Friday, August 26, 2016

25 Bookish Facts About Me

Early this year, Kristin of Super Space Chick tagged me to share twenty-five bookish facts about me. It took me a while to come up with my answers, but I'm pretty pleased with the array of (random) facts that I'll be sharing with you all. Hope you enjoy getting to know me a little bit better!

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Tunes & Tales: Christina Aguilera

Today's featured album is a major throwback for me. And when I say major, I mean that I was probably in the fifth or sixth grade when I first heard of Christina Aguilera and fell hard for her debut album. What in the world made me think of this album? Well, when Rachel & I embarked on a road trip to see Kelly in Cape Cod, we started adding a few older tunes to our road trip playlist. And Come On Over (All I Want Is You) was one of those songs! Once I started listening to her stuff again, I just knew I had to highlight this album in particular to start with.

VIBE: old school 90s pop
WHY: I just really liked Christina Aguilera back in the day.
TRY: Come On Over is the obvious choice, but I also really like What A Girl Wants.

Genie in a Bottle / The Forbidden Wish
If you wanna be with me
Baby, there's a price to pay
I'm a genie in a bottle
You gotta rub me the right way
If you wanna be with me
I can make your wish come true
You gotta make a big impression (Oh yeah)
Gotta like what you do

What A Girl Wants / Last Will and Testament
Like a rock you waited so patiently 
While I got it together 
While I figured it out, yeah yeah
I only looked but I never touched 
'Cause in my heart was a picture of us 
Holdin' hands, makin' plans and it's lucky for me you understand

I Turn To You / Open Road Summer
When I'm lost in the rain,
In your eyes I know I'll find the light
To light my way.
And when I'm scared,
And losing ground,
When my world is going crazy,
You can turn it all around.
And when I'm down you're there
- pushing me to the top.
You're always there,
giving me all you've got.
For a shield from the storm,
For a friend, for a love
to keep me safe and warm
I turn to you.

So Emotional / Onyx
You take me high or low, you know 
I'm never sure which way you're gonna go 
You're such a mystery to me 
But baby hot or cold, you got a hold 
Of my imagination 
I think you know what I mean 
You make me feel so emotional

Come On Over (All I Want Is You) / The Score
I want you to know you could be the one for me (Yes, you could)
You've got all I'm looking for
You've got personality
I know, you know, I'm gonna give you more
But boy, you know, I never felt this way before
So, boy, won't you come? Won't you come
And open the door? Listen to me.
All I want is you (Come over here, baby)
All I want is you (You make me go crazy)

Reflection / Every Last Word
Look at me 
You may think you see 
Who I really am 
But you'll never know me 
Every day 
It's as if I play a part 
Now I see 
If I wear a mask 
I can fool the world 
But I cannot fool my heart 
Who is that girl I see 
Staring straight back at me? 
When will my reflection show 
Who I am inside?

Love for All Seasons / The Bronze Horseman
I'll be there for you
Keepin you warm 
Through the storm
I'll guide you
Stand by you until the stars
Fall from the sky
When you call me
I never hesitate 
Makin you wait for my love
Never lie love
It's something that I just can't deny
I'll read your each and every feelin
When you need me to
So now I gotta let you know
This love's for you

Somebody's Somebody / Isla and the Happily Ever After
I want a love to call my own 
I want someone that I can hold 
Want someone wanting me 
Wanna feel how it feels to be 
Somebody's somebody

When You Put Your Hands on Me / A Court of Mist and Fury
I just know 
When you put your hands on me 
I feel sexy 
And my body turns to gold 
I just know 
When you put your hands on me 
I feel ready 
And I lose my self-control 
When you put your hands on me

Blessed / Wait For You
When I think how life used to be, 
Always walking in my shadows. 
Then I look at what you've given me,
I feel like dancing on my tip-toes. 
I must say everyday I wake
And realize you're by my side; 
I know I'm truly... 
Blessed for everything you've given me
Blessed for all the tenderness you show

Love Will Find A Way / Infinite
No one ever said that
Love was gonna be easy 
Gotta take the ups and downs
The in-betweens 
If you take this journey
Gotta give yourself completely 
Never let nobody ever step on our dreams

Obvious / Shuffle, Repeat
Can you hear it in my voice?
Was it something I let slip?
Does the whole world know?
Isn't it obvious? 
I'm the one who's in control 
Now Im acting like a fool 
Do my feelings show? 
Is my face aglow? 
Isn't it obvious?

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Pokémon Go Book Tag

Last month, Pokémon Go pretty much took over my entire life (and I know that's true for a great many people too). It was such a fun throwback to my childhood! The novelty of being able to catch Pokémon (I'm still so pleased I've caught a few Vulpix. Need to evolve them when I can.) is so fun, and though I've got plenty to catch before I can say I've caught them all, I still feel pretty good about what I've accomplished.

What does this have to do with today's post? Well, the lovely Kristin of Super Space Chick tagged me to do the Pokémon Go Book Tag. This tag was created by Aentee of Read at Midnight, and it's fabulous. Check out the video below for my answers! And feel free to do the tag if you haven't already.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

The Troubles of Teens • The Comeback Season + Fingerprints of You

The Comeback Season book cover
The Comeback Season by Jennifer E. Smith
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: October 13, 2015
Source: Paperback purchased on Amazon

On the fifth anniversary of her father’s death, Ryan Walsh knows there is no place in the world that she ought to be than at Wrigley Field. Allowing herself to enjoy baseball, their mutual passion, lets her escape the mundanity of her everyday life – including her lack of friends, her loneliness, and her grief. In what seems like a destined turn of events, at the field, she meets Nick, a new kid from her school, who appears to share her love of the Cubs and baseball. What begins as a chance encounter slowly develops into a fierce, fast friendship, until Ryan learns that Nick has a secret that could change everything they share.

Honestly, I’m kind of at a loss for words to explain how much I adored The Comeback Season. I’m not much of a baseball girl (as I grew up in a country where it wasn’t a popular sport), so I won’t be able to tell you much about that aspect of the story. But, I will say, even if you only know the basics of baseball, that’s okay. While there is plenty of detail paid to the sport, this story is about so much more than that. It’s about one girl’s journey through the changing landscape of life; about how she comes to terms with grief and loss and growing up; about how life can throw us curveballs when we least expect them, both good and bad. Like the many other Jennifer E. Smith novels I’ve read, it is a quieter story; and yet, that doesn’t diminish its emotional resonance with the reader. In fact, I found it all too easy to connect with Ryan, different though we are in personality; I found her experiences incredibly moving, and got quite emotional at certain points of the story. It was, as always, a well-constructed, beautifully written young adult novel, as I’ve come to expect from Smith, and I’m so glad I finally got around to reading it. I’d highly recommend checking it out if you’ve enjoyed Jen’s other work, or if you’re on the hunt for a good contemporary YA read.

Fingerprints of You book cover
Fingerprints of You by Kristen Paige-Madonia
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: August 6, 2013
Source: Paperback bought from Book Outlet

Lemon’s mother Stella has never been the maternal type, and you’re likely to find her with a drink in her hand, a new boyfriend every few months and a need to escape when things get to be too much for her. Their latest move, however, has an unforeseen complication: Lemon is pregnant, and by a guy her mother was flirting with. Lemon’s reaction is purely instinctual: she sets off on a big cross-country adventure to find the father she’s never met, and to come to terms with her new circumstances as a teen single mother.

I remember hearing about Fingerprints of You the year it came out. I remember being draw in by the beautifully illustrated cover. I remember hearing Estelle and Rachel rave about it. And yet, somehow, I still managed not to read it until now, and I sorely regret that because it was really, really good. It is a quieter YA novel, but it certainly packs an emotional punch. Or, at least it did for me! I loved, for instance, Madonia’s portrayal of relationships – family, friendship and romance – because it was so realistic about the good and the bad. I also enjoyed accompanying Lemon on this illuminating journey, one that helps her learn more about herself, where she’s come from and how her life has been shaped by her circumstances. The story– from our introduction to Lemon and her mother, to the cross-country trip she embarks on, to her time in San Francisco – is really well-done, and I definitely found it compelling.

Monday, August 22, 2016

I Am The Reader (+ Giveaway)

I've been looking forward to checking out The Reader since I first heard of it (and snagged it!) at ALA Midwinter in Boston. It sounds like a story that's right up my alley, and I am super excited to (hopefully) read it this week! I'm also really psyched that I've partnered with Penguin Random House to host a giveaway for it today. But before I get into the giveaway details, let me share a few thoughts in answer to the following question:

Sefia's clue to finding her lost family lies in a book. How have you found a family through books and/or through being a part of the online book community?

If it's possible to consider fictional characters a part of your family (or yourself a part of their family), then I would certainly say that I've discovered family through reading. It comes with the characters I most feel a kinship to, and identify with; it comes with the ones I care deeply for, who I'm emotionally invested in. They stay with me, always, and it's all too easy to summon them out of my thoughts and to think about what they might be doing or what they've been through.

In real life, what I love about being a bookworm is that I'm immediately a part of a group that celebrates the written word and stories. Just having a passionate love for books immediately connects me to people in real life - bookstore employees (especially in indies!), librarians, book club friends, family members who love to read - and gives me a special zone with them, where we can chat with full enthusiasm about the books and stories we love. It's a really welcoming familiarity, and I fully embrace that when given the opportunity.

But admittedly, discovering the online book community was one of the best things that ever happened to me. I've connected with many individuals all over the globe, due to a love of the same books or same genres. And out of some of the connections, I've formed really close friendships - that transcend just discussing what we've read lately. I honestly couldn't imagine my life without the best friends I made through this community; they're really important, special parts of my life.

So yes, I'd like to think I've found family through reading and through blogging.

The Reader by Traci Chee
Series: Sea of Ink and Gold #1
Publisher: Putnam
Publication Date: September 13, 2016
Read an excerpt of the first two chapters here!
A stunning debut set in a world where reading is unheard-of, perfect for fans of Inkheart and Shadow and Bone.

Sefia knows what it means to survive. After her father is brutally murdered, she flees into the wilderness with her aunt Nin, who teaches her to hunt, track, and steal. But when Nin is kidnapped, leaving Sefia completely alone, none of her survival skills can help her discover where Nin’s been taken, or if she’s even alive. The only clue to both her aunt’s disappearance and her father’s murder is the odd rectangular object her father left behind, an object she comes to realize is a book—a marvelous item unheard of in her otherwise illiterate society. With the help of this book, and the aid of a mysterious stranger with dark secrets of his own, Sefia sets out to rescue her aunt and find out what really happened the day her father was killed—and punish the people responsible.

With overlapping stories of swashbuckling pirates and merciless assassins, The Reader is a brilliantly told adventure from an extraordinary new talent.

Traci Chee is an author of speculative fiction for teens. An all-around word geek, she loves book arts and art books, poetry and paper crafts, though she also dabbles at piano playing, egg painting, and hosting potluck game nights for family and friends. She studied literature and creative writing at UC Santa Cruz and earned a master of arts degree from San Francisco State University. Traci grew up in a small town with more cows than people, and now feels most at home in the mountains, scaling switchbacks and happening upon hidden highland lakes. She lives in California with her fast-fast dog. The Reader is her YA debut. (Follow @TraciChee on Twitter!)

- a copy of The Reader
- a branded  "I Am the Reader" tote bag

Giveaway is open to US addresses only.
Prizing and sample provided by Penguin Random House


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