April Monthly Recap

~*~On The Blog~*~
April has flown by! Does anyone else feel that way?! I got a lot of stuff done this month in regards to the real-world, but not a lot of bloggy related stuff. The blog is active, there just wasn't many reviews, but I kind of like a review-free month. It allowed me to discover new ways to produce bookish content for the future when reviews escape me again. Things are beginning to gear up for finals, so my life is crazy hectic and the internship hunt is still on, but I am remaining positive because, overall, this year has been amazing to me, even with a few minor bumps in the road.

Books Reviewed:
The Start of Me and You by Emery Lord - 5 stars
Saving Francesca by Melina Marchetta - 4.5 stars

Books Read This Month:
I have challenged myself to read 100 books this year, let's see if I can! I'll be keeping track in this section.

11. Silver in the Blood by Jessica Day George (ARC: 358 pages)
12. Walk on Earth A Stranger by Rae Carson (ARC: 432 pages)
13. A Curious Tale of the In-Between by Lauren DeStefano (ARC: 240 pages)
14. Saving Francesca by Melina Marchetta (Paperback: 243 pages)
15. 5 to 1 by Holly Bodger (ARC: 244 pages)
    DNF's of the month 
    1. None!
    Total Pages Read This Month: 1,517 pages
    Total Pages Read This Year: 4,757 pages
    Total Books Read This Year: 15
    Total Books DNF'd This Year: 1
    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 have a Broadway review going up next month if my plans work out! Two, actually!
    Giveaways:
    • I had one for the THIS SONG WILL SAVE YOUR LIFE paperback release blog tour, and all winners have been notified!
    Discussion Posts:
    • After a year, I revisited my famous confession To Finish Or Not To Finish...That is the Question! post. This was my initial confession about my inability to finish series because I don't want to say goodbye. In this follow-up post, I explored every series I have finished in the last year and I'm really proud of myself for working past this! I've now nearly tripled the amount of series I have finished in my entire life, more than 2/3 of which have been read since I started blogging.
    • Bekka and I decided to pick up Epic Recs again after taking a brief hiatus for personal reasons. This month was a HUGE success for both of us! 
    • Half way into the month of April, I still had no reviews up, so I decided to ask if anyone else ever finds themselves at a loss for words. Sometimes you're reading so many good books you just can't find it in yourself to word.
    • I also realized that my iTunes library is seriously lacking, so I decided to make it a Musical Monday and ask for some music recommendations while I shared some of the songs I currently have on repeat because why not? I like music, you like music, let's geek out over music together!
    • I took a moment to talk about my vegetarianism and invited everyone to discuss their views on it with me after getting personally attacked in a class. Urgh, college.
    Guest Posts and Bonus Content: 
    • Leila Sales, author of the amazing novel THIS SONG WILL SAVE YOUR LIFE, stopped by the blog to celebrate her paperback release with an author interview and hosting a giveaway! She's so nice, guys!
    ~*~What I've Been Watching~*~

    Broadway Shows:
    • I was really fortunate to see 4 shows this month. I saw GIGI on Broadway featuring Vanessa Hudgens in the title role and the amazing Cory Cott as her love interest to celebrate Easter, and then I actually saw SOMETHING ROTTEN! twice because I loved it so much I just had to see it again. Tonight, as you read this post, I'll be heading out to see FINDING NEVERLAND with my school and to celebrate my friend's birthday! I have heard that this show is beautiful, so I can't wait to actually see it.
    • Reviews for at least two of these shows will be coming in May.
    TV:
    • I haven't watched much TV this month and I am sad to admit that I am currently 2 episodes behind on Once Upon A Time, but at least I am current on Survivor.
    Movies: 
    • I watched Get Over It with my friend when we needed a movie night in. This early 2000s movie is so bad that it is absolutely perfect. Plus it features a very young teenage Mila Kunis!
    • I plan on seeing a certain superhero movie tomorrow, and I am so stoked!!!!
    ~*~Reading Challenges~*~

    Fairytale Retelling Challenge:
    3/10 completed
    • Fairest by Marissa Meyer
    • Beastkeeper by Cat Hellisen
    • Silver in the Blood by Jessica Day George
    Flights of Fantasy Challenge:
    10/25 completed
    • The Sin Eater's Daughter by Melinda Salisbury
    • The Glass Arrow by Kristen Simmons
    • A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab
    • Fairest by Marissa Meyer
    • Beastkeeper by Cat Hellisen
    • Unspoken by Sarah Rees Brennan 
    • Of Dreams and Rust by Sarah Fine 
    • Silver in the Blood by Jessica Day George
    • Walk on Earth a Stranger by Rae Carson
    • A Curious Tale of the In-Between by Lauren DeStefano
    Contemporary Reading Challenge:
    3/11 completed
    • The Last Good Day of the Year by Jennifer Warman
    • Mistletoe and Mr. Right: Two Stories of Holiday Romance by Lyla Payne
    • Saving Francesca by Melina Marchetta
    TBR Pile Challenge:
    2/5 completed
    • Unspoken by Sarah Rees Brennan
    • Saving Francesca by Melina Marchetta
    Dive Into Diversity Challenge:
    2/6 completed
    • Of Dreams and Rust by Sarah Fine
    • 5 to 1 by Holly Bodger
    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

    Let's Talk About it: Vegetarianism and Anti-Veganism


    Everyone is probably sitting there like what? Vegetarianism? Doesn't this girl run a book blog? Yes, I do, but I also really love to share my thoughts and something happened yesterday that is making me itch to do so, and I don't really know where else to do it where I can foster a great discussion as well.

    My university requires everyone to take a public speaking class because they think such skills are essential to the job market today. I 100% agree with this, so I was looking forward to taking this class and have to admit, now that it's almost over, that I wholeheartedly agree with the fact that it is important. The way that my specific professor chose to structure the course is with three speeches: one where you introduce yourself in three minutes, one where you do an informative speech in seven minutes, and one where you do a persuasive speech in ten minutes.

    Today was the start of the persuasive speeches, and I chose to do mine on vegetarianism. While other classes get to do their speeches on "why blah blah blah is the best otp out there" or "why macaroni and cheese is the best invention since wonder bread" my class has the type of professor that requires our speeches to be controversial, which is actually really challenging. So I went with vegetarianism because I could become a veg-head extremist and talk about world hunger, and cute animals, and health benefits for ten minutes, even if I didn't become a vegetarian due to starving populations in the world because I was five. How the heck was I supposed to know about any of this back then?

    In reality, I became a vegetarian over 15 years ago because meat simply does not sit well in my stomach, because I wasn't a fan of my mother's way of cooking meat, and because I think meat is gross. Do I care if people eat meat around me? No. Do I care if people want to engage in a lively vegetarianism vs. anti-veganism discussion with me? No. Do I care if people try to shove their opinions down my throat just because they think meat is delicious? Yes, I do...a lot. I try to avoid shoving my dietary beliefs on other people, and I expect the same treatment in return.

    Right before my speech, my professor had an anti-vegetarianism/veganism presenter head up before me. This was essentially what felt like a ten minute attack on me, with lots of eye-locking and smirking here and there. This guy knew exactly what my speech was on, and I was completely blindsided by his topic with no advanced notice whatsoever. My Professor was almost upset when I chose to not question him at the end of his speech and instead allow my own speech to do the talking. I did not sign up to be personally attacked or thrown into a surprise smackdown, and I was livid when this happened.

    I had to go up immediately after this guy and present a ten minute argument on a topic that I support, but with arguments that I don't necessarily agree with. No, I don't think the entire world should become vegetarians because there is such thing as the natural food chain and some people have too many allergies to do so, but I think everyone should seriously consider a vegetarian lifestyle because of its health benefits and ethical views. So when I finished, it came no surprise to me that this student immediately raised his hand to attack, and that I was able to defend myself enough that the professor had to cut him off and allow someone else to speak. I felt like this guy was just aggressive and volatile at times, instead of informative and civil, and that is not a fun feeling, made doubly crappy when I ended up walking to the cafeteria behind him to pick up an OJ while he and three of my classmates just ripped my speech to shreds.

    I was forced to stand in front of a class spewing arguments I don't really believe in to get an A, only to be thrown into a surprise verbal smackdown of ideals against someone who is very aggressive and opinionated when I prefer to avoid verbal confrontation when it involves forcing your ideas down other peoples throats. There's a difference between debating a topic and attacking someone over their views, and I personally felt attacked and the way in which I was hit just really frustrates me a lot.

    So I just wanted to take a moment to ask you guys, what are your thoughts on vegetarianism? I personally am a proud vegetarian that loves cheese, but I could never go vegan because of that. I think having a proper discussion without jumping down someone else's throat is healthy, and I want to see that happen here.


    Are you a vegetarian? Have you ever considered becoming a vegetarian? Or is it simply not for you? Share your thoughts below!

    Epic Recs Review: Saving Francesca by Melina Marchetta

    Publication Date: May 9, 2006
    Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
    Reading Level: Young Adult
    Pages: 243 (Paperback)
    Source: Gifted
    A compelling story of romance, family, and friendship with humor and heart, perfect for fans of Stephanie Perkins and Lauren Myracle.

    Francesca is stuck at St. Sebastian’s, a boys' school that pretends it's coed by giving the girls their own bathroom. Her only female companions are an ultra-feminist, a rumored slut, and an impossibly dorky accordion player. The boys are no better, from Thomas, who specializes in musical burping, to Will, the perpetually frowning, smug moron that Francesca can't seem to stop thinking about.

    Then there's Francesca's mother, who always thinks she knows what's best for Francesca—until she is suddenly stricken with acute depression, leaving Francesca lost, alone, and without an inkling of who she really is. Simultaneously humorous, poignant, and impossible to put down, this is the story of a girl who must summon the strength to save her family, her social life and—hardest of all—herself.
    ~*~Lili's Reflections~*~

    I am very quickly realizing that Melina Marchetta is just on a different level than a lot of authors. She always succeeds in making me feel...and cry...and become all the more devoted to her stories. She's just wow. There's no other way to describe her. She is wow.

    I went into this book excited to be blown away, but also slightly skeptical. I struggle reading stories involving depression because it's very important that such things are accurately portrayed since people important to me in my life have struggled with this. Furthermore, the book is short. I'm not a stickler for length, but detail is very important to me, and it's hard to pack a full story into less than 250 pages at times. However, Marchetta had no struggle with this. She found a way to pace the story beautifully, making it addicting and interesting and full despite its short length. But, with that in mind, I do have to say that the style she chose to write this novel in is a bit jumpy. With small chunks of text separating events or times of day, I found myself rereading a few times just because the transition was so quick my mind was not caught up to the present. However, if that's my only complaint about this book, than you know it was mind-blowingly fantastic.

    Marchetta is brutally honest in her exploration of depression. She shows the hardships, the struggles, how it hurts the person experiencing it but also those that surround that person. How this disease is contagious to all those who care for the person suffering, and how it is an upwards battle everyday to dig yourself out of the hole it has created, but baby steps can turn into leaps and bounds, and the little things have never meant more. I would read this book alone simply for this. Just thinking about this journey is making me tear up because it was done so well and beautifully, even though it was hard to read at times and, I am sure, experience.

    But my other favorite aspect of this book is the characterization. I love stories with unlikely friends and heroes. I wouldn't have pegged the friend group that Francesca is part of by the end of the book, and that's what makes me love them even more because they are absolutely perfect. You have your best girl friend to rely on, and your girls that'll always be there, too, even if they have questionable habits or reputations. There's that boy that makes you smile, and the one that makes you laugh uncontrollably, even the one that your parents think is a terrible influence but is surprisingly deep. There's that guy that's a bit of a pig in the best possible way, and even the one you love. It's just...perfect. And it all happened when a tiny all-boys school in Australia decided to open its doors to female and roughly thirty girls, Francesca included, found themselves battling for their lives in a male-dominated odorous institution with little knowledge of how to properly handle girls that didn't even know how to properly handle themselves. Throw a cast of characters in a complicated school situation and make them all so insanely three-dimensional that I am choosing to avoid names for the pure purpose that this review would be over 10,000 words long, and you know you've got me hooked.

    This book also has a bit of a girl-power vibe, though, because of all the issues going on at the school. Led by their accidental fearless leader, Francesca, the girls slowly find a voice in regards to bathrooms, sports, equal representation, and even tampon machines. Their struggles with finding footing in the school is reminiscent of a lot of female inequality today, and watching them power through it was awesome and, at times, beyond entertaining. I loved this aspect of the book because of the humor it provided.

    And I love it even more because it introduced us to Will Trombal. Short, stubborn, always pouty, super complicated, often losing-est at rugby, ex-choir boy who has a girlfriend that we all know he secretly does not love Will Trombal. Who is the absolute perfect swoony romantic interest for Francesca, even though the journey to getting there is perhaps one of the most tumultuous I have ever seen. But, with that in mind, it makes it all the more realistic and the hardships they faced getting together made me root for them even more, even if he is, at times, better at expressing his feelings with his tongue instead of his words. The second you meet him, you'll love him and the wicked glint in his eye.

    In the end, I am now going to force this book on absolutely everyone. It frustrated me and made me cry and made me mad and made me laugh and made my heart soar because Francesca doesn't live an easy life, so when she was acting out you almost couldn't blame her. For such a short book, Marchetta knows how to tell a powerful story that really packs a punch and will leave you breathless for days to come. I mean, gah, I am still struggling from a bookish hangover. What can I ever possibly read that can even remotely be level to this masterpiece?

    Melina Marchetta, you own my sucker-for-a-complicated-romance-and-powerful-story soul.
     
    4.5 stars

    ~*~Links~*~

    Stacking the Shelves #98

    Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and Bookish.

    Yay for great books! <3

    For Review
    A Tale of Two Besties by Rossi (Thank you, Penguin!)
    5 to 1 by Holly Bodger (Thank you, Random House!)
    Seriously Wicked by Tina Connolly (Thank you, Tor!)

    Bought
    Last Will and Testament by Dahlia Adler

    This was such a great week! What did you add to your shelves?

    Review: The Start of Me and You by Emery Lord

    Publication Date: March 31, 2015
    Publisher: Bloomsbury Children's
    Reading Level: Young Adult
    Pages: 384 (ARC)
    Source: From Publisher For Review
    Following her pitch-perfect debut Open Road Summer, Emery Lord pens another gorgeous story of best friends, new love, & second chances.

    Brimming with heartfelt relationships and authentic high-school dynamics The Start of Me and You proves that it’s never too late for second chances.

    It’s been a year since it happened—when Paige Hancock’s first boyfriend died in an accident. After shutting out the world for two years, Paige is finally ready for a second chance at high school . . . and she has a plan. First: Get her old crush, Ryan Chase, to date her—the perfect way to convince everyone she’s back to normal. Next: Join a club—simple, it’s high school after all. But when Ryan’s sweet, nerdy cousin, Max, moves to town and recruits Paige for the Quiz Bowl team (of all things!) her perfect plan is thrown for a serious loop. Will Paige be able to face her fears and finally open herself up to the life she was meant to live?
    ~*~Lili's Reflections~*~

    Before I begin this review, I feel the need to ask for you to excuse any flailing and confusing wording because I have been putting off this review forever due to the fact that I feel like I can't adequately describe what this book means to me.

    This book needed to be written. For so many reasons. It showcases how one can overcome loss, how anyone can find love, and how there is nothing more important in the world than friends. But, more importantly, it also shows why geeky boys rule the world.

    Emery Lord is my go-to author for realistic YA, so to have had the opportunity to work on this novel during my internship at Bloomsbury has blown my mind completely because I don't know what I did to deserve the opportunity to handle such an amazing book. Whatever it was, I'm thankful that this book is in my life, and that Emery Lord is an author who is just going to continue to soar because of her ability to write relatable and important characters. Paige is one of my favorite main characters ever. She's suffered and all she wants to do is start anew, even if it's hard. She's known as The Girl Whose Boyfriend Died and that title just became what she is to the world. As someone who grew up as The Girl Whose Parents Almost Died When She Was In Kindergarten and The Girl With Two Disabled Parents, I understand how a title forced upon you and can not only alter your world, but also the way you perceive yourself. Paige's fight for happiness, in my eyes, was necessary and amazing. I rooted for her every step of the way.

    But, in all actuality, I didn't even have to root for her because she has such an amazing support system in her friends and family. Guys, this is how friends and family should be written. I hate the dysfunctional family trend in YA that takes away from realistic views of the world. Also the stabby friends that lie to your face and secretly hate you. I had one of those in real life that I just got rid of, I don't need to read about them in my books, so it's truly refreshing to see such an amazing friend group and family. A support system is essential to survival. Whether it be good or bad, they are always there, they will always be there, and they won't let you ever be alone. I can go on and on about why Paige's friends are the bomb dot com, but I think part of the beauty of this story is discovering them for yourselves, so instead I direct you to one of my favorite author guest posts ever where Emery talks about why she writes flawed female characters and, by default, why they make the best friends anyone can ask for. People who recognize flaws and love you for them are good people, and those are the people that Paige is surrounded by. Naturally, you can assume that the girl power in this book is off the charts in the best possible way because of this, and I loved every minute of it.

    But let's head into lighter topics and talk about NERDY BOYS THAT MAKE YOUR HEART BEAT BEAT BEAT BEAT. This novel speaks to my soul. The nerdiness (which we all embrace proudly) and the pop culture references were just perfect. If there was ever a book out there written for me specifically, this would be it. THERE IS NERDY BANTER! THERE IS NOTHING BETTER IN THE WORLD THAN SOME WELL DONE NERDY BANTER. There is also a Quiz Bowl team. My school didn't have a Quiz Bowl team, but I feel like I totally would have been a Quiz Bowl kid if we did. And of course, there's a ton of references to some of the best literature around. What more could we ask for?

    And, lastly, there is the romance. This romance was so sweet it did crazy things to my heart. Max is literally one of my favorite love interests ever. So much so that when I got to the last page I found myself frowning. Though I was satisfied with the ending of this book, I was not satisfied that their story had to have a legitimate end. I wanted more of him and Paige, more of their banter, more of their relationship that oozes cuteness and perfection. I just wanted more of the best romance of 2015, really.

    This book made me cry, it made me laugh, it made me smile. It made my heart soar and my cheeks hurt. It made me happy, and it made me slightly nostalgic, and it even made me feel like I am not alone because a literary character gets me. It simply made me feel in ways that are indescribable, and there's nothing more I could ever want from an author and their book. This story was simply beautiful. So beautiful that it turned me into a blubbering mess, which is totally not beautiful.

    Emery Lord is must-buy for me, and she will forever remain on that list. I look forward to all her future works with a huge smile on my face and an excitement reserved for only my favorite authors out there. Every book she writes means that I will inevitably meet one of my new literary best friends, and I can't wait to see who will be next.

    5 stars

    ~*~Links~*~

    FTC Disclaimer: I received no compensation of any kind in exchange for this honest review.
    Personal Disclaimer: My internship at Bloomsbury publishing has in no way affected my opinions expressed in my reviews. I received this book not as an intern, but as a blogger/reviewer, thus I will review it as I would any other novel. Waiting to post such reviews until the completion of my internship would not be good because most thoughts would be irrelevant by the time of completion of said internship.

    Waiting on Wednesday #52

    Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine.

    My pick of the week is...

    P.S. I Still Love You by Jenny Han



    Lara Jean didn’t expect to really fall for Peter.
    She and Peter were just pretending. Except suddenly they weren’t. Now Lara Jean is more confused than ever.
    When another boy from her past returns to her life, Lara Jean’s feelings for him return too. Can a girl be in love with two boys at once?

    In this charming and heartfelt sequel to the New York Times bestseller To All the Boys I've Loved Before, we see first love through the eyes of the unforgettable Lara Jean. Love is never easy, but maybe that’s part of what makes it so amazing.
    ~*~Why I'm Waiting~*~

    I feel like the entire world is anxiously awaiting the release of this book to see what happens between Lara Jean and Peter. I loved book one so much I couldn't even review it because the ability to word simply did not exist in relation to it. I just need May to be here, like, yesterday so that I can have this book in my anxious, greedy palms. JUST LOOK AT THE AWESOME COVER AND MY ENVY OF LARA JEAN'S ABILITY TO MAKE BOWS WORK WITH HER CUTE OUTFIT! Agh, Jenny Han, I just love your books too much.

    Are you also excited for my WoW pick? Share it below! And don't forget to link me to your WoW post as well! As always, every comment is appreciated. <3

    Twelve of my Favorite Authors

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

    So, narrowing this list down purely to ten people is absurd. It's impossible, really, so I went with twelve people--though I really should have done more--and I picked 12 people that are on my must-buy list that I have discovered since I started blogging, with the exception of the first three that will forever be on my favorites.

    1. J.K. Rowling- I feel like this a given and no explanation is necessary.

    2. Rick Riordan- My copies of The Percy Jackson series are so worn it's ridiculous. I gobbled this series up as a young girl and forced it on everyone I know, even my sister...who destroyed some of my copies. But let's not talk about that right now.

    3. Markus Zusak- Bringer of my ultimate favorite book ever, as last week's TTT post shows.

    4. Victoria Schwab- I have read and loved every Schwab novel out there and I am sure I will continue to love everything she produces as well! Her dark atmospheres and amazing way of writing good vs evil struggles makes my mouth water.

    5. Melina Marchetta- I would not have discovered her if not for blogging, but I am so thankful that I have!

    6. Kristin Cashore- Her fantasy novels are unparalleled. She needs to write something new soon or I may spontaneously combust.

    7. Robin LaFevers- Another author I would not have discovered if not for blogging, but all future works are an auto-buy for me.

    8. Sarah J. Maas- Sarah J. Maas does crazy things to my heart, and I will always love her for it. The wait for QOS is killing me!

    9. Susan Dennard- I feel like Susan and I are long lost friends or something. Every time I read one of her books I almost feel like they were written with my interests as a reader in mind. Her love interests, her plots, her destinations...I just love everything about her writing and will buy anything she writes.

    10. Sarah Fine- A dear author friend and an even more amazing storyteller, her dark worlds and habit of exploring dark topics makes me want to read EVERYTHING she produces.

    11. A.C. Gaughen- Annie just has the knack for writing kickass main characters that I never want to let go. I can't wait to see what her next piece of work will be! Auto-buy for sure!

    12. Marissa Meyer- FAIRYTALE RETELLINGS IN FUTURISTIC SPACE!!! Everything I could possibly want and more!


    There are a ridiculous amount of people I am leaving off, so I want to give special shout-outs to JENNY HAN, EMERY LORD, and JANDY NELSON! If this was fifteen authors, you would be the last three! <3

    This TTT list was so hard to make, but I can't wait to see what is on everyone else's to perhaps discover some new authors!

    It's feeling a lot like a musical Monday...

    So, long story short, I am in desperate need of new music. I love my iTunes library, but it is never large enough for someone who listens to music when doing homework, when walking, when riding the subway, when working, and I want to add more. So, I thought what better place to look for recommendations than on my blog? I want to know what your music recommendations are, and while we are at it, I'll share six of the songs that are blowing up my iTunes as we speak...

    Song #1: Let's Get Started by Dylan Gardner
    I wish he was more well known because I love his works, but I will totally admit the way he moves in this music video reminds me of a Muppet.


    Song #2: I Bet My Life by Imagine Dragons
    My favorite band ever singing awesome songs and a music video featuring Dane DeHaan? Yes, please!


    Song #3: Centuries by Fall Out Boy
    Forever devoted to Patrick Stump's voice no matter how much it changes.


    Song #4: Car Radio by twenty one pilots
    I've had this song stuck in my head for well over a year, it comes back in times when I find myself thinking a lot because it's all about getting lost in ones thoughts since this guy's car radio kept him calm. Kind of how I am with books, no?


    Song #5: Shut Up and Dance With Me by Walk the Moon
    Ever since I did karaoke two weeks ago, this song has been stuck in my head even more than usual!


    Song #6: One Last Time by Ariana Grande
    I know, this one is kind of surprising given the rest of the list, but her voice is so crazy good and I am a sucker for an addicting beat every now and then!


    So, what are you currently listening to? Tell me about your tunes below!

    Do you ever find yourself at a loss for words?


    I've been doing a lot of reading lately, which is awesome because I was in a bit of a reading rut in March, and I'm also super fortunate in the sense that I have enjoyed if not loved every book I have picked up recently. With this in mind, you would think I would be churning out a ton of reviews, right?

    Welp, that's wrong.

    This month I have not put up a single review...yet. And it's not because I am in a reading rut because I am reading as much as a college student with 3 jobs and schoolwork can. And I am certainly not in a blogging rut because I am consistantly producing bookish related content for my blog that is not directly related to reviews, but is at least related to my bookish feels...aside from the time I had to take off to deal with the emergency that my flooded dorm room caused. That's at least understandable, though. I guess you can say I am experiencing a small reviewing rut then?

    So why am I not reviewing? I am simply at a loss for words. I'm loving everything I am reading and I don't know how to word anymore. I just want to shove a book into your hands and scream GO! READ! THANK ME LATER! There's no other way to describe these books. I mean, there is, but I hate it when back-to-back reviews seem repetitive because the reason I loved the book so much was due to the kick-butt heroine or the crazy awesome plot.

    I don't know, why exactly, my words have left me, but I want to throw up my white flag of surrender while I beg for them to come back.


    Has this ever happened to you? How do you get yourself out of this so called reviewing rut? I hope I'm not the only one!

    Top Ten Favorite Quotes from my Favorite Book

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

    So, my favorite book ever is THE BOOK THIEF by Markus Zusak. I have a quote from this book hanging on my bedroom wall and actually live my life by it. Sure, all the quotes from this book may not all be inspiring, but they're all beautiful and mean something to me. So I am changing today's TTT topic up a little and picking ten quotes from THE BOOK THIEF that I absolutely love.

    HERE IS A SMALL FACT - YOU ARE GOING TO DIE

    1939. Nazi Germany. The country is holding its breath. Death has never been busier.

    Liesel, a nine-year-old girl, is living with a foster family on Himmel Street. Her parents have been taken away to a concentration camp. Liesel steals books. This is her story and the story of the inhabitants of her street when the bombs begin to fall.

    SOME IMPORTANT INFORMATION - THIS NOVEL IS NARRATED BY DEATH

    It's a small story, about:

    a girl

    an accordionist

    some fanatical Germans

    a Jewish fist fighter

    and quite a lot of thievery.

    ANOTHER THING YOU SHOULD KNOW - DEATH WILL VISIT THE BOOK THIEF THREE TIMES.
     ~*~Top 11 Quotes from My Favorite Book~*~
    My ultimate favorite quote ever:
    "I have hated words and I have loved them, and I hope I have made them right." 
    "A DEFINITION NOT FOUND
    IN THE DICTIONARY
    Not leaving: an act of trust and love,
    often deciphered by children” 
    "The only thing worse than a boy who hates you: a boy that loves you."
    “Somewhere, far down, there was an itch in his heart, but he made it a point not to scratch it. He was afraid of what might come leaking out.”
    “Usually we walk around constantly believing ourselves. "I'm okay" we say. "I'm alright". But sometimes the truth arrives on you and you can't get it off. That's when you realize that sometimes it isn't even an answer--it's a question. Even now, I wonder how much of my life is convinced.” 
    “The words were on their way, and when they arrived, she would hold them in her hands like the clouds, and she would wring them out like the rain.” 
    “She wanted none of those days to end, and it was always with disappointment that she watched the darkness stride forward. ” 
    “I wanted to explain that I am constantly overestimating and underestimating the human race - that rarely do I even simply estimate it. I wanted to ask her how the same thing could be so ugly and so glorious, and its words and stories so damning and brilliant...I am haunted by humans.” 
    “The words. Why did they have to exist? Without them, there wouldn't be any of this.” 
    One of my favorite openers ever delivered by the one and only Death:
    Here is a small fact: You are going to die. I am in all truthfulness attempting to be cheerful about this whole topic, though most people find themselves hindered in believing me, no matter my protestations. Please trust me. I most definitely can be cheerful. I can be amiable. Agreeable. Affable. And that's only the A's. Just don't ask me to be nice. Nice has nothing to do with me. 
    “I..." He struggled to answer. "When everything was quiet, I went up to the corridor and the curtain in the livingroom was open just a crack... I could see outside. I watched, only for a few seconds." He had not seen the outside world for twenty-two months.
    There was no anger or reproach.
    It was Papa who spoke.
    "How did it look?"
    Max lifted his head, with great sorrow and great astonishment. "There were stars," he said. "They burned my eyes.” 
    That last snippet of a scene is just so beautiful to me. This entire book is, really. It means so much to me that words can't even describe it. Above are ten of my favorite quotes, but there are hundreds of them in this book alone, and I hope that if you haven't read it already, these quotes inspire you to do so. What do you think of them?

    Stacking the Shelves #97

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

    So, these past few weeks have been super crazy for me, but I got a few books that I am so excited for!

    Seeing all these covers next to each other is blowing my mind because they're so pretty!!!
    For Review
    Illusionarium by Heather Dixon (Thank you, Harper!)
    Walk on Earth a Stranger by Rae Carson (Thank you, Harper!)
    signed Where Silence Gathers by Kelsey Sutton (Thank you, Kelsey!)

    What did you add to your shelves this week?


    A Quick Update

    Hey all!

    There was a small flood in my room and I've been super busy rescuing my clothing and figuring out what I need to put a claim on, as well as bleaching everything to avoid bad smells and such. On top of working and homework and interning I just haven't had the time to blog because all my free time has been devoted to saving my clothes and such.

    In reality, this can happen anywhere. My Father just got his bathroom re-done because of a leak in the apartment above him, so it's kind of ironic that I am experiencing something similar on my own in a different state. I just never realized how hard recovering from such a thing can be on your own without your parents convenient help. But, hey, college is a learning experience right? Things happen and you roll with it and learn to adult and whatnot. I still love my school and my dorm room and am learning things that I never thought I would learn, that's for sure ;)

    I'll be back shortly and hopefully not gone too much longer! Hope all is well in your world!

    -Lili

    This Song Will Save Your Life Blog Tour: Interview & Giveaways


    I am super excited to be one of the stops on the THIS SONG WILL SAVE YOUR LIFE blog tour. This book completely blew my mind and has made me a devoted Leila Sales follower through and through. When I got the invitation to join this blog tour to celebrate the paperback launch of this amazing novel for April 14th, I got super excited. I mean...check out this awesome cover and Leila's even cooler interview below!

    Also, don't forget to tell us about the songs that saved YOUR life with #SongsThatSavedMe.

    ~*~*~*~

    Original Publication Date: September 17, 2013
    Paperback Publication Date: April 14, 2015
    Publisher: Farrar, Straus, and Girouz
    Genre: Contemporary
    Reading Level: Young Adult, 12+

    Making friends has never been Elise Dembowski’s strong suit. All throughout her life, she’s been the butt of every joke and the outsider in every conversation. When a final attempt at popularity fails, Elise nearly gives up. Then she stumbles upon a warehouse party where she meets Vicky, a girl in a band who accepts her; Char, a cute, yet mysterious disc jockey; Pippa, a carefree spirit from England; and most importantly, a love for DJing.

    Told in a refreshingly genuine and laugh-out-loud funny voice, This Song Will Save Your Life is an exuberant novel about identity, friendship, and the power of music to bring people together.
    ~*~Q&A with Leila Sales~*~

    Why is music so important to you? It's obviously very important to the plot of THIS SONG WILL SAVE YOUR LIFE and I am wondering where your passion came from!

    I’ve always loved music. My father introduced me to early rock ‘n’ roll when I was a little girl: Buddy Holly, Jackie Wilson, the Supremes, all of that. I think that’s part of why music is such a strong bond between Elise and her father, too, in the book. I love media in general: books and music first and foremost, but also dance, architecture, photography, etc. I love the way art can take everyday human experiences and elevate them so they become poetic and cohesive and beautiful. 


    Do you have any fun writing rituals that you'd like to share with us? 

    I type using only my index fingers. And I won’t eat without access to a LOT of chocolate chips. 


    How did the writing process for TONIGHT THE STREETS ARE OURS differ from THIS SONG WILL SAVE YOUR LIFE?

    THIS SONG WILL SAVE YOUR LIFE is all told in one voice: Elise’s first-person perspective. TONIGHT THE STREETS ARE OURS is mostly narrated in third person—a close third on the main character, Arden—but that's interspersed with first-person journal entries from the writer whom Arden is obsessed with. So the process of developing the voices was very different for both books.

    In a way, I had opposite experiences writing these two. For THIS SONG WILL SAVE YOUR LIFE, I knew exactly how it was going to start, but I rewrote the last few chapters a zillion times before I figured out how Elise’s story would end. For TONIGHT THE STREETS ARE OURS, I knew clearly where all these characters would wind up, but I had much less of a sense of where they would start from.
     
    Share with us the most interesting thing you had to Google in the name of book-writing research.

    Oh, geez, I don’t even know. I google so many things as I write. How were novels even created prior to online search engines? It seems like it would have been a lot more work. Um… I had to look up a lot of song lyrics, obviously. That’s all that’s coming to mind. 


    I am a current publishing industry intern, and I was wondering how unique your experience is since you are both a published author and publishing industry professional editor?

    I feel really lucky to get to do both. Working in publishing is a delight: my colleagues are so smart, my work is creatively rewarding, and I get the joy of helping writers improve their work. I think (I hope!) that being a writer myself makes me a little more empathetic to what my authors go through, and the challenges they sometimes face. And I think that working in publishing makes me a little more realistic about my expectations as an author. There are a fair number of YA authors in my position who still work or used to work in publishing: Lauren Oliver, Jess Rothenberg, Lindsay Ribar, Jill Santopolo, Jennifer E. Smith, Anne Heltzel, Jocelyn Davies, Anna Jarzab, John Cusick, Seth Fishman, David Levithan, Lexa Hillyer… I could keep going, but you get the point: there are a lot of us 

    Which of your characters would you say you relate to the most and why?

    All of my characters have a little bit of me inside of them. Even the side characters. They all need to have motivations or feelings that I can somehow tap into, even if the ways they express those motivations and feelings are different from me. I relate a lot to Elise, but probably Violet from MOSTLY GOOD GIRLS is most like me—which makes sense, since that was my first published novel. I’ve heard that your first novel is usually your most autobiographical. I think that’s probably true in my case. 


    Can you share with us some of your favorite songs right now?
     
    I’m digging the new Belle & Sebastian album. The RAC album that came out last year was one of my favorites—I love the song “Tourist” on there. It’s so beautiful. “Shut Up and Dance,” by Walk the Moon. “I Wanna Get Better,” by Bleachers. Michael Marotta, who used to DJ once of my favorite Boston dance parties, recently started a streaming radio station (http://www.vanyaland.com/radio/) and I’m finding a lot of songs to fall in love with there.

    Bringing it back to the "Leila Texts"...Do you happen to have a favorite text that you've received due to this wonderfully entertaining iPhone glitch?

    I am always delighted to bring it back to The Leila Texts! For those of you who aren’t familiar with them: from 2007 to 2012, I got text messages from strangers all over the U.S. who were trying to reach their other friends named Leila. I kept a blog about them, called The Leila Texts. It’s one of my favorite projects of my life. I got so many amazing random texts over the years, but if I had to choose a favorite I’d have to go with this one: http://theleilatexts.blogspot.com/2009/12/this-is-gonna-sound-terrible-but-would.html
     
    Thank you so much for taking the time to stop by my blog, Leila! It was wonderful to have you. Continue on to check out the awesome giveaways.

    Both giveaways are open to the US and Canada, but you must be 13 years or older to enter. You can enter to win an ARC of Leila's next release: TONIGHT THE STREETS ARE OURS as well as a THIS SONG WILL SAVE YOUR LIFE mix CD! 
     
    a Rafflecopter giveaway
    a Rafflecopter giveaway
     
    And, while you're at it, don't forget to check out the rest of the tour!
     
    April 2- Paper Riot
    April 8- The Book Cellar
    April 11- Jenuine Cupcakes
    April 14- MacTeen Books


    Thanks for stopping by, and thank you to Macmillan for having me on this amazing tour. <3 

    To Finish Or Not To Finish...That Is The Question (One Year Later)


    On March 22, 2014, I put together a post entitled "To Finish or Not To Finish...That is the Question." You can find that post here. Basically, it talks about how I am so terrible when it comes to actually finishing a series because I have commitment issues. I want to know what happens, but I am mentally unable to say goodbye. It's a real problem, but it's something that blogging helped me with somewhat. If you look at the list below, you can find 9 series that I had finished in all of my reading prior to my blog being 22 months old.

    Previously Finished
    1. The Girl of Fire and Thorns Trilogy by Rae Carson highly recommend!
    2. Something Strange and Deadly Trilogyby Susan Dennard highly recommend!
    3. Croak Trilogy by Gina Damico highly recommend!
    4. Wings Series by Aprilynne Pike
    5. Shatter Me Trilogy by Tahereh Mafi highly recommend!
    6. Legend Trilogy by Marie Lu highly recommend!
    7. The Infernal Devices Trilogy by Cassandra Clare
    8. The Hunger Games Trilogy by Suzanne Collins recommend
    9. The Mediator Series by Meg Cabot highly recommend!
    10. The Twilight Series by Stephenie Meyer
    11. Hex Hall Series by Rachel Hawkins

    Eight out of those eleven options above were finished while I was a blogger over the course of nearly two years, and the only ones finished before I was a blogger were "The Hunger Games," "Twilight," and the "Wings" series. Sad, I know, but I'm seriously not exaggerating my bookish commitment issues. They are real, and they ruin my life.

    But, this is a problem I've been actively working on, and I am using this post to track my progress. In the course of these past 12 months, I have managed to finish 14 series, 9 of which were trilogy's and 5 of which were duology's. Guys, that's a huge accomplishment for me! I read more full sets of books in a single year than I did over the course of several years. So, I want to take a moment to celebrate this achievement and tell you about them a little. Check out this kickass list...

    It's worth noting that one trilogy and one duology has been expanded to more books, but for general purposes I am not noting that because they weren't originally that way upon completion.

    Finished Trilogy's In The Last Year
    1. The Grisha Trilogy by Leigh Bardugo
    2. Anna and the French Kiss Trilogy by Stephanie Perkins
    3. His Fair Assassin Trilogy by Robin LaFevers
    4. The Sweet Trilogy by Wendy Higgins
    5. Secrets of the Eternal Rose Trilogy by Fiona Paul
    6. The Guards of the Shadowlands Trilogy by Sarah Fine
    7. False Memory Trilogy by Dan Krokos
    8. The Mara Dyer Trilogy by Michelle Hodkin
    9. The Scarlet Trilogy by A.C. Gaughen

    Finished Companion Novels/Duology Sets
    1. Origin & Vitro by Jessica Khoury
    2. Dangerous Girls & Dangerous Boys by Abigail Haas
    3. Seraphina & Shadow Scale by Rachel Hartman
    4. Of Metal and Wishes & Of Dreams and Rust by Sarah Fine
    5. Mistletoe and Mr Right & Sleigh Bells and Second Chances by Lyla Payne

    What Have These Books Taught Me About My Commitment Issues?

    The Grisha Trilogy by Leigh Bardugo
    Read 2012 through 2014
    Shadow and Bone, Siege and Storm, Ruin and Rising

    Thoughts
    I loved this series. The folklore, the writing, the fantasy, and so much more just blew my mind, but the very last book disappointed me a lot, and it's part of the reason I don't like to say goodbye. What if we do not finish on a good note? It's kind of heartbreaking, no? I still struggle with the fact that I was not a fan of the ending of this trilogy. Worries like this make me an anxious reader.

    Anna and The French Kiss companion trilogy by Stephanie Perkins.
    Read 2012 through 2014
    Anna and the French Kiss, Lola and the Boy Next Door, Isla and the Happily Ever After

    Thoughts
    Each of these books brought something different to the table, and book 3 was the most anticipated book of all of them. Was Isla's story worth it? Yes. Did it live up to the other two books in the series? No. In fact, I believe Isla was the most bland out of all 3, though I still enjoyed her, which is an accomplishment to be proud of as an author. I don't regret finishing this series.

    His Fair Assassin Trilogy by Robin LaFevers
    Read June 2014 - July 2014
    Grave Mercy, Dark Triumph, and Mortal Heart

    Thoughts
    This series was so amazing to binge and I can't believe it took me so long to read it. Each book was so vastly different and brought a strong female heroine and an amazing leading guy to match. Each book got better and better and I love how this series closed off, but there's a lot more potential to remain in this world, so I remain hopeful and excited for LaFevers future works. This is one of those series that proves my bookish anxiety wrong. So amazing! <3

    The Sweet Trilogy by Wendy Higgins
    Read 2012 through 2014
    Sweet Evil, Sweet Peril, Sweet Reckoning
    Apparently this trilogy has now been expanded to 4 books
    Thoughts
    Book one was among my favorite books of 2012, and book two was also very enjoyable, but book three was rather disappointing. While it was generally satisfactory, the big war that everything led up to was beyond disappointing and it really ruined three books worth of anxiety building in my eyes. Definitely shows that my fear of being dissatisfied by a series, thus contributing to my desire to not finish certain ones, is real.

    Secrets of the Eternal Rose by Fiona Paul
    Read 2012 through 2014
    Venom, Belladonna, Starling

    Thoughts
    I found this series to be really enjoyable and while I feel like book three was not as strong as book one, I did take satisfaction in it and was satisfied as a reader! In the end, what more can you ask for? Plus, it led me to an amazing author friend that I am very happy that I have.



    Guards of the Shadowlands by Sarah Fine
    Read 2012 through 2014
    Sanctum, Fractured, Chaos

    Thoughts
    I loved this series. Book one will remain one of my favorite dark, gritty reads ever, and I have to say I was satisfied with the ending as well. (Definitely a good thing I overcome my series ending fears for this one!) I found an amazing author friend in Sarah Fine, and my first (and only) acknowledgement in a book in a series that I truly love. Highly recommend!


    False Memory trilogy by Dan Krokos
    Read 2012 through 2014
    False Memory, False Sight, False Future

    Thoughts
    I gave all three books in this trilogy the same rating, which was four stars. I found it to be highly enjoyable. It was not perfect, but it more than satisfied me as a reader and I feel like it flies under the radar among YA sci-fi written by a male author that writes a kick-butt female main character. Worth giving a chance if you ask me!


    Mara Dyer trilogy by Michelle Hodkin
    Read 2012 through 2014
    The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer, The Evolution of Mara Dyer, The Retribution of Mara Dyer

    Thoughts
    I LOVED this series! The final book was kind of sketchy at times and didn't answer all my questions, but I was still generally satisfied and books one and two completely rocked my socks off. I would recommend this if you're in the mood to have your head messed with, no doubt.


    Scarlet trilogy by A.C. Gaughen
    Read 2012 through 2014
    Scarlet, Lady Thief, Lion Heart

    Thoughts
    One of my favorite series on this entire list that makes me beyond thankful I overcame my series worries. I have yet to post my review of book 2 because of feels, and book 3 is not out yet, but it is such an amazing series ender, I can't even word. Just ah! READ THIS ROBIN HOOD RETELLING NOW! SO WORTH IT! THANK YOU, ME, FOR FINDING THE GUTS TO READ THIS SERIES IN ITS ENTIRETY! I AM SO HAPPY IT DID NOT REMAIN A STAND ALONE!

    Corpus duology by Jessica Khoury
    Read 2012 through 2014
    Origin, Vitro
    Apparently this duology has now been expanded to 3 books

    Thoughts
    I have no defining thoughts about this series, in all honesty. I found it satisfactory and enjoyable and unique, but it does not stand out to me. It's a solid 3-3.5 star duology in my eyes, but I have to check out the surprise third book, Kalahari, to make my final decision. I suppose you'll see it on next year's version of this post!

    Dangerous Girls & Dangerous Boys companions by Abigail Haas
    August 2014

    Thoughts
    Dangerous Girls blew me away completely, so much so that I have chosen not to post a review because all I can do is scream about how much I loved its creepiness, but Dangerous Boys disappointed me greatly. I found it to be overall enjoyable, but its predecessor was on an entirely different level in my eyes. Leaving things off with Abigail Haas in a stage not equivalent to total obsession with her works is a bummer, and does contribute to reasons why I worry about finishing a series or not.

    Seraphina duology by Rachel Hartman
    Read 2013 through 2014
    Seraphina, Shadow Scale

    Thoughts
    Book one absolutely blew me away and I liked book two as well, but the very ending broke me a bit. It didn't exactly feel right to me and after waiting so long things got really rushed in my eyes. I'm beyond happy that there is more in this world from Hartman in future books not directly related to her debut duology, but endings like book two are part of the reason I hate saying goodbye if it's not 100% perfect.

    Of Metal and Wishes duology by Sarah Fine
    Read August 2014 through April 2015
    Of Metal and Wishes, Of Dreams and Rust

    Thoughts
    THIS is the kind of duology I love. It's dark and complicated and the world-building is superb. The second book was quick and to the point, a little cliche at the end, but after fighting through a war and so much heartache and loss I welcome cliche with open arms. Books like this make me happy that I am willing to say goodbye, even if I don't want to.


    Mistletoe and Mr. Right: Two Stories of Holiday Romance by Lyla Payne
    Read March 2015
    Mistletoe and Mr. Right, Sleigh Bells and Second Chances

    Thoughts
    These are two holiday novellas wrapped up in one book, initially meant to be published as 2 separate eBooks, but then Bloomsbury decided to print them together in a single bound book and I am so happy they did! Novella two focuses on the roommate of the leading lady in book one and they are both so very different yet so very likable. As far as the guys go, I am partial to the one from book one, but both of these novellas were very satisfying and have the potential to be expanded into full stories that I would be willing to read!

    ~*~*~*~

    Have you read any of these series or duology's? If so, what did you think of them and their endings? Were they satisfying, did it hurt to say goodbye, or were you disappointed? As always, every comment is appreciated!<3