2017 Love-A-Thon: Let Me Sing You A Love Song

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The next mini-challenge I’m taking part in for 2017 Love-A-Thon is “Let Me Sing You A Love Song,” which requires bloggers to dedicate love songs to book characters. I was pumped for this challenge because I ADORE book playlists! I wouldn’t classify all of the songs I’ve chosen for today as actual “love songs,” but I can apply them all to fictional relationships so I’m going to hope it counts. 🙂

Book cover for Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi1) The Books: Shatter Me trilogy by Tahereh Mafi
The Song: “My Skin” by Natalie Merchant
Juliette, the heroine in Mafi’s trilogy, has a terrifying power: she can steal people’s energy and life force simply by touching her skin to theirs. As a result, Juliette is imprisoned, feared, and hated, and she lives a lonely, miserable life, desperate for connection and companionship. She does finally find love (and someone who can touch her, yay!) but for much of her life she’s terribly mistreated. Thus, the reason “My Skin” is her theme song: “I’ve been treated so wrong / I’ve been treated so long / As if I’m untouchable.”

Book cover for Captive Prince by C.S. Pacat2) The Books: Captive Prince trilogy by C.S. Pacat
The Song: “No Light, No Light” by Florence and the Machine
I can’t take credit for this pairing; on Twitter, C.S. Pacat noted that she played “No Light, No Light” on repeat while writing the love scene in Prince’s Gambit. If you’ve read Pacat’s trilogy, you know how perfect this song is for Laurent and Damen. If you haven’t read the trilogy, what are you waiting for?! Go buy a copy right now!!

Book cover for Every Day by David Levithan3) The Book: Every Day by David Levithan
The Song: “Wherever You Will Go” by The Calling
“Wherever You Will Go” sounds like it could have been written explicitly for Every Day. In Levithan’s book, the hero/ine, known simply as A, wakes up in a new body every single day. A is forced to live out each day in the life of a stranger before going to bed and waking up the next day as someone new. As you can imagine, this makes it almost impossible to forge lasting relationships…which is why it’s so beautifully tragic when A falls in love with a girl named Rhiannon. A decides to try to do whatever it takes to stay with Rhiannon and make a life with her, which is why “Wherever You Will Go” is such an appropriate song for this book. There’s so much more I could say about the connection between the book and song, but I don’t want to give away any spoilers!

Book cover for The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith4) The Book: The Statistical Probability of Love At First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith
The Song: “Bruised” by Jack’s Mannequin
The tie between this book and song is a bit of a stretch, but there’s enough of a connection that I always think of The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight when I hear “Bruised” on the radio.The Statistical Probability… is about a young couple that meets for the first time on an airplane and get to know one another over the course of the flight. On the flip side, “Bruised” is about a guy and his girlfriend who are on a plane and will have to part ways once that plane lands. They’re cherishing the last few hours that they have together in the air and wishing the time could last forever.

Book cover for The Opportunist by Tarryn Fisher5) The Book: The Opportunist by Tarryn Fisher
The Song: “Bad Things” by Meiko
I can’t say that the relationship between Olivia and Caleb in The Opportunist is a healthy one, but it sure is captivating. Olivia is a cold, calculating bitch, and she will do whatever it takes to be with Caleb. She’s definitely not a likable narrator, but her manipulative, scheming nature makes her fascinating to read about. That’s why “Bad Things” is the perfect song for her. Here are some sample lyrics: “You get yours, I’ll get mine / Then we run out of time, / You’re the only one that I desire, / ‘Cause I love to play with fire. / Good girls do bad things sometimes, / But we get by with it.”

Have you read any of the books listed above? If so, do you think the songs are fitting? Are there any other songs you feel would be a great match? Let me know in the comments section below!

2017 Love-A-Thon Challenge: Book Spine Poetry

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The first challenge I’m participating in this year for Love-A-Thon is Book Spine Poetry. The goal is to create a poem using only the titles of books, and let me tell you – this is not easy. I’m not a great poet under the best of circumstances, let alone when limited to only a few specific phrases, but hopefully the end result isn’t too bad! My finished poem is shown below. You can also see my poems from last year’s challenge here.

The Hunt

Lady Midnight, hidden huntress, a great and terrible beauty.
Another day before I fall
And I darken;
A wicked thing, ruined.

Book Spine Poetry

Welcome to the 2017 Love-A-Thon!

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It’s finally here – the 2017 Love-A-Thon! Love-A-Thon is hosted by Alexa (Alexa Loves Books), Cee (The Novel Hermit), Kristin (Super Space Chick) and Mel (The Daily Prophecy) and is intended to build friendships and spread positivity and love. It’s time dedicated to visiting other bloggers/Instagrammers/BookTubers, leaving a comment or two, and fostering positivity among the members of the blogging community.

To kick off the Love-A-Thon, all participants were asked to introduce themselves by sharing their answers to the following questions.

Questionnaire

Introduction to Me and My Blog

Angela from Angelas Library1) What’s your name? Where in the world are you blogging from? I’m Angela, and I’m blogging from Pennsylvania in the United States.

2) Tell us your history with reading. My Gram is the person who made me fall in love with books; she read to me non-stop as a little girl. Also, I had really bad asthma when I was young and was very limited in what I could do. Reading was one activity that was always available to me.

3) How did you get involved in the online book community? I’m book obsessed and was desperate to find other people who shared that passion. I realized the Internet’s full of like-minded people and started my blog so I could interact with those people.

4) How did you choose your primary platform (blog, Instagram, Youtube, etc.)? How did you come up with your blog name?  It was a matter of my skill set, haha. Photography and videography aren’t my gifts, but I write/edit for a living, so a blog seemed like the best platform for me to start with. It took forever for me to figure out a name for my blog; my husband was the one who suggested Angela’s Library.

5) What’s your favorite thing about the blogging community? Connecting with people who get excited about the same books and authors that I do. It feels like being part of a family.

6) What sort of posts can readers expect from you? Up until this point I’ve mostly written reviews, as well as bookish playlists and Top Ten Tuesday posts (hosted by The Broke and The Bookish). I hope to do more author interviews, lists, and fun discussion posts this year.

7) What book genres do you talk about most? I focus on Young Adult fiction and tend to feature a lot of retellings. I love retellings of all kinds…fairy tales, myths, literary classics, and so on.

Favorites

1) Favorite food? Beverage? Mmm…I could eat pasta for every single meal, with a can of Dr Pepper to go along with it!

2) Favorite color? Red!

My husband and me in NYC to watch Les Miserables on Broadway

3) Favorite things to do apart from reading? I love going to the movies and going to see plays/musicals. My latest obsession is Hamilton: An American Musical. I’m dying to see it on Broadway, but since I don’t have a spare $500 lying around for tickets, I’ve contented myself with playing the album on repeat and driving my husband nuts. 🙂

4) Favorite TV shows? Outlander, Modern Family, The 100, The Royals

5) Favorite movies? Tangled, Dirty Dancing, Shrek, Hairspray

6) Favorite musical artists? My Chemical Romance, Linkin Park, Queen, Journey, Halsey, Florence and the Machine, Garth Brooks

7) Favorite places to shop? Barnes & Noble, Apricot Lane Boutique, New York and Company

Book Talk

1) Favorite childhood books? The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton, The Boxcar Children series by Gertrude Chandler Warner, The Uncle Wiggly series by Howard R. Garis, and The Redwall series by Brian Jacques

Angela's photo with Pierce Brown and Morning Star

Book signing with Pierce Brown, author of the Red Rising trilogy

2) Favorite books you red in the last five years? The Captive Prince trilogy by C.S. Pacat, The Queen’s Thief series by Megan Whalen Turner, The Red Rising trilogy by Pierce Brown, and The Raven Cycle quartet by Maggie Stiefvater

3) Underrated book, series or author you love? I just finished reading Nora Sakavic’s All For The Game trilogy and really, really enjoyed it.

4) A book you want to see made into a film or TV show? I want to see Michael Grant’s Gone series turned into movies in the WORST way. I’m also really excited to see what the movie adaptation of Pierce Brown’s Red Rising will look like.

5) Book boyfriend/girlfriend? Book family? Will Herondale from Cassandra Clare’s The Infernal Devices trilogy will always be my book boyfriend. As for my book family, I actually did a post on this for Thanksgiving!

6) Books you want to read in 2017? ALL OF THE BOOKS! But especially The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee, The Love Interest by Cale Dietrich, and Royal Bastards by Andrew Shvarts.

Blog Tour, Excerpt, and Giveaway: In A Gilded Cage by Mia Kerick

Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for In A Gilded Cage, hosted by Xpresso Book Tours! As a fan of fairy tale retellings, I’m happy to be able to share an excerpt from Mia Kerick’s modern twist on the story of Rapunzel, which is set in present day and features a male/male romance. Following the excerpt, at the bottom of the post, you’ll see a Rafflecopter form to enter a giveaway for a $25 Amazon gift card. Enjoy!

About the Book

In a Gilded Cage
Mia Kerick
(Evernight Publishing)
Publication date: October 21st 2016
Genres: LGBTQ+, New Adult, Romance

Lucci Grimley is indeed alluring—crowned with a mane of long blond hair, and blessed with an enchanting musical talent that draws a brave rescuer to a high tower hidden in the forest.

However, this modern-day Rapunzel is a young man, sold as a child to the wealthy and childless Damien Gotham for the price of a fast car and a pile of cash. And Lucci’s heroic prince is William “Prin” Prinzing, a handsome college student and star soccer player, hired to care for the grounds of the lavish Tower Estate. Prin climbs an extension ladder rather than a long golden braid to gain access to Lucci’s second floor bedroom window, ultimately penetrating the secrecy surrounding the cloistered young man.

Friendship, and soon romance, blooms. The tower captive eagerly gives his loving innocence to his brave rescuer, which sends the strict and reclusive Gotham into a frenzy of jealous rage. With Prin, Lucci gets a taste of real life, and he wants more. Together, the young men must face Gotham’s ruthlessness and pay the price of liberating Lucci.

Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble / iBooks / Kobo

Excerpt

Father pushes forward his untouched plate of eggs, toast, and sliced melon. It is rare that he does not break his fast with enthusiasm, and I am further perplexed. “Last night, when I held you, I did not miss the stiffening of your back. You did not relax against me … your hands did not curl into mine.”

He is correct.

“Your behavior … insulted me.” His glare burns the skin of my face. I keep my eyes averted, as is expected.

Again, I am unsure how to reply so I do not.

“Your diet will be severely restricted until I feel that you have changed your attitude.”

Guilt floods my mouth with illicit strawberry sweetness. I swallow deeply. “My attitude, Father?”

“Yes. You will improve your response to … to me … in the same manner you improved your attitude toward your music.” He looks distinctly uncomfortable. “I will provide proper motivation to help you accomplish this.”

We are moving onto disturbing new ground in our relationship. Where controlling my behavior has satisfied Father to this point, he is now making an attempt to manage my emotions. I am shaken by a cruel premonition of what I will be forced to endure in his effort to correct my apathy.

“Can you think of several words of affection to start us on our path toward increased emotional intimacy, son?”

I am literally unable to speak. My throat is dry and parched, and I reach for my glass of water.

“No water. I will tell you when it is time to drink.”
“Yes, sir,” I croak.
“I believe I requested a verbal expression to prove that you are open to making this necessary change in our future interaction.”

I swallow deeply and scramble for words to express that I am eager to be emotionally extorted.

Shall I tell him I missed him when he was away? I did not.

I could assure Father that I enjoy our physical closeness while we sleep. A blatant lie that would likely encourage more of the same.

I search the dark corners of my mind, but come up with nothing that will not further my suffering. My hands tremble on my lap.

“You are finished with breakfast, Lucas.” This is no loss. My plate is nearly full, but I have no appetite for eggs. “Return to your suite and consider what we have discussed.”

A tiny voice in my mind suggests that we had no discussion at all. It tells me that once again, Father has attempted to impose his will upon me, and I have failed to respond appropriately, for which I will pay a high price.

“Yes, Father. Am I excused?”


He nods, but refuses to look at me. I have disappointed him. 

Author Bio

Mia Kerick is the mother of four exceptional children—all named after saints—and five nonpedigreed cats—all named after the next best thing to saints, Boston Red Sox players. Her husband of twenty years has been told by many that he has the patience of Job, but don’t ask Mia about that, as it is a sensitive subject.

Mia focuses her stories on the emotional growth of troubled young men and their relationships, and she believes that sex has a place in a love story, but not until it is firmly established as a love story. As a teen, Mia filled spiral-bound notebooks with romantic tales of tortured heroes (most of whom happened to strongly resemble lead vocalists of 1980s big-hair bands) and stuffed them under her mattress for safekeeping. She is thankful to Dreamspinner Press for providing her with an alternate place to stash her stories.

Mia is proud of her involvement with the Human Rights Campaign and cheers for each and every victory made in the name of marital equality. Her only major regret: never having taken typing or computer class in school, destining her to a life consumed with two-fingered pecking and constant prayer to the Gods of Technology.

Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter

Giveaway

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Review: Alice and the Fly by James Rice

Alice and the Fly Book Cover Alice and the Fly
James Rice

A spellbinding debut novel by an exceptional new young British talent.

This is a book about phobias and obsessions, isolation and dark corners. It's about families, friendships, and carefully preserved secrets. But above everything else it's about love. Finding love - in any of its forms - and nurturing it.

Miss Hayes has a new theory. She thinks my condition's caused by some traumatic incident from my past I keep deep-rooted in my mind. As soon as I come clean I'll flood out all these tears and it'll all be ok and I won't be scared of Them anymore. The truth is I can't think of any single traumatic childhood incident to tell her. I mean, there are plenty of bad memories - Herb's death, or the time I bit the hole in my tongue, or Finners Island, out on the boat with Sarah - but none of these are what caused the phobia. I've always had it. It's Them. I'm just scared of Them. It's that simple.

Review:

I received a free copy of this book from the author via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

I’m hard-pressed to express my feelings regarding Alice and the Fly. If I were to rate this book purely on enjoyability, I would only be able to grant it 2 stars – it’s definitely not a cheery novel, and I wouldn’t classify it as a pleasant reading experience. In fact, I’m not sure I can even say that I liked this book. That said, I have to credit James Rice for his storytelling abilities – this book is original, surprising, and boasts a thought-provoking plot.

Alice and the Fly is narrated by Greg, a young man who suffers from a crippling phobia and extreme social awkwardness. Nicknamed “Psycho” by his peers, Greg is an outcast at school and at home. The only bright spot in his miserable world is his classmate Alice, to whom the book is addressed in the form of a letter/journal.

Alice and the Fly gets major points for being completely unexpected. I confess that, at first, I thought I had a pretty good idea of where the story was going. The book has a distinct The Perks of Being A Wallflower vibe, and I couldn’t help comparing the two stories at every turn. There are lots of parallels between the two: an epistolary format, a lonely narrator on the fringes of the social scene, a concerned teacher who tries to guide him through life, a childhood friend who’s passed away, etc. Also similar to Perks is the feeling that there’s some sort of buried trauma, though you don’t know what it might be.

The more I read, though, the more I realized that Alice and Perks are two very different books. One major difference is that Charlie, the protagonist in Perks, is endearing; Greg is harder to feel close to. Even though the majority of the book is written from his perspective, I always felt like he was a million miles away. And, though I sympathized with Greg, I can’t say that I empathized with him. In fact, at times he made me downright uncomfortable. He fixates on Alice, secretly following her around, lurking outside her home, and relying upon proximity to her (without her knowledge) for comfort. There’s one scene where Greg picks up Alice’s discarded cigarette butt and puts it in his mouth in order to feel close to her, then holds the smoldering nub of the cigarette in his hand until it burns a crater in his palm, because he’s unwilling and unable to let it go.

Another big difference between Alice and Perks is the family dynamic. The characterization of Greg’s parents is masterful, one of my favorite things about Rice’s book. The best words to describe them would be “preoccupied” and “self-absorbed.” Greg’s dad, a plastic surgeon, is a workaholic who’s so immersed in his work that he brings pre- and post-operative photos to the dinner table, and eats with only one hand so he can shuffle through his paperwork with the other. Greg’s mom is even more fascinating. She’s an anxiety-ridden social climber who’s constantly redesigning and renovating the house, fussing over gourmet coffees, and perfecting her charred salmon entrée to impress her hoity-toity, high society friends.

I would go so far as to say that Greg’s mom is one of the book’s biggest testaments to Rice’s talent as a writer. She’s got all the elements of your typical rich, appearance-obsessed housewife, but without being a cliché; Rice rounds out the stereotypical characteristics with other traits that show the complexity of the mother’s character. Her positive attributes are pronounced, as are her flaws and vulnerabilities. She’s surprisingly tender at times, shockingly fragile at others. I’d happily read an entire book about Greg’s mom, just to learn more about what makes her tick.

Something else I liked about Alice is that Rice does a great job of keeping you guessing up until the end. Given how distant Greg is, you get the feeling that you’re missing pieces of the narrative, or at least pieces of what you should know about his life. There are his frequent allusions to the unnamed “Them,” as well as hints about something that happened to his sister at some place called Finner’s Island. Interspersed with Greg’s narration to Alice are transcripts of worrisome interviews with Greg’s family, which build a sense of mystery and anticipation, giving you the impression that the story’s leading up to something big.

My biggest rub with Alice and the Fly is its bleakness. I get that novels can’t – and shouldn’t – be rainbows and sunshine all the time, but the ugliness and grimness in this particular book were oppressive and unrelenting. There’s little to no brightness to mitigate the awfulness, and because of how distant Greg is, you can’t even turn to him for comfort or solidarity.

This bleakness, coupled with how hard it was for me to connect with Greg, made me hesitate before I finally gave Alice and the Fly a 4-star rating. To be perfectly honest, I don’t see myself ever rereading this book, and I admit I’d be happy to put it behind me. That said, I can’t deny that it’s fantastically plotted and written. The story is admirably crafted by a very talented author, and I did not see the ending coming (I’m always pleased when a book can surprise me that way). My suggestion is that if you’re at all intrigued by my review of Alice and the Fly, you should give the book a shot. It may not make you feel good, but it will keep you thinking about its characters and plot long after you put it back on the shelf.