Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Bookish Things I Want to/Have Quit

Top Ten Tuesday

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

Ten Bookish Things I Want to Quit Or Have Quit (aka ten book series I think I’m going to abandon, ten bookish habits I want to quit, ten authors I quit reading, ten types of books I’m quitting, ten tropes I want to stop reading about, ten books I marked as DNF (did not finish) recently, etc. Get as creative as you want)

Instead of focusing on ONE particular topic and list ten things under that, I’m just going to give you ten bookish things I want to/have quit.

  • I want to quit stressing about reading. I don’t do this all the time, but every once in a while I feel like I HAVE to read, and I don’t like that feeling. I read because I need to, because I enjoy it, not because it’s a chore. I hate when I feel like that.
  • I have quit focusing on how many books I read per month/year. I still challenge myself on Goodreads (and I’ve already surpassed by goal) but not because I feel I need to read that many books. I just do it for fun. If I read 5 books last month and 15 this month, it doesn’t matter. It helps cut down on the stress.
  • I want to quit comparing myself to other bloggers. I know bloggers talk about this a lot – her post has more comments than mine, he has more followers than me, blah blah blah. It’s silly and makes no sense to do this; we have different blogs, focuses, etc. but we still do it. I don’t like doing it, but I do. I want to stop.
  • I have recently quit reading Hunter by Mercedes Lackey. I wanted to like it so much more than I did, but I just couldn’t force myself through it.
  • I want to quit reading about instalove. For real. I will admit, it is occasionally done well, but most of the time it gets on my nerves.
  • I want to quit reading books with absent families/parents. If it actually makes sense in the story, go for it, but if it’s the only way an author can think of to have the teen be left alone, it comes off as lazy and repetitive. Not all parents are absent, and I particularly love YA books with families/parents that are involved and supportive. That’s how my family is.
  • I have quit (a long time ago) caring about what people thought about what I read. I read a wide range of books (from YA to picture books, contemporary to high fantasy) and I couldn’t care less about what people think if they see me reading it. All that really matters is that I enjoy it, and if I don’t, I DNF.
  • I want to quit feeling guilty about DNF-ing books. I’ve gotten a lot better at this in the last year or so, but I still find it difficult to DNF a book, especially if it’s an ARC. It’s a problem, and I’m working on it.
  • I want to quit reading about heroines who are ridiculously self-conscious/have no self-esteem but are – gasp! – really beautiful. I don’t get why almost every female lead can’t actually have confidence in herself but must constantly judge herself (or other people). I know people, particularly teenage girls, question themselves a lot (trust me, I have no hair, I feel this daily) but to constantly read about girls who think they are too plain/ugly for the love interest to like her despite the fact that she’s gorgeous is getting old.
  • I DON’T want to quit doing Top Ten Tuesday posts. I always have fun with these and seeing everyone else’s lists!

What bookish things do you want to quit?

Guest Post: Nicola Yoon, author of Everything, Everything (& Giveaway)

I am SO excited to bring you this super fun guest post from Everything, Everything author Nicola Yoon! If you haven’t heard the news, the rights to Nicola’s amazing debut have been optioned for film by MGM!! So freaking exciting! I asked Nicola if she’d tell us some of the songs she’d like to see on the soundtrack to the film. Plus, Nicola was nice enough to sign the copy of the book I bought when I met her at the Decatur Book Festival (she is SO nice) AND donated a copy of the EE audiobook for the giveaway, so you should definitely stick around to end of the post and enter to win it!

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I don’t listen to music while I’m writing​,​ but music definitely influences​ me​​​​. Usually when I’m writing a book, there are just a handful of songs or albums that I’m listening to on repeat. I’m a total lyrics person, Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoonso a particularly good lyric can really inspire me. For example, when I was writing EVERYTHING, EVERYTHING, ​I kept coming back to ​a few lines in Noel Gallagher’s “If I Had a Gun”​:

Hope I didn’t speak too soon
My eyes have always followed you around the room
‘Cause you’re the only God that I will ever need
I’m holding on and waiting for the moment for my heart to be unbroken by the sea

I love all​ the​ lyrics​ in this song, but it’s the “waiting for the moment for my heart to be unbroken by the sea” part that really gets me. It’s epic​. ​It’s a little bit mysterious. It speaks to a big, big love that can only be moved by something as vast as the sea. For me, it really encapsulates Olly​’s​​ feelings for Maddy.

I’ve always said if I could write a book that made you feel as intensely as a four minute song​ can​, I would be a very happy writer. Hopefully, I’m getting closer to this the more I write. Any type of art can influence any other, and inspiration can come from unexpected places. For me, music is definitely one of those places.

THE PLAYLIST

“​If I Had a Gun​”​ by Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds
​”​Pieces​”​ by Andrew Belle
​”​Four Minute Warning​”​ by Radiohead
​”​Videotape​”​ by Radiohead
​”​I Need My Girl​”​ by The National
​”​Graceless​”​ by The National
​”​Hannah Hunt​”​ by Vampire Weekend
​”​Rehab​”​ by Amy Winehouse
​”​This Place Is A Prison​”​ by The Postal Service
​”​Mezzanine​”​ by Massive Attack
​”​Angel​”​ by Massive Attack
​”​Extraordinary Machine​”​ by Fiona Apple

Unfortunately, the two Radiohead songs are not on Spotify, but you can find them on YouTube – listen to “Four Minute Warning” and “Videotape” for the full experience!

ABOUT NICOLA

Nicola YoonNicola Yoon grew up in Jamaica (the island) and Brooklyn (part of Long Island). She currently resides in Los Angeles, CA with her husband and daughter, both of whom she loves beyond all reason. Everything, Everything is her first novel.

Website | Twitter | Instagram | Tumblr | Goodreads

THE GIVEAWAY

There are two prizes (a signed hardcover and the audiobook); the first winner chosen by Rafflecopter will have their choice of the two and the second winner chosen will get the second prize.

Terms & Conditions:

  • This contest is open to US residents only.
  • The giveaway will run until October 22, 2015 at midnight CST.
  • You must be 18 years or older, or have parents’ permission to enter.
  • I will check all of the entries for the chosen winner. If any of them have been given and you haven’t actually done them, you will be disqualified.
  • If the winner does not respond to my e-mail within 48 hours, I will choose another winner.
  • I am not responsible for any items lost in the mail, and I cannot replace anything that is lost. I’m sorry.

Giveaway Enter

Waiting on Wednesday: Blackhearts by Nicole Castroman

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

Blackhearts by Nicole CastromanPublisher: Simon Pulse

Author: Nicole Castroman

Release date: February 9, 2016

Synopsis from Goodreads:

Blackbeard the pirate was known for striking fear in the hearts of the bravest of sailors. But once he was just a young man who dreamed of leaving his rigid life behind to chase adventure in faraway lands. Nothing could stop him—until he met the one girl who would change everything. This is their story.

Edward “Teach” Drummond, son of one of Bristol’s richest merchants, has just returned from a year-long journey on the high seas to find his life in shambles. Betrothed to a girl he doesn’t love and sick of the high society he was born into, Teach dreams only of returning to the vast ocean he’d begun to call home. There’s just one problem: convincing his father to let him leave and never come back.

Following her parents’ deaths, Anne Barrett is left penniless and soon to be homeless. Though she’s barely worked a day in her life, Anne is forced to take a job as a maid in the home of Master Drummond. Lonely days stretch into weeks, and Anne longs for escape. How will she ever realize her dream of sailing to Curaçao—where her mother was born—when she’s stuck in England? 

From the moment Teach and Anne meet, they set the world ablaze. Drawn to each other, they’re trapped by society and their own circumstances. Faced with an impossible choice, they must decide to chase their dreams and go, or follow their hearts and stay.

Why I’m excited: It’s a freaking Blackbeard origin story. Do you really need me to say anything else? I’ve always been interested in pirate lore and mythology, so I’ve, of course, heard and read a lot about Blackbeard. This book is so exciting because it’s about who Blackbeard was before he was the terrifying pirate we know now. I just…I need this, you guys. It sounds incredibly interesting and creative. I’m super pumped that I was approved for an e-ARC of this one on Edelweiss! AND I met Nicole at the Decatur Book Festival and she is so wonderful. Even more excited to read it now!

Waiting on Wednesday: Revenge and the Wild by Michelle Modesto

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

Revenge and the Wild by Michelle ModestoPublisher: Balzer + Bray

Author: Michelle Modesto

Release date: February 2, 2016

Synopsis from Goodreads:

The two-bit town of Rogue City is a lawless place, full of dark magic and saloon brawls, monsters and six-shooters. But it’s perfect for seventeen-year-old Westie, the notorious adopted daughter of local inventor Nigel Butler.

Westie was only a child when she lost her arm and her family to cannibals on the wagon trail. Nine years later, Westie may seem fearsome with her foul-mouthed tough exterior and the powerful mechanical arm built for her by Nigel, but the memory of her past still haunts her. She’s determined to make the killers pay for their crimes—and there’s nothing to stop her except her own reckless ways.

But Westie’s search ceases when a wealthy family comes to town looking to invest in Nigel’s latest invention, a machine that can harvest magic from gold—which Rogue City desperately needs as the magic wards that surround the city start to fail. There’s only one problem: the investors look exactly like the family who murdered Westie’s kin. With the help of Nigel’s handsome but scarred young assistant, Alistair, Westie sets out to prove their guilt. But if she’s not careful, her desire for revenge could cost her the family she has now.

This thrilling novel is a remarkable tale of danger and discovery, from debut author Michelle Modesto.

Why I’m excited: I’m not usually a huge fan of historical fiction, unless it’s the type that blends a different element (magic, fantastical creatures, etc.) into that historical time period. So the idea of magic + the Wild West sounds freaking brilliant to me. Westie sounds like an AWESOME character, and I can’t wait to meet her! Not going to lie, her “foul-mouthed tough exterior” is one of the selling points, for sure.

Waiting on Wednesday: The Stars Turned Away by Lisa Maxwell

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

The Stars Turned Away by Lisa MaxwellPublisher: Simon Pulse

Author: Lisa Maxwell

Release date: February 2, 2016

Synopsis from Goodreads:

For as long as she can remember, Gwendolyn Allister has never had a place to call home—all because her mother believes that monsters are hunting them. Now these delusions have brought them to London, far from the life Gwen had finally started to build for herself. The only saving grace is her best friend, Olivia, who’s coming with them for the summer.

But when Gwen and Olivia are kidnapped by shadowy creatures and taken to a world of flesh-eating sea hags and dangerous Fey, Gwen realizes her mom might have been sane all along.

The world Gwen finds herself in is called Neverland, yet it’s nothing like the stories. Here, good and evil lose their meaning and memories slip like water through her fingers. As Gwen struggles to remember where she came from and find a way home, she must choose between trusting the charming fairy-tale hero who says all the right things and the roguish young pirate who promises to keep her safe.

With time running out and her enemies closing in, Gwen is forced to face the truths she’s been hiding from all along. But will she be able to save Neverland without losing herself?

Why I’m excited: DID YOU READ THAT SYNOPSIS? You guys, seriously. A retelling of Peter Pan and Neverland in a world where that story is known and the place Gwen and Olivia are brought to is nothing like it – it’s dark and evil and strange. There’s fey and “flesh-eating sea hags” and shadowy creatures. Seriously, could someone please invent time travel so I could hop over to February 2016 and read this already? I need it yesterday. I mean, that title? THE STARS TURNED AWAY? What a perfect reversal of the meaning of stars in Peter Pan.

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!

Excerpt: The Fix by Natasha Sinel

To read the excerpt before mine, make sure you head over to Kim’s blog Divergent Gryffindor.

Th e Fix by Natasha SinelAuthor: Natasha Sinel

Publisher: Sky Pony Press

Publication Date: September 1, 2015

SUMMARY: 

One conversation is all it takes to break a world wide open. Seventeen-year-old Macy Lyons has been through something no one should ever have to experience. And she’s dealt with it entirely alone. On the outside, she’s got it pretty good. Her family’s well-off, she’s dating the cute boy next door, she has plenty of friends, and although she long ago wrote her mother off as a superficial gym rat, she’s thankful to have allies in her loving, laid-back dad and her younger brother.

But a conversation with a boy at a party one night shakes Macy out of the carefully maintained complacency that has defined her life so far. The boy is Sebastian Ruiz, a recovering addict who recognizes that Macy is hardened by dark secrets. And as Macy falls for Sebastian, she realizes that, while revealing her secret could ruin her seemingly perfect family, keeping silent might just destroy her.

The Fix follows two good-hearted teenagers coming to terms with the cards they were dealt. It’s also about the fixes we rely on to cope with our most shameful secrets and the hope and fear that come with meeting someone who challenges us to come clean.

Pre-order the book

B&N | Amazon | IndieBound

Advanced Praise for The Fix: 

“First shot out of the gate, Sinel bravely addresses tough topics, demonstrating that the weight of secrets can pull us under––and their release can save us from drowning.” —Holly Schindler, author of A Blue So Dark and Feral

“A bewitching, beautiful, and brave debut. Readers will marvel at Macy’s resilience. Natasha Sinel’s writing devastates and uplifts, by turns. An important story of one girl’s journey to rewrite the blueprint of her own life by facing the truth inside herself.” —Carrie Mesrobian, award-winning author of Sex & Violence and Perfectly Good White Boy

“In her YA debut, Natasha Sinel paints a riveting picture of a teenager haunted by her past and struggling with her present. Macy’s world is richly drawn, heartbreakingly real, and difficult to put down. The Fix shines.” —I.W. Gregorio, author of None of the Above

THE EXCERPT

 “Because it’s so far.” I laughed awkwardly. And also Berkeley had one of the best undergraduate architecture programs in the country. “Where do you want to go?” Continue reading

Waiting on Wednesday: The First Time She Drowned by Kerry Kletter

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

The First Time She Drowned by Kerry KletterPublisher: Philomel Books

Author: Kerry Kletter

Release date: March 15, 2016

Synopsis from Goodreads:

Cassie O’Malley has spent her whole life trying to keep her head above water—literally and metaphorically. It’s been two-and-a-half years since her mother dumped Cassie in a mental institution against her will for something Cassie claims she didn’t do. Now, at eighteen, Cassie enrolls in college, ready to reclaim her life and enter the world on her own terms.

But as she struggles to find her way forward, the startling truths she uncovers about her own family narrative make it impossible to cut the tethers of a tumultuous past. And when the unhealthy mother-daughter relationship that defined Cassie’s childhood and adolescence threatens to pull her under once again, Cassie must decide: whose version of history is the truth? And more important, whose life must she save?

A bold, literary story about the fragile complexities of mothers and daughters and learning to love oneself, The First Time She Drowned reminds us that we must dive deep into our pasts if we are ever to move forward.

Why I’m excited: I’ll tell you why I’m excited. I’m excited because of Jeff Zentner’s (author of The Serpent King) review of The First Time She Drowned. You can read the whole review on Goodreads, but let me give you a snippet: “This is a gorgeous, sumptuously lyrical, luminous book. I read it like it was a fire and I’d just been pulled from a frozen lake. It’s a feast for lovers of language. The descriptions in it made me feel like I was experiencing the world for the first time.” He also says you have never read a YA book like this one. I NEED TO READ THIS BOOK, YOU GUYS. NEEEEEED. Plus, look at that cover!!

Waiting on Wednesday: We Are the Ants by Shaun David Hutchinson

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

We Are the Ants by Shaun David HutchinsonPublisher: Simon Pulse

Author: Shaun David Hutchinson

Release date: January 19, 2016

Synopsis from Goodreads:

Henry Denton doesn’t know why the aliens chose to abduct him when he was thirteen, and he doesn’t know why they continue to steal him from his bed and take him aboard their ship. He doesn’t know why the world is going to end or why the aliens have offered him the opportunity to avert the impending disaster by pressing a big red button.

But they have. And they’ve only given him 144 days to make up his mind.

Since the suicide of his boyfriend, Jesse, Henry has been adrift. He’s become estranged from his best friend, started hooking up with his sworn enemy, and his family is oblivious to everything that’s going on around them. As far as Henry is concerned, a world without Jesse is a world he isn’t sure is worth saving. Until he meets Diego Vega, an artist with a secret past who forces Henry to question his beliefs, his place in the universe, and whether any of it really matters. But before Henry can save the world, he’s got to figure out how to save himself, and the aliens haven’t given him a button for that.

Why I’m excited: Because this sounds absolutely brilliant, that’s why! Freaking ALIENS and artists and self-discovery and world-destruction. We Are the Ants sounds exactly like a book I’d like, and I’m really looking forward to checking it out. I HATE that January is so far away!

ARC Review: Trouble is a Friend of Mine by Stephanie Tromly

Trouble is a Friend of Mine by Stephanie TromlyAuthor:  Stephanie Tromly
Genre: Young adult, contemporary, mystery
Publisher: Kathy Dawson Books
Publication Date: August 4, 2015
336 pages, hardcover

Check out the full synopsis on Goodreads.

NOTE: I was provided with an e-ARC of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Thank you to Penguin Young Readers for letting me read this!

Trouble is a Friend of Mine is ridiculous. The characters, the plot, the mystery? All ridiculous. The funny thing is that some of that ridiculousness really worked for me – especially when it came to the characters. But that also means that some of it didn’t work. Let’s break it down into strengths and weaknesses.

STRENGTHS

– The book is hilarious. I had A LOT of laugh out loud moments at the dialogue or characters.
– It’s well-written, easy to read, and fast-paced, which made it super enjoyable for me.
– The characters. Yes, they’re over the top, particularly in the case of Digby, but they’re fun and silly and strange and quirky, and I dug that.
– I got really involved in the mystery. It was pretty obvious who the good guys and bad guys were, but I was still interested to see how it would all wrap up.
– Digby reads a lot like a Benedict-Cumberbatch-Sherlock, which I loved.

WEAKNESSES

– The plot is rather convoluted and the ending doesn’t really do the best job of wrapping it all up.
– The book is pretty over the top in certain parts and rather unbelievable. I had trouble suspending my disbelief in parts. A lot of it seemed a little too easy.
– Occasionally, the book felt like it was trying a bit too hard to be “quirky.”
– Digby is a stalker. He shows up in Zoe’s room in the middle of the night. He’s got A LOT of issues and everyone just kind of says, “Oh, that’s just Digby.” But some of it is seriously messed up. Overall, I liked his character and his over-the-topness, but it irked me some.

The bottom line: Overall, I had a lot of fun reading Trouble is a Friend of Mine. Yes, it’s ridiculous, and yes, it’s a little over the top. But it’s also HILAROUS and strange and silly and really fun to read.

Rating: 6.5