My End Of Summer Blues…

It’s that time of year again; the leaves are changing colors, I am spending hundreds on books (not the fun kind of books either), Starbucks is on my good side again (three cheers for pumpkin spice!!!), school has started (three boo’s for school!!!), and most of all it is the time to say goodbye to summer (how about a hundred boo’s for end of summer!!!). Don’t get me wrong, I love fall especially considering that 90% of my closet supports the cooler weather,hello cute sweaters and boots, but nothing compares to those lazy summer days spent by the pool or lying on the beach reading some of my favorite summery books.

So in honor of those warm summer days, I decided I would list off a few of my favorite summer reads. Some are new favorites and some are older favorites but in the end they are ALL fantastic. If you have any great summer recommendations that will help to brighten my first few weeks of fall and ultimately prolong my summer just a bit more, please let me know in the comments section!

Easy by Tammara Webber

Holy freaking cannoli I just adore this book like no other. The chemistry between these two is hot enough (but not in a dirty way, I promise) to warm up any chilly fall day.

My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick

The sweet, adorable, charming romance in this book is positively PERFECT for summer time…and fall time…and well any time!

Second Chance Summer by Morgan Matson

There’s a beach, there’s a family, there’s a romance, and there are quite a few tears but this book was a top read from my summer of 2012!

Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour by Morgan Matson

Summer days are not complete without a road trip and no book does it better than this one!

Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta

This book, oh goodness, this book. My love for this book comes so easily much like my love for summer.

Sloppy Firsts by Megan McCafferty

This is such a funny, relatable, and incredibly enjoyable book. Even though I read it last winter, it is perfect for a pool-side re-read.

Forget You by Jennifer Echols

Jennifer’s books are full of romantic tension and characters that are so freaking loveable. This is my favorite book by her and I try to re-read it every summer!

Endless Summer by Jennifer Echols

The title has summer in it so OF COURSE it is a great summer read. But honestly I read this two winters ago and I still thought it was positively brilliant.

Secret Society Girl by Diana Peterfreund

I read this book Every. Single. Spring/Summer. Kati and I agree on very little but this is one of them. It’s easily our favorite series and we just love starting our summer off right with these books.

Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

Stephanie’s writing is so incredibly delightful. Every page of this book is made of awesome and since summer is made of awesome, it’s a solid match!

Along for the Ride by Sarah Dessen

Since I am me and Sarah is Sarah, and you know since Sarah writes what Sarah writes and I generally fan-girl over anything that Sarah writes, then there was 100% chance at least one of her books would make my list. This one just shouts IT IS SUMMER. READ ME NOW!

The Truth About Forever by Sarah Dessen

This is my FAVORITE book for summer time. Heck, it is my favorite book for all-time but I just don’t think you can go wrong with this one!

In My Mailbox (34)

IMM is a weekly meme hosted by The Story Siren. It is a way for book bloggers to post what they have received for review, borrowed from a friend, bought at the bookstore, or picked up at the library!

It has been far too long since my last IMM post and people, SO MUCH has happened since then!!! I went to the RT Convention, bought a few new books, and pretty much just accumulated quite a large list for this IMM post! Take a look, add onto Goodreads, let me know what you think, and of course link up so I can see what lovely books you got in your mailbox!

RT Convention:

The Gathering by Kelley Armstrong- Won

Half-Blood by Jennifer L. Armentrout- Previously owned but now signed

Enclave by Ann Aguirre- Won & signed

The International Kissing Club by Ivy Adams- Bought & signed (by 2/3 of the co-authors)

Tattoo by Jennifer Lynn Barnes- Previously owned but now signed

Chime by Franny Billingsley- Previously owned but now signed

Sirenz by Natalie Zaman and Charlotte Bennardo- Previously owned but now signed

Swag from Jennifer L. Armentrout, Ivy Adams, Natalie Zaman, Charlotte Bennardo, Jeanette Battista

Eve by Anna Carey- Bought & signed

Heist Society by Ally Carter- Previously owned but now signed

Out of Sight, Out of Time by Ally Carter- Won & signed

The Summerland by Elizabeth Cheryl- Won & signed

Oh. My Gods. by Tera Lynn Childs- Previously owned but now signed

Texas Gothic by Rosemary Clement-Moore- Bought & signed

Haven by Kristi Cook- Bought & signed

The Guardian by Carey Corp- Bought & signed

The Body Finder by Kimberly Derting- Bought & signed

Swag from Anna Carey, Elizabeth Cheryl, Tera Lynn Childs, Rosemary Clement-Moore, Carey Corp, Kimberly Derting, Bree Despain, Kiera Cass, Rachel Caine, Ally Condie

Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl- Previously owned but now signed

Beautiful Darkness by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl- Previously owned but now signed

Beautiful Chaos by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl- Previously owned but now signed

Unearthly by Cynthia Hand- Previously owned but now signed

Hallowed by Cynthia Hand- Bought & signed

Hearts At Stake by Alyxandra Harvey- Won

Darker Still by Leanna Renee Hieber

Wicked: Witch & Curse by Nancy Holder- Previously owned but now signed

Wicked: Resurrection by Nancy Holder- Previously owned but now signed

Swag from Kami Garcia, Margaret Stohl, Cynthia Hand, Nancy Holder, Jennifer Estep, Colleen Houck

Firelight by Sophie Jordan- Previously owned but now signed

Hidden by Sophie Jordan- Won

The Ghost and the Goth by Stacey Kade- Previously owned but now signed

Queen of the Dead by Stacey Kade- Previously owned but now signed

Body and Soul by Stacey Kade- Previously owned but now signed

Phantom Universe by Laura Kreitzer- Bought & signed

Forsaken Harbor by Laura Kreitzer- Bought & signed

I Wanna Be Your Joey Ramone by Stephanie Kuehnert- Bought & signed

Ballads of Suburbia by Stephanie Kuehnert- Bought & signed

Saving Zoe by Alyson Noel- Previously owned but now signed

Torn by Erica O’Rourke- Bought & signed

Swag from Sophie Jordan, Stacey Kade, Stephanie Kuehnert, Alyson Noel, Erica O’Rourke, Emily McKay, Michele Jaffe, S.R. Johannes, Saundra Mitchell, Mari Mancusi

Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins- Previously owned but now signed

Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins- Previously owned but now signed

Die For Me by Amy Plum- Bought & signed

Under The Never Sky by Veronica Rossi- Bought & signed

Coffeehouse Angel by Suzanne Selfors- Previously owned but now signed

Shade by Jeri Smith-Ready- Previously owned but now signed

Shift by Jeri Smith-Ready- Previously owned but now signed

Soul Screamers: Vol. 1 by Rachel Vincent- Won

Swag from Stephanie Perkins, Amy Plum, Veronica Rossi, Suzanne Selfors, Jeri Smith-Ready, Sarah Rees Brennan, E.J. Stevens, Beth Revis

Review:

Promise by Kristie Cook (e-book)

My Thoughts: I got this book for a blog tour I am participating in later this month! I can’t wait to read!

Silver Knight by Caron Rider (e-book)

My Thoughts: I am fascinated by reincarnation so I am excited to see how this one is done.

Casey Barnes Eponymous by E.A. Rigg (e-book)

My Thoughts: I love, love, love books that have a music influence!

Shift by Kim Curran

My Thoughts: Thanks to Strange Chemistry, a snazzy new publisher for sending out this ARC! I can’t wait to get started on it!

Shackled by Angela Carling

My Thoughts: I read a more “light-hearted” book by Angela last year so I am very interested to see how her more “serious” writing turns out!

Elements: The Beginning by Kate Fuentes (e-book)

My Thoughts: Kate is awesome! I can’t wait to read this one for the blog tour I am participating in later this month!

 Any Love But Mine by Debbie Davies (e-book)

My Thoughts: Nothing is better than a forbidden love story!

Bought:

Insurgent by Veronica Roth

My Thoughts: I FINALLY HAVE THIS BOOK IN MY POSSESSION!!!!

Second Chance Summer by Morgan Matson

My Thoughts: Do yourself a favor and go buy this book right now!

Blood Born by Jamie Manning

My Thoughts: Jamie is seriously the bees knees! I won this book from Mandie (see below) but decided I needed an actual copy for when Jamie goes on an awesome 10-state tour sometime in the future.

Gifted/Won:

Blood Born by Jamie Manning (e-book)

My Thoughts: Thank you so much to Mandie for this awesome book! I cannot wait to read it!!!!!

TGIF (47)

There once was an awesome blogger named Ginger and she decided to create a super fun feature where fellow bloggers would answer fabulous questions via blog posts every Friday. TGIF was born and we all have Miss Ginger at GReads! to thank for that! This week’s question is:

Literary Vacations:

If you could take a trip this summer to any place within a fictional book, where would you go? Tell us about your summer dream vacation!

Where wouldn’t I go? At this point, skipping off into the demon-infested world of Megan Duncan’s book, Released, sounds like a rather enjoyable vacation (kidding!)

I guess in all seriousness, this question comes at a perfect time because as of yesterday at precisely 6:30 p.m. my summer vacation OFFICIALLY began! As for my answer to this question, I will have to cheat and answer with a ton of books! In no particular order, here are the places I would LOVE to spend my summer vacation:

Yellowstone National Park. Janet Fox does such a phenomenal job creating vivid images of Yellowstone in her book Faithful. There would be so much of nature to take in and I am certain it would be one of the most beautiful places to visit.

Paris. If you are at all familiar with this darling little book called Anna and the French Kiss by an even lovelier author, Stephanie Perkins, then you too will want to spend your days traipsing around town with Anna and St. Clair (but mostly just St. Clair!)

Colby. Sarah Dessen is one of the best authors when it comes to creating towns that I want to be a part of! They all seem so normal but she makes them almost magical with all their little quirks. I think Colby, a small town in Along For The Ride, sounds like a cute, fun, relaxing place to spend my summer…plus there are cute guys riding around on bikes all over the place. Count me in!

Colonial Essex Village. Call me a nerd but I happen to think dressing up in old-fashioned clothing (or at least visiting a place that requires their workers to dress up in old-fashioned clothing) would be loads of fun. In Past Perfect by Leila Sales, life in the Colonial times is not the main character’s favorite thing but I think it would be great fun to try out at least once!

Somewhere-in-Alabama. You know that one author I just adore, gush about constantly, and will read anything by? Does the name Jennifer Echols ring a bell? Well she created this one series that I devoured in less than 3 days called Endless Summer. Well if you want to know where I want to spend my days, THAT book, wherever it takes place, is where I want to be. Days on the boat, soaking up the sun, nights spent with cute guys. I don’t think life gets much better than that!

On the road. Road trips are my very favorites! I love the junk food, the naps in the passenger seat, getting lost, finding my way back, singing at top-volume with not a care in the world, discovering new places, and driving at top speed with the windows down. Every single part of a road trip is fun for me and no one has written a better road trip than Morgan Matson with Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour. The places they visited, the things they did, all the memories they created…it just sounded like the best time!

This week on Kate’s Tales of Books and Bands (4/27-5/4):

TGIF (46)

Defy by Raine Thomas + Book Trailer

Tune In Tuesday (57) Random Playlist Edition

Defy by Raine Thomas + Blog Tour+ Giveaway

The Fine Art of Truth Or Dare by Melissa Jensen

Re-Cap: RT Teen Day

YOU GUYS!!!!! Are you ready for a post in which I tell you all about the awesome adventure I went on? You better be because there is a ton of WIN in the following novel-ish re-cap of Teen Day (beware: lots of !!!!!!! and ALL CAPS ahead)!

Teen Day was quite possibly the most fun I have ever had! I got to meet so many bloggers, authors, other random bookish people; it was just pure brilliance! Here’s how the trip went down:

Kati and I left Michigan early Friday morning. After getting lost only about 3 times (all my fault), we arrived in Chicago at around 1:30, checked in at the hotel, then proceeded to get lost in the city (also my fault). We got to see a whole lot of the city but what we really wanted was The Cheesecake Factory. It was hours later when we finally realized that the book signing we were going to that night was in fact an hour away (again, my fault). We somehow found The Cheesecake Factory, Cookie Dough for me and Lemon Raspberry for Kati, and then we were off.

We got lost on our way to the book store (you guessed it, my fault) but we managed to get there with a few minutes to spare. Kati and I took our places managing to cause a little bit of a scene which may or may not have included me tripping over my purse (don’t ask) and then making friends with a guy behind us who I have seen at a previous book signing. Some of my very favorite bloggers were at this event, and since my navigation skills suck hard-core, I was not able to see them before hand. Lynn (Bringing the Epic) and Laci (Blog-O-Rama) were some of the few lovely ladies wondering where the heck I was (never fear, I was only sitting in the back…behind very tall people *insert sad face*). The authors, Veronica Rossi (Under The Never Sky), Tahereh Mafi (Shatter Me), Anna Carey (Eve), and Cynthia Hand (Unearthly, Hallowed ) talked about their books, they were insanely funny and super sweet, then we got in line for the signing. Kati and I made lame jokes to one another the whole time and probably drove everyone else in line completely crazy.

After getting everything signed, I was FINALLY able to talk with everyone! The bloggers that were at this event were: Laci (Blog-O-Rama), Jamie (The Broke and the Bookish/The Perpetual Page-Turner), Heidi (YA Bibliophile), Kristi (The Story Siren), Anna (Anna Reads), Lynn (Bringing The Epic), Jasmine (The Reading Housewives of Indiana), Jacinda (The Reading Housewives of Indiana), Jen (Makeshift Bookmark), Tara (Fiction Folio). I will be honest, I was totally freaking the eff out! They might not have known who I was at the time but I knew of them (not literally of course, but from their SUPER AWESOME blogs) and I was finally seeing them in person! It is so crazy to finally meet someone you talk to on a regular basis, or see someone who writes a blog you read all the time, in actual person! Seriously you guys, I was basically in awe by how lovely, funny, and sweet these bloggers all were. (I’ll stop sounding creepy right about…now)

After we took a group shot, Laci, Jacinda, Jasmine, Kati, and I all went out to eat. I am pretty sure that at this point we were all so hungry we may have considered gnawing on the super cool recycled straws at the table. During dinner we talked about Jasmine’s SUPER tiny town (seriously, one cop!?!? And come on, how does this ONE COP manage to get his squad car stolen?),Jacinda’s (and my grandma’s) inability to pay attention when being talked to, Salt ‘n’ Pepa, and probably a whole lot more randomness. They were so funny and we all had a genuinely brilliant time, but mostly I was still super excited that I finally got to meet them. And then, what’s dinner without the desert (so what if I had cheesecake just hours before!)? We went to this tiny gelato place and it was so good! After that we went back to our hotels to get some rest before our next crazy day!

Saturday was the actual event. Kati and I got up and ready, I decided to rebel against dry floors by soaking our bathroom while showering (this made Kati…upset), we ate delicious waffles made by yours truly, and then we were off again. We got lost again (yes, my fault but I also blame the city’s super sucky “Parking Ramp This Way” signs). We managed to find a parking spot a whole half mile from the event, got my bags of books and headed in. So of course we arrived pretty early but an hour late in bookish people timing. We got redirected a million and one times, Kati asked Kimberly Derting if we were in the right line to check in (we were not, it was the Starbucks line), but we finally made it. And after waiting for forever, they finally let us in.

Holy AMAZEBALLS! I have never seen so many people in love with books in one place before. It was amazing for lack of a better term. We got to the Teen Author section and this is where everything is a bit of a blur. I met SO MANY people that I could hardly keep my head on straight. Stacey Kade, Kimberly Derting, Kristi Cook, Rosemary Clement-Moore, Nancy Holder, Charlotte Bennardo, Natalie Zaman, Jennifer Armentrout, Ally Carter, Kiera Cass, Elizabeth Cheryl, Tera Lynn Childs, Sophie Jordan, Stephanie Kuehnert, Alyson Noel, Erica O’Rourke, Jeri Smith-Ready, Stephanie Perkins, just to name a few (yes I do consider that list a “few”). The list goes on and on and on… I wish I could tell you all about every super awesome person I got to meet but we’d be here for forever, seriously! But I will say this, I got to meet nearly every YA author there, and I was truly blown away by how generous, sweet, and all-around awesome they were. Every time Kati and I went up to a table, the author was so quick to start a conversation with us regardless of how socially awkward we both are. I still can’t get over how great this part of the day was.

After checking out of the book signing and paying for the crap-load of books I bought, we finally took the stuff back to the car (which, if you remembered, was a half-mile away. FUN!). I regained some feeling in my arms at this point and we headed back into the convention. There were then three sessions of panels and author events you could choose to go to. We first went to the Author Speed Dating session. This was so much fun! There were about 20 tables set up and you sat at one of them for the whole time. The authors rotated between all the tables every three minutes. Many of the authors remembered Kati and I from the book signing (what can I say, we are incredibly lame and hard to forget) and then we were able to make friends with the new ones we hadn’t met yet. After this we attended two sessions of Author Speed Reading. Each author had a short amount of time to read a section from one of their books. It was great to hear a little bit of each of their stories but the authors teased us so much!

Finally it was time for the Teen Party!!! We got in line again (they really liked lines at this place!) but it wasn’t for too long. Teens at this event got an awesome bag filled with books (heck yes for being a teenager!!!). There was food set up, a psychic in one corner, a face painter in another, and then there were authors crawling all over the place! It was the perfect time to chow down on cupcakes and take pictures with some of your favorite authors. Kati and I got to take pictures with Stacey Kade, Stephanie Perkins, Franny Billingsley, and Kimberly Derting, and then we even got a few more of our new books signed! After making our rounds around the room 20+ times and stalking just about every author there was to stalk, it was time to head out. *sad face*

The whole day, as you can clearly see was SO FANTASTIC! It was the first big bookish thing I have ever been to and it honestly couldn’t have been a better first experience. I will definitely be going to it again in the future.

After the event, we had food (…again! Obviously we like to eat.) and went back to the hotel to pass the out. We woke up, packed up, and then headed into the city for our very last time. We got to spend a few hours exploring Chicago and seeing all sorts of cool things. This was Kati’s first “real” time in the city so I just HAD to show her all the great things in Millennium Park. All too soon, we had to head home. It was a long drive but we finally made it. Visiting Chicago and attending the RT Convention was one of the greatest trips I have ever been on. I was so excited to go to a fun place with Kati, I learned that I was one crap-tastic navigator, I was able to meet so many AMAZING bloggers and authors, and I got a whole slew of new books and swag; what could be better?

And now, a slideshow of the whole thing!!!!

p.s. This song’s for you Ginger! (I sooo wish you could have been there! One day, we’ll meet and it’ll be epic)

TGIF (37)

There once was an awesome blogger named Ginger and she decided to create a super fun feature where fellow bloggers would answer fabulous questions via blog posts every Friday. TGIF was born and we all have Miss Ginger at GReads! to thank for that! This week’s question is:

Love Stories:

What are some of your favorite fictional love stories?

Aside from my personal (and yes very fictional) love story that I have made up in my head, there are a TON of love stories in books that have completely captured my heart. I know I make a lot of lists and I often times go WAY overboard, and before you get ahead of yourself this post is no different, BUT I just wanted to let you know that I held back a lot or at least I tried to! There are so many wonderful, beautiful, breathtaking love stories (that I have read!) that deserve to be on this list but I only have so much time and I don’t think you want to be stuck here all day! Please excuse me while I get very excited, maybe a bit hot and bothered, and of course way too giddy!

Chelsea Fine

This girl is PURE GENIUS when it comes to writing love stories.

A few months ago I read Sophie & Carter and I was mesmerized by their love for each other. This story was about two people loving each other despite their completely screwed up lives. They accepted one another even with all the extra baggage that came along with it. Let’s be honest, this is what every relationship should be like!

Then the other day I finished Anew. I have not reviewed it yet but let me give you a little preview of what is to come “OH.EM.GEE!!!!!… That’s was crazy…Kissing Festival?….bright blue eyes….Gabriel<3….Twin brother!?!?!…..TRISTAN<3<3<3<3…swoon…drool…broken heart…LLLOOOVVVEEE!” Does that give you an idea about how epic this story is? Scarlet is lucky because she has two exceptional guys (did I mention they were brothers?) pining after her. One thinks life is rainbows and butterflies plus he worships the ground she walks on (Gabriel) and the other sacrifices EVERYTHING for her just to keep her safe (Tristan…sigh<3)

Stephanie Perkins

I probably don’t need to use up my time writing this out because we are all aware of how brilliant Stephanie is but I will do it just in case one of you is crazy enough to have not read her work before!

Anna and the French Kiss is adorable, there is lots of tension (the love kind, not the angry kind), and neither person involved in the relationship is technically available (Yeah, I know…this isn’t sounding like a good love story so far) but I still love it regardless. It is one story that captures the idea of a soul mate (or at least the idea of some who was almost made for you), some one so imperfectly perfect for you, that the only thing you can do in life is love them unconditionally.

Then Miss Stephanie had to go and show us that the first book was not just beginners luck. Lola and the Boy Next Door makes me smile by just saying the title. It shows that love can be messy and not always super pretty but there is such thing as forgiveness. Lola and Cricket have a strained relationship in the beginning but they work through it, they become good friends, and they have a heart-pounding smooching scene that I am insanely jealous of.

Megan McCafferty

I am a bit of a “newer” fan of the “I HEART EVERYTHING MEGAN WRITES” club, but that doesn’t change her level of brilliance. Which is pretty much as high as you can get.

I have only read the first 2 books in The Jessica Darling series so I will just have to go off of that. Wow!!! When I say Marcus you say LOVE. There is no definite way to describe this love story except that it’s full of laughs, two people being there for each other, making each other mad, apologizing in big ways (that may or may not include a whole song dedicated to them). Seriously, Jessica and Marcus are just so right together; they make sense. Plus, I just LOVE it when opposites attract to each other. They are both genius but Marcus has the whole rebel without a cause thing going for him and Jessica is brilliant, has her head on straight, and gets things done. Love<3

Simone Elkeles

If you didn’t know that I adore Simone with all of my heart then you have clearly been living under a rock!

Her Ruined series is all about the love! The reason this love story stands out the most to me is because of the work it takes. Amy and Avi are living in completely different countries and it is definitely NOT easy for them. Sure there are quite a few rough patches along the way but in the end they make it all work out!

Now we get to Perfect Chemistry, the book that imprinted the name Alex Fuentes into my heart <3 <3 <3 Seriously, when I said that I love how  opposites attract, it ALL started with this book ! Alex and Brittany are so different, they live in practically different worlds but they fall for each other regardless. They stick together no matter what their friends and families think AND we even get to see a softer side to Alex that Brittany totally brings out. Plus this book has a lot of kissing and I am a sucker for a good kissing scene!

Jennifer Echols

Jennifer is one of those authors that makes me squeal with excitement every time I hear she has a new book. She has easily found a place in my heart and will forever be one of my favorite authors. Plus guys, she is like the ROCK STAR of love stories!

Endless Summer is one of those love stories that make you miss high school. I know, MAJOR shock to hear “high school” and “miss” all in the same sentence but hear me out! Lori and Adam are so young, and crazy about each other even if they don’t quite realize it sometimes. It always makes me think of that “epic first love” that only the lucky people got to experience in high school.

And as many may know, Forget You is one of my favorite love stories and I can’t really tell if it’s because the love in it is amazing or because I could spend hours dreaming about Doug…. Zoey’s resistance to Doug, a dreamy guy who is good on crutches and makes Zoey angry in the most adorable ways,  makes this story so wonderful. You can see she is falling for him but it takes her so long to finally realize it. BUT when it does happen….your heart will pound <3

Going Too Far is another brilliant one. Actually, I dare you to find a Jennifer Echols book that I don’t like! This story is so lovely, and the two characters are beautiful and broken, and they definitely like to push each other to the limits (I think that is where the title comes from) but they also care for one another so deeply.Sure they may piss each other off immensely in the process but they make one another a better person in the end. Plus Officer After…*love* he can come arrest me any day of the week!

Sarah Dessen

I could easily pick any of Sarah’s book to fill in the number one spot. She has this magnificent ability to create stories that deal with these all so real and personal stories and they just happen to have an epic love story involved. I think I am picking The Truth About Forever not only because it is my favorite Dessen book EVER but because the love story in it means so much to me (which is really quite ironic because it shows so LITTLE of the romance!) Wes….okay yes he is gorgeous, sweet, gorgeous, a bit of a bad boy (at least in his past) and gorgeous. Yes those are all reasons to love him but he is also genuine. He speaks his mind, doesn’t sugar coat a whole lot, and he cares for you with his whole heart. He is a friend when you need him to be there and he is that extra push that helps you to be your very best. This is a story about supporting someone, being there for them regardless, and taking a chance on love and that my lovelies is why it is my very favorite fictional love story!

Wow, that post was way too much fun! I will now spend the remainder of my weekend dreaming of guys sweeping me off my feet…who just happen to be pretend. But then again, what’s new?

This week on Kate’s Tales of Books and Bands (2/3-2/10):

TGIF (36) What is it about books that really capture my eye?

A Touch Awesome Blog Tour Week Three: My top 5 favorite characters!

In My Mailbox (31) A few great books!

Tune In Tuesday (46) Some more randomness this week!

Trade Secrets by Yvonne Collins and Sandy Rideout! Such a cute follow-up to Love, Inc.

The Knife and the Butterfly by Ashley Hope Perez. A beautiful and touching story.

TGIF (34)

There once was an awesome blogger named Ginger and she decided to create a super fun feature where fellow bloggers would answer fabulous questions via blog posts every Friday. TGIF was born and we all have Miss Ginger at GReads! to thank for that! This week’s 

Recommend It:

Which book from the last 10 you’ve read would you recommend to a friend?

I have been a reading failure lately! I don’t know what it is about this new year but I am certainly having a very hard time getting back into the grove of things! It’s been a while since I’ve read some of these titles but the last 10 that I have read are:

Loving Emily by Anne Pfeffer

Unbreakable Love by Angela Carling

Summer On Fire by Kevin Craig

Something, Maybe by Elizabeth Scott

The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin

Never Eighteen by Megan Bostic

Love Story by Jennifer Echols

Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins

Wolves, Boys, and Other Things That Might Kill Me by Kristen Chandler

What Happened To Goodbye by Sarah Dessen

Out of these ten, I would recommend almost all of them to at least someone out there! Loving Emily was flat-out awesome. If you loved Freefall by Mindi Scott then this one is PERFECT for you! As for Unbreakable Love, it was a cute love story. It wasn’t exactly my favorite take on angels but it was still good! Summer On Fire was another okay one for me. It was a good book but I think it is more for the younger, teenage boy (which is TOTALLY okay with me since I think there needs to be more books for teenage boys out there!). Something, Maybe was my first Elizabeth Scott book, and I am now a fan. Like Sarah Dessen, she has very cute, easy to read books (this is my very non-subtle way of saying, “If you are a SD fan, read this book!”) The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer is a completely mind-blowing story. I have not even reviewed it because it is just so “wow” that I cannot even find the words to describe it!I think there is something so creepy and haunting about it, but if I (a HUGE baby) can handle it, I have no problem recommending it to everyone else! Never Eighteen is a great book if you are in the mood for a quick, tear-jerker! I think this book is a good mix of Deadline by Chris Crutcher and maybe Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher (I don’t know why it reminded me of the latter but it was awesome so that’s all you need to know!). Love Story will keep those Jennifer Echols hard-core fans (such as myself) happy! I loved that this book had older characters! It may not be my ALL-TIME favorite by her but it was still well-worth the read! Lola and the Boy Next Door is a must read. I don’t care if you are 16 or 80. Male or female. THAT BOOK IS MADE OF AWESOME! Wolves, Boys, and Other Things That Might Kill Me…ehhh, I didn’t love this one like at all but it does have a super-freaking-awesome title. What Happened To Goodbye. Sarah Dessen, a goddess in my book, wrote it. Need I say more?

So I couldn’t pick just one book to recommend to you guys but I hope that the little snippets I offered on each book will help you decide if you want to read them! And if you have read any of the above titles, what did you think about them???

This week on Kate’s Tales of Books and Bands (1/13-1/20):

TGIF (33) The top books on my TBR list for 2012!

Life As Kate (14) Madness, like always!

In My Mailbox (29) HOLY HUGE STACK OF BOOKISH GOODIES, BATMAN!

Tune In Tuesday (43) Featuring the super adorable He Is We!

Dark Days Blog Tour + Book Teasers! Check out the QUESTION OF THE DAY in the comments section and e-mail the authors for a chance to win a KINDLE FIRE!!!

The Best of Twenty-Eleven

The year has come and gone so quickly that I can hardly believe it! It seems like just yesterday I was starting my winter semester as a college Freshman and I was trying to squeeze in every ounce of fun that I could. A ton of memories were created this past year, some bad but mostly all good, and I like to think it has been one of the best years yet. In keeping with the same format that I used last year, here are some of the best moments of 2011!

Sidenote: Almost all of these are a tie between two or more things. Sorry about that, I tried my best to narrow it down but it just wasn’t happening!

1. Best Vacation– This is definitely a tie between the Myrtle Beach vacation I took with Kati and the Myrtle Beach Vacation I took with my family a month later. The weather was gorgeous both times and I got to experience a ton of different things with each trip. I was so lucky to be able to go on two vacations back to back like that!

2. Best Concert– This one also has a tie! It is between Warped Tour 2011 and the acoustic performance by We The Kings! Warped Tour is a day filled with music awesomeness! I saw so many bands perform, got a ton of stuff signed, and I even got to talk to a few of the performers. The We The Kings acoustic performance was brilliant for so many reasons: It was acoustic, it was small, it was free, it featured my future husband, I got to put my arms around my future husband, and I even got to take a picture with my future husband. IT WAS AMAZING!

3. Best CD– This is also going to have to be a tie! We The Kings dropped their latest album this year entitled Sunshine State of Mind. The title of the album couldn’t be more perfect because I get in a sunshiney state of mind EVERY TIME I listen to their CD. So what could be the competition to such an epic CD? All the mixed CD’s I got this past year! I had a lot of friends make me CD’s and all of them were filled with awesome songs that brings a smile to my face!

4. Best New Activity– I can’t explain too many details because I have yet to send out Christmas presents to some pretty freaking lovely bloggers but I do enjoy jewelry making. It takes time and is far more expensive than I could have imagined but it is so much fun to create!

5. Best Birthday Present– Last year I got a whole new bedroom so I was wondering how anything could ever live up to something like that. The answer came in the form of a brand-new bookshelf! I was making just the one work but I was desperately in need of one and my parents luckily noticed it! I love it so freaking much!

6. Best Movies– Well I do love me some movies…and popcorn! Some of my favorites were: Breaking Dawn: Part 1, Bridesmaids, Crazy Stupid Love, The Help, Harry Potter & The Deathly Hollows: Part 2, and Footloose.

7. Best Books– Oh gosh! It was my original goal to read 100 books in 2011 but Goodreads just wouldn’t stop telling me how sucky I was at completing that goal so I changed it to 80 and I still didn’t accomplish it! However, I did squeeze in 76 books. The best ones (some 4’s and all 5 stars) are:

Sidenote: Some of the titles will be linked to my reviews and other will be linked to Goodreads since I have not yet reviewed them!

Sophie & Carter by Chelsea Fine

Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins

A Girl Named Willow Krimble by Giuseppe Bianco

Rising Shadow by Jacquelyn Wheeler

Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta

Audrey, Wait! by Robin Benway

Released by Megan Duncan

Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour by Morgan Matson

Sean Griswold’s Head by Lindsey Leavitt

The Lonely Hearts Club by Elizabeth Eulberg

The Body Finder by Kimberly Derting

Faithful by Janet Fox

The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin

Divergent by Veronica Roth

Sloppy Firsts by Megan McCafferty

Second Helpings by Megan McCafferty

What Can’t Wait by Ashley Hope Perez

Other Words for Love by Lorraine Zago Rosenthal

Fall For Anything by Courtney Summers

Unearthly by Cynthia Hand

Matched by Ally Condie

What Happened to Goodbye by Sarah Dessen

Endless Summer by Jennifer Echols

Re-reads of both Sarah Dessen and Jennifer Echols books

Fade by Lisa McMann

The Childe by C.A. Kunz

Between by Cyndi Tefft

Love, Inc. by Yvonne Collins & Sandy Rideout

Girl v Boy by Yvonne Collins & Sandy Rideout

Five Flavors of Dumb by Antony John

The Pull of Gravity by Gae Polisner

Across the Universe by Beth Revis

Angelfire by Courtney Allison Moulton

8. Best Blogging Moment– How does one even choose something like this? In the past year I have met more authors, connected with more bloggers, reviewed more books, joined more weekly features, and had the most fun than I have EVER had! This whole experience has been one joyous event after another and I have all of YOU to thank for that. I have found some of the greatest friends and most influential people (and let’s not forget they all also kick butt when it come to writing reviews!) than I could have ever imagined. I would not trade this past year for anything!

9. Best Friend(s)– It is no secret that Kati has and always will be my best friend. I talk about her awesomeness all the time. But because of recent events, I feel like I must give a shout-out to my dear friend Stacey. Her and I were running buddies in high school. You could never find two girls who hated cross-country with such a deep passion like the two of us (even though we secretly loved it!) She has been there for both Kati and I through so many things and now it’s our turn to be there for Stacey. These two girls make my days so much better and I love them for that!

10. Best Family– Well of course this goes out to my family once again but not without some complaints! Zack and Zeke aka The Brat Pack drove me absolutely INSANE this past year. Those two boys are the epitome of annoying little brothers. I love them to death but jeez louise they sure are crazy! In all honesty, I am lucky to have my family always there for me. They support me through everything and even though they make fun of me every once in a while, they always know how to make me smile!

So that’s it for my 2011! I hope you all had a great year and an even better 2012!