Surfing Stories: 199 Letters by larrystylinson (Ashley Price)

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Hey readers!

Today is a special day on It’s a Booksession because the next instalment of “Surfing Stories” is being added. If you’ve never heard of this series let me explain it. I love reading. This should come to no surprise as I run a blog dedicated to talking about books. However, since the time I was in high school (a long time ago), I don’t read just traditionally published and self-published books. I now read books and stories (mostly One Direction fanfiction) uploaded onto the Internet on websites such as Wattpad.com and Booksie.com. To be honest, some of these books are my favourite books that I’ve ever read and their stories stay with me sometimes longer than traditional books. As a result, I created “Surfing Stories” to provide a platform to showcase these e-stories because they deserve to be read by a larger audience. As well as to open the eyes of people who’ve never heard of these websites and books.

Therefore, 199 Letters by larrystylinson (Ashley Pricewill be the book showcased today.


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Synopsis:

What would you do if your best friend committed suicide? What would you do if there was no way you could help them? All there is left, 199 letters. The only thing they left behind for you.

Review: 

Before starting the review, I wanted to say that read this story at your own discretion. There is a trigger warning for suicide. Also, in the original fanfic, the primary relationship talked about in this fanfic is between Harry Styles and Louis Tomlinson. So if you’re not into slash fiction or boyxboy you may not like 199 Letters.

I first read this book when I was in high school, in the beginning stages of reading all of the One Direction fanfics. I had just finished reading another popular slash fanfic Room 319, and that had shattered my heart into a million pieces. Naturally, I wanted to read another book that would break my heart once more. So I searched Wattpad and eventually found 199 Letters. 

At the time, and there still are, a lot of stories on that website that deal with a similar subject matter. However, 199 Letters was different. Right from the synopsis I could tell that the story was well-written. I mean, if you can’t write a good synopsis that doesn’t give everything away, can you write a good story? Once I started reading I knew that thought was true, because my heart was not only shattered but ripped apart as well. The story did havoc on my feelings. Feelings that had never been so strongly felt towards characters at the time. Tears were streaming streaming down my face, to the point that they could have formed rivers and probably solve the current California drought.

In addition to excellent writing, the story felt real. The plot felt real enough to me that it could have happened. Maybe not in this universe but an alternate universe. AND THAT ONE PLOT TWIST! It felt like a huge slap in the face! (If you read it or have read it then you’ll understand what I’m talking about).

In March 2015, Ashley published 199 Letters. I only discovered this recently, but once I did, I immediately ordered myself a copy of the book and re-read it. The characters names have changed for legal reasons and a couple of things here and there were changed but only had more cohesion to the story. The published story is just as good as the original. I’m happy for Ashley.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

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Places to read 199 Letters:

Wattpad (the first 2 chapters): https://goo.gl/wnVqOa

Amazon (the physical book): http://goo.gl/mmPfnb

Amazon (the Kindle version): http://goo.gl/e3LYYQ


Have you read any good fanfics or online stories recently? Or even write your own and would like me review it? Let me know in the comments below or on one of my many social medias:

Wattpad: @samanthad3

Twitter: @itsabooksession

Instagram: @itsabooksession

Pinterest: @SDP30

Mark Your Calendars #4

How to Fall by Rebecca Brooks

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Release Date: November 16, 2015

Synopsis:

One week of adventure might just lead to love…

Julia Evans has always put others ahead of herself–her high school math students, her troubled best friend, and her ex. But with New Year’s approaching, she buys a round trip ticket to Brazil. For one week, she can put her needs first. She can meet a stranger in the hotel pool at midnight and dance all night on the beach.

Screenwriter Blake Williams has to keep moving before Oz’s latest scandal catches up to him. But the dark-haired beauty with a backpack and an adventurous streak is messing with his plans. He can’t seem to walk away from her. But secrets have a way of coming out, and when the week is up, Julia and Blake will have to decide if they’re jumping into the biggest adventure of all or playing it safe.

Non Fiction November TBR

Pic from abookolive and nonficbooks

(Picture from Gemma @nonficbooks and Olive @abookolive)

Hey readers!

One day I was perusing through my Youtube subscriptions and saw time to read upload a Challenge TBR for Non-fiction November, intrigued I checked it out. Turns out Gemma from Nonficbooks and Olive from abookolive are hosting a reading challenge throughout the month of November. The premise is simple. Read some non-fiction books in November, an amount more than what you’re accustomed to. Or you can complete some challenges. Those are pretty simple. All you have to do is read a non-fiction book on the topic of history, science/nature, culture/society and biography/memoir.

Looking at the books I need to read for class I decided to join in. Bonus, the books also complete the challenges.

My TBR:

Show Me a Hero by Lisa Belkin

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Not in my backyard — that’s the refrain commonly invoked by property owners who oppose unwanted development. Such words assume a special ferocity when the development in question is public housing. Lisa Belkin penetrates the prejudices, myths, and heated emotions stirred by the most recent trend in public housing as she re-creates a landmark case in riveting detail, showing how a proposal to build scattered-site public housing in middle-class neighborhoods nearly destroyed an entire city and forever changed the lives of many of its citizens.
— Public housing projects are being torn down throughout the United States. What will take their place? Show Me a Hero explores the answer.
— An important and compelling work of narrative nonfiction in the tradition of J. Anthony Lukas’s Common Ground.
— A sweeping yet intimate group portrait that assesses the effects of public policy on individual human lives.

This Borrowed Earth: Lessons from the Fifteen Worst Environmental Disasters around the World by Robert Hernan

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Over the last century mankind has irrevocably damaged the environment through the unscrupulous greed of big business and our own willful ignorance. Here are the strikingly poignant accounts of disasters whose names live in infamy: Chernobyl, Bhopal, Exxon Valdez, Three Mile Island, Love Canal, Minamata and others. And with these, the extraordinary and inspirational stories of the countless men and women who fought bravely to protect the communities and environments at risk.


Will you be participating in Non-Fiction November?

*pictures and synopsis of books are copied from Goodreads.com.

Mark Your Calendars #3

This Raging Light by Estelle Laure

I can’t wait to read debut novel by Estelle Laure. The plot sounds like it’s going to be thought-provoking but also cute at the same time. The adorable cover helps too.

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Release Date: December 22, 2015

Synopsis:

Can the best thing happen at the worst time?

Her dad went crazy. Her mom left town. She has bills to pay and a little sister to look after. Now is not the time for level-headed seventeen-year-old Lucille to fall in love. But love—messy, inconvenient love—is what she’s about to experience when she falls for Digby Jones, her best friend’s brother.

Review: Divergent by Veronica Roth

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Synopsis:

The world is broken up into five factions:

  • Candor – the honest ones
  • Abnegation – the selfless ones
  • Dauntless – the brave ones
  • Amnity – the peaceful ones
  • Erudite – the smart ones

In the year that teenagers turn 16, they get to decide which faction they want to live in based on a simulation test that they completed. Once they decide their fate in a ceremony they will have to live in the faction for the rest of their lives. Sounds easy, right? It isn’t that easy for our protagonist, Beatrice. The results for her simulation ended up inconclusive, she doesn’t belong to a particular faction. She’s considered divergent. But shhh, no one can know that, as it usually is associated with death. As a result, her choosing of a faction is much more harder than her peers or even her twin brother. She doesn’t know whether to stay with the faction of her parents, Amnity, or to branch off and become someone that she could be proud of.

Review: 

That was amazing! I went into this book not knowing much except that Tris is pretty cool, Four is many people’s book boyfriend and that there were similarities between Divergent and the Hunger Games books. I’m happy that I didn’t know much despite the fact that this book is seriously hyped up and turned into a movie.

In the beginning chapter of the book I will agree with others that there was an uncanny resemblance between the Hunger Games and Divergent, with the different factions and the fact that our protagonist Beatrice, comes from the one that isn’t full of luxury and riches. However, as the plot continued on the book went on it’s own path and I’m so happy it did. I loved that there was a ton of action, a little romance (except in that one scene knowing that other people were watching), and no love triangle. *gasp* no love triangle in a popular dystopian novel? Yup.

I also loved the characters. Tris is such a kick-ass, bad-ass character and once she fully supports a cause, there’s no looking back. She loves her family to death and would do anything for them. Four…I liked but I’m not head over heels with him as others are. Yeah, he’s hot, does some cute gestures every once in a while and has a past that no one should have. Meh. Maybe he’ll grow on me more with the continuation of the series.

Listening to the audiobook, narrated by Emma Galvin was an experience and highly recommended to everyone; even if you’ve already read the book before. She truly personified Tris. For example, when Tris could barely breathe and talk in a volume just higher than a whisper, so did Emma. When Tris was being strangled and the air was escaping her lungs and tried to gulp in breaths, so did Emma. She has an incredible ability to alter her voice in ways that distinguish characters and no two ever sounded the same. I will definitely look out for books specifically narrated by her, she is one of the best narrators I’ve heard so far.

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

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Mark Your Calendars #2

The Sister Pact by Stacie Ramey

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Release Date: November 3, 2015

Synopsis:

Allie is devastated when her older sister commits suicide – and not just because she misses her. Allie feels betrayed. The two made a pact that they’d always be together, in life, and in death, but Leah broke her promise and Allie needs to know why.

Her parents hover. Her friends try to support her. And Nick, sweet Nick, keeps calling and flirting. Their sympathy only intensifies her grief.

But the more she clings to Leah, the more secretes surface. Allie’s not sure which is more distressing: discovering the truth behind her sister’s death or facing her new reality without her.

*Synopsis and cover image are credited to Goodreads

Bookish Scenarios Tag

Hello readers!

Today will be a book tag that I found on Youtube created by the lovely Lindsayheartbooks. As the title would suggest, this tag consists of 7 not so easy scenarios all involving books. Let’s hope I can do this.

1. You have to get rid of all your books and you can only keep one from each of these genres – contemporary, fantasy, non-fiction and one other genre of your choosing. What books do you keep?

  • Contemporary: Just One Day by Gayle Forman. I loved that book when I first read it, and it instilled the travel bug in me.
  • Fantasy: Harry Potter. Classic.
  • Non-Fiction: Show Me a Hero by Lisa Belkin, only because I have to write a paper on it. (Practical right?)
  • Romance: On Dublin Street by Samantha Young. I haven’t read it yet but it seems to be well-received on the Internet.

2. You’re at the bookstore and you hear a teenager telling their mom they don’t like to read, but their mom insists they pick something. You walk over and recommend a book you think is great for people who aren’t big on reading – what book is it?

This one is really hard because it all depends on what people are interested in…so I guess I’ll go with Divergent by Veronica Roth. The book is good for beginners because it has a little bit of everything in it…a ton of action, a little bit of romance but not too much that it dominates the plot, good family and friendships ties. Would definitely recommend.

3. You’re not feeling yourself and need a pick-me-up. Which book do you read to put yourself in a better mood?

If we’re going the published route, then it’s the Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants series by Ann Brashares. Except the very last book in the series that is marketed as an adult book, Sisterhood Everlasting. That’s not a very happy book.

4. You go back in time for a day to your teenage years. What book would you most likely have caught yourself reading?

In my early teenage years I was very much into reading the Marked series by P.C. & Kristin Cast and pretty much loved every book.

I was also really into fanfiction for the latter half of my teenage years. One Direction fanfiction of course. There was a year or two where I would be staying up all night to read them and saved hundreds of them on my Wattpad account to read at a later time. There’s a few fanfics that I still read now when I have time to go onto Wattpad.

5. Your friend surprises you with a 4 day trip and you have 1 hour to pack. Which book do you bring to read on the way?

The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins only because I have to read it for my book club and I haven’t started it yet…shh don’t tell anyone.

6. Your house has been robbed! Don’t worry – everyone is safe, but your bookshelf has been raided. What’s the book you really hope is safe?

Hunted by P.C. and Kristin Cast…I got it signed with a bunch of friends and that book is attached to so many memories of my time back then. For example, the thing with the vampires in this series is that they have markings all over their faces indicating that they are vampires. The look of these markings depend on the personality of the person. It just so happened P.C. and Kristin came to a book signing in my town and a lot of my friends who read and enjoyed the series were going. Therefore, at the end of the day at school, we all drew markings on our foreheads and wore them to the book signing. I wish I had a picture of it to show you guys.

7. Your friend borrows a book and returns it in awful condition. Do you a) Just pretend you haven’t noticed b) Ask them to repurchase it or c) Secretly do the same to something of theirs.

I would probably say A “just pretend you haven’t noticed” but then mentally think that I would probably never let them borrow a book from me again. Then throw out the book and purchase a new copy if it was one of my all-time favourites.