Fangirl Friday – Rainbows, Music and Maya

Happy Friday ya’ll!!! It’s time for my second installment of Fangirl Friday and I have  a few bookish things that I am so excited to share with you!

Reading Rainbow Kickstarter

When I heard the news on Wednesday that Levar Burton had created a Kickstarter campaign to help fund a re-boot of the television classic Reading Rainbow, I was immediately excited to hear that the public had an opportunity to be a part of this important initiative to bring a renewed focus on literacy and passion for reading to today’s youth. If you visit the website you’ll find a startling statistic…1 in 4 children in America will grow up illiterate. That’s just not ok with me. I want everyone to experience what it is like to read an amazing book. That awesome feeling of finishing the last page and saying…YES! Apparently, I’m not the only one who feels that way because in less than two days the campaign shattered its original $1M goal and has raised nearly $2.5M!!!

ps – click here for a blast from the past!

Throne of Glass Soundtrack

The other day I was listening to my favorite band, Coldplay, and one of the songs on their new album really jumped out at me as a perfect song for the Throne of Glass series. The lyrics just perfectly encapsulated Celaena to me. For those of you that have read the book you can either check out the lyrics here…or you can watch the video below and let me know what you think. I’m an absolute crazy woman, fangirl for Coldplay (sorry if you’re not a fan) and so many of their songs just fit the mood and feeling of the Throne of Glass series. There’s another song on their new album that reminds me of the relationship between Celaena and Chaol but I don’t want to spoil anything so I’ll keep those thoughts to myself. Feel free to tweet me if your interested!

Maya Angelou: 1928 – 2014

The world lost a bright light on Wednesday. Maya Angelou wrote, inspired, challenged, hoped, dreamed, loved and lived a full life. She wrote and spoke so many beautiful words but my favorite quote is a simple one…and one I try to live by every single day of my life…

“Try to be a rainbow in someone’s cloud”

Letter to my Daughter, a book of essays (2009)

Chester Higgins Jr / Getty Images / Photo Researchers RM

Chester Higgins Jr / Getty Images / Photo Researchers RM

 

Waiting on…Heir of Fire by Sarah J. Maas

It seems as though one of the most anticipated events at BEA this year is the Sarah J. Maas signing event. She’ll be signing ARCs of her upcoming release Heir of Fire, the third book in the Throne of Glass series and my Twitter feed is all a buzz with people planning to grab a spot in line for one of this year’s hottest releases. If I were going to BEA I would most definitely be one of those people scrambling to line up early since I binge read the first two books and am currently obsessed with all things Sarah J. Maas! If you love an epic fantasy involving a strong female lead character then you definitely need to check this series out. Heir of Fire releases September 2nd so you have plenty of time to get caught up.

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HEIR OF FIRE by Sarah J. Maas
Expected publication: September 2nd 2014 by Bloomsbury USA Childrens
Pages: 565

Pre-Order this book

Publisher Summary

Lost and broken, Celaena Sardothien’s only thought is to avenge the savage death of her dearest friend: as the King of Adarlan’s Assassin, she is bound to serve this tyrant, but he will pay for what he did. Any hope Celaena has of destroying the king lies in answers to be found in Wendlyn. Sacrificing his future, Chaol, the Captain of the King’s Guard, has sent Celaena there to protect her, but her darkest demons lay in that same place. If she can overcome them, she will be Adarlan’s biggest threat – and his own toughest enemy.

While Celaena learns of her true destiny, and the eyes of Erilea are on Wendlyn, a brutal and beastly force is preparing to take to the skies. Will Celaena find the strength not only to win her own battles, but to fight a war that could pit her loyalties to her own people against those she has grown to love?

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jill at Breaking The Spine.

Armchair BEA 2014 – Author Interaction

Happy Tuesday friends…I don’t know about you but getting into the swing of things today has been a chore! Long weekends are THE.BEST, up until you have to drag your butt out of bed on Tuesday morning! Thankfully I had another day of Armchair BEA to look forward to and today’s topic is about author interaction! What a timely topic as I was JUST reading a new post by Ginger over at GReads! where she talked about her dream YA panel of authors. I was so inspired by her post and by the topic for today’s Armchair BEA posting that I thought I would create my own list of authors I would love to meet!

Design by Nina of Nina Reads

Design by Nina of Nina Reads

I want to start off this list by saying that although I have never been to an author signing or panel, I’ve still been lucky enough to have some fabulous author interactions on Twitter with many of the people I list below. I’ve found that Twitter is a great way to reach out to your favorite authors, as most of the time they are super responsive and SO friendly. As a matter of fact, the interactions I have had with authors via Twitter is one of the things that inspired me to start this blog. What they bring to the book blogging community with their interactions and friendships with readers is so heart warming and I totally wanted to join in the fun! If you haven’t done so already, I highly encourage you to reach out to your favorite author on their Twitter account. I guarantee it will be a great experience.

OK….now on to the authors I simply MUST meet someday. In no particular order…

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Sarah J. Maas
Do I really need to say anything besides the fact that this woman is responsible for Throne of Glass and Crown of Midnight? I’d love to meet Sarah simply to thank her for writing such a strong female character who is brave and strong, but also naturally flawed. I sped through these books and could not put them down. Her next book, Heir of Fire, is the third book in this story and I’m not the only one eagerly anticipating its release this September. I have a feeling her appearance at BEA will be one of its most popular events of the expo.

Rainbow Rowell
I’ve only read Eleanor & Park and Fangirl but Rainbow is definitely an author I would love to meet someday. Both books were told with such real voices that really made me identify with each of the female leads. I mean, who hasn’t gone through a little bit of self-exploration and discovery. Rainbow manages to take some really heavy life moments and write them with such wit and humor that you can’t help but immediately relate. Plus – her Twitter feed is hilarious so I know she has a great sense of humor and would be a blast to have a quick chat with! Look for her newest release, Landline, releasing on July 8th.

Stephanie Perkins
When I first started getting in to the book blogging community I met a fantastic blogger named Andi of Andi’s ABCs! She’s what I like to call my book guru and one of the first books she recommended to me was Anna and the French Kiss. I immediately picked up a copy because I ALWAYS listen to Andi’s suggestions, and I fell in love. Right after finishing Anna, I started Lola and the Boy Next Door and my love for all things Stephanie Perkins continued! She really knows how to right swoony love stories that involve the swooniest of book boyfriends. I’d love to sit with Stephanie and talk to her about her inspiration for each book and how she manages to write such amazing characters. She has an upcoming release this summer, Isla and the Happily Ever After, that fans are rabidly waiting on! Myself included.

Emery Lord
I don’t even know where to start when it comes to this fabulously talented debut author! Her novel, Open Road Summer took the book community by storm this spring and SOOO many people are absolutely head over heels in love with this story about forever friendships and new love. Out of all the authors I interact with on Twitter I would say that Emery is the most engaging and always takes time out to respond to my fangirl tweets…even if they get borderline obsessive sometimes! All kidding aside, Emery has such a raw talent and I am so excited to see where her writing takes her. I’d love to meet up with her, give her a BIG hug and then ask her if she wants to take a road trip to Cali this summer.

A.C. Gaughen
Ohhhh…A.C. Gaughen….do I have a bone to pick with you! I’m hoping we get to meet someday so I can scold you for breaking my heart into a billion little pieces! Just kidding….sort of! Her first two books Scarlet and Lady Thief are an exquisite re-telling of Robin Hood that left me crying my eyes out by the end of book two. My heart was broken…but in the best possible way. A.C. was actually sweet enough to sign her two books for me at a Boston-area author event that I wasn’t able to attend and for that I will be forever grateful. If I were ever to meet her I’d want to give her a big hug for being the sweetest and also bribe her for details on book three of her series so I can sleep at night!

Rae Carson
You guys…if you haven’t read the Girl of Fire and Thorns trilogy, I don’t think we can be friends! OK, not really but I’m seriously urging you to pick up these books and binge read them as soon as possible! The world building that Rae is capable of is nothing short of amazing and I MUST get inside that ridiculously talented head of hers to find out how she can write such fantastic stories. OH…and the rooooomance in this series is one of my most favorite in all of the swoon-worthy love stories out there (say it with me now…HECTOOOORRR!!) and I would personally like to thank her for giving me ALL the feels! Seriously…all of them!

Veronica Rossi
Another author who knows how to build some seriously amazing worlds in her Under the Never Sky series! You’ve got Dwellers vs Outsiders, Aether storms, Perry and Aria, and Roar…oh my sweet little Roar (heart-broken)! What I wouldn’t give to pick Veronica’s brain to find out how she came up with this epic journey of a story and also thank her for writing one of the best male/female friendships I’ve ever read in a book. The supportive and protective relationship between Aria and Roar was such a refreshing change of pace from the love triangle scenario we see in so many books. So, Veronica, if you ever come to Boston you know I’ll be there!

Gayle Forman
Speaking of swoon-worthy romances!!! Sigh…where do I begin? Willem and Allyson of Just One Day/Just One Year? Adam and Mia of If I Stay/Where She Went? PLEASE…don’t make me choose! Gayle’s stories make me weak in the knees! The drama, the passion…it all weaves together into these beautifully told love stories that will make your heart just ache! Gayle is another author who is so engaged with her readers on Twitter and I don’t know how she finds the time to respond to all of the love/questions/comments that she must get on a daily basis. When I do meet her (because I will) I definitely want to just let her know how much I appreciate the kindness she shows towards her fans.

Last but most certainly not least…

Laini Taylor
Just give me a minute while I hyper-ventilate into a bag! AHHHHHH…Laini Taylor!!! To quote an upcoming review I will be posting in June of Daughter of Smoke and Bone (sneak peek ya’ll!!)

“There are passages in this book, like the one above, that I would gladly crawl into and live there forever. Laini Taylor has a way of weaving her words and painting a picture on each page that makes you feel as though you are there…Just a few pages into this book and you’ll find yourself completely engulfed in the world that Taylor has built & you won’t want to leave any time soon.”

Or in other words….girlfriend can WRITE! I found myself reading and then immediately re-reading entire passages from the books because they were so freaking beautiful! I could not get over how intense her world building was and how she manages to write soooo beautifully about some really horrible things! The final installment of the series, Dreams of Gods and Monsters, was released in early April and I STILL haven’t managed to read my pre-ordered copy because I’m just not ready for the story to end. When the day finally comes for me to meet Laini Taylor I’ll probably lose my ability to speak and just stand their to bask in her glory!

There you have it..the authors that I fangirl over the most and really, really (fingers crossed) hope to meet one day! How about you? What authors are out there that you simply MUST meet! Do you have any favorite author interaction stories? Tips you can give me for not being completely star-struck when I finally do meet my favorite authors?

 

Armchair BEA 2014 – Introduction

It’s that time of year again, in the next couple of days book bloggers from all over the land  will be converging on the Javits Center in NYC for Book Expo America (BEA). As a new blogger I’ve been hearing all about this event and reading about everyone’s preparations for the big event has been super exciting. Since I’ve been a blogger for all of 11 days I figured I would take a pass on this year’s Expo and hope to go in 2015. Even though I can’t be there in person I really wanted to participate somehow and was thrilled when I came across Armchair BEA! Now that I’ve signed up as a participant I’m able to join in the virtual event that allows bloggers not able to attend BEA in person to meet up and discuss books and book blogging!

Design by Nina of Nina Reads

Design by Nina of Nina Reads

 

As part of my introduction post for this online event I’m answering a handful of questions that will not only introduce me to the Armchair BEA crew but also to the blogging world in general!

Please tell us a little bit about yourself: Who are you? How long have you been blogging? Why did you get into blogging? Where in the world are you blogging from?
My name is Sarah and I’m a 30-something living in the mountains of Northern New England…where the winters are long and the summers are entirely too short. I’ve been blogging for a grand total of 11 days (as of 5/26/14) and have loved every second of it. I was so inspired by some book bloggers I befriended on Twitter and they were super encouraging of my desire to start a blog. I was totally nervous and intimidated at first but they showed me a LOT  of love and I finally felt confident to strike out on my own.

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Describe your blog in just one sentence. Then, list your social details — Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc. — so we can connect more online.
It’s more than one sentence but I feel like this paragraph from the “About” section of my blog does a great job of summing it all up: Readers can expect this blog to be filled lots of random thoughts, ideas and musings generally related to books and reading but may also include random sprinklings of my personal life and current obsessions. Most importantly this blog will be a work in progress so bear with me through my growing pains. I’ve carved out my own little corner of the internet as a way to document my life, my loves and my desires with the hopes that I can get a little inspiration, feedback and encouragement from anyone who may be interested in following along.

BLOG: http://www.whatsarahread.com
TWITTER: @whatsarahread

What genre do you read the most?
I’m a total Young Adult (YA) junkie…I’ll read it all! Romance, Sci Fi, Fantasy, Dystopian, etc. Some of my favorite authors include: Gayle Forman, Stephanie Perkins, Rainbow Rowell, Sarah J. Maas, Rae Carson, Emery Lord, Laini Taylor and there are sure to be many more. Since I am still fairly new to the YA genre there are still SO many more authors that I want to read so I just know this list will grow and grow!

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What was your favorite book read last year? What’s your favorite book so far this year?
I didn’t read much YA at all last year so my favorite book was 11/22/63 by Stephen King. What’s interesting is that I only read THREE books last year. My New Year’s resolution this year was to read more (I used to read a TON and just stopped somewhere along the way) and set a goal of 100 books for 2014. I’m currently reading book #44! Not too shabby!

In 2014 I have read a bunch of amazing books but I would have to put Open Road Summer, Crown of Midnight and Fangirl at the very top of my list!

Spread the love by naming your favorite blogs/bloggers (doesn’t necessarily have to be book blogs/bloggers).
Oh wow…where do I begin?! I’ve met so many women in the book blogging world this year and they’ve all been SO amazing to me! For a more complete list you can check out the (ever-growing) blog roll on the right hand side but I also want to give a special shout out to the three ladies who encouraged me to start my own blog:

Andi at Andi’s ABCs
Ginger at GReads!
Jamie at The Perpetual Page-Turner

So there you have it a quick little Q&A in preparation of a week’s worth of fun activities at Armchair BEA! Stay tuned for some more fun posts and features! 

Book Review: The Distance Between Us by Kasie West

As you all know by now I’m kind of new to this whole blogging thing, and as a matter of fact I’m pretty new to the YA genre as a whole. Needless to say, there are a BUNCH of popular YA books that I haven’t read….A BUNCH! At first I wondered if I should even bother reviewing them since most other bloggers/readers surely must have read them by now, but then I thought there MUST be other people out there who are new to the book as well. If not, I’m hoping that those of you who have read them may appreciate another point of view or they may even inspire a re-read.

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First Thoughts: THAT COVER….it’s gorgeous!  Totally sets the mood for the book and the sunflare coming in from the right hand side makes it even more swoony and romantic. I could tell right off the bat that I was going to really enjoy this book! The dynamic between Xander and Caymen is not only fun and silly, but also intense and dramatic. I loved watching their relationship evolve.

The Distance Between Us by Kasie West
Published July 2nd 2013 by Harper Teen
Pages: 312

Format: Paperback
Source: Purchased
Purchase the book

Publisher Summary:

Seventeen-year-old Caymen Meyers studies the rich like her own personal science experiment, and after years of observation she’s pretty sure they’re only good for one thing—spending money on useless stuff, like the porcelain dolls in her mother’s shop.

So when Xander Spence walks into the store to pick up a doll for his grandmother, it only takes one glance for Caymen to figure out he’s oozing rich. Despite his charming ways and that he’s one of the first people who actually gets her, she’s smart enough to know his interest won’t last. Because if there’s one thing she’s learned from her mother’s warnings, it’s that the rich have a short attention span. But Xander keeps coming around, despite her best efforts to scare him off. And much to her dismay, she’s beginning to enjoy his company.

She knows her mom can’t find out—she wouldn’t approve. She’d much rather Caymen hang out with the local rocker who hasn’t been raised by money. But just when Xander’s attention and loyalty are about to convince Caymen that being rich isn’t a character flaw, she finds out that money is a much bigger part of their relationship than she’d ever realized. And that Xander’s not the only one she should’ve been worried about.

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It’s a true testament to the epic swoon-worthiness of this book when I say that I stayed up WAYYYY past my bedtime to read The Distance Between Us in one sitting. I am a woman who values her sleep, cherishes it even. So even though I woke up the next day as a sleep-deprived, yet fulfilled woman, but also woke up as a freshly minted Kasie West fan girl!

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I don’t like to go too much into plot details as I don’t want to inadvertently spoil anything and well…the synopsis is right up there at the top of the page. What I like to talk about is how books make me FEEEEL. I love it when a book sucks me in right off the bat and gets me invested in the characters, makes me root for them. This books did just that and along the way it gave me (let’s say it together now) ALLLLL the feels!

The chemistry between Caymen and Xander is so authentic and the affection they have for one another is hard to deny. Two totally different people from two totally different worlds…yet they find a deep and loving connection. Caymen is having a rough go of it lately and I love that Xander comes along at a moment in which she really needs someone to lift her up and help her along. Not of course without some road bumps along the way!

Final Thoughts: This is my first Kasie West book (I know…what is WRONG with me) and I can assure you it will not be my last. As a matter of fact I JUST pre-ordered On the Fence and have bumped up Pivot Point and Split Second toward the top of my TBR pile. I loved how Kasie West captured the pure emotion and feeling of Caymen’s experience in this book and am excited to read her other books to see if I connect to the characters in the same way. 

Fangirl Friday: Summer Kick-Off Edition

I don’t know about you guys, but I am SOOOO pumped Memorial Day Weekend has finally arrived! It’s been a looong, cold winter here in Northern New England! Seriously, we JUST got leaves on the trees less than two weeks ago. Last year on Memorial Day Weekend we got a freak snowstorm, we only got about six inches but it was a heavy, wet snow. The trees were so weighed down that they knocked down power lines causing a two-day power outage. It was MISERY, rather than basking in the sun and celebrating summer, we were using a generator and scraping ice off our cars. Below is the scene of my front yard on Memorial Day 2013, as you can see we couldn’t get out of our driveway because the tree branches were bent over all the way to the ground. Thankfully, the weather forecast for this year looks a little more promising than last year. Maybe a couple of rain showers here and there but I’ll take that over this ANY day of the week….

front yard

Fangirl Friday will be a weekly meme about my current faves, must-haves or downright obsessions. For my first installment I thought I would post about four of my favorite summer obsessions!

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First up is the summer premiere of one of my all-time favorite shows…So You Think You Can Dance! This season marks the 11th installment of Fox’s annual dance competition that allows viewers to select “America’s Favorite Dancer”. It always starts off with a few weeks of try-outs that are so fun to watch. There are some unbelievable dancers out there in America…and some really awful ones too. By the time they get to the Top 20 portion of the competition each week is a showcase in sheer talent. If you’re a lover of music, dancing or sheer epic-ness, then you NEED to check this show out. Click here for a collection of some of the best performances over the years! Premieres on Wednesday, May 28th at 8pm EST.

Next, we’llmv take a trip out to a perfect island getaway just off the coast of Massachusetts…Martha’s Vineyard! It’s most famous for it long list of celebrity tourists (The Kennedy’s, Clinton’s and Obama’s, as well as Carly Simon, Meg Ryan and Spike Lee to name a few) but what I love about the Island is its off-season. My husband and I try to get out to the island at least twice a year, once in June and once in September, since it’s not as crowded and nutty! We are so blessed that my husband’s family has had a beach house out there since the 1940’s. It’s our home away from home and an opportunity to take a really great vacation for very little money. A typical day is sleeping in late and then hitting the beach or taking a bike ride around the island. Some days I just park my butt on the deck and read a good book while my husband finds things to work on around the house. We usually head into town a few times during our visit to have dinner at Seafood Shanty, take a ride on the Flying Horses Carousel or a trip out to the beautiful Gay Head Lighthouse. This year’s June trip out to Martha’s Vineyard is just a few weeks away and I’m getting pretty excited for five days of relaxation with my husband. Stay tuned for lots of Instagram photos like this one…the view from the front yard of the house. Yup…it’s pretty much heaven on earth!

My next summertime fave is nail polish! I’m a woman who loves her open toe shoes when the weather starts to get warm, so I always makes sure that my little piggies have some kind of fun, bright color! About a year and a half ago I discovered this website called Julep…I’m sure you’ve all heard about it already but if not you should totally check it out! For just $20 each month you get over $40 worth of nail polish and other fun beauty products! You can skip your box (and not get charged) if you’re not a fan of that month’s selections but more often than not I find myself taking that month’s box because the colors are so great and they’re always introducing awesome new beauty tools and products. Thanks to Julep my toes are going to be looking so stylish ans colorful this summer. Get a sneak peek at the June Collection below and if you’re interested in signing up, just click here!

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So, all this talk about summer brings me to my final Fangirl Friday item….SUMMERTIME READING! There’s nothing I love more than laying out in my hammock on a warm day with a good book. A few days ago I posted my TBR pile that included some fantastic summertime reads!

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This stack includes: Amy & Rogers Epic Detour, Nantucket Blue, The Book of Broken Hearts, Wish you Were Italian, Maybe Someday, What I Thought Was True, The Selection and The Geography of You & Me. How’s THAT for some summertime reading? Although…that will only get me through June…any suggestions on what I should add to my list for July and August!?

What are your favorite things about summer? Do you have a special spot you visit every year? Oh…and I’m totally taking recommendations for my summer reading list! xo