Tuesday, February 2, 2016

A Love Letter to Hamilton


I know this post isn't about books. But the thing we love most about books are the stories, and Hamilton is an absolutely amazing story that has become really close to my heart. In case you haven't heard, Hamilton is a Broadway musical about one of the (best) founding fathers, Alexander Hamilton, written and performed by the talented Lin-Manuel Miranda.


I'm going to be honest, before I listened to the album (I haven't actually seen the show yet because New York is really freakin' far away) I didn't know much about Alexander Hamilton. I knew he was a founding father. I knew he started our national bank. I knew he was the dude on the ten dollar bill. And that was the extent of my knowledge. 


What I was to learn is that he was an immigrant who came to America to make a name for himself. He basically taught himself everything he knew, and he was a genius, you guys! He was stubborn and brave and kind and straight-forward. He made mistakes, but ultimately, he was a good guy. An amazing guy. And I can't believe I have this many feelings for Alexander Hamilton.


The music is amazing. Lin-Manuel Miranda is seriously awesome. It's amazing how all his songs interweave and I loved his delivery of Hamilton. And the other actors are just as fantastic! Leslie Odom Jr. kills it with his portrayal of our narrator, Aaron Burr. Not to mention George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Lafayette, and King George. And if they are this amazing through voice acting alone, I can't wait to see them in person.


The ladies in the show are killer! The Schuyler sisters' songs are wonderful and their roles in the musical are pivotal. Their main songs are definitely some of my favorites and they all have beautiful voices. 


The story is inspiring. And not just Alexander Hamilton's story. But also the story of how a diverse cast of actors can come together and perform a hip-hop/rap musical about him all these years later and finally give him the credit he deserves.  <3


Favorite Songs:
-My Shot
-You'll Be Back
-Right Hand Man
-Helpless
-Satisfied
-Wait For It
-Say No To This
-The Room Where It Happens
-Burn
-It's Quiet Uptown
(Basically, all of them.)


-Kristen ♥

Friday, January 8, 2016

Cover Reveal: The Problem with Forever by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Title: The Problem with Forever
Author: Jennifer L. Armentrout
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Publication Date: May 17, 2016

Synopsis: For some people, silence is a weapon. For Mallory “Mouse” Dodge, it’s a shield. Growing up, she learned that the best way to survive was to say nothing. And even though it’s been four years since her nightmare ended, she’s beginning to worry that the fear that holds her back will last a lifetime.

Now, after years of homeschooling with loving adoptive parents, Mallory must face a new milestone—spending her senior year at public high school. But of all the terrifying and exhilarating scenarios she’s imagined, there’s one she never dreamed of—that she’d run into Rider Stark, the friend and protector she hasn’t seen since childhood, on her very first day.

It doesn’t take long for Mallory to realize that the connection she shared with Rider never really faded. Yet the deeper their bond grows, the more it becomes apparent that she’s not the only one grappling with the lingering scars from the past. And as she watches Rider’s life spiral out of control, Mallory faces a choice between staying silent and speaking out—for the people she loves, the life she wants, and the truths that need to be heard.

Author PhotoAbout the Author: # 1 New York Times and # 1 International Bestselling author Jennifer L. Armentrout lives in Martinsburg, West Virginia. All the rumors you’ve heard about her state aren’t true. When she’s not hard at work writing, she spends her time reading, watching really bad zombie movies, pretending to write, and hanging out with her husband and her Jack Russell Loki. Her dreams of becoming an author started in algebra class, where she spent most of her time writing short stories….which explains her dismal grades in math. Jennifer writes young adult paranormal, science fiction, fantasy, and contemporary romance. She is published with Spencer Hill Press, Entangled Teen and Brazen, Disney/Hyperion and Harlequin Teen. Her book Obsidian has been optioned for a major motion picture and her Covenant Series has been optioned for TV. Her young adult romantic suspense novel DON’T LOOK BACK was a 2014 nominated Best in Young Adult Fiction by YALSA. She also writes Adult and New Adult contemporary and paranormal romance under the name J. Lynn. She is published by Entangled Brazen and HarperCollins.


AND NOW, for the absolutely gorgeous cover....


-Kristen ♥

Monday, January 4, 2016

Top Ten Books of 2015


2015 was a great year for reading! Here are my top ten books I read this year:

Oblivion by Jennifer L. Armentrout


The Lux series is one of all-time favorites and Daemon Black is the ultimate book boyfriend. So getting to read more from his POV was definitely a highlight of the year!  <3

Crash & Burn by Abigail Roux


The final book in the Cut & Run series was released this year and it was definitely bittersweet. :')

Every Last Breath by Jennifer L. Armentrout


The last book in The Dark Elements came out this year and it was absolutely wonderful!  #TeamRoth

Carry On by Rainbow Rowell


This was so fun and magical and feels-inducing!  <3

A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas


A beautiful retelling of one of my favorite fairy tales, Beauty and the Beast.

Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon


This book was everything! Told in a refreshingly different format, it was a fantastic read!

Powerless by Tera Lynn Childs and Tracy Deebs


Powerless was so freakin' good! I definitely didn't expect to love it as much as I did, but it's fun and exciting.

Carry the Ocean by Heidi Cullinan


A truly eye-opening and inspirational book, it had to make the list!

Lord of the White Hell books 1 & 2 by Ginn Hale


Okay, I know these are technically two books, but I read them back-to-back, so in my mind it's like they were just one giant fantastical read.

Vengeance Road by Erin Bowman


You don't see many YA westerns, but thankfully Erin Bowman decided to write one, because it was amazing. The main character is badass and I loved getting to go on this adventure with her.

Honorable Mentions:

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell


I finally read Fangirl this year and it was just as amazing as everyone says it is!

Ugly Love by Colleen Hoover


I read my first Colleen Hoover book this year, and I get it now! I'll definitely be reading more from her.

The Academy by Emmaline Andrews


I have a soft spot for the girl-disguises-herself-as-boy type book and this one is a great one!

Out of the Easy by Ruta Septys


Out of the Easy is a wonderful story made all the more amazing by being set in New Orleans, which kind of becomes it's own character.

Doon series by Carey Corp & Lorie Langdon


I read the first three books in the Doon series and really enjoyed them! They're fun, set in Scotland, and features a lovable cast of characters. 

-Kristen ♥

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Midnight Reading


I love to read. So naturally, I try to fit in as much reading as I can throughout the day. But let me tell you, nothing beats reading at night, from the comfort of my own bed, while the rest of the world sleeps.

In fact, let me see if I can persuade you to come over to the dark (literally!) side:

  • I have always been a  night owl. I feel like I do my best work and am at my most productive as soon as the sun sets and the moon comes out to play. Because of this, it is so easy to slip into the world of whatever book I'm reading at the moment and get completely absorbed. Be prepared for some really late nights/early mornings because you won't realize how much time has passed until you finish the last chapter, put the book down, and notice that you have two hours left to sleep until your alarm goes off.

  • No distractions! It's late, you guys. Everyone is asleep and there is no one to interrupt you while you get in the zone and read to your hearts content. Plus, there is blessed silence (if you're into that, you can totally play some music if that's your thing).

  • Ahhhhh..... This is the sound I make as I lay back on my soft bed and pillows while in my comfy pajamas as I pull up the covers and grab my current read. Let the relaxation begin!

  • Book hangover, be gone! Reading at midnight is perfect for whenever I finish a really great book and I feel like a need a moment before I can start a new one. I can go to sleep relishing in the feels of the story and wake up ready to start a new one.

Have I convinced you try out midnight reading? Let me know in the comments below!


-Kristen ♥

Monday, October 5, 2015

Book Spotlight: The 50 States by Gabrielle Balkan & Sol Linero (South Carolina)

Title: The 50 States
Author: Gabrielle Balkan
Illustrator: Sol Linero
Publisher: Wide Eyed Editions
Publication Date: October 1, 2015

Synopsis: Explore 50 illustrated maps, each featuring state capitals, famous residents and key historical moments. Also includes a guide to the state flags and presidents of the USA.

Be inspired by the inventiveness, beauty and diversity of the United States in this curious collection of fact­-filled maps. Explore thousands of wondrous locations and be awed by the achievements of hundreds of people who helped make America what it is today. Celebrate, explore, enjoy!

About: Author GABRIELLE BALKAN has written over 20 books for children, including the Mr Presidents series for Scholastic. She lives and works in New York.

Illustrator SOL LINERO lives and works in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Her clients include Scholastic, Oprah magazine, Jamie Oliver Magazine, and Wired.

________________________

When they asked me which state I wanted to represent, I of course had to choose my home state of South Carolina!


South Carolina Fun Facts:

  • 1698: The first public library in the nation is established in Charleston.

  • 2054: Myrtle Beach residents will open a time capsule that Horry County Elementary School students buried in 2004! 

  • ANGEL OAK: This 65-foot-tall, 1,500-year old tree has survived hurricanes, floods, and earthquakes.

  • MYRTLE BEACH: In 2007 the Guinness World Record for the Tallest Sand Castle was awarded to Myrtle Beach!

  • THE CAROLINA CUP is an annual horse race held in Camden. 

  • TOPIARY GARDEN: Pearl Fryar’s 3-acre garden has some 300 shrubs trimmed into amazing shapes 

  • WILD TURKEYS: The official state game bird can outrun a galloping horse!

To learn more interesting facts about South Carolina and the other 49 states, be sure to check out The 50 States.

-Kristen ♥
 

Friday, October 2, 2015

Dream Book Collection: Invaluable Edition

The awesome peeps at Invaluable asked me to make my dream book collection from their awesome website. The chance to look at books all day? Obviously, I accepted.





The first book that caught my eye was this first edition of The Martian Chronicles signed by Ray Bradbury (Lot 915). For one, I think it's absolutely beautiful.

Second, Ray Bradbury wrote one of my favorite poems, There Will Soft Rains, so I imagine this book will be fantastic and what better way to read it, than with the first edition that Ray Bradbury himself has touched!



I love fairy tales! So when I saw this pretty gold embossed hardcover 1911 edition of The Big Book of Fairy Tales (Lot 333), I just had to add it to the list!

One of the most surreal things about owning a book over a hundred years old, is all the history it has and it would be unbelievably cool to add something like this to my collection.


Shakespeare is what you our teachers forced us to read in High School, but it's such a classic and I actually enjoyed some of his plays that I would love to own my own special edition, especially if it's this one.

The Plays of Shakespeare Vol. 1 (Lot 206) is GORGEOUS! Look at the details on the cover and the gold lettering and the spine and I really think it wants to come home with me.




Last, but certainty not least, is this 1889 cloth-bound first edition of Australian Wonderland (Lot 312A). I have no idea what it is about, but I want to find out.

This book caught my eye because of how utterly strange and wonderful it sounds. I always thought that the only thing Wonderland was missing were a few kangaroos.



_______________________________

I'd like to give another shout-out to Invaluable for asking me to put this post together, I had a lot of fun looking through their awesome collection of vintage and first edition books and you should definitely check them out! :)

Belle approves!

-Kristen ♥

Monday, September 21, 2015

Mini Book Review: The Accident Season by Moïra Fowley-Doyle

Title: The Accident Season
Author: Moïra Fowley-Doyle
Publisher: Corgi Childrens
Publication Date: August 18, 2015

Synopsis: It's the accident season, the same time every year. Bones break, skin tears, bruises bloom. 

The accident season has been part of seventeen-year-old Cara's life for as long as she can remember. Towards the end of October, foreshadowed by the deaths of many relatives before them, Cara's family becomes inexplicably accident-prone. They banish knives to locked drawers, cover sharp table edges with padding, switch off electrical items - but injuries follow wherever they go, and the accident season becomes an ever-growing obsession and fear.

But why are they so cursed? And how can they break free?

Mini Review: The Accident Season is a hauntingly beautiful debut. It's atmospheric and addictive. The characters are interesting and unique. The story is mysterious and sad and sometimes sweet. This book had be under a spell and I could not put it down!


Rating: 5/5 stars

-Kristen ♥
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