The Lifelong Bookworm’s Best Books of 2015

Hi guys! Today I’m sharing with you the books that impressed me this year because of their awesomeness. These books are dear to me! Without further ado, I now present you The Lifelong Bookworm‘s Best Books of 2015! 🙂

 

All the Bright Places

All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven

“Brimming with the brightest of hopes and the darkest of heartaches, All the Bright Places is a memorable tale of love, loss, and the beauty of being alive.” (Full review here.)

 

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Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli

“An effervescent and uplifting coming of age story, Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda is a spectacular book that fills your heart with the warm glow of infinite bliss.” (Full review here.)

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The Start of Me and You by Emery Lord

“An outstanding second novel from a talented author, The Start of Me and You is pure heart and soul and the best kind of perfect.” (Full review here.)

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The Wrong Side of Right by Jenn Marie Thorne

“Bursting with the brightest intensity of awesomeness, The Wrong Side of Right is an extraordinary debut novel that warms the heart in every beautiful way.” (Full review here.)

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A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas

“Sparkling with the glamour of timeless magic, A Court of Thorns and Roses is a phenomenal first book in a new series that everyone is sure to love!” (Full review here.)

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The Night We Said Yes by Lauren Gibaldi

“Gleaming with heartfelt moments and the brightest of possibilities, The Night We Said Yes is a remarkable debut novel that beautifully captures the core of love, friendship, and second chances in a magical and unforgettable way.” (Full review here.)

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Hello, Goodbye and Everything in Between by Jennifer E. Smith

“Instilled with surprising discoveries and hopeful beginnings, Hello, Goodbye, and Everything in Between is brilliance and heart in one exceptional novel.” (Full review here.)

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Every Last Word by Tamara Ireland Stone

“Brimming with optimism and profound clarity, Every Last Word is a remarkable novel that you need to add to your TBR pile!” (Full review here.)

*All book covers from Goodreads

How about you, fellow bookworms? What are your best books for this year? Share them on the comment section below! 🙂

ARC Review: Every Last Word by Tamara Ireland Stone

23341894Title: Every Last Word

Author: Tamara Ireland Stone

Publication date: June 16, 2015

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Pages: 368

Source: Gifted by the author (Thank you, Tamara!)

Purchase the book: Amazon / Barnes & Noble / Book Depository / Fully Booked

Synopsis:

If you could read my mind, you wouldn’t be smiling.

Samantha McAllister looks just like the rest of the popular girls in her junior class. But hidden beneath the straightened hair and expertly applied makeup is a secret that her friends would never understand: Sam has Purely-Obsessional OCD and is consumed by a stream of dark thoughts and worries that she can’t turn off.

Second-guessing every move, thought, and word makes daily life a struggle, and it doesn’t help that her lifelong friends will turn toxic at the first sign of a wrong outfit, wrong lunch, or wrong crush. Yet Sam knows she’d be truly crazy to leave the protection of the most popular girls in school. So when Sam meets Caroline, she has to keep her new friend with a refreshing sense of humor and no style a secret, right up there with Sam’s weekly visits to her psychiatrist.

Caroline introduces Sam to Poet’s Corner, a hidden room and a tight-knit group of misfits who have been ignored by the school at large. Sam is drawn to them immediately, especially a guitar-playing guy with a talent for verse, and starts to discover a whole new side of herself. Slowly, she begins to feel more “normal” than she ever has as part of the popular crowd . . . until she finds a new reason to question her sanity and all she holds dear.

*Photo and synopsis from Goodreads

My review:

Eye-opening and inspiring, Every Last Word brilliantly depicts what it’s like to have Purely-Obsessional OCD. I had no idea about “Pure-O” until I read this book. Every Last Word is significant. I think everybody should read it to know more about “Pure-O and understand what the people who have the disorder go through. Every Last Word impressed me a lot, particularly the smooth flow of the prose, the rich, absorbing plot, and notable character development. The story grabbed me from the start, making me wish that I had all the time to read! But then there’s reality—a.k.a. work. Boo! Anyway, I loved Every Last Word because of its authentic sound and truthful disposition. Even when I was still in the first few chapters, I already felt how real it is. Every Last Word holds emotions that resonate in all corners of the heart, affecting readers deep down to their core. It inspires people to find their voice even when they thought they never would. Every Last Word shows how words are powerful in changing a person’s life. That aspect blew me away. Everything about this story radiates hope for a better life. That for me is beautiful. Oh, and the poetry is fantastic. All the poems infused Every Last Word with a distinctive personal vibe.

Sam is a genuine and insightful character that I was able to empathize with straight away. What Sam went through was an intense journey to becoming a better version of herself. Although she struggled, Sam was very determined. I loved that about her! As time progressed, Sam became comfortable with herself and accepted her flaws. In addition, I loved seeing Sam fall in love with words! That is one empowering facet in the novel.

Next is AJ, the sweet, gentle guy who knows how to make a girl melt into a puddle of swoony and happy feels. He swept me off my feet with his charming ways, good looks, and his wholehearted affection for Sam. I loved how Sam found herself because of AJ! The guy thoroughly brought out the best in her. Oh my heart!!! ❤ Plus, AJ plays the guitar and writes songs! How can I not adore him? 🙂

Caroline is a wonderful creation, exuding a mystery that added depth to Every Last Word. An unexpected twist towards the end will render you speechless. I was completely dumbfounded!

And there’s also Shrink-Sue who is my favorite character! Everything that comes out of her mouth is enlightening. Shrink-Sue just knows what to say all the time. She’s amazing! I want to have a friend like her. 🙂

The romance in Every Last Word is something that will really brighten your mood. It’s light and at the same time passionate. Not over the top but just right. Sam and AJ’s chemistry is natural and endearing. ❤

Tamara Ireland Stone’s realistic, poignant writing will set your heart falling in love with Every Last Word and its characters. Just thinking about it brings back all the deeply felt emotions. I’m sure this book will always remain in me.

Brimming with optimism and profound clarity, Every Last Word is a remarkable novel that you need to add to your TBR pile!

 

Rating:

4.5/5 stars

Bookish Birthday Bash: Every Last Word by Tamara Ireland Stone [Guest post + Playlist]

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Hi! Welcome to Day 3 of Bookish Birthday Bash! The amazing Tamara Ireland Stone takes over the blog today for a very special guest post and a swoon-worthy playlist that will melt your hearts in no time.

Have a great reading and listening time! 🙂

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23341894Synopsis:

If you could read my mind, you wouldn’t be smiling.

Samantha McAllister looks just like the rest of the popular girls in her junior class. But hidden beneath the straightened hair and expertly applied makeup is a secret that her friends would never understand: Sam has Purely-Obsessional OCD and is consumed by a stream of dark thoughts and worries that she can’t turn off.

Second-guessing every move, thought, and word makes daily life a struggle, and it doesn’t help that her lifelong friends will turn toxic at the first sign of a wrong outfit, wrong lunch, or wrong crush. Yet Sam knows she’d be truly crazy to leave the protection of the most popular girls in school. So when Sam meets Caroline, she has to keep her new friend with a refreshing sense of humor and no style a secret, right up there with Sam’s weekly visits to her psychiatrist.

Caroline introduces Sam to Poet’s Corner, a hidden room and a tight-knit group of misfits who have been ignored by the school at large. Sam is drawn to them immediately, especially a guitar-playing guy with a talent for verse, and starts to discover a whole new side of herself. Slowly, she begins to feel more “normal” than she ever has as part of the popular crowd . . . until she finds a new reason to question her sanity and all she holds dear.

*Photo and synopsis from Goodreads

Every Last Word is out on June 16, 2015 from Disney-Hyperion.

Purchase the book: Purchase the book: Amazon / Barnes & Noble / Book Depository / Fully Booked

 

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tamarairelandstone TAMARA IRELAND STONE
is the author of Time After Time and Time Between Us, which has been published in over twenty countries to widespread acclaim, and hailed as “an exciting debut novel” by Booklist and “a warm, time bending romance” by Publishers Weekly. It has been optioned for film by CBS Films.

Her next novel, Every Last Word, is about a teen girl with OCD who’s hiding part of herself from the world, until she discovers a secret poetry club that changes her in unexpected ways. Every Last Word releases on June 16, 2015.

A former Silicon Valley marketing executive, Tamara enjoys skiing, hiking, and spending time with her husband and two children. She lives just outside of San Francisco. For more information, visit her website at http://www.TamaraIrelandStone.com.

*Author bio and photo from the author’s website

 

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Happy Birthday, Jesselle! I wish I could be there in person to chat nonstop with you about books, music, and swoon-worthy fictional boys. Hopefully this post with a healthy dose of all three will suffice.

Thank you for including me in your birthday bash, and for offering to unveil the second of my four playlists!

My new novel, Every Last Word, hits shelves on next Tuesday, June 16. It’s a story about a girl named Samantha who looks perfect on the outside but feels broken on the inside, until an underground poetry club and its misfit members help her see herself in a whole new light.

This story is special to me for two big reasons:

(1) It was inspired by a family friend who was diagnosed with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), when she was 12. She’s someone I greatly admire, and even though this is a work of fiction, her strength, attitude, and sense of humor are firmly embedded in my main character.

(2) It’s personal, especially around the theme of the healing power of words. Even though I never let anyone else read my stories, poems, and journal entries when I was a teen, my notebooks were always my safe place. In writing this novel, I got to create a character and watch her fall in love with words. It was an unforgettable experience.

Like my other books, Time Between Us and Time After Time, music plays a big role in this story. There are actually four Every Last Word playlists: The main one—which is more like the soundtrack for the story—and three more that are mentioned in the book:

  • I recently shared my Every Last Word playlist/soundtrack, “Anything But Empty”, cover-art1here in Justine Magazine.
  • Today, I’m here at The Lifelong Bookworm to tell you all about “Song For You”, an all-acoustic guitar playlist Sam makes for AJ.
  • On Monday the 15th, I’ll be over at YA Indulgences to tell you all about “Right Beside You”, the playlist Sam makes for her friend Caroline.
  • And on Saturday, June 20, the 16-year-old who inspired Every Last Word will be sharing the playlist she created, “In The Deep.” She’ll be a guest on Gone With the Words to tell you why these songs are so special to her.

 

Every Last Word

Before I share the playlist, let me tell you a little bit about this story.

Samantha McAllister is stilled at keeping her OCD under wraps, especially from her closest friends. Sam has what’s called “Purely-Obsessional OCD” and is consumed by a stream of dark thoughts and worries she can’t turn off. Because the disorder takes place entirely in her mind, it’s relatively easy for Sam to keep it a secret. And it is, without question, her biggest secret.

Everything begins to change for Sam when she meets Caroline, a quirky girl a few lockers away who wears snarky tees and openly shares her opinions. She introduces Sam to Poet’s Corner and a group of people who are very different from her friends. They read poetry aloud, wear their hearts on their sleeves, and care very little about things like clothes and makeup. Sam is drawn to them immediately, especially an adorable guy named AJ with an acoustic guitar and a gift for verse.

But Sam and AJ have history. She doubts they’ll ever become friends—it would be crazy to think they could ever be more.

Still, Sam thinks about AJ. A lot. She turns to music and lyrics to help her sort things out, so one night, she starts making a playlist of acoustic guitar songs. She imagines AJ playing, singing each one, just for her.

Sam gives all of her playlists a three-word title lifted from the lyrics of one of the songs. This playlist is titled “Song for You”, named after this beautiful tune by Alexi Murdoch. I especially love these lines:

 

And I see you

hiding your face in your hands

Talking bout far-away lands
You think no one understands

Listen to my hands

 

(I think you’ll enjoy the scene when AJ figures out that Sam made this playlist for him. Warning: swoons ahead.)

Here are a few other songs I’m especially drawn to for their lyrical connection to Every Last Word:

 

The Thick and the Thin” by Imaginary Future

I’ll be knocking soon,

Open up your room.
Now I won’t assume you’re letting me in.
Show me how to prove I’m good enough for you.
That we can make it through the thick and the thin.

 

Three Rounds and a Sound” by Blind Pilot

I was swimming,

My eyes were dark ’til you woke me,

And told me that opening is just the start.

It was.

 

Gray or Blue” by Jaymay

I know the shape of your hands because I watch them when you talk.

And I know the shape of your body ’cause I watch it when you walk.

I want to know it all, but I’m giving you the lead.

So go on, go on and take it.

  

Bron-Yr-Aur” by Led Zeppelin

This song has no words at all, but it might be the most beautiful piece of music I’ve ever heard. I wrote every AJ scene with this song in my ears.

 

Are you ready to hear to the rest of “Song For You”? Here it is:

 

songforyoufinal

CLICK HERE to listen to all four of my Every Last Word playlists.

Follow me on Spotify to hear these and more.

 

Happy birthday, Jesselle! Thanks again for spending part of it with Every Last Word and me.

 

Thank you so much for being a part of Bookish Birthday Bash, Tamara! ❤ *hugs*

I’d love to hear your thoughts about this post, guys! Share them on the comment section below. 🙂

Come back on June 15th for my birthday post and a PH giveaway! *flails*

 

 

 

 

 

You’re Invited!

Hi everyone! It’s my birthday on June 15th and I’m going to celebrate it with three amazing books that are releasing on the 16th! It has always been my dream to celebrate my special day with books, so imagine my excitement when I organized this blog event! But then I was all the more ecstatic when the authors of the three books accepted my invitation to be a part of my birthday bash! *happy dance* Incidentally, my birthday is not the only one that will be recognized. This blog event will also celebrate the publication of the three books as well as every author’s success. 🙂

Without further ado, I invite you to…

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The celebration will run from June 11th to 15th (excluding the 14th). It will feature wonderful guest posts and playlists from Sharon Huss Roat (Between the Notes), Lauren Gibaldi (The Night We Said Yes), and Tamara Ireland Stone (Every Last Word). Each author guest post highlights the heart of their respective books, which I’m sure you’ll love! As for the playlists, well, I think some of you know I have a thing for them, so that’s a huge deciding factor. 🙂 Anyway, I chose to include playlists because I love how songs can describe emotions to people. The playlists that Sharon, Lauren, and Tamara will share encompass the feelings that their books carry. ❤

The Bookish Birthday Bash schedule is as follows:

June 11th- Sharon Huss Roat / Between the Notes

June 12th- Lauren Gibaldi / The Night We Said Yes

June 13th – Tamara Ireland Stone / Every Last Word

June 15th – Birthday post + PH giveaway 🙂

Ahhhhhh I’m so excited! It would mean so much to Sharon, Lauren, Tamara, and me if you guys could celebrate with us! 🙂