Category Archives: Books

Texi’s Tunes

As many of you remember, I am a big lover of cats – specifically my furry friend, Texi. About a year ago, I was so inspired by my beloved pet, that I serenaded her with some iconic ‘comedic singing.’ This further inspired a whole musical movement, which has been taking place on instagram under ‘Texi’s Tunes.’

So, if you ever want a bit of comedic, and semi-serious, musical flavor in your life, go check it out!

L8r T8rs,



Let’s *paws* for a moment of silence…

Anyone who has followed my blog is familiar with “this one podcast” I listen tom called “Geek Friday,” then it switched to “IRL Talk.” This podcast was truly one of the most formative influences in my childhood. It really helped me embrace my geekiness, back before ‘geek chic’ was cool. As a plus, the two hosts (Faith and Jason) were phenomenal in communicating with me, even though I was MUCH younger than their target audience, not nearly as educated, etc. They would always email me back, and would frequently include my feedback in the show. These two made me feel like I was a part of something.

That’s why the news from the beginning of the month truly broke my heart. Jason had passed away. In the moment I found out, my first instinct was ‘it must’ve be a joke! Afterall, it’s April Fools day, and this is JASON we’re talking about!’ But, unfortunately it was reality. I was, and am, heartbroken, and overcome with tears. Even now, weeks after, I’m so sad, and no one seems to understand why. Afterall, I’d never met the guy. But, regardless, he was such an incredible influence for me, and such a positive light in the world, and I am truly devastated.

I hope that his family knows how many people were positively influenced by Jason, and how many people will fondly remember him. I can only imagine how heartbreaking it was for is family and friends, and those actually close to him, as it truly was so heartbreaking to me. I just wanted to write a little memorial post, in hopes that those who were close to him would know just what an impact he had on his internet followers.

That’s all I’ve got,


Susan Dennard: Idol Turned… Fridol (Friend/Idol) a Series

As many of you long time readers know, I love Daniel Sheridan, and his creator,  Susan Dennard. There have been many authors that I’ve made connections with during my time of blogging, but few have been as influential as Susan. She was the first author to ever respond to my fan mail, and the first/only I would truly consider a friend. She has been such a wonderful influence for me during my time as a book reviewer, and a writer, so I wanted to write a little story of our progression, to celebrate out ‘four year friendiversary ‘(kind of, I’ll explain).

– August 10th, 2012: I bought Something Strange and Deadly for my birthday. I read it all that day in the car, and totally fell in love.
– August 18th, 2012: Susan and I start corresponding through tweets and emails! All of my dreams had come true.
– September 8th, 2012: I start working with Susan’s agent, to try and bring her for an author visit in my local town.
– May 10th, 2013 (FOUR YEARS AGO NEXT MONTH): Susan came and visited my local town, a LITERAL dream come true for me.

In between, and after, all of this, I blogged about her A RIDICULOUS AMOUNT. I am very surprised I was never turned in as a stalker, honestly. On the contrary, Susan was ridiculously courteous, and very kind to me. She wrote interviews, and filmed videos for my blog; she put me in the acknowledgements of her books, and even OFFICALLY made Daniel my book boyfriend. Susan went so far as to even Skype and chat with me about my publishing aspirations.

Unfortunately, as the years have pasted and Susan has become super mega famous (NYT BESTSELLERRRRRRR #proud), our correspondence has definitely slowed. I was able to see her last year, which was awesome! But contact is few and far between, as she has a lot to take care of, and a CRAZY number of fans now!

However, it still stands: Susan has been a ridiculously kind, and WONDERFUL influence to me over the years, and I will be forever grateful for the time and compassion she had for my dweeby, fangirl self. 🙂 I cannot recommend her work enough – happy friendiversary, Susan!

Aim for the Knees,




(Some of my posts on Susan: 2012 Faves, 2013 Faves, DSL, SEA, and like EVERY PPL post I ever did.)

Welcome Back!

Hiya guys!

Guess who’s back after another long hiatus? That’d be me! I have been mega busy, finishing up high school, working, ballet, the whole shebang. ALSO, I got locked out of the blog because of some tech issues, so it was a very long vacay. I’m sorry guys! However, I have a great line up of posts for you guys planned! I hope (at least some) you all stuck around this long, my loyal fans, and things are about to pick up again!


The Wander Society

25853014verb  \ˈwän-dər\
to walk/explore/amble in an unplanned or aimless way with a complete openness to the unknown

Several years ago when Keri Smith, bestselling author of Wreck This Journal, discovered cryptic handwritten notations in a worn copy of Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass, her interest was piqued. Little did she know at the time that those simple markings would become the basis of a years-long, life-changing exploration into a mysterious group known only as The Wander Society, as well as the subject of this book.

Within these pages, you’ll find the results of Smith’s research: A guide to the Wander Society, a secretive group that holds up the act of wandering, or unplanned exploring, as a way of life. You’ll learn about the group’s mysterious origins, meet fellow wanderers through time, discover how wandering feeds the creative mind, and learn how to best practice the art of wandering, should you choose to accept the mission.

Many of you will have heard of the Wreck This Journal series (something I have recently gotten into, and will cover in a following post). WTJ is a concept that has gotten many people who consider themselves to be artisticially stunted (aka ME) to try something creative, even if it is 100% outside of their comfort zone. AND so, when Keri Smith has a book coming out about those who have a embedded stream of wanderlust in their system (me), feel constantly restless (me), and muffled by the electronically obsessed society they are a pat of (mostly me – but I do love myself some wifi), I knew I needed to check it out.

Did any of you ever read the Unauthorized Autobiography by Lemony Snicket? That was one of my favorite books when I was growing up, and The Wander Society reminded me  a lot of it. However, there was a very distressing aspect to it. I went into the book all ‘la la la, this is a fiction book made to make you think. There’s nothing true about it, I’m just along for the ride.’ But, it slowly started convincing me that it was, in fact, nonfiction. So, the entire time I was reading this, I was in battle with myself, trying to figure out if it was true or not (still not sure TBH).

Anyways. This is a very intriguing read. I’m not sure how I felt about the actual content, but the concept was interesting, and the text did activate my wanderlust side. A good read for anyone who likes a quirky/unique writing style, that gets your mind working.




#5peculiaryears Post + Giveaway

9460487As you all know, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children is one of my all time favorite series. And it has been five years, FIVE YEARS, since it debuted! My goodness, I kind of feel old. So, the kind people over at Quirk Books sent me a tote bag to giveaway to my lovely readers, and fellow fans. Below is my first review of it: EDIT:

I just discovered, I never actually posted my review! How disappointing – I thought it would be fun to throw back to my initial impression, from FIVE YEARS ago. Alas. However, I highly recommend you read the series, especially before the film (directed by Tim Burton!!!!!) Releases. The writing style is unique and captivating, and incorporates vintage photographs for a haunting effect. This book is a modern day classic destined to appeal to all age groups, and book lovers.

A mysterious island. An abandoned orphanage. A strange collection of curious photographs.

A horrific family tragedy sets sixteen-year-old Jacob journeying to a remote island off the coast of Wales, where he discovers the crumbling ruins of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. As Jacob explores its abandoned bedrooms and hallways, it becomes clear that the children were more than just peculiar. They may have been dangerous. They may have been quarantined on a deserted island for good reason. And somehow—impossible though it seems—they may still be alive.

A spine-tingling fantasy illustrated with haunting vintage photography, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children will delight adults, teens, and anyone who relishes an adventure in the shadows.


a Rafflecopter giveaway
Enjoy the giveaway! Unfortunatly, US only. I am not responsible for it getting lost in the mail. I check all entries, and will remove cheaters. Good luck, yo.




Howl’s Moving Castle

Howl's Moving CastleHey guys. So. The blog was infiltrated by spam for a few months. This is a post I drafted back in March, but could not post, due to the virus drama. I added some commentary from the future to it. Enjoy.

Sophie has the great misfortune of being the eldest of three daughters, destined to fail miserably should she ever leave home to seek her fate. But when she unwittingly attracts the ire of the Witch of the Waste, Sophie finds herself under a horrid spell that transforms her into an old lady. Her only chance at breaking it lies in the ever-moving castle in the hills: the Wizard Howl’s castle. To untangle the enchantment, Sophie must handle the heartless Howl, strike a bargain with a fire demon, and meet the Witch of the Waste head-on. Along the way, she discovers that there’s far more to Howl—and herself—than first meets the eye.

Every once in awhile, I like to review something classic. Old news, but nonetheless awesome. This is especially common when I am on a reading block, and haven’t read anything new in a while [Or when I’m just too lazy to read anything new]. Like, right now. I am currently on a read through of Diana Wynne Jones’ Howl’s Moving Castle series (aka, my favorite (second only to Peter Pan [Past Maddie was super hyped up when she wrote this])).  A fantasy series of the 80s, this book is very neglected, unlike it’s film counterpart by Hayao Miyazaki (founder of Studio Ghibli). While the film is also one of my favorites, it is very different from its literature equivalent. Sophie Hatter is, basically, me. The oldest of three siblings, kind of a pushover, the one who seems destined for a boring life [Seriously. She is literally me. LITERALLY. I mean, has anyone ever seen me and Sophie in a room together? I think not].  She is very, very much not the stereotypical heroine. In fact, although she does end up (helping) to save the day, she doesn’t end up having some special ability that makes her the savior. She does indeed end up having magical abilities, but it barely mentioned throughout the novel. Truly, Sophie’s plot is about her personal growth, which is what I find very fascinating.

Jones it one of my favorite authors. She simultaneously makes fun of fantasy clichés, all the while using them (and making them work) in her novels. She has a quick witted, sarcastic tone throughout her writing, which is truly a joy to read. A great companion to her novels (or really, just a great book in general to read for a laugh) is The Tough Guide to Fantasyland. This book is a bit hard to come by (they just started printing it again recently) but is definitely worth the search. It is written as a guide book to the cliché fantasy novel. It serves as great satire, as well as a good guide to writing fantasy fiction.

If you are a fan of fantasy novels, or comedic writing style, please check out Jones’ work. Once you’ve read the book (or before, your choice bro) check out Studio Ghibli’s adaptation of Howl. Before her passing, Jones was a big fan of the film, despite the many changes. It is a prime example of how a book-to-movie adaptation can be great (even better [Wow past Maddie. That’s a bit extreme.]) with changes made to the plot, for the sake of the new platform.

As always [When did I stop saying ‘Further up and further in?’ or just ‘Always’ So unoriginal],


YA Worthy Adventures in Everyday Life

I have always been a big reader. And subsequently, always had an adventurous spirit. Whenever I read a book, I am jealous of the characters. The adventures they have, and the relationships that developed because of it. However, one can only get so far lusting away at fictional character’s expeditions. I’ve had one too many book hangover that resulted in weeks of wanderlust inspired depression. It comes to a point where one must take it into their own hands. And for me, that is today. Hopefully.

That’s where my European backpacking trip comes into play. It’d be a trip of a lifetime. Trying exotic foods, hopping onto last minute train rides across the continent, the all around foreign romance of travel. I’m in the process of trying to make my ideal adventure a reality. More than likely, I’m being entirely foolish, filling the ever cliche role of the teen going on a trip to ‘find myself.’ But it’s something that I feel like I need to do. Must be my destiny calling. Maybe I’ll meet a dragon or unicorn on the way there. What is your adventure, and how will that make it happen?

I think that is one of the key aspects to a happy life. Figure out what your adventure is, and make it a reality. For those of you who are muted, introverted spirits like myself, I highly recommend NerdFitness and LevelUpYourLife. Steve Kamb offers a wonderful resource to get you on your journey towards finding that adventure in your life. I also highly reccomebd the films Maidentrip and The Secret Life of Walter Mitty. They should both send you well on your way to figure out what your adventure should be.

I would love to hear about your ideal adventures in the comments. What inspired them, and how will you attain them?


YA Community – How to Get Involved

I have found the YA book community to be a wonderful sanctuary. I have made many friends (authors and bloggers alike) who have stuck with me since the beginning. However, I find that there is a huge lack of interest from the non-blogging YA readers. One does not have to be a blogger/author/etc to reap the benefits of the online society. It’s not a secret club. I’m going to list a few of the techniques I used at the beginning to get involved.

  1. Twitter. I cannot stress enough how interactive the YA community is on Twitter. This is a great way to start communicating with authors. In fact, I got to know two of my favorite authors (Susan Dennard and Leigh Bardugo) when they were first starting out on twitter. And now they are both NYT Bestsellers, and I still have a contact link with them. Pretty cool! Plus, if you do want to start a blog, Twitter will get you readership. Just tag the author you’re writing about, and they may give you a retweet. famous author retweets you – new readers.
  2. Fan mail – Do not be afraid to send your favorite author fan mail. Chances are, you’ll make their day. Fewer people than you’d expect send authors fanmail, so you have a good chance of a response. I cringe to look bad at some of the fangirly emails I wrote in my early days, but I did get to have conversations with some pretty cool people.
  3. Book conventions – This one is a little harder for some people to attain, but definitely worth it. Book conventions are where a bunch of amazing authors are all in one place for the day, and you typically get to interact with them on a really personal level. Typically book conventions are sponsored by a book store or library. My favorite conventions are TeenBookCon and TweenBookCon both sponsored by the amazing Blue Willow Bookstore in Houston, TX. Just last year I got to spend an entire day with Daniel Handler (Lemony Snicket) at TweenBookCon (Best day EVER).
  4. Independent Book Stores. Now, I could gush about independent bookstores (Again, Blue Willow Books is the BEST) all day but that can be an entirely different post. Just, go to your indie bookstores. It actually helps out the authors a lot more (as those are the sales that contribute to their NYT Bestselling ranks) and small businesses. Plus, they bring in authors a lot of signings, and are just generally cool people.

Overall, the YA Community is amazing, and easy to get involved in. I recommend checking it out, even if only a little, if you have any interest in reading. Which, if you’re reading this blog, you probably are. Feel free to contact me with any and all questions – I’d love be your first friend in the YA sphere.