Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Hello Lovelies!! Today we're getting into the Halloween spirit (ah! punny!!) with this top ten Tuesday from the Broke and the Bookish.  

Top Ten Books / Movies to Gear Up for Halloween!

Every Halloween I watch a handful of movies:

1. Hocus Pocus : This one's obvious. I'm a product of the 90s, I just can't go a year without it.
2. Practical Magic: I'm OBSESSED with this movie. I definitely tried to cast a love spell when I saw it when I was like seven or eight, but I figured I didn't know the words to say with it.
3. The Nightmare Before Christmas : Perfect for Halloween AND Christmas!!
4. Paranorman: So underrated!! Check it out if you haven't yet!
5. The Haunting in Conneticut : Perfect for when you want to actually be scared by a movie.

And a few books that I've read recently/think would be good to read around Halloween/or am planning to read ASAP:
6. Don't Look Back: Creepy mystery!
7. The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender : Halloween costume ideas!!
8. The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer : Super creepy!!
9. Welcome to the Darkhouse : Like reading a scary movie
10. Asylum : This looks so creepy!!

What about you lovelies?? Any yearly Halloween traditions? I'm a big fan of the holiday and related things (i.e. ghosts, vampires, werewolves, pumpkins, costumes). Leave me a comment with your favorite Halloween related thing!!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Hello Lovelies!

Lately I've been thinking about how inspiring young adult books are. They don't necessarily even try to be.

Welcome to the Darkhouse by Laurie Faria Stolarz (which I will review soon!) is what actually got me thinking about this. She wrote a horror novel for teens. I mean reading Welcome to the Darkhouse is almost like sitting and watching Scream or Chucky or any of the hundreds of horror movies that come out each year, but the two quotes that I marked down from it had nothing to do with fear. They were about being yourself and being more than what you are.

The whole book is about fear! But Stolarz still managed to make me think about how I choose to react to situations and how I will cut the real me out of things when I want people to approve.

These are the two quotes:

Give yourself permission. Live your own life, make your own choices.

What can this moment teach me?

Nothing at all to do with fear or serial killers or haunted amusement parks. But so empowering and inspiring on their own. And I think that's what I love about YA books. They continue to surprise me each time. Sure, they might have their own tropes and some of them are pure fluff, but I'm surprised by the depth I find in them when I'm not expecting it.

What have you read lately, lovelies? What's surprised you? Let me know in the comments!

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Hello Lovelies! 

Here's another Top Ten Tuesday coming at you thanks to the lovely people at The Broke and the Bookish

This week it's Top Ten Series I'd Like to Start. And whooo boy I have a whole bunch of these. So I'm just going to pull the first ten I see off of my bookshelf.

The False Prince by Jennifer Nielsen
Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo
Unwind by Neal Shusterman
The Immortal Rules by Julie Kagawa
The Diviners by Libba Bray
Asylum by Madeleine Roux
The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken

Tell me which series I need to get on to pronto! And let me know which series you're thinking of starting in the comments!

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Hello Lovelies!

Wow! It's been a long time since I've done just a general update-y post.

As you might remember, I've been swamped with school things lately, but because of Columbus Day (blech what a terrible "holiday"), I don't have class on Monday, so I had a bit of extra time this week. Also my school hosted the Boston Globe Horn Book Awards on Friday night which I was lucky enough to be able to attend, and holy oh my goodness.

First of all, the winners were very gracious people. They all got to give little speeches except for a few who were unable to attend, and it was so nice hearing them speak! I love listening to writers and illustrators talk about their creative process and how they get ideas and what they do with them. I think it interests me because I so desperately want to be a writer.

While it was very interesting listening to all of them speak, and I was definitely in awe of all of them, I was most excited to see Gene Luen Yang. And I was not disappointed!!! There were signing tables afterwards, and he signed my book:

I get really awkward around people I find impressive -- like even professors and general people around me--and he was very nice. He asked me whether I was going to school or working, and I said going to school and I talked about how weird it was moving from Montana to Boston, and he was really kind and didn't seem bothered at all that I was basically a stuttering mess. I'm sure he gets that a lot though.

I wish I had been able to say more. I wish I'd been able to say, "I've only recently started to realize how white-washed the field of young adult literature is, and a huge part of that is because I read American Born Chinese at the same time that I started to follow more blogs that dealt with diversity in young adult literature. And I wanted to thank you for reminding me how important it is to have representations of all people in literature. I recommend your books to everyone because they're fun and funny and while they're serious about the problems Chinese-Americans (and Chinese people in general i.e. Boxers & Saints) face, they are also about so many other things." I also maybe should have mentioned that I was studying fan responses to his works for one of my classes, but that felt awkward too.

I'd been having a sort of rough time with school lately because I was getting frustrated about the constraints of academia and the fact that I want to graduate in two years while apparently most people complete the program in two and a half years. So going to the Horn Book Awards was such a nice way to remind myself of why I want to do this, and how even though it's scary to be going to an expensive school in an expensive town, I chose to for this reason. It made me feel good about my choices again.

Also, I spent like 20 minutes talking to this woman who worked for Macmillan Children's Publishing Group, and that was really cool because her job is one which I had been considering quite a bit. And it sounds soo cooool. So that was quite fun too.

In the last week, I also made a pretty amazing apple streusel pie and went to Maine and saw a lighthouse and listened to good music. So overall, it's been a pretty fantastic week.

What have you been up to lovelies?? Let me know in the comments. And feel free to reach me via other social media -- check out my pretty new links in the top right!!

Whoa. Whoa. Whoa. Whoa. Whoa.

Jandy Nelson's I'll Give You the Sun might be the best book I've read this year, and I've read some damn good books in the last ten months.

Within the first ten pages, I knew I was going to love this book. Noah is an incredible character (as is Jude, but the first chapter is from Noah's POV). Alternating POVs can be tricky, but Nelson excels at distinguishing the two characters in this book. The story alternates between the views of twins Noah at age 13 (going on to 14) and Jude at 16. The twins used to be super close but during Noah's time they're beginning to fall apart. By Jude's time, they barely even talk to each other.

I'll Give You the Sun is about trust and love and betrayal and knowing exactly what you want to do with your life and not being able to do it. But ohmygosh is it about love. It's about love in every expression: sibling love and parental love and love when you don't want it and love when you do want it.

I finished I'll Give You the Sun and immediately wanted to pick up any other books Nelson had written. I was excited to see that this wasn't her first novel, but I was also disappointed to see that there was only one other book of hers I could read!

This is a great book for people who like character driven novels. I would consider it contemporary fiction,but I think that even if contemporary fiction isn't usually your jam, you should give it a try.

Favorite Quotes:
"If Mom died, the sun would go out. Period."
"There's a crawlspace in me that no one can get to, no matter what."
"No woman can resist a man who has tidal waves and earthquakes beneath the skin."
"They do make love stories for girls with black hearts after all. They go like this."
"'Maybe we're accumulating these new selves all the time.' Hauling them in as we make choices, good and bad, as we screw up, step up, lose our minds, find our minds, fall apart, fall in love, as we grieve, grow, retreat from the world, dive into the world, as we make things, as we break things."