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! 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ARC Review: Time After Time by Tamara Ireland Stone

17393023Title: Time After Time

Author: Tamara Ireland Stone

Publication date: October 8, 2013

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Pages: 368

Source: e-ARC provided by publisher via Net Galley (Thank you, Disney-Hyperion!)

Synopsis: 

Calling Anna and Bennett’s romance long distance is an understatement: she’s from 1995 Chicago and he’s a time traveler from 2012 San Francisco. The two of them never should have met, but they did. They fell in love, even though they knew they shouldn’t. And they found a way to stay together, against all odds.

It’s not a perfect arrangement, though, with Bennett unable to stay in the past for more than brief visits, skipping out on big chunks of his present in order to be with Anna in hers. They each are confident that they’ll find a way to make things work…until Bennett witnesses a single event he never should have seen (and certainly never expected to). Will the decisions he makes from that point on cement a future he doesn’t want?

Told from Bennett’s point of view, Time After Time will satisfy readers looking for a fresh, exciting, and beautifully-written love story, both those who are eager to find out what’s next for Time Between Us’s Anna and Bennett and those discovering their story for the first time.

*Image and synopsis from Goodreads

My review: 

Organizing my thoughts has always been my predicament whenever I write reviews for books that mean a lot to me. Time After Time is no exception. The beauty of its entirety reached far beyond my expectations and carried me away to a world where love infinitely exists through time, space, and everything in between. This lovely piece of literature has undoubtedly earned a special place on my shelf of favorite books.

Reading Time After Time is a splendid fictional experience. I got to know more about Bennett in this book—his life in 2012, his family, his friends, being a time traveler, and his love for Anna. Bennett’s voice is so authentic and very engaging. His thoughts, as gracefully written by Tamara Ireland Stone, filled my heart with so much emotion. I actually ran out of words to describe how wonderful his thoughts are. I felt every single emotion that Bennett went through. All the love, care, and sweetness made my insides flutter in all directions while the confusions, worries, and struggles splintered my heart into a million tiny pieces.

It was amazing to witness Anna and Bennett’s characters evolve into stronger individuals. Both are willing to take risks, fearlessly fighting for their love. There were lots of swoon-worthy moments in Time After Time that made me smile for days. Anna and Bennett are extraordinary as a couple. Having said that, I’ll forever be a fan of their love story.

What I also liked was Bennett’s close relationship with his older sister Brooke. In Time Between Us, Brooke was in the background as she is just mentioned by Bennett once in a while. But here, she actually played a supporting role. I think Brooke is really cool and her support for Bennett is priceless. Bennett’s bonding moments with his dad was another thing I admired. It showed how much they are alike in taking on a daring adventure.

The turning point in the book was when Bennett saw something that made him doubt his and Anna’s relationship as well as their future. The chapter succeeding that scene was a heartbreaking one. If you could only see my notes about that incident, well, it’s brimming with exclamation points. 🙂 After four chapters, I was staring blankly into space following the last line. Disbelieving that I was at the end of the story, I went back to the beginning of the last chapter and reveled in it with all my heart.

Time After Time proves that true love is worth every risk. It left me with the sweetest embrace of a love story that will last until the end of time. Tamara Ireland Stone concluded the series with a satisfying, heartwarming ending.

Rating:

5/5 stars

 

Favorite quotes  from the book:

“There’s no reason for a picture of me if you’re not in it.”

“It’s always harder to be the one who’s left behind than the one who leaves.”

“I told you before. I’ll keep coming back until you’re sick of me.”

“Can you stop talking now so I can kiss you?”

“I never even wished for her, but right now, all I want is for this person who gets me so completely to be part of my present and my future.”

“Do you have any idea how much I hate being there without you?”

“I was convinced that I wasn’t supposed to be part of your future but I think now…that I am.”

“That smile. My smile. It belongs to me again.”

“I’m not supposed to be here. But I am.”

Latest Haul!

photo (4)

Bought: 

Send Me A Sign by Tiffany Schmidt (Fully Booked)

The Art of Wishing by Lindsay Ribar (Fully Booked)

For review: 

Antigoddess

Photo from Goodreads

Antigoddess by Kendare Blake (NetGalley)

Thank you, Tor Teen!

Won: 

Time After Time

Photo from Goodreads

E-ARC of Time After Time by Tamara Ireland Stone (from Alice Marvels‘ giveaway)

I didn’t expect to win Alice Marvels’ giveaway! I was so happy when I received Lauren’s e-mail on August 8th telling me that I won an access of the Time After Time ARC. Two days later, Tamara’s e-mail came with the code of the Time After Time ARC from Disney Hyperion! *flails* Time Between Us is one of my favorite 2012 releases and I’m dying to read its sequel. More Bennett and Anna! Many thanks to Lauren of Alice Marvels, Tamara Ireland Stone, and Disney Hyperion! You guys definitely know how to put a smile on a bookworm’s face . 🙂

Book Review: Time Between Us by Tamara Ireland Stone

Time Between UsTitle: Time Between Us

Author: Tamara Ireland Stone

Published: October 9, 2012

Publisher: Hyperion

Pages: 368

Source: Bought from Fully Booked

Synopsis: 

Anna and Bennett were never supposed to meet: she lives in 1995 Chicago and he lives in 2012 San Francisco. But Bennett has the unique ability to travel through time and space, which brings him into Anna’s life, and with him a new world of adventure and possibility.

As their relationship deepens, the two face the reality that time may knock Bennett back to where he belongs, even as a devastating crisis throws everything they believe into question. Against a ticking clock, Anna and Bennett are forced to ask themselves how far they can push the bounds of fate, what consequences they can bear in order to stay together, and whether their love can stand the test of time.

Fresh, exciting, and deeply romantic, Time Between Us is a stunning, spellbinding debut from an extraordinary new voice in YA fiction.

*Image and synopsis from Goodreads

My review:

I will never forget that day when I saw the cover of Time Between Us in a book blog. I was so mesmerized by how dreamy and magical it looked. I can’t stop gazing at it! After reading the captivating synopsis, I told myself “I have to read this.” And I’m glad I did. Up to this moment, the scenes play inside my head like a song on loop. The story never leaves and I don’t think it ever will. This book goes straight to the place where it deserves to be: the treasure chest in my heart. To me, the story is not just a bounded piece of literature; rather, it’s a precious jewel.

Time Between Us is the first time travel book I’ve ever read and I love it to bits! It transported me to a dazzling world where reality and science fiction are perfectly blended together. The experience was INCREDIBLE. Tamara Ireland Stone’s writing style brims with radiant beauty. Gliding over her flawless and enthralling words was such a delight. It was really good to move along the current of soulful thoughts that felt so natural and so real. With clear and colorful descriptions, Time Between Us glows with life. Scenes were brilliantly designed in a neat and organized structure which resulted in a smoothly-paced tale that carried me into a stream of infinite magic and wonder. Time traveling is a complicated idea but in this book, it was so effortlessly illustrated. Each detail was presented one at a time and won’t confuse readers.

So let’s go to the story itself. Anna and Bennett are two teenagers from completely different times. She’s from 1995. He’s from 2012. They are not supposed to meet, but they did. Thanks to Bennett’s awesome time traveling gift. I don’t want to get into detail with the plot because I want to leave some mystery for future readers of this book to discover. Their experience of the story would definitely be memorable if there’s an element of surprise.

Anna and Bennett are believable characters. I fell in love with them in an instant. Anna’s strong-willed personality is what makes her awesome. I greatly admire her courage of taking a “daring adventure” with the guy she loves. And Bennett. Oh, Bennett. Just saying his name brings a smile to my face. He’s sweet, adorable, caring, and very loving. He would do anything to make Anna happy to the point of breaking the rules of his talent.

Another thing I love about Anna and Bennett is their faith. In times of helplessness and pain, faith is what kept them going. It made them stronger and better individuals. With faith, they won their battle with time. They believed in each other, they believed in their love. And most of all, hope glimmered in their hearts.

Time Between Us is a fantastic novel that captures the importance of time. With time as the heartbeat of the story, I realized that every tick of the clock holds precious moments that people ought to treasure.

Truly, Time Between Us is a story of love that that transcends the test of time. I’m so excited to read Time After Time! My heart wishes for October to be NOW. 🙂

Rating:

5/5 stars