Sunday, June 30, 2013

Rachel Rambles About Anatomy of a Boyfriend and Anatomy of a Single Girl

Today I'm rambling about not just one book, but TWO books! Since I read both of these books in a single day (the exact same day they arrived in the mail, actually) I thought it was only appropriate that I ramble about them in a single post.

Anatomy of a Boyfriend by Daria Snadowsky
From Goodreads:
Before this all happened, the closest I'd ever come to getting physical with a guy was playing the board game Operation. Okay, so maybe that sounds pathetic, but it's not like there were any guys at my high school who I cared to share more than three words with, let alone my body.

Then I met Wes, a track star senior from across town. Maybe it was his soulful blue eyes, or maybe my hormones just started raging. Either way, I was hooked. And after a while, he was too. I couldn't believe how intense my feelings became, or the fact that I was seeing—and touching—parts of the body I'd only read about in my Gray's Anatomy textbook. You could say Wes and I experienced a lot of firsts together that spring. It was scary. It was fun. It was love.

And then came the fall.

Anatomy of a Single Girl by Daria Snadowsky
From Goodreads:
After everything that happened—my first boyfriend, my first time, my first breakup—jumping back into the dating game seemed like the least healthy thing I could do. It’s not that I didn’t want to fall in love again, since that’s about the best feeling ever. But as a busy college premed still raw from heartbreak, which is the worst feeling ever, I figured I’d lie low for a while. Of course, as soon as I stopped looking for someone, an impossibly amazing—and devastatingly cute—guy came along, and I learned that having a new boyfriend is the quickest way to recover from losing your old one. 

The moment we got together, all my preconceptions about romance and sex were turned upside down. I discovered physical and emotional firsts I never knew existed. I learned to let go of my past by living in the present. It was thrilling. It was hot. It was just what the doctor ordered.

But I couldn’t avoid my future forever. 

In Daria Snadowsky’s daring follow-up to Anatomy of a Boyfriend, eighteen-year-old Dominique explores the relationship between love and lust, and the friendships that see us through.

These books are often compared to books by Judy Blume, and after reading them, I totally understand and agree with the comparison. Anatomy of a Boyfriend and Anatomy of a Single Girl are realistic, honest portrayals of an important time in a young person's life, which is the basic formula for a Judy Blume book.

In Anatomy of a Boyfriend, Dominique experiences a relationship, love, college, and (most importantly) sex for the first time. All of these firsts are treated in a very raw and unfiltered way. Nothing was sugarcoated, and Daria Snadowsky did not hold back. This includes the sex scenes, which I'll admit, were uncomfortable to read at times. But I was so grateful to finally read a book where sex was portrayed as it really is. Few forms of media for teenagers portray sex accurately, but the sex in Anatomy of a Boyfriend is awkward, uncomfortable, and not glamorous. Because of the way this book deals with sex, I think it's one of those books that every teenager (especially teenage girls) should read. I found it so refreshing to read such an honest depiction of a topic that can be so controversial in books. 

Anatomy of a Single Girl is about Dominique's experience as a single girl in college, with all the scary firsts behind her and a future as an adult ahead of her. Like Anatomy of a Boyfriend, this book has a lot of sex. But there's a huge difference in the sex scenes in the two books. The first book has a ton of super-detailed, awkward, uncomfortable scenes, but in Anatomy of a Single Girl, the sex scenes are less graphic and easier to read. The sex scenes start to focus less on what Dominique does, and more on how she feels. In this book, Dominique starts to become a confident and independent young woman, and there is no question that she is a lot more mature than she was in the beginning of Anatomy of a Boyfriend.

Both of these books are incredibly honest and realistic, but they're also really fun to read. The stories are entertaining and they move fast, and since Dominique's experiences as a teenage girl are easy to relate to, the books feel familiar. The Anatomy books are about Dominique growing up and experiencing new things and making mistakes and learning from them, and I felt like I was right there beside Dominique as she went on her journey. I think these books can teach readers a lesson or two, but they're also just fun stories that are easy to get lost in.

I'm so glad I read Anatomy of a Boyfriend and Anatomy of a Single Girl at this time in my life. I'm halfway through high school, with so many firsts and new experiences ahead of me, and it's comforting to know that I'll have these books as a sort of guideline, if I need them. Much like Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret by Judy Blume helped many young girls (including me) get through their preteen years, I think the Anatomy books can have a huge impact on teenagers and young adults.

P.S. Google Reader is going away! :( If you haven't already, be sure to follow our blog on a website like Bloglovin' so you don't miss any of our posts!

Friday, June 28, 2013

Rachel Rambles About You Look Different in Real Life

You Look Different in Real Life by Jennifer Castle
From Goodreads:
For the rest of the world, the movies are entertainment. For Justine, they're real life.

The premise was simple: five kids, just living their lives. There'd be a new movie about them every five years, starting in kindergarten. But no one could have predicted what the cameras would capture. And no one could have predicted that Justine would be the star.

Now sixteen, Justine doesn't feel like a star anymore. In fact, when she hears the crew has gotten the green light to film Five at Sixteen, all she feels is dread. The kids who shared the same table in kindergarten have become teenagers who hardly know one another. And Justine, who was so funny and edgy in the first two movies, feels like a disappointment.

But these teens have a bond that goes deeper than what's on film. They've all shared the painful details of their lives with countless viewers. They all know how it feels to have fans as well as friends. So when this latest movie gives them the chance to reunite, Justine and her costars are going to take it. Because sometimes, the only way to see yourself is through someone else's eyes.

Smart, fresh, and frequently funny, You Look Different in Real Life is a piercing novel about life in an age where the lines between what's personal and what's public aren't always clear.

When I first read the summary for You Look Different in Real Life, I was instantly intrigued. It seemed like such an interesting and original subject matter. I couldn't wait to read about these teenagers who'd grown up in front of the camera and get into how that lifestyle affected them. Unfortunately, this book left me rather disappointed. The premise of the book had the potential to be highly entertaining, but I found myself bored and unimpressed for the majority of it.

The biggest problem I had with You Look Different in Real Life was the way the characters were portrayed. The main focus of the book was the narrator, Justine, who felt incredibly flat and lifeless to me. I feel like there was very little character development for her throughout the book, and there was nothing special or interesting about her that made me care about her or her life. The other characters, the teenagers featured in the documentary films, received even less character development. As I was reading, I felt like the characters were all so boring and two-dimensional. They didn't seem to have any personality traits that came across clearly in the book. They were all just there. As they found themselves in difficult or dramatic situations, I couldn't bring myself to care about them at all. I felt like I was given no reason to be emotionally invested in them, so all the situations that were supposed to make me feel bad or sad for them had almost no effect on me.

Also, the relationships the characters had with each other didn't seem realistic to me. The drama and tension between the characters felt superficial, and I had a hard time believing it. It didn't feel like they genuinely liked or hated or didn't trust each other.

Another issue I had with this book was the plot, or rather, lack of a plot. The first half of the book is about Justine's memories of the other kids and the films, and the cameras following around each of the kids and shooting footage. Nothing important happened during this time period, other than establishing some of the back story of all the characters. The story didn't seem to really start until the five teenagers were forced to participate in a retreat in a cabin in the woods, where they were expected to communicate with each other and learn to get along with each other. As I was reading, I assumed that this was when the book would get interesting and the characters would work out their problems and I'd get to see some character and plot development.

But after spending a short period of time on this retreat, the plot quickly moves away from it. One of the characters takes off unexpectedly, and the other four follow her. The rest of the book was about the group driving around and...not doing much else. It was boring! Their little road trip seemed pointless, and it didn't seem like any progress was being made. The plot was dull and I found myself wondering when things were going to get interesting.

The book wasn't all bad, though. I still think the idea behind the documentary films is fascinating. In the book, five kids are the subject of different films about their everyday lives. Every five years, another film is made, when the kids are at different ages and stages of their lives. There's Five at Six, Five at Eleven, and the film being made in the book, Five at Sixteen. It's a really interesting concept, and the point is to see how the kids change, and how their relationships to each other change as they all grow up. I wish the characters had more life to them so that I could appreciate this part of the story.

Another thing I did like about the book was the ending. It was nice to see that everyone, specifically Justine, seemed to get their crap together by the end of the book. There was also a little bit of romance at the end, which I was not expecting, but I thought it made sense in the story and it was an example of some good old character development. I wish the romance had come into the story a bit earlier though, because I would have preferred to see the character development sooner rather than later.

You Look Different in Real Life was not the worst book I've ever read, but it wasn't the best, either. I found myself incredibly bored with this book, but I didn't hate it. The original idea behind the book held so much potential, but the lifeless characters and boring plot disappointed me. My overall opinion on this book: Meh.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Summer Plans and Goals (Megan)

School's out! It's finally time for SUMMER!
LOOK. Flip-flops, sand, and summer. EVERYTHING GOOD IN LIFE. source
That means that Rachel and I have officially finished our Sophomore year of high school and we are now JUNIORS. (Yes, I am slightly scared by this) Since I am so completely done with school at the moment, I'm really looking forward to this summer and I have a lot of plans. So, borrowing Rachel's idea from her post, I'm going to explain some of my plans for this summer besides the typical beach trips and vacations!

First of all, I am going to get back to blogging. I've been kind of ridiculously absent from the internet in general lately and whether that's because of school or something else I'm not really sure. I've just been kind of tired and haven't really had the energy to blog lately, but I have been reading. So hopefully I'll end up writing some posts soon!

Second, I want to read more! While I have been reading somewhat consistently, I've been in a bit of a slump with that too. Hopefully now that school is out I'll be able to make some kind of a dent in the overwhelmingly huge TBR pile that is currently spread out all over my room! 

Recently, Rachel and I both made the decision to participate in Camp Nanowrimo for the first time starting in July. 
All of the craziness of Nano in the summer? WHY NOT. source

Both of us are planning on finishing the drafts that we started during this year's Nanowrimo and I am actually really excited for it. This draft is the first that I really feel like I could finish and it would be the first finished first draft that I have ever had. Along with Rachel, I will be participating with Erika from Rescue Reads, Aneeqah from My Not So Real Life, and Willa from Willa's Ramblings. You may have noticed THIS shiny button that Erika made for our super cool bunch of bloggers.

Basically we are going to be discussing the fact that we are all going CRAZY and having some word wars on Twitter. So if you are participating in Camp Nanowrimo, feel free to enjoy our pain/join us all there! 

So besides my usual soccer practices, those are my plans for the summer! What are you planning to do for your summer break? Let me know in the comments below what your plans are and if you're participating in Camp Nanowrimo.

Waiting on Wednesday (23)

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Breaking the Spine.

United We Spy by Ally Carter
From Goodreads:
Cammie Morgan has lost her father and her memory, but in the heart-pounding conclusion to the best-selling Gallagher Girls series, she finds her greatest mission yet. Cammie and her friends finally know why the terrorist organization called the Circle of Cavan has been hunting her. Now the spy girls and Zach must track down the Circle’s elite members to stop them before they implement a master plan that will change Cammie—and her country—forever.

I read the first five books in the series for the first time a few weeks ago, and I became absolutely obsessed with them! I'm so excited to read the last book, but I'm also really sad because I don't want this series to end.

What are you waiting on this week? Leave links to your WoW posts below so I can check them out!

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Top Ten Books I've Read in 2013 (so far)

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and The Bookish.

This week, everyone's talking about the top ten books they've read in 2013 so far. On the one hand, this topic is easy for me since I haven't read that many books this year. But on the other hand, most of the books I've read this year have been amazing, so it's hard to choose my favorites.

I was able to narrow down the list to these ten books, listed in the order in which I read them:

1. Just One Day by Gayle Forman
Gayle Forman is one of my favorite authors, so I was not at all surprised when I immediately fell in love with this book.

2. Pivot Point by Kasie West
I wasn't sure what to expect when I started reading this, but I definitely was not prepared to love it as much as I did.

3. Perfect Scoundrels by Ally Carter
Before I read this, I was like ninety percent sure I was going to love it, because I thought the first two books in the series were brilliant. It was nice to be right. :)

4. Poison by Bridget Zinn
So I'm kind of just a little bit OBSESSED with this book. I cannot even begin to explain just how much I adored it.

5. The Madness Underneath by Maureen Johnson
To be fair, I have never not loved a Maureen Johnson book, but I thought this one was particularly wonderful.

6. Clockwork Princess by Cassandra Clare
Alright, let's be real for a second. Has Cassandra Clare ever written a bad book?! NO. So of course I loved this one. Actually, it might even be my favorite Cassandra Clare book yet.

7. Sever by Lauren DeStefano
I was so impressed with and blown away by this book. It's the perfect end to an amazing series.

8. The Moon and More by Sarah Dessen
For those of you who don't know, Sarah Dessen is one of my absolute favorite authors ever, so it was the best feeling in the world to fall in love with a Sarah Dessen book for the first time. This book is one of my favorites of hers. Well, I guess they're all my favorites. But this one was fantastic.

9. The Distance Between Us by Kasie West
This has to be one of the best contemporary romances I've ever read. Seriously, it's like Anna and the French Kiss level amazing.

10. The Gallagher Girls series by Ally Carter
Okay, so I know I'm cheating by putting an entire series on here, but I read all five books for the first time this year and I am obsessed. So obsessed that I read all five books in only five days. What a fantastic series.

What are your favorite books of 2013 so far? Let me know down in the comments, or leave a link to your Top Ten Tuesday post so I can check it out!

Sunday, June 23, 2013

What High Schoolers Read - Video

After reading an article on NPR called "What Kids Are Reading, In School and Out" and watching some video responses to the article, Megan and I realized we had a lot to say about the topic.  We thought we could offer an important perspective to the article (you know, since we actually are high schoolers) so we decided to make our own video response.

Original article
Rincey at RinceyReads video
Monica at monielynn5 video

This video is pretty much just our unedited thoughts. We sat down, turned the camera on, and started talking. So it's a very raw conversation as opposed to a clean this-is-the-point-we're-trying-to-make type of situation. We hope you'll find it interesting to watch!

If you've watched our video (or read the article and skipped the video because wow I ain't wasting my time watching these two losers ramble on and on for ten minutes) let us know your thoughts on the subject down in the comments, here or on YouTube. It's been really interesting to watch this discussion grow and reach different people, and we'd love to see it continue! Everyone has a different perspective, so let us know what yours is.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Summer Plans and Goals (Rachel)

School is out and summer is officially here!
How I felt on the last day of school. (source)
It felt to me like this school year lasted FOREVER so I'm incredibly relieved to finally have the chance to relax a little and do some of the stuff I haven't had time to do. I have a bunch of plans and goals for this summer, and I figured that it would be a good idea to write them all down and put them on the internet. This way, I can get them organized and maybe be more motivated to actually do them.

First of all, I want to read a lot. I think I've only read like thirty books so far this year, which is really low for me since I usually read about ten books a month. I have a huge TBR pile of books I actually own and have sitting in my room waiting to be read, so I'd like to get to as many of them as I can. I usually spend my entire summer reading books, so I don't think this goal will be too hard to accomplish. :)

I also want to blog a lot more. As I'm sure you've all noticed, our blog posts can be a bit sporadic during the school year because we're ridiculously busy with homework and things. But there are no excuses in the summer! I want to take the time to plan out and write reviews, discussion posts, memes, whatever. Megan and I are also in the process of getting some of our IRL friends to join us as guest bloggers, so we will make a post about that when we know more information. But basically, my goal is to have a lot more content up here throughout the summer.

I've also recently made the decision to participate in Camp NaNoWriMo. (It's basically just NaNoWriMo in July. More information can be found at the official website.) After participating in the last NaNoWriMo and writing 50k words of a novel, I found that my book was only halfway finished. I had every intention of writing the second half at some point, but honestly, this school year has been so incredibly stressful and I haven't had much time to do anything that doesn't involve schoolwork. Luckily, the school thing is no longer an issue, so there is no reason why I can't write the rest of my novel this summer. And I know I have a lot of problems when it comes to motivating myself, so I decided that Camp NaNo would be the best way to ensure that I actually write every day and accomplish my goals. I always end up having so much fun during NaNoWriMo, and I'm especially excited to write with Megan, Erika from Rescue Reads, Aneeqah from My Not So Real Life, and Willa from Willa's Ramblings. I know we're all going to have a great time doing word wars together and chatting on Twitter, so hopefully I'll finish my book and also have a memorable experience at "camp" this summer.

Another thing I want to do this summer is make videos. I watch Youtube videos all the time, and I received a camera for Christmas so I could make my own. Since then, I've only made a few videos, and I really want to make more. So I'm starting my own Youtube channel, separate from the Read. Write. Ramble. channel (although Megan and I will still be putting up videos from time to time on there). I plan on having book reviews and discussions on the channel, as well as Wrap-Ups and TBRs. I think the BookTube community is absolutely wonderful, and I would love to join it and start making videos regularly. I'd also love to put up some more personal videos about my life and non-book related things, too. I'm in the process of setting up this channel, so it might take a little while, but I'll post an update here as soon as it's all ready to go.

As of a few days ago, I learned that I might possibly be getting a job this summer. I don't know many details yet, but maybe I'll have a job to do in addition to all my other goals and things. This would be my first job, actually, which is kind of exciting/scary, but hey, money! Money is good. Money means I can buy books! So if I do end up with a job, I hope I'm able to balance ALL THE THINGS.

It looks like I have a pretty busy summer ahead of me. But it's busy with fun things that I actually want to do, so it's not too bad. I honestly don't know if I'm going to do any of these things. I mean, knowing me, I might end up curling up on the coach and watching Supernatural and scrolling through tumblr all summer. But I feel like all my goals are pretty reasonable things that I can totally accomplish if I actually care enough to do them, so I'm really hoping that I do ALL THE THINGS and have a productive summer.

And then, of course, September will come around and school will once again take over my life. *sighs* But I don't want to think about that right now. All I want to think about is the fact that from here, the summer looks like it will stretch on forever and ever.

So what about you guys? What are your plans and goals for the summer, bookish or otherwise? Let me know in the comments!

Friday, June 21, 2013

Rachel Rambles About The Elite

The Elite by Kiera Cass
From Goodreads:
Thirty-five girls came to the palace to compete in the Selection. All but six have been sent home. And only one will get to marry Prince Maxon and be crowned princess of Illea.

America still isn’t sure where her heart lies. When she’s with Maxon, she’s swept up in their new and breathless romance, and can’t dream of being with anyone else. But whenever she sees Aspen standing guard around the palace, and is overcome with memories of the life they planned to share. With the group narrowed down to the Elite, the other girls are even more determined to win Maxon over—and time is running out for America to decide.

Just when America is sure she’s made her choice, a devastating loss makes her question everything again. And while she’s struggling to imagine her future, the violent rebels that are determined to overthrow the monarchy are growing stronger and their plans could destroy her chance at any kind of happy ending.

I read The Selection back when it first came out, and it was a really controversial book. It seemed like people either fell head-over-heels in love with it or hated it. I was sort of in the middle. I didn't totally love it, but I didn't hate it either. For the most part, I really enjoyed reading The Selection. There were some things I didn't like about it, but I was excited to read the sequel.

Overall, my thoughts on The Elite are almost the same as The Selection. I liked both books equally, and while I enjoyed my experience reading them, I'm not all that invested in the series. 

One of the biggest problems I had with The Selection was the main character. I had such a difficult time understanding her, and I thought she was selfish and childish and impossible to relate to. But in The Elite, I was surprised to find that I really didn't have that many issues with America. She seemed to  have been transformed by the Selection process and the new life she was thrown into in the first book, and the changes she experienced were really clear in The Elite. She seemed to grow up a little, and she became smarter and more mature. She started to look at life differently from the way she had always seen life before she arrived at the castle, and the effect on her was positive.

Listen, I don't want to upset any Aspen fans, but I still can't stand him. Sorry! I just don't think he's a good character. In the first book, I felt like he had no real place in the story, and that didn't change all that much in the second book. He became more important in The Elite, but not important enough that I actually appreciated his character. It's not that I hate him. He's just kind of...there. I don't think he has any real purpose.

But then there's Maxon. I liked him in the first book, but I liked him even more in The Elite. America got to know him really well in this book, and I loved getting to learn more about him. I think he's a great character. As a love interest for America, I'm not so sure, but I definitely appreciate all the scenes with him in them.

Just like The Selection, The Elite was a fun and quick read. I believe I read it in one sitting. I didn't want to put it down. Once you start reading, you just want to keep going. The story was fast-paced and exciting, and there were no dull moments. With this series, I find that I'm not completely emotionally invested in the characters or their lives. When I read the books, I'm able to take a step back and just enjoy them, without experiencing emotional pain on the characters' behalf. I'm not sure if this is a common reaction for readers, but for me, this series is simply a fun and light read that I don't have to think too much about.

While I understand why a lot of people didn't like The Elite, or the series in general, I have to disagree. These books are certainly not the best I've ever read, but at the end of the day, I enjoyed reading them. When I was reading The Elite, I was excited to turn the pages and find out what happened next. So while I'm not obsessed or anything, I'm definitely curious to read the next book in the series.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday (22)

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Breaking the Spine.

Infinityglass by Myra McEntire
From Goodreads:
The stakes have risen even higher in this third book in the Hourglass series.

The Hourglass is a secret organization focused on the study of manipulating time, and its members — many of them teenagers -­have uncanny abilities to make time work for them in mysterious ways. Inherent in these powers is a responsibility to take great care, because altering one small moment can have devastating consequences for the past, present, and future. But some time trav­elers are not exactly honorable, and sometimes unsavory deals must be struck to maintain order.

With the Infinityglass (central to understanding and harnessing the time gene) at large, the hunt is on to find it before someone else does.

But the Hourglass has an advantage. Lily, who has the ability to locate anything lost, has determined that the Infinityglass isn't an object. It's a person. And the Hourglass must find him or her first. But where do you start searching for the very key to time when every second could be the last?

I thought the first two books in this series were brilliant, so of course I'm excited to read the third installment. This series features badass girl characters, time travel, and cute boys, and I simply adore it. If you haven't read this series yet, I highly recommend getting your hands on a copy of the first book as soon as possible!

Also, isn't the cover so awesome?!

What are you waiting on this week? Leave links to your WoW posts below so I can check them out!

Monday, June 10, 2013

Rachel Rambles About The Distance Between Us

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

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

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

It's no secret that I'm a total sucker for a good contemporary romance. So I'm sure no one will be surprised to learn that I absolutely adored this book.

My favorite thing about this book is definitely the main character. Caymen is the second most sarcastic person I've ever experienced. (The first being me. :D) She had something witty to say about every situation she was in, and she never missed a chance to make other people uncomfortable with her incredibly dry (and hilarious) sense of humor. I'm sure there are plenty of people who won't appreciate Caymen's personality, but I'm not one of them. I can relate to Caymen so well, and I see so much of myself in her. Of course, this is a personal thing, so not everyone will love Caymen as a main character as much as I do, but for me, Caymen was an amazing narrator. She has to be one of my favorite protagonists ever. I feel like Kasie West captured my personality and stuck it into Caymen.

Next, I have to talk about the boy. Because duh. You know how I am with cute fictional boys. :) I have found a new boy to love, and his name is Xander and he is super rich but super sweet and funny and HIS SMILE gaocfioakshdiuywifhowihfowaygoiawggg. !!!!!!!

I love him so much. He's a fascinating character, and the first impression he makes on Caymen is not a true indicator of who he really is. As Caymen gets to know him throughout the novel, she gets to see different sides to Xander, and guess what? HE JUST GETS EVEN MORE ADORABLE AS THE BOOK GOES ON.

Xander and Caymen's relationship is so great. They are totally comfortable with each other from the very beginning and they're always bantering and flirting and I JUST WANT TO HUG THEM BOTH THEY'RE SO CUTE.

It was really interesting to see how Caymen's prejudice toward Xander because he's rich played out throughout the book. Caymen learns a lot about herself and Xander, as well as her mother and her family. By the end of the book, she is forced to see things differently from the way she used to, and the journey she went on throughout the novel opened her mind to a lot of possibilities she'd never considered before. The contrast between what Caymen perceives as rich and poor is handled really well, and it provided a fascinating dynamic to base Caymen's and Xander's relationship around.

The Distance Between Us is simply brilliant. It's fun and romantic and I read it all in one sitting. I think it's right up there with Anna and the French Kiss and Lola and the Boy Next Door, as far as contemporary romances go. (Which is obviously saying a lot because who doesn't love Anna and Lola?!) I was really impressed with Kasie West's Pivot Point, but The Distance Between Us has officially made me fall in love with her writing. I look forward to reading more of her books in the future. 

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Our BEA Experience (Rachel's Perspective)

As I'm sure you all know, BEA was a thing that happened very recently. Megan and I were lucky enough to get to attend as Power Readers, which basically just means that we only went on Saturday, the day they opened it up to the public. We didn't attend as bloggers or anything. We just went as readers, and it was a great way to experience BEA for the first time and determine whether or not we'd like to return in the future.

We went with our friend Katherine and my sister Lauren, who you might be familiar with since we go to every book event ever with them. Also, Megan's mom was the responsible adult who actually drove us to BEA, so that was pretty nice of her. :P

BEA was not what I expected. From everything I'd read about it online, I'd been prepared for huge stacks of ARCs at publisher's booths with a thousand rabid bloggers and librarians pushing and shoving and tackling each other to get to them. Actually, I'd pretty much been prepared for the cornucopia scene in The Hunger Games to be recreated right before my very eyes.


I think my experience of BEA is definitely different from what it's usually like, since we went as Power Readers on special Power Reader day, when it was opened up to the public people AKA not the professional industry people. Also, it was the last day of BEA, so I got the sense that things were really winding down and thinning out, with most of the major stuff having happened the first two days.

I was surprised at the amount of STUFF at BEA. I mean, I was expecting the books and the publishers' booths, but there were a ton of booths that didn't seem to be entirely related to books. Also, holy crap, there were a lot more publishers than I was expecting. I guess I was so focused on, you know, the BIG SIX and stuff that I wasn't prepared for all the other, smaller publishers.

There really weren't huge stacks of books being given away on that day, at least not that I was aware of. Which was totally cool. I mean, I didn't really go so I could get free books. I went because it's freaking BOOK EXPO AMERICA. Again, I'm wondering if this is just because it was the last day/Power Reader day? Either way, I didn't get attacked by anyone trying to grab an ARC, so that was nice.

Anyway, so when we were sitting in line to actually get into BEA at like eight in the morning, someone walked past us. The people next to us in line started making some really weird noises, so we looked up and IT WAS NEIL GAIMAN!


He just walked right past us on line and walked down the stairs and he was wearing all black and HE RUFFLED HIS HAIR and everyone on line just sort of stared at him with wide eyes and made choking noises and just about died because NEIL FREAKING GAIMAN.

So that was kind of the best thing ever.

This picture was taken right before Neil Gaiman suddenly appeared and our lives were changed forever.
The most important thing that happened at BEA was getting signed copies of The Moon and More by Sarah Dessen. If you're familiar with this blog, you might know that I AM OBSESSED WITH SARAH DESSEN. She's my writing hero, I love all of her books, etc, etc.
Not only did I actually bring a book to BEA, I brought a SARAH DESSEN book which I read while waiting in line for the SARAH DESSEN signing. I call this photo "My Life in a Nutshell." Thank you, Megan, for taking this picture. I'm glad you were amused.
So we made sure we arrived early so we could get tickets to the Sarah Dessen signing, and then we made sure we got in line early so we could be some of the first people to get our books signed.

Our school librarian was at BEA, and she snapped this picture of us approximately 30 seconds before we got our books signed by Sarah Dessen and our lives were again changed forever.
The Sarah Dessen signing was the first thing we did, and it was the only thing I really cared about. After we got our books signed (I totally froze up when I got to talk to her, by the way. My brain was trying to figure out a way to explain just how important and inspiring and life-changing Sarah Dessen and her books have been to me, but I couldn't find the words so I just sort of stared at her in awe. But that's totally okay. It was still one of the best moments ever. :D) we wandered around for a little bit, before heading down to the Neil Gaiman discussion thing.

Sarah Dessen's signing and Neil Gaiman's discussion were both at the SAME EXACT TIME, because the world hates me and doesn't want me to be happy it just happened to work out that way, so even though we were most excited about seeing Sarah Dessen and Neil Gaiman that day, we had to prioritize Sarah Dessen because, well, I'm obsessed and everything. So we weren't planning on getting to see Neil Gaiman's discussion, but Sarah Dessen's signing didn't take that long, so we were able to head downstairs and sneak into the back of a huge room filled with a bunch of people watching Neil Gaiman say things. I don't care that we were late and we had to stand in the back and we didn't get signed books because we were late. IT WAS NEIL GAIMAN. WE GOT TO BE IN THE SAME ROOM (okay, a really big room, but still) WITH NEIL GAIMAN!!!!!

Seriously, he could talk for hours about absolutely nothing and I would still love it and hang on every word. Neil Gaiman is just....fhaofeoiyhinoaiiwoiwrheoiefhoi NEIL GAIMAN AHHHHH.

After that, we really didn't have anything on the agenda that we were dying to go to, so we just wandered around for a bit. We got ARCs of The Waking Dark by Robin Wasserman signed, which was awesome since I'm crazy excited for that book. Also Robin was really cool and nice so yay.

I think BEA is going to be an overwhelming experience for anyone who goes for the first time, and it definitely was for me. It was not what I was expecting, but I'm glad I got to go. I think going for one day as Power Readers was a good introduction to the world of book conferences, as well as the publishing industry in general, since I want a career that's in the publishing industry somehow. In the future, Megan and I hope to be able to attend more BEAs or ALAs or whatevers, but as book bloggers for the full three days.

Also, I mean, let's be real, as soon as I met Sarah Dessen I decided that BEA was totally and completely worth it. And Neil Gaiman was the most amazing bonus ever, so after that, I was more than satisfied with the experience. :D

If anyone has any questions or anything (particularly about the Power Readers, since there seems to be very little information about them on the interwebs), feel free to leave them down in the comments! And if you attended BEA this year, what was your experience like?

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday (21)

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Breaking the Spine.

Eternal by Kristi Cook
From Goodreads:
In the final book of the Winterhaven trilogy, Violet McKenna and her friends find themselves right in the middle of a vampire war. The stakes have been raised, the danger unavoidable now. As the Warriors’ senior year draws to a close, not everyone makes it out alive. Who will be left standing at the end of it all? Will Aidan be a part of Violet’s future, or is he just a specter of the past?

I am kind of a little bit totally and completely in love with the first two books in this series, Haven and Mirage (seriously, check out my rambles about them here and here) so of course I am dying to read the final book! I have super high expectations, but I'm pretty confident that Kristi Cook will live up to them. :)

Also, isn't the cover just gorgeous? This whole trilogy has such beautiful covers!

What are you waiting on this week? Leave links to your WoW posts below so I can check them out!