September To-Be-Read List!

I didn’t have time to post a September Most Wanted at the end of August/beginning of September like I wanted to! Just know there are LOTS of September releases so I probably wouldn’t have ever finished it EVER. So I apologize for not having a nice list of September releases for you to check out BUT I did film a video of which books I’m prioritizing for September and a good chunk of those are September releases. So are we sort of friends again??

Let me know if you’ve read any of these/which one should be my TOP priority!

Cover Reveal: This Song Will Save Your Life PAPERBACK edition!!

If you followed my blog last year or saw my end of year favorites list, you will know that This Song Will Save Your Life by Leila Sales was one of my FAVORITE books of last year and definitely one of my all time favorite contemporary YA books ever.

IT IS SO GOOD YOU GUYS.

What It Is About:

“Making friends has never been Elise Dembowski’s strong suit. All throughout her life, she’s been the butt of every joke and the outsider in every conversation. When a final attempt at popularity fails, Elise nearly gives up. Then she stumbles upon a warehouse party where she meets Vicky, a girl in a band who accepts her; Char, a cute, yet mysterious disc jockey; Pippa, a carefree spirit from England; and most importantly, a love for DJing.”

Some things I said about it in my review:

“Its spirit pulses from the pages, goes right through to your veins and reverberates in your soul — a feeling reminiscent of any great concert or night out dancing where your ears are still buzzing and the music still pounds within you as you drift off to sleep.”

“Heartbreaking at times, honest and inspiring you to realize that you don’t necessarily have to CHANGE to find yourself but you just have to see those perceived weaknesses or quirks as your strength and learn to be comfortable in your skin.”

“I’m not going to lie. Leila Sales had her work cut out for her to convince me that “teenage DJ” wasn’t going to be super corny. I will tell you that she successfully proved me wrong and I felt like I was walking into the club with Elise for the first time and feeling so excited every step of the way. I could feel the energy and I loved how the setting was written perfectly.”

 

So when Leila Sales, author of this amazing book and a seriously awesome person, asked me if I wanted to reveal the cover for the paperback I was like YES HELL YES THIS IS NOT EVEN A QUESTION. If you are a regular around these parts you know I don’t often do cover reveals so you KNOW how I excited I must be about this book!!

 

So without further ado, the cover for the paperback edition of This Song Will Save Your Life by Leila Sales:

 

This Song Will Save Your Life Leila Sales paperback

The paperback will be out April 28 and it will include an exclusive Q&A between Leila and her editor and very possibly a sneak peek teaser chapter from her next novel, TONIGHT THE STREETS ARE OURS, which I CANNOT WAIT FOR.

Read my FULL REVIEW of This Song Will Save Your Life // Add It To Your TBR List // Buy it!

I love this cover and I’m so, so happy a book I love got ANOTHER awesome cover! What do you think of the new cover? Have you read this book?? IF YOU HAVE NOT WHAT ARE YOU DOING WITH YOUR LIFE!

 

Book Talk: A Little Something Different by Sandy Hall

Book Talk: A Little Something Different by Sandy HallA Little Something Different by Sandy Hall
Publisher/Year: Swoon Reads- August 26, 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 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”

 

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It’s  a romance between two college students that is revealed through the perspective of 14 different people (friends, baristas, professors, etc.) in their lives who watch their story unfold who all want the two to get together!

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a4A Little Something Different was well…a little something different as far as romances go. I was smitten with the unique way this story was told and was just a refreshing sort of read that defied the norm!

1. I swear this book was a love letter to my people-watching soul: I am a people-watcher. I make up things in my mind about the people I observe. This book was told from 14 different perspectives — baristas, friends of Gabe and Lea, A SQUIRREL, a professor etc. All of these people observed some facet of their interactions and were wanting them to get together! THESE ARE MAH PEOPLE. Watching it all unfold. Willing it to happen. SHIPPING THE CRAP OUT OF IT. I loved the observations and watching this love story unfold from the eyes of friends, strangers and at times INANIMATE OBJECTS. YEAH YOU HEARD ME.

2. The 14 perspectives sound confusing but it wasn’t at ALL to me: It was labeled with the name and who they were (example: waitress, Gabe’s friend, etc.) so I remembered who they were easily from the beginning. I was worried about how this would be pulled off and I thought maybe it would be confusing and jumbled but somehow it just really worked well for me!

3. Can we talk about how adorably awkward this romance was??? I used to observe a lot at my small college and I TOTALLY used to see the beginnings of relationships just by sitting in class or in the lounge. I HAVE SEEN COUPLES LIKE THIS. Maybe not quite as awkward and frustrating (in the way that you are like OMG TALK TO EACH OTHER AND STOP BEING SO AWKWARD) but I just loved how down-to-earth and realistic this romance was. It wasn’t a sweeping, grand gesture-y romance but just the kind you know happen. There’s a lot of frustrations, because as readers, we know things that Gabe and Lea don’t know about the other because we see THEM through interactions with different perspective so the NEED for them to figure it out so they can KISS already is overwhelming. It’s just a cute, awkwardly romantic story and I really enjoyed it. SO CUTE.

 

a6RATING-LIKED

factors+ uniqueness, cute & fun read, storytelling
- Honestly nothing was negative. It just didn’t take me to higher FEELS, ya know? Nothing wrong with it.

Re-readability: Probably not! The fun in reading it was in the unraveling. But I’d sure pass it on!
Would I buy a copy for my collection? Because it wasn’t an all time favorite or one I’d reread (my criteria for keeping books/putting them on my shelves), unfortunately no!

a5readers who are looking for something different and aren’t afraid of the unique approach this book offers, fans of sweet romances, fans of contemporary YA romances

a8A Little Something Different was delightfully unique. I loved watching a love story unfold from the perspective of the people around them — friends, strangers, etc. It was a super adorable and light read that sets itself apart with the storytelling!

review-on-post-itA Little Something Different by Sandy Hall

 

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

 


The Perpetual Page-Turner

 

A Quickie Q&A With Jandy Nelson + Giveaway

If you know me, you know that Jandy Nelson is one of my favorite authors (she wrote The Sky Is Everywhere and the soon to be released I’ll Give You The Sun). I’m pretty sure that you should know that. Her books are just something out of this world and I damn near lost my shit meeting her at BEA this year. I might have scared her but I’m hoping my heart eyes and ecstatic praise translated more HUGE FAN than creeper. But seriously these words, people:

I'll give you the sun quote

So when I was approached to possibly do an interview with Jandy Nelson I was like OH MY GOD YES OF COURSE ALWAYS. But then I realized I actually had to form coherent questions and that interviewing didn’t mean exclaiming my love (though TOTALLY did….disguised as Super Smart Interview Questions).

 

Jandy Nelson tweet

BUT I DID IT. I PREVAILED. And her interview answers are even freaking works of art. NOT HUMAN I TELL YOU. So for your pleasure, here are 3 of my most burning questions I asked Jandy Nelson. Just as an FYI for you — there are NO spoilers so you are safe to read my questions and her answers!

1. In both The Sky Is Everywhere & I’ll Give You the Sun you feature really layered relationships between siblings (which I love because my relationship with my sister has been a HUGE part of my life). What is it that draws you to this relationship? Do you have any personal inspiration that you draw from when it comes to writing those relationships?

Thank you! And it’s funny. I didn’t even realize I was writing predominately about sibling relationships in my two novels until people started reading I’ll Give You the Sun and noting it! And my next one The Fall Boys & Dizzy in Paradise is also about three siblings. Writers are so oblivious! But I do find the sibling connection endlessly fascinating as I do all family dynamics. I grew up with older brothers, and like you, they’ve played a huge role in my life. Luckily, unlike Jude and Noah in Sun, we’ve had way more harmony than rivalry over the years. I just adore my brothers, can’t imagine going through life without them, and I definitely think I draw on that love when I’m writing siblings—it’s a powerful one, a jump-in-front-of-a-train-to-protect-them kind of love. But more generally, I like how siblings seem to create their own parentless mini-civilization within a family, one that has its own language and humor, its own laws and myths and loyalties and treacheries. Families are such rich fodder for stories—they’re so inherently dramatic and comedic both, like pressure cookers and with the right (or wrong) ingredients, the lid always blows.

2. I LOVED the way I’ll Give You the Sun was told and found it very effective to alternate chapters between young Noah and then Jude years later. Did you know from the beginning that you weren’t going to follow a linear path to tell this story? Were there any difficulties in alternating in this manner?

That makes me so happy you enjoyed the structure. Honestly, it was a bear to figure out and really challenged me. I knew from the beginning I wanted the novel to be told from both twins’ perspectives and in different timeframes but it took longer for me to figure out what those timeframes would be and how I’d manage the alternating. But early on, I realized that the best way for me to write the book would be to write Noah’s story start to finish, then Jude’s start to finish, always keeping in mind the other’s trajectory. Also, I’d lock the file on one twin during the periods I was writing the other’s story and vice versa to help insure each twin’s voice and world would be distinct. Then once drafts of both twins’ stories were written, I began to braid them together, which was really like writing a whole new novel. At that point, I was about two and a half years into the writing process of the book so that last step involved A LOT of praying that it actually would work!

3. Both The Sky Is Everywhere & I’ll Give You the Sun have made me feel very INTENSE emotions. Do you ever have to step back when you are writing because it is just too intense with what the characters are dealing with?

I’m glad about the INTENSE! And sorry! But more glad. Ironically, usually when my heart starts racing or breaking with what’s going on with the characters I do the opposite of stepping back. That’s actually when I know I have to go for it, go deeper, go full-throttle, because I might be getting at something real and alive and true. As a writer, I think that’s one of the greatest pleasures, no matter how painful it can be. It’s much harder for me to write when I’m not feeling much at all. That said, there have definitely been days when I stagger out of my office, feeling like I’ve been run over by a freight train of emotion!

About Jandy Nelson:

Jandy NelsonJandy Nelson, like her characters in I’ll Give you the Sun, comes from a superstitious lot. She was tutored from a young age in the art of the four-leaf clover hunt; she knocks wood, throws salt, and carries charms in her pockets. Her debut novel, The Sky Is Everywhere, was on multiple Best Books of the Year lists, was a YALSA Best Fiction for Young Adults pick, earned numerous starred reviews, has been translated widely, and continues to enjoy great international success. Currently a full-time writer, Jandy lives and writes in San Francisco, California—not far from the settings of The Sky Is Everywhere and I’ll Give You the Sun. Visit her online at www.jandynelson.com or find her on twitter at @jandynelson.

 

 

 

Got burning questions of your own?
Penguin Teen is hosting a Twitter chat with Jandy Nelson, Stephanie Perkins, and Gayle Forman on September 5th at 7:00 PM EST. IT IS LIKE THE TRIFECTA OF MY FAVORITE AUTHORS NIGHT!! Follow along using #PenguinTeenChat!

Pre-order your copy of I’ll Give You the Sun today! Want a signed / personalized copy? They’re available for pre-order from Books Inc. in San Francisco!

Be sure to check out the rest of the blog tour for additional interviews, guest posts from the author, giveaways, and more!

Sept. 1 – Cuddlebuggery
Sept. 2 – Novel Sounds
Sept. 3 – Perpetual Page Turner
Sept. 4 – Forever Young Adult
Sept. 8 – The Young Folks
Sept. 9 – The Book Hookup
Sept. 10 – Grown Up Fangirl
Sept. 11 – Bewitched Bookworms
Sept. 15 – Candace’s Book Blog
Sept. 16 – Novel Novice
Sept. 17 – Alice Marvels
Sept. 18 – Icey Books
Sept. 22 – The Midnight Garden
Sept. 23 – The Starry-Eyed Revue
Sept. 24 – Tales of a Ravenous Reader
Sept. 25 – Katie’s Book Blog
Sept. 29 –GReads!
Sept. 30 –Anna Reads

 

And now for the giveaway!

A paperback copy of The Sky Is Everywhere…which is GORGEOUS and this book is one of my favorite contemporaries!

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-Open to US residents only. Please read terms & conditions on the widget. Shipping will be fulfilled by Penguin!

SEEKING THE PERFECT BOOK

I KNOW…it’s Tuesday and I don’t have a top ten list up. My list is actually up at The Broke and the Bookish today so go check that out! I figured since I did the list over THERE perhaps I would talk about something that has been weighing on my mind recently.

Most of the time I’m pretty good at knowing what books might be the right ones to suit my mood (because you know I’m a crazy mood reader so that’s important). But lately I’ve just had a hard time because what I want is so, so specific. It’s not even a particular genre or theme or what not that I’m looking for. Nothing I can really anticipate.

And I try to ask for recommendations and I’m so unhelpful because I can’t even begin to describe what I REALLY want when people ask what I’m looking for or in the mood for. I tend to say something like, “I want a mindblowingly good book” and then I get some good recommendations but I realize how subjective it is and how maybe that’s not even what I mean.  I mean, I’ve read some mindblowingly good books recently. Some GREAT, AMAZING books that I would reread and recommend over and over again until I’m blue in the face.

And the mood I’m in right now? Those books, that I’ve given 4 or maybe even 5 stars, don’t even fit the bill of what I’m looking for right now. No matter how much they moved me or made me cry or REALLY GOT INTO MY SOUL. It’s weird.

Sometimes I want something and I don’t even know what it is that I want. I just know what feeling I want.

 

If I took out a Wanted ad for this book I’m looking for it would look something like this:

 

The book I’m looking for would be so profound and so earth shattering I’m pretty sure the axis of the earth might shift.

The take action kind of book.

The  I-will-never-be-the-same kind of book. A book that changes the landscape of my heart and my brain and my soul.

I want a book that makes me feel ALL THE THINGS and I mean ALL THE THINGS.

I want a perfect book and not even a technically perfect book but the book that feels so perfect you don’t even know if it’s real.

I want the best book and not the kind of best book that has to be recognized as the best book by the world.

I want a book that will make me consider not reading any more books because nothing will ever compare to it but it also makes me want to read ALL the books to find THAT kind of book again…because I NEED the fix of experiencing it.

I want the kind of book that I know was meant to find me. That I don’t know how I’ve ever lived without.

The book that lingers and lingers and is impossible to push from my mind no matter how many books I read in between.

I want a book that doesn’t even know it’s that kind of book.

I want a book that feels like it was written for me. Like an author scooped out the pumpkin-y insides of my brain and my heart and my soul and all the icky and beautiful and confusing things about me and made magic with it.

I want a book that is hard to explain why it makes me feels all those ways because words seem flimsy and dull when describing it and all you wish is that you could start a new language wherein you just FEEL things that people mean.

A book I almost don’t want to talk about. Because once I try to put it into words the magic is almost lost in some way by doing so.

 

I sound nutty probably. I don’t even know if what I want exists. Or if I’m just building it up too much. Romanticizing it. I know I’ve felt it before.  I know I have. But, hey book, if you are out there….make your way to me! I don’t want every book I read to be like this for me because that would be a whole lot of hearts bursting and souls changing and a whole lot of feelings I can’t deal with on a daily basis. But I just know that I need THAT kind of book right now. I really do.

 

Let’s TALK:

Am I completely batshit crazy or do you have moods like this where you need a very specific book like that or that you don’t even know what you want but you know what you want to feel? Do YOU have a book that has made you feel this way? Am I building up that SEEKING PERFECT BOOK notion so it’s almost unattainable?!

Let’s Just Hit PAUSE So I Can Soak In More Summertime (August 2014 Rewind)

Image From This Month

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Lots of outdoor reading! Have to get it all in before the weather chases me inside to read!!

AUGUST In One Word

BITTERSWEET
Super busy and fun but some cold weather reminding me SUMMER IS ALMOST OVER. And I’m a summer girl.

 

5 Things About My Life In August:

1. Will and I celebrated 2 years of marriage: I can’t believe we’ve been married for two years but at the same time, maybe because we’ve been together for like 8 years, I feel like WAIT HASN’T IT BEEN LONGER?! We went to our favorite Mexican place and then we went bowling because we haven’t gone since probably COLLEGE. It was so fun and we had a blast. I also wrote a post where I talked about how we met and gave the deets to how we fell in love.

2. I went to Maryland for my family reunion/crab feast — It’s our yearly tradition and I love coming together to see the family, hang out at the bay, eat a ton and take in an Orioles game.

3. My baby sister and her new boyfriend came down to visit us: My sister met a boy at college last semester and so she came down and we went to the beach one day and just did lots of hanging out with them. We give him thumbs up as the older sisters! Nice kid…and besides my dad (although truly we might be WORSE than my dad), he had a lot of approval he needed to get haha.

4. Will and I did more exploring of finding fun, free/cheap-ish things to do: -We found a new park in the city to love ( THEY HAVE A HAMMOCK PARK), got froyo and did a free movie (Sandlot!!!) in the park that our township was doing, went to Chinatown and tried a new Ramen place and got bubble tea. Lots of NEW places because sometimes we get so stuck in our routine so August was really fun in that way.

5. SAW AND SOBBED THROUGH IF I STAY: NO SERIOUSLY. SOBBED THROUGH THE WHOLE THING. I thought it was really good. Obviously not as good as the book but I thought it was excellent. The music coming to life was AMAZING. I love Adam’s band (go check out the soundtrack and look for Willamette Stone)!! And Adam (although we came to the consensus they dicked him up a little bit), GRANDPA, and then my favorite scene EVER involving a cover of Today by Smashing Pumpkins. The only thing I thought was that the FEELS I got for the romance in the book didn’t translate as well..you just didn’t feel the sweeping romance you do in the book. I think BECAUSE Adam and Mia are already in my hearts is why I FELT it but I think if you didn’t know them..it wouldn’t have as big an impact on screen because it was rushed.

if-i-stay-movie-face

My post If I Stay “I ugly cried the whole time” face.

 

 

 

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 August playlist filled with other AWESOME songs that wouldn’t fit on here.

 

** WITHOUT A DOUBT, T. Swift’s SHAKE IT OFF WAS MY MOST LISTENED TO SONG THIS MONTH. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. But it’s not on Spotify so I left it off since I use Spotify to display the songs**

 

1. Geronimo by Sheppard

2. #88 by Lo-Fang

3. Forget Me Knots by Heathers

4. I Will Be There by Odessa (which ended up being on the If I Stay soundtrack which I think is PERFECT!!!

5. The House by Air Traffic Control

6. Octopus by Carnival Youth

Honorable Mentions: Excuses by Run River North, When You Sleep by Mary Lambert, Slow Motion by PHOX, Four Walls by Broods (just released on 25th or else it probably would not be honorable mention but above), You Haunt Me by Sir Sly, Home by Johnnysmith, Hold The Line by Jack + Eliza

Follow my AUGUST playlist

 

 

Top 3 Books I Read This Month:

I read 10 books this month which is a record for me this year!

1. After I Do by Taylor Jenkins Reid — OH MY GOD. This book. I’m so glad I read it as a married lady.
2. The Piper’s Son by Melina Marchetta — MARCHETTA. SHE IS BRILLIANT, MAN. This takes place 5 years after Saving Francesca and I LOVED THIS BOOK!
3. Toss up between I Was Here by Gayle Forman or Heir of Fire by Sarah J. Maas CANNOT CHOOSE.

 

Most Popular Review This Month

Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

My sort-of review/gush fest of Throne of Glass, Crown of Midnight and Heir of Fire!!

 

 

Most Popular 5 Blog Posts Overall This Month

1. Ten Books I’m Not Sure I Want To Read For Various Reasons– This was FUN and helped me knock some books off my TBR list! Thanks guys for your insights of what to skip and what to read!
2. I Got The Message Loud & Clear: READING ISN’T COOL– Thanks for letting me share my experience! Wish so many of us didn’t have similar ones but other people had really GOOD experiences!!
3. Operation Make Myself Suck Less At Series: Still have to respond to comments on this one because I was super busy but YOU GUYS HELPED SO MUCH!!!
4. The Summer I Fell In Love With Fantasy Because Of ONE Series: I can’t wait to read more!! Also, thank for welcoming me to the club!
5. Ten Books That Have Been Recommended To Me A LOT But I Still Haven’t Read Yet : 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 again this month. I did post a book haul yesterday….that was my end of July/early August haul. OOPS.

3 New Obsessions In August

1. Hard Cider — I’ve enjoyed ciders before but I’ve been REALLY into them this month. I am OBSESSED with the Apple Pie Woodchucks. APPLE PIE IN A DRINK REALLY. And Angry Orchard has some amazing ones I’ve been digging!

2. The Tudors (tv show): I just started this show but I’m already obsessed. HATE THAT LIFE IS GETTING IN THE WAY OF WATCHING!

3. Talenti Caramel Cookie Crumble: I have tried A LOT of the Talenti gelatos but never this one. SO YUM.

 

3 Things I’m Looking Forward To In September

1. Possibly going camping: We’ve been wanting to go camping SO we are planning because WHY NOT.
2. ALL OF THE BOOK EVENTS!!!: If you are in the Philly area just SO YOU KNOW…Sarah J. Maas, Susan Dennard, Tiffany Schmidt and Liz Norris are doing an event on 9/3. Stephanie Perkins will be in the area on the 11th AND 12th!! And then Fierce Reads on the 21st!!
3. Bringing my boots out of the closet: Listen…not even the allure of pumpkin spice lattes, sweater weather, cute boots and pretty fall leaves can ever make me want summer to end. THAT BEING SAID…I am ridiculously excited to wear my boots again!

 


Favorite Quote From A Book I Read In July

I had to pick two this time around because I COULD NOT PICK BETWEEN THESE TWO!!

 

From The Piper’s Son by Melina Marchetta — THIS PRETTY MUCH SUMS UP MY LIFE.

“I’m scared I’m going to spend the rest of my life in a state of yearning, regardless of where I am.

From After I Do by Taylor Jenkins Reid — TRUTH. SO MUCH TRUTH. Something I’ve learned in the past couple years.

“Isn’t it nice … once you’ve outgrown the ideas of what life should be and you just enjoy what it is.”


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

1. How To Be A Grown-Ass Woman: FriendshipsAs soon as I saw Sarah (the blogger who wrote this) tweet this out I was like OMG YES CLICK FAST GO. I have struggled with friendships since leaving college — I’ve grown apart from people because of  geography, I’ve dropped toxic friends, being bad about maintaining some friendships and just had a hard time FINDING new friends as a grownup especially with some past hurts on my heart. This post was BRILLIANT and reminded me of some things I can do better.

2. The Magic of A Good Old Fashioned Summer: I LOVED THIS. As an adult I’m always talking about how summers were so much better as a kid and I can never put my finger on it except the fact that I had 3 months of NOTHING — no work, no school. Just play. Even though the summer is over I’m bookmarking this post for next summer and will think on what made SUMMER summer to me as a kid and try to incorporate more of this into summer.

3. Living YOUR Life: Interesting food for thought for bloggers (and the social media obsessed!)

4. When Everything Needs To Be Shared: Another interesting post for our social media, document-everything lives.

5. Things I Don’t Care About: I really loved this real talk. I’ve realized as an adult there are things I simply just don’t care about anymore — despite what society thinks or what past Jamie would think. MESSY HAIR DON’T CARE. LAUNDRY ON THE FLOOR WOO. CHIPPED NAIL POLISH THAT SHOULD HAVE BEEN TAKEN OFF A MONTH AGO. Also, this post makes me want to be more honest about those things I might still be pretending to care about.

 

 

 

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?

 

Book Talk: Falling Into Place by Amy Zhang

Book Talk: Falling Into Place by Amy ZhangFalling Into Place by Amy Zhang
Publisher/Year: Greenwillow Books- September 9, 2014
Genres: Contemporary YA
Format: ARC
Source: For Review
Other Books From Author: None, this is her debut!
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
Liz Emerson, a popular junior, decides to drive herself off the road and into the tree. Nobody knows, except the mysterious narrator who pieces Liz’s story together for us, that she did it on purpose — everyone assumes it was an accident because of an icy road. The story unfolds as Liz’s family, friends, and classmates find out and cope with the news and flips back and forth to the past and the present to tell the story.

a2*CURLS UP IN FETAL POSITION*

a4

I gave you my early thoughts on this book and I still can’t stop thinking about it to be honest. I know it’s been a tough read for some because they hate the characters or didn’t like the storytelling but this book was a major WIN for me!  So let’s talk about it.

1. You will hate all the characters mostly: At first I was like GOOD GOD THESE PEOPLE ARE AWFUL and it’s not even like they ever become super loveable characters even by the end. But I felt like page by page these characters and their relationships with one another got even more and more stripped down and dissected and it made them more vulnerable to me. They weren’t just one dimensional even if they gave that vibe in the beginning for me.  You see characters who have become something that they probably would have never imagined themselves being and you would think it would be simple for them to just change and stop being awful human beings but sometimes you don’t realize how deep you are in and when you do change seems impossible.

2. It’s a really quiet kind of novel but made a huge visceral reaction within me that I didn’t expect: I wouldn’t say I was 100% into this novel at first but rather it was the kind of book that page by page crept up on me and dug it’s claws into me. I seriously had that pit in my stomach feeling as I kept reading faster and faster and the devastation plowed through me like a wrecking ball to the heart and made all my insides crumble. It was a combination of the way the story was told, the plot and all of these really unhealthy relationships. I just felt like I was propelled forward by how sick this book made me feel at times and I just needed to find out how it would end. It made me weep at 1am and I just wanted to curl up in a little ball because it made me feel just a litttttlle bit too much. The emotional response I had to this one surprised me and suddenly my cheeks were damp and my heart hurt.

3. I LOVED how this story was told as it was super unique and really effective: I’m not going to tell you who the narrator is but it kept me guessing a little bit until it dawned on me who it could be. We aren’t told who they are and they can see and know everything but slowly you begin to figure out who it is telling the story. I also really loved the non-linear way in which this story was told. All the flashbacks and detours made my mounting anxiety even more heightened.

4. PRETTY PRETTY WORDS: I loved the prose so much. For example: “She looked around and saw all the broken things in her wake, and then she looked inside herself and saw the spidering cracks from the weight of all the things she had done. She hated what she was and didn’t know how to change, and half an hour before she drove her car off the road, she saw that despite all of that, she didn’t have enough force to stop the world from turning. But she had enough to stop her own.”

a6RATING-loved-it

factors+ writing, storytelling, emotional response, uniqueness
- Nada

Re-readability: YEP I would because it’s one of those books where I almost NEED to go back and read it again.
Would I buy a copy for my collection? Yes!

a5people who like quiet novels that really dissect the characters, people who want lovely prose, people who like unique narrators, lovers of the complexities of human interaction and motives, people who don’t mind not loving characters, people who like “darker” contemporary YA (because this certainly isn’t LIGHT)

a8Falling Into Place by Amy Zhang probably isn’t going to be for everyone but it was definitely a ME book. Quiet and unassuming and then an onslaught of emotional chaos for me by the end. I loved the beautiful prose and the unique narration and how it added to my mounting “pit-in-the-stomach” feeling while reading this one. I felt it all. Can’t wait to read more from Amy Zhang — she’s brilliant!

review-on-post-itFalling Into Place by Amy Zhang

 

a8j* Have you read this one? What did you think? Similar or different from me? I would LOVE to hear regardless!
*If you haven’t read it, does this book feel like something you’d be into?
* Did you guess who the narrator was?

 


The Perpetual Page-Turner

 

Book Talk: Random by Tom Leveen

Book Talk: Random by Tom LeveenRandom by Tom Leveen
Publisher/Year: Simon Pulse- August 12, 2014
Genres: Contemporary YA
Format: ARC
Source: For Review
Other Books From Author: Party, Zero, Manicpixiedreamgirl, Sick
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

On the eve before Tori has a big court date for her role in a national bullying case that resulted in a suicide, she receives a mysterious call from a stranger at random. He says he plans to take his life tonight…unless she can give him one reason why he should live. Being nervous to be connected to another suicide if he goes through with it, she tries to decide if she believes him or if it’s just a prank. But the stakes are too high if she doesn’t take him seriously and try to save his life.
.

a2WHAT!? *also massages hands because DAMN I flew through that*

a4Ever have one of those books where you find yourself, even days later, trying to collect your scattered, fragmented thoughts and they just keep blowing away with the wind every time you get close to articulating them? I’m having a really hard time reconciling my thoughts when it comes to this one especially because it was going so well…and then the ending threw me. So let’s do a pro/con thinger shall we? Maybe that will help you get a better sense of where my head is at. MAYBE IT WILL EVEN HELP ME.

THE YAYS

* If I had to sum up my experience by using a movie title from my youth it would be THE FAST AND THE FURIOUS: No seriously, I FLEW through this book. I finished in 1.5 hours. Even Will looked impressed because he witnessed me starting and finishing it. I COULD NOT STOP READING IT. I wanted to know fully what her part was in the death of Kevin and also I was so intrigued by this random phone call and I so desperately needed to know if she would be able to talk him out of the suicide.

* The concept is AWESOME and it delivered on the intensity I expected: A person calls you at random and says they are going to commit suicide and they want you to give them a good reason to live. GULP. That’s a lot of weight on someone and especially someone who has her own craziness going on in her life. Finding out how this all would play out was the only thing I cared about for that 1.5 hours that I read this. The level of anxiety Tom Leveen was able to bring to my reading experience was impressive because I just needed to keep learning about this stranger’s story and the words that Tori will need to say to stop him from doing it.

* It actually took me surprise…like gaping mouth and all: I don’t want to say too much about this because I don’t want to give a hint of what surprised me but just know that it shocked the pants right off me and it takes a lot to do that. MAYBE I should have caught on to something but I DID NOT.

* The conversation starting qualities to this book are great: Bullying online is a big deal these days. This book shows that even if you don’t you pull the trigger/tie the noose/etc that does not mean you are innocent. This is the big thing the main character keeps not getting when she says, “BUT I DIDN’T KILL HIM.” “I DIDN’T BULLY HIM..JUST MADE A FEW COMMENTS.” Etc. Random challenges those kinds of prevalent thoughts when it comes to online bullying.

The NOT-SO-SURE-ABOUT

* I felt nothing emotionally despite how intense the reading experience was: I hate comparing books but a couple of months ago I read a book called Tease that was also from the POV of the bully and that one twisted my heart and frustrated and elicited a lot of conflicting emotions within me when it came to the main character but I felt really invested in her. I literally felt nothing for Tori. She didn’t seem real to me and didn’t illicit any emotions out of me. As invested in the random caller as I was I found myself really detached.

* THE ENDING: GAHHH. Not what I expected and I think it made me further detached from the book. I was like REALLY? THAT’S THE ENDING?  I don’t know how I FEEL about this story now. I don’t know what I was expecting but that wasn’t it and I’m not sure I was really all that happy about it. I was waiting for something super powerful and it fell flat for me. (BABY SPOILER-ISH COMMENT: Also, a little too wrapped up neatly in another area with a KISS and all.)

* The lesson: There was a clear lesson here. An important one. And I’m still struggling to decide if Tori even got it. I mean, it wraps up all nicey like she does but I didn’t FEEL like she really learned her lesson? Tori and the main character in Tease (which I referenced in my first point) were really similar in this way but for some reason in Tease I felt like there was a glimmer of hope for her to learn from this — even if she still had a long way to go. With Tori, I just didn’t even believe it. I didn’t feel any sort of emotions from her at all.

 

a6RATING-mixed

factors+ addictive factor, intensity, writing
- pretty much lack of any emotion and a lot of detachment, the ending

Re-readability: No. That said, I plan to read the copy of one of his other books I have (manicpixiedreamgirl)
Would I buy a copy for my collection? No but I hope my library DOES have a copy.

a5people who want a book dealing with bullying but from a different POV, people not afraid of heavy topics like suicide and bullying, people who like more intense/gritty contemporary YA, readers who don’t mind a really frustrating main character

a8This one had the potential to be AMAZING for me — the concept, the writing and the absolutely intensity that made me read faster and faster to find out how all this would end. But when it came time to the ending…it just wasn’t what I expected and made me feel a bit disappointed. There was a lot of build up for awesome and mindblowing and I just found myself staring at the pages not even able to reconcile the ending and how I felt about it. And the fact I felt nothing emotional, aside from anxiety, just didn’t help. I need to be emotionally connected at SOME point.

review-on-post-itRandom by Tom Leveen

 

a8j* Have you read this one? What did you think? Similar or different from me? I would LOVE to hear regardless!
*If you haven’t read it, does this feel like something you’d be into?
* Okay was it just me that didn’t feel blown away by the end?? (MAYBE SPOILERISH: I feel like maybe I was looking for a more profound, life-changing ending and it got too lesson-y in a contrived manner? IDK. IDK)
* Did you GUESS or were you shocked??

 


The Perpetual Page-Turner

 

I Got The Message Loud & Clear: Reading Isn’t Cool.

Mostly my family and friends are very supportive of my love for reading even if they don’t altogether get it. As a child I was just as much of a voracious reader but honestly there’s always been this underlying “poking fun” with some of my extended family and it just makes me cringe when I think of it.

Even today as an adult I get these comments from them “reminiscing” about my childhood reading tendencies and while, I’m not super upset by them, they just get under my skin. As a kid, they made me feel bad too. And that makes me sad because why should a kid feel bad about reading??

There was, even now, these comments about how I was the lazy one out of my sister and I because I would rather sit and read.

And I just think there is something wrong with making a kid feel like they are lazy because their hobby of choice happens to be one that includes sitting (I mean, yes sure my butt hurts from all sitting I do while reading). I played outside and was VERY active as a kid but I always had a book with me no matter where I went as I do now (especially when I had to visit their homes) and would prefer reading to anything. But just because I was reading was not because I am lazy. There were many times where I felt like I should be “more active” like my sister because of their comments and I felt this shame that, because I liked reading, I must be lazy. I was at my baby sister’s graduation two years ago and one of them was telling Will ALL about how they could never get me up to bake cookies with them like my sister would because I was soooo lazy and would just sit there with my book. Insert questions if I’m still just as lazy. (Spoiler alert: I AM AND I LOVE IT. IF YOU CALL IT LAZY, I DON’T CARE).

There were so many comments about how I was “quiet as a mouse” with my nose in a book all the time and the way they said it it never sounded like a good thing in comparison to how my sister was.

This would happen when they were talking to their Bingo friends or introducing me to someone. “Oh this one you’d never know she’s there because she’s always reading.” “She’s so shy and quiet” or if I was reading after a long visit at my grandma’s house I would hear comments about how I should be more social LIKE MY SISTER. It always made me feel like I was this strange mutant. Also, it’s a big pet peeve of mine to assume because I like to read that I am automatically socially awkward or quiet. I AM QUIET BECAUSE I AM READING. Even as an adult I think they still assume I’m this quiet little mouse which couldn’t be further from the truth. I’ve never been that. It always made me feel like I was not as fun as my sister.

“If you are that bored I can find you something to do”

I AM NOT READING BECAUSE I AM BORED, PEOPLE. I do not need a hobby as they always would try to suggest.

“She’s in her own world.”

Nah. I can hear you talking about me. But really this world I’m in right now is better than the one where I have to listen to you talk about your Bingo drama or talk about what a bump on a log I am because I like reading more than I like watching your soap operas.

These are just a few of the comments I would get frequently. I’m sure my extended family wasn’t TRYING to be cruel or anything but even now they speak about me in a way that I don’t like and as a kid it made me feel really bad about myself. Like I should be ashamed to be a reader because it was lazy or because I wasn’t as FUN and SOCIAL as my sister (which was not at ALL true). It stuck with me when I became a pre-teen (which is what I think was part of this HUGE gap of my reading history) because I thought boys wouldn’t like me if I was bookish and that people would think I was a “loser” for liking books. Being a bookworm wasn’t something that sounded very cool to my extended family so it probably wouldn’t be very cool to all the boys I was trying to chase and the new friends I wanted to make.

Being a bookworm held such negative connotations and even more so in middle school and high school where so many kids would proclaim how boring and uncool they thought reading was. So I stuffed that part of myself down very far for a long time and it took until the end of high school for me to start being open about it again. But even then I was all “Oh I read Jack Kerouac and Sylvia Plath (which I truly loved) but it made me feel like I was COOL and INSIGHTFUL in a way that admitting I read the latest Nicholas Sparks wouldn’t.

I got the message loud and clear: READING WASN’T COOL. And that makes me sad that so many kids end up thinking that. Hiding their love for reading like it’s a dirty little secret. Like being a bookworm means something it doesn’t. That’s the beauty about being part of the online reading community…you see we bookworms come in MANY MANY varieties. We don’t all share the same characteristics. Being a reader does not mean you are ONE CERTAIN WAY. Being a reader isn’t something to be ashamed of it and I’m not quite sure how it ever got to be looked upon in that way.

I love being a reader and I am proud of it being a part of who I am!

Let’s talk: Has anybody in your life ever made you feel bad about being a reader? When you were younger did you get the message that reading wasn’t “cool”? Did it impact you?

Bookstore Shopping Spree!!

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

This week’s topic: Top Ten Books I Want To Read But Don’t Yet Own

Oh man…this is HARD. There are so many books I want to read but don’t own. SO basically I just thought about the 10 books I’d buy at the bookstore if I was given a hella big gift card for a bookstore shopping spree!! THIS IS SO FUN. IF ONLY. IF ONLY.

books-i-want-to-buy-1books-i-want-to-buy-2books-i-want-to-buy-3

Like No Other by Una LaMarche: I’ve heard nothing about amazing things about this contemporary YA and I REALLY want it so so so bad.
The Chocolate Thief by Laura Florand: I’ve been wanting this one and it’s not at my library and so I just need to buy it I think. PARIS.
Fixing Delilah by Sarah Ockler: I’ve really loved Sarah Ockler’s other books and I’ve heard AMAZING things about this and it seems like a book I’d want to own.
Pointe by Brandy Colbert: I’ve heard SUCH amazing things about this one this year! Like really strong (positive) reactions!

A Little Wanting Song by Cath Crowley: I LOOOOVED Graffiti Moon and I’ve been wanting this one for a while and if I had some extra money or a shopping spree…YEAH I’d be getting this one.

A Mad, Wicked Folly by Sharon Biggs Waller: This is one I’ve heard a lot about this year AND it’s historical fiction and the cover is so pretty!

The Chance You Won’t Return by Annie Cardi: This was one of my most anticipated debuts of this year and I’m dying to read it!

Love & Other Foreign Words by Erin McCahan: This just seems like such a me book and it’s gotten some good buzz this year! And okay okay I’m a sucker but it says for fans of John Green and Rainbow Rowell and YEAH THAT IS ME.

Finnikin of the Rock by Melina Marchetta: Melina is one of my favorites and I really do want to give her fantasy series a try!!

Siege & Storm by Leigh Bardugo: So I had an ARC of Siege & Storm but gave it to a friend because I hadn’t read Shadow & Bone yet and then I finally did and WOW I NEED THIS BOOK.

 

 

So tell me…if you got the chance to go on a shopping spree tell me the #1 book you would want! Have you read any off this list that should be MY #1 pick??

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