Second Chances?

I recently received a book for review from an author whose debut I didn’t really like at all. It’s always interesting when I’m faced with this dilemma of whether or not to give an author a second chance if I didn’t like one or two books I’ve read from them.

There’s a lot to consider! How many books have I read from them that didn’t work? What didn’t I like about it (the writing? the style? the plot? The characters? bored?)?  Is it something that could change in a different book? Does this one sound like it might be a better fit?

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I typically try to read at least 2 books of an author before I “write them off” as not for me or at least put them on the back-burner unless I hear amazing things about a new book that sounds like a better fit. I do that because books can vary so much and I know another book could be a win for me. There’s been authors that I’ve read one book from and then the next one is drastically different. So if it sounds like a book for me, I’ll go for it hoping that the issues I had in the first place aren’t in this book. Then there are others that after two books I can just TELL I don’t like their style or their type of stories. And that’s OKAY! And even then I *MIGHT* consider a book down the line if I caught reviews that made me think the issues I had wouldn’t be present in this one.

 

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On the other hand, my sister REFUSES to read books from an author that she didn’t like initially which I totally GET as well. BUT I keep pleading with her to give one author another chance with a book I think she’d like better TO NO AVAIL.

I think maybe I just give second chances more because I know how DIFFERENT some authors can be from book to book…though obviously, on the same hand, some have very distinct styles/patterns that might just not be a good fit.

So let’s chat:

Do you frequently give author’s second chances if you don’t like the first book or two you read from them? What do you consider in making that decision if you DO give second chances? What kinds of things are dealbreakers that would make you probably not pick up an author’s other books? Let’s talk about this!

 

Ten Bookish Problems I Have In My Life

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

This week’s topic: Top Bookish Problems I Have In My Life

This list could have been easily a list of 50. I have many, many “problems” of the bookworm variety.

1. A TBR list longer than I can handle: I count my TBR list as the thing on Goodreads in which I add things I own/want to read/want to check out at some point. So it’s pretty MASSIVE. And it keeps growing and growing. You can learn more about my TBR list here. I’m so happy to have so many choices but pretty much HAVING such a huge TBR list means that I get overwhelmed by the “what to read next?” question because I HAVE TOO MANY OPTIONS and basically an indecision massacre happens every time. Jamie’s TBR: 1, Jamie: 0. You can read more on my recent musings about having too many choices.

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2. Not enough shelf space: There are books on books on books. My shelves are overcrowded.  I AM DROWNING IN BOOKS.There are piles that I try to discreetly hide. I’d LOVE to add more shelves but we’ve maxed out the space in this here one bedroom apartment.

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3. I am the worst at quitting books I’m not into: I’ve talked about this extensively throughout this past ~5 years but I am not good at putting down books when I’m not digging. I’ve tried to be better at it and I HAVE come a long way compared to back in the day but MAN…I wish I was easily able to just make that decision. Related Reading: Reasons Why I Stink At Quitting Books

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4. Being a mood reader is a pain in the ass sometimes: I’ve written about what it’s like to be a mood reader (the good, bad and the ugly!) but basically sometimes it is a pain because of meeting book club deadlines, not being able to choose what to read, library books I was excited about go back unread, I can’t keep a schedule, etc. etc.

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5. A very small book budget at this season in my life: This is a money problem really. I JUST WANT TO BUY ALL THE BOOKS SOMEONE GIVE ME A MONEY TREE. Although, apparently I’m a reformed book buyer? But who knows what I’d be if I had a book buying money tree!

 

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6. Being too addicted to the internet that I get distracted from my books: I’ve already admitted to being a VERY distracted reader these days thanks to my brain and technology. BUT REALLY. I would get far more reading done if I didn’t have all these DISTRACTIONS. I need to be better about focusing.

 

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7. This beloved hobby makes my butt hurt too much sometimes: OKAY FOR REAL THOUGH? I know it’s absurd that I wrote a whole POST on this a couple years ago but both of my hobbies (reading and blogging) require a lot of time sitting on my ass. And SOMETIMES IT IS UNCOMFORTABLE. It’s VERY hard to find the right position that will sustain long-term reading.

 

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8. Too short of a life span: SO MANY BOOKS, SO LITTLE TIME ON THIS EARTH. I need about 5 lifetimes (or more) to get through all the books I want to read!

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9.  Forgetting what happens in between series & also sucking at FINISHING series: Okay so this is two in one but I SUCK AT SERIES.  I am the wooooorst at remembering what happens in between series. (THANK GOD FOR RECAPTAINS.) But I also am the worst at following through and finishing series…even series I really like. My list of series I haven’t finished is AWFUL (I’ve finished a couple since).

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10. I always forget about the books on my Kindle: Out of sight, out of mind! I always go for the physical books when I pick what to read next and never think of all the poor books on my Kindle.

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So tell me some of your bookish problems!

Book Talk: No Parking At The End Times by Bryan Bliss

Book Talk: No Parking At The End Times by Bryan BlissNo Parking At The End Times by Bryan Bliss
Publisher/Year: Greenwillow Books- January 2015
Genres: Contemporary YA
Format: ARC
Source: For Review
Other Books From Author: None, this was the debut!
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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

Two teens and their parents sell their house and drive cross country with all their belongings across country to follow a doomsday preacher named Brother John. When the end times don’t happen as the preacher said, the family continues to live out of their car since they gave all their money to Brother John and the family is falling apart and fracturing from the bad mistakes and dissent when it comes to what they should do next.

a2*sings It’s The End of the World As We Know it*
(R.E.M was in my head the whole time I read this)

a4No Parking At The End Times was an interesting read for me –I didn’t feel like it really moved me or that I felt much for it but at the same time I hadn’t ever read anything like that and I REALLY loved how Bryan Bliss explored themes like a crisis of faith/religion and homelessness because he did it so well.

1. From page 1 I knew this plot was going to be unlike anything I’ve ever read:  A family is living basically homeless in their van because the parents decide to follow this doomsday preacher who ended up being very wrong about the day that it would happen. It’s evident from very early on that doomsday did not happen like this guy predicted and, like the main character, I’m sitting here going SO WHY ARE WE STILL LISTENING TO THIS GUY? They gave him all their money and they basically thought there would be no WHAT NEXT because they thought they wouldn’t be here on earth anymore. So now, after it doesn’t happen, there is this “what next?” question they are left with because they sold their house and belongings and gave all their money to this guy.

2. The parents in this book = RAGE CITY: Oh man, the parents. I wanted to scream at them as they continue to act like, “NBD let’s just all live in this van together”!! As a reader you are on the same page with the main character, like COME ON WHAT ARE WE STILL DOING HERE WITH THIS PREACHER GUY?? THIS IS A CROCK. But the parents aren’t on the same page. And they keep making some awful decisions. But I was thinking about it, and as FURIOUS as they made me, I almost empathized with them (ALMOST). They left everything and made this decision because they believed it. They never thought there would be anything after that. So now they are left with the “what now?” question. Do they continue to believe this guy even though he was wrong? Do they go home and how because they have no money and no house? And then how do they face everyone who told them this was a bad idea? I think the dad especially just wanted to so badly cling to hope and bought into this guy so much that he was just so blinded to everything.

3. I loved how the main character was forced to explore her faith: The main character grew up as a Christian and knew what she believed in as she actively lived her faith. The family was never into this doomsday, cult-like religion prior to this. As we meet the main character, she is really struggling with her faith after all this happened and now as they are in this situation. She feels betrayed and like this guy has taken advantage of her family. I couldn’t tell whether or not she BOUGHT this stuff with Brother John but I know she had faith before. After all this happens, she’s having a hard time understanding how God would let this happen. She feels doubts she hadn’t really felt before and doesn’t feel connected to her faith in a way she did before. I loved the way Bliss explored this and it felt very  true to the crisis of faith I’ve experienced in my own life but not trying to be preachy/convert people. I

4. I haven’t read many books dealing with homelessness and this book portrayed it in such a raw way: I’ve seen books about homeless teens (and we meet some in this book) but never about a family living together in homelessness. You can feel how uncomfortable and humiliating they feel with living in the van and relying on other people’s good will for food — from the soup kitchens they visited to how they handle brushing their teeth and bathing to parking the van somewhere they can safely sleep. This is all NEW to them and you can see how hard of a transition it is and how sometimes they don’t necessarily feel like they are one of the homeless…until they very much DO. It’s uncomfortable as a reader to see how the parents try to act like this is normal and okay…like it’s a grand adventure. There were these just absolutely raw moments that made my heart ache for them and for all people in their position.

 

a6RATING-LIKED

factors+ plot, themes explored & how well it was done
no real emotional connection

Re-readability: Probably not.
Would I buy a copy for my collection? Because it isn’t a fave or one I’d re-read, I’d say no.

a5contemporary YA fans, readers wanting to explore things like homelessness or faith

a8No Parking At The End Times was definitely unlike anything I’ve ever really read in YA. I appreciated how it explored homelessness and a crisis of faith and how it did it WELL. I just wished I had more of an emotional connection overall. That’s where it missed the mark for me personally.

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

 

 


The Perpetual Page-Turner

 

 

Get To Know Victoria Aveyard + GIVEAWAY

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I’m excited to have Victoria Aveyard, author of one of the HOTTEST young adult releases of this season, on the blog with me today! Her book Red Queen came out this week surrounded with MUCH pre-publication buzz! Before you get to know Victoria a little bit through some fun top ten lists (which obviously I’m a big fan of) check out what Red Queen is about!

Red Queen
The poverty stricken Reds are commoners, living under the rule of the Silvers, elite warriors with god-like powers.

To Mare Barrow, a 17-year-old Red girl from The Stilts, it looks like nothing will ever change.

Mare finds herself working in the Silver Palace, at the centre of
those she hates the most. She quickly discovers that, despite her red blood, she possesses a deadly power of her own. One that threatens to destroy Silver control.

But power is a dangerous game. And in this world divided by blood, who will win?

Amazon | B&N | Goodreads |Kobo

Get to know Victoria with a couple of fun top ten lists!

 

10 Bookish (or otherwise) Quotes That I Love, in no particular order:

1. “He’s got a two day head start on you, which is more than he needs. Brody’s got friends in every town and village from here to the Sudan, he speaks a dozen languages, knows every local custom, he’ll blend in, disappear, you’ll never see him again. With any luck, he’s got the Grail already.” Cut to Brody in a marketplace: “Does anyone here speak English? Or even Ancient Greek?” – Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, my all-time favorite movie quote.

2. “Winter is coming.”  – George RR Martin, A Game of Thrones (I could do all ASOIAF quotes for this but I won’t)

3. “And my sister, my Lindsey, left me in her memories, where I was meant to be.” – Alice Sebold, The Lovely Bones

4. “It was the drink that killed him.” “Oh, he was an alcoholic?” “No, he was hit by a Guinness truck.” – Mrs. Doubtfire

5. “Go then, there are other worlds than these.” – Stephen King, The Gunslinger

6. “In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit.” – JRR Tolkien, The Hobbit

7. “I shall find wandering more bearable: I shall know that somewhere there is a firm foothold, even if my feet cannot stand there again.” – JRR Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings (and all of LotR essentially)

8. “When the sun has set, no candle can replace it.” – George RR Martin, A Storm of Swords (had to sneak this one in)

9. “Never tell me the odds.” – The Empire Strikes Back

10. “P.S. Germany invaded Belgium an hour ago.” – Ken Follett, Fall of Giants

Honorable mention (because quotes are my life):
Chapter 8 of The Stand, Stephen King
the entirety of Home Alone written by John Hughes
The Indianapolis Speech, Jaws, Robert Shaw
“Well, can’t he just beam up?” “This is reality, Greg.” – ET, Melissa Mathison

10 Favorite Lines I Wrote In Red Queen

1. The truth is what I make it. I could set this world on fire and call it rain.

2. In school, we learned about the world before ours, about the angels and gods that lived in the sky, ruling the earth with kind and loving hands. Some say those are just stories, but I don’t believe that. The gods rule us still. They have come down from the stars. And they are no longer kind.

3. We destroy. It’s the constant of our kind. No matter the color of blood, man will always fall.

4. “Dear family, I am alive. Obviously.”

5. “From now until the end of your days, you must lie. Your life depends on it, little lightning girl.”

6. “They were a threat to my kingdom, and they were stupid,” he fires back. He stoops, bending over me with his twisted smile. “Were.”

7. Gold and silver and iron, dripping from his hands like tears.

8. When the sword flashes, arcing through air and flesh and bone, she doesn’t blink.

9. In the stories, the old fairy tales, a hero comes. But all my heroes are gone or dead. No one is coming for me.

10. “I have the advantage,” I tell his corpse.

 

10 Movies I Could Watch Forever

The Lord of the Rings
Star Wars
Indiana Jones
Jurassic Park
ET
Independence Day
Gladiator
Goodfellas
Pirates of the Caribbean
Armageddon

 

10 Things I Never Leave Home Without

Something to read
Cell phone
Keys (unless I forget, which is often)
Scarf or sweater
Sunglasses
A mental plan and schedule for whatever I’m doing
Hair ties
Music
Lipstick if I can remember
My rings (two family heirlooms, one gift to myself)

 

About The Author

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Victoria Aveyard is a screenwriter/YA author who likes books and lists. 
Her book RED QUEEN will be published Winter 2015 from HarperTeen at HarperCollins. She’s repped by the incomparable Suzie Townsend at New Leaf Literary & Media, Inc.
The genres she’s into include YA, Fantasy, Historical, Adventure, Apocalyptic – if people are dying, she’s buying.

 TWITTER | WEBSITE

GIVEAWAY

One Winner will get Finished Copies of: RED QUEEN by Victoria Aveyard, THE LAST TIME WE SAY GOODBYE by Cynthia Hand and MY HEART AND OTHER BLACK HOLES by Jasmine Warga.



Ships in US only | Must be 13+ To enter

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Retail Therapy: Valentine’s Day Edition

So a long time ago (circa 2011-2012) I used to have this feature called Retail Therapy but I let it fall to the wayside like many other features I used to do — which is fine with me because I don’t want to do things I’m not passionate about anymore. I reevaluated for a while and I tried to save it again in 2014 and did it a whopping ONE TIME. So, let’s maybe go for more than once in 2015…okay self? Because I genuinely love doing these posts…I just am bad at remembering to do them.

 

So, Valentine’s Day? Will and I never really “celebrate” it though last year he surprised me with early fan event tickets to see the Veronica Mars movie (so our date wasn’t technically ON Valentine’s Day but a couple weeks later). I think this year we MIGHT go get Mexican food at our favorite place. WE SHALL SEE.

But every Valentine’s Day I think about how I love being my OWN Valentine’s Day date. I mean, Will is great and thoughtful but pretty much I am my own best V-day date because we don’t really go all out for Valentine’s Day. LET’S BE REAL. Sometimes you just have to treat yo self.

So if I were going to be my own Valentine this year, this is what I’d gift myself with and how I’d spend my night. You’ll see it’s VERY low-key!

Treat Yo Self Valentine's Day

 

 

1. Mickey & Minnie I Love You socks, $1.90: I always like to buy cute socks for holidays and I love these as my V-day socks. Gotta keep those feet warm!

2. Cupcake wine: I’m not a fancy wine drinker so my go to is either the Cupcake brand or Yellowtail. I really want to try the angel food wine that Cupcake has!

3. Pizza Is My Valentine tote: I thought this was so cute and, um, I’m going to be eating pizza on my dream V-Day date.

4. Sheswai nail polish: My nails deserve a little TLC while I watch a movie.

5. Amelie: This is one of my favorite movies of all time and makes me happy so I’d definitely be watching it on my date.

6. Deep Steep Passionfruit + Guava bubble bath: I LOOOOOVE bubble baths and I love reading in the bathtub. I would be taking the longest bubble bath with my glass of wine and my book. (I love their sugar scrub in this scent too)

7. Thesis Strawberry Dessert Face Mask: TLC is all part of the game here and a facial that is pretty much like dessert? YUP.

8. Soy Book Lover Trashy Romance candle: Setting the mood!

9. CUPCAKES!!: Gotta have dessert, yo! This is a white chocolate pretzel cupcake!

10. Mine Til Midnight by Lisa Kleypas: This would be my pick for my Valentine’s Day reading — a historical romance I haven’t read! Hope it’s super swoony!

11. Cute jammies: I’m going to be lounging and all comfortable after my bubble bath so I need some cute jams.

 

 

 

Tell me your ultimate “Treat Yo Self” Valentine’s Day date!! Into any of the stuff I posted?

These Are A Few Of My Favorite Things…In Romances.

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

This week’s topic: 10 things I like/dislike in romances in books

With Valentine’s Day coming up, what better time to talk about the things I love the MOST when it concerns romance in books. These things get me a-swoonin’ hardcore.

 

1. Banter: IS THERE NOTHING MORE DELIGHTFUL THAN SEXUAL TENSION LADEN BANTER?!? I love banter. It makes me giddy.The more banter the more I’ll be shipping it.

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2. Slow burn romance: You can take your instalove and give me slow burn romance ANY DAY. Omg the tension. The longing. The intensification of all those FEELS. The OMG-I-CAN’T-TAKE-IT-ANYMORE-PLEASE-JUMP-EACH-OTHERS-BONES feeling. I love a good whirlwind romance when done right but the slow burn always lights my heart on fire.

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3. The “I kind of hate you” turned “woah hey actually I WANT YOU”: Logan and Veronica anybody??? Also, I actually REALLY didn’t like Will when I first met him and now we are married all these years later so I have a soft spot. AND CAN WE JUST TALK ABOUT HOW I SWEAR IT IS EVEN BETTER WHEN THEY FINALLY GET TOGETHER?? SO MUCH PASSION.

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4. The boy/girl next door or the “have known each other since we were wee ones” thang: Particularly if they are friends! I think of Lola and Cricket from Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins or Corey/Topanga from Boy Meets World. I love all that history they have. I think the reason I love this one so much is because throughout middle school and high school I had this weird “was never a romance but we always liked each other just not at the same time” thing with the boy across the street. It was kind of adorable when I think about all the flirting and hanging out that went on being neighbors/good friends but all that tension! We DID go to a homecoming dance together but that’s the furthest it went.

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5. Opposites attract (also opposite side of the tracks): If there was ONE way to categorize mine and Will’s relationship is this. We are the most opposites ever and it just WORKS somehow. I love seeing it in books whether it is because she’s the prom queen and he’s the nerd or the live on different sides of the tracks…I’m all over it. I love watching people get past what they think makes them so different.

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BONUS: OTPs that have to go through hell and back to finally be together!!! Because sometimes IT IS THAT HARD.

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BRB I CANNOT CONTAIN ALL MY LoVE feeeeeeels.

So tell me…what are some things you LOVE in your romances?

A Smattering Of Mini Reviews

Here we are again…I’m woefully behind on talking about books I’ve read and I’ve been reading faster than I can write about them. I mean, that’s  all true. But mostly I’ve just been a little lazy. So let’s DO THIS:

 

 

The Girl With All The Gifts

The Girl With All The Gifts by M.R. Carey

About In A Sentence (ish): An epidemic. Zombies. Kids. I’m not telling youuuu anything. GO IN BLIND.

Thoughts: This one was one of our book club picks! To me, it was like a cross of Station Eleven and The Walking Dead so I REALLY enjoyed it. Perfect blend of action/zombie stuff and the thought-provoking humanity type stuff I like. I was intrigued by the science of the disease and also the humanization of it through Melanie’s POV and her relationship with her teacher. Her humanization makes all the testing for a cure to take back the world seem so morally grey because SHE IS LIKE A HUMAN. And holy CRAPPPP that ending you guys! I was standing up giving a slow clap when I was able to get my shit together.

Rating:

RATING-loved-it

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There Will Come A Time by Carrie Arcos

About: Mark is grieving the loss of his twin sister’s death and, after reading her journal with the help of her best friend, he embarks on a journey to complete a list of things she wanted to do as he tries to reconcile with the parts of his sister he never knew.

Thoughts: Okay so this was one of those times where I thought this book was BEAUTIFUL, well-written and SO WELL DONE — but my emotions kind of stayed at a relatively low level considering this was story dealing with grief which normally SLAYS me. So I don’t know what really happened THERE (maybe my emotions were in check for once) but I just felt like even though I was dog-earring all these beautiful and heart-wrenching passages I just wasn’t FEELING them so much as I was understanding them. She just NAILED so much about grief — especially how one pulls away and how you feel like NOBODY in the world understands you. Watching him work through his grief as he tries to complete Grace’s list was a bittersweet journey. Overall I really liked it and highly recommend, I just didn’t feel as emotionally connected as I would have liked to be.

Rating

 

RATING-reallyliked

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Love By the Book by Melissa Pimentel

About In A Sentence: A twenty-something expat in London decides to embark on an experiment to date according to the advice from a new dating guide every month.

Thoughts: I wanted to love this one more! I mean, I enjoyed it to some degree but I DON’T KNOWWW. I was hoping for more. I loved the premise because I thought about all the lols and hijinx  that would occur if someone tried to follow dating guide books to the T. And they happened! They just weren’t AS funny or entertaining as I had hoped to be honest. Sure, they entertained me enough (especially the beginning) but I just had hoped for so much more. I also weirdly did not really feel very much for the main character — never felt like I got a grasp of her outside of her dating life. Overall I was entertained enough, especially considering this was loosely based on the author’s own similar experiment, but it wasn’t the amazing laugh-fest I thought it would be.

 

Rating:

RATING-OKAY

 

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Like No Other by Una LaMarche

About In A Sentence: Two teens from vastly upbringings meet by chance and, even though it is forbidden, they forge a connection and their eyes are open to so much beyond what they’ve always known which causes them to question it all.

Thoughts: This was definitely a very underrated book of 2014. It was such a refreshing storyline and romance. I always love forbidden kind of romances and I loved this one to pieces. I loved learning about Devorah’s religion and culture as a Hasidic Jew and I loved even MORE watching her question what she believed to be right for her life and her future after meeting Jaxon who opens her eyes to a lot of things. AND THAT ENDING WAS REALLY SUPER SATISFYING TO ME. *slow claps for THAT* Couldn’t stop reading this one and I want more people to! My heart was totally wrapped up in Devorah and Jaxon’s story!

Rating:

RATING-loved-it

Have you read any of these? What did you think?

Q&A with Heather Demetrios + Giveaway Of I’ll Meet You There!

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I’m SO SO excited to have Heather Demetrios here on the blog today answering some of my questions! If you read my review of I’ll Meet You There recently, you know that it was one of the BEST books I’ve read in a while. If you haven’t read my review of it, WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR? It’s a must read book so check it out!

I loved the answers to my questions so definitely make sure to read this!

Hi Heather!

Heather Demetrios author photo

1. Describe I’ll Meet You There in 5 words or less!
The journey of a lifetime.
(I need to clarify that while I hope this is the case for readers, I’m talking about myself. Writing this book has been a wild ride and the most satisfying writing experience I’ve ever had).

 

2. When I was reading I’ll Meet You There I was so struck with how well you portrayed this small, run down sort of impoverished town (something we don’t see a lot in YA) and it reminded me so much of where I spent much of my childhood that my mom, like Skylar and Josh, wanted to get so far away from. But I also loved how you showed how wonderful HOME is despite that. How did you strike that balance to show just why they longed to get away and wanted but more but also show the charm that lies in the place you call home? What was your inspiration for the setting?

When I was in junior high, my mom re-married and moved us to central California. I hated it with a passion. Part of it was because I was so isolated and far from my family and the life I had in LA. It’s also very different: suburban, agricultural, land-locked. Not the most fashionable place in the world. I longed for the beaches of my childhood, the shopping, the palm trees, and my grandparents. I couldn’t wait to get out. Much like Sky, during the summer before my freshman year of college, I was convinced something terrible would keep me there. I’d get pregnant or develop a brain tumor or I’d die trapped under a building after a horrible earthquake. Luckily, I did get out. I spent years thinking of that region with nothing but scorn, in part because I’d experienced so much unhappiness there. But over the years, I’ve gradually softened and come to feel something like a bittersweet affection for the place. The thing is, when you spend your teen years somewhere, that place takes up residence inside you. It’ll have a hold over you no matter how far you run away. I wanted to show that the places we love and hate and grow in embed themselves in our hearts, whether we want them to or not. For Sky, Creek View is a place where she had amazing friendships and movie nights with her mom and where her dad swam with her in the Creek. You can take the girl out of Creek View, but you can never take the Creek View out of the girl.
Highway 99 runs between LA and Fresno and when I was growing up, we did that drive countless times. I based Creek View on the tiny towns we’d stop in for gas or passed by because, like Creek View, they didn’t even have a gas station. I wondered what it would be like to grow up there, only four hours away from one of the biggest and most important cities in the world, to have a life where four hours might as well be four hundred.

 

3. Josh’s character just felt so ALIVE to me with all the emotion and detail that came together about his time in the Marines. He was so complex and was dealing with a lot — PTSD, grief, his memories and the fact that he lost leg — and I appreciated the depth and the fact these things never felt contrived. You can tell that great care went into portraying his PTSD and being an amputee, can you talk about the research and the people you talked to understand Josh more? Was there anything that surprised you or really stuck with you?

Josh is why I stuck with the book, even when it felt impossible. I had to tell his story, I had to give him a fighting chance to overcome his demons and I could only do that by finishing the book. The bulk of my research went into Josh. The most helpful research were the actual interviews I did with Soldiers and Marines who had served in Afghanistan and Iraq, as well as talking to my dad, a Marine with PTSD who served in the Gulf War. Hearing their firsthand experiences of the military culture, reintegrating back into society when they came home, and experiences they had with PTSD were enormously helpful. I think I was most surprised by how poetic they could be in their descriptions of their service or of their feelings. There is so much honor and quiet dignity there—you can’t help but be moved by it, regardless of your politics. I also spoke with my aunt, who worked as a civilian with both the Marines and Army as a family readiness officer. Basically, her job was to help with deployments and service members returning home, so she was really helpful with the logistics of what happened to Josh after the bomb. Of course, I read a lot and watched YouTube videos of boot camp and such. I watched documentaries, like Restrepo or fictional stuff like HBO’s Generation Kill, which one of my Marines has mixed feelings about, but I enjoyed. The weirdest research I had to do was related to Josh being an amputee. I’ve been in touch with Wesley Hughes, who has great videos of amputee life on his channel Amp4Life. A lot of the research I did for this book was heartbreaking, but it was all very, very worth it.

 

4. I found myself just so smitten with Paradise — the motel that Skylar and Josh work at. What was your inspiration for this quirky motel?

I suppose my inspiration is a combination of all the motels I stayed at during road trips, as well as the motels we’d pass on the 99 driving to and from Los Angeles. Originally, it wasn’t quirky. Just run-down and seedy. This is where the beauty of writer’s groups come in. One of my critique partners suggested the place could have themed rooms and I loved the idea. I totally went to town. The Tom Cruise room is my favorite, of course. I wanted this to be a haven for both Sky and Josh, a safe place away from the hard times at home and the drama in the town. They can both let down their guard here, which is what allows their friendship to grow.

 

5. Most of the novel is told through Skylar’s POV but you did have shorter, very distinct chapters from Josh’s. What made you choose to do a dual POV in I’ll Meet You There? (I really liked it and loved getting in Josh’s head).

I wasn’t interested in writing the book without those Josh sections. And I had to fight for them. My earliest readers weren’t convinced they belonged in the narrative. I knew it was just a matter of getting them right and I’m glad my mentors and beta readers pushed me to fine-tune them. To me, they’re almost like prose poems. I just didn’t want Josh to be a set piece, only functioning as the love interest. This is his book as much as Sky’s. I wanted to do justice to his experience and I didn’t feel I could do that without going to his dark places. These were really hard to get right, but the writing I’m most proud of. His headspace is scary, but we need to be there. We need to get in the trenches with him.

 

6. I loved how there was so much diversity in I’ll Meet You There specifically seeing disabilities and poverty in such a real way. The YA community has been vocal about wanting to see more diversity and so I’d love hearing about some of your favorite books that celebrate diverse characters.

Oh, this is fun! Well, I adore Tyrell by Coe Booth. It will absolutely gut you. My good friend Lisa Papademetriou has an awesome middle grade coming out next year that features a girl in Pakistan. Eleanor and Park is probably my absolute favorite because not only is there racial diversity, but there is class diversity. Eleanor and Sky would totally get what it feels like to be dirt poor. There’s a lot of really natural diversity in Sarah McCarry’s books—she just portrays Cali like it is, and I love that. Her books are GORGEOUS. I also think we get lots of diversity in fantasy worlds, such as Leigh Bardugo’s Shadow and Bone or Marissa Meyer’s Cinder. I think fantasy is the most diverse genre—so many different cultures co-exist together!

 

Thanks Heather for your thoughtful answers and these AMAZING CHARACTERS!!!

There is a really awesome campaign they are doing so check this out!

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-Get an exclusive hand-written letter from Josh when you order I’ll Meet You There before Valentine’s Day! Details on Heather’s blog!

Also check out:

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GIVEAWAY

I'll Meet You There Heather Demetrios1 winner will received a hardcover copy of I’ll Meet You There!

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10 Reasons You Should Save The Date For A Court Of Thorns & Roses by Sarah J. Maas

To learn more about why I started doing this Save The Date feature and how it differs from my reviews — go here!

 

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* Release date according to Goodreads

A Court Of Thorns & Roses by Sarah J. Maas

Pre-Order It | Add It To Goodreads


What A Court of Thorns & Roses is about:

“When nineteen-year-old huntress Feyre kills a wolf in the woods, a beast-like creature arrives to demand retribution for it. Dragged to a treacherous magical land she only knows about from legends, Feyre discovers that her captor is not an animal, but Tamlin—one of the lethal, immortal faeries who once ruled their world. As she dwells on his estate, her feelings for Tamlin transform from icy hostility into a fiery passion that burns through every lie and warning she’s been told about the beautiful, dangerous world of the Fae. But an ancient, wicked shadow grows over the faerie lands, and Feyre must find a way to stop it . . . or doom Tamlin—and his world—forever.”

10 Reasons To Save The Date For ACOTAR:

1. It’s by Sarah J. Maas!!! No brainer.
2. There is a MAP in it.

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3. For the first time in my life I AM TOTALLY INTO THE FAE. If anyone could make me love them I had NO DOUBTS it was Sarah who could do it.
4. It’s sexy. NO LIKE REALLY SEXY YOU HAVE NO IDEA. *fans self* I CAN’T EVEN.
5. The world is SO fabulous. I just can’t wait to get even DEEPER into it. It’s so FASCINATING.


6. LUCIEN. He makes me laugh and he is SO GREAT.


7. Sarah creates just such FULL characters. I never thought I could care about anyone like I do the Throne of Glass series characters but the characters of ACOTAR are so ALIVE and complex. I just love them so much already. Her ability to bring characters to life are unparalleled. You need to meet Feyre, Tamlin, Lucien, Rhys, Alis and more!!


8. So many “HOLY CRAP” moments. One time I yelled obscenities very loudly. TWISTS, TURNS & PULSE-RACING MOMENTS.


9. Feyre is BAD ASS. And it’s not even like she is this total badass. (IF that makes sense). She’s a normal girl but she uses her BRAINS and the “street smart” she acquires from the things life has thrown her way. She’s vulnerable because she’s human but the girl is smart and it makes her badass.


10. THERE IS NO CLIFFHANGER!! You end knowing there’s SO MUCH that is going to happen in the future (I can’t even predict where this series will go) but I was able to breathe because things were wrapped enough not to kill me. (BUT OH I STILL LONG FOR BOOK 2).

 

BONUS: BECAUSE YOU WILL GET TO FIND OUT WHAT THE MASKS ARE ALL ABOUT

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Who Should Save The Date: Sarah J. Maas fans, people who weren’t fans of Throne of Glass (I really do think you should give her a second chance because I think as far as first books in a series goes this one was stronger than ToG), fantasy fans

 

A Sneak Peek: “We mortals no longer kept gods to worship, but if I had known their lost names, I would have prayed to them. All of them.”

Be on the lookout for my FULL review closer to the release date where I will flesh out my thoughts a little more!

 

Have you read this one? Are you excited for it?? Putting it on your TBR list?

Ten YA Fantasy Novels This Fantasy Newb Needs To Read

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

This week’s topic: Top Ten Books I Can’t Believe I Have Read (or want to read) in X genre

I’m pretty new to the YA fantasy genre so there’s much schooling that needs to happen there so I wanted to talk about the 10 fantasy novels I feel like I need to read to start my fantasy education (I’ve read Sarah J. Maas, Marie Rutkoski, Leigh Bardugo and Rae Carson so no worries if you are wondering where they are). I’d love all you fantasy experts to weigh in and even add more suggestions!!

ten YA fantasy novels

Graceling by Kristin Cashore
Finnikin of the Rock by Melina Marchetta
The Demon King by Cinda Chima Williams
Falling Kingdoms by Morgan Rhodes
Seraphina by Rachel Hartman
Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder
The Thief by Megan Whalen Turner
Daughter of the Forest by Juliet Marillier
Scarlet by AC. Gaughen
The Burning Sky by Sherry Thomas

 

 

So tell me…what fantasy books are NOT on my list and should be in order to have a good YA fantasy diet? :P   Also tell me the ONE on here that I MUST read before the others!

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