Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Top Ten Tuesday: All Time Favorite Authors

Top 10 Tuesday is an original feature and a regular meme hosted at The Broke and The Bookish!






Top 10 Favourite Authors



It is tough to narrow down to even 10 authors, let alone 5 since I’m sharing my Top 10 with my sister, but I’ll do it...

  1. Lucy Maud Montgomery
  2. Lisa See
  3. Philippa Gregory
  4. JK Rowling
  5. Paulo Coelho

I’m all distressed. Liza started before me and took one of my all time favorites - this is what happens when you’re not the early bird!


Here are favorites (not necessarily in order):

  1. Louisa May Alcott
  2. Meg Cabot
  3. Brian Jacques
  4. Sarah Addison Allen
  5. Sue Monk Kidd

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Happy Birthday Liza!

(No, she's not harassing me. Lol. It's very sweet - she's supporting me.)


Twenty six years ago (well, over twenty six years. Birthday was in January) I was born into a crazy, messed up life. It was about as close as a soap opera as you'll get in real life. I think the forces-that-be knew it and gave me my sister. Technically speaking, as I am younger, I was given to her. I've never really thought of it that way. She's always been a special gift. We've gone through about as much as sisters can go through. We were separated for some (language warning) dumb as fuck reasons for years growing up. When she was allowed to come back into my life was always stopped by the barrier of distance, crazy grown ups, and the fear that we'd be separated again. But, every conversation and every visit was worth it. She is without a doubt - my person. She always was and always has been.

We still don't live in the same state, lol. And right now we don't even live in the same continent! She has lived a beautiful, crazy international life. Given birth (in freaking SIBERIA) to two clever and lovely children. Married this Russian guy she met on the internet who keeps hanging around strumming on his guitar and knocking her up (lolol, I love him. As far as brother-in-laws go - he's the best). And me? I'm constantly aspiring to be a grown up. I'm entirely unsure if I'll actually get there...but you never know, miracles happen!

Through out it all - the good and the bad, the sad and the happy - Liza has been there as much as she could. Most sisters wouldn't have survived what we went through growing up. But, we were blessed with this...this thing. It feels like a cord - like gravity pulling towards the earth core. She's always encouraging, always smart, always there. She listens to all of me without judgement or expectations or drama. She doles out encouragement and pep talks like no other and makes me feel sane and understood when I share my crazy. Sometimes I think our brains are like synced on some brain wave level thing that scientists have yet to discover. She's full of the rare, precious kind of love : unconditional.

Happy Birthday, Liza. You're my person. And without you - my life is just too messed up. You have it all, all the love. You are stuck with me forever. FOREVER. *insert manic evil genius laugh here*. I love you. :)

Jess

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Top Ten Tuesday: Inspiring Quotes from Books

Top 10 Tuesday is an original feature and a regular meme hosted at The Broke and The Bookish!


            


               TOP TEN INSPIRING QUOTES FROM BOOKS


  1. “I am no bird; and no net ensnares me: I am a free human being with an independent will, which I now exert to leave you.” Jane Eyre (Bronte). | Why: You’ll find this quote often on my tumblr, twitter, facebook, and so on. It’s one of my hands down favorite quotes of all time. Jane Eyre has been a favorite since I had to read it in High School. The strength of Jane’s moral character, her strength to be free and to be strong in doing so is expressed so clearly in this line. It definitely always resonated with me. I need to be the captain of my own ship, I got my eye on the horizon, and while the rocky waters might slow me down - I’ll get there on my own damn terms, thank you very much! This quote is just one of many things that fuels my journey onward.
  2. “If you look the right way, you can see that the whole world is a garden.” Secret Garden (Frances Hodgson Burnett). | Why: A poetically put twist on ‘Half glass full’ within the context of a classic, children’s book. One of my personal favorites. Miss Mary (not at all contrary!) was always a favorite of mine.
  3. “Sometimes, you read a book and it fills you with this weird evangelical zeal, and you become convinced that the shattered world will never be put back together unless and until all living humans read the book.” A Fault In Our Stars (John Green) | Why: I am a book lover. And there have been SOOO many times that I’ve experienced that weird evangelical zeal. Hell, I experienced it with The Fault In Our Stars. You can’t sleep. You can’t think of anything else. It becomes the adult version of a blankie that you have to carry with you at all times. This book that has overtaken your heart, soul, and BRAINNNN is the best thing that has ever happened to you and you have to tell it on the mountain! Yea, this quote expresses that emotion.
  4. “She was made up of more, too. She was the books she read in the library. She was the flower in the brown bowl. Part of her life was made from the tree growing rankly in the yard. She was the bitter quarrels she had with her brother whom she loved dearly. She was Katie's secret, despairing weeping. She was the shame of her father stumbling home drunk. She was all of these things and of something more...It was what God or whatever is His equivalent puts into each soul that is given life - the one different thing such as that which makes no two fingerprints on the face of the earth alike.” A Tree Grows In Brooklyn (Betty Smith) | Why: We are all made up of different things. Our parts piece together from the ground and the sky and the stuff in between to make up who we are. Betty Smith eloquently and simply puts that when describing her main character. We are all the good and bad, the heritage in our blood, the future out of our sight. We are unique. And no one is a-like. And if you think different or you’re feeling down - come back, read that quote, and remember you’re you and being you is a good place to be.
  5. “
Loneliness is the human condition. Cultivate it. The way it tunnels into you allows your soul room to grow. Never expect to outgrow loneliness. Never hope to find people who will understand you, someone to fill that space. An intelligent, sensitive person is the exception, the very great exception. If you expect to find people who will understand you, you will grow murderous with disappointment. The best you'll ever do is to understand yourself, know what it is that you want, and not let the cattle stand in your way.” White Oleander (Janet Fitch) | Why: This quote is a bit dark but truthful. What always bring me strength and hope from this quote is the end. “The best you’ll ever do is to understand yourself, know what it is that you want, and not let the cattle stand in your way.”. The fact is, unless it’s the case of a soulmate, you aren’t going to find someone who understands you. The desire to find someone who understands you stems from the need to find someone to complete you. To be your other-half. And that’s a rare thing indeed (hence mostly-only true in the case of soulmates). So what do you do? Understand yourself, figure out what you want, and go for it. Just do yourself and the world around you a favor - be as positive as you can, lol, and don’t go killing your ex-douchebag-lovers!



  1. "Hello, babies. Welcome to Earth. It's hot in the summer and cold in the winter. It's round and wet and crowded. At the outside, babies, you've got about a hundred years here. There's only one rule that I know of, babies—God damn it, you've got to be kind." - Kurt Vonnegut (God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater) This definitely is self-explanatory, I think! :)
  2. “I saw my life branching out before me like the green fig tree in the story. From the tip of every branch, like a fat purple fig, a wonderful future beckoned and winked. One fig was a husband and a happy home and children, and another fig was a famous poet and another fig was a brilliant professor, and another fig was Ee Gee, the amazing editor, and another fig was Europe and Africa and South America, and another fig was Constantin and Socrates and Attila and a pack of other lovers with queer names and offbeat professions, and another fig was an Olympic lady crew champion, and beyond and above these figs were many more figs I couldn't quite make out. I saw myself sitting in the crotch of this fig tree, starving to death, just because I couldn't make up my mind which of the figs I would choose. I wanted each and every one of them, but choosing one meant losing all the rest, and, as I sat there, unable to decide, the figs began to wrinkle and go black, and, one by one, they plopped to the ground at my feet.” - Sylvia Plath (The Bell Jar) This is a long one, but even though I'll be 30 in a few days, this resonates with me just as much as it did as a teen.
  3. “Waiting is painful. Forgetting is painful. But not knowing which to do is the worst kind of suffering.” Paulo Coelho (By the River Piedra I Sat Down and Wept) Right in the feels, right? Paulo Coelho is amazing at that. This is my favourite book of his.
  4. “It takes a great deal of bravery to stand up to our enemies, but just as much to stand up to our friends.” J.K. Rowling (Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone) Such a true and meaningful quote. I love this series and J.K. Rowling.
  5. “If you want to know what a man’s like, take a good look at how he treats his inferiors, not his equals.” - J.K. Rowling (Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire) Another HP quote. I probably could go on and on with these, because the book series was full of wisdom and memorable quotes.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Waiting on Wednesday: A School for Unusual Girls & Daughter of Deep Silence


Waiting on Wednesdays is hosted by Breaking the Spine! It puts a spotlight on upcoming releases we're anticipating! 

A SCHOOL FOR UNUSUAL GIRLS (STRANJE HOUSE #1) BY KATHLEEN BALDWIN
Release Date: May 19th 2015

It’s 1814. Napoleon is exiled on Elba. Europe is in shambles. Britain is at war on four fronts. And Stranje House, a School for Unusual Girls, has become one of Regency England’s dark little secrets. The daughters of the beau monde who don't fit high society’s constrictive mold are banished to Stranje House to be reformed into marriageable young ladies. Or so their parents think. In truth, Headmistress Emma Stranje, the original unusual girl, has plans for the young ladies—plans that entangle the girls in the dangerous world of spies, diplomacy, and war.
After accidentally setting her father’s stables on fire while performing a scientific experiment, Miss Georgiana Fitzwilliam is sent to Stranje House. But Georgie has no intention of being turned into a simpering, pudding-headed, marriageable miss. She plans to escape as soon as possible—until she meets Lord Sebastian Wyatt. Thrust together in a desperate mission to invent a new invisible ink for the English war effort, Georgie and Sebastian must find a way to work together without losing their heads—or their hearts...

The description reminded me a little of an episode of one of my favourite shows on television right now, The Musketeers (BBC). The idea of women going behind the scenes and doing great things -- one of the episodes actually played with that idea. Anyway, it sounds like an exciting and interesting books and I can't wait to read it!


DAUGHTER OF DEEP SILENCE BY CARRIE RYAN
Release Date: June 2nd 2015

In the wake of the devastating destruction of the luxury yacht Persephone, just three souls remain to tell its story—and two of them are lying. Only Frances Mace knows the terrifying truth, and she’ll stop at nothing to avenge the murders of everyone she held dear. Even if it means taking down the boy she loves and possibly losing herself in the process. Sharp and incisive, Daughter of Deep Silence by bestselling author Carrie Ryan is a deliciously smart revenge thriller that examines perceptions of identity, love, and the lengths to which one girl is willing to go when she thinks she has nothing to lose. 

Liza put me in the direction of this book. I'm not going to lie - I don't think I've ever heard of this author. She's definitely caught my eye. 'Daughter of Deep Silence' intrigues me from the title alone. Then there's the whole lover of her enemy and friend to a dead girl thing. Very enticing!


Cover Reveal: Every Last Breath by Jennifer L. Armentrout

I'm excited to announce a cover reveal for Jennifer L. Armentrout's new book Every Last Breath! Every Last Breath is the third book in the The Dark Elements series! 

Some loves will last 'til your dying breath
Every choice has consequences—but seventeen-year-old Layla faces tougher choices than most. Light or darkness. Wickedly sexy demon prince Roth, or Zayne, the gorgeous, protective Warden she never thought could be hers. Hardest of all, Layla has to decide which side of herself to trust.
Layla has a new problem, too. A Lilin—the deadliest of demons—has been unleashed, wreaking havoc on those around her…including her best friend. To keep Sam from a fate much, much worse than death, Layla must strike a deal with the enemy while saving her city—and her race—from destruction.
Torn between two worlds and two different boys, Layla has no certainties, least of all survival, especially when an old bargain comes back to haunt them all. But sometimes, when secrets are everywhere and the truth seems unknowable, you have to listen to your heart, pick a side—and then fight like hell…
“Armentrout is a major talent…I just can’t stop reading!”--New York Times bestselling author Gena Showalter
“Armentrout works her magic with swoon-worthy guys and a twist you never see coming.”--#1 New York Times bestselling author Abbi Glines on White Hot Kiss

And this is not the only news! I'm also able to reveal that the ENTIRE series is getting a brand new look! Check it out:

 In a sizzling prequel novella to her new series The Dark Elements, #1 New York Times bestselling author Jennifer L. Armentrout draws readers into the extraordinary, irresistible world of Wardens and demons.
Dez wasn't just Jasmine's crush. A gargoyle Warden like Jas, he helped her come to terms with her destiny—fending off demons and maintaining the balance between good and evil. He was her everything…right until the moment he disappeared without a trace. It didn't help that Jas's father had just announced that she and Dez would one day be mated. Hard not to take that personally.
And now he's back, three years older, ten times hotter, ready to pick up exactly where they left off. But Jas isn't taking that risk again. Dez has seven days to meet all her conditions and earn back her trust. Seven days filled with terrifying danger and sweet temptation. Seven days to win her heart—or shatter it all over again…
"With her signature flare for combining humor, romance and action, Armentrout weaves a fast-paced read that will have readers' hearts racing in more ways than one. Like Armentrout's previous heroines, Jasmine is fun and full of attitude, while Dez is as snarky as he is sexy. This is a must read for new and old fans alike!" -RT Book Reviews

One kiss could be the last. 
Seventeen-year-old Layla just wants to be normal. But with a kiss that kills anything with a soul, she's anything but normal. Half demon, half gargoyle, Layla has abilities no one else possesses. 
Raised among the Wardens—a race of gargoyles tasked with hunting demons and keeping humanity safe—Layla tries to fit in, but that means hiding her own dark side from those she loves the most. Especially Zayne, the swoon-worthy, incredibly gorgeous and completely off-limits Warden she's crushed on since forever. 
Then she meets Roth—a tattooed, sinfully hot demon who claims to know all her secrets. Layla knows she should stay away, but she's not sure she wants to—especially when that whole no-kissing thing isn't an issue, considering Roth has no soul. 
But when Layla discovers she's the reason for the violent demon uprising, trusting Roth could not only ruin her chances with Zayne…it could brand her a traitor to her family. Worse yet, it could become a one-way ticket to the end of the world.
 Every touch has its price
Layla Shaw is trying to pick up the pieces of her shattered life—no easy task for a seventeen-year-old who’s pretty sure things can’t get worse. Her impossibly gorgeous best friend, Zayne, is forever off-limits thanks to the mysterious powers of her soul-stealing kiss. The Warden clan that has always protected her is suddenly keeping dangerous secrets. And she can barely think about Roth, the wickedly hot demon prince who understood her in ways no one else could.
But sometimes rock bottom is only the beginning. Because suddenly Layla’s powers begin to evolve, and she’s offered a tantalizing taste of what has always been forbidden.  Then, when she least expects it, Roth returns, bringing news that could change her world forever. She’s finally getting what she always wanted, but with hell literally breaking loose and the body count adding up, the price may be higher than Layla is willing to pay…
"Constantly entertaining...the narrative sizzles with as much tension as romance."Kirkus Reviews on White Hot Kiss




EVERY LAST BREATH Pre-Order Links:

STONE COLD TOUCH Buy Links:

WHITE HOT KISS Buy Links:

BITTER SWEET LOVE Buy Links:

Links:


# 1 NEW YORK TIMES and USA TODAY Bestselling author Jennifer lives in Martinsburg, West Virginia. All the rumors you’ve heard about her state aren’t true. When she’s not hard at work writing. she spends her time reading, working out, watching really bad zombie movies, pretending to write, and hanging out with her husband and her Jack Russell Loki.
Her dreams of becoming an author started in algebra class, where she spent most of her time writing short stories….which explains her dismal grades in math. Jennifer writes young adult paranormal, science fiction, fantasy, and contemporary romance. She is published with Spencer Hill Press, Entangled Teen and Brazen, Disney/Hyperion and Harlequin Teen. Her book Obsidian has been optioned for a major motion picture and her Covenant Series has been optioned for TV.
She also writes adult and New Adult romance under the name J. Lynn. She is published by Entangled Brazen and HarperCollins.

Friday, April 3, 2015

Review: I Was Here by Gayle Forman

I Was Here by Gayle Forman

Published: January 27th 2015

Publisher: Viking Juvenile
Page Count: Hardcover, 288 pages
Source: Bought
Genre: Young Adult
Find The Author: Website, Twitter
Buy This Book: Amazon, Book Depository
Add It To Your GoodReads Shelf

Cody and Meg were inseparable.
Two peas in a pod.
Until . . . they weren’t anymore.
 
When her best friend Meg drinks a bottle of industrial-strength cleaner alone in a motel room, Cody is understandably shocked and devastated. She and Meg shared everything—so how was there no warning? But when Cody travels to Meg’s college town to pack up the belongings left behind, she discovers that there’s a lot that Meg never told her. About her old roommates, the sort of people Cody never would have met in her dead-end small town in Washington. About Ben McAllister, the boy with a guitar and a sneer, who broke Meg’s heart. And about an encrypted computer file that Cody can’t open—until she does, and suddenly everything Cody thought she knew about her best friend’s death gets thrown into question.
 
I Was Here is Gayle Forman at her finest, a taut, emotional, and ultimately redemptive story about redefining the meaning of family and finding a way to move forward even in the face of unspeakable loss.




I have to admit, for this being my first official review for the blog, I think I cheated a little bit. As in - I’ve loved and adored Gayle Foreman’s writing in the past. I wasn’t feeling too adventurous for my first post and this novel was high priority on my ‘I HAVE TO READ THAT BOOK!!!!!!!!!!’ list. With that being said…


I was not disappointed and neither will you.  


Written in her usual first-person narrative we’re immediately introduced to the best friend of a girl who took meticulous care in killing herself. You learn about their friendship, why and how deep the friendship had impacted Cody’s life, and what brought them apart in the last part of Meg’s life. You’re not treated to the full reality and truth of the suicide until the very end. And yet, throughout the book, there are subtle clues and hints that productively and satisfyingly tie together in the end.


Second to the quality of writing and the subtleness of the world Foreman paints through Cody’s view point I enjoyed the mystery element the most. The encrypted computer file. There are things definitely missing about Meg’s suicide and Cody does not know the full story. She takes it upon herself to find that missing element and when she does - she takes it upon herself to avenge her friend’s death. But is there anything to avenge? The missing element - what was in that encrypted file - was tragic and disturbing. I won’t give it away, it’s for you to discover on your own, but it definitely left some serious questions about Meg’s suicide and who was to blame.


And woven throughout the painful experience of losing a loved one from suicide is Cody’s personal journey. Her life is and was never the easiest. A difficult relationship with her mother, stuck in a small-town cleaning houses, and feeling that she was second-best in comparison to her shining best friend. Its through her journey to resolve her friend’s death, to find peace, that she accesses what she needs to find peace and strength for herself.
The material Foreman’s handles is sensitive and daunting. She’s not afraid to touch on the hard, scary parts but she does it with respect and knowledge. If you don’t normally read after-words or author notes - do it just this once. Her note in the end sheds light on the topic and what brought her to write. Also. She regularly references Buffy. As in Buffy the Vampire Slayer. She gets extra kudos to integrating an awesome pop-culture reference.


All in all I rate this four out of five stars with extra sparkles to entice you to put it on your TBR list with the highest priority!

Happy reading,




Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Waiting on Wednesday: The Thing About Jellyfish & Neverland

Waiting on Wednesdays is hosted by Breaking the Spine! It puts a spotlight on upcoming releases we're anticipating! 






THE THING ABOUT JELLYFISH BY ALI BENJAMIN
Release Date: September 22nd 2015


After her best friend dies in a drowning accident, Suzy is convinced that the true cause of the tragedy was a rare jellyfish sting. Retreating into a silent world of imagination, she crafts a plan to prove her theory--even if it means traveling the globe, alone. Suzy's achingly heartfelt journey explores life, death, the astonishing wonder of the universe...and the potential for love and hope right next door.


The Thing About Jellyfish sounds like it is bound to be a touching story. It's definitely one that I'm looking forward to reading with my daughter later this year!




NEVERLAND BY SHARI ARNOLD 
Release Date: April 7th 2015


It’s been four months since seventeen-year-old Livy Cloud lost her younger sister, but she isn’t quite ready to move on with her life — not even close. She’d rather spend her time at the Seattle Children’s hospital, reading to the patients and holding onto memories of the sister who was everything to her and more.
But when she meets the mysterious and illusive Meyer she is drawn into a world of adventure, a world where questions abound.
Is she ready to live life without her sister? Or more importantly, is she brave enough to love again?
In this modern reimagining of Peter Pan, will Livy lose herself to Neverland or will she find what she’s been searching for? 


I was instinctively drawn to the synopsis of the book. I have a special, tender place in my heart for fairy tales - especially Peter Pan. The MC - Livy Cloud (love that name!) - lost her sister four months ago. She’s having trouble moving on...and then she meets a mysterious boy called Meyer. I’m guessing Meyer is ‘Peter Pan’. I’m attracted to the potential of a modern fairy tale paralleling a real life emotional journey (in this case - grief and the loss of a loved one). It’s being released April 7th and I look forward to sharing my thoughts on it with you!