Friday, April 24, 2015

Julia: The Twelve Year Long Blogger

Me in 2005 post anime convention.
Oh, youth.
I've been a blogger a long time. Over a decade. There could be a VH1 special about me. I love the Bloggers: Julia. Anyway I've been busy and not-reading lately instead using my free hours to binge watch Friends or take part on a softball team, but I wanted to sort of do a nostalgic post looking back on things and then hopefully having you all do the same in the comments. If this isn't your thing, thats cool. Your regularly scheduled programs will be back again next time :)

Back when I was just getting into the internet, I made my first website in Geocities at age 13. I  didn't really turn it into an active blog-like diary until I was sixteen or so. There were four or five of us that had a little ring of online diaries that we would all read. So like the stepping stone between writing things down in an actual journal and the Facebook posts of today that everyone can see.

Since those days, in some venue or another, I have been sharing my thoughts with the world. From Geocities to LiveJournal to Goodreads to Blogger to Booklikes. It's crazy to think it all started with a page that I called "Dont Feed the Ducks" and had a script attached to it so as you moved your mouse a trail of ducks would appear. Typical 90s internet.

When I recently found a log of my first site I found it actually had little paragraph reviews of books I loved. I did a lot of fan-girling and I am pretty sure I used up my exclamation limit for the year on that one page, but how fun to know that even starting out, before sites like Goodreads were popular, I was wanting to share my favorite books with the world.

When I moved to LiveJournal I apparently didn't review books much, but I didn't read as much in college outside the curriculum until really my super senior year. But even then I still had tags for 'books', 'reading', 'rom-novs'. Primarly though, time was spent in the Harry Potter fandom and bitching about college. It was so fun though to go back and find my reworking of the lyrics of the song Everybody Ought to Have a Maid from the musical A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum. I reworked it into Everybody Ought to Have a Snape in a few hours after my friend said I couldn't do it.

Me in the summer of 2007, complete with modified
duckface and MacBook photobooth filters
Then came Goodreads. I was on there waaaay back when it was just like a singular feed. You didn't have friends, just saw what everyone was reading. I remember scrolling past the popular ones and just looking at what was added recently to try and find new and interesting books. The bookshelves never really changed though.

It was a while before I started doing real reviews on there, I am not quite sure what drove me to writing reviews. Maybe the fact that I found some of them, especially the well balanced ones, helpful in figuring out if a book was to my taste. I still to this day find the most use out of a three star review or a negative review because that I can see what the person didn't like and if it would bother me at all or is something that would make me actually enjoy it.

Reviews led me to groups which led me to the College Students group which led me here. I wont go too crazy and keep typing because if you've read this far I commend you. We are coming up on five year of this blog in a few months. Can you believe it's been that long? I guess my nostalgia just came a bit early this year.

Join in the nostalgic fun! How long have you been blogging or part of the blogging community? How about the book part of it? Got any good stories from your early internet years? Join in! Or just read!
Enjoy the weekend!

Thursday, April 23, 2015

The Last 3 Books Jamie Has Read

 Let's take a peek at the last 3 books I read! All of them were YA contemporaries (no surprise) and my reactions definitely varied!



The Queen of Bright and Shiny Things by Ann Aguirre

MAN, I wanted to love this one more. My lukewarm feelings for it are definitely in the minority so take that for what it is. I thought it was cute and felt the swoons for the romance (though it went from insta-attraction to insta-love REAL quick but I wasn't super bothered by it). I liked the main character Sage and her Post-It note kindness that she spread around school. And I liked the idea of her story -- a girl with a hard past trying to become this happy, bubbly girl as armor to shove down that old self -- but I just never really felt much more for it. I never felt that those cracks of her old self were really there. I think that's the whole of the problem...I wanted to feel more and didn't. One technical issue I had was with the pacing -- sometimes I was racing to devour it and other chunks of it I was skimming. By the time I finished I felt like the only thing I had to say about it was, "well that was cute?" Read my full review of The Queen of Bright and Shiny Things.

Rating: 2.5/5 stars


All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven

Oh this was my book club pick and there was so much to talk about! This was one of the saddest books I've ever read by the end. The sobbing just kept happening to the point I had to put it down. It deals with two teens who both want to commit suicide so it's a pretty heavy book but it was balanced with the quirkiness of Theodore and the relationship he and Violet had. This was a book I had to really digest. I couldn't wrap my feelings around how I felt about it.  Overall I think I really liked it but I have some issues centering around it that I'm still mulling over and they would be very spoilery. It's one of those times though when the blurb ACTUALLY kind of nails it -- Fault In Our Stars meets Eleanor & Park. I would actually really agree with that but it totally does its own thing.

Rating: Ah I can't in good conscience rate it quite yet while I'm still mulling it over. I do recommend it though.

All the Rage by Courtney Summers

Oh this book is so important!! I wish I could require all young people to read it. What I love about Courtney Summers' books that shines here is the raw and unapologetic way she writes about important things. It's honest and it made me very very emotional -- sadness, a whole lot of anger, etc. It weaves a lot of important things into this story -- slut-shaming, victim-blaming, rape culture, feminism -- without being too heavy-handed and when combined with the mystery of what happened to Romy and Penny made it SO hard to put it down.  Read my full review of All the Rage.

Rating: 4/5 stars

Have you read any of these? What did YOU think?

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Jamie's Top Ten All Time Favorite (YA) Authors of ALL TIME

For future Top Ten Tuesday topics & info on how to participate, click here!

 This week's topic is: Top Ten All Time Favorite Authors

 If you follow my personal book blog, The Perpetual Page-Turner, you'd probably be able to make this list FOR ME because I talk about these authors a lot. But let's do this all time favorite YA authors....because I could NOT narrow down between YA and Adult fic authors.

1. Gayle Forman: Gayle Forman is at the very tip top of my all time favorites list. Her books make me FEEL everything. They make me think. I fall in love with her characters. Just One Day quite literally changed my life.  (Check out If I Stay/Where She Went, Just One Day/Just One Year, I Was Here)

2. Stephanie Perkins: Steph's books have the perfect amount of sweet/fluffy with depth. Her romances make me swoon. Her characters will never leave me!  They just put a smile on my face. (Check out Anna and the French Kiss, Lola and the Boy Next Door and Isla and the Happily Ever After).

3. Morgan Matson: Morgan's books deserve to be bestsellers! They are exactly what I look for in contemporary YA and I just need her to write them faster for me...I AM SELFISH OKAY. I ONLY CARE ABOUT THE FACT I WANT TO READ MORE FROM HER. (Check out Amy & Roger's Epic Detour, Second Chance Summer, Since You've Been Gone)

4. Jessi Kirby: Jessi Kirby is one of the most underrated of my favorite authors! Like I cannot even FATHOM why her books are not more popular. I've read and loved all 3 that are out and, as I'm writing this, I'm getting read to start her latest which is out today (Things We Know By Heart)!! (Check out Moonglass, In Honor, Golden).

5. Laurie Halse Anderson: Laurie Halse Anderson is a staple in YA and for very good reasons. Her books are the type of books that will be classics. (Check out Speak, The Impossible Knife Of  Memory,  Wintergirls, Fever 1793)

6. Sarah J. Maas: The author who I have to thank for my fantasy obsession in the past year!! I had read a few fantasy novels before I read her Throne of Glass series but nothing stuck like this did. It was almost like falling in love with reading all over again. To discover a new genre I want to get lost in. It reminded me of how I felt getting absorbed into the Little House series as a kid -- just pure joy and love for reading. Not only is her Throne of Glass series amazing but OMG her upcoming (A Court of Thorns and Roses) is AMAZING.

7. Melina Marchetta: HER BOOKS ARE EVERYTHING. They are smart and awesome and just EVERYTHING I want in books -- contemporary and fantasy! (Check out Jellicoe Road, Saving Francesca, The Piper's Son, Finnikin of the Rock)

8. Rainbow Rowell: I'm a fan of whatever Rainbow writes -- whether it be her adult fiction or YA fiction! I love that they are all SO different! (Check out Eleanor & Park, Fangirl, Landline, Attachments)

9. Emery Lord: Emery is a new addition to this list but her two contemporary YA titles are SO MUCH GOODNESS.(Check out Open Road Summer and The Start of Me & You)

10. David Levithan: I am in love with how David writes and how every book is something different to me. (Every Day, Two Boys Kissing, The Lover's Dictionary,  Dash & Lily's Book of Dares)

Monday, April 20, 2015

#tothegirls and My Reading Life

The other day I was positively gobsmacked by all of the #tothegirls messages on Twitter.

As I read through the messages, I wanted to cry.  I went through a long, bad phase where I was thoroughly unhappy with just about everything in my life, but I've recently started coming out of it, returning to who I was when I was my strongest and happiest (only now with the benefit of wisdom and perspective and experiences!).  Oddly enough, that was during high school.  I realized that many of the #tothegirls tweets were messages I had internalized long ago.  I was blessed as a child to live in a world populated by adults who encouraged me in everything I wanted to do.  I was never discouraged from wanting or trying or doing anything just because I was a girl.  This is continued today.  Not everyone is so lucky.

Another aspect in which I was very lucky as a child was that my parents and grandparents and uncle all supported my desire to read by buying me books and buying me gift cards to book stores.  I know I was denied toys I wanted, but I was never denied books.  Even books that were quite possibly too old for me, but that's a different story.

The two came together.  I started thinking about all of the female characters I met during those formative years who showed me strength and helped--along with the strong women in my life--inspire me to think I could do anything.  I could probably go on and on, but I'll stop with three strong female characters that touched me during my formative years.

Matilda Wormwood and Miss Honey.  This may be cheating a little bit because I saw the movie first when I was eight.  But Matilda made me unafraid to be smart.  She read books and I thought that that was pretty cool, so I wanted to read books.  I began to believe in the power of books.

“So Matilda’s strong young mind continued to grow, nurtured by the voices of all those authors who had sent their books out into the world like ships on the sea. These books gave Matilda a hopeful and comforting message: You are not alone.” ― Roald Dahl, Matilda

Like Matilda, my parents didn't really monitor what I read, though mine were in no way uncaring and unsupportive like hers.  I had wonderful teachers like Miss Honey who were patient and encouraging and engaging.

Scarlett O'Hara.  I first encountered Scarlett when I was thirteen.  No list of mine dealing with reading experiences during teenage years could take place without her.  As a teenager, I saw only her transformation from a spoiled girl into a woman who did what she needed to do to help her family survive.  She didn't grow up having chores.  The book plainly says she was horrible in school.  Yet she took over the planting on the plantation.  She helped form the lumber business and helped the store prosper.  She made business contacts.  She suffered socially for doing what she wanted.  But I couldn't help admiring her ability to adapt to the new circumstances in which she found herself.  She also went after what she wanted.  She shouldn't always have gone after what she wanted (you know, like, other gals' boyfriends) but I admired her determination.

Novalee Nation.  I first encountered Where the Heart Is my freshman year of high school.  I cannot recall how many times I've reread this novel.  I love that it takes place in Oklahoma.  And I love the resilience of Novalee.  She was in a bad situation--dumped pregnant at a WalMart in a state in which she knew no one and had no one back home to call for help.  She rose above a lot.  She had a horrible childhood with an unreliable mother, no father, and bad foster parents.  No education.  And a bad string of luck with men.  She didn't let those things hold her down.  She had a day job, but also found and thrived at her true calling as a photographer.  And the message "just because he treated you like trash, doesn't mean you are trash."  Admittedly, I've done better at some times than others at drawing a line in the sand as far as my treatment from boyfriends or even just friends and acquaintances goes. But I know that deep down I've always known that their actions are more a reflection of them than they are of me.

There.  Short and sweet.  Three female characters who played a pivotal role during my formative years.

What characters played a major role in helping you become the strong, beautiful person that you are?

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Daisy Talks About Reading Outside

So basically this looks like a little bit of heaven to me. I would sink in one of those chairs and just read, read, read all day until some friendly person reminded me that it's time to get some no doubt yummy food. I imagine things like tapas and cocktails or sangria or something juicy with banana and such...

But I digress.

What I meant to talk about is reading in lovely, sunny places. Which can either be your backyard or your balcony or this perfect little piece of the beach.
I love reading outside. I love sitting out in the sunshine and bask in the warmth and read all day long. It's my happy place. I mean, I love sitting on the couch with a cup of tea and a blanket, but there's just something about reading outside that just feels so special. Maybe because it's not all that often that I get to do it.

But stories also feel more real to me when I'm reading them outside. I'm not sure why that is, but everything feels stronger somehow and just has more of an impact. Do any of you recognize this feeling?

Also, I'm just excited that Spring is showing its pretty face again! :)

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Top Ten Tuesday -- 10 Inspiring Quotes from Books

For future Top Ten Tuesday topics & info on how to participate, click here!



Jamie's picks

1. “She was the heir of ash and fire, and she would bow to no one.” -- Heir of Fire by Sarah J. Maas

It was just such an empowering statement. Really the whole series inspires me to be a little more badass, a little more confident, even stronger, etc. Be ferociously unapologetic when it comes to fighting for what I want in my life.

2. “The brick walls (in life) are there for a reason. The brick walls are not there to keep us out. The brick walls are there to give us a chance to show how badly we want something. Because the brick walls are there to stop the people who don’t want it badly enough. They’re there to stop the other people.” -- The Last Lecture by Randy Paucsh

This whole book was pretty inspiring and I did a lot of dog-earring. Lots of wisdom from a guy who is giving his "last lecture" because he knows he is going to die soon.

3. “Because without our language, we have lost ourselves. Who are we without our words?” Finnikin of the Rock

If you love fantasy, you MUST read this trilogy from Melina Marchetta.  I just loved this quote so much because WORDS WORDS WORDS. They are important. They are everything.

4. “Books light the fire—whether it’s a book that’s already written, or an empty journal that needs to be filled in.” ― Meg Wolitzer, Belzhar


5. “It's easy to forget to look up when all you do is focus on the road straight ahead.”-- Golden by Jessi Kirby

Truth be told I could have done a whole top ten list just from this book. It's so inspiring and challenging and provoked something within me. This was one of those reminders I needed for sure.

Bridget's Picks

6. “I am too fond of reading books to care to write them.” ― Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray

For YEARS, my dad has been convinced that one day I’ll be an author. And almost every time he’s brought it up, I’ve more or less paraphrased the above quotation. Just because I like reading books doesn’t mean I think I have any aptitude at all to write them (although the recent publication of crap like 50 Shades of Gray has made me want to try my hand at it, because if effing E. L. James can get three books published and made into movies, why can’t I???).

7. “Isn't it odd how much fatter a book gets when you've read it several times?" Mo had said..."As if something were left between the pages every time you read it. Feelings, thoughts, sounds, smells...and then, when you look at the book again many years later, you find yourself there, too, a slightly younger self, slightly different, as if the book had preserved you like a pressed flower...both strange and familiar.” ― Cornelia Funke, Inkspell

I’ve never read Inkspell, but now I want to. This quote is so true; when I reread something, I always find myself remembering how I felt the last time I read it. It can be jarring, but it’s also kind of amazing how certain words in a certain order can bring back such solid memories, sometimes not even related to the book. 

 Kimberly's Picks 

8. "There are moments when you can't believe something wonderful is happening. And there are moments when your entire consciousness is filled with knowing absolutely that something wonderful is happening." Rainbow Rowell ~ Attachments

I just love the optimism of this. Wonderful things happen! Sometimes we don't even know that it's happening right then. Other times... you just know. That moment of "wonderful" will stick with you forever. 

9.  "... People who create. People whose souls no longer live in their bodies because they've leached so much of themselves into their work." Sea of Tranquility by Katja Millay

This made me even more determined to keep doing the things I love. Theatre. Put everything you have into what you love. It will start to affect everyone else. Ever listen to a song that someone put their heart and soul into? You can't help but FEEL that! Or looked at a painting. Or watched a performance. Their very essence becomes part of what they make.

 10. "How is it possible that my crush -- my three-year-long crush-- has a  crush on me? This doesn't happen in real life." -- Stephanie Perkins ~ Isla and the Happily Ever After

This quote is so adorable, but it also has special meaning to me. I read this EXACTLY five months ago, literally the night before my wedding. It's how I felt about my now husband. I'd had a crush on him for five years (so did he, apparently) when he finally asked me out! I highlighted this and posted it to instagram. Roughly 10ish hours before I married my 5+ year long crush. <3 

Tell us your favorite inspiring quotes from books!!

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Broke and Bookish Book Haul for 3/29 - 4/11

Daisy's Book Haul

(also features a curious kitty-ear ;) )
-Kamikaze Kaito Jeanne Vol 1 by Arina Tanemura: see how I listen to your manga recommendations?? I'm really excited to start this soon!
-Simon vs The Home Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli: this one got so many votes when I asked for fluffy contemporary recs that I just HAD to order it :)
-What I Thought Was True by Huntley Fitzpatrick: I own, but haven't read her books yet, but everyone basically keeps raving about it. So...
-It Started With a Scandal by Julie Anne Long: I love Julie Anne Long's writing! She usually brings all the swoons and I love that!
-Four Nights With the Duke by Eloisa James: same goes for Eloisa James! Her historical romance novels are insta-adds to my TBR list and shopping cart.
-The Start of Me and You by Emery Lord: the same basically goes for Emery Lord as for Huntley Fitzpatrick, I have to get in on this action!
-Death Note Vol 1 by Tsugumi Ohba: this was another one of the recs when Jana asked for manga recommendations and now it's in my home :)
-Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell: this might just make one my book club buddy Daph happy ;) It was a total impulse buy while browsing through the book store a week ago.
-Blood Song by Anthony Ryan: I came across Blood Song's sequel while I was looking for some other book and was like GIVE IT TO ME NOOOOOWWWW! So I ordered it. I have no self-restraint.

Egalleys for review:
-Hunter by Mercedes Lackey: I have a bit of a hit or miss relationship with Mercedes Lackey's books, but this sounds awesome!
-A Whole New World by Liz Braswell: confession: Aladdin is one of my favourite Disney movies and I will forever read any and all retellings of this story.
-The Devilish Mr. Danvers by Vivienne Lorret: Vivienne Lorret knows how to give me a swoony historical romance. I will read this.
-Dreamland by Robert L. Anderson: she travels through other people's dreams. How can this be anything but fantastic??
-Ash & Bramble by Sarah Prineas: another fairy tale retelling and I am just hooked by the premise!
-Dumplin' by Julie Murphy: "the ultimate bikini body? Put a bikini on your body". I need this spunky MC in my life!
-Walk on Earth a Stranger by Rae Carson: NEW SERIES BY RAE CARSON, ALL THE EXCITEMENT!!! Obviously I couldn't help but click the request button the minute I saw this pop up on Edelweiss!
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