Tuesday, September 2, 2014

A Month in Review: Summer 2014 Edition

Oh man, guys. I'm still out of the whole blogging thing, but hopefully, now that school is starting, I'll be getting back into the flow. Doesn't necessarily correlate, but let's see! Anyway, I'm super sorry for not actually being around all to much this summer. I'm a senior in HS now, so it's a pretty crazy time, and I've been super busy. But alas, I apologize!

Since I missed July's Month in Review, I'm just making a big summer edition, given there's not much anyway (*cringe*)

Books I Read







Reviews

Books:

TV Shows:

Movies:

Other Posts

Challenge: Clear Your TBR Pile: Intro to Challenge, My Introduction, Update (Halfway), Wrap Up


Personal Stuff
1) Whew! What a summer it's been. I interned, tutored, danced, volunteered, visited colleges, and so much move. Ack!
2) Finally finished my summer reading. Mwahaha...it was torture
3) Saw Newsies on Broadway and fell in love!
4) Took a master (ballet) class with a former student of my dance studio. It was awesome!
5) Visited a lot of colleges...let's not even count.
6) Got my learner's permit and drove for the first time!
7) I don't remember...this summer has simultaneously long and short....Why am I back to school already?

Friday, August 29, 2014

Inspired: Of Dreams: The Last Flock by Sonia Fuderer (sort of)

Inspired: A Summer of Songs showcases song lyrics written by myself and other bloggers. The lyrics and themes were inspired by books. The author of the books have provided their thoughts on the lyrics and how it fits their books; in the case that an author could not participate, a fellow blogger took up the responsibility. I highly encourage you to comment either on the lyrics, on the books, on the event in general, or on anything of a similar note.

I have to start off by explaining the (sort of) aspect to today's song, which is the final song of the event. The truth is, it wasn't actually inspired by The Last Flock or by any book in fact. Of Dreams is the culmination of years worth of dance classes and years worth of effort trying to capture my love for the art and the sport in one song. It's no where near perfect, and I'm still working on it. I've been having trouble with them being too cheesy, but this one seems to move away from that a bit. It doesn't capture every single aspect or every part of my experience. It doesn't capture the full range of experiences different dancers with different dreams and hopes and goals have. But it's a little insight into mine. Of course some of it is exaggerated or is taken from the point of view of a dancer with much greater ability than me. But this song is what I've been working towards for the past few years in many senses of that phrase. I believe that you can feel someone's passion about something they love when they write about it or talk about it, no matter what they say or how they say it. I hope that is what comes across at the center of this song. I literally cry thinking about my love of dance. I will never be a super amazing dancer. I will likely never dance professionally. But dance has given me so much, and I love it with my whole heart despite all the aches and pains and hardships and the times I feel like I can't ever be good enough. 

So I really had to include this song, and it's also why I included it last. Now, my friend (and more!) Sonia Fuderer is someone I've really connected with fairly recently. I think it started with dance and has grown to books, life, and of course our discussions and love for dance have continued. Her book, The Last Flock, which hasn't been acquired by a publishing company yet (but really should be!), features a main character that is a dancer. Now, the book and series isn't centered on this fact, but it plays a large part in the story and for the character. With the idea in mind of wanting to include this song in the event, I knew right away that I wanted Sonia to read the song (I had actually already sent it to her), react to it, and be a part of this event. I have plenty of other dance friends and I know of fellow bloggers that dance/love dance, but my relationship with Sonia is so different and so awesome that I didn't have a second thought about asking her. 

So the song isn't based on The Last Flock, but it connects to the story because the main character, Reese, can relate to it. Sonia's response is a mix of a reaction to it based on her story and character but also based on her experience as a dancer. I really hope you like this one. And selfishly, I hope this is the one you read, if none of the others (BUT PLEASE check out the songs written by Isabel and Nova because they're awesome and so are their songs. PLEASE GO CHECK THOSE OUT AND GIVE THEM THE LOVE THEY DESERVE. THANKS!)

The Song:

Of Dreams
Watch the sweat drown out
All the tears you once cried.
Feel the heat of the light
As it splashes down around you.
And suddenly it’s just you, alone,
Breathing in the beauty of
The moment of silence before
The music starts to play.

As the music lifts you up,
As you smile out to the crowd,
Everything else falls away.
All the dried up tears after
All these years have finally brought you here.
And you leap so high,
Like you’d touch the sky,
And nothing could stop you then.
It’s the feeling of life,
Of hope, of freedom, of dreams.
And it all finally belongs to you too.

Hear a roar break out
When you fly off stage.
Touch the moment, touch
The glory of the night.
And suddenly a crowd gathers ‘round
As you stand there by yourself.
It’s the moment of pure happiness
Before it all starts again.

But it’s all worth it when…
The music lifts you up
As you smile out to the crowd,
And everything else fades away.
All the dried up tears after
All these years are what brought you’re here.
And you leap so high,
Like you’d touch the sky,
And nothing could stop you then.
It’s the feeling of life,
Of hope, of freedom, of dreams.
And it all finally belongs to you.

Flip back through the memories,
Remember all it to took to get here.
Smile at the good times,
Cry at the bad.
Remember all the road bumps
And all the fears, but also
Remember all the feelings and
All of the happiness within.

It’s all worth it when…
The music lifts you up
As you smile out to the crowd,
And everything else fades away.
All the dried up tears after
All these years are what brought you’re here.
And you leap so high,
Like you’d touch the sky,
And nothing could stop you then.
It’s the feeling of life,
Of hope, of freedom, of dreams.
And it all finally belongs to you.

And it finally belongs to you too.

The Reaction:
This song you wrote, Of Dreams, brings back so many fond memories of my years of dance. I connected deeply with the line about feeling the warmth of the light surrounding you as, even after many years since dance, I can still feel those bright lights of the stage shining and warming my skin where it touches me. You’re in a moment of suspended silence as adrenaline flows through your body and you anticipate the beginning notes of your song. There’s always an amazing sense of completion as each year of dance ends; you practice for a year to perform a three minute dance, and the lead up to the big day is a whirlwind. If you’re lucky, you can slow your mind down on the big day, and feel the emotions that you so beautifully captured in this song.

My main character, Reese, is a dancer, and in The Last Flock, after being sealed in a biological fallout shelter for a year, she begins teaching dance to the younger girls to help pass the time. Near the end of the book, as they’re getting close to the release date, Reese arranges a dance recital for her students, and after I read these lyrics my mind immediately flashed to that scene in the book. No one knows what happened above or if anyone else survived the attack. They have been living cut off from the rest of the world and both tension and doubt are beginning to bloom in the shelter. The purpose and goal of dance in my story is to give Reese and the children a release. Despite the intense circumstances, Reese and her little dancers will feel a few moments of freedom when they get to perform their dance. Your lyrics sum it up best…

It’s all worth it when…
The music lifts you up
As you smile out to the crowd,
And everything else fades away.
All the dried up tears after
All these years are what brought you’re here.
And you leap so high,
Like you’d touch the sky,
And nothing could stop you then.
It’s the feeling of life,
Of hope, of freedom, of dreams.
And it all finally belongs to you.

The Book:
Seventeen-year-old Reese survived cancer as a child, but when a biological terrorist attack is unleashed on America, she finds herself fighting for her life again - spending what should've been her senior year of high school sealed in a shelter below the Rocky Mountains. Her broken family struggles to adjust to this new life, one without her missing older brother, and the only bright spots are the friendships that form below. Even falling in love with fellow shelter-dweller Lucas comes at a price - reconciling with the awful reality that everyone she left above, including her boyfriend, has perished.

Making matters worse, Reese begins to suspect Joshua, the inspirational and charismatic founder of the shelter, has not gathered their group below entirely by chance. As fear and doubt bloom in the community, Reese embarks on a mission to discover what secrets Joshua is hiding. What she uncovers is unimaginable: the greatest threat may not be in the outside world at all, but instead sealed in the shelter with them. With uncertainty breaking bonds, Reese must decide what to do with the information she has uncovered, and most crucially, who to trust.
Sonia Fuderer, The Author:

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Tour: Review: Feuds by Avery Hastings (ARC)

 I'm so excited to be a part of this blog tour, and I'm so honored that I/Fly to Fiction was invited to be a part of this. Thank you to Paper Lantern Lit for the tour!

Feuds by Avery Hastings
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Release Date: September 2nd, 2014
For Davis Morrow, perfection is a daily reality. Like all Priors, Davis has spent her whole life primed to be smarter, stronger, and more graceful than the lowly Imperfects, or “Imps.” A fiercely ambitious ballerina, Davis is only a few weeks away from qualifying for the Olympiads and finally living up to her mother’s legacy when she meets Cole, a mysterious boy who leaves her with more questions each time he disappears.

Davis has no idea that Cole has his own agenda, or that he’s a rising star in the FEUDS, an underground fighting ring where Priors gamble on Imps. Cole has every reason to hate Davis—her father’s campaign hinges on the total segregation of the Imps and Priors—but despite his best efforts, Cole finds himself as drawn to Davis as she is to him.

Then Narxis, a deadly virus, takes its hold--and Davis’s friends start dying. When the Priors refuse to acknowledge the epidemic, Davis has no one to turn to but Cole. Falling in love was never part of their plan, but their love may be the only thing that can save her world...in Avery Hastings's Feuds.
"The debate and experiences of integration and segregation are so complex and well-explored in the book."

"There's a really in-depth look at the gritty world of politics."

"The book honestly fell short of my expectations on the ballet front"

"Davis and Cole's almost insta-obsession with one another is just too much, too awkward, and way to quick for my taste."

"The story starts off slow, but roughly 2/3 of the way through, it starts to pick up because that's when the book becomes littered with plot twists"

Disclaimer: I received an eARC on NetGalley. This did not affect my review in any way, nor am I being compensated for this post/review.

I'm not entirely sure what I was expecting when I requested and began reading Feuds. Really, what drew me in was the cover and the fact that Davis, the main character, is a ballerina. If you know me at all, you know I'm a sucker for stories related in any way to ballet/dance. So anyway, that led me to this book. I have so many thoughts about the book, but in my mind, none of these thoughts are particularly organized. Hopefully my review will be much less chaotic than it is in my mind.

The book honestly fell short of my expectations on the ballet front. Yes, Davis is a ballerina, but it was only brought out in pieces here and there. When she wasn't in the studio or warming up or dancing, I hardly felt the dancer in her shine through. Now, for most people, that might not be noticeable, but as a passionate dancer (much as Davis claims to be), me being a dancer and more specifically, a ballet dancer, shapes the way I view the world, and it's much more prominent in my life. And I don't even dance as well or as much as Davis does. I feel like her love for the art/sport is told to us, not so much shown. I'm conflicted about whether or not she truly dances because she loves it. Parts such as the beginning of Chapter 13 make me think that she does love dance and that she does get it. But other times, it feels like she dances simply because of her mom and/or to please her father.

But moving on, there is a whole lot of 'telling,' in my opinion. Even for my taste! This also somewhat lends itself to the world building. I was somewhat confused by the setting. I could eventually piece together parts of the dystopia and could sort of figure out what things were, but it was all in completely scattered pieces that left me confused for a large portion. I'm still not entirely clear on how much more technologically advanced they are or about the history of the segregation. It took me so long to figure out terms being thrown around such as Imps, Gens, Priors, and PAs. I still only have a hint of what Narxis actually is and does. I have no idea how Priors get infected or how it spreads. I have no idea how it started or how exactly the whole genetics thing works. In terms of PAs, I'm not entirely sure what happens if you don't qualify or its entire purpose. Is there a national government? How that fit in? The entire America can't just be Columbus, can it? What about the international community? How would it play into all of the events in the book? Maybe I'm the only one with all these questions and confusions but gahh! Many of these don't get cleared up, so it was hard to get through.

Next, the characters are frustrating too. Davis and Cole's almost insta-obsession with one another is just too much, too awkward, and way to quick for my taste. Even by the end, I feel like neither of them really knew much about the other. It seemed that they were mostly just physically attracted to one another at the beginning, fueling the rest of their romance. Don't get me wrong, there are some really great scenes and some pretty swoony moments, but it just didn't work for me. (On a separate note, this is one of those multiple POV books that I actually don't mind. It worked for me!) While I think both Cole and Davis' POVs are very in depth, I felt like a lot of Cole's story was missing, even in the sections that were told from his view. But beyond the two main characters, I personally thought that a lot of the characters and character relationships weren't well-established in the book. I often had to sit and think for a moment to figure out a character's connection to another.

My last negative issue with the book was that the ending was so abrupt. I was not expecting it, and I just went, "Wait...that's it? Is there more? What?"

Speaking of the ending, however, the book progressively got better, though it introduces so much information at the end but almost right before the end of the book, making it hard for the plot twists to fully form. But the plot twists! The story starts off slow, but roughly 2/3 of the way through, it starts to pick up because that's when the book becomes littered with plot twists, some more obvious and some completely out of nowhere (in that I was completely taken by surprise).

Despite the drawbacks, one of the strongest aspects of the book was one of the central themes of the book. The debate and experiences of integration and segregation are so complex and well-explored in the book. Do I think Davis' perception has changed? Not much in terms of viewing the Imps better but definitely a lot in taking the Priors off of their pedestals. Yet, I think Davis' confusion and thoughts and opinions on the subject greatly reflect many of those in the real world. It really parallels the civil rights movement. It's really striking and well-written, and it's one of my favorite aspects of the book. It's explored from all different angles. Similarly, the theme and exploration of corruption, particularly political corruption, was really well done, particularly with Parson's dealings and his manipulation of Cole. Just, wow! There's a really in-depth look at the gritty world of politics. (It also reminds me of why I don't plan to ever get into politics and reminds me of why I hate politics so much.) On a similar note, there's a really great look into the lives and challenges of those in the public spotlight, such as the families of politicians. While these positives may seem small in comparison to the negatives above, these really span the entire book and were what me give it a more middle-grounded rating. These strengths show Hastings' strength in writing overarching themes and ideas, and that made me enjoy the book much more than I would have otherwise.

About the Author:


Avery Hastings is an author and former book editor from New York City. Avery grew up in Ohio, graduated in 2006 from the University of Notre Dame and earned her MFA from the New School in 2008. When she's not reading or writing, Avery can usually be spotted lying around in the park with her affable dog. Like her protagonists, she knows how to throw a powerful right hook and once dreamed of becoming a ballerina. In addition to New York, Avery has recently lived in Mumbai and Paris, but is happy to call Brooklyn home (for now).

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Inspired: Come Home: Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry

Inspired: A Summer of Songs showcases song lyrics written by myself and other bloggers. The lyrics and themes were inspired by books. The author of the books have provided their thoughts on the lyrics and how it fits their books; in the case that an author could not participate, a fellow blogger took up the responsibility. I highly encourage you to comment either on the lyrics, on the books, on the event in general, or on anything of a similar note.

As I mentioned yesterday, there were two bloggers that gladly joined in and participated in this event. The second blogger is my other good friend Isabel @ Tween 2 Teen Book Reviews. Unlike Nova, Isabel is a bit newer to lyric-writing, but she did a fabulous job! I actually haven't read Pushing the Limits (*gasp* I know!) (okay, I also haven't read The Program yet...), but I was so excited that Isabel jumped aboard. I couldn't get Katie to join in and send in her reaction, but I knew that Kayla @ A Wonderland of Reading LOVES Katie's books. So of course, I just had to ask Kayla to jump aboard and write a reaction to Isabel's song. She gratefully accepted, so I'm happy to say that I have two of my great blogging friends on today's post!

The Song (by Isabel):

Come Home
Hey you, with your head to the ground
Hey you, looking the other way
Hey you, who won’t look me in the eye
Hey you, don’t you have something to say

Hey you, hiding behind a smile
Hey you, locked up inside yourself
Hey you, what you got to hide?
Hey you, hey it’s gonna be alright

Cause everyone is fighting
An uphill battle war
And some may not be winning
Most don’t know where to start
When everyone is fighting
And no one’s by your side
Well it all my seem so useless
But come on, come home tonight

I know you’re tired, I know you’re scared
But what are you waiting for?
Trust me, we’ve all been there
But you don’t need to hide no more

So take a moment, stop and stare
For what’s on the other side
You won’t believe it’s always been there
But come on, you just gotta see the sunlight

Cause everyone is fighting
An uphill battle war
And some may not be winning
Most don’t know where to start
When everyone is fighting
And no one’s by your side
Well it all my seem so useless
But come on, come home tonight

Come home
You are not alone
Even though the dark is threatening
You can always find the light

Just cause everyone is fighting
Doesn’t mean you’ve lost the war
And though you may not be winning
You just gotta look in your heart
Despite everyone fighting
I am always by your side
And if it ever seems useless
Just come on, come home tonight

The Reaction (by Kayla):
I can totally picture this as a slow acoustic song. While it can easily be targeted towards Noah and Echo, I mainly see it towards Echo and it really captures what she's going through and what she thinks. While I can't see Noah ever actually doing it, it's almost like this is Noah singing to Echo about how he wants to help her, be the answers to her troubles, and how he wants her to come to him so he can make everything alright for her. 

Picturing this song in my head, it just really got to me because it so greatly captures a lot of what goes on in Pushing the Limits. And Pushing the Limits being the amazing book that is one of my all time favorites, this really hit me in the feels! Come Home is a perfect song for Echo, Noah, and Pushing the Limits!

The Book:
Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Release Date: July 31st, 2012
No one knows what happened the night Echo Emerson went from popular girl with jock boyfriend to gossiped-about outsider with "freaky" scars on her arms. Even Echo can't remember the whole truth of that horrible night. All she knows is that she wants everything to go back to normal.

But when Noah Hutchins, the smoking-hot, girl-using loner in the black leather jacket, explodes into her life with his tough attitude and surprising understanding, Echo's world shifts in ways she could never have imagined. They should have nothing in common. And with the secrets they both keep, being together is pretty much impossible.

Yet the crazy attraction between them refuses to go away. And Echo has to ask herself just how far they can push the limits and what she'll risk for the one guy who might teach her how to love again.

Isabel, The Blogger:
Blog | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | Goodreads | YouTube | Pinterest

Kayla, The (Other) Blogger:
Blog | Twitter | Bloglovin

Monday, August 25, 2014

Inspired: The Flaw: The Program by Suzanne Young

Inspired: A Summer of Songs showcases song lyrics written by myself and other bloggers. The lyrics and themes were inspired by books. The author of the books have provided their thoughts on the lyrics and how it fits their books; in the case that an author could not participate, a fellow blogger took up the responsibility. I highly encourage you to comment either on the lyrics, on the books, on the event in general, or on anything of a similar note.

My favorite part of the event was the idea that other bloggers would get involved, be inspired, and have their work be sent to the author of the book they were inspired by. Of course, lyric writing is a daunting task, so I only had two bloggers participate. However, I'm happy to say that they both wrote wonderful songs. Today's writer is Nova @ Out of Time. She's not new to songwriting, which is probably obvious by her amazing lyrics. She even one-upped me by recording her song for y'all. Enjoy! 

The Song (by Nova):
The Flaw
Is it gone?
When you've lost to the drug.
But you feel like you haven't lost a thing.

Is it alright?
When you forget your page or place.
In a world we'd rather die than be erased.

You took the memories,
That were not yours to take.
To be fixed,
Don't I,
Have to break? 

I'll forget him.
I'll forget hope.
I'll forget the river we used as our home.

In dark and now unharmed.
Is it better to restart? 
Freedom's only as real as we're told.

It's a crack in the glass.
A pixel that's broken.
A fracture in the skeleton,
The flaw in the program. 

The one I love.
Is now a stranger in a crowd.
We can't recall we anchored each other while the 
world,

Tested rounds.
With your clipboard and your notes.
You disassembled all the lights that only blinked. 

Contain the hurricane,
That is tearing us up.
One tear could sound the alarms! 

I'll forget him.
I'll forget hope.
I'll forget the river we used as our home.

In dark and now unharmed.
Is it better to restart? 
Freedom's only as real as we're told.

It's a crack in the glass.
A pixel that's broken.
A fracture in the skeleton,
The flaw in the program. 

Who am I?
I don't know.
A sedated state.
Till we actually wonder.

Is it better to let it go?
Should the past stay in the past.
Is it worth hacking the system? 

The pill is gone and so is our pain,
Where did it go?
Where did I go?

Woke up with a scream.
This is not a scary dream.
Missing pieces are the holes in a glass.

But I'm the diamond in the deck,
Blank faces not written yet.
My past does not define,
Who I am. 

There's no way to be sure,
No way to be certain.
I could be the ruins after the storm,
If I take the treatment.


The Reaction:
When I’m starting a story, I usually create a playlist to set the atmosphere while I’m writing. The songs usually change throughout, depending on where the story goes, and THE PROGRAM was no different. Music was a huge part of the writing process for that series. Which is why the song “The Flaw” written by Nova @ Out of Time is so incredibly cool. To change a story into lyrics isn’t an easy task, and Nova nailed it.

My favorite lines from “The Flaw” are:
Is it better to restart?
Freedom’s only real as we’re told

I think those lines say a lot about THE PROGRAM. I’m honored and humbled that Nova felt the story enough to be inspired artistically by it. It’s a huge compliment. Now I’m the one inspired because of her words.

The Book:
The Program by Suzanne Young
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Release Date: April 30th, 2013
In Sloane’s world, true feelings are forbidden, teen suicide is an epidemic, and the only solution is The Program.

Sloane knows better than to cry in front of anyone. With suicide now an international epidemic, one outburst could land her in The Program, the only proven course of treatment. Sloane’s parents have already lost one child; Sloane knows they’ll do anything to keep her alive. She also knows that everyone who’s been through The Program returns as a blank slate. Because their depression is gone—but so are their memories.

Under constant surveillance at home and at school, Sloane puts on a brave face and keeps her feelings buried as deep as she can. The only person Sloane can be herself with is James. He’s promised to keep them both safe and out of treatment, and Sloane knows their love is strong enough to withstand anything. But despite the promises they made to each other, it’s getting harder to hide the truth. They are both growing weaker. Depression is setting in. And The Program is coming for them.

Suzanne Young, The Author:
Website | Twitter | Facebook

Nova, The Blogger:
Blog | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads | YouTube

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Inspired: Stronger and Closer; Anymore (More Than a Misfit): Something Strange and Deadly by Susan Dennard (+giveaway)

Inspired: A Summer of Songs showcases song lyrics written by myself and other bloggers. The lyrics and themes were inspired by books. The author of the books have provided their thoughts on the lyrics and how it fits their books; in the case that an author could not participate, a fellow blogger took up the responsibility. I highly encourage you to comment either on the lyrics, on the books, on the event in general, or on anything of a similar note.

So I'm really excited about today's songs because there are two of them, both inspired by Susan Dennard's Something Strange and Deadly series. I absolutely love Sooz, who is awesome and super supportive and just all around great. Thankfully, her books are just about as awesome. The series has inspired me for a long time, and when I finally just sat down to write, the words came out (almost) easily. Needless to say, I'm excited to share these two songs with you, and I was ecstatic over Susan's kind words. Lastly, Susan was kind enough to donate a hardcover copy of Strange and Ever After, so be sure to enter the giveaway!

The Song:
Stronger and Closer
First look of anger,
First look of kindness,
First look of despair,
First look of loss,
Scared of all the darkness around,
Scared of all the darkness within.

Feel the energy,
Feel the fear,
Taste the darkness,
Hear the tears.

But you make me stronger,
Tell me that I can make it through.
You help me see clearer,
So I can see the truth.

Bring me closer,
Closer to you.
Bring me closer,
Closer to the truth.

First look of softness,
First look of light,
First look of past times,
First look of longing,
Scared of all the darkness around,
Scared of all the darkness within.

Feel the energy,
Feel the fear,
Taste the darkness,
Hear the tears.

But you make me stronger,
Though I try to be brave too.
You help me see past the lies,
So I can see the truth.

Bring me closer,
Closer to you.
Bring me closer,
Closer to the truth.

The first night,
The last dawn,
The echoes of our heart.
The first look,
The last kiss,
The flutter of my breath.

You make me stronger,
Though I can stand on my own.
You help me see past my tears and fears,
So I can see the truth.

Bring me closer,
Closer to you.
Bring me closer,
Closer to the truth.

You make me strong.
Bring me closer to you.
You help me through this,
So help me to see you clearly too.

The Reaction:
This. Is. Incredible. Oh my goodness, when I read it I got chills from all the emotion! I can FEEL what the singer feels. And what I really love is that it could fit any of the characters. Eleanor, Daniel, Oliver—they all go through something like this (minus the kiss for Oliver ;))—which I think says a lot for how well this song fits the emotional starting point for the series arc.

Eleanor especially is in a dark, frightened, reaching place, and I think this song conveys that perfectly. Interestingly, even though Eleanor grows and takes her life into her own hands, even by the end of the book, that scared, lonely, darkness is still inside her—so the song still applies, even up to the last page.

Gosh, I wish this song were real because I would totally add it to my Strange & Ever After playlist. I can see it sung in the style of “I Remain” (by Alanis Morissette sort of way).


The Song:
Anymore (More than a Misfit)
Running,
Falling,
Don’t know what I’m doing anymore.
The world’s turned without me,
And I don’t know where I am anymore.

I hear the ring of the sirens
Piercing through my brain.
They’re shouting, I’m running,
Faster than I’ve ever been.
All the new people entering my life,
But the one I’ve thought mattered most,
He’s not coming back anymore.

Brother,
Mother,
I can’t get them back anymore.
The friends that surround me,
They help me when I fall.

I hear the ring of the sirens
Piercing through my brain.
They’re shouting, I’m running,
Faster than I’ve ever been.
All the new people entering my life,
But the one I’ve thought mattered most,
He’s not coming back anymore.

I’m broken
In pieces,
But still I try to go on
Faster and stronger than I’ve ever been.
I’m holding on,
Trying to be
Something more than a misfit.

I hear the ring of the sirens
Piercing through my brain.
They’re shouting, I’m running,
Faster than I’ve ever been.
All the new people entering my life,
But the one I’ve thought mattered most,
He’s not coming back anymore.

Running,
Falling,
Don’t know what I’m doing anymore.
The world’s turned without me,
And I don’t know where I am anymore.
Don’t know where I am anymore.

The Reaction:
Okay, I didn’t think it was possible, but I love this one even more than the other. Oh my gosh, I read it and I could just see and feel Eleanor’s urgency when she’s facing off to the Dead.

The whole “The world’s turned without me, And I don’t know where I am anymore” could basically summarize all of her character tension in the series. She knows what needs to be done, but she doesn’t know how to do it. 

And oh wow—this whole chorus: “I hear the ring of the sirens, Piercing through my brain. They’re shouting, I’m running, Faster than I’ve ever been” reflects every high energy scene. She’s running, she’s fighting, and she’s just grappling and grabbing for whatever she can do to get out of this next encounter alive. 

This song so perfectly reflects Eleanor’s inner (and outer) struggles for most of the books—certainly books 1 and 2, and even a large chunk of 3. Eleanor grows stronger, but her strength only brings in new problems—new people to lose, new disruptions and heartache. 

I really, really want to hear this song done in the style of “Bones” by MsMr (which is, like, my Eleanor theme song!) because I think the urgency of the lyrics would fit so well with that epic, dark beat and style.

The Books:
Something Strange and Deadly by Susan Dennard
Publisher: HarperTeen
Release Date: July 24th, 2012
The year is 1876, and there’s something strange and deadly loose in Philadelphia…

Eleanor Fitt has a lot to worry about. Her brother has gone missing, her family has fallen on hard times, and her mother is determined to marry her off to any rich young man who walks by. But this is nothing compared to what she’s just read in the newspaper—

The Dead are rising in Philadelphia.

And then, in a frightening attack, a zombie delivers a letter to Eleanor…from her brother.

Whoever is controlling the Dead army has taken her brother as well. If Eleanor is going to find him, she’ll have to venture into the lab of the notorious Spirit-Hunters, who protect the city from supernatural forces. But as Eleanor spends more time with the Spirit-Hunters, including their maddeningly stubborn yet handsome inventor, Daniel, the situation becomes dire. And now, not only is her reputation on the line, but her very life may hang in the balance.

A Darkness Strange and Lovely by Susan Dennard
Publisher: HarperTeen
Release Date: July 23rd, 2013
Darkness has come to the City of Light...

With her brother dead and her mother on the verge of insanity, Eleanor Fitt is utterly alone. Even the Spirit-Hunters—Joseph, Jie, and the handsome Daniel—have fled to Paris. So when Eleanor begins to hear the vicious barking of hounds and see images of haunting yellow eyes, she fears the worst—that the Dead, and the necromancer Marcus, are coming for her.

To escape and search out the Spirit-Hunters, Eleanor boards a steamer bound for France. There she meets Oliver, a young man who claims to have known her brother. Though friendly, Oliver entices Eleanor with necromancy and black magic, yet as long as she can resist his powerful temptation, she'll be fine. But when she arrives in Paris, she finds that the Dead have taken over the city...and there's a whole new evil lurking. With the body count rising, Eleanor is forced to make a deadly decision that will go against everything the Spirit-Hunters stand for.

In Paris, there's a price for this darkness strange and lovely...and it may have Eleanor paying with her life.

Strange and Ever After by Susan Dennard
Publisher: HarperTeen
Release Date: July 22nd, 2014
In the conclusion to the trilogy that Publishers Weekly called “a roaring—and addictive—gothic world,” Eleanor Fitt must control her growing power, face her feelings for Daniel, and confront the evil necromancer Marcus...all before it’s too late.

He took her brother, he took her mother, and now, Marcus has taken her good friend Jie. With more determination than ever to bring this sinister man to justice, Eleanor heads to the hot desert streets of nineteenth-century Egypt in hopes of ending this nightmare. But in addition to her increasingly tense relationships with Daniel, Joseph, and her demon, Oliver, Eleanor must also deal with her former friend, Allison, who has curiously entangled herself in Eleanor’s mission.

With the rising dead chomping at her every move and Jie’s life hanging in the balance, Eleanor is convinced that her black magic will see her through to the bitter end. But there will be a price. Though she and the Spirit Hunters have weathered every battle thus far, there will be consequences to suffer this time—the effects of which will be irreversible. And when it’s over, only some will be able to live a strange and ever after.
Susan Dennard, The Author:

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Thursday, August 21, 2014

Inspired: Winner: Fire & Flood by Victoria Scott

Inspired: A Summer of Songs showcases song lyrics written by myself and other bloggers. The lyrics and themes were inspired by books. The author of the books have provided their thoughts on the lyrics and how it fits their books; in the case that an author could not participate, a fellow blogger took up the responsibility. I highly encourage you to comment either on the lyrics, on the books, on the event in general, or on anything of a similar note.

The Song:
Winner
Hiding in the tall trees,
feel the rain washing down.
I don’t know where I am.
I just want to get out.

It’s a test of skill,
of chance, of survival.
It’s a fight to save
someone that I love.

There’s no use crying now.
It won’t get us out any faster.
Don’t know who to trust anymore.
Don’t know what I’m supposed to do.
The more I learn,
the more I realize I don’t know.
I miss everything about home.
Want to get out, but I know that I can’t.
Everyone’s fighting for their lives
and for the lives of the ones they love.
I will win, and I will go home.
Home at last.

Brave the dying wind,
feel the heat seeping in.
I don’t know why I’m here.
I just want to get out.

It’s a test of skill,
of chance, of survival.
It’s a fight to save
someone that I love.

There’s no use crying now.
It won’t get us out any faster.
Don’t know who to trust anymore.
Don’t know what I’m supposed to do.
The more I learn,
the more I realize I don’t know.
I miss everything about home.
Want to get out, but I know that I can’t.
Everyone’s fighting for their lives
and for the lives of the ones they love.
I will win, and I will go home.
Home at last.

We don’t even know
how this started.
We don’t even know
why we’re in this place.
I try to figure it out
while I try to figure you out.
We don’t even know
how this started,
and we don’t know
how it’ll end, but
I’ll fight ‘til the end.

It’s a test of skill,
of chance, of survival.
It’s a fight to save
someone that I love.

There’s no use crying now.
It won’t get us out any faster.
Don’t know who to trust anymore.
Don’t know what I’m supposed to do.
The more I learn,
the more I realize I don’t know.
I miss everything about home.
Want to get out, but I know that I can’t.
Everyone’s fighting for their lives
and for the lives of the ones they love.
I will win, and I will go home.
Home at last.

It’s a test of skill,
of chance, of survival.
It’s a fight to save
someone that I love.
We don’t even know
how this started,
and we don’t know
how it’ll end, but
I’ll fight ‘til the end,
and I will win.

The Reaction:
This is the coolest thing ever! It's always an honor when your art inspires someone else to be creative, and this is no exception. I love the determination woven into this song. And that very last line, "And I will win" sent chills down my spine. It's the exact thought Tella has at the end of Fire & Flood. Well done! I'm printing this out and hanging it in my office. Thank you, thank you.

The Book:
Fire & Flood by Victoria Scott
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Release Date: February 25th, 2014
Tella Holloway is losing it. Her brother is sick, and when a dozen doctors can't determine what's wrong, her parents decide to move to Montana for the fresh air. She's lost her friends, her parents are driving her crazy, her brother is dying—and she's helpless to change anything.

Until she receives mysterious instructions on how to become a Contender in the Brimstone Bleed. It's an epic race across jungle, desert, ocean, and mountain that could win her the prize she desperately desires: the Cure for her brother's illness. But all the Contenders are after the Cure for people they love, and there's no guarantee that Tella (or any of them) will survive the race.

The jungle is terrifying, the clock is ticking, and Tella knows she can't trust the allies she makes. And one big question emerges: Why have so many fallen sick in the first place?

Victoria Scott, The Author:

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Inspired: Once We Were: Once We Were by Kat Zhang

Inspired: A Summer of Songs showcases song lyrics written by myself and other bloggers. The lyrics and themes were inspired by books. The author of the books have provided their thoughts on the lyrics and how it fits their books; in the case that an author could not participate, a fellow blogger took up the responsibility. I highly encourage you to comment either on the lyrics, on the books, on the event in general, or on anything of a similar note.

Kat is one of my favorite people ever. She's so incredibly sweet (okay, all the authors involved in the event and beyond are, but anyway!), and she's always so enthusiastic about being involved in my events. I also love her writing and her series, so it works out well. I wrote this song towards the end of this year's FAWM as I was really losing steam and had no idea what to write about anymore. 

This one is more obviously about Once We Were, right down to the title, but I hope it's not too terrible. I think it could be more broad, but let me know what you think!

The Song:

Once We Were
Two minds, 
two hearts, 
stuck together for forever. 
You go, 
I come, 
hoping I will see you again. 

I want to feel whole, 
want to be my own, 
but I can’t let you go. 
We are one, always together. 
Same life, same time, 
never apart.

Once we were afraid. 
Once we were hiding. 
But now we’re here to say, 
to say that we’ll stay. 
And all these echoes of us 
will some day be real. 
You and I, forever together. 
Same life, same time, 
never apart. 

Two souls, 
two thoughts, 
stuck together for forever. 
You say, 
I think, 
hoping I will see you again. 

I want to feel whole, 
want to be on my own, 
but I can’t let you go. 
We are one, always together. 
Same life, same time, 
never apart. 

Once we were afraid. 
Once we were hiding. 
But now we’re here to stay, 
to say that we’ll say. 
And all these echoes of us 
will some day be real. 
You and I, forever together. 
Same life, same time, 
never apart. 

They tried to tear us apart, 
tried to make one of us leave. 
But I refused, and I hope you did too. 
Maybe we’ll be stone cold someday, 
but now we will fight. 
This is our life. These are our loves. 
We won’t give up. We will fight! 

I want to feel whole, 
want to be on my own, 
but I can’t let you go. 
We are one, always together. 
Same life, same time, 
never apart. 

Once we were afraid. 
Once we were hiding. 
But now we’re here to say, 
to say that we’ll stay. 
And all these echoes of us 
will some day be real. 
You and I, forever together. 
Same life, same time, 
never apart.

Once we were afraid. 
Once we were hiding. 
But now we’re here to say, 
to say that we’ll stay. 
And all these echoes of us 
will some day be real. 
You and I, forever together. 
Same life, same time, 
never apart. 
We’re here to stay, 
and we won’t give up. We will fight!

The Reaction:

I was really stoked to see lyrics written for ONCE WE WERE, and that they really apply to the series as a whole. As someone who has always had a lot of trouble coming up with playlists for songs or 'match up your book with the perfect song!' requests, it's pretty awesome to have a personally written song ;) I wish I could hear it sung, to know if it's a slow sort of song, or something more fast-paced! Either way, it really reflects Addie and Eva's relationship really well. I'm also rather tickled that the song references two book titles.

The Book:
Once We Were by Kat Zhang
Publisher: HarperCollins
Release Date: September 17th, 2013
"I'm lucky just to be alive"

Eva was never supposed to have survived this long. As the recessive soul, she should have faded away years ago. Instead, she lingers in the body she shares with her sister soul, Addie. When the government discovered the truth, they tried to “cure” the girls, but Eva and Addie escaped before the doctors could strip Eva’s soul away.

Now fugitives, Eva and Addie find shelter with a group of hybrids who run an underground resistance. Surrounded by others like them, the girls learn how to temporarily disappear to give each soul some much-needed privacy. Eva is thrilled at the chance to be alone with Ryan, the boy she’s falling for, but troubled by the growing chasm between her and Addie. Despite clashes over their shared body, both girls are eager to join the rebellion.

Yet as they are drawn deeper into the escalating violence, they start to wonder: How far are they willing to go to fight for hybrid freedom? Faced with uncertainty and incredible danger, their answers may tear them apart forever.

Kat Zhang, The Author:
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