Friday, May 27, 2016

Share the Love (6)



Inspired by THIS post at Paperfury.com, I decided I'm going to start sharing things in the book blogging community.  Maybe it'll be some awesome post or new feature a blogger has put together, maybe it'll be a blog that I want to share with you all.  All I know is I want this community to be a better, nicer, happier, more helpful place, and I'm going to do my part to spread the LOVE.


Usually when I do these Share the Love posts, I share 5 blogs (and I'm still going to do that in the future)... today I decided to do something a little different.  In the spirit of spreading the love, I've been thinking about what else I can do besides one post every so often that, let's be honest, is only going to reach a limited amount of people.  

So I started thinking about my blog viewing and social media habits and how I could help in that way.  And what I found are super easy things I could do to make a small difference.  The thing is though, if we all do them, it will make a BIG difference.  It's weird because for the last 4 years I gave such little thought to doing stuff like this, but because of the Paperfury post, I realized if I could do things like the list below (which take basically zero time), and it was going to help in some small way, I was going to do it.

So these are the goals I've set for myself to do whenever I visit these sites (and really now it's just become habit):


1.  Twitter


  • When I'm on Twitter, I retweet links of other bloggers (and authors and publishers).  I'm not constantly on Twitter, but when I am, I've made it my goal to retweet at least two links before I move on.
  • If you put all of our Twitter followers together, that's a hell of a big reach.  So why not help each other out??  I see a lot of people tweeting their links to their blog posts, but rarely do I see those links getting retweets.  So why not make it a goal to retweet other people's links?

2.  Goodreads


  • The more likes you have on a review, the more visible it will be on the book's main page.  So when I go on Goodreads-- before I update my reading status or look up the book I'm thinking of-- I try to like a few of the reviews that show up on my homepage.

3.  Pinterest


  • Pinning- This takes a tad longer, and I rarely remember to do it, but I'm trying to do better.  So, if I'm on my computer reading an interesting post, I try to remember to Pin it on Pinterest.

4.  Instagram


  • Liking Bookstagram pics.  Every time I post a picture, I try to go and like at least 10 pictures under the Bookstagram or Booknerd or some other bookish tag.  That's not including liking people I follow Instagram pics.  I also try to ReGram if someone is doing something like creating a challenge that needs participants... even if I'm not going to participate, it can't hurt to get the word out.

5.  Blogging


  • Visiting back people that visit me.  This is a thing that I've tried to do since I started blogging.  There have been times I haven't been AS good at doing this, but I solidly try to do it now.
  • I also do things like: If I put one of my posts on Saturday Situation or some other link-up, I try to visit and comment on at least 5 blogs listed there.  I just think that's courteous.
  • I've also made it my goal to find at least 1 new blog a week to follow.  Since there's been some turnover on my blogroll, I thought it would be nice to update and see what some of the newbies are up to.


I'm in no way saying I'm a Saint, or I'm better than anybody, or that I want a pat on the back because I do these things.  I'm just sharing this in hopes that other people will Pay it Forward.  If we can all try to do our small part, just think of how much bigger and better we can make this little community!!  There's so much negativity on the Internet anymore, let's help each other out instead of putting each other down.

Happy Memorial Day Weekend to my U.S. peeps :)



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Thursday, May 26, 2016

With Malice by Eileen Cook --and why I couldn't put it down

Jill wakes up with a terrible headache.  She doesn't know where she is and she can't remember last night-- is this some sort of epic hangover??  Then she realizes she's in a hospital with a broken leg and a traumatic head injury and has no clue how she got there.  She's missing the last 6 weeks of her life-- most importantly the lead-up to a car accident that killed one of her friends.  With the police breathing down her neck, Jill struggles to find out what really happened on their school trip to Italy.  How did she end up behind the wheel of a car?  Why does everybody think she purposely hurt her friend?  One thing she knows is that she'd never do that.  Now she just has the rest of the world to convince...









HURRAY!!  I have found the elusive YA Mystery of my dreams!!  If you don't regularly read my blog, then you don't know this, but I've been on the HUNT for a great YA Mystery and have been having the hardest time finding THE ONE.  Well, search over :)  This book is everything I was looking for-- great writing, interesting characters, unputdownable, A+ plot, twisty ending... I loved the shit out of this book!

If you've read and loved Dangerous Girls by Abigail Haas, and have been looking for a book to make you feel like that-- READ THIS.  This is the first mystery since I read Dangerous Girls 2 years ago, to make me feel like that (The Walls Around Us by Nova Ren Suma is a close 2nd I would say).

So the story-- Jill wakes up in a hospital and can't remember the last month or so of her life.  She can't remember her school trip to Italy, she can't remember the car accident that put her in the hospital and killed a classmate.  To the police, her memory (or lack there of) doesn't seem to matter.  They don't believe that this is just a case of a simple accident.  They believe there is more to it.... maybe even that this was completely intentional.

I know the whole "I have amnesia and can't remember this really important moment" thing is a little played out, but when it is done right, I love it.  I could read 100 books about traumatic amnesia if the stories are told like this one.  I loved that I wanted to like Jill and believe her, but since she didn't remember it was SO hard to trust!!  I loved that what I thought was going to happen, happened, but it didn't spoil the ending for me.  It actually made me really excited like-- holy shit, this is really happening, Eileen Cook rocks!!!

I can't tell you anything much else because it would take away from the Mystery/Thriller aspect of it. I will tell you it's a bit of a Amanda Knox retelling, but in a SUPER loose way.  Also,  Jill is WAY more likable and down-to-Earth than Amanda.  I will now go sing this book from the mountain-tops because I have found the YA Mystery that I've been looking for.

OVERALL: A perfect YA Mystery/Thriller.  If you liked/loved Dangerous Girls by Abigail Haas, this is SO your book.  If you like books that keep you on the edge of your seat and make you want tell Real Life to go away so that you can keep reading a marvelous book, THIS is your book.  I would rec this to everyone.

This Book Contains:

  • Police interviews, blog posts, emails, media transcripts, guidebook excerpts
  • Italy
  • Friendship
  • Romance, but it's practically nonexistent
  • Economic class issues
  • A rehab hospital
  • A feminist blog
  • Divorce

My Rating: 5/5








Date Published: 6/7/2016
How I got this book: Thanks to Netgalley and HMH Children's Book Group for allowing me to read and honestly review this book.
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Children's Book Group












Character: Jill
Book: Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

  • With Malice never actually says what Jill's feminist views were on her blog, but I think this book would appeal to her.  She likes the classics, it's full of amazing quotes, and I could totally see Jo March being a hero to Jill.





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Wednesday, May 25, 2016

BEA 2016 Recap- My 3rd Year




I went back to BEA for the 3rd year in a row.  This is what happened:


Travel Day


When it was announced that BEA would be in Chicago, I wasn't sure I would go.  Mostly because of the travel.  I live in Pittsburgh and can drive to NYC in about 4-5 hours-- do-able.  Chicago is 8-- not so much.  I am not a fan of flying, but since it was either that or a 10 hour train ride, I decided if I was going to go, it only made sense to fly (plus the price was not that much different).  I haven't flown since before 9/11.... isn't that crazy???  So I was super nervous about just about everything that had to do with the airport and the plane.  After some nasty turbulence, I made it okay.  I wasn't a fan, but I made it.

When I got to the hotel, I met up with about half my group and we went to Shake Shack for lunch.  I am SO obsessed with Shake Shack from last year in Brooklyn and DEMAND that they put one in the 'Burgh :)  Later that night we went to Lou Malnati's for deep dish pizza.... because how can you go to Chicago without getting some deep dish??  It was very good.... I'm more of a think pizzeria-style pizza girl, but I enjoyed the deep dish yumminess.


Highlight of the Day: Meeting all my roommates- most of them for the first time IRL- Becca, Octavia & Shelly, Britt, Rachael, Cassi, Christina, Angie, Pili, Nikki, and Katie.



Day 1


BEA started at 1pm again this year for the first day.  Almost all of my roommates were either speaking at BloggerCon, or they wanted to get in line early.  But me and Rachael decided to just chill out and pretty much didn't bother going down until an hour before the doors opened.  I had to LOL a little at the line disarray.  They had people snaked back and forth in a line, but no ropes up.... so when they opened the doors what do you think happened?  Well, it was a free-for-all.  I went in and had a very chill day.  I talked to a few publishers in booth about books I was excited for and I crossed one of my number one priorities off my list: Replica by Lauren Oliver.  I have to thank the awesome girls in the HarperCollins booth for giving me this book even though they ran out one person in front of me.  Due to line cutters, there was supposed to be enough books, but there weren't.  They hooked me up, and I was SO beyond thankful.

That night we went to Shake Shack (AGAIN), but that was fine with me!

Highlight of the Day: Meeting Erica M. Chapman, the author of Teach Me to Forget (a book I'm SUPER excited about) and getting a copy of Dog Man by Dav Pikey-- my kid loves his books!


*Bottom Left: Becca, Me, and Britt on the BEA floor (Photo Cred: Becca) / Top Right: Me and some of the girls getting ready to eat deep dish / Bottom Right: Day 1 Book Haul*



Day 2


BEA was back to starting at 9.  People were lined up early for stuff (mostly Metaltown), but there didn't seem to be any books that had the HYPE like Truthwitch and Passenger did last year.  They also figured out that you have to have ropes up if you want to keep that many people in order.... duh!!  This day was JAMMED PACKED for me.  And it seemed like the exhaustion from traveling and sleeping in a strange place chose to catch up to me at this time as well.  Of course.  So I felt like a walking zombie, but I wasn't going to let it get me down!!  I had a mission to complete!  So I went from one signing/book drop to the next and I got some of my most anticipated books-- 738 Days (LOVE STACEY KADE, she's SO sweet), Women in the Walls by Amy Lukavics, and Girl in Pieces by Kathleen Glasgow.  Shoutout to Britt for getting me Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco-- it was also one of my must-haves.

I also have to mention the one cluster-fuck that occurred at the Macmillan.  Thursday was THE day for all the top authors and books.  For some odd reason Macmillan decided to do a ticket drop at 1pm for all their afternoon signings.  We're talking Heartless, Vassa in the Night, 738 Days, and You Know Me Well, and maybe other books that I've now forgotten.  Anyway, it was a mess.  They were doing the whole "there's no lines" thing and basically when time came for tickets there was a stampede.  A friend of mine got pushed into a table, a few people legit felt like they were at trample-risk.  This is not okay.  People should not act like this, but the publishers should put safety first and have these situations better controlled.  People won't stampede if they feel like things are being done fairly.  I was just lucky that my girls Cassi & Britt went and got me my Stacey Kade and David Levithan tickets so I didn't have to deal.

That night we were all exhausted and ordered dinner in.  Some people in our group went to publisher parties... I went to bed.

Hightlight of the Day: Meeting Adam Silvera!!  He's the Bomb Dot Com.  Also my roommates are weird and had a Hamilton sing-a-long, which I have video of for future blackmailing purposes :)


*Left: Me & Adam Silvera / Center: Me & David Levithan / Top Right: My Day 2 outfit (darn right I repped the 90's) / Bottom Right: Me & Kristin*



Day 3


Last day already!!!  The only thing I really wanted for this day was to get What Light by Jay Asher.  Gemina (the 2nd Illuminae book) was another priority.  Fun Fact: waiting in the giant Gemina line was kind of fun????  Yeah, that's what I said.  We all lined up super early and basically made a pact that we could all come and go and our spot would be held.  It was nice to run and get a book that maybe didn't have a big line and be able to come back and sit in my original spot to wait.  Sometimes people work together really well :)

That night we went to the blogger dinner hosted by Whitley and Octavia.  It was a blast.  Those girls organized such a nice event!!  If I was the one in charge it would've been a disorganized hot-mess, so I give major props for the way it all turned out.  After that me and Becca went to Howl at the Moon with Wendy, Danielle, and Rebecca.  It was a late, late night and a fun time.

Highlight of the Day: Meeting Jenn and Ash from JennReneeReads!!  I've been following and talking with them since FOREVER and it was so nice to finally meet them.  And their story of how Jenn met Marissa Meyer and got Heartless signed was one that made my heart want to burst.  There were a lot of negative stories to come out in the aftermath of BEA, and this was one of the good ones!  Also, meeting Sara Shepard was pretty fabulous.


*Nikki, Cassi, & Me (see Cassie really does hug people) / Sara Shepard & Me*

*Top Left: The Night Out Girls (Photo Cred: Becca) / Bottom Left: Me and Becs / Top Right: Me & Lauren (yay for meeting her) / Me & Nicole (her mom was with her and OMG-- LOVE) / Me & the shorties at Jenn Renee Reads*



Travel Day


UGHH Hungover & exhausted :)  My plane didn't leave until late, so I got to hang out with a lot of my roomies in the hotel lobby and at the airport.  I was sad to leave them, but also I was starting to really miss my little boy (and our 2 puppies).


*Me & Britt & Becca looking rough before we left for the airport / Trying to fit all my books, haha*



Final Book Haul





Observations:


  • I have to admit I went into this BEA thinking it might be my last.  A- I'm over 30 and I'm wondering when it's time to hang it up?  and B- while I love the experiences I've had and the friends I've made in past BEA's, I never felt very accepted into the overall blogging group.  BEA is about books and authors, but it's also nice when you can meet other people who you have SO MUCH IN COMMON WITH.  I don't know anyone else in my real life who blogs.  And besides book club, I don't know many that like to read either, so it's nice to meet new blog friends.  It's harder for me than it seems to be for most of you to make friends over the internet.  Maybe it's partly a generational thing??  I don't know... but I see all of you clicking with people just from talking on the computer, and I think HOW??  It's so cool, but I don't exactly know how to do it right.  I got off track--- okay what I was saying was, while I've met a lot of cool people in the past at BEA, my overall experience was that I didn't find people (in general) to be overwhelmingly friendly or inclusive.  It kind of felt like a party I came to without an invitation.  Now, I don't know if it is because this one was in Chicago and it had a more laid-back vibe, or if it was because I went with such a large group, or if I just stopped caring, but I didn't feel ANY of that weird uncomfortableness that I've felt in past BEA's.  So basically- YAY, and I'll see you all in NYC in 2017 (unless something life-altering happens).
  • BUT I don't want my past BEA-ers to think I don't still love you!!! Because OMG I SO do and wouldn't even have GONE to Chicago if you didn't show me how cool and friendly people could be.
  • Chicago-- does the sun ever touch your skies??  Well it didn't while we were there.  The weather was miserable- cold & rainy :(
  • McCormick Place vs. The Javits Center  Whether it was because it was better organized or less crowded (due to people not being able/wanting to come after it was announced it was moved), I felt like the entire atmosphere was less stressful and more enjoyable.  When publishers wouldn't let us make a line, we made one anyway and people abided by that (except for the Macmillan debacle).  Everyone (for the most part) was super respectful and I thought Chicago rocked that shit.  The location was another thing.... the McCormick is near NOTHING.  We ended up spending so much money on Uber and Lyftt to go anywhere and it kinda sucked.  I missed New York's awesome public transportation for sure.  Also, there's just more to do in New York (or maybe there's just more I want to do).
  • My drama response- I just want to make one quick comment about this.  If you didn't know, there was some talk about a few people who maybe took more than their fair share of the books, and I must say I was super disappointed.  I hate that it only takes a few "bad apples" to give all bloggers a bad name.  I hate that when something like this happens, people start questioning if bloggers should even be allowed to attend the event.  It really sucks.  Please-- if you attend this event in the future: don't be greedy.  There's no reason on Earth you need 6 copies of a book.  If you want to do a giveaway, read the 1 copy you got and give that away.  If the publishers want you to do a giveaway, they will ask... and THEY will do the mailing!  If you are taking multiple copies of a book, don't delude yourself into thinking you're doing a good deed to those who couldn't attend.  You're doing it add followers to your blog, not spread the wealth and help advertise the book.  Do you think we're all stupid??  Bottom Line- there are limited copies of books, and let's all be kind and SHARE :)
  • Thank you to EVERYONE I interacted with.  All the authors, all the publicists, all the bloggers.  Especially to my roommates- thank you so much for being YOU and crawling up into my heart.  It's because of you that I had the best time :)
  • I wish I took more pictures :(  I know I say that every year, but this time I really did a shit job :(




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Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Top Ten Tuesday- Books I've Changed My Mind About

Top Ten Tuesday is a really cool original feature/weekly meme created over at The Broke and The Bookish. Each week they post a new Top Ten List that bloggers join in on answering... and today (May 24th) I'm one of them :)

Today's Topic

Top Ten Books I Feel Differently About After Time Has Passed







1.  Audrey Wait! by Robin Benway
  • So when I read this book, I did like it, but I didn't think that much of it.  Now that I've read a lot more YA, I realize that fun books like this are SO needed to break up all the deep, dark books.  I definitely underrated this awesome book!

2.  Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins
  • When I first finished this book, I thought yeah I liked it, but I definitely liked Anna better.  Now that I've read all 3 books and have had time to reflect, I now want to change to a Lola girl.  Which is mostly because of Cricket.

3.  The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Cbosky
  • I have to admit-- when I read this book I just didn't "get it".  The more time that passes, the more I've realized what an important book it really is.  Plus there's Patrick AND Pittsburgh, so how can I hate on this book?

4.  The Pact by Jodi Picoult
  • I went through a Jodi Picoult phase for a while because I really really like her story telling.  BUT I think while reading them, I was thinking the whole time yeah these are good, but they're Adult Books.  I think I was being kind of a YA snob about it.  Now I know that The Pact is one of my all-time fave books.

5.  The Secret Year by Jennifer R. Hubbard
  • The farther I get away from this book, the more I think about it.  I liked it when I read it, but only gave it 4 stars... but when I think about how it gave me the feel of a modern day Outsiders, I think that I should have rated it higher.

6.  Twenty Boy Summer by Sarah Ockler
  • This was the first Sarah Ockler book I ever read... little did I know I was going to absolutely LOVE everything this woman writes and she would become one of my auto-buy authors.  I liked this book when I read it, but the more Ockler I read, the more I come back to how much I loved this first book.

7.  Jumping Off Swings by Jo Knowles
  • This should probably go into a "it's complicated" category.  I didn't love this book when I first read it.  It's about a teenage pregnancy, which is kind of one of my stay away from topics.  Also the way it was handled in the book was supremely frustrating.  I think because of that though it's never really left my mind.  I often find myself thinking about one of the characters in the book and thinking why were you so dumb??  It's weird, but because I think of it so much, I've gone on to read a lot by this author... and actually found a book of hers that I really really loved (Read Between the Lines)




8.  Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green & David Levithan
  • I thought I liked this book a lot when I read it.  I definitely felt like it was missing something, but I still thought I liked it.  BUT NOW???  Well, I've read other John Green books (*tear*) and other David Levithan books.... and I have to say Will Grayson, Will Grayson was the weakest of anything I've read.

9.  Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children (#1) by Ransom Riggs
  • I thought the pictures were really cool and I thought that was enough to save the book for me.  As time passes I've realized that NO, I really don't like this book.  I know a lot of people do, and I want to be one of them... but I'm not :(

10.  Ask the Passengers by A.S. King
  • I LOVE A.S. King.  LOVE.  So when I read this book, I knew I would love it.  And I did love PARTS of it (mostly the Passengers' parts).  Now when I think back on it, I think about all the characters that I hated in the book, and the way the town was SO dramatic and overly hateful... and I just don't think it was Ms. King's strongest book.




Which books have you changed your mind about over time??

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Monday, May 23, 2016

New YA Releases for the Week of 5/22

These are the books I'm obsessing over this week:



By: Anna Michels
After Veda is dumped, she vows to kiss 26 boys (one for each letter of the alphabet) over the course of one summer.


By: Kat Ellis
The son of a serial killer changes his name and heads off to boarding school... only the daughter of his dad's final victim is also at this school, and she doesn't know who he is.  I'm having a GIVEAWAY of this book!!


By: Megan Miranda
Kelsey has been raised by a mother who hasn't left her home in 17 years, ever since she escaped her kidnappers.  Now, after a publicized car accident, her mother has gone missing....


By: Laura Tims
Joy blacks out a party and the boy she hates most in the world (the boy who hurt her sister) is found dead.  Now Joy is being blackmailed by someone who wants to out her to the cops... did she really kill Adam??


(The Cage #2)
By: Megan Shepherd
They've escaped the cage, but now they're trapped in the Hunt, a safari-themed environment in which they must entertain their masters.


(The 5th Wave #3)
By: Rick Yancey
The finale to this Bestselling series.


(Descendants #2)
By: Melissa De la Cruz
The crew returns to the island and discover a mystery that will need all of them to work together to fix.





Other Books Coming Out This Week:








May has been an insane month for YA books!!  This week isn't as jam-packed, but I'm still excited for  The Safest Lies, Please Don't Tell, and 26 Kisses.  I already read Breaker--- you can read my review HERE.  What books are catching your eye this week?


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