March 2014 Rewind

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March In One Word

CONQUER
I conquered this reading slump I had so badly so far in 2014 and I conquered something that scared me!

 

5 Things That Happened In March:

1. Veronica Mars movie!! I love Veronica Mars so much and was happy to back this film the moment I found out about the Kickstarter campaign so I was delighted when Will surprised me with special fan event tickets so we got to see the movie a night early and got Neptune High Reunion shirts. I loved the movie as a fan!!

2. The Storycrush tour came to Philly — Lauren Oliver, Melissa Kantor, Robyn Schnieder, Courtney J. Stephens and Katie Cotugno. You can check out my quick little recap I did of the event…tried something new so I’d like feedback on it!

3. Divergent!!! I rather enjoyed it as far as book to movie adaptations go. Wasn’t perfect but I liked! But THEO JAMES. DROOL.

4. I got my first ice cream of the season from a new ice cream shop that was SO tasty. I even went bold and tried a new flavor — blueberry crunch — rather than going with my staple of mint chocolate chip.

5. I got back into pilates! I was sick right when the new year started and just really fell off the working out wagon and FINALLY I’ve gotten into a routine again!

 

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

 

1. Thunder Clatter by Wild Cub

2. Cardiac Arrest by Bad Suns

3. We Might Be Dead by Tomorrow by Soko

4. Turn It Around by Lucius

5. Fire Eyed Ones by Fire Eye

6. Up The Wolves by The Mountain Goats (they are one of my all time faves but The Walking Dead played this song on a recent episode and OMG it made me remember how much I loved them/I went on a TMG bender!)

Honorable Mentions: Elaine (Until Now) by The Fleeting Ends , Pull Down The Moon by Cattle & Cane, Casino by The Notwist

 

Follow my March playlist

 

 

Top 3 Books I Read This Month:

AHH I had such a good month for books in March! So hard to choose!

1. Since You’ve Been Gone by Morgan Matson(review to come)
2. How To Love by Katie Cotugno
3. If I Lie by Corrine Jackson

Most Popular Review This Month

How to Love by Katie Cotugno
I loved hearing all of your thoughts — those that LOVED it like I did and those who HATED Sawyer! Check out my review for How To Love by Katie Cotugno now!

 

 

Most Popular 5 Blog Posts Overall This Month

1. DO NOT READ IN PUBLIC — I  loved how varied we all about emoting in public while reading. LOVED reading your awkward public crying (or laughing) stories about books that made us cry.
2. What It’s Like To Be A Mood Reader– In which I talk about what it’s like to be a mood reader and how it affects my reading and my blogging.
3. On Binge Reading Series…And Why I Haven’t Done It Since 2008 : I really appreciated all your recs!! Still going through them!
4. Top Ten Popular Authors I’ve Never Read: Oh the shame! But some of you made me feel better!
5. Top books on my Spring TBR list : Lots of good books for me to read Spring 2014!

 

 

3 New Obsessions In March

1. Nourish Organic Moisturizing Face CleanserI was in need of a new face cleanser and picked this up and I love it so far! My face feels so soft. I don’t care for the smell so much but doesn’t bother me too much!

2. Angry Orchard Hard Cider: YUM.

3. This recipe. YUM roasted portabella and chickpea burritos with chimichurri sauce. SO BEYOND YUM.

 

3 Things I’m Looking Forward To In April

1. My sister’s bridal shower! Minus all my MOH stress with planning it!
2. Perhaps the end of the cold?? Maybe even some sandal weather?!
3. Visiting my dad and family for Easter!

Favorite Quote From A Book I Read In March

“Sometimes a moment defines you, defines how people see you for the rest of your life. You can accept it or fight it. If you’re lucky, you’ll recognize the moment when it happens.” – If I Lie by Corrine Jackson


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

1. 6 Ways To Honor Your Time (And Live Your One Wild & Precious Life): I’ve always been a fan of that Mary Oliver poem (it even spurred this post) but I admittedly always just focus on the well known quote of it but I LOVED that she talked about the lines together. It hit me even more profoundly. This was a post I NEEDED to read and I think others could get a lot out of it. #1 and #4 were big for me.

2. The Grace In Saying No: I’m a person that struggles to say no. Like really, really bad. Sometimes I genuinely want to do something and don’t want to miss out. Sometimes its guilt. Sometimes it’s feeling bad. It’s a whole mess of things. I want to please people. I stretch myself thin. I need to get better at this.

3. How To Get Back To Kicking Ass if This Year Has Gotten Away From You: Oh GOD. This year. I had all these huge goals and THINGS for this year and like seriously how are we saying goodbye to March already?! I slacked so far this year and I’ve been beating myself up on it so this post was gold!

4. DIY Skin Clearing Mask: This blogger has been my go to for skin care and such for the past couple years. She’s always coming up with new things for me to experiment with and I can’t WAIT to do this.

5. Someone Else’s Pain + Struggles Do Not Negate Yours: Loved this post a lot! Very thought provoking! I do try to keep my problems in perspective and feel guilty often because I know others have it worse than I do right now but my financial situation + long term unemployment is what I’m going through right now and it’s hard for me.

 

 

What sort of things were noteworthy for you in March? New obsessions? Any new song recs?? Best books you read this month? Great posts I missed on your blog? Tell me! :)

 

April 2014 Most Wanted

 

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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.

 

OH MY GAWD. I was trying to do this post and almost had a mental breakdown trying to choose because SO MANY GOOD ONES that I am legit excited about!! Normally I’m good about showcasing one for each category I make but this time you are getting more because I couldn’t bear to leave any of these off the lists. WAH there were so many more I want to add but I’m resisting.

 

3 YA Debut Picks

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Far From You by Tess Sharpe
Factors for wanting it: It just sounds so different. Sophie’s best friend dies & everyone assumes it was her fault — a drug deal gone wrong because Sophie was addicted to her pain meds. She gets put in rehab and gets out and is pretty much all alone and tries to piece together  who murdered her best friend. It sounds suspenseful and I’m curious about the “secret” though some shelves on Goodreads kind of give that away I think?
Amazon | Goodreads

Open Road Summer by Emery Taylor
Factors For Wanting It: UMM ROAD TRIP & looks like a perfect summer read. It had me there. Planning on reading this soon.Amazon | Goodreads

The Chance You Won’t Return by Annie Cardi
Factors For Wanting It: It looks offbeat and awesome and I love interesting family dynamics. Also looks kind of heartbreaking, too.
Amazon | Goodreads

 

YA Historical Fiction Picks

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The Prisoner of Night & Fog by Anne Blankman
Factors for wanting it: Nazi Germany! A girl who is the niece of Adolf Hitler!
Amazon | Goodreads

Sekret by Lindsay Smith
Factors for wanting it: Soviet Russia! KGB! Seems like alternate history goodness with some paranormal or supernatural thangs?
Amazon | Goodreads

Contemporary YA Picks

teen realistic fiction releases

The Museum of Intangible Things by Wendy Wunder
Factors for wanting it: ROAD TRIP! FRIENDSHIP! And honestly I’m kind of a sucker for thinking about those big, intangible things. I hope it doesn’t disappoint!
Amazon | Goodreads

There Will Come A Time by Carrie Arcos
Factors for wanting it: I love sibling stories, bucket lists and stories dealing with grief.
Amazon | Goodreads

To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han
Factors for wanting it: I love Jenny Han! Also this was why I always hid my journal like crazy as a teen…I’m mortified for Lara Jean in this! Basically she writes a letter, never to be sent, to her crushes rather than admitting them and one day someone mysteriously as mailed ALL of her letters to their respective crush and so obviously she has to confront THAT.
Amazon | Goodreads


Adult Fiction Picks

adult-fiction-titles-april-2014

The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin
Factors for Wanting It: A woman working the booth at BEA gave me this and I had never heard of it. She thought it would be a good crossover novel!  Plus it’s a book about a bookstore owner!
Amazon | Goodreads

Astonish Me by Maggie Shipstead
Factors for Wanting It: Ballet! Also, I’ve heard good things about her first book!
Amazon | Goodreads

A YA Sci-Fi Pick

The Taking by Kimberly Derting Factors For Wanting It: I love Kimberly Derting’s first series so I’m hoping this one will be excellent too! Plus love the premise — a girl wakes up behind behind a Dumpster with no recollection of how she got there and she finds out she has been missing for 5 years. Also, possible alien abduction?!
Amazon | Goodreads

A Retelling

Dorothy Must Die
Factors For Wanting It: I LOVE ALL THINGS WIZARD OF OZ. So um yes I need this retelling!
Amazon | Goodreads

April Releases I Have Read:


Love Letters To The Dead & The Geography of You & Me (thoughts forthcoming)

 

 

So guys, which ones have you read? Which ones are you excited for? What are some other April 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?

Giveaway: The Ring & The Crown by Melissa de la Cruz

Wowweee. I feel like in this past month I’ve had more giveaways (3 I think?) than I had in 6 months last year. Lots of book love! Anyways, I’m really excited to be able to offer this prize pack to my readers thanks to Disney publishing & Big Honcho Media! I’m pretty stoked to read this one soon myself!

You’ve probably heard of Melissa de la Cruz before I’m sure — author of Blue Bloods, the Au Pair series and the Witches of East End (which is now a show on Lifetime that I NEED to carve out time for!). Now she’s releasing a new series that sounds SUPER compelling and seems to be a blend of fantasy and an alternate history.

 

Check out the synopsis:

 

The Ring & the Crown by Melissa de la CruzMagic is power, and power is magic…

Once they were inseparable, just two little girls playing games in a mighty castle. Now Princess Marie-Victoria, heir to the mightiest empire in the world, and Aelwyn Myrddyn, a bastard mage, face vastly different futures.

Quiet and gentle, Marie has never lived up to the ambitions of her mother, Queen Eleanor the Second. With the help of her Merlin, Eleanor has maintained a stranglehold on the world’s only source of magic. While the enchanters faithfully serve the crown, the sun will never set on the Franco-British Empire.
As the annual London Season begins, the great and noble families across the globe flaunt their wealth and magic at parties, teas, and, of course, the lavish Bal du Drap d’Or, the Ball of the Gold Cloth. But the talk of the season is Ronan Astor, a social-climbing American with only her dazzling beauty to recommend her. Ronan is determined to make a good match to save her family’s position. But when she falls for a handsome rogue on the voyage over, her lofty plans are imperiled by her desires. Meanwhile, Isabelle of Orleans, daughter of the displaced French royal family, finds herself cast aside by Leopold, heir to the Prussian crown, in favor of a political marriage to Marie-Victoria. Isabelle arrives in the city bent on reclaiming what is hers. But Marie doesn’t even want Leopold-she has lost her heart to a boy the future queen would never be allowed to marry. When Marie comes to Aelwyn, desperate to escape a life without love, the girls form a perilous plan that endangers not only the entire kingdom but the fate of the monarchy.

If you want more of a visual, this trailer is pretty good and uses one of my favorite songs ever so YAY!

 Visit the official website for The Ring & The Crown.

 

 

So what is one lucky winner going to get?

“Heir to the Lily Throne” Prize Pack — One winner receives the Royal Reading Room collection: The Ring and the Crown, Blue Bloods, and Masquerade by Melissa de la Cruz.

*US only, prize will be fulfilled by Disney Publishing.
* You must be 13 years old to enter. If not, find a parent or older sibling to enter for you!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

About The Author:

 

MelissadelaCruz

 

Melissa de la Cruz (www.melissa-delacruz.com) is the author of many best-selling novels, including all the books in the Blue Bloods series: Blue Bloods, Masquerade, Revelations, The Van Alen Legacy, Keys to the Repository, Misguided Angel, Bloody Valentine, Lost in Time, and Gates of Paradise. She lives in Los Angeles, California with her husband and daughter.

Follow Melissa de la Cruz on Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr

 

 

 

Many thanks to Disney publishing for providing me with this prize pack to share with you! You can follow their awesome teen division on Twitter and Tumblr .

DO NOT READ IN PUBLIC!

It’s that awkward moment when you are reading something that brings a volcanic eruption of FEELINGS in the form of tears that just comes flowing to the surface….and you are in public…away from the comfort of your own space where you can properly ugly cry your little heart out.

It’s the worst. My eyes are burning and my face starts to get flushed and I’m trying with all my might to HOLD BACK THOSE TEARS. I’m sure I look like a hot mess with my teary eyes and the trembling lip that I’m trying SO HARD to stop.

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And I just feel like everyone is STARING AT ME. Like I’m this unhinged crazy person. I mean, book people would probably understand this. The shedding of tears for fictional stories and characters. But other people? NOPE. I feel like they are all probably whispering like “what is wrong with this chick??” or awkwardly trying to look past me so they don’t catch eye contact with the crying girl.

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Sometimes it’s because I was dumb and chose something (Night by Elie Wiesel) when I knew I would be reading in public (an airplane). Seriously, who’s dumb idea was THAT? That book shouldn’t be read in public. I SHOULD HAVE KNOWN BETTER. Just like I know better than to read The Fault In Our Stars or any sort of cancer or grief or death book in public.

Other times I’m taking aback by the fact that the book I chose (Where The Stars Still Shine by Trish Doller) is making me cry while I’m reading in public (the pool at my apartment complex) because it maybe didn’t strike me as a book that might make me cry. And then it’s all panic to figure out how to stop the tears that I didn’t see coming.

Stop Crying GIF

I had a potentially awkward crying episode a few weeks ago when I was reading while the kids I nanny were napping. Their mom works from home and sometimes will come downstairs for food or something to drink so I never know when she’s coming down. I was reading Maybe One Day by Melissa Kantor, a book I knew would probably make me cry but I didn’t anticipate finishing while I was there, and I felt myself start to FEEL THINGS. Not just tearing up. I could tell I was going to full on ugly cry. I was willing my tears to stop because I knew she could potentially come down at any moment or the kids could wake up and I didn’t want to be SOBBING like a crazy person. But it didn’t work…and there I sat sobbing just at least hoping she didn’t come down or the kids didn’t wake up and trying to come up with possible explanations for my eyes (sudden onset allergies? I poked myself in both eyes? A sneezing or coughing fit??). Luckily I was in the clear.

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I stealthily was able to hide my crying while I was at the pool by dunking myself underwater so it looked like I was just wet and then putting sunglasses back on. It was a solid way to conceal my book induced tears. But what happens when I’m on a plane or a train or sitting in a cafe or any other sort of situation where I might be reading in public and access to water is not available?! How to conceal it?? I guess I could carry around a pair of sunglasses everywhere? Or maybe books that will inevitably make you cry should just come with a DO NOT READ IN PUBLIC warning? Or maybe I should only read books that are funny in public? (Ehh but then I become that weirdo girl on the treadmill laughing like a hyena…yep I’ve been her).

It’s a problem to read in public when you are someone whose book feels sometimes turn into very real tears. Until I can figure out how to control it I will be forever the girl you can find sobbing in public because of a book. I guess there could be worse things, right?

(ALSO: Will wants to know, and I quote, “is it normal for people to cry this much in general from reading a book??”

Let’s Talk: Have you ever cried while reading a book in public? Any awkward crying stories to share? I’m curious what books made you cry in public! Or are you a person that’s pretty good at pushing back those tears? Or maybe you don’t cry or express many visible emotions at all while crying?

Book Talk: If I Lie by Corrine Jackson

Book Talk: If I Lie by Corrine JacksonIf I Lie by Corrine Jackson
Publisher/Year: Simon Pulse- August 2012
Genres: Contemporary YA
Format: Hardcover
Source: Library
Other Books From Author: The Sense Thieves series
AmazonGoodreadsTwitter

 

 

 

 

 

book synopsis When Quinn is caught kissing someone who isn’t her boyfriend Carey, a Marine who is beloved in her military town, she is pretty much cast out and shamed. Her friends have turned on her. Her own father can’t look at her. Nobody even tried to get her side of the story. Quinn knows that she could free herself from this by telling a secret but she wants to stay loyal to Carey who promises her that he’ll sort it out…until he goes MIA while in Afghanistan and can’t help clear things up.

 

good books to read

Wow. Wow. Wow. I started this unassuming and slim little book that I grabbed from the library and finished a couple hours later with tears streaming down my face — and the ending was NOT the first time that book made me cry. Another underrated contemporary YA to love and shout about from the rooftops. SERIOUSLY. I am finger waggling and all right now. Go get this book if you love contemporary YA. I thought it would be a good and quick read but I underestimated If I Lie entirely — it was really special and the kind of novel that just embeds itself in you from page 1.

1. I initially thought this story was going to be more about the secret that Quinn was keeping: I figured we’d be waiting with bated breath for it to be revealed. I had my guess of what the secret before I started and I was right because we were told on like page 25. That entirely shifted how I thought this novel would go down and made me pretty curious to see how it would all play out. The story is more about how Quinn is dealing with the aftermath of getting caught kissing someone else and not letting it define her while protecting Carey’s secret. We see her getting relentlessly bullied by people who used to be friends, shunned around town and even in her own home by her dad and struggling so hard with whether to clear her name or keep the secret — all while dealing with the emotions of Carey being declared MIA while he is deployed.

2. My heart ached for Quinn: So much of me just wanted to scream “HELP YOURSELF. Tell them!” when I was watching how awful things were for her but I really did get WHY Quinn chose to keep the secret and it made me admire her more. To watch her get relentlessly bullied and shut out by all her friends and the whole town really was just so hard as a reader because I knew the whole story. Her own dad is even treating her differently. Nobody even tried to hear her side. Quinn is just so, so alone and then, just when she thinks it all dies down a bit, the news of Carey being MIA happens and everyone is just so angry at her even more. There was just so much going on — the burden of the secret, her love for Carey and her fear for him, her feelings towards the boy she kissed, the bullying, her absent mother and her father who seemed to resent her for what she’d done and the sins of her mother– and I didn’t know how Quinn kept it together. I was really, really proud of her in the end. I can’t even convey that without spoilers.

3. Oh the emotions! GAH: Throughout this novel the tears flowed like unpredictable red hot lava. I was so surprised because I just didn’t see this being a really emotional novel. It’s not a real long book but every page just conveyed things perfectly that it just hit me real hard. There were sad tears but also kind of tender, heartwarming tears. There was just a lot of emotions coming from everywhere but they crept up on me so subtly. There were some moments with people that just hit me emotionally and then the ENDING. Oh god. I was just a sobbing mess at many different points for many different reasons. I cry a lot with movies and shows but it takes a really powerful book to make me SOB while reading. (I mean, there’s still quite a handful of books that have made me cry). It was just all so powerfully conveyed that I really took all of it hard FOR Quinn.

4. George: YEP. I’m not saying anything more. Just one of my new favorite characters.

5. There was so much to this story and I really appreciated it. It wasn’t just one dimensional but rather there were all sorts of little threads but not in an overwhelming way and it didn’t feel crowded considering it’s a small-ish book. I was amazed at how quickly I cared and how the story just flowed together perfectly and balanced the many elements with an undeniable finesse– family issues, romance, friendships, the secret.

book reviewsIf I Lie by Corrine Jackson is honestly one of my new favorite contemporary YA books. It was an evocative and powerful read that I will treasure for a long time to come. I loved that this story wasn’t just about a cheating scandal but SO MUCH MORE. It’s very layered and very realistic and just about as genuine and complex as they come. Quinn self discovery and channeling of her strength was one of my favorite parts. And George. You have to meet George. So read this one, it will be worth your while! Can’t wait to see what Corrine Jackson does next!

 

 

 

short book reviewIf I Lie by Corrine Jackson

You May Also Like: Something Like Normal by Trish Doller // Speechless by Hannah Harrington

 

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


The Perpetual Page-Turner

 

A Walk Down Memory Lane

Last year I had been talking with Estelle on gchat about how I was having a ton of nostalgia lately. I don’t know the source of it but I knew one big that had been going The Postal Service concert…a band that just reminded me SO much of my freshman year of college. And she being the brilliant person she is, I mean our convo spurred one of my most popular posts ever, was like “you should make this a thing” and I knew she was right. It would be fun to talk about this stuff sporadically — all the nostalgia and memories from my past. And here we are…months later. Here’s the thing about me, right now I have about 100 drafts of half started posts in my WordPress dashboard. I’ve been trying to go through them and weed out what I don’t want to write about anymore and I found this and was like YES. I’m ready. Let’s DO THIS. So, thanks Estelle for this idea for me! xoxo

 

So let’s do this…

So, I mentioned this in my Meet YA Jamie post but when I was a kid/tween I had about 30-40 pen pals..like at the same time. Maybe it’s the fact that I loved the joy of getting something in my mailbox (umm still do apparently because I happy dance when I get books in the mail) or this desire to just get to know people from all over the place. Hey, I’m seeing another parallel here between then and now with the blogging community. Or it could just be because I liked to write letters. But whatever the reason was…I was OBSESSED with it. (I also got really into swapping these things that were cool amongst the pen pallers of the day…friendship books and slam books. Does ANYBODY know what I’m talking about??)

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I first was introduced to the idea of pen pals through Creative Kids magazine (did anyone get that magazine as a kid?) and then through Girl’s Life magazine. I had pen pals from so many states and even some from different countries. It was just fun to be able to talk to someone outside your normal sphere. It was fun to learn about someone else’s life in another part of the world but also totally dish about family/friend drama, boy problems, favorite bands and celebs, etc. Sometimes they would be 1 or 2 pages and sometimes they’d be 10 pages. Sometimes it would be on fancy stationary or sometimes just notebook paper. There is just something special about a handwritten letter. About strangers becoming friends without ever meeting but they end up knowing so much about you.

 

And, now when I think about it, there was such beauty in a conversation that wasn’t instant like we are so accustomed to now. There was processing it, really “listening” to what they were saying and then really thinking about what you were going to say back. You had to wait for a response. It was something to look forward to. It was just really rather nice. I MISS handwritten letters. I do. So much. I do think the book blogging community has given me a lot of the feelings I loved about meeting new people from all over. Connecting with people you might not otherwise, learning different perspectives, etc.

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I have a box full of these letters still and went through them recently (so many LOLS and wondering what the heck I wrote about because of their responses). I still think a lot about some of those pen pals I had — the ones I wrote to the most and felt like I really got to know. I kind of wonder who they grew up to be. How they are doing. I was a little bit of a creeper once and tried to find the one girl on Facebook but I never ended up going through with friend requesting her because I figured “HEY we used to be pen pals like 15 years ago” might be strange if she didn’t remember or if she thought it was just weird I had looked for her.

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I’m glad I got that experience before the rise of the internet and AIM and the texting and all. Not that there is anything WRONG with online friends (I mean, hello, some of my bffs are bloggers I’ve met online and some came to my wedding even) but there was just something special about that time in my life when I poured over a letter, put that stamp on (damn they weren’t as expensive) and sent it off to another corner of the world. There was just a beautiful art to snail mail.

So I’m curious…did anyone else have pen pals when they were younger (or even now)? I mean, like real snail mail pen pals. Also, do you write a lot of handwritten letters or cards these days?

Ten Things On My Bookish Bucket List

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

This week’s topic: Top Ten Things On My Bookish Bucket List…this could have easily been a list of like 50 things.

bookish bucket list

1. Meet Morgan Matson & Trish Doller: I have literally met mostly every single one of my fave authors (Gayle, Rainbow, John Green, Laurie Halse Anderson, Stephanie Perkins, Tahereh Mafi, Veronica Rossi, etc. etc.) but I have NOT yet met these two and it has to happen because they have written some of my ABSOLUTE favorite books!

2. Finish the HP series: You all know I FINALLYYY read book 1 and I blogged about that experience with my #HPvirgin tweets but I really, really need to finish the series.

3. Really work on the story I’ve been toying with: I never ever ever have had the desire to write a book ever — except for maybe when I was a wee one. But, as I admitted to you guys, I have this really, really personal story that just came to me. A “what if” from something in my life that didn’t actually happen. I just keep putting it off and I really shouldn’t because I keep thinking about it. I cry every time I start to work on it so it makes it difficult? But, even if it never goes anywhere, I at least want to give it some attention.

4. Start a Little Free Library: This is more a $$ and location issue for right now but I’d really love to start one of these.

5. Get blurbed: This is just a random thing that I know will probs never happen because the things I write in my reviews are not very eloquent like a lot of other bloggers but oh my goodness would I love to be blurbed in a book!

6. Visit 5 libraries in 5 different countries: I love travel & I really, really want to make it a point to visit other libraries in different countries. With this, I also OBVIOUSLY want to visit bookstores everywhere I go and definitely buy some books whilst abroad! (BC omg some of those covers!)

7. Read at least 3 of the 700+ page chunksters on my shelf: I’ve admitted to the fact that blogging has made me shy away from SUPER chunky books but I’d really like to clear some of those out and stop being afraid of them.

8. Have a designated reading room/library when Will and I buy a house: It doesn’t have to be big but I just want a little space to show off my bookishness and to really be able to enjoy it in all its glory. My friend Anna’s new reading room is making me all sorts of JEALOUS.

9. Go on a bookish tour: I definitely want to go to Prince Edward Island and do the Anne of Green Gables tour or some of the literary tours in England.

10. Plan a getaway with my bookish besties: We’ve all been talking about it and I had the most amazing time in Chicago hanging with some of them and I just really need to have a fun getaway with my book pals that is outside of a conference or book event!

BONUS: Get Will to read 1 book — I’ve already talked about why being married to a non-reader isn’t as bad as you may think BUT that doesn’t mean I don’t want him to give reading a chance. I WILL get him to read a book one day!

 

So tell me…what’s on your bookish bucket list??

Book Talk: The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski

Book Talk: The Winner’s Curse by Marie RutkoskiThe Winner's Curse by Marie Rutkoski
Series: The Winner's Trilogy #1
Publisher/Year: Farrer Straus and Giroux- March 4, 2014
Genres: YA Fantasy
Format: Hardcover
Source: For Review
Other Books From Author: The Shadow Society, The Kronos Chronicles,
AmazonGoodreadsTwitter

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

 

 

 

 

book synopsis

The Winner’s Curse is set in completely fictional world where a people called the Valorians conquered the Herrani people who lived there before. They took over their land and turned them into slaves. Kestral, the daughter of a military general, lives a life of great wealth but her only two options as she becomes of age are to be married or enter the military — two things that aren’t exactly what she wants. As she and her friend Jess are out in the market one day she sees an auction taking place for a Herrani boy about her age who seems pretty defiant but Kestral impulsively decides to buy him as soon as the auctioneer says he can sing. As they begin to get to know each other more, Kestral begins to know her feelings for him aren’t something that society will be okay with. In those moments they share, she feels something that ignites her but she has no idea the secrets that lies behind Arin’s  eyes.

good books to read

I finally read The Winner’s Curse — perhaps one of the most talked about books of the season and I have to say, as soon as I closed this book, I had this insatiable need for the next installment. If you like stories where you get lost in the world, The Winner’s Curse will take you far, far away. It took me a little bit to get into, it’s a pretty slow build of the world and characters to start, but the storytelling will just dazzle you when you get into it.

1. OH MY HEART. This romance. The romantical element in Winner’s Curse was brilliant and refreshing. I have always loved forbidden romance type stories but they really need to have some real depth in them and consequences I can feel. This isn’t some predictable kind of love story but this forbidden slow dance that just leaves you breathless and your heart pounding especially at the end. It’s not simple or easy or even really a “romance” but more of these forbidden feelings that are just starting to really be explored before the SHIT HITS THE FAN. Arin is her slave, she bought him herself, but she feels something for him and she experiences these consequences on a small scale as rumors fly about them. I could feel this tension and I loved the slow burn feel to their story. It wasn’t an immediate sort of thing but these great small, scattered moments that were carefully weighed between the two of them. It become even more tense as the reader learns about Arin’s secrets & feelings.  Aching, aching, aching <—— my heart.

2. The writing & storytelling was PERFECTION. I don’t have much to say about it but that. It’s just perfection. Everything is written so brilliantly. And while, initially it took me about 50 pages to really get into it, the way the story is told it’s just so hard not to be absorbed into this new world and its political structure, the character and the romance. And the plot just moved along at a great pace that kept me engaged and at times on the edge of my seat. Marie Rutkoski knows how to tell a good story!

3. Kestral is a fantastic heroine that really stood out to me: So many heroines I read these days are always so much of the ass-kicking variety (which I LOVE) but Kestral was admittedly an awful fighter. But Kestral is SMART. Very strategic and cunning and curious. I also love that she wasn’t really focused on romance but her curiosity is more what initiated her attraction to Arin. There was something in him that she sensed and she wanted to know. I think it’s because they both had this rebellious sort of kindred spirit thing going on but I equally loved Kestral and Arin and who they were and what they fought for.

4. HOLD ON TO YOUR PANTS! This action got quite intense: The story starts a bit slow but like a good chess game the pieces are being moved in a subtle manner until SHIT HAPPENS and oh does it happen. I was gasping for breath when I realized what was going on and what it meant for our heroine and the story and then the action just kept coming at me and was relentless until the very emotional ending. I felt like an emotional piñata — the story just kept beating the hell out of me as all my emotions and FEELS (anger, sadness, shock, betrayal, triumph) exploded out. I was left empty and broken by the end and DYING for book 2 which I think is going to be even thrilling and exciting and political and things between Arin and Kestral will be even more tense.

5. It made me think differently of fantasy as a fantasy newb: As someone who is new to the fantasy genre I was pretty limited in my knowledge to what fantasy was. I was wondering WHERE ARE IS ALL THE MAGIC AND DRAGONS AND THINGS. I saw the completely made up world but I thought fantasy = fantastical elements always but alas after some googling, because I was curious why this had the label of fantasy,  I was schooled on what fantasy is.

 

book reviewsThe Winner’s Curse is a book that really just has it all — great storytelling, absorbing writing, compelling characters, action, a political structure with much depth and a romance that isn’t predictable or flimsy. It’s a book that has this fantasy newb head over heels and anxious for the next installment because my EMOTIONS are a hot mess over that ending and I’m frazzled all my the various tensions (political, romance, etc). Somebody get me a margarita, stat!

 

 

short book reviewThe Winner's Curse by Marie Rutkoski

 

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


The Perpetual Page-Turner

 

My Fave BFF-ships + A Giveaway For Morgan Matson’s New Book (AHHH!)

So I found myself with a second copy of Since You’ve Been Gone by Morgan Matson — who is one of my favorite contemporary YA authors (seriously go read Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour and Second Chance Summer) — and I figured, “why not share the love for one of my 2014 most anticipated novels with my readers???” Seriously guys. If you are not on the Morgan Matson train at this point…come aboard please! Her books are amazing and just so full of life and beauty and raw human emotions. GAH. I can’t even explain what her books do to me. And out of ALLLLL my favorite authors, I’ve seriously met most of my faves, she is the ONE I have NOT yet met and it kills me because I want to hug her for writing these books that just ME kind of books that really impact me.

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How cute are the sunglasses they put in with the package?? You should check out the #bffchallenge Simon Teen & Morgan Matson are doing on Instagram each month!

I started reading it yesterday and it is FABULOUS already. Since it largely revolves around friendship + a list Emily’s bff, who has mysteriously disappeared, leaves her to help her be brave and get out of her shell, I figured I’d talk about a few of my favorite bffs in literature and tv before we get to the giveaway.

 

In Books:

 

 

Queenie & Maddie from Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein: GAHHHH. Kiss Me Hardy. Seriously, this friendship is one of my tops.

Aria & Roar from the Under The Never Sky series by Veronica Rossi: I’d also throw Perry & Roar in here but I just really loved Aria and Roar’s friendship throughout the whole series. Plus, I always wish for more platonic female/male friendships and this one is PERFECT.

Liesel & Rudy from The Book Thief by Markus Zusak: This is one of my favorite books and GOD this friendship is just one of my favorites ever. The wonderfulness of a young friendship and it was so sweet and beautiful amidst the awfulness going on in the story.

Parker and Kat from Golden by Jessi Kirby: If anything, their friendship reminds me a little of the one going on here in Since You’ve Been Gone! Kat is the more outgoing and free spirited one and Parker is the one who could use some nudging to take chance and be wild and free!  I thought they were solid and I loved them! Also, that book….GORGEOUS.

Elise & Vicky from This Song Will Save Your Life by Leila Sales: I LOVED THEM. I want Vicky to be my friend. I loved that Vicky helped Elise become who she wanted to be but not in a “you need to change” kind of way.

Cath & Reagan from Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell: I always kind of love bff stories that start out maybe with not-so instaBFF vibes and I loved watching these two become friends.

 

From TV:

Christina and Meredith from Grey’s Anatomy: TWISTED SISTERS FOR LIFE. I love the way they are together and how truly they GET each other and love each other — flaws, messiness and all! I love that they are each other’s person and it’s truly been one of the most touching friendships I’ve ever watched because they so strangely fit together and I just want a bff like that.

Wallace & Veronica from Veronica Mars: I just always loved these two from the moment V saved him from the flagpole. They did an awful lot of saving each other’s asses, sleuthing but also being really good friends to each other and opening up. Some of my favorite vulnerable V moments happened with Wallace.

I also have two GROUPS of friends I loved:

1. Golden Girls — my mom and I used to watch this all the time together and when I’m an old lady I want to have friends as bitchin as them.

2. Friends — oh the Friends gang. They are just my favorite to watch ever.

Giveaway

 

So let’s get down to the giveaway!

US & Canada ONLY — sorry guys. Still no full time job so no can do. I promise an excellent international giveaway when the job fairy sees fit.

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Synopsis for Since You’ve Been Gone:

Emily is about to take some risks and have the most unexpected summer ever in this new novel from the bestselling author of Second Chance Summer and Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour.Before Sloane, Emily didn’t go to parties, she barely talked to guys, and she didn’t do anything crazy. Enter Sloane, social tornado and the best kind of best friend—someone who yanks you out of your shell. But right before what should have been an epic summer, Sloane just…disappears. No note. No calls. No texts. No Sloane. There’s just a random to-do list with thirteen bizarre tasks that Emily would never try. But what if they can lead her to Sloane? Apple picking at night? Okay, easy enough. Dance until dawn? Sure. Why not? Kiss a stranger? Wait…what? Getting through Sloane’s list will mean a lot of firsts, and with a whole summer ahead of her—and with the unexpected help of the handsome Frank Porter—who knows what she’ll find. Go Skinny Dipping? Um…

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Who are some of your fave BFFs in books and tv?? I’m always looking for great friendship stories or dynamics within a story!

Book Talk: Dangerous Girls by Abigail Haas

Book Talk: Dangerous Girls by Abigail HaasDangerous Girls by Abigail Haas
Publisher/Year: Simon Pulse- July 2013
Genres: Contemporary YA, YA Mystery
Format: Hardcover
Source: Library
Other Books From Author: She's written many books under the name Abby McDonald such as-- Sophomore Switch, The Anti-Prom and Getting Over Garrett Delaney.

 
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book synopsis Anna and her group of friends are having the time of their lives on Spring Break in Aruba partying and living at the beach. When her best friend is brutally murdered in the house they are staying at, Anna finds herself quickly being at the center of a murder trial in a foreign country by a prosecutor who seems to have it out for her immediately and friends and a boyfriend who have basically all but abandoned her. Everyone — the media, friends, — seems to think she did it. She knows the truth and learns more as the trial progresses and everything hinders on the verdict that determines whether she is imprisoned or free and whether Elise’s killer gets away.

 

good books to readYou would have thought somebody put a gun to my head and said, “READ THIS BOOK AS FAST AS YOU CAN OR ALL YOUR BOOKS DIE” with how quickly I devoured this one. I started it and finished it in 3 1/2 hours flat with one break to eat. BEGRUDGINGLY. How can one eat when they need to keep reading such a page turner!!? Dangerous Girls by Abigail Haas was the kind of page turner that will give you paper cuts from frantically turning the pages to satiate your need to know WHO KILLED ELISE AND HOW WAS ANNA GOING TO PROVE HER INNOCENCE.

So let’s talk about why I was cursing my brain and hands for not working together to read this even faster. And I’m going to try to be suuuuper vague because I think it’s best to go into this knowing the barest of essentials which I’ll give to you.

1. The premise: Okay, so the story is right off the bat going to remind you of the Amanda Knox story. I mean, I feel like I was eyes glued to that case and watching all the coverage and speculating on what happened. It also is going to remind you of the Natalee Holloway story that happened when I was a freshman in college and which prompted my mom to freak out and she made me PROMISE I would not go spring breaking. So Dangerous Girls is this mishmash of the two of them with some parallels but with its own tragedy to tell. The group of friends are in Aruba on Spring break and the narrators best friend is found brutally murdered. An investigation is done and she’s being accused, along with her boyfriend, and she finds herself in an Aruba jail being held until the trial. It’s just the kind of premise grabs you from the beginning because of the prominence of these cases and does not let you go until the very last page as you watch this story unfold where a girl’s best friend has been murdered and she’s prime suspect number one.

2. The suspense/mystery: Ah the way this story was told was just so perfect. All the tension and the suspense was palpable and the author just knew how to make you decide you couldn’t stop reading for even one minute. The world ceased to exist to me because I was so planted in the story. We flip back and forth from the past to the present and it’s one of those seamless transitions where you are eager to learn about the back story in the girls’ friendship, their trip to Aruba and the present day where Anna is facing the trial and trying to prove her innocence. Anna’s account of everything was engrossing. I constantly was changing my mind of who I thought it was and it was really easy to have a couple of scenarios in my head for the couple people who were my prime suspects. I kept flip flopping my theories and my distrust and I LOVED IT. If you don’t at all want to know my reaction to the end, skip the next two sentences. I kind of had an inkling of who the true killer was but I had shoved that theory aside so I was SHOCKED at the end but not shocked when it was revealed. There were some THINGS that made me think it but I was like still like WHAT THE WHAT THE WHAAAAT with the reveal and then that final paragraph.

3. The interesting commentary about media coverage & also the legal process in these situations: I know if this was a real case I would have been one of those glued to the tv watching it unfold. Analyzing the characters every move. I mean, in the book we see just how easy it was for the case to happen and then the media frenzy to unleash their campaign against her and paint her as a cold blooded killer before the trial even begun. They analyzed her background, her demeanor, took pictures of her that made her look like she wasn’t affected by this, etc. They took all these things and spun this story. It was interesting to watch this fictional thing to happen but KNOW this is so how it really is. It becomes a soap opera. Everyone has an opinion and an angle and every little thing is scrutinized and taken out of context. It was fascinating to see how media really plays into these stories. I’ve watched it happen and been one of those glued to the coverage. I also found the way the legal process plays out in a foreign country to be fascinating. I know that was one of those things about the Amanda Knox case that fascinated me but I was really so interested by this in Dangerous Girls.

book reviews

If you like books that you are going to devour from page 1 because of the twisty suspense and mystery, get yourself a copy. This book surprised me! Shocked the pants RIGHT OFF ME. (Don’t worry, I put them back on. OR DID I?) You’ll constantly be guessing who did it and pointing the finger at everyone. I loved the premise and the way the story was told — it was this constant mounting anxiety while I was reading where it all was just so, so palpable  — every betrayal and accusation and feeling of hope for Anna and GAH EVERYTHING. It was a nail biter FO SHO and kept me guessing and completely kicked my brain’s ass at times.

 

 

short book reviewdangerous-girls-abigail-haas

 

Let’s Talk: Have you read this one? What did you think of it? Did you guess?? (If you talk spoilers please label them but I’m DYING to talk about it bc HOLY CRAP!)


The Perpetual Page-Turner

 

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