Sep 24, 2017

Review: The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath


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Title: The Bell Jar
Author: Sylvia Plath
Publisher: Harper Perennial 
My Rating: 3/5 Stars
Paperback Edition, 244 Pages
Published January 1963



Summary: Esther Greenwood is brilliant, beautiful, enormously talented, and successful, but slowly going under—maybe for the last time. In her acclaimed and enduring masterwork, Sylvia Plath brilliantly draws the reader into Esther's breakdown with such intensity that her insanity becomes palpably real, even rational—as accessible an experience as going to the movies. A deep penetration into the darkest and most harrowing corners of the human psyche, The Bell Jar is an extraordinary accomplishment and a haunting American classic.

 

I know exactly what you're all going to say, so you may as well save your breath: It's embarrassing that I waited too long to read this book. And I totally agree. The Bell Jar is arguably one of the most widely-recognized books among people in our generation today, and while I knew that the book existed, I didn't know much of what it was about and I hadn't read it. The only thing I associated with The Bell Jar when I heard about it previously was the fact that it was apparently really sad. That was it.

Yeah. I'm pretty embarrassed, and I know I should be.

So when this book was assigned as part of the requirement for my YA Writing Course at school, I was eager for the chance to finally be reading one of the books that is always talked about but I haven't yet had a chance to start, and I didn't have even the slightest clue what to expect.

However, once I started reading the book, I really got into it. While I didn't like Esther as a character that much (mainly because of how rude and mean she could be towards everyone around her), I found it interesting to be taken into her mind and to see her struggle with mental illness and just wanting a sense of freedom when all it felt like was that there was a bell jar descending over her and closing her out from the world every single day.

Esther's struggles were very troubling, and there were points in the book where I found myself cringing (mainly because I'm so squeamish when it comes to blood and razors and such), and times where I was gasping with either surprise or sometimes even laughter after something outlandish that Esther said. Upon finishing the book, I can definitely understand why people think it's an extremely sad read, and I have to agree. However, I don't regret reading the book, because I feel that The Bell Jar has such pivotal sadness as an effective tool for making us aware of our own emotions and even the struggles that the author herself was going through before she tragically ended her life.

Overall, I enjoyed The Bell Jar much more than I thought I was going to. Although it was definitely a really sad book that tugged at the heartstrings, it did an excellent job of showing one woman's up-and-down struggle with mental illness and yearning for freedom and peace, especially in an era where her gender was unfortunately crucial in holding her back from that, in addition to everything else that was going on in her life. This book really opened my eyes, and I'm really grateful that I was given the opportunity to read it.





Sep 23, 2017

Book Blitz & Giveaway: Train To The Edge Of The Moon by Asper Blurry


Train to the Edge of the Moon
Asper Blurry
Publication date: October 28th 2017
Genres: Contemporary, New Adult

Punk is no ordinary millennial who takes the life as it is. She has a nasty habit of getting in troubles, she shows the middle finger to prejudice and stupidity, she fights against her broken identity and darkness of her soul. She goes against the stream with her heavy, tight shoes, but she still tries to be a better person. Punk’s adventurous journey to become someone who matters starts in a Place Without a Name, continues in Italy and London. Her train is full of sad reflections, laughs, modern tales about our young lives, relationships and occasional heartbreaks.
“Train to the Edge of the Moon” is about all shades of the young people reality – struggles with career, romances, feeling lost in the corporate machinery, feeling misunderstood and rejected by society. It’s funny, it makes you laugh and in the next moment it gets sad and dark and you want to crawl in the corner and cry a little. It also raises controversial issues such as addictions, depression, and abuse. Those who have been beaten down, trampled over and nearly robbed of everything that makes them who they are, those who refuse to adapt and be another brick in the wall in the modern mayhem will find here hope and strength to fight for their happiness and peace of soul.
Imagine “Girl, interrupted” partying up with the older “Catcher in the Rye” and immerse your curiosity in Punk’s wild adventures.
EXCERPT:
Gloomy room
immersed in a scent
of modern cowards
Filled with
shapeless creatures
sitting in silence
because they have
nothing to say
Fake plastic faces
with a grimace
of disappointment
painted on them
Are we stuck on hold
expecting our turn
in a waiting room
of so-called
lost generation?

London 2015
Weak raindrops were pouring down her leather jacket. It was raining every day lately, and she missed the warmth of Italian sun. Yet Punk couldn’t leave London just like that. It wasn’t just some place for her. She considered London to be a he. A breathing creature with his virtues, weaknesses and vices. His violent dynamism was intoxicating. It would bring her joyful moments of light mixed with deep secrets of a black soul. At first, his huge size and activity caused her dizziness and it took her a while to adjust.
Punk was waiting for them in front of the Oxford Circus tube. Her long, brown hair was tangled by the strong wind. These days it wouldn’t allow her to breathe consciously. A frozen glimmer of the sun appeared on the gray sky, buried behind the dark clouds. But no one bothered to spot it happening above the vivid city life. Punk was like a single shadow that ran within the turmoil of passing strangers on Oxford Street. Quick and invisible like a current of the wild river.
Sometimes the wave of London’s beauty would throw her into unknown dangerous waters, sinking her with anxiety and astonishment. The city is very demanding. He doesn’t want you. He wants all of you; pushing you inside his unique core of riot. And if you’re not strong or confident enough he will spit you out like a piece of used shred. He will devour all your vigor, leaving you with naked ass hid in the bushes.
Punk resembled London in many ways. But she couldn’t stay alive like he did. She could feel life only through glass. It made her hungry and eager to try and live it all. Mostly in homelessness and detachment.
Yet when she saw her two lovers emerging from the stream of dim sunlight a delicate glow covered her pale cheeks. It looked like a smile. She was less scared now after all they’d been through, but she still couldn’t get used to feeling this way.
Someone said she was beautiful and untouchable. So where did all this ugliness come from? Was it her illusion? Was it their notion? Was it even real?


Author Bio:
Asper Blurry is a writer, poet, thinker, seeker, traveler and much more. She often finds herself in places of different dimensions and cruel whispers, far from the dreamland. But that's the price she pays for her creations and she keeps writing because of this artistic force inside her heart and mind.
Her voice is genuine, blunt and raw, sometimes poetic and mysterious. She writes freely about our ordinary life and the reality of modern, young people. She's not afraid of addressing controversial issues such as addictions, depression and intolerance. She's convinced that if her writing touches your soul or makes you feel something, all those nights spent in the darkness on the other side will be worth it.

GIVEAWAY!

We'd like to once again thank the lovely team over at Xpresso for allowing us to be a part of this book tour! This book seems super interesting and we can't wait to add it to our TBR. What're your thoughts? Comment down below and let us know!



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Sep 20, 2017

Waiting on Wednesday: The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo

"Waiting On Wednesday" is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking The Spine where we highlight some of the upcoming books we can't wait to read!

Jessica's Waiting on:

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Title: The Poet X
Author: Elizabeth Acevedo
Publisher: HarperTeen 
Publication Date: March 6th, 2018


Summary: A young girl in Harlem discovers slam poetry as a way to understand her mother’s religion and her own relationship to the world. Debut novel of renowned slam poet Elizabeth Acevedo. Xiomara Batista feels unheard and unable to hide in her Harlem neighborhood. Ever since her body grew into curves, she has learned to let her fists and her fierceness do the talking. But Xiomara has plenty she wants to say, and she pours all her frustration and passion onto the pages of a leather notebook, reciting the words to herself like prayers—especially after she catches feelings for a boy in her bio class named Aman, who her family can never know about. With Mami’s determination to force her daughter to obey the laws of the church, Xiomara understands that her thoughts are best kept to herself. So when she is invited to join her school’s slam poetry club, she doesn’t know how she could ever attend without her mami finding out, much less speak her words out loud. But still, she can’t stop thinking about performing her poems. Because in the face of a world that may not want to hear her, Xiomara refuses to be silent.

Okay, for starters, the summary alone makes it clear that this is going to be one of the most kickass books of 2018. Poet Sarah Kay mentioned it on her Twitter a few weeks ago, and that's what caused me to look up the book on Goodreads and decide that it was definitely something I wanted to read. I can't wait to have this book in my hands and read it, because not only does this seem like a book about creativity and finding yourself and standing up against expectations, but this book also seems to be speaking to the power of words, which, as a reader and writer, I think is totally awesome. I'm really looking forward to 2018 so I'll get a chance to read this book!

What are you waiting on this week? Leave your links so I can stop back! 


Sep 19, 2017

Brooklyn Book Festival Recap!

Hi guys! This past Sunday I went to the Brooklyn Book Festival for the very first time with my school's creative writing club, and it was such a spectacular time. I met so many great readers, authors, and publishers that I just had to talk about it, so here we are!

So, for starters, I was totally shocked that this entire event was free. I didn't know what to expect, but several club members had gone before and assured me that the event was free, the panels were free, and you were given all sorts of swag and books and totes for free as well. (Think a mini-BookCon!) So when I stepped off the subway and looked around, I was totally floored. There were so many booths stretching as far as the eye could see -- seriously so many! I wasn't even able to see the entire layout of the festival from the entrance. There was just so much going on. There were booths with publishers and booksellers and authors, food trucks, outdoor panels, and even live music. It was basically a fantastically bookish street fair, so I was immediately like count me in. 


So I walked around and checked out the booths of a lot of the publishers that we've worked with before, which was awesome. I also got some info about grad school writing programs and writer's workshops, which got me super psyched. By the end of the event, I was itching to get back to my laptop and start hammering away at my current work in progress, which had been stalled recently and left me feeling helpless and anxious about it -- but just the entire atmosphere of the event made me crave my notebook, my laptop, and a quiet place to write. I practically sprinted to the subway to get back once the day was over, and it's already been a few days since the event and my motivation to write seems to have stuck, which is really exciting. 


But back to the event itself. I grabbed a quick snack for lunch, which was exciting because they were these DELICIOUS fries from Home Frite with some lemon garlic butter dipping sauce, so even though my calorie count for the day wasn't enthusiastic about it, my tastebuds certainly were. 


And then it was time for the panels! The panels were also totally free at the event, which I was shocked (but really impressed) by. I decided to look up the panels a few days before just to kill some time, and when I found out that Sarah Dessen and Adam Silvera were going to be there...I lost it, guys. I totally lost it. If you've been around for awhile, you'd know that Sarah and Adam are two of my favorite writers of all time, and my literary heroes that I am constantly striving to emulate because they're half the reason I write what I write. 

So when I got to go to a panel of theirs for free and be in the same room as them (as well as Lilliam Rivera and Gabby Rivera!), I was practically buzzing with excitement. I also got the chance to meet Taylor, one of our book blogger friends from Stay On The Page, which was awesome, even if we only got to say a quick hello before the panel started! And once the panel did start, I got so many awesome tips and tidbits that I needed to learn how to better write a romance story for my new book. I left feeling starstruck and totally satisfied, and also loaded with tons of new book recs, which is always an awesome thing.



Overall, I really enjoyed the Brooklyn Book Festival. I can't believe that I didn't go last year, but I can now safely say that I've learned my lesson and will be attending next year and far into the future as well! 

Did you go to the Brooklyn Book Festival this weekend? If so, what was your favorite part? And if not, do you think you'll be going in the future? Comment down below and share your thoughts!


Sep 18, 2017

Review: Windfall by Jennifer E. Smith


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Title: Windfall 
Author: Jennifer E. Smith
Publisher: Delacorte Press
My Rating: 4/5 Stars
Hardcover, 418 Pages
Published May 2017



Summary: Alice doesn’t believe in luck—at least, not the good kind. But she does believe in love, and for some time now, she’s been pining for her best friend, Teddy. On his eighteenth birthday—just when it seems they might be on the brink of something—she buys him a lottery ticket on a lark. To their astonishment, he wins $140 million, and in an instant, everything changes. At first, it seems like a dream come true, especially since the two of them are no strangers to misfortune. As a kid, Alice won the worst kind of lottery possible when her parents died just over a year apart from each other. And Teddy’s father abandoned his family not long after that, leaving them to grapple with his gambling debts. Through it all, Teddy and Alice have leaned on each other. But now, as they negotiate the ripple effects of Teddy’s newfound wealth, a gulf opens between them. And soon, the money starts to feel like more of a curse than a windfall. As they try to find their way back to each other, Alice learns more about herself than she ever could have imagined…and about the unexpected ways in which luck and love sometimes intersect.

 

I've been a Jennifer E. Smith fan for a pretty long time now, so I was super excited when I heard about Windfall. Her stories just have a way of always making me smile at all the right moments, and I'm always left with such a warm, fuzzy feeling. So when Emily and I went book shopping right before we went back to school, and this one's beautiful cover caught my eye and I was reminded of how excited I had been for this book -- so it was one of my top purchases that I brought to school with me!

As I've mentioned before, it's really hard to keep up with reading when you're in college, especially when you're an English major. You're given so many other books to read for assignments, and I've never been a good multitasker when it came to reading multiple books at the same time, so I had to get through this one pretty slowly. However, slowly but surely, I managed to find snippets of free time where I had a chance to sit down and just soak up as much of this book as I could. Even though it was 400+ pages, I felt myself fly through it like it was nothing, because I was so hooked on wanting to find out what happened next.

As the summary explains, Alice and Teddy have been best friends for an incredibly long time. So for Teddy's eighteenth birthday, Alice jokingly buys him a lottery ticket, not expecting anything from it. But when Teddy ends up winning over 141 million dollars, everything changes.

The only problem is that not everything changes in a good way. While Teddy's life (and the lives of everyone surrounding him) suddenly stumbles into this much wealth, people naturally come out of the woodwork wanting to take advantage of this -- one of the most notable people being Teddy's deadbeat father who had a gambling addiction and up and left him years ago. So the book takes you through his struggles of suddenly being "cursed" with so much money, and having to balance between pleasing the do-gooders around him (such as his parents and Alice) while also splurging a little bit, having grown up in a home with very little money and finally being given the golden opportunity that he never had. It also takes you through another struggle -- Alice has been in love with Teddy for years, but she can't find the heart to tell him. Until she suddenly does -- and things definitely don't go as planned. (But I won't spoil that part for you -- you'll have to read the book yourself to find out what happens!)

My favorite character in this book was definitely Alice. She spent so much of her time trying to do good for others, and it was honestly incredibly inspiring. Of course everyone in this world (or at least, everyone with a heart) wants to do good for others, but it takes a certain person to dedicate so much of their free time towards being selfless and going to soup kitchens and raising money and tutoring orphaned children. Which is why Teddy coming across all of this money causes a rift between him and Alice -- because she has plans for him changing the world with it, and he can barely think past the present day. 

(Minor spoilers in this paragraph -- please skip to the next one if you don't want the book ruined for you!) Towards the ending of the book, Teddy and Alice's little romance had me so excited and smiling so big that my roommate looked over at me several times to ask if I was okay, because I was sitting there grinning at my book like a goon. At first I was shocked when she didn't take the offer Teddy gave her with the program, but then it was quickly made up for by that adorable ending. I mean, guys. I almost felt my heart stop, it was so dang cute. My cheeks seriously hurt from smiling. I loved it. 

Overall, I really enjoyed Windfall. Jennifer E. Smith did another spectacular job of creating a feel-good romance while also creating a story that I'd never wandered into before -- the story of someone having so much wealth so suddenly that they had no idea what to do with it, and the pros and cons of each decision they made that followed thereafter. If this book wasn't on your TBR already, it definitely should be -- as well as the rest of Jennifer E. Smith's books! I really enjoyed tearing through this one and I'm eagerly awaiting some of her future work as well. :-)





Sep 16, 2017

My Thoughts On Chapter One of Turtles All The Way Down

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If you haven't been keeping up with social media lately, you probably missed John Green reading the first chapter of his newest book, Turtles All The Way Down, which is coming out in October. (If you haven't seen the video yet, you can click here to see it!) So today on the blog, having just watched the video myself, I'm here to share my thoughts on the first chapter and what I think the rest of the book will be like.

So, John Green had mentioned in several previous Vlogbrothers videos that the book was going to be dealing with thought spirals, which are something that he has mentioned he has experienced multiple times before. So in addition to this book being a gripping mystery full of wit and charm (as all his books are), it also heads over into the direction of mental health, which is an area not usually written about by him, so that was a change I was immediately eager to see. And just from listening to the first chapter, it's pretty evident -- the main character explains her history with thought spirals and how her best friend understands it, and then you're actually taken through one. 

As a matter of fact, I was sort of surprised with how intense the book is when it first begins -- you're pretty much launched right into one of the main character's thought spirals. She gives a little bit about her history too, so although the reader gets right into the thick of things, they aren't left totally in the dark. 

There were also a few parts about the opening chapter that made me laugh, especially after it made me think back on my high school years. And in typical John Green fashion, he takes something that we tend to view as totally mundane and habitual -- such as the bells in between classes in high school -- and turns them into something that makes you pause and contemplate. (For real. I never realized how mindlessly we all followed the big beep in the sky until he pointed it out. He tends to do stuff like that.) It was both really captivating and really, really awesome. 

Overall, I'm just really freaking excited for this book. It already seems super interesting, and like I said (and like you probably already know, if you've been a fan of this blog for awhile!), I'm a huge John Green fan. So you already know I'll be lined up to get this book as soon as I can -- and hopefully you all will be, too! 

So, those are my thoughts after hearing the first chapter of Turtles All The Way Down. I'm really excited for this book to come out next month, and to finally hold it in my hands! I've been a fan of John Green for as long as I can remember, with Looking For Alaska being one of my favorite books of all time. I even had a quote from the book inspire my graduation cap a few years ago!


Image may contain: one or more people, people standing, sky and outdoor

What're your thoughts on the first chapter of Turtles All The Way Down? Comment down below and share your thoughts -- I'd love to hear them!



Sep 13, 2017

Waiting On Wednesday: Meet Cute: Some People Are Destined to Meet

"Waiting On Wednesday" is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking The Spine where we highlight some of the upcoming books we can't wait to read!

Emily's Waiting on:


Title: Meet Cute: Some People Are destined to Meet 
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publisher: HMH Books 
Publication Date: Jan. 2nd, 2018

Summary: Whether or not you believe in fate, or luck, or love at first sight, every romance has to start somewhere. MEET CUTE is an anthology of original short stories featuring tales of "how they first met" from some of today’s most popular YA authors. 
Readers will experience Nina LaCour's beautifully written piece about two Bay Area girls meeting via a cranky customer service Tweet, Sara Shepard's glossy tale about a magazine intern and a young rock star, Nicola Yoon's imaginative take on break-ups and make-ups, Katie Cotugno's story of two teens hiding out from the police at a house party, and Huntley Fitzpatrick's charming love story that begins over iced teas at a diner. There’s futuristic flirting from Kass Morgan and Katharine McGee, a riveting transgender heroine from Meredith Russo, a subway missed connection moment from Jocelyn Davies, and a girl determined to get out of her small town from Ibi Zoboi. Jennifer Armentrout writes a sweet story about finding love from a missing library book, Emery Lord has a heartwarming and funny tale of two girls stuck in an airport, Dhonielle Clayton takes a thoughtful, speculate approach to pre-destined love, and Julie Murphy dreams up a fun twist on reality dating show contestants. 
This incredibly talented group of authors brings us a collection of stories that are at turns romantic and witty, epic and everyday, heartbreaking and real.
This book is composed of multiple short stories on how couples first met. Like come on, how cute is that?! These short stories were written by some the the top YA authors and include some of my favorites like, Jennifer L. Armentrout, Katie Cotugno, and Nicola Yoon. I'm excited to get the chance to read this so be sure to look out for my ARC review!

What are you waiting on this week? Leave your links so we can stop back!


Sep 12, 2017

Emily's College Diaries: Sophomore Year

 



Hey Guys!

It's that time of the year again. Back to school (cries internally)! Time to begin the dreaded daily routine. I can't say that I wasn't ready or that I didn't want to go back to school, cause I did. I just wasn't ready for the amount of work my professors already expect from us two weeks into the semester and the fact that I had to drop over $400 in textbooks. Don't get me wrong, I actually love most of my classes, my favorites being Abnormal Psychology and Human Body In Health and Disease. I just find those topic so extremely interesting and it makes taking them at 8am not so difficult.

I'm actually feeling pretty good about this year. I'm trying to get my GPA up and just overall ace all my classes. I'm hoping the work doesn't become too much harder so I don't need to focus all my time and energy on one class. And as for clubs and being involved, I feel my school doesn't do such a great job getting the word out. It may be because I commute and just don't hear as much as the people who live on campus. Speaking of commuting, don't even get me started on the parking. I have to leave my house at 7am in order to get to the school and get a spot to make it to my 8am on time (and I only live 15 mins from the school!).

In other news, I finally declared a major! Yes, a shocker seeing as I literally had no idea what to do with my life for a year and a half. I have decided to become a nurse. I honestly haven't always thought of doing something in the medical field until recently. I just love the idea of being able to help people during such difficult times in their lives. I have talked to many nurses, all of them telling me to go for it and also how much they love being a nurse. It's going to be a long and hard four years but I'm so ready to take this leap.

All in all, I'm ready to conquer my sophomore year, with the help of my coffee of course. 

Now enjoy this cheesy stock image!





























Sep 11, 2017

The Ultimate Con Packing Guide

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Hey there, everyone! Today on the blog, I’m sharing my tips on how to prepare for the ultimate convention, right in time for Love N. Vegas! Love N. Vegas is an author event that will be taking place in Las Vegas October 27th-29th. We have some outfit and packing advice that you guys can hopefully find really useful!

What To Wear


When it comes to cons, our biggest advice is comfort. You're going to want to wear that adorable sundress with those strappy heels that are a perfect match. But while you may feel like your outfit is on point, you'll be riddled with blisters and discomfort later on. Here are some things we've learned to wear to conventions that are both cute and comfy:

  • Cardigans
  • Tank tops 
  • Leggings
  • Ballet flats
  • Sneakers
  • Cotton sundresses
  • Soft tee shirts
  • Anything except jeans.
    • Seriously. Anything except jeans. The ultimate discomfort pants when you have to walk around everywhere and constantly stand up and sit down. Plus, sweating in jeans? Noooo thank you.

What To Pack


1. A backpack. 

Definitely, hands down, without a doubt. It doesn't have to be a big, huge, schoolbag-worthy one, but that's definitely the kind of one that we'd recommend. Just make sure that you'll be able to fit a decent amount of books and freebies you'll be picking up, along with your lunch and other small things.


2. A small cross-body bag. 


It doesn't need to be anything big--all it's for is storing your phone, your money, and your schedule. It would be way too much of a hassle to have to fish those things out of your bag of books and freebies and lunch and nonsense. Also store your business cards in there if you plan on giving them out. This was the best idea out of all that we're going to recommend to you!!

3. Your plan!


Write down all of the panels, signings and such that you know you MUST attend, along with their times and locations. And store that in your clutch for easy access. Two years ago, we made a not-so-solid plan, more of a loose guideline. Big mistake. This year, we're armed and ready with a full two-page worthy plan of what to make sure we do, what times, and how to get there. And in terms of travel, you can use helpful sites such as Vegas.com to plan your trip flawlessly!


4. Comfortable clothes/shoes. 

Sure, you want to look cute while walking around and meeting other authors and bloggers, but you want to be comfortable too! Go for some comfy-yet-causal styles such as leggings, comfy flats, or sneakers. (We seriously recommend sneakers. Blisters are not a fun way to spend your day.)


5. A sweatshirt.


Because yes, contrary to popular belief, it does get chilly inside sometimes.


6. Deodorant. 

Even though it may get chilly inside the stage room, the crushing crowds cause people to stress and sweat. Plus, since you're going to practically be squashed in with everyone, you want to make sure that you smell nice. (We wish several people had taken our advice about this when we were crammed in line waiting for John Green a few years ago.)

7. Cash. 


There's no set amount that you need to bring with you, but lunch can be expensive, so if you don't plan on bringing your own lunch, bring a decent amount of dough with you. Even if you do bring your lunch, bringing $40-$50 along with you is helpful for buying books, paying for luggage storage, grabbing an extra drink/snack, or (of course, duh, because this is a book convention, people!) buying some books.




*Le sigh. We wish that was how it worked*

8. Any books you want to get signed.


A book event is going to be absolutely stuffed with amazing authors (especially your favorites!), so if you know that any of your favorites are going, toss a book of theirs in your bag to get signed. Seriously. Even if you know they aren't doing an autograph session, because you never know! Most autograph lines give out copies of the books, but it's better to be safe than sorry.

9. A lunch and some light snacks. 


Chances are, time that you will spend waiting on line at the food court is time that you could be using to check out some more amazing things that BookCon has to offer. So bring your own lunch/snacks/drinks along with you so you can eat quickly and then go back to having an awesome time. Packing a lunch and eating it while on an autographing/panel line or while you have time to kill is the best option.

10. TWO water bottles. 


Because dehydration is a nightmare, and you don't want to get sick on an awesome day like this. One water bottle was what we recommended in the past, and it wasn't enough.

11. A portable phone charger. 


Augustus Waters's death may have been inevitable (*sob*), but that doesn't mean that your phone's has to be. Portable chargers are literally the 8th wonder of the world, so charge one up the night before and bring it along with you just in case your battery percentage dips into the single digits while you're out having fun. 


12. Business cards. 


If you're a book blogger, this event is one of the most perfect places to get the word out about your blog. Print up some business cards and bring them with you so you'll be ready to pass the word along! 

13. Pen/pencil and a Sharpie. 


You never know when you'll need a pen, and that applies to all areas of your life. And who knows if you'll bump into someone awesome and want their autograph?


14. Makeup/Hairbrush


As previously mentioned, you'll get pretty sweaty/disheveled during this entire ordeal, so these items are a must if you plan on slipping into the bathroom and freshening up before meeting your favorite author. 


15. Yourself, ready for an awesome time! 

Because this is going to be an awesome day!





Travel Plans:


Vegas always has the best deals on flights and hotels to help make your planning go smoothly. The site Vegas.com has a lot of information to help you learn more about the city if you want to explore when your not at the convention!

Hopefully this packing list helped you all out! Also make sure to share this post, because we want everyone to get to see this handy-dandy packing guide not to endorse ourselves, but to help everyone make sure they're prepared!

If you're going to Love N. Vegas, have an excellent time and make sure to plan your trip accordingly! :-)


This post was adapted from our 2017 BookCon Packing Guide.

Sep 7, 2017

Excerpt & Giveaway: So Near The Horizon by Jessica Koch


So Near the Horizon
Jessica Koch
Publication date: September 6th 2017
Genres: Contemporary, New Adult, Romance

From the moment she crosses paths with Danny, Jessica is fascinated. The dashing, confident twenty-year-old has everything she dreams of—looks, success, independence, money—and his kind, infinitely cheerful nature is spellbinding.
Yet Jessica sees something else lingering underneath Danny’s perfect facade. Bit by bit, she manages to pick it apart, unveiling harrowing truths about a deeply traumatic childhood that has left more than just emotional scars. Now, far away from his home and family, he is fighting to build a normal life for himself—even though he may be destined for a future as dark as his past.
Despite all adversity and against all reason, a deep and intimate love develops between Danny and Jessica. But soon they find themselves confronting the harsh realities of a superficial world, battling against prejudice and exclusion at every turn… and, worst of all, racing against time…
Jessica Koch’s dramatic debut novel, Dem Horizont so nah (So Near the Horizon), broke every record when it hit stores in Germany 2016. Released through a small, independent publishing house, the e-book was an instant success, selling over 250,000 copies in just a few months and topping the Amazon bestseller list for more than six weeks – which made it the number-one bestselling German-language e-book of the year 2016!
Since then, one of Germany’s largest publishing houses has purchased the rights to this riveting and highly emotional memoir. The foreign rights have been picked up in numerous countries, and the feature film is scheduled to arrive in theaters at the end of 2018.
And now, for the first time ever, So Near the Horizon will be available in English! So Near the Horizon will hit online retailers in September 2017 – again as an independent publication, again without a huge marketing budget, but again with infinite passion for an unbelievable but true story that the world needs to hear.
EXCERPT:
As soon as I turned the corner, I saw him. In jeans and a royal-blue hoodie, he was leaning casually against a gleaming, black, thirty-foot limousine—a Lincoln Town Car—his arms folded. As always, his hair was sticking out in every direction. When he saw me, his face broke out into a radiant smile. A man dressed in black was standing at the front of the car, eyes downcast.
Chauffeur and everything? This is crazy…
My knees were threatening to give out, and my brain switched into offline mode again.
As I walked toward Danny, gaping in astonishment, he straightened and held out his hands. I took them, and his fingers closed briefly around mine. Once again, it was like he’d hit me with an electric shock.
“W-wow,” I stammered. “What’s all this for?”
“Because I’m falling in love,” he said quietly.
For a moment, the world stood still.
In love?
I was too stunned to react.
The chauffeur opened the car door, revealing an interior bathed in dim violet light. Still reeling a little, I settled onto the cream-colored leather upholstery that stretched across the entire length of the limousine, and Danny climbed in after me. The long marble-topped table in the center held a chilled bottle of champagne and two flutes already filled.
Danny handed me one of them, and we clinked our glasses together.
“I thought you didn’t drink,” I said shyly.
“Exceptions prove the rule,” Danny replied and took the first sip as the vehicle began rolling slowly out of the parking lot.
“How can you afford this kind of thing as a personal trainer?” I had no idea what it actually cost, but it surely wasn’t cheap.
He suppressed a grin. “I earn good money in my side job.”
“I knew it! You steal cars and sell them in other countries.”
“Um, no.” He looked genuinely perplexed.
“So you do the grandson scam? Knock on confused old ladies’ doors and make big eyes at them, and cry about how the Mafia is after you, and beg for money?”
He stared at me in surprise. Apparently, he hadn’t pegged me as someone with that much imagination. “It’s a lot less spectacular than that. Pretty boring by comparison, really. I just pose.”
I raised an eyebrow.
“For photos,” he clarified. “For a fashion label.”
“You model?” I shrieked at him. So he didn’t just look like a glossy-magazine model, he actually was one.
What the hell did this guy want with me?
In love, he said…
“Yeah,” he replied easily. “It’s nothing to scream about. They’re just photos. Ads, clothes, the usual. The pay’s good.”
“So that’s why you didn’t go to college?”
His expression turned grim. “No. That was for other reasons. Personal reasons.”
There it was again, that darkness in his eyes.
“Aren’t you afraid the modeling work will dry up someday when you’re old and ugly?” My curiosity knew no bounds.
“No, I’m not worried about that.” Then why did his voice sound so melancholy?
My champagne glass was empty by that point, but I felt awkward about refilling it, since Danny hadn’t taken his eyes off me. “There’s something I really don’t understand,” I began, emboldened by the champagne. “Why did you try to warn me away from you? Do you chop little girls up into pieces and bury them in the forest?”
The violet light gleamed in his hair as he tilted his head and regarded me. “I make drugs in my basement,” he said. “I have to be careful. Can’t let anyone find out.”
I regarded him skeptically. The problem with Danny’s dry humor was that you never knew whether he was joking.
He laughed quietly to himself when he realized I was trying to decide whether to believe him.
“Sarcasm is the sword of the intellectual,” he finally said. But then, all at once, his relaxed demeanor shifted again. “Seriously,” he said, “the fact is my life is one giant catastrophe. I don’t want anyone else to get sucked into it.”
Half relieved drugs weren’t involved, I shook my head. “Hey, I’ve never met a catastrophe I couldn’t handle!”
“I’m not joking,” he insisted. “If you have an ounce of sense in your head, you’ll walk away and never look back.”
“Sense was never my strong suit. I’m told teenagers aren’t sensible people.”
He sighed deeply. “Okay,” he said theatrically. “I’ll give you three choices, since you were kind enough to do so for me. All right?”
I nodded, a smile creeping onto my face.
“Then come on down, you’re the next contestant!” he said in his best TV-announcer voice. “Here are your options! One: A happy, worry-free life as a single woman. Two: Me. Three: You find a guy who’s right for you and live happily ever after. Pick a door, any door!”
“Door number two, please,” I announced, playing along.
“I’m serious!” Danny protested.
“So am I!” But I couldn’t help giggling. “It’s just hard not to laugh. You’re really funny!”
He raised a questioning eyebrow. “Funny ha-ha or funny strange?”
“Both.”
“Is it at least an equal mix?”
“No. One more so than the other.” I turned to look out the window, at the pedestrians watching with interest as our limo pulled into the movie theater parking lot.


Author Bio:
Jessica Koch (born in Ludwigsburg, Germany) began writing short stories when she was still in high school, but never submitted her work to publishers. In late 1999, shortly after beginning her studies to become an architectural drafter, she met Danny, a German-American dual national. Her experiences with him eventually formed the basis for So Near the Horizon, though it was nearly thirteen years before she felt ready to bring the manuscript to the public.
The author describes a life lived somewhere between hope and fear, between optimism and despair. She reflects on events from her own past with raw honesty, confronting more than one difficult subject along the way.
Jessica Koch lives near the city of Heilbronn with her husband, their son, and two dogs. The second and third books in the trilogy, So Near the Abyss and So Near the Ocean, are already best-sellers in Germany as well.


We'd like to thank the lovely team over at Xpresso for once again allowing us to be part of another great book tour! This book seems super interesting and the excerpt has us hooked...so if you'll excuse us, we'll be right back while we add this book to our TBR!



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Sep 6, 2017

Waiting on Wednesday: A Short History Of The Girl Next Door by Jared Reck

"Waiting On Wednesday" is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking The Spine where we highlight some of the upcoming books we can't wait to read!

Jessica's Waiting on:

30040068 
Title: A Short History Of The Girl Next Door
Author: Jared Reck
Publisher: Knopf Books 
Publication Date: September 26th, 2017



Summary: Fifteen-year-old Matt Wainwright is in turmoil. He can’t tell his lifelong best friend, Tabby, how he really feels about her; his promising basketball skills are being overshadowed by his attitude on the court, and the only place he feels normal is in English class, where he can express his inner thoughts in quirky poems and essays. Matt is desperately hoping that Tabby will reciprocate his feelings; but then Tabby starts dating Liam Branson, senior basketball star and all-around great guy. Losing Tabby to Branson is bad enough; but, as Matt soon discovers, he’s close to losing everything that matters most to him. 

I received an advanced copy of this book at BookCon this past June, and I'm so excited to be starting it soon! The summary makes the book seem super interesting, and the way it leaves things off on a cliffhanger (especially when it comes to teenage true love) makes it all the more intriguing. I'm looking forward to finally getting around to reading this one and seeing where Matt's story takes him!

What are you waiting on this week? Leave your links so I can stop back!