Happy Monday!

Monday, May 30, 2016

What I read last week
The Problem with Forever by Jennifer L. Armentrout
The Museum of Heartbreak by Meg Leder

Currently reading
Ivory and Bone by Julie Eshbaugh

ACOMAF by Sarah J. Maas, which I'm INSANELY EXCITED FOR, AHHHHHH. Then The Season of Me and You by Robin Constantine (if I get a copy of the book), and if I don't read that then The Loose Ends List by Carrie Firestone.

Books I've obtained
I bought ACOTAR by Sarah J. Maas and The Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson, then received Ivory and Bone by Julie Eshbaugh for review.

Music I've been loving
Honestly, it's all the same from last week, except for the addition of That's My Girl by Fifth Harmony (I've been allllll up in that song since their new album came out), and then I've been listening to Halsey's album Badlands on repeat, just because it's great and I love it so much. 

Posts I uploaded last week

Life shenanigans
My throat thing went away, thank God, but I've passed it on to all of my coworkers, which is kind of hilarious. The lease on the house my mom and I are currently living in goes up in August, so we have to start looking for a new place. The thought of packing again makes me want to vomit. This'll be my fourth time in two years. I'm hoping that once we find this apartment, that'll be it until I move back to the mid-west/east coast.
I've also been working a loooooot, which is both really nice (CASH MONEY, BABY), but also takes up a lot of my reading time and general summer vacation. But I need to save up for my trip to Chicago in August, plus I owe my mom a bunch of money from our last trip, so I would definitely rather be working a lot then not working enough. 
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The Problem with Forever by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Thursday, May 26, 2016

The Problem with Forever by Jennifer L. Armentrout
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Publication Date: May 17th, 2016
Pages: 480
Song I Played While Reading: For What It's Worth by Kygo
Rating: 4.5 stars

For some people, silence is a weapon. For Mallory "Mouse" Dodge, it's a shield.

Growing up, she learned that the best way to survive was to say nothing. And even though it's been four years since her nightmare ended, she's beginning to worry that the fear that holds her back will last a lifetime.
Now, after years homeschooling with loving adoptive parents, Mallory must face a new milestone- spending her senior year at a public high school. But of all the terrifying and exhilarating scenarios she's imagined, there's one she never dreamed of- that she'd run into Rider Stark, the friend and protector she hasn't seen since childhood, on her very first day.
It doesn't take long for Mallory to realize that the connection she shared with Rider never really faded. Yet the deeper their bond grows, the more it becomes apparent that she's not the only one grappling with lingering scars from the past. And as she watches Rider's life spiral out of control, Mallory must make a choice between staying silent and speaking out- for the people she loves, the life she wants, and the truths that need to be heard.

I'm a huge, huge fan of Armentrout's Lux series. I haven't read any of her other work, but I have some on my TBR, and this was one I definitely couldn't miss. I was lucky enough to attend BEA (here's my recap if anyone is interested) and I managed to snag a ticket for her signing event at the Harlequin booth. I knew, from the moment I read the prologue, that I was a goner. The Problem with Forever was absolutely astounding, with Armentrout's knack for writing authentic, likable characters.
I was a little worried about Mallory, since I can find characters who struggle to speak up for themselves a little aggravating. But, as I should have expected, I had absolutely no issues with her (except for a small thing near the end, but it was inconsequential in the grande scheme of this book). The engaging and detailed writing really opened up Mallory in a way that some authors struggle to do, and I think that's what really did it for me. I was able to fully understand why Mallory struggled with speaking, for both obvious and personal reasons. Obvious because we learn about her past, and personal because when I was younger, I struggled with speaking up for myself. I still do sometimes, but I've definitely grown more assertive, which is why I can get annoyed with characters who let people walk all over them. Life is too short for that, and I absolutely adored Mallory's character arc. It was slow-going, and definitely painful at times, but she did it. I was so incredibly proud of her.
It's obvious from page one how important Rider is, and oh my LANTA, could I have cried the second him and Mallory reunited. This slow burning romance killed me. Seriously. Not only was it deliciously, innocently steamy (is that even a thing??), but Rider himself was an actual angel sent down from heaven. I have a soft spot for protective guys, and Rider is the epitome of a selfless white knight. He would do or say anything for Mallory, and it hurt me so deeply. That kind of thing is unheard of today, so I think I've officially resigned myself to living alone for the rest of my life with 3 dogs and my own little library. He was constantly touching Mallory: tucking her hair behind her ears, playing with her fingers, hugging her, rubbing her arms. He made sure she ate her food, always held doors open for her, offered to skip his class period to sit with her at lunch everyday, threatened to beat up anyone that was upsetting her, and was just there. 24/7. I'm turning into a giant mushy, teary puddle just thinking about it. Rider Stark has stolen my heart, god dammit.
Armentrout's writing is stunning in The Problem with Forever, and since this is hunky 480 page book, she got to dive deep into every aspect of life: first love, friendship, death, family relations, finding your voice, and overcoming your fears. There are undertones of sadness in here, which always tug at my heartstrings and make me want to hug the book to my chest. I definitely struggle with hopeless moments in my life, and being able to tap into that feeling, into that feeling of being stuck, made me connect on a whole different level with the characters. No matter how someone may appear on the outside, you never know what they're going through on the inside.
I LOVED the diversity in here. I absolutely gobbled it up. My high school was in an area that was primarily Hispanic, and reading about Hector and Jayden speaking and swearing at each other in Spanish made me feel incredibly homesick. I even read some of what they said in some of my classmate's voices, since they would teach me some stuff in class that was hilariously similar to what Hector said. I adored those two, and appreciated Armentrout for bringing to light the issues they struggled with out of school. I've led an incredibly privileged life, but I definitely noticed, and felt the repercussions, of some of the things people would do to get money. It never fails to break my heart.
With Mallory's undeniable courage, Rider's selfless and caring nature, and the ties that bonded these two, including the strength from their families, The Problem with Forever is a contemporary novel that everyone should give a chance. Brace yourself though; it's a heartbreaker.

"Words weren't the problem. They flew through my head like a flock of birds migrating south for the winter. Words were never the problem. I had them, always had them, but it was plucking the words out and putting a voice to them that had always been tricky."

"His eyes searched mine. "I just told her that you are important to me and since I never thought I'd have you back in my life, I didn't want anything or anyone messing with that. She understands."
"Understands what?" I whispered.
Rider's gaze held mine again. "She understands that if I have to pick between you two, it's not going to be her."

"Rider was patient through the whole thing, which pretty much raised him to saint status, because who seriously wanted to listen to me pause and stutter through an informative speech about a dozen times. Someone could record it and Satan could play it over and over, on an endless loops, to torture people in hell."

"Forever was something we all took for granted, but the problem with forever was that it really didn't exist."
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BEA 2016: wrap-up and giveaway!

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

I had been ready for BEA since the day I heard of its existence. It was June 4th, 2013, and I was (most likely) sitting at home reading when I got the notification that Christine Riccio, aka polandbananasbooks, had uploaded a new video. I clicked on it eagerly, pondering the title: THE BEA 2013. What the hell was BEA?
As I watched the video, I was flabbergasted that I had never heard of this before. Looking back on that moment, I've realized there was basically no way I would have ever heard of it if I hadn't watched booktube videos. I don't remember when I started doing that, but I'm pretty sure it was that year, so prior to that, I was in my own little world. I didn't follow publishing house news, up-coming books, authors, or even consider that people had blogs where they reviewed books. It just never even crossed my mind. So, when I finished the video, I basically had a full two hours of manic BEA searching. I learned everything I could on it, then started plotting ridiculous reasons for my mom and I to be in New York during that time. Naturally, I came up with nothing, since we have no family or friends out there, so I gave up hope.

Funny how the year I leave Chicago, BEA breaks the news that they're hosting it there. I thought, not only was that ironic and a little unfair, but it was TOTALLY sign that I should go because I could make it an all-out vacation and visit my friends and family, too. It wasn't hard to convince my mom to go, since I was paying for her ticket and she was dying to see her friends, as well. There we are, to the right, my gorgeous mama and I, on the first day.

Day 1
This was a half day, which was a blessing since my mom and I didn't get to her friends apartment until 10PM the night before and we were pooped. So we got ready, printed out our itineraries, and set off. The only that I had planned that day was meeting Lauren Oliver, so I designated day 1 to just getting our bearings. Neither of us had obviously been to BEA before, or even the McCormick Place, so we just walked around and mentally mapped everything out. We checked out where all the major publishing booths were, where the autograph area was, the bathrooms, and the food court. Lauren Oliver's signing was moved to later that day, but she was signing the next day, so I wasn't upset over it. Plus my mom had a bad stomach ache, so we were only there for about an hour. I got 10 books that day.

Day 2
This was the big day for us, and where I got the majority of my books. I highly, highly suggest bringing someone with you, especially if this is your first time. You're gonna get starstruck by all the free books and you're going to be unwittingly grabbing a bunch of them. You don't even think about it; you just do it. So, not only is it great to have someone to help you carry your books around all day (you're not allowed to bring suitcases onto the floor), but also in case you have overlapping signings, it's great to have someone stand in one line while you go to another. Especially if it's a major author. You have to get to those at least an hour early to be the first 50 in line. Us bookworms are dedicated AF, but it can definitely be a little annoying if you're on a time crunch.
We were on the go from 10 AM to 5 PM, and boy were we exhausted by the end of it. One of us would be in line waiting for a galley drop or an author signing, while the other was out wandering for books. I gave my mom a list of books for her to keep an eye out, and whenever she would come up to me with one I would feel such a huge swell of affection for her. Reading isn't really her thing, so she was bored and probably a little annoyed with this whole thing, but she never once complained. What a damn trooper. I also met two wonderful ladies while waiting for a galley drop, Tamara from Shelf Addiction, and Stephanie from Ohana Reads.

Day 3
This was where the bulk of my top author signings where, so a lot of this day was spent waiting. We were done by 1, which was a relief, because I had to catch a 4 PM train to Winfield and needed to pack my overnight bag. The highlight of this day was meeting Jesse, who's a booktuber (jessethereader). I met him at Yallwest in 2015, and shortly after that he found me on Instagram and followed me. I fangirled hard. It was unbelievable. And then he commented saying he loved my pictures and I just about died. But nothing compared to seeing him at BEA and having him recognize me. It was pure coincidence that the ends of my hair were dyed pink both times, so that probably helped him. But seriously, I couldn't stop talking about our encounter for a good ten minutes afterwards. We also kind of matched, which was awesome. He's so, so kind and down-to-earth, and if you ever have the chance to meet him, DO IT. It may be nerve-wracking, but it's so worth it. We talked for a couple minutes and then I told him I had to go to a signing, which was a total lie. I was just at my limit and my brain was kind of short-circuiting, so I had to get out of there before I ran out of words and just stared at him in silence.
So, like I said earlier, this was the bulk of my top author signings, so I only got.. maybe 10 books? I don't remember, but they were major ones, like Heartless, Stealing Snow, and The City of Mirrors. It was glorious, and again, wouldn't have been possible without my mom there.

Books galore!

I got a looooooot of books. I was expecting the total to be around 40, since the list I had given my mom had something around there, but I didn't account for the random books that were kind of shoved into my hands. Granted, most of them sound good and I definitely want to read them, but there are definitely a couple I regret grabbing. I'm not sure yet if I'll include those in the giveaway, since they don't really follow the YA theme, so we'll see. 

The pile on the left were my top books. I told my mom if she somehow saw those lying around, she was instructed to do anything she could to get them. And by anything, I meant anything, but as nicely as possible. 

Left pile
A 4 chapter sampler of Crooked Kingdom // Leigh Bardugo 
Stealing Snow // Danielle Paige
Three Dark Crowns // Kendare Blake 
The Problem with Forever // Jennifer L. Armentrout
Aerie // Maria Dahvana Headley
And The Tree's Crept In // Dawn Kurtagich
Empire of Dust // Eleanor Herman
The City of Mirrors // Justin Cronin
Heartless // Marissa Meyer
Caraval // Stephanie Garber

Right pile
The Loose Ends List // Carrie Firestone
The Light Fantastic // Sarah Combs
Our Chemical Hearts //  Krystal Sutherland
Stalking Jack the Ripper // Kerri Maniscalco
The Memory Book // Lara Avery
Love Warrior // Glennon Doyle Melton
Seven Days of You // Cecilia Vinesse
Frostblood // Elly Blake
The Forgetting // Sharon Cameron
The Women in the Walls // Amy Lukavics
The Changelings // Christina Soontornvat
Going Wild // Lisa McMann
Cloud and Wallfish // Anne Nesbet
The Most Dangerous Place on Earth // Lindsey Lee Johnson

Back pile
The Female of the Species // Mindy McGinnis
Maresi // Maria Turtschaninoff
Phantom Limbs // Paula Garner
The Guineveres // Sarah Domet
The Secret Keeper // Trenton Lee Stewart
The Continent // Keira Drake
The King Slayer // Victoria Boecker
Labyrinth Lost // Zoraida Cordova
Behind Closed Doors // B.A. Paris
No Stone Unturned // James W. Ziskin
The Graces // Laure Eve
The Scourge // Jennifer A. Nielsen
How To Hang a Witch // Adriana Mather
Kingdom of Ash and Briar // Hannah West
The Lie Tree // Frances Hardinge
Invincible Summer // Alice Adams
Truly Madly Guilty // Liane Moriarty
The Thousandth Floor // Katharine McGee
The Catalyst // Helen Coggan

Giveaway time! 
I managed to snag some extra copies of books when I was at BEA. Three of them are signed (The Women in the Walls, The Forgetting, and Phantom Limbs), while the other two are not. This is my first self-hosted Rafflecopter giveaway, so sorry if anything is a little funky. It shouldn't be, but technically hates me, so I never know. This isn't an international giveaway (this girl is broke AF), so sorry to all my international friends out there. US/Canada only! Enjoy :)
a Rafflecopter giveaway
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I'm back! Happy Monday

Monday, May 23, 2016

It's been such a weird feeling not blogging. I'm so used to checking Blogger 24/7, double-checking that my posts are ready for the next day, making sure to comment and check out other people's blog posts, and thinking of interesting posts to write-up, that I felt like, when I sat down with my laptop in Chicago, I had nothing to do. I remember staring blankly at my screen and trying to figure out what the hell I was gonna do on it. Since I completely cut myself off from blogging, it took me a couple days to get used to it.  To me, being on a blog hiatus means cutting yourself off from it completely. Even though I still stayed active on my social media, I just stayed away from Blogger. And as the days passed, I realized how nice it was, especially while on vacation.
Besides needing to take my books to FedEx and get them shipped, I had no plans. I could sit back and actually relax with my friends. No little nagging blog thoughts crashed my vacation, and I highly recommend everyone doing this once in a while, even if you aren't on vacation. It's freeing!

What I read last week
I DNF'd The Summer Games: Settling the Score by R.S. Grey because I wasn't in the mood for it and my trip got majorly in the way. Plus, I really wanted to get started on reading the books I got from BEA, so I read, and absolutely adored, The Problem with Forever by Jennifer L. Armentrout. I can't even explain how amazing it was, and want every single on of you to go out and buy it so you can be blessed by its hauntingly beautiful prose, authentic characters, and gorgeous plot.

Currently reading

I've got a solid chunk of books I need to review, so I've got my TBR pile for the rest of May and most of June planned the fuck out. This will also be the perfect time to let you know what will be on the blog for the next couple weeks, so, LET'S GET EXCITED.

  • I'm a part of the Ivory and Bone tour by Julie Eshbaugh, which will be here on May 31st
  • Then I've got The Museum of Heartbreak by Meg Leder on June 10th
  • The Dreamer by E.J. Mellow (if y'all are stationary fanatics, check out her Instagram here, you will WEEP)
  • The Season of Me and You by Robin Constantine
  • And then I'm gonna reread ACOTAR by SJM to get all up in Feyra's business again for ACOMAF
SO. Many delicious book reviews will be coming your way soon, my lovely internet friends!

Books I've obtained
Many, many, many, many books have been obtained in my absence, and it's all because of BEA. I'll be posting my BEA wrap-up and haul (hopefully) tomorrow.

Music I've been loving
Into You // Ariana Grande
Be Alright // Ariana Grande
Too Good // Drake
If it Ain't Love // Jason Derulo
Me too // Meghan Trainor
Send My Love (To Your New Lover) // Adele
For What It's Worth // Kygo
Beat of My Drum // Powers 
Working For It // Zhu
Middle (4B Remix) // DJ Snake

Posts I've uploaded
Nothing since my blog hiatus!

Life shenanigans
I've got a gnarly throat thing going on. I don't want to say infection, since that makes it seem waaaaay worse then it is. It started out as a sore throat, then progressed to a nasty cough (which I still have) and now it's taken away my voice. I sound like a dying cow, and if I try to raise my voice, I squeak and then my voice breaks so that it only comes out as a whisper. My friends tell me I sound kind of like Jennifer Lawrence, and keep making me saying "Peeta" (I actually kind of do, and I may or may not have saved Snapchat videos of me pretending to be Katniss on my phone). I kid you not, whenever I visit my friends either at school or back home, I ALWAYS get sick. Always. Usually I'm just wiped out from lack of sleep and so much shitty food, and I get a little fever. But this is the first time it's hit my throat, and I'm not enjoying it at all. Not being able to talk, especially at work, is a major inconvenience. 
But besides that, life is good! School is over, so I'm just hanging out. I'm also looking for a second job, and am hoping Victoria's Secret will hire me. *crosses my fingers and toes* PLEASE.
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Blog hiatus

Monday, May 9, 2016

Oh gosh, hello internet. I've been gone for the past couple of days digging myself an early grave, since final exams are absolutely KILLING ME. Literally, I've somehow managed to plan and procrastinate and wiggle my way into making everything due either last week, or today. The rough draft of my 6 page paper is due in 3 hours (I only have 4 pages right now), but in those three hours I also need to study for my geography final, prep for my in-class english writing assignment, study for my super important if-you-ace-this-you-dont-have-to-come-into-the-final english quiz, shower, and drive the 40 minutes to school. So. Will I accomplish everything? Most likely not, but I'd like to pretend that I will.
Anyways, as you guessed from the title of this post, I'm letting y'all know that I'll be gone for the next week. I leave for Chicago at noon tomorrow, and then don't come back until Sunday. I'm going to BEA, so the first three days will be crammed full of that, and then I'll be visiting friends and family on Friday night and all day Saturday, so that means no time for reading. But I'm consoling myself with the fact that once this trip is over, I'll have 6 beautiful weeks of freedom before my summer classes begin. 6 WEEKS. *wiggles in excitement*
But! That doesn't mean I won't be active on the rest of my social media. Not only do some of my friends from home want to pose for some bookish pictures, but I'll be fangirling from everything at BEA on my Twitter, Snapchat, and Instagram, so you'll actually get sick of me after a while. Plus, hello, I'll be in Chicago. That place is damn gorgeous and will be the background in all my pictures for the next year, I swear. All my social media links are to the right, if anyone was in interested.

Thank you for understanding! BEA will be amazing, but I'm definitely excited to get back into the normal swing of things :)
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Waiting on Wednesday: The Last Star

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

This meme is hosted by Breaking the Spine :)

The Last Star by Rick Yancey
Publisher: G. P. Putnam
Publication Date: May 24th, 2016
Pages: 352
Link to Goodreads

We’re here, then we’re gone, and that was true before they came. That’s always been true. The Others didn’t invent death; they just perfected it. Gave death a face to put back in our face, because they knew that was the only way to crush us. It won’t end on any continent or ocean, no mountain or plain, jungle or desert. It will end where it began, where it had been from the beginning, on the battlefield of the last beating human heart.

Master storyteller Rick Yancey invokes triumph, loss, and unrelenting action as the fate of the planet is decided in the conclusion to this epic series.

I've been impatiently waiting for this since FOREVER. The Infinite Sea came out in September of 2014, and it left me extremely troubled, slightly angry, and very confused. So I've been needing answers for about a million years now, and IT'S ALMOST TIME. I need my OTP to reunite and stay the fuck together and not get separated again. I have zero predictions for how this could end, because Yancey is unpredictable. But seriously, all I ask for is Cassie and Evan to be together. PLEASE.

What book are you eagerly anticipating? Link your post down in the comments! :)
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Happy Monday!

Monday, May 2, 2016

What I read last week
I only read The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater, which seriously makes me cringe because THAT'S ONLY ONE BOOK AND I HAD 7 WHOLE  DAYS. And what makes it worse was that I was in the middle of reading TDT. I didn't just start it that Monday. No, I was at least 100 pages deep. I think I struggled so much because I got really impatient at some points. I'm rereading the whole Raven Cycle series in preparation for The Raven King, so I obviously know what happens. So at some points I would be like mmmmm I LOVE YOU GUYS, BUT ALSO COULD WE HURRY THIS UP, PLZ AND THANK YOU. It was weird. And annoying.

Currently reading
I was granted an eARC of The Summer Games: Settling the Score by R.S. Grey, and I stopped my reread to finish that because it comes out today and I need to post my review this week. I'm about 100ish pages into it (I sense a theme going on here?) and am really enjoying it so far. I've only read one other piece of her work, Chasing Spring, which was more serious and emotional, so this is my first Rom Com of hers, and I've definitely not been disappointed. HELLO FREDRICK ARCHIBALD.

Blue Lily, Lily Blue by Maggie Steifvater. I don't know if I'll get to The Raven King this week, since I've got an extremely busy week: 3 days of school, 2 hair appointments (both at least an hour and a half long), 1 eyebrow appointment, 1 mani pedi, 1 trip to the mall for BEA outfits, 1 six-page paper, 1 geography exam, 1 set of notecards for said geography exam, and 3 days of work this weekend. I'm cursing whoever changed the dates for BEA to the week of my final exams. It's usually May 26th-28th, or something like that, and it's almost two weeks earlier than usual. 

Books I've obtained
The Raven King, The Scorpio Races, and the eARC of The Summer Games by R.S. Grey I mentioned I was reading right now!

Music I've been loving
Work From Home // Fifth Harmony
Sex // Cheat Codes
Raging // Kygo
True Colors // Zedd 
You Were Right // RUFUS DU SOL
This Is What You Came For // Calvin Harris
Good To Be Alive (Hallelujah) // Andy Grammer
Let Me Love You // Arianna Grande
Colors (Audien Remix) // Halsey (LISTEN TO THIS, IT'S THE GREATEST REMIX EVER)
There Will Be Time // Mumford & Sons 
Somebody Else // The 1975

Posts I uploaded 
Happy Monday on 4/25

Life update
Well, as you saw in my "To-read" section, STRESS. I feel like everything has come down to this week, and if I don't survive it or fail to do something, everything will fall apart. But there is one bright spot: I started actually using VSCO cam to post pictures, instead of just using it to put filters on my photos for Instagram. So if anyone is interested in seeing a more personal side to my life, my username is mariahs96 (I'll link it here).
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