Tag: travel

ARC Illumination: Everything, Everything (2015) by Nicola Yoon

ARC Illumination: Everything, Everything (2015) by Nicola YoonEverything, Everything by Nicola Yoon
Published by Random House Children's Books on September 3rd 2015
Genres: Young Adult, Love & Romance, Family, Contemporary
Pages: 320

Madeline Whittier is allergic to the outside world. So allergic, in fact, that she has never left the house in all of her seventeen years. But when Olly moves in next door, and wants to talk to Maddie, tiny holes start to appear in the protective bubble her mother has built around her. Olly writes his IM address on a piece of paper, shows it at her window, and suddenly, a door opens. But does Maddie dare to step outside her comfort zone?

Everything, Everything is about the thrill and heartbreak that happens when we break out of our shell to do crazy, sometimes death-defying things for love.

Happy August, readers! The blog has been on a bit of a hiatus due to my pretty busy teaching load this summer, but I’m happy to say that I’m gradually returning back. I have loads of books to tell you about, and I’m sure you’re also anxious about getting Part 2 of my ALA recap! I’m eager to post it. More updates coming soon, but first, I must tell you about Everything, Everything!

What an impressive and beautiful book. Many of my friends on Twitter and Goodreads had been raving about this one, and the unique premise (along with the cover) really drew me to this debut. I was thankful to pick up a Print ARC at ALA, and I was almost jumping for joy at getting a matching tote. Upon arriving home, this is one of the first books I picked up, and without further ado, let’s get to my thoughts on this September release YA!


What I Loved:

The creative narrative structure: Drawings, e-mails, air quality reports, and chat room dialogues pepper the narrative of Everything, Everything and I loved it! I think this creativity added a depth and richness to the story that wouldn’t have been achieved without these unique additions.

The voice of the MC: Maddy is endearing, curious, and sometimes fearful. But she’s willing to take a risk on her next door neighbor, Olly. And the fact is, “He’s not safe. He’s not familiar. He’s in constant motion. He’s the biggest risk I’ve ever taken.” Of course, we cheer Maddy on, and though this isn’t a thriller, I feel like I was on the edge of my seat waiting for this couple to get together. Would Olly brave the air lock room and the decontamination in order to see Maddy, who’s allergic to almost everything in the outside world? Well, you’ll just have to read to find out…

The depiction of conflict: Every relationship, if it’s an authentic and close one, will endure conflict of some sort. That’s what happens when people are real with one another. Whether it’s between Maddy and her mom or Maddy and Olly, the dialogue, emails, and chat transcripts in the book illuminate the ups and downs of these connections. As Maddy is growing up, and eventually trying to hide her connection with Olly from her mother, she inevitably drifts apart from her mother in order to make her own way in the world. It’s astounding, in some ways, thinking about how much Maddy is missing in her life just due to the fact that she is confined to a very small space, and isn’t allowed outside. Or…she might die. Her mother and her “nurse” are the two people she mostly sees everyday. Until Olly comes along—the boy next door. Then, everything changes. Everything. But this change is good. Even though the changes that ensue are painful at times, they prove to be the best kind of changes that happen for Maddy.

Illuminations of Spirituality:

Madeleine gradually opens up to the idea of love in her life—romantic love, that is, and it takes an immense amount of courage for her to do so. But Olly is such a sensitive friend to Madeleine, and he seems to understand her fears and trepidation. I think this reflects a spiritual aspect of the book in that it highlights the way people make room for our weaknesses and fears—true friends will understand that sometimes it’s a journey for a relationship to blossom. Nurturing has to take place, and when we’re in tune with the spiritual part of our selves—that aspect that is in tune to other people’s unvoiced fears, we can be more sensitive in our connections and interactions. The book really dives into the characters—Madeleine, her Mother, Olly—the result is a beautiful character driven story that illuminates the power and magic of love. Also: of growing up. Growing up is an essential part of life, and for Madeleine, it brings some pain. Especially in relation to discoveries she makes. No spoilers here, but there are some painful points in the story. It’s realistic in that it depicts the ups and downs of figuring out who you are and what you want right in the middle of some of the most confusing years: the teenage ones.

“Maybe growing up means disappointing the people we love.”

“You can’t predict the future. It turns out that you can’t predict the past either. Time moves in both directions – forward and backward – and what happens here and now changes them both.”

Spoiler alert: Love is worth everything. Everything.”

Who Should Read This Book:

Readers who enjoy young adult contemporaries would most assuredly enjoy this novel featuring a protagonist with a unique medical condition. It’s character driven, yes, but there are plenty of significant interactions, even a tropical vacation, what’s not to love about Maddy and Olly? I know I’ll be thinking about these characters for a long time, and that ending was just perfect!

The Final Illumination:

One thing I love about this book (among other things) is the cover! Isn’t it stunning? What a wonderful choice on the part of the cover designers because it seems (to me) to encapsulate part of the story’s theme. Where once life was dull with very little change and variety, new relationships can open up dimension and depth and detail and color…

What did you think of Everything, Everything? Are you planning on reading it when it releases in September? Drop by my Twitter account where I’ll have a Preorder Giveaway going on for the book!

What Katie Read

ALA Recap! (Part I) Annual Convention 2015: San Francisco


The Illuminae Stairs!

Sit back and imagine. A visit to San Francisco. Sunny weather. Books. ARCs. Authors you love. Librarians. Blogging friends. Crepes. Blue Bottle Coffee.

It’s the perfect vacation, right? That’s what I thought! Welcome to my American Library Association Annual Convention 2015 recap!IMG_7651

ALA was fantastic! Traveling to San Francisco, meeting blogger friends, chatting with publicists, and meeting authors made it an absolutely wonderful extended weekend. I’m so glad I took the time to drive to San Francisco and see what the whole ALA Annual Convention experience was all about.

I’m going to have to divide up this recap into several parts because there’s just too much to talk about. First, let’s talk about those BOOKS and AUTHOR SIGNINGS!

Learning the Ropes of ALA & Author Signings:

I’d never been to ALA or BEA before, so this was a real treat visiting the booths of major publishers of children’s, young adult, and adult literature, as well as some of the smaller and independent ones. Saturday morning, some of us book bloggers were hanging out together near the front of the crowd, ready to go, and when those security guards stepped aside, we stormed them! Just kidding—we actually didn’t—but we did walk pretty quickly to the Bloomsbury booth, which ended up being a little too crowded so we sauntered down to Disney instead. At the Disney Booth, the publicists were extremely friendly, and though I was disappointed they didn’t have ARCs of Passenger, they did have some other titles that were on my list! Over the three days, these are the titles I acquired from Disney. Many thanks to their awesome publicists!!


Titles include: A Thousand Nights by E.K. Johnston, Black Widow by Margaret Stohl, Spinning Starlight by R.C. Lewis, Hunter by Mercedes Lackey, Out of Abation: The Wooden Prince by John Claude Bemis, Starflight by Melissa Landers, Hook’s Revenge: The Pirate Code by Heidi Schulz, Serafina and the Black Cloak by Robert Beatty, and Odd Aquaticum by Alistair Grim.

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The Harper booth became a place all of us book bloggers frequented often! Of course, Saturday morning included the RAE CARSON SIGNING and you know that this was one of the very events I attended ALA for. I was too star struck to get a photo but it was utterly fabulous to meet Rae, and have her sign my ARC of WALK ON EARTH A STRANGER. I’m happy to say I will gladly attend more book events where she’s signing and/or speaking.

Over the the next three days of the event, we returned to the Harper Booth for either signings or to chat with publicists about certain titles. I’m happy to say that I returned with a wonderful selection of books I’m super excited about reading and reviewing for the fall. Two titles that I had been hoping I would nab included A MADNESS SO DISCREET by Mindy McGinnis and THIS MONSTROUS THING by Mackenzie Lee.


There were two sides to the exhibit hall at Moscone and so we would hop back and forth for signings or for just browsing and chatting with people. Sometimes we stayed together in a group and sometimes we went our own separate ways.

That’s the beauty of ALA—you can always meet again later for lunch or coffee, or rendezvous for an author signing…such as the Leigh Bardugo Six of Crows signing on Saturday afternoon! That line was insanely long, but we managed to be near the beginning as we showed up pretty early. I had never seen Leigh before, and it was a joy to meet her and have her sign my ARC of Six of Crows. I am very excited about this one!


How can I not tell you about meeting Ann M. Martin, one of my favorite childhood authors, the beloved writer of THE BABYSITTER’S CLUB!?!?! Yes, she was at ALA signing several books, including RAIN, REIGN and also THE BABYSITTER’S CLUB Graphic Novel. I had seen her speak for the first time last fall at the Boston Book Festival, but this was the first time I actually met her in person, and it was FANTASTIC!! I think I read every single one of The Babysitter’s Club books as they were coming out, all of the Super Specials, and all of the Mystery editions as well.

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Since two of my favorites books (I have taught both of them in my college level Children’s Literature course) are the graphic novels of Brian Selznick, you can imagine I was pretty excited for the signing in the Scholastic Booth on Sunday. I showed up pretty early because I knew that line was going to be long. I had with me my hardback copy of THE INVENTION OF HUGO CABRET and I was given an ARC of THE MARVELS. It is AMAZING!! And Brian signed both my books. I also got to tell him about an article I wrote about Hugo Cabret that appeared in an issue of Bookbird, and so I was happy about that. I knew that someone with that level of talent and imagination just had to be a fabulous person, and I could tell he is! I have a few photos to share with you. The first photo is a bit blurry–sorry about that!

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Of course, I can’t end Part I of this recap without telling you how amazing it was to meet Anthony Doerr, author of the Pulitzer Prize winning novel, ALL THE LIGHT WE CANNOT SEE! I adore this book, and when I discovered that Anthony would be there signing finished hard copies, I was beyond excited. Sydney and Vanessa were awesome enough to get in line early, and I joined them soon after. The line grew to around 300 people and then they cut it off. Thankfully we were not too far back, so we didn’t have to wait a terribly long time, though we didn’t mind. Anthony spoke to each person and gave them a personalized signature! I chatted with him about being left-handed (I noticed he was) and I don’t think I’ll ever forget meeting this kind and sensitive author. I’m definitely due for a re-read of the novel. If you haven’t read it, get to your calendar/planner now, and plan to read this amazing book!


That’s all for Part I of my recap. Stay tuned for Part II, with topics ranging from the bookish friends I met in San Francisco to more books I picked up to other fun adventures!!



What Katie Read

Love, Lucy Blog Tour & Giveaway (Review + Favorite Quotes)

Love, Lucy by April Lindner
on January 27th 2015
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
Pages: 304

While backpacking through Florence, Italy, during the summer before she heads off to college, Lucy Sommersworth finds herself falling in love with the culture, the architecture, the food...and Jesse Palladino, a handsome street musician. After a whirlwind romance, Lucy returns home, determined to move on from her "vacation flirtation." But just because summer is over doesn't mean Lucy and Jesse are over, too.

In this coming-of-age romance, April Lindner perfectly captures the highs and lows of a summer love that might just be meant to last beyond the season.

LOVE LUCY banner

Welcome to my Tour Stop on the Love, Lucy Book Tour! (Click the link to see the full schedule!) Step into Italy as you get to know April Lindner’s new book a little more (don’t worry–no spoilers ahead). Also, you can win a hardcover copy of the new book–a Rafflecopter is below!

For the Travel Lover:

Reading about Lucy’s solitary adventures in Florence reminds me of my recent first trip to Florence, as I was there by myself. I love the way Lindner has portrayed Lucy’s ventures into the city as I felt transported to the city myself. The way that Lucy just decides to wander, without really consulting her map is something I think travelers often find themselves doing in Italy. It just seems that kind of county, and Florence is that kind of city.

Lucy’s decision to venture off by herself in the city positions her for something extraordinary, and I think that’s one reason why so many of us appreciate traveling alone. By traveling alone, you are poised for adventure!

“Because she couldn’t stand alone on a street corner forever, Lucy picked a direction as random and took it. I might as well do whatever makes me happy, she told herself, though happy wasn’t exactly the word for how she was feeling.”

I like that Lindner portrays what can happen when traveling with a friend for a long period of time. There’s bound to be disagreements and bumps along the way, and these can be navigated, but it can take work. Lucy and Charlene certainly have some issues during their time in Italy, and Charlene’s grumpy mood makes things difficult, especially when Lucy finds herself wanting to spend time with Jesse.

The story also, obviously, highlights how easy it is to meet new people. When you’re traveling in an unfamiliar city and you don’t know many people, you are more apt to connect with those like yourself. Though Jesse is working in Florence and is more confident in his knowledge of the area, he’s an American, like Lucy. He’s also a musician and can connect with her passion for the theater and performance. Lucy’s father urges Lucy to pursue studies in business and move away from her acting, and this is something Lucy has to navigate throughout the story.

You’ll love the descriptions of Florence and Lucy’s adventures—but be warned, the second half of the book takes place back in the states, in Philadelphia. Of course, Lucy has to return to start college, and Jesse remains in Italy. The summer fling is over. Or is it? You’ll have to pick up the book yourself to find out what happens between Lucy and Jesse.

For the E.M. Forster Lover:

A Room with a View spinoff?? Yes, please! I love Room with a View and frequently re-read it. In fact, I took it with me during my first trip to Florence and did not regret that decision.

You’ll see many traces of A Room with a View in this story—the situation at the beginning of the book when Lucy and Charlene want to switch to a room with a view. The names of the characters. The kiss in Fiesole!

I share a few quotes from A Room with a View to get you excited about ITALY!

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Final Thoughts:

I really enjoyed this one!

At the same time, Lucy and Jesse’s relationship seemed a bit rushed in the beginning of the book. However, this is a summer Europe trip, and Lucy’s young—so “falling in love” while in Florence with the street musician who shows her the town—well, you can see this would be appealing.

The “Charlotte” in me from Room with a View had a little trepidation when Jesse invites Lucy to go with him to Rome. Now, if it was Paul from Room with a View, I might be ok with it. But this isn’t Paul. Though, he doesn’t say much in the beginning of his relationship with Lucy—and that is similar to Paul from Room with a View. But later on the two start performing together—Jesse plays and Lucy sings…and things pick up.

I enjoyed the way Lindner played around with the plot and themes from E.M. Forster’s A Room with a View in this Contemporary YA. I appreciated the book being split between the two countries, and its depiction of Lucy’s working through giving up her dream of becoming an actress, and then starting to play with it again.

I haven’t read any of April Lindner’s other books, though I’ve had them on my list for awhile. It’s time to change that by taking a look at her Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights retellings.

I’m definitely ready to return to Florence for another trip soon. Gelato, espresso, and the Duomo are calling my name!

More Favorite Quotes:

“Up ahead, the buildings fell away, and Lucy’s pulse quickened. Without meaning to, she’s made it all the way to the Arno, the river she’d seen in so many pictures of Florence.”

“Something sprang in Lucy’s heart, like a window flung wide on the first warm day of spring.”

“The world would turn, the bus would move, and twenty-four hours later she would be on a train speeding away from him, but at least they had this moment.”


Amazon paperback
Barnes & Noble (B&N)


love lucy high res author photo

April Lindner is the author of three novels: Catherine, a modernization of Wuthering Heights; Jane, an update of Jane Eyre; and Love, Lucy, due out in January, 2015. She also has published two poetry collections, Skin and This Bed Our Bodies Shaped. She plays acoustic guitar badly, sees more rock concerts than she’d care to admit, travels whenever she can, cooks Italian food, and lavishes attention on her pets—two Labrador retriever mixes and two excitable guinea pigs. A professor of English at Saint Joseph’s University, April lives in Pennsylvania with her husband and two sons.


Website: http://aprillindnerwrites.blogspot.com
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/119005.April_Lindner
Twitter: https://twitter.com/misadventure123
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/april.lindner
Tumblr: http://aprillindner.tumblr.com/
Google+: https://plus.google.com/110633613315102244487/posts

Details: Win (1) of (5) hardcopies of Love, Lucy by April Lindner (US Only)

Start: March 30th, 2015
End: April 7th, 2015

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What Katie Read
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