Book Tag! I’m It!

Posted March 7, 2012 by Jana in About Me / 6 Comments

Hello! So, here I am to participate in the Book Tag meme, thanks to Julia from The Competitive Bibliomaniac! This is a fun meme because it will help all of us get to know one another. And maybe you’ll find a new blog to follow. :) Julia has left me with some fun questions to answer, so let’s get started!

When/Why did you start book blogging?
I started book blogging with the girls at The Broke and The Bookish way back when it started in June of 2010. I formed this blog in November of 2011 so I’d have a more flexible schedule to post book reviews more often. Book blogging totally fell into my lap. Jamie asked the Goodreads College Students group if anyone was interested in starting a blog with her, and I jumped on it. I had no idea a book blogging world existed, nor did I know it was full of so many cool people!

What are some things about your blog (reviews, features, etc.) that you are most proud of?
Well… I really enjoy finding things for my feature, Bookish Finds. I have so much fun showing off the cool things I’ve come across. And I think the blog name is pretty fun and catchy. :)

If you had to invite three characters over for dinner, who would you invite and why?

Sam from Incarnate by Jodi Meadows because I would LOVE to talk with someone who has been alive for forever. I’m sure he has a ton of exciting and interesting stories to tell. Bria from Wanderlove by Kirtsen Hubbard, so she can talk me into going on an amazing trip like she did. St. Claire from Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins because he’s hilarious, cute, and I can just imagine his sexy accent.

If you could mandate that everyone read one book, what would it be and why?
Uhh… Wow. I feel like I should be naming some profound classic or controversial banned book. Haha. Really, though, I don’t think I would force anyone to read anything. When I was young, my love of reading vanished because I was forced by my teachers to read books I hated. Everyone connects with books in different ways, sometimes personal. You can’t force learning or force an emotion.

Do you read reviews of books before you read a book (if you know you are going to read it)?
If a good friend wrote the review, then yes. I don’t go looking for them, though, because some people post spoilers! I trust my friends not to spoil anything for me.

Do you judge books by their covers?
Yes I do! I’m that artsy reader girl! I try not to, but I always end up judging books by their covers. Pretty covers grab me. It’s who I am.  It’s usually my opinion that if a book has an awful design, its contents won’t be much better. If the book is drop-dead amazing, then there’s money in the budget to hire a good designer. It’s like having a beautiful baby and wrapping it in a burlap sack. You want to show it off, not hide it.

EReaders vs Books vs Audiobooks: thoughts?
I’ll always love tangible books. I love the covers, the textures, the smell, and the act of turning pages. I’ve run out of room, though, so I bought a Kindle. I LOVE my Kindle. You can find awesome deals on Kindle books, so I own a lot of them. And it saves space, especially while traveling. I can’t concentrate on audiobooks, yet I love the idea of them.

What kind of criteria do you consider when writing a review?
Grammar, spelling, character development, plot development, consistency, use of bad language, writing style, and enjoyability. I also often discuss a character’s behavior, and whether or not I agree with them.

What is your favorite thing about book blogging?
All the awesome friends I’ve made! I’ve found life-long friendships in many of you. :)

What is your favorite genre?
Right now? YA contemporary. Ask me next week if I still feel the same! Haha.

 

EDIT: Hi again! I was just tagged by Readinista, and she gave me a whole new slew of questions! So I’m going to update and add hers in under Julia’s. So fun!!

1. Why did you start blogging?
Well, I originally started at The Broke and the Bookish. Jamie asked if anyone was interested in starting a blog with her, and I thought it sounded like fun! I never knew about the book blogging realm of the blogosphere, so I was excited to jump in and do something new. I started That Artsy Reader Girl a year and a half later so I could post reviews more frequently.

2. On average, how many books do you read in a month?
About 9, which is a huge deal for me!

3. When do you read? (At night, during the day, commuting to work, etc)
I mostly read at night after the family has gone to bed. So, from about 9:30 until sometime after midnight I get to read!

4. Do you have a favorite spot to read at home or do you read anywhere and everywhere?
I’ll read anywhere, as long as I have a book with me. My Kindle is always tucked in my purse if I know I’m going to be out and about with some free time on my hands. Mostly, though, I end up reading in bed or in the comfy recliner in my room.

5. How frequently do you check your blog statistics? Do you check them everyday or do you not care about the number of hits on your site?
I check maybe once a week. Everything is still so new at this blog, and I’m trying to figure out what works the best for my blog, and how people are finding me.

6. Do you ever get tired of being a book blogger?
If I read too many review books that I don’t like in a row, I do start to get tired of it. Sometimes I miss the days when I could not finish a book and not feel guilty for it. But really, book blogging has become a very addictive hobby for me and I love it. I’d never stop!

7. If you could live in a fictional world, what book world would you choose?
That’s hard! I read a lot of dystopia, with worlds gone wrong… and a lot of contemporary worlds that are just like mine! I think I’d combine elements of several. Like, I love the fairy world in Aprilynne Pike’s Wings series, and I love the dragon world in Sophie Jordan’s Firelight series. I think I’d really just enjoy a world with more paranormal creatures. :)

8. What fictional book characters do you most relate to or would like to be friends with?
I really like Bria from Wanderlove. She’s a traveler at heart, and I’d love to go on a spontaneous trip to anywhere with her. I know we’d get along. And Anna from Anna and the French Kiss also seems like someone I’d have fun sitting in a cafe with and gabbing over French pastries and hot chocolate.

9. Other than reading and blogging what do you do for fun?
Well, I have this really awful addiction to shopping. I don’t care what I’m shopping for, but I love it! Mostly, though, jewelry, purses, and shoes are my favorites. And I love singing a lot. I’m also a graphic designer, so I love designing things… and I love doing puzzles, watching movies, traveling (traveling is my favorite!), bowling, game nights (like board games), and hanging out with my friends and family.

10. Do your family and friends understand your reading and blogging hobbies or are they planning an intervention?
My mom and dad are happy I have a worthwhile hobby, but they definitely get frustrated sometimes that I’m always reading or blogging! And most of my friends don’t know about my secret other life as a blogger, just because they wouldn’t understand. The few who do, actually think it’s really cool that I’m so into all of this.

11. Freebie question – You choose what question you would like to answer (Yes I know this a cop out)
What book should be made into a movie? – Firelight by Sophie Jordan. I’d love to see those dragons come to life, not to mention the really awesome world they live in!

Thanks for tagging me, Readinista! These were fun questions. :)

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On the Island by Tracey Garvis Graves (Review & Intl Giveaway)

Posted March 5, 2012 by Jana in Adult Fiction, Blog Tour, Book Review, Giveaway / 16 Comments

On the Island by Tracey Garvis Graves (Review & Intl Giveaway)On the Island by Tracey Garvis Graves
Series: On the Island #1
Also in this series: Uncharted
Published by CreateSpace on October 11, 2010
Genres: Contemporary Fiction, Contemporary Romance, Romance, Survival
Pages: 329
Format: eBook
Source: From the author
Amazon Add to Goodreads
5 Stars
When thirty-year-old English teacher Anna Emerson is offered a job tutoring T.J. Callahan at his family's summer rental in the Maldives, she accepts without hesitation; a working vacation on a tropical island trumps the library any day. T.J. Callahan has no desire to leave town, not that anyone asked him. He's almost seventeen and if having cancer wasn't bad enough, now he has to spend his first summer in remission with his family - and a stack of overdue assignments - instead of his friends.

Anna and T.J. are en route to join T.J.'s family in the Maldives when the pilot of their seaplane suffers a fatal heart attack and crash-lands in the Indian Ocean. Adrift in shark-infested waters, their life jackets keep them afloat until they make it to the shore of an uninhabited island.

Now Anna and T.J. just want to survive and they must work together to obtain water, food, fire, and shelter. Their basic needs might be met but as the days turn to weeks, and then months, the castaways encounter plenty of other obstacles, including violent tropical storms, the many dangers lurking in the sea, and the possibility that T.J.'s cancer could return. As T.J. celebrates yet another birthday on the island, Anna begins to wonder if the biggest challenge of all might be living with a boy who is gradually becoming a man.

I was pretty leery of this book. A 33-year-old woman and a 17-year-old boy? I was worried it would be written in a tasteless way, or that it would seem creepy. I was also worried that this book would be as boring as the movie Castaway. Nothing against the movie, but only so much can happen on an island. Gilligan’s Island was entertaining, but it was because of all the shenanigans. I was worried this would be either boring or cheesy. It definitely was not either of those things. As always, my main points are bolded. :)

1. The age difference is not weird, nor is it a big deal. Nothing happens until TJ is almost 19, so don’t worry. He has been through and conquered cancer, and he’s surviving on an island. He is very mature and has a lot of life experience. You will not be weirded out by this concept. I’m mentioning this first because it was the first thing that scared me about this book. Haha.

2. I was hooked from the first page and read over half of the book in one sitting. The beginning is particularly intense, as the plane crash and the process of making it to shore is pretty crazy. The whole book is intense, to be honest. I mean, these two went through everything! Health issues, vicious wildlife, constant worry, depression, etc. I seriously was hooked. I kept saying to myself, “Just one more chapter. Then I’ll go to sleep.”

3. I really liked the two main characters. They strengthened each other and became very close. Anna is smart and caring. She was a mother figure to TJ until he grew up. TJ is strong and incredibly mature. He really takes care of Anna. Their relationship was really very sweet, as it formed from a bond that most people will never understand. I appreciated that they waited on being intimate until TJ was the proper age. If it had happened when they first crashed and he was 16, I would have probably quit reading. I’m not going to spoil anything for you, but let me just say that some of the biggest obstacles they dealt with were not on the island. But they stuck together and pulled through. I love a strong set of characters, and these are probably some of the strongest I’ve ever read about.

4. The narration alternates back and forth between the two characters, allowing us to read what’s going on through both their minds. I loved that.

5. The descriptions of the island and the weather were very detailed and well done. I felt like I was there. Also, the intense moments (like animal attacks) were so intense that I almost quit blinking. I loved how the author took me to the exact moment and dropped me in the middle of it.

6. Remember how I said, “Only so much can happen on an island?” I was wrong! I read through years of these two and their island happenings, and I didn’t get bored once. That takes extreme talent on the author’s part. When over half the book consists of two people, an island, and nature, you would think there’s not much to work with. Things could get boring and repetitive really fast. The conversations and critical events kept me wondering what was going to happen next, and I actually wished that more of the book took place on the island.

7. The writing is flawless. I can’t believe it’s Tracey’s first book! Really, it was beautiful.

8. This book pulled intense emotions out of me. I was scared for these two, and I felt the love they had for each other. Their story is very moving–how they relied so heavily on each other, how they could not think of losing one another, how as long as they were together they would be ok. I mean, they were each others’ reasons for surviving. Talk about intense emotion. If someone got sick or hurt, the other one immediately dreaded life. And I was there for the whole thing. I felt all of it, and it was powerful.

9. There were funny moments too, don’t get me wrong. I laughed at some of the things they said to each other. I laughed at the chicken named “Chicken” who they adopted as a pet. I mean, the little guy curled up in Anna’s lap! How whimsical! They played with dolphins in the lagoon almost every day. And before they acted upon it, the sexual tension and the things they said to each other were hilarious.

10. I appreciated the authenticity of the story. Tracey did not sugarcoat anything. She made things seem believable. I mean, if you’re stranded on an island for a few years, you’re going to deal with gross hygiene, bad diet, crummy weather, sickness, and other dangers. This could really happen, and I think that’s part of why I loved it so much.

11. Everything was resolved. Have you ever read a book and flipped out because the ending just sucked? This ending did not suck at all. I loved it. You will too.

Overall, I am so glad I took a leap of faith with this book. I loved it. The writing was amazing, the story inspiring, and the characters well-rounded and loveable. It’s during instances like this one when I realize how truly grateful I am to be a book blogger. I’m exposed to lesser-known novels all the time, and most of them (like this one) deserve much more recognition. It’s an honor to be able to help spread the word when a book is this good. I’d recommend this to anyone who enjoys a good romance mixed with a ton of action, excitement, intrigue, and exotic places.

EDIT: I just noticed how many times I said “intense”. Oh. My. Gosh. 


a Rafflecopter giveaway

This tour runs through March 9th. To follow the other tour stops, which include author interviews, book excerpts, giveaways, and more reviews, click here.

Edit (June 13, 2012) – Tracey has announced on her blog, that Plume (an imprint of Penguin) bought On the Island, designed a new cover, and are publishing it! Her next novel was also bought up. She’s no longer a self-published author! I am SO excited for her, and so happy I was able to help get the word out about this book so many months ago. I love, LOVE this story and am SO excited about what’s in store for Tracey as a result!

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The Lifeguard by Deborah Blumenthal (Book Review)

Posted March 3, 2012 by Jana in Book Review, Young Adult / 7 Comments

The Lifeguard by Deborah Blumenthal (Book Review)The Lifeguard by Deborah Blumenthal
Published by Albert Whitman & Company on March 1, 2012
Genres: Contemporary Fiction, Paranormal, Romance
Pages: 227
Format: ARC
Source: From the publisher through Netgalley
Amazon Add to Goodreads
2 Stars
It's an unsettled summer for Sirena. Back in Texas, her family's splitting apart, but here in Rhode Island, at the cottage of her free-spirited aunt, it's a different world. There are long days at the beach and intriguing encounters with him. Pilot. He's the lifeguard with shamanic skills. He both saves her and makes her feel lost at sea. Sirena explores her obsession with Pilot and discovers his mysterious--almost magical--gifts.

I love summer beach reads, so when I found this book I was expecting the same kind of light, fluffy ocean-side romance you get when you see a cover like this and read a summary like that. I found myself rushing through this one, though, in the hopes of finish soon so I could move on to something else.  The beginning started off really well. It was intense and had me turning the pages really fast.  I was hoping it was setting the tone for things to come, but I ended up being disappointed in the end. As always, my main points are bolded. :)

1. The paranormal tone was a bit weak and out of place. Sirena discovered that the house she is staying in is full of little mini ghosts the size of saucers by taking some pictures of her basement room with a camera and then looking for little white blurs. And there’s a mysterious stingray (stingrays don’t live in those waters)… and shamans and healing. All these elements rolled into one made the story seem a bit disjointed.

2. I did not like Sirena very much. Her infatuation with the lifeguard, Pilot, was immature and annoying, not to mention stalkerish (she stole a painting of him from an art gallery because she’s so obsessed with him! That’s creepy!) and dripping with qualities of insta-love. Every time she sees him she goes into this inner fantasy world, describing every physical attribute multiple times and picturing herself doing all kinds of things with him. But they hardly know anything about one another! There is no basis for this infatuation other than looks. She’s also really depressed and a total downer. I understand that she’s healing from her parents’ divorce, but she definitely did not act her age (17) in this book. She acted like a star-crossed little tween infatuated by the first attractive guy she’s ever seen. Usually people grow from their trials and tribulations, but Sirena, for the most part, remained stagnant and frustrating. I just didn’t ever connect with her or find her to be an enjoyable character to read about.

3. I never learned much about Pilot. He hardly ever talked, just sat around looking hot. That’s fine and all, but I look for dynamism in my characters, and he was about as interesting to read about as Mr. July in a male swimwear calendar.

4. I liked Antonio, the 80-year-old artist. He’s a shaman, and knows a lot about natural healing (and Pilot knows a little too). I found those discussions interesting. He’s also very caring and understanding. I liked his deep thoughts about art and life. And I liked the dog Will. That dog has a stronger personality than both our male and female main characters.

5. There was a TON of description and very little dialogue. I don’t always mind it when that happens in a book, but the descriptions need to be really good if they are going to take up the bulk of the book. These were just ok, and I got kind of bored.

6. I did like the mysterious elements to the story. I liked them more, and they made more sense as the story progressed. Luckily, things are made a little clearer towards the end, but I still feel like there were some loose ends left untied.

7. Finally, I had no idea what I was supposed to be taking away from this book. There were times when I was rather lost and could not figure out what the point of the story was. There was no real plot, and things felt random and, at times, pointless. You can tell that the author got excited about the ending, so things did pick up a little. I just felt it was too little, too late.

I tried SO hard to love this one. I really did. I kept holding on, hoping that things would turn around and get better. I could see the potential, but just as things started to get interesting the author would switch gears. It was a bit of a bumpy road. Sadly, the promising premise started off well, but led downwards to an anti-climactic and disappointing conclusion.

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Cover Reveal & New Series: Lonely Souls by Karice Bolton

Posted March 1, 2012 by Jana in Cover Reveal, New Adult / 2 Comments

Hi! I’m here today to bring you the cover for the first book, Lonely Souls, in a brand new “new adult” series called The Witch Avenue Order by Karice Bolton. (New Adult is a relatively recent genre title to fit the older YA audience. It tends to be edgier than teen, but not quite adult content.The main characters will be in the 18-22 age group.) The cover was designed by Phatpuppy Art. I think it’s pretty cool looking, and the story sounds great as well!

Title: Lonely Souls (Witch Avenue Order #1)

Author: Karice Bolton (@KariceBolton)
Release Date: June 2012 (actual date still tentative)
Add It: Goodreads

It’s two weeks before Triss turns 18, and her world is about to change into the most magical one imaginable as she readies herself to enter The Witch Avenue Order… that is until her mother’s disappearance. Instead of celebrating her transformation, she finds herself spreading rose petals into her mother’s empty grave.
When Logan, her best friend from junior high, moves back to town for college, he vows to help her find the answers she so desperately seeks surrounding her mother’s disappearance. As they begin uncovering clues, it becomes apparent that the life of white magic they both grew up loving, is not what the majority practices, and their lives are in danger.
With a haunting feeling that her mother may still be alive, she begins to hear a call to the wilderness. Triss realizes that in order to find the answers she needs, she must learn the ways of her ancestors and become the hunter, not the hunted before it’s too late, and she becomes part of the lonely souls.

 

So, what do you think of the cover? Do you think this book sounds like something you’d be interested in reading? Let me know what you think!
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"Leap" into Books Giveaway Hop (Intl)

Posted February 29, 2012 by Jana in Giveaway / 163 Comments

Happy Leap Day! And thanks for stopping by! I’m excited to be participating in my very first blog hop! I embrace any and all reasons to celebrate a holiday, and Leap Year doesn’t just happen willy nilly! To celebrate, I’m giving you a really awesome book! I love giveaways where I get to choose my own prize, so I’m giving you a book up to $10 (USD) from The Book Depository (or Amazon if you’re in the USA). Just fill out the Rafflecopter below, and you’re all set!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

(Visit the other participating blogs in the linky found here.)

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The Intern by Jess C. Scott (Book Review)

Posted February 28, 2012 by Jana in Book Review, Young Adult / 5 Comments

The Intern by Jess C. Scott (Book Review)The Intern by Jess C. Scott
Published by Self on August 17, 2012
Genres: Contemporary Fiction, Contemporary Romance
Format: Paperback
Source: From the author
Amazon Add to Goodreads
0.5 Stars
17-year-old Suzie Q, smart kid and closet dance enthusiast, travels with a classmate to a world-class city for an internship program. She finds herself undeniably attracted to the suave hip-hop instructor, Jo.Zee, who recruits her into a dance fitness DVD he is producing. When Suzie sees (or thinks she sees) the real Jo.Zee, she must decide if she will trust him...or her instincts.

1. I’ve got extremely mixed feelings about this book. While I liked the idea, the execution was poor. The grammar was bad, the editing needed to be more precise, and the style bothered me. I found a ton of typos… It was written in first person, which takes talent that this author does not really have…

2. The details were too specific, especially regarding feelings. Nothing was left to the imagination. Jess spelled out every single emotion so you couldn’t put yourself in the character’s place.

3. There’s a lot of long descriptions of dance routines, which were so hard to follow. I could never picture in my mind the dances that the character(s) were doing. You have to be a Korean-Pop/Hip-Hop dancer to really understand, in my opinion. Maybe that’s not a big deal, but there’s a lot of it and I would have skimmed over those more if I were not planning to review this book.

4. Now, I really liked the story… and the idea. And I did find myself reading further to see what happened next. However, I found myself being confused by critical story elements, which is not normal for me. I don’t get confused by what I read… lol. Not to sound pretentious, but I’m a reading teacher, so my comprehension was not the problem. It was the writing. I had to read entire passages a second time to try and figure out what was going on.

I dunno. I liked the story, but the grammar and writing was sub-par. It all boils down to two things: it screams of being self-edited, and it screams of being self-published. I did not get the feeling that this was written by a professional, but more like someone who thought it might be a fun endeavor.

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Bookish Finds: Support Worldwide Reading! (w/ Discount Code)

Posted February 25, 2012 by Jana in Bookish Finds / 7 Comments

Bookish-FindsOriginal

Bookish Finds is a feature here at That Artsy Reader Girl, where I highlight awesome bookish things I come across during my exciting life.

Hi guys! I’m back with a gem of a bookish find for you today. It’s a company called Gone Reading International.

 

 

Who?
GoneReading markets a unique collection of brilliant products for the reading lifestyle, and donates 100% of after-tax profits to fund new reading libraries and other literacy projects in the developing world.

What?
Choose from hundreds of products made specifically for readers and book lovers, including many exclusives to GoneReading.  FREE Standard Shipping on all orders of $25 or more, and a 30-day Money-Back Guarantee.

Why?
Gone Reading International donates 100% of after-tax profits to fund new reading libraries and other literacy projects in the developing world.  Read more about Gone Reading International’s philanthropic mission.

(This text was pulled directly from GoneReading’s homepage.)

I love shopping, and I love it even more if it’s for a good cause. There are so many awesome products on this site, and I can’t wait to start spending way too much money there. I found lots of fun things while browsing including designer bookmarks (both card stock ones and metal charm ones), book journals, book ends, bookplates, book lights, bookish t-shirts, and even a game about books.

A book journal to write all your favorite quotes and passages down in! Love this idea.
Buy it here.


Harry Potter versus Twilight bookmark. They also have a Twilight versus Harry Potter one.
Buy them here and here.


I really like this one too!
Buy it here.


“It Was a Dark and Stormy Night” board game. It’s a game all about first lines and books! Sounds like fun!
Buy it here.


Look at these cute owl bookends! They also have flowers, fish, and dinosaurs. How cute for a kid’s room?
Buy bookends here.


They sell men’s and women’s t-shirts. Love this one!
Browse more shirts here.


Love this shirt too!

They have lots of other fun things as well, and what better reason do you need to shop than to help spread the love of reading to people everywhere?

The founder and CEO, Brad Wirz is offering a coupon code to my dedicated readers25% off everything except the bookends! This coupon expires one month from today (March 25th), and you can use it as much as want between now and then. You can even share it with your friends and family. Be sure to go and see what they’ve got and let me know if you purchase anything. :) Thanks so much, Brad, and good luck in your endeavors.

Here’s the code: JANAS25

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Wanderlove by Kirsten Hubbard (Book Review)

Posted February 24, 2012 by Jana in Book Review, Young Adult / 12 Comments

Wanderlove by Kirsten Hubbard (Book Review)Wanderlove by Kirsten Hubbard
Published by Delacorte Books for Young Readers on March 13, 2012
Genres: Contemporary Fiction, Contemporary Romance
Pages: 338
Source: From the publisher through Netgalley
Amazon Add to Goodreads
5 Stars
It all begins with a stupid question:

Are you a Global Vagabond?

No, but 18-year-old Bria Sandoval wants to be. In a quest for independence, her neglected art, and no-strings-attached hookups, she signs up for a guided tour of Central America—the wrong one. Middle-aged tourists with fanny packs are hardly the key to self-rediscovery. When Bria meets Rowan, devoted backpacker and dive instructor, and his outspokenly humanitarian sister Starling, she seizes the chance to ditch her group and join them off the beaten path.

Bria's a good girl trying to go bad. Rowan's a bad boy trying to stay good. As they travel across a panorama of Mayan villages, remote Belizean islands, and hostels plagued with jungle beasties, they discover what they've got in common: both seek to leave behind the old versions of themselves. And the secret to escaping the past, Rowan’s found, is to keep moving forward.

But Bria comes to realize she can't run forever, no matter what Rowan says. If she ever wants the courage to fall for someone worthwhile, she has to start looking back.

I love traveling. When I read the blurb for this book on Netgalley, I was sold before I even finished! This book changed my outlook on life. I feel like there was a little bit of me laced within the text. I felt like I was discovering the same things about myself as Bria did–like she was living the story I was supposed to be living. I’m kind of jealous she got to go on the trip, and I just read about it! There is not one thing about this book that I didn’t adore, so let’s begin the fangirl review right here. This is going to be really hard! I always have a really hard time writing a review for a book I love, so we’ll see how this goes!

1. Bria did something I would LOVE to do. She just picked up and went on this crazy adventure through Central America. Along the way, she learned so much about herself and gained a lot of life experience. Plus, she saw amazing places, experienced new things, met cool people, and fell in love. I envy her tenacity, and the fact that she had the guts to fly off on her own like that!

2. This book is artsy! Bria is an artist, and a traveler. Do you know who Bria really is? Bria is ME! Her love of art shone through everything she did, and everything she said. I totally identified with her for these reasons. Kirsten Hubbard is also artsy, thus one of the reasons I love her! She illustrated parts of this book with amazing little pictures! They added so much to the story. I’m totally buying a finished copy of this when it comes out. How can I not support a fellow artist? I can’t wait to see what this looks like when it’s all put together (and not on a Kindle screen).

3. Part of this book takes place in Belize! I love Belize! I was there two summers ago, and it was pretty amazing. It was extremely hot and humid and I was drenched and exhausted, but I loved it! Funny side story: I was held at gunpoint in a tiny little tour boat in the middle of the ocean by several men in the Belizean Coast Guard. The driver of the boat was in some trouble, apparently, and tried to jump out. At one point the tour guide mumbled under her breath, “This is where they kill us.” I’m pretty sure I was not supposed to hear that. Luckily, things got ironed out and we were sent on our way. But OH MAN. What a story, huh? Haha.

4. I loved Rowan. He’s this reformed bad-boy with a travel bug who hops around from destination to destination teaching diving courses and backpacking to hole-in-the-wall hostels where everyone already knows him. He just sounds pretty darn amazing. He’s really mysterious and hardened, but a softy when his walls are torn down. And he’s bookish. Yes please! Some of the banter between him and Bria was hilarious, and the tension between those two had me itching to read more and more about them.

5. The scenery. OH MAN. You can tell Kirsten Hubbard is a travel writer, because the scenery she wrote about was so perfectly described that I could feel the hot sun bearing down on me, the sand between my toes, and the humidity trying to suffocate me. The rainforests and waterfalls and mangroves and Mayan ruins and scenic lakes… I was totally there. This book felt so authentic and realistic. I do think it’s the most well done of all the books I’ve read with a travel element. I could not get enough of these descriptions, and I REALLY hope that Kirsten writes another travel book soon.

6. I loved the slow burn we experience with Bria and Rowan. There is no insta-love here, thank goodness. They start out tolerating one another and gradually move towards a friendship that you can tell is totally going places. It was so sweet and wonderful to read about. They fit so well together, but it takes them a while to fix themselves enough to notice. I loved seeing how they worked through their own problems, and helped each other when they could. They encouraged the best out of each other, which I loved. They were better together than they were apart.

7. Finally, this book brings good things out in me. I’ve got all these amazing goals now, to travel more, to practice my art more, to be spontaneous, to let my hair down and not worry what other people think, to look to the future, to develop other talents, to conquer fears, and to enjoy my life more.

I loved this book. I can’t say enough good things about it, and I feel like my review is extremely inadequate. This is the kind of book that everyone should read. It’s the kind of book that encourages you to take the bull by the horns and go with it. I just felt so refreshed by the end, like I had been the one to go on a whirlwind trip that changed my life. To me, books have always been an escape and this one did the best job at taking me somewhere. I would recommend this to anyone, but read with caution! You’ll end up catching Wanderlove, which I hear takes a whole lot of adventure and self-discovery to find the cure for.

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Someday My Prince Will Come by Jerramy Fine (Book Review)

Posted February 21, 2012 by Jana in Book Review / 5 Comments

Someday My Prince Will Come by Jerramy Fine (Book Review)Someday My Prince Will Come: True Adventures of a Wannabe Princess by Jerramy Fine
Published by Gotham on January 10, 2010
Genres: Chick Lit, Contemporary Fiction, Memoir
Pages: 320
Format: Hardcover
Source: Birthday present
Amazon Add to Goodreads
0.5 Stars
Most young girls dream of becoming a princess. But unlike most girls, Jerramy Fine never grew out of it. Strangely drawn to the English royal family since she was a toddler, Jerramy finds Peter Phillips (the Queen's oldest grandson) in a royal family tree when she is only six years old, and decides immediately that he will be her future husband.

But growing up with hippie parents (who gave her a boy's name!) in the middle of a rodeo-loving farm town makes finding her prince a much bigger challenge than Jerramy ever bargained for. She spends her childhood writing love-letters to Peter c/o Buckingham Palace, and years later, when her sense of destiny finally brings her to London, she must navigate the murky waters of English social circles, English etiquette and English dating. Along the way, she meets Princess Anne (Peter's mother), befriends Earl Spencer, and parties with the Duchess of York. Yet life is not the Hugh Grant movie she hoped it would be. Her flatmates are lunatics, London is expensive, and English boys can be infuriating. But just when she thinks it might be time to give up and return to America, Peter magically appears in her life.

As soon as I found this book while browsing on Goodreads, I was extremely excited to read it, and I’m sure you can understand why! It sounds like so much fun. Jerramy is a funny writer, and some of her stories are pretty entertaining to read. I’m going to get a little critical for a minute, though, and this is hard because I do not want to offend the author. In fiction, if you don’t agree with how a character is portrayed that’s ok. Because they are imaginary. In the case with non-fiction and memoirs, though, the characters are real people. Writing a memoir is brave because you open yourself and your world up to criticism from outsiders, and there were certain things about Jerramy’s story that rubbed me the wrong way. I think they are worth mentioning, though, because they will help readers decide whether or not this book is the right fit for them.

Jerramy complains about her parents, makes fun of them, talks about how they embarrass her to no end, and how she is convinced she was switched at birth. When she finally moved away to college, she could not wait to leave them behind in the dust. They were so low-class, compared to her. That made me sad, even though I could understand where she was coming from. Yes, they were eccentric hippies with skewed views and weird ways… but they were her parents, and whether or not they sent her a monogrammed tray for rolling joints, and told her to try opium in her home before she went to college so she’d know how she reacted… they were still her parents, and you could tell they loved her. I wish she had been a little more respectful in her writing about them.

When Jerramy finally got to London, she drank and partied her way into the most prestigious social circles, one hangover at a time. She couldn’t even remember the names of some of the guys she made out with with. At one point the guy she was on a date with knocked on the bathroom door to check and see if she was ok. Before she could open the door, she had to shove another guy out the window. Of course, people are free to make their own choices but I got a bit tired of reading about these encounters.

Regardless of my issues with the book, Jerramy never, ever gave up on what was important to her. No matter how far-fetched it seemed, no matter how insane her friends thought she was for hanging posters of the royal family in her teenage room, and no matter how many people tried to stand in her way, she never gave up. I have to give her props for her determination. She lost friends along the way, her grades in school suffered, she went into major debt, she had her heart broken by a lot of the guys she met along the way, and she cried a lot, but she never gave up. I don’t know if many people would have been that persistent. I learned a ton about English culture and the royal family.

I totally envy some of the things Jerramy got to do along the way. I mean, who else got to spend New Year’s Eve 1999 in India and ring in the millennium at the royal palace there? If I remember correctly, I had an awful cold and spent the night in bed watching a ballroom competition on TV. Oh yay. She got to live in London! I love all things Europe, so I was quite envious of that. She went to a lot of parties and events that sounded so glamorous. She did meet members of the royal family, and eventually Peter himself. No, that was not a spoiler. It even says it on the back of the book. So, not only was she stubborn, but she succeeded! Not many people get to live out their dreams. I think that’s pretty lucky.

Overall, if I take away anything from this book, it’s hope. Hope that I can achieve all the things I wish for myself if I work hard and press on, even when obstacles appear. While this book was not for me, I’d still recommend it to people looking for memoirs about college-aged characters, or those interested in England and the royal family.

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In My Mailbox (#1)

Posted February 19, 2012 by Jana in / 25 Comments

Hi guys! This is my very first IMM, and I’m so excited! I came across some wonderful books this week, and I’m excited to share them all with you! Vlogs terrify me, so let’s see how this turns out!

(Haha… The girl in a Long, Long Sleep is not a benefactor… She didn’t give anyone money!! She’s a long-lost heir to something… Haha… benefactor. Silly me! And WOW. I am pale! Haha. I’d blame it on winter, but I’m that pale all year, so I can’t!)

 

Purchased:

Valentine’s Presents (From my Mom): 

For Review:

Won:

I’d just like to thank all of you for supporting my blog! I love all the comments, e-mails, Tweets, Goodreads chats, and shout-outs on your blogs! I participated in the Book Blogger Love-A-Thon this week, and came away with some awesome new blogs to follow, some new friends, and a lot of warm fuzzies! Thanks to all of you who mentioned me, and came by to spread the love. I wish I could have participated more, but I was passing a kidney stone… Lame. But I love all of you! I’ll see you around the blogosphere, and can’t wait to get to know you better. :)

Now… what did you get this week? :) Link me to your posts and I’ll be sure to stop by! Or… tell me in the comments. :)  Thanks for stopping by!

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