5 Books that have Completely Changed my World View

Since last weekend’s article telling adult fans of YA that they should be ashamed, the community of YA lovers have risen up in defense of what they enjoy reading and in support of YA readers and writers everywhere. This week, Epic Reads talked about books that have changed the way they view the world and invited viewers to chime in with books that have done the same for them.

It’s no secret to many of us that YA books change the way that teens and adults view the world around them. This post is dedicated to 5 very special books that opened my eyes, mind, and heart.

 

1. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

tokillamockingbirdWhile this will always be one of my favorite books for many different reasons, To Kill a Mockingbird was a wonderful insight into the innocence of children and brought into play issues of race, social economic status, and ability/disability. While Scout will always remind me of myself at her age, Atticus Finch is such an amazing character and is a stand up guy who always tries to do what is right by others, especially his children.

2. Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson

Speak_1st_Edition_CoverSpeak has been such a powerful influence on my life in many different ways, as it has for many teens and adults alike. It encourages victims of sexual assault to speak out and urges them to stay strong. It deals with the topic of bullying in such powerful and heart-wrenching ways and is one of those books that can help save the lives of so many people.

3. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

the book thiefThe Book Thief is one of the only books i have read that takes place in Nazi Germany during World War II, this book shows a glimpse into the lives of a family who hides a Jewish man in their basement. It also teaches wonderful lessons about family, friendship, and love.

4. I am the Messenger by Markus Zusak

messengerI am the Messenger taught me that even the most ordinary people are capable of doing extraordinary things and it taught me this at a time when i definitely needed it the most. it shows how even doing simple things to brighten someone’s day or help them can completely change their life.

5. The Fault in our Stars by John Green

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TFioS is such a heartbreaking story but teaches a wonderful lesson about life and living. It also features very sick people who don’t allow themselves to become their illness.

The Very Inspiring Blogger Award!!!

veryinspiringbloggerawardI was nominated earlier this week for the Very Inspiring Blogger award by Drown in Melancholy!

Thank you so much for nominating my blog for this award. It makes me so happy to know that you enjoy my posts! You should definitely check out her blog! She reviews books, films and blogs about a variety of different things. She keeps her blog fresh and fun 🙂

Here are the rules for this blogger award:

1.Thank and link the amazing person who nominated you.
2.List the rules and display the award.
3.Share seven facts about yourself.
4.Nominate 15 other amazing blogs and comment on their posts to let them know they have been nominated.
5.Optional: Proudly display the award logo on your blog and follow the blogger who nominated you.

Seven Facts About Me:

1. I hate shoes! I am one of the very few ladies I know who owns very few pair of shoes (only the necessary ones). The thing is that I always prefer my feet to be as bare as possible (especially during the warmer months). So I will be sporting flip flops all summer if i have to wear shoes anywhere.

2. I’m from Oswego, NY. It’s a little college town on Lake Ontario with beautiful sunsets. I have lived here nearly my whole life (minus about 6 months that I lived in Potsdam). It has beautiful springs, summers, and autumns, however winters are brutal. I look forward to the day when I can move away from here and the umpteen feet of snow we get each winter.

3. I’ve been trying to walk 3 miles a day at least 5 days a week. Since I’ve been doing this I feel so much better about everything. It’s so relaxing and great me time to think about my novel and daydream, plus it’s great exercise!!! I have walked 65 miles in the past 3 weeks 🙂

4. Other than reading and writing, one of my favorite hobbies is crochet. Its such a relaxing hobby, but I need a break from it. I just did a craft show where I had a bunch of crochet stuffed animal critters.

5. I’m a total “city” girl and grew up in the city of Oswego (even though it is a very small city). Now I’m living in the country outside Oswego and it’s actually growing on me. I like how quiet it is and how much space we have, but I miss being able to walk everywhere I go.

6. I try to read and/or write every day. It’s one of those routines that I got myself into and really enjoy. Like my daily walks, I look forward to that time, even if it is only 15 minutes.

7. I worked in an ice cream shop for 8 years (seasonal summer work) all though high school and my undergraduate years of college. It was definitely a fun experience and I hope to draw some of those experiences into a YA book that I started writing and then set to the side a couple of years ago.

I nominate these wonderful blogs 🙂 :

Alex @ Alex in Bookland

Brin @ Brin’s Book Blog

Diana @ Strahbary’s Fields

Jen @ Jen’s Pen Den

Lipsyy Lost & Found

Lizzy @ My Little Book Blog

No Money 4 Books

Amy @ Ode to Jo and Katniss

Kristilyn @ Reading in Winter

Sam @ Taking on a World of Words

Stefani@ Caught Read Handed

Watching the Words

Tag: The Book Blogger Test

No one tagged me in this one, but I thought that I would give it a try anyway (it looks fun).

What are your top three book pet hates?

1. When people borrow my books and don’t give them back.

2. Overly-whiny main characters

3. Insta-love

Describe your perfect reading spot.

I have a couple depending on what time of year it is and where I am.

1. I love reading in the park close by the office I work in. I like sitting on the grass with a bottle of water or iced tea and a snack and escaping into another world while I’m on lunch.

2. The other is the corner piece to our sectional. It’s huge and ancient and doesn’t match anything, but it is so comfy and you sink right down into it. Basically, it’s perfection.

Tell us three book confessions.

1. I am really not that big a fan of contemporary romance books. There are a couple of contemporary romance YA books that I’ve read and enjoyed, but many just don’t keep my interest. I like romance in the books I read, but I prefer it when there is more to the story.

2. I have books on my bookshelf that I bought back when I was in college— and still haven’t read yet. *hides*

3. I tried to go on a book buying ban a while back— and it lasted 3 days before I caved and bought books.

When was the last time you cried during a book?

I really don’t remember… but you should know that I am a crier. A huge crier. So it happens quite often.

How many books are on your bedside table?

Right now, only the one that I’m currently reading (but I carry it all over the place with me). But at any one time there has been as many as 5 books on my nightstand.

What is your favorite snack to eat while you’re reading?

I love drinking coffee, tea, or cocoa while I am reading. When I’m at home I try to snack healthy (fruit, veggies, or yogurt), but get me in a coffee shop/bakery and I love all sorts of baked goods while I read.

Name three books you would recommend to everyone.

1. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

2. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

3. The Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling

Show us a picture of your favorite shelf on your bookcase.

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Write how much books mean to you in three words.

Everything and anything.

Books mean everything to me and I will read anything i can get my hands on (or at least give it a shot). I’ve always been that way 🙂

What is your biggest reading secret?

Biggest secret? I don’t think I have any! I’m an open book.

Who I’m Tagging:

Luna’s Little Library

Drown in Melancholy

Boricuan Bookworms

Pink Polka Dot Books

Chrissi Reads

 

and you!!! If I haven’t tagged you and you would like to give this a try, send me a link to yours! I would love to see what you have to say 🙂

What I'm Reading & Writing Wednesday

whatimreadingandwritingwednesdayHowdy, friends! It’s Wednesday again and I am going to be sharing with you what I am up to this week in my own spin on MizB’s WWW Wednesday. You should check out her blog over at Should Be Reading.

What I’m Reading…

13618440Ok, so I didn’t finish Dreams of Gods and Monsters last week, but I am more than half way through it. Its a beast of a book— hahah, but really it is quite chunky. But I am enjoying it so far.

What I Am Reading Next…

PivotPointHC_jkt_des8bPivot Point by Kasie West (which actually just came in at the bookstore for me). So after Dreams of Gods and Monsters is finished, I will read this book and the sequel, Split Second.

What I’m Writing…

The craft show is over— YAYYYY! So I can finally get back to writing. I still don’t have a computer at home, but I have hard copies of both drafts of my novel and hopefully I will have a completed 2nd/3rd draft by the end of Summer.

However, I am running into an issue. I need to change the name of my male main character— eek! Turns out that my boyfriend’s sister is dating a guy with the same name as my Male M.C., which sucks because I think it is so fitting for this character. But it’s weird. So it needs to change.

I am open to talk about names that might be fitting for him if any of you are interested!

Happy Reading!!!

Confessions of a Book Blogger: I have no shame for my love of YA.

bloggraphicNo. Shame.

I-have-no-shameAnd I don’t think I really should either.

(And neither should you.)

 

So yes, like many of you I read that condescending article. I had many, many choice words to say about the author, and then I thought— this person is embarrassed of what they like to read and is trying to pass that embarrassment on to all of us.tumblr_lq2jwtE5SV1qht847I am 27 years old and I read YA. Sure, I read some books written for adults, I read some books that are considered cross-over books, but I mainly read YA.

Let me explain. When I was in high school, I didn’t even know what YA really was, but I read and devoured it at a voracious pace. My love of reading and writing lead me to go to college to be a middle and high school English teacher and further my education to be a reading and literacy teacher. It was there in my education classes and working with students that I truly discovered the power of YA lit and I finally saw it from the other side— how a wonderful YA book can turn teens reluctant to read into readers. I began buying YA books and reading them, intending to put them in my future classroom. And even after I graduated, I kept buying and reading YA (even when the idea of me teaching seemed like a far-off dream.)

I might not ever teach teens and I still read (and love) YA!

I have teaching to credit for my love of YA, but wonderful books and authors to credit for my continued love of YA.

 

Why I’m not ashamed (and you shouldn’t be either).

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  1. Universal Themes– Yes, the characters in these books are usually mostly teenagers, but the things that they face and the themes in these books can be found in books written for adults as well (and sometimes not written as well or realistically). These themes transcend the audience that the book was originally written for. They make it so that teens and adults alike can read, enjoy, and benefit from reading a YA book. Messages of love, loss, friendship, family, good vs. evil, etc. can be applicable to all readers.
  2. These books are actually good Sure there are some YA books out there that aren’t the greatest, but there are some equally bad adult books out there as well. YA authors work hard to make sure that teens (and adults) can actually relate to these books. So many are beautifully written with strong characters and great themes and story arcs. Some of these books can change or even save the lives of those who read them. If that’s not powerful, I don’t know what is.
  3. Imagination. Some of the imagination that it takes to write these books and create the amazing world within them takes some impressive talent. Few books written for adults have swept me away into fantastical worlds like YA books have.
  4. You’re reading, that is good in and of itself. In an age where so many people are proud to say that they “don’t read” it’s amazing to see people who read and enjoy books, no matter what books they may be.
  5. Marketing and publishing companies generally determine if a book is YA or not. Yes, some authors write books with an audience in mind, but many don’t. They just want to tell a good story. Did you know that the US is one of the only countries that markets The Book Thief as a YA book?

Overall, just because you don’t like a genre, author, or even the audience a book is written for doesn’t mean that the people who read them are stupid or that they should be ashamed for reading something that they enjoy. Leave them alone.

Read, and let read.

I don’t judge anyone for what they read or don’t read. If people want to judge you for liking YA, let them.

SOPVrMy message to them: thanks friend— but you are the one missing out on some amazing books.

 

 

Top Ten Books I've Read So Far This Year!

toptentuesdayTop Ten Tuesday is brought to us by The Broke and the Bookish! This week’s theme recaps all of the books that we have read in the first half of 2014. So here are the Top Ten Books I’ve Read So Far This Year!

1. Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

daughterofsmokeandboneThis book is a wonderful adventures into the world and war between Angels and Chimera. With a strong female main character, a tortured and interesting main male character, and wonderful chimera secondary characters, these books will amaze you.

Read my review of Daughter of Smoke and Bone

2. Scarlet by Marissa Meyer

scarletEasily my favorite book in the Lunar Chronicles thus far, Scarlett features a kick-ass heroine who doesn’t take anyone’s crap, and continues the story of Cinder, the cyborg who has more than one skeleton in her closet.

Read my Review of Cinder (Lunar Chronicles 1) and Scarlet (Lunar Chronicles 2)

3. Cress by Marissa Meyer

cressI may have counted both Cinder and Scarlet for one in this list, but I think that Cress deserves it’s own spot. This book is perfect and I love how it weaves the stories of the three main characters, Cinder, Scarlet and Cress. The action is exciting and the characters simply wonderful.

Read my review of Cress (Lunar Chronicles 3).

4. The Impossible Knife of Memory by Laurie Halse Anderson

indexI have never been disappointed by anything written by the wonderful Laurie Halse Anderson, and The Impossible Knife of Memory was as always exquisite. This book, like all of Laurie’s books deal with difficult subjects that are faced by many teenagers. This book explores the effect of PTSD on a family.

Read my review of The Impossible Knife of Memory.

5. House of Hades by Rick Riordan

HouseofHadesThis adventure filled and action packed 4th book in the Heroes of Olympus kept me on the edge of my seat and left me wanting more.

Read my review of House of Hades.

6. The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater

scorpioThe Scorpio races was a surprising gem of a book that I am glad I finally picked up at the bookstore. It follows Puck Connolly as she struggles to become the first woman to ride in the deadly Scorpio Races against boys and men who don’t accept her as a competitor.

Read my review of The Scorpio Races here.

7. The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

ravenboysThis series by Maggie Stiefvater features Blue, a headstrong young woman whose family is known for their psychic powers and four rich boys from a private school in Blue’s town. This book explores myth and legend and is beautifully written.

Read my review of The Raven Boys

8. The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater

dreamthievesMaggie Stiefvater is in contention for favorite author of 2014 (so far!) The second book in the Raven Cycle is just as beautiful, heartbreaking, and intricate as the first, with even more adventure and mystery surrounding Ronan.

Read my review of The Dream Thieves

9. Days of Blood and Starlight by Laini Taylor

daysofbloodandstarlightWhile I loved this book, it had quite a different feel than Daughter of Smoke and Bone. It is more brutal and grim, however the beautiful writing and wonderful characters are still there. They just find themselves in a difficult situation and need to find themselves.

Read my review of Days of Blood and Starlight

10. Attachments by Rainbow Rowell

attachmentsRainbow Rowell has a very rare ability to make me laugh out loud while reading a book. Attachments was a funny and realistic look at every-day office life.

Read my review of Attachments.

 

What I'm Reading & Writing Wednesday!

whatimreadingandwritingwednesdayHello folks! What I’m Reading and Writing Wednesday is back! It’s my own spin on MizB’s WWW Wednesday over at Should Be Reading.

Last week I was feeling slumpy. I was having trouble finding the motivation to pick up a book and jump in head first. However, this week I’m feeling a bit better (yay) and will hopefully be reading and finishing at least one book this week.

What I recently read…

daysofbloodandstarlightI just finished Days of Blood and Starlight on Monday and posted a review (about 30 minutes after I finished it, or I thought I might explode). You can read that here if you’d like. Or, if you haven’t read the first book in the trilogy, Daughter of Smoke and Bone, you can read my review of that book here.

What I am reading now…

13618440Dreams of Gods and Monsters, by Laini Taylor. I am pretty obsessed with the Daughter of Smoke and Bone trilogy and am thoroughly enjoying it. I started this book Monday evening, so I hope to finish it this week.

What I will be reading next…

That is the question. I have a couple of options with books that I own and have waiting for me on my shelf. Here are my options, what do you think? After reading such a heavy series (even though it was beautiful and fantastical) I need something that is fairly short and more light-hearted.

 

I have a couple more on my list that I can read that are a bit different than ones that I have been reading so far this year, but I don’t know. Seeing as I am in a bit of a slump, do you have any recommendations?

What I’m Writing…

Right now I am preparing for a craft show (still— I know) that is this weekend. After that I will finally have time to write and not feel guilty because I should be spending time writing.

But I found a great story structure that I might use and adapt for my revisions of my novel from last November (which has been on the backburner and is very, very frustrating).

I also signed up to do Camp NaNoWriMo in July to get myself writing again. This time, I would like to work on another project, developed from a short story I wrote for a creative writing class a couple of years ago. However, I am having difficulty choosing between two ideas and my brain is still stuck in the world of my novel and wants to write about that (no matter how infuriating it is).

In other news…

Crochet critters have taken over my desk and my life!!!  I love making them, but I need a bit of a break. I need to have more time to read, write, and generally enjoy summer.

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Top Ten Books That Will be in my Beach Bag This Summer

toptentuesdayTop Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and The Bookish. This week’s theme is books that will be in my beach bag this summer.

1. Allegiant by Veronica Roth

AllegiantThis book is still in my TBR pile, and after hearing the mixed reviews about it, I may finally pick it up this summer.

2 & 3 Pivot Point & Split Second by Kasie West

PivotPointHC_jkt_des8bI won Split Second in an Epic Reads giveaway (and don’t have Pivot Point yet) but they look like fun reads and I have heard great things about them!

3. Beauty Queens by Libba Bray

9464733Beauty Queens has been on my shelf for about a year now. Reading about beauty queens stranded on a deserted island while I am on the beach myself sounds like a good way to spend the summer.

4 & 5. Demon Glass and Spell Bound (Hex Hall 2 & 3) by Rachel Hawkins

Hex HallI read the first book in this trilogy right after I started this blog, and would love to complete  the trilogy.

6. Rebel Belle by Rachel Hawkins

51FOzy2lxyL

 

I probably won’t spend all that much time on the beach this summer due to work and other plans, but this is a good start!!!

 

Review- Days of Blood and Starlight by Laini Taylor

daysofbloodandstarlight

Warning… this review contains spoilers for Daughter of Smoke and Bone. If you haven’t read Daughter of Smoke and Bone, you can read my review here.

karou3

Synopsis (Goodreads)

Once upon a time, an angel and a devil fell in love and dared to imagine a world free of bloodshed and war.

This is not that world.

Art student and monster’s apprentice Karou finally has the answers she has always sought. She knows who she is—and what she is. But with this knowledge comes another truth she would give anything to undo: She loved the enemy and he betrayed her, and a world suffered for it.
In this stunning sequel to the highly acclaimed Daughter of Smoke & Bone, Karou must decide how far she’ll go to avenge her people. Filled with heartbreak and beauty, secrets and impossible choices, Days of Blood & Starlight finds Karou and Akiva on opposing sides as an age-old war stirs back to life.
While Karou and her allies build a monstrous army in a land of dust and starlight, Akiva wages a different sort of battle: a battle for redemption. For hope.
But can any hope be salvaged from the ashes of their broken dream?

Review

Days of Blood and Starlight is a gorgeous and gut-wrenching sequel to Daughter of Smoke and Bone. The first thing that I immediately noticed was the change in tone from the first novel in the trilogy. We begin in a dangerous place,with Akiva searching for Karou and both characters trying to come to terms with what is happening between the worlds of the angels and the chimera. Karou finds herself in an equally dangerous position, in the camps of the chimera carrying on Brimstone’s work after his untimely death.

The dichotomy in this book between good and evil, right and wrong is very blurred, and I loved that. Both Karou and Akiva were in very morally grey areas and didn’t always agree with what they were doing, but tried to do what was best for them and their cause. However we see both the positive and negative sides of the causes for which both sides fight and the corruption within the highest ranks of each army and we see how this effects Karou and Akiva.

I loved seeing both of these worlds and Laini Taylor paints such a beautiful and vivid picture with her words. She gave me such a better view of the whole story with this novel, of the main characters and their motivations. As a reader, I really felt for Karou and Akiva and could put myself in their shoes.

Lastly, my favorite part of this book was the character who surprised me most, Ziri. He was soft and shy, but very brave and noble. I loved the friendship that developed between Ziri and Karou, and I really hope to see more of him in the next book (which I will definitely be reading soon).

This book gave me so many feels. It was beautiful, sad, grisly and so much more. (I would be here forever if I talked about how much I love this book and series).

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My random thoughts about Days of Blood and Starlight.

1. Karou is so bad ass. I love her and her internal struggle is so realistic and beautifully written. Plus she has great hair.

tumblr_my7mvkVuQp1sfvv1po1_500Can someone please dye my hair this color? Please?

 

2. Akiva is still gorgeous and sexy and basically, I love him.

3. This book wasn’t as fanciful as the first in the series, but it was brutal and instense and just… ugh. It’s very hard for me to describe.

So until I read Dreams of Gods and Monsters…

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