Review: The Secret Me Book

The Secret Me Book by Rachel Kempster and Meg Leder
Genre: Journal
Published: April 1 2012 by Sourcebooks
Rating: 4

Discover what makes you, you...

What makes you tick and hum?
What quirks and habits are yours and yours alone?
who do you wish you could be?
who are you now?

The answers make up your "secret me," your soul's fingerprint.

Packed with creative and quirky prompts, ideas, and activities, The Secret Me Book gives you an inspiring way to get to know this core part of you.

Scribble thoughts, make lists, paste pictures, and doodle—all tapping into the real you.

What would you do if you won the lottery?
Is there a movie that defines you?
What's your secret talent?

Here's your secret me book—it's time to celebrate what you're made of.

I liked this book. It was one of those guided journals that give you a starting point, and let you think. It wasn't the best one I've ever done, maybe because I'm already very in tune with myself as a person and in tune with my personalities (what, you didn't know I had more than one?) but I did like it.

I'm not sure if it's aimed towards tweens, teens, or college students, but I feel like anyone who likes journaling and writing and being introspective would enjoy this journal. Writers would get a good use out of it, by using the questions and prompts on their characters rather than themselves (great inspiration!).

All in all I liked The Secret Me Book, just not as much as I liked some of the other guided inspirational journals I've used. It was large enough that there was plenty of space to write, and the layout/format was visually appealing, and that helped a lot.

Review: Jeff, One Lonely Guy

Jeff, One Lonely Guy by Jeff Ragsdale
Genre: Nonfiction, memoir
ISBN: 9781612183244
Published:March 20th 2012 by Amazon Publishing
Rating: 4 jeff-one-lonely-guy-book

In October 2011, Jeff Ragsdale, a down-and-out actor and stand-up comedian, posted a flyer around Lower Manhattan, asking people to call him if they wanted to talk. He thought he’d get a dozen calls; instead, he got hundreds, then thousands once pictures of the flyer went viral on the net. They came from all over the country and from as far away as Spain, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Taiwan, and Australia. Jeff spoke to as many people as he could, answering his phone all day long. Here are the conversations, texts, and voicemails of a particular moment in time—a hilarious, dark, intimate portrait of the way we live now.

Jeff, One Lonely Guy is about a man who made a sign with his cell number and posted it all over town, asking people to call or text him because he was lonely.

Interesting things happen when you pull this stunt. I've done it via Facebook, (and that's how I met my boyfriend) and girls have done it in chat rooms and they've ended up with stalkers. But Jeff's story turned out pretty amazing.

I enjoyed this book, but it was a little confusing. The texts and calls Jeff received were printed, but his responses weren't, so it was difficult to understand what was going on. There were paragraphs of his own reflection/interior monologue in italics sprinkled throughout the book, and they seemed out of place and irrelevant to the one-sided conversations.

However, I got to read snips and pieces of a lot of people's stories, and it was very inspiring.

From a reader's perspective, this book was a bit confusing. From a writer's perspective, this book is a jack-pot of story ideas. From a sociologist or psychologist's perspective, this tiny book could keep you busy and thinking about people and relationships and social structure for days.

Content/Recommendation: Adult content, ages 18+

Exploring Etsy: Being a Writer

There were so many things under the "writer" category… I'll have to do a Part II some time!

Lord Byron "If I Don't Write to Empty My Mind I Go Mad" Literary Writer Quote Writing Necklace

by Bookish Charm

You should also check out their other adorable charms! Look, it's a book!

Alice in Wonderland necklace

This Lined Paper pillow by Pilosale is the epitome of epic. She's got other really cute pillows too. Check it out!!

Limited Edition rose notebook by Arminho

Spring Bookends by Design Atelier Article

I love bookends! Here are two other designs I love:

Check them out!

Chunky leather notebook by Wee Bindery

Not sure if anyone out there knows how much I LOVE calligraphy, but just fyi, I LOVE CALLIGRAPHY. I might have to snatch these up.

Antique Fountain Pen Nib Earrings by Pieces of II

Writer's Blocks… hahahaha… love.

Photo Story Cube for Creative Inspiration by Sin Twister

Type Writer Necklace by Miniblings

This is an original illustration. --(with secret message) The word "live" is spelled out in red.

Unblocked!… by Citrus Tree Designs

If you have an etsy shop and would like to be featured, or a favorite etsy shop, please leave a comment with the link! I do a post every Thursday!

Review: Possession

Possession by Elana Johnson
Genre: Dystopian YA Fiction
ISBN: 9781442417618
Published: June 7th 2011 by Simon & Schuster
Rating: ?????

I haven't figured out how I feel about Possession. I'm not sure if it's a 5 star book or a 1 star book.

Short story: It's really good.

Long story: well, that's a bit more involved.

Reasons this book was really good:

  • Pacing: Excellent. One thing leads to another, it's almost impossible to put down, and the tension never really goes away.
  • Good dialogue, good but concise descriptions, catchy interior monologue.
  • Good characters.
  • Jag is really sexy.

Reasons I wanted to slam my head against a wall while I was reading it:

  • Jag is awesome. Vi is awesome. Their relationship? Extremely dysfunctional. They are freaking bi-polar. One minute they're having a decent conversation, the next someone jumps to a conclusion and gets emotionally hurt and storms off, twenty-four hours and a hot shower later, they're sorry and cuddling and making out. THIS IS NOT A GOOD EXAMPLE OF A RELATIONSHIP. Oh my word.
  • I got lost around Chapter 30. Stuff started happening, I could never tell if Vi was Vi or if she was dreaming, sometimes something would happen and it was a little cryptic, and confusing, and one thing stacked on top of another until by chapter 40 I was like "what the crap is going on?" I seriously closed the book and wasn't going to finish but I just HAD to know what happened. (I really should have quit while I was ahead.)
  • I got to the point where I couldn't tell who was the good guy and who was the bad guy, and I kind of stopped caring.

Reasons why the ending pissed me off:

  • The only bad guy who could have become good, didn't.
  • Then, the bad guys won.

Honestly, now that I've finished it, I really wish I hadn't. Luckily I checked Goodreads and found out it was book 1 in a series. Because THAT'S NOT AN ENDING. That was worse than The Hunger Games and Catching Fire endings!!!

Content/Recommendation: Some language and kissing, ages 16+

B & N coupons might possibly save money on Possession.

Waiting on Wednesday: Timepiece

Timepiece by Myra McEntire

I'm dying for this book. Michael is on my list of literary crushes. Emerson is that awesome female protagonist who thinks she's a lot bigger than she is. And the bad guy is just so terrible.

Honestly, I didn't like Hourglass's cover very much, but I like this one more, and I like how they match.

A threat from the past could destroy the future. And the clock is ticking...
Kaleb Ballard's relentless flirting is interrupted when Jack Landers, the man who tried to murder his father, timeslips in and attacks before disappearing just as quickly. But Kaleb has never before been able to see time travelers, unlike many of his friends associated with the mysterious Hourglass organization. Are Kaleb's powers expanding, or is something very wrong?
Then the Hourglass is issued an ultimatum. Either they find Jack and the research he's stolen on the time gene, or time will be altered with devastating results.
Now Kaleb, Emerson, Michael, and the other Hourglass recruits have no choice but to use their unusual powers to find Jack. But where do they even start? And when? And even if they succeed, it may not be enough...
The follow-up to Hourglass, Timepiece blends the paranormal, science fiction, mystery, and suspense genres into a nonstop thrill ride where every second counts.

Expected publication: June 12th 2012 by EgmontUSA | ISBN 9781606841457 | Amazon | Goodreads

Amazon coupons or promo codes may apply for Timepiece

Why I don't hate e-books, but don't own an e-reader

No, it's not because I'm broke.

Let's think for a second about piracy, censorship, and the internet in other countries besides our own.

Many countries today have strict laws about what can and can't be read. Many of those countries are the same ones with very strong controlling governments—China, Iran, Iraq, etc. Now let's pretend that somehow we managed to get an e-book of a political or religious book over to one of those countries. It's distributed by email and file sharing—which, yes, is piracy—and the education resulting from that e-book caused the people to start a revolution, and possibly change the lives of those people and their future generations forever.

Now am I saying piracy is okay? HELL no. But just because something is wrong doesn't mean good things don't come from it.

This has happened in the past. It's repeated through history: A country is over-controlled until they get education somehow some way, and they stand up and do something.

And how does this play into sharing the Gospel? Sharing an e-book of John is a lot easier—and less expensive—than sending a bunch of printed copies oversees, knowing that anyone caught with a copy in their home will be killed.

On a more local scale…

Sometimes I want to support an author, or buy a book, but I can't afford to pay $18.95 for a new book that I will only read once. Or sometimes an author offers me a review copy of their book that sounds really interesting, but they don't have a physical copy to mail me. Sometimes the school bookstore runs out of the novel I need for literature class, and I need to have it read by tomorrow. E-books to the rescue!

Now here are some valid reasons to buy e-books, but don't affect the reason I don't have an e-reader:

  • You can take them anywhere and they don't take up space
  • you can't lose them
  • They won't burn in a fire if your house burns down

And here are some valid reasons NOT to buy e-books or have an e-reader that don't affect my decision not to have one:

  • If you lose it, you lose ALL YOUR BOOKS
  • If it runs out of power, you're screwed
  • If your house burns down, your e-reader is still dead. your files are still online, but your expensive e-reader is probably ruined.

And here are the reasons I don't have an e-reader (but buy e-books for my laptop if I absolutely have to):

  • I'm broke
  • Books smell good
  • I like walking (okay crawling) into my secret library in the storage closet and seeing books stacked from floor to ceiling
  • for non-fiction, I HAVE to underline/write in the margins. In fact in class or when doing homework or studying, I can only concentrate when I am holding a pencil or pen in my hand.

So there you go. There's my random rambling for the day.

Teaser Tuesday: Possession

Today's teaser is from Possession by Elana Johnson.

"My dad broke away from the raiders and grabbed me by the shoulders. I'll never forget his eyes. Panicked and stern at the same time. He said, 'don't let Them control you, son. You have no duty to Them.' then he was yanked away, his hand stretched toward me still. He shouted, 'I love you! Stay true! Be yourself!' And then I watched him die." (page 105)

I'm really liking this book! Review coming soon!

Vi knows the Rule: Girls don't walk with boys, and they never even think about kissing them. But no one makes Vi want to break the Rules more than Zenn...and since the Thinkers have chosen him as Vi's future match, how much trouble can one kiss cause? The Thinkers may have brainwashed the rest of the population, but Vi is determined to think for herself.
But the Thinkers are unusually persuasive, and they're set on convincing Vi to become one of them...starting by brainwashing Zenn. Vi can't leave Zenn in the Thinkers' hands, but she's wary of joining the rebellion, especially since that means teaming up with Jag. Jag is egotistical, charismatic, and dangerous--everything Zenn's not. Vi can't quite trust Jag and can't quite resist him, but she also can't give up on Zenn.
This is a game of control or be controlled. And Vi has no choice but to play.

Possession is available on Amazon for $7.95 Hardcover, and $9.99 for the e-book. No I don't have those backwards. Now that is what I like to see.

Amazon | Goodreads | Excerpt

Just a thought

The Selection plot line sounds a whole lot like the Biblical story of Esther… anyone else agree?

For thirty-five girls, the Selection is the chance of a lifetime. The opportunity to escape the life laid out for them since birth. To be swept up in a world of glittering gowns and priceless jewels. To live in the palace and compete for the heart of the gorgeous Prince Maxon.
But for America Singer, being Selected is a nightmare. It means turning her back on her secret love with Aspen, who is a caste below her. Leaving her home to enter a fierce competition for a crown she doesn't want. Living in a palace that is constantly threatened by violent rebel attacks.
Then America meets Prince Maxon. Gradually, she starts to question all the plans she's made for herself- and realizes that the life she's always dreamed of may not compare to a future she never imagined.

Goodreads | Amazon

Teens ages 14-19: get paid for your story to be published!

One Teen Story is looking for stand-alone stories 2000-4500 words to publish in their magazine. You could be paid! Click here for more info and to submit!

Unreview: Kiss Crush Collide

Kiss Crush Collide by Christina Meredith

I was hoping for something a little more unique and individual from this book. As I started reading it, the main character's voice was nearly invisible: it was like she didn't have any character. I couldn't tell if she was haughty or shy, proud or embarrassed, or anything really.

In the first two chapters, stuff happened—but I couldn't tell you what, or why, or in what order, or how it was all related. Her thoughts and memories intertwined with her current experiences, but I couldn't keep track of what was what.

And really, the plot itself is very typical: girl has everything, boy is a mess, they fall in love and create a disaster but the sex is so good that it's worth it.


No thanks.

Exploring Etsy: The Hunger Games

The Hunger Games is coming out! Wheeee!!!!!


Pocket Watch

The Hunger Games book pendants by Book Beads


Hunger Games pin by The Bird & The Bee

The Hunger Games charm bracelet by Cissy Pixie

Girl On Fire necklace by jpogodesigns

The Hunger Games t-shirt by So You Think You Can Rock

Everdeen Family book of Herbs by Leatherworks

If you find something awesome on Etsy, or would like to be featured, leave a comment with a link!

Review: Knitting Never Felt Better

Knitting Never Felt Better by Nicky Epstein
Genre: Knitting
ISBN: 978-1936096367
Published: Nicky Epstein Books (April 3, 2012)

Rating: 5

With her signature style, the bestselling and beloved needlework author Nicky Epstein offers the best guide to felting. Using ten chic garments and more than 150 stunning sample swatches as examples, she covers the top techniques for turning wool yarn into vibrant and dense textures. Before and after shots show how different fabrics react to the process, and there are patterns, stitches, and techniques for lace, mosaics, cables, plaids, checks, and quilting.A Selection of the Crafter's Choice Book Club.

This book is not so much a pattern book as it is an encyclopedia. There are some projects, but the focus is techniques. I love designing my own patterns – I never follow other people's patterns if I can make my own – and this book is perfect for designers who are looking for new ways to felt.

This book shows you how to felt shapes into your work, create patterns and designs, and utilize texture, shape, and color for some really cool effects.

Recommendation: Knitters who are just getting started in felting, or looking for some new techniques to incorporate into their felting.

Waiting on Wednesday: Magic Under Stone

Magic Under Stone

Technically this book is published, I just have to find some money so I can buy it. I've been waiting for this book since I got the ARC forever ago! Here's my review for the first book in the series.

For star-crossed lovers Nimira and Erris, there can be no happily ever after until Erris is freed from the clockwork form in which his soul is trapped. And so they go in search of the sorcerer Ordorio Valdana, hoping he will know how to grant Erris real life again. When they learn that Valdana has mysteriously vanished, it's not long before Nimira decides to take matters into her own hands—and begins to study the sorcerer's spell books in secret. Yet even as she begins to understand the power and limitations of sorcery, it becomes clear that freeing Erris will bring danger—if not out-and-out war—as factions within the faerie world are prepared to stop at nothing to prevent him from regaining the throne

Published February 28th 2012 by Bloomsbury| ISBN 9781599906430 | Amazon | Goodreads

Old Friends: Many Waters

Many Waters by Madeline L'Engle

The first sci-fi/fantasy/supernatural book I ever read was A Wrinkle in Time. Years later (like, four years later) I found out that there were WAY more books in the series. I read the next three, but Many Waters was my favorite.

Many Waters is about Meg's two younger brothers. They went into their parents lab to make hot cocoa and accidently transported themselves backwards in time to before the Biblical flood.

Things I remember included traveling through the desert and finding people who spoke an old language and for some reason they could understand it. They were all about 4 feet tall, and didn't wear clothes. The women were sleeping with the angels, and some of them were dying because the children being born were half the woman's size. Then the main female character was sent up to become a star in the sky, because she couldn't go on the boat, and everyone else would be killed.

If you read A Wrinkle in Time, or any of the other books, I sincerely recommend Many Waters. You don't have to read A Wind in the Door and A Swiftly Tilting Planet in order to read this one, because it's about the twins, not Meg or Charles Wallace. (and for that matter, #2 and #3 were a little odd anyway.)

FYI, the cover of this book says A LOT. It's like the whole story, all the symbolism, the biblical references, all on one page. I wish they made covers like this now…

Published May 1st 2007 by Square Fish (first published 1985) | 9780312368579 | Amazon | Goodreads | Series

Things to do when you have a sprained ankle

I sprained my ankle, as I mentioned before.

So here are some things, for those of you who may sprain your ankle in the near future (though I would hope you don't) or those of you who are already on crutches.

  1. drink lots of coffee, because sitting in one place for an extended period of time will put you to sleep.
  2. get ahead on your blog meme posts. (I have my Waiting on Wednesday and Old Friends and Exploring Etsy posts for the next month saved as drafts and ready to go live. This will save me time during finals week)
  3. Study your French verbs in Passe Compose. (there should be acute accents over the "e"s but I don't know how to put them there)
  4. Do Pilates. You don't need your Fibularis Brevis to do pilates: all you need are your Abdominals and Gluteus Max, Med, and Min.
  5. Play Angry Birds.
  6. Read books
  7. Crochet an obnoxious amount of Bunsweaters (I've made like eight over the past two days)
  8. Knit matching leg warmers to go with the bunsweaters.
  9. Work on your upper body strength by hauling yourself around on crutches. (My arms hurt worse than my foot right now)
  10. Make lists on your blog.

Any other ideas? I'm a little desperate. Leave them in the comments.

And as the Kitty hath wrote, Thxbyebye!

Teaser Tuesday: An Uncommon Education

An Uncommon Education by Elizabeth Percer

I mostly read YA fiction, but I made an exception for this one, because it sounded really interesting (especially because I'm an English major) because it had to do with Shakespeare!

A young woman tries to save three people she loves in this elegant and remarkably insightful coming-of-age debut.

Afraid of losing her parents at a young age—her father with his weak heart, her deeply depressed mother—Naomi Feinstein prepared single-mindedly for a prestigious future as a doctor. An outcast at school, Naomi loses herself in books, and daydreams of Wellesley College. But when Teddy, her confidant and only friend, abruptly departs from her life, it's the first devastating loss from which Naomi is not sure she can ever recover, even after her long-awaited acceptance letter to Wellesley arrives.

Naomi soon learns that college isn't the bastion of solidarity and security she had imagined. Amid hundreds of other young women, she is consumed by loneliness—until the day she sees a girl fall into the freezing waters of a lake.

The event marks Naomi's introduction to Wellesley's oldest honor society, the mysterious Shakespeare Society, defined by secret rituals and filled with unconventional, passionate students. Naomi finally begins to detach from the past and so much of what defines her, immersing herself in this exciting and liberating new world and learning the value of friendship. But her happiness is soon compromised by a scandal that brings irrevocable consequences. Naomi has always tried to save the ones she loves, but part of growing up is learning that sometimes saving others is a matter of saving yourself.

An Uncommon Education is a compelling portrait of a quest for greatness and the grace of human limitations. Poignant and wise, it artfully captures the complicated ties of family, the bittersweet inevitability of loss, and the importance of learning to let go.


On the day after my mother's death, I returned to 83 Beals Street for the first tiem n fifteen years. I had stolen something from there when I was almost nine years old and kept it long after my father was well again and it was clear that my mother was in the final stages of her decline. I suppose it was one of many talismans, real and imagined, I began collecting around that age to help me believe that what I told myself just might be true. ~ Page 3, ARC, of An Uncommon Education


Expected publication: May 1st 2012 by Harper | 9780062110961 | Amazon | Goodreads

Explore Etsy: Homemade Beauty Supplies

Today I want to share some cool Etsy stuff with you! These are all things from my favorite shops. This week's theme is Organic Beauty Supplies, like soaps, lip balm, lotions, etc.

Dark chocolate soap made by Herbivore Botanicals

Heidi's Handmades also makes a Chocolate soap!

Heidi also makes Chocolate Satin and Silk Cream…

ahhhh I can smell the chocolate now…


Dead Sea Mud shampoo bar by Milk And Honey Naturals.

"My entire solid shampoo line is Ph balanced, Sodium Lauryl and Laureth Sulfate Free, Paraben Free and Phthalate Free. This bar is super moisturizing, makes an amazing fluffy lather and leaves hair clean, clarified and full of volume without stripping hair of its natural oils. Perfect for all hair types"

Sandalwood Rose Perfume by BLSoaps

"Our perfume oils are blended with a minimum of 30% aromatic compounds (fragrance oils, essential oils, absolutes, resins, etc). They are grounded in a base of fractionated coconut oil, a lightweight oil designed to absorb into your skin easily while allowing the fragrance to linger."

Vanila Fragrance Oil and Jasmine Fragrance Oil by Bathworld

Bathworld has some really yummy stuff! I also love the look of their Coffee soap. I mean, coffee is amazing by itself. You go and make it into soap? can life get any better?

If you know me at all, you know I have a "thing" for coffee. This Espresso Bean lip balm by Larson Farm Naturals looks epic.

I never would have thought to put Charcoal in my soap… but this is Charcoal and Green Tea facial soap from SnappyRockerfish Soap

Citrus Splash Sugar Scrub—try saying THAT five times fast—from Heidi's Handmades.

Well I think that's enough to either make you really want to take a hot shower with organic soap, or go bankrupt on Etsy. I've got to warn you, Etsy is almost as addicting as blogging!


If you have an Etsy shop and you'd like to be featured one day, leave a comment with your link! My shop is The Yarn Cat.

Musician interview: Jenny and Tyler

So I found this awesome album via Noisetrade. If you don't know what that is, you should go look it up. Especially if you're interested in blogging about music. I've been listening to this album for like, the past 2 weeks straight. I've added some of the songs to my antidepressant playlist on Youtube. Meet Jenny and Tyler in their new album, Faint Not!

Jenny and Tyler are a married couple who sing songs together. How sweet is that??! Today they're visiting The Life and Lies for an interview.
1. What inspired you to write your song Carry Me?
I wrote Carry Me one morning while I was having coffee at my favorite coffee shop here in Nashville. I was journaling and meditating and was really hit with the reality of grace in that moment. I had an overwhelming sense of gratitude for the Lord and his mercy. I realized that I've messed up a lot in my life and that the Lord has forgiven. What's more, it's incredibly likely that I am going to continue to mess up, and it is certain that the Lord will continue to forgive. I knew this, but it was as if I was realizing it for the first time.  In my weakness, he is strong. -Jenny
2. Which of your songs do you think is your best, or your favorite?
It's hard to choose favorites. I think that my best song is one from our new record (to be released April 3rd) called Skyline Hill. It's about beauty in creation, relationships, and grace. Tyler's favorite is one from our very first record entitled Called Beauty. Called Beauty comes from Ezekiel 16 and is about an adulterous woman. She seeks other lovers for satisfaction but her husband continues to love and pursue her. It's a picture of God's love for Israel and for us. We often seek things apart from Him, yet he offers us grace.
3. Where do you get inspiration for your music?
Inspiration comes from many places: our relationship with God, our relationship with each other, friends, social issues, books, experiences.
4. How do you two work together to write the lyrics and the music? how does the creation process work?
We tend to write separately and then bring songs to each other to finish together. It's a really fun process. We've learned how to work together well without hurting each other's feelings. It can be difficult to work so closely with your spouse!
5. I read on your homepage you moved, quit your jobs, and started making music full time. How has your relationship with Christ and with each other changed since you've taken that leap of faith? How would you encourage young Christians to trust Christ and take potentially dangerous steps like that?
I think all of the changes and steps that we've made to make music full time have been incredibly strengthening for our relationship. It's been hard at times, but we've learned to really rely on one another and the Lord. We've really become our own family and I think that's important for young couples to do. Honestly, for us it just felt really right to attempt music full time. We spent time in prayer and seeking the Lord and counsel from others and it just made sense. We felt like we had nothing to lose - if it didn't work out, we'd try something else. I don't think that quitting your job is the right thing for everyone to do. We're all called to different things in different ways. But if you feel that the Lord is asking something of you, even if it seems hard or impossible, don't be afraid to be obedient and go for it.
Thank you to Jenny and Tyler! I encourage you all to check out their music and, if you can, see one of their shows. Their tour schedule is on their website.

Review: Wanderlove

Wanderlove by Kristen Hubbard
Genre: YA
ISBN: 9780385739375
Published: March 13th 2012 by Delacorte Books for Young Readers

Rating: 5

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.
Kirsten Hubbard lends her artistry to this ultimate backpacker novel, weaving her drawings into the text. Her career as a travel writer and her experiences as a real-life vagabond backpacking Central America are deeply seeded in this inspiring story.

Wanderlove was one of the most refreshing books I've read in a very long time. It's against the grain, unique, one of a kind, and inspiring.

So. This is why I loved it.

The characters were real. Bria is a real girl with real problems and real memories. She was really hurt, and as a reader, I felt it, and even though (as she says in the book) other people out there in third world countries have big problems, her problems were big to her, and they were real to her. And because they were real to her, they were real to me. Rowan was a guy with a screwed up past, trying to stick to the straight and narrow, but it's hard when you're just prone to being a bad boy. His memories haunt him and give him so much depth that I wouldn't have him any other way.

The relationship between Bria and Rowan was a beautiful breath of fresh air. Yes they had their arguments, yes they had their miscommunications, but for the most part, they communicated with each other—or at least tried—they worked together and made sacrifices for each other, and they forgave each other. They apologized for the real stuff—sometimes the small stuff, but stuff that had actually hurt the other person, no matter how small. BUT! Hubbard managed to write this whole beautiful relationship WITHOUT making it a victim of Happyland Syndrome. Gold stars for her!

The plot was a total surprise the whole way through. Because of the concept of the story (backpacking wherever they felt so inclined without planning ahead too much), the plot had to reflect that free-flowing laidback unplanned feeling, the feeling that it was all happening randomly and the characters (and therefore the author) were making spontaneous decisions. And it did: I never knew what would happen next. But I always knew it would be excellent.

The writing was great! It was so descriptive that I feel like I've watched a movie or an advertisement for a vacation (but without the annoying sales pitch), or maybe looked at photographs of the area… and at times, I could feel the sand between my toes and the water lapping at my ankles, and the sun on my face. I went headlong into this story and got lost in it.

I loved the ending. It was one of those open endings where you know what happens, but you don't know how, and that's okay because you know it turned out wonderfully. There was enough of a conclusion that I felt like the story was complete when I got to it, but not so much that it threw me out of the story in a jolt. (Also: love the cover. It's perfect.)

Lastly: The message. I'm not going to spoil anything, or give it away, or take away your reason to read it. But, there's a wonderful (subtle un-preachy) message in this book about past memories, future hope, trust, and what it means to change as a person. Bria grew up. She kept her fun-side, but she grew up. Rowan grew up too (it took him a little longer, but he managed). And they're going to continue to grow together. I loved watching it happen, and I hope you get a chance to see it too.

Content/recommendation: No sex, maybe 1 bad word total? It was wonderful. Ages 14+

*This would make an excellent summer read! Add to your vacation lists!*

Kristen Hubbard is giving away 3 autographed and doodled hardcovers of Wanderlove! Check out the Wanderlove website to submit photos of your own to be entered in the contest!

Amazon | Goodreads | Author Website | Wanderlove Website

Waiting on Wednesday: Katana, Rebel Heart, and Charlie Madigan

Okay, the cover caught my attention: Cherry blossoms, a Japanese symbol, and SWORDS? CAN I HAS SWORDS?? On a side-note, I like that I can see Rileigh but I can't see her face. I don't like seeing faces on book covers because it gives too much of a physical identity to the character, when I like to see them in my head, not on the cover of the book.

Also, since I'm dating a martial artist who is totally—but won't admit to being—a samurai, I know how sexy  martial artists can be ;D

Also: That little witty phrase in the summary tells me this book is going to be really fun to read.

Technically it's already published. But I still really want to read it. So I'm posting it. Because I can.

Rileigh Martin would love to believe that adrenaline had given her the uncanny courage and strength to fend off three muggers. But it doesn't explain her dreams of 15th-century Japan, the incredible fighting skills she suddenly possesses, or the strange voice giving her battle tips and danger warnings.

While worrying that she's going crazy (always a reputation ruiner), Rileigh gets a visit from Kim, a handsome martial arts instructor, who tells Rileigh she's harboring the spirit of a five-hundred-year-old samurai warrior.

Relentlessly attacked by ninjas, Rileigh has no choice but to master the katana--a deadly Japanese sword that's also the key to her past. As the spirit grows stronger and her feelings for Kim intensify, Rileigh is torn between continuing as the girl she's always been and embracing the warrior inside her.

Rebel Heart, #2 in Dustlands (Blood Red Road review here)

I CAN'T WAIT FOR THIS BOOK! I loved BRR. Although I will admit, I don't like this cover at all. And I don't like the new cover for BRR either. I loved the original one. In fact it's what caught my attention and said "Hey Haley! This is the kind of book you would love!!"

This new cover? If I wasn't already in love with the series and the characters, I would never touch it.

The Tonton have been defeated. Lugh has been rescued.
The heartstone has brought Saba and Jack together.
Now, Saba and her family head west to meet him and start a new life. All should be well.
But shadows of the dead are stalking Saba.
And another kind of shadow is creeping over the dustlands.
Then a messenger shows up.
With news of Jack.

Shadows Before the Sun

You know I've been following this series since the first one came out, and waiting for every single one. They're addicting, have good endings (but still cliffhangers) and are so my thing. I have a weakness for bad-ass female protagonists… if that makes any sense to have a weakness for someone who embodies strength.

Rambling over. Onto the summary!

After filling out mountains of paperwork, Detective Charlie Madigan sets out for a death-defying trip into heavenly Elysia to rescue her partner Hank and bring the siren home. Of course, she doesn’t expect to leave behind an all out siren revolution or return home to find that jinn crime boss, Grigori Tennin, has begun a massive search for the divine being, Ahkneri. Tennin’s tactics set off a chain reaction that puts Charlie in the crosshairs of the shadowy creature known as Death and awakens Ahkneri from her long sleep. And when Vengeance rises, Atlanta will never be the same.

What are you waiting for?

Review: Every Other Day

Every Other Day by Jennifer Lynn Barnes
Genre: YA Paranormal
ISBN: 9781606842676
Published: December 27th 2011 by Egmont USA

Rating: 3

Warning: Spoilers ahead. And they'll probably be in all caps.

I have mixed feelings about Every Other Day.

The good:

  1. It literally got my adrenaline pumping. Barnes has a good voice for YA novels.
  2. I loved the protagonists and I hated the antagonists. I love Skylar, she's my favorite! I would want her to be my little sister. I love Bethany! (well, in a love-hate kind of way. I like her snark and her sarcasm.) I love Kali. She's totally my favorite kind of kick-ass heroine with supernatural powers.

The not so good:

  1. I almost stopped reading this book a few times. Once right in the middle of chapter 2, because what was happening didn't really click with what the summary said was going to happen. I put it down for a while. When I finally picked it up again, it got exciting right at the end of that chapter.

    I tore through it until right before the halfway mark, when something happened and I took it the wrong way and thought "oh no, she's turning into a vampire, it's one of THOSE books," and got really mad, and wanted to quit again. But I kept reading and discovered my assumption was incorrect. And then I read some more and I discovered that she was, indeed, part vampire. I mean, I guess I should have known what with the hourglass filled with blood. But seriously?

    Point is, it was hard for me to read for an extended period of time, because I got frustrated.
  2. I couldn't quite tell if it had a plot, or just a lot of events that happened. (See my post about plotless books here for more about that.)
  3. It took me a good long time to get through it. For something so exciting, you would think it would be easier to read more than two or three chapters at a time. I'm not sure why: Maybe the drama was getting to my head and I just had to put it down.
  4. WHAT THE CRAP IS WITH SKYLAR DYING OMIGOD SHE WAS MY FREAKING FAVORITE!!!!1 *breathes* okay Haley, you can handle this… be professional… *sobs and hits head against wall* Okay you can't just kill off a main character like that. Skylar was the reason I kept reading the book and then YOU KILLED HER.
  6. That was not an ending. It needed like, four more sentences. Also: the fact that it is totally the first book in a series? Gah. What's wrong with writing stand-alones?

Obviously, for me, there is more bad than good: but, it was addicting enough that I HAD to finish it.

So. You can decide if you want to read it or not. It really depends on your taste, and what you want in a YA novel.

Recommended for ages 14+

Do you network?

These are the social networks I'm on. Follow me on them, leave a link in the comments to yours, and I'll follow you back!
of course, Facebook.

On Scribd, I put some of my documents and knitting patterns. Soon I'll have excerpts of my books up there.

I'm trying to use Twitter more. I've started by tweeting all my posts and reviews and giveaways.

I am on Tumblr, but I'm just starting to use it. There isn't much up there (Mostly Nerdfighter stuff). I haven't quite decided what I'll use it for. But if you're so inclined, you can check it out.

On Pinterest, I pretty much just post pretty stuff and yummy stuff and handknits. Because I'm awesome like that.

And of course, The Yarn Cat (my etsy shop) which reminds me: I am going to start featuring awesome Etsy people once a week here on my blog! If you have a favorite item, shop, or if you have a shop and would like to be featured, leave a comment and let me know!

<---hehe remember this little guy? :D actually it has a bow, so it's probably a girl…


Copyright 2016 Haley Mathiot. All reviews are 100% honest and unbiased. One or more items featured in the blog post may have been free or discounted. Receiving free or discounted product does not affect review. For more please see my disclaimer page.