Wednesday, September 17, 2014

The Boles Fire

I'm writing this post with a certain heaviness bearing down on me, a feeling that is worse than anything I've ever felt, and I hope that the words come out the way I mean them to. 
Note: If anything is out of place or incorrect, please contact me immediately so I can fix it.

Boles Fire Tears Through a Small Town

Much of my hometown of Weed, California, was reduced to ashes on Monday in a fire that CalFire is calling "The Boles Fire". It started near the Bole's Creek apartments in town, and within minutes the 40mph wind was carrying embers the size of tennis balls through the town. Fires quickly ignited and joined together, wiping out nearly everything in its path.

More than 100 homes were lost, including my childhood home and everything in it. Luckily, my dad was able to get out of the neighborhood with my sisters just in time, but they weren't able to take anything with them. Not even our pets.

In addition to the homes that were lost, the town also lost a wing of the elementary school, two churches, multiple businesses the helped families in need, the public library, and part of the lumber mill-- the town's main source of jobs and income.

The devastation is unreal, and unlike anything I've ever experienced.

Weed is a small town about fifty miles south of the Oregon/California state line. It's home to a water bottling plant, a mill, and 3000 amazing small-town people. It's a small town, but it's got a big heart. People are pouring in from all over to make donations, to help distribute to those in need, or to help reunite pets and their owners.

But these efforts, as amazing as they are, aren't enough.

How Can I Help?

There are a few places I can direct you!

As of right now, monetary donations are the most important thing. The amount of material donations has been incredible and amazing, but also overwhelming.

This is a fund started to help get me (and my SIL) up to Weed from Los Angeles so I can see my family and give the donations centers the things we’ve collected here-- clothes, shoes, household items, pet supplies, and school supplies. Any money not spent on transportation will go directly into another relief fund.

This is a petition to get some federal aid. Sign and share, easy as that!

This is a community disaster relief fund.

This is another.

This is an article that talks about ways to help and where to donate, but I will also list some of that below.

This is the page for the organized Relief Distribution info. Go here for any and all info on donations and distributions!

Help contribute to the Boles Fire Adopt-a-Family Fund.

I’ve also reached out to a few talk shows that do national headlines at the beginning of their shows (and the Today Show did a spot) as well as Thousand Oaks Acorn, but if you’re interested in sharing with your local news, this is probably the best information to give them. It’s updated as soon as they know something. Also, using #bolesfire on facebook or twitter is a great way to stay informed, as people are posting pictures and updates constantly; same for the area news. Latest townhall recap is here. This facebook page is constantly being updated with needs and opportunities as well.

What Do They Need?

If you are in the area, or if you can get to the area or know someone passing through who can pick things up, here are a few things that are needed as soon as possible:

  • Bottled water-- Check with your drop-off location as some places have plenty of water to hand out.
  • Hygiene items-- This includes (but is not limited to) soaps, shampoos, face washes, feminine hygiene products, contact solution, vitamins, razors, grooming supplies, towels, etc. If you are interested in putting together care packages, please use this builder. Many people will also need brushes, flat irons, etc, but those aren't absolute essentials.
  • Winter wear-- Winter is just around the corner, and Siskiyou county is a cold place with a lot of snowfall and chilling winds. Jackets, snow clothes, boots, hats, gloves, and scarves and a high priority need, as soon as possible.
  • Work wear-- This includes sturdy work books and gloves, protective gear, industrial work pants, kneepads, etc. Many people who work at the mill lost their things, and when cleanup efforts begin, volunteers will need safety clothing when they are allowed to help. Scrubs and business wear are also a huge need!
  • Baby needs-- Anything and everything baby basics. Formula, diapers, jar/can baby food, blankets, clothes of all sizes, pack and plays, small toys, teethers, thermometers, cribs. Anything. Many families with young babies (and many expecting families) lost everything and have to start from square one. They also need car seats! Note: Car seats need to be within expiration date with no accident history and original straps and car seat cover fabric. Normally used car seats are a HUGE no, but in a time like this, it's ok.
  • Clothes-- Mount Shasta and Weed donations centers may not be accepting any more clothing! See my not below! Underwear of all sizes (including bras, socks and nylons). Must be brand new with tags and/or packaging. Pajamas.
  • Pet supplies-- Anything and everything for pets is needed. The shelters are overflowing and they need enough to go around!
  • Home needs-- Blankets! So many blankets! And of course there is a need for pillows, bedding, beds, towels, paper products, appliances, and furniture. This will be needed once the victims find housing, but if you have something you'd like to donate and hold, let me know! Many people are also being given discounted storage units.
  • Storage containers-- Tupperware tubs, crates, boxes, suitcases. Anything for the victims to hold their belongings!
  • Textbooks/technology/school supplies-- The elementary school lost a lot of things in the fire. I will have a contact number at the bottom of this post where the school can be reached if you have a bulk donation you can give. Also, many college students lost their textbooks and laptops, and will be needing those as soon as possible, as college classes at College of the Siskiyous could resume as early as tomorrow.
  • Books-- The library is now nothing more than metal shelves and framework. The county library system is connected and they might be able to help, but new/EUC books will be needed soon! Address/info below!
  • Non-perishable food items-- This includes canned goods, dry foods, etc. 
  • Your time!-- If you are in the area or you know someone who is and can volunteer, please do so. The amount of donations from the community (and surrounding communities) is both amazing and overwhelming. They need sorters, distributors, and people to just lend a hand in general.

If you can help by donating your time and/or money, please do. If you can't, please help to spread the word.

Where can I donate?

If you live in the Conejo Valley, I am located in Thousand Oaks and accepting donations to take up to Weed soon. Please, no furniture at this time.

If you are not in the Conejo Valley or would like to contribute other ways (mail, check, etc.), here are some options:

If you have a need, know someone who has a need, or want to give, click here!

For a huge list of donation sites and ways to help, click here!

UMCOR is a great group working in Weed right now!

US Bank is accepting donations. Go in and ask how you can donate to the victims of the Boles Fire.

Donations by mail (clothes/supplies/etc):
Northern Valley Catholic Social Service

NVCSS Siskiyou County
326 W Miner St.

Yreka, CA 96097


Note: For all drop-off locations, please speak to someone in charge to double-check with immediate needs. Some locations need some things more than others, and needs change constantly depending on how many people pick things up.

Pet Supplies:
Humane Society--
1208 N Mt Shasta Blvd
Mount Shasta, California

Shasta Sanctuary--
Monetary donations to PayPal. Account email

A Special Note to Pet Owners: Many pets are being brought to Cal Fire and the Humane society! Check the Humane Society's facebook page for udpdates!

Hope Community Church
974 Lassen Ln
Mt Shasta, CA 96067
Needs here are:
Deodorant, Toilet Paper, Paper Plates, Plastic Cutlery, Laundry Soap, Non-Perishable Snack Items, Can Openers, Plastic Totes (10 Gallon), 1st Aid Supplies, Dish Soap, and Gift Cards to places for food and supplies. Please no clothes at this time.

Cleanrite Buildrite
1200 W. East Ave
Chico, CA 95926
(530) 891-0333

Life Foursquare Church
900 North St. Yreka, Calif
Call ahead of time if you want to bring clothes, just in case.

Fred's Towing
 2638 Old US 99
Yreka, CA 96097
- diapers
- infant, toddler, and children's clothing
- toothpaste & toothbrushes
- tampons
- pajamas (adult & children)
- new underwear (adult & children)

550 Park Street
Weed, Ca
(Located behind the Merc next to the post office)
Needs: No clothes, please. Needs shelving and tables for the site!

Lake Shastina PD
16309 Everhart Drive
Weed, Ca

First Southern Baptist Church
921 S Oregon St,
Accepting clothes and large-load donations

School Supplies: The school is still assessing the damage, but if you would like to make a donation, please contact the office at (530) 938-2715 and someone will get back to you as soon as they can.

Books: Donated books will play a huge role in rebuilding the library, but monetary donations are most important at this time! Checks can be made payable to "Weed Friends of the Library" and can be sent to:

Weed Library Rebuild c/o Vestal Foundation
PO Box 117
Yreka, Ca 96097

If you are interested in donating new/excellent used condition books, contact Yreka library at 5308414178 or

And as always, prayers are greatly appreciated!

Special note to Boles Fire victims, families, and friends: A grief/loss gathering is scheduled this weekend. Click here for more info.

New warning: I was informed that there are looters going in to houses and cars that are still intact. Disgusting. If you see or hear about this, please do not try to take matters into your own hands (as much as I personally would love to, there are professionals for this). Report it to authorities right away! Weed PD: (530) 938-5000, Lake Shastina PD: (530) 938-4113

Fire resource list:


My parents' home on Arbaugh St. Taken a few years ago by Deb Harton

What is left of my parents' home, and their vehicles. Taken the day of the fire.
All that remains of Holy Family Catholic Church
Credit: Ann Wagner [click link for more pictures]
The skeletons of homes after the Boles Fire tore through neighborhoods.
Credit: Ann Wagner [click link for more pictures]
A woodchip pile burns at Roseburg Forest Products in Weed, Ca.
Credit: Ann Wagner [click link for more pictures]

Aerial view of Angel Valley, taken Tuesday September 16.
My parents' house was in that black circle.
Credit: Cal Fire

Fire tears through Roseburg Forest Products in Weed, Ca.
Credit: Ann Wagner [click link for more pictures]

A rainbow hugs Weed, Ca, after some much-needed rainfall in the wake of the Boles Fire.
Credit: Ann Wagner [click link for more pictures]

Again: If any of this information is false or written incorrectly, or if you have any more information to add, I can be reached here [note: comments on this post are not coming through the way they should, so that is not an effective means of contact at this time]:

8053684405 -- call or text 

Edited 9/17/14 at 5pm-- I first said that the fire started next to the school, but I was informed that it started elsewhere, so I've changed it.

Edited 9/17/14 at 5:10pm-- Updated the needs of Hope Community Church, added phone number for Life Foursquare Church

Edited 9/17/14 at 5:40pm-- Added a warning about looters. Added a section about reuniting with pets.

Edited 9/17/14 at 7:35pm-- Added a new drop-off location. Fixed typos.

Edited 9/17/14 at 9:45pm-- Added new donation links.

Edited 9/18/14 at 2:05pm-- Changed drop-off locations. Added grief gathering info and new pictures.

Edited 9/18/14 at 10:15pm-- Changed drop-off info, needs list, and added a few sites for people to check where to donate and how.

Edited 9/19/14 at 9:45am-- Updated town hall recap link. Note: If you plan on returning to your residence today, please read this recap and stay safe!

Monday, September 15, 2014

Daily Bookish Challenges | Day Two: Monday, September 15

Introduce us to your favorite author and their books!

I have two favorite authors, and to try to choose between the two of them would just be cruel, so I'm going to talk about the one I discovered first.

Dean Koontz--
I started reading Dean Koontz in middle school. My sixth grade teacher, Shelley Cain, read Watchers to us, after reading herself first and highlighting the parts that weren't appropriate for a group of fifth and sixth graders. I'd found my favorite genre: thrillers. Some of Koontz's books are supernatural, and some are just plain weird, but they're all suspenseful and I love that in a book! If you're new to Koontz's writing and/or the genre, I would read either The Taking or Watchers first, because those two really highlight his writing style and they're so good! The Husband is great also, and it's not supernatural-y, so that's a good place to start if you want something more realistic. I actually have signed copies of The Taking and The Husband. I wrote him a letter (as I do every author I read), and he replied with a nice letter and signed copies of two of the books I mentioned in his letter. I was so excited, I almost cried.

He has far too many books to list (over 70 books, not including those he co-wrote or wrote under a pen name), so I'm just going to list my favorites!

  • The Taking
  • Watchers
  • The Husband
  • The Face
  • Sole Survivor
  • Whispers
  • Odd Thomas [I never finished this because it was on my kindle, but I'm going to buy it soon]
If you like thrillers, definitely check out his books. He's been compared to Stephen King (some people say that Koontz rips off King's writing style all the time), but I think his books are easier to read than Stephen King's books are, so I enjoy them a little more.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Treesofreverie September Read-a-Thon Daily Wrap-Up | Day One: Sunday, September 14

Note: So I started the read-a-thon yesterday since it started yesterday in other timezones, but I'm including yesterday and today as day one in order to stay on track with challenges and wrap-ups and such.

Book(s) Read Today: Dark Places by Gillian Flynn
Pages Read Today: 164
Pages Read Total: 164
Number of Books Completed Today: 0
Number of Books Completed Total: 0
Challenges Completed:

  • Join the Treesofreverie September Read-A-Thon event on Facebook and share your TBR list and reading updates
  • Complete the daily Bookish Challenges
  • Read outside
  • Read a popular or well-known book
  • Read a book you’ve heard a lot of good things about
  • Read a book from your Goodreads to-read shelf

I didn't get the chance to participate in any sprints or discussions today, but I'm hoping I will be able to do one or both tomorrow!

I made my reading goals/TBR post earlier, and I also participated in the Day 1 Bookish Challenge.

I read quite a bit once I got home from, but not nearly as much as I would have read if I hadn't decided to watch Grease and sing all of the lyrics at the top of my lungs. Maybe tomorrow I will read more. I hope to finish Dark Places and move on to Aristotle and Dante or PS I Love You.

I hope everyone had a great first day of the read-a-thon!

Happy reading!

Treesofreverie September Read-a-Thon Reading Goals

For this read-a-thon, I plan to read a total of five books and/or a total of 1000 pages.
I don't have an official TBR set for this read-a-thon, because my reading mood is incredibly varied depending on how I feel about the book I've just finished. However, I do have a large pile of books checked out right now, and I plan to read from this pile for the read-a-thon. In this pile, I have:

  • Dark Places by Gillian Flynn. I actually own this book, but I started it before the read-a-thon and want to finish it. I started reading this book because Gone Girl was amazing.
  • P.S. I Love You by Cecelia Ahern. I've been meaning to read this for ages. I loved the movie, and my friend said that, even though the book and the movie are pretty different, the book is phenomenal.
  • Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson. I saw this book on BookBub a few weeks ago, and recommended it to a friend because she loves Peter Pan. After she read the book, she told me I should read it. So I checked it out. [Note: I also have this book on my kindle, which is sometimes working, sometimes not. If I don't read this book by the time it is due, I'll figure out  a way to read it on my Kindle instead]
  • House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski. I love all things creepy: books, movies, video games, and even the occasional comic. I saw a post floating around on tumblr about this book and after a quick Goodreads search, I added it to my hold list at the library. I can only hope it's a creepy as people say it is.
  • Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz. This book was a recommendation I got during a recent giveaway on tumblr.
  • Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins. I need to know what all the fuss is about.
  • Panic by Lauren Oliver. I read Before I Fall and Delirium, and Lauren Oliver has officially gained a fan.
  • Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver. I need to know what happens to Lena. I started reading this before I decided I don't want to get into a series slump right now, and the first thirty pages or so made me want to keep reading. Good sign!
  • This is What Happy Looks Like by Jennifer E. Smith. Another recommendation from a giveaway.
  • The Geography of You and Me by Jennifer E. Smith. Ditto.
  • Wonder by R.J. Palacio. I actually picked this book up because of the cover.
  • Charlotte's Web by E. B. White. I want to read this one out loud to my son.
  • About a Boy by Nick Hornby. Loved the movie. I hope I love the book!
  • The Gunslinger by Stephen King. For some reason I thought it would be a good idea to start a 4,250 page series. I have no plans to rush through it. Just take it book by book.
In addition to reading some, or all, of these books, I also plan to review each book as soon as I finish it, instead of in a big group of reviews when I have the time. This will ensure that my opinion on the book is still fresh in my mind, and I don't forget anything that I want to write.
I also want to start writing down quotes, notes, and predictions as I read. I have a journal that I'll write in, and I might occasionally post them.
Finally, and this isn't totally book-related in the actual reading sense, but I want to finish my third draft of my book and send it off to my contact as soon as possible, as well as work on the layout and pages of this blog/website.

Daily Bookish Challenges | Day One: Sunday, September 14

A curfew has been placed on book purchases for the remainder of the year and you are only allowed to purchase TEN more books for the rest of 2014. Which books will you buy?

Oh crap oh crap oh crap.
Oh, I thought this was saying until the rest of my life. Not the rest of the year.
Ok. This is doable.

1-4) I would buy The Giver Quartet. Probably in a boxed set, because I'm obsessed with boxed sets. The Giver was the first book I ever fell in love with, and the other three books in the series are just so great and such an important extension of the first book, so I would have to get those also. And I want them in a boxed set sooooo bad!

5) Rooms by Lauren Oliver. I love her YA and I think her adult lit is going to be amazing!

6) The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender by Leslye Walton. I've heard a lot of great things about this book, and my library still doesn't have a copy.

7) Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan. Before I deleted my downloaded books, I started this and loved it. I think it could be one that I would reread if I could!

8) A copy of The Book Thief that's got the same cover as the one I own but is in new condition.

9) Three to Get Deadly by Janet Evanovich so I could start a series reread without having to check out a book until book twelve.

10) The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman because I want to read it.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Book Update

Starting my third draft tonight (9/13/14). Might've made a contact, so even though my readers haven't had time to return my second draft I'm starting the third. I'll change what I need to when I get there.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Book Review: The Princess Diaries by Meg Cabot

My Rating: 

Genre: Young Adult

Plot: Mia Thermopolis is a dork. Awkwardly tall, flat chest, crazy hair, weird mom. She's not popular. As if that wasn't enough for her to deal with as a teenager, she finds out her dad is a prince-- which means she's the their to his throne. In the first book of The Princess Diaries series, Mia keeps a journal as she adjusts to her new life-- sudden media attention, princess lessons with her grandmere, and attention to boys who didn't know she even existed two weeks ago.


  • I love, love, love journal-entry books.
  • Mia is written as a totally believable teenage character.
  • This book was so funny!
  • I read it in, like, six hours.
  • Mia's dad is alive in the books.

  • (Please don't hate me for saying this) I liked the movie better. I know, I know! It's actually very rare for me to say this! I think it's maybe because The Princess Diaries is one of my favorite movies, but I kept trying to compare the book to the movie and that's not fair to the book.
  • I kept waiting for the book to end.
  • It ended really abruptly.
Favorite Quotes: 
  • “Courage is not the absence of fear but rather the judgement that something is more important than fear; The brave may not live forever but the cautious do not live at all.” 
  • “You know in sixth grade, when they made all of us girls go into this other room and watch a video about getting our periods and stuff? I bet while we were gone, the boys were watching a video about how to look at each other in that infuriating way.” 
My Thoughts: Like I said, I liked the movie better. I know they're two separate things, and the plots are hardly comparable, but I couldn't help myself. This series was ~just ok~, and I think I would have enjoyed it if I was a little younger. I may attempt to read the rest of the series someday, but I'm not going to go out of my way for it.

Book Depository
Meg Cabot

Book Review: The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith


Genre: Young Adult

Plot: Hadley is having a bad day. She is on her way to England, where her dad is marrying a woman she's never met; then she misses her flight. Just when it looks like things will never look up, she meets Oliver, a British boy who happens to be on her flight. They bond during the flight, but are separated as they enter the airport. Will Hadley and Oliver find each other? Is it meant to be?

  • It was an easy read. And not in an "I'm so glad I was able to read this book quickly, because it sucked" way. It was just so quirky and interesting that I wanted to keep reading so I could find out what happened when Hadley and Oliver got off the plane.
  • Even though their relationship progressed very quickly, I loved the chemistry between Hadley and Oliver.
  • Parent-daughter relationships of any kind are important.
  • Hadley was a bookworm.
  • I found a typo.
  • I feel like the book dwelt too much in the past (which ok it makes sense but there were just so many flashbacks).
Favorite Quotes:
  • “Love is the strangest, most illogical thing in the world.”
  • “There's a formula for how long it takes to get over someone, that it's half as long as the time you've been together.” 
  • “Hadley didn't know it was possible to miss someone who's only a few feet away, but there it is.” 
My Thoughts: This was a great book. I started it about a zillion years ago (ok, last year), back when I was still ok with downloading books illegally. When I came to my senses and started supporting the industry I plan to join, I deleted all of my illegal books off of my computer, and this book sat on my "currently reading" on Goodreads for a long time. But when I picked it up the other day from the library, it was like I'd never put it down. It was that easy to get back into, and that easy to reconnect with the characters. I actually cared for these characters, and that's a big deal. The end was great and made me really happy. I'm looking forward to reading more Jennifer E. Smith (Jennifer Smith? Not sure which is actually "proper") books soon!

Book Depository
Jennifer E. Smith

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Book Review: The Infinite Moment of Us by Lauren Myracle

My Rating: 

Genre: Young Adult

Plot: Wren has spent her entire life pleasing people. Her choices weren't her own, ever. Toward the end of high school, she realizes that it no longer makes her happy to please other people (her parents), and she decides to start making choices for herself, even though it's far out of her comfort zone. Charlie has always known what he wants, and he loved Wren as soon as he first laid eyes on her. They're two different kids from two very different pasts, but together, they make an amazing pair. What will the first summer out of high school bring for Wren and Charlie, and how will Wren handle finally being her own person?

  • This. Book. Is. Lovely! I picked it up because it's so pretty. Every time I've seen it on tumblr, I've thought, Wow, I need to read that book! Look at the cover! So when I saw it on the shelf at the library, I had to get it. Yes I judge books by their covers. Then on the inside, there was a beautiful black page (black pages in books are so pretty), and each chapter started with a really pretty swirly design. It was just so aesthetically pleasing!
  • It gave me a lot of feels. Wren and Charlie are a great couple,
  • Charlie is sensitive. Normally in books, guys with troubled pasts like his are douchecanoes, but Charlie was sweet.
  • Tessa is such a great best friend!
  • The ending made me really happy!
  • I read it in like 10 hours so that's cool.
  • The first quote I list below. It's so great.
  • The dialog in the first half was awful. I "stopped" reading this book like four times because I just couldn't do it. I think maybe it's because it's a different dialect of English? I'm not sure but it really made me cringe. Like who says "Wassup" and "hells yeah"? No one, that's who. At least not unironically. 
  • Starrla or whatever her name was (I don't have the book so I can't check). She was a twat.
  • Wren's drunk texts were weird.
  • It was really hard to read at first.
Favorite Quotes:
  • “It's what you feel, and guess what? Feelings are like three-year-olds. They're not rational. They're just there.” 
  • “You're saying the mysteries are worth examining, even if they're too big to be understood. That maybe they're bound to be too big to understand, but that doesn't take anything away from them, and in fact just adds to their beauty.” 
My Thoughts: This book was just ok. I totally wasn't expecting the sexy stuff to happen so explicitly (totally not a spoiler because it says "steamy" in the cover description, which I didn't read), and that's not really my thing, but it worked for the book. I had a really, really hard time reading the first half of this book. The dialog, the flow, it was all just weird and I didn't like it. But the second half was really good. If sexy, steamy YA fluff is your thing, give it a try.

Book Depository
Lauren Myracle

Book Review: Delirium by Lauren Oliver

My Rating

Genre: Young adult; Dystopian

Plot: Growing up in a world where love is a curable disease, Lena has only known that 1) she never wants to get the disease and 2) the disease kills people. She will be safe as soon as she is old enough and has the procedure that will alter her way of thinking, and prevent her from catching this deadly sickness. However, she soon learns that the things she's been raised to believe aren't quite what they seem, and that she can't entirely trust those around her-- those who have kept her "safe" for her entire life.

  • The way love was described as a disease was well thought-out and actually made it sound like a real sickness that should be prevented; gives a whole new meaning to the term "lovesick"
  • Lena's a runner; I don't know why (because I'm not a runner myself), but I like characters who run
  • It focused on an issue that could have a huge impact on the world that isn't war/hunger/AIDs; it was nice to have a different perspective
  • Lena's family; I love families
  • Teenage rebellion was totally believable in this book and that's nice because it's normally so overdone
  • Little bits and pieces of actual history were used to write their laws and guidelines and that huge because our history is what makes and shapes us
  • It was interesting. Like the plot, the concept, and the characters all held my attention.
  • On page 171 in the hardcover version of the book, it says something like "I was more then a decade away" instead of "more than" and it was seriously like a brick wall was built and I couldn't turn the page for like a half hour and I'm not even joking
  • It sort of dragged in the beginning
  • The ending hurt me [no spoilers here]
  • It freaks me out to think that towns and districts could someday become quarantined like that
Favorite Quotes:
  • “I’ve always hated being looked at.” 
  • "The one good thing about being kind of shy is that nobody bugs you when you want to be left alone."
  • “It’s so strange how life works: You want something and you wait and wait and feel like it’s taking forever to come. Then it happens and it’s over and all you want to do is curl back up in that moment before things changed.” 
  • “Pretend to be calm and happy when really I’m freaking out. It’s one of the skills you perfect as you get older.” 
My Thoughts: This was a good book. The beginning kind of dragged, just barely, but enough for me to second-guess my decision to read it. The ending was a little bit shocking, but it is what it is. I'm interested to see where the next book takes Lena, and I hope that she finds the answers to the questions she has: both new and lingering.Overall, it was pretty good.

Book Depository
Lauren Oliver

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Book Update

So I started writing again on Monday. But then I found out that my great-grandma passed away at the age of 94, and I was totally blindsided and now I don't really want to do anything. I've edited a few things for friends, and I've gone back over what I wrote the other day, but I haven't written a word since Monday.
I know I will get back into the swing of things. I will find that motivation again. But for now, my heart just won't let me.
I miss my great-grandma terribly. The last time I talked to her, we had an amazing conversation about her childhood and being young adult in the 40's, and she told me secrets and we laughed and it was really just great to connect with her the way I did. The last words we said to each other were "I love you, see you soon".
I just miss her.
My sisters are having a really hard time with her death. Especially my youngest sister. When my Papa passed away in 2007, she was too young to really get it. But now she does. And it hit her really hard. I wish I could be there for her. But I can't even bring myself to call because I can't deal with those emotions over the phone. I just can't. Hearing my dad cry is hard enough, and I've heard that so many times. Hearing Tay cry would just break me. It would tear me to pieces.
That's my update for now.
I'll be making changes to this blog, adding pages and such, over the next few weeks, as well as really getting a hold on my review format. But for a bit, I might not post anything.
Not sure.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Book Review: The Neighbor (A Short Story) by Dean Koontz

My Rating

Plot: Malcolm and Amalia are siblings, and each other's best friend. One night, they both notice some odd activity going on in the house next door. However, the owner of that house had died months earlier. Assuming they had new neighbors, the kids went to take a look. What happened next was an experience so haunting that neither of them ever spoke of it again.

  • It was a nice, scary story that I could read quickly
  • I loved the siblings' bond, especially since their parents were awful to them
  • It faces a tough issue that's very real today, even though this story was set many decades ago
  • Dean Koontz wrote it and I love him
  • It felt forced. I know short stories are supposed to be short, but this seemed like something that needed to be a bit longer. Maybe another few pages or so.
  • It deviated from his normal style in a way that hurt the story, rather than help it
Favorite quote(s):
  • “Amalia insisted he wasn’t cold, but only wounded by life and emotionally isolated.” 
  • "One of the good things about being twelve or younger is that you tend to believe that you'll live forever. Therefore, you take stupid risks with little hesitation, and sometimes the risk pays off. Except when it doesn't."
My Thoughts: It was ok. It wasn't spectacular. It wasn't phenomenal. It was ok. And it makes me sad to admit that, because he's my favorite author. However, it's really short so if you have an hour or so to kill, it might be worth the read.


Book Review: The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson

My Rating

Plot: Lennie is used to hanging back and watching the show that is life, with her sister Bailey by her side for every moment. When Bailey dies, Lennie no longer has her other half around to help her see things straight in life. Suddenly, she finds herself very interested in boys-- two boys in particular: Toby, who was her sister's boyfriend; and Joe, the new kid in school who is also a musical prodigy who grew up in France. Lennie discovers that it's hard to balance her feelings for the two of them-- Toby is probably the only person who understands her grief, while Joe has only known her without her sister and accepts her just the way she is. Lennie must sort out her feelings and come to terms with her grief, and her newfound singularity, if she is to keep all hearts intact.


  • It takes place in "nothern Northern California" (she actually says that), and I'm from Siskiyou County (basically as far north in California as you can get; people forget about us). I'm not sure where exactly this book takes place, if anywhere in particular (the town the book takes place in is fictional), but the eccentric people and the forest-y feel to the story made me really happy. I actually wrote Jandy Nelson to ask if she had any particular place in mind, but I'm not sure if I'll get an answer any time soon, with her new book coming out in two weeks and whatnot. Ok I'm rambling.
  • Grief happens. And it's confusing. Everyone grieves in their own way. And that was very real in this book.
  • Her stoner uncle, Big, was hilarious. 
  • She's a band geek and a bookworm. Her favorite book is Wuthering Heights and she actually uses that as a foundation of her romantic knowledge and that's adorable. I love it.
  • The notes at the beginnings and ends of chapters.
  • I think I got butterflies when I was reading about her kisses with Joe? It was just too cute. 
  • This book made me really, really happy. Even with the underlying sadness in the plot, it made me so happy.
  • The hotel room in the middle of the forest. I want to go there. I wonder if that's a real thing? I hope it is. If I ever get a reply from the author, I'm asking her.
  • I wish there had been more about Big. 
  • Lennie's friend was kind of a twat.
  • What is walk-reading? Or read-walking? 
  • It gave me feels. Feels are gross.
Favorite Quote(s):

  • "You can tell your story any way you damn well please. It's your solo."
  • “The sky is everywhere, it begins at your feet.”
  • “I wish my shadow would get up and walk beside me.” 
  • “Each time someone dies, a library burns.” 
  • “The.
  • “The Color Of Extraordinary.” 
  • “Let me just unsubscribe to my own mind already, because I don't get any of it.” 

My Thoughts: As I inch my way into the world of YA lit (I was strictly adult fiction until just recently, unless I read enough 5-star reviews to convince me otherwise), I'm trying to find out which books work for me, and which ones don't. If I only ever read YA books that made me feel like this book made me feel, I think I wouldn't stop reading YA. This book was adorable. It was sad, it was funny, it was so amazingly raw and heartfelt. And it was real. The characters were so real. They could have been me or my sisters or my friends or anyone. And I love that. I think I recently said that about another book, but really, relatable characters just make me so... satisfied? I don't know. Anyway. This book was really great, and I'm thrilled that she's releasing another book this month. I might even pre-order it because I'm so excited about it. If you haven't read this book yet and you're into YA, read it. Seriously, you won't regret it.


Book Review: Handle With Care by Jodi Picoult [SPOILERS]

My Rating½ 

Plot: Willow O'Keeffe is born with  osteogenesis imperfecta ("brittle bone disease"), and spends the first years of her life casted, splinted, and essentially broken. When the family decides to take a trip to Disney World together, Willow trips and falls and has another break. However, since they are in an unfamiliar hospital, the doctors do not have her records and must assume her breaks are signs of abuse, and her parents are arrested. Once the facts are all cleared up, the girls were reunited with their parents, but their father, Sean, was furious. He got a lawyer, with the intention of suing the hospital for the way they were treated. However, the lawyer told him that they were acting well within their rights and that there wasn't a case there-- but there might be a case somewhere else. A case that would change the way people looked at their family forever. A case that would mean that Charlotte would have to basically say that she wished her daughter had never been born.

  • It was a page-turner. I found myself unable to stop reading (I even accidentally took a forty-five minute lunch break, when I was only supposed to take thirty minutes) because I got so caught up in the story.
  • It was written like they were all telling the story to Willow. I liked that.
  • I could relate to the characters. Maybe not in the medical sense, but I Charlotte and Sean's marriage was very realistically written, the little disputes about money and the small habits they had with each other. All of it. And Amelia. Oh my goodness I just wanted to hug her and say "shhh bb it'll be ok, just come here shhh" and not like in a creepy way, I just really wanted to make her feel better.
  • It shows the underlying problems in a family with an already big problem. The things no one sees. The things people don't really want to see. All of the casseroles that NO ONE is going to eat.
  • As always, the story lines and multiple points of few gave the story a lot of variance while still showing connections in the journeys along the way.
  • There are so many good quotes in this book. So many.
  • I basically knew Willow was going to die from page one. Well, ok, from whenever I found out she was sick. 1) the cover showed a girl DROWING IN THE POND, and 2) I knew the trial was going to be this HUGE fiasco all for nothing. She had to die. It only made sense for Picoult's method of storytelling.
  • It was really anti-climactic and then it exploded. Like ok cool they won the trial (of course), and then the last page punched you in the face. Some readers might like that, but the ending really just didn't do it for me. Especially because I predicted the outcome.
Favorite Quote(s):
  •  “When you love someone, you say their name different. Like it's safe inside your mouth.” 
  • “I always hated when my scars started to fade, because as long as I could still see them, I knew why I was hurting.” 
  • “Maybe you had to leave in order to really miss a place; maybe you had to travel to figure out how beloved your starting point was.” 
  • “There are kinds of pain that you can't speak out loud.” 
My Thoughts: This was a good book, if you like tear-jerkers. I will admit that I cried a few times while reading this book. Babies in pain is such a sad subject. I really liked the lawyer's side-story, even with the sad ending to her journey to find her birth-parents. Overall, it was a good book. I think maybe the reason I rated it so low was because 1) it was predictable and 2) it just ended the way it did. I know that Picoult does this with her books. I know. I get that. But ugh. RIGHT IN THE FEELS.


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