ARC Party Rewind: WHAT I WANT NOW

Image from EpicReads Blog – aren’t Margot and Aubrey the cutest? 

Yesterday was the latest ARC PARTY! AKA MY FAVORITE THING EVEERRR. Unfortunately I missed it because I was at work, but I watched it this morning while getting ready and the feels are real guys. Some incredible books are coming from HarperTeen this Fall/Winter season and I am hyped. If you want to check out the books featured in word form, head over the EpicReads blog here.

BOOKS I’M MASSIVELY HYPED FOR:

Beware of the Wild by Natalie C. Parker | Goodreads | October 21st, 2014

“It’s an oppressively hot and sticky morning in June when Sterling and her brother, Phin, have an argument that compels him to run into the town swamp — the one that strikes fear in all the residents of Sticks, Louisiana. Phin doesn’t return. Instead, a girl named Lenora May climbs out, and now Sterling is the only person in Sticks who remembers her brother ever existed.

Sterling needs to figure out what the swamp’s done with her beloved brother and how Lenora May is connected to his disappearance — and loner boy Heath Durham might be the only one who can help her.

This debut novel is full of atmosphere, twists and turns, and a swoon-worthy romance.”

Swamps, a mystery, and a loner boy named HEATH?! I’m down. GIMME. NOW.

Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard | Goodreads | February 10th, 2015

“Mare Barrow’s world is divided by blood—those with red and those with silver. Mare and her family are lowly Reds, destined to serve the Silver elite whose supernatural abilities make them nearly gods. Mare steals what she can to help her family survive, but when her best friend is conscripted into the army she gambles everything to win his freedom. A twist of fate leads her to the royal palace itself, where, in front of the king and all his nobles, she discovers a power of her own—an ability she didn’t know she had. Except . . . her blood is Red.

To hide this impossibility, the king forces her into the role of a lost Silver princess and betroths her to one of his own sons. As Mare is drawn further into the Silver world, she risks her new position to aid the Scarlet Guard—the leaders of a Red rebellion. Her actions put into motion a deadly and violent dance, pitting prince against prince—and Mare against her own heart.

From debut author Victoria Aveyard comes a lush, vivid fantasy series where loyalty and desire can tear you apart and the only certainty is betrayal.”

EEEEEKKKKKKK. We’ve got some betrayal, royalty, and a rebellion. And I’m also sensing some romance. And that COVER. LOOK AT IT. SO. PRETTY. I want this asap. I CAN’T WAIT UNTIL FEBRUARY.

A Thousand Pieces of You by Claudia Gray | Goodreads | November 4th, 2014

Cloud Atlas meets Orphan Black in this epic dimension-bending trilogy by New York Timesbestselling author Claudia Gray about a girl who must chase her father’s killer through multiple dimensions. Marguerite Caine’s physicist parents are known for their groundbreaking achievements. Their most astonishing invention, called the Firebird, allows users to jump into multiple universes—and promises to revolutionize science forever. But then Marguerite’s father is murdered, and the killer—her parent’s handsome, enigmatic assistant Paul—escapes into another dimension before the law can touch him.

Marguerite refuses to let the man who destroyed her family go free. So she races after Paul through different universes, always leaping into another version of herself. But she also meets alternate versions of the people she knows—including Paul, whose life entangles with hers in increasingly familiar ways. Before long she begins to question Paul’s guilt—as well as her own heart. And soon she discovers the truth behind her father’s death is far more sinister than she expected.

A Thousand Pieces of You, the first book in the Firebird trilogy, explores an amazingly intricate multiverse where fate is unavoidable, the truth elusive, and love the greatest mystery of all.” (synopsis from EpicReads)

ORPHAN BLACK ORPHAN BLACK AND MULTIPLE DIMENSIONS WHERHIOWEOGIBOIA. Also that cover is freaking insane. Applause for that designer. Lots of applause. *standing ovation*

The Fall by Bethany Griffin | Goodreads | October 7th, 2014

Madeline Usher is doomed.

She has spent her life fighting fate, and she thought she was succeeding. Until she woke up in a coffin.

Ushers die young. Ushers are cursed. Ushers can never leave their house, a house that haunts and is haunted, a house that almost seems to have a mind of its own. Madeline’s life—revealed through short bursts of memory—has hinged around her desperate plan to escape, to save herself and her brother. Her only chance lies in destroying the house.

In the end, can Madeline keep her own sanity and bring the house down? The Fall is a literary psychological thriller, reimagining Edgar Allan Poe’s classic The Fall of the House of Usher.”

I haven’t read The Fall of the House of Usher but now I want to. I love a good creepy book, and not only is that cover AWESOME (although not a super-fan of the author typeface), but the synopsis sounds intense. I’m so so so excited about this one. AND it’s just in time for Halloween. High fives for Harper and their impeccable timing.


What are YOU excited for? Let me know in comments because this fall/winter is looking INCREDIBLE on the HarperTeen front.

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Album Review: Language and Perspective – Bad Suns

Language & Perspective by Sad SunB

I first heard about Bad Suns when The 1975’s tour support acts were announced. And, being the person I am, I looked up Bad Suns (and Sir Sly for that matter) and my thoughts were as follows:

ian

From the preview of the album on Billboard I was hooked. They had taken their EP Cardiac Arrest and upped the awesome. Language & Perspective opens with “Matthew James”, a fantastic introduction to Bad Sun’s sound, full of loops and a heavy drum emphasis, with some killer vocals from Christo (lead singer). The second song is “We Move Like the Ocean”, which came out as a single before the album. Seeing this song live was fantastic – it’s danceable and so easy to sing along to. My favorites on the album come towards the end, them being “Sleep Paralysis” and “Rearview” (literally the last two songs) which round out the album on a great note, and are just great songs. My only complaint (and it’s very small) is I wish they hadn’t included their EP tracks on here, but who am I to complain? It’s mainly just because I wanted more new songs. I’m being greedy.

Go give Bad Suns a listen! And if you’re into them, go see them live – they’re touring with New Politics this fall. I know I’ll be at the Austin show!

Spotify | iTunes | Amazon

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Music Monday {13}

music mondays

On a Music Monday, I will introduce a couple of new songs that I’m enjoying with you all and put the Youtube video in so you all can check out the song. You can find the playlist on Spotify with all of these songs here.

This week is a lot of new work by people I already love. Just as a heads up.

1. Beggin For Thread by Banks

I am a huge Banks fan for a couple of reasons – I love her music, first off. Her sound is really unique, partly because her voice has such a cool tomber to it. Second, I love her as a person and the presence she has in music videos, on social media, and in concert. Lastly, she’s just fabulous. I don’t even know how to further describe it. I’m just really, really ecstatic for her album, Goddess which comes out on September 9th.

2. bad_news by Bastille

I’m a huge Bastille fan, and this song just premiered last week. I listened to it immediately and was so excited about this different sound. Some people don’t realize Dan Smith (the lead singer of Bastille) did a solo act under the name Bastille before the band came together which was a bunch of electronic stuff. “bad_news”, I think, is a mixture of his solo work and the band’s sound, coming together to form something absolutely fantastic. Note: since this song has just come out, I’m linking the soundcloud instead of a Youtube video.

3. Keep It Sacred by Olivver

I absolutely love Olivver’s work, and I’ve featured him on Music Monday in the past, but I had to do another song because I love this one. Olivver is the solo work that Bryan Sammis, the former drummer for The Neighbourhood is doing after he left the band last year, and I think he’s putting out some great music. Love this new song! Note: Again, since this song has just come out, I’m linking the soundcloud instead of a Youtube video.

If you want to keep up with my Soundcloud escapades, check out my profile here.

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Album Review: Stay Gold – First Aid Kit

Stay Gold by First Aid Kit

I was first introduced to First Aid Kit while I was in New York City and was walking around with my friend Nellie, talking about music and our childhoods on our way to find Magnolia Bakery. After learning that I grew up in Texas with a lot of folk influences and was a huge Dixie Chicks fan, she immediately suggested I give First Aid Kit a listen. She told me that this pair of Swedish sisters would make me fall back in love with the genre and really surprise me. And because Nellie and I are basically one and the same with music, I listened to her, and bought this album without even listening to it before. (I never do this. It was like running into a pitch black hallway. Frightening.)

At first listen, I was in love. This is the third First Aid Kit album, and I’m now excited to hear their past albums. First Aid Kit consists of sisters Johanna and Klara Söderberg, who together remind me a bit of Brandi Carlisle at times, and definitely the sound of folk music I grew up adoring. Stay Gold opens with “My Silver Lining”, a song I was immediately drawn to, with the fantastic vocals and highly danceable chorus, with some great lyrics thrown in. The album then moves to “Master Pretender”, possibly my favorite song on the album, which discusses pretending to be stronger than you are, and embracing the authenticity of your life (or at least, that’s my interpretation). To round out this fantastic 10-song album, “A Long Time Ago” is a bit more of a ballad, with a piano backing that I adore, and strong vocals.

First Aid Kit is definitely now on my favorite band list. I love their vocals, the lyrics, and the overall sound of this record and highly recommend giving it a listen!

Spotify | iTunes | Amazon

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A Tour of My CD Wall: August 2014

cd wall tour

If you’ve been around my Twitter/Instagram for a while, you’ve probably seen my CD hauls and photos of my CD wall. But now, at the request of my friend Jen, I am posting some photos and giving a sort of “tour” of the wall, telling you all what up on the wall.

Blog Design Info

I’ve divided the wall into sections, and will now go through each section with you all!

Photo Aug 11, 4 07 34 PM1: This first section includes a combo of memorabilia and CDs.

  • When The Night by St. Lucia – I actually have a review of this album over here that you can check out to see my full thoughts on this one!
  • My ACL 3-Day Pass for 2013 – Oh, what a beautiful weekend. Third row at Passion Pit, MUSE, missing HAIM because I was young and stupid, etc.
  • To Be Loved by Michael Bublé – I actually never listen to this album, but there’s some goodies on here.
  • If You Wait by London Grammar – I LOVE LONDON GRAMMAR AND THIS ALBUM IS MY HEART.
  • Scars & Stories by The Fray – I consider The Fray to be a childhood love of mine, and this album is HOLY WOW. Their new one, Helios is also spot on fabulousness.
  • Language & Perspective by Bad Suns – This album was well-awaited and was well worth the wait. Album review soon!
  • The 1975 Concert Memorabilia – If you notice from the whole wall shot, this is to the left of the 1975 panel on the wall. Here sits my ticket and my wristband. Oh, how I miss this night.

Photo Aug 11, 4 07 49 PM

2: Taylor Swift Tickets

  • This entire section includes tickets from my two Taylor Swift concerts during her Speak Now tour, along with the lovely Pit Pass the kind people behind me gave to me. That girl can put on a show.

Photo Aug 11, 4 07 56 PM

3: More tickets and Wristbands!

  • On the top is my One Republic and Sara Bareilles tour wristband from last fall. So good. Ryan Tedder is one incredible performer (and can totally rock a fedora).
  • Below that is my Ed Sheeran wristband from his + tour. Good show. Good night.
  • Last is my ticket from the One Direction show (This is Take Me How tour FYI) which seems to have some sort of stain on it? Who knows. Maybe that is a sweat mark from the amount of dancing I was doing.

Photo Aug 11, 4 07 15 PM

4: Ooh goody! More CDs!

  • What Did You Expect From The Vaccines? by The Vaccines – Such a good album. Favorites include Post Break-Up Sex and Norgaard.
  • The Love Club (EP) – I might love this more than Pure Heroine? I don’t know? Million Dollar Bills is just such a jam.
  • Coexist by The xx – A purchase from my NYC trip, and The xx’s sophomore album. Highly, highly recommend this one!
  • AM by The Arctic Monkeys – I can definitely appreciate AM, and Knee Socks and Fireside are the faves from here.
  • The Blessed Unrest by Sara Bareilles – I’m a massive Sara Bareilles fan, and this album is golden. My favorite is definitely Cassiopeia.
  • Fire Within by Birdy – I LOVE BIRDY I LOVE BIRDY I LOVE BIRDY. And this album shows how much she’s grown since her first album, as well as how her songwriting skills have blossomed!
  • Overgrown by James Blake – I bought this on Clearance at Waterloo after meeting The 1975 in March (this shows what a nut I am, I was in the right mind to go snooping through the second-hand piles) and bought it because I loved Overgrown. Now, I’ve come to enjoy Life Round Here the most!
  • Cavalier by James Vincent McMorrow – I still need to get my tickets for the tour for this album, because I am ready to see these beautiful songs live. Yes, please.

Photo Aug 11, 4 07 21 PM

5: MORE CDS

  • I Love You. by The Neighbourhood – Such a good album, such a good band, and Let It Go is my favorite. If you haven’t heard of these guys, you’ve been living under a rock. (Or, just haven’t been listening to the radio.)
  • Night Time, My Time by Sky Ferreira – You can’t tell what it is because of the stupid glare (these photos were taken using my iPhone) but this IS a Sky Ferreira album. Love her and I Blame Myself is definitely my favorite.
  • I Love You. Tour Wristband – my wristband from the I Love You. tour concert in July! Great show.
  • Bankrupt! by Phoenix – Not as good as Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix in my opinion, but still a great album.
  • Youth by Wild Cub (signed) – I met these guys at a signing and acoustic while they were on tour with Vampire Weekend (when no one knew about them yet) and sadly had to miss their show in Austin. But I’ll be there next time! Love this band.
  • Trilogy by The Weeknd – A three disc set of The Weeknd? YES PLEASE. I got this NYC and absolutely adore it. Everyone is always surprised I like The Weeknd, but what can I say?
  • All This Bad Blood by Bastille – A gift from my friend, because she supports the fact that I need the Deluxe Edition of this album and the regular one. I’m crazy. I know.

Photo Aug 11, 4 07 44 PM

6: OOH LOOK MORE PRETTIES

  • Relief by Vacationer – A new found love, but love them. This album has some calmer and also some more upbeat songs that I think are going to great for studying this year.
  • Stay Gold by First Aid Kit – Album review coming for this one because OH MY GOSH I’M OBSESSED. My friend Nellie turned me onto this Swedish set of sister and golly. I love it.
  • Halcyon by Ellie Goulding – I love Ellie Goulding. What more is to be said?
  • The Bones of What You Believe by Chvrches – I was turned onto them by a friend, and I can’t wait to see them at ACL this year. Such a great album!
  • Modern Vampires of the City by Vampire Weekend – I want to like Vampire Weekend so much. But I just can’t. I like some of their songs, but others I just don’t get.
  • Lights by Ellie Goulding – More Ellie Goulding. No explanation necessary.

Photo Aug 11, 4 07 05 PM7: The 1975 section.

Jesus. THE MEMORIES. THE FEELS. Okay, calm down Willa. This is my favorite band, and here we have photos of me and the band, photos of hugging moments, photos of the acoustic I went to, and my signed CD and LP.

This was one of the best days of my life, and so I had to dedicate this area to it.

I don’t really know what else to say here.

Here’s me.

And The 1975.

And my favorite CD.

(Seriously I’ve listened to it in it’s entirety an upwards of 300 times.)

Yeah.

Okay, no more words here. 

Photo Aug 11, 4 07 26 PM

8: HAIM + Phone Case of my life + TFiOS

  • The Night Before Our Stars ticket stub. Yeah. Enough said.
  • HAIM ticket + wristband – I still can’t believe I won tickets to this show. It was insane. Hardcore love this band and this trio of sisters.
  • Phone Case signed by Charli XCX and The 1975 – Both signed in the same day. Charli took up a lot of space, but it’s okay, because so did George. I love this phone case.

And this concludes my CD and other things wall. I hope you enjoyed this tour!

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Book Review: The Geography of You and Me

18295852Novel: The Geography of You and Me by Jennifer E. Smith | Goodreads
Release Date: April 15th, 2014
Publisher: Poppy
Format: ARC
Source: BookPeople Teen Reviewing

Lucy and Owen meet somewhere between the tenth and eleventh floors of a New York City apartment building, on an elevator rendered useless by a citywide blackout. After they’re rescued, they spend a single night together, wandering the darkened streets and marveling at the rare appearance of stars above Manhattan. But once the power is restored, so is reality. Lucy soon moves to Edinburgh with her parents, while Owen heads out west with his father.

Lucy and Owen’s relationship plays out across the globe as they stay in touch through postcards, occasional e-mails, and — finally — a reunion in the city where they first met.

A carefully charted map of a long-distance relationship, Jennifer E. Smith’s new novel shows that the center of the world isn’t necessarily a place. It can be a person, too.

I always hold out hope on Jennifer E. Smith. I do. I really try to like her books. But, every time I just can’t. Ever since The Statistical Probability of Love At First Sight, I just can’t get into her books.

The Geography of You and Me was really good at the beginning, minus the serious insta-love. (And when I say serious, I mean like serious.) But then, Lucy leaves for London and honestly, I just feel like it falls apart. You don’t really get to know the characters, so therefore I didn’t really end up caring about either of them, because the only time where you are reading about Lucy or Owen is whenever they’re doing something that will contribute to LucyandOwen. You see the issue here?

I honestly just felt kind of blah about this book. It was okay. It could’ve been A LOT worse, but it also could’ve been so much better. There was so much potential with the idea she had, and it felt just like halfway completed. I would’ve loved to learn more about Lucy’s relationship with her parents, her emotions around moving, and wanted to desperately know more about Owen’s childhood. There was so many strings that were never tied up, and I was not a fan of that part of this book.

I did, however, like the communication elements that Smith used. She showed the difficulties of getting to know someone when they’re in a different time zone, and how Owen and Lucy tried to bridge the gap between them. I liked Owen’s dad a lot. I also (obviously) loved that part of it was set in New York City. But I just had more issues with this book than I did things I liked, which makes me want to not recommend it.

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Book Review: Rites of Passage

18285437Novel: Rites of Passage by Joy N. Hensley | Goodreads
Release Date: September 9th, 2014
Publisher: HarperTeen
Format: ARC
Source: BookPeople Teen Reviewing

Sam McKenna’s never turned down a dare. And she’s not going to start with the last one her brother gave her before he died.

So Sam joins the first-ever class of girls at the prestigious Denmark Military Academy. She’s expecting push-ups and long runs, rope climbing and mud-crawling. As a military brat, she can handle an obstacle course just as well as the boys. She’s even expecting the hostility she gets from some of the cadets who don’t think girls belong there. What she’s not expecting is her fiery attraction to her drill sergeant. But dating is strictly forbidden and Sam won’t risk her future, or the dare, on something so petty…no matter how much she wants him.

As Sam struggles to prove herself, she discovers that some of the boys don’t just want her gone—they will stop at nothing to drive her out. When their petty threats turn to brutal hazing, bleeding into every corner of her life, she realizes they are not acting alone. A decades-old secret society is alive and active… and determined to force her out.
At any cost.

Now time’s running short. Sam must decide who she can trust…and choosing the wrong person could have deadly consequences.

Does this not look interesting or what? Military school, some fiery attraction to a forbidden guy, and a secret society? GIMME.

Rites of Passage was a rollercoaster of a book. It started off a bit slow, and I was just kind of plodding along, but as we progressed through the story and the stakes kept rising, it got increasingly more interesting. Sam was a character who I was rooting for from the start, her perseverance and determination to succeed at not a small feat, especially in the face of so many obstacles. (Both people and more physical ones.) She’s funny, caring, tenacious, and was such a refreshing female main character in my opinion. I want more main characters like Sam, please. Someone who can fall in love, show weakness, but still is going to put herself and her own needs first.

Also, Hensley is an incredible writer. I can’t wait to see where she goes after Rites of Passage (which, by the way, I’m very happy is a standalone) and what she decides to do with her next book. I’m hooked on her writing!

Lastly, the other girls in this book were such great characters. Diverse in their personalities, but all equally strong women. I just really loved this book.

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