At the age of nine, Finnikin's world is shattered by the five days of the unspeakable: the royal family of Lumatere is brutally murdered, an imposter seizes the throne, and a curse binds all who remain inside the kingdom's walls. Those who escape are left to roam as exiles.
Ten years later, Finnikin and his mentor, Sir Topher, are summoned to meet Evanjalin, a young novice with a startling claim: Balthazar, the heir to the throne of Lumatere and Finnikin's childhood friend, is alive, and she can lead Finnikin to him. Even as he suspects this arrogant young woman, Finnikin also begins to believe that Lumatere might one day be raised.
I didn’t know what to expect from Finnikin of the Rock except lots of glorious pain and ships, according to my friends. The premise has intrigued me for awhile and I’ve checked it out of the library at least twice without reading it. What can I say, fantasy does intimidate me sometimes! Buying a copy alleviated my fears of having to read it quickly although I ended up reading it in a couple days. I was captivated by Finnikin’s story, and the story of Skuldenore’s kingdoms. Most importantly, Lumatere!
The book was intricate and the world-building was exquisitely detailed. I loved learning more and more about the five days of the unspeakable as the book unfolded, and there was quite a lot of exciting action mixed in with the quiet character building moments. I thought Marchetta did a wonderful job with the politics between the kingdoms, and a good job of differentiating the kingdoms and cultures as well.
The characters were fierce and terribly interesting, down to the bit players. I can’t say much for fear of spoilers but we meet characters in the second half that I REALLY liked, although Evanjalin was my favorite from the start. She was so mysterious and captivating. And there are twists that I never saw coming! I will say that there is also a SUPER CUTE scene that I never expected because of the pain and darkness I was conditioned to expect, but it made me smile :)
I had a hard time connecting emotionally with the first half of the story; I wanted to keep reading and I liked Finnikin and his companions, but I didn’t have Feels. This is the main reason I can’t call the book a favorite (yet) and why I knocked off a star. The Feels came later. Lots of Feels in the last quarter especially. It was an enthralling, exciting, dramatic book with a brilliant juxtaposition between light and dark, and shades of gray, and I cant wait to continue the series (although frankly, I’m scared of what’s to come).
About Melina Marchetta
Melina Marchetta’s writing career took off in 1992 when she published her first novel: Looking For Alibrandi. She later turned the story into a film script. The movie Looking for Alibrandi screened in theatres around Australia and the world from 2000.
Melina managed to combine writing with teaching English and History in secondary school for ten years up to 2006, when she committed to writing full-time. During that period, she released two novels, Saving Francesca and On the Jellicoe Road.
Her first fantasy novel, Finnikin of the Rock, was published in 2008. The Piper’s Son (a companion novel to Saving Francesca) was released in 2010. She has written a children’s book, The Gorgon in the Gully, as part of the Puffin Pocket Money series.
Her novels have been published in 17 languages in at least 18 countries. Melina lives in Sydney where she writes full time.
Soccer star Lainey Mitchell is gearing up to spend an epic summer with her amazing boyfriend, Jason, when he suddenly breaks up with her—no reasons, no warning, and in public no less! Lainey is more than crushed, but with help from her friend Bianca, she resolves to do whatever it takes to get Jason back.
And that’s when the girls stumble across a copy of The Art of War. With just one glance, they're sure they can use the book to lure Jason back into Lainey’s arms. So Lainey channels her inner warlord, recruiting spies to gather intel and persuading her coworker Micah to pose as her new boyfriend to make Jason jealous. After a few "dates", it looks like her plan is going to work! But now her relationship with Micah is starting to feel like more than just a game.
What's a girl to do when what she wants is totally different from what she needs? How do you figure out the person you're meant to be with if you're still figuring out the person you're meant to be?
One of my favorite contemporaries from the past couple years is The Art of Lainey by Paula Stokes (I’ve read it twice!), so in honor of Valentine’s Day this month, here are a few reasons why:
It is very swoony and full of banter, and fake dating, and hate-to-love. Basically all of my favorite romantic tropes.
I loved Lainey’s character arc, watching her transform from who she thought she should be to who she actually is. It was very well done.
I loved the secondary characters, including Lainey’s spacey family, her friend Bianca, and Micah’s sister.
MICAH. I. LOVED. MICAH. He was something else. He’s sarcastic but secretly sweet, he’s mysterious, he’s a baker (!!). And the sizzling chemistry he has with Lainey is undeniable.
Time to board the ship!!! I marked a bazillion of my favorite Micah/Lainey moments, including my always favorite soccer scene.
There is a minor character that reminds me of Chris Evans, always a plus.
Micah would most definitely not approve, but Does He Know by One Direction totally makes me think of this one particular scene between Micah and Lainey at a music show. It reminds me of Lainey coming out of her shell and how she lets Micah see that side of her, a side that she kept hidden from her ex Jason. So now whenever I hear it, I can’t help thinking of Lainey and Micah :)
Do you agree? Have you read The Art of Lainey? Let me know!
I tend to judge contemporary romances on whether it’d be a good romantic comedy movie, and how many butterfly feelings I get in my stomach. How much I laugh. How much I smile and swoooon. How much I root for the couple. Here are 12 (!) books that I think would make great Valentine’s Day Reads:
These books have a few more elements beyond the typical romantic comedy, including a big emphasis on friendship as well as relationships and how they can help you deal with bigger issues such as grief and identity. There are still plenty of smiles and swoony feels though!
The Deal by Elle Kennedy– Hi, I’m Morgan, have I sold you on The Deal yet? I’ve been pushing this one hard and Valentine’s Day would be a perfect time to start this hilarious, very sexy, and very adorable NA romance.
Lastly, I have to throw in a few adult titles too:
Outlander by Diana Gabaldon– a very romantic, very long series. Ironically I read it for the first time in February 2011! It’d be a great time to start.
Persuasion by Jane Austen– this might be my favorite Austen book. It’s more understated and quietly romantic, and it’s a quicker read compared to her others. But any Austen in February would do!
I’m sure I’m forgetting a lot of books because there are so many wonderful romances out there in every genre! And I stayed away from tragedies haha. Have you read many of these? Do you have any suggestions for me?
So I went on a little bargain shopping spree on Book Outlet. They have a scratch/dent category that has books under $2! You can’t even see the imperfections on most of them. Anyway… I got 10 books for $30. Can’t beat that!
Ancient Rome: if I see a book is set in ancient Rome, I am all over it! Emperors, gladiators, soldiers, doesn’t matter to me! My favorite series to encapsulate ancient Rome is Mistress of Rome by Kate Quinn. I’d love to see it used more in YA! I did loveCurses and Smoke by Vicky Alvear Shecter which was set during the Mt. Vesuvius eruption in AD 79 Pompeii.
Royal England: if it has to do with the English court (or let’s be honest, England in general), in any time period, I will read it. I absolutely, positively CANNOT resist reading about English royalty! The Plantagenets, Stuarts, Alfred the Great, William the Conquerer, King Arthur (hah)… while I’m a little Tudor’d out, I still love books about them, like Gilt and Maid of Secrets. Really looking forward to My Lady Jane and Traitor Angels. I also loved Patricia Bracewell’s 11th century novel about Emma of Normandy, Shadow of the Crown. And I LOVED Scarlet by AC Gaughen, so I’ll definitely take more Robin Hood retellings. I would DIE for a YA Eleanor of Aquitaine book or a YA star crossed love story of my 16th great-grandparents John of Gaunt and Katherine Swynford!
Early 20th century dual timeline: generally speaking, I’m not a fan of WWI/WWII novels. The exception is when it’s worked into a dual timeline novel a la Kate Morton. I like the juxtaposition of timelines and characters against the wartime backdrop.
Colonial America (17th century): I haven’t read a lot of books set in 17th century America but I very much like the idea of them, especially if they deal with witchcraft or the lead up to the Revolution. And pirates! I have The Rebel Pirate by Donna Thorland on my TBR. And I would LOVE to find a good novel about the mystery of Roanoke or a YA novel about the Mayflower.
Prehistory: I haven’t read any books set during the prehistoric era, but Ivory and Bone is on my list and I can’t wait! I would love to read the classic Clan of the Cave Bear someday too. It’s such a rich time period that could reach many different corners of the globe; I’d love to read about the first humans in Africa, or our ancestors crossing the Bering Strait into North America.
Atlantis: I have loved the myth of Atlantis since I was a child and I would KILL for a historical fiction title set during the fall of Atlantis. It’s more myth that history but no different than King Arthur or Troy if you think about it.
More Alternate History: if a historical book is pitched as a What If, I need it. I absolutely LOVE Laura Andersen’s alternate Tudor series, the first of which deals with Henry IX, the son of Anne Boleyn and Henry VIII. It’s an exciting mix of historical fiction without knowing how the story ends. I love Rook by Sharon Cameron too and can’t wait to read The Ring and the Crown. I want more alternate history, of all settings!
Ancient Middle East: more books set in Israel! Mesopotamia! Arabia! I love the recent YA trend of Arabian nights and Aladdin retellings, like A Thousand Nights and the upcoming The Forbidden Wish, but I’d love more of other Middle Eastern cultures as well. And I’d love some YA books on Biblical figures such as King David and Esther.
Ancient Hawaii/Polynesia/Mesoamerica: speaking of ancient cultures, I’d love to read about Hawaii’s rich mythology and history, and its connection to Polynesia. I’m fascinated by their last queen Liliuokalani too. And their relationship to English explorers/the U.S. I’d also love to read about the Mayans, the Aztecs, Native Americans, and other indigenous cultures of the Americas all in the context of an amazing story. I’ve barely read any.
Ireland/Scotland: pre-Anglo Saxon, William Wallace and Robert the Bruce, Druids, the Scottish Stuarts, Irish legends (Tristan and Isolde!). More more more! I have Deception’s Princess to read and I was SO looking forward to The Innkeeper’s Daughterbut it’s no longer being published :(
Vikings: I love Vikings and Norse culture, in theory! I need to watch the show and read more about them, but I find the history absolutely fascinating, especially the women. Bernard Cornwell’s Saxon series on Vikings and Alfred the Great’s quest to unite England into one kingdom is fantastic but I’d love to see some books that mix battle with other parts of their society and culture. I have Bracelet of Bones and Hidden (based on the legend of the first Norse woman pirate!!!) on my TBR.
Would you like to see more books from these settings? Do you love the same settings I do? Have any recs for me? Comment below!
In a perfect world, sixteen-year-old Phoebe Martins’ life would be a book. Preferably a YA novel with magic and a hot paranormal love interest. Unfortunately, her life probably wouldn’t even qualify for a quiet contemporary. But when Phoebe finds out that Dev, the hottest guy in the clarinet section, might actually have a crush on her, she turns to her favorite books for advice. Phoebe overhauls her personality to become as awesome as her favorite heroines and win Dev’s heart. But if her plan fails, can she go back to her happy world of fictional boys after falling for the real thing?
I really enjoyed reading Bookishly Ever After, it was sooooo cute! Relatable, swoony, diverse, and the perfect book to start off 2016. Phoebe reminded me so much of my high school self, as I’m sure many other bookworms can relate. I didn’t read YA in high school (2000-2004, I’m ancient) but I did read a lot of Harry Potter and spy thrillers; I was quiet, somewhere in the middle of the social hierarchy, had a great group of friends (def crushed on one of them), and had a fantasy crush on a super hot guy one year older than me who didn’t know I existed. So yes, I relate :P
One cool thing about this book is that we got to read parts of Phoebe’s favorite books! She was using all the romance tropes and tips in her fantasy and paranormal books for dating advice, and honestly I wanted to read those books too! I really appreciated that the author didn’t name drop current titles, which would make the book feel dated. Instead, she created original titles and excerpts with very familiar characters and storylines, so you definitely got the point. And Phoebe is a YA nut, I love it! I’ve had the feelings she experiences while reading and talking about books, and the scene waiting for her favorite author’s book signing was pitch perfect. I loved the way Bookishly Ever After embraced bookworm culture.
I also loved that Phoebe was’t just a bookworm though; she knits, she practices archery, she goes to dances, and she has close relationships with her friends and family. I loved her group of friends! They tended to be cliches on the outside but so much more once you got to know them. Grace is a popular blonde cheerleader with a girlfriend, Em is the dramatic but loyal theater geek, Alec is a quiet Jewish guy (and the character I feel like we got to know the least), and Dev is the Indian love interest with a flair for musical theater and good natured teasing. It’s a well-rounded group! The background characters aren’t as notable; there are mean girls, vapid jocks, and run of the mill parents. Also you guys: the romance and flirting and omg-I-think-my-friend-has-a-crush-on-me-do-I-like-him-back was SO GREAT! Phoebe was awkward but not in a cringeworthy way and Dev was adorable. I loved their relationship when Phoebe actually let her guard down once in awhile and acted like herself.
There *is* quite a bit of miscommunication which made me want to shake Phoebe because OH MY GOD GIRL, but you know how these books go. And the journey was flirty and cute as heck. We even get a really fun camp counselor sequence in the second half! It reminded me of working with 5th graders and talking Twilight and Harry Potter with them. Connecting with favorite books is great no matter the age of the reader.
Unfortunately, the formatting of the eArc almost made it unreadable- words were out of order and missing, it was irritating. However, I’m glad I kept reading and I’m happy that I preordered a finished copy. I also didn’t love the (totally believable) miscommunication and Phoebe was frustrating at times (sadly reminding me of myself as a teen haha), but I really loved the friendships, the romance, and the diversity of the characters themselves and their hobbies. Bookishly Ever After is a super cute fluffy contemporary that I definitely recommend for fans of The Art of Lainey, Meant to Be, and Anna and the French Kiss. It’s the first in a series of what I’m hoping are companion books. I’d love to get to know more about Alec and I’m sure Em will get her own book too!
About Isabel Bandeira
Isabel Bandeira grew up surrounded by trees and lakes in Southern New Jersey, right on the edge of the Pine Barrens. Her summers were always spent in Portugal, where the cathedrals, castles, and ancient tombs only fed her fairy tale obsession. Between all those influences and her serious glitter addiction, it wasn’t a surprise when she started writing stories of her own.
In her free time between writing and her day job as a Mechanical Engineer who designs and develops medical devices, she reads, dances, figure skates, and knits.
Isabel lives in New Jersey with her little black cat, too many books, and a closetful of vintage hats. She is represented by Carrie Howland of Donadio and Olson, Inc. BOOKISHLY EVER AFTER is her debut novel.
Everyone in Moorvale believes the legend: The brave knight Tristan and the famed wizard Vithric, in an epic battle decades ago, had defeated the evil Nethergrim and his minions. To this day, songs are sung and festivals held in the heroes' honor. Yet now something dark has crept over the village. First animals disappear, their only remains a pile of bones licked clean. Then something worse: children disappear. The whispers begin quietly yet soon turn into a shout: The Nethergrim has returned!
Edmund’s brother is one of the missing, and Edmund knows he must do something to save his life. But what? Though a student of magic, he struggles to cast even the simplest spell. Still, he and his friends swallow their fear and set out to battle an ancient evil whose powers none of them can imagine. They will need to come together--and work apart--in ways that will test every ounce of resolve.
I’ve been holding onto this mini review since I read the book in April 2014 and with the sequel coming out in May, it seems like the perfect time to share! I was so very impressed by The Nethergrim. It was darker and grimmer than I expected, but had that thread of hope in it that reminded me of both the first Harry Potter and the Seven Realms series. I was drawn in from the start and thought it was such an enthralling adventure. I loved Edmund and Katherine and Tom, though I felt desperately sorry for him. They were believable albeit very brave 14 year olds. I loved the legends and the magic system. And I just loved the writing, it was crisp and melancholy, menacing and exciting. I also thought the story wrapped up nicely for a first book while leaving plenty of adventure to be had. Highly recommended for fantasy fans, it’s the kind of book I would have loved in middle school that can still be enjoyed and appreciated by adults. To wrap up, I thought a little quest music was in order (primarily from 0:01-0:55)!
Simon Snow is the worst chosen one who’s ever been chosen.
That’s what his roommate, Baz, says. And Baz might be evil and a vampire and a complete git, but he’s probably right.
Half the time, Simon can’t even make his wand work, and the other half, he sets something on fire. His mentor’s avoiding him, his girlfriend broke up with him, and there’s a magic-eating monster running around wearing Simon’s face. Baz would be having a field day with all this, if he were here—it’s their last year at the Watford School of Magicks, and Simon’s infuriating nemesis didn’t even bother to show up.
Carry On is a ghost story, a love story, a mystery and a melodrama. It has just as much kissing and talking as you’d expect from a Rainbow Rowell story—but far, far more monsters.
Fangirl was one of my favorite books a couple years ago and I enjoyed all the Simon Snow parts, but I wasn’t sure if I wanted to read Carry On. I’m glad I chose to because I read this behemoth in a DAY and it was so much fun! From the first chapter, I was hooked. I loved the Harry Potterness that felt like a wink wink rather than something derivative. It felt clever and like a magical system and fantasy world fully realized on its own, with parallels and allusions for Potter fans to find. I also liked the allusions to past events and adventures in Simon’s world. Plus Simon’s preoccupation with food was adorable and very funny.
At first the spells annoyed me but then I decided I liked them- instead of made up words like Alohamora, they are rooted in the power of real life words and phrases, like Up up and away– it’s more about the intention behind the words. And I liked the Humdrum business! The mystery was intriguing and I liked the different viewpoints which helped piece it all together.
I loved (most) of the characters and I REALLY loved Simon, Baz, and Penelope. All amazing for different reasons…. sort of Harry/Draco/Hermione in this case! Simon and Penny had the best friendship, she might have been my favorite. As far as romance, I could have done with more (on page) kissing but I always want more kissing and oh my god the first kiss was worth the wait! The tension throughout the book between Simon and Baz was unreal! Hate to love is the best and they had such chemistry. I loved watching their relationship shift.
My main gripe is that I wish a few of the revelations had come to light in the end. I feel like we as an audience knew enough but I wanted the characters to uncover the truth too. Particularly related to the Lucy chapters. But otherwise this was super fun and makes me want to read Fangirl again as well. If you like hate-to-love romance, a cheeky magical system, character friendships, and easy to understand but well-done world building, read Carry On. It’s worth it.
Firstly, my TBTB Secret Santa this year was the wonderful Estelle of Rather Be Reading and she spoiled me with all the ebooks she got me throughout December then finishing with a great box of goodies, which included Girl Before a Mirror. Thank you, Estelle!
I had some gift cards saved up and decided it was time to go on a book buying binge! (I’ve been working on my impulsive book buying.) I now have the complete Demon Love Spell manga series! I was missing the last 4 to complete the set. I also got the first book in the My Monster Secret manga series that just became available in the US this month. Lastly, I had to pick up Passenger and Truthwitch because I’ve been hearing such good things about them. So excited!
An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir: I was really excited about this and I’ve heard great things about it, but just didn’t get the chance to pick it up last year. A lot of other books came out and I just got distracted and forgot to read this one. It’s still one my TBR and I plan to red it some time soon.
The Winner’s Crime by Marie Rutkoski: I loved The Winner’s Curse; I read it in one sitting and was dying for the sequel. The thing is, when I really love a book like I did this one I also get very nervous about the sequels. I don’t want the story to be ruined or I get scared to see where things are headed. That’s why I think I kept pushing this back and just ended up not picking it up at all. I will get to it soon though, probably after the final book comes out so I can just read them all together.
Lair of Dreams by Libba Bray: This is another one of those books that makes me nervous. I loved The Diviners so much and I don’t want this to disappoint. Plus, this book is pretty long and I just didn’t have the time to really sit down and read it like I wanted to.
A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas: I have no excuse for this one. I love Sarah J. Maas, but I’m so behind on her books. I still haven’t read Heir of Fire and I think I was trying to get caught up on that series before I jump into another one. However, I got a signed copy from my #TBTB Santa, so I will be reading this soon.
1. Take acquiring books/ebooks/ARCs down a notch. – I finally reduced the number of books in my house in 2015 (most all unread) and now I just need to stop buying/requesting/receiving them and read what I have. Grant it, I acquired more ebooks/egalleys than physical books last year, which helped, but now I need to do that less too.
2. Get back out into the online bookish community. – I already hadn’t been commenting much on blogs, but twitter was where I kept up with everyone. Then the second half of 2015 I totally fell of the Twitterverse too! I need to get back to youuuuuuu, tweeps and bloggy friends. <3
3. Get on with losing weight. – I know I can do it. I can do it. I WILL DO IT! :)
4. Rid my house of junk, room by room. – I want to live a simple life, that’s all! I don’t want to have boxes of junk anymore.
5. Figure out a review style that works for me. – Believe it or not, I’ve been blogging for five years and I’ve yet to figure this out. Ugh. I hate it! I did some of it in 2015. Got rid of books and clothes, but now i need to delve further into the dark corners of my closets. lol
1. Read more from my own shelves. – This is always one of my resolutions! I have so many amazing books just waiting for me at home, books that I preordered, or bought on impulse, or got as gifts. It’s my own personal library heaven that I need to take advantage of!
2. Use the library – I love the library! There are a lot of branches around me and they are great at purchasing books I suggest in addition to having a really good selection. I need to save some money and shelf space and utilize the library more often this year.
3. Read more historical fiction. – Historical fiction is one of my favorite genres but I wasn’t always in the mood to sit down and concentrate on details or long books this year. I want to get lost in the past and catch up on a bunch of fantastic historical fiction (mostly adult) books I’ve been dying to read.
4. Write reviews in a timely manner. – I reviewed less in the latter half of the year because I was reading less, and I didn’t want to write a review just for the sake of writing a review. So I want to pick some interesting titles, actually read them, and actually review them on the blog! I’m hoping to write some this month.
5. Keep my house tidier. – This is a personal goal and mostly due to laziness. I would always rather snuggle on the couch with my dog Andy or watch WWE with Chris than fold laundry in the other room (so Andy won’t steal my socks haha). I’m also commuting to work now and have longer days, so I don’t want to do chores when I get home. And the dishes pile up and so does the junk mail, and and and. I want to focus on one main room/chore a day so it’s not so overwhelming to clean on the weekends.
1. Start reading the Harry Potter Series. – I have put this off for way too long. I always meant to read the series but I just kept procrastinating and now it’s just embarrassing.
2. Stop buying so many books I know I won’t read! – I’m going to try to only buy books if I’m actually going to read them sometime soon or the deal is so amazing and I can’t miss it. Sometimes I buy books I know I won’t read anytime soon and I really need to stop doing that, it’s bad for my bank account.
3. Stop worrying about what everyone else is doing or thinking of me and just focus on what makes me happy. – I tend to freak out about what everyone else is thinking about me or feeling like others are judging me and I need to stop and just focus on myself and what I’m doing.
4. Be more organized! – I need to be more organized with everything in my life: work, school, and blogging. I plan to be way more organized and on top of things this year, no more procrastinating and forgetting to write things down. This is definitely the resolution that’s most important to me this year.
5. Get to know more people in the book community. – Like I said before I tend to freak out and get anxious about what others are thinking about me and that has stopped me from interacting with people in the book community as much as I want to. This year I’m going to try not to let that hold me back and reach out and interact with more people. Hopefully I’ll make some more awesome friends in this wonderful community :)
Can you guys believe it?! FIVE YEARS! It doesn’t even feel like that long. Wow…
The last five years have been some of my most favorite ever. I’ve met some of the best people and gone to some awesome places, all because of this blog I started back in 2011. You can read all about the beginning of my blogging journey in my About Me page.
When I first started blogging I read a lot of paranormal, urban fantasy, and dystopian books. Since discovering contemporary though, I’ve read less and less of those genres. Contemporary is by far my favorite now. I do feel like I’m reading less and less each year and I have to learn to accept that fact because currently it makes me feel really guilty for some reason. This year I’ve decided against setting a Goodreads Reading Challenge goal to see if it’ll help me. *crosses fingers*
Blogging has certainly become a little less overwhelming since the ladies below joined me here. I’m so sooo thankful for them. Here’s what they had to say about blogging and/or blogging here at Gone with the Words…
I’ve always felt a deeper connection with fellow readers, even if I may not know them very well, they can relate to the pain of losing a favorite character, or the dreadful impatience while you wait for the next book to release in your favorite series. These are things that all book lovers experience, and this is why I love being part of the blogging community. I feel like I am a part of this great book lover network. I may not know you, but wow your description of the emotions you felt while reading such-and-such book in your review, are exactly the things I felt too! Instant connection. I get to experience these things while being a part of this great book review blog that my best friend created. Not only that, but I have made some new friends along the way. All of our reviewers are so excited about reading and we all have unique opinions and diverse tastes in books. There is something for everyone here, we are like a melting cauldron of book reviews. Gone with the Words is our little book universe and it is amazing. Happy blogiversary GWTW! I’m happy to be a part of you! <3
Blogging on Gone with the Words has been everything I hoped for! I didn’t want the pressure of starting a new blog in an already saturated community but I wanted a way to connect with other readers and share bookish thoughts. I’ve made so many amazing friends and found lots of great blogs to follow! And it makes my day when someone else connects with a book that I loved. I’m so glad Jess was looking for more co-bloggers when I applied in August 2014- she is the sweetest and makes blogging look effortless when I know it’s not always easy. I love blogging with her and the other girls and can’t wait for this year. I have a lot of books to push on you people ;)
I’ve been blogging at Gone with the Words for about two years now and I have loved every minute of it! I first found out about book blogging through Epic Reads and twitter. I never realized so many people loved the same types of books that I did and even blogged about them. I had no idea how to really get involved, so I just joined Goodreads and started posting my reviews there. One day I saw that Jess was looking for people to join her blog and I filled out the application thinking there was no way she would actually choose me but she did! Ever since then I have loved being a part of this blog and this community. Being able to share my thoughts with others and having conversations and chats with other book lover has really made me feel less alone in a lot of ways. I hope to continue being a part of this community for many more years.
When I reignited my love for books back in 2014 I never could have imagined where my new passion would take me! I knew of booktube and Goodreads, but I had yet to discover book blogs. When a friend told me about Jess and her love of books I began to follow her on Instagram. Then one night while laying in bed, I ran across her post asking for those interested to apply for co-blogger. *Insert me dropping my phone on my face from the excitement!* It’s been only 4 months since I’ve joined the wonderful ladies of GWTW, but I couldn’t be happier! Thank you for having me as part of the team, Jess. 5 years of blogging is a huge accomplishment and I wish you many more!
I started my blog in 2007 for a project in my Creative Writing class. We were required to keep up with the blog throughout the semester and I thought it was so fun when the class ended I decided I would kept it. Turns out, I wasn’t that good at updating it if I wasn’t getting any credit! Fast forward 8 years and I’m back at it again! Then, earlier this year, I joined Jess and the GWTW girls as a co-blogger. I love being a part of this community everyone is so amazing, it’s like I’ve gained a whole new family that I actually want to hang out with! There is nothing better than being able to flail, laugh or cry with a bunch of your bestie over a good book.
Aren’t these girls the best?! My little GWTW family is wonderful. :)
So to celebrate this wonderful occasion, we’re giving one lucky winner $75 in PayPal cash! This means you have to have a PayPal account to receive the prize, and you have to be at least 13 years of age, but also! It means that International readers can enter! Good luck, everyone!
But I’m going to cheat and list my other favorites too:
A Court of Thorns and Roses, Grounded: The Adventures of Rapunzel, The Deal, The Start of Me and You, Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda, Uprooted, Lioness Rampant, First & Then, Queen of Shadows, The Scorpio Races, Stitching Snow, Vengeance Road, Winter
2. Book You Were Excited About & Thought You Were Going To Love More But Didn’t?
15. Favorite Passage/Quote From A Book You Read in 2015?
“The God’s honest truth is that I ain’t ever gonna love again. She’s your true north. I know what that means, because you’re mine. ….. So how long have I loved you for? Womb to tomb, sweetheart. Since before I was even here at all. I get it now, you understand. Your ma was right. It really is a stupid question.”Not Easily Conquered by dropdeaddream & WhatAreFears
“I could recognize him by touch alone, by smell; I would know him blind, by the way his breaths came and his feet struck the earth. I would know him in death, at the end of the world.”The Song Of Achilles, Madeline Miller
“You intolerable lunatic,” he snarled at me, and then he caught my face between his hands and kissed me.”Uprooted by Naomi Novak
16.Shortest & Longest Book You Read In 2015? (How I did this: Went to my read books on Goodreads and sorted by page number and just looked for what I knew I read this year that was the shortest and longest.)
30. Book That Made You The Most Mad (doesn’t necessarily mean you didn’t like it)?
Not Easily Conquered by dropdeaddream and WhatAreFears because I’m mad that it’s a 117,000 word online fanfic and not Captain America canon or an actual published book. I read it in a day and it was so incredible I can’t deal.
Your Blogging/Bookish Life
1. New favorite book blog you discovered in 2015?
A Kernel of Nonsense – the layout is really pretty and aesthetically pleasing and I’ve enjoyed many of Alicia’s reviews!
4. Best event that you participated in (author signings, festivals, virtual events, memes, etc.)?
I went to a book signing at the end of November for Kate Morton’s newest book The Lake House and it was incredible!! She’s my favorite author and lives in Australia so the chance to see her doesn’t come around often. She was lovely, engaging, interesting, and such a good speaker. And she was so nice to chat with!
9. Best bookish discovery (book related sites, book stores, etc.)?
Tumblr: I’ve really gotten into it this year and it’s very good for feeding my fandom obsessions, chiefly The Raven Cycle, The Song of Achilles, and Captain America. Also I recently found out that an independent bookstore is opening a mile from my house early next year!!
10. Did you complete any reading challenges or goals that you had set for yourself at the beginning of this year?
This week I added 4 books to my collection. From my secret sister I received Legend, Prodigy and Champion by Marie Lu. I’ve had my sites set on this series for a long time and I’m excited to finally get to dive in.
If You Only Knew by Kristan Higgins – This book hit me right in the heart. I read it at a time in my life where I was struggling, and it spoke to me. Also, it’s Kristan Higgins. She makes my favorites list every year. :)
Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli – SO delightful and funny, I was laughing on page 5! Simon was just the best and I wanted to be his friend and hang out with his friends. I loved watching Simon and Blue fall for each other while discovering who they were (literally and figuratively). And it was refreshing to read a diverse book that managed to be nuanced, important, and CUTE all at the same time!
Grounded: The Adventures of Rapunzel by Megan Morrison – Grounded is incredibly well written, funny, and exciting- Morrison’s Rapunzel reminded me of a mix of Rapunzel from Disney’s Tangled and Cress from The Lunar Chronicles, but with more attitude. I also adored the whimsically detailed worldbuilding and sense of history, the humor, and the complex characters. The world feels BIG but you never feel lost in it as a reader. I wanted to explore it all! And it’s absolutely filled with fairy tale magic.
Every Word by Ellie Marney – a truly excellent, tightly plotted, heart pounding sequel! It’s emotional, action-packed, super intense, and super hot. Plus a London setting! I continue to ship Mycroft and Rachel with the fire of a thousand suns. Wattscroft forevaaaa. I couldn’t put the book down, read it in a day!
The Deal by Elle Kennedy – I super loved this book!! It was hot and funny and had just the right amount of drama. I TOTALLY loved Graham (oh my god) and Hannah, they communicated like adults and had the most amazing chemistry! Plus it encompassed all of my favorite romantic tropes.
The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller – Absolutely striking. The writing is exquisite and brought to life these magnificent doomed characters. Miller humanizes Achilles and makes him a compelling hero worth following, while she raises Patroclus to new heights. The relationship between Patroclus and Achilles is everything you could wish for in a tragic romance. The emotions are overwhelming and burrowed into my soul while the language is evocative and the action is fierce. Historical fiction fans must read this!!!