What I’ve Been Listening To & Watching

Sadly, I’ve been in a bit of a reading slump of late, which is absolutely terrible. However, it means that I’ve been consuming a bunch of TV and music, which I guess could be worse. I thought I’d talk about some of the things I’ve been listening to and watching. What about you guys? What have you been listening to or watching? Rec me some stuff in the comments!

LISTEN

hamilton

HAMILTON

Basically on repeat all day every day. I was already obsessed, but my obsession has continued to grow while I’ve been not reading. I even bought the Hamiltome finally in an attempt to 1. Feed my obsession (it worked, obviously) and 2. Get back into reading (it also worked; I read 95 pages of this last night). I cannot get enough of the soundtrack though. It’s incredible. As I’m sure most of you are well aware. And if you aren’t, what are you waiting for?

GROUPLOVE

One of my absolute favorite bands right now. I saw them live in August and haven’t been able to stop listening since. Not that I want to. They are fun and upbeat and I love dancing along to their music in the car or at home.

Some of my favorites are: Welcome To Your Life, Ways to Go, Tongue Tied, and Lovely Cup.

WATCH

community

COMMUNITY

I believe I’ve talked about my love for this show on the blog before, but if I haven’t, this is one of my favorite shows. After everything that happened at the beginning of the month (*cough*we elected the devil*cough*), I needed something funny and silly that could take my mind off of it. Community did the trick. I watched the first four seasons (the only ones I own on DVD sadly) in about two weeks. My love for this show has just grown.

ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT

Ditto what I said above. I only own the first four seasons of Community and the first season of Arrested Development, so I’m about out, which sucks. But I’ve enjoyed visiting these characters again and getting in a laugh or two. Or a hundred.

MOANA

I just saw Moana this morning and I’m still in awe. I feel like I will be for a while. If you haven’t seen this yet, GO SEE IT. It’s beautiful – the story, the visuals, the characters, the songs. I felt like a little kid watching the movie because my eyes were like saucers the whole time. I absolutely loved it.

FANTASTIC BEASTS AND WHERE TO FIND THEM

If you’re like me and you grew up with the Harry Potter books, watching the movie will reignite the love you had for that world. It was like walking into a warm hug. It felt like home. I also happen to really love Eddie Redmayne and Ezra Miller, who were both soooo good. I wish Ezra Miller could’ve had a whole movie for his character. And I can’t wait for more from Newt Scamander.

What about you? What have you been watching and listening to?

 

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Revisiting John Green’s Novel The Fault in Our Stars

This was originally posted on WatchPlayRead, for which I am a contributor. You should definitely check out the site, because it is awesome! See my other posts on the site HERE.

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With the upcoming release of The Fault in Our Stars movie starring Shailene Woodley and Ansel Elgort, I think we should have a little revisit of the 2012 novel it’s based on. You know, to refresh readers and prepare them for the ugly crying they’ll be doing in the theater. I mean, I teared up just watching the trailer.

The Fault in Our Stars

The Fault in Our Stars

Author: John Green

PUBLISHER: Dutton Books

RELEASE DATE: January 2012

GENRE: YA

LENGTH: 318 pages (Hardcover)

John Green’s prose is gorgeous: it’s smart, quirky, charming, devastating, and everything you could ever want in a YA novel. It’s full of profound thoughts on the human condition, but it is also really funny and sweet. It will pull at your heartstrings one second and make you cackle with laughter the next. There wasn’t a single character or sentence that was unnecessary, each word carefully placed to pull you in and never let you go.

Hazel Grace Lancaster is 16 and she has terminal cancer. At 12 years old, she was ready to die, but a medical miracle saves her life. She’s alive but clinically depressed, so her doctor sends her to a kids-with-cancer support group. Here, she meets Augustus Waters, a fellow cancer survivor. They are both highly mature, intelligent, charming; they’re kindred spirits. And of course, they fall in love. Together they face life head-on, and the result is both beautiful and devastating.

As you can probably guess from a novel about two kids who fall in love and who both, sadly, have cancer, this novel will make you cry. But it will also make you laugh and I fell in love with these characters just as they were falling in love with each other. Hazel Grace and Gus are two of the most mature characters in a YA novel that I’ve ever read. Some people didn’t like them because they don’t act like normal teenagers, but I think it’s safe to say that being 16 and fighting cancer makes you officially NOT normal. These characters are real, like you-could-meet-them-in-real-life real, and this is part of the reason this novel is just so hard to read at times (Make sure you have at least one box of tissues with you when you start reading). I thought the way they confronted the questions of the human condition (Will I be remembered? Does my life have meaning?) to be both genuine and relatable. I’ve definitely contemplated these questions, but I can’t say I’ve ever faced death while doing so. I will never forget this book for reminding me to never give up, to live my life to the fullest, and to love like I was dying. This is a story that deserves to be read, and I am so glad I did (every time).

If you haven’t read TFiOS, please do it. For me. For yourself. For Hazel Grace and Augustus Waters. And then get prepared: buy some boxes of tissues and get ready to ugly cry with the rest of us on June 6. Okay? Okay.

 

Three other titles TFiOS is similar to:

The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

Just Listen by Sarah Dessen

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon

You can buy The Fault in Our Stars from a variety of vendors on Penguin’s website: http://www.penguin.com/book/the-fault-in-our-stars-by-john-green/9780142424179

Also, check out the trailer for the movie adaptation here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9ItBvH5J6ss

(Cover design by Rodrigo Corral)

 

Bout of Books – Wrap up!

So I’m sure you noticed this past week I participated in Bout of Books, especially if you follow me on Twitter.

I had a blast! Though I didn’t reach my book goal because I was/still am sick, I thought I did pretty well anyway.

Here’s my wrap-up.

Books I read (these are all linked to my reviews):

  1. Gone by Michael Grant (558 pages)
  2. Since You’ve Been Gone by Morgan Matson (449 pages)
  3. The Eye of Minds by James Dashner (308 pages)
  4. If I Stay by Gayle Forman (234 pages)
  5. And I read half of The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater (I read 212 pages of 408)

I read a total of 1,761 pages! My goal was to read five books and post five reviews. I read 4.5 of 5, so that’s not too shabby. I also posted 4 of 5 reviews.

Challenges I participated in:

  1. Books I’m Looking Forward to
  2. Spell It Out
  3. Rainbow of Books

My goal was participate in at least two challenges, so I definitely met that goal. These challenges were really fun! I loved digging through my bookshelf to find all the colors of the rainbow and to spell out TARDIS with the first letter of titles!

Twitter chats:

I participated in the Saturday Bout of Books challenge on Twitters. I found some new, amazing book blogs/BookTube channels to follow, which is awesome! Here’s my favorite tweet (this was in response to what is your favorite mythical creature):

https://twitter.com/katieyatesbooks/status/467695385721704448

So funny. The Twitter chat was really fun, so I’m definitely glad I participated in it.

The bottom line:

Overall, I had a really great Bout of Books. I was sinusy sick for most of it, which sucked because I had a sinus headache pretty much the whole time I was reading. I’m really glad I participated in the readathon and I can’t wait for the next one! Did you participate in Bout of Books? Link me up to your wrap up post/video so I can see what you read!

 

Bout of Books Challenge: Books I’m looking forward to

So today’s Bout of Books challenge hosted by River City Reading is to create a list of the books you are looking forward to.

Here’s my Bout of Books update post so you can keep track of how I’m doing!

I made up a list of five of the books I want to read this summer. You can see all of the books I want to read by adding me on Goodreads.

Here are three that are already published:

1. Open Road Summer by Emery Lord

Open Road Summer

2. The Museum of Intangible Things by Wendy Wunder

The Museum of Intangible Things

3. The Chance You Won’t Return by Annie Cardi

The Chance You Won't Return

And two books to be published this summer:

4. Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins

Isla and the Happily Ever After

Expected publication date: August 14, 2014

5. Say What You Will by Cammie McGovern

Say What You Will

Expected publication date: June 3, 2014

 

Apparently I’m looking forward to a lot of YA/romance. What books are you looking forward to, published or not? 

If you’re participating in Bout of Books, link me to your update post so I can keep up with how you’re doing? 🙂

Bout of Books update post!

So it’s Bout of Books week! Yay!

Bout of Books logo

 

 

 

 

 

Just in case you missed it, here are my goals for the week:

  • Read 5 books; the picture below is my tentative TBR for the week, but I have a feeling I might change this a little depending on my mood, as everything I’ve chosen is sci-fi/dystopian/fantasy. I might need a little YA/contemporary in there, especially since I just found out Since You’ve Been Gone by Morgan Matson is available at my local library!
  • Review all 5 books & post these reviews on my blog, on Goodreads, on Amazon
  • Track my progress each day on a single post on this blog & track my progress on Twitter; I will create a progress post on my blog on Monday and will update it throughout the week
  • Comment on at least two other Bout of Books participants’ blogs per day
  • Participate in at least one Twitter chat with other BoB-ers

I will be updating this post every day with my progress. Bout of Books gives a general outline for your progress post, but I’ve added in a little and will probably modify it each day.

Monday
Number of books I’ve read today: 1

Total number of books I’ve read: 1

Books: Gone by Michael Grant

Pages read today: 558

Total number of pages: 558

Notes about today: So I read 558 pages, applied for two jobs, went for a run, and swam for a couple of hours. Suffice it to say, I’m pretty tired. But I seriously enjoyed Gone. Review will be up in the morning. I didn’t participate in the BoB challenge today, mostly because it was “If you enjoyed X, try Y” and I just did that for Top Ten Tuesday a couple of weeks ago. I plan on participating tomorrow though! Also, I’m really looking forward to starting Since You’ve Been Gone tomorrow. 🙂 How are your goals coming along?

Tuesday

Number of books I’ve read today:Started one

Total number of books I’ve read: 1 plus some of another

Books: Reading Since You’ve Been Gone

Pages read today:92

Pages read total:650

Reviews: Gone by Michael Grant

Challenges completed: 1 (Books I’m Looking Forward to)

Notes about today: I babysat 4 year old twins and their 5 year old sister today, so I didn’t have much time to read. Also, I’ve had a sinus headache all day, which means it’s pretty hard to read. I read 92 pages of Since You’ve Been Gone though. Not too bad. My head feels like it’s going to explode if I read any more, so I think I’m done for the day. What about you? How much did you read today?

Wednesday
Number of books I’ve read today: Finished Since You’ve Been Gone

Total number of books I’ve read: 2

Books: Gone and Since You’ve Been Gone (review up tomorrow!)

Pages read today: 357

Pages read total: 1,007

Notes about today: I had a pounding, sinus-y headache all day long, and I babysat for 5 hours again today, but I managed to finish Since You’ve Been Gone, which means I am doing pretty well with my goals, I’d say. I think it also says something pretty important about that book if I was able to read it when I felt so crappy. I’ll post a review in the morning! Hope all of your goals are going well. 🙂

Thursday
Number of books I’ve read today: Some of The Eye of Minds

Total number of books I’ve read: 2.4

Books: GoneSince You’ve Been GoneThe Eye of Minds

Pages read today: 104

Pages read total: 1,111

Reviews today: Since You’ve Been Gone by Morgan Matson

Challenges today: Spell it Out challenge hosted by ! You can find my entry HERE; I spelled out TARDIS and tweeted a pic of the books I used. Yes, I know I’m a nerd.

Notes about today: So, I’m sick. I feel horrible. Usually when I’m sick, I can curl up with a book and be fine for the whole day, but it’s one of those sinus-y/chest congestion cold things, and my head hurts a lot. It’s hard to read when you’re head hurts, which is why I only read 104 pages. I know for some people that’s a lot, but I planned on reading all of The Eye of Minds today. Oh, well. I got to take a nap, which never happens for me, so that was good. I hope you guys aren’t sick like me and are making good progress on your goals. 🙂

Friday
Number of books I’ve read today: Some of two books: finished The Eye of Minds and started If I Stay

Total number of books I’ve read: 3

Books: GoneSince You’ve Been GoneThe Eye of Minds [these are all linked to my reviews]

Pages read today: 378 (204 of The Eye of Minds, 174 of If I Stay)

Pages read total: 1,489

Challenges today: Rainbow of Books challenge hosted by Katherine at Neon Yeti Reads. You can find my rainbow HERE on Twitter. It was so fun digging through my shelves to find all the colors!

Reviews today: The Eye of Minds by James Dashner

Notes about today: Finished The Eye of Minds today. As you can see in my review, I was kind of disappointed, so that sucks. I’m also still sick, which sucks even more. I was actually able to sleep in a bit (usually wake up at 6:30-7, slept until 8:50) because of some cold meds, which is something. But I read 378 pages today, wrote a review, did this week’s Life of a Blogger theme (101 things I love), did a Bout of Books challenge, and am going to bed at a good time to try to sleep of the rest of my sickness. Not a bad day.

Saturday
Number of books I’ve read today: Part of two: finished If I Stay; started The Raven Boys

Total number of books I’ve read: 4

Books: GoneSince You’ve Been GoneThe Eye of Minds [these are all linked to my reviews’] and If I Stay

Pages read today: 160 (60 pages of If I Stay; 100 pages of The Raven Boys)

Pages read total:1,649

Notes about today: So I finished If I Stay on Saturday morning. I am still unsure how I felt about it, so I’m holding off on the review until I figure it out. I babysat today from 10:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m., so I didn’t really have a lot of time to read, hence the short page count. BUT, I participated in the Bout of Books twitter chat in the morning, and that was A LOT of fun. Followed some new people, gained some followers. It was cool.

Sunday
Number of books I’ve read today: Some of The Raven Boys

Total number of books I’ve read: 4.5

Books:GoneSince You’ve Been GoneThe Eye of MindsIf I Stay [these are all linked to my reviews] and The Raven Boys

Pages read today: 112

Pages read total: 1,761

Reviews: If I Stay by Gayle Forman

Notes about today: So I’m sick. Like, I think I need to go to the doctor sick. Unfortunately, that means I haven’t finished my final book because I don’t feel well. I posted my fourth review (for If I Stay), and read more than a hundred pages of The Raven Boys, so it’s like I didn’t do anything. I just couldn’t finish because my head is killing me. I plan on finishing it in the morning and posting my review then. I read A LOT this week, so I’m definitely not disappointed by my progress. 1,769 pages in a week isn’t too shabby. 🙂

Are you participating in Bout of Books? Link me up to your update post so I can see your progress, too!

New design!

Yay!

So we are all done with the new design.

A few things for you guys to check out:

  • My awesome new header! I LOVE the ampersand!! What do you think?
  • My social media icons: follow me on Twitter, add me on FB, or follow me on Instagram. I mostly talk about books and reading and music and books, so if you’re into that (I mean, you’re here, aren’t you?), follow me!
  • & I’m Reading: find out what I’m currently reading by checking out my Goodreads. I’d love it if we were friends on there, too!
  • & I’ve Written: this will link back to my most recent blog post, so you can check that out if you’ve missed anything.
  • My search bar: if you are looking for a specific post, you can find it pretty easily now.

That’s about it. I hope you like it! I love the clean, pretty design. And that header! I know I already mentioned it, but it’s awesome. Right?

The lovely Laura Tubb Prestwich at Laura Prestwich Designs did all of this for me, so make sure you go check her out! She does great work; hit her up if you’re interested in some awesome design work, too!

I would LOVE to know what you think! Let me know in the comments. Please?

Blog Design and Maintenance

Hi guys!

My friend Laura at Laura Prestwich Designs and I are going to be doing a bit of design work on my blog tomorrow and Saturday (May 9-10).

If you visit my blog on one of those days, you might be a little confused or might experience some difficulty depending on what we’re working on.

I can’t wait for you to see what it looks like when it’s done! I just wanted to warn you. 🙂

I’m sorry for any issues you experience, but it’ll be fixed up by Sunday.

Thank you!

-Stefani

Bout of Books!

So I was over on fellow book blogger Joey’s blog, Thoughts and Afterthoughts, and I saw that he was going to be participating in something called Bout of Books. I’d never heard of it, but after checking out the website, I thought it was right up my alley!

Here’s the little about paragraph from their website:

The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda @ On a Bout of Books logoBook Bender and Kelly @ Reading the Paranormal. It is a week long read-a-thon that begins 12:01am Monday, May 12th and runs through Sunday, May 18th in whatever time zone you are in. Bout of Books is low-pressure, and the only reading competition is between you and your usual number of books read in a week. There are challenges, giveaways, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional. For all Bout of Books 10 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog.

It’s perfect for me because I’m already going to be reading next week, of course. I love challenges, especially when it comes to reading. Why not participate?

One of the requirements for participating is posting your goals for the week: what are you going to do this week that is going to challenge you?

Here are mine:

  • Read 5 books; the picture below is my tentative TBR for the week, but I have a feeling I might change this a little depending on my mood, as everything I’ve chosen is sci-fi/dystopian/fantasy. I might need a little YA/contemporary in there, especially since I just found out Since You’ve Been Gone by Morgan Matson is available at my local library! Do you have a book you think I should read?
My TBR for Bout of Books

Gone by Michael Grant; The Eye of Minds by James Dashner; If I Stay by Gayle Forman; The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater; The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey

  • Review all 5 books & post these reviews on my blog, on Goodreads, on Amazon
  • Track my progress each day on a single post on this blog & track my progress on Twitter; I will create a progress post on my blog on Monday and will update it throughout the week
  • Comment on at least two other Bout of Books participants’ blogs per day
  • Participate in at least one Twitter chat with other BoB-ers

So I don’t know if that’s too ambitious as I’ve never participated before, but I’m pretty sure I can do all of it. Look out for my progress post on Monday.

Are you participating in Bout of Books? What are your goals and what books are you reading?

I’m really excited for this, and I can’t wait to get started! Follow me on Twitter to stay updated with my progress (I’ll probably Tweet several times a day vs. just one progress post on here!)

Do you want to participate too? That’d be awesome! Sign up HERE.

A love letter to books

Dear Books,

I love you. No, really, I do. More than you know. I have remained a faithful and supportive fan of yours since I was in the womb, and my mom and dad read me some of your stories as I grew.

You’ve been there with me through every part of my life, constantly offering me advice, encouragement, refuge, and love whenever I needed it. Do you remember?

You were there when I was a child and you understood that I’d much rather be inside reading from your pages than outside where I was allergic to everything. You took me away to Neverland, and Oz, and Wonderland. The stories you shared inspired me, nurtured my imagination.

And you were there when I moved to Mississippi, a place so unlike where I came from. Books, you told me it was okay to be scared and gave me courage to start school.

And you were there when I was insecure and needed somewhere to hide. You gave me stories of other worlds with other people who were confident and beautiful, and you told me that I was too. You told me it was okay to be who I was, that if someone didn’t like it they weren’t someone I needed in my life. And even though I didn’t find any characters who, like me, didn’t have any hair, I knew you didn’t care and loved me anyway.

And you’ve been there when I was angry at the world or myself. You relaxed me with the methodical turning of your pages. You calmed me down with the smell of your pages and the freshness of your ink.

And you were there when I was experiencing how beautiful our world is as I traveled abroad. I found new stories in areas I had only some experience in, your crime stories, dystopias, stories of what would happen after the world ended. And I feel in love with you anew. I dove into you with a restored vigor.

And you were there when I realized that I wanted to make a career working with you. You cheered me on and told me that you knew that’s what I was going to do all along. You said working with you and your friends was what would make me the happiest because I was never so passionate as when I was talking about you.

And you continue to be here for me now, when I’m the saddest I’ve ever been. You open your covers to me when I need you the most to tell me that it won’t always be this way and that I will be happy again. You help me smile when I’d rather be doing anything but. You empathize and hold me in your pages when I feel completely alone. You remind me that I haven’t failed and must keep trying so that one day I can work somewhere that puts you together like you’ve helped put me back together so many times.

You’ve always been there to make me laugh when I couldn’t, cry when I needed to, shelter me when a storm raged in my life, or give me advice when I was lost.

You have always been there for me, so now let me help you. Though I’ve always done this in some capacity, I want to share you. I’m going to tell as many people as I can how much I love you. I am going to try to get more people to read the brilliant stories you’ve shared with me, because if even one more person reads one of them, I’ve honored you. I hope they’ll love you as I do.

Thank you, books. Thank you for everything you’ve done for me. I know you will continue to be my most constant and faithful friend for the rest of my life because I will never leave you and you won’t leave me.

Love always,

Stefani

My love letter was inspired in part by Matt Haig’s “A Love Letter to Books”.

Me, Reading