Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday (29) The Secrets of Lily Graves

Wednesday, October 30, 2013 10:58 AM with 21 comments
Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Breaking the Spine that spotlights upcoming releases we are eagerly anticipating. Click the link to see the original post plus a whole slew of links to other blogs. After you read this one, of course.



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The Secrets of Lilly Graves

Author: Sarah Strohmeyer
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Release Date: May 13, 2014

Synopsis from Goodreads:
 
With the intrigue of Pretty Little Liars and plenty of romance, bestselling author Sarah Strohmeyer weaves a story of secrets and lies—set in a funeral parlor.

Growing up in a house of female morticians, Lily Graves knows all about buried secrets. She knows that perfect senior-class president Erin Donohue isn’t what she seems. She knows why Erin’s ex-boyfriend, hot football player Matt Houser, broke up with her. And she also knows that, even though she says she and Matt are just friends, there is something brewing between them—something Erin definitely did not like.

But secrets, even ones that are long buried, have a way of returning to haunt their keeper.

So when Erin is found dead the day after attacking Lily in a jealous rage, Lily's and Matt’s safe little lives, and the lives of everyone in their town of Potsdam, begin to unravel. And their relationship—which grew from innocent after-school tutoring sessions to late-night clandestine rendezvous—makes them both suspects.

As her world crumbles around her, Lily must figure out the difference between truth and deception, genuine love and a web of lies. And she must do it quickly, before the killer claims another victim.
Why I'm Excited:

Holy moly, this sounds amazing! As most of you know, I absolutely adore a good YA mystery and this one sounds amazing. I thought Ms. Strohmeyer's last book, How Zoe Made Her Dreams (Mostly) Come True, was a bit too cutsey and unrealistic (although certainly a quick, fun read), and I'm so happy to see her taking this darker turn. A family of female morticians! A dead class president! A romance! I wants it now. I'm going to be checking EW like a fiend for this one.

What are you waiting for on this Wednesday? Link me up! 

Hey lovely GFC and new followers, please follow me by Bloglovin as we all know Google Reader has gone/is going by the wayside. (I like to follow back, so please let me know if you're a new follower--and leave a link!) Thank you!!!

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Stacking the Shelves (29) 10.26.13

Saturday, October 26, 2013 10:46 AM with 17 comments

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Stacking the Shelves is a weekly feature hosted by Tyngas Reviews. This meme allows us to share the books we've recently added to our shelves, may it be physical or virtual. This means you can include books you buy in physical store or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts and of course ebooks! *Clicking the link of a book's title will take you to Goodreads.


Holy moly, this week kicked my ass. My cooperating teacher and I are holding individual conferences to discuss each of our 80+ students' essays, and it has been insane. I'm half-way through my practicum and know that it will be over before I know it, but I've seriously never been so tired in my life. Don't get me wrong, this has been an amazing experience and I know I'm going into the right profession, I'm just explaining why you haven't seen me around this week...and why you probably won't see me much next week either. I've been doing some reading, although, of course, not nearly as much as I would like, but I do have a couple of books that I'm almost finished with that I'm crossing my fingers I'll finish this weekend (although I'm probably going to get sucked into zombie-TV mode. I have a ton of shows on my DVR I'd love to get through, too). I did get quite a few books I'm excited about reading this week, so without further audieu, here they are. I hope you all are having a wonderful weekend!

For Review

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Twinmaker (Twinmaker, #1) 17888950

The Naturals by Jennifer Lynn Barnes
I've been dying to get my hands on this book about "talented" teens who are recuited by the FBI to work on cold cases. I seriously love this simple cover. Whoever designs covers for Disney Hyperion is amazing.
After Eden by Helen Douglas
A girl starts to fall for a boy who has traveled back from the future to save the world...that her male best friend destroys.
The In-Between by Barbara Stewart
When Elanor’s near-death experience opens a door to a world inhabited by bold, beautiful Madeline, she finds her life quickly spiraling out of control.
The Twinmaker by Sean Williams
High-stakes action combines with issues of friendship and body image in this timely and thought-provoking exploration of the intersection of technology and identity.
The Supreme Macaroni Company by Adriani Trigiani
A delicious modern tale that takes readers from the cobblestone streets of Greenwich Village, to lush New Orleans, and home to Italy, while exploring the tricky dynamics between old world craftsmanship and new world ambition.

What I snagged from the library


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Premeditated by Josin McQuein
I've been dying to get my hands on this one. I love books about revenge, and this one about a girl who enrolls at a private school to enact revenge on the boy her cousin tried to commit suicide over sounds dark and wonderful.
So, as you all probably know by know since the author herself announced it on TV, Mark Darcy has been killed off. I read BJ when it first came out in America back 14 years ago. Over the years I've read it several times and what makes it so wonderful is bloody Mark Darcy. I'm still debating whether or not I'm going to actually read this, but that's what libraries are for. 
The Spectacular Now by Tim Tharp
I had this book about a teenage alcholic who starts to fall for a girl who is the exact opposite of what he is used to before, but had to return it before I got to it (when a book gets turned into a movie the requests for it always sky-rockets). I'm hoping to be able to get through it this time. 

So that's it for me this week. I'm pretty excited about what I added to my shelves this week. What did you add to your shelves? Link me up!
 
Hey lovely GFC and new followers, please follow me by Bloglovin as we all know Google Reader has gone/is going by the wayside. (I like to follow back, so please let me know if you're a new follower--and leave a link!) Thank you!!!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday (28) Now and Forever

Wednesday, October 23, 2013 7:17 AM with 17 comments
Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Breaking the Spine that spotlights upcoming releases we are eagerly anticipating. Click the link to see the original post plus a whole slew of links to other blogs. After you read this one, of course.



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Now & Forever

Author: Susane Colasanti
Publisher: Viking Juvenile
Release Date: May 20, 2014

Synopsis Goodreads:
 
What if your boyfriend was the world's biggest rockstar?

Sterling is crazy in love with Ethan. Not only is he the sweetest boy she's ever met, but he's an incredibly talented guitarist, singer, and songwriter. And since forever, he's believed he has what it takes to be a star.

When Ethan becomes an overnight sensation, he's thrown head-first into the glam world of celebrity-and so is Sterling. Before she knows it, she's attending red-carpet premieres, getting free designer clothes, and flying around the country to attend Ethan's monumental sold-out concerts.

It's a dream come true...but whose dream is Sterling living? And what do you do when "forever" comes to an end?

Why I'm Excited:

I have to admit that I'm not the biggest fan of Susane Colasanti.The synopsis always sounds so cute, but all of her characters sound like the same flaky airhead. However, I'm going to keep an open mind here because this really does sound pretty awesome. It isn't the most original idea, but I am curious about how girlfriends handle their boyfriends hitting it big. I would never want to date somebody famous. The money would be nice, of course, but I would hate to be with somebody who is constantly followed by the paparazzi and who is getting hit on by other girls constantly. So while I'm about weary about this author's works, I'm still definitely picking this up.

What are you waiting for on this Wednesday? Link me up! 

Hey lovely GFC and new followers, please follow me by Bloglovin as we all know Google Reader has gone/is going by the wayside. (I like to follow back, so please let me know if you're a new follower--and leave a link!) Thank you!!!

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Stacking the Shelves (28) 10.19.13

Saturday, October 19, 2013 11:14 AM with 21 comments

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Stacking the Shelves is a weekly feature hosted by Tyngas Reviews. This meme allows us to share the books we've recently added to our shelves, may it be physical or virtual. This means you can include books you buy in physical store or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts and of course ebooks! *Clicking the link of a book's title will take you to Goodreads.


I'd like to start today's post with a HUGE thank you to everybody who commented on my post about commenting. I'm in awe of the responses I got. Every single person who commented had something significant to say. I've never seen a discussion post (although I'm sure they exist) where the comments were all paragraphs long. I'm still responding to all of them, but hope to get to them today. I will be to all of your blogs this week, too, so please don't think I've forgotten about you. Seriously, thank you. If you want to see what I'm talking about go here.

Review Books

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Sorrow's Knot by Erin Bow
The dead lurk in the shadows in this book, but certain women have the power to create magically knotted cords to keep them out. Sounds pretty intriguing.
Parasite by Mira Grant
A decade into the future, almost every human has a genetically engineered tapeworm residing in them that keeps them disease-free. This sounds so creepy, wonderful, but creepy.
Hyperbole and a Half by Allie Brosh
Ms. Brosh runs a popular blog by the same name. It is filled with amusing tales of her life that are told through narration and (pretty horrible) drawings. I've started this book and have been reading snippets at a time. It's pretty funny.
Sense and Sensibility by Joanna Trollope
An contemporary look at the novel. 

Library Books

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The Eye of Minds  by James Dashner
I still need to read The Maze Runner series (and do plan to), but I'm excited to dive into this book about a future where most people spend their time in a virtual game.
Antigoddess by Kendare Blake
Ancient Greek gods Athena and Hermes are dying and set off to seek answers.

So that's it for me this week. I'm pretty excited about what I added to my shelves this week. What did you add to your shelves? Link me up!
Hey lovely GFC and new followers, please follow me by Bloglovin as we all know Google Reader has gone/is going by the wayside. (I like to follow back, so please let me know if you're a new follower--and leave a link!) Thank you!!!

Thursday, October 17, 2013

The Art of Commenting (Discussion Post)

Thursday, October 17, 2013 8:06 AM with 70 comments


I think most bloggers would agree that the role of comments in our community is an extremely important one. We want to know that we are being heard. We want to connect. We want to feel validated after spending (sometimes way too long) on a particular blog post. In this new world of social media, which I'm especially sensitive to since I'm teaching a modern media class this semester, we want to see that our picture has been "liked" and know that our opinion matters.

I love comments. I do. Especially on reviews, which take so much more time to write than throwing together a Waiting on Wednesday or Stacking the Shelves post. A good review takes work. You have to find a way to be interesting and entertaining while explaining your thoughts on somebody else's work. The book blogging community has exploded and people can go anywhere to read a review. That's what makes it so amazing when somebody reads yours AND takes the time to comment about it. I will never take that for granted.

I feel so lucky to have made some wonderful blogger friends. There are a few people who take the time to comment on almost, if not all, of the blog posts I put up. These people are awesome and I love them. Because these people are awesome, I make a point to return the favor, like any good friend would. No matter how busy I get, I always try to make my way over to the blogs of those who've taken the time to comment on mine. Not out of obligation, but because I want to know what my friends are up to. What did they just finish reading? What are they thinking about today? That's the community I want to be a part of, but it isn't always the one that exists.

Sorry, but it is going to get a bit rant-y from here on out...

First, there are few things I hate more than disingenuous comments. Comments that bloggers leave for the sole purpose of getting you to come to their blog and follow. Case in point, this was left on a review of a book that I didn't like very much. At all. Where I went in to great detail the issues I had with it:

          This looks really intriguing, gonna have to read this for sure! Anyways I just wanted to say that your blog is so cute! I have been reading your reviews and now have like 5 book in my TBR shelve on goodreads so thank you for that! Im a new blogger and would love for you to check out my blog @ ____________
I would really appreciate the followers!




Ok, so she obviously didn't read the review, which isn't a horrible crime (although, seriously, read the review if you're going to comment--don't be a dick), but I've seen this comment from said blogger on NO LIE at least 50 blogs. You probably know exactly who I'm talking about because she probably left this exact comment on your blog. I'm sure she is a lovely person, but it's the most disingenuous thing ever. 

I like to see my follower numbers go up as much as the next blogger, but that isn't why I'm a blogger. I started this blog because I like writing reviews and connecting with other awesome readers, NOT to gain as many followers as possible like some deranged cult leader. That isn't to say I haven't left messages, especially when I first started out, saying: hey, I followed your blog and I'd love it if you'd follow back, because I have. What I've never done and will never do is leave some mass comment that I copy and paste on every blog I visit. I don't want to "connect" with bloggers who are only concerned about their numbers. I don't care. 

On the flip-side, I can't help but sometimes feel completely shafted when I bloggers don't respond to my comments. If a blogger doesn't respond to any comments, it doesn't bother me, but there have been a couple of incidents where I've swung back by a blog after leaving a real comment only to see that the blogger has responded to other comments, but not mine.

For example, I left a comment on a blog where the author is a teacher. She had posted pictures of her room and was talking about gearing up for the first day of school. I left a comment about how cute her decorations were and how about I was about to embark on my student teaching semester, blah, blah, blah. I went back a couple of days later to see if that had started a conversation and she had commented on the one other comment about her decorations, but hadn't responded to my comment. Seriously, WTF is that?! It gave me flashbacks to 6th grade when I wasn't "cool enough" for the mean girls to talk to.


It's the reason my favorite blogs are some of the (relatively) smaller ones. I understand that it is hard to visit every person who visits you when you have a million followers and get 50 comments for every post. I do. And I understand that you may respond to people differently. Some of the people who comment are going to be people you really like and are truly friends with while others are just random people who drop by in an attempt to get you to come over to their blog, but I do think that people will stop following you or reading your posts if you don't ever respond to what they have to say and/or you don't ever come over to see what they are writing about.

If I comment on any comments of a post, I comment on them all (the exception to this is WoW posts--because really what is there to say? I'm glad you're excited to read this, too. Thanks for saying I've picked a great book). It's just rude not to.  That is why I tend not to comment on meme posts: it can be tedious, especially when the comments are super bland, but I want my little space to be a friendly one. Because I'm a friendly girl. I can't even imagine wanting to hurt another blogger's feelings--and I'm sure it's not even about wanting to hurt feelings, but again, it's just common courtesy.

Alright, rant over. I want to hear what you think! Do you respond to comments? Do you ever just respond to select comments or do you respond to all of them? Do you go back and look to see if a blogger has responded to your comment?

I promise to respond if you leave a comment. :)

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday (27) Don't Even Think About It

Wednesday, October 16, 2013 7:25 AM with 18 comments
Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Breaking the Spine that spotlights upcoming releases we are eagerly anticipating. Click the link to see the original post plus a whole slew of links to other blogs. After you read this one, of course.



17560541 Don't Even Think About It

Author: Sarah Mlynowski   
Publisher: Random House
Release Date: March, 2014

Synopsis from Edelweiss; link to Goodreads:
 
What happens when a group of Tribeca high school kids go in for flu shots . . . and end up being able to read each others' minds?

We weren't always like this. We used to be average New York City high school sophomores. Until our homeroom went for flu shots. We were prepared for some side effects. Maybe a headache. Maybe a sore arm. We definitely didn't expect to get telepathic powers. But suddenly we could hear what everyone was thinking. Our friends. Our parents. Our crushes. Now we all know that Tess is in love with her best friend, Teddy. That Mackenzie cheated on Cooper. That, um, Nurse Carmichael used to be a stripper.

Since we've kept our freakish skill a secret, we can sit next to the class brainiac and ace our tests. We can dump our boyfriends right before they dump us. We know what our friends really think of our jeans, our breath, our new bangs. We always know what's coming. Some of us will thrive. Some of us will crack. None of us will ever be the same.

So stop obsessing about your ex. We're always listening.

Why I'm Excited:

I've loved Sarah Mylnowski's books since she wrote starting writing chick-lit for the now-debunked publisher Red Dress Ink 10 years ago. This synopsis sounds so cute and interesting. While I'd like to be able to read minds sometimes, I can see where it would cause major, major problems. It's a power I'd want only if I could turn it off when I wanted. To constantly hear other people's thoughts would definitely become a burden. I kind of hate this cover, but this doesn't published for several months, so hopefully it will get a revamp.

What are you waiting for on this Wednesday? Link me up! 

Hey lovely GFC and new followers, please follow me by Bloglovin as we all know Google Reader has gone/is going by the wayside. (I like to follow back, so please let me know if you're a new follower--and leave a link!) Thank you!!!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday (24) Required Reading

Tuesday, October 15, 2013 7:57 AM with 13 comments


Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme/original feature hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Click the link to go to their site to see the original list for today plus links to a whole slew of other blogs. After you read mine, of course.





Today's topic is: Top ten eight books that were required reading in some way (school or friend badgering, etc).  

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The Perks of Being a Wallflower  by Stephen Chobosky
This was one of those books I felt everyone in the world had read but me. I struggled through the first part of the book before setting it aside. I recently picked up the audio and ended up loving it. I'm glad I gave it a second chance. 
A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess
This book is crazy and violent and weird and just awesome. It's awesome.
The Rules of Attraction by Bret Easton Ellis
This is one of my best friend's favorite books. It's an amazing and strange and kind of dark look at college life.
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
There's a reason why this story gets written over and over again. Nobody comes close to Lizzy and Darcy. Nobody.
Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen
People kept telling me this book was awesome, but I wouldn't listen. They were right. 
Harry Potter by JK Rowling
Again, everybody and their mother told me I would love these. I waited until all the books were out before picking up the first one. I've read the whole series three times now.
A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L'Engle
I have a lot of love for this book. I've read it several times over the years.
Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein
I don't know if this would really be required reading, but I remember getting this book. I loved it and read it constantly. 

That's all I can think of for now. I'm sure more will come to me, but it's bedtime. What books made your list? Link me up!

Hey lovely GFC and new followers, please follow me by Bloglovin as we all know Google Reader has gone/is going by the wayside. (I like to follow back, so please let me know if you're a new follower--and leave a link!) Thank you!!!

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Stacking the Shelves (27) 10.12.13

Saturday, October 12, 2013 11:13 AM with 42 comments

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Stacking the Shelves is a weekly feature hosted by Tyngas Reviews. This meme allows us to share the books we've recently added to our shelves, may it be physical or virtual. This means you can include books you buy in physical store or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts and of course ebooks! *Clicking the link of a book's title will take you to Goodreads.


I'm finished with my 7th week of student teaching which is roughly half-way through the semester. I cannot believe how fast it is going. I'm busier than ever--and I'm about to get slammed with 85 essays next week. This week was pretty slow on the review book front, but the one I got is the one I've been crossing my fingers for. It doesn't come out until January, but there's no way I'm waiting that long to read it. I'm so far behind on my TBR it won't matter if this one jumps to the front of the line. I got some excellent books from the library this week, as well. I have a three day weekend this weekend, which is awesome, because my house looks like a tornado hit it. I have a ton of projects to grade and my own homework to do, but I'm hoping to squeeze in some reading time. I'm also hoping to watch the first episode of American Horror Story whose new season premiered on Wednesday. I love that show and am excited that Kathy Bates is in the cast this season--and that it's about witches! I reviewed a couple of books this week: Goodbye, Rebel Blue and Girls in White Dresses (which I've read 3 times now in the past 2 years). I highly recommend them both. I'm currently reading Vicious, which is super intriguing. I'm hoping to have a review up next week, but we'll have to see how it goes.Well, that's about all for me; I hope everyone is doing well! Now on to the books.

Review Books

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Being Sloane Jacobs  by Lauren Morrill
I'm not going to lie, I did a little happy dance when I got this one. I'm being dying to read this book which sounds like a cross between The Parent Trap and The Cutting Edge. This is probably going to happen immediately. I'm so excited.

What I Won


The lovely Jen over at YA Romantics holds a no-strings-attached/just-hit-enter giveaway most Fridays and I was lucky enough to win on a day when two books were up for grabs. I'm so excited to have copies of both of these. Jen is awesome and so is her blog. If you don't follow her already, you should remedy that!


Library Books

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3:59 by Gretchen McNeil
I've been dying for this parallel worlds/doppelganger book for months. I was so happy when it came in a couple of days ago. 
Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson
This book about Epics--people with super powers who use them to rule instead of help--sounds so intriguing. I haven't read any reviews for it yet, but I can't ignore the 5 star ratings several of my GR friends have doled out.
Tumble & Fall by Alexandra Coutts
I haven't read any reviews for this end-of-the-world novel either, but I can't ignore the 1 and 2 and DNF ratings some of my GR friends have given it.
I've heard great things about this book about a shy outsider who finds her place with musicians and DJs. It looks really cute.

So that's it for me this week. I'm pretty excited about what I added to my shelves this week. What did you add to your shelves? Link me up!

Hey lovely GFC and new followers, please follow me by Bloglovin as we all know Google Reader has gone/is going by the wayside. (I like to follow back, so please let me know if you're a new follower--and leave a link!) Thank you!!!


Friday, October 11, 2013

Girls in White Dresses (Book Review)

Friday, October 11, 2013 8:52 AM with 5 comments

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Girls in White Dresses

Author: Jennifer Close
Publisher: Knopf
Number of Pages: 292
Release Date: August 9, 2011

Synopsis from Goodreads:

Wickedly hilarious and utterly recognizable, Girls in White Dresses tells the story of three women grappling with heartbreak and career change, family pressure and new love—all while suffering through an endless round of weddings and bridal showers.

Isabella, Mary, and Lauren feel like everyone they know is getting married. On Sunday after Sunday, at bridal shower after bridal shower, they coo over toasters, collect ribbons and wrapping paper, eat minuscule sandwiches and doll-sized cakes. They wear pastel dresses and drink champagne by the case, but amid the celebration these women have their own lives to contend with: Isabella is working at a mailing-list company, dizzy with the mixed signals of a boss who claims she’s on a diet but has Isabella file all morning if she forgets to bring her a chocolate muffin. Mary thinks she might cry with happiness when she finally meets a nice guy who loves his mother, only to realize he’ll never love Mary quite as much. And Lauren, a waitress at a Midtown bar, swears up and down she won’t fall for the sleazy bartender—a promise that his dirty blond curls and perfect vodka sodas make hard to keep.

With a wry sense of humor, Jennifer Close brings us through those thrilling, bewildering, what-on-earth-am-I-going-to-do-with-my-life years of early adulthood. These are the years when everyone else seems to have a plan, a great job, and an appropriate boyfriend, while Isabella has a blind date with a gay man, Mary has a crush on her boss, and Lauren has a goldfish named Willard. Through boozy family holidays and disastrous ski vacations, relationships lost to politics and relationships found in pet stores, Girls in White Dresses pulls us deep inside the circle of these friends, perfectly capturing the wild frustrations and soaring joys of modern life.


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MY THOUGHTS:

I love Girls in White Dresses. The first time I read it, back in August of 2011, I flew through it, ignoring almost everything else to get to the end. Less than a year later, I picked it up and read it again. Today I finished the audio version after spending the last week or so listening to it during my commute. Even now, I know that this will be a book that I will be picking up again, moving this from a book I really enjoy to my favorites shelf.  

One of my favorite aspects of Girls in White Dresses is its unique style. Each chapter is written like a short story, which is one my favorite formats for a novel. The novel is melancholy and funny and just oh-so-true. It tells the stories of a group of friends after college as they start to navigate their lives in the city: Their jobs and relationships, the wedding showers of friends they are mostly happy for, actual weddings, pregnancy, holding on to the guys who aren't really right because at least they aren't alone, and the fading of friendship with girls they were so close to during those college years. 

The first review I posted on this blog just over 6 months ago (which I just realized because I had to look it up--it's been six months since I started this little blog!) was for Jennifer Close's novel The Smart One. In that review I compared Girls in White Dresses to the HBO show Girls, and that is an apt description (ahem, if I do say so myself). I have to admit that I completely shy away from the NA genre. The books always sound so tragic to me. Full of melodramatic angst and abusive boyfriends and tragic pasts. It just isn't for me. At all. But I do love reading about girls/women in this uncertain age. This is the kind of book I wished we meant when we talk about NA. Every time I read it, I am amazed at how simple and true the narrative is. I see myself and my friends. It makes me sad to reflect on the girls I was so close to in college who I rarely, if ever, talk to now.

My original, and only complaint of this book, is that it is very hard to keep all of the girls straight. There are a couple of girls who are the "main characters", but some of the stories are about the more peripheral girls who may have been mentioned in other stories, but for whom I couldn't remember details--and I read this almost straight through (and three times). Even with some of the more prominent characters, I would ask myself, "Now, Lauren was the waitress with the bad bartender boyfriend, right?" and would have to flip back to make sure that I was thinking of the right character. If this was intentional on the author's part, a kind of statement about how girls of this age are all the same, then she did it brilliantly. Honestly, this was less confusing the second time I read it and it didn't phase me at all this last time through.


If any one is the "star", it is Isabella. Roughly half of the stories revolve around her and she often pops up in the other stories as well (as they almost all do). Isabella moves to NY with her friend Mary after college because she doesn't know what else to do. She gets a job she doesn't understand and dates a boy who isn't quite right for her. She watches as her friends gets married. She plays the role of bridesmaid and attends a hundred showers. She is over-joyed for them when they get pregnant, even though she is still far from settling down. She is unsure of who she is and what she should be doing with her life. She doesn't understand why she still feels like a teenager, even as she nears 30.

I truly cannot recommend this book enough and I imagine almost all women would be able to relate. Jennifer Close's writing is simply beautiful. The stories are like little bon-bons and I loved each and every one. I cared about all of the characters and saw aspects of myself in almost all of them. Together they blend into the archetype of "girl in her 20s" without ever once seeming trite or cliche. As I've read this book now three times in the last two years, I have no doubt that I will continue to revisit it on occasion.



Favorite quotes


On weddings: Lauren learned something important at Sallie and Max's wedding: You never want to be the first one of your friends to get married. If you are, just resign yourself to the fact that your wedding will be a shit show. Most people are still single, open bars are a novelty, and no matter how elegant the wedding was planned to be it will wind up looking like a scene of of Girls Gone Wild

On bridezillas: Their friend Kristi was engaged. They were all happy for her. They were all bridesmaids. They were all sick of celebrating it. Kristi was really embracing her role as bride-to-be. She never said things like "Let's talk about something besides the wedding," or, "You don't have to buy me a present for every party." She wanted all the attention and she wanted all of the presents. This was her time, she kept reminding them, like it was something she'd earned. 

On the first job out of college: Isabella got a job as an assistant, working for two high-level executives at a mailing-list company. She wasn't sure what they did exactly, but she did know that they called her their "executive assistant" and that her main job every morning was to get Bill a corn muffin with raspberry jelly and to get Sharon a chocolate chip muffin. Bill asked for his muffin, and Sharon did not. This was part of the game. Each morning, when Isabella placed the muffin on Sharon's desk, she said, "Oh, I shouldn't!" but she still ate it. "I was getting Bill's muffin and I thought maybe you'd want one?" Isabella would say in response. As long as she did this, they seemed happy. 

On cutest-boy-in-the-class-syndrome: "You know, when you spend all your time in a class and it's boring and you get a crush on a guy, who looks super cute in the class but then when you go out in the real world, he's not. It's just that you were only comparing him to that small group, so there was a curve."
"Huh," Isabella said. "I never thought about it like that."
"I mean, that's just the name, but it applies to all sorts of things. Like why camp boyfriends always turned out to be nerds. Or how a work crush can happen on a guy that's really not all that great." She shrugged and tried to look modest, as though she were the one to discover this phenomenon.

     (This one, especially, cracked me up. I clearly remember having a crush on this 20 year-old dude I worked with at McDonald's the summer before my senior year of high school. I wouldn't have looked twice at this guy in the normal world, but working at McDonald's was far from titillating and I needed to find a way to pass the time.)

On scary mother-in-laws: "Oh," Button (the MIL) said, "I guess you're his number one girl now." For a moment, Mary thought she had heard wrong. And then for another she was just too creeped out to answer.

I could go on and on, but I'll stop now. Read this. It's awesome.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday (26) #scandal

Wednesday, October 9, 2013 12:00 AM with 20 comments
Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Breaking the Spine that spotlights upcoming releases we are eagerly anticipating. Click the link to see the original post plus a whole slew of links to other blogs. After you read this one, of course.



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Author: Sarah Ockler
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Release Date: June 17, 2013

Synopsis from  Goodreads:
 
Lucy’s learned some important lessons from tabloid darling Jayla Heart’s all-too-public blunders: Avoid the spotlight, don’t feed the Internet trolls, and keep your secrets secret. The policy has served Lucy well all through high school, so when her best friend Ellie gets sick before prom and begs her to step in as Cole’s date, she accepts with a smile, silencing about ten different reservations. Like the one where she’d rather stay home shredding online zombies. And the one where she hates playing dress-up. And especially the one where she’s been secretly in love with Cole since the dawn of time.

When Cole surprises her at the after party with a kiss under the stars, it’s everything Lucy has ever dreamed of… and the biggest BFF deal-breaker ever. Despite Cole’s lingering sweetness, Lucy knows they’ll have to ’fess up to Ellie. But before they get the chance, Lucy’s own Facebook profile mysteriously explodes with compromising pics of her and Cole, along with tons of other students’ party indiscretions. Tagged. Liked. And furiously viral.

By Monday morning, Lucy’s been branded a slut, a backstabber, and a narc, mired in a tabloid-worthy scandal just weeks before graduation.

Lucy’s been battling undead masses online long enough to know there’s only one way to survive a disaster of this magnitude: Stand up and fight. Game plan? Uncover and expose the Facebook hacker, win back her best friend’s trust, and graduate with a clean slate.

There’s just one snag—Cole. Turns out Lucy’s not the only one who’s been harboring unrequited love...
 
Why I'm Excited:

I actually had a WoW post already written and ready to go when I saw this gem while perusing GR. Seriously, this book looks and sounds amazing. I love the contemporary look at the effects of social media plus a sweet romance. One of the classes I'm teaching this semester is Modern Media so I'm extra sensitive at the moment of how social media is affecting students (and, you know, the world). The whole best friend's boyfriend thing has been done, but if anybody can make it fresh I'm sure it's Sarah Ockler. Also, that cover is awesome. Love. I know that June is forever away, but I had to feature this. I wants it now!

What are you waiting for on this Wednesday? Link me up! 

Hey lovely GFC and new followers, please follow me by Bloglovin as we all know Google Reader has gone/is going by the wayside. (I like to follow back, so please let me know if you're a new follower--and leave a link!) Thank you!!!

Monday, October 7, 2013

Goodbye, Rebel Blue (Book Review)

Monday, October 7, 2013 7:38 AM with 13 comments

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Goodbye, Rebel Blue

Author: Shelley Coriell
Publisher: Amulet Books
Number of Pages: 320
Release Date: October 1, 2013

Synopsis from Goodreads:

Rebecca Blue is a rebel with an attitude whose life is changed by a chance encounter with a soon-to-be dead girl. Rebel (as she’s known) decides to complete the dead girl’s bucket list to prove that choice, not chance, controls her fate. In doing so, she unexpectedly opens her mind and heart to a world she once dismissed—a world of friendships, family, and faith. With a shaken sense of self, she must reevaluate her loner philosophy—particularly when she falls for Nate, the golden boy do-gooder who never looks out for himself. Perfect for fans of Jay Asher’s blockbuster hit Thirteen Reasons Why, Coriell’s second novel features her sharp, engaging voice along with realistic drama and unforgettable characters.

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MY THOUGHTS:

When I first saw the cover for Goodbye, Rebel Blue I immediately wanted to read it. The color of the title, the girl's blue extensions, the idea completing a dead girl's bucket list. Everything about it pulled me in, and I wasn't disappointed. I was completely charmed by this book and loved following Rebel as she used another girl's bucket list to discover herself. 

Rebecca Blue, who goes by Rebel, is living a life she doesn't want. During her formidable years she traveled the globe with her photographer mother. The two were never tied down and never needed for anything. They had each other and the outdoor world, and that was enough. After her mother's death a few years ago she was forced to move in with her uncle, Bob, his wife, Evelyn, and their daughter, Penelope, who is the same age as Rebel. Never feeling completely welcome in their perfect family unit, Rebel...well, rebels. She dyes her hair bright blue and is a frequent visitor of detention after school. It is during detention when her entire world changes.

On this particular day in detention a do-gooder girl named Kennedy Green has also inexplicably received detention. On this day, the detention supervisor decides that the students in detention will spend the time writing out a bucket list. Kennedy tries sparking up a conversation with Rebel, stating that she always believed the two could be great friends due to their last names--blue-green being her favorite color--and that she knows the two are there at the same time for a reason. That fate must have decided to throw them together because fate knows when two people need the other in their lives. Rebel scoffs it off, and is shocked when she finds out that Kennedy died in a car accident that night after they left the school.

Rebel becomes obsessed with the idea of their bucket lists residing in the waste basket in the detention room where both girls had thrown them on their way out and breaks in during school to retrieve them. She decides the best thing to do is to give it to Kennedy's parents, but a series of events leads Kennedy's bucket list to remain in her possession no matter what she does to get rid of it. Is fate telling her that she must complete Kennedy's list in order to get her out of her life? Rebel believes it is worth a shot. 

Goodbye, Rebel Blue is a wonderful novel about self-discovery. Even though the story revolves around a dead girl's bucket list, the novel is full of warmth and humor. While tackling issues like what it means to be a family, self-mutilation, and, of course, death, it is never weighted down by these issues. 

What makes the novel so wonderful is Rebel, herself. I was drawn to her character immediately and loved following her on her journey. Rebel feels kind of lost without her mother and never knew her father. Her uncle stands up for her sometimes, but she still feels like an outsider in their house. Aunt Evelyn is a strict and seemingly perfect woman. Her job is to "stage" houses that our for sale, and Rebel feels like she is living in a staged home. Her cousin, Pen, is bitter that she has to share her room and her parents with this wild child. The two maintain a mostly civil, but volatile relationship. Pen blames Rebel for any disagreements her parents have and believes that Rebel ruins everything she touches. Pen never invited Rebel into her world when Rebel first moved in and, even now, Rebel remains an outsider not only in their house, but in school.

Her one friend is a girl named Macey. The two often have detention together, but are not the type of friends who hang out outside of school. They are friends of convenience. This begins to change as Rebel starts completing items on Kennedy's list. Rebel begins to feel like she could use a real friend after all and is surprised when she begins to see how good of a friend Macey could really be.

Finally, I absolutely adored the addition of the sweet love story between Rebel and good boy, Nate. Nate was in the philanthropy club that Kennedy was a member of. Rebel joins the club for the list and is shocked to find herself falling for Nate, a boy she wouldn't have looked at twice even just a couple of weeks ago. I loved Nate's crazy family which was reminiscent of Jase's family in My Life Next Door. There are lots of siblings and always a lot going on in his house whenever she goes over. My favorites were his grandmother who teaches the two to tango and his little sister, Gabby, who wants to be a fashion designer and is entranced by Rebel and her bright blue hair.

I highly recommend this warm and lovely book. I loved being a part of Rebel's journey and will most definitely be on the lookout for Ms. Coriell's next book. 

*I received an ARC of this novel from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange of an honest review.*

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Stacking the Shelves (26) 10.5.13

Saturday, October 5, 2013 11:28 AM with 31 comments

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Stacking the Shelves is a weekly feature hosted by Tyngas Reviews. This meme allows us to share the books we've recently added to our shelves, may it be physical or virtual. This means you can include books you buy in physical store or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts and of course ebooks! *Clicking the link of a book's title will take you to Goodreads.

So. I pretty sure I'm reading roughly 10 books right now (which means I'm finishing 0), but I keep adding to my shelves regardless. Actually, as soon as I finish typing this I'm going back to bed and am going to finish Goodbye, Rebel Blue--ahem, finally--so look for a review for it next week (hopefully Mon). Once again, I got some books this week that I'm dying to read. Student teaching plus 2 part-time jobs are continuing to kick my ass. I'm exhausted all of the time and reading and this blog are obviously suffering because of it. I know that it is only for 1 semester and keep telling myself that. I'm looking forward to Thanksgiving break--already. I hope you all are doing well.

For Review

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Across a Star-Swept Sea  by Diana Peterfreund
I've been dying to read this one. It is a retelling of The Scarlet Pumpernickel (which I haven't read) about a seemingly frivolous girl who is actually a spy. Look at that cover. I just love, love, love it.
The Vow  by Jessica Martinez
A girl agrees to marry her platonic best friend when his father loses his job, and consequently, his work visa.
Never Fade by Alexandra Bracken
For real, y'all, this is the last sequel to a book I haven't read yet that I am requesting. I want to read The Darkest Minds, I've heard great things, but it is huge and so is this one. I will definitely be reading both...eventually. 
Meet Me at the River  by Nina de Gramont
Step-siblings in love. The boy dies. Then begins haunting the girl. We'll see how it goes. 

From the Library

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Vicious by Victoria Schwab
Finally! I have been checking my library status for this one like a fiend.
All Unquiet Things by Anna Jarzab
I actually read this YA murder mystery by Ms. Jarzab (the author of Tandem) when it came out three years ago. I remember liking it, but cannot remember whodunit and had a weird desire to pick it up again.

So that's it for me this week. I'm pretty excited about what I added to my shelves this week. What did you add to your shelves? Link me up!

Hey lovely GFC and new followers, please follow me by Bloglovin as we all know Google Reader has gone/is going by the wayside. (I like to follow back, so please let me know if you're a new follower--and leave a link!) Thank you!!!