Thursday Thoughts: Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda – Book Launch

Chances are if you’ve been on the blog anytime this year, you’ve seen me post about how much I love Becky Albertalli’s debut novel Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda. I’ve reviewed it, kicked off the excerpt tour, and had an Oreogasm. I’ve also posted about it on Twitter or fangirled with Becky like 100 times. I adore her and her book, so when I found out she was having a book launch for Simon in Decatur (at Little Shop of Stories no less – one of my absolute favorite book shops), I knew I had to go. Who cares that it’s a 5 ½ hour drive? Not me. After I told Becky I was coming, we tweeted each other almost every day leading up to the event with just a bunch of exclamation points.

Becky and meCan I just take a moment to say how absolutely exciting it is to have an author just as excited to meet you as you are to meet them? I’ve been lucky enough to meet some of my favorite authors, but I’ve got to say that having Becky tweet me several times with the same excitement level I had was pretty much the coolest thing EVER.

So anyway, my librarian friend, Kayla, and I drove the 5 ½ hours to Decatur – which was a blast! – and headed over to Little Shop of Stories for the event. Meeting Becky for the first time was awesome! She is super cool and adorkable and was so appreciative of the fact that we drove over for the event that just her thanking me was worth it. But then she’d also brought me a finished copy of Simon that she’d wrote the sweetest note in. As you can guess, I pretty much hugged that book for the rest of the night. [Look how ADORABLE she is!  You can tell how happy I was from that smile.]

Becky talking

And then there was the event too.  Becky had brought ALL THE OREOS, which were obviously very delicious. Most especially the vodka infused ones. Yummmm. After some mingling and hob-knobbing, during which time Becky introduced me to Jeff Zentner, whose debut novel comes out next year, the event started. Becky gave an adorable intro to Simon and thank you to everyone who came, and then there was a Q&A – she talked about her writing process, the publication process, what it’s like writing her next book, and more. Then there was the signing. Since I already had a signed copy, I waited until the end to get another…check out the end of the post to see what I’m talking about!

ALL THE OREOS     OREOS!

This is when I met the super wonderful and chill David Arnold, author of Mosquitoland. He’d come down from Kentucky to support Becky, which is very cool. We talked about Mississippi and YA books and audiobooks. He signed my ARC that I won in a giveaway (Thanks again, David!). I also met Christina from A Reader of Fictions, who was SO SWEET. She gave Kayla and me a HUGE bag of ARCs because she said we looked friendly. Nice people finish FIRST. Thank you again, Christina!! I also left with three ARCs from Little Shop of Stories (I TOLD you they were awesome). I got an ARC of Made You Up by Francesca Zappia (which I’ve already read and loved), ACOTAR!!!! by Sarah J. Maas, and Paper Weight by Meg Haston. For realz, if you’re ever in the Decatur area, go to Little Shop of Stories! They are the BEST.

Our haul     Our haul

We only brought ONE book to the event and we left with ALL OF THESE!!

I’ve talked about my life and my depression before on the blog, so I’m not going into that here. But I want to talk about how I felt at this event. I felt the least stressed, anxious, sad, unhappy, and uncomfortable at this event than I have in months. I felt utterly at home in Decatur and at this event surrounded by brilliant, kind, and bookish people. I haven’t felt normal in so long that I almost didn’t recognize the feeling. I could breathe. I wasn’t worried about anything. I can’t even really describe it nor can I properly thank Becky and everyone at the event, BUT I can spread the love.

Becky holding SimonCheck out how you can win a copy of Simon! 🙂

See that picture of Becky holding a copy of Simon? Yeah, that’s a SIGNED COPY YOU CAN WIN!! Head over to my Twitter then follow me and RT the tweet for a chance to win. The giveaway is US only – I am REALLY sorry to my international friends, but I just can’t afford international shipping right now. It ends on 4/30/15 so make sure you do it before then!

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Book Blogger Love-a-Thon: One Can Only Quote

Book Blogger Love-a-ThonThe fourth and final post for the Book Blogger Love-a-Thon hosted by Alexa Loves Books today is called “One Can Only Quote”. We’re sharing some of our favorite quotes about love and friendship! I could list a TON of favorite quotes from books about these topics, but here are three quotes about each!

LOVE

“You know you’re in love when you can’t fall asleep because reality is finally better than your dreams.” – Dr. Seuss

So this hasn’t happened to me yet, but I have hope it will one day.

“Let our scars fall in love.” – Galway Kinnell

Lola and the Boy Next Door

Yeah, can you say “SWOOOON”? I told you that I loved Cricket.

FRIENDSHIP

“Friendship is born at that moment when one man says to another: ‘What! You too? I thought that no one but myself . . .’” ― C.S. Lewis, The Four Loves

“Don’t walk behind me; I may not lead. Don’t walk in front of me; I may not follow. Just walk beside me and be my friend.” ― Albert Camus

“Being a nerd, which is to say going too far and caring too much about a subject, is the best way to make friends I know.” – Sarah Vowell, The Partly Cloudy Patriot

What are some of your favorite quotes about love and friendship?

Book Blogger Love-a-Thon: Book Valentines

Book Blogger Love-a-Thon

The third post for the Book Blogger Love-a-Thon hosted by Alexa Loves Books is a Book Valentine. We were to “Create a valentine for your favorite book guy or gal. You can write a letter, share a playlist, draw something, shop for gifts – whatever way you feel like expressing your love, go for it!”

So I’ve decided to go with Cricket Bell. I know you are all shocked. I never talk about how much I am in love with him or the fact that he’s my dream guy. Oh wait. Yes, I do. All the time. Whatever. 🙂 He’s sweet, awkward, charming, smart, funny, and I would totally have to find a way to get Lola out of the picture if he was real. I wasn’t sure how to go about this challenge though. So I’m sharing two songs that I think are super romantic and sweet. These are “our songs” – because, you know, Cricket actually is my boyfriend and we have songs that we call “ours”. Haha.

The first is Eric Hutchinson’s “Love Like You” – I LOVE the chorus:

I’ve been waiting for a love like you
I’ve been waiting for a love like you
I’ve been waiting for a love like you tonight

So let me catch fire and blow off steam
This is a crash landing, we’re living the dream
We can freak out if you know what I mean
We can go where we go where the love’s supreme
I said ooo baby, it’s Russian roulette
I said ooo baby, I’ll never forget
What you did for me now, how you’re making me feel
And I’ve been waiting for a love that is finally real

Swoon.

The next song is Ed Sheeran’s Thinking Out Loud. I don’t know if you guys have seen the video, but it’s beautiful and super romantic. I don’t even like Ed Sheeran, and I like this song.

But, baby, now
Take me into your loving arms
Kiss me under the light of a thousand stars
Place your head on my beating heart
Thinking out loud
That maybe we found love right where we are

In other words, I LOVE YOU, CRICKET BELL.

Who’s your bookish valentine?

Book Blogger Love-a-Thon: Questionnaire

Hi lovelies! The Book Blogger Love-a-Thon hosted by Alexa Loves Books has started. This is the first post, a questionnaire designed to help you get to know me a little better. To anyone who’s never been to my blog before, HI! Welcome to Caught Read Handed. To anyone who’s been here before, it’s good to see you again. ❤ Let’s get started, shall we?

Book Blogger Love-a-Thon

  1. What’s your name? Stefani! 🙂
  2. Where in the world are you blogging from? I blog from the Middle of Nowhere, Mississippi. Usually on the couch, sometimes in bed.
  3. How did you get into blogging in the first place? I’ve always LOVED talking about books and spreading the love for books, authors, and reading. I should’ve gotten into book blogging a long time ago, but I finally did in March of last year. Haven’t looked back since.
  4. How did you come up with your blog name? It’s really hard to come up with something unique for a book blog name because there are already so many lovely ones out there, but I tried to think of something different.
  5. What genre do you read and review the most on your blog? YA. (I also review comics at least twice a week on WatchPlayRead.com)
  6. What other types of posts do you do on your blog, apart from reviews? Top Ten Tuesday, Waiting on Wednesday, book to movie posts, random bookish talk posts.
  7. Best blogging experience so far? Having people tell me they read a book based on my recommendation and loved it. Or interacting with authors on Twitter who’ve loved my reviews or been appreciative of my WoW posts.
  8. Favorite thing about the blogging community? The people. I even wrote a post about this on Thursday.
  9. Name the 5 books you’re most excited for this 2015! THIS IS SO HARD. I am looking forward to way more than these five, but these were the first five that came to mind.
    1. Reasons to Stay Alive by Matt Haig
    2. A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas
    3. We All Looked Up by Tommy Wallach
    4. The Prom Goer’s Interstellar Excursion by Chris McCoy
    5. More Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera
  10. What’s an underrated book or series that you think everyone should read? I honestly think everyone should read The Humans by Matt Haig. It makes you appreciate what it means to be human and to be alive. It’s a beautiful, amazing, funny, sad, wonderful book.
  11. Which book boy or girl would be your book BFF? Pretty sure Lola (from Lola and the Boy Next Door) and I would be BFF. But that might be a problem because Cricket (her love interest) is my boyfriend.
  12. Apart from reading, what are your other hobbies or interests? Crafting, going to the movies, painting.
  13. Apart from book shopping, what else do you like shopping for? Music.
  14. At a party, the DJ suddenly changes the song – and it’s your song. What song would be playing? Oh, man. This is hard. Current favorite: AWOLNATION’s “Hollow Moon (Bad Wolf)”. I even did a post about how much I love it.
  15. Pick out either a book you want turned into a film/TV show, or a film/TV show you want turned into a book.  I had to think for a while on this, but I think The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion would make a really cool movie – The Big Bang Theory is super popular, and Don, the main character in The Rosie Project, is really similar. It could translate well to the screen.

Are you participating in the Love-a-Thon? Let me know so I can come check out your questionnaire! ❤

Top Ten Tuesday: Bookish Problems

Top Ten Tuesday

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

Ten Book Related Problems I Have (could be serious or fun!)

Finding time to actually read – I have two jobs, a blog, a website I write for, and I also have to eat and sleep. Finding time to read is sometimes really difficult but extremely necessary for my mental well-being.

Book hangovers – do I really need to explain this one? We all get it – that inability to start another book because the one you just finished left you in shock, awe, confusion, horror, happiness, whatever.

Not having anyone to gush to about a book – sometimes you’re the first of your friends to read a really good book and you just want to talk about it, SPOILERS included, but you can’t. That stinks.

Book pain syndrome – or BPS for short. This is what happens when you spend hours reading a book in the same position on the couch or bed or floor or what have you. Your neck can only bend certain ways, your legs go numb, your arms are tired of holding the book. It hurts.

Wanting to read ALL the books at once – I have WAY too many books I want to read and I just want to read them all RIGHT NOW.

What to read next – of those hundreds of books I want to read, picking which one I should read next is one of the most difficult decisions I’ll make that day.

Book buying bans – I’m currently in one of these. Sort of. I’ve bought one or two, but I’ve been pretty good at not buying several books at once. Living 45 minutes from the nearest book store probably helps.

Getting interrupted

When the audiobook skips – I check out audiobooks from the library. On disc. Sometimes 72565 people have checked it out already and it’ll skip in the middle of the fifth disc, 35 minutes from the end after I’ve listened to it for 5 hours and 14 minutes and I HATE this.

Racing through a book only to discover the sequel isn’t out for a year – I’m looking at you A Darker Shade of Magic

What are your biggest book related problems? Link me up to your TTT!

Top Ten Tuesday – Likes & Dislikes in Book Romances

Top Ten Tuesday

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

Top Ten Things I Like/Dislike When It Comes To Romances In Books (can do a full list or split it up in likes/dislikes or even things you want to see MORE of in romances in fiction)

This one’s a little hard to write because I tend to not seek out books that are strictly romances, but I do read books with romances in them, so here are five of the things I like and five of the things I don’t like when it comes to romance in books.

Likes

1. Swoony men – Obviously. But not swoony in a typical way. For example, I much prefer Cricket in Lola and the Boy Next Door to St. Clair in Anna and the French Kiss. St. Clair knows he’s swoony and that’s not my thing.

2. Beautifully written dialogue between the characters – The way Sam talks about Grace in the Wolves of Mercy Falls series.

3. Imperfect / flawed love interests – I know no one is perfect, but sometimes it’s like authors forget this. Give me someone who has a backstory or is struggling with something.

4. Slow to build relationships – Take your time. Let the characters get to know one another, please and thank you.

5. Witty banter – But not if that’s ALL there is between them. I like humor and word play.

Dislikes

1. Instalove – We all knew this was going to be on my list. Blah.

2. Love triangles (unless they’re done well) – Unless it’s a love triangle like in Throne of Glass, I probably won’t like it.

3. Clichés / formulas – Did Girl just realize she’s been in love with Best Friend the whole time? Was there a Huge Misunderstanding? Are one or both of them Hiding Something? Can you say cliché rom com plots?

4. Dangerous / volatile relationships – No, no, no, no. Don’t do it.

5. Unnecessary romances – If your book can go from beginning to end with no romance and still be a wonderful book, WHY must you shove a romance in there? Not every book was meant to have a romance. Kthanksbye!

Alright, there you have it. What do YOU like or not like when it comes to romance in the books  you read?

The Versatile Blogger Award

Versatile Blogger Award

Hi guys! I’ve been sick now for two days, so instead of a review, I’m doing a tag post because it’s fun and I don’t have to think too hard. I was nominated by Alina at Radiant Reads and Maren at The Worn Bookmark for the Versatile Blogger Award. Thanks, lovelies! For this award, I’m supposed to thank the bloggers who nominated me, share the award, and give you seven facts about me. I feel like I’ve shared all the facts you guys could ever want to know about me in one award post or another, but let’s see if I can think of more.

– I have two physical bookshelves in my room – one for books I’ve read and one for books I haven’t. Helps me stay organized and on top of my to read list.

– I have a slight obsession with Damian Wayne (Bruce Wayne/Batman’s son). I love his character – he’s such a sassy little punk. And SPOILER – I’m so glad he’s alive again.

– Things I don’t like to eat: cucumbers, oranges, bananas, cherry flavored things, ground beef.

– Things I could eat all day every day: chicken, pizza, string cheese, mangoes, fresh pineapple, pretzels, York peppermint patties.

– I discovered my love of audiobooks and comics in July when I started working at the library. I haven’t looked back since. I’m a little obsessed.

– I really wish I had a dog.

– I’m going to be 25 this year. It scares me. I know I’m still young but I feel like life is moving too fast.

I’m nominating

Rachel at Confessions of a Book Geek

Brandie at Brandie is a Book Junkie

Shaina at Shaina Reads

April at Bookishly Speaking

Shannon at It Starts at Midnight

Rita at Books & Stuff

Selah at A Bibliophile’s Style

And YOU if you want to do it!

Please don’t tell me to calm down. Or, the problem with being intense

I’m a passionate person. In case you weren’t aware, the definition of passionate is:

– having, compelled by, or ruled by intense emotion or strong feeling; fervid
OR
– expressing, showing, or marked by intense or strong feeling
OR
– intense or vehement, as emotions or feelings

In other words, being a passionate person means that you pretty much talk intensely and excitedly all the time about the things that you love. I can’t help it. It’s part of who I am. I know that sometimes my excitement and intensity can scare some people. Or annoy them. Or even make them uncomfortable. But I don’t do this on purpose. I don’t do it to get on anyone’s nerves or to annoy you. It’s just that when I love something or when I think something is interesting, I have to tell people about it. It feels like something is bubbling up inside of me and I have to let it out or I’ll implode. I have to tell people about these things so that they can love them too.

It feels a little like this

Excited gif 1

With some of this

Excited gif 2

And a lot of this

Excited gif 3

And if I don’t let it out, this will happen

Excited gif 4

If you knew me, you’d probably know that. That I don’t get intense to get on your nerves. You’d know I’m passionate (hello, I have a blog dedicated to one of those passions) and you’d know I love things intensely. I don’t do anything half-assed. That’s me. Just be glad I don’t actually act like those GIFs.

Amy Poehler says something in her book Yes Please that she is able to stomach people who can’t stomach her (I’m paraphrasing. Problems with listening to audiobooks). This is true for me too. I put on my confident face and just do me all day long. But sometimes that doesn’t work. This is usually the case when people tell me to calm down. If I get too excited but you don’t want to listen to it, please don’t tell me to calm down. Telling me to calm down is one of the biggest insults, in my opinion. It’s like you telling me you don’t care or that I’m annoying you or that it’s okay when you talk about the things you love because you don’t get as into it as me, but it’s not okay when I talk about it because I get too excited. It feels like you’re telling me to shut up and that’s not fair. I don’t know if this makes sense but I hate it. I always have.

This probably stems from the fact that I’ve been told to calm down or shut up or tamp down my excitement my entire life. Not necessarily by my family or my closest friends because they sort of understand. But by strangers, acquaintances, people who think they know me, or, yes, even by my family or friends. It’s probably because I’ve never met a lot of people who share the same passion as I do, which sucks. I think everyone should have at least one person who understands them and their passions. They don’t necessarily have to love or enjoy the same things, but finding someone who shares your level of passion for things and for life.

And that’s why I love this blog. I don’t have just one person but many. Many who share my passion for books. For authors. For characters. For words. And I sincerely hope that none of you will ever be told to calm down or to turn down your excitement. I hope you can share your passion for whatever it is you love and not be judged for it. Because no one should ever be told to not let that passion shine. Just know that you will never be told to calm down here.

Love you all.

—–

Sorry for the little rant, but I’ve been told to calm down by a few people recently and (I never say this out loud) it hurt my feelings. I was hoping some of you would understand.

Bout of Books Challenge – Bookshelf Scavenger Hunt

Bout of Books 12

I am so excited to be hosting one of the first challenges of Bout of Books 12! This challenge is only open to read-a-thon participants, so make sure you’ve signed up!

It’s a bookshelf scavenger hunt!

Find a book with the following criteria on a bookshelf:
1. Find an author with the same initials as you
2. Find a book with the color yellow on it
3. Find an author’s name with the letter “S” in it
4. Find a book with a female protagonist
5. Find the longest book you own
6. Find a book with a map in it or on it
7. Find a book with a face on it (photograph or illustrated)
Bonus: Find something on your shelf that isn’t a book.

Here are my finds so you can see an example:

Bout of Books Challenge Pic

1. Samantha Shannon – My initials are SS. 2. Saints of the Shadow Bible. 3. J. J. Abrams – also, book is called SDouble win. 🙂 4. Isla from Isla and the Happily Ever After. 5. The Instructions at 1030 pages. 6. Let’s Get Lost by Adi Alsaid. 7. Blue Lily, Lily Blue by Maggie Stiefvater. BONUS: My TARDIS. Also, my fairy lights. 🙂

YOUR TURN!

You can take your own pictures or use images you find online. Up to you. Stack ‘em up, lay ‘em all out, make a collage, use Goodreads, whatever. Find a book for at least four (4) of the prompts to be eligible for the giveaway. You can post on your blog, FB, Twitter, YouTube, Tumblr, etc. Then post the link, list, whatever in the comments of this post and enter the giveaway! Use hashtag #BoBScavengerHunt if you talk about your findings so we can see what everyone found!

If you have any questions, feel free to tweet me – @StefaniSloma

GIVEAWAY: One random winner will get a book of their choosing from The Book Depository for $15 or less. Giveaway is international as long as The Book Depository delivers to you. You can check whether TBD delivers to you HERE. The challenge and giveaway will close after 24 hours (12 AM CST on Tuesday January 6, 2015). I’ll contact the winner that day. Winner will have 72 hours to respond, after which I’ll have to choose another winner.

Giveaway Enter

Make sure you check out today’s other challenge, New Year’s Resolutions, on The Book That… and have fun reading!

P.S. If you want another chance to win a book, why not enter my other giveaway for My True Love Gave to Me or $15 to TBD? 🙂

Sisterhood of the World Bloggers Award – #2!

I was nominated by the lovely Ellen at The Wanderlust Reader for the Sisterhood of the World Bloggers Award – I think it’s especially fitting because she lives in Europe, so we’re really getting worldly here. J Thanks, Ellen! Sorry it took so long to do.

Sisterhood of the World Blogger Award

The Rules:
1. Thank the blogger who nominated you, linking back to their site.
2. Put the award logo on your blog.
3. Answer the ten questions they’ve set you.
4. Make up ten new questions for your nominees to answer.
5. Nominate ten people.

Here are the ten questions she asked:

1. Favourite reading snack?
Coffee. Does that count? I tend not to eat too much when I’m reading, but if I do, I like pretzels, peanut m&ms, cookies (to dunk in the coffee)… Most of the time though, I don’t eat and read. That’s how accidents happen.

2. Would you rather read first, or movie first?
Read. Obviously.

3. Thoughts on The Fault in Our Stars?
Book or movie? Book – amazing. Movie – amazing. 🙂 Also, sad, sad, sad.

4. TBR this holiday season?
I could link you up to my December TBR (and I did), but I’ll also list my next few reads here: Rereading Linger; reading The Rosie Effect, Atlantia, The Iron Trial, Let It Snow, Every Day. Okay, I might not read all of these, but I probably will. I have two weeks off (minus one day in the middle) off for Christmas/New Years, so I plan on reading all of these.

5. Favourite holiday reads?
I never really had any favorite holiday reads. I have favorite holiday movies (The Family Stone, The Nightmare before Christmas, Rudolph..), but not reads. This year, I’m reading My True Love Gave to Me, which I think will be a staple of every holiday season. I’m also planning on reading Let It Snow.

6. Thoughts on film adaptions?
I have a love/hate relationship with film adaptations. Sometimes they can be amazing (The Perks of Being a Wallflower; TFiOS) or horrible (I won’t give examples, but I’m sure you know what I mean). I love seeing the stories come to life in more than just my head, but man, can they get it wrong sometimes.

7. Top 3 favourite series?
Harry Potter, The Hunger Games, Anna and the French Kiss. Haha. I have wide tastes.

8. Contemporary young adult; yay or nay?
Before this year: nay (except a little Sarah Dessen here and there). After this year: yay! I was exposed to Morgan Matson, Stephanie Perkins, Jennifer E. Smith, Adi Alsaid, and more this year, and I’m happily a contemporary YA fan now.

9. How is your 2014 Goodreads Reading Challenge going?
Um. Amazing? I didn’t actually start it until March. I set it for 100 books. I’m currently at 148 and the year isn’t over yet. Woo!

10. Which fictional character would you be for a day?
Could this be any harder? I’m going to go with Blue Sargent. 1. She’s amazing, 2. The raven boys, 3. Cabeswater, 4. Gansey.

—————————————————

I tend to tag the same people over and over for these posts, so 1. I hate doing that because I know they don’t have time for all of them, and 2. I don’t want to tag someone I don’t know quite as well because I don’t know if they’ll do it.

So what I’m saying is, if you want to answer these questions, do it. I had fun answering, and you might too. 🙂 Love you all!