Books and music: how do I pick my song?

Friday, April 29, 2016

So, you may have noticed that I usually listen to a song on repeat while reading a book. And if you're thinking, "What the hell is she talking about?", I always name it in the book info part of my review, in case you didn't notice. I'm not sure when this started, but since it's such a vital part of my reading experience, I thought I'd share it on here!

One of the earliest books I can think of when I started doing this was with Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead. It was Christmas of 2008. Little 9-year-old me ripped open a couple of my presents and found three books: Vampire Academy, Frostbite, and Shadow Kiss, all by an author I had never heard of. (S/O to my mom for being the real MVP, because that kick-started my obsession with the fantasy genre and badass heroines.) At the same time, I was obsessed with Akon, and had his album on repeat (the things I would do to get my hands on my old iPod oh my god), so I just started playing his music while reading VA. There was no thought behind it; I just put my headphones in. I'm not sure how I went from most of his album to two specific songs, if maybe I thought to myself "Let's play a specific song or two for just this book", and actually intended to start this trend, or what. But it happened, and Right Now (Na Na Na) and Troublemaker became my songs.
The songs never have to relate to the book. Sometimes they do, which is completely unintentional, and sometimes they really don't, and it's actually kind of hilarious. Case in point: my song for the Harry Potter series? Down on Me by Jeremih & 50 cent. 13 or 14-year-old Mariah was obsessed with that song and she had it on repeat while reading the first book, and it became the unintentional theme song. Should I even call them theme songs? I've never named it. I always just say something like, "This is the song I listen too while reading this book," or, "Yeah, this song is tied to blah blah blah."
Theme song is technically what it is, but that makes it sound like it's a 15 second song I play in the beginning or something.

Now what I do when picking a song is go by the actual sound of it. For example, I'm rereading The Raven Boys right now in preparation for The Raven King (as is half the country, which I'm LOVING). It's a serious process for me, and can take me hours to find one. I start by roaming through the songs I already have on my phone or Spotify playlists, and see if it fits with the mood of the book. Some songs instantly stand out to me and I think, "This is it" and it's done, boom, like that. I think it took me a little while to find a song for The Raven Boys, and I finally settled on Faith by Calvin Harris. I do a lot of EDM songs because, 1) I love them, and 2) they bring so much emotion and intensity to a book. Whenever the beat drops and I'm reading a pinnacle scene where the MC is fighting or making a huge decision... dear god, it's pure magic. I get instant goosebumps.
Faith was another unintentionally-relatable song:

"I need a little space in my mind
I need that little hope I can find
I need a little, I need a little faith
Is that too much to ask for?
I need to feel my soul come alive
I need to feel the strength to get by
I need a little, I need a little faith
Is that too much to ask for?"

The "I need to feel my soul come alive" line reminds me of Gansey, while the rest of the lyrics remind of something Blue or Adam would feel, with maybe a little dash of Ronan in there. It's rare for me to pick two songs, especially when I've already read a portion of the series, but there has been a few times when a song has literally smacked me in the face. I remember playing a snippet of How Deep Is Your Love by Calvin Harris on iTunes and it just screamed The Raven boys to me. I resisted, since I was already two books deep and thought it would be pointless, but it kept bugging me and bugging me and bugging me until, finally, I gave in. How Deep Is Your Love has that creepy, edgy, dark feel that haunts The Raven Cycle, and there's a specific part that reminds me painfully of Bluesey:

"I want you to breathe me in
Let me be your air
Let me roam your body freely
No inhibition, no fear."

As most of us know (this isn't a spoiler), Blue has been destined to kill her one true love with a simple kiss. So, I feel like this is something Gansey would think to himself when him and Blue are struggling not to kiss in his car, and instead are mashing cheeks and other awkwardly-funny things. He fears her kiss, but desperately wants to press his mouth to hers and breathe her in.

I was going to post all my top favorite books and the songs I picked for them but then I realized, duh, some of them are in my reviews, so I'm just going to name off books I haven't written a review for (a.k.a. all my favorites from before I started blogging).

WARNING: Some of these are random as legitimate fuck. Don't try and understand why I picked it. Younger me was eccentric in her music tastes!

The Mortal Instruments by Cassandra Clare // We Own The Night by Tiesto
The Infernal Devices by Cassandra Clare // Run by Kill It Kid
The Sky Is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson // Crawl by Chris Brown
Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo // Where We Were by Pierce Fulton
Obsidian by Jennifer L. Armentrout // Sing by Ed Sheeran
The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey // The Monster by Eminem
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak // Losing My Religion (Glee Cast Version)
Stolen by Lucy Christopher // Jar of Hearts by Christina Perri
Wondrous Strange by Lesley Livingston // Now I'm That Bitch by Livvi Franc
I'll Give You The Sun by Jandy Nelson // We Are The Kids by Walk The Moon

Do you listen to any music while you read? If so, how do you pick the song? I'd love to hear your process or where you find your music! 
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Waiting on Wednesday: It Ends With Us

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

This meme is hosted by Breaking the Spine :)

It Ends With Us by Colleen Hoover
Publisher: Atria Books
Publication Date: August 2nd, 2016
Pages: 320
Link to Goodreads

Lily hasn’t always had it easy, but that’s never stopped her from working hard for the life she wants. She’s come a long way from the small town in Maine where she grew up. She graduated from college, moved to Boston, and started her own business. So when she feels a spark with a gorgeous neurosurgeon named Ryle Kincaid everything in Lily’s life suddenly seems almost too good to be true. 

Ryle is assertive, stubborn, and maybe even a little arrogant. He’s also sensitive, brilliant and has a total soft spot for Lily; and the way he looks in scrubs certainly doesn’t hurt. Lily can’t get him out of her head, but Ryle’s complete aversion to relationships is disturbing. Even as Lily finds herself becoming the exception to his no dating rule, she can’t help but wonder what made him that way in the first place. 

As questions about her new relationship overwhelm her, so do thoughts of Atlas Corrigan, her first love and a link to the past she left behind. He was her kindred spirit, her protector. When Atlas suddenly reappears everything Lily has built with Ryle is threatened. 

Most people seem to hate love triangles, but damn, I CAN'T GET ENOUGH OF THEM. I'm not gonna lie: I'm a total softie and a hard-core romantic. It may not seem like it if you meet me, but the smallest things that can make me melt. So two guys fighting for a girl is noble and sweet to me. Obviously, the guys need to treat the girl right and not act like she's an object to be possesed, and I always can appreciate an outspoken MC, but seriously. I thrive off the banter between the two love interests. I always find it endlessly hilarious. And CoHo never fails to make me laugh, so I'm hoping for some juicy banter between Ryle and Atlas (also, how the hell does she come up with these names??). AND I'm always ready for Colleen's double whammy-heartbreak. There's always something not mentioned in the summary, so I'm mentally and emotionally preparing myself for absolute heartbreak. I don't know how the hell she does it, but she manages to sucker punch me in the gut every time.

What book are you eagerly anticipating on this lovely Wednesday? Tag your post in the comments! :)
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The Rose & the Dagger release day blitz!

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

As you can probably tell from the title of this post, The Rose & the Dagger by Renée Ahdieh releases today and I'm SUPER excited to be able to celebrate it, plus host an awesome giveaway!

The Rose & the Dagger by Renée Ahdieh
Publisher: G.P. Putnam
Publication Date: April 26th, 2016
Pages: 432

I am surrounded on all sides by desert. A guest, in a prison of sand and sun. My family is here. And I do not know whom I can trust.

In a land on the brink of war, Shahrzad has been torn from the love of her husband Khalid, the Caliph of Khorasan. She once believed him a monster, but his secrets revealed a man tormented by guilt and a powerful curse- one that might keep them apart forever. Reunited with her family, who have taken refuge with enemies of Khalid, and Tariq, her childhood sweetheart she should be happy. But Tariq now command forces set on destroying Khalid's empire. Shahrzad is almost a prisoner caught between loyalties to people she loves. But she refuses to be a pawn and devices a plan.
While her father, Jahandar, continues to play with magical forces he doesn't yet understand, Shahrzad tries to uncover powers that may lie dormant within her. With the help of a tattered old carpet and a tempestuous but safe young man, Shahrzad will attempt to break the curse and reunite with her one true love.


About Renée:
Renée lives in North Carolina (Go Heels!) with her husband Victor and their dog Mushu. Her YA fantasy novel, The Wrath & the Dawn, will be published on May 12th, 2015. In her spare time, she likes to cook, dance salsa, and wreak havoc on the lives of her characters.

She's also a member of the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrator, as well as an active member of the Science Fiction & Writers of America.

Website / Twitter / Facebook / Goodreads / Tumblr / Pinterest / Instagram 

Giveaway details:
One winner will receive a paperback of The Wrath & the Dawn, a hardcover of The Rose & the Dagger, and a His Calipha candle from The Melting Library's Etsy Store. US only!

Ends on May 3rd at Midnight EST!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
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Top ten bookish delights!

Monday, April 25, 2016

This meme is hosted by the lovely ladies over at The Broke and the Bookish :)

1. Getting overcome by the feels
You know that moment where you're reading and all of the sudden you almost implode from the feels? Either your OTP finally kisses, or there was a huge plot twist, or someone says something really funny, and it all becomes too much. For me, it's like all my emotions had been slowly building up in my stomach, and it erupts. I have to put the book down and close my eyes and do a little shimmy and hold my breathe and clench my stomach and fists and just SIT THERE AND SILENTLY IMPLODE. I think to myself, "This book, this book, this fucking book is too much," and I just have to slowly calm down, still reeling from that moment of basically almost exploding all over the living room. 

2. The smell of books
Not every book smell the same to me. There's certain ones that have that book smell that most people seem to understand, and then other ones can have a slight variation. Some don't really have a smell at all. But those books that smell that smell, the bookish smell that I wish I could bottle up and dump all over my head, are my favorites. 

3. The sound of opening up a fresh hardback
It's like the cracking of logs in a fire; the little crack, snap that emits from a hardcover you just bought. It's a glorious feeling, and sometimes I wait a few seconds before opening it, letting my anticipation build up. It's almost as if the book is cracking and snapping in happiness. Like, "Thanks for buying me!!" 

That's pretty self-explanatory, isn't it?  


6. The look of a well-worn book
I seem to be the only person on the planet that doesn't like to keep my books in pristine condition. That doesn't mean I go chucking my books around, purposefully banging them up, but I don't flip my shit if the spine cracks or a page gets ripped. I like the look of a well-worn book. That, to me, is the definition of a well-loved book. Now, don't start screaming bloody murder at me, alright? That's just my opinion. To me, that means they've often carried it around with them (when you put a book in some sort of bag, expect it to come out with some battle wounds), they've reread it multiple times, they've dog-eared the pages, they've underlined and highlighted their favorite pages. They're constantly touching it and moving it and accidentally dropping it and passing it to their friends and spilling things on it. Life happens, and it's impossible keep your beloved copy in pristine condition, unless you never touch it. And that, to me, is a shame. 

7. Plot twists that come out of left field and slam its fist into your gut
Those are THE BEST. There have been a couple books that have literally left me gasping for air, as if I was a fish out of water. I can be pretty dense sometimes, and don't usually try and figure out mysteries in books. I just go along with what the character learns. So, some plot twists (if I don't already guess them) kill me. One of my favorite memories is of me coincidentally drinking water just as I read a plot twist, choking on the water, then spitting it out all over my book. #goodtimes #WELLLOVED

What bookish things do you enjoy? Link your post down in the comments! :)
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Happy Monday!

Hi guys! I wanted to start spicing up this post, since it's severely lacking. I always see people posting, on either Sunday or Monday, these pizazzy posts on what they read the week before and are planning on reading, what they posted, what movies they watched or what music they're loving. I thought it'd be fun to do, so you guys can get even MORE involved in my life! I know that's exactly what you all secretly wanted, so, without further ado, the new and improved "Happy Monday!"

What I read last week
I DNF'd No One Else Can Have You by Kathleen Hale 50 pages in because of it's slightly morbid and disturbing voice. I go into detail on that in my last post, Recent DNF's, which I'll link down below! Then I started my reread of The Raven Boys, which half the planet has also started doing too. I've never seen so many people reading that series all at once and it makes me heart so happy. Stiefvater's writing is unlike anything I've ever read before. It's also impossible to describe, unless you've read The Raven Cycle, so if you're curious, READ IT. Also, read it if you like short, feisty feminists, brotp's, beautiful friendships, screaming "SQUAD GOALS" in your sleep, and Welsh Kings.

Currently (re)reading
The Dream Thieves, aka Ronan Lynch's (aka MY FAVORITE CINNAMON ROLL'S) autobiography. If you enjoyed Ronan even in the slightest way in The Raven Boys, or loved him with your entire cynical cold heart (like me), then read The Dream Thieves.

This may come as a shock to you, but I'll be rereading Blue Lily, Lily Blue. And then The Raven King, which should be on it's way tomorrow, glorious and signed and doodled in by the wonderful Maggie Stiefvater. #savegansey2k16

Books I've obtained
Nothing! I went to Barnes and Noble on Saturday and had planned on treating myself to the Hamiltome and another book, but the Hamiltome was (unsurprisingly) sold out, and I lost my will to buy another book (wow, what a statement for a bookworm). The incentive had been the Hamiltome and then another book. So, no Hamiltome = no other book. Plus, I think my heart and brain are finally on agreement with what a book buying ban means. My TBR is honestly ridiculous, plus I need to save money for errands I have to run before BEA, like getting a mani pedi, my hair dyed, new clothes, etc., and then I'll need extra cash while in Chicago, so it would be better if I didn't buy anything else. Plus, do you know how many books I'm going to be getting at BEA?! It's going to be insurmountable, I tell you! (Oops, sorry, didn't mean to flash my Richard Campbell Gansey III on you there. How embarrassing.)

Music I've been loving
The Lumineers new album, Cleopatra. The cover could've been in a damn Miss Peregrines book. The 1975, specifically Somebody Else. I listened to that while reading Second Chance Summer and I get so many feels. It's not like the lyrics relate to the story, but the overall tone of the book, plus the tone of Somebody Else (melancholy), just makes me want to simultaneously burst into tears and drive down a highway with my windows rolled down and just breathe. Flume also came out with a new single with Tove Lo, Say It, and I weep, I tell you. It's another song that makes me feel two different things at once and it's seriously so awesome.

Posts I uploaded
Happy Monday! on 4/18
Elementals: The Blood of the Hydra blog tour on 4/18
Top ten books that made me laugh! on 4/19
Waiting on Wednesday: The Summer Games on 4/20 #blazeup
Recent DNF's on 4/23

Life updates
Zilch! All I've been doing is going to school, reading, and then working on the weekends. I've been eyeing this used bookstore near me, wondering if I should go in and apply. I need a second job, and that would be the perfect one. It's pretty quiet in there, and the owner is an older gentleman, so I figure it'll be pretty easy, plus I can work on my schoolwork since I'll be taking an English class over the summer. Maybe I'll be an adult and pop in there with a resume sometime this week!
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Recent DNF's

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Truthwitch by Susan Dennard
The hype, you guys. The hype for this was legitimately unreal. Yes, I saw a few negative reviews here or there, but it seemed like every reviewer that I followed or considered when buying something was screaming about how this book was amazing and fantastic and action-packed and full of kick-ass girl power. Let's break it down, shall we?
So, about 10% of my decision to put this down was because of the horrific, horrific reading slump I was in. I was in limbo. That time of my life is cloudy and faintly repugnant (Richard Campbell Gansey III is rubbing off on me, can you tell?). Then there was 20% hashed off because of the lackluster plot line. It's like Dennard wanted it to be exciting and full of mischief and intrigue, but forgot to add life to it. The bare bones of the story were laid out, but that was about it. Another 40% was because of the lack of world building. Again, Dennard got ahead of herself, and forget to actual build the damn world. I tried really, really hard to understand it. I can understand, in the beginning of a high fantasy novel, that things can be confusing and names can look like someone vomited them up. But we would get these vague history lessons and possible answers to things... and I would still be confused. And finally, the last 30% was her writing, which can really be the whole basis of my issue, but I decided to break it up into specifics. There was something disjointed to it, as if it was an animal with a limp. Something was missing, and it constantly broke my focus. Some scenes (like that dancing scene with Safiya and Prince Merik, good LAWD) were fantastic, and I felt like I was watching a movie in my head. But then it would all go haywire during a different scene, often an action one, and I would constantly have to stop, backtrack, try and figure out what the hell kind of move Safi or Iseult were pulling off, or wonder vaguely why they were fighting in the first place, or question how politics fit into it. So, overall, it was just not for me, which is a damn shame, because I'm a high fantasy maniac and would have loved to love this.

No One Else Can Have You by Kathleen Hale
I remember, sometime last year, hearing about this author who had supposedly stalked a reviewer for giving her book a bad review. It had exploded across my twitter and Instagram feeds, and basically any other social platform that was about books. I was mildly alarmed, and then promptly forgot about it. Jump to sometime later (this timeline is fabulous), and I somehow found myself on the Goodreads page for No One Else Can Have You by Kathleen Hale, and as I scrolled down to the reviews, I found out this was the author that did the thing. And then I found the article she wrote about on her take on the experience, and my Jewish guilt kicked in. It really is the worst. And apparently a thing that actually exists. I thought to myself "You know, no one really knows what happened except these two people. I don't personally know the reviewer or Kathleen Hale, so I'm not going to pick a side." So, long story short, my Jewish guilt and the promise of a weird murder mystery in a small midwestern town hooked me in. I'm a midwest girl at heart (I'm looking at you Winfield, IL) and my heart melts a little when a story is based anywhere near the vicinity. So I picked this up, thinking I would enjoy it since I usually like odd book. Well, I was wrong. Not about enjoying odd books, but about liking this book. Ever. I can now say my Jewish guilt as disappeared and I'm more than alarmed now, because I can honestly say that I could see Kathleen Hale stalking a reviewer. There was the creepiest undertone to this story, and I could only last until page 50. Not only was it unconventionally abnormal, like so far passed something that's weird but interesting, but the writing was flat and I can't fathom how this was actually published. WOW, I CANT BELIEVE I JUST SAID THAT. Shame on me, but also not shame on me because it's the truth. That was the small thought creeping around in my head as I started typing this out, and I figured "Why not, I'm already going to hell." So! Good times. 

Pearl by Deirdre Riordan Hall
This was by no means a bad book. At all. This was just a causality of another book slump I had. There were definitely some things that contributed to my DNF'ing this, like my inability to connect to the main character and the plot dragging in some places, but overall I believe I would've finished this if I hadn't been in a slump. And there were definitely some really good parts  and some gorgeous quotes. Also that cover? Stunning! So, just bad timing I guess. I don't think I'll ever pick this up, but I really do recommend trying this if you're in the mood for a rough-and-tough contemporary. 
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Waiting on Wednesday: The Summer Games: Settling the Score

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

This meme is hosted by Breaking the Spine :)

The Summer Games: Settling the Score by R.S. Grey
Publication Date: May 2nd, 2016
Link to Goodreads

As an Olympic rookie, Andie Foster has spent far more time in her cleats than between the sheets. For 21 years, her Friday nights have consisted of blocking shots rather than taking them. But now that she's landed in Rio, she's ready to see for herself if the rumors about the Olympic Village are true:

• The athletes are all sex-crazed maniacs...
• The committee passes out condoms like candy...
• The games continue long after the medals have been handed out...

As Andie walks the line between rumor and reality, she's forced into the path of Frederick Archibald, a decorated Olympic swimmer and owner of a sexy British accent—too bad he's unavailable in a way that "it's complicated" doesn't even begin to explain.

In other words: off limits.

It doesn't matter that he has abs that could bring peace to the Middle East and a smile that makes even the Queen blush; Andie fully intends on keeping her focus on the soccer field. But the Village is small. Suffocating. Everywhere Andie goes, Freddie happens to be there—shirtless, wet from the pool, and determined to show her a whole new meaning of the phrase "international affairs".

I've become a little obsessed with R.S. Grey; her instagram is one of my top-favorites. It features colorful and vivd photos of gorgeous cups of coffee, stationary, her books, her adorable dogs, and her equally adorable husband. I've only read one of her novels, Chasing Spring, but I absolutely loved it and have been wanting to read her other work ever since. I've never read a sport romance before (and am not really into sports in general), but am definitely wiling to take that chance with R.S. Grey. I've heard her books are hilarious and swoon-worhy, which is my favorite combination. 

Have you read any of R.S. Grey's books? If so, what did you think of it? Link your WoW down in the comments! :)
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Top ten books that made me laugh!

Monday, April 18, 2016

This meme is hosted by the lovely ladies at The Broke and the Bookish :)

I loved allllllll these books and they gave me a serious case of the giggles. In terms of Siege and Storm, I only start laughing when we meet a certain privateer, in case that isn't obvious. A lot of these have amazing secondary characters that steal the show (*cough KENJI cough*), and I find that happening a lot, which is always interesting. It's amazing how much a funny secondary character can change a book for me. 
What books made you laugh? Link your post down in the comments! :)
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Elementals: The Blood of the Hydra by Michelle Madow interview + giveaway!

Elementals: The Blood of the Hydra by Michelle Meadow
Publisher: Dreamscape Publishing
Publication Date: April 18th, 2016
Song I Played While Reading: Nocturnal by Disclosure
Rating: 4 stars
Amazon / Goodreads

A demigod who can kill with a touch. It’s an ability that must be kept secret from everyone, even from those trusted most.

Finding out that she was a witch was strange enough, but now Nicole must face the realization that she has the rare power to kill with just a touch. No one can know her secret—not even Blake, who she’s had undeniable chemistry with since first moving to town. Now Nicole, Blake, and the three others with elemental powers must stop a series of monsters that they previously believed to be dead from rising once again and destroying the mortal world. The creatures they face on this journey will be more dangerous than anything they’ve encountered yet. Will they all survive the quest? And how long will it be until Nicole is forced to use her ability to kill in front of everyone, revealing the true darkness of her powers? 

It always takes me a couple of chapters to get used to Madow's writing, but the second I do it's like I fall straight into the story. The pages fly by, and I'm fully immersed into the world, and before I know it, I'm over halfway through with the story.
Just like the first book, The Blood of the Hydra was faced-paced and action-packed. Either we're learning about Greek mythology and how it ties into the plot, or we're fighting nasty creatures. I'm not sure what it is exactly about a bow and arrow, but I think it's one of the coolest weapons out there, and I love that Nicole uses it and can whoop major ass. She's calm and collected, and doesn't doubt herself, which I really admire.
I adored the character arc with Danielle! She got on my nerves a lot in the first book, but since she's such an integral part of the story I knew something would have to happen with her and Nicole, and I'm so happy it did. I really like her snarky and no non-sense attitude. She's not afraid to call you out or be honest with you, and it's great. Blake was just his usual supportive self and I can't tell how much I LOVE supportive guys! There aren't enough of those in YA books these days, so I cherish every single one that I find. I still can't get over that kissing scene in The Prophecy of Shadows. I just... *sighs dreamily*
Kate and Chris were sweet sidekicks as well, though I wish they stood out more to me, especially Chris. I like Kate, but Chris is one I feel we don't know that much about. I hope that changes in the upcoming books! Overall, this was another exciting and fast-paced ride, and I cannot wait to see what obstacles the Elementals have to get through next!

Mini-Interview with Michelle

1. What was your inspiration behind having the characters go to Greece in correlation to the story?

I knew that in the second book of the series, I wanted the Elementals to leave their town and go on a larger adventure. After all—they’re saving the world, so it doesn’t make sense for them to be able to do that without having to travel to different places around the world. Since they’re the descendants of Greek gods, it made sense for Greece to be the first place for them to go. 

2. Who's your favorite character to write about, besides Nicole?

Danielle! She progresses a lot throughout the story, and I love writing characters who initially seem mean, but slowly become likable. It’s also important to remember that since the story is told through Nicole’s eyes, what we see is her perception of the other characters. At first, her perception of Danielle was that Danielle was a one-dimensional mean girl. But as Nicole and Danielle are forced to work together, they get to know each other better, and Nicole sees that there’s more to Danielle than she initially thought. 

3. I saw on an Instagram post that Taylor Swift inspired your first book. What was it about her song(s) that inspired you?

Yes—specifically, the Love Story music video inspired my first novel. The song mentions “flashbacks,” and the music video shows a modern-day teenage girl walking through campus who catches eyes with a guy and sees the two of them dancing at ball that appears to have taken place around the early 1800s. Seeing that gave me the inspiration for Remembrance. I go further into detail about this HERE on my website. 

4. I love the Greek mythology aspect to this story! What kind of research did you do?

I do TONS of research while I’m writing the Elementals series! While writing Elementals 2: The Blood of the Hydra, I had my copy of The Odyssey by my side the entire time. A lot of the story is inspired by Odysseus’s journeys, which was a blast to write because it’s so full of adventure! I also use Wikipedia a lot—I know that teachers always tell students not to use it, but I use it because it’s so easy to use and does a great job of explaining everything. 

5. What's your most recent favorite book you've read?

Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare. I couldn’t put that book down, and I was on the edge of my seat the entire time when I was reading!

Rafflecopter for Release Week Blitz Giveaway: Michelle is offering up a fabulous prize during her Elementals: The Blood of the Hydra Virtual Tour event. One (1) lucky winner will receive a signed paperback copy of one of Michelle’s books! To enter, simply fill out the Rafflecopter below: a Rafflecopter giveaway

Michelle Madow writes fast-paced YA (young adult) fiction that will leave you turning the pages wanting more! She grew up in Baltimore, and now lives in Boca Raton, Florida, where she writes books for young adults. Some of her favorite things are: reading, pizza, traveling, shopping, time travel, Broadway musicals, and spending time with friends and family. Michelle went on a cross-country road trip from Florida to California and back to promote her books and to encourage high school students to embrace reading and writing. Someday, she hopes to travel the world for a year on a cruise ship. 

Want to get some of Michelle’s books for FREE? Click here to learn how. ☺ To get instant updates about Michelle’s new books, follow her on Amazon! 

Connect with Michelle: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads

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Happy Monday!

Hey guys! Another week down in April, another week closer to BEA *evil laughs and pretends like I don't feel some anxiety over the whole trip* So if you're going, PLEASE LET ME KNOW! I would love to, 1. meet all you because you're wonderful and, 2. HAVE PEOPLE TO TALK TOO. Thankfully, my mom is coming with because I forced her too, so I'll have someone to wait around with and talk too, but I primarily want to meet everyone that I can! I'm re-dying the ends of my hair pink, so I'll be the short blonde girl with hot pink tips :)

Read Last Week
Elementals: The Blood of the Hydra by Michelle Madow
Second Chance Summer by Morgan Matson

No One Else Can Have You by Kathleen Hale
Re-reading The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

Happy readings! :)
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Second Chance Summer by Morgan Matson

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Second Chance Summer by Morgan Matson
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Publication Date: May 8th, 2012
Pages: 468
Song I Played While Reading: Somebody Else by The 1975
Rating: 3.5 stars

Sandwiched between two exceptional siblings, Taylor Edwards never felt like she stood out- except for her history of running away when things get too complicated. Then her dad receives unexpected, terrible news, and the family makes the last-minute decision to spend the summer together in the cramped quarters at their old lake house.
Taylor hasn't been to the summer house since she was twelve, and she definitely never planned on going back. Up at the lake she is confronted with people she thought she left behind, like her former best friend Lucy, and Henry Crosby, her first crush, who's all grown up... and a lot cuter. Suddenly Taylor is surrounded by memories she'd rather leave in the past- but she can't run away this time.
As the days lying on the beach pass into nights gazing at the stars, Taylor realizes she has a second chance- with friends, with family, maybe even with love. But she knows that once the summer ends, there is no way to recapture what she stands to lose. 

I had a love/hate relationship with this book, mostly because of Taylor. I've only read one other book by Matson, Since You've Been Gone, and noticed some similarities between the main characters. Both started off quiet and shy, but progressively opened up more and became more confident as the book went on. I didn't mind it in Since You've Been Gone, because Emily had a goofy family and she could be super funny at some points. But I really struggled with Taylor. The first half of this book dragged. Taylor didn't speak up for herself and was a complete pushover, ran away from all of her problems instead of owning up to them, and could be super serious. I get her family was struggling with horrific news, but I swear she didn't smile for the first 100 pages. It was just so... blah. And what was worse was that her family was equally as boring. Beside her dad, who definitely had his moments in the beginning, none of them stood out as one of those secondary characters that steals the spotlight or lightens the mood or even just makes the book easier to read.
It wasn't until Taylor started owning up to her mistakes and coming out of her shell that the book became more enjoyable for me, which was similar to Emily in SYBG. She irritated the crap out of me in the beginning, but by the end of the book became someone that I really admired. After that point, this book became both a joy and a burden to read. That may sound weird, but if you've read it, you'll understand. I was excited for the ending but also dreading it so much because I could feel the pain. And let me tell you, MATSON DELIVERED THE PAIN. SHE DELIVERED IT HORRIFICALLY. I haven't hysterically cried that hard in a long time. Like full on ugly tears and sobs where I had to put the book down because I couldn't see or breathe. Her father gets diagnosed with terminal cancer and I seriously can't even think about it without tearing up. My dad and I are currently in this weird limbo, since I'm in California and he's back in Chicago, and I'm not exactly sure what's going on on his end, but we aren't talking right now. So this hit me hard, since, besides this current moment, we've had a fantastic relationship my whole life. Unintentionally putting myself in Taylor's situation had me crying so many times throughout Second Chance Summer. Not finishing this would've been a crime, since it felt like I owed it to Taylor and her dad to see it through to the end, no matter how horrible it was.
Now, onto a more happier topic: Henry and Lucy. I loved seeing the relationship dynamics, and thought the flashbacks were so adorable (though I thought the falling out with Lucy was so damn stupid), and just seeing them all making up, and Taylor getting her second chance, was so cute and heartwarming. I'm a sucker for a beach house story, and while this was near a Lake and not as fancy as an actual beach, it still had that lazy summer vibe that I adore. The writing was simplistic and beautiful, and Morgan wrapped everything up perfectly, even if did also knock me off my feet and force me into the fetal position in hysterics. Thank god no one was home to witness that! (Seriously. My mom would've probably sent me to a therapist if she'd witnessed it.)

"I knew that soon, the moment would be over- my mother and Warren and Gelsey would return home, brining with them noise and news and bustle. But for now, there was my father and me, and a moment I didn't try to preserve, but just let happen, as I sat next to him, listening to the song, as the record spun and the music played on."

"Looking at it, I got, for the first time, why people would bring flowers to sick people, stuck inside the hospital with no way to get outside. It was like bringing them a little bit of the world that was going on without them."

"But you have a heart that is big and beautiful and strong, and deserves to be shared with someone worthy. You get some perspective when you know you’re not going to get to flip a new month on the calendar. And I’ve realized that the Beatles got it wrong. Love isn’t all we need—love is all there is."
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Waiting on Wednesday: Did I Mention I Miss You?

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

This meme is hosted by Breaking the Spine :)

Did I Mention I Miss You? by Estelle Maskame
Publisher: Black and White Publishing
Publication Date: July 2016
Pages: 408
Link to Goodreads

Eden’s on her way back to Santa Monica for the summer, and she hasn't seen Tyler since the devastating fallout of their forbidden relationship. Eden claims to have moved on—but Tyler wants to rekindle the flame.

He convinces Eden to visit his new home in Portland, Oregon, where he has set up a center for troubled teens. Eden’s proud of what he’s built, but the last time they were together, it nearly destroyed Eden and their family. Then a tragedy draws them together, and Eden must search her heart and decide if Tyler is worth the risk once and for all.

I have sooooOOOOOO many feelings on this final installment. I'm OBSESSED with Tyler and Eden, and even though I wasn't a huge fan of the second book, Did I Mention I Need You?, I adored the first book enough that it didn't bother me as much. And for once, I'm not wholeheartedly rooting for them to get back together. This is a realistic and messy relationship, and I love it!

What book are you eagerly anticipating? Link your post down in the comments :)
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Ten books every fantasy lover should read! (TTT)

Monday, April 11, 2016

This meme is hosted by the lovely ladies at The Broke and the Bookish :)

I'm total fantasy trash, so I had to make this week's Top Ten Tuesday all about my favorite fantasy books! These are my top top top TOP favorites, and combined, these all killed me about... A MILLION TIMES. EACH. I don't know how I'm still sitting here breathing. 
Am I missing any good fantasy books? What did you post for todays TTT? Link it down in the comments! :)
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Happy Monday!

Hi guys! Sorry about missing out on last Monday's post. It was a combination of a really hectic schedule, plus I was still reading Lady Midnight, so it wasn't like the post would've been that informative and interesting. But now I've finished that monstrosity and have gotten back into the groove of reviewing and reading, so! Let's get onto it, shall we?

Finished Last Week
Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen
Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare
Dreamology by Lucy Keating

Elementals: The Blood of the Hydra by Michelle Madow
Second Chance Summer by Morgan Matson
No One Else Can Have You by Kathleen Hale

Happy readings! :)
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The Summer Games: Settling The Score by R.S.Grey cover reveal!

The Summer Games by R.S. Grey
Release Date: May 2nd, 2016
Find on Goodreads

As an Olympic rookie, Andie Foster has spent far more time in her cleats than between the sheets. For 21 years, her Friday nights have consisted of blocking shots rather than taking them. But now that she's landed in Rio, she's ready to see for herself if the rumors about the Olympic Village are true:
  • The athletes are all sex-crazed maniacs...
  • The committee passes out condoms like candy...
  • The games continue long after the medals have been handed out...
    As Andie walks the line between rumor and reality, she's forced into the path of Frederick Archibald, a decorated Olympic swimmer and owner of a sexy British accent—too bad he's unavailable in a way that "it's complicated" doesn't even begin to explain.
In other words: off limits.
It doesn't matter that he has abs that could bring peace to the Middle East and a smile that makes even the Queen blush; Andie fully intends on keeping her focus on the soccer field. But the Village is small. Suffocating. Everywhere Andie goes, Freddie happens to be there—shirtless, wet from the pool, and determined to show her a whole new meaning of the phrase "international affairs".

Author Info
I am a lover of books, chocolate, reality TV, black labs, and cold weather. Seriously, if I had it my way, I would be curled up on the couch with all of those things... everyday.

I live in Texas where I spend my free time writing and reading. My favorite authors include Mindy Kaling & Jonathan Safran Foer. I'm a comedy geek and love all things "funny". Women like Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, and Mindy Kaling are definitely the biggest inspirations for my writing, though I think my work tends to skew a bit smuttier than theirs.
Hosted by

Oh my GOD I'M SO EXCITED FOR THIS! I want to read all her other books before reading this, since I heard a couple characters from a different book are in here and I hate not understanding references from other stories. 

Have you read any of her other work? Are you excited for this?! That cover is gorgeous!
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Elementals: The Head of Medusa by Michelle Madow cover reveal!

Sunday, April 10, 2016

 Elementals: The Head of Medusa by Michelle Madow
Publisher: Dreamscape Publishing
Publication Date: June 29th, 2016
Pages: Unknown


Moving to a new town wasn’t supposed to be easy. But for Nicole Cassidy, it meant discovering she was a witch with never before seen elemental powers. Mysteriously given a mission that could help save the world, Nicole and four other gifted classmates journeyed to Greece, where they battled ancient monsters and barely escaped with their lives.
Now Nicole and the Elementals have returned home, and while her relationship with Blake—the fire Elemental—is finally heating up, she can’t rid herself of the guilt that she’s responsible for the death of one of their own in Greece. But she must remain focused, because the portal to the prison world of Kerberos is weakening, and Typhon, one of Earth’s deadliest creatures, has escaped. Now the Elementals must retrieve the only object in the world that can destroy this dangerous monster—the head of Medusa herself.
Follow the Elementals as they journey to the end of the world, unsure of who to trust, and facing choices that will put their lives and the entire world at risk. Will they all survive the mission? And if they don’t, will the ones who do be able to find the strength to continue?

Rafflecopter for Cover & Blurb Giveaway: Michelle is offering five (5) lucky winners an eCopy of Elementals: The Prophecy of Shadows! To enter, simply fill out the Rafflecopter below: a Rafflecopter giveaway
Direct Link:

About the Author:

Michelle Madow writes fast-paced YA (young adult) fiction that will leave you turning the pages wanting more!

She grew up in Baltimore, and now lives in Boca Raton, Florida, where she writes books for young adults. Some of her favorite things are: reading, pizza, traveling, shopping, time travel, Broadway musicals, and spending time with friends and family. Michelle went on a cross-country road trip from Florida to California and back to promote her books and to encourage high school students to embrace reading and writing. Someday, she hopes to travel the world for a year on a cruise ship.

Want all three parts of the Transcend Time Saga—Michelle’s first YA romance series—for FREE? Click here to learn about the series and claim your books J

To get instant updates about Michelle’s new books, follow her on Amazon!

Connect with Michelle:  Website  |  Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Instagram  |  Goodreads

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