From the Notebook: Top 5 YA Trope Turnoffs

Hey guys! This week, I try to contain my ranting to a minimum while discussing the top 5 things that make it really unlikely for me to pick up a YA book. I even rank them this time around. My top choice even reveals an old sore wound of mine that has somehow gotten WORSE as I’ve written my last thesis chapter. Probably going to be more on that later!

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Weekly Wrap Up + What We Read 5/1/16

The wrap ups are BACK! This week’s video is a little longer than usual, just because we read a lot over our hiatus and then came back with a LOT of videos and posts and livestreams and so on. It was kind of crazy. As usual, that’s why we do this! Let’s get right to it, shall we?

Monday:

Tuesday:

  • Betwixt the Books content was moved to Saturday this week

Wednesday: 

Thursday:

Friday: 

Saturday:

Betwixt the Books Discuss! Book Guilt and Reader Guilt!

SURPRISE! Betwixt content coming at you nowhere near the Tuesday we originally planned it for. That’s okay. Life happens. This livestream is still awesome. This time around, Michaela and I are discussing what makes us guilty as readers and reviewers. Have you felt these guilts before? Did we miss some? Let us know!

April Wrap Up + PopSugar Challenge Update

If we’re being honest, this is the saddest wrap up I think I’ve ever written. Seriously. I know that April isn’t QUITE over yet, but I can promise you that I won’t be reading anything else over the weekend because I have a LOT to do.

I read four books in April. Four. Three, if we’re being truthful, all the way through. And none of them counted a thing for my PopSugar Challenge, so that is still standing at 10/40, as it was in my March wrap up. Here’s what I DID read in April!

22320455If the Oceans Were Ink by Carla Power is a powerful spiritual memoir about her friendship with a Muslim Sheikh and her desire to understand the Quran for herself. This is for my Spiritual Journeys class, and by far is my favorite that we’ve read in the class. I wrote a longer review of it if you’d like to learn more!

Though I did not read the entirety of this work, I am counting Fyodor220px-notes_from_underground_cover Dostoyevsky’s Notes from Underground to this list. I gave it two stars on Goodreads, because what I did read was almost impossible to get through and really, really boring. It was useful for my senior seminar, yes, but as pure reading enjoyment … no. I also didn’t review this, and have no plans to. You’re welcome.

514qc9qdphl-_sx325_bo1204203200_I FINALLY FINISHED GET IN TROUBLE BY KELLY LINK! If you didn’t catch Michaela’s last 30 Seconds to Disagree, then you might not understand why that’s all in CAPs but … trust me. I’ve had Taylor’s copy of this book in my apartment since last semester, and he was getting really angry with me about it. BUT. I finally finished it! A longer review of this will be coming in May.

My one enjoyable, read it in a day read–my only for a while, really–23308084was Renee Ahdieh’s The Rose and The Dagger. This is the sequel to The Wrath and The Dawn, which was one of my favorite books of 2015 AND the very first book I showcased in my Worth It Wednesday series. A longer review of this will be coming later, but … well. I have thoughts. And not all of them good, sadly.

So … yeah. That’s it. There should have been more, but there wasn’t. School is crazy, guys. Hopefully May will bring better things! At the very least, school ends pretty soon, so I should have more opportunities to read then!

Interview with Kristen-Paige Madonia + Giveaway!

It’s finally here! If you caught my last From the Notebook, where I talk about exactly what I was up to during our hiatus, then you’ve probably been waiting for this for a while. Over the course of the New Voices Literary Festival, I was lucky enough to be able to sit down and interview Kristen-Paige Madonia, author of Fingerprints of You and the upcoming Invisible Fault Lines (to be released May 3). Not only was she gracious enough to talk to me for a while, but she ALSO singed a copy of Fingerprints of You that I am about to give away AND gave me some great swag! Before we get to that, though, allow me to introduce the fabulous Kristen-Paige!

downloadKristen-Paige Madonia is the author of the young adult novels Invisible Fault Lines (Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2016) and Fingerprints of You (Simon & Schuster BFYR, 2012). Her short stories have been published in various literary magazines including FiveChapters, the New Orleans Review, the Greensboro Review, and America Fiction: Best Previously Unpublished Stories by Emerging Authors. She has received awards or fellowships from the Sewanee Writers’ Conference, the Vermont Studio Center, the Juniper Summer Writing Institute, VCCA, Hedgebrook, Millay Colony for the Arts, and the Key West Literary Seminar. She was the 2012 D.H. Lawrence Fellow and was awarded the Tennessee Williams/New Orleans Literary Festival Prize in 2010. She holds an MFA in fiction from California State University, Long Beach and currently lives in Charlottesville, Va. She is a member of the University of Nebraska low-residency MFA Writing Program faculty and also teaches creative writing at the University of Virginia, James Madison University, and WriterHouse.

Website Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

The interview and giveaway are coming, but first: logistics! This interview took place verbally over the course of 15 minutes. I transcribed it into what you are about to read, editing for general speech tics and creating full sentences–that kind of thing. Initially I thought I was going to edit it into something a bit shorter but … well … Kristen-Paige said too many smart things that I agreed with not to share them all with you! It’s a great read AND there’s a giveaway at the bottom, so here we go!

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Worth It Wednesday: “Angelfire” by Courtney Allison Moulton

Worth It Wednesdays is a weekly post where I feature my favorite YA titles. Find out more about it here!

7285498Title: Angelfire

Author: Courtney Allison Moulton

Goodreads Description: First there are nightmares.
Every night Ellie is haunted by terrifying dreams of monstrous creatures that are hunting her, killing her.

Then come the memories.
When Ellie meets Will, she feels on the verge of remembering something just beyond her grasp. His attention is intense and romantic, and Ellie feels like her soul has known him for centuries. On her seventeenth birthday, on a dark street at midnight, Will awakens Ellie’s power, and she knows that she can fight the creatures that stalk her in the grim darkness. Only Will holds the key to Ellie’s memories, whole lifetimes of them, and when she looks at him, she can no longer pretend anything was just a dream.

Now she must hunt.
Ellie has power that no one can match, and her role is to hunt and kill the reapers that prey on human souls. But in order to survive the dangerous and ancient battle of the angels and the Fallen, she must also hunt for the secrets of her past lives and truths that may be too frightening to remember.

Why it’s worth it: Okay, I know what you’re thinking. That blurb sounds kind of corny. HANG IN THERE WITH ME.

I got into Angelfire kind of on a whim, back when angels were big but I was being seriously bored by a lot of the other stuff out there. I saw the sword on the cover and instantly knew that this was going to be something different, and maybe something closer to what I was looking for. I was right.

Okay, so Angelfire is a bit predictable, especially looking back on it all these years. However, what I also saw as the merits then are still serious merits now. In so many other angel books I was reading, the girl never got to be the hero. She was the human or less-that-the-guy angel who didn’t really get to do anything cool. Ellie isn’t like that at all. SHE is the warrior, and it’s up to HER to save the day. The lore fed into the angels think in a really cool, unexpected way. The books were also REALLY fast paced and action packed. In my review of the second book, Wings of the Wicked, I start off by saying that I had to read that book in one sitting because I couldn’t find a place to put it down!

The romance, while kind of cutesy, also struck me as just … good. I really believed that these guys had a connection across reincarnations and time, and I understood why they struggled because of that. Will and Ellie were partners, not one-over-the-other protectors. Will doesn’t like it when Ellie puts herself in danger, but he lets her do what she needs to because he knows that she’s strong enough to take it. They fight each other, they find each other, and they really love each other. That’s enough for me to be happy.

While I mention in my review of the last book, Shadows in the Silence, that I was a little bit iffy on the ending, the only reason is that it happened too quick. That’s not surprising, however, since these books are SO fast paced. And if that’s my only complaint, it’s still VERY MUCH worth it to read!

Read it if you’re looking for: strong female characters, swoon worthy romance, angels, mythology, action, adventure, fast pace, fantasy

From the Notebook: I’m Back! +Giveaway Announcement

The hiatus is OVER! This isn’t a very bookish From the Notebook, but I am talking about where I’ve been, where I’m going … and I’m announcing an upcoming giveaway that’ll hit the blogosphere later this week. The giveaway includes a signed book and swag, and will be attached to an exclusive interview with the author, Kristen-Paige Madonia. I got to meet her last week, and she is amazing! Anyways, for more info … here’s the video!