah Ockler: I didn’t LOVE this one but I’d still recommend it if you are wanting to read a book where the bullying also happens online.

 

 

So tell me…what books would you recommend that deal with bullying to some degree? Have you read any of the ones I recommended? Are you interested in any that I listed?

Book Talk: #Scandal by Sarah Ockler

Book Talk: #Scandal by Sarah Ockler#Scandal by Sarah Ockler
Publisher/Year: Simon Pulse- June 17, 2014
Genres: Contemporary YA
Format: eARC
Source: For Review
Other Books From Author: Twenty Boy Summer, The Book of Broken Hearts, Bittersweet, Fixing Delilah

 
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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

Lucy’s best friend Ellie begs her to go to prom as her boyfriend’s date when she becomes sick before prom. Lucy doesn’t want to because she’s not really into the social scene and would rather stay in and play her zombie video game but she does it for Ellie. Even though it’s a bit uncomfortable for her because, unbeknownst to anyone, Lucy has been in love with Cole before Ellie started dating him. And then Lucy and Cole end up kissing which was bittersweet and, before Lucy can even figure out what to do, someone uploads picture proof the betrayal along with incriminating pictures of others at the party on to Lucy’s Facebook. Everyone assumes Lucy did it and nobody will give her a chance to explain and she’s immediately branded as a rat, a slut, a horrible friend and more. Lucy knows her only chance for things to get better is to find who took those pictures and uploaded them and hope Ellie will forgive her.

a2I’m so glad that I was too old to see this cell phone/social media culture in high school. Our phones were bricks and texting was just getting to be a big thing.

a4I’m so conflicted and it breaks my heart to be because SARAH OCKLER. It was an intriguing enough read to keep reading but it did not blow me away like the books I’ve read and LOVED from her — The Book of Broken Hearts and Twenty Boy Summer. The magic that those two, ESPECIALLY The Book of Broken Hearts, had for me kind of lacked in #Scandal unfortunately!

What worked for me:

1. The subject matter: I’m so intrigued by this social media/internet, smartphone obsessed culture –especially how people are now growing up WITH IT. As a teen I begun to be introduced to the texting and all that but I didn’t grow UP with it because it was just becoming a THING so I’m always so curious about how this young generation is affected by it especially in relation to gossip, bullying, how they relate to one another and that kind of stuff. I was intrigued watching how this whole scandal played out via social media and also how they used in ways to “solve” the mystery.

2. How the “mystery” unfolded: There is a bit of a mystery (complete with VERONICA MARS references and banter) to find out WHO was the person who took the pictures that were uploaded for everyone to see on Lucy’s account and started all the scandal. I think THIS is what kept me turning the pages even when I wasn’t connecting to Lucy is that I so desperately wanted to know who did it and why.

3. I appreciated some of the thoughts about how we use social media and the internet as well as how we see other people: Now there was this (e)VIL group who was completely tech-free and while they were silly in some ways they had some good points. They were entertaining and I appreciated how thought-provoking it actually was. And I loved how we see Lucy see these people who she’s overlooked or written off in a different way.

What didn’t seem to work for me:

1. I really didn’t find Lucy compelling really at all: All the other Sarah Ockler books I’ve read I’ve REALLY connected to the main character and cared for them so much but in this situation I cared more about the plot and the secondary characters than I did the main character. In my head it’s like, “Poor girl. Nobody deserves to be bullied” but my heart didn’t really feel much anguish over her plight. I just wasn’t invested and I don’t really know what it was. I don’t mind a difficult main character as you know, so even though what she did to her best friend was HARD for me, that wasn’t really it. It was more like I just found her bland and not this vivid character that she was kind of being painted to be and how her response to the bullying was written it almost made me feel like it was such a minor annoyance more than something that hurt her. I couldn’t tell if it was her defense mechanism to seem like she didn’t care but it didn’t transfer to me as the reader to care much.

2. There were some really great characters besides Lucy but sometimes I felt there were too many and they all didn’t get the development they deserved: There were a lot of other characters that we were introduced to and that all became tangled in this with Lucy and I found myself so intrigued with some of them and others had great potential that never came through. We had Lucy’s sister who I didn’t care for, the (e)VIL group who I found fascinating though sometimes outlandish, Franklin (who I loved!!), the two best friends, a foreign exchange guy who liked Lucy and even more. There are people who are “suspects” and I get how they wouldn’t be fleshed out as well but some of the others I wanted MORE from who fell a little flat.

3. The romance never did anything for me: It wasn’t even HOW the romance happened. It was just that I didn’t find them all that compelling considering that they both loved each other for forever. I wasn’t NOT rooting for them but I wasn’t all I SHIP THIS. He was also kind of a flat character as well. I actually thought the romance was going to go in a different direction than it did, that maybe I would have been MORE interested in, but alas it did not.

 

a6
RATING-OKAY
factors+ plot & how it drew me in, interesting discussions about social media and how we use it, a couple great minor characters
- lack of feelings toward Lucy, not enough fleshing out of other characters, romance

Re-readability: Nope but I now I’m itching for a re-read of The Book of Broken Hearts because THAT is my favorite of hers.
Would I buy a copy for my collection? No.

a5fans of books that deal with social media/cyber-bulling, Sarah Ockler fans who want to read all her books

a8Sad times infinity. I have LOVED Sarah Ockler’s books in the past so I’m really sad that this one wasn’t in the LOVE/FAVORITE category the way her other books were for me. I have to care about the character’s story/feel really invested in things to really like it and that just wasn’t the case here. Intriguing plot that kept me reading but I really didn’t feel much towards it from start to finish.

 

review-on-post-it

#scandal by sarah ockler

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, is it something on your radar or that you think you will read?
* Have you read Sarah Ockler’s books before and, if so, what was your favorite??
* Were you surprised about who stole the phone and took the pics? (I wasn’t)
* How did you feel about the romance?


The Perpetual Page-Turner

You may also like:

Book Talk: Thousand Words by Jennifer Brown
Book Talk: Speechless by Hannah Harrington
Book Talk: Going Vintage by Lindsey Leavitt
Book Talk: This Song Will Save Your Life by Leila Sales

I Conquered A Thing — July 2014 Rewind! (GET IT GIRL!)

Image From This Month

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With Sarah J. Maas and Susan Dennard at the Color Run!

JULY In One Word

BLUR
Seriously how did July fly by??

 

5 Things About My Life In July:

1. I conquered the Color Run: I’ve mentioned YA Runs A 5K and that was this month! I was really nervous about it because the one other 5K I did was NOT VERY GOOD FOR ME (10 degrees out and I only ran 2 times in preparation after a lifetime of being lazy) It was a great event with a mix of authors and bloggers! I was proud of how much I had run and, while I still don’t particularly like running, I felt really good about it and might continue to run a couple times a week! It was also fun because my pals Alexa and Elena came to stay with me!

2. I survived a week watching the nieces — So my sister got married at the end of June as you might know and they went on the honeymoon and our gift to them was watching the babies for a week. The two boys stayed at my dad’s and then Will and I had the girls — ages 10 months, 2 1/2, 7 and 16. It was a really good week to be able to spend time with them and it was NOT as difficult as I thought it would be. I thought the baby would be a mess without mom and I thought Genevieve would living up to the terrible twos like she does for my sis. But NOPE good behavior!!

3. I found a new favorite ice cream place: I HAVE a favorite ice cream place but it’s in downtown Philly and I’m not trekking there for ice cream on a normal day. The ice cream places seem to be limited in our area (WAH SO MISSING THE ONE NEAR WHERE I USED TO LIVE) but we finally tried this place that we’ve eaten at a couple times and it was delish. Not the BEST ice cream but now when I’m craving ice cream we can go there instead of buying it at the store because there’s no ice cream places we like.

4. I read Isla and the Happily Ever After– !!!!!! If you know me you know how long I’ve been waiting for that book and how happy I am!!

5. Will had his first week at the new job: He got a new job last month and he started the week after we watched the nieces. It seems to be going well for him and it’s definitely a better situation for us now!

 

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

I put all my Monthly Rewinds In a Spotify playlist so you can listen to them here now ! I also have a July playlist filled with other AWESOME songs that wouldn’t fit on here….seriously this might be my favorite playlist yet.

 

 

1. Start Again by Bishop Allen (I discovered their first album Charm School my freshman year in college (2004) and it was my most listened to album for sure. Happy to listen to some new stuff from them!)

2.  I Got Your Back by Paul Otten (One of his songs also made this list last November — really loving his music!)

3. Mother & Father by Broods (I have been obsessed with them this year! Every new single has been a LOVE for me)

4. Battles by Hudson Taylor

5. Disappear by Seryn

6. Brighter Days by Saint Raymond

 Honorable Mentions: Thirteen Sad Farewells by Stu Larsen, Are You Behind The Shining Star by Trampled By Turtles, From Eden by Hozier, Like A River Runs by Bleachers ( their whole album has been on repeat as I mentioned in my New To The Queue post this month..their singles have dominated this list each month so I figured I’d leave them off), This Is The Place by Sam Brookes, Feel by Bombay Bicycle Club, Tonight (Young Hearts) by The Colourist

Follow my JULY playlist

 

 

Top 3 Books I Read This Month:

I read 8 books this month which surprised me but then didn’t because I did some good pool side reading!

1. Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas — Is it surprising to you I have something that ISN’T contemporary on this list?? I read Throne of Glass during Memorial Day weekend and this month I decided it was time to binge read CoM & HoF. As I type this I’m close to being done with HoF!
2. Let’s Get Lost by Adi Alsaid – Road trip book!! And very thought-provoking!
3. Isla & the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins: I so loved this one!! I have one issue with it, which I’ll share when I review it, but it didn’t really diminish my love for it if that makes sense!!

 

Most Popular Review This Month

Brazen by Katherine Longshore

Historical fiction for the win! You guys should definitely check out Brazen by Katherine Longshore!!

 

 

Most Popular 5 Blog Posts Overall This Month

1. How Do YOU Define A Spoiler?– This was SUCH a great discussion and I’m STILL responding to comments because it was that awesome of a discussion. Verdict: Spoilers are so subjective but do the best we can not to be asses about it!
2. What Is A Bookworm To Do??– In which I have a bookish dilemma and you enable me!
3. Top 10 Of My All Time FAVORITE Movies: It was so fun to talk about movies I love!
4.True Life: I Think I’m A Creep: Oh you guys I love you and that you let me know I’m almost normal. Maybe a little past that line but almost normal.
5. 10 Classics I Need To Read : I’m actually really craving to read a classic after making this post! Going to make some time this Fall I think and you helped me prioritize!

 

 

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

I’ve been quiet on the Youtubes this month. I haven’t felt like filming but I have two videos I still need to edit and put up. Balancing both has been HARD this month. I was all gung ho…but now I seem to not have time!

3 New Obsessions In July

1. Sprouted Kitchen blogWe’ve already made some things from this blog but LOVE!! And I love her pictures!
2. My new dresses: I finally did some shopping after scraping money together to save for the past couple months and YAY NEW DRESSES!

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3. My new blender: WE LOVE SMOOTHIES but lazy Jamie is lazy sometimes. I was so sick of cleaning our blender out all the time but we just got this blender and it has individual cups that you use to blend it! So now I’m not washing out the blender AND a cup. Just the cup and the blade attaches so it’s SUPER easy to use! I’ve been making smoothies pretty much every day!

 

3 Things I’m Looking Forward To In August

1. Family reunion in Maryland: I will be there when this post goes live but I’m really excited for this weekend — see some family, do some crabbing, EAT some crabs and it will just be nice to be away!
2. My baby sister coming to visit: She’s bringing her new boyfriend and I’m so excited to meet him and hang out with them!
3. Hershey Park!! Will’s old company always did a day at Hershey Park and we are still going even though he doesn’t work there anymore. Excited to ride some rollercoasters!
Adding number 4: IF I STAY MOVIE COMING OUT!!!!!! If you have read If I Stay, do that before the movie!!

Favorite Quote From A Book I Read In July

From  Everything Leads to You by Nina LaCour ( I think this SO applies to books too!)

“We love films because they makes us feel something. They speak to our desires, which are never small. They allow us to escape and to dream and to gaze into the eyes that are impossibly beautiful and huge. They fill us with longing. But also. they tell us to remember; they remind us of life. Remember, they say, how much it hurts to have your heart broken.”


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

1. Hannah’s post on cultivating a curiosity for stories: This post was pure perfection. I wanted to comment on it but I was like I HAVE NO WORDS. I got goosebumps when I read it because this is how I feel!

2. Thou Shalt Determine A Thing’s Importance By How Easily It Can Be MeasuredI LOVED THIS. This was just a general LIFE post that really spoke to me but I was really thinking about how this applies really well to blogging. It’s easy to put the worth in these things that can be measured but they don’t really tell of something’s value and importance and aren’t the whole picture.

3. You’re Standing Where The Grass Is Greener: This could not be more true!! I needed this reminder as I’m really trying to work on embracing where I am in life.

4. For The Pursuit of Happiness: I loved this post from Jess and it made me reflect quite a bit. I am always a person who feels like I have to justify something I do but why can it not simply be for the pursuit of happiness?

5. Meg’s post about sex positive YA: I really loved this post and so respect Meg for sharing her experience. This is a REALLY great post!! (also, there are some really great suggestions of sex positive YA in the comments but I’d love to hear any books you think I will particularly love that are sex positive!)

6. Maggie’s post on how she has no desire to own a lot of books: She is surely in the minority in this community and I loved her thoughts because I’ve always been a bit of a minimalist when it came to books I keep after reading them but my book buying habits have also changed during my time of unemployment.

 

 

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

 

August 2014 Most Wanted Books

I know I always highlight upcoming releases in my Catalog Creepin’ posts but typically those are far off when the catalog just comes out. I wanted to highlight the books I’m excited about/intrigued about that I think you should be looking at, too! I change my categories at random! You can find old Most Wanted posts here.

 

Man, it’s been a couple months since I’ve showed you all what I was excited about for each month and think should be on YOUR radar as well! May through July was CRAZY and something had to give…this post ended up being one of those things haha.

 

A YA Retelling

Of Metal and Wishes Sarah Fine

Of Metal & Wishes by Sarah Fine
Factors for wanting it: It showed up in the mail and I had never heard of it. I’ve been on a little fantasy binge with the Sarah J. Maas so I’m excited — a gothic re-imagining of The Phantom of the Opera!! UM YEAH.
Amazon | Goodreads

 

 

2 Contemporary YA Picks

contemporary-YA-august-2014

Magnolia by Kristi Cook
Factors for wanting it: Set in the South! Southern royalty! Romance! But not just a romance…a romance where they start out hating each other!
Amazon | Goodreads

Random by Tom Leveen Factors for wanting it: I love interactions with strangers that change your life and in this case it’s a stranger saying he won’t kill himself if she gives one good reason for him not to kill himself! I also really want to know what Tori did before this call happens! Very excited this one was sent for review because I had been eying it!!
Amazon | Goodreads

A Companion to A Novel I’ve Previously Read

Just Call My Name

Just Call My Name by Holly Goldberg Sloan
Factors for wanting it: I loved I’ll Be There and this is a companion novel to that. I think it was sooo underrated and I’m excited to dive into my copy soon!
Amazon | Goodreads

 


2 Adult Fiction Picks

adult-romance-2014-august

Shelter Me by Catherine Mann
Factors for Wanting It: DOG ON THE COVER! Romance (not with the dog)! Main character works at an animal shelter!
Amazon | Goodreads

Driving With The Top Down by Beth Harbison
Factors for Wanting It: Road trip of unlikely characters! Friendship! Secrets!
Amazon | Goodreads

A Horror Pick

The Girl From The Well

 Factors For Wanting It: It sounds mega creepy!! SERIOUSLY.
Amazon | Goodreads

 

August Releases I Have Read:

Isla and the Happily Ever After

!!!!!! FINALLY !!!!!
Did you know I’m hosting a readalong for Anna, Lola and Isla with some friends ps??

 

 

So guys, which ones have you read? Which ones are you excited for? What are some other August releases you are looking forward to or have read that I don’t have on here? And for the love of puppies, please tell me which ones I should read FIRST out of these?

 

You may also enjoy:

There are affiliate links in this post wherein if you purchase through them I receive a small commission which helps me do giveaways and keep this blog up. So, if I compelled you to buy a book and you’d like to purchase through my affiliate link I’d be super grateful!

Book Talk: Little Mercies by Heather Gudenkauf

Book Talk: Little Mercies by Heather GudenkaufLittle Mercies by Heather Gudenkauf
Publisher/Year: Harlequin- June 2014
Genres: Adult Contemporary
Format: ARC
Source: For Review
Other Books From Author: The Weight of Silence, These Things Hidden, One Breath Away,

 
AmazonGoodreadsTwitter

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

 

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

A1
Ellen is a social worker and an advocate for children who has seen some PRETTY awful things — neglect, abuse and just pure evil. She finds herself fulfilled in protecting these children and tries to balance her career with her husband and children. On a day where her attention is elsewhere she finds herself on the other side of her job as her daughter’s life is in jeopardy and her role as a mother could be shaken up. At the same time, a little girl named Jenny finds her way into Ellen’s life. Jenny’s on her own because of some decisions her father made and she isn’t sure she wants to go home…at least not without finding out what she came for.

a2This would make a great book club book! (It even prompted this post!)

a41. I love how this took a issue that has been in the news and humanized it: I don’t want to say what the THING is because I want you to be as surprised as I was with how the events unfolded. I’ll just say it’s something that has been in the news and I’ve seen heated debates over. It’s easy to say these statements about the situation but as you read the story you find yourself sympathetic (at least I did) to the main character because I know it’s something that could happen to me easily. It’s those split second moments that change things and I felt the gravity of her situation. I found it was good to read this one because I am SO quick to judge when I see things.  Would be SUCH a good book for book club!

2. I couldn’t put it down at all: I had to know how it was going to turn out for both storylines. I was reading it furiously at the pool. There’s enough drama and tense situation that it’s easy to get caught up in. Ellen is being looked at like the very parents SHE has to investigate in her job as a social worker and I honestly loved seeing her perception of her clients change in some ways as she navigates the same system they have.

3. It was SUCH an emotional book: You know those books where you can just FEEL that punched in the gut feeling the character does? That was me with Ellen. I really felt for her and it was AGONIZING emotionally to see how everything played out for her. And then, the other story with Jenny, really got me too. I loved the interactions between Jenny and Ellen’s mom and I just felt those warm and fuzzies. There’s just a lot of emotional family related things going on in this book and they struck a chord with me. I think also it was emotional to me because you watch Ellen have to endure all this and it’s the biggest wakeup call of her life…and sometimes it’s sad that we don’t get that wakeup call until something serious happens.

4. While I enjoyed it, I found it to be pretty predictable and some things were of the “isn’t THAT convenient” variety: I wouldn’t say the fact that it was pretty predictable put a damper on how much I enjoyed the novel but I didn’t feel like it surprised me at all. It was more the heavy coincidences that put a little bit of a damper on it — the stories tied together a little TOO neatly and full circle for my personal taste. A little contrived in a sense?

 

a6RATING-LIKED

factors+ plot, enjoyability, emotional connection, well written, how absorbed I was
- little predictable, some situations feeling contrived/too convenient

Re-readability: Probably not!
Would I buy a copy for my collection? No, sadly because it wasn’t a favorite or one I’d reread, but I’d recommend it as a book club read?

a5people looking for a good book club book, people who like fiction that take relevant topics from the media and humanize it, people who generally like women’s fiction,

a8I found myself absorbed with this one at the pool! It takes a story that always breaks my heart from the news and really adds this human element to it where things aren’t always so black and white. You’ll feel yourself conflicted and challenged to shift your snap judgments or at least that’s what happened to me. This book was a read that gripped me from the moment the LIFE CHANGING MOMENT happened and didn’t let go until I knew the conclusion.

 

review-on-post-it

little-mercies-heather-gudenkauf

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, is it something on your radar or that you think you will read?
*Have you read any other Heather Gudenkauf books? I have another one of hers that I’m excited to start!
* How did you feel about Ellen and what happened? Do you think it was the right call in the end?
* On a personal note, did you relate to her with how easy it is to get caught up in life and not pay attention? I’ve never had something like that but I’m a person who is very much like Ellen in the beginning of this book.


The Perpetual Page-Turner

 

Reading WOE.

heiroffire

 

I have a reading woe.

It’s DAMN hard to read big books!!

As a mostly contemporary reader, I’m not used to reading super big books! And I know 565 pages is NOT that long but reading Heir of Fire makes me feel like I’m lifting weights. I’m telling you, this book is heavy! Most of my contemporary books are not this heavy. I will tell you that.

Am I the only one who has a hard time physically reading thick books?? Heir of Fire particularly is tricky because it’s heavy AND oversized in length so I’m all awkward with my hands try to hold it. I feel like I should have trained or worked out in preparation. I just don’t know what to do. Figuring out how to hold this book has been a VERRRYY SERIOUS PROBLEM.

I will change my position like seventy billion times because my chicken arms start shaking. Will laughed at me over the weekend when I was trying to read this because I tried everything — propping it, doing some weird sort of pretzel-y leg thing, laying on my stomach, holding it over my face which resulted in dropping it on my poor little mug and many more positions that I can’t even begin to tell you. Move over Kama Sutra, I’m going to write the most important guide ever — the guide to reading positions.

HIbKQVjexcept add a book in my hands…

The worst part of this is that I just want to read Heir of Fire for long periods of time because it’s so interesting and good but MY BODY IS FAILING ME and I physically cannot. I have to let my arms chill out for a bit. And now I’m looking at my shelf and I have a few books that are bigger than Heir of Fire. This scares me. I’m either going to have to start lifting weights to build up arm strength or boycott enormous books because MY ARMS ARE TIRED.

weak_arms-M0ctRf
Silly reading woe aside, I’m loving Heir of Fire and I have to say that it’s a nice experience to be immersed in a HUGE book. I’m used to being able to easily knock out a lot of contemporary books in a day or two if I have time but it’s a fun experience to be in this world for a few days and really FEEL the world and the story. I can’t read it quickly so I’m enjoying and savoring it and I think, at least for me, fantasy kind of works better that way….that all consuming immersion into the world and characters. I thought my attention span wouldn’t let me enjoy it (this is why I tend not to binge read series) but I’m totally into it even coming off Crown of Midnight right before!
And, really, at the end of the day at least I know I will have super sculpted arms? Who said working out couldn’t be fun?

lets-talk
Do you have a hard time reading heavy/large/abnormally shaped books? If you are a pro, I NEED TIPS! What’s the thickest book you’ve ever read?? Do you LIKE reading long books or do you prefer to read shorter ones?

Top Ten Authors I Own The Most Books Of

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

This week’s topic: Top Ten Authors I Own The Most Books Of

Okay so this topic was probably not suited to me for TWO reasons:

1) You know how I am about what stays on my shelves  (I might have owned more books by more authors at some point but they might have left my shelf)
2) I read like I’m at a buffet…meaning I read A LOT from different authors. Always sampling from different authors rather than reading from the same authors…unless they are favorites.

I also had a LOT of authors that I had like 2 or 3 books from! Especially because a lot of the authors I read just got published in the last couple years so that’s all they have out. Plus I have some trilogies (Cynthia Hand, Tahereh Mafi, etc). Also, I wanted to take a real live picture of these books but I realized A LOT of them are out on loan haha.

THE COUNT

TTTuesday

The Observations/Some Thoughts

Megan McCafferty: I own the whole Jessica Darling series and her Bumped and Thumped books. Also I have arcs of the Jessica Darling prequel but I didn’t count those or my number would be 9.

Jodi Picoult: This is hilarious because I have not read a single Jodi Picoult novel in my life (she’s among 9 other super popular authors I’ve NEVER read) but I bought 1 at a used book sale and then like 5 years ago some women I used to work with knew I liked to read and was like HERE IS A BAG OF BOOKS FOR YOU…they were all Jodi books.

Gayle Forman: No surprise to anyone here? I own If I Stay and Where She Went. Plus 2 copies of Just One Day (which you know is a big deal because I RARELY own two copies of one book) and a copy of Just One Year. OH CRAP technically I realize I also own Just One Night on my Kindle so SIX. Dammit I already made the graphic.

E. Lockhart: I own the whole whole Ruby Oliver series which I have NOT YET READ. Major fail. I still don’t own a copy of We Were Liars and I listened to Frankie Landau-Banks on audio but I feel like I might buy a copy soon.

David Levithan: In doing this I realized I don’t own a copy of Every Day which WUT WHY NOT? But then I realized I read that as a library book. And then I panicked because I remember someone has my copy of The Lover’s Dictionary and I can’t remember who so making this list actually caused great distress. WHERE IS MY COPY?? I know I own it but WHERE IS IT? And why do I not own Will Grayson, Will Grayson?? I audiobooked it but I think I need to own it.

Jane Austen: This didn’t actually surprise me at all! The next classic author I owned the most of was Hemingway with 3 books.

Rainbow Rowell: You know an author is a favorite if I own all their books. Rainbow is that kind of author for me. It would be 5 if you could my arc of Fangirl that I just can’t seem to part with…it’s signed but I never really keep arcs. BUT RAINBOW.

Lauren Oliver: The Delirium series and Before I Fall — that one I still haven’t read. I also have an ARC of Rooms but I didn’t count that.

John Green: I own Looking For Alaska (signed and my favorite out of all his books), The Fault In Our Stars, Paper Towns and An Abundance of Katherines (signed).

Morgan Matson: I had a BUNCH of authors I had 3 books for but I could only add one to the list so I decided to say Morgan Matson because she’s a favorite and any time I can mention Morgan is a good day. LOVE HER BOOKS!

 

 

So tell me…what authors do you own the most of?? Are there any authors you own A LOT of books from but haven’t read them (Like me with Jodi!!)

Monday Mini-Reviews…AKA Summer Time Makes Jamie LAAAAZY.

I’ve got quite a backlog of books to talk about so I figured I’d do mini-reviews for 3 books I’ve read this summer! It’s hard to get my act together in the summer so this seemed like a good idea to me!

 

A Really Awesome Mess Trish Cook

A Really Awesome Mess by Trish Cook & Brendan Halpin
July 23, 2013 – Egmont USA
I received this for review consideration — this in no way influenced my opinion.

I LIKED this one in but I expected to love it MORE than I did. I tend to love books that feature unlikely friendships/rag-tag group of people who are kind of forced to come together. I loved the circumstances in which these teens had to come together — being sent to this boarding school that deal with “issues” like suicide, anger, eating disorders, etc. I enjoyed getting to know the main characters and seeing them work through their issues while learning to lean on each other. It was SUPER funny and I loved some of the banter in this group that was thrown together because of a class in which they needed to learn to work together/depend on each other to get something they wanted. There were some emotional moments in their journey but it didn’t quite come altogether for me where I really felt super invested. I liked what it was but it needed more to be GREAT for me and really leave its mark. (Goodreads // Amazon)

 
RATING-LIKED

 

 

18404113

Complicit by Stephanie Kuehn
June 24, 2014 — St. Martin’s Griffin
I received this for review consideration — this in no way impacted my opinions.

This is one where I must have completely missed something because everyone told me how amazing it was and how SHOCKING it was. And not a thing shocked me. I guessed everything. And I just wasn’t feeling it. Despite my mixed feelings, I was really impressed with the writing and how Stephanie was able to really reel you in with this sense of mystery about what Jamie’s sister did and the truth about their past. It was very controlled and precise and I loved how truly she was able to slowly make you feel like something sinister or not right was going on….all the way to the very last page. However, despite all that, it all seemed obvious to me and I could have lived with that had I not been kind of bored in a way. So in the end I kept thinking MAN I was hoping to be blown away but I sadly wasn’t. I’m definitely going to give Charm & Strange a try but this one sadly didn’t do much for me. I wanted to be SHOCKED but I was sadly not and altogether kind of bored despite her writing and the impressive way she could spin this mystery and make this an interesting psychological thriller-ish novel. (Goodreads // Amazon)

 

RATING-mixed

 

 

A Girl Called Fearless Catherine Lanka

A Girl Called Fearless by Catherine Linka
May 6, 2014 — St. Martin’s Griffin
I received this for review consideration — this in no way influenced my opinions.

MAN, I’m conflicted with this one. I had a WHOLE review written about it trying to explain my crazy feelings but in the end I scrapped it because it was just too confusing. About a week after I wrote it I came across THIS review that seriously took the jumble that was my brain and SO ACCURATELY described all that I was mixed on which kind of prompted me to scrap my own rambling thoughts so go read that if you are curious. I LOVED the premise of this one (scary because it was so plausible in a way) and that it was a standalone dystopian. I was hooked from the start because the society was so fascinating and unique plus it really brought a lot to the table in terms of talking about gender and power.  There was SO MUCH GOOD in this one but then it fell apart in ways as it went on and I wanted MORE from it — in how I felt towards it and some pivotal areas when it came to building this world that had all the makings to make this an AMAZING book. I read it very quickly and kept turning the pages especially as the danger heightened but I finished being like, “Sigh I wish I could have known this” or “I don’t get quite get this or “I wish this part would have given more explanation to build a stronger world for me.”  (Goodreads // Amazon)

RATING-OKAY

 

 

Have you read any of these? Interested in any of these? I’d love to hear your thoughts if you’ve read them!!

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