Saturday, February 28, 2015

Looking Forward: March

Sometimes it's really hard for me to keep track of what comes out what month, especially while juggling early reviews and publisher catalogues and all the other confusing bookish things bloggers deal with. It's just a LOT OF BOOKS ALL THE TIME. How do you ever keep them straight?! So on the last day of the month, I post a guide to what books I'm most looking forward to in the following month and that you should keep an eye on. So, since it's the last day in February, here are the March releases most tempting me:

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Blogging on Vacation (AKA How to Disconnect)

True fact: I'm an internet addict. Other true fact: I don't really see this as much of a problem. I like to think I'm not unhealthy about the amount of time I spend on the internet. Most of my favorite people live in it, and my community is on it, and TWITTER IS SUPER FUN, RIGHT? So really, i don't feel about about how much of my life centers around social media. Even beyond that, I'm ALWAYS connected. Need to Instagram a pic? I can do that. Need to Google something? I can do that. I'm always connected to the rest of the world somehow. I've always got my "Friends" and "Bloggers" Twitter lists open, keeping up to date with the happenings in the blogging world.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Review: The Distance Between Lost and Found by Kathryn Holmes

Review: The Distance Between Lost and Found by Kathryn Holmes
Release date: February 17th, 2015
Publisher: HarperTeen
Length: 292 pages
Source: e-ARC via Edelweiss
Rating: Pleasantly surprised! Not feelsy, but I couldn't stop reading.


Ever since the night of the incident with Luke Willis, the preacher’s son, sophomore Hallelujah Calhoun has been silent. When the rumors swirled around school, she was silent. When her parents grounded her, she was silent. When her friends abandoned her … silent.

Now, six months later, on a youth group retreat in the Smoky Mountains, Hallie still can’t find a voice to answer the taunting. Shame and embarrassment haunt her, while Luke keeps coming up with new ways to humiliate her. Not even meeting Rachel, an outgoing newcomer who isn’t aware of her past, can pull Hallie out of her shell. Being on the defensive for so long has left her raw, and she doesn’t know who to trust.

On a group hike, the incessant bullying pushes Hallie to her limit. When Hallie, Rachel, and Hallie’s former friend Jonah get separated from the rest of the group, the situation quickly turns dire. Stranded in the wilderness, the three have no choice but to band together.

With past betrayals and harrowing obstacles in their way, Hallie fears they’ll never reach safety. Could speaking up about the night that changed everything close the distance between being lost and found? Or has she traveled too far to come back?

I have two disclosures to make upfront: one, this book is written in third person present, which normally doesn't really work for me; and two, this book is about three teenagers lost in the woods and forced to fend for themselves, which is my catnip. I have watched an indecent number of episodes of I Shouldn't Be Alive. I love stories like this and will read as many as I can find, even if they also deal with subjects that don't normally grab me, like--in the case of TDBLaF--faith and bullying.

So, with all those competing factors going in, how did I fare?

Friday, February 20, 2015

January/February DNFs


I've been WOEFULLY behind on reviewing this month (and, er, last month), but to say it's been busy over in Gillianville would be an understatement. But in an attempt to catch up, I'm going to partake in a revewing SPREE, knocking out as many books as I can in one fell swoop. BUCKLE UP, IT'S GOING TO BE A BUMPY POST.

ETA: So, that ended up being a pretty short spree. I GOT TIRED AND THERE WERE THIN MINTS TO BE EATEN Adult responsibilities took priority, as expected

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Blog Tour: I'll Meet You There by Heather Demetrios

I prefer to take part on blog tours only for books I really love, and I'll Meet You There is a book I love. Love seems like a weak word for how I feel about this book. It's almost like I'm mad at if for being so good and for making me cry and for being so beautiful. It's gutwrenchingly gorgeous. It's messy and perfect. It's swoony and traumatic. IT'S SO FREAKING GOOD I CAN'T STAND IT.

The main character, Skylar, is stuck in a small nowhere town in California's Central Valley, but she's on her way out with a ticket to art school in San Francisco. She keeps sane by making collages and worries about getting permanently stuck in Creek View more than anything, especially when her mother loses her job and can't get out of bed.

The other main character, Josh, is a wounded vet who's just come home from Afghanistan. He keeps it together on the outside, but inside, he's a total disaster. He's messy and traumatized and can't get back in the swing of things, into the swing of his old life, at all.

This is such a visual book, since Sky is an artist herself, that I thought it only appropriate to make I'll Meet You There collages of my own. First up, Sky's collage and quote:

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Do Certain Buzzwords Make You Pick Up a Book?

Yesterday I was looking through Goodreads and checking out 2015 and 2016 releases and realized that I am a very predictable person when it comes to my fictional tastes. I definitely have TYPES when it comes to books, going so far as to label certain reads as "Gillian books" because they tick so many of my BOXES. I'm not a picky reader and often love things outside of the Gillian book parameters, but I've still definitely got a SWEET SPOT. Because there are certain buzzwords in synopses or premises that grab me every. single. time.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Top Ten Things I Like/Dislike When It Comes to Romances (or Why All Ships Should Be Bellarke)

Hosted by The Broke and the Bookish
Or: how more couples should be Bellarke, aka, for the tragically uninitiated, Bellamy and Clarke from The 100, the greatest TV show there ever was

(I regret nothing)
(obsessed? Noooo. I'm not obsessed. No way.)
(Why are you looking at me like that?)

Monday, February 9, 2015

Review: Beastkeeper by Cat Hellisen

Review: Beastkeeper by Cat Hellisen
Release date: February 3rd, 2015
Publisher: Henry Holt (Macmillan)
Length: 208 pages
Source: ARC from the publisher
Rating: Magical, haunting, atmospheric, and bittersweet.


Sarah has always been on the move. Her mother hates the cold, so every few months her parents pack their bags and drag her off after the sun. She’s grown up lonely and longing for magic. She doesn’t know that it’s magic her parents are running from. 

When Sarah’s mother walks out on their family, all the strange old magic they have tried to hide from comes rising into their mundane world. Her father begins to change into something wild and beastly, but before his transformation is complete, he takes Sarah to her grandparents—people she has never met, didn’t even know were still alive. 

Deep in the forest, in a crumbling ruin of a castle, Sarah begins to untangle the layers of curses affecting her family bloodlines, until she discovers that the curse has carried over to her, too. The day she falls in love for the first time, Sarah will transform into a beast . . . unless she can figure out a way to break the curse forever.

Beastkeeper is one of those middle grade novels that is just too good, you know? Where the prose is all sunlight and shadows and forests and metaphors and want to wander through it and close you eyes and roll around in it? And it's all atmosphere and darkness and MAGIC? Basically, Cat Hellisen is a wizard.

Friday, February 6, 2015

The One Where I Interview Gayle Forman!

It turns out the true test of my authorly devotion is traffic.

If you pose the question, "Will you sit in two hours of traffic for the chance to talk one on one with this author?" and I respond with, "Girl, I'd sit for four hours of traffic for the chance to sit within thirty yards of that author" (totally non-creepily) and then actually do it...well, that's a good sign, is what I'm saying. And for Gayle Forman, author of If I Stay, my beloved Where She Went, Just One Day, Just One Year,  and the brand new I Was Here, I was totally willing to sit on my butt for two hours in punishing Los Angeles traffic.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Review: I Was Here by Gayle Forman

Review: I Was Here by Gayle Forman
Release date: January 27th, 2015
Publisher: Viking Juvenile (Penguin)
Length: 288 pages
Source: ARC from the publisher
Rating: Not completely cohesive, but brutal, bleak, and emotional.


Cody and Meg were inseparable.
Two peas in a pod.
Until . . . they weren’t anymore.

When her best friend Meg drinks a bottle of industrial-strength cleaner alone in a motel room, Cody is understandably shocked and devastated. She and Meg shared everything—so how was there no warning? But when Cody travels to Meg’s college town to pack up the belongings left behind, she discovers that there’s a lot that Meg never told her. About her old roommates, the sort of people Cody never would have met in her dead-end small town in Washington. About Ben McAllister, the boy with a guitar and a sneer, who broke Meg’s heart. And about an encrypted computer file that Cody can’t open—until she does, and suddenly everything Cody thought she knew about her best friend’s death gets thrown into question.
I Was Here is Gayle Forman at her finest, a taut, emotional, and ultimately redemptive story about redefining the meaning of family and finding a way to move forward even in the face of unspeakable loss.

I wouldn't say this is Forman's finest--I'd give that honor to Where She Went--but the thing about Gayle Forman is her writing is always pretty damn fine. This book is beautifully written and ever so feelsy, but MAN, that was bleak. Somebody get me some fluffy romance stat.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Review: Fairest by Marissa Meyer (+ Giveaway!)

Review: Fairest by Marissa Meyer
Release date: January 27th, 2015
Publisher: Feiwel and Friends (Macmillan)
Length: 222 pages
Source: Purchased/finished copy from the publisher
Rating: *whimpers* Can it pleeeeease be November??


In this stunning bridge book between Cress and Winter in the bestselling Lunar Chronicles, Queen Levana’s story is finally told.Mirror, mirror on the wall,
Who is the fairest of them all?

Fans of the Lunar Chronicles know Queen Levana as a ruler who uses her “glamour” to gain power. But long before she crossed paths with Cinder, Scarlet, and Cress, Levana lived a very different story – a story that has never been told . . . until now.

Marissa Meyer spins yet another unforgettable tale about love and war, deceit and death. This extraordinary book includes full-color art and an excerpt from
Winter, the next book in the Lunar Chronicles series.