August Monthly Recap

~*~On The Blog~*~

I am moving into my dorm room tomorrow! I am finally going to be back in NYC having the time of my life and I am just so excited! Back to going to Broadway shows and trying insanely yummy new dishes from hole-in-the-wall restaurants and just enjoying life in my favorite place in the world with my best friends. <3 But, on an unrelated note, this month has actually been really great review wise. A ton of awesome books, if you ask me. While BROKEN HEARTS was super disappointing to me and DANGEROUS BOYS wasn't what I wanted it to be, I hope many future reading months are on the same level as this one because look at all those 4+ star reviews!

Books Reviewed:
Of Metal and Wishes by Sarah Fine - 4.25 stars 
Isla and the Happily Ever After - 4 stars
False Future by Dan Krokos - 4 stars
Zac & Mia by A.J. Betts - 4 stars
A Little Something Different by Sandy Hall - 4 stars
Dangerous Boys by Abigail Haas - 3.5 stars
Broken Hearts, Fences, and other Things to Mend by Katie Finn - DNF, 0 stars

Books Reviewed on Tynga's Reviews:
  • I have left Tynga's Reviews after two years to help focus my time on my new internship at Bloomsbury in the Fall! While the ladies and Jon will be missed, I know that this was the right thing for me to do for both my focus and future. You guys have done so much for me, thank you for everything! <3
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 wasn't able to attend any shows this month, but rest assured that will change within the next 2 weeks.
  • No giveaways currently. I did have several this month, but they're all finished at this point. I've already got 3 planned for September, so stay tuned!
Discussion Posts:
  • This isn't really a discussion post, but I recorded my thoughts in regards to my first ever internship at a literary agency on my blog as a personal journal-like entry. You can find that here!
Guest Posts and Bonus Content: 
  • None this month, unfortunately. There was so much going on this month to prepare for school in addition to an impromptu vacation.

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

Broadway Shows:
  • I didn't see any Broadway shows this month, but I  have plans for September where that will all change!
  • Big Brother Season 16 is well under way and I have to say that I am at the point where I am significantly underwhelmed. It'll be hard for me to watch anymore episodes past tonight's episode at school and I just don't care anymore. While I like Derrick and want him to win because he's playing the best game, his minions suck. Frankie is absolutely disgusting, I hate Christine, and Cody is nice to look at but he's a huge floater that's all talk and no play. Caleb isn't as bad as he was when Amber was in the house, but I still don't love him or anything. Victoria is nice to watch, but she's a huge floater too, though she doesn't deserve to be treated the way she's treated by some HGs. Nicole is the only one I am genuinely rooting for now that Donny is gone (he freaking deserved the win over anyone else) and things aren't looking so great for her. I hope this double eviction rocks the house this week because if it doesn't then I officially will stop watching this season. At least last season was entertaining, racism aside. 
  • So You Think You Can Dance is almost done and I've caught episodes when I can. I want Ricky to win...and if not him then Zach...and if not him then Valerie. It's been a very entertaining season though. Not much else to say since I'm not super invested.
  • Orange Is The New Black is absolutely amazing! I binged every episode in the course of a week and I can't stop talking about it or thinking about it. Season three needs to be here already! The wait is probably going to be insane! Ugh, I am so obsessed guys. So obsessed. AND THAT ENDING?! If you like this show e-mail me so that we can discuss.
  • Bachelor in Paradise is really stupid. My sister watches this show so I watch it alongside her and seriously, gag me. So many of these people are delusional and annoying and I actually hate AshLee just as much as I hate Frankie. There is an equivalent! That girl, ugh, that girl. She reminds me of some ex friends of mine that are very nice on the outside by super conniving on the inside. People like them are not worth ANYONE's time and she needs a reality check, stat. (So does Graham because I love him and he deserves someone better).
  • Guardians of the Galaxy was everything I wanted it to be and more. I literally laughed so hard I cried. Oh...and also...I am Groot. Basically, if you haven't seen this movie already, go make plans to do so immediately. I really hope there will be a sequel!
  • My best friend happens to be gay and he watched the movie GBF on Netflix and decided he simply had to re-watch it with me because this was our friendship in movie form. Holy crap, guys. I died from laughing so hard. Watch this movie! And especially watch it with a gay best friend if you have one. Apparently GBF's are the new trend now ;) This movie is sarcastic and hilarious and on Netflix for anyone who has it!
  • Spice World is back on Netflix. Obviously not the best movie masterpiece, but it's got the Spice World and it was my childhood obsession at one point. 
  • I have to admit that I re-watched (and teared up many times) watching Aladdin this month. This was one of my favorite childhood movies ever and Genie was always my favorite character. RIP Robin Williams, your amazing talents and ability to make anyone laugh will be missed.
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

Mini Review: A Little Something Different by Sandy Hall

Publication Date: August 26, 2014
Publisher: Swoon Reads
Reading Level: Young Adult
Pages: 272 (ARC)
Source: BEA 2014
The creative writing teacher, the delivery guy, the local Starbucks baristas, his best friend, her roommate, and the squirrel in the park all have one thing in common—they believe that Gabe and Lea should get together. Lea and Gabe are in the same creative writing class. They get the same pop culture references, order the same Chinese food, and hang out in the same places. Unfortunately, Lea is reserved, Gabe has issues, and despite their initial mutual crush, it looks like they are never going to work things out.  But somehow even when nothing is going on, something is happening between them, and everyone can see it. Their creative writing teacher pushes them together. The baristas at Starbucks watch their relationship like a TV show. Their bus driver tells his wife about them. The waitress at the diner automatically seats them together. Even the squirrel who lives on the college green believes in their relationship.

Surely Gabe and Lea will figure out that they are meant to be together....
~*~Lili's Reflections~*~

This book was written for all the readers who like to ship couples. Because not only are Gabe and Lea an awesome ship, but all fourteen characters in this book ship them and openly admit to shipping them at one point or another. This is a ship worth shipping, guys, and it's a book meant for us crazy fangirl shippers. Seriously...if you haven't figured it out yet...I ship them.

When I first heard about this book, I was simultaneously intrigued and very worried. A book told from fourteen perspectives is no easy feat. It would either work really well or end very badly. While some people seem to love the book because of this unique writing style, some people have also believed that such a thing makes the book very polarizing. I happened to love the perspectives. It was very easy to remember who everyone was because they all have such different personalities. Also, the bench and the squirrel were absolutely hilarious. If benches and squirrels had thoughts that could be heard, I'd imagine Hall hit the nail on the head with them. Whether it's the writing professor that likes to create romantic story-lines between her students, an obsessive Starbucks barista, or a relative, these characters all have one thing in common: they want Gabe and Lea together.

To put it simply, this book can be summed up in one word: adorable. I could seriously imagine little hearts flying around my head as I read my ARC. This book is just that cute. It makes me believe in this silly little thing called fate because these two were definitely fated. They're just so perfectly adorable and nerdy that they belong to nobody else but each other. There's nothing amazing about either of them. They're super ordinary and unique which is what makes them so great. It's not hard to relate to them.

Hall's debut novel has me curious about what else she produces. I couldn't even write a full-length review because I can't get my thoughts into words. While most of the book has been great, I had a few issues with Hillary and the slight slut-shaming that occurred with her. With that aside, the romance is cute because it's not all that dirty (very surprising these days). I would recommend this to any reader who likes a fluffy read because this is truly the ultimate pick-me-up.

Warning: There is some underage drinking and the occasional swear word in this book.

4 stars


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

What's Going On?

Hey everyone!

If you haven't noticed, the blog has been relatively inactive this week. I've actually been on a rather impromptu vacation with my family in the mountains. See, we've been going to this resort in Vermont ever since I was six years old because we have a timeshare there. The kids that I met there so many years ago, 13 years ago to be exact, are my extended family. We've spent many a night around bonfires until 4am stargazing and enjoying ourselves and nature. Frankly, Jersey just doesn't have nature and stars, you know?

Because of this, I wasn't really able to post. While I got some reading done, the Internet wasn't my priority in this surprise bout of relaxation time to be one with nature etc etc. I didn't even get a chance to announce I was on vacation because it came upon me so suddenly. I move into my new dorm on Monday, but I am scheduling a few posts for ya'll, I promise!

So, to replace the insanity that is my life currently, I want to ask what's going on with all of you? Anyone heading off to college like me? What are you currently reading? I always need some new library reads ;)

Sorry for the crazy week!

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