Synchronized Reading Post #1: Mementos

Hello Readers!

I know I was supposed to post this last week with all the Even in Paradise goodness. I had something posted and scheduled for Friday, but in my heart of hearts I just couldn’t post it. I wasn’t happy with the post. I felt like all the “mementos” I talked about were simply things in my life that I could possibly take or leave. And I didn’t want to post a post like that.

Sure I collect things – but they are exactly that – things.

For this post, I wanted to talk about possessions that had meaning to me and my life. Why? Because I honestly don’t post a lot of personal  information here and I felt this was a great way for my readers to get to know me even better. And besides that, Charlotte’s mementos mean so much to her and her life. I wanted to talk about those items that mean so much to me and my life.

Even though the list of mementos isn’t long, it is full of items of importance.

There’s my first concert t-shirt. Music has always been a big part of my life and a part of my identity. I remember being very young and begging to go see my then favorite music group live in concert – New Kids on The Block! Seriously, any girl my age remembers wanting to desperately be that girl in the Cover Girl video …. you know the one that Donny brings on stage and kisses on the cheek! All young NKOTB fans wanted to be that girl, and if they tell you differently, they’re lying.

I didn’t get to go see NKOTB live in concert. But years later, when I was truly coming into my musical own I stumbled upon a band whose music I connected with — Matchbox 20. I was fifteen years old and as luck would have it they were touring that summer. With my aunt and best friend in tow I went to my first concert. It was everything I imagined it would be.  And it is still one of the most memorable moments of my life.

Tucked away I have my concert ticket stub and the very first concert t-shirt. These items are important to me because they showed me the magic of music.

Since going to that first concert, I have gone to too many concerts to count. And even though my taste in music has certainly changed, Matchbox 20 will always hold a special place in my heart. Afterall, they were my first concert experience!

Music is a very (obvious) important part of my life. But even more important that music are the people in my life.

While browsing my grandparent’s book shelves, I admired my grandfather’s Stephen King collection. My grandmother had asked me if there were any books that I would want. I asked for Carrie (by Stephen King since it’s one of my favorite movies) and a Kurt Vonnegut book (knowing that my grandfather was a big fan of his work). These books that once belonged to my grandfather quickly became mementos in my life. Not just because they are books, but because in some strange way they showed me just how alike my grandfather and I am. Besides the books, tucked inside were tickets or scraps of paper he used to mark his page. Yes, when I read Carrie I used the same scrap of paper my grandfather had.

And then there’s Sam — a doll with yarn hair and tattered coveralls – that I have had since I was about a month old. Sam is directly linked to my childhood. I vividly remember playing house and school with her and telling her all of my childhood secrets. I haven’t played with Sam in some time, but she’s still important to me. I feel like this doll has been with me for every major step of my life, and will always continue to be.  When I packed up my bags to move away to college, Sam was the first thing packed and she sat proudly on my dorm room bed. When I cam home feeling like a different person she came home with me, changed too. I know I have more important steps in life to take, and there’s no doubt that Sam will remain a constant.

Like I said before, there aren’t a lot. But the mementos I talk about sure are very important to me.  And they are items that when I look at them, or even think of them, brings a big smile to my face.

So, dear readers, now that I have told you about my mementos, what are some of yours? And if you’re curious about Miss Print’s mementos, make sure to check out her post!

 

Advertisements

Boys of Summer Featuring Miss Print

BoysOfSummer

(The above image was created by me via PicMonkey for the purpose of these posts)

Hello Readers!

I know, I know …. it’s been some time since I posted a Boys of Summer post. Somehow summer got away from me – I do apologize.

But I’m finishing off the summer with a bang (I promise). Today I’m featuring, not only a fellow blogger, but also my real life BFF Emma, aka Miss Print (who, let’s be honest is no stranger to the BookBandit Blog!)

Emma has put together a great post, and I’m super excited for all of you to read it. It’s definitely a list for all of your fantasy loving hearts!

***

Romantic Fantasies to Read this Summer

Everyone loves a romantic story. Here are ten of my favorite fantasy ones (and a couple of sci-fi stories too) to help you kick back this summer and get in maximum swoons:
  1. Loop by Karen Akins: After her solo midterm to the twenty-first century goes spectacularly wrong, Bree knows she’s in big trouble. The only option is to try to sneak back to complete her midterm before anyone notices. The only problem is Bree ends up missing her target destination. She finds the boy she accidentally took hostage–Finn, who is now three years older and at least three times more attractive–but before she can fix anything Bree is pulled back to her own time. With Finn. Who claims that he and Bree’s future self are . . . dating? (Be sure to check out the sequel Twist.)
  2. Brightly Woven by Alexandra Bracken: When her town offers the wizard Wayland North a reward for bringing them much-needed rains he knows exactly what he needs: the young weaver named Sydelle. As the pair make their way across the country Sydelle begins to understand there may be more to North than his vague statements and mercurial temperament. There might even be more to Sydelle herself. Like any good weaving, it is going to take Sydelle many layers to see the full picture.
  3. The Selection by Kiera Cass: America doesn’t know what to think when she is chosen as one of the girls Prince Maxon as part of the Selection. In her new surroundings she finds unexpected friends and a life she never dared to imagine. Circumstances beyond America’s control brought her to this point. Now, America will have to decide for herself whether or not she wants to stay. (The series continues with The Elite and The One plus companion novellas and a sequel series.)
  4. Sea Change by Aimee Friedman: Everything Miranda thought she knew about her own family, her basic reality, and love is turned upside down when she comes to Selkie Island and meets Leo, a local boy with his own breezy, otherworldly charm. Miranda will have to sort through the facts, and the myths, to find the truth and maybe even her own happy ending.
  5. These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner: When the luxury spaceliner Icarus is pulled out of hyperspace and crashes Lilac and Tarver are thrown together on a seemingly abandoned planet. With no one but each other, this unlikely pair builds a grudging respect and even friendship. As their relationship turns into something more than either could have imagined, Lilac and Tarver’s dreams of a life together are derailed by the strange mysteries on the planet and the impending threat of rescue. (The series continues with companion novel This Shattered World.)
  6. Don’t Expect Magic by Kathy McCullough: Life in California with her life coach father “Dr. Hank” is not what Delaney expected. Turns out Dr. Hank is really a fairy godmother–granter of wishes, inhabitant of fairy tales everywhere. And the fairy godmother condition is hereditary. Meaning Delaney Collins, the girl with the fierce attitude and boots to match is a fairy godmother with wishes of her own to grant. As Delaney struggles to help her first client she realizes that sometimes even a fairy godmother needs a wish of her own. (Be sure to check out the sequel Who Needs Magic?)
  7. Hourglass by Myra McEntire: For the past four years Emerson Cole has seen strange things. Emerson knows she is beyond help, but agrees to one last consultation with a man from an organization called the Hourglass. Michael Weaver isn’t like the other people who tried to help Emerson. He is good looking and he isn’t much older than Em herself. He listens. He believes her. He doesn’t think she’s crazy at all. Her past, her future–it all comes back to the Hourglass and her strange connection with Michael. If Emerson can make sense of the secrets and get at the truth about her visions it might change everything for both of them. (Be sure to pick up the other two books in the trilogy Timepiece and Infinityglass.)
  8. For Darkness Shows the Stars by Diana Peterfreund: Four years ago Elliot chose caring for her family estates and those directly affected by the Reduction above all else. The choice was absolute and, she thought, irrevocable. Now, having spent four years thinking of everything keeping her on the estates and everything she has sacrificed for them, Elliot has another choice to make. (Be sure to also check out the companion novel Across a Star-Swept Sea!)
  9. The Shadow Society by Marie Rutkoski: Conn McCrea is both fascinating and frightening as he insinuates himself into Darcy Jones’ life. As she gets to know Conn she also begins to discover strange truths about herself and a world that shouldn’t exist–a world where the Great Chicago Fire never happened and creatures called Shades have created an organization called the Shadow Society intent on eliminating humans. Darcy always wanted to be part of something, to belong somewhere. But she may have more than she bargained for with Conn and infiltrating the Shades.
  10. Pivot Point by Kasie West: When faced with a choice Addie can Search her future and see both outcomes for any given decision. One Search six weeks in the future should be more than enough to help her decide which parent to live with. In one future Addie can find true love and happiness while in the other there is a promise of popularity and excitement. But in either Search there is also something much more dangerous and the potential for a terrible loss. At a crossroad that will change everything, Addie will have to decide what she is willing to live through and who she is willing to lose. (Be sure to also pick up the sequel Split Second!)
Those are ten of my all-time favorite romantic fantasies. Are any on your list?
***
Seriously, how great is that post?! I’m not even a big fantasy fan and I’m running to Goodreads and adding them to my shelves!
A big THANK YOU to Emma/Miss Print for always participating in my blog features, and for really a truly great post! Readers, be sure to check out Emma’s fantastic blog Miss Print!

SBPT Tour featuring Roberta from Offbeat YA

Hello Readers,

I’m both sad and super excited about today’s SBPT Tour post. I’m sad because this is the second to last post, which means this great experience is coming to an end. But I’m excited because I’m featuring Roberta from Offbeat YA today!

Before jumping into the post, here’s a little about Roberta…

Roberta R. is a senior blogger with a penchant for YA books. Her love of music has landed her a job as a host for a local radio station. Her fancy for TV series, from police procedural to sci-fi to urban fantasy, causes her to experiment wild adventures with too many fictional characters in her night dreams. Her urge to spread the love for overlooked YA novels drove her to start her blog, Offbeat YA, in 2012.

Today, Roberta is here to talk about some of her fave indie books.
Indie Books Are Not Evil: Four Authors (+ One) You Won’t Regret Giving a Chance To

It’s funny, you know.

Around three years ago, when I joined the book blogging world, I didn’t have a clue about indie writers – though I was well aware of indie musicians. In time, it slowly dawned on me that some of the books I was interested in were published by small presses, and I also realised that there was a big chunk of writers who were putting out their books on their own. Now, a few bloggers frown upon indie authors, and on a level, I can understand where they’re coming from. There are so many of them, queuing into their mailbox. Some barely edit their works. Some were rejected by the publishing industry for a valid reason. On the other hand, this is not always the case. Sometimes, regular presses are just intimidated by anything that doesn’t fit their little boxes. Who cares if the written world is full of gorgeous, mysterious new boys at school – bring on another one, and sc**w the fresh, different scenario someone else has in mind…Who wants to take a risk when there’s a well-oiled mechanism that’s working so smoothly?

Of course, this is wrong on so many counts. And as for us readers, while we’re all screaming for diverse books (where “diverse” doesn’t only covers race or sexual preferences or disability…I assume), we should probably start looking for the diversity that is already out there…

If you’re fed up with same old, same old, and aren’t afraid of/prejudiced against small presses/indie authors, here are four of them (plus one) you should try before you judge…

In chronological order…

B.C. Johnson (author of the Deadgirl and Riven series – both in progress)

Deadgirl first came out in 2012 for a small press, and has been recently reissued (book 2 out next year); The Bad Rescue of Devon Streeter (book 1 of Riven) was released a few months ago, and the sequel should be out next year too. B.C. Johnson is a talented guy with a flair for writing three-dimensional, highly relatable characters who can’t help feeling real even if he keeps throwing them into the craziest adventures :). How come you haven’t heard of him? Duh, because he’s not under the protective umbrella of some bigwigs in the publishing industry. As a matter of fact, he decided to go self-pub with Devon, because apparently this piece was too visionary (as in, it mixed too many genres) for industry to take a chance on it. Your loss, dear publishers.

Erin Callahan & Troy H. Gardner (authors of Mad World series – in progress)

This is a double trilogy coming out for a small press, and I really can’t see a reason why. Oh, but wait, it doesn’t have the required gorgeous, mysterious new boy at school, or blatant love triangle, or lovestruck heroine who manages to find the time to save the world (along with the gorgeous blah and blah). It does have cool magic, though. And well-depeloved characters. And friendship. And bad guys with complex motives. And did I mention cool magic? Not as in, Harry Potter’s kind of magic. But magic nevertheless…

Also, I have to mention that Erin has a new book in the pipeline, which I’m honoured to be beta-reading at the mo. This one will hopefully come out for a bigger publisher…but it doesn’t mean the author jumped on some bandwagon. I’m not allowed to say more on the subject, but I will when the time comes, on my own blog…

Robert Schell (author of Temporal Affairs series – in progress)

So far, only book 1 – The Foster Children of Time – has been released, and the second installment is on its way. I was impressed by Robert’s writing – nothing lazy in that department. TFCOT is a time travel book starring two former childhood friends (male and female…yes! it can be done! *pumps fist in the air*), who reunite just in time for a crazy adventure. While I would have liked more background for their relationship, I highly recommend this one to time travel-slightly alternate history fans and fantasy aficionados.

Allison Rose (author of Tick series – in progress)

I won a copy of Tick – the 1st book in this trilogy – but haven’t gotten round to review it yet *beats herself with a stick*. OK, this one is tough. You are not spared violence, blood and gore. But it has an interesting, if disquieting, premise, and engages your attention all the time. I honestly can’t see why a major press hasn’t picked this book up. More about it later on my blog…when I have organised my thoughts in a more coherent manner :).

Finally, it’s time for a little shout-out :). Two bloggers I’ve been friends with for around three years are putting out a diverse fantasy tetralogy, The Sterling Wayfairer Series. Book 1, The Mark of Noba, is coming out on Aug. 25th! Please welcome Guinevere and Libertad Tomas, also known as the Twinjas, in the self-publishing world! They are putting out their series under the name GL Tomas, and the reason why they are going indie is…they made a conscious decision. I’ve read an unedited version of their book, and I honestly think it has a lot going on for it. Incidentally, it reverses the new-boy-at-school stereotype introducing a new girl who’s…umm…not very typical LOL – not to mention, a relationship that is not your usual love story…

I hope you’re considering trying some of the above books by now! Either way, thanks to Nicole for letting me ramble about them – and long live The Book Bandit!

No, THANK YOU Roberta for this awesome post! I know I especially learned a lot about indie books and I know all of my dear readers will too!

Be sure to check Roberta and Offbeat YA out.

Synchronized Reading: Even in Paradise

Even In Paradise by Chelsey Philpot (Advanced copy from publisher at BEA14)

Charlotte Ryder has her entire junior year at St. Anne’s mapped out. When she’s not in class she’ll spend as much free time in the art studio, crafting and creating what she hopes to makes a livelihood out of. She’ll spend as much time with the people who know her best – her roommate and friends.

But when Charlotte meets Julia Buchanan all her plans seem to unravel.  Through Julia, Charlotte is introduced to a world beyond St. Anne’s. She’s introduced to the Buchanan’s world where money and secrets run rampant.

But the more Charlotte’s gets to know her new friend, she more she sees that Julia isn’t the vivacious girl who’s full of confidence. Instead she’s a shell of a girl hiding the secrets of a Devastating family tragedy.

Through Julia Charlotte leArns that nothing is ever perfect , not Even in Paradise.

Even In Paradise, written by author Chelsey Philpot, is an enthralling yet loose retelling of Evelyn Waugh’s Brideshead Revisited. This modern take on a classic will easily capture and captivate readers.

Philpot’s writing is simply beautiful. Strong, Even in Paradise is full of lush descriptions that will easily allow readers to be transported into the heart of the story. And the characters that fill the pages are honest, flawed, and brimming with secrets just waiting to be revealed.

Charlotte, Even in Paradise’s leading lady, is a shining example of what a main character is. She’s strong and secure, Even when life, love, and friendships seem to be crumbling around her. She’s the kind of character where readers can see and relate to the transformation. But above all of those things, she’s the kind of character the readers will root for.

And then there’s Julia Buchanan — Charlotte’s complete opposite.  Where Charlotte will keep you grounded, two feet firmly planted in reality, Julia will cast her spell on readers. You will be swept up and away, and made to feel as if you yourself are a part of the Buchanan clan.

There is a lot to love about Philpot’s debut novel. Personally I loved how this Brideshead Revisited retelling has all the feel and the glamor of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby. I loved how this book make me think about the relationships I have and hold so dear. I love how this book solely focused on female friendship and the importance of building  each other up instead of tearing us down.

Seriously, read this book! There is something for every reader — there is mystery, there’s humor, there’s even a hint of budding romance. Even In Paradise is a great reads, you will not be disappointed.

Synchronized Reading: Chelsey Philpot Interview

Hello Readers!

One of the most fun parts about this synchronized feature that Miss Print and I feature every so often on both of our blogs is getting to, not only talk about about a book we both loved, but getting to talk about and to the author of said book. In this case, author Chelsey Philpot.

Today, Chelsey is here to talk all about her debut novel, Even in Paradise.

Book Bandit (BB): A lot of Charlotte’s character is informed by the fact that she is an artist. How did you decide what kind of artist Charlotte would be? Did you always know that her artwork would play a large role in the story–particularly at the end?
 
Chelsey Philpot (CP): I am a total art geek. My idea of a perfect Saturday is one that begins at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, and ends with a dance performance at the Institute of Contemporary Art. As of late, I’ve been particularly fascinated by found-art sculptures (the kind of works Charlotte creates). There’s just something so lovely about the idea that discarded and scarred objects can be transformed into art.
I knew one of Charlie’s works would play a role in the final chapter, because the sculpture, in a way, represents how she’s taken her memories (the good and the bad) and used them to make a beautiful life.
BB: While this story is very much focused on Charlotte’s friendship with Julia, there is also a bit of a mystery involved. As a writer, how did you go about pacing this aspect of the story and deciding what to reveal when?
CP: Oh boy, I am very much a need-to-write-multiple-drafts-before-I-get-to-where-I-need-to-be writer. Thus, my not very exciting answer is that I honed the pacing of the mystery over the course of many, many drafts.
It was really important to me that the mystery had layers, meaning that if readers figured out what happened before the end, they would keep reading to uncover why it happened.
BB: In Even in Paradise Charlotte begins to collect bottle caps with fun facts on them reminiscent of Snapple bottle cap facts. Do you have a favorite fact from a cap of your own?
CP: “Nantucket is not a part of Kentucky.” Found on a Nantucket Nectars bottle cap.
BB: Can you tell us anything about your next project?
 
CP: Yes! Book two is currently in my editor’s hands. I’m not ready to say too much about it other than that this is the novel I very much had to write after Even in Paradise.
BB: Do you have any advice to offer aspiring authors?
 
CP: Really think about why you write. If it’s because you’ve already picked out a pen for the thousands of signings you’ll one day travel to or because you’ve finalize what stars are in the cast for the blockbuster film version of your first novel, these reasons won’t sustain you.
If you let it, writing can be a soul-crushing, heart-wrenching business. Successes are fleeting; criticisms are inevitable; and hard work is mandatory. Really, it’s the quieter joys (finding the perfect word, revisiting memories, getting a message from a fan) that make the hours of solitude and early mornings worth it.
Having a book published will not change your life—but writing, living bravely so you have experiences to write about, will.
***
A big THANK YOU to Chelsey Philpot for taking the time our of her schedule to answer a few questions for us! If you want to know more about Chelsey and her books, make sure to check her out online!
And while you’re checking things out online, head over to Miss Print’s blog to see her part of the interview!

Synchronized Reading: Even in Paradise

Hello Readers!

As you already know Synchronized Reading is a feature that Miss Print and I put together some time ago. Basically, each of us will be reading the same book, talking about the same book, and blogging about the same book.

This time around, Miss Print and I picked a book that we have both been excited to read — Even in Paradise by Chelsey Philpot. Since we were lucky to meet Chelsey at BEA14, it felt right that this book should be our synchronized read.

During the course of the week I will be posting, not only my thoughts of this book, but I will also be talking about some topics that was raised within the book.

For Miss Print’s posts, you can check them all out now! Head over to her blog to check out the synchronized goodness!

So dear readers, stay tuned! And if you want to read along, go pick up your copy of Even in Paradise by Chelsey Philpot!

SBPT Tour with Emily from Emily Reads Everything

SBPT15 MEME

Hello Readers!

Happy Sunday! As part of the Summer Blogger Promo Tour hosted by The Book Bratz, (Thank You ladies!) today I am so excited to be featuring Emily from Emily Reads Everything! When we chatted, we decided that it would both be fun and informative to talk about fave books that we feel don’t get enough attention.

***

Hi Everyone! I’m Emily from www.EmilyReadsEverything.com. Thanks to Nikki for having me come post on her blog today as part of the Book Bratz’s Summer Blogger Promo Tour. Nikki asked me to post about a book that I really love.  We both love horror so I chose a psychological thriller to tell you about today.

12389135

Title: Before I Go to Sleep

Author: S. J. Watson

Synopsis

As I sleep, my mind will erase everything I did today. I will wake up tomorrow as I did this morning. Thinking I’m still a child, thinking I have a whole lifetime of choice ahead of me…

Memories define us. So what if you lost yours every time you went to sleep? Your name, your identity, your past, even the people you love–all forgotten overnight. And the one person you trust may only be telling you half the story.

Welcome to Christine’s life.

Thoughts:

This book was so scary!

Every day Christine wakes up with no knowledge of the past 18 years. She still thinks she is 25 years old. She doesn’t remember her house, her husband or her life. Instead, her husband, Ben, recreates her life for her by reminding her of the past. This goes on until she realizes she has been keeping her own journal and things Ben has told her don’t quite line up.

I love books with unreliable narration and this fits Christine to a T. She can’t be expected to tell the truth if she doesn’t know what it is! There is something so terrifying about the thought that the person you should be able to trust most in the world is lying to you. Christine relies on Ben and what other people tell her 100% and she is absolutely helpless if they aren’t being honest with her.  There’s an edge of mystery in this book. You never know what is really going on or who is telling the truth. If you liked Gone Girl, this is a must read!

***

I have chills just reading this recap!  For more information about Emily and all the books she loves, make sure to check out her blog! And a big THANK YOU to Emily for putting this post together!