Stacking the Shelves #51: The One Where I Get My First Ever Harper Titles!!!


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

So, I freaked out this week. Mostly because I got a lot of amazing books, but even more because Harper Collins accepted me for titles for the very first time!


For Review from HarperCollins
Evertrue by Brodi Ashton
Avalon by Mindee Arnett
Cruel Beauty by Rosamond Hodge
Her Dark Curiosity by Megan Shepard

Gifted
The Edge of Falling by Rebecca Serle
Fractured by Sarah Fine (Thank you to my little sister!)

Trade
Along for the Ride by Sarah Dessen (Thank you, Jenny!)
Looking for Alaska by John Green

Bought
Demonglass by Rachel Hawkins

Discussion: A Day of (Odd) Thanks for College Students


Before I begin, I want to wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving and a Happy Hanukkah! I think it's time to bring this little gem back...

You're welcome ;)
Now that we have got that out of our systems, I want to focus on this post. As you read this I will be in Maryland with 25 other family members from my mother's side of the family. The last time I saw all of these people was, unfortunately, at a funeral several months ago, so I'd be lying if I said I wasn't excited. But, as I write this post on Tuesday evening, I am laying in my bed for the first time in three months with my laptop on my lap, TLC on the television, a pile of books on my night stand, and three cats curled up at my feet. My mom is on the other side of the floor and I can hear her yelling at some kind of reality television show and my sister is blasting annoying One Direction songs while I text my Dad and engage him in an epic Words with Friends battle that always ends with one of us calling the other and screaming: WINNER WINNER CHICKEN DINNER! THE LOCOMOTIVE IS MOVING DOWN THE TRACK, DAMMIT! This is my family, and I've missed the simplicity that is this life desperately. Three months ago, I couldn't wait to leave. And, hell, I think a huge part of my desire to come home so often stems from the fact that I'm struggling with my roommate, but it's moments like this that I just sit back and realize how thankful I should have been in the past. I just want to take past me and kick her.

Really, Lili of Three Months Ago, you are.
So, I realized this post was necessary for many reasons.
First, I don't want anyone making the same mistakes I did. 
Second, I've sort of inadvertently made it my job to prepare people for college in ways I was not.
And third, who doesn't love some comic relief on a holiday?!

Without further ado...

~*~Lili's Top Twelve Things to Be Thankful For Before Going to College~*~
 
Some of these will be obvious, some not. I'd love to know your thoughts.

1. Family, especially your parents. These people are constantly here for you and though they can frustrate you at times, you'll find moments where you're just craving their hugs or advice.

I love you too! You're so perfect!
2. Friends. They understand you completely, and you'll miss them immeasurably in the transition period of starting over. I could not have survived this semester if not for certain friends.


3. Pets. The constant companion that loves you unconditionally! You never realize how much they mean to you until you're gone and posting a million Throwback Thursday pictures of them on facebook while retweeting a billion pictures from @CuteEmergency because you're craving the cuddles.

Cuteness = essential to life
4. A Human Sized Bed.

This is you whenever you go home. That bed was never so nice.
I'll give it to you this way, my bed in college is not uncomfortable, but it's nothing compared to my lush full size bed at home. The very first day of school I was so unused to my small bed that I woke myself up at 7am (after passing out at 5am) by punching the wall and skinning my knuckles when I was turning over in my sleep. I also scared the shit out of the people living next door because they ran into my room admittedly slightly high asking why they thought they heard a dying whale.

Looking back on this moment, I laughed hysterically. But, in the moment, I was not a happy camper. Other fun adjustments to the tiny beds includes watching my friend roll of her bed in her sleep and decide to stay on the ground because she was so exhausted. Moral of this story? Love your bed. It is your best friend, and you will miss it.

As a tall individual, I always have a limb hanging off of my bed at college when I sleep. I'm literally giddy to go to sleep tonight because my entire body can be on the same level. Guys, this is a big deal!

5. Closets and Storage Space. If your college has closets than you are one lucky individual that should never complain. Storage space is hard to come by and you'll quickly discover that fitting everything you want into your room is an art. Perfect it, fast. And be prepared to send at least a suitcase full of random things home with your parents because you can't find a home for said items.

This is your space. If you're smart, that one area can be a goldmine.
6. Laundry Machines. The ability to do other tasks while doing laundry in your own home is such a privilege, you have no idea. First of all, you don't have to get dressed to go do laundry. Secondly, you don't have to sit in a sweltering hot room and watch your laundry or wait for a dryer for fear that someone will take your stuff and shove it on the floor before it's done and you have to do it all over again. And thirdly, the laundry room is the equivalent of Hell. It's so hot that you start sweating after being in there for ten seconds. My college has recently made it impossible to open any windows in the laundry room. They're trying to killing us.


7. Bathtubs. These don't exist in college. If they do, then what the hell kind of school do you go to and where can I transfer?! A bubble bath sounds damn welcoming right about now.


Really, I miss bathtubs because watching my cats experience that GIF is endlessly entertaining.

8. Showers. Without. Shoes. Is this really necessary to explain? The showers in my college are cleaned three times a day so cleanliness is not an issue, but the shower flip-flops! They are the devil in disguise! I'm series.


9. Home-Cooked Meals. Guys, my Mom is such a bad cook at times that her inability to cook contributed to me becoming a vegetarian, but I still miss coming home from school and smelling something freshly cooked in the house. My college cafeteria is admittedly amazing, but repetition of any type of food gets old after a while.


10. Quiet. The noise is inescapable except for maybe eight to eleven in the morning on weekends. Two in the afternoon? People are moving around, watching television, relaxing and doing homework. Two in the morning? People are running around preparing to have an amazing night. You can find me wandering New York City, hosting a movie night, or hanging out in a friends room at this time. Your entire schedule is thrown off in college, but the point is that there is never really a true sense of quiet and calm.

You adjust to this, though, and realize that the excitement is a rather pleasant background noise that always leaves a welcoming vibe in its wake. You can always find something to do if you are in the mood. And, if you aren't, it becomes very easy to block others out and focus on your book, your nap, studying, and Netflix. If all else fails, there's always a library. But seek out the quiet study areas. General library rules don't exist in college and there's always some type of conversation happening somewhere except for finals week.

YOU MUST LISTEN TO HIM AND HIS PERFECTION!
11. Privacy. Don't be alarmed, you really do have a rather private life. Bring a safe, whatever. But I'm thinking more about phone calls. When I want to make a phone call I tend to leave the building entirely and go on a walk to avoid anyone listening in. The walls are thin, the roommate may be near, etc. There is never a complete sense of being alone, so the true concept of privacy is out the window. 

Watch out, even Honey Boo Boo's watching you.
12. Silverware. There's something supremely depressing about having to eat cereal out of a paper bowl that droops from the milk. Seriously. It's sad. Invest in the washable cereal bowls, though stick with the plastic silverware.

For realz, tho.
 If you survived this post, then bravo! Now, I have two questions for you.

1. Do you think I should continue with posts about adjusting to college?
2. What are your worries for college? If you've already been to college can you share any experiences or other things you think belong on this list?

Waiting on Wednesday #36


Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking The Spine.
 
My pick of the week is...
 
The Edge of Falling by Rebecca Serle

Growing up in privileged, Manhattan social circles, Caggie’s life should be perfect, and it almost was until the day that her younger sister drowned when Caggie was supposed to be watching her. Stricken by grief, Caggie pulls away from her friends and family, only to have everyone misinterpret a crucial moment when she supposedly saves a fellow classmate from suicide. Now she’s famous for something she didn’t do and everyone lauds her as a hero. But inside she still blames herself for the death of her sister and continues to pull away from everything in her life, best friend and perfect boyfriend included. Then Caggie meets Astor, the new boy at school, about whom rumours are swirling and known facts are few. In Astor she finds someone who just might understand her pain, because he has an inner pain of his own. But the more Caggie pulls away from her former life to be with Astor, the more she realises that his pain might be darker, and deeper, than anything she’s ever felt. His pain might be enough to end his life…and Caggie’s as well.
~*~Why I Am Awaiting~*~

This looks like a very powerful story, so I am excited for it. I love the concept of a reluctant hero, so this book has a lot of promise! I also believe that this book takes place in New York City, so I am excited because I live here now!

Link me to your WoW picks when you get the chance! 


Top Ten Things I Am Thankful For


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

So, I'm going to make this half bookish and half reality! Here goes nothing!

~*~Top 5 Bookish Things I Am Thankful For~*~

1. My blogger friends. You guys, I can't live with you. You keep me sane and I know you are always here for me. Gillian, Christina, Inky, Becca, Krista, Gaby, Montana, Jennifer immediately come to mind. And, of course, there are growing friendships with Meg, Molli, Ellis, Bekka, Kelly, Angie, Sunny, Shae and so many more whose names I know I am forgetting. Please, don't be offended if you aren't mentioned here.

2. My blog as a whole (and this community). It gives me a place to share my thoughts and express my opinions. I can take my mind off of reality. And, hey, it helps me remember books that I tend to forget. Most importantly, it's introduced me to an amazing group of people in a community that I will forever be a part of. I've found my little electronic niche.

3. The library. I love libraries...so much. Just ah, I am so thankful they exist. They make the broke college student feel good about herself. Plus, I HAVE THE NEW YORK PUBLIC LIBRARY AT MY FINGERTIPS, PEOPLE!

4. Goodreads, Twitter, and other social networking websites. They help me focus and introduce me to new authors and books. Some of my favorite books of all time would never have been read by me if not for such websites that let me communicate with others and keep in contact with friends. Who would have thought I genuinely enjoy social media?

5. Publishers and Authors. Bloggers would be nothing without either of these two groups. To authors, you guys make me bawl my eyes out in the best possible way while my heart beats rapidly. To publishers, you help make such feelings possible (and sometimes they even happen months in advance). I aspire to be part of this industry in a more direct way one day, and I am so hopeful for the future.

~*~Top 5 True Things I Am Thankful For~*~

1. My family. My Dad is my best friend and I could never live without him. Oddly enough, coming to college has strengthened my relationship with my mother. My sister will always be my sister. haha

2. My friends. I think this is self-explanatory, but since coming to college I'm discovering those who a true friends and those who aren't. These people are essential to life. I have a small group of friends that can be relied upon for everything, and I will forever be thanksful.

3. My pets. I never realized how important pets are until I came to college and I can't sleep with them everyday and see them. My dog passed away this Summer and I still miss her terribly. Whenever I head home, I'm constantly cuddling with my cats. Seriously, guys, love your pets while you're still at home. They provide constant companionship that genuinely means something, even if it seems like it doesn't in the moment.

4. Books. My transition to college has not been the easiest. Books and this community has allowed me to escape reality (something I need now more than ever) and I'm really thankful for it. Books, just never stop creating books. Ever.

5. College Meal Plans. Hello, lovely. You've saved my life and kept me alive and even support my midnight cravings for pizza and/or ice cream. You are a God-send. That is all.

Link me to your TTT posts and have a Happy Turkey Day/First Day of Hanukkah! <3

Really, it's Thanksgivukkah!


Discussion: Ambiversion in the Bookish World


I've always considered myself an introvert. I prefer to lose myself in a good book then to go out and party. It's who I am. Furthermore, it's a stigma that I have grown up with as a bookish person. Bookish people stick with bookish people, but more often we keep to ourselves because we like to do our own thing. Everyone I know simply considered me an introvert. That's not to say every bookish individual prefers introversion to extroversion, it's just that many do.




But then I came to college. And, well, my perception of myself has been undeniably altered. To put it simply, I haven't had the best transition to college. My roommate and I have had some major issues and finding new people isn't always easy. I found myself being more extroverted than ever before in my attempt to make friends. And yeah, I met people, but I was uncomfortable in the sense that this wasn't me. I'd much rather spend my Saturday night watching SNL or having a movie marathon instead of getting wasted and throwing up on a sidewalk in NYC. My extroversion, while not forced, simply didn't lend itself to a college lifestyle that I wanted.


So I altered my type of extroversion, so to speak. I found people who enjoyed others company and prospered due to company, but didn't need a constant bond to get by. In other words, I began to surround myself with people who just like other people around. There doesn't have to be much speaking, but there is a proper coexistence. Simple, right? It really wasn't for me. Because of my roommate issues, the mere idea of co-existing peacefully and healthily with someone was completely foreign to me, so this wasn't easy either. Eventually, I got the hang of it though.

I've had entire days where I hang out with friends, we grab meals together and we go in and out of conversation, but a lot of the time we're doing homework, or reading, or watching Netflix in our own little bubble in a shared space. Such a thing brings peace to me. It gives me the comfort I crave because I do not have it in my own living quarters which makes me feel super uncomfortable and then some but it also allows me to lose myself in a new world and escape reality. Books are my version of escapism and I can't leave them behind.


There was a time that I barely read at all, and it killed me. It's true to say that my lack of reading is killing me slowly, but at least I am reading again when, a few weeks ago, I was barely reading at all.

It was during a moment like this that I realized something. I'm not an introvert, nor am I an extrovert. I'm actually an ambivert. I showcase characteristics under both personality types. I like to be alone and I enjoy having the ability to do my own thing, but I enjoy having bodies around and people to interact with if I so wish, though I don't thrive off of constant conversation.

Gillian says talking about having bodies nearby is creepy, but just roll with it.
 
I didn't realize this at home because I got used to a certain level of comfort. No matter where I was in my house, even if I was alone in my room, I knew that my parents or my sister was just a floor if not a room away. I didn't realize this aspect of my personality until I came to college and realized how miserable I was because of my living situation.
 
I find there to be something calming about knowing that there is someone I can turn to to talk to, though I don't have to talk to them at all. It's a nice thing to have. I spent the first almost two months here without that, and it killed me a little more each day. It made me miserable and I hit the lowest of lows for a little bit, but now that I realize there are people like me, I feel amazing.

And it got me thinking...there are a lot of bookish people out there that fit in this gray area, too. We are neither introverts or extroverts, but our own special blend of both. Yes, there are some who wholeheartedly are introverted and some who are solely extroverted, but then there are others like me who crave their escape from reality, but also need company to get through the day, though their preferred introversion lends them to a specific type of company. Simplicity at its finest, really, no complexity in friendship aside from general companionship and coexistence.

So, here's my question to you...Do you consider yourself to be an introvert or an extrovert, or are you a newly discovered ambivert like myself?

Stacking The Shelves #50


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

Every single book I got this week made me literally spasm with joy.


Gifted
Cress by Marissa Meyer (thank you, Bekka!)
World After by Susan Ee (thank you, Dad!)

Trade
Premeditated by Josin L. McQuein (Thank you, Stephanie!) 

Link me to your STS posts!

Adult Review: On Dublin Street by Samantha Young

Series: On Dublin Street #1
Publication Date: August 31, 2012
Publisher: NAL Trade
Reading Level: Adult, 18+
Pages: 322 (Paperback)
Source: Trade
Jocelyn Butler has been hiding from her past for years. But all her secrets are about to be laid bare…

Four years ago, Jocelyn left her tragic past behind in the States and started over in Scotland, burying her grief, ignoring her demons, and forging ahead without attachments. Her solitary life is working well—until she moves into a new apartment on Dublin Street where she meets a man who shakes her carefully guarded world to its core.

Braden Carmichael is used to getting what he wants, and he’s determined to get Jocelyn into his bed. Knowing how skittish she is about entering a relationship, Braden proposes an arrangement that will satisfy their intense attraction without any strings attached.

But after an intrigued Jocelyn accepts, she realizes that Braden won’t be satisfied with just mind-blowing passion. The stubborn Scotsman is intent on truly knowing her… down to the very soul.
~*~Lili's Reflections~*~

I'm going to flat out say it...sometimes we all need to read a hot book. It's a mood that we get into. I personally don't experience this mood often, but I turned to ON DUBLIN STREET once one of these moods struck because this series is so greatly adored.

Without a doubt, this book satisfies one's desire for hotness. But, in all seriousness, it wasn't that amazing aside from that. I didn't feel like there was much a plot and the writing did not wow me. It was simple and made for an incredibly quick and entertaining read, but it left me with no long-lasting feelings. When there wasn't something sexy going down, it was just satisfactory.

Our main character, Jocelyn, was extremely stubborn and rude. Really, she was super self-obsessed. She was very interesting because she is the first female that I have come across with commitment issues. I understand why she is the way she is and I totally felt for her, but at times she was incredibly frustrating. While it's easy to feel for her, it was not at all easy to connect with her because her mood swung so often. The second something good happened she would go and ruin it for herself. She's one of those. Her issues were annoying more than anything else and did nothing to further the plot.

And then there's our love interest Braden. He's your typical alpha male except he has a soft side for those he cares about. He has his own small emotional back-story, but I couldn't find myself feeling all that bad for him because his life was still ten times better than your average individual's. Problems of having most of your main characters being ridiculously rich, I suppose. He was an interesting character because of his attractive Scottish accent and genuine love for Jocelyn, but I found him to be controlling and the alpha-male act got old fast. Plus, he was the biggest fan of pet names and that is one of my ultimate pet peeves. He made me shiver in annoyance at least once every chapter, sometimes several times on a single page.

The kicker is that Braden's younger sister and Joss have a very interesting relationship. They're wonderful friends, but she's slightly too inquisitive at times. I don't know about you, but I would not be curious about my older brother's sex life. There are several plot twists having to deal with her which were done well, but she has relationship drama of her own that had me banging my head against a wall because I felt like I was deported back to high-school.

All in all, entertaining, but nothing special. If you want a quick, hot read, then I recommend this. I understand why it has such a huge following, but the overarching story in this one did not impress me. I will be continuing on with the series out of curiosity, but I will be going into it with realistic expectations.


3 stars

~*~Links~*~

Top Ten Books I Would Recommend to Dark, Gritty Readers


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

We got to choose what type of category we are going to use this week, so I decided to go with gritty readers. I love dark, gritty stories, so I wanted to share some of my favorites with you! You know...those stories that take you places most authors are scared to go, that can just as easily disgust some as they can enrapture others. Yeah, I love those stories.

In no particular order...


1. Vicious by Victoria Schwab - This is literally my ultimate favorite gritty book ever. I cannot even begin to explain how much I loved this. It explores death, destruction, insanity, and it tests the lengths certain people are willing to go to do what they deem is right. It's very heavily detailed, so it's not for anyone, but gah, this was so perfect to me and I highly recommend it.

2. Angelfall by Susan Ee - This book is pure brilliance and Ee is amazingly imaginative. This was the first dark angel story that I have ever read, and it's made me love them ever since. Hell, this was one of the first dark stories in general that I've ever read that helped me to realize that I am a reader of darker tales.

3. Sanctum by Sarah Fine - I love this book. While book two was just short of as amazing in my eyes, it was still pretty damn good. Fine tackles suicide in such a unique way, and I loved every minute of it. I couldn't race through this book fast enough. Heck, it's such a favorite that I made the acknowledgments section of book two!


4. All The Truth That's In Me by Julie Berry - This book was not what I was expecting, but I loved it so much. It's so deliciously twisted and that is only emphasized by the unique writing style. I mean, this girl is kidnapped and her tongue is cut out then she is treated like the social paraiah of her village because she's bad luck. You bet your bottom that this girl is carrying a ton of dark secrets that will slowly come to light and rock her village's world. Amazing well done and a fast read!

5. How to Lead a Life of Crime by Kirsten Miller - Don't let the cute title fool you, this is literally a guide to leading a life of crime. Teenagers are picked off the street to go to a school where they can hone their abilities of stealing, pick-pocketing, murdering, hacking, etc. If it's bad, it's taught there. Don't let their ages fool you though, there's a lot of behind the scenes dealings and potential murders.


6. Article 5 by Kristen Simmons - This is one of my favorite dystopians ever. I really don't know how else to describe it as dark and gritty. Simmons is a master at ripping away the few shreds of hope we have shortly after they finally materialize. Just look at the ending of book two... While this kills me emotionally, it makes me crave more.

7. The Archived by Victoria Schwab - Another book by Ms. Schwab! I tell you, she's an amazing author. I love dark things and she writes dark things, thus I love her. This is a gritty young adult story, so it's not on the same level as VICIOUS, but if you are looking to enter a dark and atmospheric dark place that's not incredibly heavy, I'd recommend this series to you.

8. Charm & Strange by Stephanie Kuehn - This is a very situational dark and gritty story. You don't realize just what is going on and how dark it really is until the very end, but when you do your mind is blown. However, with that in mind, I can understand how this one will not appeal to everyone. Without running the risk of revealing too much, I'll just say that our main character is none too sure of reality, it seems.


9. The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin - Our main character is insane. Literally. And that's what makes this book so dark and compelling. It's absolutely delicious.

10. Pushing The Limits by Katie McGarry - McGarry writes my go-to dark contemporary series! Seriously, there's a little bit of everything in this....everything from abuse to substance problems to negativity in the foster care system. This is a must read for those looking for an amazing slow-burn romance with serious topics thrown into the mix.

~*~Bonus~*~

I don't love these three as much as the others, but I did greatly enjoy them and they're their own type of dark and gritty.

 
*Something Like Normal by Trish Doller - This deals with post-traumatic stress disorder. It's an overall slightly more uplifting story than your average darker story, but there are aspects of it that are very dark. Death, war, hallucinations, cheating in relationships, etc.

**Shadowlands by Katie Brian - The main character and her family are on the run from a creepy serial killer who is obsessed with making her his next victim. Oh, and some chapters are told from the serial killer's perspective. Need I say more?

***The Near Witch by Victoria Schwab - Another darker story written by Victoria Schwab. She's a very atmospheric writer and one of my go-to authors for darker tales. She can certainly weave a twisted story.