October Monthly Recap

~*~On The Blog~*~

Although I started the month off with some computer issues, October was an amazing month for me. I got a ton of reviews up that were all amazing reads, which was nice. I also introduced a new meme that I am going to post sporadically here for the fun of it and I had an all around good time. My internship at Bloomsbury is going great, my book club met for the first time and had a blast, I survived and did well on all my midterms, I have an awesome Epic Recs partner, and I'm overall a happy person. What more could you ask for?

Books Reviewed:
Mortal Heart by Robin LaFevers - 5 stars
Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers - 4.5 stars
The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson - 4.5 stars
Chaos by Sarah Fine - 4 stars
Dark Triumph by Robin LaFevers - 4 stars
Snow Like Ashes by Sarah Raasch - 4 stars
Imaginary Girls by Nova Ren Suma - 1.5 stars

The Broadway Review:
  • I introduced this new feature here if you want to check it out! This feature is dependent upon audience interest, so please comment on any of the reviews if you still want me to keep it! I had one written and it just didn't post...so there will be 2 next month!
Giveaways:
  • None currently. There will be one in the beginning of November in conjunction with my final Comic Con recap post, though! ;) It's going to be BIG.
Discussion Posts:
  • I have a confession: my bookshelves calm me down when I am emotional. They are an amazing stress reliever and my mood actually affects how I organize. See why here.
  • In honor of Halloween, I recommended some creepy reads for squeamish readers. If you are anything like myself, you can't handle blood and guts and gore, but you love a good, dark atmosphere. Side note: this is one of my post popular posts in a while, thank you so much for the amount of views and comments on this! <3
  • I introduced a new meme entitled bookish emojis and I absolutely love it. It's exactly how it sounds...general Apple emojis with bookish definitions! Please check it out and share the love, I find it to be downright hilarious!
  • I did my New York Comic Con day one recap and you can find that here!
  • I also did my New York Comic Con day two recap which you can find here!
  • I started Epic Recs and it is so much fun!
  • I explain what Mischief Night is and have a brief identity crisis because my younger sister is officially an adult now. WHAT.

Guest Posts and Bonus Content: 
  • Hey look! A guest post from Inq and Dawn Metcalf!

~*~What I've Been Watching~*~

Broadway Shows:
  • I saw A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder again! Not only is this show amazing, but my old internship boss wanted to see it, as did Emily and my aunt.
  • I also saw Beautiful: The Carole King Musical and was shocked by how much talent was on this stage. The theater set up was super cool and I had no idea Carole King was responsible for certain songs. 
TV:
  • Breaking Bad is my current Netflix binge still. I'm also still in season two because I put the show on the backburner to read more this month. Can't you see how many new books I have read and reviewed this month?
  • Once Upon A Time Season 4 is simultaneously nuts and really disappointing. They're finally taking the Frozen plot in a new direction, which is making me happy. I won't be disappointed if this continues. And the ending of last episode! What!
  • Survivor is going strong. I really like some people on this year, really don't like others. Kind of wish we could go back to Brains vs Beauty vs Brawn instead of loved ones.
Movies:
  • I watched the original Double Indemnity for my film noir class and loved it. It's such a great movie with a classic plot and amazing actors and implementing of counter-narratives.
  • I watched Body Heat for the same class. Very similar plot, but with a lot of sex that had someone in the library asking me why I was watching porn. Yeah...
  • GBF, as always, is amazing. It's on Netflix. Watch it. Thank me later.
Do you have a monthly recap or thoughts on anything I'm reading/reviewing/watching? Share your thoughts below! Every comment is greatly appreciated! <3

Happy Halloween!


HAPPY HALLOWEEN!!!!

Having grown up with a sister who was born the day before this holiday, I can't say I have always been hugely into it. I liked the free candy, I liked swapping gross free candy for better candy, and I liked stealing my sister's candy. As I grew older, I enjoyed handing out candy to little kids who came trick-or-treating and I liked going to the parties, especially ones where I wasn't required to wear a costume because dressing up isn't my thing.

So while most people will be celebrating in their own ways, I'll be interning today (and loving every minute of it), and then I'll be hitting up a party in my friend's apartment in Williamsburg before coming home and eating a lot of candy while I marathon Halloweentown because I also have to work tomorrow morning. I'm adulting hardcore, right? Oh well, I can kick back and relax when Christmas rolls around. ;)

Have an amazing Halloween, everyone!


And have an awesome first day of being 18, Sydney. Damn, you are getting old ;)

Grab Some Shaving Cream and Toilet Paper, It's Mischief Night (and My Sister's 18th Birthday)!


Something I've noticed when talking to other bloggers and people, especially those not from the tri-state area (specifically Northern Jersey), is that they have no idea what Mischief Night is. If you want a legitimate explanation, you can click here, but if you want a simple definition this is how it goes:

The night before Halloween where teens prank people and engage in minor vandalism by:
  • Egging houses and cars (the eggs are only brought out if people hate you)
  • Toilet papering trees, houses, cars, bushes, lamp-posts, and anything else on your property
  • Silly-string on everything
  • Shaving cream on everything, especially cars
  • I've heard of a few cases of hiding gnomes because those aren't valid Halloween decorations
  • Any other vandalism that is easily cleaned but also really frustrating to wake up to
If you want an even simpler definition, it is the night where this picture is actually a reality for twenty-four hours:

I'm serious. I've seen it happen. Grocery stores are onto us.

Pretty much, if your house doesn't get hit, you know you're doing something wrong. For the most part, your house gets hit by friends and neighbors when you're out with another group of friends causing mayhem somewhere else. Rarely, your house gets hit (and actually egged) if people hate you. Not getting hit means you're not on anyone's radar in any form, and that is kind of a bummer if you ask me.


It sucks cleaning everything up. Trust me, I've helped my Dad do it plenty a time, but it's also like an unspoken rite of passage. You go to sleep excited to wake up the next day because it's Halloween, only to look out your window in horror and then happiness because not only are you worthy, but someone did your Halloween decorating for you. And then you realize you have to clean it all up...


My house always got hit especially hard because my younger sister's birthday is actually the day before Halloween on good ol' October 30th. So while we were never egged, we always had extra silly string on the bushes and shaving cream messages on the lawn, the walkway, the stairs, the driveway, the garage doors, the hoods of our cars, our fences, etc. I can't tell you how sick I quickly became of seeing "Happy B-Day, Sydney" spelled out in silly string, toilet paper, and shaving cream on various surfaces. Mostly because I got enlisted to clean stuff up and was rarely released into the wild to participate in Mischief Night because of my sister's unfortunate date of birth.
So, while I'm on the topic, Happy birthday, Sydney! You're officially an adult at eighteen years old and I'm not even home to tell you I have spotted your first gray hair at this old age! Go buy those lottery tickets, register to vote, and be thankful the days of being forced to buy cigarettes just because you can, even if you don't smoke, are gone. Be old and begin to adult like the rest of us. And, I promise you, you'll love every minute of it!

And if you're anything like me, you're just going to walk around all day like a boss...
I was wondering if anyone else had any unique Halloween traditions in their area? If none like mine, does your family do anything cool/cute/fun/unique? Comment below with your thoughts! Typically, when describing Mischief Night, I get gasps of horror and police threats if I lived in your area. Bring it on, Sydney and I are ready for ya. ;)

Top Ten (Non-Scary) Movies To Watch To Get Into The Halloween Spirit


Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and Bookish.

Since I already talked about some good books to get into the zone for Halloween for squeamish readers like myself here, I have decided to go the route of movies for this Top Ten Tuesday post.

In no particular order, the top ten non-scary movies to watch to get into the Halloween spirit...


1. Hocus Pocus- Do I really need to explain this one? It is full of amazingness for all ages.

2. Halloweentown, Halloweentown II: Kalabar's Revenge, and Halloweentown High- We don't talk about the fourth one because it's so terrible. I grew up with this trilogy of movies and they'll forever be among my Halloween favorites because of this. Such a cute idea!

3. The Rocky Horror Picture Show- This movie is a cult classic for a reason!


4. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone- There's magic and wizards in this, so it counts! But really, Harry Potter is perfect for every occasion.

5. The Nightmare Before Christmas- This is Halloween! This is Halloween! Halloween, Halloween, Halloween, Halloween!


6. The Addams Family- I honestly can't remember the last time I saw this, but hey, this is a family who is modeled around Halloween!

7. Scooby Doo- You know, that one with people where everyone had a crush on Fred and thought Shaggy was a complete stoner. Yup, I still love those movies to date.

8. Edward Scissorhands- Friendly and lovable monsters played by Johnny Depp? Sign me up!


9. Monsters Inc & Monsters University- Movies about monsters made for children that can also be loved by adults. You go, Pixar. Four Halloween treats for you, Pixar.

10. Bettlejuice- This movie used to scare me so badly when I was little. Need I go further?

Don't forget to check out my list of good books for squeamish readers! Until then, what do you think of my movie recommendations?! Don't forget to link your TTT posts below! <3

Epic Recs Review: The Sky Is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson

Publication Date: March 9, 2010
Publisher: Dial
Reading Level: Young Adult
Pages: 288 (Hardcover)
Source: Library
Seventeen-year-old Lennie Walker, bookworm and band geek, plays second clarinet and spends her time tucked safely and happily in the shadow of her fiery older sister, Bailey. But when Bailey dies abruptly, Lennie is catapulted to center stage of her own life - and, despite her nonexistent history with boys, suddenly finds herself struggling to balance two. Toby was Bailey's boyfriend; his grief mirrors Lennie's own. Joe is the new boy in town, a transplant from Paris whose nearly magical grin is matched only by his musical talent. For Lennie, they're the sun and the moon; one boy takes her out of her sorrow, the other comforts her in it. But just like their celestial counterparts, they can't collide without the whole wide world exploding.


~*~Lili's Reflections~*~

This remarkable debut is perfect for fans of Sarah Dessen, Deb Caletti, and Francesca Lia Block. Just as much a celebration of love as it is a portrait of loss, Lennie's struggle to sort her own melody out of the noise around her is always honest, often hilarious, and ultimately unforgettable.

Before I begin, I want to thank Bekka from Great Imaginations for being an amazing Epic Recs partner and for making this awesome book my October rec.

Although this novel was Jandy Nelson's debut, the first novel I read by this author was her hotly anticipated sophomore novel, I'LL GIVE YOU THE SUN. To put it simply, I loved this book because it spoke to me in so many different ways, and because of this I was a bit wary of her debut. Sure, a ton of people loved it, but the concept of the hype machine setting a book up for a huge fall worries me since it has happened to me so many times. If Bekka hadn't dared me to read this, I can't say I would have gotten to it as early as I now have.

Once again, Nelson wowed me with her beautiful prose and usage of metaphor. She has this writing style that is very similar between the two books where her characters have otherwordly qualities that make them so perfectly awkward yet endearing all the same. However, this cast of characters was slightly less than perfect in my eyes. While every character stood apart and was their own kind of awesome, there was an overall childish vibe to this novel that really got under my skin. I often had to remind myself that the main character and the love interest are seventeen years old and shouldn't always be acting as young as they are, hence the docked star because of my inability to connect to them at all times.

Lennie, named after John Lennon, is a very gifted clarinetist, but with the recent and surprise passing of her older sister she is having trouble re-discovering herself and defining her passions. Enter Joe Fontaine, the beautiful boy who moved to town from France that charms everyone with his million-watt smile that tilts the Earth on its axis. A gifted musician in general, he is highly sought after by the female body, yet somehow has eyes only for her. Unfortunately, at the same time, Toby, the cute skater/cowboy that dated her older sister for several years is suddenly finding himself attracted to Lennie to fill the void that is now in both of their hearts. With the help of Gram, a flowery woman with a magical green thumb and a wonderful appreciation for everyone in the world and her Uncle Big, a large man with an amazing mustache that smokes a lot of weed and loves love, Lennie must overcome heartbreak and rediscover herself and what it means to grieve and be loved all at once.

The romance in this book was great. I loved the beginning and I loved the ending, but a few questionable moments occur between the two. While there is a love triangle, it could have been avoided if our main character listened to her gut. Furthermore, all three parties involved in the love triangle were a bit over-dramatic at certain points, which had me rolling my eyes and thinking "ahh, young love" because it's that over-dramatic and unnecessary.

With all of that in mind, I have to say that this book did blow me away. It's a complicated, hard story. At one point I found myself tearing up so often because I was so emotionally drained that I had to take a small nap. Coming to terms with the sudden loss of a loved one, especially one that is still a teenager is hard. Beating yourself up over it and having guilt eat you alive is only natural, but it's also all-consuming and suffocating. Despite the book being so short, Nelson makes these feelings incredibly clear to readers. She shows how when one finally finds hope and begins to live a normal life again, the guilt consumes them because they feel it is too soon to be happy. She also exemplifies that any struggle can be overcome when surrounded by positive energy and good people (and cute boys). She just makes you feel everything from despair to happiness, and I couldn't ask for anything else from an author.

Read this book if you like strong storylines, unique and lovable characters, a great romance, and a coming of age story like no other. Also beautiful prose and metaphor since that is synonymous with Jandy Nelson at this point.

Warning: There is underage drinking, the mention of drugs, and talk of sex in this novel with a few instances of graphic content as well.. Not appropriate for young readers.


4.5 stars

~*~Links~*~

Review: Imaginary Girls by Nova Ren Suma

Publication Date: June 14, 2011
Publisher: Dutton Juvenile
Reading Level: Young Adult
Pages: 348 (Hardcover)
Source: Bought
Chloe's older sister, Ruby, is the girl everyone looks to and longs for, who can't be captured or caged. When a night with Ruby's friends goes horribly wrong and Chloe discovers the dead body of her classmate London Hayes left floating in the reservoir, Chloe is sent away from town and away from Ruby.

But Ruby will do anything to get her sister back, and when Chloe returns to town two years later, deadly surprises await. As Chloe flirts with the truth that Ruby has hidden deeply away, the fragile line between life and death is redrawn by the complex bonds of sisterhood.

With palpable drama and delicious craft, Nova Ren Suma bursts onto the YA scene with the story that everyone will be talking about.
~*~Lili's Reflections~*~

Recently, I picked up this novel as part of a book club that I am now participating in here in New York City. Me and a few other bloggers meet up once a month to discuss a book that none of us have read that we decided to read as a group. Our very first pick was IMAGINARY GIRLS. Naturally, I was extremely excited because of the hype around this novel. People told me I would have no idea what was going on, but that it would be completely awesome. Well, I honestly had no idea what was going on and because of that it was completely not awesome.

Don't get me wrong, I am all for confusing plot-lines. I love when a novel isn't predictable and it doesn't reveal to me what is going on until the very end. But that's the thing about this one...it never truly revealed what was going on. I worked my way through a novel that arguably frustrated me immensely only to never have any of my questions answered. In fact, the ending left me with more questions than I had in the very beginning. While I know this writing style appeals to some (just look at all the rave reviews about this novel on Goodreads!) it does not appeal to me, at all, though the prose were admittedly beautiful.

I was initially fascinated by the magical realism aspect of this book. It's rare that I encounter such a genre since it tends not to find its way into the books I read. My first experience was a novel whose title is escaping me, but it revolved around an older sister who was a mermaid. She had her beautiful, flowing green hair and light blue skin, but lived among her normal family in every day life in Mexico. This magical creature was simply there. I suppose this novel was a different kind of magical realism. While Ruby, the magical creature of this novel was there, what she was is never revealed and her powers and abilities are never really explained or examined properly.

In regards to the plot, I can't really explain much to you. I tried describing it to one of my friends and she asked me if I was okay because I sounded high. Really, this book made me feel as if I was high because nothing made sense. A gorgeous older sister that runs the town and gets everything she wants. All she has to do is release a pretty balloon into the wild with something she wants handwritten on it and she'll get it. A girl that died that was inexplicably brought back to life, yet doesn't exist outside of the town lines. People who have gut instincts to fear this wonderful Ruby, yet can't help but be enamored by her because they are under her spell. But, again, I want to know what she is. She was born to a human mother, so what about her father? She can bring people back from the dead, so is she a necromancer? She can control people with her mind, so is she a telepath? She has an entire town within her control and under her spell, so is she a witch? That's literally all I want to know. She's some type of convoluted creature that makes no sense and it's driving me up a wall because I was never told what, exactly, she was.

This also contributes to the fact that I have a strong dislike for the main character--Ruby's younger sister, Chloe. Deep down in her gut, Chloe knows that Ruby is bad, yet she follows her blindly and feels indebted to her anyway. She fears not being with her or angering her because it was always Ruby and Chloe. Chloe doesn't have her own identity, she is known because of her relation to Ruby, and everything is made ten times worse by the fact that she acknowledges when she is out from under Ruby's weird grasp and she runs back to it and embraces it anyway. Girl, get your head on straight! The only people who like Ruby are the ones under her spell (yourself included even though you refuse to acknowledge it) and even the entire town secretly hates her, as evidenced when they escape town lines.

The ending was predictable to me. The second the author chose to focus on miniscule details like who certain articles of clothing belonged to, I figured out what was going to happen. It further frustrated me that this was so obvious to the reader, yet Chloe couldn't figure anything out until it was too late. So, obviously, this book and I just weren't meant to be. It frustrated me in unimaginable ways and I felt as if I was slowly wading through a vat of mud to get from the beginning to the end. Suma's writing style truly is beautiful and, in the very beginning, I was enraptured, though that quickly fell apart. With that in mind, I would be willing to pick up the author's next book, I'll just be very careful about it and approach with caution. I'm unsure if her writing style and I don't click, or if it's just the way she chooses to tell stories that doesn't click with me. Either way, I seem to be the black sheep with this one, so I hope everyone else can enjoy it.

Warning: This book contains sexual instances, underage drinking, drugs, and mild language.


1.5 stars 

~*~Links~*~
 
Baaaaaahhhhhh!

Stacking the Shelves #85


Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga's Reviews.

This was a solid week, yep. A very happy-making week!


For Review From Macmillan (Thank you!)
I'll Meet You There by Heather Demetrios
Alex As Well by Alyssa Brugman

For Review from Harper via Edelweiss (Thank you!)
Death Marked by Leah Cypress-- Book one was not my favorite, but it was a fast, interesting read and I am curious about book two!

Borrowed from Dana (Thank you!)
The Winner's Crime by Marie Rutkoski

Blog Related Things (Thanks Mom and Dad!)

The Fault In Our Stars on DVD
The Fault In Our Stars "Okay? Okay." T-Shirt

What did YOU add to your shelves? Link your posts below!