1-Year Blogoversary! *cue happy-dancing*

First of all, I guess you guys should know that it’s not my actual blogoversary. The exact date I started this blog was August 16th, 2015, but I figured today was close enough.

To all of you wonderful people who are still willing to take the time to read my posts, THANK YOU SO MUCH! I know I haven’t been the most consistent blogger in the world in the last few months, so it means the world to me that you guys still value my content and what I have to say.

If you’re wondering why I’ve been so absent in the last couple months, most of it is, as you might have guessed, time. Or, more accurately, a lack of time. I won’t go into details, but I feel like I’m going to have a lot more time in the future to do more writing and blogging, which I’m incredibly grateful for. I’ve really, really missed it.

You can also probably tell by my post so far that I’m definitely out of practice with my writing. It will probably take a few more posts, but by then, I’ll have (hopefully) gotten into the flow of things.

And now, for the main part of this post, I just want to give you all a huge thank you. Each and every one of you puts a smile on my face every day, and I’m so incredibly grateful for that. Blogging has played such a huge role in my life over the past year – even though I might not have shown it in the last couple months – and, as cliche as it sounds, blogging has become a part of me, a part of me that I couldn’t have imagined my life without.

So, thank you to everyone who liked, commented or followed my blog. Thank you to those of you who sent me thoughtful emails – it truly made my day. Thank you to those who even just stumbled onto this page by accident – I really appreciate you making it this far into this post. I’m not one to care too much about stats and pageviews and whatnot, but it still manages to astound me when someone across the world cares enough to take the time to read my posts.

On a more personal note, I’ve had a few tough times in the past year, as I’m sure you all did. Blogging was my outlet during these tough times, my secret space on the internet, and it’s helped me get through so much. I’ve changed an incredible amount in the past year, but one thing has stayed my constant – the blogosphere. No matter how many days I decide not to write a post, no matter how few comments I post some days, you guys are always there for me. Posting the simplest of comments on one of my posts might seem like no big deal to you, but it means the world to me. It shows me that somewhere in the world, someone truly cares about what I have to say. I honestly could never have gotten through the last year without your guys’ support and generosity.

I know this post may have gotten a bit rambly, and maybe a bit repetitive, but I’ll definitely be working on this in the future. Just know that I love and appreciate you all so much, and I’m so incredibly happy to be back in this wonderful community!

Review: Things We Know by Heart by Jessi Kirby | A Letter to Jessi Kirby

 17571215.jpgThings We Know By Heart by Jessi Kirby

Published by HarperTeen on April 21st 2015

Page Count: 304

Genre(s): YA, contemporary, romance, coming-of-age, grief

Format: Hardcover, library copy (but will be purchasing a shiny hardcover copy of ASAP!)

Would I recommend? Yes, absolutely. This is by far the best book I’ve encountered this year and one of the most perfect books I’ve ever read. A unique concept, lovely characters, and a brilliant, long-lasting effect. I would recommend this book to anyone and everyone.

Rating: ★★★★★


When Quinn Sullivan meets the recipient of her boyfriend’s donated heart, the two form an unexpected connection.

After Quinn loses her boyfriend, Trent, in an accident their junior year, she reaches out to the recipients of his donated organs in hopes of picking up the pieces of her now-unrecognizable life. She hears back from some of them, but the person who received Trent’s heart has remained silent. The essence of a person, she has always believed, is in the heart. If she finds Trent’s, then maybe she can have peace once and for all.

Risking everything in order to finally lay her memories to rest, Quinn goes outside the system to track down nineteen-year-old Colton Thomas—a guy whose life has been forever changed by this priceless gift. But what starts as an accidental run-in quickly develops into more, sparking an undeniable attraction. She doesn’t want to give in to it—especially since he has no idea how they’re connected—but their time together has made Quinn feel alive again. No matter how hard she’s falling for Colton, each beat of his heart reminds her of all she’s lost…and all that remains at stake.

-Goodreads.com description

My Thoughts

I really, really tried to word a review that would do this book justice, but I just couldn’t. Not in my typical review format, anyway. One of my blogging resolutions for 2016 was to play around with some different review formats, so who knows, maybe I’ll try doing something like this again in the future! There’s no need to worry about spoilers in this review; as always, there is none. Hopefully reading this post will give you a little insight as to why I loved and needed this book so much.


Dear Jessi,

I went into Things We Know By Heart with pretty high expectations. After you completely stole my heart with your lovely novel In Honor, how couldn’t I? When I was perusing Goodreads one day and stumbled across your latest novel (and this was before I even knew you existed, mind you), I instantly fell in love with the title, cover, synopsis, everything. I knew from that day that Things We Know By Heart would be a definite 5-star read, and I certainly wasn’t wrong.

Things We Know By Heart was a beautiful, utterly perfect novel. I honestly couldn’t have asked for anything more. I read some reviews and noticed that a few people said that the novel’s concept is a bit cliche or stereotyped, but really, how could it be? There may have been a few common tropes I recognized, but every novel has those. The concept in its entirety is so unique, so brilliant, that I don’t think any other author has ever written anything like it before. And if you do know of a book that deals with a similar topic, please point me in its direction!

I already knew from reading In Honor that your writing style is gorgeous, Jessi, but Things We Know By Heart gave a whole new definition to amazing writing. Your prose is so seamless and flows so well that I found myself reading every sentence twice in effort to savor every word. There was also lots of dialogue, which I adored. What struck me most about your writing, though, was the descriptions. I absolutely loved how you described the setting of the novel in such a powerful and poetic way that left me thinking, hey, I want to go there! A few days ago in English class, we were discussing how setting can make such a big impact on the overall effect and theme statement of a book, and I really saw this aspect come into play with your novel. A big part of your book took place at a beachy setting, which I really appreciated because I could relate to Quinn’s and Colton’s connection with nature on a very personal level.

When I read this novel, I was in a pretty tough place. It was near the end of the year and I was stressing out about all the assignments teachers were piling up, I hadn’t read any good books lately, I hadn’t gotten a chance to go on an ocean swim recently, swim practice was super stressful. Honestly, I was just really tired. I felt like I needed a long break, like life was this never-ending cycle of stressfulness and tough situations and I had to fight to make it through every day. This is why I was so, so thankful that I read Things We Know By Heart when I did. I needed to read that novel desperately just then, and you, Jessi, allowed me to do just this. So thank you. Thank you so much.

Although I thankfully hadn’t ever gone through an experience similar to the one Quinn had to go through, I still related to her and empathized with her so much. You have a way of carving out characters that manage to find their way into your heart within the first few chapters, and I’m so grateful for this. I’m so grateful that I had the pleasure of meeting Quinn, and of learning about – no, living – her incredible story. She is such a strong, unique, and very real character, and I genuinely felt while reading this book that I experienced some degree of every emotion she went through. I understood her, I empathized with her, I cried with her. At first glance you might think that it’s unrealistic and naive for a young character to be going through this much grief after the death of a boyfriend, but once you get to know her and understand the bond she and Trent shared, it makes so much sense. I feel like going looking for Trent’s heart recipient was exactly what I would have done if I was in her shoes. I understand why she wanted to look for Colton in effort to find a piece of one of the people she loved the most. She was incredibly strong, but she definitely had some flaws, too. Her mistakes and weaknesses were what really made me be able to love her and relate to her so much.

Alright, now I should talk about Colton. Earlier in my review I talked about some of the aspects of your book that made such a lasting impact on me, but in all honesty, Colton’s character was what really made the difference. I started this novel feeling small, tired, and relatively insignificant. I finished this novel feeling empowered, inspired, and ultimately fulfilled. This was the result of having the pleasure of meeting a lovely character by the name of Colton Thomas.

Colton’s character was just wonderful. He was one of the most real, fleshed-out characters I had ever met, and definitely one of my favorites. He’s sweet, quirky, idealistic, weird, observant, and independent. He cares so much for Quinn and his family, and he’s a real gentleman. He’s strong, flawed, and pragmatic. He has had to go through so many tough experiences, and these experiences have helped shape the lovely person he is. What struck me most about his character, however, was his passion for nature. He literally lived every day like it was his last because his experiences had taught him to, and he taught Quinn to do the same. He fed his passions boldly and fearlessly, and invited others to do the same. He had such a deep connection with nature – the ocean, in particular – that it immediately made me want to put on a bathing suit and dive in to the 56 degree surf.

In fact, that’s just what I did after finishing this novel. I put your book down, careful not to bend any of the pages, slipped into my favorite one-piece, drove down to the beach, and plunged into the frigid ocean. I floated out there for a while, feeling the waves lap against my body, feeling the seaweed thread in between my fingers, watching the way the sun set over the water, feeding my passion boldly and fearlessly just as Colton had. This book was one of the most powerful, inspirational, impactful books I’ve ever read.

So thank you, Jessi. Thank you for creating characters that I could empathize with and relate to. Thank you for your beautiful writing that made me want to get up at 6am every morning to read it. Thank you for making me smile, cry, laugh, swoon, think, and act. Thank you for creating such wonderful relationships between your characters and your readers (AKA, me). Thank you for inspiring me and moving me in a way that no book has ever inspired me and moved me before. I appreciate it so much. If you ever end up reading this letter, Jessi, I hope it gives you even the smallest insight to how much I loved and appreciated you book. Really, it meant the world to me.

Love, Paige

Rating: 5/5 Stars


Woah, that was a long post. To everyone who managed to get to the bottom of all that: thank you so much! I hope you enjoyed it, despite my rambles.

Let’s talk: have you read Things We Know By Heart? What did you think of it? What is your favorite Jessi Kirby book?

Want To Hear Something That Will Really Inspire You & Make You Think? Watch This Awesome Video.

Hi guys! I don’t have time to write a full post today but I just wanted to share a video I saw the other day that really made me think. It doesn’t have anything to do with books, but it’s super inspiring and it made me really happy. 🙂

Anyway, I hope you guys enjoyed it as much as I did! Happy Earth Day and I hope you’re all having a lovely Friday! ❤

Dewey’s 24-Hour Read-a-Thon Is FINALLY Here! (This Weekend, That Is…)

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Hi guys! I hope you’re all having a lovely day. ❤

The Dewey’s 24-Hour Read-a-Thon is an event that I’ve really been looking forward to ever since participating in it last October and loving it. If you’re not familiar with this read-a-thon, it’s basically a 24-hour period in which you try to read as many books as you can. Participants update their reading progress on their blog, Instagram, Goodreads, or pretty much any other kind of social media. It’s a really fun experience because a) it’s the perfect excuse to spend an entire day reading, and b) people from all over the world are also participating in the read-a-thon and it’s really cool to be able to interact with them and cheer them on. There’s also writing prompts/challenges and prizes given out at every hour! If you’re interested in signing up, check out the website here. 

My Goals!

  • When I did this read-a-thon last year, I only managed to get 8 hours in because I had a swim meet that morning. Unfortunately, I’m also having a swim meet this weekend, so I’m aiming for around 8 hours again.
  • Last year I managed to read 2 books within the 8-hour period, but they were both 500+ paged novels. (I know, what on earth was I thinking?) Anyway, this year I’m going to aim for 2 smaller-sized books to give myself a little leeway and make sure I don’t feel too pressurized.

Book Haul!

I went on a book buying ban 3 months ago, so this was my first purchase since, like….December? And it was with a gift card, so does that count? My real motivation for going on my book ban was that I wanted to save up to buy ALL THE BOOKS at Yallwest (WHICH IS HAPPENING IN LIKE A WEEK YAYAYAYAY), and I have to say that I’m pretty proud of myself for sticking to it for such a long time! (Sometimes it’s kind of sad how excited I get over the most ridiculous things…. #bookwormproblems)

Anyway, I received these beauties in the mail today, and I’m absolutely ECSTATIC to read all of them!

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ALL THE RAGE by Courtney Summers | DREAMOLOGY by Lucy Keating | THE NIGHT CIRCUS by Erin Morgenstern | FORBIDDEN by Tabitha Suzuma | HOW TO LOVE by Katie Cotugno


Are you participating in the read-a-thon this weekend? What are you planning to read? Have you read any of the books I mentioned in my book haul, and if so, what did you think? I’d love to hear from you in the comments! 🙂

 

Is It Possible To Outgrow Books Over Time?

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Recently, I’ve been thinking a lot about how my taste in reading material has changed over the years.

It’s quite an interesting topic to think about, actually. I found myself pretty amazed at how different my taste has become over the past few years.

Of course, there are some logical reasons behind this, the most obvious reason being age. In my experience, readers want to be able to relate to and identify with some of the character’s struggles in the book they’re reading. Because of the fact that young readers are constantly finding new interests and being introduced to new life struggles, their taste in books are constantly changing.

This brings me to the next question: what about adults? Although I doubt adults’ taste in reading material changes as rapidly as a child’s or a teenager’s, I do suspect that there must be some changes. For instance, if someone of any age is going through a really tough situation such as the death of a loved one or being diagnosed with a serious illness, they are probably going to want to read more books that reflect this situation. These kinds of situations can happen to anyone, which just goes to show how quickly your tastes can change with a major life event.

Okay, now I’ve talked about how people discover new favorite books and new favorite genres. But, what about outgrowing books, particularly favorites? Is there really such a thing?

There are two sides to this argument. On one hand, there’s plenty of books that I know I will never grow out of.

If you haven’t guessed yet, one of the series I know I will never outgrow is the Harry Potter series.

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Because in all honesty, Harry Potter was – is – so much more than an amazing, imaginative book series. These were the books that introduced me to my first real passion – reading. I have so many amazing memories associated with this series, and that isn’t about to change anytime soon. J. K. Rowling was a hugely influential part of my childhood.

On the other hand, I’m not sure I would still consider these books “favorites.” Sure, they introduced me to my love of reading and have been a huge part of my life for the past 4 years. But since then, I have discovered so many more amazing books that have instantly gone on my “favorites” shelf.

There are definitely books that I’ve read in the past few years that I think I have outgrown. The combination of my growing up and discovering new passions and some of the experiences I’ve been through have caused my taste to change dramatically. One of the most important aspects of a book for me is being able to relate to a character and their struggles, which is one of the reasons why I love contemporary – I want to be able to identify with the characters, and it seems like contemporary is the best genre to be able to do this with.

The bottom line is that reading tastes can certainly change over time, and that this is just a natural part of growing up and going through new experiences. And that’s completely okay! There are some things that I know I will never grow out of, and that’s okay too.


I’d love to hear your thoughts regarding this topic! Have your tastes changed as dramatically as mine have over the years? Or are there books you know you will always consider one of your favorites, no matter what? I’d love to hear all about it in the comments! 🙂

12 Struggles Only Bookworms Will Understand

Hi guys! I was feeling like a discussion-y/list type post today, so I decided to create a list of some of the struggles only bookworms will understand. I hope you find this post somewhat amusing. 🙂

Alrighty, let’s get to the listing!


  1. Crying over a book in public. Or happy-dancing. Or ecstatic laughing. Or any display of extreme emotion, honestly.

2. When you tell your friends that you’re looking forward to going “shopping” that afternoon, and they respond by saying, “Oooh! Can we join you?” Only to have you tell them that by shopping, you meant a 3-hour trip to Barnes & Noble. Alone. #awkward


3. The constant struggles of bookshelf organization. Should you color-coordinate or alphabetize? Group by series or by release date? The possibilities are endless.


4. Seeing someone reading a book in public and trying to get a glimpse of the title while trying to act as non-stalkerish as possible. Because having a stranger leaning over your shoulder and watching your every move is totally not creepy.


5. Attempting to walk by a bookstore without purchasing a minimum of 3 books. Haha, not gonna happen.

 


6. That annoyed feeling you get when all your friends want to go out and watch a movie but you can’t because you haven’t read the book yet. #sorrynotsorry


7. Finding a comfortable reading position is a never-ending struggle.


8. That moment when someone wants to borrow your flawless hardcover signed edition of one of your favorite books. It’s not that you don’t want them to read it, it’s just….have you ever heard of the library? ‘Cause that’s how you can dog-ear pages and spill gatorade on the pages without getting your head ripped off by me.


9. When you’re OBVIOUSLY extremely engrossed in your current read…..and then someone rudely interrupts you.


10. The struggle of trying to walk and read at the same time. Trust me, guys, it’s harder than it looks. This kind of stuff takes some serious skill.


11. People thinking you’re an obsessive weirdo because you refuse to leave the house without a novel. Or five. First-world problems, guys. 😉


12. People expecting you to carry on with your life after finishing a really good book. It’s like loosing a best friend! Sure, you might see each other again, but it won’t ever be quite the same.


Which of these struggles can you relate to? What would you add to this list? I’d love to hear what you have to say below! 🙂