Monday Memories (#2)

Monday Memories is a super easy and super fun meme hosted by The BookBandit Blog and Miss Print. Participants are asked to post a picture of a book that holds a special place in their hearts, and talk briefly about why this book is so special. If you want to join in on the fun, link up and be sure to link back!



Hello Reader!

For today’s Monday Memories post I’m going to get a little sentimental here. I hope you don’t mind.

I’m a reader, not just because of my love of words and books, but because I fully believe it’s programmed into my DNA.  Even though my parents aren’t readers themselves, there are several people in my immediate family who are. My grandfather was a reader. I remember his bookshelves full of books by Robert Ludlum, John Grisham, and Stephen King.

I remember looking at those bookshelves and thinking “one day I’m going to read all of those books.” That was before I realized that my grandfather and I had vastly different tastes in reading.

But one day, I was perusing the shelves and I stumbled across Carrie by Stephen King.  I asked my grandmother, if I could have it. She handed it over to me fully knowing that I would enjoy this book just as much as my grandfather once had.



Carrie holds a very special place in my horror loving heart. It’s the first Stephen King book I have read. Just like his Pet Cemetery was the first horror movie I saw as a young kid.  I read this book several years ago, and I was captivated. For a book that was published in the mid-1970s it stands the test of time.  Issues like bullying and experiencing societal and familial pressures are real, and because of that readers then and now can easily relate and connect with Carrie. Besides that, I was one of those weird kid who thought I had special powers and could move objects with my mind.

Besides that, this specific edition holds a special place in my heart. It was my grandfather’s book. When he passed away a few years ago this book, among several others of his that I now own, became prized (bookish) possessions. They are tangible items that connect us. This edition is old, it’s worn, and it’s loved. It was loved by him, and it is loved by me.  It even has the bookmark my grandfather used when he read it (yes, when I read it a few years back, I used it too to mark my page).

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Shootin’ The Breeze With Sarah Beth Durst

Hello Readers!

A few years ago I read a book called Drink, Slay, Love.  I loved it. Since then author Sarah Beth Durst has become a favorite of mine. She writes great books, and she’s probably the nicest person I’ve ever met. So it’s really not surprising that when I read her latest book, The Lost, her first book for adult, that I loved that one too. The Lost was unlike any other book I’ve read.  Readers, seriously – read The Lost! You’ll love it, I promise!

In the meantime, sit back and check out this awesome interview I did with author Sarah Beth Durst!


BookBandit (BB): Can you tell me a little about yourself, and your path as an author?                                                                                                                                           

Sarah Beth Durst (SBD): I’ve wanted to be a writer for as long as I can remember, and it’s the only thing I’ve ever wanted to be (except for Wonder Woman, but that career path really didn’t work out for me, since I lack an invisible jet, magic lasso, or any kind of physical prowess whatsoever).

I started writing stories when I was ten years old, and I never stopped.  I actually think that’s the key to being a writer: don’t stop.  Really, the most valuable trait a writer can have is sheer pig-headed stubbornness.  It can take a long time to write a novel and a long time to get published, and it’s very easy to doubt yourself and your story.  You have to write through all the doubts and seize the joy.

BB: What was the inspiration behind your first adult book, The Lost?

SBD: THE LOST is about a woman whose life feels empty.  She gets into her car one day to go to her dead-end job and instead of turning left at the light, she drives straight… and drives and drives until she ends up trapped in a town called Lost that’s full of only lost things and lost people.

It was inspired by my fear of loss.  I hate losing things.  I don’t mean socks or umbrellas or pens…  I hate the thought of losing moments, of losing memories, of losing the people I love.

BB: How was writing The Lost different from writing your previous books?

SBD: THE LOST is magical realism, and I chose to write it in very, very close first person, present tense.  So that automatically made the writing process feel very intense.  It was a much more organic writing process than many of my other novels — I did have an outline, but I mostly let Lauren wander where she wanted to wander, and I followed her through the town.

BB: What are some items that you lost in your life that you would hope to find in Lost? With that, if you were to find yourself living there, much like your main character Lauren, what is one item you would hope to find (for survival purposes) and why?

SBD: I’m pretty sure there’s a blue butterfly earring somewhere in Lost that used to be mine…  But for survival purposes, it would probably be more practical to find a knife.One of my favorite characters in Lost is a six-year-old girl named Claire who carries only a teddy bear and a very sharp knife.

BB: If the fictional town of Lost could be compared to a town in the U.S.A., which town would you compare it to and why?

SBD: Lost is sort of, kind of in the Arizona desert.  I picture it as one of those nearly-abandoned towns that you see signs for on the highway and then pass in a blink of an eye.

BB: If you had to describe The Lost only using three words, what words would you use to describe it?

SBD: Forgotten.  Wild.  Beautiful.

BB: All of your characters – like the town of Lost – are so vivid, and feel so real – are they based upon people in your life?

SBD: Thanks so much!  Really, they aren’t.  I am certain that bits of myself and the people I know seep into my characters, but I don’t do it deliberately.

BB: Can you tell about any upcoming projects?

SBD: My next YA novel is coming in October.  It’s called CHASING POWER, and it’s about a girl with telekinesis.  THE MISSING, the sequel to THE LOST, will be out in late November, followed by THE FOUND in late March.  And I am working on a middle-grade novel called THE GIRL WHO COULD NOT DREAM, which should be out in fall 2015.  Very excited about all of them!

BB: What advice can you offer to aspiring writers?

SBD: Don’t listen to advice, unless it works for you.  Seriously, every writer has a different process, and what works for one writer might not work for another.  So don’t beat yourself up if you’re not writing as many words a day as so-and-so, or if outlining does/doesn’t work for you.  Learn what does work for you.  Once you do that, it will get easier.  Never easy, but easier, because you won’t be fighting yourself.

A very big THANK YOU to author Sarah Beth Durst for taking time out of her busy schedule to answer a few questions for me and the blog! I can’t tell you how much I appreciate it.

For more information about The Lost and Sarah, definitely check out her website! And make you stay tuned for all the great books that Sarah has coming out.

The Lost

The Lost by Sarah Beth Durst


When Lauren wakes up she just doesn’t want to deal. She doesn’t want to deal with the dull office tasks she’ll have to deal with at work. And she certainly doesn’t want to deal with the bad news she’s sure she’ll be receiving later on in the day.

In an effort to escape Lauren drives straight – through the light, past the turn off that leads to her office, and away from the life she knows. Driving aimlessly, Lauren soon finds herself in a small town at the edge of a dusty desert.

Welcome to Lost – a dusty town that won’t let it’s resident’s leave unless they find what they once lost.

Lauren doesn’t know exactly what she lost. She doesn’t even know where to look for it. Stuck in a dead-end town, Lauren finds shelter in a small yellow house away from the mobs of people who seem to want her dead. She finds unlikely friends in a knife wielding six-year-old and a tattooed stranger called The Finder. And ultimately, she finds herself.

But is what she finds enough to send her home to the reality she once so desperately wanted to escape?

The Lost, written but author Sarah Beth Durst, is the first in a trilogy. Besides that, this book which is chock full of mystery and intrigue, is Durst’s first novel for adults.

Durst’s writing is nothing short of stellar. The writing that files the pages of this book will instantly attracted readers. It’s strong, engaging, and most of all descriptive. Durst has a clear vision of what the town of Lost looks like, and because of her writing reader’s too will gain that clear vision.

Not only is The Lost full of strong writing, it’s full of honest emotions.  At some point in life, I feel like almost every person has felt lost – physically, emotionally, and even spiritually. That feeling of being lost was palpable. And because of that, it was relatable.

But don’t get it wrong, The Lost isn’t a book about being lost, it’s about finding hope in the midst of being lost.

The Lost is full of characters that will leave a lasting impression. Beyond that, each play a key role important to the overall plot line. Lauren, The Lost’s main characters, is strong and determined. Always turning a negative situation into a positive Lauren is a character that readers will root for.

The Lost is a great read. It’s engaging. It’s imaginative. And beyond those fine qualities, it’s full of unforseen twists and turns. Readers will instantly want more. And luckily there are two more books in store for us fans – The Missing and The Found.

Monday Memories (#1)

Memory Mondays is a super easy and super fun meme hosted by The BookBandit Blog and Miss Print.  Participants are asked to post a picture of a book that holds a special place in their hearts, and talk briefly about why this book is so special. If you want to join in on the fun, be sure to link back!


For my very first Monday Memories post here on The BookBandit Blog, I’m taking it back to high school – to a book that holds a very special place in my heart: To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee.


I was a freshman in high school, and one of my most favorite teachers had assigned my English Class the assignment of reading a book and writing a report about that book. He gave us the freedom to choose whatever book we wanted, so long as the book wasn’t “trash or smut”. And if we couldn’t figure out a book to read, he would choose one for us.

After the class, I asked him what constitutes as “trash or smut”. His answer was vague, but he told me that he had the perfect book for me. I followed him out of the English classroom and to the teacher’s book closet. He pulled out a paperback edition of Harper Lee’s To Kill A Mockingbird and handed it to me. With that, he said “you’re going to love this book.” I thanked him, and went on my merry way.

When school was out, and I was home for the evening I picked up this book that I would supposedly love. I started reading and couldn’t stop. My teacher was right. I loved the book from the moment I started reading it.

At the time I easily identified with the innocence found within characters Scout and Jem Finch. I shared their wonderment of the world and how it worked. I was inspired by Atticus to be a good and just person. And beyond that, I loved the mystery of who Boo was. After reading Harper Lee’s book, I felt that it had changed me and shaped me in a way I wasn’t a expecting – in a way I didn’t think a book could.

Since reading To Kill A Mockingbird all those years ago, it’s been a book that I constantly think about. It’s a book that I’ve read and re-read several times.  And it’s a book that I’m proud to call one of my most favorite books.

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Shiver (The Wolves of Mercy Falls #1) by Maggie Stiefvater


Grace has always been fascinated with the wolves who reside in the woods surrounding her house. Specifically though,  she’s been fascinated with the yellow-eyed wolf who saved her from being attacked years ago. He protected her than, and he continues to protect her now.

But when Grace finds the yellow eyed wolf, in his human form, curled up and bleeding on her back porch it’s her turn to protect him, the werewolf named Sam.

Protecting Sam comes naturally to Grace. Now that he is in her life, there is no way she can live without him. As the weather turns from warm to cold, Grace needs to find a way to keep Sam warm. Once the cold sets into his bones, Sam will shift – not just for the winter, possibly for the rest of his life.

Shiver, written by author Maggie Stiefvater, is the first book in the Wolves of Mercy Falls Trilogy. This trilogy opener offers readers a sizzling romance, super-hot shape shifting wolves, and ultimately a slow-paced plot.

Stiefvater is a true wordsmith. To say that Shiver is a well written book would be an understatement. Stiefvater’s words are simply captivating. Beyond that, they are descriptive – relying on showing readers the story as it unfolds rather than simply telling.

There were many aspects that I thoroughly enjoyed. First and foremost I really loved main characters Grace and Sam. In regards to Grace,  from the start reader’s get a sense of, not only who she is, but also who (or rather what) she wants to be. She’s the kind of character that readers can easily see themselves within. And then there’s Sam. Yeah, he’s a wolf, but under that thick coat of fur, he’s smart, sensitive, and the kind of character that readers will fall hopelessly in love with.

Besides the two main characters, I really liked that Shiver, a book I would classify as paranormal romance, was unlike any other books in that genre.  It wasn’t typical. It wasn’t what I expected. It wasn’t bland. For one thing, the wolves in Shiver were relatively traditional, and I appreciated that. They were creatures that, yes the humans lusted after, but also creatures that they feared on some level. And it’s that lust and fear that I felt really created the perfect amount of tension.
Even though there was a lot I enjoyed about this book there was one aspect that I really cannot overlook. I did not enjoy the pace. It was slow … too slow in fact.  Because of the pace I felt like there was a whole lot of build up with very little pay off. I was disappointed to say the least. It’s because of this I had to knock some points off this otherwise enjoyable book.
I’m a fan of Stiefvater’s work in general. And I have a feeling that as the trilogy progresses the pace will pick up. I most likely will continue on with this trilogy … eventually.

Back To School Giveaway

Hello Readers!


Summer is coming to a sad close. With the end of one season, comes another. With the end of summer comes the start of a new school year. This time of year has always been a favorite. I love the crisp weather. I love the hooded sweatshirts. I love all the fancy back to school gear – the pens, the notebooks, the planners (that I so eagerly bought, but rarely used).

In celebration of the new school year I’ve decided to host a Back to School Giveaway!

So, what’s up for grabs?

Books(Note: All books given away are Advanced Readers Copies)

Landline by Rainbow Rowell

Messenger of Fear by Michael Grant

Faces of the Dead by Suzanne Weyn

The Unfinished Life of Addison Stone by Adele Griffin

The Jewel by Amy Ewing

Besides these books I will also be giving away A Throne of Glass Tote Bag. And inside that tote are some surprise back to school goodies!


Giveaway is open to U.S. residents only, ages thirteen years and older. This giveaway will be open from today, September 1st and will run until September 5th at 11:39 PM. To enter simply leave a comment on THIS BLOG POST telling me what your fave subject in school is or was, and why! (It’s no surprise my fave class was English Lit) . When commenting please remember to leave a valid e-mail address.

One winner will be selected via random number generator and will be contacted via e-mail on September 6th. Winner will have forty-eight (48) hours to respond to e-mail with contact/shipping information.  If response is not received within that time frame a new winner will be selected.

Good luck!

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Characters You’d Find at My (High School) Lunch Table


(Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke & The Bookish. The above photo was taken and altered by me. Please do not take or “borrow” without permission. Thanks!)

Hello Readers!

Today’s Top Ten Tuesday post is an interesting one. Why? Well let’s see. There’s the fact that I’ve been out of high school for thirteen years now. And than there’s the fact that I was a completely different reader then than I am now.  What I read it high school wasn’t what I would call pleasure reading.

So I’m going to take some liberties in this post, and post about if I were in high school today, what characters (from the books I read because I want to, not because I have to) would be found at my lunch table.

1. Both Lola and Cricket from Lola & The Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins

2. Alyssa from Splintered by A.G. Howard

3. Jacob from Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

4.  Both Eleanor and Park from Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell

5. Chubs from The Darkest Minds/Never Fade by Alexandra Bracken

6.  Morgan from K.A. Harrington

7. Reagan from Open Road Summer by Emery Lord

8. Cas from Anna Dressed In Blood/Girl of Nightmares by Kendare Blake

9. Blue and The Raven Boys from The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

10. Both Mia and Adam from If I Stay/Where She Went by Gayle Forman