Tag Archives: On the Same Page

On The Same Page Secret Sister: Round 4 | Get to Know the Hosts!

Hey there loves! As many of you know, one of the biggest “rules” that we are pushing is that we hosts must “know” you. A lot of you have asked what constitutes us “knowing” you, and that is a very valid question in this digital age! Basically, we want to have faith in those that we are allowing into our precious project. We want to be able to say, “Oh yeah, that is the girl who OtSPcirclebanner250chatted with me about her search for a job as a Librarian.” Or, “She is the girl who was active in the hashtag despite not being able to join in on last round.” We look at your avi picture, we memorize your name, we make notations next to your sign-up in our spreadsheet. Full disclosure: when we go to our spreadsheet and one (OR TWO!!) of us has to notate, “no idea who she is, she doesn’t even follow me” we give some serious side eye. Are we looking for followers? Not in the least bit. Do we think that you ONE BILLION PERCENT should know who ALL THREE hosts are? OH. YES. We actually had a ridiculous amount of people this round thank two of us or not know that they were speaking to one of the hosts when we reached out to inquire about an issue, and so on. It is embarrassing for YOU when we bring this info back to base as the information on who we are is so readily available in a few different places.

With that being said, we thought it would be helpful if we each wrote up a little “about me” so that you had some points to bring up when you chatted us up over the next month. HINT: THIS MEANS IT IS A VERY GOOD IDEA TO GO AND VISIT ALYSSA AND AMY’S POSTS, THERE MIGHT BE A QUIZ LATER. We put the question to twitter, and some of you had some things you just HAD to know, so let’s get goin’!

GET TO KNOW THE HOSTS!

How did you get the idea for The Secret Sister Project? The project was Alyssa‘s idea! There was a lot of negativity floating around in the blogging world — specifically on Twitter — and Alyssa wanted to implement a project to bring positivity and build relationships throughout the community. She/we threw some questions out there to gauge interest and voila! The Secret Sister project was born!

How did the three of you meet? I first “met” Alyssa when I was a baby blogger and looking for awesome blogs to follow. I liked her posts and then saw a Princess Bride quote in her Twitter profile and I knew we needed to be friends. We worked on the very first Fortnight of Fright together, ended up tweeting each other Friends quotes all the time, and finally decided to move our friendship from Twitter to texts. We finally met in person at BEA 2013! She actually picked me up from the airport and we roomed together. We were afraid that once we met, we’d have nothing to talk about but we hit it off as if we’d been friends forever!
I knew Amy from around the blogosphere and we had chatted but not really talked as much as I had with other bloggers. We met briefly at BEA 2013 but I still didn’t know her really well. Once I started reading A Song of Ice and Fire (one of her favorite series), we ended up talking about the series! She and Alyssa had texted and we were like, “This is silly! We need to group text about this so we can all talk at the same time!” And thus, our conversation and a best friendship was born! 

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What is your favorite (or most popular) blog post that you have written? Favorite and most popular cross over a bit but are still a bit different! Some of my most popular:

Some of my personal favorites:

List a few things that anyone can mention to get you talking!

  • Friends (I’m obsessed. I quote. I re-watch millions of times)
  • Any of my big book fandoms: The Lunar Chronicles, The Grisha Trilogy, Harry Potter (I’m a Ravenpuff but lean more Ravenclaw!), anything Gayle Forman, Throne of Glass, The Name of the Wind, Brandon Sanderson books (Mistborn, Steelheart)
  • The Princess Bride
  • Beer (I’m a beer girl! I homebrew with my husband too)
  • Heroes: Reborn – I just binge watched and caught up on the season so far!
  • Pitch Perfect (JESSE <3)
  • Choir (I used to be a total choir nerd! I miss it. Sigh.)
  • What I’m currently reading
  • Anything about reading/blogging!
  • Hmmm this is hard! If you’ve struck out on all of those ideas, just stop by and say hi! I don’t bite 🙂

Which FRIENDS character would you have dated? Definitely Chandler. 

Were Ross and Rachel really on a break? No. I mean maybe a break but a “break” doesn’t mean “break up”. Sorry, Ross. 

What is in your Zombie Apocalypse Kit? Besides weapons/zombie-fighting essentials? A kindle loaded full of books (and some of my favorite physical copies for when I can’t find a way to charge the battery anymore), beef jerky, ummmm. This is hard! Photo albums to keep with me… and… water? I haven’t really thought about this! 

Marry, Kiss, Kill: Loki, Thorne, Jamie Fraser | Kiss: Loki, Marry: Thorne, Kill: Jamie (sorry, Jamie, only because Loki would kill me if I tried to kill him and we all know I end up with Thorne)

What genre do you enjoy reading the most? Fantasy (both YA and adult) and lighter contemporary. I’ve started getting more into sci-fi too! It’s changed a lot over the years! I didn’t think I liked fantasy until I started reading the right books and now I can’t believe I wasn’t reading those all along! I do like a more serious contemporary/realistic fiction but lately my life has been so hectic that I need those lighter books! 

Do you have interests outside of reading? Of course! My husband and I homebrew beer as a hobby (a delicious hobby) and we also started our own company to make and sell homebrewing equipment — Starting Point Brewing Equipment. It’s still a work in progress and we’re working on items to add to our shop but we’re hoping to kick that off even more soon! The dream is to open a brewery someday but that’s of course quite costly.
I also started making candles! It was just for fun at first and then I couldn’t help but pair them with book-inspired scents for inspiration and I really wanted to share that with other book lovers! I just opened my own Etsy shop — Novelly Yours — last month! 😀
My husband and I also love traveling. We haven’t gotten to do as much lately but we love to go camping, find new places to visit, and just get away when we can.

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What is your favorite standalone book that you have read lately? Hmmm. The first one that comes to mind is The Lies About Truth by Courtney C. Stevens. I thought it was so well done and I really connected with the characters a LOT! 

Who is your favorite or least favorite character in literature? I haven’t thought about this question in a while and I think it’s Kvothe from The Kingkiller Chronicle by Patrick Rothfuss. He just has so many qualities and traits that I love. He’s studious and smart but also wily and a prankster. He’s tough and yet sensitive. He loves music and performing, I love his friendships, and he’s maybe a bit of a dolt with the ladies but I’ll wait for that to develop a bit more haha! I just love him and I’ve become so invested in his story! 

Who is your favorite author that you have met in person? Leigh Bardugo is instantly the author that comes to mind! She’s such a strong and fierce woman, which you can see from her social media accounts as well, and she’s also absolutely hilarious and so much fun to be around in person! I’ve been fortunate enough to meet her a few times on tour and she’s always so nice, warm and welcoming, and just an absolutely blast to “hang out” with! 

 

What upcoming books are you excited for? Any new book by my favorite authors (Heartless, Throne of Glass #5, A Court of Mist and Fury, The Raven King, The Dregs #2), P.S. I Like You by Kasie West, The Last Star by Rick Yancey, Summer of Sloane by Erin L Schneider… oh just go look at my “omg can’t wait” list on Goodreads haha! There are WAY too many!

Favorite gifs for reference?  (All of these are like Friends, New Girl, and Pitch Perfect by the way…)

For times when people need to shuuuuush

I mean, you just need this one. JESSE!

And this one

We all need a good omg gif

When you’re having a bad day…

Because Schmidt


Okayyyyy that’s about it about me! If you’re new to #otspsecretsister we would love to get to know you ASAP so we can give you the green light for round four! Unfortunately due to some circumstances in the previous round(s), we are enforcing the “get to know” you rule and do want to be familiar with at least who you are and maybe some things that you love! Hit me up on Twitter (@bookaddictguide). That’s the best place to chat! But you know where else to find me on social media if you want to hang out there (see sidebar!)…

Don’t forget to stop by the other two hosts (and my BFFs), Alyssa and Amy! Hop to it, friiieeeends!

On the Same Page: Howl’s Moving Castle | On Reading Middle Grade

One of the things I really enjoy about reading books with Alyssa and Amy for our On the Same Page feature is the wide variety of books we read. We try to always choose books we’ll think we’ll enjoy but each one of us differs just a little bit in reading tastes so we also try to challenge ourselves at least one book a year to read a little bit outside of our comfort zone. For me, one of those “comfort zone” boundaries is middle grade. I really don’t read much middle grade at all outside of Harry Potter (which doesn’t count. It’s Harry Potter) and the books I grew up with and read as an actual middle-grader. I’ve seen a few that might look interesting but honestly, I will pick up YA over anything for the most part and adult over middle grade too.

So far for On the Same Page, we’ve read three middle grade books (The Cavendish Home for Boys and Girls, Peter and the Starcatchers, and Howl’s Moving Castle) and I’ve actually really enjoyed them all! It’s definitely renewed my faith in reading a middle grade book every now and then and helped me not to worry that I won’t connect with it because of the age level.

That being said, I have had a hard time adjusting sometimes. I think I really need to put myself in a middle grade reading mode and try to adjust for what I’m about to read. That’s really not a bad thing and I hope it doesn’t come off as negative, but the storytelling is just a totally different style and the focus is always different. Being an avid YA reader (and in adult stories as well), there’s almost always a romance. The middle grade that I’ve read of course focuses much more on the plot and also friendships, family, and finding one’s own confidence and personality. YA is so much more figuring out where a character wants to go in the world, the transition from child to adult, and often times that includes first love and romance. I don’t necessarily need a romance in a book BUT I usually do enjoy it and it tends to bring out another side of my emotions that helps me connect more personally.

I’m definitely always open to reading more middle grade but sometimes it’s hard to make it a priority. I’m really a YA girl at heart with some adult books mixed in but it’s hard for me to pick up a middle grade book and really just be in love with it. Aside from Harry Potter and Walk Two Moons (which I read as a kid so I probably already have that connection to it), I haven’t loved a middle grade book since I was that age. I’m still interested in trying more and I’m glad I have opportunities to read them with other people like we do with On the Same Page!

 Are you a middle grade reader? Or strictly YA/adult? If you do read middle grade, do you only forage into specific genres?

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Thanks again for checking out this month’s feature for On the Same Page! We had a blast reading HOWL’S MOVING CASTLE and sharing our thoughts with you! And don’t forget to check out Amy & Alyssa’s posts today too!

Alyssa (Books Take You Places) // Amy (Tripping Over Books)

On the Same Page: Secret Sister Project | Round 3 Sign-Ups!

secret sister project

Okay, the moment you all have been waiting for…#OTSPSecretSister sign-ups for round 3 are here! YAY!

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

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. Just to cover all of our bases let us 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 reference.

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/OR gift to your secret sister a month depending on the “monetary group” you sign up for. IN ADDITION to this, you are also asked to send letters and or/postcards to foster positive communication. Many people asked for their to be an emphasis on the pen pal aspects of this project and we have been working hard to remind everyone that it’s not about the gifts, and this seems like the perfect way to do so. It is very important that you don’t sign up for this unless you are willing to follow through. Please think of how sad (and unfair) it would be for someone to be working hard to make their secret sister feel special and not receive anything themselves!

The Rules:

  • You must “know” the hosts in order to join! (see details on this in the FAQ post!)
  • 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 twice 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 (Twitter and/or email address) of a “buddy” close to you who will be willing to answer questions put forth by your sister. *Seriously do not 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, start working on this now!
  • You must answer ALL of the questions put forth in the sign-up email as well as be detailed and thorough. We will absolutely be sending emails back to you that we deem “incomplete.”
  • Keep in mind that this round will have more 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 letter here or there 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.

I cannot say this enough times, read and re-read our FAQ and Rules post. If you do not abide by the rules, you will no longer be allowed to participate.

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! Please remember to thoroughly answer each and every question, and keep in mind that there is no such thing as saying “too much!” We will send back any unfinished questionnaires, so be as thorough and detailed as you can! If you need some help filling this out, head back over to the FAQ and Rules post and check out the example we provided!
Please copy and paste the questions into an email. We copy and paste your answers directly to your match (when we have it) so a Word doc or attachment makes things harder, not easier!

If you live outside of the US and wish to participate, (we’re referring to you as our international friends), we are requesting you hold off on filling out the questionnaire for now! We will be gauging whether or not we have enough people to make international happen. If you have not yet emailed us to let us know you’re interested, please do so. If you have already sent us an email, we will contact you directly with a yes or no. We will be deciding based on how many email responses we get!

** SIGN-UPS FOR ROUND 3 ARE NOW CLOSED! CHECK BACK IN JAN FOR ROUND 4 INFO! ** 

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?

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. If you see yourself between ranges, please pick the ONE you think you will fulfill best.)

  • $5-$10: (Send a heartfelt letter to catch your sister up on how things are going that month and then send an e-book, paperback straight from Amazon (thank you Prime shipping!), 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 newer hardcover from your sister’s wish-list, some fun socks, fandom tshirt, themed box, get creative!!)
  • $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!!)

Would you prefer if your sister was located closer to you rather than further away? (*NOTE: We cannot guarantee a match with someone in a close region but we will do our best if you say yes!)

Your OTSPSecretSister “buddy’s” Twitter or email: (*This person will be available to ask you questions put forth by 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. Do NOT bog this person down with incessant questions, use your best judgement when possible and get creative!)

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. 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 that you would like to be cheered up on!):

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!)


** Please copy and paste the questions into an email when you send. We copy and paste your answers directly to your match (when we have it) so a Word doc or attachment makes things harder, not easier!
If you have any questions, don’t forget to check the #OTSPSecretSister hashtag on Twitter! Everything should be answered in the FAQ post but we are answering other questions there as well so we may have already answered yours!

As always, please remember that you can always reach out to Alyssa (@withthebanned), Amy (@trippingbooks), or myself (@bookaddictguide) for any inquiries or issues, that is what we are here for! Use the #OTSPSecretSister hashtag to talk with us and your fellow sisters! Thank you for helping us continue to spread positivity and cheer throughout our little community!

Sign-ups will be open from July 12 until July 25th. No submissions will be accepted after July 25th. You will receive an email once we’ve matched you so please be patient! (Should be by the end of July!) Have fun!!

** SIGN-UPS FOR ROUND 3 ARE NOW CLOSED! CHECK BACK IN JAN FOR ROUND 4 INFO! ** 

 

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

secret sister project

Hey there, friends! We have been absolutely blown away by the generosity and positivity shown during round two of our Secret Sister Project! Thank you all so much for your kind words to those of us who host, and for being there to provide cheer for one another. It is really something to go through the hashtag and see you all lifting each other up despite only being matched to one “sister.” Your generosity shines through and it is heartwarming to be part of a group filled with strong, uplifting women!

Most of you can imagine how much work goes into a project like this. The three of us are expected to always be available to answer questions, keep on top of people who are not abiding by the standards we set, promote the project and so on. It’s tough and frustrating at times, and we are doing everything we can to make it easier on everyone for next round. That being said, this post is going to be LONG and DETAILED and should provide you with all of the information that you need if you want to sign up for the next round.

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 needed, odds are that someone participating knows the answer to your inquiry!

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 big 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 will run July 12 – July 25 (Do NOT send an email prior to July 12, it WILL be deleted!)
  • You will be paired up with your secret sister by July 31
  • This session will run from August 1 – January 31 (this means that your last something will be sent in January)

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.”

FAQs

What will I have to do if I sign up to be a secret sister?
This is a commitment, we can’t lie to 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” you sign up for. It is very important that you don’t sign up for this unless you are willing to follow through. Please think of how sad (and unfair) it would be for someone to be working hard to make their secret sister feel special and not receive anything themselves!

Do I have to send presents?
Depending on the group that you sign up for, it may not be necessary for you to send presents. However, regardless of the monetary group, it is encouraged to send a little something special during these 6 months. Keep in mind that this really is meant to be more of a cheering up sort of club. However, in the six month period we will be going through Halloween, Christmas, and maybe your secret sister’s birthday!

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! You should never, ever feel as if your package is inadequate as long as you are meeting your price range “standards.” Trust me, it is much more meaningful if you stay within your price range but then send an extra letter or handmade card just to check in that month! 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! 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 absolutely DO need to be bookish, however. We are book people over here! We do have some non-bloggers who have joined us but full disclosure they are people that we know and trust. That is not to say that we won’t allow you in unless you are a blogger, but as this project was started and is promoted in our blogging community, it is filled with mostly bloggers.

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.

Is this project international?
Maybe! If you are an international participant wishing to join us then please email us at onthesamepagesecretsister@gmail.com and let us know where you are located and that you are interested. IF we have enough interest in certain areas, then we may be able to allow you to join! Yay!

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

  • $5-$10: Send a heartfelt letter to catch your sister up on how things are going that month and then send an e-book, paperback straight from Amazon (thank you Prime shipping!), 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 newer hardcover from your sister’s wish-list, some fun socks, fandom tshirt, themed box, get creative!!
  • $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!!

How will people be paired up? 
The pairs are essentially random. You will be matched up with someone in your same price range selection. Last round we also paired by region to cut down shipping times but that made it easier for people to guess who their sisters might be so this round it will anyone in the country! We’ve TRIED to match people up with similar interests but based on who signs up, what price range they’ve selected (and let’s be honest, how much time it takes to assess every questionnaire), this is NOT a guarantee. You may not be paired up with someone who has similar interests as you so please be prepared to do some nice research on your sis and investigate what she likes!

The Rules:
Here is where things differ from last time, and where we go all “mean mommy” on ya. We ask that you pay attention because we are going to hold you to these standards with no exceptions. I am sure that you all realize that we absolutely do not have the time or patience to deal with nonsense and when I say that, it is coming from a place of love and experience as we did have some issues before! If you think this is very strict and “not fair” then we are sorry you feel that way, but we made some exceptions last round and spent lots of time chasing after people and yes, even kicking people out for neglecting to do their part. Thanks in advance for understanding.

    • You MUST “know” the hosts in order to join!
      • The hosts are Alyssa, (@withthebanned), Amy (@trippingbooks), and of course, myself (Brittany (@bookaddictguide)).
      • We’ve said previously that you only need to “know” one of us but really, please do follow ALL of us (since we ARE all hosts afterall) and attempt to make an effort to say hello to each of us. We’re not fishing for followers here but it seems pretty logical and respectful to follow ALL of the hosts for a project that you’re asking to join. Capisce?
      • What does “knowing” us entail? Well, 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. “Knowing” should include commenting here and there on Twitter — we don’t have to be IRL besties but one of us needs to see your name during sign-ups and go “Yes, I recognize Denise”. Not to mention that we have been promoting this project for months and have been telling you to chat us up! That being said, if you haven’t already gotten to know us, it is unlikely that you will be asked to join this round. 
      • WHY do we need to “know” you? Well, it’s a six month project and someone else’s happiness is in your hands. They’re counting on you for cheer. We’ve said it before but this is a COMMITMENT. Chatting with us and making the effort to show interest in the project shows us that you’re willing to take the time this project entails.
      • Now, we DO take the time to check up on those we aren’t familiar with — if it seems as if you are active on Twitter with people we know and trust, you have a good chance of getting in otherwise, start forging relationships and maybe you can join us for round 4! There is absolutely no “vouching” for people you know. We like to keep this project happy and fun but we ARE very serious about this “getting to know us” rule and there’s no reason why participants can’t take the time to tweet us so we know who they are. This shows us that they really care and are willing to make an effort which is all we ask of this project.
    • You must be 18 or older to participate in The Secret Sister Project (If you are under 18 and have participated before then you’re fine, just please make a note of this when you send your sign-up email in two weeks)
    • You must actively use the hashtag #OTSPSecretSister during your time participating in The Secret Sister Project.
      • Use the hashtag to interact with one another, ask questions, answer questions and most importantly: USE IT TO THANK YOUR SISTER!! We get TONS of emails asking things like “It says my sister’s package was delivered last week but I never heard anything?” This is unfair, creates more work for us and quite frankly is rude. Be courteous and classy, thank your sister.
      • People also use the hashtag a lot to grab ideas for their sis so it’s VERY helpful if you pop in to check up on it.
      • Aside from showering our own sisters with love, we encourage the sense of community that comes from participating in the hashtag as well.
    • If we have to reach out to you more than twice 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. We DO understand that life gets in the way and time gets away from you, so be honest. We DO NOT abide liars.
    • If you have not received anything by the end of the month then YOU must contact US. We are not going to be checking in with all of you throughout the month so it is imperative that you let us know if you are not receiving!
    • 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 (Twitter and/or email address) of a “buddy” close to you who will be willing to answer questions put forth by your sister.
      • Your sister will contact this person to ask things such as “Does Sally like 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. This does not have to be a person you know inside and out! Picking a very close friend may make it easier to get your sister quick answers but it can be ANYONE of your choosing that is willing to answer your sister’s questions or message you to get an answer for her. 
      • Please designate ONE good friend (or two if you have a tight group like we do — for example, my “buddies” would be Alyssa and Amy) to be this contact person. They will be privately contacted (email or DM) by your sister so please make sure they are okay with this too! This person is someone YOU choose for your sister to contact with questions. They do not have to be a bookish person (or participating in the project or on Twitter) but they should know a lot about you to hopefully give your sis quick answers!
      • This person will only act as YOUR buddy. They will not be acting as moderator for the hashtag or as a stand-in for any of the hosts.
      • Your “buddy” should be there as support for your sister. They should NOT be passing along suggestions of what to buy unless your sister asks for specific ideas.
      • Please do not seek out to be someone’s buddy. Any participant should be selecting their own buddy to help their sis to the best of their ability.
    • You will be asked to provide a Goodreads wish list that is specific to The Secret Sister Project, start working on this now!
      • The wishlist much 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.
      • If your 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.
      • This list should 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 so that they can tell your sister — but please try and refrain from doing this.
    • You must answer ALL of the questions put forth in the sign-up email as well as be detailed and thorough. We will absolutely be sending emails back to you that we deem “incomplete.” This info is important!! If you don’t have a lot to say on a specific topic, just do your best. We’d rather know you don’t like coffee OR tea OR hot chocolate than deleting the question and having your sister wonder.
    • We are asking that you put a little more emphasis on the “pen pal” aspect this round.
      • This means if you have signed up for one of the higher price ranges, you should still send a letter here or there to your sister. This is one of the things people have been asking for, so be prepared.
    • 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!” Even linking to something you think is super cool while using the hashtag seems grabby, and believe me, we see what you’re doin’ there, so let’s not.
    • 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. We will see them, and we will call you out. If you have issues like this, reach out to the person your sister designated as her “buddy” or to one of us and we will do our best to solve any issues. (This is something that really bothered me last round — I know it wasn’t intended to be negative when it happened but it made me feel icky and sad to see someone you don’t even know yet called out like that. If you’d like us to nudge your sis, please do so in the proper venues!)

Anything else I should know?

Use the hashtag and interact with one another! The whole point is to bring positive feelings into the our bookish community. Be as thorough as you can when answering the questions there is no “writing too much” when answering these questions! Remember that this project is The Secret Sister Project, wouldn’t you expect your sister to know LOTS about you? (I will also be providing an example of a sign-up email at the bottom of this post) The best advice I can give you is to be creative. Alyssa’s secret sister from the first round handmade  bookmarks featuring my favorite dudes and it was honestly the best things she received. If you are looking for ideas, chat us up, we would love to help! Or ask your fellow sisters! We saw some fantastic monthly themed packages last round and someone received a Loot Crate one month! We tweet from our own handles pretty frequently, but don’t forget to follow us all over at On the Same Page)!

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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. Though we had very few issues the first round, round 2 proved to be much more difficult and frustrating with having to constantly check in with some people. Please recognize that this is a commitment and that there is someone out there relying on you to follow through. Also, the three of us have full time jobs and busy lives — we love hosting this project but absolutely loathe having to chase people down for being inconsiderate. It hurts your sister’s feelings to be neglected and causes headaches for us to have to chase people down or constantly reassure someone. We’re not mean ladies but we had over 100 people sign up last round and anticipate even more this time. We are always happy to help but even between three of us, it’s a lot of work so we REALLY appreciate all participants being as proactive as they can be!

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 starting on July 12. Do NOT send a sign-up email prior to seeing the post on July 12. If you do, we will delete the email and we will assume that you do not know how to follow directions and therefore cannot trust that you can handle being a part of this project. Sign-ups run for two weeks until July 25 so you will have plenty of time.

Below you will find a brief sample of answers to SOME of the questions that we will be asking (aka don’t use this as a guide to start answering on your own yet, as we are changing things up for this round). Use this as a guide on how thorough you will answer the questions provided and keep in mind that you can NEVER give too much information…

  • Your Likes: Harry Potter (total Slytherin), Zelda, Sherlock, Game of Thrones (books and show – I am a Targaryen), The Steelers (love football!), Shakespeare, The Princess Bride, Doctor Who, chocolate covered nuts and espresso beans, Chaucer, Fairytales, Robin Hood, Krampus, The show Friends, villains, especially Loki and Maleficent.
  • Your Dislikes: Chocolate covered fruits of any kind, peppermint things, anime, fruity teas
  • Do you have a favorite store: Etsy (anything fandom or literature related), Society6, Redbubble, Amazon, B&N, Teavana, Starbucks
  • Are you okay receiving a gift card? If so, to where? Yes! To the above stores, actually!
  • Would you be comfortable receiving baked goods of some kind? I would!
  • What Do You Splurge On?: anything quirky/literature related, usually artwork
  • Favorite Flowers: I like all kinds! Usually anything bright!
  • Favorite Color?: GREEN (in all shades)
  • Do You Collect Anything?: ANYTHING Wizard of Oz related (the books and movie), teapots, coffee mugs, macabre artwork
  • Do You Drink Coffee, Tea, Hot Chocolate?: Yes to all three! Preference is tea, coffee, then hot chocolate
  • Do You Have an E-reader?: iPad so compatible with Kindle and Nook
  • Would you be okay being gifted an ebook? If so, please provide the email associated with your e-reader:Yes, I would love it. My email is <redacted>
  • Tell Us Some Books on Your Wish List! My wish list: https://www.goodreads.com/review/list/4809138-alyssa-books-take-you-places?shelf=wishlist (Though I am open to surprise books as well!)
  • List some of your favorite authors: NEIL GAIMAN! JULIET MARILLIER! Fantasy is my favorite genre, I also like historical fiction and some horror but more supernatural and less thriller. Also anything with dragons. I like MG, YA, AND Adult!
  • Are there any authors or genres that you won’t read? Erotica, Christian/religious, Stephen King, I don’t love contemps
  • Tshirt size: Men’s medium
  • Hogwarts House: SLYTHERIN.
  • Favorite Disney movie and/or princess: Just one?! Aladdin, Beauty & the Beast, Tangled, Frozen & for princesses I would say Belle
  • Is there a craft or hobby that you have been thinking of trying? yo-yo quilting! I also scrapbook and cross stitch, and have a sewing machine I have yet to turn on due to sheer intimidation
  • Any magazine you wish you had a subscription to? Health Magazine
  • Anything else we should know about you? Anything else we should know about you? Alright! Brace yourselves! All things Alyssa are coming!
    • I have my Bachelor’s in English/Elizabethan Lit which means I LOVE LITERATURE! Shakespeare, Chaucer, Poe, Stoker, the Bronte’s, Mary Shelley – the darker classics are my fav! (Not a fan of Austen)
    • I wrote a 30 page thesis on Robin Hood while in undergrad so I clearly love the dude. I also have my MLIS so librarian things are fun as well!
    • I am a Neil Gaiman fangirl, I have seen him speak 5 times and counting.
    • I Love Harry Potter (who doesn’t) and Game of Thrones. I am 100% a Slytherin, and Targaryen.
    • Dragons are bae.
    • Strong, fierce women, queenly women, are my soul sisters.
    • My tastes are pretty unique as I enjoy the macabre, skulls, and darkness honestly the darker the better, the name of my in-home library is Elysium – yep, the Elysium in Greek religion…the Elysium fields as told by Homer where mortals related to the Gods stayed instead of in Hades….told you, I am a special snowflake! I especially love dark/macabre artwork. I love work by Brom and Abigail Larson, I would love something from her shop: http://society6.com/abigaillarson

(I already own Snow White & Rose Red, and The Night Circus from her and am coveting Pretend to Sleep)
    • I am newly obsessed with the podcast Lore which is a podcast about true details behind tales of the supernatural – surprise, surprise I also love Halloween.
    • I love literary or fandom related things, tees, candles, scarves, jewelry – love them all. I also love crazy socks!
    • I have two cats named after Shakespearean characters and am a total cat lady.
    • I like being outside, but hate being hot. Hiking, going on picnics, letter boxing, and geocaching are my favorite outdoor activities.
    • When I am snacking, I like cinnamon candies, airheads, chocolate and toffee, chips and popcorn.
    • I almost always like the villain more than the hero and sympathize with the dark, twisted characters.
    • I like to think I am an open book, I give away a lot on Twitter! 🙂 Full disclosure: If you have a question regarding whether I will like something or not, my co-hosts Amy @trippingbooks or Brittany @bookaddictguide know me VERY well!

We 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…see you back for sign-ups on July 12!

On the Same Page: Peter and the Starcatchers | Peter Pan Retellings

For May, On the Same Page (Alyssa, Amy, and myself) read PETER AND THE STARCATCHERS by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson as our book of choice. May was a busy month for all of us so we thought it might be nice to read a good middle grade — something fun but not overly heavy — and PETER AND THE STARCATCHERS ended up being our choice! I actually listened to it on audio thanks to the copy I downloaded from AudioFile’s yearly week of free audiobook downloads a year or two back. I was especially happy to listen to PETER on audio with Jim Dale doing the narration! It took me a bit to shake the feeling of Harry Potter since I had just finished a series re-read on audio and Jim Dale voices those as well, but I quickly got into the swing of things once the story started up!

For my On the Same Page post this month, I wanted to share some Peter Pan retellings! I’ve actually read quite a few even though Peter Pan isn’t really one of my favorite tales (or Disney movies haha). Somehow I end up reading a lot — maybe it’s just a popular adaptation? Whichever way you slice it, I wanted so share some good ones, some unique ones, and a personal favorite of mine!

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PETER AND THE STARCATCHERS by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson | This was our selected book for this month and it was really a lot of fun! I don’t read a LOT of middle grade, but this was really cute and a great sort of prequel to Peter Pan and how it all began. I did feel like the beginning was a bit slow to pick up but I absolutely fell in love with the ending! (That’s where most of the parallels to the original story were.)
Peter Pan similarities: Main character Peter, orphan Lost Boys (though they’re not called this quite yet), pirates, island natives, magic dust, and more that I won’t divulge because discovering those at the end made the conclusion really special for me!

TIGER LILY by Jodi Lynn Anderson | This was one of the first Peter Pan retellings I ever read and I absolutely ADORED it. I really need to re-read someday because it was just so wonderful and beautifully written. The book focuses more on Tiger Lily than Peter Pan (as you may have guessed from the title) and everything feels a bit more real somehow while still including that Peter Pan magic.
Peter Pan similarities: Main character Peter, Tiger Lily + community, Lost Boys, Tinkerbell + jealous Tinkerbell, Neverland, intrusion of Wendy

SECOND STAR by Alyssa B. Sheinmel | SECOND STAR is actually a contemporary retelling of Peter Pan which I was very interested in before picking it up. The story was interesting but I do admit that I had a bit of a hard time with this one. I felt like things were a bit TOO parallel considering it was a contemporary adaptation and I had hoped for a bit more original story. I’m not sure if I’d recommend the book since I struggled with it some but it was definitely an interesting way to adapt the fairy tale to a modern contemporary romance.
Peter Pan similarities: Main character Wendy, Peter character, John and Michael, “Lost Boys”, Tinkerbell (Bell), “Jas” (James Hook), “fairy dust”

ON MY TBR

              

HOOK’S REVENGE by Heidi Schulz | I still haven’t read HOOK’S REVENGE but I’ve heard so many good things about it! It’s another middle grade adaptation but this one is geared more towards Captain Hook instead of Peter Pan — and actually Hook’s daughter. It sounds just adorable and I really hope to read it sometime soon!

ALIAS HOOK by Lisa Jensen | ALIAS HOOK is an adult retelling once again focusing on Hook. I haven’t read it yet but it looks like it’s a story of redeeming Captain Hook’s besmirched good name. So Hook is good and Peter Pan is evil? Very interesting! I’ve been itching to read this one but it also looks like it’s had some mixed reviews so I’m not 100% sure about it quite yet.

HOOK & JILL by Andrea Jones | I believe HOOK & JILL is an adult romance! I’m not quite sure how that would go but I’m also kind of interested. For some reason I’m just drawn to the Peter Pan retellings and I always want to have a little more sympathy for Captain Hook. I’m not quite sure who Jill is…? But it makes me curious to find out!!

 Which of these Peter Pan retellings & adaptations have you read? What did you think? Are there any other adaptations worth noting that I missed?

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Thanks again for checking out this month’s feature for On the Same Page! We had a blast reading PETER AND THE STARCATCHERS and sharing our thoughts with you! And don’t forget to check out Amy & Alyssa’s posts today too!

Alyssa (Books Take You Places) // Amy (Tripping Over Books)

If You Liked… Anna and the French Kiss

One of my favorite parts about being a book blogger is sharing the books that I love with others. I absolutely love sharing my favorite reads and recommending them to others who are looking to fall in love with a new book!

12 BOOKS TO READ IF YOU LIKED ANNA AND THE FRENCH KISS

Every month, I do a read along with two of my best friends (Alyssa from Books Take You Places and Amy from Tripping Over Books). We read the same book together and each come up with a post as a part of our On the Same Page feature! This month we read Stephanie Perkins’ masterpiece, ANNA AND THE FRENCH KISS and I’ve already reviewed the book (twice) so I wanted to come up with a different post to share my love of ANNA.

ANNA AND THE FRENCH KISS is one of my favorite contemporary romances — no, THE favorite contemporary romance — and I’m always recommending it to anyone who’s looking to pick up a swoony contemporary! It usually has some good success (I do recommend carefully) so once my friend/family/whoever is done with the rest of the companions (if they so desire), I like to make sure I have a batch of new recommendations ready and waiting!


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IF YOU LIKED ANNA AND THE FRENCH KISS

Try… MEANT TO BE by Lauren Morrill.
Review // Goodreads // Amazon

MEANT TO BE is another one of my top-recommended contemporary books and one I always pair with ANNA. It’s about Julia who’s a BIT of a nerd and she goes on spring break with her class to London. Overseas adventures ensue, Julia ends up learning a LOT about herself, she makes some new friends and learns a thing or two about love and how it sometimes works in tricky ways. This book is nothing but adorable and I myself am anxious to re-read it soon!

Try… OPEN ROAD SUMMER by Emery Lord.
Review // Goodreads // Amazon

I read OPEN ROAD SUMMER last year and just fell head over heels for this book. I’m sure you’ll hear fans of Emery Lord praise her books over and over again for their friendships and it’s true — OPEN ROAD SUMMER has one of the best friendships I’ve read in a long time. The two girls are very different but they’re also very similar and I love that nothing can split them apart. Oh yeah, there’s also a SUPER swoony guy named Matt Finch (and you’ll also hear fans screaming his name too)!

Try… THE BOOK OF BROKEN HEARTS by Sarah Ockler.
Review // Goodreads // Amazon
Sarah Ockler seems to be a big fan favorite but this was the first I read of hers and completely fell in love. I laughed, I cried, I swooned, and I fell head over heels for this book. It definitely had a more personal note for me with Jude and Emilio helping to fix up her father’s motorcycle because my husband is very into motorcycles (we have a chopper in the garage right now… Two, actually. He’s helping a friend fix up one) so that whole story line really meant a lot to me too!

Try… ASK AGAIN LATER by Liz Czukas.
Review // Goodreads // Amazon
ASK AGAIN LATER is another delight (by a delightful author). It’s the story of a girl named Heart (yes, that’s her real name) and choosing which possible date to go with. The book is split up into the two possibilities and we get to see each path if she were to choose Guy A or Guy B, so it’s not really sci-fi or parallel universe but it’s also a little twist on the everyday contemporary! I loved the tone of the book and the group of friends featured here and there is some great romantic tension!

Try… GOING VINTAGE by Lindsey Leavitt.
Review // Goodreads // Amazon
GOING VINTAGE was the first book I’ve read by Lindsey Leavitt but I became an instant fan! I loved Mallory and how she handled every situation that she ended up in and Lindsey Leavitt is excellent at great family dynamics. The story was cute, I love that Mallory is a list-maker, and I could just really identify in so many ways. Add a cute romance in the mix and it became a quick favorite! I didn’t expect to fall so in love with this book but yet another that was just tons of fun.

Try… THE TROUBLE WITH FLIRTING by Claire LaZebnik.
Review // Goodreads // Amazon
This book was SO cute and so much fun. It’s actually a retelling of Mansfield Park by Jane Austen (which oops. I haven’t actually read) and I just had so much fun reading the book. It’s about Franny who’s working for her aunt at Mansfield’s Summer Theater Program and through her new friends and surprising new summer romance, she ends up learning a lot about herself. I think this one would be great for fans of ANNA!

Try… THE STATISTICAL PROBABILITY OF LOVE AT FIRST SIGHT by Jennifer E. Smith.
Review // Goodreads // Amazon

STATISTICAL (for short) is another great Eurotrip read! It’s a bit different and it’s been a while since I read it but I’d say it’s not AS “fluffy” but it’s another one I recommend a lot paired with ANNA! Hadley and Oliver are just adorable and their story is so much fun. It also takes place in only 24 hours which is something that is so neat and I love how you can feel the romance setting in even though this book only takes place in a day. Very cute book.

Try… JUST ONE DAY by Gayle Forman.
Review // Goodreads // Amazon

JUST ONE DAY is another all-time favorite contemporary by one of my all-time favorite authors, Gayle Forman! It’s another book with a European setting and I’ve never been to Europe but the feeling is just oh-so-wonderful! It’s so interesting to watch the main character Allyson grow and adapt as her trip through Europe and the meeting of Willem causes her to go on a journey of self-discovery. It’s another book that means a lot to me but actually quite in a different way than ANNA does!

Try… NANTUCKET BLUE by Leila Howland.
Review // Goodreads // Amazon

NANTUCKET BLUE (and its sequel NANTUCKET RED) hold a special place in my heart. I related to Cricket in so many ways and I think fans of ANNA will really appreciate the story lines, the romance, and especially the lessons about friendship that are all prominently featured in this book. I’d say the tone is a bit more serious but not overly heavy if you’re looking for a breezy read and there’s some more travel involved! This time staying inside the US and out to Nantucket, but it’s great to get that getaway feel.

Try… BETTER OFF FRIENDS by Elizabeth Eulberg.
Review // Goodreads // Amazon
This book was ADORABLE. It’s still YA but it was interesting to see the book begin when the main characters, Macallan and Levi, first meet as kids. The book delves a bit into a middle grade range but I only thought that extended its appeal to a younger crowd too… but I also really enjoyed it as an adult so I think the appeal is just that it’s a great book! I always, always love stories about best friends falling for each other and it reminded me of quite a few of my friendships!

Try… WHEN JOSS MET MATT by Ellie Cahill.
Review // Goodreads // Amazon

WHEN JOSS MET MATT is a bit more mature than my other recommendations (it’s a New Adult book and has much more adult content) but it’s one that I think fits very well with ANNA if you’re looking for a book with a little more sexy times and in a college setting but with the same type of feel. I picked WHEN JOSS MET MATT for the awesome friendships and then tension that develops between the two main characters and its general light-hearted feel. I just fell in love with it and had SO much fun reading it!

Try… ON THE FENCE by Kasie West.
Review // Goodreads // Amazon
Ohhh gosh, all of Kasie West’s contemporary books are just SO cute and swoony but I thin ON THE FENCE is my favorite so far! I just love books about tomboys and falling in love with the boy next door so this one instantly grabbed me! Kasie West just has a great knack for creating awesome characters, great families, solid friendships, and wonderful relationships. I just loved watching this book unfold and I am always ready to gobble up more from Kasie West! (You should also check out her paranormal duology, PIVOT POINT!)


I always have a blast picking out recommendations and these Anna read-alikes are some of my favorites! Which books would you recommend for Anna and the French Kiss fans?

Check out my review for Anna and the French Kiss and my re-read too!
Anna and the French Kiss Review // Anna and the French Kiss Re-Read

And if you love Anna and the French Kiss, check out Alyssa & Amy’s posts for our On the Same Page feature!
Alyssa: Anna and the French Kiss Quotes // Amy: Re-read Impressions

Looking for more recommendations? Check out my previous list of recs below!

 

On the Same Page: American Gods by Neil Gaiman | A Reading Roadtrip

American Gods road tripFor February, On the Same Page (Alyssa, Amy, and myself) read AMERICAN GODS by Neil Gaiman as our book of choice. Neil Gaiman is a favorite author of Alyssa’s (like ALL-TIME FAVORITE) so I always feel a teensy bit of pressure when a favorite is involved! AMERICAN GODS was a new read for all of us, though, and it seemed like we all really enjoyed it! There were so many different aspects to the book that really struck my fancy and although travel really isn’t the main focus of the book, it definitely still plays a very large role and you could even argue that without travel, the book wouldn’t have had a purpose (since without travel, these gods would have never had a spot in America). Shadow and his boss Wednesday travel all over the continental United States running errands and completing tasks to fulfill Wednesday’s final end goal (which remains a mystery throughout most of the book) so besides the variety in characters, there’s also a large variety in setting.

I thought about including the mythology aspect in my post but as much as I enjoyed seeing all of the gods that appeared in the book, mythology really isn’t my forte. I always enjoy reading about it but I don’t have the strong well of knowledge to expand upon it in a post so I chose quite a different route (no pun intended) with a “reading road trip”, so to speak. A great portion of the book takes place in the Midwest (and there are many places not in the Midwest as well, but that seems to be where AMERICAN GODS spends most of its time) and that happens to be something I know a lot about! So come on a road trip with me, Shadow, and the gang with a brief collection of highlights from AMERICAN GODS!

First up, a complete map of all of the spots Shadow visited throughout AMERICAN GODS! I remembered quite a bit of these but this American Gods fansite (frowl.org) was a BIG help in filling in the blanks to what I had missed so I didn’t have to go back through the WHOLE book to track them all down! As you can see, this book really does span the whole country, for the most part!

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Now let’s pretend I’m sending you off on an AMERICAN GODS road trip! YAY! You can’t visit ALL of the places on the map (I mean… you CAN but they’re so all over the place)… But you literally can’t visit every place from the book because some don’t really exist. For those, I’ve taken small liberties to get you as close to the real thing as possible! I’m also a planner so the order of YOUR road trip will not necessarily be the order in which the characters took the trip. They weren’t exactly practical about how they went where… So let’s pretend you live in the center of the United States…

** MINOR spoilers for AMERICAN GODS below! I’m including facts from the book and nothing will give away major plot points but if you want to be kept in the dark, skip to the pretty picture of the map! **

  • Lebanon, KS: Ahh, the center of the United States. Really! Here is where some characters met for errr… a very important thing (also a major spoiler so I cannot say) but it’s the center and therefore, neutral ground.
  • Cherryvale, KS: The birthplace of actress Louise Brooks. Passing through due to Shadow’s interest!
  • Cairo, IL: Home of Mr. Ibis and Mr. Jacquel, where Shadow stayed for a while
  • Rock City, Lookout Mountain, GA: An important gathering place for the book!
  • “Eagle Point, IN”: A fictional place… For the sake of the road trip, I’m just estimating it’s around Indianapolis to make it easier!
  • St. Louis, MO: Where Shadow’s plane is redirected on his way home to Eagle Point and where the story more or less begins.
  • El Paso, IL: Shadow drops off Sam Black Crow
  • Chicago, IL: Shadow meets the Zorya
  • Madison, WI: Madison is mostly just an in-between point where they catch a plane to head west… but you’ll probably need to pass through to get to…
  • The House on the Rock, Spring Green, WI: A very interesting scene involving the World’s Largest Carousel and Shadow meets a few new important characters
  • “Lakeside, WI”: Lakeside is also a fictional place, but it’s extremely close to the UP so I estimated pretty far north and east in WI (PS — go camping there. It’s gorgeous!)
  • Minneapolis, MN: Another stop, where a… car switch happens. It doesn’t sound interesting but what’s going on at the time is!
  • Sioux Falls, SD: Some more pivotal moments in South Dakota and we get some more insight on what the gods can do
  • Lebanon, KS: Back to Lebanon, KS — the center of the United States. You’re home!

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 So what do you think? Would you take the road trip? Have you been to any of the locations from AMERICAN GODS before?

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Thanks again for checking out this month’s feature for On the Same Page! We had a blast reading AMERICAN GODS and sharing our thoughts with you! And don’t forget to check out Amy & Alyssa’s posts today too!

Alyssa (Books Take You Places) // Amy (Tripping Over Books)

On the Same Page: Secret Sister Project | Round 2

Well, after one very successful round of Secret Sister, Alyssa, Amy, and I as co-hosts for On the Same Page will be opening up sign-ups for a new round of Secret Sister TODAY! Thank you to everyone who made the first round SO successful — we had so many great responses and so many people excited to sign up for round two!

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THE WHAT

The Secret Sister project is essentially a cheer club. Think Secret Santa but all year round with less emphasis on big 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 run January 12, 2015 – January 23, 2015
  • You will be paired up with your secret sister by January 30.
  • This session will run from February 1st – July 31st (this means that your last something will be sent in July).

THE WHO

You guys! The only “rule” we have is that before signing up, you must “know” at least one of us. Us being myself (@bookaddictguide), Alyssa (@withthebanned) & Amy (@trippingbooks) and “knowing” one of us means that we must have spoken on Twitter or SOMETHING. We are just really concerned with someone not following through, and that would just make a bad time for everyone.
We will NOT be limiting the amount of people who sign up for this round, though! It’s come one, come all! If you haven’t chatted with us before, start hitting us up on Twitter so we can chat and get to know you!
INTERNATIONAL: If you are outside of the United States and wish to participate, we are allowing you to sign up BUT! We are not sure how many international friends will be interested and where they might be located so we cannot guarantee that you will be matched up 🙁 If you are an international friend wanting to sign up, please include your location and where you are willing to ship in your email and we will try our best to find a sister for you! (We will not ask US folks to ship internationally.)

FAQs

// What will I have to do if I sign up to be a secret sister?
This is a commitment, we can’t lie to you. By signing up to be a secret sister you are promising to send at least one small card OR gift to your secret sister a month. It is very important that you don’t sign up for this unless you are willing to follow through. Please think of how sad (and unfair) it would be for someone to be working hard to make their secret sister feel special and not receiving anything themselves! In addition, we are asking that you PLEASE use the hashtag #OTSPSecretSister on Twitter and Instagram to interact with all of us. Most of us used this hashtag to ask questions and get to know our sisters better! Also, (and this is most important) use this hashtag to THANK YOUR SISTER! One of the biggest complaints we had about round one was the lack of thank yous received!
Your OTSPSecretSister may also be buying you books and we can’t guarantee it will be someone you know well! If you have the time & energy to keep & maintain a Goodreads wishlist AND “currently own” books list, I’m sure it would help her out a lot!

// Do I have to send presents?
No, you don’t have to send anything big, this really is meant to be more of a cheering up sort of clubHowever, in the six month period we will be going through Valentine’s Day, Easter, and maybe your secret sister’s birthday! It is encouraged that you send one or two presents during these six months (think a book from their wish list, some Easter candy, or if you’re feeling really fancy, some flowers for their birthday!) but please don’t think of this as “Secret Santa every month”. We don’t want you going broke doing this!

// 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! 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!)

// Anything else I should know?
Use the hashtag and interact with one another! The whole point is to bring positive feelings into the our bookish community. Try and answer ALL of the questions below and be as thorough as you can, the more you share, the easier it is for your sister to spoil you! The best advice I can give you is to be creative. Some of the handmade and personal things meant so much more than just books so you don’t HAVE to send gifts just to show your Secret Sister you care! Some people exchanged letters back and forth, and even some baked goods. If you are looking for ideas, chat us up, we would love to help! We tweet from our own handles pretty frequently, but don’t forget to follow us all over at 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. We had very few hiccups the first time around but the problems we encountered were people neglecting to send something to their sister in a timely manner. First, 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. Second, if you have not received anything by the last week of the month you must contact us. We are not going to be checking in with all of you throughout the month so it is imperative that you let us know if you are not receiving!

// So how do I sign up?
EDITED: Sign-ups for round two are now CLOSED. Please check back in July for new sign-ups for round 3!

Thanks to everyone for your AWESOME support and interest in this project! We are so excited to have so many people interested in round two of Secret Sister! Can’t wait to get it started!


** UPDATE **

Secret Sister sign-ups are now closed and Round 2 is underway! Missed the sign-ups? Just finding out about Secret Sister and would like to join next round? Here’s what you need to know!

// Yes, sign-ups are CLOSED closed. If we have people who are no longer able to participate along the way, we will simply re-arrange the pairs. I’m sorry, but we are not taking on anyone new mid-round!

// The next round will start in AUGUST. Round 3 will run from August 1st, 2015 – January 31st, 2016. Unless we end up reassessing the project, duration and procedures will remain the same.

// This means that sign-ups will mostly likely happen in July 2015. We kept Round 2 sign-ups open for 2-3 weeks and that seemed like a decent amount of time! We didn’t want to keep people waiting TOO long to get their matches.

// We WILL be enforcing the “we need to know you” rule this time around. We let some people sign up in Round 2 that we didn’t know… but with so many people interested, we get a bit more worried and we just want to make sure everyone has a great time! If you don’t know Alyssa, Amy, or me yet — DON’T FRET. You still have time to get to “know” us. All we ask is that you start chatting to us on our blogs or on Twitter (@bookaddictguide, @withthebanned, @trippingbooks) so we know who you are and that you’re super interested in being a part of this project!

// Follow any or all of us to find out when new sign-ups are opening! We will ALL be post a blog post and CONSTANTLY tweeting about it. If you don’t want to miss sign-ups, make sure you’re following us and you cannot miss them!

If you have any other questions, send me an email! We hope to see you next round!

On the Same Page: Sunshine by Robin McKinley

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ON THE SAME PAGE: SUNSHINE by Robin McKinley
Relationships with a Vampire

Some might say the vampire trend is dying out — maybe some people are sick of the fad, others were never crazy about it in the first place, or it’s just been overdone — but reading SUNSHINE this month with my gals from On the Same Page reminded me what’s so fun about vampires and urban fantasy! One thing that really sticks out to me friendship that Sunshine and Constantine formed. I really loved their interactions and I definitely felt a combination of both suspense and that sense of attraction as well  — something about the combination of this and how their relationship came to be just clicked for me. I can already heard the immediate groans just THINKING about other vampire relationships/romances (*cough*Twilight*cough*) and fair enough! So it got me thinking exactly what DOES work when reading about romancing the undead (at least for me) and I had a lot of fun with that!

SUNSHINE + CONSTANTINE: SUNSHINE

Sunshine and Constantine had a… symbiotic relationship. Yes, they had a bit of an attraction to each other but they really ended up depending on each other to survive and avoid/defeat Constantine’s rival vampire gang and I really felt like Sunshine’s attraction to Con was also in part due to her fascination of him. He was a vampire and the one anomaly that seemed to actually see humans AS humans. He tried to treat Sunshine with respect and on more than one occasion had her remind him of her humanity so he wouldn’t be tempted to… er… destroy her. Relationships are partnerships and I think especially hard to start up a paranormal-with-human relationship because — sorry, human… you’re just not doing much except for being vulnerable and looking pretty. Sunshine and Constantine just made a good team and their abilities really complemented each other. Obviously there was a sexual tension there (Constantine’s quiet strength. Eep.) but I really felt like they worked best when they were more friends and partners in crime than looking to start a romantic or sexual relationship. They worked together and were able to see eye-to-eye on some major things BUT I mean, it’s hard to get over that whole vampire thing unless you are a vampire, am I right? Anyway. I really loved their relationship (friendship… whatever you want to call it) and how they worked together. It was really fun to see everything play out and their interactions (especially with Sunshine’s inner monologue) kind of cracked me up!

Would they last?
Romantically? Hard to say, but I thought they made a great team, romance aside. THAT is something I could see lasting.

BELLA + EDWARD: TWILIGHT

Yes, yes, I hear your groans… But I grew up (well, not grew up. I was in college when I read these) loving Twilight. I even re-read them multiple times! But looking back NOW? I’m not sure if I could. I’ve read far too many books with kickass heroines who not only stand up for themselves but really DO something for their love interests or are on the same level. Bella and Edward are just so not. She really just gets in the way a lot and not only jeopardizes her life AND Edward’s but also his family AND the wolves… and she has nothing really to contribute (I guess until she has her own powers in the final book). Anyway. She’s just a bit too damsel-y at times so after reading so many take-charge gals, I’m gonna say this vampire-human relationship doesn’t quite work!

Would they last?
Pre-vampire Bella? Not likely. Post-vampire Bella? They’re stuck for eternity.

TANA + GAVRIEL: THE COLDEST GIRL IN COLDTOWN

Another vampire-human relationship. Well… I think the same thing goes with the Twilight concept. Hard for a vampire and a human to stay in a relationship. Let’s just say that I liked Tana but she also put herself in jeopardy a few too many times without any real skills or abilities to help her out of a compromising position. Oh, and of course there’s the whole vampire-may-want-to-snack-on-you thing, no matter how much he actually cares or is attracted! I enjoyed their relationship but I’m not quite sure how well that would go.

Would they last?
Possibly.

LISSA + CHRISTIAN: VAMPIRE ACADEMY

A vampire-vampire relationship! Oh ho! I actually really liked the two of them together. The interesting thing about VA for me was that their relationship wasn’t scandalous because one was or was not a vampire but rather because of the standing of their families. And really normal human main characters were almost non-existent with the majority being dhampirs or Moroi. The Moroi-dhampir relationship is actually more scandalous and I think it’s basically unsaid (or is it said somewhere) that a Moroi-human relationship is nearly unheard of except for producing dhampirs. (Although that would have been a really cool spin-off too…)

Would they last?
Probably!


There are a LOT more vampire books that I’m sure you guys have feedback on, so let me hear it! Dracula. Anne Rice’s books. Even tell me your thoughts on Twilight! There are so many vampire books I haven’t read and I’d love to hear your thoughts and theories on what work and why other romances tend to be irritating or fall apart!


Don’t forget to check out Alyssa’s and Amy’s posts about Sunshine today too!
Alyssa (Books Take You Places)
Amy (Tripping Over Books)

The Goose Girl (The Books of Bayern #1) – Shannon Hale

The Goose Girl (The Books of Bayern #1) – Shannon HaleTitle: The Goose Girl (The Books of Bayern #1) by Shannon Hale
Publishing Info: November 3, 2003 by Bloomsbury Publishing
Source: Library
Genres: Fantasy, Retelling, Young Adult
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: September 26, 2014

    Anidori-Kiladra Talianna Isilee, Crown Princess of Kildenree, spends the first years of her life under her aunt's guidance learning to communicate with animals. As she grows up Ani develops the skills of animal speech, but is never comfortable speaking with people, so when her silver-tongued lady-in-waiting leads a mutiny during Ani's journey to be married in a foreign land, Ani is helpless and cannot persuade anyone to assist her.
Becoming a goose girl for the king, Ani eventually uses her own special, nearly magical powers to find her way to her true destiny. Shannon Hale has woven an incredible, original and magical tale of a girl who must find her own unusual talents before she can become queen of the people she has made her own.

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For On the Same Page’s September post, we read THE GOOSE GIRL which is one of Amy’s favorite books. She had read it and loved it but Alyssa and I have never read it so we chose it as one of Amy’s picks! We all have fairly similar reading tastes with minor variations here and there so even though THE GOOSE GIRL wasn’t really on my radar before this, I was hoping I would love it just as much as Amy did!

Fairy tale adaptations can be a tricky thing for me. I love SO many retellings and some of them are actually some of my favorite books/series — but I think in order for me to really fall in love with a fairy tale, I’m usually hooked into that modern twist as well. Looking back on the book, I think I figured out and actually ended up using that for this month’s post as a sort of discussion! Unfortunately, it was just a combination of very, very little things that I’ve discovered make a big difference for me as a reader and I was SO upset that this combination of elements just didn’t work for me.

I feel like SUCH a black sheep. I think just about everyone I’m friends with on Goodreads who has read this book has given it four or five stars and I really, really tried but I just wasn’t getting along with THE GOOSE GIRL. It was really general tone of the book combined with setting/time period and for some reason that combination really just doesn’t seem to work for me in anything I read. (I had a similar experience with Cruel Beauty which I didn’t realize was sort of the same deal going on until just now. (And Alyssa and Amy also loved it while I did not so maybe I should have seen this coming?) It’s not a bad book. It’s not bad writing. This was really, truly “It’s not you — it’s me.” The whole talking-to-animals thing just generally doesn’t work for me either so that was just one more thing that was thrown into the mix (and a big part of the story)!

I actually did a full discussion on why the book didn’t work for me so I won’t really rehash it here (even though this is my review) so really think of this as more of a collection of thoughts than a review (and see the previous post for details)! I’m so sad I couldn’t get into this but the good thing is that Amy knows and she’s not disowning me or phasing me out of the friend group. (She promised.)

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“The View from Goodreads” is a new featured section in my reviews that I decided to incorporate! I tend to update my Goodreads status a LOT when I read — reactions, feelings, notes — so I thought it would be fun to share the sort of “reading process”! All status updates are spoiler-free (no specific plot points will be revealed) but will contain reactions to certain pages and/or characters!

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Ani // Character Obsessions: Speaking with animals, avoiding bad guys, politics.
SO many reviews say how strong of character Ani is but I just really had trouble connecting with her. For reasons unknown, she just felt very YOUNG to me and I just didn’t feel that depth in her character. She may have been strong but I just didn’t feel that depth. I really wanted to like her but I just had troublesssss.

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Kept Me Hooked On: Lesser-known fairy tales. I actually have no idea if this is really “lesser-known” or not but it is for me because I hadn’t really known much about it before this book! It’s interesting.
Left Me Wanting More: Everything. I just was not handling this book well. I finished, but it was really hard because I just couldn’t connect to really anything. It all seemed like something I SHOULD like but in the end, it didn’t work out.

Addiction Rating
Get a second opinion

The ratings for this book are generally high. Like, really high. I’m a black sheep on this one, but I guess check out my opinions and those of others to see where you may fall!

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(Click the cover to see my review!)

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