The Massive Book Hangover

I've been ruined. I can't pick up another book. I've tried several times. And now I have several unfinished books that I can't go back to because I need THIS story to resolve. I NEED closure dangit!

The Opportunist by Tarryn Fisher sucked me in from page one. It was unputdownable. Tarryn is a GENIUS. She somehow created characters that you should normally hate and made you fall in love with them.

Here's the description from Goodreads:
Olivia Kaspen has just discovered that her ex-boyfriend, Caleb Drake, has lost his memory. With an already lousy reputation for taking advantage of situations, Olivia must decide how far she is willing to go to get Caleb back. Wrestling to keep her true identity and their sordid past under wraps, Olivia’s greatest obstacle is Caleb’s wicked, new girlfriend; Leah Smith. It is a race to the finish as these two vipers engage in a vicious tug of war to possess a man who no longer remembers them. But, soon enough Olivia must face the consequences of her lies, and in the process discover that sometimes love falls short of redemption.

I made one of my best friends read it and following finishing the book in one day(as I did) she sent me a text that said, "Umm...that book was horrible. I hate you." And all I could do was laugh. Not because I had inflicted this book upon her, but because I knew exactly how she felt.

This book is in no way uplifting. And you know me...I'm all about rainbows and butterflies and happily ever afters and for some FREAKING reason this book has me so wrapped up in the characters and where they are going to end up that I can't sleep! I finished it nearly a month ago and it's still haunting me. That's why I'm here, rambling about it to all of you because I can't get the dang book out of my mind! So I read it again. And I'll probably read it again until the final installment of the series comes to save me. At least it better or I'm going with my pitchfork to Tarryn's doorstep and demanding that she FIX it!

A part of me is screaming to you all, "YOU HAVE TO READ THIS BOOK!" While the other part of me says, "Save yourself! There's still time!" So I will say this...Research it for yourself. If you choose this mission and read it, tell me SO WE CAN TALK ABOUT IT!

“You will remember every day for the rest of your life because I was the one and you threw me away." - The Opportunist


Favorite Books of 2012

This year I discovered my love for emotional roller coaster books. So if you don't like books that will make you cry you may not enjoy half the books on my list. These aren't necessarily books that came out this year, just books that I got to read this year. Out of the 75+ books I read here are my top 10 favorites.
Prepare for gushing...

(Just click on the title if you want to know more about the books)

10. Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins
I talked about it here a few posts back. It's a light yet meaningful book about being true to yourself and not being afraid to be who you are. And of course it has some romance. Lola's a unique character that didn't remind me of every other ho-hum female heroine. I met Stephanie Perkins at the Yall Fest in Charleston last month and it made me love her books even more! With her spunky red hair and fun style it's hard not to fall in love with her.

9. Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi
This one kind of snuck up on me this year. I didn't hear too much about it, but enough to know I would enjoy it and I really really did! I also mentioned this one in the post a few months back here. It's a well written dystopian romance with relateable characters and that's not always easy to do with a YA sci-fi novel. It's the first in a series. The 2nd book comes out in January and you best believe I'll pick getting my copy the day it comes out.

8. Clockwork Prince by Cassandra Clare
It's the 2nd book in the prequel series to the Mortal Instruments. If you haven't started THAT's the time to start. With a little different feel than the modern day Mortal Instruments, the Clockwork series is set in the 1800's. The books draws you in with every detail in the world Cassandra created. Every word opens up a new avenue to her world and it's hard not to get sucked in. And of course, frustrating love triangle involved(where you can't help but love both of the guys. that never happens to me!) What's a YA series without one?

7. City of Lost Souls by Cassandra Clare
Yes. Cassandra is so awesome she takes two spots on the list. As I previously mentioned above...the Mortal Instruments series...this is the 5th book. I don't care if the premise doesn't sound appealing or that the covers may not appeal to you. (I wouldn't have picked up the first book if it wasn't given to me for a long car ride to utah). Just pick up City of Bones(book 1) and let her world take over. I promise you won't regret it. Okay so I can't promise that to everyone, but out of the 10 people that I've convinced to read it, so far only one has not liked it. 9 out of 10. Good odds in my humble opinion.

6. Saving Francesca by Melina Marchetta
This was a heartstring puller. I dedicated a post to Melina several months back here where I gushed and gushed about her books. She easily became one of my favorite authors with my number one favorite book this year, but that little nugget won't be shared until last. She creates these in depth characters that weave themselves into your life and become your best friends while you are reading because of their realness(doubt that's even a word). Francesca is humorous and endearing. You cry alongside her. You get angry alongside her. You laugh alongside her. You fall in love alongside her. I once read a review that said something like, if she wrote a 500 page book about toilet paper I'd probably devour every last word. Because that's just the kind of writer Melina is.

5. Slammed/Point of Retreat by Colleen Hoover
I'm coupling these two books because they go hand in hand and because it's my blog and whatever I say goes. I love my own little world. I should mention this is another one of those heartstring pullers. Again, these are a couple of books I mentioned previously. They are contemporary romances about love and loss and you feel every bit of that love and loss with the characters in these unique reads. I devoured Slammed and bought Point of Retreat immediately after I finished Slammed(Literally. I went on amazon and clicked the button to upload it to my tablet. It's so dangerous). The duo is a little more on the PG-13 side, probably not meant for those of you younger readers.

4. The Sea of Tranquility by Katja Millay
I just blogged about it here so I'll try not to repeat myself. The best way to describe this book in one word is raw. I was consumed by the book from the first paragraph:  
I hate my left hand. I hate to look at it. I hate it when it stutters and trembles and reminds me that my identity is gone. But I look at it anyway; because it also reminds me that I'm going to find the boy who took everything from me. I'm going to kill the boy who killed me, and when I kill him, I'm going to do it with my left hand.
I think I love this book so much because I didn't know what to expect and I've never read anything like it before. I loved that it made me feel so many emotions that I had a book hangover by the end and there was no way I could even think to pick up another book. It deserved to be absorbed and appreciated. Another on the PG-13 side.

3. Delirium/Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver
I'm cheating again because technically we can claim them as one since they belong to the same series. This was another series I had not anticipated to love as much as I do. Blogged about it before. After reading Delirium it shot right up to the top of my list of favorite sci-fi/fantasy series. Lauren Oliver is amazing. She somehow brought a fictional dystopian world to life and made it real. She wrote love without making it cheesy. She wrote detail without overdoing it. And once you finish Delirium make sure you have Pandemonium on hand because you'll want it. You'll be screaming for it. Otherwise you may just throw Delirium at the wall because it leaves you HANGING. And while lots of sequels are not as good as the first or may seem like just a filler, those are the complete opposite of what Pandemonium is. They both rocked my world. And beware...both books leave you wanting more in the end.

2. The Fault in our Stars by John Green
Can I get a standing ovation for John Green? By now everyone must know how much I love this book. I blog about it. I facebook it. I instragram it. I pinterest it. It has so much to offer. Endearing characters. A sweet love story. Meaningful quotes. Heartache. Humor and wit. John Green is really kind of genius. I can't say anything more about this book because I feel like I've said it all. It must be read. Even if you aren't a reader. Go buy yourself a dang copy and grab a box of Kleenex because they go hand-in-hand. But the tears are so worth. This book somehow warms my heart while it breaks.

1. On the Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta
HEARTSTRING PULLER OF ALL TIME. You've seen me rave about it before. It's unputdownable. Yup. That's what I said. I can't. I can't describe to you how much I love this book. I read it in January and it has stuck with me ever since. It is my favorite book of all time. ALL TIME I tell you! I go on and on about it so much people probably read it and think, Meh. C'mon, Mindy. It wasn't that good. No. Actually, I don't think that's possible. I don't know how anyone could read and not like this book. From the way it's incredibly written, to the unforgettable story, to the raw characters that make you want to crawl into the book to hug them or kiss them or both...I heart this book so much.

*steps down off soapbox and exhales(maybe with a couple tears in the eyes)*

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Mash up

I have a mash-up of things to talk about today.
1. You know the kind of book that sticks with you for days after reading it? The kind of book that once you have finished reading it, you just sit there and absorb what was read. The kind of book that keeps you from starting another one because it almost seems like you're cheating on said book, as if reading another book will erase what you just experienced. I finished The Sea of Tranquility by Katja Millay a couple days ago and it reminded me of a quote from John Green's The Fault in Our Stars. "Sometimes, you read a book and it fills you with this weird evangelical zeal, and you become convinced that the shattered world will never be put back together unless and until all human beings read the book." I've read hundreds of books and I can count on one hand the amount of books that have affected me like this one did. It crawled under my skin, latched onto my heart and didn't let go until the very end, changing me in the process. Granted, the book may not be for everyone, but I just have to shout on the rooftops what a powerful and heart-wrenching and raw, and somehow in all of that, uplifting this book was.
2. Because Sarah at Okay Creations is so awesome, she has quite the waiting list so I'll be revealing Ember's cover sometime in the beginning of next year. Abbey sent me the images from the cover-shoot and I can't even tell you how much I love them. The cover is going to be incredible. Seriously. Ahhh! I can't wait!
3. It's been awhile without a teaser so I'm going to give ya a little bit longer one this time around. That okay with you guys?

I hovered on the edge of the grove of trees where the spongy moss threatened to creep up the lawn, inviting me to take one step. The pulsing was already weakening and calmness was gently seeping in. It was only moments before my body gave into the urge to explore further when I felt it.
That sixth sense.
That sixth sense feeling of knowing when someone's behind you or watching you. That tingling feeling that rises up your spine and shivers down your limbs, I was having that moment. It felt like I was staring straight at someone in the trees, but all my naked eye could see was the rich woven branches. And yet it was there. Something or someone had to be out there.
The rational part of my brain kicked in and I started to retreat, pushing a step back. As my foot moved back I heard a quiet yet eager step come toward me. I took another step backward and simultaneously heard another step forward.
I swallowed. "Is anyone there?" My voice timid.
As if in response the wind whirled around me, blowing my hair, but no other sound was made.
"Show yourself." It was the next thing that came to my mind. If something was hiding in our trees, I probably didn't want to wait around long enough to find out what it was, but the pull kept my feet planted in place.
A faint trill of laughter echoed from the forest. It was mocking me. I turned on my heel and bolted for the back door to the safety of my home. I got the unsettling feeling that I was being chased, but when I reached the sliding glass door and slammed it behind me, nothing was there. I flipped the lock, sighing in relief and tried to catch my breath. 
"Are you okay, Calliope?"
I gasped.


this just might be a long one...

I get asked a lot if I've read anything good lately, since I read constantly. So this post I shall devote to awesome books of this year. So far. There's a little bit of fantasy, some contemporary, but most importantly-a lot of romance(cuz what's a good YA book without a little love?). I can't not gush when I talk about books I love, so if you hate long posts clear out now.
1. The first book I read this year that I fell in love with was The Fault in Our Stars by John Green. I've read a couple of John's other books and this is BY FAR the best in my opinion.
Hazel is a 16 year old miracle cancer survivor. Doctor's tell her she could live for a long time, but who knows what that means. Life's not easy for her. She still has to rely on an oxygen tank, which doesn't necessarily help the social life of a teenage girl. Then she meets very attractive Augustus during a cancer support group meeting and life suddenly doesn't seem as bad.
This book will change your life. Seriously. It is right up there in my top 5 favorite books of all time. You will laugh. You will cry. You will wonder why you didn't pick up this book the moment it came out. Go. Read it NOW.
2.  If you want a fun, light read that also gives you characters with depth and flaws then Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins is right up your alley. It's a companion novel to Anna and the French Kiss which was one of my favorite books of 2011.
Lola is all about appearance-one colorful, wacky, themed outfit for everyday. She's got a hot rocker boyfriend and everything's going fabulous until Cricket, the boy next door from her childhood, shows back up rekindling the feelings she had for him when she was younger.
I loved Lola from the beginning. I loved her because she was refreshing. And I love Stephanie Perkins' writing style. She pulls you right into her characters lives and makes you actually feel a part of the story.
3. Have you ever heard of slam poetry? I hadn't either until I was stalking around all the indie author's blogs that I've grown to love and came across gushing review after gushing review about this book called Slammed. Slammed is by a fairly new indie author, Colleen Hoover. I love her. I love her blog. I love her books. And because of her awesomeness, of course, after only eight months of having Slammed available as an e-book, she was approached by a traditional publishing company to make Slammed more widely available. I'm not even surprised that it happened so fast for her. Now, I'll stop gushing about her and tell you about Slammed.
Layken and her mom and younger brother move to Michigan after the sudden death of her father. She tries to appear strong, but she's slowly crumbling inside. Enter new next door neighbor, Will, who you can't help but fall in love with at first sight. And Layken does after their unforgettable first date where she learns about his love for slam poetry. But alas, their budding relationship can't grow when a heart-breaking revelation is revealed and they are forced to keep this secret that makes it impossible for them to be together.
4. I wanted to read this book when it first came out last year, but I just got around to it last month and I immediately put the 2nd book in the series on hold at the library when I finished it. Delirium by Lauren Oliver is my next favorite dystopian novel.
In most dystopian novels the government controls the lives of the people: where they live, where they work, who they marry. The difference with Delirium is at 18 years old the government cures everyone of Deliria aka love. But before Lena is cured of Deliria she meets mysterious Alex and suddenly nothing is black and white anymore.
One of the things I loved about Delirium is that it didn't only focus on the effect the cure had on romantic relationships, but also family and friendships. The world seemed real. It's one of those books where the story stays with you. And by the end of the book you will be running to the store for the sequel, Pandemonium, which is JUST as good as the first if not better.
5. An unexpected favorite for me this year was Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi. I was expecting just another good fantasy/sci-fi read, but I got so much more than that. Veronica can write--not just an entertaining story, but she knows how to develop a strong plot and relateable, loveable characters even though they exist in a make-believe world.
Aria is unjustifiably exiled from her city into the outer wasteland where the likelihood of survival is not promising until she meets Outsider, Perry. He's a wild one but he's her only chance to survive. Though they clash at every turn, they need each other.
The book gives dual narration, giving a voice to both Aria and Perry. I love that. I love getting the guys point of view in stories especially when that voice is Perry's(Though I can't say that I love his name).

*If you click on the titles it'll take you to their goodreads page. If you don't have a goodreads account I suggest you jump on that STAT. I live by my goodreads. And then we can be goodreads friends. DO IT.*

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the fine line

i became OBSESSED with reading about 5 years ago. i'm never not reading a book. you can ask my husband...he hates it. it took me a few months to learn what i loved to read, which turns out i love young adult fiction. anything with a good love story and i'm hooked. i read A LOT of fluff books. a lot a lot a lot. which is fine. i like fluff. if i wanted depressing i'd watch the news. but last year i discovered melina marchetta.

after reading a couple hundred books i've learned there's a fine line between reading novels that either leave a devastatingly bad taste in your mouth or leave you devastatingly moved. some writer's can do it, some wish they could and some just simply shouldn't try.

if you read only one book i ever recommend, read melina marchetta's On the Jellicoe Road. i can't tell you what it's about. it's the kind of book you just have to experience. it's my favorite book that she's written. possibly my favorite book of all time. i can't even tell you why. once you finish the last page it's the kind of book that you close and just sit there.

last night i finished my third book by melina marchetta and the fourth is on my couch armrest waiting to be devoured. i wish i could find words to describe the way her books affect me. this woman writes the most real and touching relationships-family, friend and love. her stories are heartbreaking and yet give you hope. they have the ability to change you. every word is perfectly used to "show not tell" the characters stories. her books are definitely not fluff. expect them to make you cry and leave an ache in your heart for days. but also expect them to make you feel alive and leave you devastatingly moved.