Summer Reading Pt. 1

I know it’s still technically summer, but since I’ve been away I’ve read a ton of books that I haven’t shared with y’all. I’m not going to write up full reviews because I have zero desire to do that, but I thought I’d give you guys a brief rundown of my thoughts on all of my reads (and I’ll probably continue to use a similar format in the future). My reading has been all over the place, from non-fiction to adult fiction to fantasy, but I’ve really liked having the freedom to read whatever I please at whatever pace I feel like. I’m going to be doing this in two parts because otherwise this would be a little too long, methinks.

 

The Truth About Alice by Jennifer Mathieu (3 stars)

The Truth About Alice addresses the power that rumors can have, especially in a high school environment. What I found interesting is that while this story is about Alice, we get the story from the POVs of characters who all have varying levels of closeness with Alice herself. I wanted to like this book so badly. It has so much potential, but I felt like the emotional impact just wasn’t there. In addition, it felt as if there was no resolution to the issue. They talk bad about this girl, but they none of the characters really face any consequences for their behavior. That rubbed me the wrong way and contributes a lot to why I wasn’t the biggest fan.

The Disenchantments by Nina LaCour (4 stars)

My friend Andi gave me this one, and I’m so happy I gave it a chance. I might be just a littleee obsessed with it. The Disenchantments is perfect for music lovers or those that love road trip books. It’s a story about discovering yourself (in a totally non-cheesy way) and following your own path even if that isn’t necessarily what others want. This was the perfect summer contemporary for me.

 

The Beauty Myth by Naomi Wolf (4 stars)

This non-fiction book examines the ways in which advertisers, have shaped the what our culture views as “beauty.” Because of my area of study, I already knew the many ways in which beauty is manufactured, but it was super interesting to see it all laid out/where our ideas of beauty come from. It’s definitely changed the way I approach my own beauty routines.

 

Just One Year by Gayle Forman (3 stars)

I was so ‘meh’ about this book. I adored Just One Day, but Willem’s voice just didn’t do it for me. This was a disappointment for sure.

 

 

 

 Full Frontal Feminism by Jessica Valenti (5 stars)

Jessica Valenti is everything I want to be in life. She’s basically my feminist hero. I’ve read other books of her and I follow her writing pretty closely, so naturally I had to read her first novel as well. This is a GREAT primer of feminist issues/stances if feminism is something you don’t know a ton about or if you want a refresher. It’s incredibly accessible, and you guys, her writing is so on point and funny.

 

The Last Magazine by Michael Hastings (3 stars)

This is an adult fiction novel written by an amazing young journalist who was killed in a car accident not too long ago. His wife discovered the book on his computer and had it published. It’s about two journalists (one new to the field and one much more experienced) and their work with “The Magazine,” which is very obviously Newsweek. It’s a pretty interesting story if you’re interested in journalism, especially print journalism before web took over completely. I was definitely more interested in the new journalist’s POV as I could definitely relate to him more. It wasn’t a fantastic book, but it was interesting.

 

Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? by Mindy Kaling (3 stars)

Mindy Kaling writes exactly how I’d imagine her to write after watching her in both “The Office” and “The Mindy Project.” I found her to be hilarious, but there were a few off-color jokes that bothered me. Overall, this was a quick and fun read, and pretty much exactly what I would expect from a book written by a celebrity

 

Even in Paradise by Chelsey Philpot (5 stars)

This book doesn’t come out until October, but you guys, if you like contemporary YA or The Great Gatsby or a really good book, add this to your TBR nowwww because IT IS AMAZING. It’s hands-down one of my favorites this year.

 

Overall, I’m pretty pleased with what I read the first half of the summer. There were some disappointments, but the amazing books really set off the others. I’m enjoying reading a mixture of different types of books. While I do adore YA and it will always hold a special place in my heart, I think it’s important that I allow myself to read outside the genre. It definitely makes me a happier reader.

I’m curious (and also looking for recs), what’s the best book you’ve read so far this summer?

Listen Up! (20)

My blog may be changing, but this feature isn’t going anywhere. I used to do this one bi-weekly, but because I know more than a few people that enjoy my recs, I’m going to likely being doing it weekly. Listen Up! is a feature on my blog in which I share my favorite tunes for the week. Because I love music so much AND I said I was going to do whatever the hell I want with my blog, I figured I’d share some of my most listened tracks for every week or so. I listen to all different genres, so hopefully you’ll like some of my choices and maybe discover some new music for yourself!

Another slight change from the old format is that I’m now putting the tracks in Spotify playlists as that’s easier for all of us.

Ghost by Ingrid Michaelson

I adore Ingrid’s music. I missed out on the opportunity to see her live a few weeks ago, which I’m sad about because I can only imagine how fantastic she is live. This song was apparently my most listened to track for the week, which surprises me, but it’s catchy and also kind of sad, which is totally my thing.

This Isn’t the End by Owl City

I have never related to a song more in my life than I have with this one. I’ve been listening to this on repeat since it was released a few weeks back.

Stolen Dance by Milky Chance

This is probably one of my favorite songs at the moment. Oh my goodness. Not only is the lead singer, Clemens Rehbein, super sexy, his voice is like listening to heaven.

Back to the Earth by Jason Mraz

I have been an ardent follower of Jason Mraz from the very start, and I think his latest album might be one of my favorites. This track is my life philosophy in a song. I haven’t talked about that aspect of my life, but you guys, I’m a total hippie these days.

Reflections by Misterwives

As of writing this post, I have listened to this song about six times today. I love everything about it. I love dancing to the beat, and I adore the lead’s voice. They currently only have an EP out, but I am very excited to for their first album to be released.

Alright, those are my picks for this week! Now, because I am ALWAYS up for new music, let me know what you have been listening to lately in the comments!

A Midsummer’s Review

As you are all aware, I’ve been online pretty sporadically for the past month and a half. Because of that, I thought I’d share what I’ve been up to this summer! I don’t take a whole ton of pictures that aren’t selfies (but I’m working on it!), so this is just a very small peek into my summer so far.

June

Honestly, I didn’t do a whole lot during the month of June. I worked on some writing, read a few books (mostly non-fiction), and spent A LOT of time tanning since the weather has actually been pretty nice here. Up until this past week, I was taking weekly zumba and yoga classes. I had a lot of fun doing zumba, I haven’t done it since I was in high school and I thought I’d give it a try. My only complaint would be that we did the exact same songs/routines every single week, and that got dull FAST. Yoga was a whole other beast. For some reason I signed up for a 7:30 am yoga class. That was wayyyyy too early for me. I wake up early, but I don’t like to socialize or be around people for the first few hours after I wake up, so having to get ready and be all chipper wasn’t my idea of fun. Plus, everyone else in my class was 60+ (I have no clue how that happened), so the routines weren’t nearly challenging enough for me. This was my first actual yoga class though, so it was nice to have the experience. I definitely prefer practicing on my own.

July

From the end of June to the first/second week of July I was at a music festival. It was an AMAZING two weeks. I saw so many bands and ended up getting to spend a lot of time with my best friend (HEY NOELLE). I also ran into one of my college friends at the festival which was awesome because he just moved away to Colorado and we got to see some of our favorite bands together before he left.  I don’t have many pictures from the festival (SAD), but that’s because I took mostly videos. Which Wordperss won’t let me upload, so y’all get just the few pics I took. Apologies for the terrible quality. I was obviously too into the shows to take good pictures.

Bands I saw:

  • Smallpools – They were pretty good! They don’t have a full album out yet, so their set was pretty short
  • Neon Trees – THIS ONE WAS AMAZING
  • St. Lucia – They had a lot of technical issues with their computer, and since their music is mostly electronic, they had to skip a few songs. I was super sad because I adore them, but they totally rallied and put on the best show they could given the circumstances.
  • Best Coast – I ended up leaving this one early. I definitely prefer their recorded music.
  • Vic & Gab – I don’t remember much of this show. I’ve never heard of them, but they were decent.
  • Wild Cub – This was my second time seeing them. They did a great job, but when I saw them the first time it was at a much more intimate venue and I think their performance in that setting was a lot better.
  • Bleachers – I’ve been to a lot of shows, and Bleachers/Jack Antonoff put on one of the best performances I’ve ever seen. His energy was fantastic. If you ever get the opportunity to see them, I’d highly recommend taking it.
  • The Living Statues – I hadn’t heard of them before the festival, but they were very attractive. I don’t remember much of the music because I was talking through most of the show oops.
  • Kitten – I AM OBSESSED WITH HER. She/this band is one that I knew a little bit about beforehand, but not a lot. Her music is definitely my type, but my favorite part was the performance. The lead singer was running all over the stage and jumping around and screaming and it was amazing. I’m also in love with the outfit she wore. I really hope I get the chance to see them again.
  • The Neighbourhood – FUCKING FANTASTIC SHOW. I absolutely hated the crowd because they were fairly young and only knew their one popular song. The NHBD is one of my all-time favorite bands and I just felt like their other music wasn’t really appreciated by the crowd. I was also kind of far away so it was difficult to get into the show when I was surrounded by people that didn’t know a single song. But seriously the atmosphere and lighting/video matched up really well with their music.
  • American Authors  - This was also my second time seeing them. I felt the same way about their performance as the Wild Cub one.
  • ONEREPUBLIC – I GOT TO SEE THIS ONE FOR FREE AND IT WAS CRAZY EXPENSIVE BUT THEY WERE AMAZING. Music lovers will understand when I say that this show felt like a religious experience. There are no words for how much talent these guys have.
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Smallpools

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St. Lucia

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Best Coast

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My friend Seth and I waiting for Bleachers!

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BLEACHERS/JACK ANTONOFF!

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Kitten being fucking awesome.

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My one very zoomed out picture of OneRepublic.

During the festival, I apparently rocked out a little too much and got tendonitis. This is a picture of my foot all wrapped up so that I could still  go to shows even though I couldn’t really walk. Nothing stops me from seeing my favorite bands.

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A week later, one of my other best friends celebrated her birthday! We went out to a bar and a night club and I got alcohol poisoning and it was really great. Not. But at least we looked cute!

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Lastly, this past weekend I went biking at one of the state parks here. This is me after the 10 mile bike ride. I’ve been riding my bike a lot more lately, and I gotta say, I’ve definitely missed it.

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That’s been my summer so far! I can’t wait to see what the next month and a half brings (Let’s just say big things are happening in my life right now :D).

I’ll be doing a roundup of the books I’ve read while I’ve been away in a future post, so be on the lookout for that!

Since it’s been so long, I want to know what guys have been up to this summer! Have you done anything fun? Read any good books? Let me know in the comments!

I’m Back? Maybe?

Oh look! It’s me with another “I miss blogging” post. Yep. I miss blogging. I miss the community (parts of it) and sharing the love of books and writing. I miss writing about so, so much. Don’t get me wrong, I’m LOVING writing over at Feminspire. I’ve actually started editing pieces too, which has been a ton of fun. But that’s not what this post is about.

I think I’ve mentioned in the past that I have a REALLY difficult time balancing things. I’m the kind of person who becomes interested in something and then throws every ounce of energy she has into that one thing. And then I get burnt out and need to step back and allow myself to explore other things. I am that way with everything. So for me, going back and forth with hobbies is nothing new at all. It’s exhausting, but not new. Being away from book blogging for a while showed me just how unbalanced I’ve been living my life. Exploring a new outlet doesn’t mean I have to give up another. I mean, I *always* make time for music no matter what. I can do that with everything else. I can book blog and work with Feminspire and go to concerts and practice yoga and do everything else that makes up my life. Not writing on this blog has left me feeling like something’s missing.

This isn’t to say I’m coming back as the blogger I used to be, though. When I decided to quit, I was 100% done with everything book blogging related. I didn’t want to read blogs and go on twitter or even read YA. I’ll be honest, there was a lot of background drama going on that brought me to a place where I didn’t want to be associated with this community. I was stressed out all the time, I was hurt and upset and angry, and it was getting in the way of the rest of my life. I am a very chill person, so drama is just not something I want any part of.

In that same vein, I want this blog to represent who I am. I’m not only a reader, and I want this blog to be a reflection of that. I have no clue what that’ll look like, but I want to share other aspects of my life. I want to keep writing about the books I love, but I also want to write about all the other things I love and think about on a daily basis. Basically, I want this to be more of a personal blog than a book blog. I don’t know if anyone will still find me interesting, but I suppose that doesn’t really matter.

One of my greatest fears in coming back, and why I’ve been so hesitant, is that I’ll become totally irrelevant to the book blogging community. Most of my readers and friends are in that community. If I’m no longer writing solely about books, will everyone still stick around? If I’m not trying to keep up with everyone else, will people still care? Will they still like me and my blog? I know that shouldn’t matter, that I should only blog for me, but it’s hard for me to not care, even just a little bit. I don’t want to feel like I’m writing to an empty space. I like having readers and followers to talk to. I don’t want my blog to be a one-way medium; I like the conversation that happens between consumer and creator.

So I guess right now I’m back, but I’m going to take it day by day. I’m going to write about the things I’m interested in and see how that goes. I have no clue how that’s going to work out, but that’s not something I’m going to worry about right now. Instead, I’m going to do what feels right in the moment.

To quote my man, Lao Tzu,

“Life is a series of natural and spontaneous changes. Don’t resist them – that only creates sorrow. Let reality be reality. Let things flow naturally forward in whatever way they like.”

 

Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes

Yes, I did quote David Bowie in my post title :)

This post is a bit awkward for me to write after the post I JUST wrote about blogging for me, but an awesome opportunity arose Monday night and I couldn’t not take it. As you may or may not know, I recently graduated with a degree in media studies. My ultimate career goal is to be a columnist and/or media critic on feminist issues as they relate to the media. I’m happy to announce that as of this week, I’ve joined Feminspire as a staff writer. There really aren’t any words for how excited I am about this opportunity. This is the next step in my career journey, and I’m honored that I get to join such a great team of writers.

Why am I telling you guys this?  I’m going to just put it right out there. I will no longer be book blogging. Reading has and will always be a hobby of mine, but between writing with Feminspire and contributing over at GERM Magazine (which is another thing I do!), I’m not going to have the time to keep up a book blog as well. Of course, I’ll still be reading books and following my favorite book blogs and tweeting about what I’m reading, so it’s not like I’ll be completely gone from the community. My good friend Lili, from Lili’s Reflections, also offered me a place to guest post when I need to get my bookish thoughts/reviews out and so I can finish up some commitments I have with publishers.

I know that not all of you will follow me to my new writing home (though I’ll be thrilled if you do!), and don’t worry, I understand if you no longer want to follow me on Twitter or elsewhere. Feminist issues aren’t everyone’s cup of tea, no matter how much I wish they were. So I want to say thank you to every single person that has ever read or commented on my blog. It’s been a crazy two years and I couldn’t have asked for a more memorable experience. Thank you for supporting me and reading my blog. It truly means the world to me.

And really, this isn’t goodbye. I’m simply moving to a new place. Plus, with Twitter, there’s no way you’ll ever be able to escape me ;)

Ramblings By Rachel: Remembering Why I Do This

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(Note: I’ve decided to title my discussion posts ‘Ramblings by Rachel’ because I like alliteration and it gave me an excuse to make a graphic. But really, it’s for organization purposes.)

Those of you who have been reading my blog for a while know that I go through phases where I start to question whether I want to continue blogging or not. As with any hobby, blogging takes a lot of time and work, and there’s not always a great payoff. Add in the pressure to stay relevant and the drama the seems to happen at some point every week, and it’s easy to become disenchanted with blogging. I have always told myself that if I reach a point where I no longer enjoy blogging, I will stop. I’ve never actually reached that breaking point, but I’ve come close, many times.

This weekend I finally got around to watching The Book Thief. If you haven’t seen it yet, it’s an incredibly beautiful adaptation of an equally beautiful (and heartbreaking) book. The Book Thief was one of those pivotal books I read in my teen years. For me, my high school years were a golden period in terms of reading. Though I’ve always been a reader, those were the years when I discovered books that spoke to my soul. The books I read in high school will always have a special place in my heart because those were the ones that truly changed my life. Watching such a fantastic adaptation of a book I had loved so deeply as a teen brought back all of the feelings from high school, the ones where literature was not just something I wanted, it was something I needed. Reading has always been my way of figuring out the world in which I live and where my place in this world is.

Blogging is an extension of that love. I would be perfectly content with reading book after book and never writing a review again. It would certainly take a lot of stress off my shoulders.  And that might sound awful, but it’s true. So why do I do this? Though I sometimes lose sight of why I started in the first place, I blog because I have SO MUCH love for reading and books that I really cannot contain my passion. So even though I would be fine not writing reviews, that would mean the loss of an outlet that is very important to me. I don’t care whether people read my blog or not (though I am so very thankful for all of you), what I care about is that I am able to express my love for the words and stories that I am continuously consuming day after day. Of course, helping others discover a new favorite book or having fangirl moments with like-minded people are added benefits that make this even more fun.

Ultimately, I don’t blog for other people, I blog for myself. There are so many things that can distract from that simple statement, but at the end of the day, the only thing that matters is that this blog continues to fulfill my needs as a reader and as a person.

I’m also interested in your thoughts, lovely readers. Why do you blog? What do you do to reignite your love for blogging (or any passion)? And if you’ve seen The Book Thief, let me know what you thought of that as well (there were all the tears from me)!

Review: Hungry by H. A. Swain

Released: June 3, 2014
Publisher: Macmillan
Source: ARC from publisher

Summary from Goodreads:
In the future, food is no longer necessary—until Thalia begins to feel something unfamiliar and uncomfortable. She’s hungry.

In Thalia’s world, there is no need for food—everyone takes medication (or “inocs”) to ward off hunger. It should mean there is no more famine, no more obesity, no more food-related illnesses, and no more war. At least that’s what her parents, who work for the company that developed the inocs, say. But when Thalia meets a boy who is part of an underground movement to bring food back, she realizes that most people live a life much different from hers. Worse, Thalia is starting to feel hunger, and so is he—the inocs aren’t working. Together they set out to find the only thing that will quell their hunger: real food.

My Thoughts

You know those books that have so much potential and you’re so excited while reading them, but then all of a sudden everything crashes and burns? If you haven’t experienced this, count yourself lucky.

For the first 2/3 of Hungry, I was in love. I don’t read a ton of dystopian fiction these days because I tend to prefer the more “classic” dystopias like 1984 and Brave New World. The reason I was so excited to read Hungry was because it leaned more on the science fiction side, which is a genre I actually really love. I thought the world Swain created was fascinating and was a great commentary on the direction our planet is currently headed in. Whether it was intentional or not, I think this book does a great job at exploring issues such as technology, capitalism, and the destruction of Earth and its natural resources in a way that’s accessible, but also realistic. In Thalia’s world, everything living (plants and animals) has been destroyed in past wars as a result of overpopulation. People no longer need food to live, instead, they drink synthetic liquid that provides the nutrients the body needs to operate properly. Their entire world is surrounded by technology and virtual experiences. When Thalia starts feeling actual hunger and discovers that there are others out there just like her, her world completely changes.

Everything up to this point is all fine and dandy. Thalia meets a boy who makes her feel unlike anyone else and they run away to find somewhere to hide because Thalia basically starts a riot/movement (too complicated to explain everything) and the government is after her because of her ties with them and her parents, who are renowned scientists. I thought it was cool how Thalia used her knowledge about technology to subvert One World and create a movement. I mean, it was your typical dystopian novel. Not cliche or trite, but also not totally life-changing either.

And then things got weird. REALLY weird. Thalia and Basil (the boy I talked about above) stumble upon this compound that is supposedly growing plants for consumption and living in the natural Earth. Their mission is to bring Earth back to its former glory, which sounds nice, but in reality their leader and what they’re doing is super fucked up. Like, it was so weird and out in left field that I couldn’t take it seriously and was a bit disturbed. This whole section of the story completely ruined it for me. It didn’t make any sense and there were so many things that were convenient and it felt like a mess. What started out as a super promising story ended up heading in the other direction very quickly.

I wish I could end this review on a positive note, but I’m incredibly disappointed with how Hungry ended. I think that the last section of the book could have been made more cohesive with the rest of the story, and that while it had potential to be a strong dystopian book (series??), it fell short of that.

Favorite quote:

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Rating: 3/5 stars

BEA Recap Pt. 2 – The Fun!

In case you didn’t know, last week I attended the widely talked about North American publishing conference, Book Expo America. To sum up the week in three words: It was complicated. I had some of the most amazing experiences of my life, but there were some not so awesome things that I’m not going to talk about. Honestly, I don’t know if I’ll get next year. We shall see. This is the second and final part of my recap, which will cover all of the awesome people I hung out with and the exciting events I attended! Warning: LOTS of pictures ahead.

Tuesday:

This was the day I flew in. I spent most of the day flying because connecting flights and layovers, but that night I got to have dinner and drinks with some awesome authors and bloggers. Thanks goes to Dahlia for the picture!

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Wednesday:

Wednesday was slightly more eventful than Tuesday. I spent most of the day helping my friend Mitali setting up for the Teen Author Carnival! The Carnival went so, so well. I had a great time hanging out beforehand and listening to such a fabulous group of authors speak. At one point in the night, Gayle Forman started karaoke to the song ‘Time After Time,’ which was hilarious. I also got to meet Rebecca Serle for the first time that night (LOVE HER), as well as Ann Stampler! My photos aren’t the greatest quality because I don’t really pay attention to picture taking, but her’s what I managed to get from the night!

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Photo credit: Mitali

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My debut as Vanna White. Photo Credit: Debbie

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Thursday:

Thursday was an INSANE day for me. In the morning I went to the Harlequin Teen breakfast where I had some noms and got to speak to some editors and authors. It was super interesting to hear what the editors had to say about the books they worked on. I always find the background work fascinating as we most often only see the finish product. Unfortunately I don’t have any pictures from that part of the day. After waiting in line for some ARCs, I met Estelle for lunch at Bryan Park because of course I had to fit some time in for this girl.

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Jamie from The Perpetual Page-Turner and I hanging out in line. Photo Credit: Jamie

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Photo Credit: Estelle

I ran back to BEA for some books, and then it was time for the YA Party hosted by my amazing friend, Liza. This woman is so wonderful, you guys. I’m so fortunate I was able to help out with the part and meet some of my favorite authors and hang out with friends. I met some new people that night that I’m totally in love with now, so that’s awesome. Everything went so wonderfully.

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I feel absolutely terrible, but I can’t remember who took this picture. If it’s yours, please let me know! This is Mitali, Tommy Wallach (who is an amazing piano player and funny and he has his debut coming out next year that I am SO EXCITED for), and I.

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Heather Dmetrios and I! Photo Credit: Liza

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Katie from Katie’s Book Blog and I Photo Credit: Liza

Story time! Now, if you didn’t know, Rebecca Serle is my all-time favorite author. Her books have been there for me in really difficult times, and I’m so, so thankful for her work. I knew she was going to be at the party, and I was very excited to finally be able to meet her. Something you should know about me is that I cry when I’m happy. I get so overwhelmed by the emotion that I can’t help it. You know that video of Kristen Bell with the sloth? Rebecca is my sloth (I am not even exaggerating). She was such a great sport and the sweetest person ever. I spent a very lengthy period of time hyperventilating and crying into her shoulder. It was honestly the best night of my entire life. Aaron Hartzler looks so fabulous in the second photo I can’t even. And then there’s me all puffy eyed hahaha.

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Friday:

I can’t remember anything from this day except I met Morgan Matson and had coffee with her and IT WAS AWESOME. Like, I love her so much and she’s so nice and I just don’t even have the words.

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Photo Credit: Mitali

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Saturday:

The only reason I came to BEA on Saturday was to attend the Amy Poehler panel. Amy Poehler is basically everything I want to be when I’m older. Due to some REALLY AMAZING luck, I was able to sit at a VIP table up near the front. The panel was hilarious. Amy is just like you’d expect her to be. She’s funny, honest, and tells it like it is. I can’t wait to read her book. She described it as something that wasn’t really a memoir since she doesn’t feel like she’s lived enough yet to write a definitive memoir of her life, but more of what she knows and thinks about life now.

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YOU GUYS IT’S NICK KROLL. HE WAS SITTING SO CLOSE I COULD HAVE TOUCHED HIM.

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I  have lots more pictures from the panel but they’re about as interesting and blurry as those two.

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Octavia (Read. Sleep. Repeat.) and I! Photo Credit: Octavia

I had such a great time meeting so many awesome bloggers and authors. Even though the experience wasn’t as great as I had hoped, I formed lasting friendships, grabbed some really exciting books, and got to thank the people that have written books that changed my life. While the week was crazy busy and I barely slept, it’ll definitely be a week I never forget.

BEA Recap pt. 1 – The Books

In case you didn’t know, last week I attended the widely talked about North American publishing conference, Book Expo America. To sum up the week in three words: It was complicated. I had some of the most amazing experiences of my life, but there were some not so awesome things that I’m not going to talk about. Honestly, I don’t know if I’ll get next year. We shall see. But anyways, because this was my second year, I had a much better idea about what I wanted to make a priority and what could be sacrificed if I was busy/didn’t have time. One of these things was the books. Last year I was one of those “OMG WANT ALL THE BOOKS” people because I was overly excited, but this time my list of what I wanted was much smaller. Plus, I had to be picky because I wanted to be able to fit all my books in my suitcase and not have to ship anything home. There are some AMAZING titles I picked up that are coming out this fall/early next year that I can’t wait to share with y’all. Note: this does not include the finish copies I received/purchased because those are already all mixed in on my bookshelves and I’m lazy.

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1. Can’t Look Away by Donna Cooner – I don’t have super high hopes for this one, but it’s about a girl who is a popular beauty guru online whose sister dies, and after starting at a new school, she isn’t sure who she can trust. Do these people want to know her because of her online fame or because they genuinely like her? As someone who was used in high school for what she could give to others, this is a topic I’m incredibly interested in. I’m worried that such a complicated idea won’t be fully fleshed out because the book not the biggest, but we’ll see.

2. Virgin by Radhika Sanghani - Virgin is about a girl in college who’s a virgin and is desperate to get rid of her v-card. On the one hand, I LOVE the concept because it’s a feeling I totally understand, but at the same time I wonder if it’s sending the best message to girls regarding virginity. I could go on and on about my thoughts the concept of virginity, but I’ll save that for the review.

3. Just Call My Name by Holly Goldberg Sloan – Apparently this is part of a series, which I did not know when I got it. I have to read I’ll Be There first, but it sounds really good!

4. Ignore this book because it wasn’t from BEA oops

5. Famous In Love by Rebecca Serle – ANOTHER BOOK FROM MY FAVORITE AUTHOR YESSSSSSS. This one is totally a pop culture/celebrity type book, which isn’t normally my thing bc lack of quality, but I feel confident that Rebecca does an amazing job with this type of story because her writing is A+++.

6.  Also ignore this book because it’s not from BEA #fail

7. Sway by Kat Spears – Literally the only reason I got this one is because the synopsis says it’s a modern day Cyrano de Bergerac. We watched the film starring Gérard Depardieu in high school and I kind of really loved it.

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8. Tape by Steven Camden – You guys, go read the synopsis for this one. It sounds soooooo good. It’s about this boy who records his diary on a tape, and then a girl finds it ten years later and she feels a strong connection with this boy.

9. Falling into Place by Amy Zhang – Zhang just graduated high school and already has a novel coming out. How impressive is that?? This one is about a girl who tries to kill herself and examines what it means to love and live. It sounds exactly like something I’d enjoy.

10. Rooms by Lauren Oliver – This is Lauren Oliver’s adult debut. It’s apparently kind of a ghost story like The Lovely Bones and also a family drama. It’s Lauren Oliver, though, so I’d read it no matter what it’s about.

11. I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson – This is Nelson’s first book in years. I ADORED The Sky is Everywhere, so I’m super excited to have another novel from this author.

12. Afterworlds by Scott Westerfeld – OMG this one sounds super good. I’ve always been a fan of Westerfeld, as he was one of the first YA authors I ever read, so I have pretty high expectations for this one. It’s told from two points of view, a YA author and one of the characters in her book. That sounds really complicated to me, so I’m looking forward to how Westerfeld executes the idea.

13. The Swap by Megan Shull - The Swap sounds like a mix between ‘Freaky Friday’ and that one episode of Lizzie McGuire where Lizzie and her brother Matt somehow end up switching places. I don’t actually know where I got this one because it doesn’t sounds like something I’d enjoy/pick for myself, but I’ll read anyways.

14. Even in Paradise by Chelsey Philpot – This was one of my MUST HAVES at BEA. It sounds like everything I’d want in a contemporary YA.

15. Exquisite Captive by Heather Dmetrios – This book is about the jinn and trafficking. Heather is AWESOME and the work she’s been putting into marketing this book will blow you guys away. Keep an eye out on the blog because I’m part of her blogger caravan for this one and I’m very excited and honored to be a part of the project.

16. Lies We Tell Ourselves by Robin Talley – I got this at the Harlequin Teen breakfast. Her editor talked about what it was like to acquire this title and how it’s definitely out of the norm for Harlequin, which makes me happy because I always love books that push the envelope.

17. We Should Hang Out Sometime by Josh Sundquist – This one is a memoir about the fear of rejection. I picked up for the super cute cover lol.

18. Dead to Me by Mary McCoy – This one is pegged as a “noir YA mystery with a Golden Age Hollywood backdrop.” Gaby gave it to me, and I think it definitely sounds like something I’ll enjoy.

And that wraps up my ARC haul for BEA! I’m so excited to be able to share these titles with you guys. Let me know in the comments which ones you’re excited to read! And come back tomorrow for part 2 of my recap, in which I talk about all the exciting events I went to and people I met!

 

Top Ten Books That Will Be In My Beach Bag This Summer!

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Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by the girls over at The Broke and the Bookish. This week’s topic is the top ten books that I’ll be taking with me to the beach. If you aren’t a regular reader of my blog, me saying that I LOVE beach reads is an understatement. Summer reading is my favorite time of year because A. I love summer and B. I love reading and tanning outside, so this topic is perfect for me! There are so many books I’d recommend for a trip to the beach, but these are the ones I’ll be reading!

 
1. Nantucket Red by Leila Howland – I LOVED Nantucket Blue, the first in this duology, so naturally I am very excited to see where Cricket’s story goes in this book. The story takes place on Nantucket, and if that doesn’t scream beach book, I don’t know what does. I’ve heard some amazing things about the book, so I’ll probably be reading this one ASAP.

2. We Were Liars by E. Lockhart - Ok, this has probably been one of the most talked about books so far this year, at least amongst the people I talk to. EVERYONE has loved it and thinks it’s amazing etc.etc. and while I am a little nervous because of the hype, I’ve always liked E. Lockhart’s books. I actually got to meet E. Lockhart at BEA this year, which only makes me more excited to read this book because she’s awesome.

  

3 & 4. Someone Like You & Lock and Key by Sarah Dessen - I’m working my way through all of Dessen’s books, and these two are next on my list. I don’t actually know what they’re about, but I always associate Sarah Dessen with summer because she writes it so well and I first discovered her books during the summer!

5. The Disenchantments by Nina LaCour - My friend Andi gave this one to me because she was shocked I hadn’t read it yet. This book takes place post-graduation and while high school graduation isn’t quite the same as graduating college (which I have recently done), I’m still attracted to it for that reason. Nothing sounds more fun than going on a road trip with a bunch of friends, and they’re traveling with a band. I LOVE BANDS and would love to be a roadie so really I don’t know why I haven’t read this one yet.

 

6. Of Triton by Anna Banks - I FINALLY got myself a copy of this and I’m so, so excited to read it. I thought Of Poseidon was pretty amusing, and then there was THAT ENDING, so basically I need to read this ASAP. Also, mermaid stories are perfect for beach reads.

7. The Island of Excess Love by Francesca Lia Block - This is a companion to Love in the Time of Global Warmingwhich I honestly didn’t understand, but I loved the prose so much that I’m willing to read this one. It’s apparently a retelling of sorts of Aeneid by Virgil, which is pretty cool if you ask me.

  

8. The Summer of Firsts and Lasts by Terra Elan McVoy - I keep checking this one out and having to return it before I read it. It has summer in the title, which naturally means I have to read it at the beach. IT’S NOW OR NEVER, BABY.

9. The Summer of Skinny Dipping by Amanda Howells – I think the title is explanation enough.

10. Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins - HOW COULD I NOT LIST THIS ONE?!

Ok, I absolutely loved making this list and now I’m even more excited for all of these books. Have you read any of these, and if so, what did you think? And, because I am ALWAYS looking for new beach reads, let me know what books you plan on having in your beach bag this summer!