Blog Tour: Scarlett Epstein Hates it Here

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It is Midsummer’s stop on the Scarlett Epstein Hates it Here blog tour hosted by Penguin Teen!

Be sure to check out the information on the novel, listen to the playlist for Ashley, and order a copy of this unforgettable novel.  My review will be up next week, so stay tuned!

Meet Scarlett Epstein, BNF (Big Name Fan) in her online community of fanfiction writers, world-class nobody at Melville High. Her best (read: only) IRL friends are Avery, a painfully shy and annoyingly attractive bookworm, and Ruth, her weed-smoking, possibly insane seventy-three-year-old neighbor.

When Scarlett’s beloved TV show is canceled and her longtime crush, Gideon, is sucked out of her orbit and into the dark and distant world of Populars, Scarlett turns to the fanfic message boards for comfort. This time, though, her subjects aren’t the swoon-worthy stars of her fave series—they’re the real-life kids from her high school. And if they ever find out what Scarlett truly thinks about them, she’ll be thrust into a situation far more dramatic than anything she’s ever seen on TV…

 

“Hands To Myself,” Selena Gomez
She’s choreographing a cheer set to this song, so she listens to it like a zillion times a day.

“Fancy,” Iggy Azalea
The song she listens to when she’s driving to school (which her twin sister Avery hates, but too freaking bad).

“In The Night,” The Weeknd
She listens to this when she’s taking an evening drive by herself, just to CVS or something. It’s her time to be alone.

“Story of My Life,” One Direction
She and Avery sing along with this song in the car on the way home (assuming Ave’s not hanging out with that pretentious d-bag Scarlett).

“Hello,” Adele
When she’s sad about Gideon.

“Chichester Psalms,” Leonard Bernstein
She first listened to these to impress this college guy she was dating, but wound up loving them herself. She always cries at the end of III.

“Trap Queen,” Fetty Wap
The summer song that seems to play at all the block parties in the neighborhood that her family goes to.

“How Deep Is Your Love,” Calvin Harris & Disciples
Sexy shower-singing song.

“Let It Go,” Idina Menzel
Empowering shower-singing song.

“Work,” Rihanna
On in the background as she and her friends pregame for a house party.

“Ultralight Beam,” Kanye West
On in the background if she’s pregaming alone for a house party.

“Elastic Heart,” Sia
To remind herself she’s stronger than people think she is.

“All Of Me,” John Legend
She imagines this being her first dance as prom queen.

“Bad Blood,” Taylor Swift
Sometimes, remembering some diss Scarlett shot in her direction, she blasts this in the car and scream-sings it.

Swan Lake, Op.20, Act I: 2. Waltz (Tempo di valse)
She remembers this from ballet class—she quit because she wasn’t the best student there, and misses it sometimes—and listens to it often.

 

Buy the book:

Scarlett Epstein Hates It Here

Blog Tour: In Real Life by Jessica Love

Welcome to Midsummer’s stop on the In Real Life blog tour! Below you will find an excerpt from the novel AND the spotify playlist provided by the author.

First, let me tell you a little bit about the book:

Hannah Cho and Nick Cooper have been best friends since 8th grade. They talk for hours on the phone, regularly shower each other with presents, and know everything there is to know about one another.

There’s just one problem: Hannah and Nick have never actually met.

Hannah has spent her entire life doing what she’s supposed to, but when her senior year spring break plans get ruined by a rule-breaker, she decides to break a rule or two herself. She impulsively decides to road trip to Las Vegas, her older sister and BFF in tow, to surprise Nick and finally declare her more-than-friend feelings for him.

Hannah’s surprise romantic gesture backfires when she gets to Vegas and finds out that Nick has been keeping some major secrets. Hannah knows the real Nick can’t be that different from the online Nick she knows and loves, but now she only has night in Sin City to figure out what her feelings for Nick really are, all while discovering how life can change when you break the rules every now and then.

Release Date: March 1, 2016 **Hot off the press**

Check out a short excerpt!

CREDIT: In Real Life by Jessica Love; Courtesy of Thomas Dunne Books

 

Did you love the excerpt? Well, be sure to listen to the author’s spotify playlist that was created especially for you.

(My personal favorites from the playlist: Edge of Desire by John Mayer, Ghost Under Rocks by Ra Ra Riot, You and I by Ingrid Michaelson)

 

 

My copy is already on the way, get yours now!

Blog Tour: Frozen Tides by Morgan Rhodes

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As a huge fan of the Falling Kingdoms series, I was honored to be offered a chance to participate in the blog tour for the release of the fourth installment, Frozen Tides.  Yesterday you will notice that I posted my review of the third novel, Gathering Darkness, and you will get my review of Frozen Tides on Thursday! Today, for the tour, I am hosting author Morgan Rhodes’ Frozen Tides book playlist!

Be aware that there are possible spoilers for Falling Kingdoms books 1-3 in this! Let’s get started!

Protectors of the Earth – Two Steps From Hell


Super epic music (Two Steps from Hell produce music used in a lot of big budget movie trailers) which could definitely set the tone for the Falling Kingdoms series!

Royals – Lorde

I think ever since I saw this song used in a Reign promo, it’s stuck in my mind when it comes to dealing with teenaged princes and princesses and their daily dramas.

 

Gravity – Sara Bareilles


This song has Team Magneo written all over it…from Magnus’s POV at the end of Gathering Darkness, anyway!

 

Jar of Hearts – Christina Perri


Another super angsty song for the heir to his evil father’s throne.

 

Time is Running Out – Muse

This song would definitely suit a Rebel-Jonas-in-training montage, while he’s thinking/pining away about Cleo.

 

Just a Girl – No Doubt


This song makes me think of Cleo back when she was more of a party princess with no responsibilities than a royal rebel.

Breathe Me – Sia


This song has so much atmosphere and emotion that it would definitely suit many of the complicated, twisty – may I say angsty again?? — romantic situations in the Falling Kingdoms series.

 

Girl on Fire – Alicia Keys


Don’t mess with Lucia. Two words: fire magic. She will torch y’all.

 

Freedom Fighters – Two Steps from Hell


A powerful, victorious anthem for the rebels who are trying to bring down the evil King Gaius. Just before everything goes horribly wrong, of course.

 

Can’t Feel My Face – The Weeknd


That feeling when you’re falling for someone who probably isn’t someone you want to fall for? Yeah, that.

 

Holding out for a Hero – Bonnie Tyler


I’ve always loved this song…but in the Falling Kingdoms series I think my characters are at their strongest when they stop waiting for someone to save them and they save themselves instead! And yes, this video is about as retro as they get! Viva The Eighties!

 

Poker Face – Lady GaGa


I once made a joke on Tumblr that, secretly, Prince Magnus really loves Lady GaGa. Now whenever I hear her music I think of him. I think he’d listen to Poker Face with headphones (if such things existed in his world) so no one would know. Also, since he does pride himself on his own poker face, this is a song match made in heaven!

Happy Reading! (and listening!)

Morgan

You can visit Morgan on Tumblr, Twitter, and Facebook!

 

Blog Tour: Blood and Salt by Kim Liggett

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Welcome to A Midsummer Night’s Read’s stop on the Blood and Salt Blog tour, hosted by Penguin Teen!

Check out the book synopsis below, listen to the book playlist, and enter to win a hardcover copy of the book.  My Review of Blood and Salt will be up tomorrow!

 

bloodandsalt“When you fall in love, you will carve out your heart and throw it into the deepest ocean. You will be all in—blood and salt.”

These are the last words Ash Larkin hears before her mother returns to the spiritual commune she escaped long ago. But when Ash follows her to Quivira, Kansas, something sinister and ancient waits among the rustling cornstalks of this village lost to time.

Ash is plagued by memories of her ancestor, Katia, which harken back to the town’s history of unrequited love and murder, alchemy and immortality. Charming traditions soon give way to a string of gruesome deaths, and Ash feels drawn to Dane, a forbidden boy with secrets of his own.

As the community prepares for a ceremony five hundred years in the making, Ash must fight not only to save her mother, but herself—and discover the truth about Quivira before it’s too late. Before she’s all in—blood and salt.

Release Date: September 22, 2015

Blood and Salt is full of creepy goodness, but there’s also a scorching hot romance.

This is the official Ash and Dane playlist directly from the author herself! (Click on the song title to listen!)

1) Neighborhood #1— Arcade Fire

I love this song– I think it captures that all-consuming feeling of first love.

2) I Never— Rilo Kiley

“I’ve got nothing to give, except everything. The good and the bad.” The ache in this song is so real.

3) Flow — Sade

This is a seriously sexy song. I can just imagine this playing during the lake scene.

4) Use Me— Holly Golightly

I think this shows Ash’s attitude to her brother’s warnings.

5) The Crystal Ship— The Hot Rats

Dark, gritty with a slight hallucinogenic quality. I can imagine this playing during that incredibly hot kiss on page 236.

6) I Want It That Way— Backstreet Boys

If this seems like an oddball choice– you’re right. Read the book and you’ll understand everything. ; )

7) Bloodstream— Stateless 

This song feels like a dream– a perfect combination of anguish and bliss.

8) It Won’t Be Long— Jason Collett

“When you close your eyes, kiss my mouth, I know I’m closer now than anyone has ever been.” Nuff said.

9) Please Please Please Let Me Get What I Want— Clayhill

I always think of Dane when I hear this. It reminds me of his focus on Ash– he’s trying to do the right thing, but he’s clouded by desire.

10) Closer— Kings of Leon

“She took my heart, I think she took my soul.” This song is dark, dangerous and sexy.

11) I Want You— Elvis Costello

I wrote an incredibly hot scene to this song that didn’t make it into the final book. But this song belongs on this playlist.

12) Night In My Veins— Pretenders

“It feels good, even if it’s just the night in my veins.” I think there’s a part of Ash that knows this is dangerous, but she doesn’t care. It feels too good.

13) Can’t Seem To Make You Mine— The Seeds

This is such a fun song! Very Ash and Dane.

14) Fall At Your Feet— Boy & Bear

This is a beautiful song, but there’s a certain sadness that reminds me of Ash and Dane.

15) Shade And Honey— Sparklehorse

This song is so romantic and dark and strange. Just like Blood and Salt.

GIVEAWAY

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

Be sure to check out some of the other stops on the Blood and Salt tour, and come back tomorrow to see my review!

Good Books & Wine –  9/14
Addicted Readers – 9/15
Jessabella Reads –  9/16
A Midsummer Night’s Read – 9/17
It Starts At Midnight –  9/18

The Book Bratz –  9/21
No BS Book Reviews – 9/22
Once Upon a Twilight – 9/23
Please Feed the Bookworm – 9/24
The Irish Banana –  9/25

Winterhaven Books – 9/28
My Friends are Fiction – 9/29
Fiction Fare –  9/30
A Dream Within a Dream –  10/1
Two Chicks on Books –10/2

Summer of Sarah Dessen: Interview

Not only did I get the chance to meet one of my favorite young adult authors of all time, but Sarah Dessen is one of the reasons I started studying Children’s Literature.  Her novels are personal favorites and they are the books I revisit often when I need a comfortable story to reset my reading gauge.  My copies of her books are worn out from reading and re-reading; so much so that one has been replaced about 3 times now, one has been missing a slip cover since it came out in 2004, a few have wrinkled pages from various things being spilt on them over the years, and more than one have soft edges from being carried around in my purse for whenever the opportunity to read arose.

Before Dessen’s tour stop at Flyleaf Books in Chapel Hill, NC (the inspiration for Lakeview, people!) I was able to sit down with her (and her beautiful daughter, Sasha) to ask a few questions.

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Selfie with Sarah!

Midsummer Reads (MR): The first thing I wanted to say is thanks for talking to me before your event!

Sarah Dessen (SD): Of course!

MR: And congrats on 12 books!

SD: I know, right? It’s so exciting. Every book is a surprise and an accomplishment. You’d think that by number 12 that I’d know what I was doing and I would feel secure but I don’t. I think it almost makes it worse because of the pressure to sort of keep the quality up and to keep the readers interested.

MR: Well there are those of us who have been reading them, you know, since we could.

SD: Yeah! I mean more and more on this tour in particular there are a lot of people that have come through and said they’ve been reading my books since they were in middle school and now they are in their twenties.

MR: Yeah.

SD: And I’m so grateful that they are still reading and that they want to keep reading YA. I’ve had a lot of people ask, “I wish you would write about people in their twenties,” “I wish you would write about people of different ages older ages.” But I just haven’t had that idea yet so I’m just waiting to see, you know?

MR: Well, it’s interesting because one of my friends from high school, well, when I got my Masters in Children’s Lit, you know, people were like that’s exciting you get to go to BEA and stuff, but you know I told them I get to interview you, this one girl got really excited, she’s an elementary school teacher, and said, “Tell her she’s got to write some stuff for elementary school kids. And I’ll share it with everybody!” And I said, “Okay, I’ll ask!”

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Sarah and a Shy Sasha

SD: I mean we (looking at Sasha) read a lot, we read amazing picture books together. and right now we are reading chapter books like Amelia Bedelia and the Amazing Princesses and stuff, but I feel like it is so much harder! Picture books are like poetry to me, people say like, “You should write a picture book,” like it is easy and I don’t even know how you do that. But I am getting to discover a lot more books through her (Sasha), which is awesome.

MR: Well that’s good.  This is kind of a personal question that I have from it: all of your books kind of have their own special little world, and there’s no real pop culture references, which I love because it doesn’t date the text. Was that intentional?

SD: Right.

MR: or was that accidental that you did?

SD: I think a lot of it is intentional. I think we’ve done some music that we’ve used but it’s always been older more classic music.  But I remember with Someone Like You, which was my second book back in 1998, and I remember there was a scene where Haley and Scarlet were in the doctor’s office and originally I had Haley reading a magazine, like People magazine, that had Brad Pitt on the cover. and my editor was like, “Brad Pitt?” You have to put someone else. So I thought, “Elvis! Elvis is forever,” and she was like, “No, these teens won’t know who that is.”  So I made it Frank Sinatra and she said, “Sinatra will be dead by the time this book comes out!” Which is funny because he died like 2 days before the book came out.

MR: Oh God, it is like she cursed him!

SD: But it’s tricky. You know I’ve been very hesitant about using technology and hesitant about doing text.

MR: I noticed that in Saint Anything.

SD: and you know the iPOD in Just Listen, you know, I think I called it something else. Because you want them to be timeless.  And I’ve gone back and read some books from my teen years and thought like these are really dated. And now some go back and update them, like Lauren Myracle did with her TTYL or whatever. But I feel like I want them to be timeless so you can go back and read them.

MR: And I honestly love that because it does make it so much fun to read and you know you connect it to your other books.

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Sarah taking questions

SD: The issues are timeless in some ways. I graduated high school a billion million years ago, but a lot of the same issues persist like the ones you have with your mom, issues with your friends, with your significant other, whoever that may be, your after school job. I mean a lot of that stuff doesn’t change and I think that is why YA is still appealing across the board to so many kinds of people. Whether you are in high school now or you were ever in high school you can relate to it.

MR: Right. I agree. Okay, if you had to pick one of your books for new readers to start with, which one would it be and why?

SD: I don’t know! I would pick either The Truth About Forever or Saint Anything. I’ve seen, this trip in particular, so many people coming through the line with The Truth About Forever dog-eared, coffee stained, wrinkled from the pool, pages highlighted, but I feel like Saint Anything is as good place to start to because it’s kind of a return to form.

(Sasha got a stool to sit on at this point.  Up until now she had been adorably sitting on her mom’s lap)

SD: But yeah it’s a return to form. Not that the last few books haven’t been complicated, but I feel like this book is a bit more like The Truth About Forever and Just Listen in that it has a wider canvas and moving pieces. So it would be my dream that people would you know, pick up Saint Anything because they’ve heard buzz about it or they are excited about it and they read it and they’re like, “Oh there’s all these other books!,” because I love that.  Like Jodi Picoult, I had read some of her books, then I read Leaving Time, and I loved it and now I’m working my way through her back-list, which I think is the best thing in the world when you discover an author and realize that there are so many other books.

MR: Yeah.  Moving on to Saint Anything, specifically.  Music is very important in the text. It has been a theme in some of your other novels, so is that something that–music is so important to your writing process, creatively? Or is that something that you feel connected to, music?

SD: I think it’s kind of waxed and waned with me. I mean I was very into music when I was younger and now I listen to more– Sasha and I are really into Taylor Swift these days.

MR: Hey, her new album is awesome.

SD: Yeah, yeah I think music can take you to a place. Like I wrote Just Listen which was so much based on music and how music can kind of define a moment more than anything else. and in this book (Saint Anything) I felt that it really showed the difference between the two worlds. Like with Sydney, Layla and the bluegrass. Like, I don’t write southern novels, I think, for the most part, but I do love putting Southern touches in my novels.  Like just putting bluegrass in there. You know, growing up here, it was always on in the background. But you know I do think music is important.  I don’t listen to music when I’m writing, like I can’t have anything–I have to have that silence, you know, unless I’m in a coffee shop and then I tune everything out. But I do have playlists for all of my books–not that I listened to while I was writing–but when I was driving around.

MR: What song would you listen to a lot when you were doing this book?

SD: Well, with this one it was Brave, which is our Sara Bareilles song. Because I had a book I started before this book, which failed, and I set it aside. And I wasn’t sure if another idea was going to bubble up so it was the idea of I just have to sit here and see if another story is going to come to me, and it may not and maybe, you know, I’ve been in this a long time.  It is going to be 20 years in the Fall of 2016 so maybe you know, there are all these young people coming up behind me and maybe I need to like, rest on my laurels for a while, and if another story doesn’t come then you know. It was a really big, scary  moment to set that book aside.  But I’m so glad I did because this book is so much better.

MR: So do you think you’d ever go back to that one, though?

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Sarah surprising long time fan, Kayla, with a gift

SD: No. And the thing is that, after I finished Saint Anything, I did a big clean out of my closet because my writing is so out of my control that I like to  organize everything, I’m always organizing all of her (Sasha) toys.  But up in my attic I found these thirteen manuscripts, counting the one I had set aside, and I set them out in my driveway and took a picture of them. And they each had a sticky note with the narrator’s name on it, and I was like I’ve published 12 books and I have 13 failed novels. Like, something isn’t working here, this can’t be part of my process.  But it may be that it’s what you need like a palate cleansing in between because in YA you are expected to publish so frequently. And you know if you are in adult contemporary you can take you know 5- 10 years in between books and no one gives you a hard time. But I’m considered slow with every two years. Which is just insane to me!

MR: I think it’s maybe because of the attention span of a lot of YA readers

SD: And because people are used to series and with series there is that pressure.  And I’ve just always been writing at the speed I’m going to write and that is just how it is, but I don’t think I’ll go back to it. I have cherry picked things from previous books, like my book Dreamland, that whole story was out of another book that didn’t work, that was my adult novel that didn’t work. Because I save everything. I don’t really print them all out anymore, but you know I save them to discs, I keep them on file because you never know.  But I purposefully haven’t started anything yet after this book, so right now I don’t really have anything else to bank on, this is all I’ve got.  And if this is the last book that I do for a little while, if this is the one I stick with, then it’s a good one to stick with.  That’s how I feel.

MR: Well, if there is one thing that you want readers to take away from Saint Anything what would it be?

SD: I would think that, you know, the quote at the beginning, “to all the invisible girls, you don’t have to be invisible.” You know, high school is so hard and just because you are invisible to somebody doesn’t mean you’re invisible to everybody. And the key to life is finding the people that see you and I think that’s– whether it be your friends or your family or somebody else or a mentor–but that somebody sees you.

MR: I know we need to wrap up, but I have another personal question–my personal favorite has always been This Lullaby, I’ve worn out like 3 or 4 different copies of it. I actually ordered a hardcover copy of it because I wanted to have a copy signed.

SD: Oh, nice!

MR: But where would you say Remy and Dexter are now?

SD: Oh, in my mind they are still together, of course.  I actually started to write a sequel. It was the only time I’ve thought about a sequel, after I finished Saint Anything, and I thought I’d have a great idea and it was like 3 years after Remy–who was you know going into her senior year in college and was doing really well.  And I had this whole thing, it was all organized, and I had a first chapter. But it was so perfect as it is, well not perfect because no book is, but it was so–I love them. And I think bringing them back in Just Listen was really good, because everything was good.  I just don’t think I’m a sequel person.

MR: Yeah.

SD: and I wrote that book when I was, it came out in 2002, so I was 31. You know? And it was so great and I loved it so much that I’d be afraid if anything I did would, you know.  But I manage to work Truth Squad into everything, and you know “Hate Spinnerbait,” I will always–and when Dexter– when they came in in Just Listen, I just wanted to go out the door with them, because it was just such a hard book to write. In my mind they are still together, in my mind everyone is still together.  I married someone I met in high school, and we are still together so.

MR: Well, thank you so much for talking to me. I was super nervous coming into this because I was like, “I’ve been reading her since I was twelve!”

SD: You don’t need to be nervous for me!

DessenSigningTable

Thanks for coming by!

Thank you so much to Sarah Dessen, Rachel from Penguin Random House, Johanna and the team at Flyleaf books for helping make this event and interview happen!

You can check out my review of Sarah’s novel, Saint Anything, just click on the title.

Be sure to read along with the Penguin SUMMER OF SARAH DESSEN Schedule to see more reviews, exclusive content, and have the chance to win copies of ALL 12 of Sarah Dessen’s novels.

SummerwithSarahDessen

 

I’ll be posting reviews for each week, hope to see you!

Book Review: Open Road Summer by Emery Lord

openroadsummerAfter breaking up with her bad-news boyfriend, Reagan O’Neill is ready to leave her rebellious ways behind. . . and her best friend, country superstar Lilah Montgomery, is nursing a broken heart of her own.

Fortunately, Lilah’s 24-city tour is about to kick off, offering a perfect opportunity for a girls-only summer of break-up ballads and healing hearts. But when Matt Finch joins the tour as its opening act, his boy-next-door charm proves difficult for Reagan to resist, despite her vow to live a drama-free existence. This summer, Reagan and Lilah will navigate the ups and downs of fame and friendship as they come to see that giving your heart to the right person is always a risk worth taking.

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Taylor and Abigail

It was absolutely impossible for me to not draw some kind of comparison between Dee (Lilah) and Reagan’s friendship and what the media knows about Taylor Swift and Abigail’s relationship.  I mean, both Reagan and Abigail are mentioned in their respective best friend’s tunes, and they attend award ceremonies as their best friend’s dates.  So yeah, I imagined them as Taylor and Abigail at first.

However, Reagan, as a character, defines herself fairly early on.  She is an individual who is completely rough around the edges, which is partly from her life experience but also from walls she has constructed for herself.  Dee, on the other hand, I would describe as kind of a circle with a few dings taken out.  Dee is strong in another sense, but is definitely more well rounded and adjusted than Reagan seems at the beginning of the novel.

I’ve seen a number of reviews of this novel that mention the negative attitude that Reagan takes toward other female characters (other than Dee), and I’d like to comment on that.  Reagan reveals that her mother left her as a child.  Not only does this realistically provide an intrinsic distrust of other females, but it does explain the origin of her trust issues as well.  It would be natural for a person in her shoes to dislike a lot of females and I think that Lord portrayed this realistically.  I do understand that in today’s world it is absolutely necessary for women to uplift other women, but since this is a novel set in reality, we have to think realistically.  Not all teenagers are in that frame of mind yet and Lord depicts it.

Lord is practically my narrative godmother at this point, because both Open Road Summer and The Start of Me and You are so well paced and structured that they kept me on the edge of my seat wanting more, while also having satisfying endings.

The romance aspect of Open Road Summer is much more pronounced than in The Start of Me and You, and I think that it works both ways for Lord as a writer.  I absolutely adored the slow smolder of obvious attraction between Reagan and Matt in Open Road Summer, but I also loved the sudden realization of love between Paige and Max in The Start of Me and You.  Since I mentioned Matt I think it is only fitting to say that if you do not swoon over this wounded character at least once or twice throughout the story then I think something is wrong!

Lord also did a phenomenal job with writing song lyrics to accompany the story, and each one I could almost sing along with in my mind.  Can someone sell these to a singer so we can have some of these on our iPods?

Going home to my guitar now. 4.5 Bards

four.fivebards

 

 

 

BUY THIS BOOK

Amazon|Barnes & Noble|Indiebound

 

National Eating Disorder Awareness Week 2015

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Each year, the National Eating Disorder Association (NEDA for short) designates a whole week to raising awareness for the increasing numbers of diagnosed EDs.  We here at A Midsummer Night’s Read are avid supporters of the NEDA initiative, as an Eating Disorder has effected one of our own.

Some facts about Eating Disorders before we head into the last NEDA week post:

35% of Dieters progress to Disordered Eating

20 Million Women suffer from a clinically significant Eating Disorder in their life

10 Million Men suffer from a clinically significant Eating Disorder in their life

81% of 10-year-olds who are afraid of being Fat

People who struggle with Binge Eating Disorder can be of Normal or Heavier than average weight

Up to 65% of people with Eating Disorders say Bullying contributed to their ED

Eating Disorders have the highest Mortality rate than any other mental illness

This week on MSNR we are going to feature a young adult fiction/non-fiction book concerning Eating Disorders.  Please be aware that some of these works can have some triggers (what we in the community call things that can lead to disordered behavior), but all of the messages here are about how damaging these behaviors are and how important diagnosis and treatment is are very valid and well done.

For our final post this week, I was going to read and review A Trick of the Light by Lois Metzger since it focuses on a teen male that suffers from an Eating Disorder, but alas, the winter weather thwarted my plan!  To be honest, I find it a bit ridiculous that there isn’t more literature showing how men can be just as effected as women.  The lead singer of Silverchair, Daniel Johns, famously struggled with Anorexia and Depression, and he even released a song about his struggle in 1999 titled “Ana’s Song.”


“And you’re my obsession
I love you to the bones
And Ana wrecks your life
Like an Anorexic life”

But, I do plan to read and review Metzger’s book as soon as I get it in the male, and I really hope it does justice to the story of so many men suffering in silence.

So for my final post specifically for National Eating Disorder Awareness week, I am going to post a few titles that I plan to read and review soon.  I definitely want to steer away from strictly Anorexia focused YA novels, only because there are so many more forms of Eating Disorders that effect the population.  There is Binge Eating Disorder, Bulimia, EDNOS (Eating Disorder Not Otherwise Specified, Orthorexia, just to name a few.

Purge by Sarah Darer Littman (Bulimia)

Massive by Julia Bell (EDNOS)

Nothing by Robin Friedman (Male Bulimia)

Never Enough by Denise Jaden (Bulimia, Family Adapation)

I’d really like to see a novel that focuses on Binge Eating Disorder, but it appears that most of the novels are still very binary to the Anorexia and Bulimia aspect of Eating Disorders.  But hopefully through raising awareness for all Eating Disorders, the language will start to infiltrate our daily consciousness and knowledge.

If you know anyone who is suffering, please direct them to the National Eating Disorder Association.

“Hope” is the thing with feathers –
That perches in the soul –
And sings the tune without the words –
And never stops – at all –
– Emily Dickinson

Re-Read Review: This Lullaby by Sarah Dessen

When it comes to relationships, Remy doesn’t mess around. After all, she’s learned all there is to know from her mother, who’s currently working on husband number five. But there’s something about Dexter that seems to defy all of Remy’s rules. He certainly doesn’t seem like Mr. Right. For some reason, however, Remy just can’t seem to shake him. Could it be that Remy’s starting to understand what those love songs are all about?

I wasn’t sure if I wanted to write a review of This Lullaby just because it is extremely hard for me to try not to gush about how much I love this novel and try to give it an actual critique-type review.  I am going to try though, but be forewarned: this is one of my favorite books of all time, so be prepared for gush.

Let me start off by saying that Dessen does an excellent job of establishing Remy’s, the narrator, voice immediately.  Not only is Remy a bit snarky, but she has some serious sarcastic and bitchy moments that really help characterize her for the rest of the novel.  Remy has a rock solid group of girlfriends to spend the summer with before college, and a typical place to hang out and sneak drinks underage.  I had all of these things as well.  Probably one of the reasons when I read this originally when it came out I felt like Dessen was writing about my life and my initial love for the novel.

After reading it again, I find that I am impressed by Dessen’s story telling ability and the subtle growth that Remy makes as the book continues.  Not only does Remy’s attitude start to shift, but she begins to become the person she needs to be in order to succeed in life.

Dexter, oh Dexter.  What can I really say about my first laugh-out-loud enjoyment and crush on a fictional character?  This doofus would likely be the love of my life if he was real.  The whole scene where Dexter and John Miller are discussing their respective relationships while sitting outside the QuikZip is brilliant.  Kudos to Dessen to making such an endearing character so vibrant and, well, crushworthy.

I will leave you with some of my favorite quotes from This Lullaby, and an active plea for you to pick up a copy of this novel as soon as you can.  You will not regret it!

Favorite Quotes:

“Everything, in the end, comes down to timing. One second, one minute, one hour, could make all the difference. So much hanging on just these things, tiny increments that together build a life. Like words build a story, and what had Ted said? One word can change the entire world.”

“I meant what I said to you. I wasn’t playing some kind of summer game. Everything I said was true, from the first day. EVERY GODDAMN WORD.” 

“Huffah.”

5 Bards to the story I’ve always loved and for the story I will always re-read.

 

fivebards

Book Review: Strange, Sweet Song by Adi Rule

Outside Dunhammond Conservatory, there lies a dark forest. And in the forest, they say, lives a great beast called the Felix. But Sing da Navelli never put much faith in the rumors and myths surrounding the school; music flows in her blood, and she is there to sing for real. This prestigious academy will finally give her the chance to prove her worth—not as the daughter of world-renowned musicians—but as an artist and leading lady in her own right.

Yet despite her best efforts, there seems to be something missing from her voice. Her doubts about her own talent are underscored by the fact that she is cast as the understudy in the school’s production of her favorite opera, Angelique. Angelique was written at Dunhammond, and the legend says that the composer was inspired by forest surrounding the school, a place steeped in history, magic, and danger. But was it all a figment of his imagination, or are the fantastic figures in the opera more than imaginary? 

Sing must work with the mysterious Apprentice Nathan Daysmoor as her vocal coach, who is both her harshest critic and staunchest advocate. But Nathan has secrets of his own, secrets that are entwined with the myths and legends surrounding Dunhammond, and the great creature they say lives there.

Release Date: March 11, 2014

I want to start off this review by saying that I am convinced that Rule’s novel was significantly influenced by Phantom of the Opera. (I actually have an interview with Rule coming up soon on the blog, and I am asking her about it!) Now, I’m unsure of which version she was mostly influenced by, but Gaston LeRoux’s novel has a lot more of the horror factors in it, and Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical is centered around the love story.

So I’m inclined to say that the musical interpretation had a little bit more of an influence based on the romantic storylines in Strange, Sweet Song.  The clear parallels being that the main character is an aspiring opera singer a la Christine, there is the clear rich and handsome suitor like Raoul, and a mysterious admirer with a penchant for music like the Phantom. Let it be known that I adore both the book and the musical, so this just made reading Rule’s novel more fun.

However, Rule did an excellent job of making the trope her own and creating a wonderful world within the confines of a forest and a secluded boarding school.  The beginning of the novel starts off a bit confusing, because there are three different strings of consciousness and point of views happening in every other chapter.  There is the main frame story, which is the story of Sing and her experiences at the boarding school, the story of the Felix (which I won’t tell you about), and the tale of two young friends, Nathan and George.

I’m not going to lie, at first I totally had no idea how the Nathan and George story fit into the other two storylines.  But, stick with it past the first few chapters and it all begins to fall together and make sense.  Rule’s novel was one I was not expecting to sweep me off my feet as it did (another way it relates to Phantom to me!), and it is one I will revisit often when I have the time.

Pick up a copy of this ASAP.

4.5 Bards.  (-.5 for the confusing start)

four.fivebards

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