Friday Reads: Aug 5, 2016

Thanks to Civic Holiday in Canada, this past week was a short one. It has been, however, one of the longest short weeks that happened in a while. Usually they just fly by but not this time. This week kept on dragging on. Thankfully though it is finally Friday (a.k.a Fri-yay). Time to get my reading on!

This weekend I will be reading:
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 The Maze Runner by James Dashner. This is the weekend that I determine if I’m going to finish this book or if it’ll become a DNF. I’m more than halfway through and it’s dragging and I can’t seem to get into it.

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Dare Me by Megan Abbott. It’s the first of 4 books I’ve taken out from the library and it needs to be read A.S.A.P before I need to return it.


What will you be reading?

 

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The Time and Place Book Tag

Books can often be associated with memories. Memories of where you were when you first heard of the book, memories of experiences of reading them and at times memories of friendships. The Time and Place book tag was created by Non Fic Books on Youtube as a way to share these stories. While she did say to pick 10, I don’t think I can pick that many; instead I’ll pick as many books as I can. Here we go!

Book 1: The Seventh Princess by Nick Sullivan

This book brings me back to my early elementary school years. During that time, teachers would bring us to the school library and let us take out 1 book for the month. While perusing the stacks, I found this gem. The synopsis sucked me in and I read it within one or two sittings, and it sucked me in. This was the first book that I read that I had absolutely loved and needed to talk about it with other people. And I did. I also loved it so much that I made a mini-pact with myself to read the book once a year, just because.

Book 2: Twilight by Stephanie Meyer

I feel like a lot of other people will have this on their list but I still wanted to tell my story of how I came out this book. It was late elementary school, probably grade 6 or 7. My friend who lived across the street from me was really into reading books as much as I did, she probably read even more. So, we took a trip to the local library looking through the young adult section. She came across Twlight. At the time, the premise didn’t sound that amazing to me. In fact, it kind of disgusted me and I vowed to her that I would read it. I mean, who wants to read a story where a centuries old vampire falls in love with an unsuspecting 18-year old girl? I sure didn’t.

So at the end of the day I took out some books and my friend did, then went our separate ways. Two days later, I kid you not, she comes knocking on my door, basically throwing this book at me. “Sam, you have to read this book! It is amazing! I know you don’t like vampires but you’ll love this!” I looked at it apprehensively and looked back at her. Uncovinced I took the book and probably replied along the lines of “okay….I don’t want to read it but if you say so…” It took me a week to read it and at the end of it. I was the one banging on her door, literally praising the book. The rest of my elementary and high school time was spent reading these books and discussing them with her.

Book 3: The House of Night series by P.C and Kristin Cast

I know I talked about this series in the post. But this series was such a big deal for my friends and I during late elementary school and early high school. Simply put, at the time this series was the shit. Everyone in my friends circle read it and raved about it. So much, that we would buy it for each other’s birthday or we would just sit during a recess or during lunch and just talk about it…or mostly admire how hot Erik was. He was quite dreamy to our 13-year old minds.

We were all so obsessed that when the authors did a book signing in our city, we all dressed up like the characters. All black and inscribed drawings on our foreheads that resembled the tattoos/markings the vampyres had in the series. Yes, we went hardcore.

Book 4: Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead.

This story takes us back to my mid-high school years. I had been at my job for about a year and was finally becoming comfortable with my co-workers enough to have decent conversations without making a fool out of myself. One day, my co-worker and I discussed our favourite books from our past and vampires were brought into the discussion. Turns out, my friend had recently read a vampire book that I had to read. She basically dragged me up a few flights of stairs (not really, but you get my point) and stuck out the Vampire Academy book in my face. That day she told me I had to drop it like it’s hot and read the book. A.S.A.P. and so I did. I think I finished the book within a day or two (even during school, which was a big deal for me at the time). I binged read the entire series, each ending with a lamenting to both my mother and co-worker about that cliffhanger and its associated feels. Each shift we worked together following my reading of the series were filled with talks of Rose, Dimitri, Adrian and all of the other characters. We loved the books so much that years later, after she quit the job to pursue her post-secondary schooling and I was going my own direction, we met up and watched Vampire Academy in the movie theatres. Our verdict: We were slightly disappointed and there was only one memorable scene.

Book 5: Fanfictions

Simply put, due to a variety of fanfics read on Wattpad throughout my high school and early university career, I have met a ton of cool people on the Internet. Every time the author updated a chapter we: freaked out, immediately read it, then proceeded to talk about it for a good couple of hours after the update.

Book 6: The Talented Saga by Sophie Davis. 

I know I have talked about this series a ton on my previous blog, but this one is special to me. I promise it’ll be the last mention for awhile. I read this entire series, up to what had been released in a matter of a week. It was during my first year in university. To be honest, it wasn’t that great of a year, almost horrible. Schooling wise I was struggling to adapt from high school, primarily in how to write a paper (3 years later, that task has been somewhat overcome). I had severe doubts if I was smart enough or eloquent enough for university. Socially, it was a disaster. My best friend from high school dropped me like a piece of shit, and replaced me with an exact replica (a.k.a we were both die-hard One Direction fans) with no explanation and that was hard to cope with. During the early months of classes, I was somewhat friendly with the people on my residence floor. 2 months later, they decided to exclude me from everything. With paper thin walls, and the girls beside me basically being the HQ of the groups’ hangouts, I was in-tune to what was happening. I only really had 3 friends throughout the entirety of my first year.

December exams rolled around and I was socially isolated and (I don’t know if this was the right term for it) but a little bit depressed. Distaste and fakeness oozed out of every nook and cranny when I tried to talk to engage in somewhat conversation with anyone of the floormates. Except for the two people who were kind enough to give me their time of day to either do homework together, regardless if one person was trying to complete a super-complicated physics problem or if I was struggling to write a paper on the reasons why disease was rampant in ancient civilizations after the domestication of plants and specific animals (which didn’t turn out very well if you were wondering). Or we would, very rarely, go out for ice cream to the cafeteria after a long day, decompress and just chat.

Speaking of the caf, meals were excruciatingly hard. I would go from class to class then go to the cafeteria right afterwards for dinner. Too shy to eat dinner alone when pretty much everyone else in my rez and the surrounding ones were all laughing together having a good time, I would go to my room (where I didn’t have room-mates) and watched Youtube videos or read each and every night until the very early hours of the morning. At this time, I had just discovered BookTube (a sect of Youtubers that upload videos primarily on books). In one of those videos, a girl, who I can’t remember for the life of me, read the synopsis of Talented and I was intrigued. Intrigued enough that the next time I went home, I downloaded the book and brought the Kindle with me to school. In a continuing theme of the other books mentioned in this post, I quickly devoured this book as well. I loved Talia, Erik and the events that were going on. I binged read the rest of the series. Them being my only sanity in that first term of first year. One of the few escapes from the shit that had been going on. I looked forward every night to see what would happen to the characters as well as solving the oh-so many unanswered questions.

If you’re reading this, thank you Sophie Davis for writing that series. It helped, a lot.


With that, I think that’s where I’m going to end this. Do you have any specific memories associated with a book?

Mark Your Calendars #5

Saving Grace by Kristin Proby

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Release Date: November 30, 2015

Sparks fly like snowflakes when a klutzy but gorgeous novice crosses skis with a hot resort owner in this tempting tie-in to New York Timesbestselling author Kristen Proby’s popular Love Under the Big Sky series!

Grace Douglas is on a practice run for her friend Cara Donovan’s bachelorette party ski weekend in Aspen. The problem is, despite living in rugged and picturesque Cunningham Falls, Montana, Grace is the clumsiest person ever born. To prepare for the trip, she is taking lessons at a local ski resort. She just prays that they have an ambulance on standby.

Sexy hotelier Jacob Berkley is ready to play ski instructor, but he quickly discovers that the best place on the mountain for Grace is in the lodge with a hot toddy. Her sense of humor and easy laugh quickly pull him in, and soon he’s determined to help her get off the bunny slope for a fun vacation with her friends. He just didn’t expect their steamy chemistry to trigger an avalanche of desire straight to his heart.

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

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(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.