Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Tune In Tuesday {21}

Tune In Tuesday is a fun weekly post hosted by Ginger at GReads.  It's a great way to see what kind of music other people are loving. 

I was stuck on what song to post today (I'm still a little obsessed with my pick from last week). But I decided to go back to a favorite of mine from way back, way back in the 90s, way back in middle school/high school. NO DOUBT! I have loved this band for so long it's not even funny (though I'm not the biggest fan of Gwen alone, I like the band). I could go on and on for days...so instead I'll just post a few of my favorite songs.

Don't Speak - my favorite of all time
Greener Pastures
Dark Blue
Simple Kind of Life

Friday, November 25, 2011

TGIF {13}

TGIF is a fun post created by Ginger at GReads.  It’s to recap what you’ve posted about through the week and then Ginger asks a fun question.

Friday, Nov. 25th - When You're Not Reading: What occupies your time when your nose isn't stuck in a book?

Since I work full time and am a wife and mother (to a four-year-old ENERGETIC boy) I don't have a whole lot of free time. But the time I do have I try split it up into different things (though the main one is reading). 

Lately it's been writing. I've been writing off and on for the past few years, but really got into the swing of things earlier this year and reworked a previous idea and started from scratch. Was able to finish the first draft of this WIP last month.

Another passion of mine is renting movies or watching television shows. I know, not the best way to spend spare time, but when you live far away from your babysitter (i.e. family) it's the perfect way to entertain yourself (and save money). Though we have become big fans of the local drive-in. We can watch our movie while our son sits in the backseat with a laptop playing his movie.

But the best way I spend my time is fun with my family. From driving back home to my parents, them coming for a visit, late night movie with my husband after kiddo is asleep, or taking my son to the park.

So how do you spend your time when your nose isn't stuck in a book?

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Tune In Tuesday {20}

Tune In Tuesday is a fun weekly post hosted by Ginger at GReads.  It's a great way to see what kind of music other people are loving. 

Last week I posted songs from the Twilight Soundtrack since it was Breaking Dawn Premier week and I hadn't really listened to the soundtrack for it. I ended up buying it the day of the premier and did my best to listen, but with a talkative four-year-old, it's tough.

I listened to it a few times on the 2 hours drive to my parents and 45 minute drive to the theater for the midnight premier and had an idea of the songs during the movie. It was the song they played during the credits that really stuck me-Bruno Mars "It Will Rain". Though I'm not a huge fan, I do like some of his stuff. If I had REALLY listened to it before the movie, not sure I'd feel the same way. But hearing the song right after experiencing the movie, I was really able feel the emotion behind it. All the lyrics made sense. I've now listened to it a few dozen times and it gets me each and every time I play it. So much so that tonight I went to the Drive-In and saw it for the second time. Contemplating a third (I've never seen any movie at a theater more than once so that says something).

Anyway...enough blabbering. Let me know what you think!

Week 4: Top Ten Lists!

My bookish friend Ashley is hosting a month long event on her blog for JUST CONTEMPORARY. You'll find a variety of posts (guest posts, interviews, giveaways) all month that deal with only contemporary books. Each week there's a different question floating around to be answered.

Week 4: Top Ten Lists!

So I wasn't 100% sure what to do with this post, so I'm stealing an idea from my good buddy Katelyn (thanks for letting me use it)! I'm positing my top 10 favorites contemporary book-boy crushes! It did get a little difficult finding 10 guys from contemporary books because I haven't read that many, or it's been awhile since I have. But I think I have a pretty swoon worthy list.

1). Jonah Griggs from Jellicoe Road - What's not to love about him? But I'm not telling. Seriously, I'm not. Go read Jellicoe Road and find out for yourself!

2). John After from Going to Far - !!!!! That's the only way to describe Officer After. I mean he's rugged, he wears a uniform, he's a protector, he's just !!!!

3). Cricket from Lola and the Boy Next Door - How do I love Cricket...let me count the ways. Okay, there's not enough time or room for that, but really. Cricket, though not the best communicator in the world, is incredible. He's smart, quirky, cute. All around great guy. I wish I had someone like him next door when I was growing up!

4). Owen Armstrong from Just Listen - Owen is my kind of guy. He's larger than life, has an amazing personality and L.O.V.E.S. music. 

5). Carter from Sophie & Carter - Carter is damaged, but you wouldn't know it by the way he carries himself. He has a crappy home life that he doesn't let the rest of the world see. Except his neighbor, Sophie, who he would move mountains for. That's why I love Carter. When he loves, it's unconditional.

6). Doug Fox from Forget You - From the moment he arrived at Zoey's house to make sure she was okay I was swept away! They don't get much better than Doug.

7). Brian McBrian from Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants - What's not to love about Brian McBrian?! Nerdy. Loyal. Smart. Cute that blossoms into hotness. Fun loving. Carefree. He's the whole package!

8). John from Dear John - Oh my, this book crushed my heart! Though John might have his flaws, he didn't deserve the way Savannah treated him. I wanted nothing more than to reach into the pages and hug his tears away. 

9). Blake from But I Love Him - Blake plays a small but significant roll in the book. He does his absolute best to try and reach out to Ann, even putting himself in danger to do it. You've gotta love a guy who will go to battle for you.

10). Kostos from Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants - Kostos isn't the best guy in the world, but he's Greek and he's dreamy, so of course I had to add him to my list! Accent wins every time.

So now that I've shown you my contemporary book-boy list (though the list would grow and grow if I added other genres) and went a little boycrazy, tell me some of yours. 

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Thankful for....Twilight!

Beth Revis is having a HUGE giveaway on her blog. She's wanting to know what books you're thankful for. It's so hard to pick just one book. There are so many great ones out there. But there is one, rather four, that stand out to me the most. So I'm going to tell you why I'm thankful for the Twilight series.

I know it's cliché and everybody seems to say this, but Twilight is what got me back into reading! I read a lot growing up, all through middle school. I was the girl who exceeded the 300 required reading pages per six weeks by 3000.  As I got into high school and started band and soccer I had less time. Then came working and college and there was never time. Then getting married and starting a real job and house owning and blah blah blah. That all changed when I found Twilight. I made time.

It was the month or so after Breaking Dawn was released and weeks before the movie was due to release that I saw Twilight sitting on a shelf at Walmart late at night. I hadn't heard of the movie, but it caught my eye. I picked it up, brought it home, and was hooked! I went back two days later early in the morning and picked up New Moon because I had already finished reading Twilight. The next day I went on the hunt for Eclipse and Breaking Dawn. I found Eclipse at Walmart, but they had no copies of Breaking Dawn. I then drove a few miles over to Target and found the LAST copy of Breaking Dawn. I went home and over the next two days devoured them.

I still remember what it was like reading them for the first time. And second. And third and fourth. Yes, I've read the complete series four times! I've also reread each book before it's movie premier (except for Breaking Dawn, maybe I can read that one before Breaking Dawn Part 2). With each pass I found something different. With Twilight I was just learning the characters, getting into their world. In New Moon I was on the edge of my seat wondering if Edward would be back (no...I did not peak) that I know I missed stuff. So much detail and new characters in both Eclipse and Break Dawn. Of course I had to read them over. And I know in the future I'll read them again. And again.

There are people who love this series. There are people who don't get it. There are people who don't like it. But I've heard time and time again how many people said this series got them into or back into reading. That, to me, is what is so awesome about it.

What book are you thankful for?

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Tune In Tuesday {19}

Tune In Tuesday is a fun weekly post hosted by Ginger at GReads.  It's a great way to see what kind of music other people are loving. 

If you are not a Twilight fan, I apologize in advance for my picks. Though, Twi Soundtrack or not, they are REALLY great songs..so hope you enjoy anyway! 

Was having a hard time picking a song this week. Then when I was writing up this post today (Monday) I realized it's BREAKING DAWN WEEK! I don't have the Breaking Dawn Soundtrack (yet....not sure if it's even out) so I'm not familiar with the songs. BUT I am VERY familiar with the Twilight Soundtrack. It's my favorite (though Eclipse is my favorite of the movies). There's not one song on there that I don't like! Here are a few of my favorites!

Linkin Park - Leave Out All The Rest - I LOVE Linkin Park and adore this song!

Muse - Supermassive Black Hole - Such a good song (used to be my ringtone) and it plays during the baseball scene, which is one of my favorites!

Iron & Wine - Flightless Bird, American Mouth - I LOVE LOVE LOVE this song! When it comes on I tend to replay it a few times!

I hope you've enjoyed my picks! If your a Twi-fan, which is your favorite soundtrack and songs? Can't even tell you HOW excited I am for Breaking Dawn Part 1! 

Monday, November 14, 2011

Just Contemporary Review - Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta

"What do you want from me?" he asks. What I want from every person in my life, I want to tell him. More.
Abandoned by her mother on Jellicoe Road when she was eleven, Taylor Markham, now seventeen, is finally being confronted with her past. But as the reluctant leader of her boarding school dorm, there isn't a lot of time for introspection. And while Hannah, the closest adult Taylor has to family, has disappeared, Jonah Griggs is back in town, moody stares and all.
In this absorbing story by Melina Marchetta, nothing is as it seems and every clue leads to more questions as Taylor tries to work out the connection between her mother dumping her, Hannah finding her then and her sudden departure now, a mysterious stranger who once whispered something in her ear, a boy in her dreams, five kids who lived on Jellicoe Road eighteen years ago, and the maddening and magnetic Jonah Griggs, who knows her better than she thinks he does. If Taylor can put together the pieces of her past, she might just be able to change her future.

I am not even going to pretend that I know how to review this book! The one thing I can say for a fact that it is a MUST READ! I can't thank Ashley and Katelyn ENOUGH for making sure I read it! It started months back when Katelyn read the book and I commented to her and Ashley that I'd have to give it a read seeing as how they both love it so much. Then about two months ago Ashley asked if I had found the book. The bookstores nor library around here carry it, so I finally ordered it online. It took me a week or so before I started reading. I was about 50 pages in when LIFE got in the way. Busy at work all day which made me tired at home so I wasn't staying awake late to read. The free time that I did have I spent finishing up my novel. But I PROMISED them I would read it. I told them I had vacation coming in November and it was my FIRST priority. That was this week.

And man am I GLAD I finally read it! Five stars isn’t enough for this book. I won't lie. It is a hard book to get into. I'd say if you can make it through the first 140 to 150 pages then you're golden. And Ashley explains it best when she says it's "magic" how all the pieces fall into place. 

The majority of the story takes place on Jellicoe Road. We're thrown into a territory war between three groups of kids; the students of Jellicoe School lead by Taylor Markham, the Townies led by Chaz Santangelo (who for some reason I kept wanting to call Santiago), and the Cadets lead by Jonah Griggs. The war begins every year when the Cadets show up to camp near the boarding school and town. To me, the war seemed to have no rhyme or reason at all, but it was life or death to these kids. They believed in them so hard that I began to believe in them too. It made me think back to when I was a kid playing games like "war" and "kick-the-can" with the neighborhood kids. I got why it was so important to them. To kids, games are the most important thing. But it was when the kids sort of grow up and began to see this war as a game that the real lessons are learned.

My father took one hundred and thirty two minutes to die.

I counted.

It happened on the Jellicoe Road. The prettiest road I’d ever seen, where trees made breezy canopies like a tunnel to Shangri-La. We were going to the ocean, hundreds of kilometres away, because I wanted to see the ocean and my father said that it was about time the four of us made that journey. I remember asking, “What’s the difference between a trip and a journey?” and my father said, “Narnie, my love, when we get there, you’ll understand,” and that was the last thing he ever said.

We heard her almost straight away. In the other car, wedged into ours so deep that you couldn’t tell where one began and the other ended. She told us her name was Tate and then she squeezed through the glass and the steel and climbed over her own dead – just to be with Webb and me; to give us her hand so we could clutch it with all our might. And then a kid called Fitz came riding by on a stolen bike and saved our lives.

Someone asked us later, “Didn’t you wonder why no one came across you sooner?”

Did I wonder?

When you see your parents zipped up in black body bags on the Jellicoe Road like they’re some kind of garbage, don’t you know?

‘Wonder dies.’

Then there’s the story within the story, where, to me, the real mystery hides. This story is told by Hannah, one of the adult figures at Jellicoe School. Bits and pieces are given to us throughout the book (the excerpt  above is from goodreads and also the prologue which is the start of the sub story) and all the while we don't know if these characters—Narnie, Webb, Tate, Jude and Fitz—are real or made up. It takes place in the same setting, but twenty-two years in the past. Each segment of the story tells a little more about each of these five characters; how Narnie protected her brother Webb, how Tate crawled over to comfort the two, how Fitz road in and saved the day and how Jude holds them together. Without this, the book wouldn’t make sense.

My favorite part of the book is two of the main characters, Taylor and Jonah, and the relationship between the two; though it’s not your typical love story. Right away we get a sense of history between the two, a past that neither seems to want to remember, but both needs to come to terms with. Taylor, who was abandoned on Jellicoe Road at age eleven by her mother, is a strong, stubborn and determined. Though she wasn’t top pick by her peers to lead Jellicoe Road, she does everything she can to prove them wrong. Then there’s Jonah, evenly stubborn and determined, he’s admired by his fellow cadets, as well as everyone else. Throughout the story the two play a game of two steps forward and two steps back until they finally come to an agreement.

It's hard for me to describe why this book is so amazingly wonderful. There isn't one thing about it, it's everything. From the characters, the school, the town, to the territory wars, etc. It's happy and sad. It's tragic and hopeful. And nothing was thrown in just because; it all has a meaning, a purpose. And Ashley is 100% right, it's magic when it all comes together.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Week 2: The Tough Stuff

My bookish friend Ashley is hosting a month long event on her blog for JUST CONTEMPORARY. You'll find a variety of posts (guest posts, interviews, giveaways) all month that deal with only contemporary books. Each week there's a different question floating around to be answered (I'm a few days late with mine).

Week 2: The Tough Stuff

Who knew writing about the tough stuff would be so...tough. I've been looking at a blank screen for a while now! Grr. Honestly, Ashley said it better than I ever could. Be sure to check out her post.

I think the reason it's hard for me is because I don't read a lot of the tough stuff. Not tough as in the writing is difficult as much as the subject matter can be hard to swallow. To me the world sucks enough (I do not watch the news) so I like to escape to a better reality. Though I do believe the tough stuff is necessary. There are so many things that I never experienced in my young adult (or even adult) life that I can't even imagine happening. I had a loving family, great friends, I wasn't abused, I didn't do drugs or even drink. But not everyone has that life...and while I read these and think wow, this person is strong or wow, they handled this well, others are out there actually living it. And for those, these books can give hope. Can help them see they aren't alone. And maybe give them courage to get help or change their life. 

The most recent "tough" books I've read are by Laurie Halse-Anderson. Twisted and Speak are so completely different—different  voice, different writing style, different subject mattersbut invoke the same feelings. Raw, rough, hard. Twisted is from a male POV about a boy who struggles with a reputation that he doesn't want to live up to and works to change it. Speak is about a girl who loses her voice after being raped. In the end she's able to finally overcome her fear and speak up for herself. What I love about these books is that they may not end happily ever after, but they leave you with a feeling that these characters can be happy with time. I have Wintergirls in my possession and can't wait to read it. 

I'm currently reading "Story of a Girl" By Sara Zarr which by the description and opening pages it looks to be a tough read. Hope I'm ready.

What tough books do you recommend?

Tune In Tuesday {18}

Tune In Tuesday is a fun weekly post hosted by Ginger at GReads.  It's a great way to see what kind of music other people are loving.  I’ve seen these around and just had to join in the fun.

I'm a little late with my post this week. I'm on vacation so I'm doing what any normal person on vacation would do; being lazy. And I'm loving it! Books, Twi-thon, hanging out with my boys, going to the national peanut festival. Wait, WHAT? A festival about PEANUTS?! Haha...yes, exactly what it sounds like. Peanuts are a HUGE crop around here. Local businesses even have peanut statues dressed up to represent them. Kinda of cute.

Anyway...I mention the NPF because it's related to my post. Along with fair food (funnel cakes FTW), rides and games they have live music. Tonight Uncle Kracker will be playing! While I'm not the biggest fan I do like his music. We'll see how it is live. I hope he plays my favorites.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Week 1: Why I love Contemporary YA

My bookish friend Ashley is hosting a month long event on her blog for JUST CONTEMPORARY. You'll find a variety of posts (guest posts, interviews, giveaways) all month that deal with only contemporary books. Each week there's a different question floating around to be answered (I'm a few days late with mine).

Week 1: Why I love contemporary!

I don't know if there's an easy way to answer this question. Honestly, I started out reading contemporary when I was younger elementary/middle school. By then end of middle school and into high school I got caught up in the Fear Street books and left contemporary aside. After years (college and work didn't leave time for a lot of extra reading) I finally found my way back with The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants. I read through that series a few times. Just loved it. But then things like Twilight and Dystopians and Science Fiction and The Shade boys got in the way. 

After finishing Shade/Shift I was looking for another book but I KNEW nothing would come close to what I had just read. Then I remembered I had 3 Jennifer Echols books sitting on my bookshelf untouched. remembering Ashley was going to be hosting JUST CONTEMPORARY I thought I'd give one a read. And one turned into two and then into three. Three books in three days. 

Then I found Anna and the French Kiss. Another book I finished in a day. It was so. Stinkin. CUTE! I HAD to read Lola and the Boy Next Door. A dear friend of mine had an ARC and let me borrow it (Thanks Jamie). Again, so cute! I like to say I finished it in a day, but I broke it up over two nights. These books are just that good. 

Okay, that really doesn't explain why I love them. It's also hard to put into words. The relationships, the friendships, the world surrounding them...it's all REAL life. It has, can, could happen to you or someone you know. The girls could be your best friend, your sister, or even you. I find at least one quality in each of the main characters that I can relate to in one way or another. And the boys...wow...Officer After and Cricket both hold a special place in my heart. They're the kind of guys you want to look for. 

Then there's the dark side of contemporary. The books that make you think and cringe and wonder...but without these books, we wouldn't know what else is out there. The people who experience these tales can be given hope that there is a way out that it can end okay and those who can't relate now have their eyes open. 

The bottom line is contemporary has it all. There's something there for everyone. I hope you'll pick up at least one contemporary book this month. Ask for a recommendation and if I can't give you one, I know a few girls who can!

My Contemporary List for this month:
1. Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta
2. The Boyfriend Thief by Shana Norris
3. With or Without You by Brian Farrey
4. Forbidden by Tabitha Suzuma
5. Sophie & Carter by Chelsea Fine
6. The Story of A Girl by Sara Zarr
7. Endless Summer/The Boys Next Door by Jennifer Echols
8. Breathe by Melanie McCullough (which will be released around 11/21 and I can't wait)

Tuesday, November 1, 2011


So a friend of mine, Ashley, is hosting JUST CONTEMPORARY this month on her blog. I won't lie and say this is my favorite genera, though it is very high up on my list. I'm a Sci-Fi/Dystopian junkie at heart, but I still have a soft spot for contemporary. And a few girls (Ashley, Katelyn and Ginger) have been bringing that soft spot out more and more lately. I'm not complaining!

After I read certain books—Divergent, Shade/Shift, Enclave—I'm not ready to leave that world completely and jump into another. This is where contemporary comes in handy for me. It's a familiar world, one I live every day, so I can still let the previous book linger while I read through a few of these.

I'm going to try to do a mini-review each week. This is not normal for me, while I promote the heck out of books, I haven't really gotten into the review part of it all. But for Ashley, I'm making an exception (and sorry Ashley, they won't be pages long...but I'm trying). 

Hope you'll join Ashley and the other awesome bloggers who are apart of JUST CONTEMPORARY month! 

Tune In Tuesday {17}

Tune In Tuesday is a fun weekly post hosted by Ginger at GReads.  It's a great way to see what kind of music other people are loving.  I’ve seen these around and just had to join in the fun.

Soundtrack week is over so now I have to get creative and come up with my own song! EEP! Well, it's not really that hard, there are just so many EPIC songs out there it's hard to choose. So, I'm going to go with an older song, and actually a cover (or is it remake...not sure in this case).

ANYWAY! So a few weeks ago I was on a road with with Anna Banks and she told me I had to listen to this song that reminded her of my novel. She put it on and we JAMMED! I knew the song, and already loved it. Since then I've listened to it hundreds of times. Can't get enough. It's creepy and perfect and just....love!

So....here ya go! Sweet Dreams by Marilyn Manson