Fortnight of Fright: Book Review by Joannamarie

Hi, friends! Today we have Joannamarie from Wet Noses and Books with a great book review! Take a look at what she has to offer and head over to Amy & Brittany’s blogs to see who they have featured today! Don’t forget, we are hosting wonderful bloggers & authors for two whole weeks with recipes, book recommendations and a lot more awesome!

28954022Release Date: October 4th, 2016

Read: September 30th, 2016 – October 5th, 2016

Publisher: Aladdin

Series: Beyond Baylor, #1

Format: Kindle eBook, 320 pages

Source: NetGalley
*I received a free digital copy in exchange for my honest review*

(It does not change my opinion of the book whatsoever.)

 

**I’d like to personally thank the Publisher as well as NetGalley for allowing me to receive this ARC- Thank You! J

Goodreads Description:

“A boy and his ghostly twin sister work together to pass messages from the beyond in this funny paranormal debut.

There are a few things you should know about Baylor Bosco: He’s thirteen-years-old, he has a twin sister, and he really does NOT like ghosts…which is problematic because he’s a medium and sees ghosts everywhere.

Oh, and his twin sister, Kristina? She’s a ghost too.

They’ve been working as a pair for years, expertly relaying messages from ghosts to their still-living loved ones. Baylor’s even managed to come up with an introductory phrase—one that he has to use far too often.

But when a strange ghost shows up close to Halloween, a grown man, covered in a sheet, with only his black leather shoes showing from the bottom, Baylor starts to wonder if something else has taken notice of him. And when his sister goes missing, somehow ghost-napped, he’s forced to figure out the truth about the Sheet Man and his sister’s disappearance, all without his usual ghostly ambassador.”

Continue reading

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Fortnight of Fright: Creepy Books by Abi

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Today we have Abi from Rambling Writer talking about creepy but not TOO creepy books! Take a look at what she has to offer and head over to Amy & Brittany’s blogs to see who they have featured today! Don’t forget, we are hosting wonderful bloggers & authors for two whole weeks with recipes, book recommendations and a lot more awesome!
If  you’re like me then you like some amount of creepiness in stories. When I get in mood I like to have a bit of mystery, a bit of a chill down my back when I’m at the edge of my seat. But I can’t handle too much creepiness or I may have some anxiety problems that night. So if you’re like me then here are a few books I’ve found that have just the right amount of creepy.

Coraline

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Goodreads Synopsis: Coraline’s often wondered what’s behind the locked door in the drawing room. It reveals only a brick wall when she finally opens it, but when she tries again later, a passageway mysteriously appears. Coraline is surprised to find a flat decorated exactly like her own, but strangely different. And when she finds her “other” parents in this alternate world, they are much more interesting despite their creepy black button eyes. When they make it clear, however, that they want to make her theirs forever, Coraline begins a nightmarish game to rescue her real parents and three children imprisoned in a mirror. With only a bored-through stone and an aloof cat to help, Coraline confronts this harrowing task of escaping these monstrous creatures.

It’s been quite a few years since I’ve read this book, and it’s actually one of the first soft horror books I’ve read. There are definitely parts of this book that are scary. I think it’s because the main character is so young an put through this nightmare. But it’s a wonderfully written story, and well worth the time. Coraline is actually the book that made me a fan of Neil Gaiman.

 

Wink Poppy Midnight

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Goodreads Synopsis: Every story needs a hero.
Every story needs a villain.
Every story needs a secret.

Wink is the odd, mysterious neighbor girl, wild red hair and freckles. Poppy is the blond bully and the beautiful, manipulative high school queen bee.Midnight is the sweet, uncertain boy caught between them. Wink. Poppy. Midnight. Two girls. One boy. Three voices that burst onto the page in short, sharp, bewitching chapters, and spiral swiftly and inexorably toward something terrible or tricky or tremendous.

What really happened?
Someone knows.
Someone is lying.

I was so not expecting this book to be creepy at all. I, mistakenly thought this was just another contemporary YA story with some mystery.  But even thought I was surprised I greatly enjoyed this book. The prose is absolutely gorgeous and I absolutely adored this book.

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children 

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Goodreads Synopsis: A mysterious island. An abandoned orphanage. A strange collection of curious photographs.

A horrific family tragedy sets sixteen-year-old Jacob journeying to a remote island off the coast of Wales, where he discovers the crumbling ruins of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. As Jacob explores its abandoned bedrooms and hallways, it becomes clear that the children were more than just peculiar. They may have been dangerous. They may have been quarantined on a deserted island for good reason. And somehow—impossible though it seems—they may still be alive.

Now this book is probably the least creepy book on the list but it’s still a good one. This book is full of magic and has some great and unusual characters. The whole series is fantastic.

The Road 

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Goodreads Synopsis: A father and his son walk alone through burned America. Nothing moves in the ravaged landscape save the ash on the wind. It is cold enough to crack stones, and when the snow falls it is gray. The sky is dark. Their destination is the coast, although they don’t know what, if anything, awaits them there. They have nothing; just a pistol to defend themselves against the lawless bands that stalk the road, the clothes they are wearing, a cart of scavenged food—and each other.

And the last, and most creepy book on the list is one that I read just a few years ago. Honestly I don’t know if I’ll ever read this book again. The Road is intense and has some really brutal parts.  But it’s wonderfully written and shows a very realistic side to the world after the apocalypse.

 

 

Review: A Madness So Discreet by Mindy McGinnis

24376529Title: A Madness So Discreet

Author: Mindy McGinnis

Publishing Information:  October 6th 2015 by Katherine Tegen Books

Genre: Historical fiction, mystery, horror, thriller

Series Information: Standalone

Format: Hardcover, 376 pages

Source: Obtained an ARC from the publisher via Edelweiss

Recommended For: Readers looking for an atmospheric and character driven novel filled with mystery and drama. Especially for fans of Cat Winters and gothic literature.

I loved this novel. Immensely. Months after finishing it and I still can’t stop thinking of about it. In fact, I keep checking for ANY recommendations that may come close to this gritty, suspenseful novel. I expected A Madness So Discreet to be a little creepier, just look at that cover! However I wasn’t disappointed as the setting and tone of the novel were unbelievably realistic and rather dark.

“Quite the opposite; my definition is too broad. I think we’re all quite mad. Some of us are just more discreet about it.”

The characters in this novel were fleshed out, detailed, and felt very real. I found myself feeling something for each of them, and there was more than one occasion that I found my heart broken and raw over something happening on the page. Grace had particular strength and I was completely invested in her story. Though I felt more connected to the secondary characters, Grace still shone as our main character. I loved Nell so much, she was forward with her sexuality, strength and took as much control of her own life as she was able, living confined as she was. Dr. Thornhollow was also just phenomenal, he reminded me of Sherlock in a way so clearly I loved him. I was a little concerned that he and Grace would fall in love and therefore fall into a familiar trope but NOPE McGinnis steered clear and though there were some moments I found myself swooning for the doctor, I am glad that things were kept platonic. I think in keeping things on the friendly side with these two we were better able to appreciate each character and see how well they worked together. The relationship was fitting, and deeper because of their lack of romance. Also super quick shout out to Adelaide, Thornhollow’s plucky, fantastic and blatantly feminist sister…

“So then the National Woman Suffrage Association and the American Woman Suffrage Association merged to create the National American Woman Suffrage Association, which personally I think is rather a mouthful,’ Adelaide said as she set down her wineglass.
‘I’m sure others have much shorter terms,’ the doctor said, sawing into his steak with more vigor than necessary.
‘Such as?’ Grace asked.
‘There are plenty who just call us bitches, dear.”

There was a lot going on in this novel, many different threads weaved together to create something truly fantastic. I will say that there are many triggers in A Madness So Discreet. The beginning of the novel may be very hard for some to get through as it is appalling in how horrifying these patients are treated. Horrifying being my thing, I was hooked from the first sentence, but I promise that things even out a bit and it is completely worth the read.

Shelf Talker: Fantastic. The story built on itself, was never boring, and I really cared about the characters. In fact, I want more from these characters, but I saw that coming as they all complement one another and really create a great story. The ending delivered in a way that brought great closure. Though it is much more, I would say in terms of atmosphere and great characters, A Madness So Discreet can be summed up by saying, “it’s Sherlock Holmes meets Cat Winters novels.” I really, really enjoyed it.

 

Love-A-Thon (3)

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Hey there lovelies!! I am sure most of you know that the lovely Alexa over at Alexa Loves Books is hosting her annual Love-A-Thon, it is just another way that some of us are trying to focus on the cheer and positive aspects of our book blogging community. I will have a few posts on the blog throughout the weekend, and will be participating as much as I can on Twitter using the hashtag #LoveAThon so make sure to stay tuned! Happy reading, friends!!

What’s your name?

Alyssa, but honestly so few people call me that as I have so many nicknames from my loved ones. I go by “A” in the blogging world mostly.

Where in the world are you blogging from?

New England – I WAS PROMISED SNOW, WHERE IS IT?!

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How did you get into blogging in the first place?

I was actually in graduate school for my MLIS a few years back and we had to observe different resources for reader’s advisory, one of which being blogs. I had been following a few (The Book Smugglers, and Broke & the Bookish being two!) and I thought about how fun it would be so I started one, and convinced my friend Heidi from Bunbury in the Stacks that it was a good idea that she start one as well!

How did you come up with your blog name?

I wanted something that was meaningful to me, that spoke of my feelings regarding books and how important they are. I have always felt that books took me away from the drama of the real world and you can become immersed in the fictional world for a little while and forget whatever it is that needs forgetting. Thus Books Take You Places was born.

What genre do you read and review the most on your blog?

I read a lot of fantasy, it makes me the happiest!

What other types of posts do you do on your blog, apart from reviews?

Hmm I have been known to write some Disney posts ranking the swooniest male leads and villains. I also write some “non-traditional” reviews for my On the Same Page feature that I do with Amy (Tripping Over Books) and Brittany (The Book Addict’s Guide)!

Best blogging experience so far?

Hands down, the best blogging experience has been meeting my best friends. I like to call Amy and Brittany my “better thirds” because they make me a better person overall. I often think about how lucky I am to have found soul friends through the power of THE INTERNET 😀 Honestly, I couldn’t make it through a day without these two. With these two, I have created The Secret Sister Project which does its own to foster positivity in the community, that is probably the blogging experience of which I am most proud.

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Favorite thing about the blogging community?

THE community is my favorite thing about the community!! Though we have those negative moments, for the most part everyone works hard to promote positivity and importantly, LITERACY. As a librarian I am a huge advocate for ALL THE READING!! It honestly brings me glee that I can hop on an app on my phone, send out a message or inquiry or even sad thought and have so many people reply back with an array of assistance.

Name the 5 books you’re most excited for this 2016!

-THE ROSE AND THE DAGGER by Renee Ahdieh (GIVE. IT. TO. ME. NOW.)

– The Thorn of Emberlain by Scott Lynch (please please be this year)

– Yesternight by Cat Winters

– Heartless by Marissa Meyer

– The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater (because now I can start and binge the whole series YAY)

Name the 5 books you want to read this 2016 that you didn’t get to in previous years!

Hmm this is harder…

I am going to binge read the entire Raven Boys series

….and The Mara Dyer series

I have to finish Winter…oops.

Six of Crows is still waiting for me

…and I still never started Shadow Scale

What’s an underrated book or series that you think everyone should read?

The Caged Graves by Dianne Salerni. I loved it so much. It encompasses so many wonderful elements. If you’re looking for an immensely atmospheric, mysterious, and romantic read, I highly recommend that you pick this one up immediately.

Which book boy or girl would be your book BFF?

Sybella from Dark Triumph, I think. Though we are so very alike so I may need to choose Ismae instead so she can even me out a bit…

Which book boy or girl would be your book boyfriend/girlfriend?

AHHHHH….Bran from Son of the Shadows, I think…though I think Red is probably better for me as he is more patient than Bran and I am in need of a life partner with patience 😉

Who would you recruit for your apocalypse squad (5 characters max)

Karou from Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor for ALL THE REASONS

Agnieszka from Uprooted by Naomi Novik because duh, magic

Door from Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman because duh, she can make doors and we might need them on the other side

Snow White from Fables by Bill Willingham because she is a fighter and basically never loses

Liadan from Son of the Shadows by Juliet Marillier because she is a skilled healer

Apart from reading, what are your other hobbies or interests?

Hmm I binge watch a lot of shows (currently the last two seasons of Downton Abbey), I spend hours and days playing video games, and then don’t play again for ages (currently The Witcher), I do puzzles and just started loom knitting like a proper old lady. When it’s warm, I hike and Letterbox and sometimes Geocache…but for the most part, I read.

Apart from book shopping, what else do you like shopping for?

Hmm…makeup, I suppose. I don’t really shop for myself, though I spend a lot of time buying fun presents for other people!

At a party, the DJ suddenly changes the song – and it’s your song. What song would be playing?

Oh lawd…I don’t know! This depends on who I am with, you know? Whitney Houston’s “I Will Always Love You” is a song that I will sing no matter where I am when it comes on, can we count that?

Pick out either a book you want turned into a film/TV show, or a film/TV show you want turned into a book.

I think….The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern. Of course, this is only if it can be made PHENOMENAL. Like, Harry Potter adaptation phenomenal.

What would your dream library look like?

Actually it would look like my personal library…I work very hard to make it the coziest place ever! 

Author you want to meet and sit down to tea with?

Definitely Neil Gaiman! This is the obvious choice, right? It isn’t just because of my obvious obsession with his works, I think that he is incredibly brilliant. I would love to talk to him about all things in life, and I think we would have enlightening conversations! After I got over my definite nervousness, of course!

 

Fortnight of Fright (4)

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Wow. We are back here for a FOURTH year for Fortnight of Fright and I can hardly believe it!! As many of you know, September – January is my very favorite time of year and Halloween is my one true love! Therefore, it is no question that Fortnight of Fright is something that I love hosting along with Brittany (The Book Addicts Guide) and Amy (Tripping Over Books)!

For those of you who have no idea what I am talking about (hello, and welcome!) Fortnight of Fright is a time in which we host and share different posts related to fall and Halloween! We work with you guys and some amazing authors to showcase some creepy books, interviews, movies, and SO MUCH MOAR! There is no limit on what you can post about! Do you have a signature Halloween or Autumn cocktail recipe? Pinterest board filled with DIY decorations? A book recommendation for those of us who love to be scared? We want it all!! JOIN US!!

Sign ups will be open from 9/9-9/20 and you will be notified the following week to confirm your post topic, and so on. We are going to ask that all posts get to us the week of 10/12 as we will be hosting you during the event which runs from 10/19-10/31! As always, the more the merrier, so scroll on down to our Google Doc and sign up to help us out!

Also don’t forget about All Hallow’s Read and the giving of books in lieu of candy!

Wondering what we had going on from years past? Check it out:

On the Same Page: Peter and the Starcatchers by Dave Barry & Ridley Pearson

Title: Peter and the Starcatchers

Author: Dave Barry & Ridley Pearson

Publishing Information:  May 11, 2006 by Disney-Hyperion

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Retelling, Middle Grade, Adventure

Series Information: Book one in the Peter and the Starcatchers series

Format: Hardcover, 452 pages

Source: Borrowed from my public library

Recommended For: Readers looking for a retelling of a timeless tale, one that brings you back to the beginning before Peter was Peter Pan. If you are looking for a heartfelt story that reminds you what life was like before you “grew up,” then this is the book for you.

Related Reviews: Brittany’s Post on retellings and Amy’s post bringing you back to the origins!

Hey there, lovelies! This month the gals and I went a little younger in our pick and chose Peter and the Starcatchers as our May read! We mainly chose it because the narration is done by Jim Dale and we loooove Jim Dale!! I actually started off listening to this one but didn’t have much time so I picked up the print copy and was very impressed by both! Much like I did for our post on The Goose Girl, I am going to talk to you guys about some retellings that you can read if you are interested in Peter Pan. Spoiler alert: Peter Pan is actually one of my least favorite stories from my childhood (as well as one of my least favorite Disney movies…ugh, Wendy) but I still felt myself enthralled by Peter and the Starcatchers. I loved the way in which it went back to the beginning, and helped show who Peter was before he became Peter Pan. The relationships were fleshed out and the whole novel was action packed and fun. It was the ending that really cinched my love for this novel. I teared up a bit and my heart melted, I will definitely be continuing on with this series.

If you want a love story that will surprise you and make your heart ache…

Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson

Tiger Lily is one of the most lyrical and heart wrenching stories that I have ever read. From page one I was taken by Tiger Lily and they way she was vastly different from those around her. I fell for Peter as she did, little by little she gave into him and let him into her heart. Through Tink’s eyes I was able to see how she couldn’t quite give enough and wasn’t exactly what Peter needed. There were times I was so frustrated with her and just wanted her to be what he needed her to be even though I knew it wasn’t her, I knew she didn’t know how to give in without giving up herself. I’ll be honest, the ending was so heartbreaking yet beautiful at the same time that I read it over and over. I felt my heart break and mend almost simultaneously. It was phenomenal. The story was riveting. It was heartbreaking, tender, harrowing, compelling, breathtaking and all around gorgeous. I recommend it to fans of strong heroines such as Scarlet, fans of Peter Pan and readers looking for a fantasy novel that will make them feel an array of emotions.

“If there was a true moment that Tiger Lily fell so in love with Peter she could never turn back, it was that night, when he shivered and walked and told her he was warm, and told her he loved her so much. She was fierce, to be sure, but she had a girl’s heart, after all.”

If you want a darker retelling that will leave you shocked and raw…

The Child Thief by Brom

Brom completely re-imagines the tale of Peter Pan, turning it into a thoroughly detailed and layered story. Avalon was once a magical and beautiful paradise, until man showed up on its shores. The “man” in question being the Captain and his crew (saw that one coming, didn’t you?) The crew is made up not of not savage men, but puritans (but really, what’s the difference?) looking to start a new civilization. Brom tells the tale of horror, betrayal and dedication through a child narrator named Nick, a narrator I quickly fell in love with. Nick is a strong minded boy, who attempts to stand up for what is right while shirking away from what would be “easy.” If you are looking for a more adult retelling, one that will leave you raw then pick up The Child Thief…

Those that I have had on my TBR for a while…

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Beyond Books: Lost in Translation

I am afraid I am going to get all English Major on you guys today. I have to say that one of my favorite things about my current position as a Librarian are the research questions that I get to assist with every day. We often have a lot of trouble in the library when trying to find novels for bilingual patrons. Although there is a definite need in the library for novels that have been translated into different languages, due to budget constraints this rarely happens.This got me thinking about the value of literature, language and their working relationship. What resources are there for those who need things such as websites translated? As a research librarian, I clearly embarked on a journey to find answers to this question! I found many resources but was especially impressed by the translation software provided by Smartling. From what I can gather, based on the needs of the customer, Smartling uses human translation and the translation software platform so that the best quality and accuracy is provided. I am sure you all have experience using Google translate, and I am sure that you have found that sometimes their translation just doesn’t make sense. Smartling strives to preserve and carry over the original intent and purpose of the text, without losing anything in translation. Continue reading

Love-A-Thon: Mini-challenge #3: One Can Only Quote

Hello there! I hope that you all have been following the #LoveAThon hashtag on twitter and checking out Alexa’s post so that you can see the bloggers participating and keep up with everyone’s posts! For this challenge we are sharing quotes about love and friendship, so I thought that I would sharing a few pictures that I have made for the blog and Instagram showcasing some of my favorite quotes!

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“Watch that boy,” she said. “You’re stronger in many ways, but that doesn’t mean he can’t take you apart.” from Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson

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“I have tried to let you go and I cannot. I cannot stop thinking of you. I cannot stop dreaming about you.” From The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

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Love-A-Thon: Welcome!

BANNER - 2015 LOVEATHON

Hello my lovelies!!

I am sure most of you know that the lovely Alexa over at Alexa Loves Books is hosting her annual Love-A-Thon, if you have no idea what I am talking about, head over to her intro post and them come on back! Awesome, right? It is just another way that some of us are trying to focus on the cheer and positive aspects of our book blogging community. I will have a few posts on the blog throughout today and tomorrow, and will be participating as much as I can on Twitter using the hashtag #LoveAThon so make sure to stay tuned! If you read on, you will learn a bit about me and the impact that the blogging community has made on my life! Happy reading, friends!

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  1. What’s your name? Alyssa! I tend to go by a myriad of nicknames, the most popular being, “A.”
  1. Where in the world are you blogging from? Snowy New England!
  1. How did you get into blogging in the first place? I was actually in graduate school for my MLIS a few years back and we had to observe different resources for reader’s advisory, one of which being blogs. I had been following a few (The Book Smugglers, and Broke & the Bookish being two!) and I thought about how fun it would be so I started one, and convinced my friend Heidi from Bunbury in the Stacks that it was a good idea that she start one as well!
  1. How did you come up with your blog name? I wanted something that was meaningful to me, that spoke of my feelings regarding books and how important they are. I have always felt that books took me away from the drama of the real world and you can become immersed in the fictional world for a little while and forget whatever it is that needs forgetting. Thus Books Take You Places was born.
  1. What genre do you read and review the most on your blog? I read a lot of fantasy, it was always my fall back growing up and I try to really focus on reading what makes me happy. I do try and read books that are different than my go to genre but if I find that I am not loving what I am reading, I put it aside. Life is too short to read books I don’t love!
  1. What other types of posts do you do on your blog, apart from reviews? Hmm I have been known to write some Disney posts ranking the swooniest male leads and villains. I also write some “non-traditional” reviews for my On the Same Page feature that I do with Amy (Tripping Over Books) and Brittany (The Book Addict’s Guide) an example of one would be the personal post I just wrote on the idea of traveling souls.
  1. Best blogging experience so far? Hmm my best blogging experience has to be meeting so many wonderful people. I was surprised to see how vast the book blogger community was, and when I first started blogging it seemed so scary because everyone was already friends. It wasn’t long before other bloggers were reaching out to me and forging friendships. Through these interactions (mostly through Twitter) I found Brittany and Amy. Meeting these two has been my best blogging experience, and one of the best experiences of my life. I can’t put into words how important these gals are to me, and how lucky I feel to have met my soul friends! We have had a few adventures like road tripping to Britt’s wedding, and our trips to NYC…but I am the most excited for FRIENDSGIVING this year for sure!
  1. Favorite thing about the blogging community? It never used to be, but it has become the kindness in the community. I think there is a large of us working quite hard to keep the community alive. We have things like this loveathon, random acts of kindness, and the secret sister project that have been started by bloggers in order to showcase and preserve the special relationships that we have. I think many of us work hard to keep the positivity alive and it definitely shows.
  1. Name the 5 books you’re most excited for this 2015! AHHH ummm only 5? Okay I will choose ones that I do not have ARCs of:
  1. What’s an underrated book or series that you think everyone should read? It is from my childhood but I am pretty obsessed with The Enchanted Forest Chronicles by Patricia C. Wrede. I think they are funny and fun, and full of heart.
  1. Which book boy or girl would be your book BFF? DEFINITELY Sybella from Dark Triumph by Robin LaFevers, she is my spirit animal and would understand me as no one else does.
  1. Apart from reading, what are your other hobbies or interests? I like to “game.” As in, you can catch me in front of my 3DS, Xbox, or any Nintendo console for hours at a time playing Zelda or Fable. I also like to bake, hike, go letterboxing and geocaching. I drink tea, and listen to old time radio shows, sometimes while putting together a puzzle. I am a pretty stereotypical librarian, right down to the two cats named after Shakespeare’s uppity females.
  1. Apart from book shopping, what else do you like shopping for? Usually presents for other people. I honestly have to hold myself back from buying my loves things anytime I go out. I also love trinkets, so antiquing is my favorite.
  1. Pick out either a book you want turned into a film/TV show, or a film/TV show you want turned into a book. Hands down would have to choose The Lies of Locke Lamora, or Name of the Wind but they would have to be amazing. Like, HBO perfect adaptation amazing, as amazing as Game of Thrones amazing. I NEED THEM TO BE AMAZING. Also I hear that The Hero’s Guide to Saving Your Kingdom by Christopher Healy is going to be a movie and I have such high hopes!

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Book Hoarder’s Anonymous: Best of 2014

Let’s get a little personal for a minute…2014 wasn’t the best year for me. In truth, it was actually one of the hardest years of my life, and quite frankly there were moments I wasn’t sure how I was going to make it through. It was a year I spent in a long distance relationship (that is, after living together for 5 years, we were forced to live 4 hours apart due to career choices). It was the year I obtained my DREAM JOB, and also the year I lost said DREAM JOB only a month later. It was the year I had to reevaluate everything I had been working toward for years, I was forced to make decisions that nearly had me throwing up from anxiety, but I did it, and am better for it. 2014 was filled with angst and “I don’t think I can do this anymore” moments, but it was also filled with so much love. It was one of those years where it was imperative to surround myself with loved ones who could help carry the burdens I was attempting to shoulder. Those of you who read my blog know that Amy (Tripping Over Books), Brittany (The Book Addict’s Guide) and myself are very close. To be quite honest, I cannot put down in words how much these two have helped me over the past year. They listen to the same stories over and over, always offering encouragement and support. They often offer to Avada Kadavra anyone who is annoying/hurting me and most importantly, they remind me of my strengths. They are quite literally, sunshine on my cloudy days. To come full circle, I will remind you all that the three of us wouldn’t be friends if we had not started blogging, we would not be here as a group to offer you our #samepage feature, and I would be missing an integral part of the person I am today. I feel blessed to have the kind of people in my life who have become soul friends. Despite the darkness of 2014, I look forward to what 2015 will bring.

Now, let’s get into the more bookish stuff, shall we?

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Overall favorite book of 2014: This is a hard one, but I think The Lies of Locke Lamora. I will leave you with my initial review: So very good. Incredible, even. It was as if The Adventures of Robin Hood and The Kingkiller Chronicles had a baby. The relationships were some of the best that I have ever read, loyalty at its best. The plot was driven, and interesting, Lynch left clues throughout that made up a very detailed plot. Also it must be said, the language was fantastic! Some may find curses to be vulgar, but let me tell you, The Lies of Locke Lamora is enriched by stellar insults and perfectly timed sailor language. In short, read this book, read it now.

Favorite BAMF: Well I am just getting into the (long) series but I really love Nynaeve and Egwene from The Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan. They were especially coming into their own in book two, The Great Hunt and I can’t wait to see what’s next.

Favorite debut author: Rosamund Hodge. I loved Cruel Beauty so much, the writing and the darkness of the story were all things that spoke to me.

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Books with Pictures: Definitely Through the Woods by Emily Carroll. It was GORGEOUSLY illustrated and written and completely an “Alyssa” book.

BFF: I should say BFFs, as in bromances, because Locke and Jean take the cake for this one. I love their friendship immensely!

Most swoon-worthy lad: OH, Jared from The Lynburn Legacy. I loved him so much that upon finishing book one in the series, I immediately picked up the third and fourth. Continue reading