Willa’s Ramblings in going on hiatus

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Hello, my faithful Willa’s Ramblings followers!

Due to a crazy schedule coming up in the next month, I’m going to be taking some time off from blogging for the month of March. I need some time to catch up on reading, get reviews together, and have some time to breathe while I get responses from colleges. There will a couple posts here and there for blog tours, but other than that there won’t be anything new.

I’ll see you guys in April!

Book Review: Catacomb

20522640Novel: Catacomb (Asylum, #3) by Madeline Roux | Goodreads
Release Date: September 1st, 2015
Publisher: HarperTeen
Format: ARC
Source: BookPeople Teen Press Corps

Sometimes the past is better off buried.

Senior year is finally over. After all they’ve been through, Dan, Abby, and Jordan are excited to take one last road trip together, and they’re just not going to think about what will happen when the summer ends. But on their way to visit Jordan’s uncle in New Orleans, the three friends notice that they are apparently being followed.. And Dan starts receiving phone messages from someone he didn’t expect to hear from again—someone who died last Halloween.

As the strange occurrences escalate, Dan is forced to accept that everything that has happened to him in the past year may not be a coincidence, but fate—a fate that ties Dan to a group called the Bone Artists, who have a sinister connection with a notorious killer from the past. Now, Dan’s only hope is that he will make it out of his senior trip alive.

In this finale to the New York Times bestselling Asylum series, found photographs help tell the story of three teens who exist on the line between past and present, genius and insanity.

GUYS I FINISHED A SERIES!

(also I don’t know what that gif is other than completely awesome)

Asylum is one of those series I started, loved, and is seriously lacking in appreciation. It’s incredibly written, and quite honestly, isn’t that scary. It’s just creepy. I read it before bed and was a-okay. So, if the scary was holding you back, GO FORTH AND READ.

The first two books in this series focus on Brookline, the creepy asylum where Dan, Abby, and Jordan all meet in the first book. Sanctum is, for the most part, a complete departure from that storyline. It’s set in New Orleans, where Jordan is moving for college, and focuses on the creepy history of the city. I think this is partly what makes it less scary than the previous two books – it’s not focusing on a creepy old asylum. Rather, it’s focusing on bones! I don’t know if that’s any better though…

Either way, I enjoyed Catacomb. Not as much as I liked Sanctum, but it was still a solid horror book. (By the way, you can read my review of Sanctum here.Catacomb focuses on the trio’s separation due to college (!!!) and Dan’s family history, a thread that weaves through all three books. Abby, Jordan, and Dan are on a road trip to New Orleans and all is well until they get a flat tire and a weird guys helps them out, they figure out they’re being followed, and Dan uncovers new information about his parents.

Once they arrive in New Orleans, more questions are asked, some are answered, and everything gets more intense. Their lives are endangered multiple times, they meet some really creepy people who you would never want to meet in an alley, and experience a series of strange occurrences. Slowly, they piece together what’s going on, and with it, Dan understands the truth about who his parents are and what happened to them. It’s an incredible storyline that incorporates history, horror, and character development flawlessly.

Catacomb was a solid finish to this series, and I’m a bit sad to see it go, to be honest. However, I’m pumped to see what Roux has in store next! I love her approach to horror as well as her writing style. Four stars for Catacomb! (I wanted more asylum fun.)

Willa’s Ramblings got a makeover!

Willa’s Ramblings got a new design, you guys!

The ever so incredible Hazel of Stay Bookish was my designer and she was a joy to work with. She took my ideas (basically a Pinterest board and a hazy idea) and made it real and beautiful. She tweaked all the little things I wanted tweaked and made this design that I’m head over heels in love with.

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For me, this marks a new chapter in Willa’s Ramblings.

I feel like I’ve grown up with this blog and it’s evolving into something I’m incredibly proud of. I have a consistent schedule (and a schedule at that), I’m loving blogging, and I’m back into the community I adore so much. This design takes my love of literature, music, and design and puts into a blog design and I’m in love with it.

Here’s to more years of Willa’s Ramblings!

NaNoWriMo: Blogger Style

When my beloved friend Anneqah asked me if I was doing Camp NaNoWriMo in April, I immediately thought YES! Then I realized I did simply have enough time to write a novel in April. That’s when Aneeqah came up with the idea to keep the idea behind NaNo, but give it a blogging spin – and NaNoWriMo: Blogger Style was born. We thought we’d share our plan with all of you, and if you want to participate, feel free!

What is NaNoWriMo: Blogger Style?

During the month of April, you set a goal to write a certain amount of blog posts (ideally thirty) and try to get them all done. Aneeqah and I will aspire to write thirty blog posts. Ideally this is one post per day, but the overall goal is to hit thirty posts.

Do they have to be all reviews?

No! Not at all. I’m planning to catch up on memes for Lit Up Review, write discussion posts, reviews, and get as ahead as possible. If you don’t run a book blog, you can still do NaNoWriMo: Blogger Style, just customize it to fit whatever it is that you blog about.

Why would I want to participate?

All bloggers know it’s easy to fall behind, and scheduling posts in a savior. During this month you can get ahead on posts for one, two, or even THREE months depending on how often you post. I’m hoping to plan posts through May and maybe into June! It’s a great way to reinvigorate your desire to blog as well. If you’re in a slump, give it a shot and see if you can pull yourself out!

How will this work?

Set a goal. Mine is thirty posts. Yours can be whatever you want depending on your schedule.
Get an idea of what kind of posts you want to make – if you’re a serious planner, even plan them out ahead of time.
Write, write, write!


I’m incredibly excited about doing this, and hope to get ahead and feel even better about my blog. Let me know if you’re planning to participate too – I’d love to hear what all of you are planning!

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Book Review: Sinner

20522640Novel: Sinner (The Wolves of Mercy Falls, #4) by Maggie Stiefvater | Goodreads
Release Date: July 1st, 2014
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Format: ARC
Source: BookPeople Teen Reviewing

A standalone companion book to the internationally bestselling Shiver Trilogy.

Sinner follows Cole St. Clair, a pivotal character from the #1 New York Times bestselling Shiver Trilogy. Everybody thinks they know Cole’s story. Stardom. Addiction. Downfall. Disappearance. But only a few people know Cole’s darkest secret — his ability to shift into a wolf. One of these people is Isabel. At one point, they may have even loved each other. But that feels like a lifetime ago. Now Cole is back. Back in the spotlight. Back in the danger zone. Back in Isabel’s life. Can this sinner be saved?

Emotions right now:

(are we paying attention to that gif because it’s making me dissolve into laughing fits repeatedly) A NEW MAGGIE STIEFVATER PEOPLE! AS IN A NEW MERCY FALLS BOOK! A BOOK WHICH I’M READING SIX/SEVEN MONTHS PAST RELEASE DATE! A BOOK WHICH I’M CRYING OVER BECAUSE I’M EMOTIONAL LIKE THAT!

On a more serious note though, this book made me feel a lot of things, including (but not limited to):

  1. Anger @ Cole St. Clair and Isabel repeatedly
  2. Love @ Cole St. Clair and Isabel repeatedly
  3. The desire to hug Leon repeatedly
  4. The desire to comfort Sofia repeatedly
  5. The desire to bash Baby’s face into a wall repeatedly
  6. The desire to shake Isabel by the shoulders repeatedly
  7. The desire to put Cole and Isabel in a room together and tell them to just work it out and kiss already
  8. The desire to cry. repeatedly.

How does Maggie Stiefvater do this? How does she force me to sit down and read a book in a matter of hours and feel this weird mixture of empty and full at the same time? How am I currently ALIVE?! This book is all kinds of amazing.

We’re thrown back into the world of Cole and Isabel, but what I love about this book specifically is that we see them in a new environment: LA. Here, we see the extremes both of these characters live at, and the extremes Cole will go to to get Isabel back. Basically, Isabel is stupid for like 90% of the book (what’s new) and refuses to understand that Cole is in love with her and isn’t going anywhere.

She, per usual, pretends like he’s going to leave and pushes him away. Bit rude, don’t you think?

Cole, on the other hand, is all kinds of crazy, just like we like him. He’s making music again, on his own TV show (???????) and in rapid pursuit of Isabel’s adoration. We see in Sinner how much he loves Isabel, and how he’s not going to let her go. And this broke my heart so many times.

The sole issue I had with this book was the introduction of Isabel’s life. Like. what? I was confused on why a lot of the things in this book were happening, but that’s possibly because I’ve forgotten most of Cole and Isabel’s story (so this issue might just be my problem). Let me know in comments what your opinion on this topic is!

Overall, I just fell head over heels for this book. Sinner is poetic, beautiful, touching, and heartbreaking. It teaches us about love and the lengths we will go to keep people in our lives, and how important it is to follow our hearts and trust ourselves. I want more, please. That epilogue did NOT cure me of anything, Stiefvater.

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2015 Blogging Goals

2015 blogging goals

It’s 2015 and I’m one for goals, so here we are. I’ve also been inspired by some bloggers – Vy, Aneeqah, and Grace and their goals. So here we go people – my blogging goals for 2015:

1. Do a Music Monday every week

I try to do this, I really do, but I just forget most weeks. Or I get lazy. Or a combination of the two. Either way, I love doing these posts and I need to make a point of doing them on a weekly basis – not a whenever I remember to do them basis.

2. Write 2 music reviews a month

I love writing these, but they’re really hard for me and that scares me a bit I think. They’re something I don’t really know how to do, and aren’t in my comfort zone like book reviews are. Which shows how long I’ve been blogging + that I need to branch out! So I’m making a goal to write at least two music reviews a month, which I think it a decent goal, especially as I get better at doing them.

3. Read more YA

This may seem like a totally weird goal, but this past fall semester I made a goal to read more classic literature (which I totally did – I read almost entirely literature from the 1900s) and I neglected my beloved YA. Over the holiday break though, I’ve fallen back in love, and I’ve been a reading fiend. So, I’m looking to strike a balance between my YA and my classics. Maybe a one for one thing? Not sure. We’ll see.

4. Comment on blogs once a week

I realized today that I don’t comment on blogs, and I don’t like that. I love sharing love, and commenting is a great way to do that. It takes time, and I spend time watching Criminal Minds instead (which, is also important) and I need to comment. So I’ve gotten myself on Feedly and I am going to comment. And read blogs. It’s going to happen. I BELIEVE.

5. Stay updated on what books are coming out

I totally fell off the band wagon this year. I love YA, but I never know what is coming out, and hence, do not request things, and then have nothing new to read. It’s an endless cycle. So I’m making a resolution to stay on top of my game – read Waiting on Wednesdays, peruse Goodreads in between studying sessions instead of Tumblr, and know my stuff.

6. Writing a review right after I’ve finished a book

I’m stealing Vy’s resolution on this one, and she’s stealing a technique our mutual bestie Jen uses – before she can start a new book, she writes a review for the one she has just finished. And, if you look at her blog, it’s filled with reviews. So, I strive to be Jen in this category. And I think I can do it.


What are your goals for 2015, blogging or not? Share them with my in comments!

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Where Have I Been?

Well, how nice of you to ask.

Basically, I’ve been attempting to get stuff done.

Unfortunately, this means my blog has not been a priority. Lit Up Review hasn’t been a priority. Blogging just isn’t a priority for me a lot of the time.

Which SUCKS, because I have so much that I want to say! So I’m going to try my absolute best to get some shorter pieces drafted and ready to go this weekend. Get some Music Monday posts going.

But I just wanted to jump on and say yes, I am still alive, I’m just doing other things.

xo

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Thoughts from Barnard

Most of you may have probably never head of Barnard College. But for those of you who have, props to you! For those of you who haven’t, let me give you some brief background before I launch into my thoughts and experiences at Barnard.

A Bit of Background on Barnard

The Barnard Lawn

Barnard is a liberal arts college for all women, and is one of the best all women colleges (and general colleges) in the world.  It is located in New York City in the area called Morningside Heights (116th and Broadway to be exact) right across the street from Columbia. Why is it right across the street from Columbia you may ask? Well, curious soul, this is because Barnard College is a college under Columbia University. What does this mean, you are now asking yourself? This means that just as a school might have a College of Engineering, Columbia has a Barnard College for all women. As a student of Barnard, you can take classes at Columbia, eat at Columbia’s dining halls, use their extensive facilities, and benefit from their research oriented programs, and graduate with a degree from Columbia. But, you will live at Barnard, be accepted into Barnard College, and will belong to Barnard College in many senses. You will be a Barnard Woman!

Back to the Interesting Tid Bits

The Barnard gates, photo from LearnStuff.com

Last week (June 23rd through the 27th) I had the pleasure and honor of attending a one week Liberal Arts Intensive at Barnard. I lived in Sulzberger Hall (affectionately called “Sulz”), ate at Hewitt Dining Hall, and took my class – Modernist New York City – in Milbank Hall. This was my first sleep-away camp, my first college camp, and definitely my first time living on my own in New York City (although I had been to the city multiple times before this!)

I learned innumerable lessons while at Barnard for that week. These are outlined in the handy-dandy list I have put together for your reading pleasure:

  • Community bathrooms are really NOT THAT BAD. Trust me. You get your own fancy stall for your shower, and you have some nice conversations at midnight with your floor mates. The best time to shower is between 2 and 3 AM, fyi! (Everyone is asleep. Except you, of course.)
  • Dining hall food gets old pretty fast, and it is very easy to just eat and EAT AND EAT it. But you shouldn’t do this. I recommend filling your one plate, and that’s it. Don’t get that second plate. Unless, of course, you missed Hewitt’s weird hours because you slept in too late and missed breakfast. In which case, get that second plate.
  • Be friendly to your roommate! Don’t hold back. My roommate and I immediately clicked, and it proved to be one of the best things about the week. Our escapades include: milkshakes at 10:45 at Tom’s Restaurant (they filmed Seinfeld here!), eating cheesy fries and sharing a milkshake on the steps of Columbia, shopping in SoHo and spending far too much money in Sephora, staying up until four AM with some other friends, and learning to hail cabs.

    Insomnia Cookies, my friends
    Insomnia Cookies, my friends
  • Insomnia Cookies, although delicious, should not be order as often as your think. I didn’t actually learn this while at Barnard, but it is definitely a reflection I have now. (Insomnia Cookies is a company in NYC and some other states that deliver cookies until 4AM. We ordered cookies at 1:30AM two nights in a row for studying fuel.)
  • Libraries are your new best friend. Also – Reading rooms reading rooms READING ROOMS. They’re silent. There’s nice tables. There’s a plug for your computer. Take advantage of these rooms. Especially if they’re the Butler Library ones (at Columbia) which are gorgeous.
  • For future Barnard students: THE 1 TRAIN IS YOUR BFF. (The 1 train goes straight up to Barnard and will save you. Just make sure you go in the right direction!)

I learned more than that, but that definitely seemed like a good start. Barnard was one of the scariest and also one of the most rewarding experiences of my life, and I recommend that everyone go to a college camp during their high school career. Find a college you’re interested in and go stay there for a week! Get to know the people, the school, and what it’s like to exist at a college. And, obviously, try out Barnard. It’s definitely my number one choice now.

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Hope you all enjoyed hearing about my trip to NYC!

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I Was Nominated for a Liebster Blog Award (like two months ago…)

I was nominated for a Liebster blog award by Written World Words like TWO MONTHS ago and just now was going through my comments and saw it. Wow. Go Willa. But here I am! Answering the questions and tagging people and spreading the love.

Rules:

  1. Write 11 facts about yourself.
  2. Answer 11 questions that have been asked by whoever nominated you.
  3. Ask 11 new questions to 9 bloggers with less than 300 followers – you cannot re-nominate the person who nominated you.
  4. Go to their blog and tell them they have been nominated!

11 Facts About Me:

  1. I love chocolate and have ZERO SHAME about eating a lot. Okay. Maybe a little shame.
  2. I run a Tumblr where I reblog like 99.9% The 1975. I’m sorry, okay? (Actually I’m not sorry.) I just really like them. And there’s a lot of videos and pictures out there!
  3. I have a slew of online besties I talk to really frequently! Some are bloggers, some Tumblr friends, some are people I’ve met via Twitter – I love them all!
  4. Concerts are one of my favorite places. Hands down.
  5. I like to bake! Particularly things that include sugar.
  6. I just got a my first proper jean jacket and it was on sale and it’s Levi’s and I might be in love.
  7. I like colorful pens.
  8. I have too many unfilled notebooks.
  9. I scatter waterglasses around my room.
  10. I have a wall of CD cases and photos in my room.
  11. I have three pairs of Doc Martens and want like EIGHTY MORE.

The Questions I Was Asked:

1. If you were stranded on a desert island with one book character, who would it be?

Jonah Griggs, obviously.

2. What is your favourite book genre?

YA? Am I cheating? Probably contemporary. But then I also love a good dystopian. And an engaging fantasy. And a fast-paced mystery. So…. I don’t have one? I just read mostly contemporary.

3. Who is your book boy?

I actually struggle this question and I have a post coming soon about why, but if I HAD TO CHOOSE it would be Jonah Griggs. (See a theme here?)

4. If you were trapped in a dystopian future, which one would it be?

None of them? They all seem scary and horrible? And I would probably die really fast in any of them? But I could probably deal with being in the Divergent world for a while.

5. Do you watch book reviews on YouTube? If so, what channel?

Not really! But if I’m going to, it’ll be my blogger bud that turned a booktuber – https://www.youtube.com/user/evilclementine

6. Would you rather be a tribute for the Hunger Games, go through Dauntless initiation or live the life of a Shadowhunter?

SHADOWHUNTER OBVIOUSLY. The outfit. I mean, come on guys.

7. What is your favourite book to movie adaptation?

TFiOS probably. I just think they did a fabulous job with the entire setup and the SOUNDTRACK. Review of the movie here!

8. What is the book that has taken you the most time to read?

I remember that The Sweet, Far Thing by Libba Bray took me AGES to read simply because IT IS SO LONG MY GOSH.

9. What is the book that has taken you the least time to read?

I’ve read a slew of books in under a day, so one of those probably. Search something like “read in one day” “read in a couple hours” on my blog and you might find some reviews!

10. Who is your favourite author?

Melina Marchetta. Read her. Absorb her. Become her.

11. Have you ever met any famous authors? If so, who?

I’ve had the pleasure of meeting quite a few! John Green, Leigh Bardugo, Libba Bray, Sarah Dessen, Gayle Forman, Lindsay Cummings, AG Howard, Maggie Stiefvater, Susane Colasanti, Veronica Roth, Stephanie Perkins, RL LaFevers, Jenny Han, Tahereh Mafi and a bunch of others but those are off the top of my head!

My Questions:

  1. Favorite past time other than reading?
  2. Do you have an guilty (or not so guilty) pleasures?
  3. What’s your favorite part of your bedroom?
  4. What are your top most visited sites?
  5. What are some books you’ve reread?
  6. What’s your favorite item of clothing in your wardrobe?
  7. Who’s a character you would like to meet in real life?
  8. Who’s an author you would like to meet in real life?
  9. A blogger?
  10. Do you have any blog goals? Share them!
  11. Do you have an blogging rituals?

Who I Tag:

  1. Read. Write. Ramble.
  2. Forever Literary
  3. My Not So Real Life
  4. Books and Other Happily Ever Afters
  5. Oh, Chrys! (no idea about followers but I’m tagging her anyways)
  6. Fly To Fiction

I don’t know who else to tag! I haven’t been in the blogging know to know who else new is out there! 😦 But thank you for tagging me! xoxo

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