Waiting on Wednesday: Suffer Love by Ashley Herring Blake

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

Suffer LovePublisher: HMH Books for Young Readers

Author: Ashley Herring Blake

Release date: May3, 2016

Synopsis from Goodreads:

Hadley St. Clair’s life changed the day she came home to a front door covered in slips of paper, each of them revealing the ugly truth about her father. Now as her family falls apart in the wake of his year-long affair, Hadley wants everyone-her dad most of all-to leave her alone.

Then she meets Sam Bennett, a cute new boy who inexplicably “feels like home” to Hadley. Hadley and Sam’s connection is undeniable, but Sam has a secret about his family that could ruin everything.

Funny and passionate, Suffer Love is a story about first love, family dysfunction, and the fickle hand of fate.

Why I’m excited: I’ve been hearing nothing but AMAZING things about this book from everyone – bloggers, authors, booksellers. Plus, the description sounds wonderful. There’s definitely going to be a lot of feels and I’m here for that. I feel like this one is going to be really honest and emotional and complicated. Bring it on, May!

 

Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Books on My Spring TBR

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

Ten Books On My Spring TBR

THE RAVEN KING by Maggie Stiefvater

THE GREAT AMERICAN WHATEVER by Tim Federle

MY SEVENTH-GRADE LIFE IN TIGHTS by Brooks Benjamin

INTO THE DIM by Janet B. Taylor

WINGER by Andrew Smith

VICIOUS by V.E. Schwab

WRITTEN IN THE STARS by Aisha Saeed

NOGGIN and WHERE THINGS COME BACK by John Corey Whaley

IF I WAS YOUR GIRL by Meredith Russo

THE WAY I USED TO BE by Amber Smith

What books do you want to read this spring?

Harper Summer 2016 Blog Tour: True Letters from a Fictional Life by Kenneth Logan

HarperTeenSummer2016Tour

I am SO excited to be participating in the Harper Summer Tour! True Letters from a Fictional Life is actually the book that I requested when signing up for the tour, and I’m so glad I’m hosting that book and Kenneth on the blog today. I’ve got a really fun guest post from Kenny – a playlist that complements his book – coming up, but first let me tell you a bit about True Letters from a Fictional Life. And make sure you stick around for the end of the post because there are not 1, not 2, but THREE amazing giveaways for you to enter!

ABOUT THE BOOK

True Letters from a Fictional LifeTRUE LETTERS FROM A FICTIONAL LIFE
by Kenneth Logan
June 7, 2016 // HarperTeen

If you asked anyone in his small Vermont town, they’d tell you the facts: James Liddell, star athlete, decent student and sort-of boyfriend to cute, peppy Theresa, is a happy, funny, carefree guy.

But whenever James sits down at his desk to write, he tells a different story. As he fills his drawers with letters to the people in his world–letters he never intends to send–he spills the truth: he’s trying hard, but he just isn’t into Theresa. It’s a boy who lingers in his thoughts.

He feels trapped by his parents, his teammates, and the lies they’ve helped him tell, and he has no idea how to escape. Is he destined to live a life of fiction?

Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | IndieBound | The Book Depository

THE GUEST POST

First, thanks Stefani, for inviting me to guest post on Caught Read Handed. I’m thrilled to do it. I decided to put together a list of songs that somehow complement True Letters from a Fictional Life. A couple of them remind me of places in the story, others recall particular characters and their relationships, and a few just conjure moods like the ones I tried to establish in the book. I steer clear of talking about the  story’s plot, so there are no spoilers. Enjoy.

  1. Nana Grizol, Ruth (2009), the entire album

This band’s from Athens, Georgia, and their frontman, Theo Hilton, sings unapologetically sentimental lyrics about his friendships and crushes. A couple of the band’s fantastic horn players also played with Neutral Milk Hotel. When I was living in San Francisco and writing the first draft of True Letters, I listened to Ruth on repeat. Some of the songs remind me of Neil Young’s quieter, off-key, introspective tunes, and others recall early singles from The Who, recorded when Keith Moon was still brutalizing drum sets. I don’t know whether Nana Grizol has a big following anywhere, but this album’s one of my favorites for sure. Inspiring stuff, especially the tracks “Cynicism,” “Galaxies,” and “Sands.”

  1. David Bowie, “Starman,” The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust (1972)

In a 1973 Rolling Stone interview, Bowie explained to William S. Burroughs that the starman in this song is not actually Ziggy Stardust himself, but Ziggy’s emissary to planet Earth. I don’t think anyone really knows what the hell Bowie was talking about, but I like this tune a ton, so it makes this list for that reason alone. And a couple of others: (1) Bowie spent his career jolting us out of complacency and compelling us to imagine worlds different from the one we inhabit, maybe better ones, and (2) the kids in True Letters stare up at the night sky a lot, as I did when I lived in Vermont. Stargazing never feels like wasted time.

  1. Radiohead, “Black Star,” The Bends (1994)

I can’t think of another song that captures the pain and helplessness and sadness of heartbreak better than this one does. Evidently, Thom Yorke has claimed the song is “about sex in the morning.” That’s not what comes to mind for me, but I guess his explanation’s not incompatible with my own reading. I’m not sure which version of this tune I like better: the original or Gillian Welch and David Rawlings’s stunning acoustic cover.

  1. The Rolling Stones, “Winter,” Goats Head Soup (1973)

True Letters begins just before mud season, those indecisive weeks between winter and spring in northern New England. Even though the top inches of earth melt as the days warm up, the ground deep down stays frozen. When the snow changes to sleet and rain, thousands of miles of unpaved road turn to mud. It’s a thrilling time—spring’s almost arrived—but it can be frustrating and exhausting. Even little kids scowl when it snows in late April.

Mick Jagger and Mick Taylor wrote this tune while the band was recording Goats Head Soup in Jamaica. As the music reviewer Bill Janovitz comments, despite the tropical heat, they managed to capture the feeling of winter way up north pretty brilliantly.

  1. The Flaming Lips, “What is the Light?” The Soft Bulletin (1999)

I remember precisely where I was when I first heard “What is the Light.” I’d recently moved to San Francisco, and I was trying to make an illegal left turn onto 30th Street. When the drums kicked in, I nearly pulled the car over. I’m not going to pretend I understand any of Wayne Coyne’s lyrics, but for me they raise questions about why we think and feel the way we do, questions that James, the protagonist of True Letters, kicks around, too. Sometimes it feels like scientific explanations of human emotions and behavior fall far short of making sense of our experiences. We might never be satisfied with answers to Big Questions, but at least we have songs like this one as the soundtrack to our confusion.

  1. Thao and The Get Down Stay Down, “Bag of Hammers,” We Brave Bee Stings and All (2008)

James’s ten-year-old brother Rex pops in and out of the story. I think he ended up in the book because I really enjoyed being his age. I’m not sure what “Bag of Hammers” is actually about—maybe it’s about trying to hold a relationship together, the opposite of being a carefree kid—but there’s a cheerful bounce to it that I’ve always loved. The music reminds me of Rex, even if the lyrics are irrelevant to him. It’s been a while since I listened to this one, and I’m glad I dug it up.

  1. The Foundations, “Build Me Up Buttercup” (1968)

There were some aspects of teaching high school that I really loved, but chaperoning dances was not one of them. I do have one beautiful memory from one of those painful Friday nights, though: Dozens of kids were barely bouncing to deafening hip-hop, when suddenly the DJ put on “Build Me Up Buttercup.” The song was like sunlight pouring through the high windows. For two minutes and fifty-nine seconds, every kid was smiling and dancing without any worry. No one was trying to be cool. Everyone was having fun. Magic. And then the thumping bass returned, and everyone’s feet stopped.

There is a high school dance in the story, incidentally, and some of the kids even know how to dance. Not James.

  1. Eels, “Fresh Feeling,” Souljacker (2001)

Even though he’s a pretty good writer, James isn’t all that articulate when it comes to talking about his emotions. I’ve always imagined that this song’s about a guy rehearsing what he wants to say to the girl or boy he likes, and he just can’t settle on the right combination of words. Somehow he keeps coming back to the phrase “old paint is peeling.” Some people do that to our brains. 

  1. Gregory Alan Isakov, “Big Black Car,” This Empty Northern Hemisphere (2009)

Another one about lovers and heartbreak—hmm—but really I’m including this song because my head drifts back to Vermont and my friends up there every time I listen to Isakov. Even though he’s from Colorado. He and his band played at the Bowery Ballroom in New York last April, and it was the best show I’ve seen in years. Go see him if you get the chance. He doesn’t have any tour dates listed until August and September. (Hey, Delia Kloh. He’s playing at Red Rocks. I’ve never been. Let’s talk, darlin’.) 

  1. San Fermin, “Sonsick,” San Fermin (2013)

I’m thinking hard, but I can’t come up with a good reason to include this song here other than the fact that this band is phenomenal. They’re based in Brooklyn, so maybe we’re neighbors! I’ve never seen them play, but they’re top of my list. I think they’re touring out in the big square states in March and April. Here are the dates.  And holy smokes! I’m glad I checked those dates for you because they happen to be playing just down the street from me next weekend. Walking distance. Tickets purchased. This post ends on an exciting note for at least one of us. Phew.

Thanks for reading.

ABOUT KENNETH

Kenneth LoganKenneth Logan would prefer to forget his own high school experiences, so it’s anyone’s guess why he chose to (1) teach high school English and (2) write a novel about seventeen-year-olds. He wrote his book at a colleague’s suggestion: “This is the book you should write.” He’s in a doctoral program at New York University, where he studies language and literacy development. He lives in Brooklyn but enjoys escaping on outdoor adventures, especially in Vermont.
Twitter | Goodreads | Facebook

THE AMAZING GIVEAWAYS

#1 – A Harper Teen Summer 2016 Catalog prizepack of 45 books*

*Titles not included: The Crown by Kiera Cass, Escape from Asylum by Madeline Roux, Sing by Vivi Greene, The Countdown by Kimberly Derting, & United As One by Pittacus Lore

In addition to the one massive prize winner, we will also have 4 winners who will be able to select 3 titles they want from the Summer 2016 Catalog.

US Only

CLICK HERE TO ENTER THE GIVEAWAY

#2 – 5 Finished Copies from the Harper Teen Winter 2016 Catalog

5 books are: Front Lines by Michael Grant, Revenge & the Wild by Michelle Modesto, The Lifeboat Clique by Kathy Parks, Symptoms of Being Human by Jeff Garvin, & The Girl from Everywhere by Heidi Heilig 

US Only 

How to enter:

Collect the daily word from each blog stop during the Harper Summer 2016 Tour (a total of 50). Once you’ve collected them all, email the complete saying to: HarperTeenTour@gmail.com

Prize Rules:

1.) Winner must have a valid US mailing address to receive the prize
2.) Winner must be over 13
3.) Only one (1) entry per person for Prize #2 – duplicates will be deleted.
4.) Only a completed phrase will be accepted as an entry – do not email each word/phrase daily. Wait until you have the complete saying and then email in.
5.) All email submissions must be received by 11:59 PM EST 3/31/2016.
6.) Winners will be selected 4/1/2016 and will have 48 hours to claim their prize before another is selected.
7.) Participating blogs and bloggers are not responsible for unsent, damaged, and/or stolen prizes offered by the publisher.

My keyword for the giveaway is READS.

#3 – Win a pre-order of True Letters from a Fictional Life!

This giveaway will run until April 11 at midnight CST. US Only. 

CLICK HERE TO ENTER THE GIVEAWAY

FACEBOOK CHAT

Last but not least, there will be a Facebook Chat with some really awesome authors, and you’ll have the chance to win even more books and goodies! The chat is on March 16 @ 8 p.m. EST. The participating authors are Julie Eshbaugh (IVORY & BONE), Lindsey Klingele (THE MARKED GIRL), Paula Stokes (GIRL AGAINST THE UNIVERSE), and Michelle Andreani & Mindi Scott (THE WAY BACK TO YOU). Check out the event on Facebook for more info.

CLICK HERE TO FOLLOW THE REST OF THE TOUR!

ARC Review: The Serpent King by Jeff Zentner

The Serpent King by Jeff ZentnerAuthor:  Jeff Zentner

Genre: Young adult, contemporary

Publisher: Crown Books for Young Readers

Publication Date: March 8, 2016

384 pages, hardcover

Check out the full synopsis on Goodreads.

NOTE: I was provided with an ARC of this book from the author because he’s a wonderful human being.

Do you ever read a book so good that when you turn the last page, you just clutch it to your chest and hold it for a bit? And how often do you realize, as you hold the book, that you’ve just read something that has now firmly positioned itself on your favorites shelf? That’s The Serpent King for me.

I haven’t had this much of an emotional reaction to a book in a long time. I mean, I full-on sobbed at one point. I literally had to get up from the table (I was on my lunch break at work) and LEAVE the building to get some fresh air. The Serpent King is one that will stick with you for a long time, and it’s been months since I read it and I still can’t get it out of my head. It’s beautiful, heartbreaking, real (SO real), and absolutely lovely.

I don’t want to go into the specifics of the plot because I think you should just read it, but I do want to mention the characters. I think it’s the mark of a great author when the characters they create feel like they could walk out of the book and shake your hand. I could relate to all three of the main characters – Lydia, Dill, and Travis – in different ways. Jeff has perfectly captured Lydia’s desire to move, to get out into the world, and leave everything she’s ever known. Travis’ passion and love of his favorite book series will resonate with all of us. And with Dill? What it means to be human.

The bottom line: Read this book to meet characters that feel like real people. Read this book because we’ve all fought for the hope of a better life. Read this book to feel – alive, human, hopeful, heartbroken. Read this book because you’re human.

Waiting on Wednesday: The City of Mirrors by Justin Cronin

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

The City of MirrorsPublisher: Ballantine Books (US) / Orion (UK)

Author: Justin Cronin

Release date: May 24, 2016 (US) / June 16, 2016 (US)

Synopsis from Goodreads:

In “The Passage “and” The Twelve, “Justin Cronin brilliantly imagined the fall of civilization and humanity s desperate fight to survive. Now all is quiet on the horizon but does silence promise the nightmare s end or the second coming of unspeakable darkness? At last, this bestselling epic races to its breathtaking finale.

“The world we knew is gone. What world will rise in its place?”

The Twelve have been destroyed and the hundred-year reign of darkness that descended upon the world has ended. The survivors are stepping outside their walls, determined to build society anew and daring to dream of a hopeful future.

But far from them, in a dead metropolis, he waits: Zero. The First. Father of the Twelve. The anguish that shattered his human life haunts him, and the hatred spawned by his transformation burns bright. His fury will be quenched only when he destroys Amy humanity s only hope, the Girl from Nowhere who grew up to rise against him.

One last time light and dark will clash, and at last Amy and her friends will know their fate.

Why I’m excited: You guys have no idea how excited I am for this book, and I’m not sure I can properly express that excitement in words. I have been waiting for this third book for three and a half years, and I am DYING to read it. The first two books in this trilogy (The Passage and The Twelve) are fantastic; creepy, dark, strange, and utterly unique. I devoured them both and my copies are 963 pages and 564 pages respectively. A little over two months to go until The City of Mirrors is released. I can’t wait. Right? *breathes into a bag*

Top Ten Tuesday: Unpopular Character Opinions

Top Ten Tuesday

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

Ten Characters Everyone Loves But I Just Don’t Get or Ten Characters I LOVE But Others Seem To Dislike

Seven characters everyone loves but I don’t

Lara Jean from To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han

America from The Selection series by Kiera Cass

Aspen from The Selection series by Kiera Cass

Scarlet from The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer (Okay, I don’t HATE her but she’s definitely my least favorite)

Etienne St. Clair from Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins (also don’t HATE him and I totally ship him and Anna but meh)

Safi from Truthwitch by Susan Dennard

Ms. Marvel

Three characters I LOVE but others don’t

Damian Wayne

Cricket Bell from Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins

Severus Snape from the Harry Potter series by JK Rowling (I know not everyone hates him but there are a decent amount of people out there who don’t like him. I do)

What about you guys?

ARC Review: The Girl from Everywhere by Heidi Heilig

The Girl from Everywhere by Heidi HeiligAuthor:  Heidi Heilig

Genre: Young adult, historical, fantasy

Publisher: Greenwillow Books

Publication Date: February 16, 2016

464 pages, hardcover

Check out the full synopsis on Goodreads.

NOTE: I was provided with an e-ARC of this book via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. Thank you to Greenwillow Books for letting me read this!

This book, you guys. Heart eyes all the way over here. The Girl from Everywhere is full of magic and myths and beautiful writing. It’s got fantastic, strong, swoony characters and so much life. It’s magical – the story, the characters, the places, the actual magic. So so good.

I’ve got to start by talking about the world building which is utter perfection. Heidi is able to beautifully describe each of the (many) settings in such a way that they are all distinct. You can actually picture each of them, and this is a big feat. We’ve got New York, Hawaii, ancient China, a version of Africa only seen in myths.

And the characters are just as wonderful. Nix is independent and smart, and I was rooting for her the whole time. I loved following her on this journey, and I really appreciated her growth. I really loved all of the characters in the book (and I think that every single one of them was well-developed – like, seriously. I could picture them all), but after Nix, my favorite character is hands down Kash. You guys, Kash is bae. He’s from a fictional version of Arabia (it’s kind of impossible to not think of him as Aladdin), and he’s wonderful and swoony. But the best part to me? The romance wasn’t really the focus in this story. It’s there, sure, but not in the foreground, and I really appreciated that.

My favorite part though has just got to be the idea of travel like this – through time and space and myths and legends. It was absolutely fascinating, and I could read 100 more books like this and never get bored. There are so many places they could travel. I’m excited that this is the start of a series!

If I had to voice a small complaint, it would be that the book is a bit confusing once or twice because of the vast amount of information and stories we’re given. But it all makes sense in the end, and it obviously didn’t hinder my enjoyment much.

The bottom line: Read this if you like fantasy books. Read it if you like magical, amazing worlds and characters. Read this if you like great writing and fantastic stories. You know what?  Just read it, okay?

Rating: 8 – freaking fantastic

The Transatlantic Book Project [1]: Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone

TABookProjectgraphic

I have a really fun thing to share with you guys! Two awesome bloggers – Alicia @ A Kernel of Nonsense and Rachel @ Confessions of a Book Geek have started the Transatlantic Book Project, which is essentially a traveling book club through the US and the UK and Ireland. Alicia and Rachel each picked a book (The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender and Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, respectively) that will travel to a series of bloggers who will read and annotate the book along the way. It’s a really exciting project and allows us participants to react to the book and to each other’s reactions in a super fun way. There are more details about the project on Alicia’s blog.

The other day I got Rachel’s pick (HP) in the mail, which arrived with some sweet goodies from the book’s previous host – Lindsey @ Bring My Books – and I cannot wait to start reading. I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve reread the first Harry Potter book. I’ve completely lost count. But as many times as I’ve read it and even though I pretty much have every scene memorized, I’m excited to see how the other four bloggers have reacted to the book and the notes they’ve added, which scenes were important to them and what made them happy or angry. I’ve flipped through a bit and I’m already giggling at some of the comments.

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I’ll be reading the book over the next week or so and annotating as I go. I think I’ll post again about the experience and my reaction before I send it back to Alicia so she can send it over the ocean and to the bloggers in the UK and Ireland. I think it’ll be cool to see how my own reactions might come about in response to what the other bloggers have already said. Will we feel the same way? Will my favorite parts have already been annotated? Can’t wait to start!

Thursday Thoughts: What I’ve Been Listening To

Hey guys! So as you might’ve seen last week, I’ve been sick. And then you know what is super fun? Just a few days later, I got a stomach virus and was sick again for several days.

I don’t know about you guys, but when I’m sick, I listen to a lot of music. So I thought I’d share some of the stuff I’ve been listening to with you guys. 🙂 I’ll probably do a few of these posts in the next few weeks, but first up?

The 1975 I like it when you sleep, for you are so beautiful yet so unaware of it

The 1975

The 1975 recently came out with a new album titled ‘I like it when you sleep, for you are so beautiful yet so unaware of it’ (Yeah, I know this is a super weird title) and I’m kind of in love with it. I love that they are pop-y and upbeat and fun and dance-y, but the lyrics are also really smart and sometimes sad and thoughtful. They’re a lot of fun to listen to (and I would highly recommend seeing them live if you ever get the chance). They remind me of a lot of bands but they are mostly definitely their own sound, and I’ve been in love with them for a long time. I think all of the songs on the new album are great but here are the videos to two of my favorites “Love Me” and “The Sound” (which has such a sad freaking video).

What have you been listening to?

Waiting on Wednesday: The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater

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

The Raven KingPublisher: Scholastic Press

Author:  Maggie freaking Stiefvater

Release date: April 26, 2016

Synopsis from Goodreads:

The fourth and final installment in the spellbinding series from the irrepressible, #1 New York Times bestselling author Maggie Stiefvater.

All her life, Blue has been warned that she will cause her true love’s death. She doesn’t believe in true love and never thought this would be a problem, but as her life becomes caught up in the strange and sinister world of the Raven Boys, she’s not so sure anymore.

Why I’m excited: As I was sitting down to do my WoW post this week, I checked to see if I’d done TRK yet and FREAKED when I hadn’t. How is that even possible? Maybe I just assumed everyone knew I was waiting on the edge of my seat for this one. Either way, I AM SO FREAKING EXCITED FOR THE RAVEN KING YOU GUYS OMG. This book is going to end one of my absolute favorite series ever and SPOILER the lives of one of my favorite characters. It’s going to destroy me, but I cannot freaking wait. Honestly considering taking off work to read it.

Also, you guys, THIS. Because if it is what I think it is, ASDFJKL;ASGO9UW3TEOU DEAD BUT DEAD FOR GOOD REASONS. But hopefully not dead like Gansey’s going to be. *cries for days*