Summer Blogger Promo Tour: Jillian from Jillian’s Books

I’m super sad to say today is the last Sunday of the Summer Blogger Promo Tour – well, other than next week’s wrap up! I’m featuring the lovely Jillian from Jillian’s Books. She’s going to be doing the GIF Tag – I sent her a list of ten books that she had to pair up with a GIF of her choice. Check out her picks and then make sure you go say hi on her blog! **Fair warning: one of the GIFs she chose is one of the freakiest things I’ve ever seen in my life**

Summer Blogger Promo Tour 2015

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The Perks of Being a Wallflower (Stephen Chbosky)
The Perks of Being a WallflowerI only read little parts of the book, but I watched the movie and liked it. Does that count?

Throne of Glass (Sarah J. Maas)
Throne of GlassI absolutely LOVED Throne of Glass, and I really admire Celaena Sardothien for being brave and completely badass, instead of being the weak and reckless female that many people believe women to be. She literally proves that even girls can be braver than they are!

The Raven Boys (Maggie Stiefvater)
The Raven BoysSo I’ve been seeing this book a lot and I’ve never read a Maggie Stiefvater book before. BUT I WANT TO. Everyone has read it except me. And this is one of the books she’s written that I need so badly. SOMEBODY SHIP ME A COPY. (Please?)

Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda (Becky Albertalli)
Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens AgendaI don’t really read these kinds of books most of the time, but the positive reviews I’ve been seeing lately kind of make me really curious! And I’m quite interested to know why so I might pick this up one day, if I have the chance.

A Court of Thorns and Roses (Sarah J. Maas)
A Court of Thorns and RosesALL THE HYPE EVERYWHERE IS DRIVING ME NUTS. I WANT WANT WANT WANT WANT IT. 😦 😦

Anna and the French Kiss (Stephanie Perkins)
Anna and the French KissOh gosh. I’ve never read this book, truthfully, but it’s been in my TBR for more than a year now. I just never get the chance to grab a copy. But I know how swoony the book is, so I’m prepared for it. Yep.

Second Chance Summer (Morgan Matson)
Second Chance SummerTHIS BOOK DESTROYED ME. I tried willing myself not to even cry at the end, but I can’t. The tears kept coming. I wanted to hate this book so bad for making me feel depressed the rest of the day, but it’s too beautiful! And sad.

The Lightning Thief (Rich Riordan)
The Lightning ThiefThis is one of my most favorite childhood books ever, and I grew up reading this while I was in my preteen years. It brings so much memories! The Lightning Thief — and all the characters in it — became my best friends the whole time I was reading it. It makes me want to hug this book and its characters for accompanying me through.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
Harry Potter and the Deathly HallowsEnough said.

The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight
The Statistical Probability of Love at First SightThis has also been in my TBR for more than a year, but I’m broke from buying new releases most of the time. Any book donors? Hm?

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TOLD YOU THAT CRYING BABY GIF WAS FREAKY. I’m sorry! Make sure you go say hi to Jillian on her Blog or Twitter!

ARC Review: Hello, Goodbye, and Everything in Between by Jennifer E. Smith

Hello, Goodbye, and Everything in Between by Jennifer E. SmithAuthor:  Jennifer E. Smith
Genre: young adult, contemporary, romance
Publisher: Poppy
Publication Date: September 1, 2015
256 pages, hardcover (246 ARC)

Check out the full synopsis on Goodreads.

NOTE: I was provided with an ARC of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Thank you to Hallie and Little, Brown Books for Young Readers for sending me an advanced copy of this book. 

This book is SO cute, you guys. Jennifer E. Smith is my go to author for sweet, adorable stories that will leave me feeling all melty inside, and Hello, Goodbye, and Everything in Between is no exception.

Jen’s writing style is my favorite thing about her books; it’s easygoing, beautiful, and genuine. Jen’s a pro at breaking your heart in the best way. I really loved the focus in this one on how hellos and goodbyes don’t necessarily have to be literal hellos and goodbyes. Hello, Goodbye, and Everything in Between is different from Jen’s other books in that the couple has actually been together for a couple of years before the story even begins versus having a meet-cute at the beginning that leads to a (possible) relationship. I enjoyed seeing Jen switch gears a bit and write a relationship from a different angle.

It was a bit hard for me to relate to Clare, which is somewhat surprising in that I try to be as logical as I can when making decisions as well, but she came across as kind of selfish and a little dramatic. I wasn’t as emotionally involved with her as I was with Aiden, honestly. I really liked his character; he seemed sincere and just so earnest in his love for Clare, and it was adorable. I also liked Scotty, who is a bit of a secondary character, but quite enjoyable to read about.

I had a few issues with the book during the characters’ last night together, but the ending? Man, that was a wonderful ending. I don’t want to give anything away, but the ending is insightful, realistic, honest, and my favorite part of the entire book. I like what it means for the characters, and it just felt so genuine and true to life. (I will say that I wish there was a sequel – at least a novella or something!)

The bottom line: Although I had a few issues during the middle of the book, I loved this one, like I’ve loved all of Jen’s other books. I don’t think I’ll ever NOT love one of her books. Can’t wait for the next one.

Rating: 8 – freaking fantastic

Thursday Thoughts: A reaction to the SLJ SummerTeen Transgender panel

Last Thursday, I “attended” the School Library Journal’s SummerTeen webinar/conference (attended is in quotations because I didn’t go anywhere and was comfortably seated in my children’s department workroom in front of a laptop), which featured so many amazing authors and panels packed with stimulating, challenging, and wonderful content. I really, really enjoyed it. The first panel I watched was called “THE TEEN TRANSGENDER EXPERIENCE” and featured Alex Gino (author of George), Susan Kuklin (author of a lot of books, including Beyond Magenta – which my coworker and I were so interested in, she went and pulled it off of our shelf while the connection went down for a minute), and Robin Talley (author of Lies We Tell Ourselves and the forthcoming What We Left Behind). The panel was inspiring and thought-provoking and I learned a lot while watching.

I’m personally a fan and advocate of ALL diverse books, particularly LGBTQIA+ books and books dealing with mental illnesses. I have many reasons for this, but they all boil down to the fact that we are all human and the more books about how wonderful and different the human race is the better. I think as humans we have an obligation to educate ourselves on the diversity of our fellow humans. I personally identify as cisgender and straight, but does that mean I shouldn’t read about people who identify differently? NO. For me, it means I should actually make time to read about and educate myself on the way other people identify themselves. I think you should always be learning with eyes and mind open to everything our world has to offer.

For example, I’ve been learning more about transgender and intersex youth in the past year, through reading about them in fiction (such as I.W. Gregorio’s None of the Above or Alex Gino’s George) but also through research online or in books from the library. But during the transgender youth panel during the SummerTeen conference, I learned something new. I didn’t know that some transgender or gender fluid people prefer to be referred to as “they/them” instead of “he/him” or “she/her”, which I found both fascinating and fitting.

I think this really plays into how our society must constantly place people into a certain category. In the panel, the authors discussed how it is comforting to have labels when you are discovering yourself and who you are, but it is also somewhat of a constraint because then you – or the author’s characters – must fit into that certain category. But what if that label doesn’t always fit for you?

This is why LGBTQIA+ literature (and diverse literature overall) is so important, especially for teens and younger kids. It lets these children know they are not alone, that it is OKAY to be different. I know this concept isn’t new and that a lot of people have been saying this, but I want to add my voice to that discussion. The more people who stand up and say “We want MORE”, the more publishers will see that these books are needed and supported.

I know there isn’t really a clear message in this post. I wasn’t really trying to say anything here (well, other than the fact that I think you should always be open-minded and constantly learning about the beautiful differences in the world around you). I really just wanted to talk about how wonderful this conference and this panel were. I’d love to start a discussion in the comments about what I’ve talked about. However, PLEASE try to be respectful and kind to other people. Ask questions, try to learn something new, but do not be purposefully mean or hurtful – I have no problem with deleting your comment. Like I said earlier, I try to constantly learn, so if you have something insightful to say, definitely comment. Also, if there are any books you’d recommend to me or anyone else trying to learn more about transgender, gender fluidity, or different sexualities, leave the title in the comments!

Children’s Book Review: The Most Magnificent Thing by Ashley Spires

The Most Magnificent Thing by Ashley Spires

The Most Magnificent Thing
Written and illustrated by Ashley Spires

Published by Kids Can Press; April 1, 2014

32 pages (hardcover)

NOTE: I was provided with an e-ARC of this book via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you to Kids Can Press for letting me read this! I’m sorry it took so long – my Adobe Digital Editions hasn’t been working!

The Most Magnificent Thing is an adorable picture book from the author of Larf (another adorable picture book). It tells the story of an unnamed girl and her assistant (her dog). The girl has a GREAT idea to build the most magnificent thing, but try as she might, she just can’t seem to get it right. She gets mad and defeated and wants to give up, but when her dog suggest they take a walk, she calms down and is able to analyze the situation and figure out how to fix it.

I loved the message in The Most Magnificent Thing. Not only does the girl continue to try over and over, once she gets frustrated, she steps away from the situation to see the bigger picture. It is often very difficult to see the problem when you are so completely invested in something, and it only takes stepping away and looking at the issue from a different angle to come up with a solution.

I also really like Ashley Spires illustrations and word usage. She doesn’t use small words to describe what the girl does, and I think that’s wonderful. This is a perfect book to read to teach perseverance and problem-solving.

Waiting on Wednesday: Black Widow: Forever Red by Margaret Stohl

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine in which we share a book that we are eagerly anticipating!

Black Widow: Forever Red by Margaret StohlPublisher: Marvel Press

Author: Margaret Stohl

Release date: October 13, 2015

Synopsis from Goodreads:

This novel features all the thrilling adventure readers will expect from the Marvel brand, backed up by the young-adult cred of #1 New York Times bestselling author Margaret Stohl. Uncover a new side of the Marvel Universe, accessible to old fans and new readers alike, as Stohl weaves an unforgettable story through the world of the Black Widow.

Why I’m excited: Okay, that isn’t a very detailed synopsis, but THIS IS A BOOK ABOUT BLACK WIDOW. That’s pretty much all I need to know to want to read this one. She’s one of my favorite female superheroes and I can’t wait to learn more about her! Plus, I’ve heard amazing things about Margaret Stohl, though I haven’t read any of her books yet. I’m excited for this one to be the first. BLACK WIDOW, you guys!

Top Ten Tuesday: My Auto-Buy Authors

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by the Broke and the Bookish. Today’s theme was:

Top Ten of Your Auto-buy Authors

Books

1. Ian Rankin – Who’s surprised?
2. Matt Haig – I know you are all shocked.
3. Maggie Stiefvater – Oh, man. I’m just a bag full of surprises today.
4. Stephanie Perkins – Wuuuuut?
5. Jennifer E. Smith – No way!

Comics

1. Robert Kirkman (The Walking Dead) – aka 1 of the 2 authors who got me into comics.
2. Brian K. Vaughan (Saga) – aka the other author who got me into comic.
3. Peter J. Tomasi (Batman and Robin, Robin: Son of Batman) – aka the author who writes my favorite comic book character.

Authors who have only written one book but will be auto-buy in the future

1. Becky Albertalli
2. David Arnold
3. Jasmine Warga
4. Nicola Yoon
5. Adam Silvera
6. Renee Ahdieh

Authors who are automatic reads but not necessarily auto-buy

1. Sarah Dessen
2. J.K. Rowling (though I haven’t read her Robert Galbraith stuff yet)
3. Oliver Jeffers
4. John Green

Okay, this list is super long, but whatever. Who are your auto-buy/auto-read/auto-grabby-hands authors?

ARC Review: Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon

Everything, Everything by Nicola YoonAuthor:  Nicola Yoon

Genre: young adult, contemporary

Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers

Publication Date: September 1, 2015

320 pages, hardcover (307 ARC)

Check out the full synopsis on Goodreads.

I’m going to start this review with what I updated my Goodreads status to as soon as I finished this book:

Oh, man. I don’t care how cheesy it is: I loved everything, everything about this book.

And I did. EVERYTHING. I read the whole thing in one afternoon. I cannot believe this is Nicola Yoon’s debut. We’ve had so many amazing debuts this year! If this is her first book, I can’t wait to see what she comes up with next. Nicola’s writing is absolutely beautiful. I LOVED the inclusion of emails, journal entries, diagrams, medical records, and more. You know me: I think including multiples mediums in a book adds so much to the story, and Nicola wove all of these elements together so well.

I just adore Maddy. She’s strong and fierce and doesn’t let her condition get her down. All of the relationships she had with the other characters in the book felt so honest and genuine. Also, I personally fell in love with Olly right away, but I really appreciated that it wasn’t instalove between Maddy and Olly – you guys know how much I hate that. The way the two of them got to know each other way too cute, and I loved every second.

There are so many emotions in this one, you guys. SO MANY EMOTIONS. My heart was breaking and swelling all at the same time. Everything, Everything is exactly what a contemporary book should be and so much more.

The bottom line: I’m just going to say it again: I loved everything, everything about this book. Nicola – please keep writing!

Rating: 9 – practically perfect

P.S. Shout out to the lovely April from Between the Pages for getting me an ARC of this at BEA!

Bout of Books 14: TBR, Goals, & Updates

IT’S HERE! Bout of Books 14 has officially begun! I am super excited, as I always am, and I can’t wait to get reading and interacting with everyone else who’s participating! In this post, I’ll be sharing my goals, the pile of books and comics I’ll be reading from, and my daily updates.

MY TBR: (Not pictured: The Curious Tale of the In-Between by Lauren DeStefano – on my Kindle)

Bout of Books 14 TBR

Don’t Fail Me Now by Una LaMarche / 100 Sideways Miles by Andrew Smith / The Dead House by Dawn Kurtagich / and lots of comics I am behind on reading

This is not an official list, nor do I think I can read all of this in one week (though it’d be awesome if I did). I like to have a variety of books and comics to choose from, because I’m a mood reader. I am excited to read all of these books though, so we’ll see. I might power through all of it.

GOALS

Bout of Books 14– To read – as much or as little as I have time for. I am not going to give myself a certain amount of pages or books to read this week. The only set goal I’m going to give myself in regards to reading is:
– Make time (at least 30 minutes) to read each day this week
– Participate in at least TWO challenges because I always love doing them
– Participate in at least ONE of the two Twitter chats – I probably won’t be able to do the one tonight, unfortunately

That’s it. No other expectations or goals. Just have fun and read. 🙂

UPDATES

MONDAY

Pages read today: 70% – 168 pages
Total number of pages: 168
Read today: A Curious Tale of the In-Between by Lauren DeStefano
Total number of books I’ve read: 70% of 1
Challenges participated in: I did the Fictional World Travel Challenge over on Twitter. I loved finding books set all over the world.
Notes about today: I am LOVING A Curious Tale of the In-Between and I probably would’ve finished it yesterday if I didn’t go to a friend’s house for dinner and Teen Wolf. I’ll finish it today though. 🙂 I missed the Twitter chat, which I’m pretty sad about, but I’ll be at the one on Saturday!

TUESDAY:

Pages read today: 336 – 30% of A Curious Tale of the In-Between (72 pages) + 264 pages of The Dead House
Total number of pages: 504
Read today: I finished A Curious Tale of the In-Between (4/5) and started The Dead House by Dawn Kurtagich (AH!)
Total number of books I’ve read: 1.5
Notes about today: No challenges today because of work, but I got completely engrossed/terrified by/enchanted/creeped out by The Dead House. This book is absolutely amazing and also ridiculously creepy. It’s great.

WEDNESDAY

Pages read today: 196 – 148 of The Dead House + 48 of The Day the Crayons Came Home
Total number of pages: 700
Read today: I finished The Dead House (Holy crap, you guys) and all of The Day the Crayons Came Home (LOVE LOVE LOVE)
Total number of books I’ve read: 3
Challenges participated in: I did the MASH challenge, which was so much fun and super nostalgic. Plus, apparently, I will live in an apartment in Henrietta with my hubs, Cricket, our 2 kids & our pet, Chainsaw, assassinating people on my broom.
Notes about today: I finished The Dead House which was so wonderfully creepy, and I finally got to read The Day the Crayons Came Home, which was everything I was hoping for! Loved it.

THURSDAY

Pages read today: 168 – 32 of Wherever You Go by Pat Zietlow Miller (a really adorable picture book) + 136 of The Rose Society
Total number of pages: 868
Read today: See above – I’m feeling lazy today
Total number of books I’ve read: 4.2
Challenges participated in: I did the #4SeasonsBooksCovers challenge hosted by Kimberly Faye Reads over on Instagram. We had to choose a book/cover that fit each season either literally or figuratively. That was fun!
Notes about today: I totally changed my TBR because I got The Rose Society and I could NOT stop myself from reading that right away instead of what I “should” be reading. I got chills 2 pages in, so I think I made the right decision.

FRIDAY

Pages read today: 82 – 32 of Rosie Revere, Engineer + 50 of The Rose Society
Total number of pages: 950
Read today: Rosie Revere, Engineer (recommend by the wonderful Emma at Miss Print) and The Rose Society (which I am LOVING)
Total number of books I’ve read: 5.5
Notes about today: I didn’t read that much today. Had a not-so-great day at work and was feeling SUPER stressed. I actually left work early because I was NOT feeling well. I read the 50 pages of The Rose Society after I got home, but just couldn’t keep going. 😦

SATURDAY

Pages read today: 80 pages of The Rose Society
Total number of pages: 1030
Read today: The Rose Society (still loving!)
Total number of books I’ve read: 5.75
Challenges participated in: I did the Road Trip Challenge over on Instagram! I love finding books set in places I want to go!
Notes about today: I got to participate in teh Twitter chat. YAY! That was so much fun, like always. After, I went to the first-ever Mississippi Book Festival, which was wonderful and SUPER packed! I’m hopeful that next year’s will be even bigger! That’s why I only read 80 pages yesterday though. I was so exhausted by the time I got home (and a little sunburned).

SUNDAY

Pages read today: 324 – 132 of The Rose Society + 6 comics at 32 pages each (yep, counting pages with ads)
Total number of pages: 1354
Read today: Finished The Rose Society and read six comics: Robin: Son of Batman #2, We Are Robin #2, Prez #2, Thor #8, Bat-Mite #1 and 2.
Total number of books I’ve read: 6 + 6 comics
Challenges participated in: I did the What to Read Next Challenge hosted by Sarah Reads Too Much and recommended three books I think everyone should have on their fall TBR.
Notes about today: I’m so sad it was the last day of Bout of Books. I always love this week, so I’m really looking forward to January now! I finished The Rose Society and YOU GUYS I HAVE SO MANY FEELINGS AND I NEED THE NEXT BOOK NOW.

Summer Blogger Promo Tour: Talina from Sassy & Dangerous

Today is the seventh Sunday of the Summer Blogger Promo Tour hosted by The Book Bratz! I’ve got Talina from Sassy & Dangerous on the blog today telling us about her “High Fives” – her favorite book, genre, author, blog(s), and bookish merchandise. See what her high fives are and then go check out her blog!

Summer Blogger Promo Tour 2015

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Hi everyone! My name is Talina and I am a book blogger over at Sassy & Dangerous. I’m so excited to be participating in this Summer Blog Tour Promo! It’s such a fun way to connect with other bloggers and readers that have the same interests as me…books! I’m also very excited that I get to stop by Stefani’s blog because I’ve been following her for awhile now! So without further a due, here are my top bookish high fives!

1. What is your favorite book?

You have no idea how hard of a question this is! I have so many books that are my favorites, that I just can’t choose one. Instead, I’ll choose five! 😉 Sacrificed by Emily Wibberley, Grace and the Guiltless by Erin Johnson, Loop by Karen Akins, Kitty Hawk and the Hunt for Hemingway’s Ghost by Iain Reading and Velvet by Temple West! Trust me, if you guys haven’t picked up these books yet, I suggest you do because they are AMAZING!

2. What is your favorite genre?

Like the first question, this one is a little bit hard because I like a lot of genres and I usually jump from one to another. At the moment, I am really loving the contemporary/mystery genre!

3. Who is your favorite author?

Ahhh! Another hard question! Will it ever end?! I can’t choose one favorite author because I have so many on my list. A few of them would have to be, Katie McGarry, Kiki Sullivan, Courtney Cole and Erin Johnson! I have many, many more, but I don’t want this to be a two page post. 😉

4. Who are your favorite bloggers?

I have so many bloggers/blogs that I love to follow and check up on. I’m very shy when it comes to talking to other people, but in the past year, I’ve met some awesome bloggers that I love just love to stalk on their blogs! A few of them would be, Kaitlin @ Reading is My Treasure, Tika @ Fangirl Confessions, Erin @ The Hardcover Lover and Blessie @ Mischievous Reads! I have quite a lot more bloggers that I love to visit, but I can’t list them all because there are too many!

5. What is your favorite bookish merchandise?

My favorite bookish merchandise would have to be tote bags! I love tote bags, especially when they have bookish sayings on them. My favorite tote bag would have to be my Fierce Reads one! I carry that everywhere I go!

So there you have it! My top high fives! What are your top high fives? Feel free to stop by Sassy & Dangerous because I love meeting new bloggers and readers! Also, don’t forget to stop by my blog so you can read all about Stefani’s favorite tv/movie heroes!

Talina - Sassy & Dangerous signatureTalina - Sassy & Dangerous picture

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Mississippi Book Festival

MS Book Festival logo

I have something really excited to talk about today, especially if you live in or around Mississippi. We are getting a BOOK FESTIVAL!! I love the way the festival describes itself: “A literary lawn party celebrating authors & their contributions to the culture of literacy, ideas, & imagination.” It sounds like a wonderful day. On August 22, 2015 at the Mississippi State Capitol, the inaugural Mississippi Book Festival will feature so many amazing authors, and, if you are interested, you can see the full day’s schedule on the festival’s website. One of the best parts? IT’S FREE! I’m excited for the entire day, but I wanted to feature two of the panels I’m most looking forward to: The Children’s Illustrated Book panel and the Books for Young Readers panel. I’m sure you know why I’m excited for these two the most. 🙂

Children's Illustrated Panel at the Mississippi Book Festival

Books for Young Readers panel at the Mississippi Book Festival

You can learn more about the Books for Young Readers in this article from the Clarion Ledger including some fun facts about each author! Also, as far as I know, most of the authors will be available for signings right after their panel!

I’m really excited about what this festival means for my state, and I can’t wait to be surrounded by bookish people for an entire day. If you are located in or around Mississippi, I really hope you’ll consider coming to the festival. And if you do come, make sure you say hi if you see me – just look for the girl with no hair 😉