Tuesday, December 31, 2013

The Books of 2013

Total Books Read: 70!
Total Pages Read: 19,041 pages...approximately.

My Favorites:
Eleanor & Park, Fangirl, Attachments by Rainbow Rowell: One of my new favorite authors! I sobbed reading Eleanor & Park, I related so much to Cath in Fangirl, and just gushed all over the place during Attachments!

A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess: If it weren't for one of my classes in college, I would have probably written this book off forever. I am so glad I gave it a chance and persevered through the tricky slang.

After by Amy Efaw: I still shudder from the intensity of this book about a soccer star who hides her pregnancy and is on trial for how she handled her birth.

As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner: Another one I thought I would write off together until one day I somehow gained enough strength to push myself through it. THE LAST LINE STILL GIVES ME CHILLS. So many interesting voices and perspective changes. Truly amazing.

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn: The hype is strong with this one...and well deserved! I loved the twists and turns throughout the changing perspectives of a guilty-looking husband and his missing wife.

I Am the Messenger by Markus Zusak: The Book Thief was one of my favorite reads last year, and I was anxious to read another one of his books. It didn't disappoint! Beautifully written with extremely lovable characters!

My Least Favorites:
Forrest Gump by Winston Groom: Shocker, right?! I adore the movie (like the rest of the world), and I just didn't understand how they got that beautiful movie from this over-the-top novel.

Snuff by Chuck Palahniuk: Yawn. I feel like Palahniuk outdid himself a couple of years ago. There was a lack of difference between the multiple narrators, and he used shock value for no purpose to the narrative.

I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell by Tucker Max: Gag. It was exactly what I expected it to be. Misogynistic, shameful, frat boy misadventures.

What Changed From Last Year:
Once I graduated college, I sort of strayed away from adult/classic literature and planted my feet into YA. I love reading YA, and eventually would like to go to grad school to be a librarian specializing in childrens/teen lit, but in 2014, I would like to read more adult novels and classics!

This year wasn't that amazing of a reading year for me! I struggled to come up with suggestions for friends, and besides my new love affair with Rainbow Rowell and her books, nothing really stuck to me like some of the books I read last year did. But I still got a lot of really great reading experiences, and enjoyed a lot of the books I read!

Hope you all have a safe and happy New Year! I am beyond ready for 2014!

See you all next year!

Monday, December 30, 2013

Get Ready For: I Can't Feel My Face by Kris Kidd

I Can't Feel My Face by Kris Kidd
Publisher:  Createspace Independent Publishing Platform
Date Available: January 9, 2014
Page Count: 68
Genre: Memoir
Buy your copy on the Createspace website.

**I received a free copy of I Can't Feel My Face from the author in exchange for an honest review. This in no way influenced my thoughts and opinions on this book.**

When I recently read Weetzie Bat by Francesca Lia Block, a fairytale-esque story about disillusioned youth leading their own over-the-top lives in Los Angeles, I felt like I was looking at LA through rose-colored glasses. If Weetzie Bat made me look at LA in a pink haze, Kris Kidd makes me look at LA through glasses that don't match my prescription.
This is a cycle. This is routine now. I am the product of a painfully adequate home--picket fences and red doors, and all that shit. I don't need you to show me any ink blotches because I know exactly what I am, and I did this to myself.
In this short collection of personal essays, available in paperback on January 9, 2014 and presented by The Altar Collective, Kidd strips away the glamour, beauty, and dreams that most people think about when they hear 'Los Angeles,' and 'Hollywood,' and instead injects it with drug-addicted youth, feelings of imperfection, and the sense of being displaced in a group of people who are supposed to be your friend.
See, that's the thing about L.A.--When you've mastered the art of feeling lonely in a room full of people, that's when you know. When you have to excuse yourself from polite conversation with people who are two, maybe three, times your age just to hide in a bathroom stall for hours at a time, that's when it really hits you. Once you've snorted a line off of just about every reflective surface in West Hollywood, you just get it. 
Kidd drags us through his life of pool parties and misadventure. He doesn't shy away from sharing snippets of his therapy sessions, where his therapist is always trying to leech out his feelings about his father's suicide. His essays, such as 'Fruit Roll-Ups,' are also relatable to just about everyone, even if they've never snorted a line or been to a Hollywood pool party. In 'Fruit Roll-Ups,' Kidd finds himself with a group of thugs, looking for his next fix. There's a lot we learn about Kidd in this essay. He was a child actor. His first claim-to-fame: a fruit roll-ups commercial. His addictions. No one trusts him. I've never ridden around in a car with drug-slinging men, but the revelation Kidd has about being in a place with people you should not be with is universal. Seeing clearly the lines that divide you from other people is universal. Learning that a vice does not immediately connect you to others is universal.

Each essay is raw, personal, and lays his life out bare in a way that begs for appreciation. I always think there is something to be said about authors who can scrape some of their darkest moments out of themselves and lay them on the page with full honesty. It takes a lot to be as vulnerable as Kidd has made himself in this collection.
"Naw, I call bullshit. This lil' bitch don't look like he could be in a commercial for fruit snacks, or some shit. He's all cracked out."
"Well, I was nine so I was doing a little less coke then."
Phase laughed, and everyone followed suit, including Knight, who reached his fist out for me to pound it. Self-awareness is key.
In memoirs and collections that deal with addiction such as I Can't Feel My Face, I like to see some form of an upswing, or something positive the author has learned from their struggles. This sort of revelation isn't here yet, though I think this book itself stands as a monument of what Kidd has been through. At twenty years old, he's got a lot of time to figure it out, and I'm anxious to read more of his work as time goes by to see how he grows.

Kris Kidd will be reading excerpts from I Can't Feel My Face and signing copies at Gatsby Books in Long Beach, CA on January 9, 2014 at 7-10pm. Stay tuned for an interview with Kris Kidd on this blog closer to the release date!

'Get Ready For' is a new feature on The Lit Girl where I share with you books that have yet to be released...and that you should get ready for!

Saturday, December 28, 2013

2014 Bookish Resolutions!

In my non-book blogging life, 2013 has been a rough year for me. My year peaked in May, when I graduated from college with a bachelors degree and honors, and it just kind of went downhill from there. I've suffered a lot of loss--one of my college mentors passed away, a former boss and friend lost his short battle with leukemia, my pup of 15 years passed away, and most recently, the day after Christmas, we received news that our cat has also passed away. I've also not made it to where I wanted to be in terms of my career yet, and writing any sort of fiction has just not been happening for me since graduation.

But, since I'm not a huge fan of dwelling on things forever, all of this has been fuel to make 2014 my year. I'm feeling a little more motivated to take on the things that I've been struggling with since I lost all form of structure when I graduated. The main things I want to focus on is my writing, reading, and this blog. I've really built up this blog a lot in the past year, and am quite proud of it! I have lots of room for improvement. So without further ado, here are my...

1. Try to post two reviews per week. 
2. Write more non-review posts such as 'booksperiences,' discussions, personal reading updates, meme participation, etc. 
3. Read 100 books! This is my Goodreads Challenge for 2014
4. Branch out of my comfort zone. Some genres I would love to read more of: classics, thriller, non-fiction, graphic novels, and romance. 
5. Participate in at least one read-a-long, one challenge, and one book marathon.
6. Start a book club! I love seeing Jamie's posts about her book club...I want that! The Facebook group has been made. Now I just need like...members and a book to start with!
7. Write posts in advance and schedule weekly posts & memes. 
8. Upgrade my blog layout. 
9. Kick some books off of my grossly enormous Goodreads TBR pile...
...that number needs to keep going down instead of up. 
10. Interview more authors and other writerly folks! 
11. Host at least one giveaway. 

It's a lot to live up to, but I think I can do it! I want to bring this blog more and more to life, and try to avoid the blogging slumps that I tend to fall into when I get a little bit busy! 

Some of my personal, non-bookish goals include unplugging more from my phone and the internet, write 1,400+ words per day of fiction, break in my new running shoes, avoid complaining/gossiping, be more positive, do more pilates/yoga, get back into meditation and crystal healing, and be a more motivated leader at my job.  

Has anyone else had a sucktastic 2013? Is anyone else as excited for 2014 as I am?! I'm ready! I've set the bar high for myself, and I'm excited to force myself to live up to it ;) 

Happy New Years, guys!!

Friday, December 27, 2013

A Very Bookish Christmas

What is it about the holidays that makes them go by so fast? I woke up this morning and couldn't believe that it was all over already! I had an awesome Christmas Eve full of tradition with my family, a great dinner and time catching up with my grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins on Christmas Day, and then yesterday was my annual progressive dinner with my group of best girlfriends. It was a lovely holiday, and I hope you all had an awesome one, too!

This year, more than others, seemed to be an especially bookish Christmas! I got a bunch of books to usher in my two-month library ban, and a lot of other really cute bookish things.

The Writers Guide to Character Traits by Linda Edelstein : my boyfriend got me this really amazing collection of human traits for my writing. It breaks it down into different traits like 'narcissism' and then gives a brief description of what type of behavior a narcissist would carry out, what the childhood/adulthood is like, etc.

We Are Water by Wally Lamb: I wrote about this already in my post about books on my Christmas list. Every book of his that I've read I really loved so I'm triple excited.

The Cuckoo's Calling by Robert Galbraith (aka the Goddess aka JK Rowling): Another one I mentioned in my Christmas list post, and another one that I am so freaking excited about.

Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez : Boyfriend took me to the bookstore to blow the rest of his Christmas budget. Since lately I am mostly drawn to YA, I wanted to go for a classic, and I only hear great things about this one.

The Shining by Stephen King : Another one my boyfriend got for me. I've been dying to read it for the longest time, and I'm obsessed with the movie, so it just seemed like a logical choice...obviously.

Across the Universe by Beth Revis : A friend of mine strongly recommended this series to me, and I also hear great things about this book. Unfortunately the hardcover wasn't immediately available (it has the most beautiful cover EVER) but this one will suffice, I'm sure ;)

Attachments by Rainbow Rowell : This one shouldn't need much of an explanation. I love Rainbow Rowell, and I needed this book!

Then, because my boyfriend is amazing, he created what I am going to call a 'booksperience' for one of the books on my Christmas list. In A Tale for the Time Being, a Japanese teen girl has decided she is going to kill herself, but she does not want to until she documents the life of her century-old, Buddhist nun, great-grandmother. Then, across the ocean, a novelist finds a Hello Kitty lunchbox (hence the lunchbox) which contains remnants of the teen girl's life and drama. My boyfriend stuffed the book into the lunchbox, along with incense that is handmade by Tibetan nuns.

What is life without some great accessories? My mom snagged me the awesome 'I Like Big Books & I Cannot Lie' tote bag from Etsy that I included in my bookish gift guide. It is just as huge and sturdy as I imagined it when I made that post! Since I am reading more on my Kindle now, I wanted a Kindle case to make it a little sturdier in my hand and prevent the slipping that tends to happen since it is so smooth/thin. My grandma hooked it up with the beautiful pink case, and she also got me three cute, tasseled bookmarks, since I wanted something pretty dangling out of my current reads. 

I had an amazing Christmas, and I cannot wait to load my tote with books, and stuff those bookmarks in my pages, and get more mileage out of my Kindle. I'm so grateful for all of these awesome gifts and I'm officially ready for the new year!

What did you all get for the holidays? What were your favorite books you received? 

Monday, December 23, 2013

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas, everyone!
I hope everyone who celebrates is having a wonderful time with their loved ones! My boyfriend and I traveled from Chicago to my tiny hometown in Northern Michigan and I've been loving every second of it! I reunited with my best girlfriends, decorated the family Christmas tree, consumed a delicious bottle of cranberry wine with my sister, and accompanied my boyfriend on a shopping trip to the bookstore ;) As much as I love Chicago any other day, there's no place like home for the holidays, and I'm so grateful to be able to spend a week with my friends and family. I am also so grateful for all of you readers that make my blogging experience so fun, authors and publishers for keeping my bookshelves fat and happy, and for my love of reading!

I hope everyone is getting lots of good family time in, and lots of reading done! I can't wait to see what everyone gets for Christmas. I already know of four books I've got and I'm officially ready for my two month long library ban. Enjoy your holiday, and I'll see you all in a couple of days!

Monday, December 16, 2013

Review: 45 Pounds by K.A. Barson

45 Pounds by K.A. Barson
Publisher:  Viking Juvenile
Publication Date: July 11, 2013
Page Count: 264
Genre:  Contemporary Young Adult
Goodreads & Amazon

Name a diet, any diet, and sixteen-year-old Ann will bet that she has probably tried it. She's battled with weight her whole life, and it doesn't help that she has a perfect size-six mother who is in denial of how big Ann actually is. Then, Ann gets the push that maybe she has always needed: her aunt Jackie is getting married, and she wants Ann to be a bridesmaid. Desperate for a new diet that actually works, Ann orders a diet and exercise plan off of an infomercial and get a job at the pretzel shop in the food court to pay for it. Hoping to lose 45 pounds in just months for her aunt's wedding, Ann goes through the motions of yet another diet, meets a cute boy that she can't stop acting embarrassingly around, and learns some things about herself, and her family.

The summer between middle school and high school, Mom wasn't just a realtor but also my personal chef and trainer--or "food and fitness Nazi," as my friend Cassie called her. Her plan to teach me portion control and endorphin euphoria wound up teaching me how to sneak junk food and fake injury. I gained five pounds. After the full physical and thyroid test Mom insisted on came back normal, she gave up. Or maybe I did. 
I wrote in my review of The DUFF by Kody Keplinger, that I also felt like the DUFF in my group of friends, mostly because of my weight. It became something that was always at the back of my mind when I hung out with people thinner than I was. Now it's something I'm pretty okay with, but it was what drew me to 45 Pounds, I felt like I could really relate with Ann, and I did. Ann's struggle with her weight is one that a lot of teen girls face. Where they feel like they are being held back from being cool/popular/prefect because of their size. K.A. Barson did a great job at not only tackling a timely issue of teen weight issues and disordered eating, but heightening the obsession that surrounds it. Ann is always focused on her weight, and how she believes her weight is the reason for confrontations in the book. For instance, at work, their boss notices that a lot of pretzels have been eaten by the staff. When her enemy accuses Ann, their boss is quick to believe her. Ann knows it's not because her co-worker is manipulative, it's because obviously the fat girl would eat all of the pretzels.

Even though I've been doing my S2S exercise DVD every day for the past two weeks, I'm still out of breath. Few things are more embarrassing than being shown up on the dance floor by your four-year-old twin siblings and your sixty-year-old, chain-smoking grandmother. Good thing Gigi's not here, because even she dances better than I do. I scan the room and realize that I am the fattest person it in. The fattest, even though I'm almost the youngest. The fattest. The slowest.
Despite Ann going through a very serious struggle with her weight and body image, she had a quippy voice that made me chuckle several times throughout the novel. There were certain parts where I could tell the author's hand was in the way. This is a phrase often used in the fiction department at my school to indicate where the character or character's voice was overshadowed by the author's own voice. Ann is a sixteen year old girl with aspirations of being popular, yet the references she made were sometimes quite dated. At one point, Ann is going for a job and sings to herself, "burn, baby, burn, calorie inferno!"

Then it hits me. Mom cannot eat a fry. I try to remember the last time I actually saw her have fries or ice cream or anything remotely unhealthy. I can't. I never see her eat junk. She buys it and feeds it to us--but she never eats it herself. What is she afraid of? If it were just about health, she wouldn't buy it for us, right? Is she that afraid of getting fat? Of looking like that woman across the room? Of looking like me?
I really enjoyed a lot of the family dynamic's in 45 Pounds. I liked the voice of Ann's mother, and kind of loathed her for what she puts Ann through regarding her weight and eating, yet there was a great revelation near the end that helped her mom make sense. With what we learn about her mom, we are able to look back at the rest of the book and see better where she is coming from. I also enjoyed her snappy grandmother, and the fact that K.A. Barson included a lesbian wedding!! There were some family dramz that I didn't find very necessary. Ann's stepdad's mom, Regina, comes for a visit, and there is a homophobic exchange between her and Ann's aunt & partner. I thought this conversation seemed tacked on, just to throw in some opposition to gay marriage, because Regina does not appear for the rest of the novel, and the conversation is only mentioned once more very briefly. Ann also has a heartbreaking moment with her real father that didn't ever reach a full conclusion that I thought it, and Ann, needed. I wanted the confrontation! The conflict!

Overall, 45 Pounds was an accurate portrayal of a teen going through issues with her weight and body image. Her sarcastic nature and glib observations were also true to teen voice and there were a lot of interesting family dynamics and characters, however I think Barson stuck her hand in there a little with dated pop-culture references. There were also some unnecessary moments that I think were thrown in for the sake of conflict, or lack thereof.

Have you read 45 Pounds? What did you think? 

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Books On My Christmas List

As I get older, the things I put on my Christmas list is always changing. I went from toys as a child, to impractical knick-knacks as a teen, to clothes and apartment needs as a college student. Even though my Christmas list priorities are changing year to year, one thing remains the same: books! I always ask for books. Here are the books that were on my Christmas list this year: 

Dark Places by Gillian Flynn. I read and was freaked out by Sharp Objects a couple of years ago, and was blown away by the hugely hyped up twists and turns in Gone Girl. A trusted source has told me that this one is even better than Sharp Objects, and I'd like to round out my Gillian Flynn collection and read all of her stuff. I've also had this on hold at the library for MONTHS now, and I can't wait forever!

We Are Water by Wally Lamb : I am a huge fan of Wally Lamb and he is easily one of my favorite authors. I blew through I Know This Much Is True and She's Come Undone in high school, and cried over The Hour I First Believed in college. He creates really deep characters with rich family histories that suck you in and make you a part of them. His latest novel surely won't disappoint, and I need this in my life. 

Attachments by Rainbow Rowell : In October, I read Eleanor & Park, and that was when my love affair with Rainbow Rowell began. That one book was enough for me to trust her for the rest of forever. She could write a book in pig latin and I would probably try to read it. I just started in on Fangirl, and of course I'm loving it, so of course Attachments had to be on my list. It just had to be.

The Cuckoo's Calling by Robert Galbraith (aka JK Rowling) : This one is just obvious. The whole world knows JK Rowling is basically the Beyonce of books, and I was brought up on Harry Potter like some people are brought up on classic rock and sweet tea. I have yet to read The Casual Vacancy, her first jump into a novel not in the wizarding world of Harry Potter, but I will probably read it during my library dry spell. I've also heard really great reviews of The Cuckoo's Calling so yeah. I need it. 

Night Film by Marisha Pessl : Another hugely hyped book that I feel like I need to have and to hold. The Goodreads description said it is for readers of Stephen King and Gillian Flynn, and while I usually don't follow those types of recommendations, I really love Gillian Flynn's work (obviously) and if this murder mystery about the death of a filmmaker's daughter is anything similar to Flynn, I am sure I will absolutely adore it.

A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki : Honestly, I don't know too much of what this book is about. I read a really amazing review of it somewhere a while ago, and the cover is so beautiful. A woman comes across a Hello Kitty lunchbox on the shore of the remote island that she lives on. Inside of the lunchbox is the diary of a young girl who plans on committing suicide, but first wants to document the life of her great-grandmother who is a Buddhist nun. This one sounds beautiful, and probably just a little heartbreaking. 

Huzzah! Any of these books would be fabulous reads for my two-month long, self-imposed library ban, and I hope I get at least one or two of them to add to my ever-growing collection. 

What books are on your Christmas list? Which ones are you dying to read?

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Bookish Gift Guide: What to get for the book lover in your life.

Shopping for a bookworm can be kind of difficult. Chances are, reading and books are the top love affairs in the life of a reader. That being said, it's easy to fall into a cliche'd trap of gifts for the reader in your life. There's always the Barnes & Noble gift card, and the fandom-related bookmark with the least ugly photo printed on it. But there are so many unique gifts that you can put together for your favorite reader. Here are a few that would be on my Christmas list!

1) A cozy blanket! A cozy blanket is essential for reading sessions, especially in these chilly winter months. My blanket of choice (pictured above with my current read) is a hand-knit afghan, perfect for wrapping up in. If you know how to knit/crochet, or know someone who does, get a blanket made in her favorite colors! For a cheaper, less-involved option, a no-sew fleece blanket is also a great choice. Fleece can be bought anywhere, there are lots of patterns/colors to choose from, and fleece is so snuggly!

2. Something fun to mark their page with. I've written before about using the above saucy playing card as my bookmark. If your friend has a sense of humor and wouldn't be embarrassed about one of these slipping out of their book in a public place (which has happened to me dozens of times), get them a deck of cheeky cards. Or, find a newspaper article, photo, or poem that reminds you of them and get it laminated. Much more personal than the aforementioned fandom bookmarks.

3. Their favorite reading drink! If your friend is of legal-drinking age, and is an avid book buyer, chances are they don't have the extra cash to splurge on a six-pack of yummy craft beer or a small bottle of whiskey for hot toddies, or some peppermint schnapps to spice up their hot chocolate. If your friend isn't a big drinker, figure out their favorite tea or coffee and get them a crap ton of it.

4. Something to drink their favorite drink in. I'm obsessed with the above watercolor mug, complete with a Looking for Alaska quote. The same shop also has mugs and other merchandise with other quotes from other John Green novels. Etsy is also ripe with TONS of bookish mugs, cups, and sleeves.

5. A way to wear their favorite books. The above sweatshirt from Out of Print Clothing made it to my own Christmas list this year! The shop also has t-shirts, jewelry, phone cases, tote bags, and pouches the feature book covers for titles such as Madeline, To the Lighthouse, The Great Gatsby, and The Bell Jar.

6. A sturdy tote for hauling their books to and from the library. The tote above is from Etsy. The quote on the front is so true, and the sturdy canvas material sounds just right for carrying what feels like a hundred pounds of books home from the library or book store.

7. A scent to set the mood. This candle is from the Paddywax Library Collection and has hints of absinth (how fitting for a Poe candle) and cardamom. They also have Austen and Dickens-inspired candles. Some libraryish scents are CRAZY EXPENSIVE. The above candle is $24, which is still a little crazy, but better than $100...for a candle. If you're looking to spend less, find a candle with a cozy scent like apple-cinnamon, or anything based on a baked good. And again, Etsy has some reasonably priced library scents. If your friend lives in a dorm or some other situation where open flame is not allowed, go for a wax warmer or oil diffuser.

8. Your favorite books! The avid reader is constantly looking for new books to read and new recommendations. They will surely love trying something new, and it will also give the two of you something to discuss when they finish reading it (just a warning: it may take them a while to get around to it). If you're not much of a reader yourself, look through their Goodreads lists and find books by authors they have loved before, or find book recommendations from their favorite authors via interviews/videos/blog posts!

9. Fancy snacks! Often times, a cold, winter's night spent inside with a book is like a reader's date with themselves. Get them a fancy snack pack to escort them on their journey through the pages! This could include an array of fancy cheeses, crackers, and olives, or the the chocolate-covered-peanut-butter-filled pretzel amazingness from Trader Joe's.

...and that's all I've got for you guys! Do you know of anything that should be added to the list? Readers, what do you put on your Christmas lists?

Monday, December 9, 2013

It's not 'goodbye', Library, it's 'see you later.'

I am addicted to the library.

I live just a five minute walk away from one. I don't always have the cash set aside for buying new books. And my city's library system is AWESOME at sending books from library to library so I can get any book I want at the branch that is so close to me.

Any day that I have off, or any evening that I am left alone while Boyfriend is at school, I trot down to the library and scan the 'new releases' shelf in the YA section. I look over titles and see if any books I've been waiting for have been returned by other readers. I get an arm load in the teen section, avoiding the raised eyebrows from actual teens who are also browsing in the teen section. Then I waddle over to the Adult Fiction shelves, and add on to the arm load that I started developing in the Teen shelves. If I feel like being scholarly, I will also look around in the Non-Fiction sections for funny memoirs, or books about food and relatable health issues.

Then I walk up to the desk, dump my armload of books down, and check out. I usually leave the library with shaking arms, and I am confident that this is the only real workout I give my arms. Then, I race the three-week-long clock to read the books I've checked out before they are due back. But sometimes, if I can't get to them, I can always log into the library website and renew them from home, which forces me to hoard them for as many months as I am allowed. Then, on the same day I return a stack...the process starts again.

But now....it's time to say good bye. Or rather...see you later, to the library.

As you all have noticed from my previous book hauls, I am accumulating quite the exciting collection of books. And that's not even counting the dozens of other books I've been acquiring over the years. I have about ninety-four titles that I own but haven't read. Plus I'm sure I'll be getting more for Christmas. It's time to start giving these books some good attention, and it's near impossible to do that when I keep getting books from the library that have a timestamp on them.

In order to start reading these fabulous books that I keep buying and receiving, I am cutting myself off for the months of January and February! This could be the best or worst decision I've ever made, but on December 31st, and library book stragglers I have will be dumped into the return bin. I'm excited to explore the books that I own, and I wonder if my reading experience will slow down a little knowing that the books on my shelves don't have a looming return date.

How often do you go to the library? Do you also have issues with not reading the books you collect?

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Pre-Christmas Book Haul!

Every year, without fail, I get paid on Black Friday. And every year, without fail, that paycheck burns right through my pocket with the OMG AMAZING sales that are everywhere. Sometimes this impulse to shop is to the benefit of others and their Christmas gifts, and sometimes I just have to follow some advice:
It didn't help that this year I discovered Bookoutlet.com on Black Friday, where cheap books became even cheaper. I was also in need of some retail therapy, and snagged six books for under $30, which is a STEAL. Then, Cyber Monday rolled around. I usually don't get too geeked about Cyber Monday, because on most years my shopping budget is blown on Friday. This year, I was able to make room for some EPIC Kindle e-book deals! I've discussed my thoughts on e-readers earlier this year, but I may have to change my mind after scooping up 7 books that I really wanted for under $10. I also feel bad that I received my Kindle as a gift a couple of years ago, and so far all I've really read on it is the Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy. Gross. So I bought some really great books to hopefully inspire myself to read on it more often.

Without further chit-chat, here is my Black Friday/Cyber Monday book haul!

My Name is Memory by Ann Brashares : I loved the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series in high school, and was intrigued by this standalone by Brashares. A girl named Lucy is trying to attract the attention of a boy named Daniel. When she finally gets to spend time with him, though, she learns he is more complicated than she could've ever imagined. Daniel has "the memory"--the ability to remember past lives, and each life time of his, he has been drawn to Sophia, though in this lifetime, her name is Lucy. This sounds so incredibly interesting!

Losing It by Cora Carmack : I've heard a lot of really great reviews of this book!  Bliss is the last virgin in her group of friends, and she decides to swipe the V-card in the quickest and easiest way she knows how: a one-night stand. But just before the act, she freaks out and leaves him in her bed with a terrible excuse. The morning after, she walks into her first class of her last semester of college and her new professor is painfully familiar -- he is the guy she attempted her one-night stand with.

40 Things I Want to Tell You by Alice Kuipers : Bird seems to have it all. Hot boyfriend, loving parents who are still together, great grades, and an advice column full of Top Tips to help teens gain control of their lives. But then she meets Pete, the resident bad boy, and she can't stay away. The more time she spends with him, the more cracks are uncovered in her relationship, and her parent's marriage doesn't seem so perfect anymore. As corny as I think 'good girl meets bad boy' stories kind of are, I'm intrigued by this story, especially since Bird is a writer!

I Don't Care About Your Band by Julie Klausner : I love books that can make me laugh out loud, and this book has blurbs on the back from Patton Oswalt and Rachel Dratch. If they think this is funny, I trust them. Julie Klausner lays all of her awful dating experiences, and what she learned from them, out on the table in this memoir of her love life.

This Gorgeous Game by Donna Freitas : Olivia can't believe it when her literary idol picks her as the winner of his creative writing contest. As part of the prize, she gets to attend his class for free at the local university, and she gets to spend one-on-one conference time with him to polish her story for publishable perfection. Then he starts to take things too far with out of class texts, calls, and IMs, and suddenly her time with him does not become the experience she thought it would be.

The Boy in the Striped Pajamas by John Boyne : I think the whole world has heard about this book. One boy, stuck on one side of the fence that contains a death camp. Another boy, on the other side of the fence as the son of a man who has a part in what goes on to the other boy. They form a friendship. I have a feeling this one will wreck me.

And now, my Kindle books!

Angus, Thongs and Full-Frontal Snogging by Louise Rennison : I remember reading this book in high school and dying of laughter. I wanted to re-read and finally finish reading the whole series!

Crash by Nicole Williams : This has been on my Goodreads TBR list for a while now, and of course, I couldn't resist. This is another 'good girl meets bad boy' novel where a ballet dancer with her sights set on Juilliard and then meets the bad boy. Somehow they fall in love and her chances of ballet success could be jeopardized. Dun dun dunnn.

Obsidian by Jennifer L. Armentrout : Sigh. There's a lot of hype around this book, the first book in the Lux series. Some people have even said that the books in this series are terrible, but they can't stop reading anyway. And everyone knows how much I love hugely hyped but awful series (See: Twilight, Fifty Shades, Rock Her). A girl gets a hot new neighbor who doesn't seem so hot once he starts talking and turns out being a doucher. But then he shows her that he can freeze time, oh yeah, and he's an alien. He also marks her with something alien that puts her at risk, along with hot alien neighbor and his alien sister, of their intergalactic enemies.

Requiem for a Dream by Hubert Selby Jr. : I love this movie, even though I describe it as being a 'night ruiner.' Harry and Tyrone both have big dreams. Harry wants to open a business with his girlfriend Sara, and Tyrone wants a better life out of the ghetto. To get rich quick, they purchase a large amount of heroin with the intent to sell. Instead, they become addicts of their own product. Meanwhile, Harry's mother has dreams of being on a gameshow, and becomes addicted to diet pills in the process. The movie has stuck with me for years, and I imagine this book is going to be devastating to read...but I can't wait anyway.

Fear of Flying by Erica Jong : Heralded as one of the great feminist pieces of fiction of all time, this is a story about a poet who takes a trip to Vienna with her second husband. While there, she indulges in her fantasies with other men. This book seems ripe with female sexuality and self-discovery, which I can always appreciate. I also have the sequel (I received it a long time ago as a gift without realizing it was the sequel of this one) ready to roll!

The Secret Sisterhood of Heartbreakers by Lynn Weingarten : I am currently obsessed with witches (thanks, American Horror Story!) and this book seems to have a touch of that. Lucy has just been heartbroken by her boyfriend. Three beautiful girls then make her an offer: they can heal her broken heart and let her join their group which is unaffected by heartbreak, but she must get a boy to fall in love with her and break his heart in seven days. Sounds kinda fluffy, but witches... Plus, their magic is derived from the tears of brokenhearted boys. Muahahaha!

Orange is the New Black by Piper Kerman : I, like the rest of the world, am obsessed/in love/addicted to the Netflix original series that stemmed from this memoir about a woman's year in a women's prison. I had this book on hold at the library FOR-EV-ER, but it never came, because, like I said, the rest of the world is obsessed with this story and probably wants to read it to. I'm hoping this will hold me over until season 2, and I'm also excited to find the differences between book and show.

Phew, what a haul. I have also devised a plan that will allow me to get to reading the books I own, instead of remaining hooked on library books. I'll tell you guys about that tomorrow.

Have you read any of these books? What did you think? Where should I start? Did you buy any Black Friday books?