Top Ten Books I Really Want To Read But Don't Own Yet

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

Sorry for the lack of prettiness, but I'm enjoying my vacation in the mountains!

1. City of A Thousand Dolls by Miriam Forster- After seeing the ARC Party and hearing them describe this one because the companion sounds absolutely awesome, I can't wait to read it!

2. Finding It by Cora Carmack- The only Carmack book I haven't read yet because I don't conveniently own it.

3. The Giver by Lois Lowry- I'll read it this year, I promise!

4. The Thousand Dollar Tan Line by Rob Thomas and Jennifer Graham- As a Marshmallow, I simply have to read this book.

5. Foreplay by Sophie Jordan - The new adult lover in me is vair vair curious!

6. Stolen Songbird by Danielle L. Jensen- I've heard so many good things!

7. The Tales of Beedle the Bard by J.K. Rowling- Is this one I really need to explain?

8. 17 First Kisses by Rachael Allen- Mostly seeing Blythe talk about this one on Twitter and the love/hate relationship most readers have with it makes me want to read this.

9. In The Hand of the Goddess by Tamora Pierce- I LOVED Alanna, so I've got to continue eventually!

10. Me Before You by Jojo Moyes- The hype around this one is ridiculous, but well deserved.

Stacking the Shelves #79

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

I watched my first ARC Party in a while and there were some titles listed that I was super excited to read. While I had a few downloaded, I grabbed these pretties as well!

Edelweiss (Thank you Harper!)
Monstrous by MarcyKate Connolly
Forbidden by Kimberley Griffiths Little
Empire of Shadows by Miriam Forster
Geek Girl by Holly Smale
A Wicked Thing by Rhiannon Thomas

What did YOU add to your shelves?

My First Ever Internship at a Literary Agency

I spent this summer at my very first internship at a literary agency. I just completed this internship last Thursday. As someone who aspires to one day work in this industry, I plan to explore all aspects of it. This was my very first step in doing so. Because of my young age internship-wise, it's not that easy to get into a publishing house. Most houses prefer juniors/seniors, you see. So I decided to begin by exploring the agent aspect of the industry the summer entering my sophomore year. Holy crap, I am now beginning my sophomore year of college!

I've decided to just record my general thoughts, a sum of my summer of laughs and learning here on my blog. Since this is my diary and my journey to one day, hopefully, landing a job in the industry that I hold so dear to my heart, I figured there's no better place to do this.

Let me tell you, agents are more important than you could ever imagine. They work 24/7 and my respect for these individuals is through the roof. It takes a certain kind of person to be an agent and work around the clock, constantly on the hunt for new talent while they balance editors and new writers. They're sort of like the middle-men that is often overlooked in the crazy process that is publishing a book. These people don't get half the credit they deserve!

To put it simply, I learned a lot this summer. Nothing I can really describe in a step by step process because you must experience it yourself in order to truly grasp everything. So, really, I can just tell you about my summer...

I learned about the query process and how insane it is. I read over 400 queries this summer! Take a minute to absorb that number. On top of that, I also read and reported on over 5 finished manuscripts and 4 audiobooks. Sometimes a good hashtag is all you need to explain your thoughts and other times you just have to stare at your computer screen screaming "what?!" inside your head for a few seconds. Just do it, people won't judge you for it. Seriously. It happens a lot.

I learned about line edits and the fact that editors aren't the only one who give authors editorial notes. I learned about that random filing day and how important it really is. I learned about auctions and appealing to editors before going to auction. I realized that auctions can be really entertaining if between two publishing enemies that somehow figure out who they're up against. I learned about good writing and watched my taste evolve throughout the entire summer.

Those cons that us bloggers love to go to? I learned how important they are for agents. Not only do they promote their authors alongside the publishers, editors, and publicists, but they also have to go to panels hosted by editors and prospective authors to figure out who to pitch to and if there are any pitches presented to them worth considering.

I learned that romance readers often have Freudian slips of the mind and the entire office will burst into laughter because of this. The best way to diffuse a situation and share a laugh with everyone within ear shot.

Foreign editions of books are always so interesting. The covers are either super exquisite or really strange. Also, the rough translation of their titles can often put a smile on your face.

I learned that books bring people together though I already knew this but never had such a concrete example to share. While I adore the three other interns I worked with for the entire summer--Maura, Kathleen, and Josh--I can honestly say that we all have extremely different personalities and interests outside of books yet clicked immediately from the start. Clearly, the intern table is the place to be. Plus, the interns and I learned that I alone attract the weirdos, and now I've got solid proof and people that'll back me up.

I learned that a really badly written sex scene can be your downfall. I don't want a biology lesson! Also, vikings can be surprisingly sexy. But really though.

I also learned that I DO NOT have a future in coming up with book titles. Seriously, I had to do this once with the other interns and it's safe to say we all sucked. The title that the agency ended up going with wasn't even in the realm of our long list of ideas or buzz words and, trust me, that's a good thing.

Anyone and everyone can bond over homemade goodies while we all secretly wish we could make cupcakes from scratch the way Kathleen can. We also want our boss's sense of style when we're out of college. This woman...she knows how to dress!

But most of all, I learned that you can have fun in this industry. While a position as an agent may not be for me, this industry definitely is. I've found my niche, that's for sure!

I cannot wait to see what else the future holds for me. With a new internship starting this Fall, I know I'll be in for a wild ride. I owe a lot to my literary agency experience. I made some amazing new friends and genuinely had a blast at a job. While I know my future is looking bright and will be full of new publishing endeavors, I will never forget this summer.

Review: Zac & Mia by A.J. Betts

Publication Date: September 2, 2014
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers
Reading Level: Young Adult, 14+
Pages: 304 (ARC)
Source: Gifted from Montana
The Fault in Our Stars meets Eleanor and Park in this tough and tender young adult novel that's a lot about love (and a little about cancer).

Winner of the 2012 Australian Text Prize

"When I was little I believed in Jesus and Santa, spontaneous combustion, and the Loch Ness monster. Now I believe in science, statistics, and antibiotics." So says seventeen-year-old Zac Meier during a long, grueling leukemia treatment in Perth, Australia. A loud blast of Lady Gaga alerts him to the presence of Mia, the angry, not-at-all-stoic cancer patient in the room next door. Once released, the two near-strangers can't forget each other, even as they desperately try to resume normal lives. The story of their mysterious connection drives this unflinchingly tough, tender novel told in two voices.

~*~Lili's Reflections~*~

Before I begin, I want to note something. It's become apparent to me that many readers consider this book to be a The Fault In Our Stars rip-off. It is not. The only comparison between the two of the books is that both of the female and male leads have some kind of cancer. Betts's story is one of friendship and loving onself and not romance, and it's told in an entirely different way than John Green's beloved novel because of the author's experience as a teacher in cancer hospitals.

What I loved about this book is that it's about Zac and Mia. Yes, both characters have cancer and at its core it is a cancer story, but this is a story about two teens learning to be comfortable with themselves and also learning to love themselves. It's about two unlikely friends who meet in the most unconventional of ways and lead very strange lives. It focuses on them and the way they think, not their ailments. This is the story of Zac and the story of Mia, not the story of their designated cancers. And their cute little quirks make you almost immediately fall in love with them. However, this story takes the hard approach to showcasing their cancer. It is brutally honest with it's portrayal of recovery experiences and ailments, so I wouldn't recommend reading it if you have a loved one with cancer (I am very sorry if you do) or if the topic of cancer makes you uncomfortable.

Zac is one of those characters that is hard not to fall in love with. I loved him from the very beginning. His sense of humor is incredibly dry and that appeals to me in any character or real life friend. While he hasn't been dealt the best deck of cards, he takes what he's been given and runs with it. He doesn't appreciate special treatment and even when his cancer is winning, he puts others before himself. He's the type of person that lives life and he is very easy to love.

In contrast, there's Mia. She's stubborn and rebellious and doesn't always see much sense. This makes her incredibly frustrating. You pity her more than you support her for a good portion of the book. It is Mia alone, in my opinion, that makes this book so polarizing. While it's easy to love Zac and watch his character arc, it's not easy to warm up to Mia and her character arc is much more subtle and slow-going. I think that this was done purposefully to show how different people can approach such a life changing thing as cancer. While I enjoyed Mia because of her struggle, I know several readers did not. Just give her a chance. She's incredibly selfish and self-centered, but it's because she was raised by a young mother, thus making her very naive despite her preferred adult-like activities. She seems to be the thing that makes this book amazing or bad in certain reader's eyes, so if you don't give her a chance you may not have a positive reading experience. Because I warmed up to her so quickly, her character growth was all the more powerful to me and her and Zac will definitely stay in my mind for quite a while.

American readers will enjoy this book because of its very distinct Australian vibe. I like the Australianisms. They make me smile and giggle because of the difference in language. It doesn't feel like an American book and I think that's part of the allure for readers. While it takes us some place incredibly new in the form of a cancer ward, it also takes us throughout Australia. For readers who enjoy traveling and learning about other cultures, this book is definitely a good choice.

Lastly, there's the ending. This book ends with a spell of hope. I don't want to ruin it for you, but I know readers who both loved and disliked the ending because, yes, it is open. Though, despite its openness, it's rather closed, too. Our characters have ended one of many journeys in their lives and a new one is about to be open. So while this book is firmly and completely finished, Zac and Mia's story is not.

Very powerful and moving, this is a book that I devoured in a single day. It is perfect for readers looking for an emotional and powerful story of friendship and understanding oneself. These characters will leave a lasting impression in my mind, and I'm thankful for having had the chance to read their story.

4 stars


Top Ten Books People Have Been Telling Me I MUST Read

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

This list was actually pretty easy to make...Surprisingly. In no particular order:

1. If I Stay by Gayle Forman- Tabitha has been forcing this on me. I hope she's happy to know that I am trying to read it as we speak.

2. Finnikin of the Rock by Melina Marchetta- Really any of her books for that matter. Jessie temporarily ignores me whenever she's reminded that I haven't read any of her books.

3. Under The Never Sky by Veronica Rossi- I really enjoyed BOOMERANG so this book is getting bumped on my TBR!

4. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling- Remember the whole I can't finish my favorite series ever because I'm emotionally unprepared to say goodbye thing? Yeah...

5. The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson- This will change soon! I promise!

6. The Queen of Attolia by Megan Whalen Turner- Shae will not rest until I read this. Until the entire world reads this, really.

7. Two Boys Kissing by David Levithan- So I tried reading INVISIBILITY by him and Andrea Cremer and I hated it. It's sort of turned me off from both authors, but I'll overcome it eventually. Too many people keep yelling at me to read this one, so...

8. The Truth About Forever by Sarah Dessen- Really any Sarah Dessen book. I just worry okay?! I'm surprised Rachel is still my friend after me admitting that I haven't read any of her books.

9. Maid of Secrets by Jennifer McGowan- I gifted this to Shae for Christmas and I now never hear the end of it. The girl is the ultimate book pusher.

10. Stormdancer by Jay Kristoff- I will read it soon! I promise! I can't even peg a single person for forcing this one on me. you have any books to force onto me? lol

Review: False Future by Dan Krokos

Series: False Memory #3
Publication Date: August 19, 2014
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Reading Level: Young Adult
Pages: 308 (Hardcover)
Source: From Publisher For Review
True Earth has returned during a massive snowstorm in Manhattan-and this time they have an army. Rhys, Noble, Sophia, and Peter know they don't stand a chance against the enemy without Miranda. And once they revive her, she's horrified to find her world in flames.

The enemy occupation is brutal, but the director promises to release her hold on the city if Mr. East is turned in, and Miranda and her team are determined to find him. With her grief over the losses she has suffered fueling her spirit, Miranda knows that this time the sacrifices have to be worth it.

Packed with suspense and deception, Dan Krokos brings Miranda's journey to a mind-bending conclusion as she risks losing everything in the fight for her future.
~*~Lili's Reflections~*~

After the insane ending that is book two, I was very worried about this conclusion. I had a hunch about what would happen, but one never knows with the craziness that is this bookish multiverse. However, I'm super happy to report that I'm beyond satisfied with this ending. It's just as crazy and twisted as the previous two books. It literally rips your heart out, stitches it back together, then stomps on it, yet somehow manages to leave you with a little bit of hope. Loaded with death, doom, and destruction, the final installment in the False Memory trilogy was a strong way to end one of the first sci-fi series I have ever finished.

The best thing about this book is the plot. Krokos is ruthless with his characters and I think it takes guts for an author to be that way. He tortures them just like he tortures the readers and he leads us on this insane journey full of twists and turns. Seriously, even the last ten pages had some shocking developments that had me sitting there freaking out because he threw another wrench into our hearts. Gah, this man knows how to keep you on your toes until the very last page. That's one thing I loved about this series. Its fast pacing makes it a quick read and a series that can easily be binged because while Krokos delights in ripping our hearts out, there's gotta be some type of redemption to follow.

His characterization is spot on, too. Every character in this, even the secondary characters, are distinct. They are not like anyone else in the story and they hold their own against the leads and the other secondary characters who temporarily take the spotlight. It endears you to so many of them, which makes certain circumstances all the more heartbreaking or meaningful. Yeah, there's a lot of death in this one if you haven't caught the hint yet. But that's okay because Krokos manages to pull it off and make it seem believable and necessary.

However, this book was not perfect. I had two issues with it. While the ultimate climax as a whole was huge, there's a certain life-altering part of it that just seemed...well...very anti-climatic in the grand scheme of things. Tapping away on a super computer of sorts just seems out of place when the fate of the world rests on your shoulders. Also, I was left with a ton of questions. The ending seemed a little rushed, partially because there were so many new developments in the last pages, but also because it didn't really give us all the answers we needed about the present day and True Earth. I want to know more because not all of my questions were answered. The ending as a whole was satisfactory, but there are a few plot lines that weren't properly tied up that are going to haunt me for a while. I almost wish there was an epilogue, and when I call for an epilogue you know there's something up. I typically hate epilogues!

All in all, this book was the type of ending that this series deserves. I stand by my original assertation about how this series is really good for new sci-fi readers who want a complicated world, a quick read, and plot twists galore. I'm very curious to see what Krokos produces next. While I'm sad to see this series go, I can honestly say that the ending did not disappoint.

4 stars


FTC Disclaimer: I received no compensation of any kind in exchange for an honest review.

Stacking the Shelves #78

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

This is a bit of an awesome haul since it spans two weeks! I was so busy last week I couldn't get mine up on time!

Won (Thank you, Jessica Spotswood!)
Sisters Fate by Jessica Spotswood

Traded (Thanks Stephanie!)
Losing It by Cora Carmack
Three by Kristin Simmons

Gifted from Internship and Fellow Interns (Thank you Liza, Sarah, Adrienne, and Maura!)
One Plus One by JoJo Moyes
Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion
The Universe Versus Alex Woods by Gavin Extence
Blitzing Emily by Julie Brannagh
Lick by Kylie Scott
Boneshaker by Cherie Priest

Isla & The Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins
The Bitter Kingdom by Rae Carson

I NEEDED a hardback of The Bitter Kingdom to add to my shelves and who could resist Isla? Lick is supposed to be SUPER HOT! My internship was clearing out their shelves and they let me grab a few pretties as well as gifting a few they recently read and enjoyed on my last day. Cora Carmack is life and well... Kristin Simmons and Jessica Spotswood have brought me two of my favorite series. MUST FINISH! I mean...there's also a book in there about love and football, so that freaking rocks too.

This post isn't as pretty as I like my STS posts to be, but I am reading a good book and can't tear myself away from it to care right now. lol