Stacking the Shelves (113) - Feb 28th

Stacking the Shelves - hosted by Tynga at Tynga's Reviews - features books that you bought, borrowed, rented from the library, received for review, etc.

What I'm Reading

What books are stacking your shelves? 


Saving Francesca by Melina Marchetta

Title: Saving Francesca
Author: Melina Marchetta
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
Release Date: March 31, 2003

Summary from Goodreads:
Francesca is stuck at St. Sebastians, a boys' school that's pretends it's coed by giving the girls their own bathroom. Her only female companions are an ultra-feminist, a rumored slut, and an an impossibly dorky accordion player. The boys are no better, from Thomas who specializes in musical burping to Will, the perpetually frowning, smug moron that Francesca can't seem to stop thinking about.

Then there's Francesca's mother, who always thinks she knows what's best for Francesca—until she is suddenly stricken with acute depression, leaving Francesca lost, alone, and without an inkling who she really is. Simultaneously humorous, poignant, and impossible to put down, this is the story of a girl who must summon the strength to save her family, her social life and—hardest of all—herself.


To me, it doesn't get much better than Melina Marchetta. Her writing is simultaneously beautiful, delightful, soulful, colorful, hopeful, fruitful, playful, sorrowful... I can't think of any more 'ful words, but you get my point.

Francesca is so used to people telling her who she is and what she wants - from her mother to her so-called friends - that when they stop, she is utterly lost.
"I miss the Stella girls telling me what I am. That I'm sweet and placid and accommodating and loyal and nonthreatening and good to have around. And Mia. I want her to say, 'Frankie, you're silly, you're lazy, you're talented, you're passionate, you're restrained, you're blossoming, you're contrary.'
I want to be an adjective again.
But I'm a noun.
A nothing. A nobody. A no one." 
And she struggles to find herself again because she has the voices of them in her head, constantly judging her and holding her back. And anytime she edges toward happiness, she feels guilty because her mother is at home suffering.
"And being that happy makes me feel guilty. Because I shouldn't be. Not while my mum is feeling the way that she is. How I can dare to be happy is beyond me, and I hate my guts for it.
I hate myself so much that it makes my head spin."
It was hard to be in her head sometimes. She was feeling so many emotions it was like they overpowered her and left her numb, empty and sometimes she couldn't be bothered to feel anything. But I could understand why. I don't know what I'd do if my mother feel apart like that. Like Francesca and her mother, my mother is so much a part of who I am. It was so difficult to watch her family self-destruct.

But slowly, Francesca found her way in the world. She found a place among those people she fancied companions, who turned out to be so much more. They let her be anyone she wanted and they never presumed, judged,  or expected anything.
"We stay like that for a while. No one tries to analyze it or offer solutions. No one interrupts. Sometimes, momentarily, I'm embarrassed by the whole disclosure, but I realize that I trust these people and I don't know how or when that happened."
I loved her band of misfits - Thomas Mackee, the 'slob' and Tara Finke, the 'fanatic' and Justine Kalinsky, the 'loser' and Siobhan Sullivan, the 'slut' and Jimmy Hailler, the troublemaker and Will Trombal, the 'stick-in-the-mud moron with no personality'. I loved how they just worked despite being so different. And I loved how they were there for Francesca as she tried to piece back together her home life.
" I want the bus driver to turn the bus around and I want to spend the rest of my days in a whirlwind of the last few days. Of flirting. Of laughing. Of riding the world evil. Of folk songs. Of piggybacks. Of hip-hop dancing. Of foolishness.
And most of all, of forgetting.
I look past them to where Will and his friends are sitting, and he catches my eye for a moment and smiles. It's a weird smile, but it reaches his eyes and I bottle it. And I put it in my ammo pack that's kept right next to my soul. The one that holds Mia's scent and Justine's spirit and Siobhan's hope and Tara's passions. Because if I'm going to wake up one morning and no be able to get out of bed, I'm going to need everything I've got to fight this bastard of a disease that could be sleeping inside of me."
There are so many strong but unassuming relationships in this book. The most obvious being the one with her new friends, but there was also the strained relationship with her father - who at his core was really good guy but had flaws just like the rest of us - and the relationship between her parents, which was built on so much love and devotion. But perhaps, the best of them all was her relationship with her brother. Francesca took such good care of him and it really moved me to see that sibling affection.

The book was not an easy read - my heart really went out to all of these characters, especially Francesca - but Melina Marchetta's writing is so lovely that it was an enjoyable one. Even though this was serious story, Marchetta still management to make me laugh and smile many times throughout. I can say for a fact that this one will always stay with me - like all of her work. There is just something about her stories... they can't be beat. If you haven't read anything by her yet, you must remedy that. I recommend her work above all else.


My Journey Through Feed Readers

Welcome to Thoughts for Thursday! This feature is our outlet to talk with you about whatever we currently have on our minds. It might be bookish, it might not! Now for this week's thought:

My Journey Through Feed Readers

When I started blogging, Google Friend Connect paired with Google Reader was the way to follow blogs. And when I started following blogs, there wasn't much rhyme or reason to who I followed. We participated in the meme Feature & Follow quite a few times and that encouraged a lot of "following back". In quick time, my feed reader became a mess of blogs that I didn't share any interests with nor have any personal connection with. The blogs I did care about were being overshadowed by the ones I didn't.

When Google announced that it was getting rid of Google Reader and Bloglovin emerged on the scene, I stupidly just imported my feeds from Google Reader instead of taking that opportunity to start fresh. So Bloglovin ended up being no more helpful to me than Google Reader was. One day I noticed that I stopped using it entirely and was just deleting those emails automatically because they were filled with posts I had no desire to read. Instead, I was keeping a mental list of blogs that I liked and made sure I visited them on a regular basis. But there were only so many blogs I could keep up with...

Around that time, Ashley mentioned that she used Feedly to follow blogs and I thought to myself BLANK SLATE and quickly transferred my mental list to a new account. But now that I wasn't limited to what my memory could hold, I started adding more and more of my favorite blogs. But then I panicked because I didn't want my Feedly account to become so huge that I became overwhelmed with Feedly too.

You see, there are blogs I read/comment on almost every post and then there are blogs that I read/comment on when I have time. I wanted each of those two groups to have their own home. That's when I decided it was time to clean out my Bloglovin account...

OMG that thing was a DISASTER. So many blogs I followed hadn't posted in YEARS, others I haven't read/thought of in years. And then there is the fact that my interests evolved. It took me a while to clean it up and then once all the clutter was gone I realized that there were so many blogs I liked that I never followed! WHAT? In reality you were in my mental list or I was following you via Feedly BUT STILL. This is why you might have noticed me JUST following you even though we've been friends for a while. Sorry about that. But now I'm likely following you twice so...

It's still a work in progress as I try to figure out what works best for me but I feel MUCH BETTER now that I am significantly more organized. Now I can be a better commenter too.

So how do you follow blogs/manage your feed readers? Do you have any tips and tricks to using Bloglovin or Feedly? 


Magnolia by Kristi Cook

Title: Magnolia
Author: Kristi Cook
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Release Date: August 5, 2014

Summary from Goodreads:
In Magnolia Branch, Mississippi, the Cafferty and Marsden families are southern royalty. Neighbors since the Civil War, the families have shared vacations, holidays, backyard barbecues, and the overwhelming desire to unite their two clans by marriage. So when a baby boy and girl were born to the families at the same time, the perfect opportunity seemed to have finally arrived.

Jemma Cafferty and Ryder Marsden have no intention of giving in to their parents’ wishes. They’re only seventeen, for goodness’ sake, not to mention that one little problem: They hate each other! Jemma can’t stand Ryder’s nauseating golden-boy persona, and Ryder would like nothing better than to pretend stubborn Jemma doesn’t exist.

But when a violent storm ravages Magnolia Branch, it unearths Jemma’s and Ryder’s true feelings for each other as the two discover that the line between love and hate may be thin enough to risk crossing over.


Magnolia was just the book I needed to read - a new twist on the hate-to-love romance with lots of personality. Jemma and Ryder's families have been as thick as thieves for generations and want nothing more than for Jemma and Ryder to get married and tie their families together once and for all. The only problem is that Jemma and Ryder avoid each other at all costs. Something happened in 8th grade that tore them apart and they are both too damn stubborn to talk through it. But then a hurricane hits Magnolia Branch and Jemma and Ryder and forced to brave the storm together and confront their true feelings...

There were so many things I loved about this book - the Southern flair, the chemistry, the drama. I got such a kick out of their mamas relentlessly trying to pair them together although I'm sure I would have been annoyed were I Jemma or Ryder. And I loved how anytime they were together they were insisted on hiding it from their parents, not because they would get in trouble like normal teenagers would, but because their parents would celebrate. This situation was so opposite from all of the forbidden romance storylines that I read that I found it to be such a refreshing change of pace. Also, I think the storm was a great way to bring them together while adding a certain seriousness to the story. What they had to go through was pretty scary and sad.

I wasn't thrilled about the Patrick complication. I think it was a little far-fetched. (They were NOT going out). And sometimes I just wanted to shake Jemma and Ryder for being SO STUBBORN. But I pretty much loved everything else. The friendships were great. The theme about following you own path is always one I loved to read about. So much about this story was well done. It was a really good blend of fun, swoony, serious, inspiring - I am completely charmed by it.

I am so glad I finally read this one. All of the fuss is well-deserved; it's definitely a book that stands out in the contemporary genre. I highly highly recommend it! 


Top Ten Favorite Underrated Heroines

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week's Top Ten list is
"Top Ten Favorite Underrated Heroines"

Nicole's Top Five

1. Quinn from If I Lie by Corrine Jackson because she stood up to a whole town to cover for someone
2. Maggie from Also Known As/Going Rogue by Robin Benway because she saved people from bad guys
3. Carey from If You Find Me by Emily Murdoch because she protected her younger sister at all costs
4. Verity from Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein because she never stopped fighting
5. Sam from Rites of Passage by Joy N. Hensley because she paved the way for women

Ashley's Top Five

1. Cress from Cress by Marissa Meyer because she is nerdy and excels at technology.
2. Kami from The Lynburn Legacy by Sarah Rees Brennan because she will go to all lengths to protect her family and her town. 
3. Lynn from In a Handful of Dust by Mindy McGinnis because she will travel across the United States for the safety and survival of her adopted daughter. 
4. Amy from Say What You Will by Cammie Mcgovern because she conquered the challenges life threw at her with her disability and overcomes tough situations. 
5. Cammie from The Gallagher Girls by Ally Carter because she is an awesome spy ready to always save her friends and the world. 

What are your top ten?


A Darker Shade of Magic by Victoria Schwab

Title: A Darker Shade of Magic
Author: Victoria Schwab
Publisher: Tor Books
Release Date: February 24, 2015
Source: ARC borrowed from Lili @ Lili's Reflections (thank you Lili!!)

Summary from Goodreads:
Kell is one of the last Travelers—rare magicians who choose a parallel universe to visit.

Grey London is dirty, boring, lacks magic, ruled by mad King George. Red London is where life and magic are revered, and the Maresh Dynasty presides over a flourishing empire. White London is ruled by whoever has murdered their way to the throne. People fight to control magic, and the magic fights back, draining the city to its very bones. Once there was Black London - but no one speaks of that now.

Officially, Kell is the Red Traveler, personal ambassador and adopted Prince of Red London, carrying the monthly correspondences between royals of each London. Unofficially, Kell smuggles for those willing to pay for even a glimpse of a world they’ll never see. This dangerous hobby sets him up for accidental treason. Fleeing into Grey London, Kell runs afoul of Delilah Bard, a cut-purse with lofty aspirations. She robs him, saves him from a dangerous enemy, then forces him to another world for her 'proper adventure'.

But perilous magic is afoot, and treachery lurks at every turn. To save all of the worlds, Kell and Lila will first need to stay alive — trickier than they hoped



Victoria Schwab is a master at creating worlds. I absolutely loved this one with parallel Londons and magic. There is Grey London, the magic-less city, Red London, the healthy city, White London, the starving city, and then Black London, the city that fell to magic. It used to be that anyone could travel between the cities but since they sealed the doors to contain the corruption in Black London, only the few remaining Antari have that ability. Kell is one of them and Holland is the other. Kell for all intents and purposes is good, and even though he belongs to the Red Crown, his mind and body are his own. The same can't be said for Holland who is soul-bound to the bloodthirsty rulers of White London.

When Kell discovers a dangerous source of magic that the White Crown is trying to exploit, it's up to him to get rid of it. But he is not just up against Holland and The White Crown, two powerful adversaries in and of themselves, but he is also up against the magic, which quite literally has a mind of its own. And every time Kell uses the magic to stay alive, it assumes a little more control over him.  There was no shortage of villains or danger in this story and it was absolutely thrilling. And it was all very dark which I LOVE. I honestly couldn't get enough.

Early into the story, Kell crosses paths with a lady thief from Grey London. Actually, she robs him and when Kell realizes it, he travels to her room to reclaim his belongings. One thing leads to another and all of a sudden Lila is tagging along, much to Kell's chagrin. But these two made an AWESOME pair. Lila was stubborn and hilarious and energetic. She was the perfect counterweight to Kell's more subdued, strictly-business personality. And her teasing him made me laugh out loud more than once (just check my GR status updates!). I loved them together!

There wasn't any romance but that was fine by me. There is the promise of romance to come.

Quite honestly, I thought this book was perfection and I didn't want it to end. I am so happy that there is a sequel because I am not ready to give up these characters or this world. And judging by that ending (which was phenomenal, by the way) there is a lot more excitement to come. I have some predictions and I can't wait to see if they come true.

In summary, you need this book in your life. Good news is, it releases tomorrow!


Book Blogger Love-A-Thon | Day 2

My High Fives

My Current High Five! 
1. Books: All The Bright Places by Jennifer Niven - I am loving this book so far
2. Genre: Fantasy- I am loving the fairy tale re-tellings at the moment! [source]
3. Author: Marissa Meyer - She is awesome and I am impatiently waiting for Winter
4. Blogger: I kinda cheated here and picked my amazing co-blogger, Nicole, who is also one of my best friends.  There are so many blogs we both love, I did not want to leave anyone out![photo credit]
5. Bookish store: Etsy- Anytime I am looking for anything bookish, I always hit Etsy first.  I love all neat homemade items, jewelry, prints, and more! 


Some of you may have already seen this on our Thoughts for Thursday but at the current moment it is my favorite bookish picture!

Thumbs up from my favorite reading spot!

And a close up of a shelf! 

A big thank you to our lovely host, Alexa @Alexa Loves Books, and the creator of this event, Katelyn from Kate's Tales of Books and Bands! 


2015 Book Blogger Love-A-Thon | Day 1

One Can Only Quote

“It is a blessing as well as a burden to love so much 

that you can hurt so badly when love is gone.”

   ― Deborah Harkness, A Discovery of Witches

So this quote is probably a little more somber than most but it is one that resonated with me (Nicole) the most. You see, my grandmother is one of the most important people in my life. She has been a significant influence on the woman I am today and is a big contributor to my love and happiness both past and present. But my grandmom is also 85-years-old and I know I only have so much time left with her. Just thinking about not having her in my life someday overwhelms me with sadness and I live in fear of when that day is a reality. But I wouldn't trade my love for her or the time I've had with her for anything, even if it will be that much harder to lose her. So yeah, this quote hit close to home.

But to lighten things up a bit, Ashley made this beautiful picture + quote combo about her love for her husband, Justin:

Book Valentines

Happy Valentine's Day Wolf (The Lunar Chronicles)

For Wolf I would buy him an awesome vest (credit), a picnic basket for a romantic date, a bottle of Once Upon a Vine red wine, and a pair of slippers.

Happy Valentine's Day Captain Thorne (The Lunar Chronicles)

For Captain Thorne, I would buy him Tangled for a fun night in plus I think he would love Flynn Rider, Firefly since he shares some traits with Captain Mal, a pair of rugged leather boots (Source), and finally Han Solo and Princess Leia towels (Source).  

Book Spine Poetry

Just One Day
Let's Get Lost
Wild Hearts
Out of the Easy,
The Probability of Miracles
Something Real


Hello fellow book bloggers! Nicole (right) and Ashley (left) here, the bloggers behind The Quiet Concert. Our story started back in 2009 when we became sorority sisters but it was our love of the same things (aka BOOKS) that truly bonded us together. It wasn't until a few years later though that Ashley suggested we start a blog together, to which Nicole immediately responded "Let's do it!".  Neither of us knew what we were getting ourselves into but it has been one hell of an experience so far and we just celebrated our Two Year Blogoversary!  The best part? ALL OF YOU! Seriously, this community is what keeps us going so THANK YOU. When we aren't reading (or blogging or  visiting or tweeting or instagramming) we are pretending to be adults. Ashley just got married and bought a house. Nicole has hit none of those milestones but IS about to finish grad school so hopefully that counts for something. Other things we love? Traveling, hiking, loving on our pets... 

And to answer some fun questions...

Name the 5 books you’re most excited for this 2015!
We don't read too many of the same books, which is actually pretty convenient for blogging, but some books we are both really looking forward to are: Winter by Marissa Meyer, The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater, The Vanishing Throne by Elizabeth May, The Game of Love and Death by Martha Brockenbrough, and The Girl at Midnight by Melissa Grey!

What’s an underrated book or series that you think everyone should read?
Why, Nicole has a few - The Amber House Trilogy by Kelly Moore et al., How to Lead a Life of Crime by Kirsten Miller, If I Lie by Corrine Jackson, and Kindness for Weakness by Shawn Goodman. I gave 5 stars to each of these. They are AMAZING and more people need to read them!!

Which book boy or girl would be your book BFF?

If we had to pick one, it would be ZUZANA but we also love Blue, Will and Thorne! <3

A big thank you to our lovely host, Alexa @Alexa Loves Books, and the creator of this event, Katelyn from Kate's Tales of Books and Bands! <3

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