Weekly Recap 31 (June 15)

Well hello Sunday my old friend. I can’t believe another week has passed again! I had a mostly quiet week, after my five-day vacation from all work entirely (when the doctor is out, the whole office is out!). Wednesday was super slow, since I’d slept very little and was fighting a nasty sinus headache. But then something very, very exciting showed up on my doorstep…

Stacking the Shelves

photo-2I won a giveaway about a week ago, and I thought, noooo it’s not here yet, and the box is too small. But then I saw the return address, and it turns out it was from Miranda! She had mentioned a surprise a few weeks ago, but with my crap memory it totally slipped my mind. And then it was there and… I just… I cried. No exaggeration here. I ripped open the box, saw the tote, and just started weeping. Out of all the BEA haul posts I’ve read, the one thing I couldn’t contain my jealousy about was that Throne of Glass tote. I could forgive the Heir of Fire ARCs and the Talon ARCs, but the tote? Oh man, bad blogger envy over here. BUT THEN IT’S THERE ON MY COUNTER IN MY HANDS and I just about died ❤ Honestly, my day would have been made just by that.

After reading Miranda’s letter (cue more happy tears), I opened up the bag at her prompting and saw the books inside. Imagine more crying and squealing. First was Faking Normal, which I’d just mentioned in my Top Ten Tuesday wishlist a few weeks ago, and second was Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe (in hardback: I felt so special!). Both were ones I’d been dying to read, but never got around to buying/borrowing. And then I saw Since You’ve Been Gone, and I’ll admit I was confused. Miranda knew I had run out to buy my copy the first day it was released, but then I read the letter again (see – tears make you skip lines!) and saw a post it in the inner cover, opened it, and *hallelujah chorus*

photo-3Signed and personalized 😀 Insert more fangirling and squealing here. So while I may have two copies now, I DON’T CARE BECAUSE THIS ONE IS SPECIAL.

Thankyouthankyouthankyou a million times over to Miranda for this amazing birthday gift. I wish I could express it better or give you a hug or something but I guess this will have to do!

Seriously, you guys are making this a birthday month rather than just one day – I just feel so special!

And then yesterday I shamelessly capitalized on Barnes and Noble’s habit of putting books on shelves early and… *drumroll please*

photo-2At first I walked in and couldn’t find it, and was a wee bit devastated (never mind the fact that I was expecting a book four days before it’s technically released). But then I saw the paperback of Siege and Storm, and a bunch of other books that I know aren’t released till the 17th as well. So I may have almost pulled a belligerent customer moment and nearly asked someone to go in the back because I knew they’d be there and YOU CANNOT HIDE THIS BOOK FROM ME. Almost. I mean, I contemplated it.

Luckily, I didn’t have to experience what it was like to be escorted out of a bookstore, because I rounded the corner and it was like the heavens parted and angels started singing. And there it was! So now I’m able to read it before I go to the Fierce Reads tour on Tuesday!

In other news…

  • My car broke down. Again. I should now what’s wrong with it tomorrow, but until then my mom and I are stuck with trading her car back and forth. Now… I drive a VW Bug. She drives a Kia Sedona. Her car is like three times as long as mine, and it’s a V6 engine. Sooooo it’s taking me a while to get used to its size and power. I suck at parking in the first place, but now it’s three times as hard. As for turning? Well… I’m so sorry mom I may have run over a curb or two. So hopefully I’ll have my car back by Tuesday morning so I can drive my little Fiona to the Fierce Reads tour!

In case you missed it, last week I…

What’s coming up this week?

  • Monday – Review of Say What You Will by Cammie McGovern
  • Tuesday – Top Ten Tuesday: Books On My Summer TBR (we’ll see if I actually stick with it this time)
  • Wednesday – Saturated Reads: To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before
  • Thursday – Discussion of… something!
  • Friday – Review of Faking Normal by Courtney C. Stevens

Hope you all have a good week!

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Top Ten Books I’ve Read So Far This Year

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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’ve Read So Far This Year. I’ve had an incredible string of FANTASTIC reads, so I’ll try to keep it to just ten. No promises though! I’ve listed them in order, starting from January up until now.

1. Avalon by Mindee Arnett. This was the beginning of my two month romance with deep-space sci-fi. I CRAVED anything space ship related for weeks after finishing this book. The friendships are my absolute favorite; Jeth is one of my favorite characters I’ve read in a while.

2. Me Since You by Laura Wiess. I’m honestly not sure I can talk about this book any more than I already have. Seriously, you all need to read it. It changed my life ❤

3. Scarlet by Marissa Meyer. Cress is a close runner up for this slot, but Scarlet still has my heart. I loved both MCs: Scarlet and Wolf. And their relationship is SO perfect!

4. Ignite Me by Tahereh Mafi. Another one that really, I’ve talked way too much about. But the character development in this conclusion was just flawless, and honestly I need a reread. If only for Kenji! But Juliette is great incentive as well, as is Warner 😉

5. Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour by Morgan Matson. This is one that made my heart hurt so much, but also filled it with happiness. I adored the road trip setting, the romance was perfect, and the friendship was even better!

6. Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell. Another that completely, utterly changed my life. I felt like the book was speaking directly to me!

7. Allegiant by Veronica Roth. Okay, I know I put it off for like five months after I bought it. And I know I wailed for days about my feels and creys. But I’m so glad I pushed through it, because Allegiant was one of the best series enders I’ve read, right up there with Ignite Me.

8. The Assassin’s Blade by Sarah J. Maas. The entire series is my favorite, but TAB really sold me on the whole thing, and novellas actually. I never thought I’d be so hooked on novellas before this book! And to have them all in print, in my hand – it was beautiful.

9. Open Road Summer by Emery Lord. Matt. Finch. That is all. Plus, road trips.

10. The Beginning of Everything by Robyn Schneider. Still a bit miffed that the title was changed from Severed Heads, Broken Hearts, but whatever. I still love this book with all my heart ❤

11. Since You’ve Been Gone by Morgan Matson. Two Matson books on this list! That should tell you something about how awesome this lady’s writing is. Really, there’s no way for me to express how much I love this book.

12. To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han. I feel like this whole post is just me gushing way too much but ALL THE FEELS from this book! It’s so lighthearted and it makes me so happy ^_^

13. My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick. This is proof that you should always listen to book pushers: I almost didn’t read it, but I’m BEYOND glad that I did! Another that made my heart so happy ❤

So, I only did 13. Not too horrible! I can restrain myself after all. Also, a fun note: you can tell how my reading mood has changed over the last five months. Darker, more sci-fi and fantasy books, gradually moving towards light and summery contemporaries.

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

Top Ten Books In My Beach Bag

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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 In Your Beach Bag. Well, I’m not a beach sort of girl. Or a pool person. I’d love to be, but I have no access to a pool, and the beach is at least an hour away. And with gas so expensive, beach trips are far and few between! Not to mention the fact that me and bathing suits are mortal enemies. BUT! I do love it when the weather’s about 70-80 degrees, and I can wear some capris and a sweater and sit under an umbrella enjoying the breeze. Ahh… now I’m so in the mood for the beach. GAS PRICES BE DAMNED I’M GETTING THERE WITHIN A MONTH.

Anyhoo, here’s my list of books that should definitely be in beach bags this summer. Keeping in mind that my entire goal is to get the books that lift my heart and make me happy – so don’t expect any TFiOS types in here!

Books I’d Read Again

1. To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han. I know I just read it, but I need a re-read already! The cover looks like exactly how the book makes me feel – fluffy and pink (yes, pink is an emotion) and whimsical.

2. The Beginning of Everything by Robyn Schneider. It deals with some slightly harder topics, but in such a wry, sarcastic way that I was laughing the entire time. Plus, it’s insanely geeky, and I love every bit of it. 

3. Since You’ve Been Gone by Morgan Matson. I mean, how can you skip this book? This is the quintessential summertime book. You’ll finish reading it and want ice cream, fireworks, and sunny morning runs.

4. Open Road Summer by Emery Lord. Hello, it has summer in the title. Case closed. Besides that: Matt Finch. Oh dear Lord in Heaven Above give me strength to accept the fact that the boy is merely fictional.

5. Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour by Morgan Matson. Yep, another Matson book. What can I say – the girl has summertime in her veins! This one does have some sad bits; I’d say it’s the heaviest one on this list. But it’s so worth it in the end!

Books I Want to Read

6. Let’s Get Lost by Adi Alsaid. It’s not released until the end of July (forever crying about that fact), but it’s a ROAD TRIP book. And ya’ll know how much I love my road trippers. So OF COURSE I’ll be running out and getting my copy, and maybe it’ll be my excuse to drive down to the beach.

7. My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick. I just bought my copy, after the urging of many of my friends (Andi you’re such book pusher, you deserve a trophy). I’ve read What I Thought Was True, and it was a wee bit heavier than I expected. So I’m wondering if MLND will be the same way. But, heavy or not, it still looks so adorable that I can’t wait to read it!

So I kind of ran out of books that I would read at the beach. I mean, I have a million TO read, but I have this thing where contemporary and beach just go together – I’d have a really hard time getting into anything sci-fi or fantasy while my toes are in the sand. When I’m out in the sun, I need a bright book.

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

Review: Since You’ve Been Gone by Morgan Matson

Title: Since You’ve Been Gone
Author: Morgan Matson
Genre: YA, contemporary
Publisher/Publication Date: Simon & Schuster / May 6, 2014
How Did I Get It? Bought it!
Format? Hardback

Synopsis from Goodreads: The Pre-Sloane Emily didn’t go to parties, she barely talked to guys, she didn’t do anything crazy. Enter Sloane, social tornado and the best kind of best friend—the one who yanks you out of your shell.But right before what should have been an epic summer, Sloane just… disappears. No note. No calls. No texts. No Sloane. There’s just a random to-do list. On it, thirteen Sloane-selected-definitely-bizarre-tasks that Emily would never try… unless they could lead back to her best friend.

Apple Picking at Night? Ok, easy enough.

Dance until Dawn? Sure. Why not?

Kiss a Stranger? Wait… what?

Getting through Sloane’s list would mean a lot of firsts. But Emily has this whole unexpected summer ahead of her, and the help of Frank Porter (totally unexpected) to check things off. Who knows what she’ll find?

Go Skinny Dipping? Um…

Amazon | Barnes and NobleBook DepositoryGoodreads

This was one of my most anticipated reads of the spring/summer months, and I wasn’t disappointed in the slightest! Matson brings back her fun yet profound and deep writing reminiscent of Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour, and I dare say that SYBG is only about a half step below A&R for me. It was THAT good. I honestly don’t even know where to start. The friendship, the list, the jokes, the music playlists – it was all SO perfect! Okay, I’ll start in that order.

Friendship is something that Matson does best, and she proves that once again in SYBG. Not just with Emily and Sloane, but with the new friends Emily makes after Sloane leaves: Frank, Dawn, and Collins. All of the characters are so distinct from each other, and they feel like real people, not just characters. Sloane had the potential to be a Manic Pixie Dream Girl, but she backed off from that right away. Frank wasn’t that hot and perfect guy – he’s afraid of heights, bends over with his hands on his knees to catch his breath after a long run (instead of being perfect and glistening and not out of breath at all – like what is that?? Unless you’re Captain America, you gosh darn better be at least red-faced after running five miles), and he’s got this geeky side that’s addicted to Sudoku and crossword puzzles (CAN HE BE ANY BETTER). Dawn and Collins, despite being minor characters, had huge personalities. And did I mention that I SHIP THEM SO HARD it’s not even funny. And Emily – can’t forget our main girl! She’s insecure, but at the same time she has a quiet strength just bubbling underneath the surface, and it was drawn out in an incredibly organic way; she isn’t the same person at the end of the book, but I didn’t realize it until the final page.

Okay – the music. One of my favorite parts of Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour was the playlists, and I was ecstatic to see that Matson had brought them back! And this time was even better, because I actually knew some of the songs she was referencing. One day, when I have the time, I’m going to put them all together on spotify or something. Unless someone else has already done that, and in that case LINK ME PLEASE!

The idea with the list of things Emily needed to do was genius, and I loved how it wasn’t a “set out to do this one then do one per chapter” sort of thing. Emily would try to do one, but ended up finishing another, and as she finished them all it showcased how her confidence was growing and the person she was morphing into. And with the flashbacks interspersed, I was able to see Sloane’s personality, and I could easily see her leaving those sorts of challenges for Emily after she left.

The ONE thing I could nitpick if I HAD to would be the ending; I felt it was a wee bit abrupt, and the Sloane thing solved slightly too easily. BUT I DIDN’T CARE because it was kind of sweet and I always love a happy ending with all the ends wrapped up nice and pretty.

So if I had to give you a list of order for Matson’s books, I’d say read Amy & Roger, Since You’ve Been Gone, and then Second Chance Summer. All are fantastic spring/summer reads, or perfect for reading on the beach if you’re into that sort of thing! But Second Chance Summer I’d say bring some tissues, because it’s definitely the most tear-jerker of the three.

My Final Rating:

Five stars