Stacking the Shelves #9

Stacking the Shelves

Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga’s Reviews. It’s a chance to share any books you’ve bought, borrowed, or received in the past 7 days. All of the books on this list are linked to Goodreads.


Hello! I hope you had a fabulous Christmas. Mine was lovely if you don’t count the lack of snow, and I’m so excited for the new year! I hope it will be one filled with good memories and friends and family for you and me both. But for now, let’s see what books I’ve added to my shelves this week, shall we?

For Review

Where You'll Find Me 17250657

Where You’ll Find Me by Erin Fletcher (thanks @ Entangled Teen)

Salt by Danielle Ellison (thanks @ Entangled Teen)

From the Bookshop

Your First Novel 7514925 24213

Your First Novel: An Author Agent Team Share the Keys to Achieving Your Dream by Ann Rittenburg and Laura Whitcomb

Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson

Alice in Wonderland & Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll

Christmas Presents

18244920 11235712 16068905

Etiquette and Espionage by Gail Carriger

Cinder by Marissa Meyer

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell


So I’m a bit bummed—well, heartbroken is a better word for it—because Insurgent is out of stock at Barnes & Noble. HOW AM I SUPPOSED TO GO ON WITH MY LIFE UNTIL YOU HAVE RESTOCKED, YOU @#$%@#!!! But seriously, I don’t think I’ll be able to function properly until I’ve finished the Divergent series. It’s a problem.

Anyway, I’m SO excited about these new goodies. I hope you all had a wonderful holiday, and happy new year!

 

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Top Ten Books I Wouldn’t Mind Santa Bringing Me

Top Ten TuesdayTop Ten Tuesdays is hosted over at The Broke and the Bookish, with a new Top Ten prompt every week. Check it out!

Pawn

1. Pawn (The Blackcoat Rebellion, #1) by Aimee Carter

Splintered

2. Splintered (Splintered, #1) by A. G. Howard

The Nightmare Affair

3. The Nightmare Affair (The Arkwell Academy, #1) by Mindee Arnett

Still Writing: The Perils and Pleasures of A Creative Life

4. Still Writing: The Perils and Pleasures of A Creative Life by Dani Shapiro

Huntress

5. Huntress by Malinda Lo

The Miseducation of Cameron Post

6. The Miseducation of Cameron Post by Emily M. Danforth

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe

7. Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

The Archived

8. The Archived (The Archived, #1) by Victoria Schwab

Some Quiet Place

9. Some Quiet Place (Some Quiet Place #1) by Kelsey Sutton

These Broken Stars

10. These Broken Stars (Starbound #1) by Amie Kaufman

You have no idea how hard it was to narrow it down to ten. NO. IDEA. I was looking through my wishlist on Goodreads and I was just like, “Shit, how do people do this?” But I managed it, and I am absurdly proud of myself. Somebody give me a medal.

Meanwhile it’s Christmas Eve. AHHHHHHH!!! Happy holidays, my loves!

Love, Sam

Review: Dash and Lily’s Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan

Dash and Lily's Book of DaresHow did I get it? Bought

Genre: YA, Romance, Contemporary, Christmas (it is totally a genre you guys, stop judging me)

Summary: “I’ve left some clues for you.
If you want them, turn the page.
If you don’t, put the book back on the shelf, please.”

So begins the latest whirlwind romance from the bestselling authors of Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist. Lily has left a red notebook full of challenges on a favorite bookstore shelf, waiting for just the right guy to come along and accept its dares. But is Dash that right guy? Or are Dash and Lily only destined to trade dares, dreams, and desires in the notebook they pass back and forth at locations across New York? Could their in-person selves possibly connect as well as their notebook versions? Or will they be a comic mismatch of disastrous proportions?

Rachel Cohn and David Levithan have written a love story that will have readers perusing bookstore shelves, looking and longing for a love (and a red notebook) of their own.

My Thoughts

First things first: I’d never read anything by either Rachel Cohn or David Levithan when I got this book, but let me just say I have two new people on my To-Be-Hugged list.

But on to the book. I feel like I should have adored it; it really had the potential to be a new holiday favorite. But while I really did love it to pieces and I’ll probably reread it a few times during the next few years, it didn’t quite make it up to the level of book I typically build a shrine to. I’m not sure exactly why. It could’ve been because I wasn’t in the right mood, or I was tired, but oh well, I still really enjoyed it. It took me a few days to finish, but while reading I did have a lot of feels and I really fell in love with the story.

Lily was probably my favorite character just because she’s a little bit like me (although I’m actually the oldest child, not the youngest). She’s the sheltered, slightly naive baby of the family, and I loved her enthusiasm for all things Christmas. I loved to see her coming out of her shell and growing up a bit, while still managing to retain that sweet, childlike heart. I liked her instantly and I was rooting for her the entire way. I did like Dash a lot as well, and I really enjoyed his wit and the way he thinks, but there were a few times when he got on my nerves. I was shaking my book and yelling, “YOU IDIOT STOP BEING DIFFICULT!!!” in at least three different scenes.

But this book was, in general, charming. It was original, well-written, and completely hilarious. I mean, if you don’t laugh at the baby stealer part, then you need an intervention.

(Also, because of this book, I have a need to visit the Strand. A mighty need.)

Rating:

Four Stars

Recommend it?

Absolutely.

Purchase Links

Barnes & NobleAmazonBook Depository

Other Books by the Authors

Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist Naomi and Ely's No Kiss List Every Day

The Sunday Post #5

Sunday Post

The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Caffeinated Book Reviewer. It’s a chance to share news, recap the past week on your blog, showcase books and things we have received, and share news about what is coming up on our blog for the week ahead.


Good morning! I hope you’ve had a fabulous week filled with all the happy things. My own week has been spent shopping, crying over beautiful book bloggers (I’m think of having some sort of Book Blogger Crushes post just so I can get all this feels out in the open), and the burning of my new Peach Bellini candles from Bath & Body Works (anything with a wine glass on it has my automatic approval). Also the drinking of copious amounts of tea thanks to my spiffy new electric tea kettle. <3

Now, let’s see what’s been happening this past week, shall we?

Last Week on TNN

SundayThe Sunday Post #4

MondayARC review of A Dance of Cloaks by David Dalglish (4/5 hearts)

TuesdayMy Holiday To-Do List

Wednesday: Review of The Fault in Our Stars by John Green (4/5 hearts)

Waiting on Wednesday (Stormbringer by Shannon Delaney)

ThursdayThoughtful Thursday — My Favorite Heroines

FridayBook Blitz of Ondine by Emma Raveling + A GIVEAWAY!

Saturday: Stacking the Shelves #8

This Week on TNN

Monday: Review of Dash and Lily’s Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan (4/5 hearts)

Tuesday: Top Ten Tuesday — Books I Wouldn’t Mind Santa Bringing Me

Wednesday: No post because CHRISTMAS!!!! Happy holidays!

Thursday: Review of Witch Finder by Ruth Warburton (5/5 hearts)

Friday: Life of A Blogger — My Significant Other (it’s a week late but shhh)

Saturday: Stacking the Shelves #9  (my Christmas book haul with bookish gifts included)

Bookish News

Gallagher Girls: I FINISHED THE GALLAGHER GIRLS SERIES AND I’M JUST REALLY EMOTIONAL OKAY

No seriously, I cried. Actual tearage you guys. I was so beyond thrilled to see how much Cammie grew from the first book to the sixth; she went from fretting about a boy to freaking SAVING THE WORLD AS WE KNOW IT and it was just really well-done and the fifth book especially just blew my mind because I felt so close to her as a character. So anyway, yes, finished the series, cried, loved it, drank comfort tea and ate comfort ice cream and just generally leaked feels all over the place for at least 24 hours. It still makes me blubber just thinking about it.

Double-Stacking My Books: It’s officially come to the point where I cannot fit any more books on my bookcase without stacking them in front of another. Like the double-row thing (which I kind of loathe). So I will be utilizing the book-pile technique until some kind soul on the street hands me a hundred bucks to go buy a second 6-foot-tall bookcase.

Non-Bookish News

Game of Thrones: I found Game of Thrones on HBO On Demand so you guys probably won’t see me for a few weeks. (Just kidding, I’ll be back, blogging is too much fun.)

Holidaysssss: I am so freaking excited for Christmas! I love giving gifts and obviously receiving them is great too, but this entire season is just so jolly and fun, and I love the cold so much more than the heat, so I’m just basking in it all.

The Hobbit: ASDFKJASDLFKJSKDF THIS MOVIE!!! Okay, so it was admittedly kind of not the greatest thing ever; there was some shitty acting and I could not stop laughing in the elf-king’s scenes and I was annoyed by Kili’s romance from pretty much the moment it started. But then there was SMAUG THE AWESOME and is it strange to be attracted to a dragon? Because I was. I blame it on Benedict Cumberbatch’s voice. I swear he could melt glaciers with his smolder. *swoons*


So anyway, that’s been my week. I hope you all have a wonderful holiday wherever you are, filled with family, good food, and snow!

Love, Sam

My Holiday To-Do List

I always make rather outrageous plans for my month-long winter break. After a semester of horrors, Christmas is exactly what I need to wind down, relax, and enjoy myself. Oh, and make to-do lists. Because I am possibly the most list-oriented person I know. I have a planner with my schedule, post it notes on which I write my daily to-do lists by order of importance, and I also have like 3 Google Calendars and a wall calendar and I LIKE BEING ORGANIZED OKAY. Maybe that’s why I like blogging so much; I get to schedule like there’s no tomorrow. *dreamy sigh*

Anyway, with this fine, festive, festooned holiday which represents any number of things from baby Jesus to snow to Santa Claus to Norse mythology, I tend to make grand schemes.

Festivity #1

Buy every sweater on creation.

No seriously. Do you even comprehend the infinite glory that is sweaterland?

Sweaters are one of my absolute favorite parts of winter and they always make me feel cozy and hip and (of course) warm.

Festivity #2

Wear Christmas socks.

I have shitloads of holiday-themed footwear and now is the time to rock them. And rock them I will. *puts on war paint*

Festivity #3

Do the snow dance once in the morning and once at night. No matter what.

Snow dance definition: Put on every piece of winter clothing you own, go stand outside (preferably in your front yard where there are witnesses), and dance furiously while singing either Jingle Bells or Let It Snow.

Festivity #4

Go buy those organic chocolate truffles at Earth Fare because like really, get in my mouth now. *grabby hands* If I could marry these truffles, my girlfriend would be shit outta luck.

Festivity #5

Bloggity bloggity bloggity blog. I’ve got reviews done up through January, so now I’m going to work on the other fun stuff for this month! And since there’s no school, I’ll have lots of time to explore other blogs and meet peeps and lurk on Goodreads and Twitter. (Aside: I don’t mean to whine on Twitter. Twitter makes me do it. I mean, really. It’s obviously Twitter’s fault. All that blue? Should be viewed with suspicion. *views suspiciously*)

Festivity #6

Watch ALL the Christmas movies. Polar Express, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, Santa Claus, Annie, and a few Disney movies. Also Harry Potter because it is never not the right time to watch Harry freakin’ Potter, let’s be real.

Festivity #7

Wear the most sickeningly festive nail polish known to man. Right now it’s candy cane red with sparkly green Christmas trees. Up next: ice blue snowflakes awyiss.

Festivity #8

Cuddles with my Boo Bear (who is my dog, and I love him, and he is mine).

Festivity #9

Listen to Christmas music until I’m thinking in carols.

Festivity #10

Read, read, read, and oh did I mention READ? I’m going to read all da books. None shall escape me. I’m going to meet my reading goal, and I’m going to eat, sleep, and breathe books until January. I’m also going to finish the Gallagher Girl series because holy hell, spy school has never been better. And then I’m going to put a dent in my Winter TBR list, and prepare myself for the unholy delights of the 2014 Reading Retellings Challenge (which I am hosting/fangirling over). Join me in my quest to read some spectacular retellings in 2014!

Happy holidays, my lovelies! I hope your week is merry and bright so far, and I hope your reading is as well! Have a sparkling day!

Love, Sam

Friday Favorites: Christmas Stories

Friday Favorites

Friday Favorites is a weekly meme hosted by Tressa’s Wishful Endings that spotlights a favorite author, book, series, publisher, cover, blog, etc. Basically whatever bookish thing that you love, recommend, and want to tell others about.

The Polar Express

The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg

Late on Christmas Eve, after the town has gone to sleep, a boy boards a mysterious train that waits for him: the Polar Express bound for the North Pole. When he arrives there, Santa offers him any gift he desires. The boy modestly asks for one bell from the reindeer’s harness. It turns out to be a very special gift, for only believers in Santa can hear it ring.

Why I Love It

I watch this with my family every Christmas Eve with hot chocolate and cookies. It’s a fabulous book and a fabulous movie. I love the message and the hope it talks about, and it just makes me really happy. It’s a classic, beautiful story about believing in magic that’s definitely not just aimed at children. When I’m old and gray I will still love this story, and it will always be very special to me.

Writerly Things

Writing is going swimmingly. I can’t begin to describe my relief. I’ve written almost four pages in three days, which is probably nothing to a seasoned writer, but for me it’s  the most I’ve written in a long while. That’s not to say it’s flowing smoothly. I still get stuck a lot, but instead of giving up and telling myself “later”, I keep pushing and, if I really need to, I skip that scene and go on to something else. It’s working wonderfully (insert squealing and bouncing here).

In other news, I’m thinking of getting a Twitter for writerly things. I have one for RL (which I don’t use), and one for online friends (which I do use), but none specifically for writing. Actually I’m not really sure what one does to make relationships and conversation in the online world of writers, but it seems that Twitter is one such way of “connecting”. I love having people to talk to who are in the same boat as I am (writers, readers, dreamers, butchers, bakers, candlestick makers) and while blogging is WONDERFUL, I sort of want more ways of sharing and interacting with people, just because it makes me happy.

Of course, if I make a Twitter I’m not really sure what I’d do with it, since I only follow a smattering of blogs, and I don’t really like following people unless I really genuinely want to know them better and talk to them or I even just like what they’re saying, because otherwise what’s the point? (God, that came out a bit snobbier than intended oops.)

So that’s my little ramble of the day. I hope you’re all enjoying these last few days of December (it’s a damn icebox even here in the Southeast). I know I for one am looking forward to the new year and all the change it will bring.

Be happy!

Books books books!

So, with holiday money racking up (always lovely) I’ve had the chance to purchase a few goodies for my bookshelf. At the moment, I’m in the middle of a wonderful book called The Weekend Novelist by Robert J. Ray and Bret Norris. While reading it for the past week or so whenever I caught a free moment, I’ve had several epiphanies about my own novel series that I’m both excited and irritated about. I’m sure most if not all writers have experienced the moments when, completely out of the blue, an idea hits you that will pulverize both your plot and your sanity which, while not necessarily a bad thing, tends to be a bit like pulling the rug out from under you. That’s what’s happened to me. Three times. In five days. I’m hanging on by a coffee-soaked thread.

For one, I found out that my leading character, whom I originally thought was unknowingly adopted as a baby and never told his true parents’ identities, was in fact raised by his father. In the woods.

I also found out that the novel does not take off with the death of the MC‘s adopted mother, but with the capture and kidnapping of his biological father. Naturally and unsurprisingly, I have yet to be informed of exactly how said father is captured and ‘napped.

And the quaint forest village where he was originally raised turned into a city fortress built into the side of a mountain.

Lovely.

However, I think, despite my exasperation with this strange new direction the story is taking me, I quite like the idea of writing it.

But back to the book. I highly recommend it to any writer, especially those who have trouble finding time to write. I do have some warnings about it, though not everyone may necessarily be bothered by the same things I am. The style and structure of the book can be restricting in some ways; it reads like a week-by-week lesson plan, with specific exercises and lots of plotting and character work. Each chapter is intended for a certain number of weekends, and while you can skip certain sections that aren’t interesting or valid to you personally, you would do well to read all of the chapters so that you can understand the book thoroughly. I enjoy the plotting exercises especially because I happen to be a bit of a plotter and I enjoy working out the kinks in a story and fleshing out ideas. Using this book’s suggestions and an old sketch book I found lying around the house, I’ve been having quite a time exploring the ideas of Ray and Norris and it’s really benefited both me and my novel. They both seem to be very seasoned writers and it shows in the way they approach writing. One thing that they focus heavily on which I’m not crazy about is “objects”. A good number of lessons focus on developing objects to associate with characters and situations, which in itself is a great thing to mention; however, 40+ pages are spent on this topic and after a while it gets tedious. I found myself skimming a lot of it.

This book has been really handy for plotting and character work, but I’m more than halfway through it and they haven’t even begun approaching the actual writing of the novel, which seems a bit odd to me considering they claimed in the introduction that, using the book’s methods, the reader is supposed to have a completed rough draft. I’m not particularly trying for a completed draft in 52 weekends, but it would be nice if the book didn’t seem to stray so much from its original purpose.

Having spewed out that mini-rant, I would still definitely recommend it as an addition to your bookshelf. There are many exercises in it which have helped to get me out of a tight spot, and it’s very easy to follow, with examples from both published books and samples from the authors’ own writing.

I hope everyone has had a wonderful holiday season surrounded by those you love and those who love you, and fingers crossed that this coming year is a great one!