Posts tagged literature
A Day in the Life (3)

a day in the life

Hey y'all!For those of you who haven't seen this feature before, I started A Day in the Life just to give y'all updates on what I'm reading, thinking, and what's going on in the bookish world! I hope y'all enjoy! A LOT has been going on with me recently and I'm reading three books at once so I have a lot to say! Here goes:The Books:

Invisibility by Andrea Cremer and David Levithan - I'm reading this one at the moment and my feelings are kind of mixed. On one hand, I love the idea of the story and I ADORE stories that take place in New York City. But it's taking forever to get really started with any kind of action and it's just gotten kind of boring. Honestly, I want to be HOOKED. Hopefully, this improved. Andrea Cremer tends to use a lot of world-building and while that's excellent in fast-paced books and extravagant books such as Nightshade, it doesn't really work that well when combined with a slower plot. I'll finish reading it this weekend and let y'all know what I thought!The Life:Chorus and friends are honestly taking over my life right now. My chorus teacher has this crazy idea that chorus should be the number one priority in our lives and I've had rehearsal so much. Last week, we had Madrigals, a Renaissance-style musical/concert that involved us dressing up as peasants. (See the Twitter picture if you don't believe me.) Friends are being confusing but there's not really that much I can do about that but try to be supportive while wishing that I could be curled up in the corner with a book. I also have a ton of writing things going on (see "The News" below). The problem is that I don't really want to get that involved with my school because there's a chance that I might leave it and at this point, I want to. I enjoy it enough but I really don't like certain parts of it and Interlochen sounds like a fantastic opportunity for me.The Posts:I recently wrote a post Silver Linings: Writing that basically covered all of the writing things that are going on right now for me. It explains what I think about my writing, Interlochen, NaNoWriMo, and more.Last Friday, I revealed the cover for Fanged Princess on the blog. Check out this gorgeous and gothic cover!The News:Today, I won my school's Poetry Jam with my poem "Wallflowers". It's not quite the version that I uploaded on my blog a few weeks ago, but it's close. This means that not only was I lugging around my 1st-place trophy all day, but I'm going to be my school's representative in the District competition. Like I said above, I'm a little hesitant about getting too involved in my school now, and also, I don't want to focus on poetry and whatnot. One of the strengths of Interlochen as opposed to just entering local writing contests is that I feel like that makes me more limited. I do want to focus on novel-writing but frankly, the arts programs down here aren't amazing. They're enough, but I feel like it's just a much better community for me if I attempt to go to Interlochen.The other news: I'm applying for an Interlochen scholarship. Interlochen is an incredible performing arts boarding school filled with passionate young artists. They're currently running a scholarship contest (The Virginia B. Ball Scholarship Contest) and it's one of the only chances that I have to actually get my parents to look at the school.I don't really know. Also, I want to also focus on editing and publishing instead of devoting ALL MY TIME to writing. While writing short stories and poetry is awesome, the publishing business for YA books and whatnot is what I want my life to be devoted to instead of that other writing scene. There's a difference. I'm entering the Interlochen competition and if I'm a finalist, I'm going to figure out what to do from there so that I can get the best of both words.I've also been editing a TON recently. There's an amazing editing opportunity for me coming up in January (that I'm unsure whether I can disclose or not) so I've been critiquing a lot more than I usually do for practice. I definitely want to keep immersed in editing as well as blogging and writing. I love writing, but I want publishing and that world to take precedence over that.I'm saving up to go to BookExpo America (because there may be an opportunity for me to take exams early and be able to go!), as well as normal camp and Interlochen camp. I want to go to all three, which is really expensive obviously. I think I'll be able to because I really only have to pay for BEA, but I'm still basically not going to be buying much in the spring (ahh! book budget!).Other:

Riffle is so unbelievably awesome. It's like Wanelo, but with books! You can create lists of books, recommend books, be "interested" in books, or "finish" books. It's like a mixture of Pinterest and Goodreads! Social media for book nerds - I think yes! I'm a beta user right now and I'm absolutely in love with it. You definitely know what I'll be doing this weekend!That's it for A Day in the Life this week! Thanks so much for reading! I hope y'all enjoyed!Grace

Touching the Surface by Kimberly Sabatini

Release Date: October 30, 2012

Publisher: Simon Pulse

Format: ARC

Source: Publisher

Find it on Goodreads

Touching the Surface

Experience the afterlife in this lyrical, paranormal debut novel that will send your heart soaring.When Elliot finds herself dead for the third time, she knows she must have messed up, big-time. She doesn’t remember how she landed in the afterlife again, but she knows this is her last chance to get things right.

     Elliot just wants to move on, but first she will be forced to face her past and delve into the painful memories she’d rather keep buried. Memories of people she’s hurt, people she’s betrayed…and people she’s killed.     As she pieces together the secrets and mistakes of her past, Elliot must find a way to earn the forgiveness of the person she’s hurt most, and reveal the truth about herself to the two boys she loves…even if it means losing them both forever.

This debut will sweep you off your feet. From the first sentence, it will captivate you and make you second guess your deepest thoughts while exploring others. Both entertaining and thought-provoking, Touching the Surface is a masterful take on some of life's most puzzling questions. What happens after we die? What's the point of life?Touching the Surface is seemed character driven but tension permeates most of the book. You might not necessarily find a lot of action but it's mostly emotional. The world is created and the characters are there for the reason that they need to find themselves and figure out how they're holding themselves back. Each of the characters grows and interacts more and more with others throughout the book and made a complex book that was simple to understand and a true experience to read.Books like this one remind me of why I love to read. For me, this was that book. Touching the Surface introduced many new questions and ideas while answering some of my own. I love books that I can escape into, but I also love books that make me think and look at things in a new perspective. Kim had a gorgeous tone that just managed to remind the reader of how important that the little things are. Elliot's quiet deliberation of her life also contrasted nicely with her wild emotions when she remembered parts of her life that she would rather have forgotten.I don't even know how to describe the strange emotions roiling in me after finishing the book, and my experience with the book. It's just one of those books that is so pure and beautiful. Elliot was confused after dying for the third time. Something went wrong. It was never good to be a Third Timer, and she thought that she was doing well in her life. She was missing something, but she didn't know what.Her best friend was ignoring her and seemed almost hostile; the odds were stacked against her and she didn't know why. She found herself falling for two brothers - both extremely different but she couldn't pull herself away from them. Between Delving into painful memories during workshops and trying to figure out herself outside of them, Elliot was completely swamped with everything at once and somehow she had to find who she was despite all of that.Touching the Surface is a cognizant and indulgent novel about finding your identity in the midst of chaos. Beautifully presented, Kimberly Sabatini presents a dreamy and impassioned novel written with an elegant consciousness unlike anything else out there.Read the extended review:The relationships in this book were so excellently handled. Really, I keep saying that about almost every element in this book because everything just seemed almost flawless to me. Kimberly went past the surface of some issues and skimmed the surface of others, but she definitely touched on so many different aspects of Elliot's life. Between the comprehensive structure of the afterlife and the character development, the story was a nice balance of character and plot.I got confused with some of the technicality in the book, but that was a small sacrifice for the complete originality of the afterlife that Kimberly has created. It's extremely hard to create a new afterlife dynamic completely unique from anything else out there, but that's what you get in Touching the Surface.The narrative is interposed with flashbacks from Elliot's life that slowly reveal the missing pieces from her memory. I have ranted about my hatred for amnesia storylines before, but this was completely different. Elliot had the sense of who she was and what happened and the empty holes in her memory weren't abrasive to the story. Subtly and gracefully intertwined with the present storyline, the flashbacks only add more to her character and constantly add to a complicated backstory.Elliot's life becomes more and more chaotic as she tries to figure out what it means and how she appears to other people. Elliot's made mistakes and done things to the people that she loves, but she honestly thought of herself as a good person and wants to figure out how she can be the best version of herself that she can possibly be. She's confused by Julia's mixed messages and hurt by her rejection. She's conflicted between who she thinks she is and how she can change. She doesn't know what's going on with her life and what she's done, and that insecurity fills every page of the book as she grows into herself. It took her dying to understand who she really was. She loves Oliver and his joy, but is attracted to Trevor's dark magnetism.The contrast between the brothers wasn't overdone but each was sculpted completely. As a twin, it drives me crazy when close siblings or twins are portrayed as either polar opposites or completely alike. The brothers were distinctly different and portrayed in that light, but with enough little detail to make it believable instead of cookie cutter characters. I loved learning more about the brothers and how they interacted with each other. Trevor and Oliver love each other but they have this deep undercurrent of rivalry and guilt and all these other delicious histories.There are so many books dealing with the concept of the afterlife and what happens to us after we die. Kimberly Sabatini still manages to make her particular book world something entirely different from what we usually see. It's set up simply with room to change and it constantly does throughout the book. The technicality of it was sometimes hard to follow but it was still a great take and a new angle that I loved to see.I didn't know how to describe my thoughts after finishing Touching the Surface. I scoured every interview that Kimberly did and every blog post even mentioning this book when I heard about it, and read the first paragraph of the book in a teaser that Kimberly released. I wanted, no, NEEDED this book so badly and I am so happy that I had the opportunity to review it. Both achingly beautiful and refreshing, Touching the Surface is a book that I would honestly recommend to everyone that I know.Elliot was definitely a flawed character, and one of the most realistic teen narrators that I've read in a while. Her temper got the best of her and sometimes she was selfish. She ignored some things that she didn't want to face and withdrew into herself when she just wanted to think instead of act. She also learned and grew. She thought of herself as a good person and she tried so hard to understand the world around her and the people around her. She struggled with a lot and indulged in a lot but these were precisely the qualities that reminded me of myself.One of the biggest parts of being a teenager is being completely confused almost all of the time. I know that I related to this book because Elliot's anguish and self-awareness reminded me of myself and freshman year. Everybody is trying to figure out who they are and who they belong with. They're painfully aware of how others see them and just completely overwhelmed. If you're experiencing something similar, I definitely recommend Touching the Surface. It takes a common underlying problem and surrounds it with incredible character and a refreshing setting.Trevor, Oliver, and Julia were wonderful supporting characters. From Trevor's dark persona and confusing mood swings to Oliver's sunny personality, I loved the boys in this book. I wouldn't necessarily paint this book as a love triangle as usually viewed in YA - there was one, but it wasn't as intense as some others and it was more realistic than in other books - but it was definitely handled in a way that I loved to see.Kimberly has a great feel for what is realistic for teens and what is going too far. Elliot not only had problems with the guys in her life but also with Julia, her best friend. Julia and Elliot's relationship was changing because Julia understood what was holding her back and was confronting everything that she was too timid to in her previous lives. Elliot changed a lot because of Oliver and Trevor but she also changed because of Julia's influence and being able to start to identify how she wanted to change. There were even some smaller storylines and characters that impacted Elliot's development and the story.While there are definitely some heavier moments in this book where the full weight of Elliot's life really impacts her, it's also heartwarming. She's forced to confront a lot of her mistakes and flaws and gains new perspective by the end of the book. I love a flawed character and Kimberly Sabatini did an excellent job with her character development. Elliot changed in the subtle ways that a teen does.Eloquent and thoughtful writing made this book a standout. Even the most basic concepts in this book were discussed in such an elegant manner that I couldn't help but be entranced. When I first read the writing, I was a complete goner. Kimberly has this incredible ability to phrase things perfectly and capture the little things that really make life worth living. She handled the themes with poise and wove plot and character development so skillfully.I was crying by the end of the book. I got so attached to the characters and so invested in what happened to them. I didn't want to let them go. Endings upset me so much but it still made me happy. She managed to interweave realistic teenage personalities with a well thought out plot and gorgeous writing.  It was a great ending but it left me so emotional. Heavy themes are dealt with elegantly, both delving into detail but also making it simple enough to understand.Touching the Surface by Kimberly Sabatini is one of the most poignant and sensitive books that I've ever read. Not only is Kim one of my favorite people EVER (seriously, I could gush for days!) but she has managed to create a beautiful read that gently questions many of my preconceived beliefs about life, death, and love.This vivacious and ephemeral read will bury itself in your mind and soul, and is sure to be a read that you will remember.Recommended for anybody who loves: The Perks of Being a WallflowerLovely, Dark, and DeepElsewhere; afterlife; etc,.Possible book club questions:Elliot sees herself as a good person, but is only aware of what she's done to hurt people when they tell her about it. Do you think Elliot could have prevented being a Third Timer by being aware of this herself? Are you aware of yourself or are you more similar to Elliot? How do you think you can increase this awareness?Which brother did you prefer - Trevor or Oliver? Why?How did Elliot both improve and hurt her relationship with Julia throughout the book?What moments do you think impacted Elliot's character development the most? etc,.

Mara Dyer Recap

Hey y'all!So last night was the The Evolution of Mara Dyer launch party. I was supposed to introduce Michelle Hodkin, and I was so excited. It was incredible and convinced me more than ever that this is what I want to do with my life and that these are the type of people that I want to be around. I absolutely adored it. Michelle Hodkin was awesome before, but she was such a sweet, encouraging, and inspiring person that I couldn't help but love her. Can I please do this every night? It's like BEA all over again. I loved it so much that I hate it ending.The Event:So I got there around 5:30 because it started at 6. I had a little notecard intro written out and business cards ready. It's so exciting for something to be happening in my hometown. I've heard that Tampa has a lot of writers, but not a lot of YA writers. Talking to them on Twitter can't possibly compare to meeting them in person. I fall in love with their personalities. I met another blogger, Jenna of Making the Grade! It was great to meet her.Michelle Hodkin got there only a few minutes after I did. For me, one of the best parts for me was being able to talk to her beforehand. She has a fascinating background and graciously answered questions. Then we went over to the YA section of Inkwood and exchanged book recommendations. Talking books was so much fun!I was supposed to introduce Michelle but it was such a small group. I don't really know what happened in the end but we just kind of segued straight into the signing. I was bummed about not being able to speak because I was really excited but the amazingness of Michelle Hodkin more than made up for it.She started off by reading the carnival scene from Evolution (I'm actually reading it at the moment but I haven't got to the scene in the book!) and it was absolutely captivating. I was completely absorbed and Michelle was such a great reader.Then we started the Q&A. I was in the back of the room (a mistake, but oh well) and was able to ask her a few questions. I also tweeted from the event and was able to pull up questions that I had written on my phone. We asked about publishing, her inspiration, Mara, social media, and more. It was riveting and I was just so fascinated by her as a person.After the Q&A, we continued to the signing. Inkwood spoils me and gave me an ARC to get signed. I bought a finished copy and got that signed, then I also brought my battered ARC of the first book since it was one of the first review copies that I ever got. Michelle wrote something about Noah in it that makes me blush whenever I see it.Unfortunately, the signing had to end and I was so sad. I wish it had gone on forever. I miss being around authors and bloggers and sometimes I feel so disconnected from that part of my life. The release party was the best. It was very intimate and other than BEA, was the first signing I've ever gone to. I'm more determined than ever to work in this business so I can be around these people and talk books all the time. I definitely want to meet Michelle Hodkin again and I hope Inkwood starts holding more YA signings.'I'll hopefully be reviewing The Evolution of Mara Dyer on the blog soon. I'm on page 152 of it right now and am in love! I also tweeted last night from the event with some information about it.Last night was definitely worth it. I loved talking to Michelle so much and even though I didn't technically get to introduce her, Inkwood showered me in goodies and I loved her talking.In other words, I loved it.The Book: The Evolution of Mara Dyer (Mara Dyer, #2)

Mara Dyer once believed she could run from her past.She can’t.She used to think her problems were all in her head.They aren’t.She couldn’t imagine that after everything she’s been through, the boy she loves would still be keeping secrets.She’s wrong.In this gripping sequel to The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer, the truth evolves and choices prove deadly. What will become of Mara Dyer next?

The Evolution of Mara Dyer was released yesterday on October 23, 2012 by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers. It's complete at 544 pages and is the sequel to the bestselling The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer. I reviewed the first book here. I'm currently about 150 pages into the book and am absolutely LOVING it so far. Inkwood also sent me home with some other books too, but y'all will have to wait until my In My Mailbox on Sunday to see them!If you couldn't make it, I missed you, but if you did, it was so great to meet y'all. Michelle Hodkin is a goddess and after last night, I can't sing her praises enough. Inkwood did an awesome job of hosting and I hope I get to do something similar again soon! I loved last night!