The Thousand Lives has moved!

Hello all! I’m super excited to say that I’ve gone self-hosted with Ashley and BookHost! You can now find me at my new URL here.

I’ve migrated all of my followers over already, so most of you shouldn’t have a problem! However, if you follow through Bloglovin’, you can click the new button below so you can follow that feed.

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Thank you all for sticking with me, and I’m super excited to see what the next few months bring!

Sidenote: I’m in the middle of having a new theme designed and coded for me (super excited!), so bear with me and my basic setup for the next few weeks as that’s all set up!

 

Top Ten Contemporary Books for Newbies

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Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and The Bookish. Check out their blog here!

Today’s TTT topic is: Top Ten Books I’d Give To Readers Who Have Never Read X. I’ve decided to make it Top Ten Books I’d give to readers who have never read the contemporary genre. (Can you hear Veronica and Andi clinking champagne glasses as they toast their conversion skills?) I’ve made it no secret that I used to be a huge hater on the contemp genre entirely – citing that it was only cheesy romances and overused tropes. BUT NAY – I HAVE BEEN SAVED FROM MY UNLAWFUL WAYS. So now that I’ve learned my lesson, here are ten contemporary books that I recommend to anyone who is scared or new to the genre.

Now that I’ve sorted through my GR shelves, I actually have 15! This is in no means a comprehensive list, but it’s some good starters, and ones that really stood out for me.

If you need something sweet: 

1. Everything Leads to You by Nina Lacour. You can check out my review for several paragraphs of gushing, but I can sum it up by saying that ELTY feels like magic. It was like I was floating on fluffy pink clouds and totally removed from the world – pure bliss.

2. To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han. Another fluffy read; some find that Lara Jean is too naive, but I think it’s just a younger section of YA. I’d say ages 14-16 for this one is perfect. The romance is swoon-worthy, and the overall plot was cute. 

3. Open Road Summer by Emery Lord. ALL THE SWOONS AND FEELS. The romance, the friendship, the road trip – it’s a perfect summer book for when you’re feeling a little country and a little wanderlust-y. 

4. My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick. I’m trying to find the right words to describe MLND without repeating the above, but ALL THE CUTES should just about satisfy.

5. Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell. I had a hard time categorizing this one, since it also tackled some tough issues (for me), and made me cry. But overall the book left me feeling like I’ve just downed the perfect amount of Dove chocolate (those little one-inch squares with the peppy sayings in the wrapper that you’re supposed to be satisfied with after one but you eat like eight) and like everything was right in the world.

If you want to tackle tough issues: 

6. There Will Come a Time by Carrie Arcos. Grief, specifically the loss of a twin. It’s painful, raw, and also can be categorized in the “made me cry” section.

7. The Beginning of Everything by Robyn Schneider. Disabilities in teens and having preconceptions of someone that turn out to be romanticizations and not truth. Plus – uber geek references abound.

8. Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour by Morgan Matson. Grief again, this time loss of a parent. This one really resonated with me, as I identified with Amy in ways that I hadn’t anticipated. (I’m sure you can guess that this was also in the “sobbing like a baby” category)

9. Faking Normal by Courtney Stevens. Eee I don’t want to say what this one deals with, because spoilers, but it tackles quite a few issues, including self harm. It’s a quiet story, and didn’t really resonate with me until several days after I finished it. But it’s so powerful, and very well written.

10. OCD Love Story by Corey Ann Haydu. I almost put this in the “sweet” section, but it’s (as you can guess) on the subject of mental illness, specifically OCD. And it’s REALLY well done and accurately represented, so no worries about inaccuracies.

11. Looking for Alaska by John Green. So I’m really not sure how to categorize this one, again, since it goes a few different ways. It’s powerful, and quiet, and really thought provoking. My favorite out of Green’s novels, by the way!

If you need a good cry: 

12. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green. No surprise that this one is here, I’m sure. But it deserves its reputation for pain. Sometimes it’s a bit over-hyped, but it really is a good story if you can look past that. Okay? Okay. (Fyi, I actually dislike that quote. I think it’s highly overrated. A better one is “we can’t choose if we get hurt in this life, but we do have some say in who hurts us.” Also: “it’s a good life, Hazel Grace.”)

13. If I Stay by Gayle Forman. So I didn’t actually shed tears, but they pooled. This book is SO powerful, and I can’t wait to see the adaptation later this month. I’ve seen the trailer like 10 times, and cried about 8.

If you want some drama: 

14. Sway by Kat Spears. I’m so excited about this book that I keep forgetting it actually isn’t released yet (can someone else PLEASE read their ARC so we can talk about it??), but it’s such a good book. The MC’s character development is phenomenal, and I was so attached to the entire story. Plus, uber drama. But not in the Lifetime movie sort of way – don’t worry! BTW: it’s released September 16th.

15. Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry. Actually, all four books in this series. Heck, all books that McGarry writes – period! I will admit that this is probably the book I’d call a guilty pleasure if someone forced me to pick one. BUT I DON’T CARE BECAUSE I LOVE THE CHARACTERS AND THEIR PAIN MAKES ME WEEP AND THEN I CRY HAPPY TEARS BECAUSE WHO DOESN’T LOVE AN HEA.

I’m sure most of these books are on other lists, and you see them all the time in the blogosphere. Most of them are pretty popular (I think?), but there’s a reason everyone’s reading them. I’m sure there are hidden treasures that I’ve yet to discover, but these gems made me more confident in delving deeper into the genre.

 That’s my list for this week – link me yours below!

Review: OCD Love Story by Corey Ann Haydu

Title: OCD Love Story
Author: Corey Ann Haydu
Genre: YA, contemporary, romance
Publisher/Publication Date: Simon Pulse / July 23, 2013
How Did I Get It? Bought it
Format? Paperback

Synopsis from Goodreads: When Bea meets Beck, she knows instantly that he’s her kind of crazy. Sweet, strong, kinda-messed-up Beck understands her like no one else can. He makes her feel almost normal. He makes her feel like she could fall in love again.

But despite her feelings for Beck, Bea can’t stop thinking about someone else: a guy who is gorgeous and magnetic… and has no idea Bea even exists. But Bea knows a lot about him. She spends a lot of time watching him. She has a journal full of notes. Some might even say she’s obsessed.

Bea tells herself she’s got it all under control. But this isn’t a choice, it’s a compulsion. The truth is, she’s breaking down…and she might end up breaking her own heart.

Amazon | Barnes and NobleBook DepositoryGoodreads

I’d actually had this book on my wish list for a while, but never picked it up because I wasn’t sure that I wanted to spend the money on a hardback when I wasn’t quite sure I’d enjoy the book. But then I saw it in paperback at BN when I was picking up another book, so I added it to my bag – and I’m so glad I did! I actually like having it in paperback; it’s well-bound, and the pages are really soft. While this book isn’t one that I’m adding to my favorites shelf, I truly enjoyed it and I’ll be reading it again in the future. If you’re looking for a good representation of mental illness in YA, this is one for you.

I really do need to take a moment and applaud Haydu for writing so honestly and truthfully about OCD. I’m no psychiatrist, but from what I’ve studied and researched, this was a very faithful portrayal of the disorder. And what’s even better is that Beck and Bea weren’t defined by their compulsions – they were people, not just their diagnoses. But that’s not to say that the OCD was pushed aside; it’s actually one of the focuses of the novel, especially in the second half. It was harrowing, and to be honest a bit disturbing, to get into that mental place with Bea as her compulsions get worse. But if it had been done any other way, it wouldn’t have been true to the reality of the disorder – OCD isn’t just a joke; it can be very serious. And I’m really glad that Bea actually had to face the consequences (serious ones, at that) of her actions.

Obviously, this is a romance. I mean, it’s in the title, so no spoilers there. Beck and Bea’s relationships was a conglomerated mess of healing and regressing and jumping all over the map. Kind of like playing the lava game as a kid: where can I put my foot so I cause the least damage? Or can I even step there at all? Their romance was kind of like that – a tiptoe game as they tried to work past their individual compulsions so that they could be together and just relax. And in their really screwed up loopy-loops of falling in love, it felt so real. It wasn’t magic and fireworks and sudden acknowledgments of mutual affection: it was messy and angry and painful, but also beautiful and healing and supportive.

I’d also like to note one of the themes: mental illness doesn’t just go away. It will always be there, some days more than others. It’s not like Beck or Bea were miraculously “cured” – they just had to learn how to not allow their compulsions to take over their lives. It was more about acceptance of themselves, not erasure of their pasts.

A lot of people on GR note that this isn’t a fluffy story; I actually have to disagree with that. While I won’t be Saturating this book, I’d just like to make note that I feel the brightness of the cover and colors fit this story perfectly. Despite the looming force of the OCD, I ultimately felt that OCD Love Story was quite hopeful and optimistic. It was easy to read, with a unique narrative voice that felt very real, and I sped through the book in a few short hours without needing to take a moment to remove myself for a break. It just made me happy and at ease. I may be the black sheep here, but it was a perfect light read for me after finishing Heir of Fire (which gave me a hangover of epic proportions).

In the end, I recommend this for sure. Not just for the representation in YA aspect (which is really important and deserves recognition), but for the story itself. It’s just a really good book that I thoroughly enjoyed and recommend to anyone looking for a quick, entertaining contemporary with a bit of heartfelt romance that gives you the fuzzy feels.

My Final Rating:

Four stars

Weekly Recap 38 (August 3) – MOAR BOOKS (And a giveaway winner!)

Well hello Sunday my old friend. I hope today sees you all well! I had another awesome week; still busy at work, but really what’s new about that? I’m in the prep stages for the new school year; I’ve got four classes to create syllabuses for and prepare all my lesson plans, so that’s keeping me very busy. At least it’s fun, and I get to binge watch new TV shows while I plan!

Stacking the Shelves

photo.PNGOooo aren’t they just so pretty?! I think I have an issue. But as I always tell my mom: at least it’s not crack. I had an unexpected tutoring job, so with the little bit of cash I earned from that I bought Volumes 1 and 2 of Attack on Titan (SO EXCITED) and Silver Shadows. What’s actually kind of hilarious is that I still haven’t finished the Vampire Academy series, but at least now I can binge all the Bloodlines books whenever I’m ready. I also preordered The Young World, since BN had it for 50% off and after I read the little sampler from the POP Culture event I knew I wanted to read the rest. While I was perusing the BN shelves on Thursday, I found this tiny little book called One + One = Blue. It’s about synesthesia. I just knew I had to get it, and ended up reading it that night! While it focused less on synesthesia than I had hoped, it was still a good book.

The other two books were a total surprise: my package from the Summer Box Swap came in, from my secret partner Kristen @ The Book Monsters!  I was just over the moon when I saw Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children – I’ve been wanting to read that book ever since I got into blogging more than a year ago! I also received All These Things I’ve Done (can’t get that Killers song out of my head every time I read the title); I’ve read one Zevin book before, so I’m excited to see if I like her other books.

A wee bit of bad news (in the bookish sense)… I had originally bought Let’s Get Lost instead of Silver Shadows, but ended up DNFing it. I only made it through the first story (Hudson’s), at about 75 pages, and then went back to BN to exchange the books. I’ll put up a post later on in the month explaining all my reasons why, but suffice it to say that I was SO disappointed, especially since I’d been beyond excited for that release. It was my most anticipated from the summer, and to see it bomb like that was kind of depressing!

In other news…

Want to know my absolute favorite tweet of the week? Possibly the year? Check it out:

Need I say more?

It’s now officially ONE MONTH of going Paleo! I’ve lost a total of 9.2 pounds (Saturday weigh-in), and I’m still totally in awe of everything that’s been happening. The weight is a great side effect, but the best part is how I’m feeling: more energetic, and no more fogginess every day. Not to mention the fact that my acne is clearing up; I’ve never passed that puberty-acne stage, apparently, but this is a nice change to have clear skin. Another fantastic moment: my Harry Potter tshirt that used to be TIGHT (at a size L, or XL – can’t remember), is now way loose! It fits great in the shoulders (since I inherited my dad’s broadness), but billows out around my tummy. Excuse me while I dance for seven hours in happiness ^_^

I’m also seriously on another book ban. For the month of August. I can do this. Yes? Yes. The only allowance is Isla and the Happily Ever After, and possibly volume 3 of Attack on Titan – but only if BN sends out more coupons. The rest of my budget will first and foremost go to self-hosting! I’m actually really hoping that whole process will happen this week – I might be writing my next update as the brand new TTL!

And in more good news, my blogoversary giveaway ended Thursday night! I swear, that was the most stress-filled moment ever when I clicked the “randomize a winner” button. WHO WAS GOING TO BE THE ONE?? I was grinning so much when I saw the name: Marga @ Deadly Darlings! I haven’t known her long, but in the last few weeks I’ve had a great time getting to know her and chatting over books! And let me tell you – she has some fabulous taste in books. I highly approve of her choices in spending the giveaway money ;) Thank you to everyone who participated in the giveaway and left comments on my blog; I’ve never felt so loved in my life!

In case you missed it, last week I…

What’s coming up this week?

  • Monday – Review of OCD Love Story by Corey Ann Haydu
  • Tuesday – Top Ten Books for Readers who have never read contemporary
  • Wednesday – Saturated Reads: Everything Leads to You
  • Thursday – The 5 Stages of Book Hangover
  • Friday – Review of There Will Come a Time by Carrie Arcos

Hope you all have a good week!