23 May 2016

Media Monday #2

It's Monday folks! So that definitely means another Media Monday! :) Remember that I'm listening to Grammy Album of the Year winners and some nominees as well as watching all movies that have received an award for Best Picture. Let's go ahead and get started. : )

My Fair Lady was the 1964 winner of the Best Picture. It is based on George Bernard Shaw's play Pygmalion which chronicles the journey of a young lady by the name of Eliza Dolittle who takes speech lessons from a professor Henry Higgins so she can become a lady in society. The tale is humorous, heart-wrenching, and overall a family fun piece. I lovveedddd this movie. It was a re-watch for me as my father introduced me to the film when I was around 7 or 8. I have a very soft spot for musicals so this was automatically guaranteed to be enjoyable. If you haven't seen it yet I definitely would recommend it. Audrey Hepburn does an amazing job and the music is simply fantastic. 

Grammy Album of the Year: Morning Phase - Beck 

Favorite Songs
  • Morning: This song just has a sultry vibe to it. It's really relaxing and easily put my nerves at ease. 
  • Unforgiven: The bass in this song is truly unbelievable. It has this slow vibe that is almost reminiscent of reggae. 
Worst Songs
  • None 
Overall Thoughts: I thought that this album was okay. It wasn't anything special in my personal opinion. It definitely had a nice 70s vibe to it and it was really relaxing to listen to; however, I think that this album is something that you have to be in the mood for. I don't see how it won the Grammy for 2015 because I don't think the album is universal. It's good, but it definitely isn't for everyone. 

Nominee Album: In The Lonely Hour - Sam Smith 

Favorite Songs
  • I'm Not The Only One: If you have ever loved someone and they have stepped out the boundaries of your relationship then this song is for you. Just trust me on that. 
  • Like I Can: An empowering song if you've ever thought that someone chose the wrong person and the person that they should have went for was you. I've been in that spot a couple of times. 
  • Not In That Way: Just simply heart-breaking. That's the best way I know how to describe it. But at the same time I love it. 
  • Lay You Down: A plea to love some one and take care of them. I've been in this position before as well. : ) 
Worst Songs
  • Money On My Mind: I just didn't understand this song. It started on with a good beat, but then it just fell flat for me. 
  • Stay With Me: I know I'm in the unpopular opinion group with this one, but I just don't care for this song. It could be that it got too much radio time and every station played it over and over again. 
Overall Thoughts: I loveeddd this album. It is one that I definitely can relate to. It has everything from falling in love to affairs to breaking up and I absolutely adored that. To be honest I don't understand why it did not win the award for Album of the Year. It is universal and definitely reached a wide range of individuals. I think I need to go through and research the criteria that these albums are judged on. 

20 May 2016

Friday #56, #14 Impulse by Ellen Hopkins

The Friday #56 is a weekly meme hosted by Freda's VoiceJoin in every Friday and share an excerpt from a book you've been reading. Here are the rules:
  • Grab a book 
  • Turn to page 56 or 56% in your e-reader
  • Find any sentence (or a few, don't spoil it) 

**Be sure to post the links to your Friday #56 below!

Happy Reading!

So this week in honor of the Mental Health Awareness Readathon I will be taking an excerpt from Ellen Hopkins Impulse. If you did not know Hopkins writes in free verse so her books are fairly easy to get through; however, they often cover a wide range of difficult topics. One of the challenges of the readathon is to read a book that focuses on a main character that suffers from mental health issues/illnesses. This book contains three teenage characters whose lives become intertwined when they spend some together at a psychiatric facility. It's a re-read for me, but I haven't read it since high school and I must say I'm really loving it. It's a dark novel, but it is realistic and it clues individuals into what its like to have a mental illness and how difficult it can be to function from day to day. 

"What's up, people? Usually you won't shut up. Now you've got nothing to say just because a pretty girl walks through the door?

Well, that woke them up! Everyone looks simply
stunned, including Dr. Boston.
Is it because I'm anything
but pretty? Or less likely a reason?"
 I wrote the quote down in verse form exactly how it appears in the book that way you could get a feel for how the book is written. This quote doesn't exactly illustrate how dark the book is, but it does showcase the introduction of the character Vanessa as she goes to first therapy session. I'm loving and definitely recommend checking out Hopkins' books if you haven't done so already.

Three lives, three different paths to the same destination: Aspen Springs, a psychiatric hospital for those who have attempted the ultimate act -- suicide.

Vanessa is beautiful and smart, but her secrets keep her answering the call of the blade.

Tony, after suffering a painful childhood, can only find peace through pills.

And Conner, outwardly, has the perfect life. But dig a little deeper and find a boy who is in constant battle with his parents, his life, himself.

In one instant each of these young people decided enough was enough. They grabbed the blade, the bottle, the gun -- and tried to end it all. Now they have a second chance, and just maybe, with each other's help, they can find their way to a better life -- but only if they're strong and can fight the demons that brought them here in the first place

19 May 2016

Book Traveling Thursday #1 | Favorite LGBTQ Character

Book Traveling Thursdays 

So I found this group on Goodreads and it's about looking at different covers of a book based on the topics that are picked each week. The group his moderated by Danielle & Catia. Here's the link to the group if you're interested in checking the group out: Book Traveling Thursdays Goodreads Group

This Weeks Theme: Favorite LGBTQ Character 

So I definitely didn't have a hard time picking this one out. I read Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe this year and it was AMAZING and ended up featuring my favorite LGBTQ characters. It was written beautifully and had some of the best character development I have seen in YA literature. I even heard there is a sequel coming out so I'm definitely going to get that once it is published.

Original Cover:

United States Cover:

My Favorite Covers:

The first cover is from Poland and I just loved that they used models on the cover. I'm usually not a a big fan of this but for some reason it works well with this book and captures the essence of the novel. The second cover is from France and although it is similar to the original cover I really love the yellow font that was used to showcase the tittle. The last picture is from Sweden. Although I don't really care for the use of the male model in this cover, I love the fact that he's in the pool as that plays a major role in the development of the book. My favorite out of the group is definitely the cover from Poland. 

Least Favorite Covers:

The first cover of Italy and I'm not sure what it has to do with the novel. It looks like it was made in paint on a computer. The second cover is from Germany. Although, I like that the pool element was included it just seems to simplistic for my taste. If I had to pick my least favorite out of the two it would definitely would be the cover from Italy. 

18 May 2016

Blog Tour: 100 Days of Cake by Shari Goldhagen + Giveaway

I love cake, you love cake, we all love cake!! I'm so happy to be a part of the blog tour featuring the release of 100 Days of Cake by Shari Goldhagen. As part of the tour I am giving my review of the book. Once you're done getting some information related to the book be sure to enter the giveaway and read more about the author. There will also be a list of the other tour stops so be sure to check them out! Enjoy! : ) 

Publication: 2016
# of Pages: 352
Source: Review Copy for Book Tour 

Get well soon isn’t going to cut it in this quirky and poignant debut novel about a girl, her depression, an aggressive amount of baked goods, and the struggle to simply stay afloat in an unpredictable, bittersweet life.

There are only three things that can get seventeen-year-old Molly Byrne out of bed these days: her job at FishTopia, the promise of endless episodes of Golden Girls, and some delicious lo mien. You see, for the past two years, Molly’s been struggling with something more than your usual teenage angst. Her shrink, Dr. Brooks isn’t helping much, and neither is her mom who is convinced that baking the perfect cake will cure Molly of her depression—as if cake can magically make her rejoin the swim team, get along with her promiscuous sister, or care about the SATs.

Um, no. Never going to happen.

But Molly plays along, stomaching her mother’s failed culinary experiments, because, whatever—as long as it makes someone happy, right? Besides, as far as Molly’s concerned, hanging out with Alex at the rundown exotic fish store makes life tolerable enough. Even if he does ask her out every…single…day. But—sarcastic drum roll, please—nothing can stay the same forever. When Molly finds out FishTopia is turning into a bleak country diner, her whole life seems to fall apart at once. Soon she has to figure out what—if anything—is worth fighting for.

Let me preface this review by saying that it is always amazing to find when an author is willing to tackle the issue of mental health and this book tour couldn't have come at a better time than the month of May as it is Mental Health Awareness Month in the United States. Now on to the review!

What I loved most about this book was the way that is was able to capture the ins and outs of depression. As an individual that suffers from depression it was wonderful to see an author clearly depict depression as something that cannot be cured over night, but an illness that causes the individual to have their good and bad days. Utilizing this as a catalyst for her story, Goldhagen does a wonderful job of creating the well rounded characters. While Molly is seemingly going through a difficult time she appears to have a wonderful support system including her quirky, yet (in my opinion) amazing mom. In fact, her mom was one of my favorite aspects of the story simply because she reminded me of my own mom. No my mom didn't think that cake was the solution to my depression, but like Molly's mom she has done and continues to do anything that will help me when I'm having both my good and my bad days. It goes to show how far parents will go to help their children lead a happy, healthy lives. Even the pet hermit crab had a well-developed personality (he's one of my favorites too). : ) Because Goldhagen created such a wonderful depiction of depression, I could feel for Molly in a lot of her down moments. It's tough battling depression and I really could appreciate the fact that Goldhagen did not fall into the trap of giving Molly this magical cure with a perfect ending. 

In light of her beautiful depiction of depression, there were a couple aspects of the novel that really bothered me specifically the relationship between Molly and her therapist. When attending therapy sessions I think that a patient opens up a serious level of trust between their everyday struggles and their therapist/doctor. By crossing that line I think that the therapist invalidated her treatment to some degree. I understand it's part of the storyline; however, it really did bother me. Another character that made the text problematic for me was Molly's friend Elle. While I found her to be interesting, the manner in which she treated Veronica was appalling. I won't give too much away in terms of what was done and said; however, I'm not a fan of the way in which Elle "evaluated" Veronica. 

Despite these issues, the novel overall was fast-paced, interesting, and was thoughtful and engaging in its inclusion of depression was beautifully crafted. If you are looking for a book that gives an accurate depiction of depression with a cute, quirky storyline then I would recommend this book. It's not too often that you come across a YA novel that handles mental illness in such a brilliant way. 



(3 Finished Copies-US Only)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

After serious pursuits of literature at Northwestern (BSJ) and Ohio State (MFA), Shari Goldhagen discovered she had a knack for sifting through celebrity trash and worked as a gossip writer for publications including The National EnquirerUs Weekly, and Life & Style Weekly. And her articles on pop culture, travel and relationships have appeared everywhere from Cosmopolitan to Penthouse. She has received fellowships from Yaddo and MacDowell and currently lives in New York City with her husband and daughter.

LINKS: Website | Twitter

Tour Schedule:

Week 1:

Week 2:

17 May 2016

Top 10 Tuesday: Books Picked Up On A Whim

It's Tuesday so you know that means another Top 10 Tuesday hosted by the ladies over at The Broke and The Bookish . This week's topic was to introduce books that we picked up on whim (I interpreted this to mean without recommendation from anyone). I was actually really excited to share some books/comics that I picked up because they sounded interesting. I read so many things based on recommendation that I started trying to find things on my own. I hope you enjoy and be sure to list some books you picked up on a whim below.

Nobody every really talked about this book and I randomly picked it up in the bookstore and I ended up really liking it. If you want something that is a complete twist on fairy tales I definitely recommend picking this one up.

Okay! You guys who have been following this blog for a while know how much I absolutely love Fables. I got my initial copy at the library and instantly fell in love. I've been hooked ever since. 

I wanted to try more manga and the cover just drew me in and ever since then I've been a huge fan. If you are a foodie that loves manga I have to admit that this is the perfect series for you. 

Once again this was solely a cover buy. I thought it would be interesting and I was completely right. Teenage kids and a dead super hero can be a pretty interesting mix. 

I just saw a comic that focused on girl power and I was sold. If you are a big fan of Sailor Moon I think you have some potential to enjoy this comic series. 

I saw Chimamanda's "We Should All Be Feminists" Ted Talk and I must admit my curiosity was peaked so I just decided to give one of her books a try. Her writing is beautiful. If you haven't read anything by her you must give one of her books a chance. 

I found that I was reading a lot of comics that were non-super hero so I decided to branch into this genre. I randomly decided to start with Wonder Woman and I can truly say the first volume was AMAZING! 

All I heard was boarding school and weird, freaky supernatural things and I promise you I was completely sold. 

I mean it's a Pride and Prejudice re-telling from Mr. Darcy's perspective so when I randomly found it I just knew I had to dive in. Who wouldn't want a glimpse into Mr. Darcy's head?!? 

I hope you guys enjoyed my list! Let me know about some of the books you picked up randomly. 

16 May 2016

Media Monday #1

So I decided to start this new thing on both my Youtube channel and my blog called Media Monday. I wanted to try something a little different so I set a goal for myself to watch every movie that has ever gotten an Academy Award for Best Picture and every album that has gotten a Grammy for Album of the Year as well as some of the albums that were nominated. So let's go ahead and get started.

The Artist was the 2011 Academy Award winner. It explores the end of silent films twoards what was then called "speakies." Let me start by saying the concept of this film was brilliant. It gave you the feel of an old silent film as the entire thing was shot in black and white and there were no voices present (only sporadic subtitles). It definitely deserved the award based on creativity alone. The story line was cute/humorous and I really enjoyed watching it. 

Grammy Album of the Year: 1989 - Taylor Swift

Favorite Songs
  • Out of the Woods: Speaks to the difficulty of relationships. One of her more mature relationship songs. The melody is beautiful. 
  • Wildest Dreams: One of the most beautiful songs on the album. Truly heartbreaking. It's about falling in love and knowing when to let go. 
  • Clean: One of the most lyrically compelling songs of the album. I loved the water reference to becoming clean and free of an old love. 
Worst Songs
  • All You Had To Do Was Stay: Typical Taylor Swift song. There is nothing special about the lyrics or the music.
  • Shake It Off: I know this is Taylor's anthem about not worrying what people think but I just didn't like it. 
Overall Thoughts: I think that Taylor Swift won because her album is universal and something that has great radio play; however, I don't think it should have won the Grammy. There is nothing in particular that makes it stand out. Nevertheless, I did enjoy listening to it and seeing her development as a musical artist. 

Nominee Album: To Pimp A Butterfly - Kendrick Lamar 

Favorite Songs:
  • These Walls: The jazz feel to this is beautiful and clearly discusses the question of one's existence. 
  • "U": It spoke to me as soon as he said "loving you is complicated." I think this has a bit to do with Kendrick's guilt at being successful and leaving people behind. 
  • Alright: No matter what we go through we will be alright in the end. I absolutely love the meaning behind this song. 
  • Hood Politics: I just have to include this lyrics for this one -- "Streets don't fail me now, they tell me it's a new gang in town. From Compton to Congress, set trippin' all around. Ain't nothing new, but a flue of new Demo-Crips and Re-Blood-licans. Red state versus a blue state, which one you governin'? They give us guns and drugs, call us thugs. Make it they promise to f*** with you. No condom, they f*** with you, Obama say, 'What it do?'"
  • The Blacker the Berry: Just go listen to this song. 
Worst Songs:
  • NONE

Overall Thoughts: I LOVE this album and I think it should have won, but I understand why it didn't. It is not a universal album, but it does break barriers and makes people think about the black experience in America. I loved the creativity and lyricism behind it. It clearly is a work of art and maybe people will appreciate it's full beauty one day. 

10 May 2016

Mental Health Awareness Readathon (My TBR)

Hello fellow bloggers ! If you guys didn't know this month is Mental Health Awareness Month and I will be hosting a readathon in its honor that will take place from the 16th-22nd. The readathon will include the following challenges:

  •  Read a book with green on the cover
  •  Read a book where the main character has a mental illness/mental health issue
  •  Read a non-fiction book about mental health
  •  Read a book by an author that has a mental illness or mental health issue
  •  Pick a topic related to mental health or mental illness that you want to know more about and read a book about it

The readathon is a way for us as a community to raise awareness related to mental health and to fight the stigma. I hope you plan on joining. If you do leave a link to your TBR in the comments below. Follow @MHAReadathon on Twitter for more information! : )

I would be reading the following books during the readathon!

  • A Book With Green:

Beginning with well-known stories by Hawthorne, Melville, and Poe, this diverse and colorful collection includes tales by Mark Twain, Ambrose Bierce, Sherwood Anderson, Henry James, Edith Wharton, Willa Cather, Stephen Crane, and Mary Wilkins Freeman. From Sarah Orne Jewett's portraits of rural Maine to F. Scott Fitzgerald's brilliant tales from the Jazz Age, these stories span the breadth of the American experience. In addition to acknowledged masters of the short story form, such as O. Henry, Jack London, and Ernest Hemingway, this volume features stories by Charles W. Chesnutt, the first important African-American novelist, and Charlotte Perkins Gilman, a leading theorist of the early women's movement. 

  •   Main Character With A Mental Illness/Mental Health Issue

Sometimes you don't wake up. But if you happen to, you know things will never be the same.

Three lives, three different paths to the same destination: Aspen Springs, a psychiatric hospital for those who have attempted the ultimate act -- suicide.
Vanessa is beautiful and smart, but her secrets keep her answering the call of the blade.
Tony, after suffering a painful childhood, can only find peace through pills.
And Conner, outwardly, has the perfect life. But dig a little deeper and find a boy who is in constant battle with his parents, his life, himself.
In one instant each of these young people decided enough was enough. They grabbed the blade, the bottle, the gun -- and tried to end it all. Now they have a second chance, and just maybe, with each other's help, they can find their way to a better life -- but only if they're strong and can fight the demons that brought them here in the first place.

  • Non-Fiction Book About Mental Health 

A harrowing story of breakdowns, suicide attempts, drug therapy, and an eventual journey back to living, this poignant and often hilarious book gives voice to the high incidence of depression among America's youth. A collective cry for help from a generation who have come of age entrenched in the culture of divorce, economic instability, and AIDS, here is the intensely personal story of a young girl full of promise, whose mood swings have risen and fallen like the lines of a sad ballad. 

  • Book By An Author With A Mental Illness/Mental Health Issue
This is a book I wrote. Because I wrote it, I had to figure out what to put on the back cover to explain what it is. I tried to write a long, third-person summary that would imply how great the book is and also sound vaguely authoritative--like maybe someone who isn’t me wrote it--but I soon discovered that I’m not sneaky enough to pull it off convincingly. So I decided to just make a list of things that are in the book:
Stories about things that happened to me
Stories about things that happened to other people because of me
Eight billion dollars*
Stories about dogs
The secret to eternal happiness*

*These are lies. Perhaps I have underestimated my sneakiness!

  • A Topic I Want to Know More About 

Over six million Americans suffer from Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD), a chronic, disabling psychiatric condition that causes extreme instability in their emotional lives, behavior, and self-image, and severely impacts their family and friends. In Borderline Personality Disorder Demystified, Dr. Robert Friedel, a leading expert in BPD and a pioneer in its treatment, has turned his vast personal experience into a useful and supportive guide for everyone living with and seeking to understand this condition. Friedel helps readers grasp the etiology of Borderline Personality Disorder, the course it takes, the difficulties in diagnosing it, the types of treatment available, strategies for coping, and much more. Borderline Personality Disorder Demystified is an invaluable resource for everyone diagnosed with BPD, those who think they might have the illness, and friends and family who love and support them. 

06 May 2016

Friday #56, #13 The Girl From Everywhere by Heidi Heilig

The Friday #56 is a weekly meme hosted by Freda's VoiceJoin in every Friday and share an excerpt from a book you've been reading. Here are the rules:
  • Grab a book 
  • Turn to page 56 or 56% in your e-reader
  • Find any sentence (or a few, don't spoil it) 

**Be sure to post the links to your Friday #56 below!

Happy Reading!

This week I decided to pull and excerpt from the book 
The Girl From Everywhere by Heidi Heilig. It's a time travel book with a bit of historical fiction mixed in. So far, I'm having a relatively hard time getting into it. It's moving pretty slow and I really do not like the relationship between the main character and her father. I'm hoping that it gets better as the book progresses. It has mixed reviews, but I really wanted to try out some 2016 debut authors before the year ended. 

"Be recommended hard work as a cure for any emotional turmoil. I followed her down into the hold, which still smelled of tigers, although the cages had been replaced by a handful of boxes scattered haphazardly. Instant coffee; my father lived on the stuff. A crate of toilet paper. Aspirin and iodine and antibiotics. Bleach and bamboo toothbrushes and toothpaste with fluoride." 

 I hope that this book picks up because I've heard some good things about it.

Nix has spent her entire life aboard her father’s ship, sailing across the centuries, across the world, across myth and imagination.

As long as her father has a map for it, he can sail to any time, any place, real or imagined: nineteenth-century China, the land from One Thousand and One Nights, a mythic version of Africa. Along the way they have found crewmates and friends, and even a disarming thief who could come to mean much more to Nix.

But the end to it all looms closer every day.

Her father is obsessed with obtaining the one map, 1868 Honolulu, that could take him back to his lost love, Nix’s mother. Even though getting it—and going there—could erase Nix’s very existence.

For the first time, Nix is entering unknown waters.

She could find herself, find her family, find her own fantastical ability, her own epic love.

Or she could disappear.