Category Archives: Books

Lies You Never Told Me – Jennifer Donaldson

Lies You Never Told Me – Jennifer DonaldsonTitle: Lies You Never Told Me by Jennifer Donaldson
Publishing Info: May 29, 2018 by Penguin
Source: Received from the publisher for review purposes
Genres: Young Adult, Mystery/Thriller
Date Completed: May 11, 2018
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads

Gabe and Elyse have never met. But they both have something to hide.

Quiet, shy Elyse can't believe it when she's cast as the lead in her Portland high school's production of Romeo and Juliet. Her best friend, Brynn, is usually the star, and Elyse isn't sure she's up to the task. But when someone at rehearsals starts to catch her eye--someone she knows she absolutely shouldn't be with--she can't help but be pulled into the spotlight.

Austin native Gabe is contemplating the unthinkable--breaking up with Sasha, his headstrong, popular girlfriend. She's not going to let him slip through her fingers, though, and when rumors start to circulate around school, he knows she has the power to change his life forever.

Gabe and Elyse both make the mistake of falling for the wrong person, and falling hard. Told in parallel narratives, this twisty, shocking story shows how one bad choice can lead to a spiral of unforeseen consequences that not everyone will survive.

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LIES YOU NEVER TOLD ME was definitely an interesting book but my first impression was actually that I think it could have benefitted from more editing. I’m no expert in the editing/publishing process, is something I feel a lot nowadays. I think some of the structure and even a whole plot point could have been improved upon a little bit and I really think that’s more editing.

Let’s think of non-spoilery things to talk about first… I did find the direction of this book really interesting! There was a nice twist and that light bulb moment when I finally realized exactly where this book was heading and what these two stories had in common was a very fun moment and I had flails and a freak out! That was really nicely planned and it was fun not to pick up on it right away. (Ah, the perks of multi-tasking — my brain doesn’t try to guess twists and plots when it’s distracted by other things!)

What I did find irksome was the sort of red herring of the book. There are two major things that happen to change the lives of Elyse and Gabe and the second thing seemed like it was more there as a distraction than something that was actually a part of the story. It just didn’t quite seem like it fit in, or thinking about it a different way, it felt like a separate story that didn’t quite merge with the main point. (Confusing? It’s hard not to spoil!)

I also wish that things had started picking up juuuust a little sooner. I knew it would be a dark, twisty book and I didn’t lose interest but I did find myself looking for those jaw-dropping moments, waiting for them to happen. Sure, they don’t need to be in every chapter but it just felt like it took a touch too long for a couple things to unravel.

This was a really interesting book and it looks like my other Goodreads friends have really enjoyed it so far! That red herring feeling did stick with me a lot so that’s why I didn’t enjoy it AS much but I am absolutely interested in other books from Jennifer Donaldson and I’d be so interested to see what else she comes up with!!

If you really want to know, here are the spoilers, so look away if you don’t want to get spoiled on some main plot points and twists! My light bulb moment was figuring out how Gabe’s story and how Elyse’s story are actually connected. I actually won’t even full on spoil this one if you’re looking out of curiosity and not because you’ve already read it. That single point in time when I figured it out was REALLY FUN (and actually terrifying).

I really didn’t like Sasha as the red herring of the book. I didn’t feel like Sasha’s crazy and possessive nature really fit the book. We already had Elyse’s story about her running off with her teacher (side note: ICK) and his possessive craziness and Sasha just felt off and like her form of crazy was in there as a red herring. All of these strange things happen to Gabe and the reader questions if it actually is Sasha like he predicts or if it’s Catherine (sorry, I listened to the audiobook so I don’t know how that’s spelled) or her over protective father. Looking for the twist, I tried to move away from Sasha because that was too obvious and aside from jealousy, there’s no reason for her to go full on nutso, but nope, that’s it. She’s just insanely jealous. I felt like the book didn’t do her story enough justice to really include it in the plot except to throw readers off the other things that were going on and put off making the CONNECTION. These crazy things keep popping up so you follow those. If that whoooole thing was taken out, I think the book could have been even better, focusing more on Gabe and Catherine and Elyse and her teacher. Many things could have been done on Gabe’s side with Sasha totally removed from the scene and the book could have been even better for it, hence the editing comment. It felt underdeveloped and I don’t think it was necessary.

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Kept Me Hooked On: Thrillers with twists that connect. I love when books can come full circle and connect two seemingly separate stories. (This isn’t a spoiler — obviously these two stories have to connect somehow otherwise it wouldn’t be the same book).
Left Me Wanting More: Getting to the point. I didn’t like being intentionally misled, to a certain degree. The author needs to point the reader away from guessing a twist or mystery, of course, but things felt like they were pushed too far just to distract the reader from guessing anything and upon seeing how things clicked into place, it felt unnecessary.

Addiction Rating
Try it

This book really was interesting and twisty! If a few things had been set up or edited different, I think this would have had much better flow and felt a little more grounded.

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BOOKS LIKE LIES YOU NEVER TOLD ME

              

Leah on the Offbeat (Creekwood #2) – Becky Albertalli

Leah on the Offbeat (Creekwood #2) – Becky AlbertalliTitle: Leah on the Offbeat (Creekwood #2) by Becky Albertalli
Publishing Info: April 25, 2018 by HarperCollins
Source: Received from the publisher for review purposes
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, Realistic Fiction
Date Completed: April 24, 2018
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads

Leah Burke—girl-band drummer, master of deadpan, and Simon Spier’s best friend from the award-winning Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda—takes center stage in this novel of first love and senior-year angst.

When it comes to drumming, Leah Burke is usually on beat—but real life isn’t always so rhythmic. An anomaly in her friend group, she’s the only child of a young, single mom, and her life is decidedly less privileged. She loves to draw but is too self-conscious to show it. And even though her mom knows she’s bisexual, she hasn’t mustered the courage to tell her friends—not even her openly gay BFF, Simon.

So Leah really doesn’t know what to do when her rock-solid friend group starts to fracture in unexpected ways. With prom and college on the horizon, tensions are running high. It’s hard for Leah to strike the right note while the people she loves are fighting—especially when she realizes she might love one of them more than she ever intended.

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Bee doo bee doo, unpopular opinion alert! For as much as I adoooored Simon (both the book and the character) and as much as I appreciated Leah in Simon’s story, I didn’t really connect with her like I wanted to in this book and I was really, really surprised by that.

There were a lot of things that I loved about LEAH ON THE OFFBEAT. I always enjoy the relationships that Becky Albertalli crafts and there are just so many amazing ties and connections going on there, whether those relationships are romantic or platonic or familial. Leah has a great relationship with her mom, the obvious friendship with Simon, and we get to see some new friendships from Leah’s perspective here as well.

There is, obviously, a noticeable difference in tone from Simon to Leah, which is great that they don’t feel the same because they’re quite different in so many ways. This book doesn’t get stuck in the rut of the same tone no matter the character focus and I think Becky did a really great job of making this Leah’s book and Leah’s voice. I love her sarcasm and her voice is so much fun to read! But it was also sort of weird seeing things from her point of view. On the one hand, it’s great to see the insecurities from Leah’s voice since a lot of what we see in SIMON is her confidence in her friendships and I feel like she was such a strong presence. On the other hand it was kind of weird to see everything so exposed like that! It is really great to be able to see how well-rounded this character is.

I don’t know how much people are supposed to know about the romantic aspect in this book so I don’t want to give any spoilers away but something about it didn’t click for me. To be fair, I haven’t yet read THE UPSIDE OF UNREQUITED, so although that was just more of a companion/not as related, I don’t know if there was something that I’m missing… I think there was also conflict in SIMON that I latched onto and never let go of so I had a hard time being in the right mindset for this pairing. (I also think maybe the movie didn’t help that conflict/what I remember about it either.)

It was an enjoyable book for sure, and I read it (listened to the audio) all in one day. I loved being able to spend more time with these characters and to get to know Leah better! Ultimately, something just didn’t flow for me.

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Kept Me Hooked On: The Creekwood… verse? These characters are so much fun and it was wonderful to see some familiar ones as well as meeting new friends too!
Left Me Wanting More: Flow with the timeline of SIMON. I just feel like there was a bit thing in SIMON that was totally glossed over and even changed from that book to this one. Maybe we only got things from Simon’s perspective and that’s why it felt off? I think I just feel misled on Leah’s connection with another character from that book to this one and it didn’t feel right.

Addiction Rating
Read it

If you loved SIMON, I think you also need to read Leah’s story! I’m really bummed I didn’t make the connections that I wanted to here but for some reason I just didn’t feel like certain parts of the book felt right. I mean, obviously I’m not the author and she knows best but I personally had some qualms.

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BOOKS LIKE LEAH ON THE OFFBEAT

              

In the Afterlight (The Darkest Minds #3) – Alexandra Bracken

In the Afterlight (The Darkest Minds #3) – Alexandra BrackenTitle: In the Afterlight (The Darkest Minds #3) by Alexandra Bracken
Publishing Info: April 24, 2018 by Disney Hyperion
Source: Amazon, Audible
Genres: Young Adult, Dystopian
Date Completed: April 23, 2018
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads

Related Posts: The Darkest Minds (The Darkest Minds #1), Passenger (Passenger #1), Never Fade (The Darkest Minds #2)

Ruby can't look back. Fractured by an unbearable loss, she and the kids who survived the government's attack on Los Angeles travel north to regroup. With them is a prisoner: Clancy Gray, son of the president, and one of the few people Ruby has encountered with abilities like hers. Only Ruby has any power over him, and just one slip could lead to Clancy wreaking havoc on their minds.

They are armed only with a volatile secret: proof of a government conspiracy to cover up the real cause of IAAN, the disease that has killed most of America's children and left Ruby and others like her with powers the government will kill to keep contained. But internal strife may destroy their only chance to free the "rehabilitation camps" housing thousands of other Psi kids.

Meanwhile, reunited with Liam, the boy she would-and did-sacrifice everything for to keep alive, Ruby must face the painful repercussions of having tampered with his memories of her. She turns to Cole, his older brother, to provide the intense training she knows she will need to take down Gray and the government. But Cole has demons of his own, and one fatal mistake may be the spark that sets the world on fire.

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Mehhhhh. I just did not enjoy the conclusion to this series at all. I’m so far past my dystopian fascination that I just wasn’t really interested after so much time went by but. I really did want to finish the series but I was worried about all of that going in.

Aside from the genre qualms, I really did feel like this series didn’t really need to be a trilogy. I think it could have done fine at two books, maybe even one depending on editing. Things felt incredibly dragged out in IN THE AFTERLIGHT and there were a lot of things that I thought could have been addressed in NEVER FADE, and things that I really wanted to be addressed the previous book, like more about the cause of the abilities. As far as action and content, I think a lot could have been cut to be a two book series but I guess trilogies were really hot at this point in time.

The thing I feel with a lot of dystopians nowadays is that that everyone feels whiny and everyone feels SO dramatic. I get it — it’s the literal end of the world, but things like that tend to need a bit more comic relief or a little less “dude that I love is my life and soul.” Teenagers are dramatic as well bu sometimes it’s just too much for me.  Ruby took on a lot of this for me and characters like Chubs and Vida were more fabulous and provided some of that relief, but the drama still took the spotlight. Liam was maybe TOO good for my tastes. It felt a little too polarizing for Liam to be GOOD and Cole to be the BAD boy. At least Cole had more going on. The villain became a bit too villainous and everyone was just so black and white when I would have loved more human grey areas, as is natural. I found myself just wanting to be done so I could finally be done and move on. If I hadn’t listened to these as audiobooks, it would have taken me forever or I may have not even finished.

But at last, it’s done and I am happy that I did finish the series. Dystopians have just lost their sparkle and appeal to me. I’ve read so many books since I fell in love and out of love with dystopian that it’s just all so tropey to me. Plus, this was Alexandra Bracken’s debut series and I think her writing was still growing. (Although I didn’t love Passenger either…)

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Kept Me Hooked On: The last of my dystopian loves. I really did LOVE dystopians — hardcore — back in 2011 and 2012. I wanted to inhale them. I liked heading back to THE DARKEST MINDS after all these years.
Left Me Wanting More: Developed characters. I just didn’t feel like anyone had depth! I actually feel like Chubs was the more relatable character. I didn’t connect with Ruby, Liam was too good, and everyone was so black and white.

Addiction Rating
Finish it

I think it’s worth finishing the series to find out why everything happened but I just had a really hard time with it.

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BOOKS LIKE IN THE AFTERLIGHT

              

What I Loved [July 2018]

In an attempt to get back into the blogging swing, I wanted to revisit my monthly recaps but in a much more casual way! Instead of focusing on stats and posts, I’m sharing some of my favorite things about this month, from books to merch to life and everything in between!

BOOKS

Obviously, we’re here for the books. Apparently it was a month where I finally finished the one book I read in print form at the very end of the month and all of my other reads were audiobooks! I did continue ready FOUNDRYSIDE on the 29th after reading it for a month because I do such a poor job and dedicating time to reading my physical ARCs! Before that, the last print copy I finished was FOE by Iain Reid on June 30th so it alllllmost made it into July!

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BOOKS READ (16):

As you can tell, I’m binge reading the October Daye series, recommended to me by Shannon (@ladyshanelise and candlemaker queen at Canterbury Road Co) after a discussion about books with great characters and sass and cleverness and they certainly do not disappoint! I’ve been enjoying them a LOT and just finished the 9th book. The 8th (THE WINTER LONG) was definitely my favorite with the most world-building and character development and so many things happened! It was the best book I read this month although I had quite a solid reading month with lots of four star books!

PURCHASES

I’ve been trying not to buy TOO many things but I’m always buying candles. I got orders from Get Fictional, Canterbury Road Co, Nerdwicks, and Dio Candle Company this month!

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  • Shannon from Canterbury Road Co has become one of my good friends so we often talk about candles and send each other things back and forth! She has some new candles in the shop including Literary Passport and her one year anniversary candle, The Canterbury Tales, and sent me both of those and I LOVE them so much. I’m always a big fan of her candles and also stocked up in a recent sale, adding more Hate-to-Love, The Belles (formerly Candle of the Month), and One More Chapter for burning!
  • Get Fictional is another new candle favorite and I bought candles in her 4th of July sale just for burning! Sometimes I buy for fandoms, sometimes I buy for burning, and others for both and this purchase was a little of both! I had to get Sevro and The Shield of Tinos for my Red Rising love!! I also grabbed Heartrender, Mist & Fury, and The Bunker for burning purposes!
  • I got my first — and only! — Nerdwicks candle, Wadsworth & Cresswell, in their store closing sale. I like to try a lot of different companies and this was the first time I got to purchase from Nerdwicks so it was sad that they closed! I love the candle! 
  • And lastly, I made a purchase from Dio this month! I grabbed six Adorable sized candles (1oz jars) and one 4oz jar. I can’t believe this was my first buy! The little jars really are adorable. 

I made another Bath & Body Works purchase (OOPS) but they’re always sending me emails about sales and this #scentaddict can’t resist! They had a sale on soaps and so I accidentally bought A LOT of them. I stocked up on favorites like Fresh Rain & Spearmint and Sunshine Lemon and of course they tempted me with a few fall scents that I might as well buy now!!

I didn’t really buy a whole lot of other things! I tend to stick to my favorites and I desperately need to place another Book Lover’s Coffee order but I keep forgetting and I’m trying to save money, but coffee is a necessity, right?

LIFE

July was a fun month in general! It was pretty relaxing and we did some hometown exploring and some cooking. Back on the 1st, my husband and I made our own Chipotle “duplicate” recipes and had some delicious burritos with the salsas! We also made some BBQ pulled pork for the 4th and it was absolutely delicious. Shane smoked the pork on the smoker and we finished it up in the crock pot to let it cook in all the barbecue sauce, which we also ended up making ourselves! That was a lot of fun and it took a little cooking science to figure out what was missing from the recipe we used.

We went to 4th of July fireworks and it was a little scary because there was a storm approaching on the horizon so through a little drizzle, the fireworks started a little early so they could try to avoid canceling them. We went to a place where they do them over a lake and it was such a fun experience! (Minus the lightning.) We went to another town’s that does fireworks over the weekend and those were a lot of fun as well!

We visited our favorite local brewery often and we really enjoyed a lot of their new beers! It’s always a fun place to visit and Shane is working on his home brewing again a bit more so we went back quite a few times for supplies and stayed for beers.

We also ended up visiting some antique stores! I wanted some decorations for the front office of my shop and we had seen some items that were perfect the last time we had visited these stores. Thankfully they were still there when we went back! I grabbed some old soda crates to use as displays and then later on in the week, I went to Hobby Lobby to grab some more things for decorations! I’m really loving how it all came together and now I just need to shell out money for furniture of some sort to really dial it all in.

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Sky in the Deep – Adrienne Young

Sky in the Deep – Adrienne YoungTitle: Sky in the Deep by Adrienne Young
Publishing Info: April 24, 2018 by Macmillan, Wednesday Books
Source: Borrowed, ALAAC18
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy
Date Completed: April 21, 2018
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads

Raised to be a warrior, seventeen-year-old Eelyn fights alongside her Aska clansmen in an ancient rivalry against the Riki clan. Her life is brutal but simple: fight and survive. Until the day she sees the impossible on the battlefield—her brother, fighting with the enemy—the brother she watched die five years ago.

Faced with her brother's betrayal, she must survive the winter in the mountains with the Riki, in a village where every neighbor is an enemy, every battle scar possibly one she delivered. But when the Riki village is raided by a ruthless clan thought to be a legend, Eelyn is even more desperate to get back to her beloved family.

She is given no choice but to trust Fiske, her brother’s friend, who sees her as a threat. They must do the impossible: unite the clans to fight together, or risk being slaughtered one by one. Driven by a love for her clan and her growing love for Fiske, Eelyn must confront her own definition of loyalty and family while daring to put her faith in the people she’s spent her life hating.

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There’s no question that SKY IN THE DEEP is one of the most buzzed about books of 2018 in the book community, especially on Instagram! I had so many friends who loved the book before it even released so I borrowed an ARC from my friend Kori so I could read it (and make a candle for it haha!) and see what the buzz was about!

With any popular release, the hype scared me, and I think it got me a little bit. I really did enjoy it but when there’s a lot of hype, I tend to expect a lot of big twists or surprising elements and SKY IN THE DEEP was a little more quiet, despite its ferocity. The book doesn’t really shy away from the more gory and brutal elements of the Viking traditions and battles but there’s also quieter aspect that allows relationships of all sorts to unfold and doesn’t have the book showing all-out action all the time. It wasn’t something I expected but the more I reflect on the book, the more I appreciate it.

I really enjoyed the different feel that SKY IN THE DEEP provided. It has that blend of fantasy and historical fiction that I enjoyed so much in books like THE WINNER’S CURSE. It’s a fantasy world but it doesn’t necessarily focus so much on a magic system. The author gets to create her own clans, traditions, and setting without being stuck in an actual place, historically or geographically. I’m really starting to appreciate settings like these and it was a great thing to read in SKY IN THE DEEP!

I wanted a little bit more from the ending in a couple of different ways but I also wasn’t dissatisfied. I felt like the book ended but still left room for more to come and I’d definitely pick up more! I can totally see why so many people loved it.

 

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Kept Me Hooked On: Low-magic fantasy. There’s a word for this. Low fantasy? I never know the actual terms aside from high fantasy haha. But I enjoy reading fantasy that isn’t totally dependent on a magical system as a part of the plot!
Left Me Wanting More: Action? There was something about the pacing that I wasn’t expecting. I think I was just looking for a little more of something in the beginning of the book and a lot more developed in the second half, so I didn’t start connecting as much until then.

Addiction Rating
Read it

There’s definitely a reason why SKY IN THE DEEP was so popular this year! It was very well-written and I had a couple of pacing issues but it really was enjoyable and well worth the read.

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BOOKS LIKE SKY IN THE DEEP

              

Never Fade (The Darkest Minds #2) – Alexandra Bracken

Never Fade (The Darkest Minds #2) – Alexandra BrackenTitle: Never Fade (The Darkest Minds #2) by Alexandra Bracken
Publishing Info: October 15, 2013 by Disney Hyperion
Source: Audible, BEA 2013
Genres: Young Adult, Dystopian
Date Completed: April 18, 2018
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads

Related Posts: The Darkest Minds (The Darkest Minds #1), Passenger (Passenger #1), In the Afterlight (The Darkest Minds #3)

Ruby never asked for the abilities that almost cost her her life. Now she must call upon them on a daily basis, leading dangerous missions to bring down a corrupt government and breaking into the minds of her enemies. Other kids in the Children’s League call Ruby “Leader”, but she knows what she really is: a monster.

When Ruby is entrusted with an explosive secret, she must embark on her most dangerous mission yet: leaving the Children’s League behind. Crucial information about the disease that killed most of America’s children—and turned Ruby and the others who lived into feared and hated outcasts—has survived every attempt to destroy it. But the truth is only saved in one place: a flashdrive in the hands of Liam Stewart, the boy Ruby once believed was her future—and who now wouldn’t recognize her.

As Ruby sets out across a desperate, lawless country to find Liam—and answers about the catastrophe that has ripped both her life and America apart—she is torn between old friends and the promise she made to serve the League. Ruby will do anything to protect the people she loves. But what if winning the war means losing herself?

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After many, many years, I finally re-read THE DARKEST MINDS and then continued on with the rest of the series. I hadn’t loved THE DARKEST MINDS on my re-read as much as I did the first time around and it’s been a long time since I’ve really been interested in dystopian so I had no idea how the rest of the series was going to go for me.

A FIVE QUESTIONS REVIEW

In an attempt to do a quick review style, and not get hung up on a traditional sense, here’s a review in five questions!

WHO? NEVER FADE separated our crew for a bit and you know how much I struggle with that. I enjoyed getting to know more about Ruby and following her story more in this book. We also learn a whole lot more about the Children’s League and their loyalties as well as meeting new characters who play an important part like badass Vida and sweet Jude. And then, of course, there’s Cole who teaches us a whole lot about… well, I guess I won’t get into all of that because of spoilers!

WHAT? The actual concept of the disease played a lot bigger part in this book and I liked how that added to the overall series development. I was glad we got to know more about why the kids started developing abilities but I also wish that we had gotten a bit more in this book as well. We also get to know more about Reds and what happened to them, and if any of them really still exist.

WHERE? A lot of this book takes place with the Children’s League and their territory. There are a lot of mixed feelings about them and their cause and I felt myself going back and forth trying to pick apart the true intentions.

WHEN? There’s a little time after the end of THE DARKEST MINDS and we pick up with Ruby after she’s been working with them for a while.

WHY? This book is clearly a bridge to the finale and it did feel like a middle book. I don’t really like when series separate main characters like this one did so it kind of really stuck that middle-book feel.

This story was okay but I did notice myself tiring of the dystopian factor already, even before book three. I had a hard time wanting to finish the series but it was so close anyway. NEVER FADE wasn’t as appealing as THE DARKEST MINDS and it kind of didn’t go in the direction that I was expecting, but I also should have expected it.

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Kept Me Hooked On: Liam. Liam really is one of the best parts of this series. He’s so good and he truly has a good heart which is so refreshing compared to the nice guy who picks fights or turns bad.
Left Me Wanting More: Book One Feel. I missed the chemistry between Ruby and Liam from the first book, which I loved so much!

Addiction Rating
Continue on

The series is worth continuing but this really wasn’t as exciting as I had hoped it would be.

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BOOKS LIKE NEVER FADE

              

BEA & BookCon 2018 Recap

After missing BEA last year, I was excited to be back again for 2018! This year was totally different from my previous years attending in many ways, starting with the fact that it was kind of a last-minute decision!

Now that Novelly Yours has become my main focus, I knew I wanted to attend BookCon to meet up with my candle reps, meet customers, and say hello to other bookish shops that were attending as vendors! My regular crew wasn’t attending BEA this year so I didn’t really have plans to attend but I still really wanted to. I managed to sneak in the last day of Book Expo with friend and rep Brittany (@bookswrotemystory) by my side and then we both hit BookCon with the rest of the rep crew!

BOOK EXPO (BEA)

    

In previous years, I focused a lot on all of the things that we did day-by-day and this year, I think I’m switching that up a bit because things felt very different this year. I noticed that there weren’t as many bloggers in attendance, which could be for a number of things. I know that the BookExpo team switched some things around and changed blogger/media attendance fees. I don’t know if this was to cut down on/discourage blogger attendance in actuality or if the community just kind of felt like it was (those were the rumblings we all heard within the last couple years), but it did seem like there were fewer people I knew there… But there’s also the fact that there are a lot of newer bloggers on the scene now and a lot of the veterans that I know have taken a step back from blogging, or at least to the extent where BEA is not a priority. In that sense, it did seem a little less familiar.

Meeting Kerri Maniscalco at BEA18

The pace of the conference is quite different from previous years as well. There are far fewer galley drops and books laying about the floor, free for the taking. Everything was much more scheduled and we had to line up for pretty much anything we wanted to do. I’m no stranger to standing in lines at BEA but I was also really looking forward to just walking around and trying to find some new, interesting reads this year and I couldn’t really even peep at any books. Everything was very protected, lots of secret drops that you had to be watching for on social media or things that were announced but the title kept a secret, and even more ticketed signings than in previous years. It’s not a bad thing — ticketed signings and and scheduled drops can help the organization process and keep things orderly, which I know was a concern among to blogging community if not all of the BEA attendees. It did make it difficult to do anything without a schedule and I was trying to be a bit more casual this year so those two concepts didn’t really work together, but I did manage to meet a few authors and grab a few ARCs that I really wanted to! I was surprised that there just weren’t really a lot of things to go and browse like there had been in previous years, not even with some of the smaller publishers. It was rare to see ARCs around on the floor to look at or take.

With Leigh Bardugo at the Macmillan blogger party

Another perk of attending the one day of BookExpo was that I was in town for the Macmillan blogger party! They’re one of my favorite publishers and I still treasure our working relationship and how well I’ve grown to know the team and even the authors! I somehow always manage to get there late (this time it was because Laini Taylor was the last signing of the day and we needed MUSE OF NIGHTMARES and then we had to check into our Airbnb after moving out of our hotel) so I was rushed again getting there, but I stayed until the very end! I got to say hello to Marissa Meyer again (though I neglected to get a photo with her) and chat with Leigh Bardugo! I saw the lovely faces of the Macmillan team, spent time chatting with bloggers, and even got to meet a couple new friends that I hadn’t met before! It’s always such a fun time and it’s one of my favorite parts of the conference!

BOOKCON

  

This was the first year that I attended BookCon since its inception so I had no idea what to expect!! The first year was kind of a hot mess and they seemed to have it down to a science now this year. It was nice having it on the same floor as BookExpo and I already knew where everything was. The upsides of BookCon were taking the time to meet some other vendors like OwlCrate, The Bookish Box, Book Beau, North Ave Candles, and Beacon Book Box. I’ve met some of the owners before but it was nice to say hello to people for the first time and make some new connections as well!! I had also made some candles to hand out around BookCon and that was really fun to be able to meet some people that way and hand out some fun goodies!

Other than attending as a vendor, I can’t say I’d ever go to BookCon as a regular attendee again. Every signing in the regular autographing area was ticketed and since I had a press pass and didn’t receive a BookCon badge ahead of time, I could register for any of them and a representative of BookCon didn’t get back to me to see if there was a way for me to do that. I didn’t push it because I knew I was going to BEA, plus I’ve attended many book events, so I didn’t want to take that opportunity away from someone else who really wanted to meet their favorite author! Most things on the floor were ticketed as well and I didn’t have desire to wait in a lot of those ticket lines so I just ended up walking around and hanging out with my friends most of the time, as well as making the time to chat with the aforementioned vendors!

Nearly everything at BookCon is something that’s available for purchase, as well, meaning that unless I was buying books, I likely wasn’t picking anything up. Knowing how many books I’d have to tote back home, I didn’t feel like it was necessary to buy something all the way out in NYC and take it back to IL. A lot of people purchased books for signings but since I own all of the books from my favorite authors and I didn’t attend that many signings at BookCon, there was no reason for me to buy those either. I guess when you’re spoiled by BEA and ALA, getting books at BookCon felt silly (as weird as that sounds) but I also think the event is designed much more for consumers and the general public and not so much someone who can attend BEA or other book conferences like ALA. I think I ended up with 2 or 3 books from BookCon vs the other stack that I was able to obtain from BEA.

 

I definitely had fun meeting the people and hanging out with my friends at BookCon but I don’t think I’d pay to attend just for me. Hopefully in years to come, I can participate in more of a vendor fashion, whether that’s having a booth or collaborating with another vendor!

Did you attend BEA or BookCon this year? Have you attended in previous years? What did you think?

Looking for more BEA news? You can check out my recaps from previous years I attended!
BEA 2013 | BEA 2014 | BEA 2015 | BEA2016

On the Same Page: Secret Sister Project | Round 9 Sign-Ups!

secret sister project

I cannot believe that it is already time for round NINE of #OTSPSECRETSISTER!!

Let’s first get some housekeeping things out of the way…

The two most important things to do when signing up to be a part of this project are:

  1. Head over to the google form which coincides with your monetary tier and fill it out in full. NOTE: If you forget to do this then we cannot pair you, it is what we use to do all of our pairings.
  2. BEFORE scrolling down to the questions, and BEFORE signing up to be a part of this project please thoroughly read our FAQ and Rules post. Memorize the rules and refer back to it throughout the project to make things easier for everyone.

Just to cover all of our bases let me reiterate a few things, but please keep in mind that this is just a basic glossing over of these rules, we go more in detail and clarify everything in the main post that we are asking you to read.

First, please remember that this is a commitment. By signing up to be a secret sister you are promising to send at least one small card AND gift to your secret sister a month depending on the “monetary group” for which you sign up. Those in the pen pal tier are not expected to send gifts, that is strictly letters/cards AND you will NOT keep your identity secret if you are ONLY in the pen pal tier. Those in monetary tiers: you are also asked to send letters and or/postcards to foster positive communication IN ADDITION to packages. Please remember: this is not a subscription box. It is not about the gifts. It’s is about the connections you are making!

Last thing, sign-ups run from July 13 to midnight on July 27!

NOTE FOR INTERNATIONAL PARTICIPANTS: Due to time zone differences and issues in the past with late questionnaires, etc. we are only able to give you until July 22 to sign up for round 9 of The Secret Sister Project. More details on how to sign up as an international participant below.

The Rules:

  • You must “know” one of the hosts in order to join!
  • You must be 18 or older to participate in The Secret Sister Project
  • You must actively use the hashtag #OTSPSecretSister during your time participating in The Secret Sister Project.
  • If we have to reach out to you more than once to ask if you why your sister hasn’t yet received anything then you will be asked to cease in participating.
  • If we contact you and ask if you sent something to your sister and you say yes but are unable to provide tracking for the package then you will be asked to cease in participating.
  • If you have not received anything by the end of the month then YOU must contact US.
  • If for any reason you find that you have to drop out of this project, please email us immediately.
  • You will be asked to provide the name and contact info (email addresses, please) of a “buddy” who will be willing to answer questions put forth by your sister. We are asking that you keep this to someone who is in the community and therefore will be easy to contact. Husbands/moms/sisters are not easy to contact.*Don’t stress out about this. This person will be available to ask you questions from your sister, or let you know to check your mail. It is not necessary for this person to know you inside and out, just that they have the ability to be contacted, and to contact you when your sister has a question. Additionally, do not bog this person down with incessant questions, use your best judgement when possible and get creative!
  • Below, you will be asked to provide a Goodreads or Amazon wish list with 20 or more books including newer and older titles that is specific to The Secret Sister Project. *Do not share this list with anyone else!
  • You must answer ALL of the questions put forth in the sign-up email as well as be detailed and thorough.
  • Keep in mind that there is strong emphasis on the pen pal aspect. Meaning that if you have signed up for one of the higher price ranges, you should still send a letters to your sister.
  • Do not tweet or use the hashtag to ask for specific and/or luxurious items.
  • Do not tweet negativity while using the hashtag
  • Do not send swag
  • Pay attention to your sister’s likes/dislikes and wishilists
  • ARCs and shipping do not count toward your monetary limit
  • Do not send packages directly from Amazon without speaking to your point person first

Please read and re-read our FAQ and Rules post and remember that we are here for you. Do not hesitate to reach out to use if needed, we want to help you and can’t unless we know what is happening! This all probably seems like a lot – but please keep in mind that we have over 200 participants at any given time and we ask you to follow these guidelines to make things easier on us as we all share in this community.

Okay, now we can move on to the fun stuff!

So how do I sign up?

It’s easy! Just answer every question in the questionnaire below and email it over to onthesamepagesecretsister@gmail.com by midnight on July 27! ALSO In addition to the questionnaire, you will also be asked to answer a few questions for a Google form. PLEASE NOTE: If you do not fill out BOTH of these things in full, then you will NOT be paired. This is what we will be using to pair you, so do not forget!

For those of you wishing to join the Pen Pal Tier ONLY: please still fill out the questionnaire in full with the exception of your wish lists. The questions will be a good way for us to pair you up with someone, and for your pen pal to get to know you. REMEMBER: Your identity is not to be kept secret from your pen pal.

International participants: Please use this Google form to sign up instead of one coinciding with the tiers. There will be a place for you to fill out your preference of which tier you would like to belong but we can not guarantee this. Due to international participation being low, we may have to put you all into the same tier, or may not be able to include international participants this round. Please remember that you have until midnight on July 20 to sign up as an international participant.

Here we go!

Name:

Mailing Address:

Is the above address a residence/PO Box/Condo/place of employment: (*As in, will your mail get to you when the tracking says delivered, or will you need to wait to get to the mailbox/mailroom?)

Email Address:

Blog:

Twitter Name:

Did you participate in one of the prior rounds of the Secret Sister Project? If yes, which round?

If yes, please provide us with the names of your former sisters (those you gave to, and received from – it is okay if you don’t yet know who is sending to you this round):

How much are you willing to contribute to the project monthly? Choose one (NOTE: this is just a range, you can of course go over the limit but please keep the pen pal aspect in mind, and please remember that is about cheer and not just gifts.) REMINDER: International participants are to fill out THIS google form only, do not fill out one provided below.

  • Pen pals: That’s right, this is strictly letters and cards. No trinkets, no extras, nothing besides letters. If you want to send ANYTHING more than a letter or a card every month then we ask that you sign up for one of the higher monetary tiers. NOTE: YES you may sign up for a pen pal tier and a monetary tier. Ensure that you fill out a google form for BOTH. *IF YOU ARE CHOOSING THE PEN PAL TIER THEN CLICK HERE TO FILL OUT YOUR GOOGLE FORM
  • $5-$10: (Send a heartfelt letter to catch your sister up on how things are going that month and then send an e-book, baked goods, homemade bookmark or other DIY project, or how about a movie night box with a DVD (thanks to the $5 bin at Walmart) and some candy for a movie night!) *IF YOU ARE CHOOSING THE $5-$10 TIER THEN CLICK HERE TO FILL OUT YOUR GOOGLE FORM.
  • $15-$20 (Any of the possibilities listed above and perhaps a newer hardcover from your sister’s wish-list, some fun socks, fandom tshirt, themed box, get creative!!) *IF YOU ARE CHOOSING THE $15-$20 TIER THEN CLICK HERE TO FILL OUT YOUR GOOGLE FORM
  • $25+ (The sky’s the limit here, we just ask that you remember to reign it in a bit and remember the goal of this project is for cheer, and joy and forging positive relationships, not excessive gifts. Send those heartfelt letters!!) *IF YOU ARE CHOOSING THE $25+ TIER THEN CLICK HERE TO FILL OUT YOUR GOOGLE FORM

Your OTSPSecretSister “buddy’s” Twitter or email: (*We are asking that you keep this to someone who is in the community and therefore will be easy to contact. Husbands/moms/sisters are not easy to contact.)

Goodreads Profile (*so that they can access your wishlists! Make sure to turn off the privacy setting & try and keep it updated!):

Goodreads/Amazon bookish wishlist: (*must have at least 20 titles of older and newer titles, please try not to purchase any books off of this wishlist and if you do please let your sister know via your buddy or one of us. Do not give anyone else access to this list. Not parents, husbands, friends, co-workers, secret santas…etc. If you do not want to share a wishlist by making it public, you may list the books here instead.)

“Other” wishlist: (*Keep these within reason for prices, etc! Please do not include pricey things, this is more for places like Etsy or for cheap DVDs on Amazon, and so on!)

Important Dates to Remember (*This can be anything and everything! Your birthday, the day you are expecting your baby, the day you are leaving for your next vacation, your anniversary with your partner, a big test you have coming up, the first day at your new job, the anniversary of the day you quit smoking, even a sad anniversary on which you would need some cheer!):

Your favorite items under $5: (things like stationary, nail polish, fav candy etc.)

Food Allergies:

Fandoms:

Your Likes (*Give us an array of things here! Types of snacks, TV shows, movies, bands/types of music, art):

Your Dislikes (*Example: chocolate covered cherries, anything cinnamon flavored, the color brown):

Do you have a favorite store?:

Are you okay receiving a gift card? If so, to where?

Would you be comfortable receiving baked goods of some kind?

What Do You Splurge On?:

Favorite Flowers:

Favorite Color?:

Favorite (or least favorite) smells: (*for things such as candles, soaps, bath bombs/bubbles, perfumes)

Do You Collect Anything?:

Do You Drink Coffee, Tea, Hot Chocolate?:

Do You Have an E-reader?:

Would you be okay being gifted an ebook? If so, please provide the email associated with your e-reader:

List some of your favorite genres or authors:

Are there any authors or genres that you won’t read?

T-shirt size:

Hogwarts House:

Favorite Disney movie and/or princess:

Any magazine that you wish you had a subscription to?

Anything else we should know about you? (*Be thorough here! There is no such thing as “saying too much,” the more your “secret sister” knows, the easier it is to spoil you!)

Third and final reminder that you MUST also fill out a google spreadsheet which coincides with your monetary tier. Links can be found above.

As always, please remember that you can always reach out to us with any inquiries or issues, that is what we are here for! Especially reach out to us if you have not received anything by the first of the month. We want to keep everyone active and honest! Use the #OTSPSecretSister hashtag to talk with us and your fellow sisters, the best part about this project is the community. Thank you for helping us continue to spread positive vibes and cheer throughout our community!

On the Same Page: Secret Sister Project | Round 9 Pre-Sign Up FAQs + Info

secret sister project

Hey there, friends! I am here to do some tiny edits to the FAQ post since we have been doing this for so long and we want to make sure that everything is crystal clear! For those veterans, this is all the same thing you’ve been doing, so don’t fret!

First, I want to say thank you! Thank you to those who have stuck with us and to those who have just recently joined. To those who have been so wonderful and supportive of not only your sisters but to all those in the community. It is such an uplifting thing for me to know that you are all out there doing good through your connections with each other. I really appreciate you.

Some of you may have seen some blah tweets from us regarding the project and saying that it isn’t what it used to be. That’s just the way of the game! We worry that some people may have lost sight of the reason behind the project. To sum up (From Alyssa): I was at a loooooow point and wanted to combat some negativity in my life by providing some happiness to someone else, and I needed a friend. So I created this project to build a community of strong, resilient and kind people who can lift up one another. It is not about the gifts. It is about the connections. I cannot say this enough.

All of that being said, the project is wonderful but a lot of work. So that’s why we created this FAQ post! We ask that you read this post thoroughly, and refer back to it PRIOR to reaching out to us with questions during the project. In addition, keep in mind that the hashtag #otspsecretsister is ALWAYS a fantastic resource for information, people are always happy to help.

The Basics:

The What:

The Secret Sister project is essentially a cheer club. Think Secret Santa but all year round (in 6 month intervals) with less emphasis on presents, and more thoughtful notes, cards, small somethings sent just to let your secret sister know that you are thinking about her!

The When:

  • Sign-ups vary throughout the year, we always always tweet about it

The Who:

You guys! But there are some conditions that must be met prior to signing up, we are going to outline those below under “The Rules.”

The How:

On the date specified in our tweets, we will be posting questionnaires on our blogs for you to fill out. In addition to the questionnaire, you will also be asked to answer a few questions for a Google form. PLEASE NOTE: If you do not fill out BOTH of these things in full, then you will NOT be paired. We use the Google form to pair you, so if we don’t have your name on there, you will not get paired.

FAQs:

What will I have to do if I sign up to be a secret sister?

Please know that this is a commitment. There are people out there expecting to have a connection with you. By signing up to be a secret sister you are promising to send at least one small card AND/OR gift to your secret sister a month depending on the “monetary group” for which you sign up. It is very important that you don’t sign up for this unless you are willing to follow through. If you cannot give 100% to this project please don’t sign up. When people don’t follow through or make the effort at connecting with their sister it sends negative vibes no one needs.

Do I have to send presents?

Yes, unless you are signing up for the pen pal group you are expected to send a little something on top of a card or letter. Keep in mind that this really is meant to be more of a cheering up sort of club, so though you must abide by the price guidelines you should also be sending letters and cards to keep communication open. But please note: This is not a subscription box filled with gifts. You need to make friendships, talk with your sister, thank your sister from whom you are receiving packages, etc.

Look at how extravagant that package is! I don’t have that kind of money…

Neither do I! This is why we have different price ranges, one of which is strictly pen pals – that means NO trinkets, etc! You should never, ever feel as if your package is inadequate as long as you are meeting your price range “standards.” Anyone who is getting caught up on the size of the gifts is missing the entire point of the project and will be dealt with accordingly.

Do we have to remain secret?

No, though that is part of the fun! Just leave your name off of the card or box you are sending if you want to remain secret, and reveal yourself whenever you wish! Some have used the same sending and return address, which is sneaky and perfect. It is entirely up to you! (If you are looking for some tips on how to remain secret -like if you want to send an e-book, for example, we can help ya out!)

Do I have to be a blogger to join?

Technically, no. You should be bookish, however. We are book people over here!

Is this project international?

It has been in the past We are going to have to again gauge how many international participants wish to join, and see if we have enough interest. The international interest has been waning because the group was so small, so we have gauge interest for every round.

Umm…I’m a guy so…

That is wonderful! Welcome! I know it is a little off putting to see the word “sister” up there but honestly we just did that because it sounded better than “The Secret Person Project.” I personally would love a secret bro, pal, dude, or friend regardless of gender and we had a few males join us the past few rounds!

What are the price ranges, and can we have some examples of what a package would look like for each range?

  • Pen pals: That’s right, this is strictly letters and cards. No trinkets, no extras, nothing. If you want to send ANYTHING more than a letter or a card every month then we ask that you sign up for one of the higher monetary tiers.
  • $5-$10: Send a heartfelt letter to catch your sister up on how things are going that month and then send an e-book, baked goods, homemade bookmark or other DIY project, or how about a movie night box with a DVD (thanks to the $5 bin at Walmart) and some candy for a movie night!
  • $15-$20 Any of the possibilities listed above and perhaps a paperback from your sister’s wish-list, some fun socks, fandom tshirt, themed box, get creative!!
  • $25+ The sky is the limit here, we just ask that you remember to reign it in a bit and remember the goal of this project is for cheer, and joy and forging positive relationships, not excessive gifts. Send those heartfelt letters!!

The Rules:

We ask that you pay attention here because we are going to hold you to these standards with no exceptions. I am sure that you all realize how time consuming it is to run project of this size. If you think our “rules” are too strict and “not fair” then we are sorry you feel that way, but we made some exceptions before and spent a lot of time chasing after people and yes, even kicking people out for neglecting to do their part.

    • You must “know” the hosts in order to join! The hosts are Alyssa, (@withthebanned), Amy (@trippingbooks), or Brittany (me! @bookaddictguide). What does “knowing” us entail? First and foremost, you should be following all three of us on Twitter, you should know our names, and if one of us reaches out to you, you should know who we are. We are all pretty active on Twitter and really like chatting. Tweeting at us a few times saying “Hi! I want to join The Secret Sister Project!” does not count. We want to get to know you, there are three of us and our tastes range – this shouldn’t be too hard. We even wrote up a “get to know us” post to make it easier for all of you to chat us up! We promise we are friendly and just want to see that you are serious about the project and don’t just want gifts.
    • You must be 18 or older to participate in The Secret Sister Project
    • You must actively use the hashtag #OTSPSecretSister to thank your sister during your time participating in The Secret Sister Project. We get TONS of emails asking things like “It says my sister’s package was delivered last week but I never heard anything? In addition to this “rule,” you should use the hashtag to interact with one another, ask questions, and answer questions put forth. We promise, this makes the whole project more fun!
    • If we have to reach out to you more than once to ask why your sister hasn’t yet received anything then you will be asked to cease in participating. If you are going to be late, tell us. You will not be in “trouble” if life gets in the way and you let us know. We all have things going on, we get it!
    • If we contact you and ask if you sent something to your sister and you say yes but are unable to provide tracking for the package then you will be asked to cease in participating. Just be honest.
    • If you have not received anything by the end of the month then YOU must contact US. We have had some who have reached out to us at the end of a round to say they hadn’t been receiving. Please don’t do this. We need this information to help you and ensure that no one suffers in the same way in future rounds. Please do NOT ever feel uncomfortable reaching out to us to say that you didn’t receive something. We WANT to help you with this, you DESERVE to get cheer as you are sending cheer!!
    • If for any reason you find that you have to drop out of this project, please email us immediately. We will not judge. We will not ask why. We will simply thank you for informing us and then pair your sister off to someone else so she isn’t missing out.
    • You will be asked to provide the name and contact info (email addresses, please) of a “buddy” who will be willing to answer questions put forth by your sister. We are asking that you keep this to someone who is in the community and therefore will be easy to contact. Husbands/moms/sisters are not easy to contact.
      • Your sister will contact this person to ask things such as “Can you ask Sally if she likes citrus or flowery smelling candles better?” This person can also say things to your sister such as “Hello Joan, Sally ended up buying a copy of “Click, Clack, Moo: Cows That Type” off of her wishlist so please do not purchase it.
      • Your buddy will also be there to receive messages from your sister if she is going to be late, etc.
  • You will be asked to provide a Goodreads or Amazon wish list that is specific to The Secret Sister Project, start working on this now!
      • The wishlist must have 20 or more books on it and must contain new and older titles – SOME ARCs are fine but keep in mind your sister may not have access to these.
      • This list MUST contain books that you are not going to purchase for yourself. IF you simply cannot resist a title here or there then please let your “buddy” (see above) know PRIOR TO BUYING so that they can tell your sister – but please try to refrain from doing this.
      • Do not give anyone else access to this list. We had a lot of people buying things their sister already owned due to someone else buying off of this list, and it was a waste of money for your sis.
      • If your Goodreads profile is private, your sister cannot view your wishlist.
      • If you do not wish to make your Goodreads profile public then you may use another format for your wishlist such as, Amazon, or by providing one in the sign-up email.
  • You must answer ALL of the questions put forth in the sign-up email as well as be detailed and thorough.
  • We are asking that you put a little more emphasis on the “pen pal” aspect.
      • This means if you have signed up for one of the higher price ranges, you should still send a letters to your sister. This is one of the things people have been asking for, so please don’t forget.
  • Do not tweet or use the hashtag to ask for specific and/or luxurious items.
      • OK to say: “I love owls!” “OMG I am obsessed with sugar skulls at the moment!” “I just got engaged!!”
      • NOT OK to say: “Please send this to me…” while providing links to something expensive or “#OTSPSecretSister this toaster would look excellent in my new apartment!”
  • Do not tweet negativity while using the hashtag.
    • Things such as “Wow, I wish I knew if my sister got her package” or “I wish my sister would use the hashtag more” are statements that promote negative communication. If you have issues like this, reach out to the person your sister designated as her “buddy” or to your point person and we will do our best to solve any issues.
  • Do not send your sister ARCs unless you are also sending additional things to compensate as we know no one pays for ARCs and you are to meet the monetary limit.
  • Do not send packages straight from Amazon. We had some people who completely forgot about their sister and then sent things directly from Amazon to try and make up for it and it resulted in some hurt feelings. The emphasis should be on the cheer and the thought that you are putting into your sister and her happiness.
  • Please refrain from sending “swag.” Unless you KNOW that this is something your sister would love.
  • Please pay attention to your sister’s likes, wish lists etc. This is hard to say, because it seems as if we are emphasizing the gift aspect, but it is a waste of money for you to send something that your sister will not enjoy. If your sister says she loves coffee mugs, try and cater that to her fandoms, etc. There are exceptions to this of course but we don’t want you to waste your money on things!
  • If allowed to participate, you will be given the contact information for one of us. You are to contact that person, and that person only regarding any and all Secret Sister Project questions, or concerns. This will help us keep things more seamless, and will let us have divvy up the “work” a little better.

Anything else I should know?

Use the hashtag and interact with one another! The whole point is to bring positive feelings into the our community. Be as thorough as you can when answering the questions. There is no “writing too much” when answering these questions! The best advice I can give you is to be creative and keep in mind the entire reason for the project is NOT about gifts, but fostering a positive environment. If you are looking for ideas, chat us up, we would love to help! Or ask your fellow sisters! I saw some fantastic monthly themed packages last round! We tweet from our own handles pretty frequently, but don’t forget to follow us all over at Gals on the Same Page)!

READ THIS:

We can’t say this enough…please PLEASE only sign up if you are willing to send something monthly and give 100% to this project. Please recognize that this is a commitment and that there is someone out there relying on you to follow through.

So how do I sign up?

The sign-up post with all questions that need to be answered will be posted on our blogs and promoted via Twitter. Please do not forget to sign up via the Google form in addition to sending your sign up email. Sign ups will run for two weeks.

I hope that this post has been helpful to you, friends! If you still have any questions then please reach out on Twitter. If you are new to the project then I encourage you to use the hashtag to talk to your fellow sisters as they may have the answers you are looking for! Thanks for sticking with us and being so generous and kind!

Girls on Fire – Robin Wasserman

Girls on Fire – Robin WassermanTitle: Girls on Fire by Robin Wasserman
Publishing Info: May 17, 2016 by HarperCollins
Source: Borrowed from Hoopla
Genres: Young Adult, Mystery/Thriller, Realistic Fiction
Date Completed: April 4, 2018
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads

On Halloween, 1991, a popular high school basketball star ventures into the woods near Battle Creek, Pennsylvania, and disappears. Three days later, he’s found with a bullet in his head and a gun in his hand—a discovery that sends tremors through this conservative community, already unnerved by growing rumors of Satanic worship in the region.

In the wake of this incident, bright but lonely Hannah Dexter is befriended by Lacey Champlain, a dark-eyed, Cobain-worshiping bad influence in lip gloss and Doc Martens. The charismatic, seductive Lacey forges a fast, intimate bond with the impressionable Dex, making her over in her own image and unleashing a fierce defiance that neither girl expected. But as Lacey gradually lures Dex away from her safe life into a feverish spiral of obsession, rebellion, and ever greater risk, an unwelcome figure appears on the horizon—and Lacey’s secret history collides with Dex’s worst nightmare.

By turns a shocking story of love and violence and an addictive portrait of the intoxication of female friendship, set against the unsettled backdrop of a town gripped by moral panic, Girls on Fire is an unflinching and unforgettable snapshot of girlhood: girls lost and found, girls strong and weak, girls who burn bright and brighter—and some who flicker away.

bookreview1

Anything that’s about toxic friendships is an immediate draw for me. When I first read about GIRLS ON FIRE, I knew I wanted to read it so I had some high expectations upon starting it! Things started off well and interesting and then the book started to lose me.

This book was what I expected and also took a couple turns. I found myself kind of losing interest a little towards the middle and I felt like things kind of plateaued a little early, even though there still was more to come. It was gripping and also a little horrifying witnessing such toxic friendships but it’s also a really interesting from a psychological aspect. While it felt genuine and plausible, it also was just lacking some element that really allowed me to connect with it and get sucked in like I had hoped.

The pacing really just threw me off and once the middle hit, I was starting to really lose focus. I thought it was an interesting concept and story but the book just didn’t flow and I thought it could have been set up a little bit better.

If you’re looking for a book about toxic friendships, this one definitely fits the bill. There’s also a mystery and other coming-of-age topics (relationships, friendships, family), but it just didn’t quite fit for me.

addiction_factor1

Kept Me Hooked On: Toxic Friendships. It’s so interesting and slightly horrifying to read of friendships like these, mostly because they really do exist in such extremes.
Left Me Wanting More: Flow. The pacing was off and the book really just didn’t flow for me. I found myself losing focus about halfway through.

Addiction Rating
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It wasn’t a bad book or anything but I just had a hard time staying interested. I just didn’t quite love it and it didn’t help that I had some expectations and it didn’t quite get there.

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