Monday, November 27, 2017

HOW I GOT MY AGENT (!!!): A Tale of Hogwarts Houses, Micro Dreams, and Anxiety

The weird thing about wanting to be an author (besides the fact that it's a totally masochistic thing to want to do) is that the larger dream is comprised of micro dreams. Things like seeing your book in a store, seeing it shelved face out, having a signing in a bookstore, having a signing at a con, being on a panel, getting your ARCs in the mail, seeing your name printed on a reak cover and holding that cover in your hands.

For me, even before I let my imagination run wild enough to imagine those pie-in-the-sky goals, I had the ultimate dream of writing a How I Got My Agent blog post. (Oh, and putting “rep'd by @AwesomeAgent” in my Twitter bio.) I don't know why this specific goal always seemed so wonderful to me--probably because I've read and loved dozens of them and always found them deeply inspiring. I’ve daydreamed about this post for ages, ever since I decided I really, REALLY wanted to do this masochistic writing thing, back around 2011 when I was young and pure of spirit and unblemished by the harsh realities of the world.

But long before I actively started educating myself on how publishing works (and took a detour through blogginglandia that I so don't regret), I was a writer. (Not a GOOD one, that took like twenty years, but certainly a prolific one.) I definitely was that kid who knew from way early on that making stories was the thing I wanted to do, because I did it all the time. I have twelve-year-old word documents excavated from ancient rickety computers and preserved in the museum of my google drive to prove it.

So now, naturally, after 12 years in Azkaban waiting to write this post of posts, I don’t have a flippity flopping clue what to say. Other than SOB SCREAM OH MY GAAAHD and other eloquent things that prove that writing the word stuffs is tooootally what I should be doing. BUT ANYWAY. This will be a long one, because it’s been a heck of a month, and I will have to waste a lot of words to find the right ones.

Monday, October 2, 2017

Monthly Recap: September 2017

It's been a cool minute since I last did one of these, but September was FULL OF THE THINGS, so let's relive it, shall we?

Friday, September 8, 2017

The Books of 2017: Part One of Many

SO, HEY, i've read a heck of a ton of books this year (I mean, not as much as the ROBOTS who have read nearly 300 books but they are not human so we do not worry about them) and I haven't reviewed, like, any of them. Let's blaze through the books I've read, shall we? And I'll tell you which ones you must toss your entire life aside AT ONCE to read, and you will listen, because that is where we're at in this relationship. OKAY THEN.

Get ready for some quick impressions of a whole bunch of books I read in 2017, some quick opinions, and some general incoherence! Also, this will not be in order, because why be logical about anything?

Monday, August 28, 2017

#PitchWars, All the Words, and HELLO

HELLO BLOG. YOU LOOK SO PRETTY. A little dusty and creaky in the joints and I--stop looking at me like that--I know I've neglected you, but that shall all be rectified. Look, I brought presents!

I got into on Twitter why I've been mostly absent from the interwebs this year (go HERE if you want to read a v personal thread full of OPTIMISM and POORLY TIMED JOKES) but needless to say, I have very much missed the book blogging community and yammering on about books--and about myself. (We are the solipsistic millenial generation, embrace it and keep talking about yourself because you are FASCINATING and there is seriously no sarcasm here, I for one am fully interested in exactly what you had for breakfast). Because, speaking of myself, very exciting things are going on in Gillianland!

Monday, June 26, 2017

Happy Birthday, Harry: Thoughts and Feelings and Glasses Raised

“…there will be books written about Harry—every child in our world will know his name!”
--Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, Ch. 1

Let the record show that in the book, Hagrid spelled everthing correctly

(Fun story: I own thirteen copies of this book, and all the covers in this post are from the editions I own. Yes, I have a problem, and by problem I mean not a problem at all)

Happy birthday, Harry, my eternal bae (as the kids say, aka the people who, unlike me, weren't alive when the Muggle world was first blessed by the arrival of one Harry James Potter). I reread this whole book today in your honor. It's about my eleventy billionth reread, but it's been years since I treated myself to a full Potter readthrough.

All my life, the Wizarding World has been my refuge. I used to sink into the whimsy and bustle and peril of Hogwarts regularly as a kid and as a teen for comfort, for entertainment, for nostalgia, to hunt for clues (because, of course, I am an ancient member of the original generation, and I remember what it was like to WAIT between BOOKS for ANSWERS because <i>we didn't knowww</i> and there was no Tumblr to spoil us). Every excursion into a Harry Potter book is a treat, and every time I submerge I discover more bits and bobs about the world. Every time I hang out with them, the characters carve themselves in my soul a little more deeply. Trite as it is (and this is already a disgusting amount of sentiment, someone cough up some slugs to kill the mood), reading a Harry Potter book is just pure magic.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Anne with an E Review: More like Anne with an Egads

Like a lot of bookish little nerdgirls with vivid imaginations and access to a library, I grew up totally in love with my fictional kindred spirit, Anne Shirley. I read all of the books throughout elementary school and middle school, wherein I learned several very important things, like 1) life is better with lots of scope for the imagination 2) tomorrow's another day with no mistakes in it yet 3) puff sleeves are of grave importance 3) Gilbert Blythe is the perfect book boyfriend.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

When the Movie is (GASP) Better Than the Book

This smorgasbord of unpopular opinions is inpired by Christina's excellent post from yesteryear, even though it commits the high blasphemy of thinking Ella Enchanted the movie is better than the book (for the record, I flipping love that movie, but ohmygodno). I know it's basically high bookish blasphemy to EVER think the movie is better than the book. I mean, they cut that one subplot and that ruined the tension and took away from their relationship! They totally cut that one scene that makes the WHOLE SERIES! They gave Movie!Ginny the personality of a paper sandwich! They made Harry and Voldemort grapplehug while they fell off a tower WHAT WERE THEY THINKING I MEAN REALLY--

Whoops. Tangent. We're here to talk about the movies that are BETTER than the books, not the movies that are sort of great on their own but will never ever capture the true DEPTH AND BRILLIANCE of the Wizarding World and Ginevra Weasley, boss heroine, and what Albus Dumbledore was actually--

No. Okay. FOCUS.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Review: The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli

When was the last time I got a review out by release date? Like....2014? I'M SO PROUD OF MYSELF. Clearly, turning 26 has made me grow up at once immediately completely because this is how #biology works.

The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli
Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes and Noble The Book Depository | IndieBound
Series: No
Release date: TODAY, April 11th, 2017
Publisher: Balzer + Bray (Harper)
Length: 352 pages
Source: e-ARC via Edelweiss/print ARC from ALAMW

Seventeen-year-old Molly Peskin-Suso knows all about unrequited love. No matter how many times her twin sister, Cassie, tells her to woman up, Molly can’t stomach the idea of rejection. So she’s careful. Fat girls always have to be careful.

Then a cute new girl enters Cassie’s orbit, and for the first time ever, Molly’s cynical twin is a lovesick mess. Meanwhile, Molly's totally not dying of loneliness—except for the part where she is. Luckily, Cassie's new girlfriend comes with a cute hipster-boy sidekick. If Molly can win him over, she'll get her first kiss and she'll get her twin back.

There's only one problem: Molly's coworker, Reid. He's a chubby Tolkien superfan with a season pass to the Ren Faire, and there's absolutely no way Molly could fall for him.


This book made me grin so hard my cheeks hurt. Seriously, I was grinning so hard and for such an extended amount of time that it basically became exercise. I now have buff cheeks.

Monday, April 3, 2017

Recent Reads Roundup, Achievements, Quirks, and Imaginary Cupcakes


(I turn 26 on Saturday. Hahahahahahahahahahhahahahahahahahagodwhyyy)

2017 has been an...interesting year *purposefully avoids saying why* *YOU KNOW WHY* Let's stick to the reading/blogging front. For me, it's been the best reading year I'd had in...well, i don't know how long, because this is the first year I've really been proactive about tracking my reads (*thunks Past Gillian on the forehead*). But while this is the best reading year I've had in time untold, it's probably the worst blogging year I've had since I started blogging (*thunks Current Gillian on the forehead*). So I'm reading all the books YAY but not finding the time or energy to review them BOO. Let's all throw things at Current Gillian. Preferably very soft things. Like teddy bears, or cupcakes, or accolades.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Would You Read a Book for the First Time Again?

I've heard this question a lot over the years. If you could somehow magically re-experience reading your favorite book for the first time, would you? Would you read a book for the first time again if you could?

When people ask that theoretical question, most people answer YES. I've seen it all around, on blog posts, on tumblr, on BookTube: "I wish there was a device/magic spell that made you forget a book so you could read it for the first time all over again!"

And I get why people want there. There is nothing like the very first time you read a life-changing, gloriously entertaining, soul-igniting book. It's the best feeling ever. It's the readerly high we all crave.

My answer, though, is always a resounding "NO."

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Review: Heartstone by Elle Katherine White, aka PRIDE AND PREJUDICE with DRAGONS

Heartstone by Elle Katherine White
Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes and Noble | The Book Depository | IndieBound
Series: No
Release date: January 17th, 2017
Publisher: Harper Voyager
Length: 352 pages
Source: Purchased

A debut historical fantasy that recasts Jane Austen’s beloved Pride and Prejudice in an imaginative world of wyverns, dragons, and the warriors who fight alongside them against the monsters that threaten the kingdom: gryphons, direwolves, lamias, banshees, and lindworms

They say a Rider in possession of a good blade must be in want of a monster to slay—and Merybourne Manor has plenty of monsters.

Passionate, headstrong Aliza Bentaine knows this all too well; she’s already lost one sister to the invading gryphons. So when Lord Merybourne hires a band of Riders to hunt down the horde, Aliza is relieved her home will soon be safe again.

Her relief is short-lived. With the arrival of the haughty and handsome dragonrider, Alastair Daired, Aliza expects a battle; what she doesn’t expect is a romantic clash of wills, pitting words and wit against the pride of an ancient house. Nor does she anticipate the mystery that follows them from Merybourne Manor, its roots running deep as the foundations of the kingdom itself, where something old and dreadful slumbers . . . something far more sinister than gryphons.

It’s a war Aliza is ill-prepared to wage, on a battlefield she’s never known before: one spanning kingdoms, class lines, and the curious nature of her own heart.

Elle Katharine White infuses elements of Austen’s beloved novel with her own brand of magic, crafting a modern epic fantasy that conjures a familiar yet wondrously unique new world.


Let's just...let's just marinate in that. Let it seep into our pores and we shall bask in its awesomeness and know that even if the book doesn't end up being that good, it can't be bad, because it is PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. WITH. DRAGONS.

Monday, March 20, 2017


I'm feeling lazy, so let's keep it SHORT and NOT SO SWEET (kind of like me, ba dum TSHHH)

All the books were ARCs provided by the publisher and I'M SORRY, PUBLISHERS, I WILL TRY TO BE...TALLER AND SWEETER

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Review: Daughter of the Pirate King by Tricia Levenseller

Daughter of the Pirate King by Tricia Levenseller
Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes and Noble The Book Depository | IndieBound
Series: Yes, #1 in the series
Release date: February 28th, 2017
Publisher: Fiewel & Friends (Macmillan)
Length: 372 pages
Source: Purchased
Rating: crack fantasy

There will be plenty of time for me to beat him soundly once I’ve gotten what I came for.

Sent on a mission to retrieve an ancient hidden map—the key to a legendary treasure trove—seventeen-year-old pirate captain Alosa deliberately allows herself to be captured by her enemies, giving her the perfect opportunity to search their ship.

More than a match for the ruthless pirate crew, Alosa has only one thing standing between her and the map: her captor, the unexpectedly clever and unfairly attractive first mate, Riden. But not to worry, for Alosa has a few tricks up her sleeve, and no lone pirate can stop the Daughter of the Pirate King.

This review is going to be a total chopped up mess of contradictions, because on the one hand, this was intensely entertaining with PIRATES and PLOTS and STABBING, but on the other, I really didn't like the writing or worldbuilding, but on the other OTHER hand, the ship and their chemistry/banter were off the charts. And now I have three hands, so you see the problem here. THANKS A LOT, DOTPK.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Review: The Valiant by Lesley Livingston

The Valiant by Lesley Livingston
Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes and Noble The Book Depository IndieBound
Series: Yes, #1 in the series
Release date: February 14th, 2017
Publisher: Razorbill (Penguin)
Length: 372 pages
Source: ARC from ALAMW
Rating: *victorious Cantii war cry*

Princess. Captive. Gladiator.

Fallon is the daughter of a proud Celtic king, the sister of the legendary warrior Sorcha, and the sworn enemy of Julius Caesar.

When Fallon was a child, Caesar’s armies invaded her homeland, and her beloved sister was killed in battle.

Now, on the eve of her seventeenth birthday, Fallon is eager to follow in her sister’s footsteps and earn her place in the fearsome Cantii war band. She never gets the chance.

Fallon is captured and sold to an elite training school for female gladiators—owned by none other than Julius Caesar. In a cruel twist of fate, the man who destroyed Fallon’s family might be her only hope of survival.

Now Fallon must overcome vicious rivalries and deadly fights—in and out of the arena. And perhaps the most dangerous threat of all: her forbidden yet irresistible feelings for Cai, a young Roman soldier.

Well, that was totally bad ass.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Review: The Princess Saves Herself in this One

The Princess Saves Herself in this One by Amanda Lovelace
Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes and Noble | The Book Depository | IndieBound
Series: No
Release date: February 14th, 2017
Publisher: Andrew McMeel Publishing
Length: 208 pages
Source: Netgalley
Rating: Save me from this one

From Amanda Lovelace, a poetry collection in four parts: the princess, the damsel, the queen, and you. The first three sections piece together the life of the author while the final section serves as a note to the reader. This moving book explores love, loss, grief, healing, empowerment, and inspiration.

Okay. Yeah. That was....well, not my favorite ever thing. I feel like I just read my middle school AIM away messages or 200 pages of emo Myspace updates. I need to go listen to some Dashboard Confessional STAT. (YES, I AM OLD, OLDY OLD OLD)

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Review: We Are Okay by Nina LaCour

We Are Okay by Nina LaCour
Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes and Noble | The Book Depository IndieBound
Series: No
Release date: February 14th, 2017
Publisher: Dutton Books for Young Readers (Penguin)
Length: 240 pages
Source: ARC from ALAMW
Rating: Gillian is NOT okay

"You go through life thinking there’s so much you need. . . . Until you leave with only your phone, your wallet, and a picture of your mother."

Marin hasn’t spoken to anyone from her old life since the day she left everything behind. No one knows the truth about those final weeks. Not even her best friend Mabel. But even thousands of miles away from the California coast, at college in New York, Marin still feels the pull of the life and tragedy she’s tried to outrun. Now, months later, alone in an emptied dorm for winter break, Marin waits. Mabel is coming to visit and Marin will be forced to face everything that’s been left unsaid and finally confront the loneliness that has made a home in her heart.

This book is brilliant, and Nina LaCour is a master. And she owes me a stiff drink.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

In Which I Apologize to the Goodreads Challenge and Acknowledge I Have Been a Nincompoop

Oh, past Gillian. HOW FOOLISH YOU WERE.

Let's journey back to the halcyon days of 2015 and this post full of past-Gillian nincompoopness. The post in which I said things like this:

Every time I log on Goodreads, there's this bright purple banner begging me--no, urging me--to set a Goodreads challenge. Goodreads wants me to set a goal of how many books I'll read this year, but je refuse, Goodreads. Je hardcore REFUSE. No matter what number I set, high or low, I'll end up wayyyy too married to it. I'm competitive even with myself. I'll feel like crap if I fail, and I don't want to feel like crap about reading books! I love books! This is why I like to take as much reading pressure off myself as I can...which is hard, considering I've already got a bunch of it.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Review: By Your Side by Kasie West

By Your Side by Kasie West
Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes and Noble | The Book Depository | IndieBound
Series: No
Release date: January 31st, 2017
Publisher: HarperTeen
Length: 352 pages
Source: eARC via Edelweiss
Rating: I am betrayed and disapoint

In this irresistible story, Kasie West explores the timeless question of what to do when you fall for the person you least expect. Witty and romantic, this paperback original from a fan favorite is perfect for fans of Stephanie Perkins and Morgan Matson.

When Autumn Collins finds herself accidentally locked in the library for an entire weekend, she doesn’t think things could get any worse. But that’s before she realizes that Dax Miller is locked in with her. Autumn doesn’t know much about Dax except that he’s trouble. Between the rumors about the fight he was in (and that brief stint in juvie that followed it) and his reputation as a loner, he’s not exactly the ideal person to be stuck with. Still, she just keeps reminding herself that it is only a matter of time before Jeff, her almost-boyfriend, realizes he left her in the library and comes to rescue her.

Only he doesn’t come. No one does.

Instead it becomes clear that Autumn is going to have to spend the next couple of days living off vending-machine food and making conversation with a boy who clearly wants nothing to do with her. Except there is more to Dax than meets the eye. As he and Autumn first grudgingly, and then not so grudgingly, open up to each other, Autumn is struck by their surprising connection. But can their feelings for each other survive once the weekend is over and Autumn’s old life, and old love interest, threaten to pull her from Dax’s side?

You guys, I am so betrayed.

This book could have been my everything. A fluffy romance novel about a ship TRAPPED IN A LIBRARY?? By Kasie West, goddess of squee, author of my favores The Distance Between Usand PS I Like You?? STARRING AN ANXIOUS HEROINE??? Be still my heart! Hold back the tears! My body is ready!

My body was lied to.

Monday, January 2, 2017

New Year's Bookish Resolutions

I have never been a New Year's resolve-y sort of person (possibly because I'm far too lazy to have much resolve in the first place). I don't have the discipline for diets or exercise, and my favorite hobbies are eating baked goods and sitting down with a book until my spine curves into a c-shape and my muscles dissolve into pudding. I never do hard numbers for reading goals (see why here). I go with the flow, man. Peace and love and baked goods.

But this year, for the first time in my whole life, I FEEL RESOLVE-Y.