Sunday, May 31, 2015

White Cat by Holly Black

The Curse Workers #1.Margaret McElderry(Jan. 2010)Library
Cassel comes from a shady, magical family of con artists and grifters. He doesn't fit in at home or at school, so he's used to feeling like an outsider. He's also used to feeling guilty; he killed his best friend, Lila, years ago.
But when Cassel begins to have strange dreams about a white cat, and people around him are losing their memories, he starts to wonder what really happened to Lila. In his search for answers, he discovers a wicked plot for power that seems certain to succeed. But Cassel has other ideas and a plan to con the conmen.

Okay so White Cat felt so out of the box for me. Con artists, gangsters, and a completely new world where magical powers were real. Those magical powers might have been real, but people with them were not accepted. Mostly "curse workers" were hated and feared which is nothing new with fantasy books. The idea of curse workers on the other hand is a wholly new idea that could get really crazy. There are curse workers and some certain magical items that are sold that can manipulate anyone they want. Curse working felt like a much more dangerous form of magic because this story came to life so much for me under Holly Black's guidance. Also, I was always worried about Cassel and was invested in his character. There is so much that happens to our main character, Cassel, that you just want to hug him as well as shake him roughly by his collar. The reason you want to shake him isn't necessarily because he does stupid things; it's that he does stupid things because he cares and he wants to know the truth. He drove me insane with worry.

Before I get into more of what I thought about White Cat I want to explain the story. Cassel is the only non-worker in his family. His mother is in jail for curse working. I'm still not sure if it's exactly illegal to curse work, but you have to be careful when you use your ability. Her ability is to manipulate others in believing what she wants them to believe. So she can talk you into giving her all your money if she wanted to or fall in love with her so you'll do anything for her. There isn't much of her around, but I'm sure we will see more of Cassel's mother in the next books to come.

Cassel has two brothers, Barron and Phillip. Barron has the ability has to do with luck I believe while Phillip can break a bunch of your bones without even trying. They are both gangsters for the Zacharov crime family. Their grandfather is a death worker. He touches you, you're dead. You know how magic always comes with a cost? The same thing with curse working. You get a "blow back" of your ability so you need to be careful when using it. Anyway, this family is the most dysfunctional family I have read about in the longest time. Most of who Cassel surrounds himself with are horrible people except two normal people with him at school. He also has flashbacks to this girl he used to like, Lila, who he killed so...yeah. Well Lila, wasn't a very nice kid growing up yet he had a crush on her. I don't know why Cassel likes to surround himself with crazy people, but I hope he learns quick because honestly he may be rough around the edges (he runs a gambling ring at his school and the whole killing thing...), but he is so much nicer than everyone else. I couldn't understand his motivations really. I know family is important, but sheesh...

Cassel's family are so sneaky and untrustworthy. There are things taking place that don't make sense to Cassel so much so that you can't look away. I was constantly wondering what is going to happen with Cassel. What on Earth is going on!? It became a reoccurring thought whenever a new twist was revealed. White Cat can be such a dark book in a way yet it's so captivating like I had to read this in one sitting. I spent all night reading White Cat because I needed to know what was going to happen next and will Cassel be okay. What is the truth and what are the lies? If you are looking for something that's not your typical read and you enjoy stories dealing with magic, you are sure to enjoy the whirlwind that is White Cat.

Saturday, May 30, 2015

All the Truth That's in Me by Julie Berry

Standalone. Viking Books (Sep. 2013) Own
Four years ago, Judith and her best friend disappeared from their small town of Roswell Station. Two years ago, only Judith returned, permanently mutilated, reviled and ignored by those who were once her friends and family.

Unable to speak, Judith lives like a ghost in her own home, silently pouring out her thoughts to the boy who’s owned her heart as long as she can remember—even if he doesn’t know it—her childhood friend, Lucas.

But when Roswell Station is attacked, long-buried secrets come to light, and Judith is forced to choose: continue to live in silence, or recover her voice, even if it means changing her world, and the lives around her, forever.

This startlingly original novel will shock and disturb you; it will fill you with Judith’s passion and longing; and its mysteries will keep you feverishly turning the pages until the very last.


I really wanted to read All the Truth That's in Me when I saw it's cover. You get to feel and see what looks like a shredded page in front of Judith's mouth. I actually had no idea what this book was going to be about. I wanted it so I bought it on a whim. What I found was that the protagonist dealt with a lot more than I could ever expect. She was kidnapped and returned to her home two years later with her tongue mutilated. I also found out that this is a historical fiction book which really confused me at first. I expected a more modern book so that threw me off until I could get into to the story.

Judith returns home and is basically ostracized by everyone. Her own mother and brother are harsh towards her when she's the victim of a crime. I know All the Truth That's in Me is set in the past, but it still disturbed me that everyone in her hometown shunned her. And the boy she loved? He moved on. And then I learned where she was before she returned home. There's a mystery involved with where she was and what happened to her best friend. It's another part of the story once revealed that I didn't expect. So many unexpected moments. You think you know the whole story, but you don't. 

Judith takes a leap of faith to save Lucas, her neighbor she loved and sets events into place that will change how she, her family, and her town see her. It was really wonderful seeing Judith take a chance on herself. She takes risks to make her life better even when her mother doesn't allow those changes. She gains back friendships and forms a new one. Reading about her and Lucas always gave me hope for her. She's suffered so much and she deserved happiness unfortunately for Judith, it's very complicated. 

All the Truth That's in Me was a really great read. I loved Judith. I didn't really love when the story was set because it took me some kind to get used to as well as her family's and the townspeople's reaction to her left me unhappy. The reveal and Judith's growth and acceptance of herself were incredible parts of the story. I didn't consider All the Truth That's in Me to be amazing, but it had it's amazing moments. Also, a lot of people love this book, just look at Goodreads. If you like mysteries, unexpected outcomes, and great growth in your protagonist you'll enjoy All the Truth That's in Me.

All the images are from Julie Berry's tumblr

Friday, May 29, 2015

#FitReaders: May 29th 2015 Check-In

#FitReaders: Major improvement in my water intake and a small improvement in my exercise. I'm going to try slowly but surely to get back to the amount I was doing earlier this year.

Friday, May 15th, 2015:

64 oz of water

Saturday, May 16th, 2015:

20 minutes of walking
64 oz of water

Sunday, May 17th, 2015:

72 oz of water

Monday, May 18th, 2015:

64 oz of water

Tuesday, May 19th, 2015:

25 minutes of walking
64 oz of water

Wednesday, May 20th, 2015:

32 oz of water

Thursday, May 21st, 2015:

25 minutes of walking
32 oz of water

How did you do this week?

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Audiobooks for Beginners

I've listened to three (edit: four) audiobooks in my life. I know that's not a lot compared to others, however, I've learned a lot on what really great audiobooks have in common. This is my humble opinion to what I think beginner audiobook listeners should know in order to choose the right book. Here's a little back story on my experience with audiobooks:

I decided to give audiobooks a chance after seeing several bloggers listen to and enjoy their audiobooks. The first audiobook I listened to I wasn't really interested in. It was kind of boring to be honest. This year I'm participating in an audiobook challenge in order to give audiobooks a second chance. They have grabbed my attention, made me laugh, made me cry, and left me wanting more.

As you can see so far my luck has been really good with audiobooks. In fact, my experience has inspired me to write about what makes a good audiobook in my eyes. I'd love to know from expert and novice audiobook listeners  - What do you think makes a good audiobook?

How Long is that Audiobook?

If you take long trips to work or can multitask while you do chores or walk around your block then audiobooks that are very long should be no problem for you.

Now if you are like me and you can not focus properly on two things at the same time, selecting an audiobook up to five hours will be a perfect fit for you.

Can't function. Must listen to this book.

Your Patience Level

The length of your audiobook is important, but you should factor in your patience level as well. If you are a skimmer, like to read ahead, or only like to read one book at a time you should probably steer clear from audiobooks that run a long time. You might go crazy or completely disregard your other priorities like doing your homework, getting caught up with your work, or living a functional life where you see the light of day.

My patience level = Don't tell me to wait

If you are as patient as can be, read slowly anyways, or have a lot of time on your hands then congratulations; you can listen to any length of audiobooks and have a blast.

Get Ready to be Excited! Or Not...

So you want to make sure to pick a book you are actually excited about. You are investing hours into this book and if you don't care about the plot line then prepare to be bored for hours on end. Now, this is the case with any book, but with an audiobook that you have agreed to review... that's a problem. Make sure you know what the book is about. Mysteries, suspense, favorite genres of yours or authors you know and love are books to look out for.

The Narrator(s)

What's really great about audiobooks before you borrow them from your library or buy them is that they give you samples. Listen to these samples. They not only tell you if the characters in the story will be fun to listen to, but if the narrator(s) of the story will grab your attention. Great narrators can draw you in and make you forget about the world and not so great ones will leave you bored with a book you might have otherwise liked if you read it on your own. So whatever audiobook you decide to read first (or next) make sure it fits your personality and that you know you'll enjoy listening to it.

Feeling the awe of an amazing audiobook

Do you listen to audiobooks?
What do you think makes an audiobook the right one to listen to?

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Made of Stars by Kelley York

Standalone. Entangled Teen (Oct. 2013) NetGalley
When eighteen-year-old Hunter Jackson and his half sister, Ashlin, return to their dad’s for the first winter in years, they expect everything to be just like the warmer months they’d spent there as kids. And it is—at first. But Chance, the charismatic and adventurous boy who made their summers epic, is harboring deep secrets. Secrets that are quickly spiraling into something else entirely.

The reason they’ve never met Chance’s parents or seen his home is becoming clearer. And what the siblings used to think of as Chance's quirks—the outrageous stories, his clinginess, his dangerous impulsiveness—are now warning signs that something is seriously off.

Then someone turns up with a bullet to the head, and all eyes shift to Chance's family. Hunter and Ashlin know Chance is innocent...they just have to prove it. But how can they protect the boy they both love when they can’t trust a word Chance says?

My initial thoughts before I read Made of Stars was that it was going to be a mystery and three friends would be in the cross hairs of a murder or something. I read the summary a long time ago so I based my opinions on the look and feel of Made of Star's cover. My final thoughts on Made of Stars has me being pissed at the author while simultaneously thanking the universe for putting this book in my life because folks Made of Stars is officially my favorite book so far this year.

"Sometimes," he says, "people get desperate, and no is listening."

I was giggling in the beginning when I put two and two together with Chance, Hunter, and Ashlin. Ashlin likes Chance. Hunter likes Chance. Hunter won't admit that he likes Chance. I couldn't tell if he was confused about it, but more than likely he didn't want to be different. So as soon as I found out that Hunter was crushing on Chance it was Hunter and Chance with me all the way. I can just gush about their adorableness all day. Hunter, the strong, protective, not-the-best-with-words guy and Chance, the goofy, childish, and mysterious guy. The prospect of them together... You don't know how happy that made me.

Poor Ashlin can't read the signs right away. We get to read from her point of view as well as Hunter's. Ashlin, Hunter, and Chance have known each other for years. They spent their summers together until Hunter and Ashlin's father got shot and their mother's decided that they needed to stay home. Hunter and Ashlin have a sibling bond that is envy worthy. They always called, texted, and emailed each other every day. They were so close to each other that maybe they were too close to notice they both like the same guy. Chance is a distant sort of character. You can't tell what is the truth and what are the lies that come from him. He's obviously keeping something from his friends but doesn't say anything. You think I would be frustrated with a character who didn't seek help when he needed it, but York explained it so well through Chance's voice why he didn't seek help. The thing about Chance is yes, he's childish, but there is an innocence about him. He has trust issues and cares deeply for his friends. He's a strange character, but one of my favorites in Made of Stars other than Hunter of course.

"She's not that different, you know. She's smart, but you're smart." I tap his forehead with one finger. "You know a freakish amount about the most random subjects. She's pretty. you're handsome.
"I don't have my life together."
"Sure you do. I mean, you're getting there. You've got a job and a family -- us -- who love you." I clarify, because whatever is going on with the family he avoids talking about, he has Hunter and Dad and me. We'll be his family. We always have been.
"So," I continue, "all that said, name one thing rachel has that you don't"
... "She has Hunter."

Yes, yes, yes! A thousand times yes to Hunter and his feelings for Chance. I loved his denial because I knew how he really felt. He just didn't feel he could express it. I just loved reading from Hunter's point of view. He's the perfect character with his strengths and weaknesses. He's so caring and protective. He's adorable when he is around Chance. I just got a big grin on my face whenever they were together or whenever there was a sly question about the other (mostly in Chance's case). Ashlin on the other hand, wasn't as interesting, but it's not like she didn't contribute anything to the book. Her perspective of this trio's relationship gives very important insight. Chance also deeply cared for Ashlin which I loved although I wondered why he spent more time with her. I feel like he knew what he wanted and he went for it. And he didn't want Ashlin.

"I got the dragon because it reminded me of you. A reminder that the guy I loved would always come home to me, and he'd always have my back." He smiles a tired smile and rolls his gaze to the ceiling. To the stars. "How's that for ridiculously sentimental?"

There's a twist towards the end which you can see in the summary if you haven't already. I'm glad I didn't read the summary before because I felt so anxious trying to figure out what was happening. I would have felt anxious anyway on how the story would end. I just can't with that ending. I NEED a sequel. I doubt there will ever be one. I NEED IT anyway though. I'm really worried about reading more books by Kelley York because even though I absolutely loved Made of Stars, it's also made me so distraught. I feel like York will destroy me again with one of her other books yet I can't help, but see what else she has in store. I'm sure I'll regret it. I could never now regret Made of Stars though. It is my favorite book so far this year after all.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

10 Books I Plan To Have In My Beach Bag This Summer

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish

Books in my beach bag are any books that I think I'll absolutely love because everything's better at the beach!

Don't Look Back - I know this plot well - girl get amnesia and becomes a better person - unfortunately the book I read with the same plot was horrible. Everyone loves this on Goodreads so I'm looking for redemption.

Unbreakable - Secret societies, ghosts, and demons all by Kami Garcia.

Darkness Becomes Her - I love looking through the eyes of a character who is different, but being someone who is feared without knowing who you are - that's the interesting part.

The Sea of Tranquility - This is sure to hit me hard. A girl who doesn't speak and a boy who has lost everyone. 

The Selection - I need to read this book already. It's sure to be amazing.

Faking Normal -Another one that is sure to hit me hard.

I Was Here - I just like sad books don't I?

Something Real - Completely unique concept or at least one I've never explored.

The Heist Society - I need a thief book in my life again.

The Meaning of Maggie - There is a lot of struggle I can see Maggie going through in accepting her father's disability.

What will you be taking to the beach this Summer?

Monday, May 25, 2015

Honey by Sarah Weeks Read by Rebecca Soler

Standalone. Scholastic (Jan. 2015) Library
Melody never knew her mother. She died just after Melody was born, and it's been just her and her father for nearly eleven years now. Compared to the stories she's heard of her mother's remarkable personality, Melody feels completely unremarkable.

And then her father starts acting mysterious. Determined to figure out what's wrong, Melody follows some leads to a nail salon, where she makes new friends, and even finds an old one from her mother's past. But friends aren't enough when Melody discovers that she's going to get a new stepmother, one she detests.

And what she wishes for more than anything . . . is to have her mother to talk to. So much for an eleventh birthday surprise, right?

Told with a generous helping of heart and humor as only Sarah Weeks can, HONEY tells the sweet story of a girl whose eleventh birthday brings the most important gift of all.


You know that song "You Are My Sunshine"? It's lyrics resemble the feeling of Honey - bittersweet and happy. It's also the song Melody has been hearing her father whistling along to for weeks. It's one of the few things that has been different about her father - the whistling, forgetting, and big goofy smile he has been having are concerning Melody. What do they mean?

Melody lost her mother young. When she's told by her going on seven neighbor Teeny that her own mother told her Melody doesn't have a mom; Melody is unfazed. It's always been a fact that Melody lost her mother. Although, when Teeny mentions how Henry has been bitten by the love bug Melody ears perk up. Henry? Her father has been bitten by the love bug? No wonder he's been acting strange. Who can it be? That question is a driving force for Melody in Honey. She strives to find who her father is in love with, with the help of her friend Nick. But, what happens when she finds her father is dating someone she flat out doesn't like? And these stirred up feelings inside her start welling up. What will happen when those feelings come to the surface?

Honey was a wonderful story. It's the third book I've listened to. I've got to say, it's much more appealing to listen to a short book than to a book that's 250+ pages. The narrator, Rebecca Soler, really captured the story. I was able to enjoy the story fully even when she read the parts of anyone other than Melody. I haven't much experience with audio books. I do appreciate it when someone can read me a story and I can get lost in it easily. It's kind of strange saying that, but listening to books can be as interesting as reading them depending on the book and the narrator.

Melody deals with a lot in this book. There are times where her story really got to me and I begrudgingly was saying "How can you do this to me Weeks?" Honey can be really somber at moments. As a whole though I found the characters and setting to be eclectic from reading from the point of view of a dog to learning about a woman who owns the Beehive Salon to the investigation of Melody's fathers love interest. I enjoyed each and every part of it. I loved how everything and everyone connected together. Melody was a wonderful protagonist to follow around. It was really fun to get inside the head of the French Bulldog named Mo too. There were great secondary characters that really had me guessing who could Henry be dating. Needless to say, I had a difficult time trying to figure out who Henry's love interest was which was good. I don't like too much predictability in my books even if it a children's book.

The heart that Melody and her story exuded had me enjoying Honey from beginning to end. Honey's main thing that grabbed me was the heart in it's book. This would be an awesome first audio book listen.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

The Goose Girl by Shannon Hale // An Audiobook Review

Books of Bayern #1.Blackstone Audio(Feb. 2013) Library
Anidori-Kiladra Talianna Isilee, Crown Princess of Kildenree, spends the first years of her life under her aunt's guidance learning to communicate with animals. As she grows up Ani develops the skills of animal speech, but is never comfortable speaking with people, so when her silver-tongued lady-in-waiting leads a mutiny during Ani's journey to be married in a foreign land, Ani is helpless and cannot persuade anyone to assist her. 
Becoming a goose girl for the king, Ani eventually uses her own special, nearly magical powers to find her way to her true destiny. Shannon Hale has woven an incredible, original and magical tale of a girl who must find her own unusual talents before she can become queen of the people she has made her own.

So this was my very first experience with an audiobook that I enjoyed. This is a really long book to listen to. I'm so smart that I can't do anything, but listen to a book. I can't multitask because I will instantly tune out what I'm doing. It's a great struggle in my life - not being able to multitask efficiently. So I laid down on my bed and listened to this array of narrators for The Goose Girl. The description in this book was amazing. I loved that every character had their own voice because it was easier to get into Ani's world. Even though this audiobook was super long - if you are a normal person you would be able to listen to it and get things done as well - it was fantastically described. I could have never asked for a better book to get me to start enjoying audiobooks.

Fan Art
I read the original story of The Goose Girl before I listened to this retelling. I enjoyed how Hale was able to incorporate almost all the elements of the original story and make it her own. This was one of the most beautifully told books that I have ever had the privilege of listening to. I'm still impressed and it's been months since I finished listening to The Goose Girl.

First of all, I DESPISE Ani's lady in waiting Selia. There is so much hatred in this girl's heart. She believes she deserves to be a princess, not like Ani who knows nothing about behaving properly as a princess. Ani is next in line to become queen in her kingdom, but her mother decides that she will be married off and her brother will be king. The reason she will be married off is so that there won't be war with the kingdom that she now has to live in. BUT, it's not as simple as it seems. I really dislike Ani's mother as well. You can't really tell where she stands at the end of it all. I just think she's too shady.

Oh yeah, where was I? Selia, that's right. After all that Ani goes through I literally wanted to fight this girl. She feels so entitled that she does unbelievably horrible things to secure her seat at the throne including trying to kill Ani. What is this girl's problem!!?? Ani is a sweetheart. I mean she's very naive, but honestly I liked that about her. I feel like I would be so much like her in her situation so I understood her thoughts, actions, and emotions completely.

Ani is also kind of amazing. She has two gifts. She has this gift where she can understand some swans at her kingdom's lake. Kind of strange, but useful trust me. She talks to them and they understand her. Her mother, the queen, obviously doesn't like that quirk about her so she makes sure she can;t go near them - poor Ani. Then, when Ani tries to find a way to tell the King that the princess that he believes to be her is a fraud she becomes a goose girl. I'm not going to tell you how, but I think you can guess based on her personality and manipulative Selia. Guess who she's able to communicate with now?

Ani (now Isi to hide her identity) also has another gift that I won't reveal. It's actually quite interesting. I will give you a hint. If you read the original story you should be able to figure it out. I love the description and imagery in this book because it really makes this gift come to life.

Ani/Isi makes friends with some of the workers that tend to the animals. Conner though, thinks she is as odd as her mother and tries to do anything to get the others to see that. Enna on the other hand becomes Ani's protector of sorts. She is her best friend. Enna is the best friend you want on your side. Strong willed, caring, and a born leader, you would want Enna on your side when the odds are against you.

Then there is Geric. Isi meets Geric one day while he's trying to get a hold of his horse. Isi has great experience with horses because she has a unique connection (very magical) with her horse named Falada; that's a whole other situation that I can write endlessly about. Anyway with Geric, Isi acts differently; more confident and bold with her actions. She's also very sweet to Geric and I'm happy to say he's the same way with her. It gets complicated and stuff happens which I won't give away. I just loved Geric. He's a nice guy who cared about Isi and saw her like no one else ever did.

I know this review is all over the place... What's new? But, when I began typing I just let every thought out while also trying to rein myself in so I wouldn't give anything away. What I hope you get out of this is that The Goose Girl is a beautifully crafted story that you do not want to miss out on. There's so much magic, wonderful relationships, and growth that exudes from this book. I'm serious readers! The Goose Girl is AMAZING. READ IT!

Friday, May 22, 2015

#FitReaders: May 22nd, 2015 Check-In

#FitReaders: I got about as much as I did last time... I'm going to really make myself do more this week since I feel like I'm doing as much as I used to do before FitReaders. I did have my vegan day this week wich was really good. It was mostly a lot of pasta and fruit. I'm trying to do more than one-day eating vegan and seeing how it goes. Wish me luck!

Friday, May 15th 2015:

48 oz of water

Saturday, May 16th 2015:

48 oz of water

Sunday, May 17th 2015:

32 oz of water

Monday, May 18th 2015:

32 oz of water

Tuesday, May 19th 2015:

20 minutes of walking
32 oz of water

Wednesday, May 20th 2015:

54 oz of water

Thursday, May 21st 2015:

25 minutes of walking
74 oz of water

How did you do this week?

Bout of Books #13: Wrap-Up

Total Books Read: 4

All of these books were really good. I especially loved Made of Stars. I fell in love with that story.

Pages Read: 1238

Total Reviews Completed: 3

I had such a great time this Bout of Books. How did you do?

Friday, May 15, 2015

Blog Ahead Wrap-Up

Blog Ahead is officially over. Let's see how I did:

June Posts Coming Up:

June 2015 Reading Road Trip Link-Up
June 2015 Plans
Fluffy: Scourge of the Sea by Teresa Bateman
Wink: The Ninja Who Wanted to be Noticed by J.C. Phillipps
Wild Born (Spirit Animals) by Brandon Mull
The Truth About Twinkie Pie by Kat Yeh
Enchanted by Althea Kontis

I'm pretty happy with how much I was able to write these past two weeks especially since above are only the June posts I have planned. I made sure I was completely set with May before I got to my June posts so I have so much more free time to continue to blog ahead. I do not have to think about planning for May which is great since I can focus on school more.

May Posts Coming Up:

Made of Stars by Kelley York
Honey by Sarah Weeks Read by Rebecca Soler
The Goose Girl by Shannon Hale // An Audio Book Review
Audio Books for Beginners
All the Truth That's in Me by Julie Berry
Ten Books I Plan to Have in My Beach Bag This Summer
White Cat by Holly Black

I still have five books to review and then I am finally caught up after months of being behind!

#FitReaders: May 15th, 2015 Check-In

#FitReaders: I walked more this week than I have in a while. I wish I would have done more strength training though. I need to work on balancing my workouts each week with my other responsibilities.

Friday, May 8th 2015:

64 oz of water

Saturday, May 9th 2015:

48 oz of water

Sunday, May 10th 2015:

35 minutes of walking
48 oz of water

Monday, May 11th 2015:

48 oz of water

Tuesday, May 12th 2015:

20 minutes of walking
48 oz of water

Wednesday, May 13th 2015:

48 oz of water

Thursday, May 14th 2015:

25 minutes of walking
24 oz of water

How did you do this week?

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Release Day Blitz: The Fever by Megan Abbott

Title: The Fever
Author: Megan Abbott
Pub. Date: May 12, 2015
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Pages: 336 
Find it: Amazon, Barnes &Noble, iBooks, Goodreads
The panic unleashed by a mysterious contagion threatens the bonds of family and community in a seemingly idyllic suburban community.The Nash family is close-knit. Tom is a popular teacher, father of two teens: Eli, a hockey star and girl magnet, and his sister Deenie, a diligent student. Their seeming stability, however, is thrown into chaos when Deenie's best friend is struck by a terrifying, unexplained seizure in class. Rumors of a hazardous outbreak spread through the family, school and community.

As hysteria and contagion swell, a series of tightly held secrets emerges, threatening to unravel friendships, families and the town's fragile idea of security.

A chilling story about guilt, family secrets and the lethal power of desire, The Fever affirms Megan Abbot's reputation as "one of the most exciting and original voices of her generation" (Laura Lippman).

About the Author:

Megan Abbott is the Edgar®-winning author of the novels Queenpin, The Song Is You, Die a Little, Bury Me Deep, The End of Everything, Dare Me, and her latest, The Fever, which was chosen as one of the Best Books of the Summer by the New York Times, People Magazine and Entertainment Weekly and one of the Best Books of the Year by Amazon, National Public Radio, the Boston Globe and the Los Angeles Times.

Her writing has appeared in the New York Times, Salon, the Guardian, Wall Street Journal, the Los Angeles Times Magazine, The Believer and the Los Angeles Review of Books.

Born in the Detroit area, she graduated from the University of Michigan and received her Ph.D. in English and American literature from New York University. She has taught at NYU, the State University of New York and the New School University. In 2013-14, she served as the John Grisham Writer in Residence at Ole Miss.

She is also the author of a nonfiction book, The Street Was Mine: White Masculinity in Hardboiled Fiction and Film Noir, and the editor of A Hell of a Woman, an anthology of female crime fiction. She has been nominated for many awards, including three Edgar® Awards, Hammett Prize, the Shirley Jackson Prize, the Los Angeles Times Book Prize and the Folio Prize.



Thanks to Rockstar Book Tours for letting me be a part of The Fever's Release Day Blitz!

Monday, May 11, 2015

Bout of Books #13: Challenges

I'll be doing Bout of Books differently this time around. This will be where I'll be posting challenges each day so you can check back here and see what challenges I'm doing if you like. I will also have a separate post for my book progress. These two posts will be up all week. I'll be adding reviews once Bout of Books is over.

Bookish Survey

Hosted over @ Writing My Own Fairy Tale

1) How do you organize your bookshelves?

I have two bookshelves and some shelves that circle around half my room. On those shelves I mostly books I have yet to read. I just put the extra books I couldn't fit in my bookshelves there.

On my smaller bookshelf I have most of my favorite books including a whole shelf for all of my Rick Riordan books. 

On my larger shelf I have an array of books that might not be as special to me as the ones on my smaller bookshelf. Although, I do have newer books on there and some other favorite series of mine including the Grimm Sisters and the Series of Unfortunate Events. All my organization for my books has to do with how much space I have on them mostly.

2) What is one of your favorite books that is not in one of your favorite genres?

I'm pretty typical in that all my favorite books are in my favorite genres. I pretty much love every genre of books except maybe horror and steampunk. I have thriller/suspense, contemporary, fantasy, mystery, and sci-fi favorites. 

3) What is the last 5 star book you read?

Well, I listened to my last 5 star read which was Wild Born. It was a fantastic start to a children's adventure series. The last 5 star book I read was All the Bright Places. A must read for everyone.

4) What books are you most excited to read about during the read-a-thon?

I'm most excited to read Enchanted and Liesl & Po. I love retellings and I love Lauren Oliver's books so these two have the best chance to be my favorite reads this week.

5) What book do you recommend the most?

I always recommend A Little Wanting Song. If you love YA music reads, you'll love A Little Wanting Song.

Character Face Off

Hosted @ Lulo Fangirl

Opponent #1: D.J. Schwenk
– WHO: Farm girl who plays football
– CONS: somewhat cocky when out on the field, too introverted
– PROS: tough, true to herself, doesn't let a boy make her feel less
Opponent #2: Charlie Duskin
– WHO: shy girl who loves singing
– CONS: too introverted, doesn't stand up for herself
– PROS: snarky, killer songwriter
Winner: D.J. Schwenk
Why: D.J. is a character I look up to. She takes a risk and does something she loves to do no matter what anyone else says. She also doesn't let a boy dictate her happiness. She doesn't pine for a boy who doesn't treat her with respect. She's strong and has a great work ethic. She has all the qualities I want to have. 

Bout of Books #13: TBR + Progress

My to be read list for the Bout of Books Read-a-thon includes:

The Truth About Twinkie Pie - Food books make me happy
Enchanted - Finally going to read this.
The Sledding Hill - Fits my Reading Road Trip Challenge requirement.
Where Things Come Back - Fits my Reading Road Trip Challenge requirement.
Monstrous - This is going to be epic.
Red Glove - Continuation of Curse Worker trilogy. I hate Cassel's mom already.
Black Heart - Continuation of Curse Worker trilogy. Please be okay Cassel.
Right Behind You - Fits my Reading Road Trip Challenge requirement.
Elsewhere - This ones going to be amazing, I know it.
Liesl & Po - Lauren Oliver!

I'll be happy if I get around to reading five of these books.

I'll be doing Bout of Books differently this time around. This will be where I'll be updating my progress each day so you can check back here and see how I'm doing if you like. I will also have a separate post for challenges I participate in. These two posts will be up all week. I'll be adding reviews once Bout of Books is over.

Monday, May 11th, 2015:

Currently Reading: The Truth About Twinkie Pie

*The Truth About Twinkie Pie took me places I didn't expect to go. Loved it.

Pages Read Before Challenge: 25
Pages Read During Challenge: 312

Total Books Read: 1 
Total Pages Read: 312
Total Reviews Completed: 1


12:00 a.m.: Currently reading The Truth About Twinkie Pie
4:47 p.m.: Finished The Truth About Twinkie Pie
5:53 p.m.: Reviewed The Truth About Twinkie Pie

Tuesday, May 12th, 2015:

Currently Reading: Enchanted

*Enchanted was not what I expected like most books are. I didn't like that they fell in love after a couple of days. However, the story was fun to read and the next one should be good too.

Pages Read: 308

Total Books Read: 2
Total Pages Read: 620
Total Reviews Completed: 1


10:36 a.m.: Read up to page 82 in Enchanted
10: 36 p.m.: Finished Enchanted

Wednesday, May 13th, 2015:

Currently Reading: Made of Stars

*I am so angry at this ending. I hate this author right now, I loved this book, but I'm so angry!!!

Pages Read: 320

Total Books Read: 3
Total Pages Read: 940
Total Reviews Completed: 2


12: 17 a.m.: Reviewed Enchanted
11:52 p.m.: Finished Made of Stars

Thursday, May 14th, 2015:

Currently Reading: Right Behind You

*Really interesting perspective even if the writing was a bit disjointed.

Pages Read: 292

Total Books Read: 4
Total Pages Read: 1232
Total Reviews Completed: 3


11:30 p.m. Reviewed Made of Stars and read Right Behind You

Friday, May 15th, 2015:

Currently Reading: Where Things Come Back

Pages Read: 6

Total Books Read: 4
Total Pages Read: 1238
Total Reviews Completed: 3

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Happy Mother's Day!

Happy Mother's Day! I hope you all have a wonderful day. I'm heading out to the beach with my mom for a day of relaxation. Remember to appreciate the mother figures and women in your life that have shaped you today. Love those that love you!

Do you have anything special planned today?

Friday, May 8, 2015

#FitReaders: May 8th, 2015 Check-In

#FitReaders: I wish I would have gotten more done this week yet I'm still happy with what I was able to do. It's going to be harder next week with my Summer class, but I'll try my best to keep up with my workouts. I also want to make sure I run next week which I haven't done in a while. 

This week I tried out doing a vegan day which was interesting because I don't know how to cook. I didn't plan as well as I should have and I think it'll go better next time. I did learn how to make spaghetti which is actually easier than I expected. I know with further days like this I'll learn to cook, prepare meals, and plan meals for myself like an adult. 

experimented with a smoothie for my breakfast: two bananas, one mango, almond milk, and spinach. It tastes better than my last smoothie I tried making (raspberries have too many seeds...) and it tasted good but, it was too cold for me and felt a little weird. I think I'll just stick to eating the actual fruit and vegetables when I plan my food. I've become better with eating healthy and more for breakfast which I'm really happy about. So this is a great learning experience. I don't really like fruits and vegetables so I have to experiment and get used to eating healthier so this is a great way to do that. Hopefully during the Summer I can add on one more vegan day.

Friday, May 1st 2015

32 oz of water

Saturday, May 2nd 2015

Walked for 23 minutes
16 oz of water

Sunday, May 3rd 2015

48 z of water

Monday, May 4th 2015

48 oz of water

Tuesday, May 5th 2015

48 oz of water

Wednesday, May 6th 2015

48 oz of water

Thursday, May 7th 2015

48 oz of water

How did you do this week?

Thursday, May 7, 2015

My Song Journal

I've been recently thinking about this book - Songs for a Teenage Nomad. In it the protagonist, Calle, has a song journal where she links a song with a memory. So I decided to give it a whirl. First, here are some examples from the book:

Get Out the Map
"... the air smelling like honeysuckle, I dangle my arm from the passenger window, aware only of the honeysuckle air, Indigo Girls on a scratchy radio, and a white sun. And that everything we own has been packed into the back of a battered orange mini van... again..."

Perfect Blue Buildings
"... Mom plays Counting Crows all morning in the yellow light of the apartment. I am a shadow lingering about her. She looks through me, wanders the rooms. The curtains are drawn tight against a brown LA sky. Ted is late again, and Mon cries while she sings..."

Here's how I did:

Dancing Queen
"Listening to the Dancing Queen next to my dad in the car "Turn it up!" Singing along like I own it. Feelings of twirling around. Knowing I must play this when I'm seventeen. And I do. My love of dancing freely is pretty much gone now. I can just imagine all the weddings I went to and the many dances I participated in. Shoes off! I'm the dancing queen in my head. I'm having the time of my life."

"Dad telling me how he met mom. Dad the smooth talker. Did he get her to dance at the disco? I've never asked. Finding love at nineteen. Such luck. It's strange. They are so different then they once were. Teenagers in love."

So I tried. It's not as descriptive as the book, but I did enjoy reminiscing. I actually like the idea of writing a little bit about my day or a memory. It's like I'm writing my story. I'm not much of a journal writer, yet it's kind of fun so whether I'm writing about memories linked to songs or my day - I think I'll try writing a little everyday. 

How to create your own song journal according to Kim Culbertson:

  • Select songs that have significance to you somehow.
  • Each journal entry should use the song as the title to the entry.
  • In each entry, describe a scene/memory in your life that this sibg brings to you. Focus on using specific detail and sensory description to "show" the memory rather than just tell the memory (look closely at what Calle does in her journals).
  • Create a cover for your journal.

Do you write in a journal?
If you were to write a Song Journal entry what would you write about?

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Songs for a Teenage Nomad by Kim Culbertson

Standalone. Sourcebooks Fire (September 2010) Own
What is the soundtrack of your life?

After living in twelve places in eight years, Calle Smith finds herself in Andreas Bay, California, at the start of ninth grade. Another new home, another new school...Calle knows better than to put down roots. Her song journal keeps her moving to her own soundtrack, bouncing through a world best kept at a distance.

Yet before she knows it, friends creep in-as does an unlikely boy with a secret. Calle is torn over what may be her first chance at love. With all that she's hiding and all that she wants, can she find something lasting beyond music? And will she ever discover why she and her mother have been running in the first place?

Songs for a Teenage Nomad is a book that I've been wanting to read for years. It looked like it was similar to my favorite books so I had to read it. I also have love books about music so I knew this was going to be an instant hit for me. What I didn't realize was that this was going to be so sad. I felt sorry for Calle because she has never been able to keep her friends. She keeps people at arm's length and when she starts to let go and have friends one of them completely messes with her mind. She also has never known her father. Her mother has refused to talk about her father all her life. Every time she moves to a new place her mom gets a boyfriend and settles in. Then she starts acting different and they need to move again. Calle starts getting friends and she wants to stay this time around. She's so used to never settling and not having close relationships. It's really unfortunate that she feels she can't get close to anyone or that when she starts liking this guy he's acts very wishy washy towards her. He likes her, but then he avoids her - that type of situation. 

Calle and the relationships she forms are really exciting to see because you want her to be happy. It would really suck if I couldn't have a stable relationship which I don't believe she had with her mother. Her mom was clearly hiding something and that's not a stable relationship. Calle's love interest Sam is ridiculous. I don't care about his problems to the extent where he takes his insecurities out on Calle. That's not cool. Calle had her own insecurities, but she never treated anyone like he treated her. Things were complicated for both of them so I understand some of Sam's actions and Calle's actions at points yet Sam didn't have an excuse in some situations. I love the friendship that Calle gets from Cass. She's another big outsider like her that Calle doesn't fully understand. I thought Cass was awesome. She becomes a great friend to Calle and I love friendships like they had.

Calle and her music. She has a song journal where she writes down the name of a song and links it together with a memory. It's kind of like when you smell or taste a food you haven't had in a while and it reminds you of your childhood. I love the idea of a song journal. Linking memories to songs, food, smells, etc. would be great to see written down. I really liked this contemporary read. Sam was a pain for me although I understood his reasoning somewhat. I remember also not liking the end as much although I enjoyed everything else. Seeing Calle grow and obtain friendship and love was wonderful.