Top Ten Tuesday: Our Favorite Reads of 2015!

Our Top Ten Favorite Reads of 2015!

As always, Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and The Bookish! Go checkout their blog!

Alright, we split this one into two, so we each chose our top five favorites so far! (Which is really good for us because of the fact that we read a lot of series books! I count a whole series as one book. You can’t just like one out of a series! IT’S NOT POSSIBLE!)

Anyways, here are Kelly’s Top Five Favorite Reads of 2015 (so far):

1. Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

Throne of Glass (Throne of Glass, #1)

Sarah J. Maas is an obsession around this blog, if you can’t already tell. Take a look at Lauren’s top five as well. *WINK*

2. Trial by Fire by Josephine Angelini

Trial by Fire (Worldwalker, #1)

I just absolutely adore this book. It’s an amazing read and I’m pushing it on everyone around me. Seriously, go look at my Twitter! Also… ROWANNNNNNN!!!

3. An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir

An Ember in the Ashes (An Ember in the Ashes, #1)

This story was just so beautiful and I was so enthralled with this world! Plus, I just love Elias… I NEED MORE! I can’t wait until Sabaa comes out with the sequel!

4. Daughter of Smoke & Bone by Laini Taylor

Daughter of Smoke & Bone (Daughter of Smoke & Bone, #1)

Oh my goodness, between the secondary characters and how much I just love them all in addition to my insane love of Karou and Akiva… gosh I could just die. Laini’s writing is such poetry and this entire series was just purely beautiful!

5. The Night We Said Yes by Lauren Gibaldi

The Night We Said Yes

My insane love for this book comes from my connections to it. Between the situation Ella was in, the inner turmoil she faces, and the need for her best friend, it all just struck a chord for me. I cried for a while reading this one. It’s like my what I wish my life was in book form…

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Here’s Lauren’s Top Five Favorite Reads of 2015!

1. A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas

A Court of Thorns and Roses (A Court of Thorns and Roses, #1)

My first ever adventure into the Fae world or a Sarah J. Maas book, and I LOVED EVERY MINUTE OF IT!!! Can’t wait for August to read Throne of Glass series with a few friends. (Feel free to join us! More info coming soon!!!)

2. Devoted by Jennifer Mathieu

Devoted

I have to give Stefani the credit for getting me to read this one. A little hesitant to start at first, but once I started reading, I couldn’t put it down. I really hope she writes a sequel to this!

3. Kiss of Deception by Mary E. Pearson

The Kiss of Deception (The Remnant Chronicles, #1)

As of today, I still have 100 pages to read, but this book is such a fun read. I’m reading it with a couple of other girls for our July Swanky Saturday buddy read, and I can’t wait to discuss this with them! (EMILY AND CHELSEA WE NEED TO TALK!)

4. I’ll Meet You There by Heather Demetrios

I'll Meet You There

If you like a book that will pull at your heart, this is definitely one for that. I enjoyed getting to see the interactions betweens the characters and how they handle certain problems life throws their way.

5. The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken

The Darkest Minds (The Darkest Minds, #1)

Read this one with Kelly a few months back and LOVED it! A great start to a series and I’m looking forward to reading the others in the series soon!

What are your top favorites of this year? Do we have any of the same ones? Are there any that we posted that are on your TBR lists? If so, we will definitely fangirl excessively about them and force you to read them next. 😉

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Coming Up:

SPECTACULARLY SWANKY SATURDAY is this FRIDAY in observance of the 4th of July in the U.S. 

Have you buddy read with anyone recently? Take it to your blog or our comments and post it on Friday! Interview each other, GIF your feelings, review it, debate about it, whatever you want to do! Make it fun! Grab a Swanky Saturday button, which are posted on the right hand side of the blog, and have a blast! We encourage you guys to get involved and it’s a great conversation starter!

Reviews and more reviews!

Henrietta the Dragon Slayer by Beth Barany – Coming TONIGHT!

Tangled Webs by Lee Bross – Coming Soon!

The Leveller by Julia Durango – Coming Soon!

Paperweight by Meg Haston – Coming Soon!

Rebel Mechanics by Shanna Swendson – Coming on Sunday for Nori’s Sunday Street Team!

We hope you all are enjoying your summer!

❤ Lauren and Kelly

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*GIVEAWAY* ARC Review: Emmy & Oliver by Robin Benway

Emmy & Oliver by Robin Benway:

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Genre: YA Contemporary

Publisher: HarperTeen

Publication Date: June 23rd, 2015

Goodreads Rating: 3.92 stars

Pages: 352

Synopsis:

Emmy’s best friend, Oliver, reappears after being kidnapped by his father ten years ago. Emmy hopes to pick up their relationship right where it left off. Are they destined to be together? Or has fate irreparably driven them apart?

Emmy just wants to be in charge of her own life.

She wants to stay out late, surf her favorite beach—go anywhere without her parents’ relentless worrying. But Emmy’s parents can’t seem to let her grow up—not since the day Oliver disappeared.

Oliver needs a moment to figure out his heart.

He’d thought, all these years, that his dad was the good guy. He never knew that it was his father who kidnapped him and kept him on the run. Discovering it, and finding himself returned to his old hometown, all at once, has his heart racing and his thoughts swirling.

Emmy and Oliver were going to be best friends forever, or maybe even more, before their futures were ripped apart. In Emmy’s soul, despite the space and time between them, their connection has never been severed. But is their story still written in the stars? Or are their hearts like the pieces of two different puzzles—impossible to fit together?

Readers who love Sarah Dessen will tear through these pages with hearts in throats as Emmy and Oliver struggle to face the messy, confusing consequences of Oliver’s father’s crime. Full of romance, coming-of-age emotion, and heartache, these two equally compelling characters create an unforgettable story”

You can buy this book on Amazon here!

You can buy this book on Barnes and Noble here!

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Robin Benway:

From Robin’s website, which you can find here!

“I’m the author of “Audrey, Wait!”, “The Extraordinary Secrets of April, May & June”, and the AKA series. My latest book “Emmy & Oliver” will be released on June 23, 2015. I live in Los Angeles with my extremely stubborn shih tzu, Hudson. I like cooking, puppies, and coffee, but not in that order. We should be friends.”

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My Review:

Honestly, I like this book. I can’t lie and say that I didn’t. I was engaged with the story and the characters and I wanted to keep reading through to the end. I wanted to know what happened… but that’s just it… I was just reading. I didn’t feel like I was involved in the story at all. I didn’t cry, I didn’t smile, I laughed once when Oliver referenced the eye lash curler as a medieval torture device (which I fully believe to be true), but there was no connection for me. I could see the reasoning behind the story, the characters, the ending, but I felt nothing. There was no book coma when I finished and I was actually just peaceful and slightly irritated that I didn’t feel a connection. I believe that it may be time for me to get back to fantasy novels, sword fights, assassins, and extreme fantastical worlds where anything can happen and characters can die in an instant. I’m blaming my disconnect on that need.

In the meantime, Here’s what I did like about Emmy & Oliver:

1. The characters and their friendship

Emmy, Oliver, Caro, and Drew were all very real characters. They had roller coasters of emotions, real life problems, and for the most part, were relatable. They’re all just teenage kids trying to live day by day in their messed up lives while figuring out how to deal with the emotions thrown at them because of an insanely unfair occurrence. Throughout this entire novel, they were constantly working on their friendship and being there for each other too. I loved that. It was wonderful and inspiring reading about true friends and people who stick together, no matter what. Was I able to truly relate with any of them? No. But, that doesn’t mean you can’t. 

2. The character development.

I did like the character development I saw with Emmy and Oliver. Both characters, after going through such an ordeal, had to learn how to become themselves again. They had to learn how to stand up for themselves, open up and share their emotions, and get along with each other and their families. That’s not easy for anyone to go through, let alone teenagers. Their situation was strange and I was happy to see that they took the unfortunate experience, learned from it, and grew. That is important. Because of this, I will say that I was never irritated with these two at all. They were extremely mature for their age (17) and i thoroughly enjoyed their ability to handle the situations they came across.

3. The slow burn.

I did enjoy the fact that Emmy and Oliver had to ease back to their 2nd grade relationship (come on now, it’s no spoiler. Their names are in title. You know they’re getting back together) and didn’t just run into each others arms like love at first sight all over again. Emmy even acknowledges that Oliver is a stranger when she first sees him again. The building back up of their friendship was the most relatable part of this book to me and I really enjoyed it. There was just something so beautiful about the way they slowly opened up to each other and found their solace in one another.

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And here is what I didn’t like:

1. The disconnection of emotion.

Like I said before, I just felt like I really had no connection to the characters or their emotions. I didn’t feel pulled into the story at all. I wasn’t worried that something was going to happen to any of them and I had no fear that Emmy and Oliver would break up. I just kind of… read the book… and that so rarely happens that when I finished it, it took me a bit to realize why I kind of felt a little irritated…

2. The parents.

Gosh the parents. I understand why they are the way they are, but goodness I wanted to punch them in the face and be like, “LISTEN. I UNDERSTAND YOUR DILEMMA BUT YOU’RE BEING A HORRIBLE PARENT RIGHT NOW AND TEACHING YOUR CHILD NOTHING!” But then again… I don’t necessarily fully understand the love of a parent for their child because I don’t have one. All I know is that the way they acted towards their children irritated me beyond belief. This could all be solved if people would just listen!

Overall, I’m giving Emmy & Oliver a rating of 3.5 hearts. 

   

I did still like it, so I can’t find it in me to just give it three, but I was so disconnected from the book by the end of the story that I really didn’t enjoy it all that much. 

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The Giveaway!

Though Emmy & Oliver wasn’t for me, I’d like to give this book a chance for someone else to love it more than I did. So, I’m giving it away! I honestly hope that whoever gets this book likes it as much as everyone else seems to! Everyone else is raving and I feel like I’m just sitting here looking suspiciously like the black sheep of the bunch. 

This giveaway is US only and you need to be 13 or older to enter. 

Click here to enter the Rafflecopter Giveaway!

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Coming up:

Reviews, reviews, reviews GALORE!

Tangled Webs by Lee Bross

The Leveller by Julia Durango 

Paperweight by Haston

Henrietta the Dragon Slayer by Beth Barany

We are busy here at Live, Love, Read this month and it’s AWESOME! We can’t wait to give you a few more giveaways and to keep this mojo going! =)

Kelly

ARC Review: The Night We Said Yes by Lauren Gibaldi!

The Night We Said Yes by Lauren Gibaldi

I realize some of your jaws may have just dropped, that some of you may have just fainted, and the other half of you are probably in the midst of having a heart attack. If this is the case, please call 911 IMMEDIATELY because all of this may lead to serious brain damage by reading what I’m about to say next.

…I read a CONTEMPORARY novel…

WHO AM I?!?!

Okay, now that that’s over, please seriously let me know if you need me to call 911. Nori and Emily, I already have an ambulance on the way. You guys just sit tight and keep trying to breathe, okay?

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The Night We Said Yes:

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Genre: YA Contemporary

Publisher: HarperTeen

Publication Date: June 16th, 2015

Goodreads Rating: 4.00 stars

Pages: 304

Synopsis:

“A fun, romantic read, perfect for fans of Sarah Dessen and Susane Colasanti!

Before Matt, Ella had a plan. Get over a no-good ex-boyfriend. Graduate from high school without any more distractions. Move away from Orlando, Florida, where she’s lived her entire life.

But Matt—the cute, shy, bespectacled bass player who just moved to town—was never part of that plan.

And neither was attending a party that was crashed by the cops just minutes after they arrived. Or spending an entire night saying “yes” to every crazy, fun thing they could think of.

Then Matt abruptly left town, and he broke not only Ella’s heart but those of their best friends, too. So when he shows up a year later with a plan of his own—to relive the night that brought them together—Ella isn’t sure whether Matt’s worth a second chance. Or if re-creating the past can help them create a different future.

In alternating then and now chapters, debut author Lauren Gibaldi crafts a charming, romantic story of first loves, lifelong friendships, uncovered secrets, and, ultimately, finding out how to be brave.”

You can buy this book on Amazon here!

You can buy this book on Barnes & Noble here!

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About Lauren:

“I’m an author of young adult novels and public librarian. I’ve been, among other things, a magazine editor, high school English teacher, bookseller, and circus aerialist (seriously). I have a BA in Literature and Master’s in Library and Information Studies, both from Florida State University. I currently live in Orlando, Florida with my husband, daughter, and ever-expanding collection of books. (I mean, it comes with the professions, right?)

I love dinosaurs, pasta, musicals, and cheesy jokes.”

This information is from Lauren’s site! You can visit her website here!

Also, she’s the sweetest!!! =)

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My Review:

First, I have to say THANK YOU to Wendy at The Midnight Garden for selecting me as the winner of their ARC giveaway and sending my name off to the publisher! Also, I have to thank HarperTeen for donating their ARCs to this giveaway and sending this book to me! YOU’VE OPENED MY EYES! Thank you!

I was hesitant to read this book, just because it was a contemporary. I will repeat that I AM NOT A CONTEMPORARY READER! But I will happily admit that I ABSOLUTELY LOVED THIS BOOK! Even though I had a breakdown and a huge crying/pity party in the middle of reading it, it was amazing. =)

1. The main character was extremely relatable.

Ella is a just graduated senior in high school who encounters the love of her life for a second time after he ran away from their relationship. Through this entire book, Ella was a wonderful character to grow with as you saw her struggle with her own morals, emotions, and heart. She reminded me a lot of myself when I was her age, maybe even a little more mature than me, and it really touched home. I felt like I was honestly living through this break up all over again: her pain was my pain, her happiness was my happiness. She’s probably one of the most relatable characters I have yet to meet in YA fiction. Maybe I should start reading contemporary again?! (P.S. I’m currently reading Emmy & Oliver… WHO AM I AND WHAT HAVE YOU DONE WITH ME?!)

2. The past and present POVs.

This novel is written in both the past and the present. It tells the story of Ella and Matt when they first met a year ago and when they are meeting again after their bad break up. Going back and forth between the two time periods honestly was a relief on my heart. Through one chapter my heart was getting ripped apart and the next chapter it was gently getting pieced back together again. It gave the reader a really nice relief from being overly emotional in one way or another… The pain in my chest was still there though. I did still cry, though I really don’t want to admit it. 

3. Meg and Ella’s friendship.

Through my life I’ve never had a friend like Meg. I’ve always been more like Ella and I’ve never had someone who has stuck to my side through it all. My heart honestly aches for it and I miss having friends like her. Meg was amazing. She was still flawed, but beautifully so in the way that you can tell she honestly cares for Ella and her well-being. She’s an amazing friend and all I can say is that I’m so jealous of Ella for having such a friend in her bookish life. Their friendship is truly inspirational and touching. 

4. The moral/lesson of this story.

It’s something we all have to learn eventually in relationships. I won’t give it away, because I hate when people spoil the endings for me, but there’s a conversation that happens towards the end that’s just plain beautiful. It gives a perfect moral for the main character and makes you honestly think about what you want in your life as well. I can’t say too much more, but I can say that you just need to read it. 

The one thing I wish there was a little more of was character depth for Matt. Ella is a beautiful character and Meg is an amazingly true friend. You dive into their depths and get to see their inner workings in many ways, but I find myself wishing I could also know a bit more about Matt. I understand why you don’t get as much about him though, which I think many of you will understand as well if you read it. The story isn’t about him; It’s about Ella and her acceptance of her heart. (PSSSTTTTTTT I just found out that Lauren is having Matt’s story published as a novella. Well, THAT SOLVES THAT PROBLEM! It comes out August 8th. Check it out here! Or on Amazon here!)

Overall, I honestly think you need to give this book a try. It is well worth a read and I highly suggest it to contemporary readers who like a light, emotional, and relatable story. It made me cry, it made me rethink my past, it made me laugh, and it made me wish I could have what she has. Not many books can do that…

5 out of 5 hearts for The Night We Said Yes by Lauren Gibaldi.

Also, HUGE CONGRATULATIONS to Deanna Schwartz for winning our ARC copy of The Night We Said Yes! I hope you love it as much as I did! =)

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Coming Up:

Reviews that you won’t want to miss:

Tangled Webs by Lee Bross

Henrietta the Dragon Slayer by Beth Barany

The Leveller by Julia Durango (Plus a giveaway!)

Emmy & Oliver by Robin Benway (Plus a giveaway!)

I hope you all have an amazing rest of June! 

 ❤ Kelly

Waiting on Wednesday: Burning Glass by Kathryn Purdie

Burning Glass by Kathryn Purdie

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Genre: Young Adult/ Fantasy

Publisher: Harper Collins

Publication Date: March 16, 2016

Goodreads Rating: 4.20 stars

Pages: 512

Synopsis:

Sonya was born with the rare gift to feel what those around her feel – both physically and emotionally- a gift she’s kept hidden from the empire for seventeen long years. After a reckless mistake wipes out all the other girls with similar abilities, Sonya is hauled off to the palace and forced to serve the emperor as his sovereign Auraseer.

Tasked with sensing the intentions of would-be assassins, Sonya is under constant pressure to protect the emperor. One mistake, one small failure, will cost her own life and the lives of the few people left in the world who still trust her.

But Sonya’s power is untamed and reckless, her feelings easily usurped, and she sometimes can’t decipher when other people’s impulses end and her own begin. In a palace full of warring emotions and looming darkness, Sonya fears that the biggest danger to the empire may be herself.

As she struggles to wrangle her abilities, Sonya seeks refuge in her tenuous alliances with the volatile Emperor Valko and his idealistic younger brother, Anton, the crown prince. But when threats of revolution pit the two brothers against each other, Sonya must choose which brother to trust – and which to betray.

Burning Glass is debut author Kathryn Purdie’s stunning tale of dangerous magic, heart-rending romance, and the hard-won courage it takes to let go.

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About the Author:

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From Kathryn’s Goodreads Profile:

Kathryn’s love of storytelling began as a young girl when her dad told her about someone named Boo Radley while they listened to the film score of TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD. In high school and college, Kathryn focused on acting, poetry, guitar, and extensive journal writing. Years later, when she was in recovery from donating a kidney to her brother, inspiration for her first novel struck. She’s been writing darkly fantastical stories ever since. Her debut novel, BURNING GLASS, releases Spring 2016 from HarperCollins/Katherine Tegen Books.

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Why We Want This Book!

Kelly:

I think there’s something so realistic and striking to the heart when you tell a story about feeling other’s emotions. We all do it at some point: crying with friends, sharing a smile with a stranger, knowing something is wrong before you’re told. It’s all relative to that field and reading a story about a girl who struggles with feeling this overwhelming onslaught of emotions while trying to find her own heart really touches home with me. Lauren is right, this does sound like a very promising story and I’m truly looking forward to picking it up and giving it a chance.

Lauren:

If a story is a fantasy, I’m already interested! Reading the synopsis of this book has intrigued me more. Having a story that deals with a person being able to feel what others feel is an interesting concept, and I can’t wait to see how this story will play with that idea. This sounds like a very promising story, and the fact that there is more than one book really adds to my anticipation!

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Coming Up:

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Breaking The Spine, which you can find here! 

We will have quite a few reviews coming up!

The Night We Said Yes by Lauren Gibaldi

Tangled Webs by Lee Bross

The Leveller by Julia Durango

Emmy & Oliver by Robin Benway

There will also be a few giveaways with those reviews, so stay tuned if you’re interested in them! =)

In addition to those reviews, I’m feeling another “Recesses of the Heart” coming up. If you’re looking for some life lessons and real talk, keep your eyes out for it. 

❤ Lauren and Kelly

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Tuesday Posts We’d Like To Do!

Top Ten Tuesday Posts We’d Like To Do!

Since we haven’t done too many Top Ten Tuesday posts yet, we decided to put a little spin on this week. We chose our Top Ten Tuesday posts that we haven’t done and would like to do! So, here are our wishful Top Ten Tuesday Posts and one of our top choices for each of them! Enjoy. =)

Top Ten Heroines

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Ahh, good old Hermione. =) She has always stuck with me, just like I believe that anyone who has read Harry Potter will take their favorite character with them as well. She’s wonderful and still tops my list as one of my favorite heroines. I love, love, LOVE her!

Top Ten Sidekicks

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Zuze!!! I love Zuze so much. She is definitely one of my favorite sidekicks and adds this amazing dry humor to the story. 

Top Ten Book Boyfriends

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ROWAN!… That it all…

Top Ten Badass Antagonists

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Oh, Cam. He’s an antagonist you just have to hate to love. Lauren Kate is also coming out with a book about Cam and his past! It’s called Unforgiven and it comes out this winter!

Top Ten Beautiful Covers

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This cover is just absolutely gorgeous. I can’t even begin to explain how even more amazing it is in person! 

Top Ten Must Have Books

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The beginning romance of all romances! How can a girl not have this on her shelf?

Top Ten Books You Push On Others

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This is my current book that I’m pushing on everyone. I’m not much of a contemporary reader, but MAN DID I LOVE THIS ONE! Read it, I say. READ IT! *casually directs you to amazon’s link… It’s on sale right now too!… CLICK ME!*

Top Ten Series Endings

City of Bones (The Mortal Instruments, #1)

This was so hard. I was between this one, FallenThe Iron King, and The Darkest Minds. They all have such AMAZING endings. I’d really love to do this Top Ten Tuesday because it’s something I can’t seem to pick just one for this category! However, if you read this book and then stopped and did not read the rest of the series, I honestly suggest you pick it back up and try again. This ending was so beautiful. ❤

Top Ten Most Hated Characters

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Another tough one! I won’t tell you who, but there is a character in here who, so far, just has this bottomless black pit of a heart. There’s no mercy, no tolerance, no love or kindness and you just love to hate her! I just watch to take a bat out and start swinging, screaming, doing whatever I could to get her away from the innocent characters that she wrecks havoc on in this book! Read it and you will see!

Top Ten Books That Inspired You

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Ahhhh, I’m not sure I can go a single post without mentioning Sarah J. Maas or Celaena Sardothien, and here they both are! This book was so incredible. After reading this book, I was so inspired by how beautiful her writing was that I started this blog, I began reading more, I changed my life around and possibly even found a new career path. This book changed everything for me. It inspired me to be happy and chase new dreams. I can’t thank Sarah enough for that. 

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Well, that’s it for today! Have any of you done these topics? Would any of you like to do these topics? What would be your top pick? 

Feel free to comment or tweet us and we can fangirl about all of our choices together! =D @YAFantasyFan @BetweenDPages

Hopefully by tonight I will have The Night We Said Yes review posted! If I’m feeling REALLY inspired, I may finish up Tangled Webs as well.

OH! And, I’m currently reading Emmy & Oliver. Feel free to tweet me and fangirl about that too! ❤ – Kelly

Until next time, lovelies!

❤ Lauren and Kelly

Waiting on Wednesday: Silver in the Blood by Jessica Day George

Silver in the Blood by Jessica Day George

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Genre: YA Fantasy/Historical

Publisher: Bloosmbury USA Childrens

Publication Date: July 7th, 2015

Goodreads Rating: 3.58 stars

Pages: 358

Synopsis: 

“A New York Times bestselling author brings dark secrets to life in a lush new YA perfect for fans of Libba Bray or Cassandra Clare.

Society girls from New York City circa 1890, Dacia and Lou never desired to know more about their lineage, instead preferring to gossip about the mysterious Romanian family that they barely knew. But upon turning seventeen, the girls must return to their homeland to meet their relatives, find proper husbands, and—most terrifyingly—learn the deep family secrets of The Claw, The Wing, and The Smoke. The Florescus, after all, are shape-shifters, and it is time for Dacia and Lou to fulfill the prophecy that demands their acceptance of this fate . . . or fight against this cruel inheritance with all their might.

With a gorgeous Romanian setting, stunning Parisian gowns, and dark brooding young men, readers will be swept up by this epic adventure of two girls in a battle for their lives.”

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About the Author:

From Jessica’s website:

“Jessica Day George earned a BA in Humanities/Comparative Literature from Brigham Young University, where she enjoyed classes in Pottery and Old Norse, and dutifully forced herself to take Algebra and Biology. Originally from Idaho, she now resides in Salt Lake City, Utah, with her husband and three young children.”

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Why We Want This Book!

Kelly:

Okay, firstly, Libba Bray is one of my favorite authors and I LOVE Cassandra Clare’s City of Bone’s series. Finding a mix between the two authors and their stories? I’M THERE! =) Plus, I’m slowly starting to get back into YA historical fiction and I think that a book like this, with a few paranormal/fantastical elements to it would be just the key to opening up my heart to more genres other than just fantasy! Also, Professor McGonagall was my favorite professor in Harry Potter for many reasons; Her shape changer qualities being one of them!!!

Lauren:

Can I just say, the cover looks AMAZING! Now that I got that out of the way, I can get to why I am looking forward to this one. I have not read many historical fiction novels, so I’m really trying to work on that. I have found a few I would like to read, and this one really caught my attention. (Again, look at the cover!) After reading the synopsis I knew this book is one I would probably enjoy. By just what I have seen it has a sense of mystery, and paranormal elements to it. All things I enjoy! So I am really looking forward to this one!

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Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Breaking The Spine, which you can find here!

Also, keep an eye out for a review of The Night We Said Yes by Lauren Gibaldi (IT CAME OUT TODAY AND IT’S AMAZING! YOU ALL NEED TO BUY THIS BOOK NOW!) on the blog! I’m so excited to help get the word out about her amazing book, I just need to find the right words! =) TOMORROW, hopefully!!!

A review on Tangled Webs by Lee Bross will be going up shortly as well!!! Another one you all need to have on your TBR lists!! =) This one triggered my brain to open up more for historical fiction!!

We hope to see you next week for Waiting on Wednesday! What are you currently waiting for?!

 ❤ Lauren and Kelly

Top Ten Tuesday: Our Summer TBR List!

Top Ten Tuesday: Our Summer TBR List!

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and Bookish, which you can find by clicking here!

WOOT!!! IT’S SUMMMMMEEEEERRRR!!! And that means ALL THE BOOKS!… At least if you have the summer off like we do. 😉 It was so hard for us to narrow this down, but WE DID IT! So, here goes…

Our Choices!

1. Throne of Glass by Sarah J Maas

YES, LADIES AND GENTS, We will be hosting a re-read-along of this entire series on our blog during the month of August! In honor of Queen of Shadows coming out on September 1st, we’re hoping to get through one book a week, going all the way through the series from The Assassin’s Blade to Heir of Fire! Put this event on your calendars and join us! We start August 1st!!!!! =D

2. Kiss of Deception by Mary E. Pearson

We’re reading this with two friends of ours for our July Spectacularly Swanky Saturday! It’s a buddy read for the month of July, so please feel free to join us! You can join us and read Kiss of Deception ORRRR you all can buddy up and read a book of your choosing together! Just post about it with GIFs, interview each other about your feels, review it together, ANYTHING YOU WANT to make it fun. We’re open to all books and all kinds of posts about them, so have fun with it! Challenge yourselves! It will be such a fun July SSS post! Join us! =) ************************************************************************************************

Lauren’s Choices!

1. An Ember In The Ashes by Sabaa Tahir

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2. Daughter of Smoke & Bone by Laini Taylor

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3. Cinder by Marissa Meyer 

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4. The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Andieh 

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Kelly’s Choices!

1. Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers

2. The Grischa Trilogy by Leigh Bardugo

3. The With Hunter by Virginia Boecker

4. The Creeping by Alexandra Sirowy

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Are any of you reading the same books we are? Have any of you read these books already? Are there any books we should start with? =)

Are any of you joining us for the Throne of Glass series re-read in August?!?!

Wishing you all an AMAZING week! Be safe! Take care of your selves! Make good choices! Don’t go crazy for the first week of summer!

❤ Lauren and Kelly

Recesses of Heart: Kelly’s Open Diary…

There’s something to be said about one’s past. It defines the future, molds the present, and creates character. We all have these fading memories of what has made us who we are today. We carry the good and the bad with us like baggage into the next part of our life. Worried, anxious, fearful that those who finally open up the bags will see us for who we are. Worried that those who see us, who truly know us, won’t like us. So many of us try to avoid the past, thinking that maybe if we drag our bags on a long enough chain and try to throw a blanket over them, no one will see the pile that lies there. No one will know what we carry. But that’s not the truth is it? Someone will see. Someone will always think to look into that bag and discover your deepest, darkest secrets. As a whole, we all flinch away from the outcome, knowing that it will never be good. The person with that baggage will never be seen in the same light as they were before. It’s funny though, what happens when you take off the rose colored glasses. What happens when you see that someone isn’t who you thought they were… What you feel when you realize that your baggage isn’t really baggage after all, but rather building blocks that can take you to where you need to be if you think to stop dragging them, and start stacking them instead…

Today is my day to start stacking. So, while I’m sitting here watching Boy Meets World, talking to my closest friends, and reflecting back on my life and to what has brought me here, in this moment, I realize that the past I’m carrying isn’t really all that scary. Instead, the past I’m carrying has become my strength that I needed to take myself out of a situation I didn’t want to be in. It’s finally given me the strength I needed to say “NO. I DON’T want this.” It’s amazing what a few tidbits of memory and the lessons learned can do for your present and your future…

When I was 16 I had my first “boyfriend”. In reality, he was a complete and total jerk. He treated me like crap, had no respect for me, and walked all over me every chance he could. He made me feel inferior. I had no self confidence. No self worth. In short, he was horrible, emotionally abusive, and controlling. I was nothing but a blooming flower getting caught in the destructive storm that was him. In the end, he ended up ignoring me. He stopped talking to me. Never called me. Completely dropped off the face of the planet for a full month. I didn’t hear from him until 6 years later… This was my first experience with love.

I’ve had a few boyfriends along the way. Many who were controlling. Some who were mentally and emotionally abusive. A couple who were great people, but horrible boyfriends who were emotionally incapacitated. And a very select few who were actually good to me, but just weren’t the right fit. Imagine me, as a girl whose first relationship was the disaster above, trying to navigate this. I ran away, a lot. More worried that these boys would strike out at me in some way, shape, or form if I told them the truth. I shrank into myself, fearful that if I said something wrong, I’d be called an idiot and “put in my place.” There was even a time when I just broke up with good young men and just ran for cover, thinking that I just didn’t have any kind of feelings for them, when in reality, it may have been my insane fear of saying “no” that drove me to date them in the first place. Believe me when I say that my fear of saying no is for a good reason and is rational. It’s been a work in progress for many years to get over the trauma that caused this fear in me.

In many ways I was so starved for attention. Starved for someone to actually see me. Look at me. Find out who I am and accept me for everything that I am. That I still am. I’m still starved. Even to this day, I can feel myself searching, looking, and praying that one day this will all be worth it. One day I’ll finally find someone who actually wants to spend time getting to know me and who will love me for all of the good and bad things that I am. I’m not perfect. I don’t pretend to be, but I do wish that someone as imperfect as me could see the bandages, stitches, bruises, and patch ups on my heart and soul and still see the beauty in it. The most ironic part is that my wish came true. Someone did finally discover my ripped apart heart and soul and love me for it. It was never who I thought it would be though.

Saturday night I was out with my boyfriend and friends. He was being a complete jerk while drinking and I had had enough. I walked away. When he finally came after me, I was already in tears from embarrassment and emotional pain from the disrespect shown to me and my beliefs. We ended up fighting for hours that night until he literally fell asleep while I was trying to tell him how hurt I was. We fought the next morning too. Tried to talk it out for three hours and the only thing I learned about him was that somewhere along the way in our year long relationship, he stopped caring about me above himself. He became a man who valued himself above all others, would never say sorry, would never compromise, and most of all, would never feel any kind of emotional connection with me because he didn’t want to. I was asking too much from him, to want to talk about his day and things that were bothering him. I was asking too much from him to care enough to open up to me and respect me as an equal. I realized in those final three hours that this was not the relationship I wanted to be in for the rest of my life.

As soon as I heard all of this come pouring out of his mouth, I had made my decision. The things he said were so wrong and degrading. Like he didn’t care enough about me to even try to compromise on some of these things. He just fought me. Attacked me verbally like I was a little girl to be pushed over, walked on, and left for dead. I think it came as a surprise to both of us when the next words that came out of my mouth were, “I can’t do this anymore. I’m done.” I repeated it until he heard me. Said it over again until he understood that I was leaving him. I packed up my things, picked up my bags, until he finally said, “Fine, I can see you really want to leave. So go.” and opened up the door for me, like he was shoving me out of his house. I walked out, trying to hold in my sobs until I could at least make it to the car. I got there, and I let it all out. I realized for a split second that I was alone again. Purely, utterly, alone.

I had no one to call. My friends are extremely limited because not only have I walked away from relationships, but I’ve walked away from controlling friendships who wouldn’t allow me to be myself. It was a miserable feeling, knowing that I was alone. I did, however, find one close acquaintance, told her I didn’t want to involve her, but that I had no one else to go to, and I just balled my eyes out. I told her everything. Within the next 20 minutes, I had stopped crying and had hung up the phone. My mind was clearing and I could finally, finally think logically again.

I had the next 40 minutes to spend thinking for myself and what came to mind honestly shocked me. I was PROUD. Proud of myself for not standing there and taking his yelling. Proud of myself for not staying quiet while he called me embarrassing and childish for walking away from him while he was being a jerk. I was proud that I SCREAMED at him because I wanted to. Because he wasn’t listening. Because he would never listen and I had to speak up in whatever way I could. I was proud that I ended it. I recognized that this relationship was no longer for me and that I had to get out now, or I would never do it. So I did it. I got out and I was, and still am, proud of myself for it.

You see, all of my past boyfriends, good and bad, have lead me to be a more confident person. Not only that, but the last time I was broken up with, I spent a year alone, trying to piece myself back together and figure out who I was without anyone trying to persuade me otherwise. I made myself strong. No one else did that. I did. My baggage was still being dragged on long chains and it seems that the longer you drag your scary baggage behind you, the heavier it gets. The stronger I got. Yesterday, I reeled all of my baggage in. I wanted to share it with him, but he wanted no part of it. He didn’t care enough to become emotionally attached. So instead of opening up my bags for him, I opened up my baggage of secrets for myself. I took everything that I had experienced, endured, and lived through and threw it at him and said “NO”. I walked away. I made the right decision.

My past enabled me to get to know myself on a level I never could. It’s become a part of me now that I’m proud of. I came home and I hugged my mother and told her that I was so thankful that she raised me to be a strong, independent woman, because she’s the one who stood by me for all those years of trial and error. All those years of building up my baggage. But the beauty of all of this is that I no longer have baggage. My past is still my past, and I still have secrets to keep, but am I dragging anything? Am I afraid of rejection? Am I fearful of sharing the “shameful” parts of myself? The answer is no, I’m not. If I hadn’t dealt with the abuse, negativity, emotional incapacity, and love the way I did, I never would have had the nerve to stand up for myself yesterday. And that is what life is about. That is why I’m here and why I’m so thankful that everything I have done in my life has caused me to be who I am today and I am PROUD of the woman I have become.

What I’m trying to say is, if there is anything I can pass on to all of you from my own experiences, it’s to stop shying away from your secrets and your baggage like it’s something to be ashamed of. IT’S NOT. Your past is a part of you. It’s your identity. EMBRACE it. LOVE it. Hug it tight and wear it like clothes. Do what you need to do to accept it, learn from it, and realize that you are an absolutely perfect person, past included. You are EXCEPTIONAL and you can never let anyone tell you otherwise. STAND UP for yourself and FIGHT for everything that you want and need in your life and never, EVER give up, because you deserve a lot better than what you give yourself credit for and you need to understand that you never needed someone to accept you in the first place.

You see, my lovely readers… the person who ended up loving me for my ripped apart heart and soul… was me…

SST: Guest Post from Danielle Ellison!

Guest Post by Danielle Ellison, Author of Days Like This!

This is a guest post that I have been DYING to post! Unfortunately, life got in the way and personal problems interfered with my schedule yesterday. However, today is a new and better day, and I’m so thankful that Danielle and Nori have been gracious enough to understand my emotional turmoil yesterday. So, let’s jump to this post!

When I was asked about a blog topic, I was trying to keep in mind that this blog is not only about reading and writing, but about life and learning to live it! I know that Danielle’s Days Like This involves a main character who runs from her troubles, so I asked her if she could talk to all of you about running from fears/problems and how her book reflects that. Danielle, being the amazing writer, author, and person that she is, responded with the most amazing post I’ve ever read.

I give you Danielle Ellison…

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“I am a runner.

No, not an actual laced-up shoes at sunrise, I love exercise and “ isn’t this fun to sweat?” runner.

The other kind: one who flees away from things.

From a young age my mom demonstrated that the best way to handle tough situations, situations that had no hope of ever improving or changing, was to run from them and start over. I wasn’t a quitter–I’m still not–and I will fight tooth and nail for something I want…but conflict? crushing disappointment? areas where I feel like I don’t belong or fit? I run from them and start over somewhere else. It’s the way I was taught.

Sometimes pushing the reset button on life is a good thing. Leaving, being somewhere new, gives you perspective…and sometimes (most times, at least for me) I realize that the thing I was running from wasn’t that big of a deal. And maybe, if I’d stayed, it would have resolved itself. Things mend.  People forget. You move on.

But when you run from something, that thing still haunts you, no matter how far you go, and it makes moving on, mending, forgetting, hard.

When I met Cassie, the MC in my book Days Like This, she was running. She was running from some pretty massive stuff actually: a boy she loved, a thing she was terrified of, her mother, bi-polar disorder, herself. She had no idea where she was going, just that she couldn’t stay where she was. Throughout the book you learn that Cassie, even nearly a year after she left, still hadn’t found whatever she was chasing after–and she certainly hadn’t forgotten what she’d been running from. If anything the distance made it harder to ignore, especially when her new present is forced to intersect with her past.

That’s the thing about running: you don’t always know where you’re going, you just know you don’t want to be where you are. As one of my favorite quotes insists…

“Alice: Which way should I go?

Cat: That depends on where you are going.

Alice: I don’t know.

Cat: Then it doesn’t matter which way you go.”

…if you don’t know where you’re going or what you’re looking for, then you may never find it. you always need to know why you’re running and where you’re running to, otherwise you could end up going in circles only to have it all come crashing back together.

It’s often my instinct to run, even when I don’t know where I’m going.

This relationship on the rocks? Let it go.

This job sucks? Quit it.

Hate this apartment/city? Go to a new one.

Too much going on and I feel like I can’t handle it because OMG make it stop?! Hide. Ignore it.

Writing not going well? Just quit trying.

It’s that last one, writing, that makes me pause because do I really want to quit writing because I’m having a bad day/week/month? No. So, I don’t. I step back, talk it out, re-evaluate and then I realize that I don’t really want to run away from this dream or quit, and instead I have to press on and face it. That lesson, that reality, has taught me to change my perspective on running away. It’s taught me to fight that initial instinct and determine if, maybe, there’s something worth staying, worth fixing, worth fighting for. Usually, there is.

You can’t run from, ignore, hide or quit your problems. They’re always going to be there. I’ve learned that. My mom has learned that. And in Days Like This Cassie learns that. When I start writing this book, I had no idea that this would be a lesson I’d learn. But it was. Watching Cassie go through all of this, watching her struggle with the reality of a situation that she created, made me see the negatives in running. (Isn’t it funny how writing can do that?)

We all have something that we run from–fears, failures, challenges, circumstances, defeat, doubt, trust, love, the future–and in the end it matters not if we run from those things or how far, but whether or not we return to face them. In that, in the facing and acceptance of whatever we are fleeing, we grow. We find something out about ourselves, the people around us, or the world we live in.

And maybe, just maybe, we stay.”

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Synopsis (GR):

Sometimes the only thing standing between fear and hope is you.

Almost a year ago, nineteen-year-old Cassie Harlen had a lot to deal with. A stack of college acceptance letters waiting for answers, a proposal from the boy next door, and a mother whose most recent bipolar episode left Cassie hurt and confused. Tired of cleaning up the messes caused by her mother’s disorder, of resenting her mother for not being there, and scared of being trapped by an inevitable future—which included marrying Graham Tucker—Cassie did the only thing she could think of to keep from ending up like her mother: she left.

Graham never knew why Cassie walked away. He woke up one morning and she was gone—along with the life that he’d created around her. After eleven months, Graham has a new plan for his future. One that doesn’t involve Cassie Harlen.

When Cassie’s mom nearly burns down her house, Cassie’s forced to return home. Back to a mother she’s tried to ignore and the guy she’s been unable to forget. Graham doesn’t know how he’s going to spend the whole summer living next door to the person who broke his heart without letting those old feelings push through to the surface.

Neither does Cassie.

More info on Goodreads, click here!

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About the Author:

Danielle Ellison spent most of her childhood reading instead of learning math. It’s probably the reason she can’t divide without a calculator and has spent her life seeking the next adventure. It’s also probably the reason she’s had so many different zip codes and jobs.

Danielle is the author of the YA books, Salt, Storm, and Follow Me Through Darkness. Days Like This is her first NA.

When she’s not writing, Danielle is probably  eating cookies, fighting her nomadic urges, watching too much TV, or dreaming of the day when she can be British. She has settled in Northern Virginia, for now, but you can always find her on twitter @DanielleEWrites.

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Rafflecopter Giveaway!

Danielle is gracious enough to be giving away a copy of her book! Enter the giveaway by clicking here!

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So, what do you all think? Is Danielle’s post amazing or what?!?! I absolutely adore her, her writing, and her advice on life. =) Feel free to leave your thoughts below in the comments section!

Thanks for joining in for another Sunday Street Team post! =)

❤ Kelly

Waiting on Wednesday: Heartless by Marissa Meyer

Heartless by Marissa Meyer

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So, I (Kelly) was at BookCon a few weeks ago and went to Leigh Bardugo and Marissa Meyer’s Truth or Dare Panel (which was phenomenal and absolutely hilarious, by the way) and found this gem on my seat. Little did I know that Marissa Meyer was even coming out with another book other than Winter in December! Holy Goodness! So, we discussed it and decided that Heartless, by Marissa Meyer would be our first ever Waiting on Wednesday post!

When I posted this picture on Twitter, I was surprised to find that many people didn’t know about this book either! I’m used to being the only one who isn’t familiar with upcoming books because I’m still pretty new to the whole blogging/bookish world. I was seriously quite shocked when I learned that I wasn’t the only one who didn’t know about this! So, Lauren and I figured it would be the perfect post. =) Below is some information on it!

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Goodreads Summary/All We Know About It:

Publish Date: November 8th, 2016

Publisher: Feiwel & Friends

“A prequel to “Alice in Wonderland,” HEARTLESS will tell the tale of how a marquis’ teenage daughter became the infamous Queen of Hearts. It will be a story of whimsy and madness, passion and tragedy, ravens and writing desks.” – Goodreads

“Long before she was the terror of Wonderland — the infamous Queen of Hearts — she was just a girl who wanted to fall in love.” – Marissa Meyer

“Heartless” is a prequel to Lewis Carroll’s “Alice in Wonderland,” telling the story of The Queen of Hearts – how she became the queen… and also a tyrant. I think it’s going to be a very quirky, whimsical book (it is Wonderland, after all!), and I plan on making use of a lot of our favorite characters from Alice. Mad tea party, anyone?” – Toronto Public Library Teens

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An Interview Excerpt About Heartless:

From Marissa’s Blog, here!

Title: HEARTLESS

Teaser summary: A prequel to “Alice in Wonderland,” HEARTLESS will tell the tale of how a marquis’s teenage daughter became the infamous Queen of Hearts. It will be a story of whimsy and madness, passion and tragedy, ravens and writing desks.

Is this the Super Secret Nano Project of 2012?

Yes! Yes it is! Here, have some 10-month-old and no-longer-entirely-accurate statistics: http://www.marissameyer.com/blogtype/secret-nano-project-stats/

When will it be released?

HEARTLESS is tentatively scheduled to release in the fall of 2015 – after WINTER.

Where did you get the idea?

I absolutely loved Wicked by Gregory Maguire – both the book and the musical. A few years ago, right after Cinder sold, I was having lunch with my agent and talking about fairy tale retellings. I brought up Wicked and Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister and mentioned that I thought it would be awesome of Mr. Maguire told the story of the Queen of Hearts. My foreign rights agent—smart cookie that she is—said, “Well, why don’t you write it?”

And I thought, Challenge Accepted.

Will it be a stand-alone or the start of a series?

Right now I’m pretty sure it will only be a stand-alone, although I’m trying to keep my mind open for possible companion titles in the future. That said, the book that will follow HEARTLESS, for which I have a few ideas, will almost certainly kick off a new series.

Do you have a Pinterest inspiration board?

Oh good heavens, do I ever! http://www.pinterest.com/marissameyer22/heartless/

Will the book include other beloved Wonderland characters?

Absolutely, but I can’t tell you who, or what role they’ll play. That said, the fore-mentioned Pinterest board gives a few hints.

What is the queen’s name?

Miss Catherine Cordula, daughter of the Marquis of Rock Turtle Cove. (Subject to change.)

Have you ever cosplayed the Queen of Hearts?

Yes! Yes I have! In college I dressed up as the Queen for a Halloween group costume contest. (Hint: We won. Bam.) I’ll try to find a picture when I get home from tour.

Does your Mom collect “Alice in Wonderland” stuff and have an honest-to-goodness “Alice in Wonderland” Christmas tree every year?

Why, as a matter of fact, she does! (See where I get it from?) I’ll try to get pictures of that too.

 Anything else to add?

I’m crazy-mad about this story, you guys, and cannot wait for you to read it! *squishes all the readers*

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Why We Are Already Loving This Book!

So, basically this is looking like an amazing retelling of The Queen of Hearts from Alice in Wonderland and how she seemed to have lost her heart, rather than found it. It sounds tragic, heartbreaking, and like we will need a lot of tissues!! -Kelly

A story tied in with Alice in Wonderland, do I really need to say more? Nothing like seeing a new side of the villain we grew up reading about. Getting my tissues ready for this tragic story! I can’t wait to see why the Queen of Hearts turned out the way she did, and this story sounds like it will deliver all the details in a heartbreaking way. -Lauren

Below is a quick little snippet of Marissa Meyer, if you don’t know too much about her! 

She also has this AMAZING PINTEREST BOARD based on Heartless. IT’S AMAZING! Check it out, here!

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Some Information on Marissa Meyer from Goodreads:

“I live in Tacoma, Washington, with my fiancé and our two cats. In addition to my slight obsession with books and writing, I’m big on road-tripping, wine-tasting, and hunting for antiques. I’m represented by Jill Grinberg.”

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Coming up in Live, Love, Read:

The Guest Post with Danielle Ellison that I’ve been raving about… IT WILL BE UP ON SUNDAY with the Sunday Street Team! For those of you who don’t know what the Sunday Street Team is, it’s this awesome mix of a team and a tour that was created by my lovely friend Nori with ReadWriteLove28! You can find out more information and sign up to be a part of it by clicking here!

Upcoming Reviews:

Tangled Webs by Lee Bross

The Night We Said Yes by Lauren Gibaldi

Emmy & Oliver by Robin Benway

The Leveller by Julia Durango

Paperweight by Meg Haston

**Keep an eye out. Some of these reviews may contain giveaways as well. 😉

We hope you enjoyed our first ever installment of Waiting on Wednesday!

Have a wonderful rest of your week!