Wednesday, December 5, 2012

ANNOUNCEMENT! I have moved!


I am now officially co-blogger at The Book Barbies! My intro post goes live tomorrow.

I will no longer be updating Fictionally Inclined. If you would like to continue following me, please follow The Book Barbies.

As you may have noticed, I have been posting very little lately. Senior year of college is no walk in the park, so I've been crazy busy. Although I did vow to come back - and have, to an extent - I just can't handle running a solo blog right now. I'm a perfectionist to the bone, and I am pretty much not physically capable of doing things in half measures. If I can't do something all the way, I probably won't even try. I knew this about myself, and I thought I would give it a valiant effort. Clearly, this was not successful.

However! Out of this rather dreary situation came something wonderful. I have thought for quite a while that I'd really love to co-blog. It sounds like a blast, not to mention it would be great to have a person with whom you can split the work. I contemplated seeing if anyone was interested, but I really wanted it to be someone I already knew. Then I discovered that my friend Racquel over at The Book Barbies was running the show solo, because her co-blogger had left the blog. Golden opportunity? I think so. Then, one fateful day, I messaged her on Twitter, and the rest is history. ...Or, well, it will be. One day.

For the moment, Fictionally Inclined is officially defunct. Although I will not be updating here, I am keeping the site up, and if I decide someday that blogging solo is for me again, I will come back here. Until then, you can find me at The Book Barbies.

I love you all so much! Thank you for making my memories of this past year so incredible. I hope to see you all over at The Book Barbies soon!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Top Ten Tuesday: 11/20/12 Edition

Top Ten Tuesday hosted by The Broke and the Bookish
Top Ten Authors for Whom I Am Thankful

01. Carolyn Keene & Gertrude Chandler Warner
I am thankful for these authors because they aided me in developing my love of reading early on. These are the authors I remember reading most from my early childhood. Around the ages of 7-10 I read these books ALL THE TIME. Of course, I read others, too, but Boxcar Children and Nancy Drew were my primary series.

02. Laura Ingalls Wilder & Janette Oke
I am thankful for these authors because they wrote wonderful family-friendly books, and I have amazing memories of my mom reading aloud for hours because my sisters and I begged her for just one more chapter. We went through the Love Comes Softly and Little House series at least three times each.

03. The Authors of the Dear America and Royal Diary Books
I am thankful for these authors because these books made history come alive for me. I loved reading them! I learned a lot through them; I was just so fascinated by all the different time periods I could explore. I checked the Cleopatra Royal Diary out from the library 13 times before my mom finally bought it for me one Christmas.

04. Charlotte Brontë
I am thankful for Charlotte Brontë because she was my introduction to classics. Although I read some classics when I was younger, for some reason, I always consider Jane Eyre my first classic. I read it at the age of 12. I fell in love, and it awakened me to the wonderful world of classics. I later went through a period in high school where I almost exclusively read classics, books from the "1001 Books to Read Before You Die" list, and books read by Rory Gilmore. For fun. These books were perhaps not all the most entertaining, but I took something away from each of them. I never would have read many of these wonderful (and some not-so-wonderful-but-still-worth-reading) books if it had not been for this talented lady.

05. Penny Jordan
I am thankful for Penny Jordan because around the time I was discovering classics could be awesome, I was also a Super Secret Romance Ninja and covertly devouring the hundreds of 1980's Harlequin Presents romances from my aunt's basement. I loved other authors such as Janet Dailey, Anne Mather, and Violet Winspear, but Penny Jordan was my absolute favorite. I must have read Substitute Lover, the book pictured above, eight or ten times, and I frequently re-read tons of her other books. Penny Jordan taught me it was okay to love romance.

06. Sarah Dessen
I am thankful for Sarah Dessen because she (along with Meg Cabot) taught me that I did not need to skip from Babysitter's Club straight to adult books, which is pretty much what I had done. There was this awesome genre called Young Adult in between, and there were some fantastic books to be read from it. Sarah Dessen wrote wonderful books with some of the best, most original characters ever. And really, she wrote The Truth About Forever and created Wes Baker. She deserves a spot on this list for that alone. ♥

07. Lisa Kleypas
I am thankful for Lisa Kleypas because she made me fall in love with historical romances. Although I adored the first historical romance I ever read (Scandal by Carolyn Jewel), Lisa Kleypas was the one who hooked me. I read Seduce Me at Sunrise, and I was a goner. I devoured all the Wallflower books, some standalones, the other Hathaway books. Plus! She is one of the few authors who can convincingly write both historical and contemporary romance. Her Travis series is A+++.

08. Sarah Mayberry
I am thankful for Sarah Mayberry because she taught me that category authors can be awesome, too. I had unwittingly started becoming a total snob and writing off Harlequin and Silhouette titles, and then I discovered Sarah Mayberry. Until recently, she was only a Harlequin-published author, but her books are amazing. She could probably write a book teaching the art of friends-to-lovers, and still, no one would be able to capture it as well as she does. Yet her talents extend far beyond that. (Example: Her Best Worst Mistake, which is stunning, but on the opposite end of the spectrum from friends-to-lovers).

09. Eloisa James
I am thankful for Eloisa James because she is a freaking Ivy League Shakespeare professor. And she writes romance novels. As an intelligent, Shakespeare-loving woman who adores romance novels, I have basically appointed her my personal hero. Smart women can not only read romance, but write it. She also did the unthinkable and made me absolutely love her broken marriage plots. Who wants to read about a husband and wife who used to love each other but need to fix their marriage? How can that be a romance novel? If you are asking these questions, like I used to, I suggest you read Eloisa James. By her, it can be even more touching, emotional, and moving because there is so much realism the story. Plus, there are totally Shakespeare references in a lot of her works, and that makes me happy.

10. Jill Shalvis
I am basically thankful for Jill Shalvis simply for existing because she is just that fabulous. I relentlessly stalk her on Facebook, Twitter, and her blog. I love how real and entertaining she is, and that transfers over into her books. She is my favorite contemporary romance discovery of 2012, easily. If you have not read any of her books, you are missing out. Her Lucky Harbor books are my favorite, but I love them all. I don't give a tattered copy of Robinson Crusoe about baseball, but I devoured her baseball books. I am still, perhaps foolishly, holding out hope for the day when she will continue the series with one particular side character.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Review: The Sky Is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson

Book: The Sky Is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson
Published: March 2010 (Dial)
Format: Physical copy from library
Summary: Meet Lennie Walker - sisterless, clarinet player, lasagna maker, Heathcliff obsessed and hopelessly in love... Adrift after her sister Bailey's sudden death, Lennie finds herself torn between quiet seductive Toby - Bailey's boyfriend who shares her grief - and Joe, the new boy in town who bursts with life and musical genius. Each offers Lennie something she desperately needs...though she knows if the two of them collide her whole world will explode.

My Review: I was randomly browsing the YA section of my library when I came across this book. The cover was different than the one I'd seen before, and I did not recognize the title. Although I'm not always crazy about the torn-between-two-boys storyline, it sounded good enough, so I picked it up with pretty much no expectations. Little did I know just how amazing this book was going to be!

I loved everything about this book. The writing was incredible. It was very flowy and lyrical with an almost stream of consciousness feel to it, yet it totally matched the voice of a 17-year-old girl. I loved the originality of the characters. They were all so unique, and everyone lent something to the story. No one was superfluous. There was not an abundance of unnecessary secondary characters. Just the right amount for the story.

This book gave me ALL THE FEELS. I giggled, I cried, I swooned. I was completely caught up on Lennie's predicament with the two boys. Her feelings and emotions and thoughts were so clearly conveyed that I felt like I was living inside her head. I was confused when she was confused. I never yelled at her internally for being an idiot, because I could see where she was coming from with everything. The boys were SO DIFFERENT - and I loved them both - but she was drawn to each for different reasons, too. (Also, this really is not a love triangle book, despite how it might sound.)

I tend to dislike random poetry thrown in between chapters, which has become a "thing" with YA in the recent years. Honestly, it's usually super lame. But there were lots of poems and random notes strewn throughout this book, and they were actually good. I felt like I got to know Lennie better through them. And the best part is that it made perfect sense with the story for them to be there.

Also, random point, but I love that Lennie was obsessed with Heathcliff and Wuthering Heights. Girl after my own heart. I have not read it twenty-three times, but I have read it four times. And this book made me feel like a re-read may need to be imminent because I miss it.

Basically, if I had to describe this book, it would just be a long string of adjectives because I am not capable of fully explaining the awesomeness. Heart-breaking. Addicting. Enthralling, beautiful, real. Knock-you-off-your-chair fantastic. While I was reading this book, I felt like it moved quickly and that I was flying through it. But in reality, it actually took me my average reading time, if not slightly more, because I kept re-reading little sections that were particularly beautiful. Reading this book was a great experience, and I will definitely be re-reading in the future. Loved it!

Favorite Quotes
How do others do it? People die all the time. Every day. Every hour. There are families all over the world staring at beds that are no longer slept in, shoes that are no longer worn. Families that no longer have to buy a particular cereal, a kind of shampoo. There are people everywhere standing in line at the movies, buying curtains, walking dogs, while inside, their hearts are ripping to shreds. For years. For their whole lives. I don’t believe time heals. I don’t want it to. If I heal, doesn’t that mean I’ve accepted the world without her?

I liked love safe between the covers of my novel...

Joe is practically singing my name, he sounds so elated, probably still riding high from that kiss, that sublime kiss that could make stars fall into your open hands, a kiss like Cathy and Heathcliff must have had on the moors with the sun beating on their backs and the world streaming with wind and possibility.

Who knew all this time I was one kiss away from being Cathy and Juliet and Elizabeth Bennet and Lady Chatterley!?
Stay Up 'til 2 AM
Purchase this book at: Amazon || Barnes & Noble || The Book Depository

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

I Have Returned!

As you may have noticed, I am on the blogosphere again! I'm so happy to be back.


School came in and overtook 99.2% of my free time for about 6 weeks. Senior year of college? Is apparently about six times as intense as all the other years. I've never felt so overwhelmed in my life. Therefore, in the infinitesimally small amounts of free time I snatched here and there, I did not want to do anything that could even be remotely construed as work. Reviews? Out of the question.

I turned 22! Woo hoo!

→ I went on a historical romance kick like woah.

→ Related to the above point, I discovered Julie Anne Long. LOVE HER. Especially What I Did for a Duke. Epic.

→ I read Ethan Frome for school and discovered that I actually love it except for the end, despite not liking it when I read it several years ago.

→ I got addicted to Downton Abbey and watched the first two seasons in one weekend. The first season was actually entirely watched in a blanket fort in the downstairs lounge of my dorm. Because I'm in college and I can. My desktop is of Matthew and Mary because I have ALL THE FEELINGS about them.

→ I deliberated on whether or not I can spare $50 to go the RT Convention in May (which I really really really want to because hello, Jill Shalvis and a million other amazing authors will be there and YES, PLEASE). Still have not decided on this.

→ Since this past Sunday night, I have pretty much listened to these three songs on repeat any time I'm listening to music (including this very moment): "I Won't Give Up" by Jason Mraz, "Between the Raindrops" by Lifehouse & Natasha Bedingfield, and "Wanted" by Hunter Hayes. (Seriously. I just checked Last FM, and I've listened to them 40+ times. In 72 hours. This cannot be healthy.)

Now that all that is out of the way, though, I am so incredibly glad to be back! The past few weeks especially, I've missed blogging and all you guys quite a lot. I have taken the last two weeks to recover from the craziness and decide whether or not I can commit to blogging again without making my life harder. I've gotten everything sorted out so that I feel comfortable committing to it again. And I'm not going to stress over it. If I have to miss a post here and there, it's not the end of the world. I will be super busy, but I feel like I can handle it. I am in the mindset that blogging is something fun and wonderful I can do, rather than feeling like it falls into the extensive "homework" portion of my life.

Right now, I'm keeping it small. I'm aiming for one review a week, and I will try for two when I feel like it's doable, with memes thrown in here and there.

That's pretty much where things stand right now. I'm happy to be blogging again, and I really hope it works out.