Waiting on Wednesday: All the Bright Places

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Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Breaking the Spine that encourages us to spotlight upcoming releases that we’re, well, waiting on.

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The Fault in Our Stars meets Eleanor and Park in this compelling, exhilarating, and beautiful story about a girl who learns to live from a boy who intends to die.

Theodore Finch is fascinated by death, and he constantly thinks of ways he might kill himself. But each time, something good, no matter how small, stops him.

Violet Markey lives for the future, counting the days until graduation, when she can escape her Indiana town and her aching grief in the wake of her sister’s recent death.

When Finch and Violet meet on the ledge of the bell tower at school, it’s unclear who saves whom. And when they pair up on a project to discover the “natural wonders” of their state, both Finch and Violet make more important discoveries: It’s only with Violet that Finch can be himself-a weird, funny, live-out-loud guy who’s not such a freak after all. And it’s only with Finch that Violet can forget to count away the days and start living them. But as Violet’s world grows, Finch’s begins to shrink.

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It had me at “The Fault in Our Stars meets Eleanor and Park.”

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I <3 Summer TAG

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Apparently I need to learn how to run faster because Miss Chelsea has struck again! This TAG isn’t really book related, but it is about summer and I love doing these posts, so here we go!

I HEART SUMMER

summer bronzer

This is the part where you guys learn how much I suck at being a girl. I don’t have an answer for this because I don’t use bronzer. Or very much makeup at all for that matter. It’s not for a lack of interest, really, but more from a pathetic lack of skill. I’m just no good at it and I haven’t found anyone with the time and patience to teach me the art of putting on my face. Anyone want to volunteer?

summer drink

summer sweet teaI love sweet tea! I probably go through a gallon of iced sweet tea every few days, if not sooner. I like to brew my own using Lipton tea bags and adding sugar. I usually leave the pitcher un-sweet and just add sugar to each individual glass because my husband prefers to use Sweet ‘n Low in his tea, and that’s just gross.

summer lip

summer burt's bees

Burt’s Bees is by far my favorite lip balm ever! My friend Kristen introduced me to it over the winter because I had chronically chapped lips and I’ve been using it ever since. I love that one application will keep my lips moist for hours and that I’m not having to reapply it every ten minutes. My favorite is the one made with Mango Butter.

summer pool

summer pool pic

A pool, fo sho. Once upon a time I probably would have said both. But ever since that one time I got stung by a jelly fish, I refuse to swim in anything that I can’t see the bottom of.

summer hair

Oh boy. So, do you remember how I said that I was pretty bad with makeup? Yeah, well, I’m even worse with hair. Mine is really oily, so I have to wash it every day. Especially in the summer when it’s hot and there’s, you know, sweating. I don’t really go for any one brand in particular, but I try to use something that’s moisturizing and/or has some kind repairing properties. I told you, I suck at this.

summer tan

summer sunbathing

Both. I’m fortunate to have skin that tans very well. But because I don’t get a chance to soak up the Vitamin D very often (due to my job keeping me indoors during sunlight hours), I like to start out fake baking to build a decent base before I fully commit to worshiping the sun. Of course, I do it safely using some sunblock and not tanning until my skin looks like leather. I just like to avoid having a farmers tan is all ;)

summer nails

summer nail polish

Hot pink, all day long!!! It’s bright and it’s fun and I love it! I don’t always have it on my fingernails, but it’s a pretty permanent fixture on my toes as long as it’s flip-flop season!

summer scent

summer cucumber

Bath & Bodyworks has a slew of great scents for summer, but my all time favorite is Cucumber Melon. It’s so light and refreshing and just plain yummy.

summer bbq

summer bbq pic

Everything. Seriously. If you can cook it on a grill I’ll eat it. I love a good steak, but I equally love veggies, chicken, hamburgers, hot dogs, seafood, you name it. Luckily for me, the husband is a master grill sergeant.

summer proof

If I’m looking to avoid the rays, I love me a big ol’ floppy hat. Also, you’ll never see me leave my house without my shades.

summer book

I love a good contemporary read in the summer. One of my favorite contemporary series is the Between the Lines series by Tammara Webber. It’s fun because it’s like a behind the scenes look at what it’s like to be a celebrity. The fame, the fortune, the drama. I love it! I’ve read all but the last book because Brooke is a manipulative cow and I’m not ready to sympathize with her yet. I’m sure I’ll get to it someday, but until then I totally recommend the first three books for pool-side reading :D

I TAG  anyone who wants to do their own post!

SUMMER TAG

Book Outlet Sale!!!

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30%

So, do you remember how earlier today I was telling y’all about some pretty cool bookish websites? Do you remember how I said that Book Outlet was always having crazy good sales? Yeah, well, they’re having one right now!!!

Now through Monday you can get 30% off of the already ridiculously low priced Scratch & Dent titles! Don’t let the label deter you, I’ve ordered several S&D books from them and they always come in very good condition. So what are you waiting for? Click on the banner and boogie on over to Book Outlet to buy yourself a little bit of happiness. I already did ;)

The Friday Five: Bookish Websites

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The Friday Five is a semi-regular feature here at Brilliantly Novel wherein I regale you with tiny lists of bookish awesomeness.

friday topic.pngBookish Websites

Being book obsessed, we pretty much all know about sites like Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, etc. Recently I’ve stumbled upon a few sites that I hadn’t heard of before and I thought I would share them with you guys because, you know, it’s the bookish thing to do :)

F5 book sites

Better World Books ~ This site is awesome! Not only does it have new and used books at reasonable prices, but shipping is always free—and that’s not even the best part! They have this program called Book for Book and for every book that you buy, Better World Books will donate a book to someone in need. They also use their funds to help literacy programs all over the world! How cool is that?

Blogging For Books ~ Do you have a blog? Want free books? If the answer to these questions is yes, then Blogging for Books is for you! You can receive physical and/or digital copies of books, for FREE, and all you have to do is provide an honest review in return. I’ve requested my first book from them already, but I haven’t received it yet. I’ll keep you posted on how user friendly it ends up being, but you should definitely check it out for yourself.

Book Outlet ~ I’ve mentioned this site before and it’s definitely worth mentioning again. Book Outlet has a limited selection of books, but the prices are unbeatable! They carry most genres and often have newer releases, so you can almost always find stuff that you like for Read-iculously Low Prices (their tag line). I’m talking hardbacks for under $5, scratch and dent books for under $1, and crazy sales all the time!

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Library Thing ~ I’ve been looking for a way to catalog my home library for a very long time now, and Library Thing is the answer to my prayers! It’s easy to use and let’s you shelve, tag, and review all of the books that you enter into your library. You can even print out a list of your books if you want! The free membership lets you enter up to 200 books, or you can upgrade to an unlimited amount of books for either $10 per year, or a one time payment of $25 for a lifetime membership. AND, they have an Early Reviewers program where you can enter for a chance to receive review copies and ARCs.

NetGalley ~ Most of you have probably heard of NetGalley, but for those of you who haven’t, it’s another site where you can request review copies and ARCs. Just be careful, getting approved is easier than you think. Before you know it, you’ll be drowning in reviews that need to be written and books that need to be read. Or maybe that’s just me.

what are some of your favorite bookish sites?

The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien

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synopsis pink.pngthe thingsIn 1979, Tim O’Brien’s Going After Cacciato – a novel about the Vietnam War – won the National Book Award. In this, his second work of fiction about Vietnam, O’Brien’s unique artistic vision is again clearly demonstrated.

Neither a novel nor a short story collection, it is an arc of fictional episodes, taking place in the childhoods of its characters, in the jungles of Vietnam and back home in America two decades later.

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Oh my. This one, it’ll make you think.

Well, it made me think anyway. It made me think about peace and war and what it would be like to be drafted. It made me think about soldiers and brotherhood and sacrifice. It made me think about the lengths that one might have to go to survive in a war—to have to kill or be killed. It made me think about having to live with the memories when it’s all said and done.

“It was very sad, he thought. The things men carried inside. The things men did or felt they had to do.”

Tim O’Brien is a phenomenal writer. Had I been reading this on my Kindle, I would have been highlighting every page. As it was, I practically read the whole book aloud to my husband because I just loved the way that O’Brien put his words together. There’s this gravity to them that makes you sink into yourself and really feel the weight of his stories. Most of them are brutal and painful and just plain awful. Some of them are bittersweet. And while all of them are fictional, thus making them not true, they all have a truth to them that’s almost devastating.

“I want you to feel what I felt. I want you to know why story-truth is truer sometimes than happening-truth.”

I did. I felt it, and it moved me to tears. In fact, I may or may not be misting up right now as I write this. That’s the kind of impact this book had on me. Because this wasn’t just a book about war—if that’s all you take away from it, as the author says, you weren’t listening. It’s also about trust and friendship and love. It’s about remembering the good stuff in spite of the bad. It’s about keeping the memory of those who were lost alive.

“And sometimes remembering will lead to a story, which makes it forever. That’s what stories are for. Stories are for joining the past to the future. Stories are for those late hours in the night when you can’t remember how you got from where you were to where you are. Stories are for eternity, when memory is erased, when there is nothing to remember except the story.”

At 246 pages, The Things They Carried is a quick read and it’s one I’ll not soon forget. It’s probably not for everyone, but then again, neither is war. I recommend reading it anyway. Step out of your comfort zone. Put yourself in someone else’s shoes. Help carry a bit of the weight, because remembering is a burden that one should not have to shoulder alone.

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p.s. Have you read this? I would love to get all spoiler-y with someone! If you’re interested, shoot me an email or a message on Facebook and we’ll have ourselves a bookish good time!

Waiting on Wednesday: Winterspell

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Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Breaking the Spine that encourages us to spotlight upcoming releases that we’re, well, waiting on.

WoW winterspell

wow goodreads.pngThe clock chimes midnight, a curse breaks, and a girl meets a prince . . . but what follows is not all sweetness and sugarplums.

New York City, 1899. Clara Stole, the mayor’s ever-proper daughter, leads a double life. Since her mother’s murder, she has secretly trained in self-defense with the mysterious Drosselmeyer. Then, on Christmas Eve, disaster strikes.

Her home is destroyed, her father abducted–by beings distinctly not human. To find him, Clara journeys to the war-ravaged land of Cane. Her only companion is the dethroned prince Nicholas, bound by a wicked curse. If they’re to survive, Clara has no choice but to trust him, but his haunted eyes burn with secrets–and a need she can’t define. With the dangerous, seductive faery queen Anise hunting them, Clara soon realizes she won’t leave Cane unscathed–if she leaves at all.

Inspired by The Nutcracker, Winterspell is a dark, timeless fairy tale about love and war, longing and loneliness, and a girl who must learn to live without fear.

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First of all, look at that cover! It’s gorgeous! Second, it’s a fairy tale retelling and I’m drawn to those things like bees on honey. And lastly, it sounds SO GOOD!!!wow waiting.png

Zombie Apocalypse Book TAG

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I found this little bookish nugget over at Cook’s Reviews in, like, March. I know. That was a while ago. But, hey, I’m getting to it now. Better late than never and all that, right? (I feel like I say that a lot. . .) Anyways, I love these little posts—they’re so much fun! And I’m always down for a zombie apocalypse, so let’s get this thing started!

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  1. Pick 5 books (preferably ones you’ve read or know the characters).
  2. Write the name of the books on pieces of paper.
  3. Put the pieces of paper in a hat or container.
  4. Pull one piece of paper out to choose your first book.
  5. Open to a random page and use the first name you see to answer question 1 (under “Your Zombie Team”).
  6. Use the same book for question 2, but turn to a different page.
  7. Pull one piece of paper out to choose your second book.
  8. You will use your second book to answer questions 3 and 4.
  9. Your third book will answer questions 5 and 6.
  10. Forth book with answer questions 7 and 8.
  11. The fifth book will answer questions 9 and 10.

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As randomly picked from the tiny white bowl:

1. City of Glass (The Mortal Instruments #3) by Cassandra Clare

2. Last Breath (The Morganville Vampires #11) by Rachel Caine

3. My Soul to Take (Soul Screamers #1) by Rachel Vincent

4. Cinder (The Lunar Chronicles #1) by Marissa Meyer

5. The Iron King (The Iron Fey #1) by Julie Kagawa

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  1. Who is the first person to die?
  2. Who is the person you trip to get away from the zombies?
  3. Who is the first person to turn into a zombie?
  4. Who is the person that trips YOU to get away from the zombies?
  5. Who is the idiot of the team?
  6. Who is the “brains” of the team?
  7. Who is the team’s medic?
  8. Who is the weapons expert?
  9. Who is the brawler?
  10. Who is the Team Captain?

 

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 City of Glass (The Mortal Instruments #3) by Cassandra Clare

1. Who is the first person to die? (page 200)

  • Valentine ~ Well, I can’t say that I’m sorry to hear that. Dude had it coming.

2. Who is the person you trip to get away from the zombies? (page 332)

  • Jace ~ Wait. What? That can’t be right. This must be some kind of mistake. I would NEVER . . . I guess desperate times call for desperate measures. I am so, so sorry Jace.

Last Breath (The Morganville Vampires #11) by Rachel Caine

3. Who is the first person to turn into a zombie? (page 78)

  • Myrnin ~ Huh. That’s bad news. I mean, I love Myrnin to death. Really, he’s my favorite. But he’s also a bit unstable. And a vampire. Now he’s a vampire zombie. A crazy vampire zombie. We’re all gonna die.

4. Who is the person that trips YOU to get away from the zombies? (page 292)

  • Claire ~ Well, she is a pretty resourceful girl. She has to be to live in Morganville. I never really thought she was the kind of person to throw someone under the bus, but I guess a girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do. I suppose that’s what I get for tripping Jace.

My Soul to Take (Soul Screamers #1) by Rachel Vincent

5. Who is the idiot of the team? (page 72)

  • Kaylee ~ I guess I can see that. She is prone to making some pretty bad decisions. She means well, though. Bless her heart.

6. Who is the “brains” of the team? (page 176)

  • Nash ~ I don’t know about the “brains,” but he can be pretty influential when he wants to be, if you know what I mean. Oh, you don’t? Well, I could tell you, but then I’d have to trip you, too.

Cinder (The Lunar Chronicles #1) by Marissa Meyer

7. Who is the team’s medic? (page 116)

  • Dr. Erland ~ Now there’s a stroke of luck. I couldn’t have planned that better if I had actually planned it to begin with.

8. Who is the weapons expert? (page 295)

  • Cinder ~ Again, lucky me. A tech savvy cyborg as a weapons expert? Yes please!

The Iron King (The Iron Fey #1) by Julie Kagawa

9. Who is the brawler? (page 129)

  • Grimalkin ~ Hmmmm, in a cat fight maybe. But then again, maybe not even then. Grim is a lazy, self-serving cat who would just as soon disappear (literally) at the first sign of a fight than lend you a paw in your time of need. At least, that’s what he’d like you to think.

10. Who is the Team Captain? (page 276)

  • Puck ~ This could either be really good, or really bad. On the one hand, Robin Goodfellow has a whole slew of tricks up his sleeves. I mean, come on, he’s Puck. On the other hand, any one of those same tricks has the potential to take us out faster than the zombies ever could. So, yeah.

Well, there you have it. I TAG anyone who enjoys having a bit of bookish fun to do their own post! Just make sure you come back and share your answers with me, pretty please :) Okay, and GO!!!

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Dusting Off the Shelf Read-A-Thon Wrap Up

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dusting-off-the-shelf-read-a-thon-graphic1Yesterday was officially the last day of the Dusting off the Shelf Read-A-Thon and I am officially a failure at participating in group reading.

The read-a-thon was hosted by Emily at Books & Cleverness and I would like to THANK HER SO MUCH for putting the event together because while I may not have done as well as I wanted, I am definitely not in Reading Slump Land any longer :)

If you’re not familiar with the read-a-thon, the object was to read books that had been collecting dust on your shelves for at least six months or longer. There were also a few challenges to go along with it and I managed to complete two of them. I know. Impressive.

It just seemed like the minute that I signed up for this, all of my free reading time magically disappeared. It’s like my life said, “I can see that you want to have fun, and that’s great and all, but you have other obligations and they all need your attention RIGHT NOW. Isn’t being a grown-up grand?” So, yeah.

But I guess it’s not a total loss because even though I didn’t get to read as much as I would have liked, I did read and (to my horror) that’s something that I’d been having trouble with recently. I’m happy to report that by participating in this read-a-thon I have climbed my way out of my reading rut and that is definitely something to celebrate! Thanks again, Emily!!! :)

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Read-A-Thon Dates:

  • August 1st – August 15th

Total Pages Read:

  • 774

Books Completed:

Challenges Completed:

  • Two out of Five
    • Read a book set in the past: The Things They Carried
    • Read a classic: Wuthering Heights

Again, I didn’t do as well as I had hoped, but I am really glad that I gave it a try. I really do love the idea of read-a-thons and will more than likely try one again when things are a bit calmer in my life :)

Waiting on Wednesday: What If

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Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Breaking the Spine that encourages us to spotlight upcoming releases that we’re, well, waiting on.

wow what if

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A new novel by the USA Today and Wall Street Journal bestselling author of The Breathing Series . . .

What if you had a second chance to meet someone for the first time?

Cal Logan is shocked to see Nicole Bentley sitting across from him at a coffee shop thousands of miles from their hometown. After all, no one has seen or heard from her since they graduated over a year ago.

Except this girl isn’t Nicole.

She looks exactly like Cal’s shy childhood crush, but her name is Nyelle Preston and she has no idea who he is. This girl is impulsive and daring, her passion for life infectious. The complete opposite of Nicole. Cal finds himself utterly fascinated-and falling hard. But Nyelle is also extremely secretive. And the closer he comes to finding out what she’s hiding, the less he wants to know.

When the secrets from the past and present collide, one thing becomes clear: Nothing is what it seems.

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I absolutely lurved Rebecca Donovan’s Breathing series and I’ve been excited for this ever since! Plus, it’s always interesting to get a fresh perspective and the protagonist in What If is a dude. So, yeah.

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